India Squad for Tour of West Indies 2019 Announced- No Shubman Gill

India have officially announced their squad for their upcoming tour of the West Indies. There was talk that the World Cup semi-finalists would adopt split captaincy for this tour, but skipper Virat Kohli continues to hold the reigns across all three formats. A couple of key players have been rested given their workload, but it still remains a very strong squad- certainly not a second string one by any stretch of imagination.

Because this tour comes on the heels of the just concluded World Cup, let’s take a look at their ODI squad first.

What changes have been made from the World Cup roster for this squad to tour the Carribean?

There are a few changes- Vijay Shankar is injured, MS Dhoni has made himself “unavailable”, Dinesh Karthik has seemingly been axed and the pair of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested. In come Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey- the former widely expected to be India’s next No.4 and the latter rewarded for a string of strong domestic performances. Navdeep Saini and Khaleel Ahmed are the new bowlers in the squad.

Shikhar Dhawan returns to the squad after missing the latter half of India’s World Cup campaign with a thumb injury.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no Shubman Gill, but chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that the Punjab youngster, who toured New Zealand earlier this year, is very much in their plans. Rishabh Pant is also the only wicket keeper in the squad, with KL Rahul expected to provide temporary cover if required.

Kedar Jadhav retains his spot in the fifteen despite not featuring in the XI that took on New Zealand in the semis.

India ODI Squad to tour West Indies 2019

India Test Squad for West Indies Tour 2019

The test squad will be seen in action for the first time since that historic win in Australia. Several “test-only” regulars of the squad- Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma all feature as expected. There is a welcome return after a long injury layoff for Wriddhiman Saha. Bhuvneshwar Kumar misses out with the selectors preferring the quartet of Mohammad Shami, Sharma, Bumrah and Umesh Yadav in the pace department. Rohit Sharma, so prolific in the 50 over format, has been given another chance to add to his 27 test caps.

India Test Squad for WI Tour 2019

India T20 Squad

The T20 squad retains a strong batting core, with Kohli, Sharma, Dhawan and Rahul all present but features an experimental bowling outfit. Both Chahars- Rahul and Deepak, have made the cut, as has Washington Sundar.

India T20 Squad for WI Tour 2019

Talking Points from England vs New Zealand 14 July 2019- The Greatest World Cup Final Ever?

England ended their 44 year wait for a Cricket World Cup title as they were crowned 2019 champions at Lord’s after a dramatic final hour that saw both teams tied in both regular time and the Super Over, forcing the officials to declare Trevor Bayliss’ men winners on the boundary countback rule.

It was the third successive time that the host of the World Cup had lifted the title, following victories for India in 2011 and Australia in 2015.

The final was a tight, attritional affair, but the end was truly dramatic, and probably catapulted it to No.1 on the list for best ODI’s ever. Certainly the best World Cup final ever, and with it being telecast on Free-To-Air in the United Kingdom, would’ve potentially inspired thousands of young kids to take up the game. Here are our talking points from this epic fixture.

The Guptill “overthrow” that took a deflection off Ben Stokes’ bat

Perhaps the biggest talking point of them all! With 9 to win in 3 balls, Canterbury born Stokes hit Trent Boult to deep midwicket and set off. While the former was returning for the second, Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep inadvertently took a deflection off Stokes’ bat, and went past keeper Tom Latham to the boundary.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs (2 for Stokes and 4 for the overthrow). As cruel as it was for Black Caps fans to stomach the decision in real time, it was made worse after the legendary Simon Taufel said that his umpiring mates had made a mistake- it should’ve been five runs instead of six, and that Adil Rashid should’ve been on strike for the penultimate delivery instead of Stokes. In another universe, this could so easily have been a maiden NZ World Cup win.

Trent Boult steps on the rope

James Neesham had produced a fine 49th over under pressure, and it would’ve been a match winning one but for Boult’s lapse in judgement on the boundary. Stokes went for the big hit, and Boult claimed a catch on the boundary, but failed to notice the rope behind him, and stepped on it before he could potentially throw the ball to Guptill for a relay catch.

Mitch Santner ducks under Jofra Archer’s bouncer in the final ball of the New Zealand innings

Perhaps not as noticed as the two errors above, but it did cost New Zealand. On the final ball of the Black Caps innings, Santner simply ducked under an Archer bouncer instead of attempting to hit it, and wasn’t even able to run a bye. In a game when there were two “ties”, an extra run might’ve seen NZ being crowned World champions.

Will the boundaries rule be canned by the ICC?

In their wildest dreams, the ICC would not have expected this final to end the way it did. Deciding the winner on the boundaries rule doesn’t feel like the appropriate way to decide a World Cup champion- some would argue that NZ should’ve won it because they bowled England out in regular time and lost only 8 wickets in theirs. Should the trophy have been shared between the two teams? Or should there have been another version of “sudden death” to decide the winner after the Super Over tie? The debate will continue for ages.

Should Kane Williamson have asked Lockie Ferguson to bowl the Super Over?

Trent Boult has been Williamson’s go-to man in the last four overs, but the left armer was slightly wayward today, bowling a bunch of full tosses and length deliveries instead of nailing his yorkers, and finishing with 0-67 in his 10 overs. On the evidence of how things panned out in regular time, Ferguson, with his ability to bowl both fast and slower bouncers as well as yorkers, might’ve been a better choice.

Jason Roy and Jos Buttler hold their nerve

Roy and Buttler were the only two batsmen to strike at close to a run a ball on a pitch where their team mates struggled. But they will be immortalised in English cricket history for their roles in that final ball run out of Martin Guptill. Roy, who had misfielded earlier in the Super Over, showed great awareness and speed to throw the ball to Buttler, who held his nerve and cleverly positioned himself in front of the stumps to run out the diving Guptill.

Talking Points from England vs Australia Cricket World Cup 2019 Semi-Final 2

England comfortably saw off defending champions Australia in Birmingham to book their spot in the final at Lord’s against New Zealand. Here are our talking points from the second CWC 2019 semi-final.

The Cricket World Cup will have a new winner

Sunday’s final will be between New Zealand and England- two nations who have never won the Cricket World Cup before. We’re therefore guaranteed a new winner- the first such champion since Sri Lanka’s victory back in 1996. Given Australia’s domination of the event over the last two decades, this will come as a whiff of fresh air.

Australia lose a CWC semi-final for the first time in their history

Australia had competed in seven CWC semi-finals before this, and had advanced from all. Today though was a bridge too far for them- with injuries to Khawaja and Shaun Marsh and Stoinis & Starc not exactly 100%, they were no match for England’s power game at the Bear Pit.

Archer and Woakes do the damage at the top; Steve Smith wages a lone battle

David Warner seemed pumped up for this occasion at the anthem and started the game with a beautiful drive for four. However Jofra Archer trapped Finch LBW in the first ball of his spell and Warner followed soon after being forced to fend a rising Chris Woakes delivery to Jonny Bairstow at slip. Finch and Warner had done the bulk of Australia’s scoring in this tournament, and like with India, the Australian middle order couldn’t quite salvage the situation. Steve Smith waged a lone battle and had some support from Alex Carey but Australia could only muster 220 odd on a very good batting wicket.

Jos Buttler’s “nutmeg” run out of Steve Smith

Smith, as mentioned before, stood between England and a quick Australian capitulation, and had taken the visitors past 200 in the company of Mitch Starc. Just as it seemed he would take them to 250, he was dismissed by a brilliant run out from Jos Buttler, with the ball literally “nutmegging” Smith en route to the stumps. Instead of the 240-250 they had hoped for, Australia were dismissed for only 223. Continue reading “Talking Points from England vs Australia Cricket World Cup 2019 Semi-Final 2”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points from India vs New Zealand- the 2DI World Cup Semi final!

New Zealand advanced to their second successive World Cup final with a stunning eighteen run win over favourites India at Old Trafford. Here are our talking points from this thrilling ODI (or should that read 2DI?) clash at Manchester.

CT 2017 encore for India

Going into this tournament, if there was one ever-present worry in the minds of Indian fans, it was about their middle order, and whether they could handle a pressure situation. India’s top 3 had scored nearly 70% of their runs in this tournament coming into this semi-final but had a collective failure today in Manchester. It was, in some ways, deja vu for the fans who had seen their 2017 CT final defeat to Pakistan. India’s middle order didn’t stand up that evening, and didn’t do so today either.

Martin Guptill’s run out of MS Dhoni

Dhoni is not the methodical finisher he was a decade ago, but still remains a force to be reckoned with. He took the game to the final 2 overs, and swatted Lockie Ferguson for a six over deep cover to bring the equation to 25 off 11. The very next ball, he attempted a second but was run out by a fantastic direct hit from Martin Guptill in the deep. If the ball had bounced before hitting the stumps, or had needed the assistance of the fielder, Dhoni, so good between the wickets, would’ve comfortably made his ground. It was a matter of inches at the end, and with that one throw, Guptill made up for the miserable World Cup he’s had with the bat. If New Zealand go on to win the World Cup for the first time in their history, that Guptill run out will be the stuff of legends, and talked about till the end of eternity.

Guptill Dhoni Run out World Cup 2019 Semi-final

Why didn’t India sent Dhoni in earlier?

Bizarrely enough, with the score at 5/3, India didn’t sent MS Dhoni in, and the veteran only strode to the middle at No.7 when they were five down. His power hitting abilities may have reduced with time, but Dhoni remains a fine defensive player, and could’ve easily performed the role Karthik and Pandya (unfamiliar to them mind you) were asked to. It would’ve allowed India the luxury of another power hitter at the death, and with 42 to win in 4, you’d probably have backed the Men in Blue.

Matt Henry the unsung hero

He’s received flak for his poor death bowling (see the West Indies game) but Matt Henry turned up today when his side needed him the most. He first snapped up Rohit Sharma, the tournament’s leading run scorer with five hundreds, with an absolute gem of a delivery that set the pace for the Black Caps, and also got rid of KL Rahul.

Henry’s death bowling is not his strongest suit, but with India needing 42 in 4 overs with Jadeja and Dhoni well set, he produced a tremendous final over with back of the length cutters that went for just five. It forced Jadeja to target Trent Boult in the final over Continue reading “Fan Analysis & Talking Points from India vs New Zealand- the 2DI World Cup Semi final!”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points from Australia vs South Africa & India vs Sri Lanka

The group stage of the World Cup came to a conclusion earlier today, with India taking on Sri Lanka at Headingley in the day fixture and Australia squaring off against South Africa in the D/N clash at Old Trafford. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the day’s action.

South Africa’s batting finally clicks, and sends Australia to Birmingham for their semi-finak

South Africa vs Australia as a World Cup clash brings back memories of that great game between the two sides back in the 1999 edition of the tournament.

The Proteas have been one of this tournament’s biggest disappointments, but with nothing to lose, they turned the tables on Australia at Old Trafford with a fantastic batting display. For the first time in this tournament, they got off to a flying start with the bat after winning the toss. With Hashim Amla out injured, Aiden Markram was asked to open the batting with Quinton de Kock, and the flurry of fours at the beginning of the South African innings forced opposition skipper Aaron Finch to turn to spinner Nathan Lyon as early as the 6th over of the game.

Markram and De Kock both departed before the 20th over, but the foundation had been set, and it allowed Rassie van der Dussen, traditionally a bit of a slow starter, time to get himself in. He was 5 (25) before going on to smash 95 in 97. Faf du Plessis scored the Proteas’ first century of the tournament, and South Africa were able to set Australia an imposing 326 to win, which proved to be 10 too many for Justin Langer’s men at the end.

How South Africa would’ve loved the tournament to begin today instead of the 40 odd days before that it did!

And in sending Australia to Edgbaston, a ground known to favour England historically, they might have sounded the death knell for their great opponents’ hopes of defending their crown. Edgbaston was also the venue for that SA-Aus 1999 semi-final that began Australia’s dominance over the 50 over format.

CWC table after group stages of World Cup-2019

Rohit Sharma writes himself into the history books

With a hundred against Sri Lanka, Sharma not only took India to the top of the table, but also broke the record for most centuries in a single World Cup. In the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, Sharma has taken on added responsibility and handled it with aplomb.

He’s also not too far away from Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs (673) at a single World Cup. And the way he’s been going, few would bet against him achieving that record as well!

South Africa’s fielding sees them stave off a spirited Australian comeback

There were three great pieces of South African fielding today at Old Trafford- first the run out effected by De Kock to dismiss Marcus Stoinis (one which even MS Dhoni would’ve been proud of), the second a leaping catch, again by De Kock, to dismiss Glenn Maxwell, and the third a stunner from Chris Morris to take out David Warner just as Carey and he were beginning to take the game away from the Proteas.

They had a few lapses in the field- most notably in the form of missed run outs, but this was a far superior effort in terms of catching, and it helped them end their tournament on a high.

Alex Carey the unsung hero for Australia at CWC 2019

With a first class average of 29, few would’ve expected Alex Carey to have the impact he’s had on this tournament. The wicket keeper nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat here, and may be promoted to No.5 in their semi-final against England, given the stunning form he’s been in.

A few alarm bells for Australia?

Australia still remain formidable opponents, as evinced by their never say die attitude during the chase that saw them score nearly 200 in their last 25 overs despite having effectively lost half their side.

However they appear to be in a bit of disarray- Shaun Marsh has already been sent home injured, Usman Khawaja’s tournament looks over after a hamstring issue, Marcus Stoinis had a side strain and even Mitch Starc needed the physio to attend to his knee. At this rate, Marsh Jr and Peter Handscomb may need to make their first appearance of the tournament in the cauldron of a World Cup a semi-final against the hosts at the “Bear Pit”

Not quite panic stations for Australia yet, but England will fancy their chances to advance to the final. Even Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said he expected the hosts to meet India in the decider at Lord’s in a week’s time, when quizzed about it by Mark Nicholas at the post-match presentation.

The semi-finals will be India vs New Zealand and England vs Australia- same as the first WC warm-up fixtures for these four sides played on May 25.

Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Bangladesh Cricket World Cup

India bounced back from their loss to England as they beat Bangladesh by 28 runs at Edgbaston to seal their spot in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Here are our talking points from this fixture between the two Asian rivals in Birmingham.

Tamim Iqbal drops Rohit Sharma early in his innings

This was an effective must-win game for Bangladesh following England’s victory over India a couple of days ago. Tigers skipper Mashrafe Mortaza would’ve preferred to bat first, but his opposite number Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to take first guard.

Bangladesh needed to be at their best in the field to keep India to a moderate score. Unfortunately, with Rohit just on 9, Tamim Iqbal dropped a straightforward chance in the deep off Mustafizur Rahman. Rohit, who has a fantastic record against Bangladesh, went on to score a century that would form the cornerstone of India’s imposing 314.

This was the fourth time in the tournament that Sharma was given a life while still in single digits, and on every occasion, he’s made the opposition pay, with three centuries and a half century to his tally instead of four single digit scores.

India through to semis; Bangladesh officially knocked out

The result made India the second team to qualify for the semi-finals after Australia and ended Bangladesh’s slim hopes of making it to the last four. If Australia lose to South Africa in their final game of the tournament, India can finish top with a victory over Sri Lanka.

The last two semi-final spots are now between England, New Zealand and Pakistan. A victory for England today will ensure their progress into the semis, and almost certainly New Zealand’s as well (superior NRR for the Black Caps compared to Pakistan)

CWC table after India vs Bangladesh-2019

Bangladesh need a specialist 140+ quick in their ranks

Bangladesh’s pacers, bar Mustafizur Rahman, weren’t quite at the races today. Mashrafe and Rubel’s struggles with the ball meant they had to depend on part timer Soumya Sarkar for five overs. A quality 140+ quick- in the Bumrah, Rabada, Boult or Starc mould would make Bangladesh a far more threatening side. Bumrah essentially ended their chase with two fine yorkers that took out Nos 10 and 11- the Tigers lacked such quality in their ranks. Continue reading “Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Bangladesh Cricket World Cup”

Talking Points & Fan Analysis- England vs India Cricket World Cup 2019

England wrested back fourth spot from Pakistan after a fine all-round display saw them beat India by 31 runs at Edgbaston. Here are our talking points from this fixture.

India suffer their first defeat of CWC 2019

India’s loss today at Edgbaston was their first of the tournament- it also means that every team at CWC 2019 has suffered at least one defeat.

England’s victory also paves the way for Australia to finish first- the defending champions will top the table if they beat South Africa in their final game.

India, for the first time in this tournament, also wore a special away kit today- will they wear it again if they meet England in the last four?

CWC 2019 Table after England vs INdia

Jason Roy’s return a timely one for England

We had noted that England’s defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia came with Jason Roy missing. The Durban born opener was back in action today, and it also ensured a return to form for his partner Jonny Bairstow. The duo put on 160 runs in 22 overs, and that fine opening stand allowed England the luxury of a few quiet overs in the middle before they unleashed a final overs blitzkrieg.

India will feel Shikhar Dhawan’s absence as they go further in the tournament

Shikhar Dhawan is an absolutely fantastic player, more so in ICC tournaments, and today was more evidence that India will sorely miss him in the latter stages of the tournament. His replacement, KL Rahul, made a nine ball duck in India’s chase of 338.

With Dhawan missing, India also opted to give young Rishabh Pant, another southpaw, a go in the middle order. Pant was decent in his 29 ball 32, and may have just done enough to earn another crack at the position. Continue reading “Talking Points & Fan Analysis- England vs India Cricket World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs West Indies CWC 2019

India maintained their unbeaten start to the tournament as they comfortably saw off West Indies at Old Trafford. Chasing 269, the Windies, who had scored 286 at this very venue against New Zealand a few days ago, were only able to muster 143 in response. Here are our talking points from the fixture.

West Indies officially eliminated

The West Indies have been officially eliminated from the World Cup following this defeat- the third team after Afghanistan and South Africa. The men from the Carribbean had their chances- most notably against Australia and New Zealand, losing from winning positions in both fixtures, and will be left ruing what could’ve been.

The Windies though have been too inconsistent, and today was another prime example. It feels like a side of some very good individuals, but not really a team, and their position in the points table reflects that. They’re very good in the 20 over format, but the longer the game, the more their weaknesses come to the fore, which explains their relative lack of success in both the ODI and test formats in comparison to T20’s.

Shai Hope misses a golden opportunity to stump MS Dhoni

While Dhoni was just getting started, he advanced down the track to Fabian Allen and was beaten in the air. Wicket keeper Shai Hope had two bites at the cherry to get the Indian star stumped, but squandered both, and Dhoni survived. MSD’s late assault was perhaps the difference between West Indies chasing 240-250 and the 269 they eventually had to.

Oshane Thomas and Carlos Braithwaite expensive for the West Indies

The duo of Thomas and Braithwaite went for 96 runs in the 10 overs between them. The Windies had kept a check on the scoring through the middle overs, not allowing India to get away (the remaining 40 went for just 172, less than 4.5 an over). Sheldon Cottrell did his bit in the death overs, but Thomas and Braithwaite did not, and both were taken to the cleaners by Hardik Pandya and Dhoni. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs West Indies CWC 2019”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points- Pakistan vs New Zealand World Cup 2019

Pakistan kept their semi-final hopes alive and handed New Zealand their first defeat of CWC 2019 earlier this evening at Edgbaston. Here are our talking points from this fixture in Birmingham between the Black Caps and the Men in Green.

Eerie parallels to 1992 for Pakistan’s campaign

Pakistan’s 2019 World Cup campaign has been eerily similar to their 1992 title winning one. On both occasions, they were thrashed in the first game by the West Indies, won the second one, had the third rained out, lost both the fourth and fifth fixtures, and won the sixth and the seventh.

New Zealand were unbeaten at the 1992 World Cup when they lost to Pakistan in the group stages in the seventh game of the tournament, just as it happened today. Both World Cups followed the same round-robin format.

In 1992, Pakistan qualified for the last four at the expense of hosts Australia. Will they produce a repeat this time around, and make it to the semis at England’s expense?

Pakistan 1992

Tom Latham drops Babar Azam

Babar Azam is easily Pakistan’s best batsman, and as an opposition player, one would want to snaffle ANY chance given by him. With the pitch turning square, Mitch Santner got an edge off Babar’s bat, only for wicket-keeper Tom Latham to spill a relatively straight forward chance. If Babar had been dismissed, it would’ve exposed Pakistan’s fragile lower middle order with plenty still to chase.

Babar eventually made an unbeaten century- the first by a Pakistani middle-order batsman at a World Cup since 1987.

Black Caps err in not picking Ish Sodhi

New Zealand opted to field the same XI for the sixth consecutive time in this World Cup, matching South Africa’s record from 1999. In hindsight, they should’ve picked Ish Sodhi on this pitch, which at times felt more like Nagpur than Edgbaston, with balls turning square. Both Babar Azam and Haris Sohail were visibly uncomfortable against spin- even against Kane Williamson, and a quality leggie like Sodhi might’ve easily run through them. Continue reading “Fan Analysis & Talking Points- Pakistan vs New Zealand World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Australia vs England Group Stages World Cup 2019

England crashed to their second straight defeat at the World Cup as Australia beat Trevor Bayliss’ men by 64 runs at Lord’s. Here are our talking points from the game.

England’s semi-final spot in serious jeopardy

Earlier in the tournament, England appeared to be cantering towards a semi-final spot, but the twin losses to Australia and Sri Lanka have put the cat among the pigeons. They are on 8 points from 7 games, and have India and New Zealand to play in their final two clashes. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could all potentially leapfrog the hosts.

England will be watching tomorrow’s Pakistan-New Zealand game with great interest. A Black Caps win will settle some nerves, but a Pakistan victory will make England’s clash against India a must-win, not an ideal scenario given the form Virat Kohli’s men are currently in.

CWC Table After Australia vs England June 25

Jason Roy injury hurting England

England’s tournament has taken a turn for the worse since Jason Roy’s injury. He didn’t feature in the losses against Sri Lanka and Australia. Alex Hales and Roy were key figures for the English in their ODI resurgence, but with one banned and the other injured, their opening pair looks vulnerable. James Vince rarely seems to be able to cross 30, and that pressure appears to be transferring to the middle order.

Another England loss while chasing

Eoin Morgan won the toss and opted to field first. And as it’s so turned out, all three of England’s losses in this tournament- Pakistan, Sri Lanka and now Australia, have come while chasing. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Australia vs England Group Stages World Cup 2019”