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The Cricket.com Weekly - September 18th

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Last updated on 18 Sep 2023 | 01:05 PM
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The Cricket.com Weekly - September 18th

In this Newsletter, we take you through all important cricket updates, providing a one-stop destination to satiate the cricket nerd in you

Hello, hello, hello folks, Anirudh Suresh here and I’m ready with yet another edition of the Cricket.com Weekly 😎

I realized that, of late, I’ve been starting the Newsletter off on a slightly negative, self-deprecating note so for a change, I’m gonna give the intro of this edition a positive spin.

Happy Ganesh Chathurthi 😀

The week gone by — what’s been happening in world cricket?

Injuries galore weeks ahead of the World Cup 😭

It’s been a brutal week in terms of news, for a multitude of players have sustained untimely injuries just days ahead of the World Cup. The situation has gotten so bad that we’ve created an injury tracker to keep track of the whole thing.

You can check out the injury tracker for detailed injury info on the players but, as things stand, it looks like both Naseem Shah and Travis Head are certain to miss the World Cup. While Naseem badly injured his shoulder during the Asia Cup, Head fractured his left hand in the fourth ODI against South Africa after being hit by a rising delivery by Gerald Coetzee.

Tim Southee fractured his right thumb in the fourth ODI against England while Maheesh Theekshana pulled his hammy in the clash against Pakistan. In the Asia Cup clash between India and Bangladesh, meanwhile, Axar Patel suffered multiple minor injuries. 

Shreyas Iyer is still experiencing back spasms, while Anrich Nortje is nursing a lower-back issue.

Here’s hoping for an injury-free few weeks. There’s nothing more gut-wrenching for a player than missing a showpiece event like the World Cup due to injury.

India are the Asia Cup champions after 5 years

The Indian and Sri Lankan players were on the field for less than three hours during the final. Spoilers: it was not due to rain.

In arguably the most one-sided final in cricket history, team India reclaimed the Asia Cup crown by thumping Sri Lanka by 10 wickets AFTER BOWLING THEM OUT FOR 50.

Yep, you read that right.

Dasun Shanaka (after winning the toss): “We would like to bat first.” 

*DIRECTED BY ROBERT B WEIDE*

On the day, to their dismay, the Lankans were up against a RAMPANT MOHAMMED SIRAJ. 

Siraj took 6/21 and four of those wickets came IN A SINGLE OVER!  The Lankan batters fell like flies; it was utter madness! 

Fire, Ecstasy - Miyan Magic sweeps Colombo off its feet

The loyal Sri Lankan fans turned up in thousands but unfortunately, they were subjected to some serious anti-climax 😞

There were a couple of really wholesome moments though, such as Siraj pledging his POTM prize money to the ground staff and the ACC awarding the ground staff a cash prize of $50,000 for their efforts.

But despite the final turning out to be a one-sided affair, this Asia Cup was a productive tournament for team India from a 'learnings' POV. Here's what the Men in Blue learnt about themselves, over the course of the past two weeks.

HEINRICH KLAASEN MADNESS IN CENTURION!!!!!!

If your team is 194/4 after 34.4 overs in an ODI, how much will you usually expect them to finish with?

230-250 on a bad day. 270-290 on a normal day. 325-330 on a good day and 350 on a SPECTACULAR DAY.

South Africa finished with 416/5. Yeah, that’s 222 runs in 15.2 overs (WTFFFFF????)

As unfathomable as it may sound, it ACTUALLY HAPPENED!  All these runs were added together by Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, who put together, by some distance, the quickest 200-run stand in ODI HISTORY! 

Klaasen finished with 174 off 83 balls, smashing THIRTEEN FOURS AND THIRTEEN SIXES.

Poor Adam Zampa bore the brunt of this assault. He finished with 0/113 off his 10, the joint-worst figures in ODI history. He joined Mick Lewis, his (former) bowling coach at Renegades as the only other bowler to concede these many runs in an ODI 🤐

Hardik, in his piece, recapped the sheer brutality that Klaasen inflicted on the Aussies

The Klaasen assault helped the Proteas level the series and at the Wanderers, they went on to win it on the back of a superb Aiden Markram 93. Zampa bounced back in the fifth ODI - even got his revenge on Klaasen - but the Aussie batters continued to underwhelm. As a result, the Kangaroos ended up bottling a 2-0 lead.

If you did not watch a single ball from the series, don’t worry. Aakash has got you fully covered in his series takeaways piece.

Ben Stokes unretires and unleashes

Just days before the Klaasen assault, there was another batter that brutalized select bowlers from Oceania. Ben Stokes, of course.

In just his third ODI post ‘un-retirement’, Stokes posted the highest individual score for an England player in ODIs, smoking a chanceless 182 off 124 balls. Stokes’ knock was not as dismissive and monstrous as Klaasens, but it was equally remarkable as England were 13/2 in 2.4 overs when he walked in. They eventually finished with 368 in 48.1 overs.

It was a classic, ‘Hah. I’ve arrived’ knock from Stokes, who made sure to remind everyone before that World Cup that he is indeed HIM.

READ: Benjamin Stokes activates World Cup mode with a mega knock

In that very game, Dawid Malan missed out on a well-deserved ton but he made up for it by getting to three figures in the fourth ODI. In the process, he became the joint-fastest Englishman to 1000 ODI runs, equalling Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen. 

Malan’s effort with the bat and Moeen’s effort with the ball (4/50) helped England seal the ODI series 3-1 at Lord’s.

Meanwhile, Joe Root will play the first ODI against Ireland in a bid to gain some form heading into the World Cup. Root's last 5 ODI scores read 1,6,0, 4 & 29. Barring Root, England have no other first-teamers playing that series, in which Zak Crawley will be captaining the Three Lions.

The Jason Roy era is over 😢

It’s the end of an era as Jason Roy WILL NOT be featuring in the 2023 ODI World Cup after being omitted from the Three Lions’ final 15-man squad. He has been replaced by Harry Brook.

Roy was in the provisional squad but back troubles kept him out of the New Zealand ODIs. In the meantime, Malan sealed his spot by smashing 277 runs at an average of 92.33. It then became a direct Brook vs Roy battle and Brook ended up winning it due to his versatility (and fitness).

Roy, a modern-day legend and one of the biggest reasons for England winning the 2019 WC, (presumably) finishes his ODI career having scored 4271 runs @ 39.91 and 105.53.

Naveen-ul-Haq in Afghanistan’s WC squad

Afghanistan, too, have named their World Cup squad and it features Naveen-ul-Haq, who last played an ODI more than 2.5 years ago

Noor Ahmad is all set to become the youngest player to feature in the 2023 World Cup but there’s no space for Gulbadin Naib, who captained Afghanistan in the 2019 World Cup in England.

He has, however, been named as a reserve. Also in the reserves is left-arm pacer Fareed Ahmad, while Karim Janat has been left out altogether.

Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Riaz Hassan

Reserve Players: Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Farid Ahmad Malik

More squad news 

Tamim, Soumya back for Bangladesh 

Dread it. Run from it. D̶e̶s̶t̶i̶n̶y̶  Soumya Sarkar still arrives. 

That’s right, Soumya Sarkar, who last played an ODI for Bangladesh back in March 2021, is back in the scheme of things after being named in the Tigers’ squad for the New Zealand ODIs. His return, though, is not the biggest talking point as former skipper Tamim Iqbal is all set to make his comeback in the series as well. Tamim is coming on the back of a long injury layoff, having last played professional cricket back in July.

While Mahmudullah has also been recalled, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud and Shoriful Islam have all been rested.

The side will be captained by Liton Das.

Bangladesh squad for New Zealand ODIs 

Liton Das (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Tawhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Zakir Hasan, Rishad Hossain and Syed Khaled Ahmed.

Big guns back in Australia squad for India ODIs

Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell, all of whom did not take part in the South Africa ODIs, have all been named in the Australia squad for the three-match ODI series against India. All four players are nursing injuries, and are in different stages of recovery, but are expected to play at least some part in the series. 

Travis Head’s injury has ruled him out, so his place has been taken by Marnus Labuschagne. There’s also a maiden call-up for Matthew Short, though Mitch Marsh is expected to open in Head’s absence. 

Australia ODI squad for India ODIs

Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Injured Shivam Mavi ruled out of Asian Games

Pacer Shivam Mavi has been struck with an untimely injury blow as a back injury has ruled him out of the upcoming Asian Games. He has been replaced in the Indian squad by Bengal’s Akash Deep. 

Washington Sundar, as things stand, is in the Asian Games squad, but there’s a realistic chance he could get pulled from there and instead drafted into the World Cup squad, due to concerns over Axar Patel’s fitness.

India Men’s squad for Asian Games

Ruturaj Gaikwad (Captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Singh, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (wk)

Standby players: Yash Thakur, Sai Kishore, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Sai Sudarsan.

Pooja Vastrakar replaces Anjali Sarvani

In the Women’s squad, meanwhile, Pooja Vastrakar has been named as replacement for Anjali Sarvani, who has been ruled out of the Asian Games due to a knee injury.

Vastrakar was originally in the standby list.

India Women’s squad for Asian Games

Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetry (wk), Anusha Bareddy, Pooja Vastrakar.

Standby players: Harleen Deol, Kashvee Gautam, Sneh Rana, Saika Ishaque.

Speaking of Asian Games, here's your ultimate guidebook for Asian Games 2023 (all things Cricket), thanks to Gaurav

Indians in County Cricket: Unadkat, Jayant, Karun & Chahal shine

Jaydev Unadkat sizzled in his very second game for Sussex as he picked up match figures of 9/117 to bowl Sussex to a thrilling 14-run win over Leicestershire. 

Leicestershire were on course to chase 499 but a superb 6/94 from Unadkat meant that it was Sussex who came out on top.

He wasn’t the only Indian that picked a five-fer this week as Jayant Yadav registered figures of 5/131 (innings, not match) on his Middlesex debut. Middlesex’s clash against Lancashire ended as a draw but Yadav, in his very first game of the season, toiled hard for 33 overs and picked up a hard-earned five-fer.

On his Kent debut, Yuzvendra Chahal picked 5 wickets in the match (3/63 & 2/43) and his first wicket, of Lyndon James, was an absolute pearler.

Pujara has surprisingly had two average matches in a row (26, 23, 4, 51) but Karun Nair struck a well-compiled 78 on his Northamptonshire debut. 

Sai Sudharsan could make his County debut for Surrey on Tuesday, September 19th.

Former England wicket-keeper batter Steven Davies has announced his retirement

Steven Davies, who played 13 international matches for England between 2009 and 2011, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. 

An attacking opening batter who also donned the gloves, Davies showed plenty of promise in the 8 ODIs he played, including smashing a stunning 67-ball 87 against a Pakistan attack that featured Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi among others, but his career never took off. 

His last international game came against Australia in 2011. 

Stuart MacGill charged for allegedly dealing cocaine

In the most bizzare-o news of the week, former Australian spinner Stuart MacGill was, earlier this week, arrested and charged for his alleged role in a commercial-scale cocaine deal.

MacGill was in the news two years ago after getting kidnapped, but in a sensational twist, the police, following a lengthy investigation, revealed that MacGill's abduction was linked to his part in a drug deal.

Police said MacGill faced one count of ‘knowingly taking part in the supply of a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.’

Prithvi Shaw set to spend extended period on the sidelines

The knee injury Prithvi Shaw sustained during his stint in England with Northamptonshire is set to rule him out of both the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy. 

Shaw is expected to miss at least three to four more months of action and now faces a race against time to be fit for the Ranji Trophy, starting January 5th. 

Shaw damaged ligaments in his knee while fielding in the Royal London Cup clash against Durham and while he’s not undergone surgery yet, the opener might eventually be forced to go under the knife. 

The injury comes as a huge setback for Shaw, who was in sizzling form prior to the injury, smashing 244 & 125* in consecutive 50-over games. 

England Women thump Sri Lanka Women; South Africa Women overcome Pakistan Women

Following a shock defeat in the T20I series, England women bounced back emphatically in the ODIs to clinch the three-match series 2-0.

They won the first and the third ODIs by 7 wickets and 161 runs respectively, and had SL W 106/9 when rain played spoilsport in the second ODI. 

Nat Sciver-Brunt, who captained England in the third ODI, smashed the fastest ton by an English Women player in ODI cricket, getting to the landmark in just 66 balls.

Elsewhere, South Africa Women, after getting whitewashed in the T20Is, showed resilience to win the ODI series 2-1 against Pakistan Women.

It turned out to be a tour to remember for Nadine de Klerk, who across the T20Is and ODIs, scored 159 runs at an average of 159 (dismissed JUST ONCE) and also picked 9 wickets in total. 

What’s happening in the Caribbean Premier League?

The playoff spots for CPL 2023 have been decided and it’s Guyana Amazon Warriors, Trinbago Knight Riders, Saint Lucia Kings and Jamaica Tallawahs who have made it to the final four. 

Barbados Royals, who were finalists last year, have been eliminated in the group stages itself.

While Guyana (1st) and Trinbago (2nd) will play in Qualifier 1, Saint Lucia (3rd) and Jamaica (4th) will play the Eliminator. The playoff format is the same as the IPL. 

In terms of individual showings, Alex Hales and Shai Hope stole the show this week, both smashing sublime tons. Hope’s 106, which came off just 44 balls, knocked out the Royals while Hales’ unbeaten 119 propelled the Tallawahs into the playoffs. 

On the bowling front, after a dip, Mohammad Amir was back in the wickets this week, picking up a 4-fer versus Patriots before following it up with a 2/7 vs the Kings. Chris Green, meanwhile, is also now the joint-highest wicket-taking spinner in CPL 2023 with 13 wickets, on the back of his 4-fer against Saint Lucia Kings. Remarkably, this season, Green has gone wicketless in only 2 of the 9 matches he’s played. 

Picture of the Week

Mohammed Siraj with the Sri Lankan ground staff (whom he'd later go on to dedicate his POTM award to)

Other articles in focus

Unveiling Rinku Singh: Maestro of the onslaught, chasing the elusive cut - Stephen Nehemiah

In Towhid Hridoy, Bangladesh have a man for long haul - Bastab Parida

Despite many hardships, cricket gives Sri Lanka a lease of life - Bastab Parida

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