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15 Cricket Problems That Needs to Be Solved in the Next Decade | How to Fix Cricket 101

Let’s talk about cricket problems, shall we?

In 1900, German mathematician David Hilbert proposed a list of 23 unsolved mathematics problems that would keep mathematicians busy for the next century.

And indeed, they did. Over the next hundred years, several of these challenging problems were either completely answered or partially solved. However, some of these problems remain unsolved even after a few centuries and failed attempts by great mathematicians.

So, at the turn of the 21st century, the Clay Institute of Mathematics put a $1 million reward (the hardest way to get a million dollars, I would say) for anyone who would solve any of the 7 proposed problems, known as the legendary Millennium Prize Problems [Millenium Maths Problem Explained in 90 Seconds].

So far, only one of them has been successfully solved (and the mathematician Grigori Perelman rejected the monetary award).

With Inspiration from my friend, Vandit

Table of Contents

Why Cricket Needs to Solve Problems?

At this point, you must be thinking, “Why I am reading four paragraphs of math when I signed up for cricket?”

Don’t worry. Here comes the cricket.

2021 had a fair share of its problems for cricket—The Azeem Rafiq scandals, Tim Paine’s sexting exit, Thailand women losing a spot in the World Cup due to a flawed system, Glenn Maxwell, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Tom Banton taking time off due to mental health, Quinton de Kock’s kneeling issue in the T20 World & then retiring from Test cricket at the age of 29, the dissolution of the ODI Super League, New Zealand & England pulling out of Pakistan, the Afghanistan crisis, The Hundred Vs County Cricket debate, and just a general overdose of the IPL & cricket.

For a full read on these issues, check the following articles out:

The Structure of the Proposed Problems

Today I propose a list of 15 problems that will keep the cricket community (ICC, administrators, and cricketers themselves) busy for the next decade.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Neither do I have any monetary reward for you. I offer possible solutions—some of them you might like. Others? Not so much. So, then what is the point of all this?

The point is to churn up debate and conversations in the cricket community so eventually some of these solutions reach the upper echelons of the cricket boards and ICC. Comment below on your thoughts and ideas. Who knows, your idea might one day change cricket altogether.

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I. Global Expansion of Cricket

1. Need for a Global Cricket Calendar and T20 Leagues

The Problem: How can the cricket calendar provide space to the three international formats—Test, ODI, and T20I—as well as the growing T20 leagues?

These days, cricket is here, there, and everywhere. Today, we have the BPL, PSL, IPL, Global T20 Canda, T20 Vitality Blast, The Hundred, CPL, Shpageeza Cricket League, T10 League, SLPL, MSL, Super Smash, and the Big Bash running from January to December.

Cricket will hit its ceiling in the next 5-10 years. With new T20 leagues growing around the world, IPL becoming a 10-team venture (twice a year IPL also proposed), T10 leagues, The Hundred, a ‘Ninety-90 Bash’, & other retired professional leagues adding to the calendar, what is the limit?

And don’t get me wrong. Leagues are not necessarily a bad thing—more opportunities for Associate cricketers, professional life for players who cannot make their international XIs, and more match practice & auditions to make comeback cases, but it does threaten the existence of international cricket as a whole.

Possible Solutions

  1. In The Need For Champions League & a T20 League Calendar article, we proposed that
    1. Two-Three month reservation for the pinnacle of international cricket (T20/ODI WC, WTC Final), without T20 leagues during this period.
    • Reinstatement of the Champions League as the center of the T20 yearly calendar.
    • Enforcement of maximum of 3 leagues per year for a nationally contracted player.
  2. Eventually, cricket may need to adopt the soccer (European football) model.
    • International games reserved only for ODI World Cup qualification, WTC matches, and some friendlies/warm-ups. As many have suggested, bilateral T20Is should be scrapped totally.
    • Players contracted by year-long leagues. They take leave to play a couple of international games every now and then until the World Cup, which dominates the summer every couple of years.
  3. Experimental formats like T10 cricket and ‘Ninety-90’ Bash should end. Who knows, we might be playing a Super Over league at this rate.

Possible Pitfalls

The Indian Premier League and the BCCI holds a bit of influence over the cricket finances. If they reject any of the calendar limits, that may the end of any negotiations even though all the other cricketing nations might agree.

2. Decisiveness and Pathways on Olympics

The Problem: The ICC on cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics—Yes, No, maybe so?

For too long, cricket has dabbled with the idea of being in the Olympics and are closer than ever in making a decision. The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games will include a women’s 8-team T20 tournament. USA Cricket hopes for the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 LA Olympics and the 2032 Brisbane Olympics being ICC’s long-term goal.

However, what format will it be? T10? T20? If it is T10, does that mean cricket will have a fourth international format? How will qualification work? At this point, there are way too many questions and zero details on a path forward.

If cricket is serious about being in the Olympics, the administrators need to get their acts together. One or two meetings a year just doesn’t cut it.

Possible Solutions

It is worth a try regardless of the format. Ideally T20 cricket, starting from the 2028 LA Olympics (building upon USA’s Major League Cricket) would be great for the game.

The format of soccer’s 4 group of 4 is a good template (16 teams in the Olympics instead of 32 in the FIFA World Cup to keep the WC as the pinnacle product). If the T20I WC expands to 16-24 teams (both men/women) in the next decade, the Olympics can start with 8-12 teams with the best 2-3 teams qualifying from each region.

Also Read: T10 Cricket in Olympics? You Have Got to Be Kidding; USA Cricket: The Next NFL Or NBA – Trillion Dollar Bet?

Possible Pitfalls

  1. Not every country has cricketing infrastructure. To create a consistent following, cricket at Olympics can only succeed if it is at every iteration. Unless cricket stadiums are built in every nation on earth, the ICC will have some complications in the early years at the Olympics.
  2. Another tricky slope to navigate is the West Indies. Since each nation like Jamaica and Barbados will play the Olympics as its own nation, those teams will be significantly weaker in strength than the West Indies cricket team.

3. Expansion of the Women’s Game and Need for WIPL

The Problem: Women’s cricket is now mainstream, but is the structure in place to take the game forward?

Between 2017- March 2020, women’s cricket enjoyed a sort of golden era. The quality of cricket and broadcast in the 2017 ODI World Cup brought new fans to the game, and a record 86,174 attendance at the MCG for the 2020 WT20 Final proved that women’s cricket was on the rise.

However, the pandemic has exposed several gaps in the women’s game. For almost 12 months, women’s international cricket was largely halted around the world while the men’s IPL happened twice. Several smaller boards like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have not seen much gameplay. Although India have played a few internationals, there does not seem to be a plan for women’s domestic cricket. And a request for the women’s IPL is falling on deaf ears.

Add to that, the crisis faced by Thailand, one of the rising teams in women’s cricket. When omicron abruptly cancelled the qualifying tournament, it was tough to not see them qualify for the ODI World Cup despite being #1 in the group since their ODIs were not given ODI status.

Surely the structure and expansion in women’s cricket needs more thought, structure, and investment.

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

Possible Solutions

  1. Multi-format series have been a brilliant idea but should become the standard across all teams.
  2. The Hundred was a huge success for the women’s game in terms of awareness and equal split of men’s/women’s game. Each top league needs to adopt the same structure.
  3. More teams to qualify for the T20 World Cup.

Also Read: History of Women’s Cricket World Cup

Possible Pitfalls

In order for the multi-format series to become the standard, more Test cricket and 3-day practice matches have to become the norm, which will take time.

4. Planned T20 Exposure for Cricket’s Growth

The Problem: Roadmap and resource management needed for the rapid growth of T20I cricket in emerging markets.

While women’s cricket and the Olympics are avenues to cricket’s global expansion, the ICC is utilizing T20 cricket for the spread of the game. In 2018, T20I status was granted to every cricket team (As of January 2022, 91 men’s teams and 53 women’s teams are in the T20I rankings). Further, a regional qualifier structure was provided for future T20 World Cups, which will be held every two years.

All this is good, but how are the resources going to be divided among these nations? Will they get professional international stadiums, broadcasting rights, DRS, and facilities? Will they be able to host tournaments? (like the earlier ICC Knockout tournaments). Step in the right direction, but a lot of work to do in the decade ahead.

Possible Solutions

  • Just like a major Asia Cup tournament, each continent should set up their own major tournament (separate from the regional qualifiers). This will ensure that there is a systematic ranking/room to grow for the newer teams in each continent, and they are not here just to make up the numbers.

Possible Pitfalls

If teams ranked at the very bottom continue to lose, they might leave the game altogether. Some sort of incentive needs to be provided to these lower ranked newer cricketing nations.

II. Standard of Cricket

5. Standardization of Pitches in Test Match Cricket

The Problem: How Can We Balance Pitches to Minimize Boring Draws and 2-Day Tests?

In the 2000s, stellar middle orders and flat pitches combined for some high scoring matches and boring draws. Over the last 5-10 years, a great crop of fast bowlers (and spinners in the subcontinent) combined with pitches suited to the home side has made 2-day and 3-day Tests a recurring event.

Possible Solutions

  1. Keep the pitches suited to home teams with 4-Day Tests (more on this later)
  2. Preparing pitches suited to overseas conditions in domestic cricket (example: More spin tracks – weather permitting – in England’s county circuit) or encouraging/funding spin from an age group level (How India progressively became a better fast bowling nation, England can do that in the long run).
  3. ICC standardize the pitches across the globe.

Possible Pitfalls

The beauty of Test cricket is in its variety. If the batters cannot overcome the challenge, so be it. That is life.

6. The Toss

The Problem: Is the toss leading to too many predictable results?

It was clear in the IPL and the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE that teams winning the toss and batting second had a higher probability of winning.

The beauty of the toss is in the uncertainty, and when things start to get predictable, innovation becomes the need of the hour.

Possible Solution

Tosses impact T20Is and Test cricket more than ODIs. So, one thought is to start experimenting with various ideas (listed below and more) in T20 leagues or domestic 4-day cricket, while leaving ODI cricket the same as it is now.

  1. Each team alternates decision to bat/bowl in a series. (If an odd number, last match is decided by a coin toss…)
  2. The bat flip idea like the Big Bash League.
  3. Away Teams in Tests get to choose

Possible Pitfalls

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Cricket is already complicated, why make it more complicated?

7. Bat Vs Ball Debate

The Problem: The Eternal Debate—How Can We better balance bat vs ball advantage?

This is the Riemann Hypothesis of cricket. A seemingly intuitive problem that is always up for discussion, has never been solved, and is the unproven underlying assumption that is the basis of strategy for the rest of cricket.

In limited overs cricket, the bat dominates (bigger bats, flat pitches, stronger players, etc.). In Test cricket over the last decade, the ball has dominated.

Possible Solutions

I have a truly marvelous solution to this, but the margins are too narrow to contain for my answer [Fermat’s Last Theorem].

Just kidding! Here they are:

  1. Abolish wide behind leg side in limited overs. Small margins really do hurt the bowlers.
  2. In Test cricket, one more review to the batting side instead of the bowling side.
  3. In limited overs, one bowler can bowl a couple of overs more than the maximum limit of 10 overs (ODI) or 4 overs (T20I)

Possible Pitfalls

As players get physically stronger and technology increases, the balance will always remain one side or another. However, as spinners have shown in the middle overs in a T20 or fast bowlers during the death with the slower balls, adaptation of skill is required, not so much the mechanics of the bat and ball.

III. Survival of Test & ODI Cricket

8. Disparity Between Level of Performance in Test Cricket

The Problem: How can the gap between top and mid-tiered teams be reduced?

The gap between top and mid-tiered Test nations is gradually eroding confidence in Test cricket. Even though some spectacular matches in the last five years have reinvigorated Test cricket, gaps in skill level between the top sides and mid-tiered/bottom ranked teams makes for a boring viewing on the other end of the spectrum.

Social media’s pendulum swings from “Test cricket is the best format” claims to “Is Test cricket dying?” every few months.

Case and point: Men’s Ashes 2021-2022. Except for Jonny Bairstow’s 4th Test, there was absolutely no resistance. There have been several subsequent calls for the 5-Test Ashes to be reduced to a 3 or 4 match affair. If England, who play 10-15 Tests a year, are not properly utilizing resources and are behind the golden standard, how can we expect the likes of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan to compete?

Possible Solutions

  1. Regularized international schedule should dominate bilateral agreements. Australia’s refusal to host Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and now Afghanistan (for other reasons) does not help smaller teams get the experience. The more the Top 4 countries play the mid-tiered teams, the better they will get in the long run.
  2. Prioritizing domestic funding over white ball funding (County cricket vs white ball dominance)
  3. Abolishment of two-Test series (The smaller countries only get to play 2 Tests while the Big 3 and South Africa gets 4-5 matches per series).
  4. Relegation-Promotion system (details outlined below) in three brackets: Bracket A (#1-6), Bracket B (#7-12), and Bracket C (non-Test playing nations)

Also Read: Relegation & Promotion Proposal in World Test Championship: Make Test Cricket Great Again Part III

Reducing the Influence of the Big 3 | How Can the World Test Championship Improve?

Possible Pitfalls

Money, money, money. Even the World Test Champions like New Zealand cannot afford to host more than two Tests due to finances. Ideally, we would like an equal distribution of Test match cricket, but if there are no finances, there is no cricket.

9. Associate nations, the ODI Super League, and the Expansion of Test Cricket

The Problem: Lack of clarity is hurting the survival of Associate nations, the backbone of global cricket.

The ODI Super League provided Ireland and Netherlands much needed game time against the top eight teams. Ireland actually has done a pretty decent job and Netherlands’ cricketers received much needed stability, but the inexplicable cancellation of the ODI Super League has stumped many. The World Test Championship has flaws, but the ODI Super League was a step in the right direction.

Yes, T20I is the right vehicle for growth in globalization of cricket, but should teams like Ireland be alienated, who have invested in ODI cricket and want to play Test cricket?

Possible Solutions

The ICC suggested that they may trial teams like Scotland and Netherlands into Test cricket as a temporary Test status. That might be a good move if it actually happens, but here are some other solutions:

  1. Touring Associate and new Test nations before embarking on a 4-5 Test tour (playing ODIs/T20Is vs Scotland/Netherlands & 1-off Test vs Ireland before a series in England, vs Afghanistan before India, vs PNG before NZ & Aus, Namibia/Zimbabwe vs SA). This is happening more and more with Ireland’s progress, but it is only the beginning.
  2. Revival of the Tri-Series? Similar idea as above, but to reduce logistic and travel issues, two full members plus an Associate nation for an ODI tri-series in a common location.
  3. Mandatory 1-2 Associate players per squad per T20 league. Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Tim David, and Sandeep Lamichanne are great templates. These players will be a boon for the franchises, not a burden.

Possible Pitfalls

10. 4-Day Tests for Men, 5-Day Tests for Women?

The Problem: Making Test cricket accessible for spectators without jeopardizing the game.

The Decision Review System (DRS) and pink-ball day-night Tests have now been adopted as major innovations in the game which had resistance in the early days. In the age of technology and innovation, cricket has to find ways to re-invent itself and stay relevant every 5-10 years.

One such suggestion is 4-day Tests (plus a 5th day for rain affected games) for men’s cricket, while expanding to 5-day Tests in women’s cricket, especially since they do not play as many Tests.

Possible Solutions

  • Just like D/N Tests were tested one Test per series every now and then, similarly one of the Tests can be scheduled as a 4-day game (and vice-versa for women)

Possible Pitfalls

Draws. One of the major drivers for 5-matches in women’s Tests are the number of draws. This forces teams to declare early (even when they are trailing) and enforce follow-on more often. If men’s game introduces 4-day Tests, then strategies will similarly begin to change and/or draws will increase.

11. Fixes to the World Test Championship

The Problem: Test matches are now better contextualized, but a lot is still left to be desired in achieving a better system.

We have already provided several solutions for World Test Champions in our earlier articles (shown below), so here is a summary:

  • Number of Tests Played is uneven: In the first WTC cycle, England played 21 Tests, while West Indies, South Africa, and New Zealand played 11 each. Marquee series like Ashes, Border-Gavaskar, Basil D’Oliveira Trophy, etc. are 4-5 Tests each while SL & NZ only play 2 Tests regularly.
  • Currently no distinction is made for Home/Away advantage: Bangladesh winning in NZ, West Indies winning in Bangladesh, India winning in Australia, or Australia drawing in England should be worth more than home wins.
  • All-or-Nothing System: Test matches occur over 5 days or a max-of-15 sessions. One session can have a huge impact on the series. Yet, the points are awarded on an all-or-nothing basis.

Possible Solutions

My solution is detailed in Alternative World Test Championship Points Table.

Possible Pitfalls

No system is every going to be perfect, but at least more of an attempt can be made. One of the other pitfalls is the pandemic. This has severely restricted travels between countries and longer, more straining quarantine rules. Hence, even more uneven number of Tests are begin played.

IV. Other Concerns

12. Mental Health Support & Overkill of Cricket

The Problem: Mental Health Awareness A Necessity in Today’s sport

Non-stop cricket alongside heavy quarantine is changing the commitments of a professional cricketer. It is no longer feasible to play three international formats, travel around the world, away from family, and still have a sane mental health.

Marcus Trescothick, Glenn Maxwell, and Ben Stokes are some of the many high-profile players who have taken time off the game to focus on their health. They have paved a way for many others in the future to follow. The real question is, does the cricket fraternity have the support each player needs and deserves?

Possible Solutions

  1. Support Groups/Staff, Paid Leave
  2. Separate teams for separate formats (Maximum of two formats per player)

Possible Pitfalls

Mental health is still looked as taboo in many cultures. Even though awareness is increasing, some players may still keep things to themselves, which is detrimental.

In addition to mental health, physical health is also a concern as more research is done on concussions in general. Concussion substitutes were a great innovation to the game, but it took the death of Phillip Hughes for the radical change. Let us make sure to be proactive before any such incidents. Injury prevention and player health should be duly monitored.

13. Spot Fixing and Associate Nations

The Problem: Match-Fixing for the Next Decade

Brendan Taylor’s story illustrates that even in the year 2022, match fixing & spot-fixing is still an issue cricket needs to be careful against. After the spot fixing that emerged from Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010 and the growth of T20 leagues, there is a lot more education and maturity in ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

However, teams like Zimbabwe and Associate nations, whose players do not earn a survivable income or cash flow from leagues, are easy targets for corruptors (as seen in the UAE). So the nature of match fixing might have changed since the 1990s, but it is still a problem that threatens the core fabric of the sport in one way or another.

Possible Solutions

The structure of the ICC anti-corruption unit and education before every major tournament shows that cricket has already matured in most of this regard. The real responsibility now lies on the players for self-reporting such approaches.

Healthy compensation for Associate players can also prevent such instances.

Possible Pitfalls

In the age of technology, new forms of corruption might appear (cyberattacks, ransomwares, NFTs?) ICC needs to be proactive and take actions earlier.

Also Read: Netflix ‘Bad Sport’ Fallen Idol Review: Must Watch for All Cricket Fans – How Will History Judge Hansie Cronje?

14. The Afghanistan Crisis

The Problem: ICC and cricket boards’ philosophical stand on the Afghanistan women’s team and the status of the men’s team.

Post the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in September, cricket’s stakeholders have been sending mixed messages. Australia rescinded their invitation to Afghanistan for a Test match due to a lack of a women’s team/Taliban’s stance on women. However, requirement for a women’s team was waived off when Afghanistan became a Full member four years ago.

The ICC allowed Afghanistan in the 2021 T20 World Cup at UAE and many Afghani players are contracted around the world despite the drama. On the other hand, Zimbabwe was not allowed to qualify for the 2019 ODI World Cup due to crisis in the Zimbabwean government.

Why are players/ sports’ teams penalized for government interference? Why is different approach taken against different countries? Who sets the precedent?

Possible Solutions

  • Afghanistan is a cricket-loving country, and we should not stop its growth despite political tensions. They have now qualified for their 2nd U-19 semi-finals in the last three attempts. Let the men’s team continue to blossom while promoting cricket in age levels for women’s cricket if situation allows.

Possible Pitfalls

Each country might have a different political relationship with Afghanistan, which may mean a conflict of interest. As a byproduct, the relationship between other cricket boards can get strained.

15. Player Behavior

Problem: Similar Player Behavorial Issues, Different Consequences

As players gain more power over administrators due to financial security and unions, there have been some side-effects. Players have been acting up a lot lately.

Shakib Al Hasan’s antics (not much backlash), Ollie Robinson’s tweets (socially alienated), Alex Hales & Joe Clarke (not selected in the national side), Sri Lanka’s players in England (suspended for six months), Steven Smith, David Warner, & Cameron Bancroft’s sandpaper gate ball tampering scandal (banned by Cricket Australia for 1 year), Netherlands’ ball tampering (4 matches ICC), Quinton de Kock defying teammates (kneeling and not playing) and Virat Kohli shouting at the stumps (no consequence).

Possible Solution

  • Digging up old tweets should be removed as a cultural practice.
  • For major offences, a uniform code of conduct that applies to every player regardless of the cricket board they are playing under.
  • An impartial body assigned to monitor and judge player behavior for uniform convictions

Possible Pitfalls

Each circumstance is different. Uniform offences might not be ideal. On the other hand, ICC vs national boards hierarchy will become muddled if ICC centralizes power.

Also Read: Gentleman’s Game No More: Shakib Al Hasan & Ollie Robinson Highlight Larger Disciplinary Issue

This is not the end. More avenues and ideas to explore for sure. Please bring in your comments. Would love to hear YOUR opinion. Thanks everyone for reading ❤ Anyway, time to go the duel or swim across the shores of France…

*Thank You Credit: In conversation with my friend, Vandit. Thanks for listening to my ideas and engaging in meaningful discussion.

Further Reading:

Make Test Cricket Great Again Articles:

Analysis Articles

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 01/29/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

History of Women’s Cricket World Cup – Everything You Need to Know to Prep Yourself for the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup

The 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup is right around the corner, and we are here all for it!

Women’s cricket has become mainstream over the last decade, especially with the breakthrough 2017 ODI World Cup and the 2020 T20 World Cup final, but how much do we really about it?

The general public can remember who won the 1979 Cricket World Cup, Kapil Dev’s 1983 catch, Wasim Akram’s 1992 swing, South Africa’s collapses, and Australia’s dominance in men’s cricket. Here we will educate ourselves about the Women’s Cricket World Cup—How many World Cups have happened, what happened in each world cup, who is the highest runs scorer, wicket taker, and much more!

By the end of this article, you will know everything from history to prepare yourself for the upcoming 2022 Cricket World cup.

Table of Contents

Facts About Women’s Cricket World Cup

Did You Know?

  1. Cricket’s first ODI World Cup was the 1973 Women’s Cricket World Cup, not the 1975 Men’s Cricket World Cup.
  2. Denmark played cricket? That’s right. While teams like Ireland and Netherlands made their impact in men’s world cup in the 2000s, teams like Ireland, Denmark, and Netherlands made their Women’s World Cup debut from the 1988 & 1993 world cups onwards.
  3. In the 1973 World Cup, Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago played as separate nations, not under West Indies.
  4. Belinda Clark scored 229* in the 1997 World Cup vs Denmark, the highest ODI score across cricket at that time.
  5. In the 1973 & 1982 World Cup, an International XI was fielded as one of teams, comprised of players from England, New Zealand, Netherlands, Australia, India, Trinidad, and Jamaica.
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Also Read:

  1. 20 Years of Mithali Raj And Jhulan Goswami: Eternal Legends for Indian & Women Cricket
  2. What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?
  3. Case For 5-Day Tests In Women’s Cricket?
  4. Need For Change in Women’s Cricket: Hoping Against Hope
  5. Controversy Alert: Who Cares About Women’s Cricket Anyway?


Most Wins

How Many Times Have They Won?Runners-Up
Australia6 (1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005, 2013)2 (1973, 2000)
England4 (1973, 1993, 2009, 2017)3 (1978, 1982, 1988)
New Zealand1 (2000)3 (1993, 1997, 2009)
India02 (2005, 2017)
West Indies01 (2013)

Most Runs

World CupsMatchesRunsBestAverage50s/100s
Debbie Hockley (New Zealand)1982-2000451501100*42.8810/2
Jan Brittin (England)1982-1997361299138*43.303/4
Charlotte Edwards (England)1997-2013301231173*53.527/4
Belinda Clark
Mithali Raj

*will be playing the 2022 ODI World Cup

Most Wickets

World CupsMatchesWicketsBest Figures4/5
Lyn Fullston
Carole Hodges
Clare Taylor
Jhulan Goswami
Cathryn Fitzpatrick

Most Dismissals

World CupsMatchesDismissals
Jane Smit
1993-20052940 (22/18)4 (2/2)
Rebecca Rolls
(New Zealand)
1997-20052232 (24/8)4 (4/0)
Anju Jain
1993-20052431 (14/17)5 (3/2)

Most Catches

World CupsMatchesCatches
Jan Brittin
Jhulan Goswami
Lydia Greenway

1. 1973 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: England

Winner: England 🥇

Runners Up: Australia 🥈

  • Teams: 7 (England, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Young England, International XI)
  • Format: Round Robin (6 matches each), 21 matches total
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Enid Bakewell (264) – England
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Rosalind Heggs (12) – Young England

Fun Fact: England were captained by Rachael Heyhoe Flint, who is quoted to be the “WG Grace of women’s cricket.”

Embed from Getty Images

2. 1978 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: India

Winner: Australia 🥇

Runners Up: England 🥈

  • Teams: 4 (Australia, England, New Zealand, India)
  • Format: Round Robin (3 matches each), 6 matches total
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Margaret Jennings (127) – Australia
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Sharyn Hill (7) – Australia

Venue: New Zealand

Fun Fact: Australia won their first cricket world cup….first of their 20 world cups (5 men’s ODI, 1 T20 WC, 3 U-19 WC, 6 women’s ODI WC, 5 T20I WC)…WOW.

3. Hansells Vita Fresh 1982 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: New Zealand

Winner: Australia 🥇

Runners Up: England 🥈

  • Teams: 5 (Australia, England, New Zealand, India, International XI)
  • Format: Triple Round Robin + Final (12 matches each), 31 matches total
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Jan Brittin (391) – England
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Lyn Fullston (23) – Australia (most in any women’s WC)

Fun Fact: Jackie Lord took 8-2-10-6 against India, women’s cricket best WC bowling figures to date. Electing to bat, NZ were bundled out for 80 in 58.5 overs via Diana Edulji’s 11.5-7-10-3 (60-over match). In reply, Lord helped bundle India for 37 in 35 overes.

Each team played each other THREE TIMES! Can you imagine that in today’s day and age? Also International XI makes a comeback.

Embed from Getty Images

4. Shell Bicentennial 1988 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: Australia

Winner: Australia 🥇

Runners Up: England 🥈

  • Teams: 5 (Australia, England, New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands)
  • Format: Double Round Robin + Playoffs (8 matches each), 22 matches total
  • Player of the Tournament: Carole Hodges (England)
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Lindsay Reeler (448) – Australia
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Lyn Fullston (16) – Australia

Fun Fact: Ireland & Netherlands make their cricket world cup debut.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

5. 1993 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: England

Winner: England

Runners Up: New Zealand

  • Teams: 8 (Australia, England, Australia, India, Ireland, West Indies, Denmark, Netherlands)
  • Format: Round Robin + Playoffs (7 matches each), 29 matches total
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Jan Brittin (416) – England
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Julie Harris (15) – New Zealand, Karen Smithies (England)

Fun Fact: The 1993 WWC was on the verge of being cancelled before a last minute £90,000 donation. Denmark comes into the cricketing market.

Embed from Getty Images

6. Hero Honda 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: India

Winner: Australia 🥇

Runners Up: New Zealand🥈

  • Teams: 11 (Australia, England, South Africa, Ireland, Denmark, Pakistan, New Zealand, India, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, West Indies)
  • Format: Round Robin (2 groups) + Quarter-Finals + Semi-Finals + Finals, 33 matches totals
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Debbie Hockley (456) – New Zealand (most in any women’s WC)
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Katrina Keenan (13) – New Zealand

Fun Fact: Belinda Clark 229* (pushing Australia to 412/7, best WC score ever till date) and Charlotte Edwards’ 173 broke ODI batting world records, Pakistan collapsed for 27/10 (lowest ever WC score), and Jhulan Goswami, on ball duty, was inspired to take up the sport as a child. The beginning of professionalization of women’s cricket (from skirts/culottes to trousers)

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7. CricInfo 2000 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: New Zealand

Winner: New Zealand 🥇

Runners Up: Australia 🥈

  • Teams: 8 (Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands)
  • Format: Round Robin + Semi-Finals + Finals, 31 matches total
  • Player of the Tournament: Lisa Keightley
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Karen Rolton (393) – Australia
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Charmaine Mason (17) – Australia

Fun Fact: A classic Australia Vs New Zealand final in New Zealand, who actually won their first (and only) ODI World Cup. The 2015 men’s world cup was actually just a revenge battle.

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8. 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: South Africa

Winner: Australia 🥇

Runners Up: India 🥈

  • Teams: 8 (Australia, India, New Zealand, England, West indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland)
  • Format: Round Robin + Semi-Finals + Finals, 31 matches total
  • Player of the Tournament: Karen Rolton (Australia) (Rolton boasts the best WC average across women’s WC – 74.92)
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Charlotte Edwards (280)
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Neetu David (20)

Fun Fact: Featured a star cast—Belinda Clark, Lisa Sthalekar, Karen Rolton, Lisa Keightley, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Charlotte Edwards, Katherine Brunt, Isa Guha, Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Anjum Chopra, Neetu David, Anisa Mohammeda clash of generations.

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9. ICC 2009 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: Australia

Winner: England 🥇

Runners Up: New Zealand 🥈

  • Teams: 8 (New Zealand, Australia, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies)
  • Format: 2 Groups + Super Six + Final, 25 matches total
  • Player of the Tournament: Claire Taylor (England)
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Claire Taylor (324) – England
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Laura Marsh (16) – England

ICC Team of the Tournament:

  1. Suzie Bates (NZ), 2. Shelley Nitschke (Aus), 3. Claire Taylor (Eng), 4. Mithali raj (Ind), 5. Charlotte Edwards (C – Eng), 6. Kate Pulford (NZ), 7. Sarah Taylor (WK – Eng), 8. Amita Sharma (Ind), 9. Katherine Brunt (Eng), 10. Priyanka Roy (Ind), 11. Laura Marsh (Eng), 12. Sophie Devine (NZ)

Fun Fact: Ellyse Perry makes her ODI World Cup debut at the age of 18 taking 3/40 in Australia’s first match of the World Cup.

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10. ICC 2013 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: India

Winner: Australia 🥇

Runners Up: West Indies 🥈

  • Teams: 8 (England, Sri Lanka, West Indies, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan)
  • Format: 2 Groups + Super Six + Final, 25 matches total
  • Player of the Tournament: Suzie Bates (New Zealand)
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Suzie Bates (407) – New Zealand
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Megan Schutt (15) – Australia

Fun Fact: India & Pakistan were the two teams that failed to qualify for the Super Sixes, while West Indies qualify for the Finals for the first (and only) time.

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11. ICC 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup

Venue: England & Wales

Winner: England

Runners Up: India

  • Teams: 8 (Australia, England, New Zealand, West indies, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan)
  • Format: Round Robin + Final
  • Player of the Tournament: Tammy Beaumont (England)
  • Highest Run-Scorer: Tammy Beaumont (410) – England
  • Highest Wicket Taker: Dane van Niekerk (15) – South Africa

ICC Team of the Tournament:

  1. Tammy Beaumont (Eng), 2. Laura Wolvaardt (SA), 3. Mithali Raj (C- Ind), 4. Ellyse Perry, 5. Sarah Taylor (WK – Eng), 6. Harmanpreet Kaur, 7. Deepti Sharma, 8. Marizanne Kapp (SA), 9. Anya Shrubsole (Eng), 10. Alex Hartley (Eng), 12. Natalie Sciver (Eng)

Fun Fact: Harmanpreet Kaur’s 171* in the semi-finals caught Australia. India lit up the tournament only to fall short due to a Shrubsole caused collapse in the final. Game changer for women’s cricket, bringing new fans to the game.

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Sources: ICC History, Cricinfo

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 01/19/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

5 Ways Captain Virat Kohli Transformed Indian Cricket

Test captain Virat Kohli has decided to step down.

Shocking? Absolutely yes! Surprising? No.

Looking at the events over the past few months—stepping down from RCB captaincy, then giving up T20I leadership to focus on the 2023 ODI World Cup and World Test Championship, and finally relinquishing ODI captaincy altogether to Rohit Sharma—Test captaincy resignation was bound to happen.

We just could not have guessed it would be so soon, especially after the recent success of the Indian Test team.

Today we look at 5 ways how Virat Kohli’s Test captaincy transformed Indian cricket and what holds in his career ahead.

Table of Contents

1. Overseas Victories Became the Norm, not an Aberration

Since the turn of the century, India’s journey in Test cricket can be divided in three phases:

  • 2000-2010: Phase 1 (Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni)
  • 2011-2017: Phase 2 (MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli)
  • 2017-2021: Phase 3 (Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane)

Phase I – India Start Winning Matches Overseas, Not Series

In Phase 1, India achieved 23 overseas victories & 20 draws (out of 64 Total).

Here is the country-by-country analysis (ESPN Cricinfo StatsGuru Link):

  • 7 SENA Victories
    • 2 Wins Vs SA (Johannesburg 2006, Durban 2010)
    • 2 Vs England (Leeds 2002, Nottingham 2007)
    • 1 Vs NZ (Hamilton 2009)
    • 2 Vs Australia (Adelaide 2003, Perth 2008)
  • 3 Vs Sri Lanka (Kandy 2001, Galle 2008, Colombo 2010)
  • 2 Vs West Indies (Port of Spain 2002, Kingston 2006)
  • 2 Vs Pakistan (Multan & Rawalpindi 2004)
  • 3 Vs Zimbabwe (Bulawayo 2001 & 2005, Harare 2006)
  • 6 Vs Bangladesh (Dhaka 2000, 2004, 2007, & 2010, Chattogram 2004 & 2010)

Although India won matches all around, they failed to win a series in SA or Australia (they did win historic series against WI 2006 & England 2007 though).

Phase 2 – The Horror

In the six years of Phase 2, India only achieved 6 victories & 10 draws (out of 32 total). (StatsGuru)

  • 3 Vs West Indies (Kingston 2011, North Sound 2016, Gros Islet 2016)
  • 2 Vs Sri Lanka (both Colombo 2015)
  • 1 vs England (Lord’s 2014)

The 8-0 (4-0 vs England followed by 4-0 Vs Australia) will be forever etched as a horror phase for Indian Test cricket. Whoever watched those two tours, realize the depths of despair Indian cricket was in. (I personally watched every single ball of that 2011 England series…Except for Dravid’s 3 tons, it was a pretty dreadful experience)

When Virat Kohli took over as captain in 2014 from MS Dhoni, India was ranked the #7 Test team in the world. Captain Virat Kohli made an impact right away with his twin tons in Adelaide, the second of which was a heartbreaker.

In order to go for the win, Kohli was prepared to lose. This was the learning phase.

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Phase 3 – The Rise of Kohli, the Captain

Then came the rise.

Just three and half years between July 2017 & December 2021, team India won 14 matches away & 3 draws (out of 31 total). (StatsGuru)

  • 9 SENA Victories
    • 2 Vs South Africa (Johannesburg 2018, Centurion 2021)
    • 3 Vs England (Nottingham 2018, Lord’s 2021, Oval 2021)
    • 4 Vs Australia (Adelaide 2018, Melbourne 2018 & 2020, Brisbane 2021)
  • 2 Vs West Indies (North Sound 2019, Kingston 2019)
  • 3 Vs Sri Lanka (Galle, Colombo, Pallekele 2017)

2020-2021 season alone had 5 SENA victories, almost as many as the 2000s put together! And this does not even include the great Vihari-Ashwin draw at Sydney.

Although the 1-2 loss against South Africa dented Kohli’s legacy, the fact that India were favorites in a country they had never won is a testament to his leadership. From #7 to #1 for 4-5 years? Not bad, I say (Watch India getting the ICC Test mace as Shastri interviews Kohli)

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

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2. Developing A Fast-Bowling Culture

The most widely recognized contribution of captain Virat Kohli is the development of a fast-bowling culture in Indian cricket.

If you watched 83, the movie based on India’s 1983 World Cup winning campaign under captain Kapil Dev, India’s first true fast bowling allrounder. In the story, you can see that India were not expected to build fast bowlers. There was no proper system, zero support staff, and the infrastructure was lacking.

Over the years, India started to develop some medium pacers—Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath, (most prominently) Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Agarkar, and Balaji. Although they all had good seasons, except Zaheer Khan, none lasted for more than 5 years.

The Turnaround

After the second coming of ‘unlucky’ Ishant Sharma after his 7-74 at Lord’s 2014, the story changed. Kohli recognized that for India to win overseas, they had to take 20 wickets. For that to happen in the spicy & bouncy pitches, he & coach Ravi Shastri were willing to give complete freedom to his fast bowlers, who were then developed under bowling coach Bharat Arun (and mentored by Zaheer Khan early in their careers or in respective IPL teams).

Fast forward five years, Ishant Sharma cannot even find a place in the XI in the lost series against South Africa. Why? Well, because…

Jasprit Bumrah is the best bowler in the world. Mohammad Shami is the king of second innings reverse swing. Umesh Yadav is as good as it gets for a fast bowler in Indian conditions. Mohammad Siraj is a revelation, and Shardul Thakur takes 5-fers and breaks crucial partnerships for breakfast.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Naveep Saini, Deepak Chahar, and T. Natarajan cannot even make the team, while Hashal Patel, Prasidh Krishna, Chetan Sakariya & other domestic giants and IPL stars keep the backbone of the pipeline strong.

In today’s world, if you make the Indian Test squad as a fast bowler, you are the best in the world, let alone India.

And that is the legacy of Virat Kohli.

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3. Test Cricket Receives the Kohli Boost

Test cricket has been in a self-described existential crisis for about two decades now. For any business venture to succeed, money is needed. To raise money, you need customers.

In the cricketing world, customers are spectators & the spectators have been rapidly dwindling. Oh yeah, and where does cricket get most of its customers? That is right, India.

Indian cricket has been at the heart of cricket’s financial & global growth but with the horror second phase (2011-2016) combined with the expansion of the IPL, Test cricket was at threat.

In comes Virat Kohli.

Interviews after interviews, post-match presentations after post-match presentations, Kohli reiterated his commitment to Test cricket. When the World Test Championship would be under scanner, Kohli would come out in its support.

The wins overseas and watching India play a positive brand of cricket definitely has brought new fans of Test cricket and has re-energized skeptical viewers of the game.

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4. Inculcating Winning Attitude & Self-Belief

When Kohli was captain, two of his personality traits swept the whole team— (1) Obsession with fitness, and (2) Emotions galore.

With improved sporting infrastructure and rise of T20 cricket, the standards of cricket have improved by leaps and bounds over the past decades.

However, it is captain Virat Kohli who ensured that fitness is an expectation, not just a premium add-on bonus at the international level. He set the example by prioritizing fitness himself and giving his all in the field.

Test cricket is a momentum-based game and Kohli’s momentum shifts with his emotions.

Many a time, Kohli’s enthusiasm lifted India in the field and his encouragement helped the fast bowler channel their best game. Sledging no longer hurt India as they fought fire with fire. His attitude and aggression are often criticized, but as a captain, he usually brought the best in his team.

So, we can say that captain Virat Kohli made the Indian Test team stronger—both physically and mentally.

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5. Grooming an Abundant Talent Pool

It is well known that India has a large talent pool, an envy of the world. However, it can be both a blessing and a curse.

In limited overs cricket, the constant chopping and changing by both the captain and the selection committee was detrimental to India’s progress. In Test cricket, though, he managed his players rather well.

Although Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara were out of form for extended periods of time, he continuously backed his senior players. Pujara’s contribution in Australia speaks for himself and Rahane played the occasional match winning innings abroad.

Some may have thought that R Ashwin’s career might have been over a couple of years ago, but credit to both Ashwin’s reinvention & Kohli’s backing, Ashwin is back.

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The Legacy

Finally, by mid-2021 Kohli’s machinery was set. The team had a template that they played with, and the players fulfilled their roles in the large machinery created by Kohli-Shastri-Arun-support staff. This allowed the likes of Axar Patel, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Washington Sundar—aka the next generation of Indian cricket—to seamlessly fit in the system and contribute in match-winning ways.

The stats are crystal clear. With 40 wins out of 68 Tests with a win-loss ratio of 2.352, he is not only India’s best Test captain but in the league of Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh.

Captain Virat Kohli might have called it a day, but his mark on Indian Team will be felt for a very, very long time.

Anyway, wipe off your tears. It is not the end till the end.

Kohli the batter still has time and will have the final laugh.

Watch Out.

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© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 01/16/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).