There is a reason we all get excited by the arrival of the Indian Premier League. Run fest, the dominance of quality bowlers, and then some incredible pieces of fielding make it worth every penny and time spent on it. But that’s not all; we also had some brilliant international cricket going on - well, a rarity, but that’s the calendar for you. Devour everything to have a refresher on the week gone by.
What’s made the headlines?
A World Cup without Kane Williamson? Well, the captain of two consecutive World Cup runners-up side has been ruled out of the action due to an injury he picked up during Gujarat Titans’ opening encounter against Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, and that means he will no longer be a part of the ICC World Cup 2023.
The scans confirmed that Williamson had ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and is set to undergo surgery in the next three weeks. According to the standard rehabilitation timelines, he could be out for months.
Kane Williamson’s injury has serious repercussions. And they’re not good — not for the sport, the fans, New Zealand cricket, and certainly not for Williamson himself. For the record, Williamson took home the Player of the Tournament award in the 2019 World Cup following a stellar show with the bat, scoring 578 runs at 82.57, which included two hundreds and as many fifties.
No DRS in World Cup Qualifiers
Well, you don’t expect this to happen in 2023, but such has been the apathy that the ICC World Cup Qualifiers will be without Decision Review System in place, confirmed the Council themselves. Even though there will be a third-umpire monitoring run-outs, it still doesn’t make sense not to have it for an event that would have multiple marquee teams like Sri Lanka and, potentially, South Africa.
Such a shame!
Rest in Peace, Naik!
Sudhir Naik, one of the best to have come out of the Bombay cricket stable, passed away on April 5 after a fall at his residence on March 24. Naik, who played three Tests and two ODIs for India between 1974 and 1975, has the honors of hitting the first four for India in the World Cup, and his defiant half-century against England in Birmingham, albeit in a losing cause, made him such a remarkable cricketer.
Naik’s uncanny ability to spot a talent was second to none. He was the man responsible for making Zaheer Khan and providing a career to him. "My first interaction with Sudhir Naik sir not only paved the way for my career in cricket but also changed my life forever." Zaheer tweeted. "I will always be indebted to him for his trust and belief in me. He will be my mentor and guide wherever he is. Rest in peace, Sir,” Zaheer captioned on his Twitter tribute.
Injuries are not finding a way to cease this IPL, and the franchises are scratching the end of the barrel for replacement players. Kolkata Knight Riders signed Jason Roy for 2.8 Cr as a replacement for Shakib Al Hasan, who has pulled out of the league citing personal reasons.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore have brought Wayne Parnell (INR 75 lakh) and Vyshak Vijaykumar (INR 20 lakh) as replacements for Reece Topley and Rajat Patidar. Mumbai Indians have also a new member on board, as they signed Australian fast bowler Riley Meredith as the replacement for injured Jhye Richardson. Meredith, who was with Mumbai last season, has joined them for INR 1.5 crore.
Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka has replaced Kane Williamson, who was ruled out of IPL 2023 after injuring his knee in the season's opening game against Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad.
What’s going on in international cricket?
> After losing the opening encounter in Super Over, hosts New Zealand toppled Sri Lanka in the second and third encounters to win the T20 series 2-1. Without star names like Finn Allen, Devon Conway, and Tim Southee, the onus was on Tim Seifert, who aced the role properly with a man-of-the-series performance.
> Meanwhile, in South Africa, the hosts managed to beat the Netherlands in the remaining two fixtures to smoothen their path for direct qualification for the ICC World Cup in India later this year. They surely need other results to go their way, but not winning the series would have been disastrous.
> In other international cricket news, the United States of America (USA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have secured a place at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier after finishing in the top two places of an evenly-contested, six-team ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off. The Qualifier is set to be held from 18 June to 9 July in Zimbabwe.
> Ireland played a Test match after a long time and they provided a stiff challenge to Bangladesh on their home soil, but Mushfiqur Rahim proved too hot to handle as his 126 and an unbeaten 51 were enough for Bangladesh to win the bout.
Cricket, anywhere else in the world?
Well, Women’s cricket and franchise cricket have taken a breather for a while, but it’s time for the English summer to take the centre stage. India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, who is currently leading Sussex, started the season with a century. Pujara naturally picked up from where he left the last season, where he was head, shoulders, and sometimes everything over the other best batters in the league. In doing so, Pujara only grew more and more in stature in the eyes of the Sharks' fans, who, on a bank holiday, were treated to some of the best cricket that they will see this season.
Check out this wonderful report from Aakash Sivasubramaniam, who vividly depicts Indian No.3’s Shark dominance.
Articles in Focus
>> At some point, during the one-sided DC vs GT match, when you turn towards the balcony of the Hospitality enclosure, you’re stuck – like everyone else. Rishabh Pant is in the house. And it appears, all eyes are looking up at him. There is awe in these eyes. There is a deep desire in these eyes – to engage, touch, and be one with Pant.
Gaurav Sethi travels to Kotla and writes on the mercurial Indian batter, who was in the stands enjoying the match between Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans. You can’t miss this wonderful description by our very own Gaurav.
>> We have the first edition of #AskCDC already up, and it is a package filled with interesting stats that you asked us on various social media channels.
>> We had spoken about Kane Williamson’s injury, but here, Anirudh Suresh explains why it would be a tough ask for the New Zealand cricket team to replace their talismanic leader and how his presence will impact them in the impending World Cup in India.
>> If we see the speed at which he operates compared to other leg spinners, we notice that 21% of his balls are above 95 kph, while for other spinners, that number is 5%. This difference is huge. It can safely be said that other bowlers use > 95 kph balls as rare variations, while for Rashid Khan, it is the second most bowled speed range.
Is speed the reason Rashid Khan is so exceptional? This is a corollary to the question - do leg spinners at a higher pace perform better?
Plenty of questions but Rahul Singh from our Data Analytics Team decodes the brilliance of Rashid Khan with rich data. A proper education to satisfy the cricket nerd in you.
>> In his last seven encounters, Mark Wood has at least three wickets in every match, and in three matches that he has played this season, he already has eight wickets to his name. What makes him such a special cricketer? Shubh Aggarwal decodes.