Category Archives: Cricket

The decision by South Africa shows money is running cricket.

It has long been the case that money is the driving force behind most professional sports and the decisions associated with it. That is not a new concept. However, the decision made by South Africa regarding their one-day squad and the tour of Australia. The tour is to start in mid-December with three tests. Then the South Africans were scheduled to play three one-day matches.

Unfortunately, this is the same time that the South African cricket board has scheduled their newly formed domestic T20 league. Being in the southern hemisphere, the South Africans play at the same time as Australia as a rule. When they tour Australia, they must play the Boxing Day test in Melbourne. The reason for this is that it attracts more spectators than every other test in the world.

This means that if they need to play home international games, or want to put on their domestic competition, they have limited time to do it. As this is going to be the first iteration of the event, they obviously want it to be a success. In order for this to happen, the South African Cricket Board wants its best players to be available. They did request to reschedule the series but there is no room in the very crowded cricket calendar to accommodate this.

South Africa sold out their World Cup hopes for a T20 cash cow.

With the games being canceled, the South African cricket team has almost no chance to qualify for the One Day International World Cup in 2023. Teams have until May of 2023 to qualify directly. They sit in the 11th spot on the ODI qualification table with just four wins from 13 matches.

While the top eight automatically go through to the World Cup, forfeiting these three games makes life really difficult to qualify directly. This will bring them up to 16 matches and they will still only have four wins. To make matters worse for the South Africans, the eighth-placed Australians take on Zimbabwe at home. Zimbabwe has been a minnow nation in cricket for a number of years. This should move them further back up the table.

Add to this the points that they will get from the South Africans series and they will be hard to catch.  On top of that, the seventh-placed Indian cricket team has three matches against Zimbabwe as well. South Africa will most probably have to qualify through a tournament for the final two World Cup places.

Given that Sri Lanka is in the bottom five, there is probably going to be one spot remaining to qualify. Anything can happen in sports and having to qualify through extra games will be dangerous for the teams qualifying. A World Cup without the South African cricket team is hard to imagine. However, with their desire to get revenue from the domestic T20 competition, they have made a rod for their own back.

Unfortunately, making money is more crucial for cricket boards these days. To be the best in all formats of the game is not the ultimate goal, financial viability is.

Why Virat Kohli is not playing in the T20’s against the West Indies

The Indian Cricket team is really strong at the moment, especially in the T20 format of the games, with their ranking seeing them at No. 1 in the world. They just completed a 2-1 series victory against England and now they are gearing up to take on their next competition, the West Indies in the Caribbean.

The West Indies series does not have the billing as the previous to against England, it is still a dangerous series. You would not know that the English team is ranked second in the world. With the exception of the third game, the Indian team simply dominated the series.

By contrast, the West Indies sit seventh in the T20 rankings which means very little on the day. The Calypso Kings still have a swagger about them and can turn on performances from nowhere. This was the case even when they have been down at the bottom of world cricket

Are the Indian cricket team taking the West Indies for granted by resting Virat Kohli?

Virat Kohli is one of the best players of this generation, but every player has a down stretch. Currently, as discussed previously, Kohli is not playing anywhere near his best. While he is not playing badly in other forms of the game, he is really struggling in the T20 format. He showed the intent to play the current Indian style of T20 cricket but the results are not good enough.

Kohli picked up a groin strain during the tour of England which is the reason that the BCCI has rested him from the tour of the West Indies. They are still saying that he is part of their plans for the T20 World Cup in Australia. However, if his replacement performs well enough in the upcoming series then surely the Indian selectors will have to consider emitting Kohli from the World Cup squad.

Unfortunately for the superstar, the writing might be on the wall. The previous success of his career has given him some leeway but the clock is ticking. If Kohli is going to make a return to the side, he needs someone to fail. Otherwise, Kohli’s T20 days could very well be numbered.

Dinesh Chandimal bats Australia out of the second test

Sri Lanka has ensured that there are only two results available in the second test against Australia thanks to a tremendous inning by Dinesh Chandimal. These are a Sri Lankan win or a draw, with the second appearing less likely with the Australians losing quick wickets in their second innings.

Marnus Labuschagne who scored a century in the first innings managed only 32 in the second. Likewise, Steven Smith who also scored a century in the first innings was dismissed for a four-ball duck.

At the time of writing, Australia was still 59 runs behind the Sri Lankans with only three second-inning wickets in hand.  This is not going to be enough to trouble the Sri Lankans in the second innings. in fact, it is looking very likely that they will not have to bat again as the Australian tail is failing to wag.

Dinesh Chandimal is responsible for batting Australia out of the game.

The Sri Lankan middle-order batsman, Dinesh Chandimal,  finished up 206 not out in his team’s total of 554. This put the home side 190 ahead in the first innings, effectively batting the Australians out of the game. The problem for the Australians is that they allowed five other batsmen to score over 50 in the innings as well.

Nathan Lyon bowled an incredible 64 overs, collecting 2 for 194 in a truly Herculean performance. In fact, Australia’s main line spinners bowled 102 overs. They also had 14 overs of part-time spin with Labuschange bowling six overs and Travis Head bowling eight. Neither player took a wicket.

The Australians will most probably be happy to see the end of this tour which started at the beginning of June. In the five-week tour, the two teams have played three T20s, five one-day matches, and two tests. It is safe to say that the Australians are looking forward to a month off from here.

They are next fixtured to play three one-day matches against Zimbabwe, starting at the end of August. This is going to be a good leadup to the T20 World Cup

Suryakumar Yadav’s century not enough to lift India to series sweep

The Indian cricket team has had a good T20 series against England. They won the first two games before the English squad clicked in the third game of the series, scoring 215 in their 20 overs. The Indian response did not start well but was held together by a wonderful innings by Suryakumar Yadav.

The Indian middle-order batsman was incredible scoring 117 off 55 balls. This is the second-highest score by an Indian batsman in T20 history. He hit 14 boundaries and cleared the rope six times. He went from 50 to 100 in just 16 deliveries. It was an innings of smart power-hitting which ended when he holed out in the deep in the second last over.

India’s hopes of winning ended with his dismissal such was the way that he played. The mainstays of the England innings were Dawid Malan who compiled a well-made 77 off 39 deliveries and Liam Livingstone who made 43 off 29 deliveries. Harry Brook and Chris Jordan both had important cameos at the end of the innings.

Did India’s run chase answer the Virat Kohli question?

A score of 215 is always going to be tough to chase but Trent Bridge has some really small boundaries.  The chase did not start out well though with India losing three wickets for only 31 runs.

Virat Kohli, potentially playing for his career, came out looking to show that he could play with the required pace needed to stay in the team. He played two glorious shots, including a six, over long-on, which was the shot of the game. However, India needed more from their star as 11 from six deliveries was not going to get them to 216.

Now that Kohli has failed again with the bat, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will need to decide what to do with the former captain. They have five games coming up against the West Indies prior to the World Cup in October.

Sri Lanka’s batters threaten to take the game away from Australia

After a successful first day of the second test, Australia is on the back foot against Sri Lanka after the third day. Helped by two centuries in their innings, Australia would have been confident coming into the third day. Unfortunately for the tourists, Sri Lanka built on their second-day progress.

Five of the Sri Lankan top-six batsmen passed the half-century mark. However, it was the knock of Dinesh Chandimal which has taken the match away from Australia with two days to go. The middle-order batsman has struggled to keep his place in the side. He finished unbeaten on 118 at the close of play.

Australia has missed some chances during the Sri Lankan innings. Mitchell Swepson missed a caught-and-bowled and he also had a stumping chance missed. The pitch is about to become a whole lot harder to bat on with the ball breaking through the surface on the third day.

What does Australia need to do from here?

The Australians need to take the final four Sri Lankan wickets in the first session. They have already given up a 67-run lead in the first innings and really do not want it to get to 100 or more. As mentioned earlier, it is going to become harder to bat on this wicket the longer the test goes on.

The other goal for the Australians is to find another bowling option other than Nathan Lyon. The off-spinner has already bowled 56 overs in the innings. He has also started to struggle in the heat, coming off a couple of times due to leg cramps. His bowling is going to be crucial for the tourists in the fourth innings.

If he does not break through in the first five overs that he bowls then the Australians need to shut him down. They need to bring on the part-timers such as Travis Head, Marnus Labuschange, and Steve Smith. If these players can break through then this will help Australia further into the match.

Is Virat Kohli fighting for his T20 career against England?

India is one of the superpowers in T20 cricket and they are up there as one of the favorites for the upcoming T20 World Cup. However, they are not without their issues in the lead-up. The most pressing issue is what to do with the best player to play for them in this generation, Virat Kohli.

Kohli has been a giant in their batting lineup for most of his career. He has been the big wickets, scoring huge runs throughout his career. However, time waits for no man and while Kohli has still been successful, it may be time to leave T20 cricket to the younger players.

Kohli has only played in one of the two T20s in England this tour, scoring one run off three deliveries. Fortunately for Kohli, the rest of his team performed and India took a 2-0 lead. However, the Indian selectors need to take a longer-range view with Kohli and the team. The T20 World Cup starts in three short months. Due to it being held in Australia, they will need to put their best team forward thanks to the conditions.

Virat Kohli needs to show some positive intent for India.

It is not as though Kohli needs to score a heap of runs to keep his position in the team. He has put the hard yards in and the selectors know how talented he is. However, his batting at the moment is not in line with the team’s high-risk, high-reward strategy. His 107% strike rate over the last five games is evidence of this.

To put this into perspective, India has scored at 153% in their two games in England. This is showing real intent in their batting where Kohli is almost playing within himself, too afraid to get out. This is not a good way to bat considering the rest of the team is showing a true carefree attitude to batting.

If Kohli does not look to play with intent in the third match then there are going to be problems. India has five T20s against the West Indies coming up to help them prepare for the World Cup. The selectors will need to decide if they want to put another player into the team to give them time to settle in or go with Kohli.

At 33 his very best cricket is behind him. However, his play is of such quality that he will work himself into form. However, will he be able to do this before October?  This decision needs to be made now on the T20 portion of his career. 

Sri Lanka have their noses in front of Australia after day 2

The pair of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith seemed to steer Australia into a strong position at the end of the first day of play in the second test against Sri Lanka. However, the home side was able to fight back. They took the last five Australian wickets for just 35 runs.

Bowling the Australians out for 364 in the first innings was a good result for the home side. The reason for this? It gets harder to score at Galle the longer the test goes on. Sri Lanka then lost their first wicket with only 12 runs on the board and the Australians seemed to have their tails up. However, a 152-run partnership between Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunarane and Kusal Mendis steadied the ship for the home side.

The sees Sri Lanka only 180 runs behind in the first innings with eight wickets in hand.  This is a reasonably strong position to be in on the second day of a test match. This is especially so as the Australians have always struggled on the sub-continent with their spin-friendly pitches,

What does Sri Lanka have to do from here against Australia?

Well, the Sri Lankans need to build as much as they can on this first innings as they really only have quality batting down to No. 7. This means that they need to value the top-order wickets, which is something that they did not do in the first test. This was the main reason they lost that match.

Mendis and Angelo Mathews have to consolidate in the morning and see off the fresh Australian bowlers. Due to there being three days left in the test match, they can afford to grind it out for a while. They can then open up after the lunch break.

What Australia needs to do is to break this partnership early. It would be preferable to remove Mendis early and then try to run through the rest of the Sri Lankans. Hopefully, this means they can take a first-innings lead when they bat again. This is going to be crucial to take a 2-0 lead in the series