Yearender 2019: Cricket Today's T20 XI of 2019

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 10 December, 2019, 12:46 PM IST

The year 2019 is coming to an end. And, while all three formats have seen many memorable performances, T20Is have been significant for all teams as they build up to the World T20 to be held in Australia next year. Former champions India and current champions West Indies are presently battling it out in a three-match series, which is locked 1-1. As the teams build towards the 2020 World T20, we put together the World T20I XI of 2019.

Openers: David Warner, Babar Azam

David Warner has had an excellent year in T20Is. In six matches, he has 287 runs to his name at an exceptional average of 287, since he has been dismissed only once in the year. In the T20Is against Sri Lanka at home, he registered scores of 100 not out, 60 not out, and 57 not out. Warner has a strike rate of 145.68.

Pakistan’s Babar Azam, who has been in amazing form, will open with Warner. In 10 matches, he has amassed 374 runs at an average of 41.55, and a strike rate of 136.99. His best of 90 came off 58 balls against South Africa at Johannesburg in February.

Middle-order: Virat Kohli (Captain), Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Glenn Maxwell

Indian captain Virat Kohli will lead the World XI. Just like Tests and ODIs, he has been in great form in T20Is as well. In nine games, Kohli has 396 runs to his name at a strike rate of 138.46, and an average of 66. His best of 94 not out came against West Indies at Hyderabad in a chase of 208.

England batsman Dawid Malan has played only four games, but has smashed 208 runs at a strike rate of 163.77, and an average of 69.33. His most memorable performance was the unbeaten 103 from 51 balls against New Zealand at Napier in November.

English skipper Eoin Morgan also has had a good year. In nine matches, he has 268 runs to his name at a strike rate of 172.90, and an average of 44.66. He hit 91 from 41 balls at Napier against New Zealand.

Aussie Glenn Maxwell, before he took a break for mental health issues, had an amazing year. In four matches, he smashed 231 runs at a strike rate of 183.33 and an average of 115. His scores in the year read -- 56 from 43, 113 not out from 55, and 62 from 28.

Wicket-keeper: Quinton de Kock

South Africa’s T20I captain Quinton de Kock will keep wickets for the team. In three matches, he has 144 runs at a strike rate of 135.84, and an average of 72.00. His best of 79 not out from 52 balls came against India at Bengaluru in September as Proteas squared the series.

All-rounders: Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner

New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has had a consistent run with the bat. In matches, he scored 301 runs at a strike rate of 156.77 with three fifties. While de Grandhomme has starred with bat, Mitchell Santner has been impressive with the ball. In 12 matches, he has claimed 20 wickets at an average of 15.40, and strike rate of 12.6 with a best of 3 for 12.

Bowlers: Chris Jordan, Lasith Malinga

England pacer Chris Jordan has claimed 14 wickets in eight matches at an average of 12.85 and a strike rate of 10.2. His best of 4 for 6 came against West Indies at Basseterre. Veteran Lankan Lasith Malinga continues to impress at the T20 level. In 10 matches, he has 14 wickets with a best of 5 for 6. The sensational performance against New Zealand at Pallekele saw Malinga claiming four wickets in four balls.

12th man: Andile Phehlukwayo

With 13 wickets in seven matches at a strike rate of 12.0, South African pacer Andile Phehlukwayo can come in as replacement if needed.

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The Efficacy of India Camp before IPL

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 1 August, 2020, 10:00 PM IST

It seems almost ironic that the proposal to gather the Indian cricket team for a conditioning/rebonding team is still being contemplated as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is headed overseas to host the Indian Premier League. So why an Indian camp?

The original thought process devised months ago was with the intent to ensure that before the Indian cricket squad embarks on its international assignments post the pandemic, the players who have been largely confined to their respective homes will have a chance to shake off their rustiness.

It would have made sense as part of the team bonding exercise if the situation of the pandemic had abetted equally across the country. That not being the case, not only would it endanger bringing the players together at a time of no international commitments but also, would have been a fruitless exercise.

However the idea has gained momentum after the announcement of the IPL to be held in the UAE.

While the same logistical issues remain about how to gather the centrally contracted players together, in this case, those involved with the IPL, there is a case being made for the opportunity to bring all the team India players together before the IPL season 13 that also involves foreign cricketers.

India's next international assignment is the tour of Australia at the end of the year which means a couple of players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari will have next to no interaction with their Indian teammates until such time.

However, while it seems like an interesting prospect, given the gamut of logistical headaches faced by the BCCI in the staging of the IPL, it might push down the rung of priorities the idea to have the Indian cricketers reconnect in person as a team before the razzmatazz of the IPL takes over. With too many factors at play, India's support staff might not get their wish after all, which could well mean that the Indian cricket squad will assemble as one only in Australia if they fly directly from the UAE.

Irfan Pathan wants to play in Lanka Premier League

Garima Kotroo Updated: 1 August, 2020, 9:56 PM IST

Former India all-rounder, Irfan Pathan has expressed his desire to play in this year’s Lanka Premier League (LPL). The 35-year-old veteran player has been named among 143 overseas players who are very keen to participate in the league. Apart from Pathan, New Zealand opener, Martin Guptill has also shown his interest in the upcoming tournament.

“There are about 143 overseas players in the list who are very keen to play in this tournament and now it is up to the respective franchises to select these cricketers,” a high-profile official at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has told local newspaper Daily News.

Irfan, who decided to hang up his boots after 15 years of service in international cricket earlier this year, was last seen in action for India Legends during the Road Safety World Series back in March. He has represented India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs, and 24 T20Is, picking 301 international wickets to his name.

Franchises will make the final decision – SLC official

Furthermore, the SLC official has made it clear the decision regarding the selection of players will be in the hands of LPL franchises. The tournament will see the participation of both international and domestic players contracted to SLC.

“We have total of 80 players who are currently contracted with SLC and they will also be strong contenders to make it to the final squad. Some Premier Clubs have also named young players in the Under-23 and Under-19 category but altogether it is up to the franchises to make a final decision."

Eoin Morgan has no intention to lead KKR, says he is happy to play under Dinesh Karthik

Abhishek Singh Updated: 1 August, 2020, 9:54 PM IST

With the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) buying England’s limited-overs captain, Eoin Morgan in this year’s auction for INR 5.25 crores, the captaincy debate was started by fans of KKR. Most debated whether it would be Morgan who would replace Dinesh Karthik or would the Tamil Nadu player continue to hold the fort?

However, the English man now seems to have put water over all such debates, with him claiming Karthik as his leader. In a chat show with Harsha Bhogle, the 33-year-old said that he would only be entering the IPL in the capacity of a player.

“Dinesh is the leader of the club. I met him last pre-Christmas and I believe that he is a gem of a person and a fantastic cricketer. He knows that I want to contribute to the team. There are many players who have had the chance to captain at some stage or the other, but ultimately it would be Dinesh who would be making the decisions,” Morgan told Harsha on Cricbuzz.

Want to contribute towards KKR’s success - Morgan

Although Morgan started out in the IPL with RCB, it was with the KKR that he got prominence as he played for them from 2011 to 2013, before being roped in by Sunrisers Hyderabad. In 52 IPL matches, Morgan has scored 854 runs at an average of 21.35 with four half-centuries. Now returning back to KKR, Morgan wants to help them in getting more success.

“I met Trevor (Bayliss) there and our relationship started from KKR. That was an invaluable time and you know the rest. Also, I learned a lot from guys like Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, and Baz (Brendon McCullum). I’m looking forward to getting back to KKR and contributing towards their success,” said Morgan.

Commentators, Player Power and the BCCI’s Toe the Line Policy

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 1 August, 2020, 9:51 PM IST

Commentary used to be part of the enticing quality that made cricket a unique and captivating experience. While there is little doubt that the standard of commentary currently on air leaves much to be desired, that the cacophony behind the microphone is dictated largely by the powers that be was once again on show in the current crisis involving one particular former cricketer who has not had it easy behind the mic.

Sanjay Manjrekar’s roughshod time with the mic in hand ended horribly with him being stripped of commentary duties prior to the India- South Africa limited-overs international series, which was ultimately cut short because of the pandemic shutdown. Over the past year, he ran into hot waters with Ravindra Jadeja and also, with a veteran commentator of note, Harsha Bhogle. Now with the Indian Premier League around the corner, Manjrekar has apparently made it known to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that he is willing to toe their line.

There has been little doubt that Indian cricketers wield power unparalleled with their counterparts around the world. Therefore, the idea that Manjrekar’s barb at Jadeja that the latter is a ‘bits and pieces’ player would have played into the decision of whether to keep the former Indian captain on the BCCI’s payroll as a commentator is not far-fetched.

While Manjrekar did openly defer to Jadeja after the latter replied with performance and also, then with an over the top indication of celebration towards the commentary box, the former Indian batsman has often been accused of being pessimistic to the point of being repulsive to Indian cricket fans’ sentiments.

In another unrelated incident, it appeared that in the heat of the moment, he had crossed the line with fellow commentator, Harsha Bhogle, claiming that cricketers knew better because of their having played the game. That was not in good spirits and although Manjrekar did apologize and walk back, it was seen as being disrespectful of the profession and the people covering the game.

Harsha Bhogle himself is not immune to experiencing what Manjrekar has in the better part of six months, being sidelined after years in the commentary box over reported disgruntlement between himself and a top player and former captain on whose directive it is claimed that Bhogle was removed without an adequate reason in the public domain. Since then, there is a marked toned of sober enthusiasm on Harsha Bhogle’s part behind the mic, some even thinking this has robbed the game of the vintage commentator and his versatile and knowledgeable stint which made him as appealing as the match itself.

People known to speak their mind have rarely made the commentary box. What was a scandal a few years ago when it was revealed that the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri were on the BCCI payroll to talk a certain language favorable to Indian cricket is now on brazen display. This is not to say Manjrekar is not in the dock. But this is open evidence of how commentators have had to singe their throats when it comes to creating the hype around the IPL season and muted when it comes to speaking up when the Indian cricket team’s performance has been under par or a particular player is not carrying his weight.

Now that Manjrekar is asking for his job back by agreeing to play by the rules, an email to the BCCI that was leaked to the media which makes for an interesting sideshow if anyone is at all concerned about this point, people will certainly keep their ears open should the BCCI accede.

Legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham becomes Member of British Parliament

Abhishek Singh Updated: 1 August, 2020, 9:48 PM IST

It would be the first time in 9 years that a member of the English cricket playing community would be honored by the Parliament of Great Britain for his outstanding work in public life. As the name of 36 new peers was announced for the House of Lords or the upper house of the Parliament, the cricket community had a reason to be proud of.

The reason was the recommendation of Legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham’s name among those 36 persons selected. He would now become a member of the unelected house. Botham, one of the finest all-rounders of all times is also one of the most vocal Brexit supporters.

The 64-year-old Botham will now sit in the British Parliament as a crossbench — independent — peer.

Only the fifth cricketer to be honoured with peerage

Prior to Botham, former England women’s team captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint had been awarded the peerage in 2011 and apart from her and Botham, former English Umpire David Sheppard, former cricketing great from England Colin Cowdrey and West Indian legend Learie Constantine had been honored with House of Lords seats earlier.

Botham in his career played 102 Test matches for England between 1977 and 1992. But his moment of glory came in 1981 when inspired by his all-round performance, England recorded a sensational win over Australia in the Ashes.

Botham was knighted in 2007 in recognition of his services to charity and cricket.