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The Cricket.com Weekly - Edition 18

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Last updated on 18 Feb 2023 | 06:28 AM
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The Cricket.com Weekly - Edition 18

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

🔔🔔🔔! It’s Saturday and you know what it means. Indeed, it’s time for the 18th edition of The Cricket.com Weekly, your one-stop destination to know about EVERYTHING that happened in the week gone by. 

Women’s Premier League auction, Ranji, India vs Australia, England vs New Zealand, a bunch of retirements — boy we’ve got plentyyyyyy to cover!

Let’s get right into it! 

What’s made the headlines?

The WPL auction took place in Mumbai — and it ROCKED!

There was plenty of hype in lead-up to the inaugural WPL auction and my word IT DELIVERED AND HOW! 

Smriti Mandhana was the first name to come out of the hat — the rest was history!  

Smriti went for a WHOPPING 3.4 CRORE and her buy pretty much set the tone for the rest of the auction. Franchises, in all, shelled out a staggering 59.5 crore in what was a historic day for women’s sport in not just India but the entire world. 

If you want a complete list of all squads and who went for how much, you can hop over here.

But if you’re someone who’s into the more intrinsic stuff, such as in-depth squad breakdown and analysis, don’t worry, you’re still in the right place. Shweta has got you covered with her piece! 

We’ll just tell you this: RCB (Mandhana, Perry, Richa Ghosh, Van Niekerk) and U.P Warriorz (Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Deepti, Shabnim Ismail and Sophie Ecclestone) have both assembled RIDICULOUSLY GOOD teams!

And yes, Mandhana has already been named as RCB's captain. Yay!

Chetan Sharma resigns!In the aftermath of the sting operation run by Zee News, Chetan Sharma has resigned as India’s chairman of selectors. Mind you, it was only last month that he was re-appointed as the head of the selection committee.

Yep, that’s a terrible, terrible way to head out. 

IPL 2023 schedule IS OUT!The BCCI have released the schedule for the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League and CSK and GT are the two sides that will kick-start proceedings, in Ahmedabad on March 31. The final, too, will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The good news is that the home-away format is back AFTER FOUR LONG YEARS!

Teams have been split into two groups of five: MI, RR, KKR, DC and LSG in Group A and CSK, PBKS, SRH, RCB and GT in Group B.

Each team will play the five teams of the other group twice and the other four from their own group once.

Yep. bizarre. Very bizarre. But hey, how else do you ensure MI and CSK play each other at least twice?

Anyway, head here for the complete schedule! 

NEW TEST SKIPPER FOR SOUTH AFRICA!

The Dean Elgar era is officially over. Indeed, South Africa have a new individual at the helm as Temba Bavuma has been named the Test skipper. 

In what’s also arguably a win-win for South Africa, Bavuma has also relinquished his T20I captaincy. We don’t know who the next T20I skipper is, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be Aiden Markram.

The Proteas have also announced their squad for the all-important two-Test series against the Windies. 

You can check it out here

Retirements, Retirements, Retirements! RETIREMENTS GALORE!

It feels like no Newsletter is complete without a retirement, yeah? 

In the last five days alone, we’ve had as many as three retirements!

On February 13th, Eoin Morgan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket (unsurprising).

A couple of days later, New Zealand’s Todd Astle called it quits (again, not surprising given his age, which is 36).

A shock announcement, however, arrived on Thursday as South Africa’s Theunis de Bruyn, who played Test cricket as recently as December, announced that he was stepping away from international cricket at the age of just 30.

What’s happening, folks?

No Dharamshala :(

Not for the first time, fans in India have been taken for granted by the BCCI as in the eleventh hour, the board have shifted venues. Yep, the third Test, which was scheduled to happen in Dharamshala, will now take place in Indore. 

“Owing to harsh winter conditions in the region, the outfield lacks sufficient grass density and will need some time to develop fully” is what the BCCI said in their conveniently-worded official statement.

They’re not wrong, but the fact of the matter is that, when the initial schedule was announced in December, the board knew that there was a 90% chance that the ground might not be ready in time.

And yet they kept the fans in the dark, went ahead and awarded Dharamshala the Test anyway.

“Flights and accommodation booked? Losses for the fans? Who cares. We’ll move the match as per our convenience.”

West Indies have new white-ball skippers

Finally, after three long months, the Windies have a white-ball skipper. Two, in fact.

Shai Hope (ODI) and Rovman Powell (T20I) have been confirmed as Nicholas Pooran’s successors.

Happy with the appointments, Windies fans?

What’s going on in international cricket (on the field)?

> England’s two-Test series versus New Zealand is underway and, yep, you guessed it, they’ve been Baz-balling hard. On the first day of the Test, they made the second-earliest declaration in Test history. At the time of writing this, they have a 393-run lead and are gunning for yet another victory.

> The second India-Australia Test is underway and Australia have already improved on their showing in Nagpur, having posted 263 in the first innings after winning the toss. Will it be enough to topple India? Time will tell. Follow the live action here.

> Kraigg Brathwaite’s impressive run at the helm in Tests for West Indies continues. Rain, thankfully, did not play spoilsport in the second Test and that enabled Windies to register an innings victory. The visitors registered an innings win despite only scoring 292 in the first innings and that was down to Gudakesh Motie, who registered outrageous figures of 13/99 in the match. Phew! 

> Afghanistan’s tour of UAE is underway and the visitors have taken a 1-0 lead on the back of a fine fifty from Karim Janat. But credit where due, UAE put up quite a fight, putting 142 on the board before taking it to the final over with the ball. 

What’s happening in the World Cup?

> 13 matches in, no real surprises or upsets outside the first encounter which saw Sri Lanka stun hosts South Africa. India, England and defending champions Australia are all unbeaten thus far, and have 100% records. Australia have been so ridiculously dominant that it’s been a joke.

> The biggest shock has been how New Zealand have fared. The third ranked side in the world, the White Ferns lost their first two matches by 97 runs and 65 runs respectively. Against South Africa, they got bowled out for 67 in 18.1 overs. They did bounce back yesterday against Ireland, but making it through to the semis will be a huge ask.

Here’s how the table looks



Franchise cricketSo, after months and months of overkill, the franchise cricket frenzy has sorta come to an end, with the ILT20, SA20 and BPL all coming to an end.

> In the inaugural SA20 final, Sunrisers Eastern Cape triumphed over Pretoria Capitals. Pretoria were bowled out for 135 after being inserted into bat and Sunrisers got there with 22 balls to spare. Wicket-keeper Adam Rossington propelled the charge with the bat but it was Roelof van der Merwe’s 4-fer that set-up the win for Aiden Markram’s side. 

Van der Merwe rightly pocketed the Player of the Match award but it was double delight for Markram who not only won the league, but also was named Player of the Series for his 366 runs and 11 wickets.

> The inaugural ILT20, meanwhile, has been won by the James Vince-led Gulf Giants. They took on the Desert Vipers in the final and were driven to victory by Carlos Brathwaite (3/19) and Chris Lynn (72*). Hales (469) ended the competition as the highest run-getter, while Chris Jordan (20) took the most wickets. 

> The Imrul Kayes-led Comilla Victorians have won the 2023 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League after beating Mashrafe Mortaza’s Sylhet Strikers in the final. Johnson Charles (79* off 52 balls) powered the Victorians to the title. 

> The 2023 edition of the PSL is underway too, and we’ve had quite the start to the competition — the first two matches won by a margin of 1 run and 2 runs respectively.  The biggest talking point thus far has been the emergence of 20-year-old Ihsanullah, who not only took 5/12 against Quetta Gladiators, but also bowled the fastest recorded spell in PSL history. Pakistan have done it again, haven’t they?

And how’s the Ranji Final going?

Well, not a great couple of days if you’re a Bengal fan. Bowled out for 174 and then conceding a massive first-innings lead. Saurashtra are well and truly on their way to winning their second title in three years.

Articles

This is the week of Cheteshwar Pujara, the milestone man, and these last few days in Cricket.com have been a celebration of Che Pu’s career. And we’ve had our writers deliver a couple of gems.

First up, we have CheMystery from Gaurav Sethi

The article from Sethi, the legend who gave Pujara the ‘Che’ nickname, is a journey in itself. A must-read, if there ever was one.

And then we have our stat swami Anirudh Kasargod with this detailed statistical piece on Pujara’s Test career. Some of the numbers in the article are truly astonishing!

Outside the Che Pu pieces, we have yet another exclusive from the man who simply cannot stop churning out interviews, Pramod.

He chats with Gerhard Erasmus, the lynchpin behind Namibia's recent success, where the Namibia skipper talks about a host of things.

Watch this


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