DING DING! It’s Saturday so you know what it means — IT’S NEWSLETTER TIME!
The proceedings last week were dominated by off-field controversies and news, but sanity has kinda been restored this time around, as on-field action is king once again.
There’s a lot to go through, but we’ll try our best to keep you informed about EVERYTHING!
WHAT’S MADE THE HEADLINES?
HISTORY-MAKER SHUBMAN GILL! 💯💯
Remember all those tweets which said Gill ‘unfairly’ got the nod to be Rohit Sharma’s partner in ODIs, over double-centurion Ishan Kishan? Yeah, he took those tweets personally. SICK of all the ‘Kishan 200’ chatter, Gill decided to get a double-ton of his own and SHUT HIS HATERS UP!
A player scoring a double-ton in ODIs doesn’t feel thaaaat special anymore, but Gill’s knock was BONKERS for two reasons: the second-best score in the innings was 34, and he got to his double-ton striking THREE CONSECUTIVE SIXES! Right, it does make you go ‘WTF’.
En route, the double-hundred Gill broke a ton of records, but we’ll just mention a couple of ‘em.
- Gill became the joint second-fastest to 1000 ODI runs, getting to the landmark in 19 innings.
- Gill became the youngest-ever double-centurion in ODI history.
A dream week for the 23-year-old!
But Gill nearly got over-shadowed! 😧
Oh, but Gill’s 208 was ‘THIS CLOSE’ to not being the best knock of the game. Well, some would argue it still was the second-best knock of the contest.
That was due to Michael Bracewell, who, from 131/6, NEARLY helped New Zealand single-handedly chase 350. Bracewell struck 140 off 78 balls, made a mockery of the Indian bowlers and nearly repeated what he did against Ireland last year.
He played one of the greatest knocks, if not the greatest, in a losing cause in ODI.
Bracewell, in the process, created history too: he became only the second man in ODI history (after MS Dhoni) to score two or more hundreds batting at No.7.
'Yea Chetan TALK NAH!' 😡
No secret that Sarfaraz Khan was hurting inside, big time, after being overlooked for the Australia Tests (to accommodate a white-ball specialist in SKY) but like a good kid, he chose to let his bat talk. Indeed, in his first FC innings post the India snub, Sarfaraz smashed a counter-attacking 125 (in an innings where Mumbai were 66/4 at one point) and made his snub look even more ridiculous.
Sarfaraz is no longer breaking the door down. There is no door left at this point; he is standing in the hallway waiting for the selectors to let him in. ‘May I come in, Sir?’ vibes.
Hashim Amla retires from all forms of cricket 😔
On Wednesday, January 18, Hashim Amla announced that he is retiring from all forms of cricket with immediate effect. Amla retired from international cricket in 2019 but continued playing domestic cricket, representing Surrey. Such was the man’s class that he averaged 47.46 in Surrey post-international retirement, striking 5 tons, the last of which came four months ago. Unsurprisingly, tributes poured in for the legendary Hash as soon as the news broke out!
Steve Smith and Pujara will be batting together — BRACE YOURSELF!
Spare a thought for all the non-Sussex County bowlers. 2022 saw them get absolutely RINSED by Che Pujara, but in 4 months’ time, they’ll have to deal with the double threat of Pujara AND Steve Smith.
Yep, we’re talking about THE STEVEN PETER DEVEREUX SMITH. He’s just signed a short-term deal with Sussex to play three county matches as prep for the WTC Final and Ashes.
What a thirsty prospect if you’re a red-ball fanatic! 🥵
Watershed moment for Women’s cricket in India!
In a watershed moment for women’s cricket in the country, Viacom 18 bagged the media rights for the W-IPL for a period of five years (2023-27) for a whopping 951 crore. That is approximately 7.09 crore per game.
Secretary of the BCCI, Jay Shah, labelled the deal 'a new dawn’.
What (else) has been happening on the field?
International cricket (Men)
- We spoke about Gill, but another player who’s been just as good for India is Mohammed Siraj. He took 4/46 in the first ODI vs the Kiwis to make it back-to-back four-fers; he is, on current form, arguably the best bowler in ODIs, having taken 32 wickets in his last 16 ODIs.
- After winning the T20Is against Ireland 2-1, Zimbabwe started the ODI series off with a thrilling win. Zimbabwe needed 4 to win off the final ball, and that’s when Clive Madande stepped up: he whipped Graham Hume through mid-wicket to collect the ‘W’ for the hosts.
- Shannon Gabriel is back in the scheme of things in Tests for the West Indies after 18 months. He’s been picked for the two-Test series against Zimbabwe.
- South Africa have named a 16-man squad for the three ODIs against England and well, there are no surprises; no Rickelton, no Jordan Hermann. Magala, leading wicket-taker in the domestic one-day cup, is the only ‘fresh face’ if you can call him that.
- Sarfaraz scored a ton in the first innings, yep, but that couldn’t stop Mumbai losing to Delhi in the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 41 years.
- In Nagpur, meanwhile, Vidarbha created history by defending the LOWEST-EVER total in Ranji History. Chasing 72, Gujarat were bowled out for 54 as left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate took 6/17 in the fourth innings. Guess what? This is the venue that’ll be hosting the first Test between India and Australia 👀
- Mayank Agarwal FINALLY went big as he smashed 208 vs Kerala, his first in red-ball cricket since the 243 he scored against Bangladesh in late 2019.
International and U19 cricket (Women)
- The tri-series between India, South Africa and West Indies is underway, and the first game saw the Women in Blue beat South Africa by 27 runs. The star of the night was 23-year-old Amanjot Kaur, who bagged the POTM award on debut thanks to a sensational 41* down the order.
- Pakistan women have been absolutely humbled by Australia in the first two matches of the three-match ODI series, with the hosts following up an 8-wicket win in the first with a 10-wicket thrashing in the second. The star in both matches? 19-year-old Phoebe Litchfield, playing her first two international matches, scored 78* and 67* opening the batting.
- In the first-ever Women’s U19 WC, meanwhile, India have been super-dominant thus far, winning 3/3. But the tournament has already seen its fair share of upsets, with Bangladesh triumphing over Australia and Rwanda registering a sensational victory over Zimbabwe.
As many as four leagues are going on simultaneously so it’ll be impossible for us to summarize all leagues and do justice to the same in a point or two. Which is precisely why we have in-depth round-ups for SA20 (which you can check out here) and the BBL (which you can check out here).
Something that you won’t find in the BBL round-up (because the news is super fresh) is that Dan Christian has announced he’ll be retiring from all cricket at the end of the ongoing BBL season. Arguably the single most important figure in BBL history, it’d be fitting if Christian bows out with a title for the Sixers.
The ILT20 has kicked off too and guess what? Robin Uthappa, as things stand, is in the top three run-getters. Uthappa began the tournament with a fluent 43 in the curtain-raiser against ADKR and then turned up the heat in the next encounter against Gulf Giants, smacking a 46-ball 79.
But the stand-out performers overall (bat and ball) CLEARLY have been two Englishmen, James Vince and Alex Hales. Vince and Hales have both scored 50+ runs in every innings in which they’ve batted (Vince 224 runs in 3; Hales 257 runs in 3) and on Friday, Hales smashed the first ton in ILT20 history, against ADKR.
It is no coincidence that Hales’ side (Desert Vipers) and Vince’s side (Gulf Giants) are #1 and #2 in the table, respectively, both boasting a 100% record.
And oh, in case you haven’t seen it already, the ILT20 is dishing out WWE-Esque belts for the top performers. ARAMCO Orange / Purple cap is no longer the coolest toy in town!
In the Bangladesh Premier League, meanwhile, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shakib Al Hasan, on Thursday, scripted arguably the most sensational turnaround in T20 history. Fortune Barishal were at one point 46/4 from 5.4 overs, only to finish with 238/4 at the end of their quota of 20 overs. Iftikhar (100* off 45) and Shakib (89* off 43) added a stunning 192 runs for the fifth wicket.
Articles in focus
A wild night in Hyderabad saw the fans witness two all-time great knocks in the span of eight hours. Aakash takes us through that wild night which, let’s be honest, has not sunk in yet.
Had Harmanpreet Kaur been fit enough to play, Amanjot would have neither made her debut nor the headlines. But as it turned out, the 23-year-old came, saw and conquered South Africa on debut as she bagged the Player of the Match award. Shweta runs us through what was an unforgettable day in young Amanjot’s life.
We have some fantastic ‘On this day’ pieces this week too, whether it be Shubh narrating how Nasser Hussain’s sweetest memory turned out to be a scam, or Somesh recollecting THAT day at the Gabba.