The genuine cricket fan was so overjoyed by the return of international cricket after four months that he will be prepared to overlook the rather mediocre fare served in the just-concluded Test series between England and West Indies. Sure, there were sparks of excitement, a few twists and turns, and some outstanding individual achievements but much of the cricket failed to arouse the passion of the game’s followers who had waited for so long for some action. But then of course a very high standard of cricket should not have been expected from two sides rated No 4 and No 8 in the ICC rankings. The result however meant that England climbed to No 3 in the World Test Championship still some distance away from India and Australia.
Not unexpectedly most of the good cricket was provided by England and the final margin of 2-1 does not do justice to their superiority. The West Indies were always going to be up against it. In the first place, they lacked the personnel to surprise the home side with inherent weaknesses clearly visible. A glance at the career stats of most of their players unveils that the visitors lacked the technique and the temperament to come good in English conditions and against higher rated opponents. History too was against them for the West Indies had not won a Test series in England since 1988.
Given this background one must give credit to the West Indies for their meritorious victory in the first Test. The batting and bowling clicked even as England in the absence of Joe Root and Stuart Broad looked strangely off-color. But even then it appeared that it was too good to last and England predictably turned things around. Root and Broad returned and so strong was England as they regrouped that they could take the field without James Anderson and Jofra Archer and emerge easy victors. The tide having turned the issue was never really in doubt in the final Test.
Still the contest was not without its plus points and a couple of glorious moments. From the West Indian viewpoint, the bowling of Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel in the first Test was the saving grace but the batting was a major failure symbolized by the fact that there was not one single three-figure score. There was some talk about a West Indian resurgence following their surprise victory over England at home last year. However, going by what one just saw there is little likelihood of this happening in the near future. The few glorious moments were provided by England with Ben Stokes confirming his status as the leading all-rounder in the game while Broad made sure that the series will be remembered for his 500th wicket.
An awkward incident took place on the second day of the first Test between England and Pakistan. When all-rounder Shadab Khan was batting with opener Shan Masood, the former asked for a change of shoes and former Pakistan captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed entered the ground as the 12th man carrying those shoes.
This did not go down well with former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar who termed as a humiliation of not only Sarfaraz but of respect and seniority in the game of cricket. Unlocking a barrage of words, Shoaib called Sarfaraz a weak and docile character who compromised with his respect. The Rawalpindi express didn’t stop there and rained on team management for making such a senior player carry the shoes.
“Those visuals, they were disrespectful. You can’t do this to a player who has led the national side for four years and got you the Champions Trophy. While I also believe that Sarfaraz is a weak character and he compromised with the situation. To me carrying the shows is not wrong. But the intent behind making Sarfaraz do that is very wrong. Even if he did it on his own, then someone senior should have stopped,” Akhtar said while speaking on Boss news.
No disrespect, it’s very humble of Sarfaraz to do that - Misbah
Late in the day an explanation over the same issue was given by current head coach of the team, Misbah-ul-Haq. Misbah said that it was a rather very humble gesture from Sarfaraz that he did it.
“I think there was nothing wrong with it. He was helping the team as the rest of the players were either playing or practicing. I think Sarafaraz is a great human being. He knows that it’s a team game and everybody needs to help. Plus, it is a sign of a good team,” Misbah said.
One might have seen dogs going out with their owners and playing with Frisbee or dodge balls or sometimes with rubber cricket balls too. We associate such playful characteristics with a dog quite easily. But what if you were told that a cat can catch balls with paws? Are you shocked? Well, don’t be, as the cat in the video below catches balls better than many fielders and even the renowned cricket commentators agree to it.
It was the former Australia cricketer turned commentator Dean Jones who shared the video on his official Twitter handle. Uploading the video, Jones wrote, “Have seen worst fielders I can assure you.”
In the video, a girl hits balls with a golf stick and shoots the activity on her mobile phone. Her cute little cat catches every ball and that too with just her two claws. There is a small net placed behind the cat just so that the ball doesn’t go far.
The video went viral with as many as 1.5 lakh views gathered by it in a very short span of time. Additionally, it got 7,000 likes and more than 1200 retweets.
Look at the second catch: Harsha Bhogle in awe of the cat’s catching abilities
Dean Jones was not the only commentator who was super impressed by the cat. Even Indian commentator and cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle remained awestruck by the cat’s abilities to hold on to such cats.
Replying to Dean Jones’ tweet, Bhogle wrote, “That second catch!” with clapping hands emoji.
Fans too were amazed to see the cat take the catches so easily. They compared it with former South African cricketers and one of the revolutionaries in the field- Jonty Rhodes, while others called former Pakistan wicketkeeper, Rashid Latif who was known for his agility behind the wickets and small height.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might have had to struggle a bit after it received a shock in the form of Indian Premier League (IPL)’s title sponsor VIVO mobiles pulling out from the deal. The Chinese company pulled out just ahead of the tournament because of the negative publicity it got on social media.
However, now things seem to be materializing in a better way for the board as there are a variety of companies ready to sponsor the league and leading the race is e-commerce giant Amazon. If reports in News 18 are to be believed then, BCCI is ready to negotiate a deal even with 1/3rd of the amount that VIVO was offering.
"If they are able to strike a deal worth Rs 180 crore, which would be just one-third of VIVO’s 440, even then also it would be a win-win situation for the board," a source close to the board was quoted as saying in the report.
Non-competitive brands can partner to pull in money for sponsorship
The source further hinted that BCCI is also looking at the idea of two non competing brands to take the lead and pool in the money for the sponsorship to serve their causes.
"You know the board is also looking for partners, so for example, BYJUs and Unacademy are rivals and so are Dream 11 and My Circle 11 in their own core areas. But if Dream 11 gets the title and BYJUs come in as official partners to pool in the money or if Unacademy gets the title and My Circle 11 pools in then that is also accepted by the board,” the source said.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and his partner Natasa Stankovic were recently blessed with a baby boy. The cricketer had shared the good news on social media platforms. While enjoying his duties, Hardik is posting adorable videos and pictures of his son. The newborn is hogging a lot of limelight these days.
Hardik’s brother Krunal Pandya recently uploaded a clip with his nephew. Taking to his official Instagram handle, Krunal posted a video. He captioned the video as, “Let’s talk cricket”.
Tell him to become a fast-bowling all-rounder - KL Rahul
While people showered blessings on the little one, India batsman KL Rahul predicted the career profession of the junior Hardik Pandya.
He suggested Krunal to make the baby boy a fast-bowling all-rounder in future.
“Please tell him to become a fast-bowling all-rounder,” Rahul commented on the post.
KL Rahul is currently gearing up for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, which is scheduled to take place from September 19 in the UAE. While Rahul will lead Kings XI Punjab franchise, Pandya brothers will be back in action for the defending champions Mumbai Indians.
Notably, all the matches of IPL 2020 will be played across three cities - Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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