USA Cricket: The Next NFL Or NBA – Trillion Dollar Bet?

USA Cricket: The Next NFL Or NBA – Trillion Dollar Bet?

USA Cricket —two terms that do not go together, BUT did you know:

The first international cricket match was played between the United States of America and Canada way back in 1844?

In fact, it was the first modern international sports match. That’s right. Even before the first official Ashes Test match between England and Australia in 1877, and before the first international soccer game between England and Scotland in 1872.

Interesting piece of trivia, isn’t it?

Cricket was played in the US for several decades after independence from Great Britain with Philadelphia as its major center. Even George Washington is said to have played a game of cricket at Valley Forge.

Well, cricket in the US has been downhill ever since. After the Civil War in 1865, cricket lost its steam in the U.S. By the time World War I ended, the decline was complete with baseball & The World Series taking over. The detail history of Cricket in the United States can be found here from USA cricket’s website. Quite fascinating actually. Anyway…

Today we will discuss:

  1. Recent developments that have suddenly propelled USA Cricket in the news.
  2. Status of cricket in America & Major League Cricket.
  3. The Money Factor: Sports business & major leagues in US—NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.
  4. The Broken Dream: Leagues that have failed in America
  5. Where I think USA cricket will go and how you can participate & watch the games.

Fasten on your seatbelts! Here we go – will answer all your questions on the way!

(But before we go ahead, click on the “JOIN US FOR FREE” button 👇 for more such articles!)

Note: Videos are linked & bolded. Sources & Articles are just linked.

News clip from the city of Dallas of itself on the major news of cricket development in their city.

1. Recent Development: Heavy Investments In USA Cricket

Recently USA Cricket has been in the news for various reasons.

  1. AirHogs stadium, a former minor league baseball stadium, in Grand Prairie, Texas (outskirts of Dallas) is being converted to a cricket stadium. It has support and funding from the local authorities as well as USA cricket.
  2. Knight Riders group, the group that owns highly successful franchises of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR), buys stake in the Major League Cricket league.
  3. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, and other high profile names interested in investing in Major League Cricket, a $1 billion investment.
  4. Ex-cricketers from other nations recruited. South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand internationals Dane Piedt, Sami Aslam, and Corey Anderson respectively have already confirmed their moves (retirement from home country and signing of a 3 year Major League Cricket deal), while World Cup winner Liam Plunkett and other South African expatriates are targeted.

Also Read: Learn the Rules of Cricket in Just 3 Minutes, Top 7 Most Popular Cricket Videos

Corey Anderson, a new American recruit, once hit the world record for the fastest ODI hundred

2. So, Where Is American Cricket At the Moment?

Cricket Rankings

In order to understand prospect of cricket in America, we first need to understand where Team USA sits in the cricket world rankings.

ICC* Cricket rankings consists of (1) Full Members and (2) Associate Members. As of 2019, 12 countries had Full Member status while 92 were Associate Members. The 12 full members consists of (mostly) former British colonies:

  • Australia (Aus), New Zealand (NZ), India (Ind), England (Eng), Sri Lanka (SL), South Africa (SA), Pakistan (Pak), West Indies (WI), Bangladesh (Ban), Zimbabwe (Zim), Ireland (Ire), & Afghanistan (Afg).

*ICC – International Cricket Council

USA Cricket – The Administration

After the decline of US cricket in the 20th century, USA Cricket Association (USACA) was created in 1965 as an Associate Member. For the next few decades, USA hovered around qualification tournaments, even qualifying for the 2004 Champions Trophy. However, the downhill spiral started once again, and the organization was expelled in 2017 due to financial and administrative trouble.

Under a new governing body, USA Cricket (USAC), the US was finally re-inducted as a new Associate member 2019. The progress continued as US achieved ODI status after qualifying for World Cup League Division 2.

It looks like USA Cricket has finally found its feet after years of turmoil.

The Highlights

  • Rankings: 19/20 (ODI), 34/104* (T20I)
  • Current Captain: Saurabh Netravalkar (replaced Ibrahim Khaleel, ex Indian first class player)
  • Newly Prominent Recruited Players: Xavier Marshall (WI) Rusty Theron (SA), Dane Piedt (SA), Corey Anderson (NZ), Sami Aslam (Pak)
  • Players With CPL* Experience: Hayden Walsh Jr. (now plays for West Indies), Ali Khan (Also selected for the IPL*), Cameron Gannon (BBL), Steven Taylor (ex USA captain), Timroy Allen, Nikhil Dutta, Jasdeep Singh

*Note, in April 2018, all 104 cricket nations were granted T20 International status.

*CPL – Caribbean Premier League, IPL – Indian Premier League, BBL – Big Bash League (Australia)

Cricket In America: Current Development

USA Cricket (USAC) has released a foundational plan for the next decade.

The goal? Make cricket a mainstream sport in the United States and become an ICC Full Member by 2030.

Other goals in the foundational plan includes focusing on (1) current players and fanbase, (2) youth development, (3) T20 cricket, and (4) women’s cricket. In addition, USAC plans to bid for international tournaments hosting starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (Even the ICC has started pitch for cricket in Olympics with the 2022 Commonwealth Games).

Quite ambitious.

Here is their 2020 progress report – Zonal Trials, Umpire Training, and in 2021, even a national softball tournament?

Also Read: Interview -Avinash’s Cricket Journey in the United States

Structure

Currently the structure is semi-professional but growing in the right direction. According to USA Cricket, the selection route to the national team involves “Regional Combines, Zonal High Performance Programs, and National Training Camps,” with regional and national championships planned in future years.

Earlier, we did an interview with Avinash, a player who has featured in both the university and club circuit tournaments across the United States. He has participated in the American College Cricket at the university level and the Heartland Cricket League locally.

In the club circuit, there are several tournaments such as Leather Ball Cricket (T20, T30, T40) along with tape-ball (indoor) and tennis ball cricket. Other tournaments like the recently concluded US Open T20 tournament, which included stars like Chris Gayle and Rayad Emrit, have also been organized by independent organizations like Cricket Council USA.

Infrastructure

The Airhogs stadium will be the second professional cricket stadium in the US after Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Here is a list of the major cricket stadiums and facilities in the US:

  1. Central Broward Regional Park: Lauderdale, Florida, $70 million (ICC certified international quality)
    1. Hosted 10 T20 internationals (SL, NZ, WI, Ind, Bang), several CPL matches, World Cricket League Division 2 (USA, Namibia, Papua New Guinea), American College Cricket (ACC) finals
  2. AirHogs Stadium: Grand Prairer, Texas (under renovation – to become international quality)
  3. Indianapolis World Sports Park: Indianapolis, Indiana, $5.1 million (2014 – multipurpose)
  4. Leo Magnus Cricket Complex ‘Woodley Park’: Los Angeles, California (stadium/cricket facilities)
  5. Moosa Stadium: Houston, Texas (built with ICC rules – hosts ACC)

India vs West Indies in 2016 at Fort Lauderdale, Florida was especially a wonderful spectacle.

What is Major League Cricket?

USA Cricket has partnered with the American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), who invested $1 billion in Major League Cricket (MLC).

The vision is to create a 6-team world-class T20 tournament with the best USA and international talent, starting in 2022. According to the Major League Cricket organizers, “MLC is developing cricketing infrastructure including international quality stadiums, elite youth academies, and high-grade training facilities.” Here are the details:

  • Teams: San Francisco, Los Angeles (Western Conference), Dallas, Chicago (Central Conference), New York (Eastern Conference), Atlanta (Southern Conference)
  • Academies: Investment in youth academies like the Willow Academy (San Francisco/Seattle). Currently there are 2 indoor facilities, 6 grounds, and over 500 students enrolled.
  • Minor League: A precursor to the Major League will be the Minor League Cricket, beginning in 2021. It is a development league that would feed into Major League. In the 2020 Minor League Exhibition tournament featured 24 teams & 155 matches.
  • Sponsors/TV Rights: Apart from Nadella, former CTO of Facebook & Dropbox, CEO of Adobe have also pitched in. ACE has a partnership with Willow TV and the Times of India Group. A full list of sponsors can be found here.

Now that we have demystified cricket in America to you, let us answer the real question:

Can Major League Cricket survive in America? Can cricket capture the imagination in the USA?

*Baseball fans, new to cricket? Check this blog by CricAmerica – explains cricket via baseball terms

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3. The Possibilities: Sport Leagues In America 💲💵💵💲

The North American sports market has a value of a whopping $71 billion and is expected to rise around $83 billion by 2023.

Let that sink in.

According to Forbes, Sal Galatioto states, “There is no lack of multi-billionaires that want to get into the sports business right now.” If there was a place to invest in sports right now, it is the United States.

America has a vibrant sporting culture. USA dominates the Summer Olympics with 2,523 total medals, including 1,022 gold and not far behind in the Winter Olympics with 305 total medals (105 gold). Golf, tennis, boxing, NASCAR, and several other sports have a safe space in the U.S. market.

For Major League Cricket to prosper, we have to look at templates of other leagues in America. We will restrict our analysis to the Big 5 leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.

World Leagues

In Forbes’ top 50 most valuable teams, only 7 teams are non-American. NFL’s Dallas Cowboys tops the list and has 27 teams in the top 50, NBA has 9 teams, 7 for MLB, and none for NHL or MLS.

The first non-American team is at #6 with Real Madrid, valued at $4.24 billion. Barcelona is at #8 valued at $4.02 billion. There are 5 other soccer teams in the list with teams from La Liga, English Premier League, and Bundesliga making the cut.

No cricket league makes the Forbes’ list, but for comparison, Indian Premium League (IPL), the most popular cricket league, is valued around $5 billion with an average annual player salary of $5.3 million, only behind the NBA.

BUT guess what? Dallas Cowboys are worth $5.5 billion, more than the entire IPL.

National Football League (NFL)

  • Year Founded: 1920
  • Teams/Matches Per Season: 32 – 267 matches
  • Average Attendance: 67, 100 (2019)
  • Total Revenue/TV Viewership : $16.9 billion (2019)
  • Most Valuable Team: Dallas Cowboys: $5.5 billion (value) – #1 Most Valuable in the World
  • Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 16.6 million
  • TV Rights: $4.52 billion (2019)
  • Average Annual Player Salary: $3.26 million (2019/20)

Cultural Impact: American football is, by far, the most popular sport in the U.S dominating viewership, TV rights, and money generated. Football is widely followed at all levels—high school, NCAA football, and NFL. The NFL season begins around September and culminates in February with the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event of the year with the iconic Super Bowl ads and Halftime Shows. From Friday night high school games to Sunday night NFL, football is imbued in the American culture. The impact of American football is far reaching through growth in local businesses, restaurants, and bars on game nights.

Here are some of the best plays from the NFL.

National Basketball Association (NBA)

  • Year Founded: 1946
  • Teams/Matches Per Season: 30 teams (29 US, 1 Canada) – 1312 matches
  • Average Attendance: 17,857 (2019)
  • Total Revenue: $8.8 billion (2018)
  • Most Valuable Team: New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
  • Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 7.3 million
  • TV Rights: $3.12 billion (2019)
  • Average Annual Player Salary: $8.32 million (2019/20)

Cultural Impact: After American football, basketball is the most popular sport in the United States across and also followed across different levels. The NBA season runs from October to June culminating in the widely watched NBA Finals. The most easily accessible sport, pick-up backyard games is a common summer activity. Culturally, around 80% of NBA players are African Americans, producing legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.

Here is an awesome compilation of the best NBA plays.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

  • Year Founded: 1903
  • Teams/Matches Per Season: 30 (29 US, 1 Canada) -2467 matches
  • Average Attendance: 28,180 (2019)
  • Total Revenue: $10.37 billion (2019)
  • Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 4 million
  • Most Valuable Team: New York Yankees: $5 billion
  • TV Rights: $1.65 billion (2019)
  • Average Annual Player Salary: $4.03 million (2019/20)

Cultural Impact: Baseball is considered to be America’s national pastime. Since MLB is the oldest professional sports league in the US, baseball enjoys a rich history, culture, and lifelong fans. However, according to several surveys and the New York Times, the popularity in baseball has vastly decreased for the past decade. Certainly, football has taken over nationally in TV coverage and fan following. Yet, baseball is still alive since it provides a ‘social experience’ due to the presence of local Minor/Major League teams in most cities. The sport has also provided several iconic players over time such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Micky Mantle.

The cultural impact of baseball was evident by Chicago Cubs 1st World Series Win in a 108 Years.

National Hockey League (NHL)

  • Year Founded: 1917
  • Teams: 31 (24 US, 7 Canada)/extends to 32 teams in 2021 – 1358 matches
  • Average Attendance: 17,380 (2019)
  • Total Revenue: $5.1 billion (2019)
  • Most Valuable Team: New York Rangers: $1.65 billion
  • Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 1.6 million
  • TV Rights: $220 million (2019)
  • Average Annual Player Salary: $2.69 million (2019/20)

Cultural Impact: Ice Hockey (aka hockey) also enjoys mild support in the United States, especially in the midwestern and northern regions. With several teams from Canada and stars like Wayne Gretzky, the NHL continues to prosper and grow. The US and Canada are two of the best six international teams and they are usually contenders in the Winter Olympics.

The gameplay can get quite physical at times. Here are some of the best goals and ugliest hits. Ouch!

Major League Soccer (MLS)

  • Year Founded: 1996
  • Teams: 26 (23 US, 3 Canada) – 421 matches
  • Average Attendance: 21,310 (2019)
  • Total Revenue: $1.2 billion (2019)
  • Most Valuable Team: Atlanta United : $500 million
  • Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 1.8 million
  • TV Rights: $110 million (2019)
  • Average Annual Player Salary: $410,000 (2019/20)

Cultural Impact: Soccer is a relatively recent major sport in the United States. The precursor to MLS was the North American Soccer League (1968-84) attracting the likes of legends like Pelé. After its decline, hosting the 1994 FIFA World Cup boosted soccer into the American mainstream. The USA Women’s Soccer Team, the most successful women’s team, has further established its hold in the US, winning 4 World Cup titles and 4 Olympic Golds. Although soccer is not as popular as the other sports, it has created a space for itself and is growing in school and collegiate levels.

Here is the U.S. Women’s 5-2 victory in the 2015 FIFA World Cup final, courtesy Carli Lloyd’s heroics.

4. The Broken Dreams: Leagues That Failed in America

All that glitters is not gold.

Now that you have seen the possibilities and money involved, let us bring you back to Earth. Not all leagues in the United States succeeded. In fact, most of them failed.

Cricket fans, think of these competitive ventures along the lines of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket (1977-79), Stanford 20/20 (2006-08), or the Indian Cricket League (2007-09). Here is just a small list.

Competitors to the Big 5

  • Even before the Big 5 Leagues succeeded, there were several precursors or competitors that failed.
    • NBA: American Basketball League (1961-62), American Basketball Association (1967-76), Slamball (2002-08)
    • MLB: Senior Professional Baseball Association (1989-90) – for retired stars
    • NHL: World Hockey Association (1971-79), Roller Hockey International (1993-1999)
    • MLS: North American Soccer League (1968-1984)

America is a land of creativity, but sometimes a little too much creativity can be dangerous as the XFL, Slamball, and Senior Baseball League shows.

  • It is all about American football. For high profile NFL competitors, we will need its own section.
    • United States Football League (1982-85): Football in Spring/Summer season (feat Donald Trump)
    • Alliance of American Football (2018-19): $100 million invested – lost $88 million
    • XFL (2001): Directly competitor to NFL – $ 70 million loss (courtesy WWE’s Vince McMahon) – may return in 2022
    • NFL Europe(1991-2007): Spread Football to Europe? Lost around $30 million/year
    • Arena Football (1987-2009): Internal football league – successful 2 decades but declined eventually

Other Serious Ventures

  • Here are some other niche sports that did not go far in their first attempt.
    • Rugby: Pro Rugby League (2015-17)
    • Lacrosse: National Lacrosse League (1974-75), American Lacrosse League (1988)
    • Ultimate Frisbee: Major League Ultimate (2013-16)
  • Several women leagues have been launched post successful Olympics/World Cup campaigns.
    • Volleyball: Major League Volleyball (1987-89), United States Professional Volleyball League (2003)
    • Soccer: Women’s United Soccer Association (2000-03) – post US Women’s 1999 FIFA WC victory, Lost around $100 million
    • Baseball: All-American Girls Professional Baseball Association (1943-1954)

In conclusion here, money can’t buy you happiness, can it? More investment—Higher the prospects, but deeper the fall.

For a broader list of failed sports leagues in the United States and why they failed, here are some good reads.

Failed Cricket Ventures In the US

What’s more? MLC is not the first attempt to get cricket into Americans.

  • Pro Cricket League (2004): 8 team T20 competition with stars like Ajay Jadeja & Daren Ganga. Did not see the light of a 2nd season
  • American Premier League (2009): 6 international teams & partnership with NZ cricket with matches in New York, but it fell through before materializing
  • American National Championship (2014) – The Indianapolis World Park stadium was created for this reason with a 3 year deal and public support. Also failed to materialize
  • Cricket All Stars (2015): Sachin Tendulkar XI vs Shane Warne XI held in baseball stadiums across NYC, Houston, and LA. Team made up of retired stars. It was fun when it lasted but they never returned for another series as originally planned.

Although these attempts failed, Major League Cricket gives different vibes. This time things feel different. T20 leagues in the world have stabilized, more & more cricketers are abandoning national duty and becoming T20 mercenaries, and the expatriate population in the U.S. is growing.

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Just Right: What Should Happen to USA Cricket

In all reality, Major League Cricket will most likely not go the way of the NFL and NBA, but it might not crash like the XFL or USFL. Smaller leagues have created their own niche and survived, without TV rights and mainstream media.

Here are professional sports league in the US with recent average attendance.

  • Women’s National Basketball Association (1997-): 6,535
  • Major League Lacrosse(2001-): 3,844
  • National Women’s Soccer League(2013-): 7,337
  • Major League Rugby(2018-): 4,125

Note: Other leagues include National Women’s Hockey League, National Lacrosse League, and Major Arena Soccer League, etc.

ICC Americas: The CPL & Global T20 Canada Model

With the ICC Americas initiative, West Indies cricket has been supportive of USA cricket.

The CPL franchises now reserve some spots for American players and increase exposure, while Florida also hosts some of WI & CPL matches in Florida. Yet the numbers have been decreasing – 6 CPL games in 2016, 4 & 3 in the next two years, and none after 2018.

In 2018, a fairly successful 6-team Global T20 Canada was launched. Each team had an array of international stars such as JP Duminy, Andre Russell, and Imrah Tahir interspersed with Canadian and American players. For the first edition, 5 teams & a ‘West Indies B’ team took part, which could be an interesting idea for USA Cricket to adopt.

Fun Fact: Brendon McCullum’s last game in any type of cricket was the 2019 Global T20 Canada league.

The Cricket World Cup – A Far Fetched Dream?

Yet, even if MLC succeeds, it does not guarantee Full Membership and ICC funding.

The Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and qualification for the CWC is a major goal for the Associate nations, but it has gotten harder recently.

With the new 10-team World Cup Format and ODI Super League, the top 7 ranked teams & hosts qualify directly, while two teams compete in a 10-team qualifying tournament. With the likes of competitive teams like Netherlands, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, and Nepal, it will be hard for the USA Cricket Team to beat these teams, let alone the Full Members.

The T20 World Cup may be more compelling with 16 possible teams, but with USA languishing at #34 right now, it is hard to fathom.

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What the Future Holds?

USA And China are the sleeping giants of world cricket.

For cricket fans around the world, the status of cricket in America is an anomaly. With immigrants from all around the world, surely a few of them can get together to make a decent team?

$20 Trillion economy, 330 million population, about 6 million immigrants from cricket playing nations, and the gradual decline of baseball, surely cricket in America is a possibility? It’s got to be!

Predictions

What I Wish To Happen: The Afghanistan Model

The Afghanistan National Cricket Team is well-known for its rapid rise. In a war torn country, it became an Affiliate Member in 2001. Rising from Division 5, they qualified for the T20 World Cup in 2010, became an Associate Member in 2013, a Full Member in 2017, and have produced talents like Mohammad Nabi & Rashid Khan.

In my ideal scenario, the newly recruited international cricketers make the USA cricket team and climb up the ladder in qualification bid for the 2027 World Cup. The following year, Los Angeles hosts cricket at the 2028 Olympics. A few years later, say by 2036, USA hosts a T20 World Cup. Next thing you know, the MLC regularly starts attracting international stars, spectators increase, funding stabilizes and there you go, cricket established in the American market within 10-15 years.

What is Actually Going to Happen: The MLS Model

The issue with the Afghanistan Model is it already was a cricket crazy nation. USA is not.

The only template cricket has for a new sport to mix into the mainstream is soccer. After the NASL in 1968, it took the USA team 22 years to qualify for a World Cup in 1990, hosted the 1994 World Cup, and finally the MLS began in 1996. Women’s Soccer started to take shape in the late-1980s and won the 1999 World Cup, just 10 years later. It has taken a further 20 years for the sport to come in the public eye.

If cricket follows a similar model, the women USA team will qualify by 2030, USA men’s cricket team will qualify for the 2043 World Cup, host the 2047 World. By the team we hit 2050, cricket may finally come into the sports conversation. It may take a generation or two more for cricket to spread to each city, each grade level, and compete with the likes of American football, basketball, and baseball.

In any case, the money is here, the audience here. Let’s play.

‘Murica.

Copyright – @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Did you learn something new? Yes, no, maybe so?

Do YOU Think that cricket will ever become popular in the United States? IF YES, comment below. IF NO, comment below as well and let us know why! We want to hear from you!

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USA Cricket: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Can You Get Involved in USA Cricket?

Here are some resources from if you want to get involved in the growth of cricket in America.

  • Rookie Leagues: Entry Level program for kids & youth. Officiating (umpires) & coaching resources as well.
  • Player Registration: If you are interested in playing or trying out for the Minor League/Major League/ USA Cricket, fill out this application.
  • What Is Cricket?: ICC’s short minute videos on the different aspects of cricket/rules. Nice 3 minutes high quality videos here to share ahead to your “Future Cricket Fans.”

Here are some of the questions this article has answered along the way.

FAQs

Is Cricket Popular In America?

Cricket is not yet a popular sport in America. Team sports is dominated by 5 major leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. Cricket is trying to break into the sports market with the inaugural Major League Cricket in 2022.

How Much Do USA Cricket Players make?

USA cricketers make around $70,000-$90,000 although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some budget cuts, which has impacted players salaries.

Is cricket growing in America?

Cricket is growing in America. USA cricket is investing in infrastructure and age-school cricket as well as high performance academies. USA Cricket’s foundational plan emphasizes focusing on (1) current players and fanbase, (2) youth development, (3) T20 cricket, (4) women’s cricket, and (5) hosting ICC events starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Why there is no cricket in USA?

American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, NASCAR, and other individual sports (Olympics) dominate the conversation. Hence, cricket has yet to break in, but it is growing in the right direction.

How many sports leagues are there in the US?

Sport in America is dominated by the Big 5 Leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and the MLS. We have provided details on each of the leagues here – value, player salary, cultural impact, and much more!

Which sports league is the most valuable?

The NFL is the most valuable sports league with $16.9 billion. Dallas Cowboys itself is valued at $5.5 billion. The MLB comes next with $10.37 billion and the NBA with $8.8 billion.

Sources

  1. New York Time, 2. Forbes Magazine, 3. The Guardian, 4 Statista, 5. ESPN Cricinfo, 6. USA Cricket, 7. Major League Cricket, 8. USA Cricket Association (Now Defunct), 8. CricAmerica, 9. USACricketers.com

England Vs South Africa 2020 Series Review: South Africa Need Soul Searching As England a League Apart

England Vs South Africa 2020 Series Review: South Africa Need Soul Searching As England a League Apart

England Vs South Africa was one of the three series that began on November 27 along with the New Zealand-West Indies and the India-Australia.

With the Proteas coming off a stellar IPL season and England a force to reckon in today’s day and age, this was the series I was most excited about. Heck, I even predicted a resurgent South Africa to sweep the series 3-0! 3-0 did happen but in England’s favor, but the abandonment of the ODI series put a sour taste on this tour.

Here are my picks for the best moments, controversial moments, emerging players, World T20 Predicted XIs, and much more! COMMENT BELOW ON YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS.

Also Read: Eng-SA ODI Preview, Series Predictions, Ind-Aus Series Review, NZ-WI Series Review

Results – England Vs South Africa

T20I Series: England Win 3 – 0

* Player of Match

  1. England won by 5 wickets (4 balls remaining) – Jonny Bairstow*
  2. England won by 4 wickets (1 ball remaining)Dawid Malan*
  3. England won by 9 wickets (14 balls remaining)Dawid Malan*
Player of SeriesEngland
Dawid Malan
2-50s, 99* best
South Africa
Most RunsDawid Malan – 173 runsRussie Van der Dussen – 136 runs
Most WicketsSam Curran, Chris Jordan – 3 wicketsTabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi – 4 wickets
T20I Series Stats

ODI Series: Series Called Off

Although South Africa were swept apart in the T20I series, they still had some positives. After scoring their highest scores 192, I expected South Africa to take some form in the ODI series.

What actually happened? First ODI postponed hours before the toss due to COVID breaches and similar result in the 2nd attempt. The tour was abandoned and the England players were sent home.

Bummer.

The Highlights

England

  • Player of the series? Dawid Malan. Highest runs scorer? Dawid Malan. 2 Player of the Match awards in a 3 game series? Dawid Malan. Need to say more? Definitely cemented his place for the T20I World Cup. Why doesn’t Malan have an IPL contract yet?
  • Chris Jordan coming from an underwhelming IPL claimed some personal records – 50th T20I match & highest wicket-taker for England, going past Stuart Broad. Specialist death bowler for sure.
  • While Jonny Bairstow played a match-winning-come-from-behind knock of 86* in the middle order & Jos Buttler made a mark as an opener with an unbeaten 67, Jason Roy picked up only 30 runs combined. Food for thought with the likes of Tom Banton waiting?

Controversy 101

Eoin Morgan receiving coded signals from the dressing room – Yay or Nay? What do you think about this?

I think it is an interesting experiment as long as it does not influence DRS calls or causes delay in proceedings. Comment below and let us know your thoughts!

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South Africa

  • George Linde was the positive of the series for South Africa. Miserly bowling figures of 2-20 (4 overs), 0-27 (4overs), & 0-26 (4 overs) along with efficient lower order hitting with 12*(6) & 29 (20).
  • Faf Du Plessis is not going anywhere and the du Plessis-van der Dussen middle order partnership is starting to take shape. Partnership of 127* (66) in the 3rd T20I took South Africa from a precarious position to a healthy total. The top 2 highest scorers for the Proteas in the series.
  • Maybe England’s batting is too good, but still in the past 12 months, South Africa barely defended 177 (won by 1 run), failed to defend scores of 222, 179, and 191, and gave away 204 runs in the first innings (lost by 2 runs). South Africa has some soul searching to do in the bowling front – an area they are usually good at.

Also Read: Faf & ABD De Villiers – Friendship and the Quest of the World Cup, Charisma of Sam Curran

Amazon Affiliate

We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series. Here they are:

South AfricaEngland
Emerging PlayerGeorge LindeDressing Room Coded Signals
Surprise PackageGeorge LindeJonny Bairstow (in the middle order)
Broken Cricket Dream3rd Seamer: B. Hendricks (0-56 in 4 overs), Ngidi (2-51 in 4 overs), Sipamla (0-45 in 2.4 overs)Jason Roy

Who would have been your Emerging Player? Surprise Player? Broken Cricket Dream? Let us know below WITH COMMENTS! Also please share and subscribe below!

Where Do They Go From Here?

A lot of Sri Lanka in the near future.

Sri Lanka are on schedule to tour South Africa for a 2-match Test series. At this point all reports are showing good signs in terms of the tour being played. After this series, England tour Sri Lanka for a two match Test series. After Pakistan return from New Zealand, South Africa will tour Pakistan in a historic move for 2 Tests and 3 T20Is.

South African cricket has endured a lot in the past year – mixed Black Lives Matter messages, constant changing of administration, COVID breaches, and much more (kudos to England for getting cricket back together and hosting West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia earlier). The abandonment of the ODI series (technically just postponed) puts a light onto future hosting in South Africa as well as the loss of finances.

Where do South Africa cricket go from here? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

World T20 Watch:

We are doing a World T20 Watch from now till the T20I world cup next year. Here is our predicted T20 XI line up and 15-man squad as of now based on this series. Several ifs and buts at this point, but it will get clearer along the journey.

South Africa still need some tweaking, while England look all set to claim their 2nd limited overs World Cup trophy.

England

  1. Tom Banton, 2. Jos Buttler (WK), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan*, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

Squad: Sam Billings, Tom Curran/Saqib Mahmood/Reece Topley, Jason Roy/Moeen Ali, Joe Root/Joe Denly/Other

*Captain

South Africa

Temba Bavuma did not have a great series, so I am putting Janneman Malan ahead in the XI. Bavuma should still get a few more chances before a final decision is made on his T20I career.

  1. Quinton de Kock* (WK), 2. Janneman Malan, 3. Faf du Plessis, 4. Rassie Van der Dussen, 5. Heinrich Klassen, 6. David Miller, 7. George Linde, 8. Andile Phelukwayo, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Anrich Nortje, 11. Tabraiz Shamsi

Squad: JJ Smuts, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius/ Bjorn Fortuin, Temba Bavuma/ Reeza Hendricks/Aiden Markram

What did you think about the England Vs South Africa series? What are your World T20 line ups? COMMENT BELOW, and let us know what you think!

Image Courtesy: Eoin MorganBen Sutherland, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, Getty Imates

Pakistan Cricket On The Rise: Pakistan Vs New Zealand T20I 2020 Series Preview

Pakistan Cricket On The Rise: Pakistan Vs New Zealand T20I 2020 Series Preview

Pakistan cricket has rejuvenated in the last couple of years.

Post 2015, Pakistan has invested in youngsters and focused on bringing cricket back home. With the likes of Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi, this Pakistan T20I team is a force to reckon with in the near future.

Can they triumph against New Zealand in their own backyard?

Read till the end to check out our predictions. Let us know who you think will win in the COMMENTS below!

When and Where?

Here are the dates and the venue for the Pakistan Vs New Zealand T20I series.

  1. 18 December, Auckland
  2. 20 December, Hamilton
  3. 22 December, Napier

Also Read: New Zealand vs West Indies Review, Series Predictions, The Magician With the Yorker: Umar Gul

The Batting

Pakistan: Young Talent Highlight Azam-less Batting Line-Up

New Zealand: Explosive But Inexperienced

  • Williamson is on paternity leave but is expected to come back by the 2nd T20I. Another key selection is that Ross Taylor has been dropped. You heard it right—dropped, not rested.
  • Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway cemented their places with marvelous performances against the West Indies. Another young talent from Hong Kong, Mark Chapman, has got a few chances but now needs to follow suit and deliver.
  • Expect Guptill-Seifert to provide New Zealand with explosive starts and Neesham to finish it off in style.

The Bowling

Pakistan: Pakistan Cricket and the Flurry of Bowling Options

  • Shaheen Shah Afridi is the complete package – can bowl up front and at the death. Need 4 wickets in 4 balls? Can do that as well. One of the bests in this format right now.
  • Wahab Riaz is the experienced man in this line up. Has been in and out of the side in the last few years. With Haris Rauf’s rapid rise and Naseem/Musa waiting, Riaz would want to nail his T20I World Cup spot.
  • Stand-in captain Shadab Khan & Imad Wasim will occupy key spinning-allrounder roles. Much rest on their shoulders for the balance of the XI.

New Zealand: Rotation Policy Central to New Zealand’s Depth

  • Southee-Boult-Jamieson should return for the last 2 T20Is as the first choice bowling line-up.
  • The first T20I gives the likes of Doug Bracewell, Kuggeleijn, Tickner, and possible debutant Duffy a chance to seal the reserve seamer spot.
  • Santner will captain in the absence of Williamson. In short New Zealand grounds and flat pitches, Santner needs to keep economy rate low otherwise another Pollard-like carnage is on the cards.

Key Matchups To Watch Out For

  1. Haris Rauf Vs NZ’s middle order: As Rauf has shown in the Big Bash, he is a quite a skiddy customer and a smart, thinking cricketer. The Kiwis ought to be wary.
  2. Battle of the Keepers: Both Seifert and Rizwan are safe behind the wickets and have had a decent past year. The winner of this mini-battle will have an impact on the series.

The Broken Dream

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir

  • Shoaib Malik, the first Asian to 10000 T20 runs, has already won the National T20 Cup and the Lanka Premier League finals. Yet, with veterans Hafeez and Iftikhar Ahmed, is it curtains on a two-decade long career?
  • Mohammad Amir’s recent international retirement/break statement has shaken the social media world. The journey of a promising young kid whose rise took the world by surprise, followed by a spot-fixing exile, a remarkable comeback, and finally dropped from the side—end of the dream for Amir?

What are your thoughts on his sudden retirement? COMMENT BELOW!

New Zealand: Ross Taylor

  • Devon Conway’s consistent performances has cast Ross Taylor aside, the only person to play 100+ games across formats. Always a decent performer, Taylor never lived up to his RCB 2009 heights in T20Is. Can he make it to the next World Cup?

Prediction

Verdict: 2-1 Pakistan

This young Pakistan cricket team is definitely favorites to reach the top 4 at the 2021 T20I World Cup in India. Without Babar Azam, the team will not be at its maximum potential, but neither is New Zealand without Williamson and with its fast bowling-rotation policy.

Both teams have fluid, explosive line ups with multiple bowling options. In this series, I am most excited for the youngsters on show!

Expect Haider Ali and Glenn Phillips to provide some entertainment.

Let us know your thoughts on Pakistan cricket, New Zealand cricket, and the eventual scoreline. COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

My Starting XI:

These are my starting XI for the first Test (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

Pakistan:

Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Khusdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan*, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Wahab Riaz

New Zealand (1st):

Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (WK), Glenn Phillips, Devon Conway, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner*, James Neesham, Ish Sodhi, Jacob Duffy, Blair Tickner, Doug Bracewell

New Zealand (2nd-3rd):

Guptill, Seifert (WK), Williamson*, Phillips, Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Neesham, Jamieson, Southee, Boult, Sodhi

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads. Note, India has 2 squads – for the first 2 and last T20I respectively

Pakistan: Faheem Ashraf, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Hasnain, Muhammad Musa, Sarfaraz Ahmed (WK), Usman Qadir

New Zealand: Todd Astle, Scott Kuggeleijn

Image Courtesy: Shoaib Malik – (By Pakistan Cricket Board – Youtube): License, as on date of upload: ‘Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)’, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Preview: India Vs Australia Test Series 2020

Preview: India Vs Australia Test Series 2020

India vs Australia Test Series — this is the moment that all cricket fans were waiting for this year.

Credit to England, cricket is back on track. Since the English summer, we have had the IPL and other leagues, and recently the truncated England vs South Africa and New Zealand vs West Indies series’. Yet, this is the moment that most cricket fans have been waiting for—the Australian Test summer—Boxing Day, New Year’s, and much more.

With the World Test Championship rules changed and the Kiwis sweeping their series against the Windies, India are in danger of losing the Top 2 spot. They defeated the Australians in 2018, but can they repeat their success?

Read till the end to check out our predictions. Let us know who you think will win in the COMMENTS below!

When and Where?

Here are the dates and the venue for the India Vs Australia Test Series.

  1. 16-20 December, Adelaide, D/N (Pink Ball Test)
  2. 25-29 December, Melbourne
  3. 6-10 January, Sydney
  4. 14-18 January, Brisbane

Also Read: India vs Australia Limited Overs Review, India vs Australia ODI Preview, Series Predictions

The Batting

India: Top Order Will Make or Break India’s Chances

  • India’s most famous recent tours of Australia had top order contributions. Sehwag-Chopra in 2003 & Agarwal-Vihari in 2018 (last two tests). More than number runs, denting the new ball mattered, which laid the platform for the likes of Dravid and Pujara later on.
  • Virat Kohli will be on paternity leave after the first test in Adelaide, a place where he has 3 hundreds in six innings including the twin 115-141 during that 2014 match. Can Virat continue his love affair with Adelaide?
  • Since his stellar overseas tours of 2014, Rahane has failed to go to the next level. Don’t get me wrong – 65 Tests, 4203 runs at 42.88 average with 11 tons and a best of 188 is still very good. Yet in order for Rahane to elevate to legendary status, he still needs a series like Pujara 2018 or a Laxman 281 kind of knock.

Australia: Injuries Give Australia a Headache

  • With injuries to Warner and Pucovski, Matthew Wade and Joe Burns have received the backing from the management. Joe Burns in the last 9 FC innings has scores of 7, 29, 0, 10, 11, 4, 0, 0, 1 – the last 4 against India A. Six years since his debut, he has yet to cement a place despite 4 centuries. Last chance for Joe?
  • Labuschagne is one of my favorite players from the recent crop. Ashes 2019 is best remember for Steve Smith’s (and Ben Stokes’) heroics, but Marnus has not looked back since his debut as a concussion substitute. 14 Tests, 1459 runs at an average of 63.43, and 4 tons already with best of 215.
Embed from Getty Images

The Bowling

India: India need 2nd Innings Shami In the First Innings

  • Shami has been bowling at his best since IPL 2020. In test cricket, he is known for his 2nd innings late spells with reverse swing. Can he deliver up front with early breakthroughs this time?
  • India’s weak link will be the 4th bowler. Umesh Yadav has delivered overseas in patches and Saini/Siraj are raw. Who will stand up in the absence of Ishant Sharma?
  • Ravichandran Ashwin’s overseas record is not the best and Kuldeep Yadav is waiting in the wings. He will need to make the most of his opportunities and take wickets, not just keep things tight.

Australia: Nathan Lyon The Key

  • Along with Ashwin, Nathan Lyon has kept the art of off-spin alive in the 2010s. 10 away from 400 wickets, a lot will rest on his shoulders.
  • Australia have won 6 out of 6 Day/Night matches, 3 of them at Adelaide. The key to all of those wins were their fast bowlers. If Starc and Hazlewood make the ball talk early, it would be tough for India to win in the pink ball test.
  • Australia may need to rest their fast bowlers given the long tour. Expect James Pattinson to play during the latter test matches.

Key Matchups To Watch Out For

  1. Ajinkya Rahane Vs The Short Ball: Recall 2014 against Mitchell Johnson – Australia will surely tempt him with aggression and the short ball.
  2. Tim Paine vs Rishabh Pant: The banter was hilarious during 2014 via the stump mic. Watch out for more such encounters, as well as a couple of game changing knocks from both.
  3. Pujara and Vihari vs Australian fast bowlers: These two have the potential to tire out the Australian bowling line up.
  4. Cameron Green: This new young allrounder caught the eye of many in his ODI debut. Can bowl 140+ kph and already has 5 centuries in 21 FC games. If fit, he will definitely make an impact. Mark my words.

The Broken Dream

India: Ishant Sharma

  • Ishant just LOVES Australia. His debut series in 2008 is best remembered for outmatching the great Ricky Ponting and was the pillar of the bowling line up in 2018-19. How much will India miss Ishant? How much will Ishant miss cricket? Just 3 away from 300 Test wickets, but has not played a first class game since February before getting injured at the beginning of the IPL.

Australia: Will Pucovski

  • After breaking into the squad with wonderful domestic form, it was expected that Pucovski would make his debut. In just 23 first class games, he averages 54.5 with 6 hundreds and best of 255*. Concussion during the India A vs Australia A has unfortunately, delayed his Test debut.

Prediction

Verdict: 1-1 Draw

Without the Sharmas, Kohli’s early departure, and India’s relatively inexperienced openers, this will not be as easy as 2018. Pujara’s 2018-19 tour was once in a generation, and I doubt it will be repeated (if he gets anywhere close to that form, India surely will be in the drivers seat).

The home team Australia are back with Smith and hopefully Warner later in the tour, but with numerous injuries, a long tour, and bio-bubble fatigue creeping in, Australia are not favorites either. Expect rest for fast bowlers from both teams in a few games.

This is a weird one to predict, isn’t it? Neither team holds an upper hand, but I am hoping for exciting, gritty series. Some attritional cricket, line and length bowling, and maybe even 5th day last session match-saving draws? Hence, I am going for a 1-1 draw.

Which team will give in first?

Let us know your thoughts on the India Vs Australia Test Series. WHAT IS YOUR EVENTUAL SCORELINE? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

My Starting XI:

These are my starting XI for the first Test (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

India (First 2 Tests):

Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli*, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav

India (Last 2 Tests):

Gill/Shaw, Agarwal, Pujara, Vihari, Rahane*, Pant, Saha (WK), Ashwin/Kuldeep, Shami, Bumrah, Saini/Siraj

Australia:

Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine* (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc/James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads. Note, India has 2 squads – for the first 2 and last 2 Tests respectively

India: Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant (WK), KL Rahul (WK), Navdeep Saini, Prithvi Shaw

India (after first Test): Virat Kohli (OUT), Ravindra Jadeja (IN – after 1st Test), Rohit Sharma (IN – last 2 Tests)

Australia: Marcus Harris, Moises Henriques, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner (currently injured but may return)

Image Courtesy: Adelaide Oval – Rajiv Bhuttan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

India Vs Australia 2020 – ODI & T20I Series Review: Even Contests But Lots To Think About

India Vs Australia 2020 – ODI & T20I Series Review: Even Contests But Lots To Think About

India Vs Australia – a friendly evenly contested series.

India revived their 1992 jersey, and the tour started accordingly with twin defeats via the brilliance of Steven Smith. This tour will be remembered for the Australia media’s fascination for ‘King’ Kohli, international fielding of grade-school standards, emergence of Hardik Pandya, the Jadeja-Chahal concussion fiasco, and Wade’s non-review.

Australia, on the other hand, erased the poor IPL 2020 memories. Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell – all came back with a bang. Good performances by youngsters and comeback kids as well.

Here are my picks for the best moments of the series, the emerging players, and where these two teams go from here? COMMENT BELOW ON YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS.

Also Read: IND-AUS ODI/T20I Preview, Series Predictions – Can You Do Better?, NZ-WI Series Review

Results – India Vs Australia

ODI Series: Australia Win 2 – 1

* Player of Match

  1. Australia won by 66 runsSteven Smith*
  2. Australia won by 51 runsSteven Smith*
  3. India won by 13 runs Hardik Pandya*
Player of SeriesSteven Smith (Australia)
– 216 runs, 2-100s
India
Most RunsAaron Finch – 249 runsHardik Pandya – 210 runs
Most WicketsAdam Zampa – 7 wicketsMohammad Shami – 4 wickets
ODI Series Stats

T20I Series: India Win 2 – 1

  1. India won by 11 runsYuzvendra Chahal* (concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja)
  2. India won by 6 wicketsHardik Pandya*
  3. Australia won by 12 runsMitchell Swepson*
Player of Series (Australia)Hardik Pandya (India)
– 78 runs at 156.00 SR
Most RunsMatthew Wade – 145 runsVirat Kohli – 134 runs
Most Wickets Mitchell Swepson – 5 wicketsT Natarajan – 6 wickets
T20I Series Stats

The Highlights

India

ODIS

  • India still have not solved their middle muddle. Shreyas Iyer returned with scores of 2, 38, 19, 12*, and 0 across formats. None of India’s batsman bowl and none of the bowlers bat well. The #4 position and the 6th bowling option is still a major worry.
  • Chahal leaked 89 & 71 runs and was eventually dropped for the third. Although he was the man of the match in the first T20I, it is still a matter of concern in the flat ODI pitches. Time to bring Kul-Cha back together?
  • First time since 2008 that Virat Kohli has not registered a century. Came close with a 89 and 63, but 2020 has just been that kind of year.
  • Shardul Thakur has a knack of taking wickets as we can see from his 3/51 in the 3rd ODI.

T20Is

  • Although Sanju Samson gave India impetus with innings like 23(14) and 15(9), it was just not enough. With the likes of Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav in the background, Samson may not have too long of a rope.
  • Hardik Pandya dedicated his Player of Series award to T. Natarajan and deservingly so. Although Pandya finished things off, Natarajan’s 3/30, 2/20, and 1/33 were crucial to limit India’s targets.
  • India have found a balance in the finishing power. If one of the top order batsmen fail to finish the chase, Pandya will. If Pandya fails, Jadeja will.
  • In 2016, Manish Pandey was among the rising stars scoring an unbeaten century in a 300+ run chase. Forward to 2020. Did not get a game in the ODIs and struggled in his only T20I opportunity – 2 (8).

Australia

ODIs

  • Steven Smith famously said a month ago that he “found his hand.” He was not joking as he displayed with scores of 105 and 104 in just around 62 balls both innings. WOW.
  • Glenn Maxwell could not hit a fly in IPL 2020. Put the Australia jersey on and boy, was he on fire? The entire 2 months of IPL – 0 sixes. 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is – 16 sixes in total including quickfire 45(19), 63*(29), 59 (38), 54 (36), 22 (13) across formats. Australia have found their finisher.
  • Although Smith & Maxwell were the catalyst, the solid platform provided by Aaron Finch with 2-100s and 1-50. He is growing in his captaincy role as well.
  • Does Australia have a Mitchell Starc problem? 1/65, 0/82, & wide balls does not reflect the stature of Starc.

T20Is

  • D’Arcy Short comes up short. Wade not so much with blistering back-to-back 50s. Also a handy commentator behind the stumps.
  • The leggie Mitchell Swepson joins the party. His 1st wicket of the series? None other than Virat Kohli.
  • Moises Henriques made a comeback with important contributions with both bat and ball. In the 2nd T20I – 3/22 in his 4 overs along with a 30(20) got Australia close to the target.

We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series. Here they are:

AustraliaIndia
Emerging PlayerMitchell SwepsonT Natarajan
Surprise PackageMatthew Wade/ Moises HenriquesRavindra Jadeja + Hardik Pandya
Broken Cricket DreamD’Arcy ShortManish Pandey

Who would have been your Emerging Player? Surprise Player? Broken Cricket Dream? Let us know below WITH COMMENTS! Also please subscribe!

Where Do They Go From Here?

Earlier I had predicted 2-1 India for the ODIs and 2-1 Australia for the T20Is. The results were reversed, but this India Vs Australia series had closed contests regardless. By no means, did these teams perform at their bests. They have a lot to ponder over, especially heading into the Border-Gavaskar Test series and the World T20 next year.

In limited overs, India have to fix their middle over phase – both in batting style and the bowling combinations. For the test series, India have an Ishant Sharma size hole along with concussion/injury issues for Jadeja and Rohit Sharma.

Australia’s injury woes are at another level. First Stoinis and Warner in the limited overs series. Then, the debutant Green and Will Pucovski with concussions during the warm-up games and now even Steven Smith has a soar back. Here is the complete list:

World T20 Watch:

We will do a World T20 Watch from now till the world cup next year. Here is our predicted T20 XI line up as of now based on this series. Several ifs and buts at this point, but it will get clearer along the journey.

So many bowling/all-round option for Australia.

Australia

  1. Wade/Warner, 2. Finch, 3. Stoinis, 4. Smith, 5. Maxwell, 6. Henriques/Green, 7. Cummins, 8. Zampa, 9. Hazlewood/Lyon, 10. Starc, 11. Andrew Tye/Sean Abbott

India

India’s limited overs selections need a rethink. ODIs and T20Is are now separate entities and hence, need different criteria. Gone are the days of the three format players barring a couple from each team.

Each position needs a specific role with a like-for-like understudy. Here is my World T20 XI for India as of now:

  1. KL Rahul, 2. Sharma/Kohli, 3. Pandey/Iyer/Suryakumar Yadav, 4. Sanju Samson/Ishan Kishan/Rishabh Pant, 5. Hardik Pandya, 6. Ravindra Jadeja, 7. Dinesh Karthik, 8. Thakur/Shami, 9. Bhuvi/Chahar, 10. Chahal/Kuldeep, 11. Bumrah/Natarajan

What did you think about the India Vs Australia series? What are your World T20 line ups? COMMENT BELOW, and let us know what you think!

Image Courtesy: MATTHEW WADENAPARAZZI, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons