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Australia vs New Zealand

Australia
Australia. Image Credits: Twitter
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Australia No Longer The Best At Identifying Talent: Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell, former Australian skipper believes Australia is no longer the best at identifying talent and that the country has lost the bragging right of calling itself the best at it.

While Greg Chappell had a controversial run as the head coach of Team India, the former Australian captain had earlier praised the visitors after their stunning and historic 2-1 Test series win versus Australia to retain the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

File image of Greg Chappell. (Getty Images)
File image of Greg Chappell. (Getty Images)

Greg Chappell: Australia Have Lost Position As The Best At Identifying Talent As England And India Are Doing Better Than Australia

Greg Chappell opined other countries like England and India have taken over.

“I think we’ve already lost our position as the best at identifying talent and bringing it through. I think England is doing it better than us now and India is doing it better than us,” Greg Chappell told cricket.com.au.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

During the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India fought back after losing the first Test to win the series 2-1, almost with second and third-string teams. The side was plagued with injuries to its key players in each department and was also without regular talismanic skipper Virat Kohli after the first Test.

Being 1-0 down, losing the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli due to his paternity leave, having lost several key players like Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries, a second-string Ajinkya Rahane-led India staged a comeback for the ages as they won their second straight Test series on Australian soil.

Greg Chappell: Indian Second String Players Have Played For India A Throughout The World Whereas Australia Had Picked Cricketers From Domestic Tournaments

Greg Chappell admitted the remarkable Test series victory bore testament to India’s highly effective player development system. On that tour, every youngster put their hand up and put his best foot forward.

“When you look at the Indian team that played in the Brisbane Test that had three or four fresh players, and everyone said, ‘This is India’s second XI’ – those guys had played (extensively) for India A,” said Chappell.

“And in all sorts of different conditions, not just in India. So when they get picked, they’re not tyros at all, they’re quite hardened international cricketers.”

Cameron Green
Cameron Green of Australia (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

On the other hand, Australian debutants Will Pucovski and Cameron Green had limited experience playing outside their home country.

“We picked Will Pucovski out of Shield cricket. Will has hardly had a game outside Australia. That’s the difference,” Chappell pointed out.

India’s next Test assignment is the tour to England. They will first play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand followed by a five-match Test series against the hosts England.

After a tough home loss to India, the Australian men’s side were due to head to South Africa for three Tests, however, that series was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The limited-overs tour of New Zealand for five T20s still took place, with the Black Caps prevailing 3-2.

Australia is set to make a belated trip to Bangladesh later this year for their first tour since 2017. Not for the Tests originally scheduled as part of the World Test Championship, but instead for T20Is intended as warm-ups for the T20 World Cup meant to be hosted by India soon afterwards. Bangladesh is also to host England for white-ball games ahead of the T20 World Cup, meaning a triangular series may be arranged.

New Zealand speedster Tim Southee reacts after hitting Aaron Finch's pads in the third T20I in Wellington on Wednesday. - AP
New Zealand speedster Tim Southee reacts after hitting Aaron Finch's pads in the third T20I in Wellington on Wednesday. - AP
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Tim Southee Reprimanded For Breaching ICC Code Of Conduct During The Third T20I Against Australia

Tim Southee, New Zealand fast bowler, has been reprimanded as he breached Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third T20I against Australia in Wellington.

Tim Southee was found to have breached Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel, relating to “showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision during an International Match.” Additionally, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Tim Southee, for whom it was the first offence in a 24-month period.

Tim Southee
Tim Southee. (Photo by JEREMY NG/AFP via Getty Images)

Tim Southee Shouted At The Umpire Disrespectfully After Aaron Finch Was Declared Not Out For LBW

The incident occurred in the first over of the 3rd T20I match of the 5 match series on Wednesday, when pacer Tim Southee shouted at the umpire in a disrespectful manner after a leg-before review taken against Australia opener skipper Aaron Finch was declared an umpire’s call and given not out.

Tim Southee has taken 91 wickets in 78 T20Is.
Tim Southee has taken 91 wickets in 78 T20Is. Twitter

Tim Southee admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Jeff Crowe of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees and ratified by the ICC Cricket Operations department as per the COVID-19 interim playing regulations.

There was no need for a formal hearing as on-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Wayne Knights, third umpire Shaun Haig and fourth official Chris Brown levelled the charges. Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 percent of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.

Aaron Finch Ends Poor Form In T20Is By Scoring 69 And 79* In Successive Matches

Riding on skipper Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar’s performances, Australia bounced back in the series with a comfortable win over New Zealand. Australia scored 208/4 with Aaron Finch scoring 69 and Glenn Maxwell scoring 70. Josh Philippe too contributed with 43 as James Neesham proved expensive in the 3rd T20I.

New Zealand was 109/3 at one stage, but Ashton Agar wreaked havoc and picked six wickets conceding only 30 runs to bundle out the hosts for 144. He turned the game in Australia’s favour with three wickets in the 13th over.

Aaron Finch
Aaron Finch. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

In the 4th T20I, Australia scored 156/6 with Aaton Finch remaining unbeaten on 79 while New Zealand managed only 106 runs. Aaron Finch thus ended his run drought in T20Is.

The Australian skipper went unsold at IPL 2021 auctions for poor form. He is the leading run-scorer in the ongoing series with 161 runs averaging 53.67. Ish Sodhi, spinner of New Zealand is the leading wicket-taker with 10 scalps averaging 13.3.

The T20Is between the neighbouring countries is poised 2-2 after New Zealand won the first 2 matches. The 5th T20I will be at Wellington on 7th March. In the 1st T20I, Devon Conway scored unbeaten 99 while in the 2nd T20I which was a close contest, Martin Guptill scored 97 missing his century by a whisker.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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IPL 2021: Aakash Chopra Picks 6 Players Whose Recent Performances Should Excite Franchises

Aakash Chopra, former Indian opening batsman turned commentator has picked six players drafted by different franchises for IPL 2021 whose recent performances should excite their respective IPL franchises.

He named the players in a video shared on his YouTube channel.

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Picks Devdutt Padikkal, Prithvi Shaw, And Suryakumar Yadav As Indian Batsmen Whose Recent Forms Will Delight Respective Franchises In IPL

The cricketer-turned-commentator noted that opener Devdutt Padikkal’s consistent performances in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy will delight the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is the leading run-scorer with 572 runs at a staggering average of 190.67 playing only 5 games in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.

“I will talk about Devdutt Padikkal first. He is the future of Indian cricket and RCB’s present. He is in absolutely red-hot form. He has scored three consecutive hundreds in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. His lowest score in the last five games is 52. He is definitely going to open for RCB. I am pretty sure RCB is looking at his form very closely and India is also looking at it very closely because he is a long-term prospect,” said Aakash Chopra.

Prithvi Shaw @ AFP Tweeted By ICC
Prithvi Shaw @ AFP Tweeted By ICC

Aakash Chopra believes Prithvi Shaw who scored a tournament-record score of an unbeaten 227 in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, will hold the Delhi Capitals and the diminutive opener in good stead. Prithvi Shaw didn’t have a good tour to Australia earlier in 2020-21 where the gap between his bat and pad was exposed.

“The second player I want to talk about is Prithvi Shaw. It seems like he is hurt because of not being considered for the Indian team. He scored a double-century in a List A game as a captain. He scored 227 not out off 152 balls, that’s a stellar performance. The Delhi Capitals will be happy and from his point of view, it is important that he scores runs,” observed Chopra.

Suryakumar Yadav scored 512 runs, 424 runs, and 480 runs respectively in IPL 2018,2019 and 2020. His average was also above 30 every time for Mumbai Indians after a modest outing for Kolkata Knight Riders from 2014 to 2017. He returned to Mumbai Indians in 2018 after a short stint from 2011-2013. His impressive show in IPL saw him being inducted in India’s squad for 5 T20Is against England.

Aakash Chopra: Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Santner, And Jimmy Neesham’s Performances In Ongoing Australia-New Zealand T20I Series Will Delight Franchises

Aakash Chopra believes the Delhi Capitals franchise will be ecstatic after seeing all-rounder Marcus Stoinis’ swashbuckling knock for Australia in the second T20I against New Zealand.

“At No.4, I am keeping Marcus Stoinis. He is one of the most improved all-rounders in the recent times. He is pulling his weight in the side and how. He scored 78 off 37 balls, he demolished the opposition team. DC must be very excited because he is a very good acquisition,” said Chopra.

The 43-year-old reckons Mitchell Santner’s spell of 4/31 in the same Australia-New Zealand encounter should make his franchise Chennai Super Kings happy.

“Next in my list is Mitchell Santner who took 4 wickets. It was a high-scoring encounter but this player did his job. Chennai Super Kings must be excited because they have let go of a few spinners. He might just slip into their playing XI very often,” observed Aakash Chopra.

James Neesham
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JUNE 26: Jimmy Neesham of New Zealand during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 26, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that Jimmy Neesham’s destructive knock and match-winning final over would have thrilled the Mumbai Indians.

“Last but not the least, Jimmy Neesham. He smashed 45 not out off 16 balls including four consecutive sixes. Mumbai Indians have acquired him at base price. He will not play at the start but eventually there is a possibility he might play because of the balance,” concluded Chopra.

Australian Marcus Stoinis scored 78 runs in the 2nd T20I while New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham scored a breezy 45 in the 2nd T20I after a quick 26 in the 1st T20I. In the 2nd T20I, Mitchell Santner returned with figures of 4/31.

Besides the aforementioned players, the performances of Krunal Pandya, Robin Uthappa, Siddharth Kaul, and Dhawal Kulkarni in the Vijay Hazare Trophy would delight their respective franchises.

Australia's Aaron Finch ©Reuters
Australia's Aaron Finch ©Reuters
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George Bailey Backs Aaron Finch To Lead Australia In T20I World Cup

George Bailey, cricketer-turned-selector has backed Australia’s white-ball limited-overs skipper to lead the Australian side in the upcoming T20I World Cup amid raging doubts around his batting and leadership credentials.

Aaron Finch has come under constant scrutiny, owing to his horrendous run of form in the last six months or so. Former Australian cricketers, led by former batsman Mark Waugh, have recently hinted at Aaron Finch losing his spot even without any backup choice insight.

George Bailey
George Bailey | AFP

George Bailey: Aaron Finch Has Got A Terrific Average And He Will Remain Skipper At The World Cup

George Bailey said Aaron Finch has got a terrific average of 36.64 in T20Is and predicts he will remain the skipper of Australia at the upcoming T20I World Cup in 2021. Mark Waugh believes Australia’s white-ball limited-overs captain Aaron Finch is not immune from being dropped due to poor form.

“He’s got a terrific average, he’s the captain of this side and he’ll be the captain of this side at the World Cup. It (Aaron Finch’s criticism) is just complete white noise for me,” said Bailey.

Aaron Finch
Aaron Finch, AFP

Aaron Finch’s form has been on the downward slope since featuring in the IPL 2020. Playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise, he averaged just over 22 managing 268 runs from 12 matches last season. The 34-year-old opener was dropped from the side mid-way and found himself out of the franchise as he went unsold at the IPL 2021 auction.

The opener failed yet again after scoring a sluggish 14-ball 12 when the visitors were chasing a daunting 220 for victory in the second T20I against New Zealand and has not scored even a 50 in his last 26 T20 innings, averaging 15.00 with a pitiful strike-rate of 110 over that period.

George Bailey: Aaron Finch Would Be In The Top 5 Or Top 10 Leading Run Scorers

Generally a consistent run-scorer for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, Aaron Finch had a forgettable season there as well. In 13 trips to the crease, he could only collect 179 runs at an average of 13.77 and a strike rate of 113.29. Talking about the same, George Bailey attributed the poor returns to the gruelling run of international cricket of late.

“He was pretty zonked. But he tried to do the right thing and get back to help a young (Melbourne) Renegades side. His reflection on that was that he probably should’ve sat longer out and come back a bit fresher,” Bailey, who played 125 internationals for Australia, observed.

David Warner
David Warner (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Aaron Finch is the 2nd highest T20I run-scorer for Australia and 8th in the overall list. George Bailey believes Aaron Finch will conclude his career among the top 10 run-scorers.

“He’d be in the top five or 10 leading run-scorers, and if he doesn’t have the highest strike-rate amongst them he’d be absolutely close. And he’s done it very, very consistently for Australia over a long period of time, and will continue to do so into the future,” Bailey added.

Aaron Finch is currently involved in a 5-match T20I series against New Zealand. The Kiwis are leading 2-0 after two games and he has, till now, managed the highest score of 12.

The backing of a national selector will certainly help his cause. However, he will still look to be back amongst runs for some self-assuring return to form in the 3rd T20I on March 3. Aaron Finch has scored 2162 runs in T20Is and is only behind David Warner who has 2265 runs in T20Is for Australia.

Jimmy Neesham | GETTY
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 25: Jimmy Neesham of New Zealand bats during game two of the International T20 series between New Zealand and Australia at University of Otago Oval on February 25, 2021 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)
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James Neesham Who Scores 16-Ball 45 And Defends 15 Runs In Last Over Against Australia

James Neesham, a New Zealand all-rounder helped the hosts seal a narrow win over Australia by defending 15 runs successfully in the final over of 2nd T20I.

New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham stopped Australia from scoring 15 runs in the final over of 2nd T20I which was coincidentally the exact same equation as the 2019 World Cup Super Over and ‘wondered how the World Cup would come up today’.

james Neesham[photo: Inside Sport]
James Neesham[photo: Inside Sport]

James Neesham Wondered How The 2019 World Cup Super Over Would Come Up As It Was The Same Equation

Australian batsmen Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams threatened to make a late comeback before all-rounder James Neesham put on a splendid performance with both bat and ball to help New Zealand clinch victory in the second T20I against Australia by four runs at University Oval in Dunedin on Thursday.

James Neesham first impressed with the bat, belting six sixes in a brutal 16 ball knock scoring an unbeaten 45, and then delivered one of the most breath-taking final over where he conceded only 10 runs including four dot balls with two wickets of Daniel Sams (41 off 15) and Marcus Stoinis (78 off 37) to take his side over the finish line.

Marcus Stoinis (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Marcus Stoinis (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“It was the exact equation, was it? I wondered how the World Cup would come up today,” James Neesham said.

“That would’ve been nice. But no, I didn’t know about that at the time, it’s not something you really think about, you’re probably in a little bit of trouble if you’re at the top of your mark thinking about the World Cup final when you’re trying to bowl the last ball of a T20, but I was just trying to keep it simple and bowl yorkers.

“Never loved it more,” James Neesham was quick to say.

James Neesham bowled only a solitary over as the likes of Kyle Jamieson and Ish Sodhi were too expensive. Mitchell Santner picked 4 scalps conceding only 31 runs.

James Neesham Had Dinner With Spinner Ish Sodhi

Going through a lean patch, Martin Guptill slammed a whirlwind 97 off just 50 balls to steer New Zealand to 219 runs in the allotted 20 overs against Australia in the second T20I. The Kiwi batsman hit eight sixes and six fours during his sensational knock.

Martin Guptill gestures to the crowd after being dismissed for 97
Martin Guptill gestures to the crowd after being dismissed for 97 – AP

“I had dinner with (Black Caps leg spinner) Ish Sodhi and we talked about how we’ve both come through some trials and tribulations and he’s obviously had his issues with his action and he was obviously coming through them at the same time.

“We’ve played a lot of cricket together and spent a lot of time together and we were just sort of talking about how much we’ve enjoyed each other’s success and hopefully it can continue for more years yet.”

In reply to New Zealand’s mammoth 219, Australia got off to a promising solid start as the visitors smashed 33 runs from the first three overs. But pacer Tim Southee removed opener and keeper, Matthew Wade, in the fourth over to halt Australia’s chase.

But the visitors continued to bat without taking risks and seven overs into the chase, Australia was 64/1 before Ish Sodhi dismissed skipper Aaron Finch on the last ball of the eight over. Aaron Finch’s dismissal triggered a middle-order collapse which saw Australia losing wickets at regular intervals. The visitors were soon found reeling at 113/6 before Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams came out firing on all cylinders.

The duo stitched a 92-run stand for the seventh wicket in just 37 balls but New Zealand held their nerve in the final over to prevail. Marcus Stoinis (78 off 37) and Daniel Sams (41 off 15) combined for a record seventh-wicket T20I partnership of 92 runs.

Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (File photo| PTI)
Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (File photo| PTI)
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No Batsman Even Aaron Finch Is Immune From Being Dropped When He’s Not Scoring Runs: Mark Waugh

Mark Waugh believes Australia’s white-ball limited-overs captain Aaron Finch is not immune from being dropped due to poor form. The opener failed yet again after scoring a sluggish 14-ball 12 when the visitors were chasing a daunting 220 for victory in the second T20I against New Zealand on Thursday. The Kiwis went on to win the close encounter by only four runs.

Aaron Finch has not scored even a 50 in his last 26 T20 innings, averaging 15.00 with a pitiful strike-rate of 110 over that period. His most recent knocks in the game’s shortest format are 18, 8, 0, 14, 13, 0, 10, 4, 6, 1, and 12.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Mark Waugh: Aaron Finch’s Job Is To Score Runs As There’s A Lot Of Players Who Can Captain Australia

Aaron Finch will be under severe pressure to perform according to expectations in the remaining three matches of the T20I series. Former Australian batsman Mark Waugh explained that although Aaron Finch might be a good captain, the latter’s primary job is to score runs.

There is a lot of players like Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, and Moises Henriques apart from Pat Cummins who can captain the side in place of Aaron Finch whose primary job is to score more runs especially as he is an opener feels Mark Waugh.

“His job is to score runs. It doesn’t matter; there’s a lot of players who can captain. There’s Matthew Wade; there’s Mitch Marsh; there’s Moises Henriques. His primary job is to score runs, particularly when you’re opening.

“That’s a key position in T20 cricket, and we’ve got a lot of good players on the periphery to open. He’ll know it. No batsman is immune from being dropped when you’re not scoring runs. Doesn’t matter if you’re captain or not,” Mark Waugh said on Fox Cricket.

Mark Waugh. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
Mark Waugh. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)

Mark Waugh further added in this regard: “I’m not saying it (Finch getting dropped) will happen, but no one’s irreplaceable. There’s no way the selectors will want to drop him, but his destiny is in his own hands.”

Aaron Finch averages just 15 in his last 26 T20 innings and has a meagre strike rate of 110. The Australian has failed to score even a fifty in the said period. His captaincy hasn’t been too inspiring either, as the Aaron Finch-led Melbourne Renegades finished rock-bottom in the recently-concluded BBL.

Aaron Finch Backed By Marcus Stoinis Who Even Terms His Skipper The Best T20 Batsman Having Good Record

Experts and former cricketers might be raising question marks over Aaron Finch, but Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis backed the opening batsman to find his form. He even branded Australia’s white-ball captain as one of the best T20 batsmen in the world.

“There’s just full confidence that he’s going to perform for us; I just see it as a long-term picture because come the World Cup, we need him firing. He’s arguably the best 20-20 batter in the world over a long period of time. His record so good. He’s our captain. In our heads, we just trust him,” Stoinis said after Australia’s defeat in second T20I against New Zealand.

Marcus Stoinis (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Marcus Stoinis (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Aaron Finch went unsold at the IPL 2021 Auction for his poor form recently. Since the T20I World Cup is all set to take place in India later this year, the Australian selectors will want the 34-year-old to find some form soon.

He managed only 268 runs averaging 22.33 in 12 games in IPL 2020. Aaron Finch though was the leading run-scorer in the ODI series against India, managing 249 runs in 3 ODIs averaging 83. He managed only 35 runs though in the 2 T20Is that followed. Under his captaincy, Australia has won 20 and lost 19 T20Is.  Aaron Finch has scored 2 tons and 12 fifties and averages 36.64 in T20Is.

Martin Guptill gestures to the crowd after being dismissed. En route to his 97, Guptill overtook Rohit Sharma to top the list for most sixes by a batsman in T20Is. - AP
Martin Guptill gestures to the crowd after being dismissed. En route to his 97, Guptill overtook Rohit Sharma to top the list for most sixes by a batsman in T20Is. - AP
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Martin Guptill Breaks Rohit Sharma’s Record Of Most Sixes As He Hit 132 Sixes

Martin Guptill, a New Zealand opening batsman on Thursday broke India opener Rohit Sharma’s record of most sixes in the shortest format of the game when he whacked eight maximums to announce his return to form.

Martin Guptill’s 97-run onslaught against Australia in the 2nd T20I at Dunedin, New Zealand saw him score 132 T20I sixes, five more than Rohit Sharma’s 127.

Martin Guptill
Martin Guptill (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Martin Guptill Hits 8 Sixes To Go Past Rohit Sharma Who Has Hit 127 Sixes In T20Is

Going through a lean patch, Martin Guptill slammed a whirlwind 97 off just 50 balls to steer New Zealand to 219 runs in the allotted 20 overs against Australia in the second T20I. The Kiwi batsman hit eight sixes and six fours during his sensational knock to leapfrog Rohit Sharma’s record of most sixes in T20Is. The batsman now has 132 while Rohit Sharma has 127 sixes under his belt in the shortest format of the game.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma | AFP

England skipper Eoin Morgan (113), New Zealand batsman Colin Munro (107), and West Indies stalwart Chris Gayle (105) are the other three batsmen to have more than 100 sixes in T20Is.

Marcus Stoinis And Daniel Sams Fight In Vain As New Zealand Prevail By 4 Runs

In reply to New Zealand’s mammoth 219, Australia got off to a promising solid start as the visitors smashed 33 runs from the first three overs. But pacer Tim Southee removed opener and keeper, Matthew Wade, in the fourth over to halt Australia’s chase. But the visitors continued to bat without taking risks and seven overs into the chase, Australia was 64/1 before Ish Sodhi dismissed skipper Aaron Finch on the last ball of the eight over.

Aaron Finch’s dismissal triggered a middle-order collapse which saw Australia losing wickets at regular intervals. The visitors were soon found reeling at 113/6 before Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams came out firing on all cylinders.

Marcus Stoinis of Australia bats.
Marcus Stoinis of Australia bats. Source: Getty Images

The duo stitched a 92-run stand for the seventh wicket in just 37 balls but New Zealand held their nerve in the final over to prevail. Marcus Stoinis (78 off 37) and Daniel Sams (41 off 15) combined for a record seventh-wicket T20I partnership of 92 runs.

James Neesham slammed 45 off 16 balls before Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams almost got Australia over the line. James Neesham dismissed both of them in the final over to help New Zealand secure a win in the second T20I and go 2-0 up after winning the first T20I by 53 runs. James Neesham bowled only a solitary over as the likes of Kyle Jamieson and Ish Sodhi were too expensive.

The experienced Martin Guptill’s average wasn’t more than 30 since the England series in November 2019. Against India, West Indies, and Pakistan he accumulated only 185 runs in 11 T20Is.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP
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Marcus Stoinis Backs Aaron Finch To Find Form

Marcus Stoinis has backed Australian limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch to come good after the latter’s woeful run of form with the bat continued.

The Australian white-ball skipper made a sluggish 14-ball 12 in the second T20I against New Zealand today. Chasing 220 runs for victory, Australia lost the game by 4 runs as Marcus Stoinis’ 78 off 37 balls with 7 fours and 5 sixes went in vain. Daniel Sams too hit 41 off only 15 balls but could not hand Australia a win as New Zealand went 2-0 up.

Marcus Stoinis may miss the second game. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Marcus Stoinis may miss the second game. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Marcus Stoinis: Aaron Finch Arguably Best Batsman Over Long Period Of Time

Despite Aaron Finch’s recent poor outings, Marcus Stoinis branded the Australian captain as one of the best T20 batsmen in the world currently. The Australian all-rounder also said that he is confident about Aaron Finch finding his form soon.

“There’s just full confidence that he’s going to perform for us; I just see it as a long-term picture because come the World Cup, we need him firing. He’s arguably the best 20-20 batter in the world over a long period of time. His record so good. He’s our captain. In our heads, we just trust him,” Stoinis said.

Martin Guptill - GETTY IMAGES
Martin Guptill – GETTY IMAGES

Marcus Stoinis pointed that although his skipper didn’t fare well in IPL 2020, the explosive opener looked in good touch in the limited-overs series against India. Aaron Finch was the leading run-scorer in the ODI series against India, managing 249 runs in 3 ODIs averaging 83. He managed only 35 runs though in the 2 T20Is that followed.

“The same thing happened when he came back from IPL (in 2020), he didn’t have the IPL he wanted, but he made hundred after hundred in the one-dayers. You got to ride out these sort of things … we’ve got his back.” the Australian all-rounder added.

Aaron Finch Had A Poor Big Bash League And Went Unsold In IPL 2021 After Poor IPL 2020

Aaron Finch has played for Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, Sahara Pune Warriors, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Kings XI Punjab and finally Royal Challengers Bangalore. Twitter
Aaron Finch has played for Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, Sahara Pune Warriors, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Kings XI Punjab, and finally Royal Challengers Bangalore. Twitter

The 34-year-old struggled in IPL 2020 too and was subsequently released by Royal Challengers Bangalore. As a result of his poor form, he went unsold at the IPL 2021 Auction. He managed only 268 runs averaging 22.33 in 12 games in IPL 2020.

Aaron Finch became the first player in the history of the Indian Premier League to play for eight franchises. He has been a regular in the IPL ever since its inception in 2008 and he has featured prominently for teams who have featured in the tournament as well as those that are now defunct. The 33-year-old has played only five Tests in his career while he has featured in 126 ODIs and 61 T20Is.

Aaron Finch’s most recent knocks in the game’s shortest format are 18, 8, 0, 14, 13, 0, 10, 4, 6, 1, and 12. Aaron Finch has not reached 50 in his last 26 T20 innings, averaging 15.00 with a pitiful strike-rate of 110 over that period. With the presence of opening batsmen available in Australia’s T20 squad including D’Arcy Short, Josh Philippe, and Marcus Stoinis, it seems the only thing keeping Aaron Finch in the starting XI is loyalty and reputation.

Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell
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Glenn Maxwell Is In Prime Of His Career And Wants To Play Test Cricket Again

Glenn Maxwell has declared he still wants to play Test cricket and hopes that the opportunity comes next year when Australia has three tours through Asia.

There had been confusion in Victorian ranks as to whether he still wanted to play red-ball cricket. He had suggested that he had bid adieu to Tests but Victorian coach Chris Rogers, who last week said he had been surprised by Glenn Maxwell’s comments.

Chris Rogers (Getty Images)Chris Rogers (Getty Images)

Glenn Maxwell Keen To Play Red Ball Cricket

Ahead of the 5 matches of the T20I series in New Zealand, Glenn Maxwell could not have been clearer about his desire to return to the Test ranks, after having played the last of his seven Test matches in a Baggy Green back in 2017 in Bangladesh.

“I am certainly keen to still play red-ball cricket, still push my case forward to still play Test cricket. I feel like I am still very much in the prime of my career. I am only 32, there is still a fair bit in me,” he said.

“I am fit, young – feeling still anyway. I feel I still have a lot to give in the red-ball game so I am not done and dusted there.”

Glenn Maxwell played the last of his seven Tests, all overseas, in 2017. Averaging a modest 26.07, he posted a maiden Test century against India in Ranchi in 2017 and later played in the two Tests in Bangladesh but hasn’t been given the opportunity to play in Tests since. He is seen by some to have a weakness against the short ball, which is an area of his game he has worked to combat.

Glenn Maxwell celebrates his century in a Test against India (AFP)
Glenn Maxwell celebrates his century in a Test against India (AFP)

Ausralia’s slated tours of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India next year, where pitches are likely to be slow and help spinners will suit his sometimes unorthodox style and could give him the opportunity to display his all-round abilities for he also offers handy off-spin and brilliant fielding.

“Next year there are quite a few sub-continent tours. I feel I could certainly add something to that Test squad if I was selected. I will certainly be doing everything in my power to try and get on those tours,” Maxwell said.

Despite remaining one of Australia’s most important white-ball limited-overs players, he had little chance in recent years to play red-ball cricket for Victoria because of international and IPL commitments. His last first-class match was in October 2019. He missed the opening Sheffield Shield matches this season because he was in the rescheduled IPL 2020 in the UAE, and is one of 35 Australians seeking a lucrative contract in the latest auction for IPL 2021.

Glenn Maxwell: To Pick A Test Side Based On Sheffield Shield Cricket Is A Little Bit Difficult As Pitches In Asia Will Offer More Spin

The T20I series in New Zealand, and the new IPL season 2021 which will begin in the second week of April, will mean Glenn Maxwell should be drafted and play the matches and thereby will have little time to represent his state. However, he made a salient point in that the skills required to handle pitches on the sub-continent are different from those traditionally required when playing red-ball cricket in the home conditions.

“I think even watching this current Test [India v England in Chennai], you are not facing these conditions in Australia, so you are not probably learning a whole lot off Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia,” he said.

“You are not really getting a gauge on what guys are going to be like under that sort of pressure with the ball spinning square, keeping low, bouncing over your head. It’s just a different beast completely.”

“To pick a Test side based on Sheffield Shield cricket is probably a little bit more difficult. I think you are probably going to dial in with a lot more specialists who can adapt to spinning conditions and find a way to score in those spinning conditions.”

Glenn Maxwell - GETTY IMAGES
Glenn Maxwell – GETTY IMAGES

“I am hoping that can put me in good stead even if I don’t have the time on field with the Sheffield Shield. [Hopefully] I can still find a way to play a few more series in the sub-continent over this year [IPL and Twenty20 World Cup] or however long and put my name forward, put up some good numbers and show that I am still a good player of spin.”

While there is a strong white-ball focus for Glenn Maxwell given that there are two T20 World Cups lined up for India (Covid-19 permitting) in 2021 and Australia in 2022, he admitted on Monday that he had discussed the possibility of a Test return with the selectors, as two Tests in Pakistan, two in Sri Lanka and four in India are all on the calendar for the next year. Australia has not played that many Tests in Asia in one year since 2004.

Michael Clarke
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Michael Clarke Criticised CA Selectors For Dropping Matthew Wade

Michael Clarke, former Australian skipper has criticized selectors for dropping batsman Matthew Wade from the South Africa tour. The 39-year-old has hinted that national selectors are biased.

The decision of national selectors to drop Matthew Wade from the upcoming South Africa tour has not gone well with former Australia captain Michael Clarke.

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke (Image Credit: Google)

Michael Clarke: Matthew Wade Didn’t Score Many Runs But Was Better Than Joe Burns Who Played First 2 Tests Despite Low Scores

The 39-year-old took shots at the selectors and accused them of being biased. Michael Clarke did not shy away from saying that incumbent opener Joe Burns, who featured in the first 2 Tests versus India, was backed by the selectors despite his repeated failures. Further, Michael Clarke pointed out that Matthew Wade took the responsibility of opening for Australia in the absence of David Warner but the selectors still showed him the exit door despite scoring 172 runs averaging 21.62.

“What happened to that loyalty they showed to Joe Burns when it came to Matthew Wade,” he said.

Matthew Wade.
Matthew Wade. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Where has Matthew Wade gone? You batted out of position for them, went to the top of the order, did the right thing for the team, gets back. I know he didn’t score as many runs as they would like but hang on, one minute we’re hearing ‘the incumbent Joe Burns, support, support, support’ then Matthew Wade out the door,” Michael Clarke said on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast.

Middle-order batsman Travis Head was dropped from the playing XI in the third Test versus India after David Warner returned at the top of the order and Matthew Wade had to come down. Travis Head was kept out of the team in the 4th Test as well but finds himself in the squad for South Africa Tests.

Michael Clarke: Travis Head Was Not Good Enough 2 Weeks Ago But He Is Back In Squad And Considered Better Than Matthew Wade

Michael Clarke expressed ‘confusion’ over the situation and threw numerous questions on the selectors. However, Matthew Wade may be dropped due to his better form in T20Is as Australia will simultaneously play against New Zealand in T20Is at the same time when Test side competes against South Africa. Matthew Wade scored 145 runs in 3 T20Is against India averaging 48.33.

“I’m confused. Travis Head was not good enough two weeks ago but now he is back in and better than Matthew Wade who was good enough. Did they get the selection wrong two weeks ago when they dropped Travis Head for Matthew Wade?,” he added.

“Has Travis Head played a game since he was dropped… to fight his way back into the team? So how has he gone back into the team? This is what confuses me and this is why you regularly hear people having a crack at the selectors. They regularly leave themselves open.

Travis Head
Travis Head. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Explain why Matthew Wade is not in the squad, explain why Travis Head is back in, explain how you cannot discuss Tim Paine’s performance. They’re either not telling the truth or whoever is having these conversations are missing a trick,” Clarke concluded.

Australia are due to play three Tests in South Africa. The tour was originally scheduled for February and March, but the dates have yet to be locked in due to concerns over coronavirus. The five-game T20 tour of New Zealand runs from February 22 to March 7, clashing with South Africa, meaning a host of players are not available. Matthew Wade was the main casualty from the India series, with the squad otherwise much the same. But he will be vice-captain in T20I squad for New Zealand.

Test squad for South Africa: Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

T20 squad for New Zealand: Aaron Finch (capt), Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa

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