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The Weekly - October 30th

Last updated on 30 Oct 2023 | 02:15 PM
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The Weekly - October 30th

From PCB's "witch hunt" and Riyan Parag's record to close World Cup finishes, here's what happened this week

It took a gazillion groans, trillions of lament-filled articles, billions of rant-filled obituaries of ODI cricket, and 22 full rotations of Planet Earth on its axis, but finally, the ODI World Cup has heated up with some thrilling encounters. 

Welcome to’s newsletter, where we’ll give a byte-sized recap of all the major happenings in the cricket world, along with a World Cup digest covering the exhilarating cricket of this week. We don’t discriminate between news that is spicy, like Pepper roast Chicken, or bland, like a plain Idli without sambhar. You’ll find everything worth knowing in this newsletter. 

So close the Instagram reels and get reading, folks!

The World Cup finally comes to life!

The scorecards from this week at the World Cup paint a much more colorful picture than the last few weeks. Check them yourself!

> There are only two entities in India whose success has been so resounding that the nation has been forced to shift its eyeballs towards them - one, the astronomical box office success of the last superstar of Indian Cinema, Shahrukh Khan, and two, the juggernaut that is the Indian team at this World Cup. 

The Men In Blue have won six out of six and have all but made it to the semi-finals. Yesterday, they obliterated England into oblivion despite their batting being largely lacklustre except for Rohit Sharma and Surykumar Yadav. However, their bowling has been inevitable. 

If Siraj won’t get you, Bumrah will. If Bumrah misses, be assured that Shami will hit. And if even Shami misses, then Kuldeep’s turn will trap you. And then there is Jadeja as well. 

> South Africa beat Pakistan in Chepauk by a solitary wicket in an imperfectly perfect game that saw the crowd in Chennai fall off the edge of their seats. It was a must-win game for Pakistan after they were defeated by the Afghans on the same ground earlier. Post the South Africa defeat, their qualification to the semis is in the hands of some obscure mathematical probabilities that only our statsman Anirudh Kasargod can explain, just like he did here. Meanwhile, Bavuma’s team needs one more victory to confirm a semi-final berth. 

> The Netherlands continue to impress this World Cup. They swatted away an innocuous Bangladeshi team like Indian middle-class households using mosquito swatter in Monsoons. In fact, due to their brilliance and England’s abomination, they are currently the highest-ranked European team on the points table. 

> Coming on to England, they are in the middle of a dark hole bigger than the Atlantic. They lost both their matches this week (against Sri Lanka and India) after batting without plans and competent skills as if they forgot that they could actually dominate bowling attacks with ease on largely flat Indian tracks. Additionally, their bottom-of-the-table position puts their qualification for the Champions Trophy 2025 in jeopardy. 

Their state is so woebegone that only the sarcasm of this Aakash Sivasubramaniam piece on them can add some comedy to their tragedy. 

> Amidst all this, Australia have continued their rise in the World Cup by shell-sacking the Netherlands and eking out a victory in a thriller against New Zealand, which, in all probability, is the match of the tournament so far. 

Glenn Maxwell and David Warner have been absolutely superb for them this week. Maxwell even scored the fastest World Cup hundred against the hapless Dutch in Delhi. 

As for the Kiwis, if there were an emerging player of the tournament award, it would have definitely gone to Rachin Ravindra, who has been in some fine form this World Cup, scoring a century against the Aussies as well and giving them a might scare despite scoring close to 400. 

Cricket World Cup? Nah.. More like injury World Cup

The injuries kept piling on this week as well. 

> Sri Lanka should do some havan or something, as after losing the likes of Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka, and Matheesha Pathirana from injury, they have now lost Lahiru Kumara (who picked up 3 wickets in their win against England) to a thigh injury. He’s been replaced by Dushmantha Chameera.

The only silver lining in the perennially stationed Lankan injury cloud is that the experienced Angelo Mathews is now a part of their side and even made an early impact in the England game with 2 wickets. 

> Travis Head has recovered from his hand injury and is back with a bang this World Cup, scoring 109 in his comeback game against the Kiwis in Dharamshala. However, in the same game, Lockie Ferguson suffered an Achilles injury, making his participation in New Zealand’s upcoming games uncertain

What else is happening in the cricket world?

> The home season of the Indian Women's team has been announced, and Mumbai has now officially become the central axis of Women's cricket in the country as all the matches of the England and Australia Women’s tour of India will be either held in Mumbai or Navi Mumbai. Maybe there are no more worthy stadiums outside the City of Dreams? Only the BCCI can answer that. 

> The Qualification criterion for Champions Trophy 2025, where only the top eight ODI sides participate, has been in public discussion recently after England strengthened their bottom-of-the-table position in the World Cup with yet another defeat yesterday. It turns out that only the top seven teams at the end of the league stage of the 2023 World Cup and host Pakistan will compete in the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy. 

> Pakistan Women’s team lost their T20 series to Bangladesh Women by 1-2 margin in Chattogram. They managed a consolation win in the last game, largely due to Muneeba Ali’s 61. Earlier, they were defeated by five wickets in the first game and 20 runs in the second. Bangladesh’s Nahida Akter was the Player of the Series courtesy of her 8 wickets in the series. 

> Zimbabwe Men’s Tour of Namibia, which included a five-T20I series, has reached an interesting decider, as both the African nations have won two games each, and the decisive fifth game is being played today (at the time of writing). Namibian skipper Gerhard Erasmus and Zimbabwean Sikander Raza have been the top performers for their respective sides so far. 

> The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier Final has begun today in Nepal. The home team started positively with a victory over Singapore in Kirtipur today. The top 2 teams in the tournament will make it to the T20 World Cup next year. 

> The top brass of the Bangladesh Cricket Board has arrived in Kolkata to assess what’s going wrong with the Bangladeshi team in the World Cup. ESPNcricinfo reported that BCB President Nazmul Hasan asked the team to play their remaining three games courageously. 

> The Australian men’s side are scheduled to play a five-T20I series against India right after the World Cup. Cricket Australia announced the squad for it recently, where Mathew Wade would be captaining the Kangaroos. 

> In a new first, the English Cricket Board has announced central contracts for 29 players, 18 England Multi-Year Central Contracts, eight England Annual Central Contracts, and three England Development Contracts.

> Sri Lanka Cricket unveiled a new T10 league, becoming the only second full-member cricket board to have such a league in its roster. Plans are underway to have a Women’s T10 league as well. 

> The biggest news coming out of the ongoing Women’s Big Bash League is about the inconsistent officiating that has resulted in some dodgy decision-making in the premier Women’s T20 league. The Australian Associated Press reported that after such controversies, Cricket Australia is looking to have TV Umpires for all games in the upcoming season. Meanwhile, the injured Alyssa Healy is now out of the tournament.

What’s happening in Indian domestic cricket?

> The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy has now reached the Pre Quarter-final stage, as teams like Punjab, Mumbai, Kerala, Vidarbha and Delhi continue their dominance in their respective groups. 

Riyan Parag has been on fire in this competition, scoring six consecutive fifties for Assam, and is currently the highest run-getter with 440 runs in just seven games this season. By doing this, he has become the only batter in the history of T20 cricket to score six consecutive half-centuries. Not only this, he has also picked up nine wickets in this tournament so far, proving his value as a multi-dimensional cricketer.

With the ball, Hyderabad’s Ravi Teja has been consistently doing well in the tournament, picking up 19 wickets for his team. Meanwhile, Tushar Deshpande made the news with his hat-trick against Mizoram for Mumbai. 

> The Senior Women’s T20 Trophy is also underway and is reaching the Pre Quarter-final stage in a few days. Poonam Khemnar has continued her good form with the bat, along with the likes of Deepti Sharma and Disha Kasat. Hyderabad’s Bhogi Sharavi is leading the charts with 15 wickets, and others like UP’s Sonam Yadav and Bengal’s Saika Ishaque have also done well, picking 13 wickets each. 

Controversy of the Week

What else could be here if not for the chaos that has been ongoing in Pakistan Cricket? The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released a press statement on October 26 asking the fans to support their floundering team at the World Cup. However, that was not it. 

The statement also mentioned, “Captain Babar Azam and Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq were given freedom and support in forming the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023. Looking ahead, the board will make decisions in the best interest of Pakistan cricket based on the team's performances in the World Cup.”

Through that press release, the PCB has thrown Captain Babar Azam and Inzmam under the bus during their ongoing World Cup campaign, creating an environment of distrust and uncertainty in the team. Coach Mickey Arthur also pleaded with the PCB to avoid “witch hunts” after his team’s one-wicket loss against South Africa. 

To add to the controversy, the news of Inzmam-ul-Haq’s resignation has just dropped in. Ohh, Pakistan cricket, what are you doing?

Picture of the Week

Super‘Man’? Nahh.. Super’Shami’

Our World Cup coverage that you should not miss!

Pace is pace yaar, but Haris Rauf, what is this yaar?

Shami's vicious seam bowling is making swing-less Siraj 'droppable'

Timid against spin, Mitch Marsh might be unsuited for the No.3 role in ODIs

The dire state of Bangladesh batting

Transfer Window in ODI World Cup: Shami to England?

Disoriented Jos Buttler’s abysmal form echoes England’s struggles

What has gone wrong with Pakistan? Almost everything!

Check out this "CDC on Tour Vlog"

Our video team has been out there on the ground covering the World Cup from the fan's perspective and capturing the vibes of the ongoing World Cup. Do check the vlog they made.

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