Kings go down as India players keep an eye on Australia tour
Rohit cloud over India’s tour of Australia
India announced it’s Test, One-Day International, and Twenty20 squads for its extended tour of Australia set to take place later this year. The jumbo squad will travel straight from the United Arab Emirates. The players are currently taking part in the Indian Premier League and get into a 14-day quarantine before playing matches in all three formats.
The major talking point from the squads’ announcement was the absence of Rohit Sharma, who sustained a hamstring injury while playing for the Mumbai Indians. Rohit, who is a fixture in all three formats and has a leadership role as vice-captain, was training at the Mumbai Indians nets not long after the squad was announced. This suggested that there was every chance he could still regain fitness in time for the Australia tour and be included in the Indian team on a later date based on medical assessments.
The IPL has proved a major boost for KL Rahul, who returns to the Indian team. Rahul, it is worth remembering, was dropped from the Test team after successive failures. The tournament has also allowed Varun Chakravarthy, the mystery spinner, to get his first call up for India in the Twenty20 International squad with multiple variations. Mohammad Siraj, the fast-medium bowler, is a similar beneficiary, being included in the India Test squad for the first time.
India squads for Australia tour:
Tests: Virat Kohli (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
One-Day Internationals: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur
Twenty20 Internationals: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy
Chennai Super Kings officially fail to make the cut
For the first time since the tournament began, the Chennai Super Kings failed to make it to the play-offs or the Indian Premier League’s final four. In 10 previous editions, they have progressed to the last stages, being the most consistent team in the league. In two editions, the team did not take part after being suspended over spot-fixing allegations.
When Ben Stokes fired the Rajasthan Royals to a brilliant win over the Mumbai Indians, Chennai was officially eliminated from the final four, ruling out even a statistical chance of them getting through.
Meanwhile, the IPL authorities announced the fixtures for the final four. The first qualifier for the final, between teams, ranked one and two in the league phase, will be played in Dubai on November 5. The eliminator will then be played between the third and fourth-ranked teams in Abu Dhabi on November 6. The second qualifier, between the team that lost the first match and the one that won the eliminator, will be played in Abu Dhabi on November 8, with the final taking place at the Dubai International Stadium on November 10.
Cricket South Africa in turmoil after board resigns en masse
Cricket South Africa was plunged into fresh uncertainty and turmoil when the governing body’s entire board resigned from their posts on October 26. Just a day before this, the six directors, including former acting president Beresford Williams, four other non-independent members, and one independent member, Dheven Dharmalingam had resigned after a high-powered meeting.
With this move, the decks have been cleared for a Steering Committee appointment, something that was mandated by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. These developments come on the back of allegations of mismanagement and corruption within South African cricket, with the government body being forced to intervene in the interests of cleaning up the administration.
Meanwhile, South Africa hopes to host Sri Lanka in December, and the players are keen for this series to take place as they have had no international cricket since February due to the Covid-19 pandemic globally and the crisis within the cricket board at home.
Hardik Pandya makes a statement
Hardik Pandya, the India and Mumbai Indians allrounder, became the first player in the Indian Premier League to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Cricket has addressed racism with seriousness in the recent past, starting with the West Indies tour of England.
During that series, both teams’ players wore black armbands and took a knee and observed a moment of silence before each of the Test matches played.
However, in the IPL, there has been a conspicuous absence of such gestures till Pandya took a knee in Mumbai Indians’ match against the Rajasthan Royals. Pandya, who made a 21-ball 60 in that match, took a knee and held an arm aloft when he reached the milestone of a half-century, a gesture that was appreciated from the sidelines by Kieron Pollard, Pandya’s team-mate.
Shortly before Pandya’s gesture, teams taking part in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia all took a knee to support the BLM movement.
Kapil Dev survives cardiac scare
Kapil Dev, arguably India’s greatest cricketer, survived a cardiac scare but is recovering well after surgery, much to the relief of his legion of fans worldwide. Dev, who led India to their first World Cup win when the team stunned the cricketing world back in 1983, played 131 Test matches and 225 One-Day Internationals for Indian between 1978 and 1994.
With 5248 runs at 31.05 and 434 wickets at 29.64, Dev is the only cricketer to have achieved the double of 5000 Test runs and 400 wickets. Only one other player has achieved the double of 5000 runs and 300 wickets, England’s Ian Botham. This statistical feat alone ensures that Dev remains one of the finest allrounders the game has seen.
Dev complained of uneasiness and was rushed to the hospital for an angioplasty procedure that cleared the arteries’ blocks and restored blood flow to a normal level. Doctors said that Dev would be cleared to resume normal activities in due course. Dev, who is an active golfer and regular commentator on television for various series, was expected to be back in action at the earliest.
Lanka Premier League hit by the player withdrawal
The Lanka Premier League set to be played for the first time, soon after the completion of the Indian Premier League suffered a blow when five international players were forced to withdraw from the competition.
South Africa’s Faf du Plessis and David Miller and England’s Dawid Malan were forced to pull out once the England-South Africa limited-overs series, scheduled to begin in England on November 27 was announced.
West Indian star Andre Russell confirmed that he too would not be part of the newly formed league, and it was believed this was due to the knee injury that has kept him on the bench for the Kolkata Knight Riders for the best part of the IPL. Russel has not been withdrawn from the IPL, and though Sri Lanka Cricket officials cited his injury as the reason for non-participation, there has been no word from Russell on the subject.
Manvinder Bisla, the India cricketer, was the fifth to withdraw, although he provided no reason for doing so.
The Lanka Premier League got off to a shaky start with tournament officials desperate to get a reduced quarantine period for players coming to the island. However, Sri Lankan governmental agencies have not yielded on this point, sticking to the 14-day quarantine period. With the tournament only scheduled to last a fortnight, such an extended quarantine period may prove too much of a hurdle logistically for players, television crews, and officials.
Salman Butt pulls out from tournament for non-playing role
Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, withdrew from the Qaid e Azam Trophy, Pakistan’s premier domestic first-class competition, saying that there was little point in playing domestic cricket when there was no chance for him to make a comeback to the national team. Butt is believed to have been offered a role as a television commentator on the tournament’s broadcast.
Butt, who is 36, was banned for five years from cricket at all levels for his role in the match-fixing scandal of 2010 exposed when Pakistan was playing in England. After serving his ban, he returned to domestic cricket in Pakistan, played in the National One Day Cup, and succeeded in the first-class competition and T20 cricket. While Butt said he was still available for white-ball cricket, he has withdrawn from the first-class competition.