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The Weekly - Edition 39

Last updated on 15 Jul 2023 | 03:32 AM
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The Weekly - Edition 39

It's that time of the week where we take you through everything cricket

You know that it’s been an interesting week cricket wise, if the most boring match to happen is one that features India. 

Anyways, welcome to the 39th edition of our weekly newsletter, where we’ll see what happened in international cricket the world over. The World Cup Qualifier being over means that we’ll mainly be focussing on Test-playing nations. Sorry, France and Switzerland, the Valletta Cup won’t be getting much coverage. 

Men’s International Cricket

England stay alive in the Ashes

Ashes was trending once again, as England finally managed to eke out a win courtesy a Wood special - wait for it - with the bat. 

Sure, his five-for in the first innings was poetry in motion, but with the bat in hand, he seemed to have learnt a trick or two from Brendon McCullum. He ended the game with 24 (8) and 16* (8) in both innings respectively. 

In what seemed like a race to the bottom, where both teams periodically tried their best to lose the game, England finally came out on the right side of a result, as they made it 2-1 heading to Manchester. There’s still five more days to go for the fourth Test, and Aussie fans will be hoping that Steve Smith gets enough sleep before that. #IYKWIM

Afghanistan win the ODI series in Bangladesh

After featuring in the last newsletter for not the right reasons, Bangladesh are back this time as well. And this time too, it’s not for the right reasons. If it was Tamim Iqbal’s retirement announcement and the subsequent reneging last week, it is their ODI series loss against Afghanistan this week. 

Afghanistan became just the second team to win an ODI series in Bangladesh in over eight years. In fact, the only other team to do so are the defending champions, England. Not a bad record to be a part of.

Ashwin and Jaiswal lead India to victory in Dominica

West Indies bully, thy name Ashwin. Playing their first Test in Dominica in 12 years, India were given very home-like conditions to feast on. And feast they did. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Ashwin ripped through West Indies lineup to get a fifer, his 33rd overall and fifth against WI, and helped India bundle them out for just 150. 

Later, his fellow Royal, Yashasvi Jaiswal, scored 171 helping India take a 290-run-lead in the first innings. Ashwin was at it again when he one-upped his first innings haul by taking seven in the second innings. The visitors ended up defeating the West Indies by a mammoth margin of an innings and 141 runs. Once again begs the question, why is this series happening?

Sri Lanka win WCQ

On expected lines, Sri Lanka won the World Cup Qualifier - defeating the Netherlands by a massive 128-run-margin. Defending a modest 228, Dilshan Madhushanka made light work of the Dutch batters. They were down and out at 49/6, before Max O'Dowd and Logan Van Beek gave them a glimmer of hope with a 40-run-partnership. Once O’Dowd got out, Theekshana cleaned up the tail in 11 balls to hand Sri Lanka a thumping victory. 

India to participate in Asian Games

Having missed out on the previous two editions, BCCI confirmed India’s participation for the upcoming Asian Games. The tournament is scheduled to take place just days before the ICC ODI World Cup, so India will field a second string XI for the men’s format.

Squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad (C), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (WK), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Shivam Mavi, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (WK)

Standbys: Yash Thakur, Sai Kishore, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Sai Sudarsan

Schedule for India's tour of South Africa announced

India's first assignment post the World Cup is a tour of South Africa in December - January. Starting from December 10, the tour consists of 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs, and 2 Tests. With the World Cup finishing just a month before the tour, why are they playing 3 ODIs and only 2 Tests? No one knows.

Tour Schedule

1st T20I: Sunday, 10 December at Kingsmead Stadium, Durban

2nd T20I: Tuesday, 12 December at St George’s Park, Gqeberha 

3rd T20I: Thursday, 14 December at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 

1st ODI: Sunday, 17 December at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg  

2nd ODI: Tuesday, 19 December at St George’s Park, Gqeberha

3rd ODI: Thursday, 21 December at Boland Park, Paarl 

1st Test: 26 December – 30 December at SuperSport Park, Centurion 

2nd Test: 03 January – 07 January at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town 

Women’s International Cricket

India win the T20I series vs Bangladesh

India aren’t slated to play a lot of T20Is between now and the World Cup in Bangladesh next year. That’s precisely why it was important for them to identify players for specific roles and see what works or what doesn’t.  

From leaving out Richa Ghosh (fitness issues) and Renuka Singh, to force-fitting Yastika Bhatia in the middle-order, some baffling choices were made. 

England come from behind in Ashes

From being 0-6 down at the end of the first T20I, England won the next two T20Is to clinch the T20I series, and the first ODI as well. The scoreline now reads 6-6 with two ODIs to go, and just like Alyssa Healy said, “that Ashes trophy is now well and truly on the line”.

ICYMI - Unlike their male counterparts, women’s Ashes are won on a points basis. A Test win gets you four points, while an ODI/T20I win gets you two points. 

The most recent victory was courtesy a Heather Knight special. Chasing 264 to win, Australia seemed at the cusp of a victory when they had England at 235/8. The English skipper had different plans as she led her side to victory with a brilliant 75*. 

Remember, because Australia are the defending champions, even a tied scoreline is good enough for them to hold on to the trophy. This means that England need to win both their remaining games, while Australia need just one victory to get the trophy.  

India announce squad for Asian Games

While their men's side will field a second-string XI, none of that is happening with the women's side. All their superstars are available, and their squad looks a lot closer to their full strength squad than the men.

Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (WK), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Anjali Sarvani, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetry (wk), Anusha Bareddy

Standbys: Harleen Deol, Kashvee Gautam, Sneh Rana, Saika Ishaque, Pooja Vastrakar

All the cricket games at the event will be a 20-overs-a-side contest played at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field from September 19 to September 29, 2023. 

Franchise Cricket

MCG and SCG to host standalone WBBL games

CA continues to tweak WBBL to make it more consumer friendly. This time, efforts have been focussed around moving towards more of a home-and-away format, with clubs hosting more home games than ever before. 

In line with that, MCG and SCG will host standalone WBBL games for the first time ever. Both venues haven’t hosted any WBBL in over four years, and this is a welcome change in that regard. 

CPL franchises make some final additions

The first ball of CPL 11 is just a month away, and franchise think-tanks are burning the midnight oil to get the right combination. Guyana Amazon Warriors, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Jamaica Tallawahs were the latest to finalize their squads, and Trinbago Knight Riders remain the only CPL franchise with a vacant overseas spot. 

GAW signed Saim Ayub and Mohammad Haris (Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s replacement), while St Kitts and Nevis Patriots brought in some young blood in the explosive Tristan Stubbs, and Jamaica Tallawahs took the experience route by signing the veteran all-rounder Ben Cutting.

MLC opens to big crowds and loads of entertainment

Slightly north of the Caribbean Islands, MLC had its inaugural game which saw the Texas Super Kings take on the LA Knight Riders. The match featured T20 superstars in Andre Russell, Faf du Plessis, Sunil Narine, etc. to name a few. Let’s hope that the entertainment quotient remains intact throughout the season.

ILT20 teams announce retentions

Hoping on to yet another T20 franchise league, participating teams in the ILT20 announced their retentions for the next season. Most of the selections were predictable, with a couple of the big surprises because they chose to switch allegiances to SA20, which is scheduled to happen around the same time. 

ICC confirms overseas players rule in T20 leagues

In a major development, ICC has approved limiting the number of overseas players in an XI for all T20 leagues to four, whether active or retired. Therefore, a minimum of seven local players, including Associate cricketers, should feature in all XIs. 

Additionally, the league will have to pay a 10% release fee to the home board of every player who takes part in their league every season. It is a commission to the home board of an overseas player.

This bodes well for players from Associate nations, as they will now be competing for one of seven spots as opposed to four (on an average) earlier.

Justin Langer to coach Lucknow Super Giants in IPL

Closer home, LSG decided to replace Andy Flower with Justin Langer as their head coach. The Zimbabwean had coached the franchise to two playoffs finishes in their first two seasons, and it remains to be seen if he continues to be associated with the IPL in any another capacity.

Langer has previously coached the Australian national side, but his only experience in franchise cricket has been his stint with the Perth Scorchers, who won the Big Bash title three times under the guidance of Langer. Lucknow fans will be hoping that he is the one to kick their skipper KL Rahul's "strike rates are overrated" in the bin. 

Domestic Cricket

Well, the Duleep Trophy Final began on Wednesday. South Zone put up a sub par 213 in the first innings, but West Zone conceded a first innings lead as they folded quickly for a paltry 146. Vidwath Kaverappa was the destroyer-in-chief with a brilliant 7-for. Prithvi Shaw’s 65 was the only highlight in West Zone’s innings. 

Articles Corner

Bastab got a chance to talk to Tushar Deshpande in a freewheeling chat, you can catch all of that here.

Shubh wrote a beautiful piece on Wood’s injuries and his bowling. Check that out here

Pramod is yet to get over the fact that the World Cup Qualifier is over. Till then, you can check out how Dilshan Madhushanka became Sri Lanka’s find of the tournament here. Also, you can go through his team of the tournament and why only two Zimbabwe players feature in it here

India might have won the T20I series in Bangladesh, but problems continue to persist in their XI. Shweta talks about why that’s the case and the possible remedies here

Aakash meanwhile spoke about Yashasvi Jaiswal and the art of batting stubbornly in his brilliantly worded piece here

Ishant Sharma in Tests had always been the workhorse we never had. Anirudh digs deep to show how big hole he’s left in our side here


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