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18 Best Test Matches in the Past 4 Years That Have Revived Test Cricket – Who Said Test Matches Are Boring?

We bring to you the list of best Test matches over the past four years. Thrilling finishes galore! Who said Test matches are boring?

by Nitesh Mathur, 08/27/2021

West Indies’ 1-wicket victory against Pakistan and India’s comeback at Lord’s have added another couple of great matches in our memory banks. We have seen some exhilarating Test cricket in the past couple of years.

If there was ever any doubt on the quality of Test cricket, here are 18 matches that have revived Test cricket in the past 4 years.

Table of Contents

1. Pakistan tour of West Indies, 2017 (3rd Test)

Result/ Scorecard: Pakistan won by 101 runs

Match Summary: Pakistan: 376 & 174/8 declared; West Indies: 247 & 202

Player of the Match: Roston Chase

The Tension

After 95 overs of resistance, with only 7 balls to go for a valiant draw, Shannon Gabriel heaves Yasir Shah and gets bowled. Roston Chase stranded on 101* (239) after batting for an epic 366 minutes. Strategic stroke or brain fade from Gabriel?

Commentary/Winning Moment

“Got him! Why did he do that? Unbelievable.” You can watch the magic moment here.

Significance

Pakistan’s first ever series win on West Indian soil as they claim the the series 2-1. Misbah-ul-Haq & Younis Khan retire in style in this famous “Mis-You” series.

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2. Australia tour of UAE, 2018 (1st Test)

Result/ Scorecard: Match Drawn

Match Summary: Pakistan: 482 & 181/6 declared; Australia: 202 & 362/8

Player of the Match: Usman Khawaja

The Tension

In their first innings, Australia had collapsed from 161-1 to 202-10. In the second innings, they had 462 runs to chase or 140 overs to bat. And 140 overs they batted. The man of the hour was Usman Khawaja – 85 (175) & 141 (302), batting for a total of 766 minutes (around 13 hours) to give Australia one of their most savored draws.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“It was assumed that Australia would lose that Test match. What Australia was looking for…was a test of character” – Amazon Prime The Test

Significance

This was Australia’s first true moral victory since Steve Smith & David Warner were banned. Usman Khawaja had never truly solidified his place in the Australian XI, but this innings ensured his career would always be remembered due to this legendary knock.

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3. New Zealand tour of UAE, 2018 (1st Test)

Result/Scorecard: New Zealand won by 4 runs

Match Summary: New Zealand: 153 & 249; Pakistan: 227 & 171

Player of the Match: Ajaz Patel

The Tension

In a chase of 176, Pakistan collapsed in the most Pakistan fashion from 147/4 to 171/10. With a mandatory run-out of course. NZ somehow won by 4 runs. Ajaz Patel with a 5-fer on Test debut.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“And what a victory for the New Zealanders. They deserve it. WOOW! …It’s an unbelievable victory for New Zealand. You can see how much it means to them.” Commentary Video

Significance

New Zealand followed up with another incredible victory in the third test, thereby winning their first victory over NZ in 49 years. Here are some reactions.

4. Sri Lanka Tour of South Africa, 2019 (1st Test)

Result/ Scorecard: Sri Lanka won by 1 wicket

Match Summary: South Africa: 235 & 259; Sri Lanka: 191 & 304/9

Player of the Match: Kusal Perera

The Tension

In a mammoth chase of 304, Sri Lanka were struggling at 110/5. What followed was a knock for the ages. Kusal Perera hit a miraculous 153* (200) with 12 sixes & 5 fours. The last wicket partnership between Perera & Vishwa Fernando was 78*, with only 6* (27) coming from Fernando’s bat.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“He’s done it! He absolutely does it. One of the greatest see from a Sri Lankan outside Sri Lanka…What a historical day at Durban.” Watch the winning moment here, a contender for the greatest Test match innings of all time.

Significance

Sri Lanka go on to win the series 2-0. First time an Asian team won a Test series in South Africa.

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5. Ashes, 2019 (Entire Series)

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Result/Scorecards: England won by 1 wicket (3rd Test, Leeds); All Test matches scorecards here.

Match Summary: Australia: 179 & 246; England: 67 & 362/9

Player of the Match: Ben Stokes

The Tension

Despite being a wonderful series to watch all around, the thunder was stolen by Ben Stokes’ 135*, Jack Leach’s glasses, Nathan Lyon’s run out opportunity, and Tim Paine’s missed DRS review. A 76* (62) partnership for the final wicket. Oohs & Aahs. Reverse sweeps, scoops, and hoicks. Just a great day to be a cricket fan. One of the greatest innings of all time.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“Cut away. Cut away for 4. What an innings. What a player. Take a bow Ben Stokes. The Ashes well and truly alive because of one cricketer & that cricketer is Benjamin Stokes.” (Nasser Hussain) Entire Day 5 minute highlights

Significance

This series had so many moments. Stuart Broad 23 wickets & dismissed Warner 7 times. Steve Smith’s legendary masterclass was breathtaking. 774 runs, 3 tons, 3 fifties, best of 211, 110.57 average. Jofra Archer’s Test debut, Smith’s concussion, and Marnus Labuschagne’s entrance as cricket’s first concussion substitute—353 runs, 4 fifties at 51.00. Not a bad start, I say. Ideal beginning for the World Test Championship, a 2-2 Ashes series.

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6. West Indies Tour of England, 2020 (1st Test)

Result/Scorecard: West Indies won by 4 wickets

Match Summary: England: 204 & 313; Sri Lanka: 318 & 200/6

Player of the Match: Shannon Gabriel

The Tension

It was a Test match that went all the way to session 3 of Day 5, which became a common theme for Test matches post the COVID break. After Shannon Gabriel’s 9-fer & #1 all-round Jason Holder had given West Indies the advantage, they characteristically lost it on the final day. The Windies had collapsed for 27/3 in a chase of 200. Then an inspirational 95 by Jermaine Blackwood 2.0 brought WI back with the supporting cast of a hobbling John Campbell & the engine room—Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, and Jason Holder.

Commentary/Winning Moment (None other than than Ian Bishop)

“Victory for the West Indies. A most significant moment for Jason Holder and his team. Great credit to their skill, their commitment. The West Indian people and world credit owes them a great debt…Commentary Video

Significance

The coronavirus had hit and ravaged the world. Worldwide lockdown was in-effect and sports had closed its doors for months. Thanks to the West Indies & England cricket boards, players, the support staff, & essential works, cricket made a comeback via bio-bubbles.

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7. Pakistan Tour of New Zealand, 2020-21 (2nd Test)

Result/Scorecard: New Zealand won by 101 runs

Match Summary: New Zealand: 431 & 180/5 declared; Pakistan: 318 & 200/6

Player of the Match: Kane Williamson

The Tension

With a chase of 373 at hand in tough New Zealand conditions, Pakistan were 4/2 at tea on Day 4. One of those one-sided home victories for New Zealand again? Not this time. Not with Fawad Alam. With support from the ever dependable trio Azhar Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, and Faheed Ashraf, Alam scored 102 over 6 and a half hours. Yet a Pakistan-esque collapsed followed after surviving 123.3 overs. Pakistan lost with only 4.4 overs to go. What a jumping catch by Santner as well for the last wicke.t. The drama.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“[Catch it] Oh he’s done it. He’s pulled a hander! Mitchell Santner has done it! Mitchell Santner has finished the game for New Zealand. Look at the scenes!” Commentary Video

Significance

Last match of the decade. Turning point for Test cricket. Brilliant rearguard effort despite the loss. And Fawad Alam. What a story. Dropped after 3 Tests despite scoring a 168 on debut. Criticized for scoring hard, ugly runs with a weird stance. Left out for a decade. . Grinded in domestic cricket. Runs after runs. Till he could be ignored no more. Has now scored 4 hundreds since his comeback. Patience is, indeed, the key to success.

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8. India Tours of Australia, 2018/19, 2020/21 (Border-Gavaskar Trophy)

Result/Scorecard: India won by 3 wickets; All Test matches scorecards here; 2018 Border Gavaskar results

Match Summary: Australia: 369 & 294; England: 336 & 329/7 (4th Test, Brisbane).

Player of the Match: Rishabh Pant

Player of the Series: Pat Cummins

The Tension

India had won the 2018 series 2-1 on the back of Pujara’s toil – 521 (1258). Could they repeat the magic in 2021 with Warner & Smith?

It began with the 36 All-Out at Adelaide. Spectacular bowling performance from Australia. Then Rahane’s century & calm captaincy rejuvenated India at Melbourne. Show of resilience and immense mental strength followed from Vihari-Ashwin after the Pujara-Pant show to secure a draw in Sydney. Finally the young brigade breached the Gabba Fortress. Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, Mohammad Siraj, and Rishabh Pant the stars.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“Pujara, to a younger generation is just a curiosity. As the game moves more and more towards T20, which is the modern savior of our game, the word resilience starts to go out because there is no time for resilience. ” – Harsha Bhogle on Pujara in Amazon Prime’s The Test

Significance

The 2018 victory was the first instance an Asian team has won a Test series in Australia. The 2021 series? Arguably the best Test series since Ashes 2005—This series had everything—bowling excellence, centuries, youngsters, experience, banter, sledging, draws, collapses, and chases. Even with a so-called injured ‘third string,’ squad, whenever India were down, they came back with new hope & stars.

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

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9. England Tour of Sri Lanka, 2021 (1st Test)

Result/Scorecard: England won by 7 wickets

Match Summary: Sri Lanka: 135 & 359; England: 421 & 76/3

Player of the Match: Joe Root

The Tension

The Joe Root Vs Lasith Embuldeniya series. On paper, does not look too close, but the 1st Test was actually engrossing to watch. In chase of 74, England were 14/3 with Joe Root run out (the only way he can get out these days). Jonny Bairstow & Dan Lawrence took England home but the tension was high. 4 innings, 446 runs for Root, 15 wickets for Embuldeniya. Individual brilliance.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“Massive, massive. This is massive. England in a spot of bother.” (After Root’s dismissal) Commentary Video

Significance

Start of Root’s magical year; English fan stranded in Galle cheers from the fort; England won the series 2-0 to extend their overseas winning streak to 5 after they had won 3-1 in South Africa earlier. They would win another in Chennai before Axar Patel decimated England’s subcontinental dreams. (England had also won the 2018 tour of Sri Lanka 3-0 in this same timeframe).

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

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10. West Indies Tour of Bangladesh, 2021 (1st Test)

Result/Scorecard: West Indies won by 3 wickets

Match Summary: Bangladesh: 430 & 223/8 declared; West Indies: 259 & 395/7

Player of the Match: Kyle Mayers

The Tension

Imagine that you are not sending your 1st XI to Bangladesh, a spin-heavy nation that has had an impeccable record in the past 5 years. No expectations before hand. Bangladesh would have been happy with their effort with centuries from Mehidy Hasan Miraz & Mominul Haque. They even declared in the second innings.

A successful chase of 395 runs followed in 127.3 overs with two debutants, Kyle Mayers (40 & 210*) & Nkrumah Bonner (86) sealing it for the West Indies with a remarkable partnership of 216 runs. Fourth innings match-winning double century on debut in the subcontinent. Wow.

Commentary/Winning Moment (Ian Bishop Again)

“A win to warm the hearts of every West Indian wherever you are in the world! New heroes have emerged from the ashes..” Commentary Video

Significance

West Indies won the series 2-0 in Bangladesh with a depleted squad. The greatest chase of all-time?

Also Read: West Indies Vs Bangladesh 2021 Series Review: Young West Indies Rises Again In the East

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11. World Test Championship Final, 2021

Result/Scorecard: New Zealand won by 8 wickets

Match Summary: India: 217 & 170; New Zealand: 249 & 140/2

Player of the Match: Kyle Jamieson

The Tension

Under difficult batting conditions and rain all around, both teams fought it out till the very end. The WTC Final was expected to be a boring draw two rains and bad light. Instead, it became a thriller that went deep into Day 6, final session. With a chase of 139, Latham-Conway had departed to spin trial by R Ashwin. Reversed DRS decision, maidens, and a dropped catch later. At 44/2, anything could have happened the way Ashwin was bowling. When the time came, the experienced duo Kane Williamson & Ross Taylor came together, soaked in the pressure, and after took New Zealand home safely.

Commentary/Winning Moment (Ian Bishop Again)

Watch ICC’s montage of Drama on the Final Day of the WTC Final

Significance

First major victory for Kiwis in an ICC event. BJ Watling retires on a high, Taylor-Williamson finish, Jamieson shines, 6th Day finish, rain—what else do you need?

Also Read: World Test Championship Final Review 2021, Prediction Results, WTC XI, and Stats: It Is New Zealand’s Time

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12. Pakistan Tour of West Indies, 2021 (1st Test)

Memorable Moment: Kemar Roach & understudy Jayden Seales seal a 1-wicket victory in a tense finish; Both teams with a chance of victory at the end of the fourth session

Result/Scorecard: West Indies won by 1 wicket

Match Summary: Pakistan: 217 & 203; West Indies: 253 & 168/9

Player of the Match: Jayden Seales

The Tension

168 target. West Indies collapse to 16/3. After a classic 55 by Jermaine Blackwood, West Indies slip to 114/7. Pakistan needed 3 wickets. West Indies 54 runs. Then Kemar Roach came to the party and had to the take the responsibility of ‘batting with the tail.‘. Roach’s 30* and a valiant 17-run partnership between the mentor-protege pair, Roach-Jayden Seales guided West Indies to a memorable 1-wicket victory.

Commentary/Winning Moment (Ian Bishop Screaming)

“THE WEST INDIES HAVE WON. A MOST REMARKABLE TEST VICTORY. FOR THE TEACHER AND HIS STUDENT—KEMAR ROACH AND JAYDEN SEALES—TAKE A BOW!”

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13. India Tour of England, 2021 (2nd Test)

Result/Scorecard: India won by 151 runs

Match Summary: India: 217 & 203; England: 253 & 168/9

Player of the Match: KL Rahul

The Tension

Day 5, All Results possible. England Favorites. India, not known for their tailender run-machines, unleash Mohammad Shami (56*) & Jasprit Bumrah (34*). 89* partnership as India declared with 2 sessions to go. Then, the pacers fire in unison as India wreck England for 120.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“Unbelievable performance from India. They were up against it. England were favorites coming into Day 5. Kohli an his men have turned it all around.” Commentary Video

Significance

Victory at Lord’s. Another display of fighting it out and not giving up for Team India. Australia tour was not a fluke. This Indian team is on the rise.

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14. New Zealand Tour of India, 2021 (1st Test)

Result/Scorecard: Match Drawn

Match Summary: India 345 & 234/7 declared; New Zealand 296 & 165/9

Player of the Match: Shreyas Iyer

The Tension

By Tea on Day 5, the main batters for New Zealand—Latham, Williamson, and Taylor had all departed. Somerville’s 36 (125) delayed what seemed inevitable for India. Little did India know that they would run into Test debutant Rachin (Rahul + Sachin) Ravindra—18* (91) & Ajaz Patel 2* (29) to hold out for a memorable draw. Add bad light to the drama as well.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“For a long period of time, New Zealand have struggled to find wins or draws in this country. There is a lot of respect between these two sides. Lot of respect between the skippers.” Commentary Video

– Simon Doull

Significance

NZ extend undefeated streak to 10 (longest in their Test history). Next Test that followed, Ajaz Patel became the 3rd bowler after Jim Laker & Anil Kumble to get 10 wickets. A series that went under the radar but had plenty of amazing moments.

15. Bangladesh Tour of New Zealand, 2022 (1st Test)

Result/Scorecard: Bangladesh won by 8 wickets

Match Summary: New Zealand 328 & 169; Bangladesh 458 & 42/2

Player of the Match: Ebadot Hossain

The Tension

After Bangladesh took lead in the first innings, but Will Young-Ross Taylor had taken NZ to 136/2. In the next hour, 136/3, 136/4, 136/5, 154/6, 160/7, 160/8, 161/9, 169/10. The hour that changed it all feat Ebadot Hossain.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“There it is! Finds the gap and Bangladesh have finally conquered the World Test Champions. And have their first ever Test victory over New Zealand, home or away. It has taken 16 attempts against New Zealand but historic ground has now been broken.” Commentary Video

Significance

The greatest comeback of all time? World Test Champions, undefeated at home for a few years, against a team not known for winning overseas. The best part of all? Bangladesh dominated the entire Test and new heroes emerging—Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mominul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, Mehdiy Hasan Miraz, Ebadot Hossain. No Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, & Mahmudullah, and Mushfiqur Rahim only scoring 12 & 5.

16. Ashes, 2022 (4th Test)

Result/Scorecard: Match Drawn

Match Summary: Australia 416/8 declared & 265/6 declared; England 294 & 270/9

Player of the Match: Usman Khawaja

The Tension

England 3-0 down in the Ashes series. Very likely the series could have become 5-0. First innings, Australia scored 400+, courtesy Khawaja’s comeback century. England came out with a positive attitude, with Jonny Bairstow recording England’s first ton of the series. Khawaja followed with another ton, which set the Test beautifully for Day 5, fifth session. Last batter to go, Labuschagne and Steve Smith bowling leggies in tandem. Against Stuart Broad & jimmy Anderson. Mouthwatering stuff.

Commentary/Winning Moment (Stokes’s shirt over his mouth in tension. Nail-biting finish)

“Last ball…He’s done it! He’s survived it. England have survived it. They’ve batted out the day. They’ve batted a hundred and two overs.

Significance

Last shining moment for the Broad-Anderson duo? In terms of Test cricket, this week (starting on January 43rd, 2022) was the peak. NZ vs Bangladesh, Ashes 4th Test, and Ind vs SA 2nd Test, all classic thrillers.

17. India Tour of South Africa (2nd Test)

Result/Scorecard: South Africa won by 7 wickets

Match Summary: India 202 & 266; South Africa 229 & 243/3

Player of the Match: Dean Elgar

The Tension

India had won the first Test of the series comfortably. This was India’s best chances to conquer South Africa. Successful overseas victories in Australia and England, an unparalleled depth, and a South Africa team at their lowest point. In a low scoring series, 202 & 266 were decent scores. Day 4, 240 monumental target for SA against a bowling line up of Bumrah-Shami-Thakur-Siraj-Ashwin, and what happens? Elgar takes body blows, does not hesitate, and makes a glorious 96*. No captain Kohli. India succumbs to defeat by 7 wickets.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“That’s it! History has been made at the Wanderers. and South Africa have fought back brilliantly! Take a bow, Dean Elgar….Fantastic effort, leading from the front. He’s worn a few on the body but hasn’t bothered him. Shown character and desire, grit & determination to get his team over the line. And set up the series beautifully.” Commentary Video

Significance

A win against India at Wanderers at last. First 200+ chase for SA in a decade. After losing the first Test of a series, this was truly a comeback of the ages. India missed their golden chance due to some tough cricket from the Proteas. Third Test, captain Kohli came back. Rishabh Pant scored 100*, but Keegan Petersen’s 72 & 82 meant that SA chased 212/3 yet again.

18. Women’s Ashes, 2022 (Only Test)

Result/Scorecard: Match Drawn

Match Summary: Australia 337/9 declared & 216/7 declared; England 297 & 245/9 declared

Player of the Match: Heather Knight

The Tension

Heather Knight’s Test, but Australia had the upper hand. After they declared for 216/7 in the 2nd innings, England took on the challenge for the chase of 257. At 218/3 with Nat Sciver & Sophia Dunkley, it seemed that England might win this. But Alana King, Beth Mooney’s catch, Sutherland’s bouncers, and a run out ensured England’s collapse. Last ball, full toss, England 245/9. The narrowest of draws.

Commentary/Winning Moment

“And it’s a full toss. It is a drawww! And it is one of the very best Test matches we have seen in women’s Ashes.

Significance

In Women’s Test cricket, this was a friendly reminder that Test cricket can flourish if given the chance and plenty of opportunities, both at the domestic and international level. With focus on the 4-day vs 5-day debate, this Test came at hte right time.

Also Read: India Women Turn the Impossible Into Possible: Case For 5-Day Tests In Women’s Cricket? Interview: Australia Vs England Women’s Ashes Test from a Fan’s Perspective

Why Are We Seeing Close Test Matches So Frequently?

For an away team to win a Test match, it takes an immense amount of effort and equal amount of fightback from the home team. Hence, winning an away Test usually means going deep into the 4th of 5th Day, which makes for an interesting viewing. On the other hand, home team in friendly bowling conditions mean Test matches can end within 3-4 days (even 2 days).

More away victories or draws means more close Test matches.

Dismal 2010s

What do you remember about Test cricket in the 2010s? Mitchell Johnson 2013, the advent of the Day-Night Test, Smith-Warner saga, South Africa’s blockathon in Delhi, and excellence from the South African team, Dale Steyn, Anderson-Broad, Boult-Southee, Starc-Hazlewood-Lyon-Cummins, Jadeja-Ashwin, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith, and Kane Williamson.

Above all, though, I remember disproportionate margins by which home teams won. India losing in England 0-4 (with RP Singh flying from Miami due to excessive injury list) & Australia 0-4 (2011). India came back to England with 1-3 (2014), and 1-4 (2018). Their record in South Africa and New Zealand, remains disastrous till today. England and Australia were either swept apart or struggled to make a mark in India or Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Pakistan had made UAE their fortress under Misbah-ul-Haq.

Post the 2010-12 England generation (think Alastair Cook Ashes 2010 & England victory 2-1 in India), except for South Africa, no other team seemed competitive overseas. Only Faf du Plessis’ Adelaide debut & England’s defiance via Matt Prior against New Zealand (2013) stretched to the end of Day 5.

From the list above, we can see that the tide is finally turning. Even in England’s disaster tour of India earlier this year (1-3), they won the first Test in Chennai.

Rise of Away Wins, Sporting Declarations, and Pakistan/West Indies

So why have we seen a resurgence of overseas victory?

It can be attributed to 4 factors – (1) Increase depth in cricket teams in general, (2) sporting declarations (#1, #2, #5, #8, #13, #15, #17), (3) captains like Virat Kohli focusing their resources and energy on Test cricket, (4) the rise of the West Indies/Pakistan.

One might argue that West Indies still have a dismal Test record. However, we can see that they made it in this list 3 times. They have definitely become a competitive force under Jason Holder although consistency is now needed. ‘Second tier Test’ teams like West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa and Sri Lanka punching above their weights and winning overseas matches adds to the excitement (A Relegation-Promotion System in the World Test Championship might help out).

Anyway, here is to more great Test matches. Yes, live audience in Test cricket is decreasing and overkill of cricket/new formats might threaten Test Cricket, but as long as the cricket is good, Test matches will remain alive.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 08/27/2021, updated on 02/26/2022. 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).

Indian Cricket Team Depth: List of Top 75 Players of Indian Cricket

Indian cricket climbed new heights at the Gabba. With a 2nd or 3rd string team. One of the greatest sporting stories of all time.

During that series, Australia announced a Test & T20I squad that would have been played at the same time (before Australia cancelled the South Africa tour of course).

These two events got me thinking—Can India field two Test XIs at the same time without overlapping players? How about an additional ODI & T20I team?

Today’s Twist

Build FOUR Indian National Cricket Teams: 2 Test teams, an ODI, and a T20I XI so that (1) each team can field a team (wicketkeeper & 5 bowling options), and (2) a player is not repeated in any of the lists.

The Catch

  • Would you pick Virat Kohli for the Test team, ODI, or the T20I? Bumrah?
  • Can you make all 4 teams balanced? The goal is that each team is just as good and competitive on the international stage. The ODI & T20I teams should be good enough for the World Cups and the Test teams for the World Test Championship.
  • With so many spinners in the Indian cricket circuit and given recent history, does Kuldeep Yadav find a place in any of these XI?

India Cricket Teams

*uncapped player

Test Team 1

  1. 1. Mayank Agarwal
  2. 2. Shubman Gill
  3. 3. Cheteshwar Pujara
  4. 4. Virat Kohli (C)
  5. 5. Rishabh Pant (WK)
  6. 6. Hardik Pandya
  7. 7. Ravindra Jadeja
  8. 8. Ravichandran Ashwin
  9. 9. Ishant Sharma
  10. 10. Jasprit Bumrah
  11. 11. Kuldeep Yadav

Test Team 2

  1. 1. Prithvi Shaw
  2. 2. Abhimanyu Easwaran*
  3. 3. Hanuma Vihari
  4. 4. Ajinkya Rahane (C)
  5. 5. Karun Nair
  6. 6. Wriddhiman Saha (WK)
  7. 7. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
  8. 8. Umesh Yadav
  9. 9. Mohammed Siraj
  10. 10. Navdeep Saini
  11. 11. Shahbaz Nadeem

Indian Cricket Limited Overs Teams:

ODI XI

  • 1. Shikhar Dhawan
  • 2. Rohit Sharma (C)
  • 3. Sanju Samson (WK)
  • 4. Shreyas Iyer
  • 5. Kedar Jadhav
  • 6. Vijay Shankar
  • 7. Axar Patel
  • 8. Deepak Chahar
  • 9. Mohammed Shami
  • 10. Khaleel Ahmed
  • 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

T20I XI

  1. 1. KL Rahul (WK)
  2. 2. Ishan Kishan*
  3. 3. Suryakumar Yadav*
  4. 4. Manish Pandey
  5. 5. Shivam Dube
  6. 6. Dinesh Karthik (C)
  7. 7. Krunal Pandya
  8. 8. Shardul Thakur
  9. 9. Varun Chakravarthy
  10. 10. Washington Sundar
  11. 11. Thangarasu Natarajan

India’s most successful Test skipper and the stand-in skipper in Australia are given the Test reins, while the most successful IPL captain & captain of the victorious Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy have been given limited overs captaincy duties. We made sure the limited overs team had plenty of 6th bowling options, an area Indian selection has recently struggled with.

Extended List of Prospects

These are just the 44 that are ready for the international level. Just like IPL 2020 showed, we can further create a squad just of the Emerging Players. Here is an extended list of players for the next decade.

Fringe Players: 45. Rahul Chahar, 46. KS Bharat (WK), 47. Kartik Tyagi, 48. Priyank Panchal (recent standby/India A players)

Youngsters to Watch Out: 49. Devdutt Padikkal, 50. Ruturaj Gaikwad, 51. Priyam Garg, 52. Abdul Samad, 53. Abhishek Sharma, 54. Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 55. Shivam Mavi, 56. Ravi Bishnoi, 57. Arshdeep Singh, 58. Prasidh Krishna, 59. Mayank Markande, 60. Ishan Porel, 61. Shahbaz Ahmed, 62. Riyan Parag, 63. Sarfaraz Khan, 64. Nitish Rana, 65. Harshal Patel, 66. Deepak Hooda, 67. Narayan Jagadeesan, 68. R Sai Kishore

Others: 69. Jayant Yadav, 70. Jayadev Unadkat, 71. Siddharth Kaul, 72. Dhawal Kulkarni, 73. Sandeep Sharma, 74. Mandeep Singh (India caps, have age on their side, but out of favor & unlikely to get back in anytime soon)

*Note: Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, and Amit Mishra were not considered because they are almost at the end of the careers and are out of the favor with the selectors.

Conclusion

Problem of plenty for Team India.

We have all criticized Indian cricket selectors at some point in time, but we can clearly see it is difficult to give every player an extended run. Gone are the days where we can find players who play 2 or 3 formats for more than a decade. Virat Kohli maybe the last of his breed in India.

Next week, we will do a similar exercise with the England cricket team. Their limited overs depth is quite something, and they are a rising force in Test cricket as well.

What will your Indian XIs be? What do you think of Indian cricket right now? COMMENT BELOW! Would love to know your thoughts!

If you like this, check out the rest of our World XIs with Twists Here – Best Fielding XI, Best Commentators XI, and much more!

Copyright (2021: 2/3/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: lensbug.chandru, CC BY 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

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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Embed from Getty Images

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.

Preview: India Vs Australia Test Series 2020

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

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

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

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

When and Where?

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

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

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

The Batting

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

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

Australia: Injuries Give Australia a Headache

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

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

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

Australia: Nathan Lyon The Key

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

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

The Broken Dream

India: Ishant Sharma

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

Australia: Will Pucovski

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

Prediction

Verdict: 1-1 Draw

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

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

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

Which team will give in first?

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

My Starting XI:

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

India (First 2 Tests):

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

India (Last 2 Tests):

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

Australia:

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

*captain

The Squads

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

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

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

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

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

Preview: Ind V Aus – Closer Than It Appears

India (Ind) vs Australia (Aus) — a rivalry of sorts in recent times, especially in ODIs. It is 2020. Times have changed. Looked at ODI rankings recently?

Australia – #3, Zimbabwe – #4, Ireland – #5

Not kidding. This is the points table for the ODI Super league leading up to the 2023 ODI World Cup. The league was just getting underway before COVID hit.

Now, the proceedings finally restart. India vs Australia at Sydney on November 27th for a good-ole classic ODI match, India’s first in the ODI league.

My prediction for the series: India 2, Australia 1. Read till the end to see why. Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below!

Also Read: Eng vs SA T20I Series Preview, Series Predictions – Twitter Edition

The Batting

Ind: Batting Has Depth But No Flexibility

  • Dhawan, KL Rahul, Kohli, Iyer, Pandey, Agarwal, Samson, and even Hardik Pandya (with back injury) – none of the top 6 bowl
  • Rohit Sharma is one of the ODI players of the decade, but is out with an injury from the IPL. How much will this batting line-up miss him?
  • With the #4 dilemma India suffered prior to the 2019 World Cup semi-final, it may be wise to move KL Rahul to #4 and open with the in-form Mayank Agarwal or Shubman Gill

Aus: Batting Has Too Much Flexibility

  • With Finch-Warner-Labuschagne-Smith, the top four is pretty solid and settled
  • The concern is the flexibility in the middle order – Stoinis, Carey, Maxwell and maybe even Moises Henriques/Cameron Green. Carey & Maxwell coming from disaster IPLs and Stoinis in the middle order is a hit and miss (fluid line-ups do not work much – look at KKR from the IPL)
  • Out-of-the-box: Move Stoinis up to open, drop Labuschagne, and play with 3 all-rounders/power-hitters?
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The Bowling

Ind: Kul-cha Holds the Key to India’s Success

  • Kuldeep Yadav has had a horrid year or so with the ball, but in the large Australian grounds, the Kuldeep-Chahal partnership needs to be revived
  • If Pandya does not bowl, should India drop a batsman and play Shardul Thakur as another bowling option/slogger down the order?
  • Shami’s opening spells and Bumrah’s death bowling will be key

Aus: 5th Bowling Option the Only Issue

  • Watch out for Hazlewood. I have a feeling his miserly line-and-length bowling will set the tone for the series
  • With Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins the fast bowling is set and with Zampa getting into rhythm, this looks like a stable core
  • 1 out of Stoinis + Henriques/Green + Maxwell/Labuschagne will complete the bowling, which is the only concern in this line-up
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The Broken Dream

Ind: Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson

  • India vs Australia ODI at Sydney 2016 – Manish Pandey’s 104* takes his team home in the chase of 331. 4 years down the line, still has not nailed a spot (feat inconsistency and selection mismanagement). Can he find a spot in the XI?
  • Sanju Samson has always lit up the IPL and is finally getting some chances in the international fold. With KL Rahul almost certainly taking the gloves, can India find a space for him as an X-factor or will he end up as another Indian unlucky cricketer?

Aus: The New Kids on the Block

  • Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, and Labuschagne in ODIs are great prospects for the future, and it remains to be seen if their long-term future will be secure
  • Matthew Wade made a marvelous comeback after toiling in domestic cricket for a while. With Carey’s struggle of late, Wade may get a chance. Who knows, at 32, this might be his final try in ODI cricket

Prediction

Verdict: 2-1 India

This series will be closer than it appears. Australia at home with this bowling attack and an envious top 4, Australia are the clear favorites.

If India can find that final lower-order firepower and exploit Australia’s 5th bowling option, we might be in for a close one.

I think Australia will win the first one, but India will bounce back with two on the trot to win the series.

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My Starting XI:

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

Ind:

Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli*, KL Rahul (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav

Aus:

Aaron Finch*, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques/ Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads.

Ind: Manish Pandey, Navdeep Saini, Sanju Samson (WK), Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur

Aus: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Daniel Sams, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (WK)

Image Courtesy: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) – Marc Dalmulder from Hamlyn Terrace, Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons