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#Controversy Alert: Who Cares About Women’s Cricket Anyway?

Controversy of the Day: Nobody cares about women’s cricket.

Women’s CricketCan’t Live With It, Can Definitely Live Without It.
At least that is the attitude of cricket administration and media around the world.

Today news came in that the BCCI finally decided to organize women’s matches, simultaneously with the men’s Vijay Hazare Trophy & the Vinoo Mankad U-19 Trophy. After the 4 match Women’s T20 Challenge, there is something to look forward to for the Indian Women team.

Is it enough, though? How are all the other women international teams faring during this time? Why did we get here? Could more have been done over the last year?

So many questions…Don’t worry, I got you.

Post-COVID statistics between Women’s Vs Men’s cricket, looking ahead to 2021, facts about the women’s game we should all know as cricket fans, and the way forward for women’s cricket. 

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?, What If Indian Women Won the 2017 ICC Cricket World Cup?

Rise of Women’s Cricket

March 8th, 2020—the peak for Women’s Cricket at the World T20 World Cup Final between Australia & India.

86, 174 spectators.

Following the monumental 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, women’s cricket began moving in a positive direction. Casual cricket fans began to take notice, fan following increased for the likes of Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, & Smriti Mandhana, and representation in broadcasting expanded with Lisa Sthalekar, Isa Guha, & Ebony Rainford-Brent among others. Investment rose with the Women Big Bash League (WBBL), Kia Super League, & even the Women’s T20 Challenge. The highly anticipated experiment, The Hundred, was scheduled simultaneously with the men’s version for last summer.

The rise continued & on the auspicious International Women’s Day, the record number of spectators at the Women’s 2020 T20 World Cup confirmed Mithali Raj’s statement, “Truly I believe women’s cricket has come in the mainstream now.”

Momentum Halts For Women’s Cricket

March 8th, 2020—also the last time since India Women took field.

None. Zero. Nada.

It has been almost 11 months without any international cricket, domestic competition, or even a national training camp. Meanwhile, Indian men have played a 60-match IPL, & toured Australia from November-January for a 3-T20I, 3 ODI, and 4 classic Test matches. India women’s 3 match ODI tour of Australia scheduled in January? Cancelled due to coronavirus at the end of December. Explain that…

The momentum has truly been halted. Not only India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh women have not had much cricket either (although training camp has started for Bangladesh). Even the inaugural edition of the Hundred was postponed.

The second edition of men’s Indian Premier League post-COVID is about to begin in a couple of months and a 10-team IPL is rumored in 2022. On the other hand, after the gigantic leap from 1 match in 2018 to 4 matches in 2019, the Women T20 Challenge did not expand in 2020. And guess what? Those who participated in the Challenge were robbed of the opportunity to play WBBL due to bio-bubble regulations.

The biggest casualty, though was the earlier scheduled 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup.

Starting next week, from February 6th-March 7th, New Zealand was supposed to host World Cup. YES, New Zealand, the country best placed to host an international event in these circumstances. Yet, in August the ICC postponed it due to ‘disparity in level of preparedness’ between the different countries.

Men’s Vs Women’s Cricket: Post-Covid Statistics

Thanks to the ECB and their bio-secured bubble protocols, cricket started back with the England-West Indies Test Series. Since then, both men’s & women’s cricket restarted, but here is a table that shows the disparity of the amount of games played.

Since July, the men have had a maximum possible 128 days of international cricket scheduled (5 days maximum per test) as opposed to just 16 days for the women (5 of which were Austria Vs Germany T20I). Across formats & countries, men have clocked in 540 matches, while women have played a mere 144 matches.

Men’s CricketWomen’s Cricket
International Matches Played (June 2020-January 2021)56 matches
(18 Tests, 17 ODIs, 21 T20Is)
*excludes 16 matches
16 matches
(0 Tests, 3 ODIs, 13 T20Is)
*including Austria-Germany 5 T20Is
T10 & T20 Leagues Played Around the World 206 matches
(CPL, IPL, SLPL, BBL, T10 League)
63 matches
(Women’s T20 Challenge, BBL)
Domestic Cricket 278 matches
(Syed Mustaq Ali, Vitality Blast, Super Smash NZ, Bob Willis Trophy)
65 matches
(Ireland Super50, Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Super Smash NZ)
International Scheduled Matches For 2021 (So Far)96 matches
(24 T20Is, 12 ODIs, 15 Tests including WTC Final + 45 match 2021 T20 World Cup)
18 matches
(9 ODIs, 9 T20Is)
Total Matches (Mar 2020-2021)
*excluding T20/Domestic Leagues for 2021
636 matches162 matches
Post-Covid Men’s & Women’s Cricket Summary

*Table does not include the 3 Eng-SA & the 2 Ire-UAE ODIs that were cancelled due to COVID.

Series Summary

Here are the details of the various series, leagues, & domestic tournaments played over the last year.

*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).

International Matches Played (June 2020-January 2021)

Men’s
  • WI tour Eng (3 Tests), Pak tour Eng (3 Tests, 3 T20I), Ire tour Eng (3 ODIs), Aus tour Eng (3 T20Is, 3 ODIs)
  • Zim tour Pak (3 ODI, 3 T20I), Ire tour UAE (4 ODIs – 2 cancelled), Ire Vs Afg (3 ODI)
  • Eng tour SA (3 T20I, ODIs abandoned), SL tour SA (2 Tests), Eng tour SL (2 Tests)
  • WI tour NZ (3 T20I, 2 Tests), Pak tour NZ (3 T20I, 2 Tests)
  • Ind tour Aus (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is, 4 Tests)

*Excludes 16 games played by Guersney, Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, Malta, Romania

Women’s
  • Austria tour Germany (5 T20I)
  • WI tour England (5 T20I)
  • NZ tour Aus (3 ODI, 3 T20I)

T10 & T20 Leagues Played Around the World

  • Men: Caribbean Premier League (33 matches), Indian Premier League (60), Sri Lanka Premier League (23), Big Bash League (61), T10 League (29)
  • Women: WBBL (59 matches), IPL Exhibition games (4)

Domestic Cricket

  • Men: Bob Willis Trophy (Eng – 46 matches), 2020 T20 Vitality Blast (Eng – 97), 32 Super Smash (NZ – 32), Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy (India – 103)
  • Women: Super50 Cricket Series (Ire – 8 matches), Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy (Eng – 25)

Schedule Lookout for 2021

Well if you thought 2020 was bad, 2021’s schedule does not seem like a drastic improvement either. Sure, just like the Vijay Hazare & Vinoo Mankad, more matches may be scheduled later, but the number of planned games in 2021 tells you the story.

Women’s Cricket 2021 Schedule

According to the ICC Fixtures for the next year, Women’s cricket looks as follows:

  1. Pak tour SA (3 ODI, 3 T20I): Jan 20-Feb 3 (Ongoing)
  2. Eng tour NZ (3 ODI, 3 T20I): Feb 23-Mar 5
  3. Aus tour NZ (3 ODI, 3 T20I): Mar 27-Apr 10

After this, the next scheduled international fixture is the postponed 2022 Women’s World Cup that begins on March 4th, 2022. Domestically, apart from women’s edition of Vijay Hazare & Vinoo Mankad U-19, Australia National Cricket League (28 matches) has been announced, with The Hundred, Women Big Bash League, & Women’s T20 Challenge possibly returning for 2021.

Men’s Cricket Schedule 2021

While international women’s cricket as a whole has only been scheduled 18 limited overs matches in 2021, the Men’s England Test team alone are slotted 17 Test Matches (18 if they reach the WTC final), apart from the T20 World Cup & other bilateral series.

Currently, WI tour of Ban (3 ODI, 2 Tests) & SA tour of Pak (2 Tests, 3 T20Is) are ongoing, with the England tour of India (4 Tests, 5 T20I, 3 ODI), IPL 2021 (60 matches), & The Hundred on the horizon.

  • 51 matches planned in 2021 (24 T20Is, 12 ODIs, 15 Tests including WTC Final)
  • 45 match ICC Men’s T20I World Cup October-November (in India)

Did You Know?

Who was the first cricketer to score a double century in ODI? Umm..Sachin Tendulkar 200* Vs South Africa in 2010, right? Wrong. It was actually Belinda Clark’s 229* in the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The real question is, do we ourselves pay enough attention to Women’s Cricket or just hypocritically vouch for the women’s game?

We all know about Tendulkar’s 100 100s, Bradman’s 99.94, Muralitharan’s 800, Sharma’s 264. For our collective cultural enhancement, here is a short list of statistics and facts we should all know about Women’s Cricket.

Numbers & Facts in Women’s Cricket We Should All Know

*Note, this stats are divided by format: Test | ODI | T20I .

Batting

  • Most Runs: 1935 – Jan Brittin (Eng) | 6,888 – Mithali Raj (Ind) | 3301 – Suzie Bates (NZ)
  • Highest Score: 242 – Kiran Baluch (Pak) | 232* – Amelia Kerr (NZ) | 148* – Alyssa Healy (Aus)
  • Most 100s/50+: 5 (100s)/16 (50+) – Jan Brittin (Eng), 14 (100s) – Meg Lanning (Aus)/ 60 (50+) – Mithali Raj (Ind) | 22 (50+) Suzie Bates (NZ) (several players with 2 T20I centuries)
  • Highest Partnership: 309 – Lindsay Reeler & Denise Annets (Aus) | 320 – Deepti Sharma & Poonam Raut (Ind) | 257 Yulia Anggraeni & Kadek Winda Prastini (Indonesia)

Bowling

  • Most Wickets: 77 – Mary Duggan (Eng) | 225 – Jhulan Goswami (Ind) | 120 – Anisa Mohammed (WI)
  • Best Figures Innings: 8/53 – Neetu David (Ind) | 7/4 – Sajjida Shah (Pak) | 6/0 – Anjali Chand (Nepal)
  • Most 5-fers: 5 – Shubhangi Kulkarni (Ind) | 6 -Anisa Mohammed (WI) | 7 (4-fers+) – Anisa Mohammed (WI)
  • Best Figures Match/ Most 10-fers (Tests): 13/226 – Shaiza Khan (Pak) / 2 10-fers – Betty Wilson (Aus)

Wicket-Keeping/Fielding

  • Most Catches (Fielding): 25 – Carole Hodges (Eng) | 67 – Suzie Bates (NZ) | 64 – Suzie Bates (NZ)
  • Most Dismissals (Keeper): 58 – Christina Matthews (Aus) | 160 – Trisha Chetty (SA) | 93 – Alyssa Healy (Aus)

Teams

  • Highest Team Total: 569/6 declared Aus (vs Eng) | 491/5 NZ (Vs Ire) | 314/2 Uganda (Vs Mali)
  • World Cups: ODIs – Aus (6 times), Eng (4), NZ (1) | T20Is – Aus (5 times), Eng (1), WI (1)

A Way Forward

Australia, England, & New Zealand are historically the most successful women cricket teams and rightly so. They have invested in women’s cricket for decades & are broadening the recruitment of young girls in cricket. Other countries lag behind in the recruitment, infrastructure, & investment.

In the COVID era, the template provided by NZ’s Super Smash, India’s Vijay Hazare, & England’s Hundred should become common. The corresponding matches for the same teams should be played on the same day for both the men & women respectively. This may help out with spectators & TV revenues as well.

This is definitely possible for domestic competitions & T20 leagues, but should even be considered for international tours as well, at least for the limited overs leg.

These are just some limited thoughts, but there are limitless ideas to promote women’s cricket if enough focus is given to this part of the sport.

Supply & Demand

More needs to be done for Women’s Cricket in current times. If this break continues longer, experienced players will start to retire, budding youngsters might not receive opportunity (and hence, may leave the sport altogether), and the compounding loss of revenue will hurt women’s cricket for generations to come.

If the ICC and national boards do not ramp up support in 2021, as Anjum Chopra called it, Women’s Cricket will remain just as an ‘add on’ feature, and nothing more. Who knows, instead of waiting for their next opportunity, the likes of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami should just retire now, join administration, take matters in their own hands, fix women’s cricket administration, un-retire and play.

Women Cricket’s current status can be summarized with the saying, “If you are not at table, you are on the menu.”

Hope Remains

Although the coronavirus break as halted the momentum, hope remains. With the T20 international status open to several countries now, smaller nations like Thailand & Nepal have taken large strides. With role models like Ellyse Perry & Sophie Devine (see below), more girls have taken up the sport seriously.

Finally, us fans can themselves can help in the resurgence of momentum. The entire game is about supply & demand. Men’s cricket & the IPL generates a lot of revenue. Hence, T20 cricket remains essential at possibly the expense of Test cricket. Similarly, women’s cricket is less profitable and hence, gets less support. So, we should demand more women’s cricket and encourage girls to take the sport up.

Fans need to get involved. Bloggers (including me) should write more on women’s cricket. You should tweet more on women’s cricket. Watch lots of videos, look up more stats, & make women’s cricket viral. Get the media involved. Slowly & steadily, women’s cricket administration will take notice & invest more.

Anyway, I will leave you all with a classy Sophie Devine, who recently scored the fastest T20 century in women’s cricket (36 balls), but her sportsmanship & humanity was the highlight.

So there you go. Lots of controversy, with a tinge of hope.

Copyright (2021: 1/30/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Embed from Getty Images

Image Courtesy: Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, Getty Images

Sources: ICC Results (Women) ICC Results (Men), ICC Fixtures 2021 (Women), ICC Fixtures 2021 (Men)

Joe Root Vs Lasith Embuldeniya 2020 Series Review: Oops, I Meant England Vs Sri Lanka

Joe Root Vs Lasith Embuldeniya. That’s it, that’s the end of the series review….

Just Kidding, but boy it felt like Root vs Embuldeniya, didn’t it? At one point in the 2nd Test, Embuldeniya was hitting sixes and the golden arm of Joe Root was called upon to take his wicket and clean up the tail.

Yet, this short two-Test series had several other actors and memorable moments. The 2-0 score line may not have been close, but the contest was enthralling, nevertheless.

Broad’s initial burst, Bess’s uncanny wicket taking ability, Dan Lawrence’s dazzling debut, Niroshan Dickwella’s high-five face slap, Leach and Embuldeniya’s brilliance, Sibley and Thirimanne’s revival, Dickwella’s sledging, Bairstow and Buttler’s solidity, Mathews and Root’s centuries, Dickwella’s 92, and of course, Jimmy Anderson being well…Jimmy Anderson (in Asia).

Read till the end for my picks for the best moments, emerging players, lookout for the India Vs England series, and much more! COMMENT BELOW ON YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS.

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: England Vs Sri Lanka Preview, SA Vs SL Review, South Africans Who Played For Other Countries

Results – England Vs Sri Lanka

Test Series: England Win 2 – 0

* Player of Match

  1. England won by 7 wickets *Joe Root
  2. England won by 6 wickets *Joe Root
Player of SeriesEngland
Joe Root
2-100s, best of 228
Sri Lanka
Most RunsJoe Root – 426 runs (4 innings)Angelo Mathews – 213 runs (4 innings)
Most WicketsDom Bess – 12 wickets (4 innings)Lasith Embuldeniya – 15 wickets (4 innings)
Test Series Stats

The Highlights

England

1. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler: Critics Go Out The Window

Joe Root just does not like scoring 100s. Either 50s or daddy hundreds.

Do you all remember a few weeks ago in the India Vs Australia series, the commentators were discussing about the Big 3? That seems ages ago. In the preview article, I argued that

“Root is still a stellar player with an amazing record. The fact that England do not seem to need him as much as the other countries is a reflection of the strength of this English team, not the fall of a rising career. I hope he answers his critics with the bat.

186, 228, 2/0, and 7 catches later, Joe Root has answered his critics in some style. He has gone from being criticized for his poor conversion-rate to becoming England’s #4 all time tally, surpassing Boycott, Pietersen, and Gower on the way (Suddenly, predictions of catching Tendulkar’s Test runs have opened since he is only 30).

2. The Rest of the Batting

  • Crawley had a horrid tour with the bat (4 innings, 35 runs at 8.75), Sibley with 62 runs in his 4 (including a 56* in his last innings), and Sam Curran at 7 a spot too high (2 innings, 13 runs at 6.5).
  • Bairstow (4 innings, 139 at 46.33) and Buttler (3 innings, 131 at 65.5) fared much better, while Dan Lawrence had little to show after his sparkling 73 on debut.

Bairstow at 3 again? Yes he is a good player of spin, but does he warrant a position in the squad? Several questions were asked pre-series.

With the struggles of Crawley and Sibley, Bairstow did a good repair job with 47 (93), 35* (65), 28 (73), 29 (28). A makeshift English #3 batsmen on foreign soil, successfully denting the new ball without converting it…Where I have I heard this before? Bairstow’s tour was so…Denly-esque.

3. Youth & Senior Pros Combine to Bamboozle Sri Lanka

  • Stuart Broad (3/34 at 11.33) & James Anderson (6/46 at 7.66): No Sign of Aging
  • Dom Bess (12/255 at 21.25) & Jack Leach (10/355 at 35.5): Here To Stay?

Stuart Broad’s resurgence in the past year or so has been heartening, and Anderson’s fitness just becomes better with age. Anderson’s home swing advantage has always clouded his greatness and longevity, but his 6/40 at Galle in the 2nd Test was as good as any.

Dom Bess himself admitted his bowling may not have deserved a 5-fer in the 1st Test. Maybe once or twice, you can call it a fluke but 5/30, 3/100, 4/49 along with a handy 32 with the bat shows he is willing to learn & improve his skills. Jack Leach’s numbers probably do not reflect his 110.5 overs worth of effort, but both of them are here to stay.

It is pretty clear that England are going to rotate Broad/Anderson, pick Mark Wood (tad unlucky this time around) for pace, and play both spinners for the upcoming India series (given Moeen Ali does not come back for Sam Curran).

Sri Lanka

1. Thirimanne & Angelo Matthews

Lahiru Thirimanne was our contender for the Broken Dream in our preview. Just look at his stats:

  • Average of 22.68 after 36 Tests, 1 century after a decade on the international scene

He came back with a solid 111 and 43 in this series, and has ‘extended’ his place in the side. Will take a few more consistent performances to cement his place. I was also looking forward to a Chandimal-Thirimanne-Mathews solid middle order foundation. Chandimal had a Bairstow-like with a 52 and a couple of 20s, while Mathews was Sri Lanka’s most run-getter including a hard-fought 71 and 110.

  • 88 Tests, 6194 runs at 45.54, with 11 100s, best of 200* Mathews is slowly approaching Sri Lanka’s Legend Status.

2. Inconsistency Kills The Cat

  • Mathews – 213, Thirimanne 171, Dickwella 140, Chandimal 109, Kusal Perera 102
  • (SL Vs SA): 396 & 180, 157 & 211, (SL vs Eng): 381 & 126, 135 & 359

Notice a pattern yet? For England, Root scored a mammoth 426 with Bairstow-Buttler scoring 139 & 131 runs respectively. Sri Lanka had 5 scorers over 100 & Mathews/Thirimanne did convert, but there were just not enough match winning partnerships. Partnerships are the key to success. As we can see from the beginning of the South Africa tour, Sri Lanka have scored 350+ 3/8 times, but they have also collapsed 4/8 times.

Sri Lanka were not bad, but inconsistency in the other innings killed any chance they had.

Here is Kumar Sangakkara’s reflection of Sri Lanka’s batting meltdowns.

3. Embuldeniya

  • 4 innings, 119 overs, 15/415 at 27.66, best of 7/37, 1 5-fer, 1 10-fer

The reason why batting inconsistency hurt more this time around is because with Lasith Embuldeniya, Sri Lanka actually believed they could win.

In the first match, chasing a mere 74, England were down 14/3. Embuldeniya made it look like a landmine, but just there were just not enough runs on the board. He bowled tireless spells, opened the bowling, and even hit an aggressive 40 (37) in the 2nd Test to take the score from 78-8 to 126.

The name, the action, the wicket taking ability – have Sri Lanka finally found someone to carry the legacy of Muralitharan and Rangana Herath? Only time will tell.

Also Read: Charisma of Sam Curran, Lasith Malinga: The Slinga, Slayer, & Superstar

Marks Out of 10: The Mendis Factor

(Not really. Let’s have some fun!)

  • 4 – Ducks in a Row for Kusal Mendis (including SA series). His replacement, Ramesh Mendis, carried on the tradition and opened his account with a duck as well.
  • 6 – Wins In a row for England in Sri Lanka. Huge accomplishment – Kudos! It is never easy to tour Sri Lanka at home and consistent results bode well. Oh yes. And England won without the likes of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, and opener Rory Burns.
  • 8 – Short of a maiden hundred for Niroshan Dickwella. So close, yet so far.
  • 13 – Wickets Away from Anil Kumble’s 619 for the 3rd highest wicket-taker EVER for Jimmy Anderson. GOAT.

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

Sri LankaEngland
Emerging PlayerLasith EmbuldeniyaJoe Root’s Super Conversion Rate & Dan Lawrence
Surprise PackageEmbuldeniya (Batting/Bowling/Everything) & Dickwella’s sledgingDom Bess’s 5-for & wicket-taking ability
Broken Cricket DreamKusal Mendis Zak Crawley

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?

Sri Lanka’s 2021 outlook looks filled. They will complete some of the WTC matches that were cancelled in 2020. They will host/tour Bangladesh, go to West Indies, & host Ireland for a Test match as well. Second part of the year will be focused on the T20I World Cup.

Busy Year for England this. 17 Test Matches on the cards (Maybe more if they qualify for World Test Championship Final). Next Up – India. 4 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20Is from February 4th to March 27th (Add IPL, the Hundred, & World T20 World Cup in the mix as well). The series is key to the WTC finals. England currently at 4th but slowly inching up (Just 3% separates #4 England from #1 India).

Several questions on England vs India TV rights and squad selections as well. Bairstow, Curran, Wood rested for the first couple of Test matches, while Buttler flies home after the 1st one.

With India surprising expectations in Australia, will we see a similar triumph for England against favorites India?

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

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Copyright (2021: 1/13/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Jimmy AndersonNAPARAZZI, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

India Vs Australia Series Review 2020-21: The Greatest Story of Them All? Better Than Ashes 2005?

India Vs Australia Series Review: The Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Usually a Test series is made up of a few iconic moments. This series was a compilation of iconic moments stitched together into a series.

  • Injuries: PucovskiWarner & Ishant-Bhuvneshwar Kumar pre-series. Shami, Umesh, Ashwin, Vihari, Jadeja, Bumrah, KL Rahul, & Pucovski again during the series.
  • Adelaide: Kohli‘s 74 & Run-Out, India 36/9 via Cummins & Hazlewood, Paine & Burn score, Kohli returns home.
  • Melbourne: India’s resilient comeback win, Rahane’s magnificent ton, Ashwin-Smith duel, Rahane comforts Jadeja after run-out.
  • Sydney: Rohit Sharma returns to work, Shubman Gill’s emergence, Smith-Labuschagne master-student showcase, Siraj battles racial abuse, Matthew Wade’s brain fades, Paine drops & sledges, India hold on, Pant 97, Pujara-Pant + Vihari-Ashwin = Draw.
  • Brisbane: Nathan Lyon’s 100th Test & signed jersey by Team India, stranded on 399 wickets, Natarajan & Sundar debut, Saini injured, Siraj’s 5-for, Thakur-Sundar fightback, Gill’s 91 & Pant’s 89*, Pujara Fights Body Blows & Butterfly, 328 chased, The Gabba fortress breached.

The series went from being “too friendly” to racial abuses. There were plenty of mini contests like Paine vs Ashwin, Pujara vs Lyon, fielders vs the flying ball, & Pujara vs Cummins (my favorite battle) to name a few.

Here are my picks for the best moments, emerging players, and much more in this India Vs Australia Series Review! Comment IN THE COMMENTS SECTION below on your favorite moments.

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from the Ind-Aus Series, Ind-Aus Test Series Preview, Prediction Results

Results – India Vs Australia

Test Series: India won 2-1

* Player of Match

  1. Australia won by 8 wickets *Tim Paine (Toss: India elected to bat)
  2. India won by 8 wickets *Ajinkya Rahane (Toss: Australia elected to bat)
  3. Match Drawn *Steven Smith (Toss: Australia elected to bat)
  4. India won by 3 wickets *Rishabh Pant (Toss: Australia elected to bat)

Interesting that toss went the wrong way in these games and batting second was not detrimental.

Player of SeriesIndia Australia
Pat Cummins
4/21 Best Innings, 7/69 Best Match
Most RunsRishabh Pant – 274 Runs (5 innings)


Cheteshwar Pujara – 271 Runs (8 innings)
Marnus Labuschagne – 426 runs (8 innings)

Steven Smith – 313 runs (8 innings)
Most WicketsMohammad Siraj – 13 wickets (6 innings)

Ravinchandran Ashwin – 12 wickets (6 innings)
Pat Cummins – 21 Wickets (8 innings)

Josh Hazlewood – 17 Wickets (8 innings)
India Vs Australia Series Review: Stats

The Highlights

India

1. Cheteshwar Pujara is a Legend.

  • 2018/19 – 521 runs, 100s-3 & 50s-1, best of 193, Average 74.42, Strike Rate 41.41, Balls Faced 1258
  • 2020/21 – 271 runs, 100s-0 & 50s-3, best of 77, Average 33.87, Strike Rate 29.20, Balls Faced 928

Statistically, Pujara had a worse tour than 2018 by double the margin in almost every area. In reality? His impact this time was just as important, if not more. If Pujara was not present at Sydney or Brisbane, neither would have drawn the 3rd Test nor won the 4th. The Australian bowling line up at the final session of 4th Test had all the energy drawn out of them through the defense of Pujara. On the last day, Pujara was unfazed despite so many blows to the helmet, chest, and the worst – finger jarring. Act of character and survival upon which India prospered.

2. Youngsters & India A Deliver

  • In 2008, Sri Lanka unveiled the M Factor against India – Malinga, Muralitharan, Mahela, & Mendis (later Mathews).
  • Similarly, India had the S factor – Debutants Siraj, Sundar, Shubman, Shardul (first Test – 10 balls & injured).

Shubman Gill’s consistency & backfoot punches, Washington Sundar’s confidence, Siraj’s maturity, & Shardul’s ability to make things happen all contributed to India’s series victory. If one player could symbolize this series, it is Mohammad Siraj, leading from the front in his 3rd Test match. Father’s bereavement and on the back of racial abuse, he stood firm on his ground and delivered.

January 11th is Rahul Dravid’s birthday, India A & India U-19 Coach (2016-19), now the head of the National Cricket Academy, and a mentor to many of these youngsters. Rishabh Pant & Vihari, a product of the India A system, provided Dravid with a perfect birthday gift on the eve of his birthday. Pant will always be questioned, but when India needed him, he delivered.

3. Rahane & Team Management

  • In our India vs Australia preview, we said that after 2014, “Rahane has failed to go to the next level,” & needs a “Pujara 2018 or Laxman 281 to elevate to legendary status.”

Verdict: Rahane has now successfully elevated himself to legendary status – as a batsman, player, & captain.

Although Rahane’s Melbourne knock rejuvenated the side, special mention needs to go to Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun, the physios, & the support staff. In hindsight, the 36/9 rejuvenated the side, but it could easily have gone the 2011 England-Australia tours with 4-0. Credit to the team management & leadership group to keep the team together and motivated (The law of averages helped India as chances for the rest of the series went India’s way).

With all the Rahane vs Virat vs Rohit Twitter battles, one should remember that this is Kohli’s team (emphasis on fast bowlers & overseas victories) which Rahane took forward with Rohit & co in the leadership group. Team effort, no less.

Australia

1. Labuschagne, Smith, & Warner

  • 739 runs, 100s-2, 50s-4, best of 131, average of 49.27.

Sounds pretty good, right? This is the combined stats of Marnus Labuschagne & Steven Smith and vastly skewed by the performance in the last two matches. They were good, but not the usual. Smith lost the duel to R Ashwin over the series, while Labuschagne capitalized on dropped chances. For a side carrying injured openers, a Joe Burn, and a couple of inconsistent keepers, a lot more was expected from these two.

David Warner was visibly unfit, & 67 runs (from which 48 came in one innings) at 16.75 does not reflect a player of his caliber. Against Warner, every bowler looked like Stuart Broad.

Usman Khawaja & Shaun Marsh, anybody?

2. The Fall of Nathan Lyon & Mitchell Starc?

  • Starc took 11 wickets at 40.72 (74.7 SR) & Lyon with 9 wickets at 55.11 (SR: A whopping 124.6)

Alarming numbers. Lyon looked decent for the first couple of Test matches without much ‘luck,’ especially with Hazlewood & Cummins going through the Indian line-up. As the series progressed, it became clear that Lyon was having an underwhelming series. Pujara’s dancing down the wicket blocks & Pant’s hit was too much to digest. Starc? Inconsistent, out of form, & slightly injured. Amidst a long tour, COVID Bio-Bubbles, and against a certain Pujara, not rotating quicks cost Australia.

Speaking of inconsistent keepers, Tim Paine & Matthew Wade: A Tale of Two Careers.

  • 8, 33, 30, 40, 13, 4, 45, 0, and a whole load of ways of getting out

Look, I like Wade & Paine. Paine even had a great series with the bat, including a match-winning 72. I admire players who started early, were dropped, improved, & fought back into the XI. These two have been in-and-out since 2010-11 & have finally managed some success at the international level, but is it enough? One of Australia’s flaws this series was not capitalizing on strong situations, and Wade was always at the center. Not converting a single start might be too much for the Australian selectors. On the other hand, Paine will still be in the side at least as a batsman, but lots of question on his keeping and captaincy. Also, Tim & his Paineful reviews.

Murmurs about Alex Carey trying a summer England gig after being released from Delhi Capitals…

3. The Lone Bright Spots

Not everything was bad for Australia though.

  • 8 innings, 162.1 overs, 51 maidens, 21 wickets, 4/21 Best innings & 7/69 Best match

That’s Pat Cummins for you. Most overs bowled. Highest wicket taker. Most maidens. Player of the Series. Consistently threatened India’s batting from the first Test to the last. Intensity, eyes on fire, perfect line & length. Hazlewood was really good too, but Cummins was just on another level.

Debutants Cameron Green & Will Pucovski were of the highest quality. Although Green did not have much to show in the wickets column (none after 6 matches & 44 overs), he ticked several boxes. A tall bowler at 140 kph, safe pair of hands with 10 feet reach, can dig in when needed, and explode as his blistering 84 displayed. Pucovski never looked out of place with a confident 62, sandwiched between unfortunate injuries.

The Awards

We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series.

The 4th Test overshadowed the Broken Cricket Dream awards for Australia, otherwise Joe Burns falling career, Pucovski’s repeated injuries, & Wade’s dismissals were ideal candidates. Here they are:

India Australia
Emerging PlayerShubman Gill & Mohammad SirajCameron Green
Surprise PackageIndia’s Resilience & Character
Sundar, Shardul, Siraj
Tim Paine – The Batsman
Marnus Labuschagne – The outfielder
Broken Cricket DreamThe Injuries
The Dropped Catches
Kuldeep Yadav
Tim Paine – The Captain
Tim Paine – The Keeper
Nathan Lyon 399*
India Vs Australia Series Review: The Awards

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

Where Do They Go From Here?

In terms of the World Test Championship, India are at the top with the England home series to go, while Australia drop to #3 with a South Africa 3-match series to happen…somewhere (Australia virtually out of the WTC).

The India-Australia rivalry has taken the next step and few are even calling for a 5 match series. I am not sure if that should happen in the COVID environment and strict quarantine days, but definitely a possibility in the future.

Ashes 2005 Comparsion

Is the 2020-21 India vs Australia series the greatest test victory of all time? Probably not.

Ashes 2005 is usually hailed as the pinnacle of Test cricket extravaganza and rightly so. Both teams at their peaks, Australia’s 2005 meriting Top 2 All Time status (a squad which maybe only Steve Smith & Pat Cummins could have made), full crowds inspiring the next generation, England winning the Ashes (2-1) for the first times since 1986-87.

  • Was India’s Melbourne victory the greatest comeback of all time as the cricket Twitter family suggested at the time? No. Not even close.
  • Was India’s draw the greatest match saving draw of all time? Nope.
  • Was India’s chase at the Gabba the highest ever or the most enthralling? Nah.
  • The 36 All Out worst collapse of all time? Almost, but not really.

Legacy of the India Vs Australia 2020 Series

But the fact that all of the above happened in the same series under the backdrop of COVID-19 and depression around the world (both economically & mentally speaking).

India 36/9 at Adelaide, Kohli going home, Ishant-Umesh-Bhuvi-Shami-Bumrah less India, without the stars of Sydney in Jadeja, Ashwin, & Vihari, Siraj battling father’s bereavement & racial abuse. Gabbatoir breached. You cannot predict this. None of us could have.

So let me ask this again—Was the 2020-21 India-Australia the greatest ever Test series? No, but in terms of the context and stories, this may as well be the greatest story of them all.

Why compare anyway? I am just glad we have both series to cherish in our memories forever.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this India Vs Australia Series Review? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! Also feel free to share/discuss on our Twitter & Facebook pages!

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Copyright (2021: 1/12/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Hazlewood www.davidmolloyphotography.com from Sydney, Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Cricket 2020 Predictions: How Do You Predict The Unpredictable?

Cricket 2020 Predictions – India Vs Australia. New Zealand Vs West Indies, England Vs South Africa.

These three series started almost simultaneously on November 27th and has finally come to an end on January 19th. From Dawid Malan and Hardik Pandya T20 special to the Williamson-Nicholls show, abandoned ODI series, and the culminating India Vs Australia Test Series, this past two months have been full of ebbs and flows.

Also lots of lack of sleep. Watching multiple matches of cricket across time zones. By the end one thing was for sure,

How does one predict the unpredictable?

Also Read: Life Lessons from India Vs Australia, Pre-IPL prediction, Post-IPL prediction results, USA Cricket

Cricket 2020 Predictions

This time we did a #SeriesPredictions with #IndvAus (3 ODI, 3 T20I, 4 Tests), #NZvWI (3 T20I, 2 Tests), & #EngvSA (3 T20I, 3 ODI – Abandoned) and asked our followers for the following categories:

  • #Scoreline
  • #MVP
  • #MostRuns
  • #MostWickets
  • #EmergingPlayer
  • #SurprisePackage

Read till the end for poll results, winners, and your prediction summaries!

Observations

Before we start with the results, here are some of the common pre-series prediction observations.

Common Incorrect Predictions

  • Quinton de Kock did not score as many runs as people expected in the EngvSA T20I series
  • Colin de Grandhomme got injured before the series
  • At least 1 win for the West Indies in T20I was expected, but they lost 3-0 in the T20I
  • Nobody picked Dawid Malan as the MVP for Eng-SA T20I series? Definitely the best T20I batsman in recent times

Common Correct Predictions

  • On the other hand, NZ-WI Test 2-0 was almost unanimous
  • Pat Cummins among the wickets
  • Green/Pucovski Emerging Player

Series Awards

New Zealand Vs West Indies

Here is the NZ vs WI Series Review with detailed analysis and stats.

Scoreline: 2-0 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests)New ZealandWest Indies
MVP (Tests)Kyle Jamieson
Most Runs (Tests)Kane WilliamsonJermaine Blackwood
Most Wickets (Tests)Tim SoutheeShannon Gabriel
Emerging PlayerDevon ConwayJoshua De Silva
Surprise PackageKyle JamiesonJermaine Blackwood
Broken DreamRoss TaylorRoston Chase
Cricket 2020 Predictions Results: NZ Vs WI

England Vs South Africa

Eng vs SA Series Review

Scoreline: 3-0 (T20I), Abandoned(ODI)South AfricaEngland
MVPDawid Malan
Most Runs Russie Van der DussenDawid Malan
Most Wickets Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi NgidiSam Curran, Chris Jordan
Emerging PlayerGeorge LindeDressing Room Coded Signals
Surprise PackageGeorge LindeJonny Bairstow (in the middle order)
Broken Dream3rd Seamer: B. Hendricks, Ngidi, Sipamla Jason Roy, Moeen Ali
Cricket 2020 Predictions Results: SA Vs Eng

India Vs Australia

Ind Vs Aus Limited Overs Review, Ind Vs Aus Test Review

Scoreline: 2-1 (ODI), 1-2 (T20I), 1-2 (Tests)AustraliaIndia
MVP (Tests)Pat CumminsTeam Effort
Most Runs (Tests)Marnus LabuschagneRishabh Pant
Most Wickets (Tests)Pat CumminsMohammad Siraj
Emerging PlayerCameron GreenShubman Gill
Surprise PackageIndia’s Resilience & Character
Sundar, Shardul, Siraj
Tim Paine, the Batsman
Broken DreamKuldeep Yadav (No Game)Lyon 399*
Cricket 2020 Predictions Results: Aus Vs Ind

*Note: Some of the subjective Emerging Players/Surprise Package came from Twitter Polls.

My Prediction Results

If I were to give myself an award for the India vs Australia series, it would be the 2nd best guess. For the limited overs, I had the 2-1 & 1-2 correct but in the reverse order for the ODI & T20I series respectively.

Similarly, I picked the second best players of the series. Hazlewood took 2nd most wickets, Rahane tapered off at the end, and although Vihari & Labuschagne played crucial roles for their teams, they were not the most valuable players. R Ashwin was definitely a surprise all-round package, but Siraj-Sundar-Shardul in the 4th Test was even more surprising.

For the Eng-SA, I had 3-0 for sure, but in favor of South Africa. Oh how hopeful and naive. 😅

*If Most runs/wickets/MVP of either side is stated, then points will be given. For Emerging Player, either Shubman Gill, Will Pucovski, Mohammad Siraj, or Cameron Green will get a point.

IndvAusNZvWIEngvSA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 1-2 (T20I), 1-1 (Tests)
0/3
1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅
1/2
0-3 (T20I) ❌, 2-1 (ODI)
0/1
#MVPHanuma Vihari (Ind), Labuschagne (Aus)Trent Boult (NZ), Roston Chase (WI)Moeen Ali (Eng), Van der Dussen (SA)
#MostRunsAjinkya RahaneRoss TaylorQuinton de Kock
#MostWicketsHazlewoodTrent Boult-Jason Holder (tied)Anrich Nortje
#EmergingPlayerWill Pucovski ✅Joshua De Silva ✅Liam Livingstone
#SurprisePackageAshwinKyle Jamieson ✅Sam Curran?
TOTAL POINTS: 4/211/83/70/6

The Actual Results

The Winners (Drumroll Please…)

And The winners are…. In-Depth Football & Cricket (9/21) 🥇, Ansh Sharma (7/14) 🥈, Pratyush (7/21) 🥉 & Crazy Anand (7/21) 🥉! Congratulations!!!!

1. Jimmy Ciego (0/2)

  • #ENGvSA: 2-1 (T20I), 2-1 (ODI)
2. The Hundred Report (3/7)
  • #IndvAus: 1-2 (ODI) ✅. 2-1 (T20) ✅, 1-2 (Tests) SO CLOSE BUT REVERSED!
  • #NZvWI: 2-1 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅
  • #SAvEng: 2-1 (T20I), 2-1 (ODI)
  • “I love mighty Mo – I think this will be last chance saloon for him sadly so fingers crossed he makes an impact”

POOR MOEEN ALI…Did not get to play a game in the last 2 months…and now contracted COVID.

3. TheCricketMen (3/7)
  • #IndvAus: 1-2 (ODI) ✅, 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 1-3 (Tests)
  • #NZvWI: 2-1 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅
  • #SAvEng: 2-1 (T20I), 2-1 (ODI)
4. Rohan Gulavani (Ind-Aus) (2/9)
  • #Scoreline: 2-1 (ODI), 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 0-3 (Tests)
  • #MVP: Mayank (India), Warner (Aus)
  • #MostRuns: Warner
  • #MostWickets: Lyon
  • #EmergingPlayer: Pucovski/Green ✅
  • #SurprisePackage: Green/Vihari
5. Ansh Sharma (7/14)
Ind-AusNZ-WI
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 2-1 (Tests) ✅2-1 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅
#MVPBumrah(Ind), Labuschagne (Aus)Trent Boult (NZ), Jason Holder (WI)
#MostRunsMarnus Labuschagne ✅Kane Williamson ✅
#MostWicketsPat Cummins ✅Trent Boult
#EmergingPlayerWill PucovskiTom Blundell
#SurprisePackageMayank AgarwalKyle Jamieson ✅
TOTAL POINTS: 7/144/83/6
6. Aayush Mahajan (3/14)
Ind-AusEng-SA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 1-3 (Tests)2-1(T20I), 1-2(ODI)
#MVPMayank Agarwal (Ind), Smith (Aus)Sam Curran (Eng), Faf du Plessis (SA)
#MostRunsSteven SmithQuinton de Kock
#MostWicketsCummins ✅Kagiso Rabadda
#EmergingPlayerWill Pucovski ✅Liam Livingstone
#SurprisePackageAshwinHeinrich Klassen
TOTAL POINTS: 3/143/80/6

Vandit, the winner from IPL Predictions, got 6/18! Close to the top, but not the winner.

7. Vandit(6/21)
Ind-AusNZ-WIEngvSA
#Scoreline1-2 (ODI) ✅, 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 1-3 (Tests)2-1 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅3-0 (T20I) ✅, 2-1 (ODI)
#MVPMayank Agarwal (Ind), Josh Hazlewood(Aus)Trent Boult (NZ), Kemar Roach (WI)Jason Roy (Eng), Anrich Nortje (SA)
#MostRunsSteven SmithKane Williamson ✅Jason Roy
#MostWicketsJosh HazlewoodTrent BoultMark Wood
#EmergingPlayerWill Pucovski ✅Chemar HolderJanneman Malan
#SurprisePackageJoe BurnsShamarh BrooksSam Billings
TOTAL POINTS: 6/213/82/71/6
8. In-depth Football and Cricket (9/21)
Ind-AusNZ-WIEngvSA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 1-3 (Tests)1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅2-1 (T20I), 2-1 (T20I)
#MVPPujara (Ind), Labuschagne (Aus) ✅Watling (NZ), Holder (WI)Morgan (Eng), Quinton de Kock (SA)
#MostRunsSmithKane Williamson ✅Quinton de Kock
#MostWicketsCummins ✅WagnerAdil Rashid
#EmergingPlayerCameron Green ✅Will YoungGeorge Linde ✅
#SurprisePackageSiraj ✅Jamieson ✅Sam Curran
TOTAL POINTS: 9/215/83/71/6

9. Mohd Shamir Ansari (3/21)

*OOh, how life has changed in 2 months. Rohit Sharma came back for the 3rd Test, while KL Rahul found himself injured. Did not get to play a Test match at all.

IndvAusNZvWIEngvSA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 1-2 (T20I), 2-1, 1 Draw (Tests) ✅1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅2-1 (T20I), 1-2 (ODI)
#MVPKL Rahul (Ind), Travis Head (Aus)Colin de Grandhomme (NZ) , Jason Holder (WI)Jason Roy (Eng), Andile Phehlukwayo (SA)
#MostRuns*KL RahulHenry NichollsFaf du Plessis
#MostWicketsJasprit BumrahNeil WagnerKagiso Rabada
#EmergingPlayerMohammed Siraj ✅Shimron HetmyerReece Topley
#SurprisePackageJoe BurnsTom LathamJJ Smuts
TOTAL POINTS: 3/212/81/70/6
*Rohit Sharma was the first choice but Sharma has been ruled out for the first 2 Tests

The predictions for the next two in India vs Australia were correct in number (4-5), the guesses were opposite of the team who won the respective series. Great guess work nevertheless Rahul and Just Cricket!

10. Rahul Kumar (2/21)
Ind-AusNZ-WIEng-SA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 1-2 (T20I), 1-2 (Tests)1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅0-3 (T20I), 2-1 (ODI)
#MVPBumrah(Ind), Labuschagne (Aus)Williamson (NZ), Holder (WI)Morgan(Eng), Rabada (SA)
#MostRunsWarner/RahaneRoss TaylorFaf/Jos
#MostWicketsHazlewoodTrent BoultArcher
#EmergingPlayerWill Pucovski ✅Jamieson J Malan
#SurprisePackageMayank/RahulChemar HolderNortje
TOTAL POINTS: 2/211/81/70/6
11. JustCricket (3/21)
Ind-AusNZ-WIEng-SA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 1-2 (T20I), 1-2 (Tests)1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅2-1 (T20I), 1-2 (ODI)
#MVPBumrah(Ind), Cummins(Aus) ✅HolderRashid (Eng), QDK (SA)
#MostRunsSteve SmithWilliamsonQDK
#MostWicketsLyonBoultRabada
#EmergingPlayerCam Green ✅JamiesonJanneman Malan
#SurprisePackageCam Green BrooksJanneman Malan
TOTAL POINTS: 3/212/81/70/6
12. Pratyush (8/21)
Ind-AusNZ-WIEng-SA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 1-2 (Tests)1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅3-0 (T20I) ✅, 2-1 (ODI)
#MVPVihari (Ind), Labuschagne (Aus) Wagner (NZ), Chase (WI)Morgan (Eng), Van der Dussen (SA)
#MostRunsPujaraWilliamson ✅Quinton de Kock
#MostWicketsCummins ✅WagnerArcher
#EmergingPlayerWill Pucovski ✅Joshua De Silva ✅Verreynne
#SurprisePackageGill ✅Will YoungSam Curran
TOTAL POINTS: 8/214/83/71/6
13. Crazy Anand (8/21)
Ind-AusNZ-WIEng-SA
#Scoreline2-1 (ODI), 2-1 (T20I) ✅, 1-1 (Tests)1-2 (T20I), 2-0 (Tests) ✅2-1 (T20I), 2-1 (ODI)
#MVPMayank Agarwal (Ind), Marnus Labuschagne (Aus)CDG (NZ) Roston Chase (WI)Chris Woakes (Eng), Rassie Van der Dussen (SA)
#MostRunsMarnus Labuschagne ✅Ross TaylorQDK
#MostWicketsPat Cummins ✅Neil WagnerRabada
#EmergingPlayerPucovski ✅Joshua De Silva ✅Liam Livingstone
#SurprisePackageRahul, Gill ✅Kyle Jamieson ✅Sam Curran
TOTAL POINTS: 8/215/83/70/6

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The Opinions

Here is how some of the Tweets aged for the Cricket 2020 Predictions. Some of these comments are amazingly close!

Highlights: Comments that Came True, Predictions That Were Off, My Comments/Opinions

1. Arnab Bhattacharyya

Everyone has been dismissing India’s chance in the BG Trophy – Test series . I have a feeling we will do well there , provided all of them stay injury free. We are a better team in the white ball format , so winning them wont be a surprise .

2. Rohan Gulavani

I feel first Test in Adelaide may be over in less than 4 days..

  1. Both sides playing a test after long time..rustiness..
  2. India has not played DN test except Kolkata one
  3. Both side have quality bowlers. Evening sessions could be very productive for bowlers..

3. Johnny

For #SAvEng I just hope they get on the pitch. If they do, England probably win both 2-1. They don’t seem to be taking ODIs that seriously right now which could give SA a chance but most of them have had either a decent IPL or a good rest so will be ready to go…

4. Scripurient (2/3)

In terms of #IndvAus, it will be very, very competitive as is the case usually with the two sides. In terms of the scoreline, I reckon its:-

  • T20s:- 2-1 (Ind) ✅ ODIs:- 1-2 (Aus) ✅ Tests:- 1-2 ❌ (1 drawn ✅) – Aus

Tough to predict though, very tough!

For #EngvSA, well, first they need to get over natural obstacles (rain)

If all matches do commence as plan, my predictions are:- T20s:- 2-1 (could potentially be 3-0 if Eng plays a full-strength team) ODIs:- 2-1 Both in favor of England.

5. TheRedCherry: (1/4)

ODIs: India to win 2-1 T20I’s: Aussies to win 2-1 Tests: 2-1 for Aussies…

ENG vs SA: T20I’S – 2-1 ODIs – 3-0 (both in favour of England)

6. Sabeeha Majid responds:

3-0?? Give us a shot at least. We did beat the aussies 3-0

Interesting conversation this….

Well…England swept the T20I 3-0 unfortunately for South Africa.

7. Sehrish

Some interesting predictions but I believe ENGvSA will be the closest one. 3-0 seems way too off, 2-1, quite possible.

8. Aayush Mahajan

NZvWI tough to predict due to unpredictable nature of the Windies

Conclusion

I hope this was a fun game for you! Everyone did way better than the IPL Predictions!

Next Stop: IPL 2021 Predictions after the new teams are selected.

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Image Courtesy: Steve SmithNAPARAZZI, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Life Lessons From India Vs Australia 2020: Courage, Character, Resilience – Which One Is Your Favorite?

India Vs Australia 2020, a series to cherish forever.

In the time of COVID and hardship, this is exactly what was needed. Not only did this series entertain, it also taught us valuable life lessons as well.

Earlier we did a similar piece on 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020:

  1. Soil Fertile Elsewhere
  2. The Audacity of Hope
  3. Rise Like a Phoenix
  4. Make Most of Your Opportunities
  5. Synergy Above All
  6. Small Hole Can Sink a Ship
  7. Carry Old Baggage At Your Own Risk
  8. When One Era Closes, Another Opens
  9. Fix Roof When Sun Is Shining
  10. Sportsmanship & Passion For the Game

Today we will add more 10 life lessons from cricket we can apply to our lives.

Table of Contents

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: Cricket’s Reflections of Passion, Prediction Results, Life Lessons From Joe Biden & Joe Denly

The Life Lessons

India Vs Australia 2020 Edition

1. Resilience & Courage

Moment: The entire series.

The series can be summed up by Nelson Mandela’s quote, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Whenever India looked like they were gone, they found a way to get back up.

36/9 in Adelaide and without Virat Kohli at Melbourne. Surely India cannot recover at the Boxing Day Test? Well exactly the opposite happened as India achieved a memorable victory. The entire team rose to the occasion & Rahane, the stand-in captain, stood up with a magnificent century.

Resilience.

Injuries to fast bowlers of the Class of 2018. Before the series, No Ishant, no Bhuvi. Midway through the series, Shami, Umesh, and Bumrah out. By the end, Ashwin, Jadeja, & Vihari are done. Battered & bruised, they draw the third test.

Did the Indian team decide to give up at any point in time? Does India play for the draw in the 4th test? No & No. They go for the win. And they indeed win.

Courage.

Life Lesson 1: It is okay to make mistakes. You will suffer setbacks. The important part is to regroup, learn from these initial setbacks & mistakes, and find your feet again. Keep working. Keep going. Just never give up.

2. Just Be Yourself

Moment: Pant-Pujara Partnership

Oh he plays too slow! No intent shown….Oh he is too reckless. Gets out against the run of play.

This is not a description about one player but a paraphrasing of criticism for two different players, Pujara and Pant.

Balance is important. Criticize these two at your own peril.

Pujara scored his slowest fifty in the first innings of the 3rd Test. He followed it up by his 3rd slowest in the second innings. He went to break his own slowest 50th at the historic Gabba chase.

Pant ‘throws it away’ in the 2019 World Cup Semi-Final. Pant has ‘thrown it away’ several times before. In the third test, he plays a ‘rash’ shot at 97. Hopes of India’s win diminish, but the fact India had hope in the first place is due to Pant. Fortune favors the brave.

Pujara ended the series with a strike rate of 29.2. Pant with 69.89. Neither got a century, yet the partnerships of 148 (265) in Sydney and 61 (141) at Brisbane were monumental in India’s victory.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant. Chalk and cheese. Yin and Yang.

Life Lesson 2: Adapting to different situations & circumstances in life is important but not at the expense of your innate being. Always learn from others, listen, take their advice, but at the end of the day, you are unique, and that is good enough. Never change who you are for others, and never forget where you came from.

3. Character & Determination

Moment: Hanuma Vihari & R Ashwin in the 3rd Test

Hanuma Vihari had a disastrous series till Day 5 of the 3rd Test. In his 5 innings, he scored 16 & 8, 21, and 4 & 23*. By the 4th day, he had run himself out after looking uncomfortable with a 4 (38), dropped a couple of crucial chances, and had been hit numerous times at forward short leg.

When Pujara & Pant depart on Day 5, Vihari has only scored 3*(31) with a session & a half to go. Just to put salt on the wound, Vihari suffers a hamstring injury. His new partner, R Ashwin, neither has form on his side nor a functioning back.

But boy, does he have spine? Post tea, he gets battered with short deliveries and gets hit on the ribs & shoulders.

Response? They pull off one of the major heists in recent Test cricketing memory. Vihari 23*(161) with over 4 and a half hours of batting & 39*(128) in 3 hours for Ashwin. Partnership of 62*(259).

If this is not one of the greatest displays of character & determination, I just don’t know what is.

Life Lesson 3: Sometimes things are in your favor. At other times, they are not. Vihari could have easily retired hurt and cared for his place in the 4th Test. These moments are what life is all about. Even when you are not 100% physically or mentally, stay in the moment & give it your all.

Don’t retire hurt and sell yourself short.

4. Fearlessness

Moments: India’s youngsters rise to the occasion. Pant’s 97 & 89*, Sundar 62, Thakur 67 & 7 wickets, Siraj’s 5-for, & Shubman Gill’s 91.

Mark Twain is credited to have said, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

The embodiment of fearlessness was displayed by India’s youth in this tour—Debutants Shubman Gill, Mohammad Siraj, Washington Sundar, (almost debutant) Shardul Thakur, and none more so than the experienced Rishabh Pant.

Gill’s backfoot punches are a thing of beauty. Beauty + Consistency + Positive Approach = Brilliance of Shubman Gill. Scores of 45, 35*, 50, 31, 7, and the 91 that gave India belief in Brisbane.

Thakur & Sundar did not fear against Starc-Cummins-Hazlewood. Neither did they blindly hit. They played proper cricketing shots & dominated. On Day 5 and near victory, Sundar pulled dangerous Cummins for six, Pant paddle swept Lyon, & Sundar got out playing a reverse sweep. Fearless stuff.

Life Lesson 4: You will face challenges and difficulties, whether that is related to school or work. Next time you fear how hard the upcoming exam is or if you have self-doubts about completing a project, take a deep breath and invoke your inner Rishabh Pant.

Spiderman, Spiderman,…

5. The Whole Is Greater Than Sum of The Parts

Moment: India Maximize Available Resource

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. The youngsters, reserves, & stalwarts of India were prepared when this opportunity came.

Although Rahane’s century was the highlight of Melbourne’s victory, Bumrah and Ashwin were among the wickets, Shubman Gill contributed with a 45 & 35*, & ever dependable Jadeja made a steady 57 along with his fielding efforts.

The Sydney draw was masterminded by Pant-Pujara & Ashwin-Vihari partnerships, but also had key contributions from Gill-Sharma & Jadeja again. In the final Test, the improbable counterattack by Thakur-Sundar, Siraj’s 5-for, & Gill-Pujara-Pant-Sundar took India to victory.

India utilized 20 squad members, Pant was the highest score with only 274 runs, & Siraj the highest wicket taker with 13 wickets. It was a truly a team effort from India’s point of view. Australia had more centuries, highest wicket taker, & most run scorer (since they played all 4 matches).

Life Lesson 5: Learn to work with others. The more diverse the ideas, the better. Individual excellence along with the greater good is the best way forward. Bring others along with you.

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6. Be Like Pat Cummins

Moment: Pat Cummins bowls his heart out

So why does Cummins get a special mention? Because he was the highest wicket taker at 21 wickets and player of the series? No.

Pat Cummins bowled 162.1 overs, the most by a pacer in this Test series (Lyon with 187). Hazlewood was next with 144.4. This is an amazing feat considering Cummins was marred by injuries in his early career (Test debut in 2011, but did not play any tests between 2012-16).

He was just as intense on Day 1 of the first Test as he was on Day 5 of the 4th. In the final hour of the series, if there was one bowler who Tim Paine could depend on, it was Pat Cummins. Still bowling at 140 clicks, hitting the perfect line & length (Spooky pitch map by the way).

Accuracy, Consistency, Intensity. That’s Pat Cummins for you.

Pujara and the rest of the Indian batsmen had drained the Australian bowling unit. Cummins must have been out of energy. He must have tired, but it did not show. Bowled his heart out.

Life Lesson 6: Success comes before work only in dictionary. If you want to pursue any field, be like Pat Cummins. Give it your 100%. Work hard, play hard, fail, learn, cherish moments of glory, repeat.

7. Fine Line Between Banter & Abuse

Moments: Ashwin-Paine Banter, Mohammad Siraj Racial Abuse

The heat of the moment got to Tim Paine in the 3rd Test match with his banter against Ashwin. It came back to bite him since Australia lost their fortress after 33 years, the Gabbatoir. Paine later came back for an emergency press conference to address the issues. At other times in the series, commentators were guilty of making derogatory remarks against Marnus Labuschagne.

The tensions came to a boil when spectators racially abused Mohammad Siraj on multiple days. Siraj reported the incident to the umpire. Several ex-players, including Justin Langer have come out against it. As Bharat Sundaresan wrote, “Siraj is the hero we need to be.” Bharat also speaks about it here.

Life Lesson 7: Racism is not acceptable in any form. Speak up if you are a victim or a by-stander. Try to learn from other cultures. If you are not sure about a cultural reference or how to pronounce a name, just ask. Don’t Assume. Embrace diversity. Be nice.

8. Walk the Talk: Performance Matters

Moments: Tim Paine & Matthew Wade’s Performances

Tim Paine had a decent series with the bat, especially the counter attacking Player of the Match 73* at Adelaide. The rest of his performance though was below par.

Dropped catches at Sydney & Brisbane, missed DRS reviews, useless banter, & fielding placements. He needs to walk the talk with his captaincy.

The other keeper in the XI, Matthew Wade also needs to walk the talk. He has done a great job plugging holes in Australia’s line up as a middle order, opening batsman, and taking hits from Neil Wagner. In this India Vs Australia 2020 series, he has managed to get out with a soft dismissal on 3-4 occasions.

Life Lesson 8: Words need to be accompanied with actions to have any meaning. Walk the talk & never take anything for granted. When you are doing well, make the most out of your opportunity because the good times can end very quickly.

9. Leadership Matters

Moments: Siraj leads the attack, Rahane consoles Jadeja after Run Out

If I had to remember this series by one story alone, it would be Mohammad Siraj. Siraj comes from a humble background, was in bereavement of his father’s loss, and was racially abused. Bumrah gets injured, and India play the Brisbane Test with a total of 4 Test matches among the 5 bowlers, with Rohit Sharma being the most experienced bowler.

Siraj becomes the leader of the attack, gives advice to Saini, Natarajan, & Thakur, and takes a well deserved 5-fer. It has been a great boon to Indian cricket that the transition from Zaheer Khan to Ishant Sharma, Ishant Sharma to Bumrah, and Bumrah to Siraj has been smooth. Arms around shoulders.

Speaking of leadership, Rahane’s captaincy & calm demeanor (the Jadeja moment & reaction after series victory) were central to India’s win. In addition, the physio’s efforts during this injury-marred series, and support staff’s influence with Bharat Arun & Ravi Shastri cannot be understated.

Life Lesson 9: Be the leader you want others to be. Lead with humility and vision. Take responsibility. Guide others. Sharing is caring. Creating other leaders is the most significant sign of leadership.

10. Do Not Get Ahead of Yourself

Moments: The Gabba Fortress Breached

The pre-series talk included several predictions of Australia sweeping 4-0 and even after Sydney, Gabba’s statistics were the talk of the town. We all know what happened.

India needs to be warned as well. This was an expected surreal win, but the Indian team should not get ahead of themselves. If India gets complacent, who knows, England might provide India a taste of their own medicine later this year.

Life Lesson 10: Pride and ego can lead to positive growth if utilized correctly. Hubris and arrogance, on the other hand, will certainly bring your downfall.

11. Bonus Story: Superstitions For The Win

This is a fun personal story.

I have always enjoyed underdog stories. I mean, this entire blog is about “Broken Cricket Dreams.” One of the Test matches I have always waited for is a 5th Day hard fought draw.

Due to time zones, I had missed Faf’s Adelaide debut & a similar New Zealand-England match earlier in the decade. The 2015 South Africa blockathon (143 runs in 143.1 overs) resulted in a narrow defeat. The end of the decade, I thought my dream would come true with the Azhar Ali-Fawad Alam-Rizwan effort. It was not to be.

I am also known for my jinx ability & superstitions (just for the fun of it). So 3rd Test Day 5, I had been asked by my friend and family to not tweet a thing. I went one step ahead and decided to not speak either for the day.

After almost 9 and a half hours, the dream finally came true. India had saved the Test match. And guess what? It was a kind of peaceful exercise, not being on social medial 24-7. Anyway…

India Vs Australia 2020 Legacy

Surely this is a tour that Allan Border & Sunil Gavaskar would be proud of.

For a generation or two, the 1999 World Cup Semi-Final, 2005 Ashes, 2001 Laxman’s 281, Belinda Clarke’s 229* were the moments to cherish. In the last 5 years, cricket has rejuvenated itself. All formats with memorable moments.

  1. T20 World Cup – Remember The Name
  2. Women’s World Cup 2017, WT20 2020 – 86,000 spectators
  3. ODI World Cup Final 2019
  4. Stokes Headingly 2019, Perera 153*
  5. India Vs Australia 2020

So, India Vs Australia – who won?

Here is one of our tweets that made it after the 36/9 in Adelaide.

If you like these philosophy bits, go check these two featured articles below.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020, Cricket’s Reflections of Passion

If you like this content about India Vs Australia 2020, feel free to subscribe above for FREE and follow us on our social media accounts. We discuss regularly about cricket on our Twitter platform, but also have Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Accounts

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

Sources: goodreads.com, Brainy Quote

Image Courtesy: Anand Anil, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

42 South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries: Can You Guess Them All?

South African born cricketers have had a good time recently. Marnus Labuschagne just scored a Test century at the Gabba, Neil Wagner picked up key wickets with a broken toe, and the Glenn Phillips-Devon Conway have been on fire for New Zealand.

Brydon Carse just debuted against Pakistan in England’s new-look second string team (originally born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa but has English ancestry).

That got me thinking – can we make a current World XI out of South African players that play internationally for other countries? And how many such players are there?

In total there have been 42 South African born cricketers who played for other countries, 21 of whom have already retired and 21 are still playing. 19 South African born players played for England (4 current, 15 former), 7 for New Zealand (5 current, 2 former), 6 for Netherlands (5 current, 1 former), 3 Australia (2 current, 1 former), and 7 from other nations (Zimbabwe, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland, and USA)

Table of Contents

  1. Today’s Twist
  2. The Catch
  3. Current South African Emigrant World XI
    1. 1. Keaton Jennings (England)
    2. 2. Jason Roy (England)
    3. 3. Colin Munro (New Zealand)
    4. 4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
    5. 5. Devon Conway (New Zealand)
    6. 6. Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)
    7. 7. Curtis Campher (Ireland)
    8. 8. BJ Watling* (New Zealand) – WK
    9. 9. Tom Curran (England)
    10. 10. Michael Neser (Australia)
    11. 11. Neil Wagner (New Zealand)
    12. 12. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)
  4. All Time South African Emigrant World XI
  5. A Bit of Philosophy, Of Course
  6. Variations: Make YOUR OWN World XI
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: For other South African cricket articles, check out the following:

Today’s Twist

Build Two World XIs: (1) A current World XI and (2) World XI composed of former players who were born in South Africa but played internationally for another country.

*Note: This does not include Kolpak players or Johan Botha (who moved to Australia permanently and became an Australia citizen, but never represented them internationally. Now plays domestic cricket and BBL)

*Note, Dawid Malan was born in England and grew up in South Africa, so he is not included in the lists below.

The Catch

The XI needs to have five bowlers & a wicketkeeper. While there are several players in the current circuit who can bat, can you find at least four others who can accompany Neil Wagner?

Current South African Emigrant World XI – South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries

1. Keaton Jennings (England)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA), Durham (Eng), South Africa U-19, England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: English citizenship through mother, Age When Left SA: 20
  • Where Are They Now: 17 Tests as English opener so far (last in Feb 2019)
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2. Jason Roy (England)

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Surrey (Eng), England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: Moved with family to England, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: World Cup Winner as an England opener. 5 Tests, 96 ODIs.
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3. Colin Munro (New Zealand)

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Auckland (NZ), New Zealand A, New Zealand U-19s
  • Why Did They Move: Moved to NZ at an early age
  • Where Are They Now: Has played over 100 matches for the Kiwis. Currently out of favor and employs his trade in T20 leagues around the world.
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4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

  • Born: Klerksdorp, North West Province, Teams: Queensland (Aus), Australia
  • Why Did They Move: Father got job in mining industry, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: Scoring centuries, chirping at forward short leg, screaming ‘No Run’, and taking the world by storm. #4 in ICC Test Rankings currently. Oh and by the way, this is how you currently pronounce his name (funny video).
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5. Devon Conway (New Zealand)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA), Lions (SA), Wellington (NZ), New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Was not making an impact in first class cricket in South Africa. Wanted to start afresh so he sold his property & car in South Africa with encouragement from friends who took similar path, Michael Nofal & Michael Rippon, Age When Left SA: 26
  • Where Are They Now: Wonderful story this. Three years after leaving South Africa, Conway debuts for New Zealand after dominating first class cricket. 14 T20Is later, 4-50s, best of 99*, 75.00 average in ODIs (1-100), and a magnificent Test double century on debut at Lord’s.
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6. Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)

  • Born: East London, Eastern Cape, Teams: Auckland (NZ), New Zealand
  • Age When Left SA: 5
  • Where Are They Now: Partner in crime with Conway. Just scored a 108 against the West Indies in a T20I. Here to stay in their T20I squad. Coincidently, replacement for Colin Munro.
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7. Curtis Campher (Ireland)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA) U-13s,U-15s, U-17s, South Africa U-19s, Ireland A, Ireland
  • Why Did They Move: Qualified to play for Ireland through grandmother – Mentioned to Niall O’ Brien that he held an Irish passport and was fast-tracked.
  • Where Are They Now: Meteoric rise for Curtis. Eye catching 59* on debut, starred in the famous chase against England (2019) and now has a full-time contract.
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8. BJ Watling* (New Zealand) – WK

*has since retired after the victorious World Test Championship campaign.

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Northern District (NZ), New Zealand U-19s, New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Family moved to New Zealand, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: One of the cogs of New Zealand’s test line up in their rise to No.1. Ever dependable, under-rated, and starred in several back-to-the-wall gritty knocks.
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9. Tom Curran (England)

  • Born: Cape Town, Teams: KwaZulu-Natal Under-19s (SA), Surrey (Eng), England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: Family/Schooling. Born in SA, moved to Zimbabwe (father’s origin), played in SA for some time, before moving to England
  • Where Are They Now: In-and-out of the competitive England limited overs squad. Quite effective at the death in T20Is. His brother Sam Curran, born in England, is also pretty good.
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10. Michael Neser (Australia)

  • Born: Pretoria, Teams: Adelaide (Aus), Australia
  • Why Did They Move: Family moved to Australia, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: In the reserves for the Australia seam attack. Currently in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy squad against India.
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11. Neil Wagner (New Zealand)

  • Born: Pretoria, Teams: Northerns (SA), Otago (NZ), New Zealand A, New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Was not getting enough opportunities due to the ‘quota system.Age When Left SA: 22
  • Where Are They Now: Part of the greatest NZ pace generation with Boult-Southee-Jamieson. Now a cult-hero of sorts. Bowls his heart on placid pitches, short ball stock (but can also swing it), Steve Smith-outer specialist, and even bowled recently with a broken toe. What a guy.
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12. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)

*has since retired after the disastrous T20 World Cup.

  • Born: Port Elizabeth, Teams: Western Province (South Africa), Essex (England), Netherlands
  • Why Did They Move: Graham Gooch spotted him with a touring Essex team to South Africa; EU citizenship due to Netherlands descent
  • Where Are They Now: At an ODI average of 67.00 after 33 ODIs, his talent is unquestionable. He has travelled in T20 leagues around the world and is sought after as an allrounder. At 41 and having last played in 2019, his international career is coming towards an end. He has made the 2021 T20 World Cup squad nevertheless.

*Captain

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Squad:

  • 13. Roelof Van der Merwe (born – Johannesburg) – played for both South Africa and Netherlands
  • 14. Stephan Myburgh (born – Pretoria) – plays for Netherlands
  • 15. Colin Ackermann (born – George) – plays for Netherlands
  • 16. Michael Rippon (born – Cape Town) – plays for Netherlands
  • 17. Brandon Glover (born – Johannesburg) – plays for Netherlands
  • 18. David Wiese (born – Roodepoort) – played for both South Africa and now Namibia
  • 19. Ruben Trumpelmann (born – Durban) – plays for Namibia
  • 20. Brad Wheal (born – Durban), 21. Chris Greaves (born – Sandton, Johannesburg) – play for Scotland
  • 22. Brydon Carse (born – Port Elizabeth) – plays for England
  • 23. Rusty Theron (born – Potchefstroom) – plays for the United States of America (USA)
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Come to think of it, this is actually a decent T20 XI that could potentially play in a league somewhere around the world. Roy-Munro-Phillips are dangerous T20 players, while Labuschagne-Conway can steady the ship. Tom Curran and Neser lead the bowling line up along with Neil Wagner and all-rounder Campher. If dibbly dobbly Munro and leggie Marnus can chip in with a few overs as the 5th/6th bowler, this is a well-balanced team.

Before we move on to the All-Time South African XI, feel free to check out other World XIs with Twists – Unlucky Cricketers XI, Underrated cricketers XI, Best Fielders XI, etc.

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All Time South African Emigrant World XI

Here is a similar line up made up of retired international players. Several English players of the great 2011-2013 Test team as well as several who left South Africa during the apartheid suspension. The details are left as an exercise for the reader.

  1. Andrew Strauss* (England)
  2. Kepler Wessels (Australia 1982-92/South Africa 1992-94): First South African Test captain upon return from apartheid
  3. Craig Kieswetter (England)
  4. Jonathan Trott (England)
  5. Kevin Pietersen (England): Dream first series against South Africa (2004) – 5 innings, 454 runs, 3 centuries, Player of the Series. Started the series with boos and ended with standing ovations.
  6. Andy Flower (Zimbabwe)
  7. Grant Elliot (New Zealand): Famously Knocked South Africa out of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Superman.
  8. Matt Prior (England) – WK
  9. Basil D’Oliveira (England): England-South Africa Test series Trophy is named after him.
  10. Tony Greig (England)
  11. Jade Dernbach (England)

*Captain

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Squad: 12. Allan Lamb (England), 13. Stuart Meaker (England), 14. Ian Greig (England), 15. Michael Lumb (England), 16. Nick Compton (England), 17. Chris Smith (England), 18. Robin Smith (England), 19. Kruger van Wyk (New Zealand)

Jade Dernbach is the only out-and-out fast bowler, with Tony Greig, Basil D’Oliveira, & Grant Elliot as key all rounders. Part-timers Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott will be needed to complete the overs. Maybe fast bowler Stuart Meaker can replace a batsman for a more balanced line-up.

“Go try something new. Embrace change. Embrace others. Embrace diversity.”

If you like this, check out all the other articles in World XIs – With Twists section.

A Bit of Philosophy, Of Course

England famously won the 2019 World Cup with key contributions from opener Jason Roy, captain Eoin Morgan (Ireland), lead fast bowler Jofra Archer (Barbados), and player of the final Ben Stokes (New Zealand). Similarly, the 2018 FIFA World Cup was won by France, a team whose 23 member squad consisted of 15 members of African descent with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba.

In either case, diversity won. Globalism and international travel have come to a halt in times of COVID & lockdowns. In these times, the stories of someone like a Devon Conway lightens the mood. Left everything, took a risk, worked hard, and fulfilled his dream.

Embrace change. Sometimes you have to leave from your birthplace in order to prosper, whether that is for education, work, or family. Go try something new.

Embrace others. Learning from others & learning about new cultures can only be a good thing.

Embrace Diversity.

If you like these philosophy bits, go check these two featured articles below.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020, Cricket’s Reflections of Passion

If you like this content, feel free to subscribe above for FREE and follow us on our social media accounts. We discuss regularly about cricket on our Twitter platform, but also have Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Accounts.

If you like this material, check our other featured articles here!

Also Read: Best Fielders XI feat Jonty Rhodes, Faf and ABD: The Friendship, Agony, and World Cup Hopes

Variations: Make YOUR OWN World XI

Fun exercise, wasn’t it? If you want to have more fun, you can create more variants.

Australia in 2017 fielded Usman Khawaja (Pakistan), Matt Renshaw (England), Steve O’Keefe (Malaysia), and Hilton Cartwright (Zimbabwe). Speaking of Zimbabwe, did you know New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme is born in Zimbabwe?

Here are some fun ideas to create World XIs with Twists:

  1. You can also make an unusual XI of cricketers born in non-Test playing countries.
    • For example, Moises Henriques (Aus) for born in Portugal, George Headley (WI) in Panama, Geraint Jones (Eng) from Papua New Guinea, (Pak) Shan Masood from Kuwait, (Pak) Imad Wasim from Wales, and many more!
  2. With the completion of Brexit, the Kolpak deal is all but over. Kyle Abbott is back with the Titans. Can you make a South Africa Exodus XI? Here are some ideas
    • Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell, Marchant de Lange, Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, Colin Ingram, Dane Piedt (USA)
  3. Imran Tahir is a Pakistan-born immigrant to play for South Africa. Can you make an All-Time South African immigrant XI? Or a Pakistan Emigrant XI?
    • Usman Khawaja, Imran Tahir, Owais Shah

Once you have an XI, comment below, and we will post it here! Any opinions about South African cricket?

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many South African born cricketers played for other countries?

In total there have been 40 South African born cricketers who played for other countries, 21 of whom have already retired and 19 are still playing. 19 South African born players played for England (4 current, 15 former), 7 for New Zealand (5 current, 2 former), 3 Australia (2 current, 1 former), and 11 from other nations (Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland, and USA)Photo of Kevin Pietersen - one of the South African born cricketers who played for other countries

Which South African born cricketers have represented New Zealand?

South African born cricketers who have represented New Zealand include Grant Elliot, Neil Wagner, Devon Conway, & Glenn Phillips.

Which South African born cricketers have represented England?

South African born cricketers who have represented England include Jason Roy, Tom Curran, Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Basil D’Oliveira, Tony Greig, Michael Lumb, Craig Kieswitter, and several more!

Which South African born cricketers have represented Australia?

South African born cricketers who have represented Australia include Marnus Labuschagne, Kepler Wessels, & Michael Neser.

Test Cricket 2021: England Vs Sri Lanka Series Preview – Can Bruised Sri Lanka Fend Off Rising England?

Test Cricket was at its best in the last couple of weeks. Fawad Alam & Mohammad Rizwan almost survived four sessions after being down 0/2 on Day 4 against New Zealand. India’s Australia tour has included everything from a 36 All Out and an XI of injured players to an exhilarating Day 5 finish.

Test Cricket is beautiful, and we get to see more of it with England-Sri Lanka. Both England and Sri Lanka are coming off South Africa tours (with contrasting results). Interestingly, England were in Sri Lanka long before Sri Lanka themselves.

While England have managed to play a Team Root Vs Team Buttler, Sri Lanka are still raw from all the injuries in the South Africa series.

Well anyway, here is our Series Preview! Read till the end to check out our predictions. We have a table for our predictions – Most Runs, Wickets, Emerging Player, Surprise Package, and MVP! Let us know who you think will win these in the COMMENTS below!

Also Read: Life Lessons From Joe Denly & Joe Biden, Why The World Needs Sam Curran?, USA Cricket

When and Where?

Here are the dates and the venue for the Sri Lanka Vs England Test Series.

  1. 13-17 January, Galle
  2. 21-25 January, Galle

England

England Favorite Without Full-Strength Squad

  • Last time England toured Sri Lanka in 2018, they crushed the home team 3-0. This time, however, they will be without key players in Rory Burns (paternity leave), Ben Stokes & Jofra Archer (rested), and from 2018, Adil Rashid (no longer a Test prospect) & Moeen Ali (COVID/quarantine).
  • If England can repeat their 2018 heroics, they will need the help of the 5 Bs-BBC nominated Broad, Buttler, Bairstow, Bess, and Ben (Foakes), the centurion on debut last time around. A couple of wicket-keeper batsmen, an off spinner, and a fast bowling enforcer, they all need to chip in.
  • The Fab 4. Or is the Fab 5? Shall I say the Big 3? You know exactly who I will be talking about here—none other than Joe Root. Too much has been made of his conversion rate, and Babar Azam ‘taking over’ Joe Root. In all reality, Root is still a stellar player with an amazing record. I argue that the fact that England do not seem to need him as much as the other countries is a reflection of the strength of this English team, not the fall of a rising career. I hope he answers his critics with the bat. Anyway this rant may become an article some other day.

Sri Lanka

Middle Order The Key

  • Angelo Mathews is back after missing the South Africa series, and Chandimal should be back after getting injured in SL-SA first test. A Chandimal-Thirimanne-Mathews middle order was an adequate replacement for Dilshan-Sangakkara-Jayawardene, at least in Test cricket. Unfortunately, it did not materialize due to inconsistency & injuries.
  • If the middle order rises, with Karunaratne’s stability and flair from the Kusal’s (Perera and Mendis), they will finally have a consistent & complete batting order.
  • The real question is can they bounce back from the injuries? Who will be fit? If the stalwart Dilruwan Perera & another spinner in the form of Embuldeniya/PWH de Silva can hold one end, and 2 out of Shanaka/Lakmal/Rajitha/Fernando/Kumara can literally stand up, this Sri Lankan team might be a handful at home.

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Key Matchups To Watch Out For

  1. England’s Top Order Vs Sri Lanka’s Pacers: With Sibley and Crawley now established in this line up and Bairstow, Root, & possible debutant Dan Lawrence to follow, Lakmal/Shanaka vs Sibley/Crawley will be key.
  2. Jonny Bairstow & Angelo Mathews Vs The Rest of the World: Bairstow & Mathews have both had interesting careers so far. Both expected to be the next great things for England & Sri Lanka respectively, they have had their moments. Unfortunately, though, they have also had their share of administrative/media run-ins + fitness issues/technical fault to never establish their position in Test Cricket for long. Make or break for both.
  3. Lankan Spinners Vs England Middle Order: If Sri Lanka are to emerge victorious, spinners would need to contribute heavily. England’s middle order succumb to spin—Sri Lanka win. England’s middle order battles hard—England has the upper hand. As easy as that.

The Broken Dream

England: Moeen Ali

  • Moeen Ali’s South Africa tour began with a resounding statement of giving it all in every format for the final leg of his career. Well, England blew South Africa out of the park in the T20Is, and Ali was not needed. The ODI series? Abandoned. Fast forward to Sri Lanka—finally expected to play in the turning tracks of Galle, Ali got COVID and is out of the reckoning.

Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne

  • Thirimanne debuted way back in 2010, in the Dilshan-Sangakkara-Jayawardane-Malinga generation. He looked a wonderful prospect and has played some decent innings across formats. However, an average of 22.68 after 36 Tests with a solitary hundred reflects the trajectory of his career. At 31, he might still be at his peak. Will Thirimanne get another chance/can he justify his selection? Or are his international cricket dreams over? I guess we will find out.

Also Read: Sri Lanka Vs South Africa Series Review, England Vs South Africa Series Review

Series Prediction

Verdict: 1-0 England Win

Here are my detailed predictions.

EnglandSri Lanka
Player of Series/MVPJoe RootDimuth Karunaratne
Most RunsJoe RootKusal Perera
Most WicketsStuart BroadDasun Shanaka
Emerging PlayerDan Lawrence/Jonny Bairstow 2xAngelo Mathews Without Injury
Surprise PackageJack LeachLasith Embuldeniya
Series Predictions

Given Sri Lanka’s lack of match practice and injured bodies, England are going to win the first Test against Sri Lanka, and win big.

In the 2nd game, Sri Lanka will be down and out for three days before fierce defense/rain will save the game, courtesy Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews. It would be a perfect sequel to Pakistan’s Azhar-Alam-Rizwan and India’s Pant-Pujara-Vihari-Ashwin Asian resistance.

Let us know your thoughts on the Sri Lanka Vs England Test Series. WHAT IS YOUR EVENTUAL SCORELINE? Predictions?

Where is Test Cricket heading? COMMENT BELOW, SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, 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).

With the injury form Sri Lanka are bringing in from South Africa, I am going in with an extra bowler with Shanaka batting at #7.

Sri Lanka:

  1. Dimuth Karunaratne*, 2. Kusal Perera (WK), 3. Dinesh Chandimal, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Dhananjaya de Silva, 7. Dasun Shanaka, 8. Suranga Lakmal, 9. Dilruwan Perera/PWH de Silva (Wanindu Hasaranga), 10. Vishwa Fernando, 11. Lasith Embuldeniya

England:

Bairstow is expected to slot in at #3. I would love to see Ben Foakes in this series, but it is unlikely that he will make the XI in the 1st due due to the presence of Bairstow and Buttler. Maybe they can fit in all 3 and only play one out of Broad/Anderson like 2018, but this would be my personal first choice.

  1. Dom Sibley, 2. Zak Crawley, 3. Jonny Bairstow, 4. Joe Root*, 5. Dan Lawrence, 6. Jos Buttler (WK), 7. Sam Curran/Chris Woakes, 8. Stuart Broad, 9. James Anderson, 10. Dom Bess, 11. Jack Leach

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads.

Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Lahiru Kumara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kasun Rajitha, Minod Bhanuka, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Santhush Gunathilake, Dilshan Madushanka, Roshen Silva, Lakshan Sankadan, Nuwan Pradeep, Ramesh Mendis

England: Mark Wood, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes (WK), Dan Lawrence, Olly Stone

Standby: James Bracey (WK), Mason Crane, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Robinson Amar Virdi

Here is our Facebook & Twitter pages.

Copyright (2021: 1/13/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Yudesh, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Sri Lanka Vs South Africa 2020 Test Series Review: South African Cricket Back On Its Feet Against Injury-Hit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Vs South Africa—With the Pakistan-New Zealand series and Border-Gavaskar Trophy underway, this series almost went under the radar. However, the importance of this series cannot be understated, especially after the abandonment of the England-South Africa ODI series.

Although short in nature, the series had its moments—Sri Lanka’s positive start, Faf Du Plessis’ 199, Elgar’s heroics, Temba’s hilarious/unfortunate walk, the Lankan injuries, and Nortje’s coming of age.

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

Also Read: Eng-SA ODI Review, NZ-Pak Series Review, Ind-Aus Test Series Preview

Results – England Vs South Africa

Test Series: South Africa Win 2 – 0

* Player of Match

  1. South Africa won by an innings and 45 runs – Faf Du Plessis*
  2. South Africa won by 10 wickets Dean Elgar*
Player of SeriesSri Lanka
South Africa
Dean Elgar
1-50, 1-100, 127 best
Most RunsKusal Perera – 141 runs (4 innings)Dean Elgar – 253 runs (3 innings)
Most WicketsVishwa Fernando – 8 wickets (3 innings)Anrich Nortje – 11 wickets (4 innings)
Test Series Stats

The Highlights

Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka began the series with a complete team effort consisting of Chandimal’s 85, Dhananjaya de Silva’s 79, Dickwella’s 49, Shanaka’s 66* to get to 396, their highest ever in South Africa. In response, South Africa’s mammoth 621 was too much to save a match. Not even Kusal Perera could save the match with a 64, as he did with the best Test innings of all time in 2019.
  • 31.1, 2.1, 28.5, 21.1, 6.5 read Sri Lanka’s bowling card in the first Test, with injured bowlers. Even captain Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis had to contribute 13.5 overs.
  • Injuries were unfortunately the theme for Sri Lanka this tour. With 5 forced changes including Chandimal & Dhananjay de Silva (and Angelo Mathews injured pre-series), Perera’s 1st innings 60 and Karunaratne’s 103 were the only bright spots in the 2nd Test.

Honestly speaking, 0 tour matches, COVID uncertainty, and focus on Lanka Premier League was way too much for Sri Lanka’s longer format dreams.

Also Read: Lasith Malinga – The Slinga, The Slayer, The SuperStar

South Africa

  • Faf Du Plessis has been through a lot in the last few years. Waited 7 years for a debut, heartbreak in the 2015 WC Semi-Final, led South Africa admirably, with everything collapsing in the 2019 World Cup. He has stayed and become the beacon of leadership, helping the Proteas transition to the next generation. His 199 in the 1st Test—so close, yet so far. In context though, a very important statement. Another couple of years for Faf?
  • Dean Elgar had a brilliant series with a 95 & 127 in the 2 Tests. One of the best openers in tough conditions, his reputation continues to rise.
  • SA began this series with an appalling statistic – first time in a few decades that all batsman averaged below 40. Yep, you read that correctly. All, even Faf, Elgar, and captain Quinton de Kock were on the wrong side of 40. With welcome performances from Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Rassie Van der Dussen, and even Keshav Maharaj, the batting looks decent for the near future. Still need to guide against collapses.
  • In the absence of Rabada, Nortje rose to the occasion as the leader of the attack with a blistering 6-56. The supporting cast of Sipamla, Ngidi, and Wiaan Muldur chipped in with 10, 9, and 7 wickets respectively. Not quite Steyn-Morkel-Philander-Rabada, but these four displayed some potential for the future.

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

The Awards

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

South AfricaSri Lanka
Emerging PlayerWiann Muldur Dasun Shanaka’s Workload
Surprise PackageBatting Consistency Vishwa Fernando
Broken Cricket DreamQuinton de Kock (In a series where each player had a breakthrough performance, QDK was underpar)Injuries Galore

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

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Where Do They Go From Here?

England left South Africa early due to COVID concerns. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka arrived in South Africa for a Test series tour. While the SL-SA series was going on, England already reached Sri Lanka to quarantine. So England’s been in Sri Lanka before the home team, while Sri Lanka are completing the series in South Africa.

Interesting how life works.

In the next couple of weeks, England-Sri Lanka are due for a 2-match Test series, while South Africa travel to Pakistan after a decade for a historic tour. In terms of the World Test Championship, England are ranked 4th (with tours of Sri Lanka & India coming up), SA a distant 5th, and SL down at 7th. Although the WTC provides context for the teams that are still in contention, it is the opposite for teams that suffer early losses. Widens the gap for the lower teams. Things to think about for the WTC.

Finally, Brexit is complete, Kolpak deals out of the window, & Kyle Abbott back with the Titans. If talent stream does not go to other places like the USA, South Africa might be stepping in the right direction.

Anyway, where do you think Sri Lanka and South African cricket go from here? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! Also feel free to share/discuss on our Twitter & Facebook pages!

Copyright (2021: 1/12/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

New Zealand Vs Pakistan 2020 Series Review: Williamson, Jamieson, And A Little Bit of Pakistan

New Zealand vs Pakistan 2020 Series Review.

Both New Zealand and Pakistan had multiple stories in this series—Kane Williamson & Kyle Jamieson’s continued 2020 brilliance, Fawad Alam & Daryl Mitchell’s fairytale hundreds, Azhar Ali’s revival & Shan Masood’s decline.

Here is our review of both the T20I and Test series between New Zealand and the Pakistan—the rising stars, falling gems, broken dreams, and much more!

READ TILL THE END FOR THE WORLD T20I WORLD CUP WATCH!

Also Read: Pakistan vs New Zealand Series Preview, USA Cricket Guide, Umar Gul Retirement Tribute

Results – New Zealand Vs Pakistan 2020

This series mirrored the recently concluded New Zealand Vs West Indies series. In the WI series, the T20I series was dominated by Glenn Phillips. Similarly, this time it was another top order, wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert.

The similarity does not end here. In both these series, Kane Williamson won the Player of the Match award for the first Test match and Kyle Jamieson won that award for the second Test match. While Jamieson received the Player of the Series trophy for the West Indies series, Williamson won the Pakistan series award.

Oh yeah, Williamson scored double centuries in both.

T20I Series: New Zealand Win 2 – 1

* Player of Match

  1. NZ won by 5 wicketsJacob Duffy*
  2. NZ won by 9 wickets Tim Southee*
  3. Pakistan won by 4 wicketsMohammad Rizwan*
Player of SeriesNew Zealand
Tim Seifert
2-50s, 84* best
Pakistan
Most RunsTim Seifert – 176 runsMohammad Hafeez – 140 runs
Most WicketsTim Southee – 6 wicketsHaris Rauf – 5 wickets
T20 Series Stats

Test Series: New Zealand Win 2 – 0

  1. NZ won by 101 runsKane Williamson*
  2. NZ won by an innings and 176 runs Kyle Jamieson*
Player of SeriesNew Zealand
Kane Williamson
2-100s, 238 best
Pakistan
Most RunsKane Williamson – 388 runs (3 innings)Mohammad Rizwan – 202 runs (4 innings)
Most Wickets Kyle Jamieson – 16 wickets (4 innings)Shaheen Shah Afridi – 6 wickets (3 innings)
Test Series Stats

The Highlights

Pakistan

T20Is

  • Mohammad Hafeez keeps improving with age. The 99* in the 2nd T20I was one of the innings of the year albeit in a losing cause.
  • In absence of Babar Azam, stand-in captain Shadab Khan showed maturity with his 42 (32) in the first T20I, taking Pakistan to a decent score after being 20/4. Rizwan, similarly, took responsibility in the third match with a match-winning 89 (59). The Babar-Rizwan-Shadab leadership group holds well for the future.
  • Abdullah Shafique (2/3 matches), Haider Ali (3/3), and Khushdil Shah (3/3) all had opportunities, but could not capitalize with series totals of 0, 22, and 43 runs respectively. With a struggling top order, maybe some re-shuffling is required. At a T20I strike rate of 145.89, Imad Wasim at #8 was a bit wasted.
  • End of Wahab Riaz? 0/64 with economy of 13.24 economy (4.5 overs). I am sure he will fight & comeback as always but time is running out.

Tests

  • Fawad Alam, one of the unluckiest player of the last decade, had the last laugh at the end of 2020. 11 years since his last century, Alam scored 102 (296), battling along with Azhar Ali & Rizwan for six and a half hours. Good effort by Pakistan, dragging the game from 0/2 to 271 in 123.3 overs. Almost saved the game if not for Santner’s jumping catch.
  • Pakistan scored 239, 271, 297, & 186. Sounds respectable right? Well if the #7 and #8 had not done rearguard efforts thanks to Mohammad Rizwan (71, 60, 61, 10) & Faheem Ashraf (91, 19, 48, 28), Pakistan would have been skittled for not too many. End of the road for Shan Masood and gully-catch-thrower Haris Sohail?
    • Masood + Haris = 8 innings, 38 runs, 200 balls.
    • Afridi + Abbas = 8 innings, 34 runs, 224 balls.
  • The bowlers had a horrid test series—usually Pakistan’s strong suit. Although Afridi and Abbas were disciplined, the wicket column was dry. Both Naseem and Yasir Shah were off-color with Yasir’s overseas stats continuing to worsen. Comeback story Zafar Gohar (missed Test debut in 2015 because he overslept) went wicketless.

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New Zealand

T20Is

  • Tim Seifert shows his class – 57 (43), 84* (63), 35 (20) at 139.68 strike rate with 7 sixes.
  • Jacob Duffy – what a debut! Player of the Match performance with 4/33.
  • Devon Conway has solidified his spot for the T20I World Cup with 63 (45) in the last T20I. Looks like Ross Taylor is on the way out in this format….

Tests

  • Kane Williamson—should I even write anymore? From the eliminator of the IPL, Williamson’s scores read 50*, 67, 251, 57*, 1, 129, 21, 238 & 1/16. Ends the year as #1 Test batsman.
  • Nicholls might have had the rub of the green with Pakistan’s dropped catches, but now has scores of 174 and 157 against West Indies and Pakistan. Not only is he scoring hundreds, he is beginning to score daddy hundreds.
  • Kyle Jamieson has taken everybody by surprise. A Test batting average of 56.5, bowling average of 13.27, four 5-wicket hauls and 1 10-wicket haul in his short 6-Test career, he is my ICC Allrounder for the next decade.
  • Tim Southee picked up his 300th Test wicket. What a gem this guy has been for New Zealand cricket. What a gem Boult-Southee are. Here are their uncannily similar stats in the past decade (courtesy Twitter).

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

New Zealand vs Pakistan 2020New ZealandPakistan
Emerging PlayerJacob DuffyFaheem Ashraf & Mohammad Rizwan
Surprise PackageTim Seifert & Daryl MitchellFawad Alam’s 2nd coming
Broken Cricket DreamDisappointed Fans (Because there weren’t any)The FIELDING, Wahab Riaz, & Haris Sohail

Who would have been your Emerging Player? Surprise Player? Broken Cricket Dream? Let us know below WITH COMMENTS! Like, share with friends & family, & don’t forget to hit the orange button below!

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Where Do They Go From Here?

New Zealand

New Zealand finally achieve the #1 Test rankings, and they are inching ever close to the World Test Championship Final. Will be surprised if they do not make it.

And what do they get for being the #1 Test team? A mere FOUR TESTS in 2021. England get 17*.

  • Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell
  • Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner (played with a broken toe – Passion, commitment, but still needs to be careful there)

When Ross Taylor and BJ Watling are your 9th/10th best players in recent times, you know this is a damn good Test team.

Matt Henry had an understated outing, while Adam Milne is playing the Big Bash. Mitchell Santner, Jimmy Neesham, Sodhi, Blundell, Conway, Duffy, Phillips, Jeet Raval, Will Young – New Zealand’s depth in all formats is astounding.

*schedule may be subject to change given current circumstances

Pakistan

I predicted a 2-1 T20I win for Pakistan earlier in the Series Preview, but maybe I was too hopeful there. The T20I series looked close on paper, but New Zealand were, by far, the better side.

On the other hand, the Test result of 2-0, but losses of 101 runs/innings defeat does not reflect the true nature of the series. Pakistan had their moments. New Zealand had their moments. The only difference? New Zealand capitalized. Pakistan dropped. Azhar Ali’s 93 might have saved his career, but Masood & Sohail might be replaced by Babar and Imam (or who knows,…Asad Shafiq, anybody?).

In any case, looking forward, 2021 holds positive news for Pakistan as both South Africa and England are to travel to Pakistan after more than a decade of hiatus for a historic tour. In regards to the World T20I, apart from Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, several tweaks need to be made. They are a dangerous side if they can click together.

And finally….Hasan Ali is back.

In Quaid-e-Azam trophy, he was the Player of the Series and Player of the Match in the tied final. 106* (61) with 7 sixes in the final. Class player, had a dip, should make a comeback at the next tour to South Africa.

World T20 World Cup Watch

We are doing a World T20 Watch from now till the T20I world cup next year. After the end of each T20I series, we look at the current predictions of the WT20 squad as we get closer. Here is our predicted T20 XI line up and 15-man squad as of now based on this series.

Pakistan

  1. Babar Azam*, 2. Mohammad Rizwan (WK), 3. Haider Ali, 4. Mohammad Hafeez, 5. Shadab Khan, 6. Imad Wasim, 7. Faheem Ashraf, 8. Hasan Ali, 9. Haris Rauf, 10. Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11. Usman Qadir

Squad: Khusdil Shah/ Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed/Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hasnain/Mohammad Musa, Wahab Riaz/ Mohammad Amir comeback?

New Zealand

Since the next WT20 is in India, New Zealand might go with both Santner and Sodhi in the XI.

  1. Martin Guptill, 2. Tim Seifert (WK), 3. Kane Williamson*, 4. Glenn Phillips, 5. Devon Conway, 6. Mitchell Santner, 7. James Neesham, 8. Kyle Jamieson, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Trent Boult, 11. Ish Sodhi

Squad: Colin de Grandhomme, Mark Chapman/Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner/Jacob Duffy, Doug Bracewell/Scott Kuggeleijn

*Captain

What did you think about this New Zealand vs Pakistan 2020 Series? What are your World T20 line ups? COMMENT BELOW, and let us know what you think!

Image Courtesy: Kane WilliamsonDave Morton, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Joe Denly and Joe Biden: The Importance of Being Joe

Joe Denly and Joe Biden? Alright I know what you might be thinking.

Joe Denly is a cricketer from Canterbury, England. Joe Biden will take oath on January 20th as the next President of the United States. Then, why in the world are they put together? What possibly could they have in common except for the name?

There is more to it than you think.

Both had early starts to their see-saw careers, boast their own Meme Teams (read till the end for some glorious memes & rants), have featured in dropped catches or awkward gaffes, and are massively underrated.

You may or may not like them, even disagree with their opinions or team selections. But you can definitely not ignore them. This is a story of patience, tragedy, and hope. There is so much to learn from both. Keep on reading!

“They also serve who only stand and wait.” – John Milton

*Note: Videos are linked & bolded. Other articles are just linked.

Also Read: Why the World Needs Sam Curran?, USA Cricket and Major League Cricket – The Complete Guide

Embed from Getty Images

The Beginnings

Nourished at the Kent County Cricket Club from an early age, Joe Denly would make his first class debut way back in 2004, at the age of 18. He would slowly rise through the ranks of England U-19 and England Lions to make his senior international debut in 2009.

Unfortunately, his first stint did not last long as England dropped him right before their victorious 2010 World T20 campaign. After going “missing for a few years,” he would reinvent himself to claim his test debut eight years later in 2018. At 32, he would become the oldest English Test batsman debutant in nearly a quarter of a century.

Can bowl handy leg spin as well, as his Man of the Match performance (4/19) on his T20I return shows.

The Stats

Before we go on, here are some of the highlights and stats of Joe Denly’s career (so far).

Joe Denly

  • Tests: 15 Matches, 28 Inn, 827 Runs, best of 94, 29.53 average,100s-0/50s-6,*Denturies-10, Half-Denturies-7
  • ODIs: 16 Matches, 446 Runs, best of 87, 34.30 average, 100s-0/50s-4
  • T20Is: 13 Matches, 125 Runs, best of 30, 12.50 average/105.93 SR
  • FC: 212 Matches, 366 Inn, 12474 Runs, best of 227, 36.58 average, 100s-29/50s-63

*Denturies: # of Joe Denly’s Innings that are over 100 balls. Purpose: To ‘dent’ the new ball.

  • Denturies: 30(101), 50(155), 53(123), 94 (206), 74(181) & 35(142), 50(111), 38(130) & 31 (111), 25(100)
  • Half-Denturies: 69(99),17(62), 20(50) , 26(51), 31(79) , 18(58) & 29 (70)

Joe Biden

Born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania and later settling in Delaware, Biden has been referred to as ‘Middle Class Joe.’ Growing up, he had to battle stuttering and saw his father lose a job, two early moments that would impact his life.

The Highlights

In 1973, Joe Biden became the sixth youngest elected Senator and will soon become the oldest U.S. President.

Here are just some of the major highlights of Joe Biden’s career.

  • Party: Democrat
  • U.S. Senate (Delaware): 1973-2009
  • Vice-President of the United States: 2009-2017
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction: 2017 (Lovely video this)
  • President-Elect: 2021-

Ups and Downs

Joe Denly

An iconic phrase from Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who is, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” In an orchestra or band, each part is just as important whether it is the front and center soprano soloist or the percussionist in the back.

In the last couple of years, Root, Buttler, Stokes, Woakes have all had at least one match-winning 100s and doubles, while the newcomers Zak Crawley 267, Dom Sibley 133*, Ollie Pope’s 135* have at least one career defining innings. Denly’s highest in this period was just 94 with a career average of 29.53.

Are Denly’s stats spectacular? No, but he played his part.

In Stokes’ epic in the Ashes, few remember Denly’s 50 (155) contribution. In hindsight, Denly was the transition cog England needed. Following Cook’s receding form & retirement, inability to find him a consistent opening partner after Andrew Strauss, Root’s diminishing conversion rates, and recent England collapses, Denly was the perfect find.

In his 15 Tests, 8 were overseas (West Indies, New Zealand, and South Africa), his batting position switched between opening or #3/4, and 17 out of his 28 innings were Half-Denturies. The Denturies might not be have provided him a long rope, but it provided the youngsters and the middle order stars a platform to produce the daddy hundreds.

Joe Biden

Along with Biden’s humble beginnings, it is his story of rising up from the depth of unimaginable loss that resonates with the public.

Just a few weeks after his election, his wife and daughter died in a car accident, with his sons, Hunter and Beau, sustaining injuries. In order to be with his sons, he would commute via train from Delaware to Washington D.C. every day. A few years later, he would marry Dr. Jill Biden to complete his family again.

Unfortunately, this would not be the only tragedy to impact his life. His eldest son, Beau Biden, a budding star in American politics, would pass away at the age of 46 after a battle with brain tumor.

In his long career, he would also endure several controversial moments including the 1994 Crime Bill, the Anita Hill trials, and plagiarism allegations in his first failed presidential campaign in 1988 (the second one being 2008, which Barack Obama won).

From the depths of political mistakes and grief, Joe Biden always got back up. If you had to take one thing out of his life, it is to never step aside. Build a support staff, talk to others, but the next day, pull yourself up and start the engine back again. It is easy to give up, difficult to carry on.

Biden carried on.

Some of his career achievements include the Violence Against Women Act & Foreign Relations Committee as a senator, and his negotiations as a Vice President during the 2008 Great Recession, Gun Violence Task Force, and Cancer Moonshot. A lifelong Democrat, he is known for his ability to bond with people across the aisles, most famously with his friendship with Republican John McCain. (This video is worth watching as well).

Embed from Getty Images

Where Do They Go From Here?

For Joe Biden, it is straightforward. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take charge on January 20th, 2021 and will hope to implement measures to battle coronavirus and economic stress.

Joe Denly? It is less than certain after being dropped from the Test team last summer. In the ODIs, he was in contention for the 2019 World Cup squad as a lower order spin-allrounder, but just like 2010, he was dropped at the last minute. He has been in-and-out since, but has not been picked for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour.

Don’t write him off just yet. We are living in historic times, and Fawad Alam just scored an overseas Test century after being overlooked for a decade. Be assured, you can still find him at the Big Bash scoring 50s (with another Joe-Joe Burns), later in the PSL, or with Kent Cricket Club. Whatever it is, he will be enjoying his game and so will his fans.

What Can We Learn From Denly and Biden?

Michelle and Barack Obama were once-in-a-generation inspirational leaders. Ellyse Perry and Sachin Tendulkar are out of this world, two of the best cricket has ever produced. These individuals are great to idolize, but difficult to emulate.

But you can be like Joe Biden or Joe Denly.

Dale Carnegie, an American writer who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, once remarked, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Patience. Determination. Perseverance.

Joe Biden will become president at the age of 78—48 years after stepping into national politics. Similarly, Joe Denly received his Test cap at the age of 32—10 years after debuting in ODI cricket. They never gave up, and kept at it. After missing 3172 days of international cricket or failing two presidential races (and almost down and about in the 3rd), if you can still give it your all, then that is good enough.

Be like Joe.

What’s in a name anyway?

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The Memes

Drum roll. Here is what you have been waiting for.

Here are some Biden-Obama bromance moments, Biden SNL imitation, Biden Gifs, and some of the Denly Memes.

Biden might have had Obama, and Denly might have had Ed Smith, but they both cultivated their own legacies due to their own hard work.

A Word on the Denly Meme Team

In a Twitter world with Viratians vs Rohitians vs Dhonians, the constant comparison between the Fab 4/Fab 5 (why can’t we love and appreciate them all?), the retirement of AB De Villiers, news filled with COVID-19 statistics and news, mental health crisis, and worldwide lockdowns, the #DenlyMemeTeam has been a revelation.

Regardless of the context, their immediate defense of Denly in a humorous, meme-filled manner is one of the highlights of cricket twitter. Even to the extent that several cricketers, commentators, and the Lord himself has taken notice. Here is Joe Denly, approving their message. 😂😊

Courtesy: Kent Cricket, #DenlyMemeTeam: Bex, Jake, TheCricketMen, AllThingsCricket, JR, Michael, In-DepthFootball&Cricket, Rob, Eleanor, Lee, Tommy, Conflucius Say

Rant #1

Speaking of cricket twitter, one side note. Sure statistics, away averages, and star value has some relevance, but should that be the be-all-end-all?

Sir Alastair Cook ended his career with an average of 45.35 and 33 hundreds, way short of fans’ predictions of catching up to Tendulkar. Does that matter though? Starring in an iconic overseas Ashes victory, having the honor of captaining England for a number of years, longevity of 161 Tests, 12-year Test career, and a 17-year First Class career—does none of that matter?

AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Graeme Smith all fell agonizingly short of the 10,000 run mark in both formats, but sometimes it feels these numbers matter more to the fans than the players themselves.

Let us just enjoy each and every moment—the on-drives, diving catches, sportsmanship moments, exhilarating tied Super Overs, and most importantly—the joy on players’ faces upon a victory. Because that is what matters.

Also Joe Denly is not a tennis player.

Just some food for thought. Sorry, had to get all that out of the way.

Rant #2: A Note On Yesterday’s Incident

I thought I was done with the rants, but yesterday was a dark day in America’s 244 year-old history.

Violent ‘protestors’ stormed the Capitol, interrupting the Electoral College Certification of the U.S. Presidential Election. This resulted in broken windows, a loss of life, vandalism, lockdown, and a threat to American democracy. ‘Insurrection’ & ‘mob rule’—just some of the terms used to describe this.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer exclaimed that just like the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 8th, 1941, January 6th, 2021 will be regarded as “Day of Infamy.”

Disagreements are fine and actually necessary for common discourse. Let us talk to each other and get over our differences to find some common ground. Democracy has no place for violence.

As Joe Biden summed it up yesterday, “Enough is enough is enough.”

Image Courtesy: Getty Images, Twitter, Joe BidenGage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons