One thing the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is not short on is controversy. Even as Sri Lanka have requested and embraced their second choice jersey, the Indian cricket team is immune to the politicization of the colour of their jersey back home.
Cricketers have been known to be a superstitious lot. From deciding which pad to put on first, they have generally been mechanical about the rituals and routines and even bats that work well for them on the day. To that extent, there are anecdotes of heavily taped bats simply because a batsman has scored heavily with a particular one. However, it seems that while the political world is fighting hand over fist about India’s change in jersey from a bleed blue to a blue with orange shades, the Indian cricket team seems to simply want to get on with the game.
After toppling the confidence of the hosts in their match in one of the major tournament upsets, Sri Lanka have decided they would like more yellow in their jersey. According to them, yellow has proven lucky in uprooting England from their perch as sure shots for the World Cup trophy and believe a change of jersey will do them wonders. To that end, they have requested and been granted a change of jersey, their second choice, by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to play their remaining games in a blue and yellow jersey, colours they are more familiar with. The ICC claims that since the colours do not clash with their remaining opponents, Sri Lanka can be granted a change of jersey.
The Indian cricket team’s jersey problem is not quite as unique as Sri Lanka’s though it had become something of a passionate intrigue. With the home and away concept at play, England were given the choice to keep their original blue while making it mandatory on teams playing against them to undergo change in jersey. Afghanistan had some red in their otherwise blue and Sri Lanka sported yellow. India have been given a second choice of a blue jersey with orange.
The orange in the jersey has riled some opposition political parties who have taken it far to dub it as ‘saffronization’. However, while their concerns for preserving the secular value of the sovereign republic of India are well noted, it has to be stated that for the longest time, the Indian cricket team’s jersey has borne a fair amount of orange in limited overs cricket, even when the words INDIA have been spelled on it. That there is at least a piping of orange on previous Indian jerseys did not seem to irk anyone or the fact that most athletes in other sports in the country consider the orange a vital part of their representation, borrowing from the Indian tricolor flag.
Even as Sri Lanka are welcoming the opportunity of change, the Indian cricket team seemed oblivious to the political shenanigans back home. It seemed all India wanted to do was get onto the field come Sunday in their big match up against England. If some of the support staff are to be believed, the Indian cricket team doesn’t care what colour jersey it wears, because they know they are playing for India irrespective of what shade jerseys they take to the field.
While the country back home debates on the symbolism behind the colour orange, India have the small matter of taking on West Indies before they contemplate the colour of their jersey against England.
Andre Russell is famous for his power-hitting in the shorter formats of the game. However, he is going through tough times at the moment. The all-round star was ruled out of the T20 series against India and now he has missed a couple of games in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League after he was hit on the helmet by Hardus Viljoen’s delivery.
But he is having a gala time in his personal life. Andre Russell is set to become a father as his wife, Jassym Lora, is pregnant. He celebrated his wife’s pregnancy news in an adorable way.
During a gathering with his family and friends, he was seen holding the bat while his wife had a cricket ball in her hand. After teaching Jassym Lora how to bowl, he played the delivery bowled by her and the surrounding was filled with colours.
Russell uploaded a video on his Instagram handle to share this news with his fans. “So it’s #GIRL another blessing in my life it didn’t matter if it was a girl or a boy, all am asking God for is a healthy baby #babyrussell,” he wrote.
MS Dhoni has been exceptional for his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. He is one of the main reasons behind the success of Chennai based team.
However, things have changed for the former Indian skipper. The 38-year old is currently on a break and his future with Team India looks bleak.
Dhoni failed to lead CSK to another title in the last edition of the cash rich league, losing the all-important finale against arch rivals Mumbai Indians.
N Srinivasan, the owner of Chennai Super King, has given a verdict over Dhoni's future with the IPL franchise.
“I can say only one thing. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will only be the captain for the next IPL season,” said the former BCCI President as quoted by Times Now.
Super Kings are the only team to feature in the most number of IPL finals with eight appearances in the last 12 seasons.
The Ashes series of 2019 in England ended the way it should have: with the stakes even at the end of the five Test series contest. Yet while Australia would like to believe that they were the better of the two teams, the truth of the matter is that they have a lot to recover from themselves, revealing chinks in their own armour that caused them to slip up often enough.
Australia believe they had the upper hand in the series and this was their series to lose. In a sense, by retaining the urn with the win in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Australia did manage to do keep their Ashes intact. But it was not the true reflection of how many odds Australia themselves were beating, sometimes to stay alive and sometimes to get even and ahead. Remove Steve Smith from the equation and the inference becomes more obvious. At the start of the Ashes, there were, also, worried conjecture that Australia had to rotate their bowlers in order to keep them at full tilt, this while England ran through their frontline bowlers.
The reason the Australians were not able to overpower England was because they kept falling short when backing up Steve Smith’s performances with all-round effort consistency enough. They must ask themselves some questions with the likes of Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting and Steven Waugh around in the support staff, all members of the once dominant Australian team.
Australia would argue they had the better bowlers, Pat Cummins climbing up the charts, and that with Smith in the ascendancy, that they could have challenged matters at Lord’s or had England eating out of their hand in Headingley in the third Test. While Australia were a wicket away from a win, the truth of the matter is that their fielding was, also, not top notch. It explains why even when they think they could have had the better of Ben Stokes, they did not because like England, who let Australia’s fragile middle order off the hook, Australia too lost their chances in the field.
The result of the series, drawn at 2-2, is a fair reflection of the engaging battle both teams have had, partly because of the outstanding performances of one or two of their key players when the chips were down and also, because both teams struggled to yield top class performances from a majority of their players. Where England were exposed for fiddling around with the opening slot, Australia could not find the prolific David Warner of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
While Australia would rue missed opportunities through their own lack of consistency, England will equally reflect on the fact that the Ashes series began in Birmingham with Australia tottering on day one and England holding sway for much of the match until push came to shove. The Ashes result could though serve as the perfect catalyst, laying seeds for both teams to go back to the drawing board for the next contest in this historic battle.
India skipper Virat Kohli has demanded performance from his players before the ICC World Cup in 2020. According to him, players will have to prove themselves in a short span of time as the management is looking to figure out the best possible combination.
Team India will play around 30 T20I matches before the World Cup.
"We are very clear. It is not that anyone will get 30 chances. Even when I came in the team, I didn't think I will get 15-20 games and I knew I will mostly get chances in three to five games and I have to prove myself. One will get suppose five chances and he will have to prove himself. That is the level we are playing at. As the team management has that mindset, the individual should also have the same," Kohli said in an interaction on bcci.tv.
"It is a delicate balance to strike but as we have 30 games before it (World Cup), so we have to figure out how much time each individual gets," he added.
Team India's head coach Ravi Shastri is not happy with Rishabh Pant's habit of getting out in a similar fashion. He blasted the young Indian wicket-keeper for his poor shot selection and even warned him of consequences.
"When you see a shot like the one in Trinidad, off the first ball, (it's disappointing)," Shastri said while referring to the dismissal of Pant on the bowling of Fabian Allen during the third ODI between West Indies and India.
"He tries to repeat it a couple of times and gets out, he will be told," Shastri added.
"There will be a rap on the knuckles there - talent or no talent - because you are letting the team down, forget letting yourself down. You are letting the team down in a situation where you have the captain at the other end. You have a target to chase where the need of the hour is some sensible cricket."
Pant's performance in the T20 series was criticized by many who accused him of wasting opportunities.
"No one will change his style but match awareness becomes crucial, shot selection becomes crucial in particular situations," he said.
"If he can fathom that out, he could be unstoppable. You mentioned how many games, it could be one game, it could be four games. I don't see more than that. He will learn. He has played enough IPL cricket. So it's time now for him to step on to the stage and just show the world how devastating he is."
All was not well between players during the recently concluded Ashes. When the world thought that Ben Stokes has moved on from his controversial avatar, he touched another low.
The English all-rounder used colorful language to target David Warner. He was overheard calling the left-hand batsman a “f***ing prick” when the teams were heading for lunch.
UK journalist Isabelle Westbury has revealed the entire episode. Stump microphones later picked up one of the Australians saying “yeah, Bristol!”
Meanwhile, both teams had something to celebrate as Australia was later presented with the Ashes urn. Australia had already retained the urn as holder but was thwarted in its goal of a first outright series win in England in 18 years after being dismissed for 263 in its second innings deep into the evening session on Day 4.
It's the first time an Ashes series has ended in a draw since 1972.
The governing body of Indian cricket has accepted Dinesh Karthik's unconditional apology after he was found to have breached a clause of his central contract. He went to the West Indies to attend one of the matches of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League and was seen in the dressing room of the defending Champions, Trinbago Knight Riders.
According to one of the BCCI officials, the matter has been closed.
“The BCCI has accepted Dinesh Karthik’s apology and the matter is now a closed chapter,” the official was quoted as saying in The Hindu.
The central contract bars any Indian player to get associated with any T20 league across the globe.
After seeing his presence, the BCCI sent him a show-cause notice asking to explain why his central contract shouldn't be terminated.
Thereafter, he tender an apology, stating that he went to the dressing room of one of the franchises on the invitation of Brendon McCullum, who was recently appointed as the head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been confined to ODIs after their ordinary display in the World Cup. There were not selected for the T20 series against South Africa and now Virat Kohli has opened up on their axing.
“The increased depth in batting was one of the reasons why Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were excluded. Also, we wanted to give opportunities to the guys who have done well over the last couple of years in domestic cricket and in IPL. It is about finding the best balance in the combination and not just sticking to only one combination,” he said.
“If all teams in the world are batting till 9 and 10, then why can’t we. So, you need to take those calls at some stage. Bringing both those guys together was also not taken by people at one stage. All the decisions are made to ensure that the team has the strongest balance that we can have,” he added.
Shahid is one of the most personalities in Pakistan. He recently met Pakistan Army spokesman Asif Ghafoor and their hug has left the fans wondering over the prospects of Afridi becoming the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.
One of the fans posted the picture of the two and wrote, "Next PM in the making?"
Responding to this, another fan said that if Afridi becomes the next Prime Mister of Pakistan, he would surely hand over the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to India.
Afridi has been vocal on the Kashmir issue in the recent times and even demanded in UN intervention on the issue after the abrogation of Article 370 by the government of India.
He is backing Imran Khan on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and his close proximity with Pakistan army could elevate him to the topmost post once Imran Khan decides to move away from politics.
Jofra Archer has become a nightmare for the rivals since making his international debut. He was on song in the recently concluded Ashes where he regularly hit batsmen with nasty bouncers. Steve Smith was ruled out of one Test match after he was hit on his neck by a brutal delivery from the Englishman.
Smith was full of praise for Jofra Archer.
"I saw Jofra last year at the IPL and realized he is a very special talent. He has got a very bright future," Smith said after being awarded Australia's Player of the Series.
Jofra Archer picked up 22 wickets in the Ashes series and was elated with his performance.
"It has just been exciting cricket since I have worn the English jersey. Being able to draw the series is really special," Archer said after England beat Australia by 135 runs to level the Ashes 2-2.
"Test cricket can be perfect for you one day and it won't be the next day. There would be good days and bad days. I just need to keep going," Man of the Match Archer added.
When Australian star batsman David Warner returned from his 12-month ban for a ball-tampering scandal, the runs followed him everywhere. The senior Australian batsman won the prestigious Orange Cap in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He transferred that form in the ICC World Cup 2019. Warner finished the 2019 World Cup with the second-most runs behind Rohit Sharma. Australia bowed out of the semi-finals, but the southpaw truly won everyone’s hearts.
Since then a lot of quality was expected from the veteran opener in the Ashes 2019 series. He was the man in form, he was scoring runs at will, and there was absolute consistency in his play. But we often see a great difference between white-ball and red-ball cricket.
The transition is somehow difficult given the longevity and the hostility surrounding the Tests. In ten Test innings in Ashes 2019, Warner scored just 95 runs at an average of 9.50. Warner has managed just one fifty, besides scoring three ducks and a plethora of other single digit scores. Warner’s collective issues are numerous.
From being rooted to the crease, playing shots away from the body and chasing wide balls have undone him. The spark of the white ball turned into a nightmarish scene in red. For Warner, veteran England fast bowler Stuart Broad had different ideas. Broad came into the Ashes in a fresh state – both mentally and physically.
The Test great who is England’s second most successful bowler in the format was waiting to unleash his magic on to the southpaw. Five Tests and 10 innings later, Stuart Broad dismissed Warner seven times. In the fifth Test, he was once again dismissed early for five. His scores in the Ashes series read as 2, 8, 3, 5, 61, 0, 0, 0, 5 and 11.
Warner will need to move on from this new low run in his Ashes career. He needs to get back to the drawing room as quickly as possible and get started. Australia has never got those starts with Warner and his opening partner faltering.
The highest partnership atop for Australia has been 13 across five Tests. So there is a lot to do for Warner, the team and the openers in general. His struggles in Tests on English soil is also an issue. Warner has never made a century on an Ashes tour. That sums it all.
England resumed its second innings on 313-8 and was all out for 329 with Lyon taking 4-69. After being put into bat, England scored 294 in its first innings and Australia replied with 225.
Australia won the first test at Edgbaston by 251 runs, the next test at Lord's was drawn before England drew level with a one-wicket win in a thrilling third test at Headingley, which Smith missed. Australia won the fourth test at Old Trafford by 185 runs.
"We were excellent this week. Having lost the toss, to play as we did was fantastic. We drove the game all the time and got there in the end," Root said. "Collectively we've shown a lot of character throughout the whole series. We were not always at our best, but we've fought really hard."
Wade and Jofra Archer had repeated stand-offs and staring contests on Sunday as England attempted to wrap up victory before stumps with a day to spare. Archer, who took 6-62 in the first innings and was player of the match, also struck Wade high up on the arm during a relentless spell of pace bowling.
Paine made his first successful review of the series when the wicketkeeper-captain caught England tailender Archer off Pat Cummins and, after the umpire initially gave not out, Paine's decision to challenge was vindicated when replays showed the ball brushed Archer's glove.
Smith was Australia's player of the series, Stokes took the honors for England.
Steve Smith proved a formidable presence at No. 4 for Australia throughout the series but was caught by Ben Stokes at leg gully off pacer Stuart Broad for 23, by far his lowest score of the series.
Smith finished with 774 runs in the series in only seven innings at an average of 110. The star batter received a standing ovation from England and Australia fans as he left the field on Sunday, a strong sign Smith has been forgiven after a ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal. The 30-year-old Smith posted the highest number of runs in a five-match series since Brian Lara managed 798 against England in 1993-94. In contrast, Australian opener David Warner finished with just 95 runs from 10 innings
Matthew Wade was Australia's top scorer with 117 after beginning to worry England as the visitors chased an unlikely winning target of 399. Wade was stumped off a delivery from England captain Joe Root (2-26).
Broad took 4-62 and spinner Jack Leach 4-49 for England. Broad became the first England bowler to take 20-plus wickets in four Ashes series — 2013, 2013-14, 2015 and 2019. Leach ended the game at 6:10 p.m. local time with two wickets — Nathan Lyon (1) and Josh Hazlewood (0) — in two balls.
England beat Australia by 135 runs in the fifth and final Ashes test at the Oval on Sunday to draw the series 2-2.
It's the first time an Ashes series has ended in a draw since 1972.
Both teams had something to celebrate as Australia was later presented with the Ashes urn. Australia had already retained the urn as holder but was thwarted in its goal of a first outright series win in England in 18 years after being dismissed for 263 in its second innings deep into the evening session on Day 4.
"We've got to bat, bowl better than we did in this test match," Australia captain Tim Paine said. "No doubt today puts a dampener on it, but from where this group's come from, to retain the Ashes is still a big deal."
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