We’ll be honest. There have been weeks where we’ve put the Newsletter out for the sake of it, despite the week having been a lifeless one because, hey, the show must go on.
Trust us when we say THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE WEEKS!
Breaking news after breaking news. Controversy after controversy. Boy this week has been ACTION PACKED! More eventful than perhaps the entirety of the previous thirty days combined.
Either way, there’s looooooooots to unpack so let’s get started without further ado.
P.S. On-field action will be taking a step back this time around. We’re going to be prioritizing all the off-field stuff!
BIGGEST CONTROVERSY OF THE WEEK!On Thursday (January 12), Cricket Australia announced that they will be withdrawing from the ODI series they were scheduled to play against Afghanistan in the UAE, forfeiting 30 ODI Super League points. The decision, according to CA, was made following the Taliban's recent announcement regarding further restrictions on women and girls' education and employment.
It wasn’t unexpected, nor did it come out of the blue: it was less than 15 months ago that they called off the one-off Test they were scheduled to play against Afghanistan in Hobart, citing Taliban’s stance on women’s cricket as the reason for the same.
CA’s decision did not go down well, AT ALL, with the Afghanistan players. Led by T20I skipper Rashid Khan, nearly every single Afghan player took to Twitter to express their displeasure over CA’s decision, blasting them for ‘mixing sports and politics’.
Rashid, a Big Bash League veteran, in his tweet, even hinted at quitting BBL forever, claiming that he would be ‘strongly considering his future’ in the competition.
It’s currently Saturday (January 14) but CA vs Afghanistan continues to be a hot topic of discussion. Unsurprisingly, as you’d expect, the matter has divided opinions.
A SHOCK RETIREMENT!The week started off on a rather shocking note as Dwaine Pretorius, a white-ball regular for the Proteas, announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 33. The reason? Well, Pretorius explained it clearly and concisely in his statement.
“Being a free agent will help me achieve the goal of being the best short format player I can be. By doing this, I will be able to have a better balance in my career and family life.”
HISTORY-MAKER PRITHVI SHAW!Two years ago Prithvi Shaw made a mockery of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and earlier this week, the 23-year-old created history by posting the SECOND-HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORE in the history of the competition.
Shaw entered the Assam clash on the back of a hugely disappointing start to the season, but he put all that behind him to smash 379 RUNS OFF 383 BALLS. That’s right, Shaw smashed 379 runs at nearly run-a-ball.
So outrageous was Shaw’s knock (which featured 49 fours and 4 sixes) that literally NO SOUL is talking about Ajinkya Rahane’s 191 in the same innings. Spare a thought for poor jinx!
Either way, coincidentally or otherwise, Shaw also got picked in the T20I squad to face New Zealand.
Easily the best week Shaw has had IN YEARS!
BGT SQUADS ARE OUT! The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is close. So close that both India and Australia have announced their respective squads (Australia for the entire tour, India for the first two Tests).
The biggest news is the absence of Jasprit Bumrah from India’s squad. Bumrah was expected to make his comeback in the ODIs against Sri Lanka but a considerable setback has ruled him out of the first half of the BGT.
Mitchell Starc will miss the first Test in Nagpur, but Australia expect him to be OK for the rest.
Barring the inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan for India, there are no shocks on either side.
Now moving (properly) to the on-field action………..
India have won a bilateral ODI series at home, again. Likewise Pakistan have lost at home, again. However, for a change, it’s in the 50-over format this time around.
Yep, Kane Williamson’s New Zealand were not able to get the job done in Tests, but they ensured to rinse the hosts in the ODIs. After losing the first game, the Black Caps spun a web around the Pakistan batters in the second and pulled off a sensational two-wicket victory in the decider, courtesy a RIDICULOUS 63* off 42 from Glenn Phillips.
Zimbabwe have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against Ireland, but more significantly, they have successfully integrated Gary Ballance into the side. That’s right. Ballance made his Zimbabwe debut in the first T20I in Harare and made an instant impact, striking a crucial 30 that helped his side pull off a tricky chase.
Yeah, we’re done here. Franchise cricket is what’s ruling our sport this month! $$$$ talks, folks!
Both SA20 and ILT20 are officially underway and while we’ve just had a solitary ILT20 encounter, SA20 has made quite the noise already.
The strongest team in the competition, MI Cape Town (pronounced ‘my’ Cape Town) kicked-off the tournament with a dominant win and it was two Mumbai Indians stars, Dewald Brevis and Jofra Archer, who lit up the inaugural game. While Archer, playing his first professional match in 18 months, took a three-fer, Brevis smashed an unbeaten 70 that featured five GLORIOUS SIXES!
And oh, Anrich Nortje bowled some ABSOLUTE THUNDERBOLTS for the Pretoria Capitals.
In the ILT20, Dubai Capitals beat Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the first encounter and it was a hammering: a 73-run win. Not a lot went on in that game barring the fact that Joe Root (26 off 21) and Robin Uthappa (43 off 33) played and Rovman Powell did well with both bat (48 off 29) and ball (2/15 off 2).
Wait, wait. We’ve not forgotten about the BBL. This week witnessed the return of the Australian Test stars, including David Warner, but none of them really had memorable outings. Labuschagne, in fact, was only in the news because he was thwarted for 20 runs in the only over he bowled against the Scorchers.
A quiet week in the BBL overall. No record run chase; no Neser-esque catch controversies; no Josh Brown-esque fairytale rookie moments.
The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) is going on too and it’s been in the news literally only because Shakib has been passing his time intimidating umpires. Nothing new, hey!
Articles in focus
Despite having played just seven first-class matches, Todd Murphy, dubbed the next Nathan Lyon, has been called up to the Australia squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Who exactly is Todd Murphy, and what can we expect from him in a month’s time?
Hear it from the man himself as Aakash and I, Anirudh Suresh, interviewed him six months ago when he was in Chennai as a part of a week-long camp.
History is all set to be created hours from now as the FIRST EVER Women's Under-19 T20 World Cup will kick-off in South Africa. Clueless as to what to expect? Do not worry. Shweta has got all of us covered.
Omitting articles from this section is hard, so here goes the other key articles from this week: