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Colin de Grandhomme

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq Questions Why ICC Is Silent Despite Several New Zealand Players Pulling Out Of Pakistan Series For IPL 2021

Inzamam-ul-Haq lashed out at ICC and questioned its silence on the matter after being irked with New Zealand’s players’ decision to pull out of the Pakistan series for IPL 2021.

Ahead of the all-important T20 World Cup 2021, the New Zealand cricket team will square off against Bangladesh and Pakistan in a white-ball series between September 1 and October 3. While Pakistan will have their first-choice players for the series, New Zealand will be missing out on the services of 7 players who are in the WC squad as they will participate in IPL 2021 once it resumes which was criticized by Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Pakistan Team Not Getting Proper Practice As They Aren’t Getting To Play Against Main Squads

New Zealand Cricket has released its players for the 2nd half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and 7 players, including skipper Kane Williamson, will be in UAE to take part in the T20 league.

Upset with NZ players pulling out of the Pakistan series to play IPL, former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has lashed out at ICC and questioned its silence on the matter. As per Inzamam-ul-Haq, the players are giving more importance to private leagues instead of international cricket.

“Wherever the Pakistan team is going, they are not getting a chance to play against the main players. When we went to South Africa in April, they sent their players for the IPL. With the upcoming NZ series in Pakistan, eight NZ players have opted out of the tour to play IPL. Even in the recent England tour, the whole England team got changed due to COVID-19 in the camp,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said on his Youtube channel.

“I feel that the Pakistan team is not getting proper practice because they are not getting to play against the main players. What is the ICC doing? What message are they trying to give? Players are giving importance to private leagues and not international cricket. It’s like degrading international cricket. If you see the whole sequence, it’s happening only against Pakistan,” Inzamam-ul-Haq added.

New Zealand batsman Tom Latham
New Zealand batsman Tom Latham (Photo: AFP)

Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, and Tim Seifert are other players who have been released by NZC.  Tom Latham will be leading NZ in both series.  Interestingly, he isn’t part of the T20 World Cup squad.

The 2nd phase of IPL 2021 will be played from September 19 to October 15 in the UAE. The T20 World Cup 2021 kicks off on October 17.  Following the ICC event, the NZ players will travel to India for T20I and Test series against the hosts.

Tom Latham To Lead New Zealand On Limited Overs Tours Of Pakistan And Bangladesh

Tom Latham will lead New Zealand in the absence of Kane Williamson on their white-ball tours of Pakistan and Bangladesh starting September.  The opener will stand in as leader on both tours across white-ball formats.  New Zealand takes on Bangladesh in five T20Is in September, followed by three ODIs and five T20Is in Pakistan.

New Zealand has also named 15 member squad for the forthcoming T20 World Cup under the leadership of Kane Williamson. Ross Taylor, the veteran Kiwi batsman, and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme are the major exclusions from the squad. Ross Taylor. (Source: Twitter)

Ross Taylor. (Source: Twitter)

Todd Astle was picked along with two other spinners in the squad – legspinner Ish Sodhi and left-arm spinning allrounder Mitchell Santner. Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee will lead Kiwi’s pace attack. The same squad will also tour India later this year for three T20Is.

Adam Milne has been selected as the 16th man in the T20 World Cup squad as an injury cover.  New Zealand will make their first trip to Pakistan in 18 years this September to play three ODIs and five T20Is in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup that kickstarts on October 17.
New Zealand last toured Pakistan in November 2003 when they played five ODIs. A year before, their last Test appearance in Pakistan was at the Gaddafi Stadium in May 2002, which is remembered for Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 329 and Shoaib Akhtar’s six for 11 in the first innings that set the platform for an innings and 324-run victory.

New Zealand T20 World Cup squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Adam Milne (injury cover).

Squad for Bangladesh T20Is and Pakistan ODIs: Tom Latham (capt, wk), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry (ODI only), Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears (T20 only), Blair Tickner, Will Young.
Squad for Pakistan T20Is: Tom Latham (capt, wk), Finn Allen, Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Mark Chapman, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Ajaz Patel, Ish Sodhi, Ben Sears, Blair Tickner, Will Young.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP

India Should Never Have Played 2 Spinners On Seaming Pitches, Says Kamran Akmal

Kamran Akmal, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman feels India got their combination for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand wrong by playing 2 spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin together and paid a heavy price for that.

Kamran Akmal stressed that Team India’s batting had been underwhelming in the run-up to the WTC final. So they ought to have strengthened that department given the seaming conditions that were on offer.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Kamran Akmal: One Should Never Play 2 Spinners On Seaming Pitches

India was bowled out for 217 in the first innings of the WTC final and crumbled to 170 in their second essay. Thus, in spite of the fact that two full days of play were lost to rain, New Zealand trounced India by eight wickets on the Reserve 6th Day.

Kamran Akmal said on the YouTube channel ‘My Master Cricket Coach’ that India erred in not picking a playing XI based on the conditions unlike New Zealand while discussing where Team India went wrong in the WTC final.

He explained: “The one big danger for Team India in the WTC final was New Zealand’s bowling. India’s batsmen have not scored big runs, starting with the Australia series. Ajinkya Rahane scored a hundred (in the MCG Test), and then Rishabh Pant came in and scored important runs down the order. In the home series (against England) as well, only Pant and (Ravichandran) Ashwin scored some runs.”

Akmal continued: “If we look at India’s playing XI for the WTC, you should never play two spinners on seaming pitches. New Zealand chose the perfect playing XI according to the overcast conditions. They won even after the entire first day’s play was lost to rain. India should have strengthened their batting. “

Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal © Getty Images

“As it is, their batsmen weren’t among the runs. Virat Kohli was not in form; the opening partnership was not working well. India should have analysed all these issues before finalising their playing XI. They played the same combination of two spinners, which they had in Australia and at home, a move that backfired.”

Ravindra Jadeja had an off Test as he scored 15 off 53 balls before dismissed by Trent Boult in the first innings. When it came to bowling, the all-rounder returned figures of 1/20 in 7.2 overs. In the second innings, he could only score 16 off 49 deliveries and only bowled eight of the 45 overs in the second innings, going wicketless and conceding 25 runs.

Unlike India, New Zealand went into this big match with four quicks, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, and Colin de Grandhomme as their pace bowling all-rounder at no. 7.

Kamran Akmal: New Zealand Had An Advantage Since They Had Played England Prior To The Final

Kamran Akmal, however, backed Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s views that the marquee WTC final should be a best-of-three affair. He further suggested that the summit clash should be played at a venue where neither finalist has an undue advantage.

He elaborated in this regard: “New Zealand had an advantage, as they had already played two Tests in England. They were used to the conditions.”

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

While Kamran Akmal backed the decision to give the India players a break ahead of the gruelling England Tests, he opined that the side could have shortened their three-week break and played some practice games against a few counties. According to the Pakistan player, India needs to get used to seaming conditions in England.

“Team India players deserve a break. They played in the IPL and here in the WTC final. They have been under constant mental stress due to the quarantine. So this break should help to refresh them ahead of the England series. India have a good chance of winning in England, but that will depend on how they play seam-bowling. “

“England will prepare pitches to exploit India’s weakness. So India could have cut short their three-week holiday and instead could have played practice games against some counties to get used to the conditions. Still, I feel India have a great chance to win in England this time.”

India is supposed to play two intra-squad matches in Durham ahead of the five-match Test series against England. They are unlikely to play any warm-up games against any of the county sides, owing to COVID-19 protocols as the England board is unwilling to change its stance.

Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)
Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)

WTC Final 2021: Sunil Gavaskar Praised Shubman Gill’s Temperament

Sunil Gavaskar, the former legendary opening batsman has predicted that young batsman Shubman Gill will score multiple Test centuries for India.

Indian opening batsman Shubman Gill looked solid while he lasted on Day 2 of the World Test Championship match against New Zealand after captain Kane Williamson elected to bowl first winning the toss. The right-hander stitched a solid partnership with Rohit Sharma, as both the openers added 62 runs for the first wicket.

Shubman Gill (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi)
Shubman Gill (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi)

Sunil Gavaskar: Shubman Gill Has The Temperament To Become A Great Player

Shubman Gill had a promising start to his innings in the WTC final, but missed out on a big one, getting dismissed by fast bowler Neil Wagner for 28. However, his innings received a lot of praise from former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who lauded his temperament from the commentary box.

“He has the temperament to become a great player,” Gavaskar in the commentary box during Gill’s innings, which comprised three fours.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

Shubman Gill played a promising knock of 28 in swinging and overcast conditions and built a partnership of 62 with Rohit Sharma. The openers lasted more than 20 overs against the likes of Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Colin de Grandhome. After Kyle Jamieson struck first blood to dismiss Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill perished soon after in Neil Wagner’s third ball of his opening spell.

Sunil Gavaskar: Shubman Gill Needs To Score His First Test Ton And More Will Follow

The India batting legend predicted that Shubman Gill will score multiple centuries for India. Shubman Gill has scored three half-centuries in his short Test career so far with a best of 91 against Australia in Brisbane earlier this year, with Sunil Gavaskar adding that the youngster just needs to clear the hurdle of getting his first Test ton.

“The first hundred is always the toughest one because that journey from scoring a half-century to reaching three figures is not that easy,” Sunil Gavaskar said.

Shubman Gill, WTC Final, Image: PTI
Shubman Gill, WTC Final, Image: PTI

“Batsmen tend to feel settled somewhere around 70-80 run mark and start taking the bowlers on and lose their wicket in that way. He just needs to get his first hundred and then a lot more will follow.”

The 21-year-old was one of the chief architects of India’s epic Test series win in Down Under, in what was his debut outing. He managed 259 runs averaging 51.8 in 3 Tests after debuting in the Melbourne Test. Shubman Gill hit a counter-attacking 91 in the second innings of the fourth and final Test in Brisbane, something that set up India’s epic chase of 328 at the Gabba en route to their 2-1 series triumph.

Delhi Capitals, IPL 2021
Amit Mishra[photo: Twitter]

Amit Mishra Thinks India Could Have Named A Fast Bowling All-Rounder In The Playing XI For The WTC Final

Amit Mishra, veteran leg-spinner and a member of the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Capitals, feels that while India playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand “looks great”, a fast-bowling all-rounder could have further strengthened the side.

The first day of the WTC final at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday was washed out because of rain and players would be hoping to get back to action later on Saturday.

Veteran Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra
Veteran Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra (Photo | PTI)

Amit Mishra Thinks India Could Have Named A Fast Bowling All-Rounder In The Playing XI For The WTC Final

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl first against India on Day 2 of the final of the inaugural WTC in Southampton. New Zealand has gone with four specialist fast bowlers and another seam-bowling option in all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.

“The playing XI looks great. We have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, two excellent spinners who can also contribute with the bat. Ashwin and Jadeja’s batting skills will help India a lot. I think India could have named a fast-bowling all-rounder in the playing XI, someone who could have bowled six-seven overs when the regular pacers are tired and the ball is swinging,” Mishra told JK 24×7 news.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Noting that the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand had an advantage in this department, Amit Mishra, who has played 22 Tests and taken 76 wickets, said, “I think it would have been better if India included a fast-bowling all-rounder. New Zealand has a fast-bowling all-rounder in their squad, so this is the one advantage that the Blackcaps have.”

Shardul Thakur has what it takes to be the fast-bowling all-rounder that the team has needed ever since Hardik Pandya’s back injury restricted his role with the ball. Hardik Pandya last played Test cricket for India in 2018, during the tour of England. He has been battling a back injury since 2019 and recently, during the IPL, also picked up a shoulder niggle.

The two-Test old Shardul Thakur was mighty impressive in the only longest format game he played in the away series against Australia this year, picking up seven wickets and a half-century to boot in Brisbane.

Amit Mishra: India’s Batting Is Stronger Than The Bowling Unit

Indians are fielding two spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja– and the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah in the WTC final. Amit Mishra also said that India’s batting was stronger than its bowling.

“I think India’s batting line-up is stronger than the bowling unit. If you consider the all-rounders, we bat very deep. Only the three fast bowlers do not bat. So, I feel the batting is stronger.”

Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)
Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra remains a vital cog in the Delhi Capitals’ machinery. The wily leg-spinner, who has the most hat-tricks in the tournament, has 166 IPL wickets against his name. While the injury cut short his IPL 2020 journey, the veteran spinner picked 6 wickets in 4 games averaging 18.16 before contracting the virus as a result of which IPL 2021 was suspended indefinitely. He is the 2nd highest wicket-taker after Lasith Malinga(170 scalps).

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill stitched together a 62-run partnership before departing to the New Zealand pacers before Lunch on Day 2.  India was placed at 69 runs for the loss of two wickets as players headed back to the pavilion at the end of the first session on Day 2. Rohit Sharma got out for 34 to Kyle Jamieson while Shubman Gill followed him shortly losing his wicket to Neil Wagner after scoring 28 runs.

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

Virat Kohli Puts All Discussions Pertaining To The Playing 11 To Rest As He Names 2 Spinners

Virat Kohli, Indian skipper put all the discussions pertaining to the playing XI to rest when he announced the playing XI with Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah. Ahead of the first day’s play, the Indian team announced their playing XI.

There was a lot of talk about the combination with which India would go in. Some had suggested that India might play four seamers and one spinner, while others suggested that Mohammad Siraj might just get the nod ahead of veteran pacers Mohammad Shami or Ishant Sharma. New Zealand decided to go into the final without even a single frontline spinner.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Virat Kohli: The Balance Is Such, India Prepare For Any Conditions

After the first day got washed out due to rain without even the toss happening, the much-awaited ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand got underway in Southampton on Saturday, June 19, 2021.  However, considering the overcast conditions and the lack of sunshine, it was speculated that the team might choose to drop a spinner. They could have done that because the toss didn’t happen on day one.

Nevertheless, captain Virat Kohli at the toss on Saturday revealed that he has decided to stick to the same combination without any tinkering, emphasizing the balance which Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bring to the table. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field first on a very overcast day in Southampton.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

“We would’ve probably bowled first as well. But runs on the board have been our strength. In a big final, runs on the board, however many, are an advantage. As you saw the makeup of our side, the balance is such that we prepare for any conditions. We’ve been performing really well in Test cricket. For us this is just a Test match we have to be professional in, have to follow our processes,” Virat Kohli said at the toss.

The confidence of playing with the two spinners in Southampton clearly comes after how well the duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have batted in recent times while also being effective with the ball even in overseas conditions. Unlike India, New Zealand went into this big match with four quicks, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, and Colin de Grandhomme as their all-rounder at no. 7.

ICC is promoting the inaugural World Test Championship final as the ‘Ultimate Test’, but Virat Kohli has said that the result of the one-off match against New Zealand cannot decide which is the “best” team in the format.

Rohit Sharma And Shubman Gill Dismissed On Day 2 Of The WTC Final

India’s drought of first wicket’s 60-plus stand in England in more than 10 years ends. India loses their first wicket for 62 runs on board in 20.1 overs as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 34 off 68. Kyle Jamieson has caused uncertainty by going wide on the crease, and the outswing takes the edge for a lovely low catch at third slip by Tim Southee.

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill | Photo Credit: AP
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill | Photo Credit: AP

Neil Wagner swung the first ball back into Shubman Gill, and two balls later he bowled the same length, making him push at the ball, which held its line this time and took the edge as India is 63 for 2 in 24.3 overs with Shubman Gill being dismissed after scoring 28 off 64.

India vs New Zealand
India vs New Zealand

Probably, Rain Doesn’t Change Selection Of Playing XI: Tom Latham

Tom Latham, vice-captain said on Friday (June 18) that New Zealand has a few contingency plans but the abandonment of the opening day of the World Test Championship final against India due to rain is unlikely to make a huge amount of difference to their team selection.

The much-anticipated opening day of the match was called off without even the toss being held here on Friday, which is set to bring the reserve day into the equation.

Tom Latham (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Tom Latham (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Tom Latham: Rain Doesn’t Change Huge Amount Of Selection Of Playing XI

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl first against India on Day 2 of the final of the inaugural WTC in Southampton. New Zealand has gone with four specialist fast bowlers and another seam-bowling option in all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme. India, on the other hand, has stuck with their playing XI which was announced on Thursday. The first day was washed out due to rain and bad weather.

“Probably, doesn’t change huge amount (selection of playing XI),” Tom Latham said during a virtual press conference when asked if losing the first day will change their approach to team selection.

Colin de Grandhomme
Colin de Grandhomme of New Zealand (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

“Obviously with an extra day we have got up our sleeves, the game can still go on for full five days. I guess, for us, it is about the wait and see and adapt to whatever conditions we face and ready to go when called upon.

“We haven’t confirmed the final XI yet, we have to wait and see when we get the chance to look at the wicket. I am sure Kane (Williamson) and (Gary) Stead have a few contingencies planned. We have to wait for the covers to come off and get a chance to play,” Tom Latham said.

While New Zealand is yet to announce their playing XI, India had named the team for the WTC final on Thursday.

“Obviously both teams can make changes before the toss, so both are in the same position. India have named their XI, obviously, that can change before the toss, so we have to wait and see once we get to that stage of the game,” Tom Latham said.

New Zealand has gone for four frontline seamers and no spinner. New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first.

Tom Latham: It’s Disappointing The Rain Was Unfortunately Forecast

There was a forecast of rain and thundershowers and heavens opened up last evening with relentless downpour continuing till afternoon. As per ICC playing conditions guidelines for the WTC final, if required the reserve sixth day can now come into effect with six hours of play lost on Day 1 itself.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Tom Latham said his team is not looking too far ahead.

“It is hard to predict the game this far out, when you start on day 1, you obviously want to start well and result flow on from the first and second innings,” he said.

“From our point of view, it is about when we get a chance to go out there and execute our plans best as possible and to be in a position to push the game forward.But yeah, it is hard to say what a perfect scenario may look like, until both the teams have batted on the surface.”

India is currently on 62/1 with opener Rohit Sharma dismissed on 34 while Shubman Gill is unbeaten on 27. Kyle Jamieson has picked up the only wicket to fall.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja Might Score The Same Runs As Hanuma Vihari, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has opined that India is unlikely to tinker with their playing XI even though the conditions might be slightly altered after the first day of the World Test Championship (WTC) final was washed out.

Team India named their playing XI, which includes two spinners, a day ahead of the scheduled start of the WTC final. There have been calls in certain quarters for India to alter their composition, considering that the pitch might have more moisture and be seamer-friendly as the play is set to resume on Day 2.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Ravindra Jadeja Might Score The Same Runs As Hanuma Vihari

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that Ravindra Jadeja is likely to hold on to his place due to his all-around prowess.

“The change will not happen because in place of Jaddu, Shardul is not there, you will have to play Hanuma Vihari. Jaddu might score the same runs as Vihari at that number. He will also give you the bowling and fielding with that.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator reckons batsman Hanuma Vihari might be a misfit in the playing XI, with No.6 being the ideal position for keeper Rishabh Pant.

Aakash Chopra explained: “If you include Hanuma, you will either play him at No.7, a pure batsman batting at No.7 does not make sense. If you play him at No.6, then Rishabh Pant plays at No.7, that doesn’t make sense at all.”

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari
AP Photo

Aakash Chopra added that the inclusion of a seamer at the expense of Ravindra Jadeja will compromise the batting depth, considering that the top-order batsmen might struggle against the new ball in these conditions.

“I will not play a fourth fast bowler, four fast bowlers and Ravichandran Ashwin. That’s not going to happen, the tail will become too long. It is already looking like a game where No. 5 to 8 might score more runs than the top four batsmen. That’s a possibility, so you need some batting depth.”

Team India will surely be in a dilemma if it is a moisture-laden pitch. However, they are likely to persist with their chosen XI even in such a scenario as the spinners could also come into play on such a track.

Aakash Chopra: Both Teams Might Look To Make The Opposition Bat First

Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that both teams might look to make the opposition bat first under the changed circumstances.

“But one change can definitely happen, you might want to bowl first now if you win the toss. It is possible whichever team bowls first, might have the scales tilted towards them slightly on this pitch.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bowl first in the WTC final against India. - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bowl first in the WTC final against India. – ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS

Team India might have had second thoughts of inserting the opposition in if they stick to their playing XI with the two spinners. New Zealand, on the other hand, is likely to bowl first to get the best out of their potent seam attack. New Zealand has gone for four frontline seamers and no spinner. New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl first against India on Day 2 of the final of the inaugural WTC in Southampton. New Zealand has gone with four specialist fast bowlers and another seam-bowling option in all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme. India, on the other hand, has stuck with their playing XI which was announced on Thursday. The first day was washed out due to rain and bad weather.

India Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand Playing XI: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn Suggests India Might Want To Alter Their Playing XI

Dale Steyn has suggested that Team India might want to alter their playing XI despite announcing their team well in advance for the inaugural marquee World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Although India has gone in with two specialist spinners, Dale Steyn believes Virat Kohli’s team could include an extra seamer ahead of the toss today(the 2nd day).

New Zealand, meanwhile, is keeping their cards close to their chest as they are yet to announce their playing XI. In a press conference on Friday, Tom Latham stated that the Kiwi team management would have a look at the pitch before taking the final call on the team combination.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph: Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images

Dale Steyn: India Welcome If They Want To Change Previously Declared Team  And Bring In An Extra Seamer

But Dale Steyn praised India’s approach as it showed that they are confident of getting a positive result in the summit clash against top-ranked Kiwis.

The South African pacer Dale Steyn said in an interaction with ESPNCricinfo: “I like what they (Team India) have done. They have come out and told the world, the team that they are going to go with. But they only have to hand in the team sheet at the toss so if they want to change their team and bring in an extra seamer, they are more than welcome to do that. They probably might even do that.”

Ajaz Patel
Ajaz Patel (Photo Credit: ICC/Twitter)

Dale Steyn further added that India’s approach shows that they have a clear game plan heading into the WTC Final.

“It gives the players the opportunity to prepare and lets the opposition know that this team is ready. They have worked out how they are going to go about winning this Test match and they are putting it all out there.”

R Sridhar: Since The Toss Is Not Yet Over, A Decision On The Final XI Will Be Taken At The Time Of The Toss

Team India fielding coach R Sridhar hinted that the side is keeping their options open of a possible change in the playing XI before the toss. However, he added that the playing XI India named could win any Test, irrespective of the conditions on offer.

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Speaking at a press conference after Day 1 of the final was washed out, R. Sridhar stated: “The XI that was announced (previously) is a team that takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation. They can perform in any given weather conditions. Having said that, the toss is not yet over, so a decision on the final XI will be taken at the time of the toss if needed,”

Mohammed Siraj’s form in the Test series against Australia and England earlier this year might tempt the Indian team management to go in with an extra seamer. It remains to be seen what decision Team India will make when Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson turn up for the toss on the Day 2 of the WTC final. Play may be possible on the second day with weather conditions bright and sunny.

Incessant rain washed out the opening day of the much-anticipated World Test Championship final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, however, the weather forecast remains positive for at least the first half of the second day of the summit clash. Despite day 1 being washed out, the presence of a reserve sixth day mitigated the frustration. Day 2 hence will witness the toss for the summit clash and each day will likely have 98 overs.

Playing XI: Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant.

New Zealand Test cricket team (Image Credit: Twitter)

Colin de Grandhomme Ruled Out From Test Series Against West Indies, Ajaz Patel Will Miss First Test

Due to the injury problems, New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has been ruled out from the forthcoming home Test series against West Indies, while left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel will also miss the first match of this Test series. The New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has also announced their replacements on Wednesday (25th November).

New Zealand are ready to begin their new home international summer on Friday (27th November) with the three-match T20I series against West Indies. Then they will play the two-match Test series between 3rd December and 15th December. This Test series is the part of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

Daryl Mitchell replaces Colin de Grandhomme; Mitchell Santner has been added in the first Test squad as the replacement of Ajaz Patel

Colin de Grandhomme will completely miss the upcoming home Test series due to bone bruising in his right foot. The 29-year-old all-rounder Daryl Mitchell has been named as the replacement of Grandhomme for the Test series.

Grandhomme, New Zealand, replacement
Colin de Grandhomme (Image Credit: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Ajaz Patel is recovering from the left calf tear issue, but he is going to miss the opening match of the forthcoming Test series against West Indies. The 28-year-old bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner will cover this spot for the first Test of this upcoming home series. Both these replacement players have already been named in the T20I squad that will face West Indies before the beginning of the Test series.

Ajaz Patel, New Zealand, replacement
Ajaz Patel (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Confirming this news, the national team’s Head Coach Gary Stead said, “Mitch and Daryl will be available for the final T20 game before linking up with the Test squad on Tuesday where we will monitor them closely to ensure they’re fit and fresh ahead of the first Test.”

Team management is impressed with Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner

Daryl Mitchell has played only one Test as he made his Test debut during the Hamilton Test against England in November 2019. In that Test match, the right-handed batsman scored 73 runs in an innings, but the right-arm medium pacer failed to pick up his first Test wicket.

New Zealand, replacement
Daryl Mitchell (Image Credit: Twitter)

On the other hand, Mitchell Santner has already played 22 Tests, where the left-arm spinner has taken 39 wickets, and the left-handed batsman has scored 741 runs, including one century and two half-centuries. In November 2019, during the Mount Maunganui Test against England, Santner scored his maiden Test century. His last Test was during the 2019 Melbourne Test against the hosts Australia, which started on last Boxing Day.

Mitchell Santner, New Zealand, replacement
Mitchell Santner (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Talking more about the replacements, Stead added, “They both proved last summer in the Tests against England what they can do in our conditions with Mitch scoring a century and claiming three wickets at Bay Oval, while Daryl produced a polished half-century on debut at Seddon Park.”

In the forthcoming T20I series against West Indies, Tim Southee will lead the hosts New Zealand in the first two T20I matches but will miss the third and final game of this series. In the absence of Southee, Mitchell Santner will take the leadership charge of the T20I squad for the last match of this upcoming series.

T20I, andre russell
Andre Russell. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Top Five Batsmen Who Have Struck More Sixes Than Fours In T20Is

The T20I format has brought a revolution in the game of cricket as the batsman tries to hit boundaries right from the first bowl of the innings. As it is a 20 over game, the team tries to score as many as boundaries to set up a fighting total. The explosive batsman, usually, plays a prominent role to speed up the innings.

The spectators present in the field also enjoys watching the T20I game because they witness more boundaries and sixes in this format. Here, in this article, we have discussed the five explosive batsmen who have registered more sixes than fours in the shortest format.

5. Asif Ali:

Asif Ali, Top Five Batsmen Who Have Hit More Sixes Than Fours In T20Is
Asif Ali (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

Asif Ali hogged the limelight of Pakistan team management after showing his power-hitting in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for Islamabad United. He made the T20I debut in 2018 against West Indies but has failed to play a big knock in the shortest format. However, he has already played several vital cameos in the shortest format to get the Green Army over the line.

Pakistan lacked a power-hitter in the death overs, but he came as the solution in the team. So far, the 28-year old has played 25 T20Is and scored 331 runs, smacking nineteen sixes and 15 fours.

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