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Dan Lawrence

IPL 2021 will is scheduled from April 9 to May 30 [Credits: IPL]
IPL 2021 will is scheduled from April 9 to May 30 [Credits: IPL]

T20 Cricket: 5 New Rules Which Can Make T20s More Interesting

T20 cricket is now watched eagerly across the globe as the shortest format has generated a lot of interest. The game of cricket has evolved vastly over the years. There was a time when 5 days of Test cricket was probably the only thing that happened. Then came the 50 overs ODI and the 20 overs T20I format which made the cricket on-lookers experience the fresh breeze blowing. With the inception of T20 cricket, the game became even more athletic.

T20 cricket made people ponder then so as to how cricket can be played in such a short span of 20 overs. But then came the T10 league that further shortened the format. With T20s, the approach of the game witnessed a shift. The batters came in with innovative shots whereas bowlers introduced more variations. The Hundred (100 balls) and T10 leagues (10 overs) have generated a lot of interest but T20s were the first thing that saw edge-of-the-seat thrillers and generated revenues.

The IPL further garnered the audacity of the T20 cricket format as its pace and entertainment fetched in a large chunk of the audience to watch the games. It is probably the most celebrated format now with fans yearning to watch the action unfold. But T20 cricket can be more interesting if some rules are changed.

IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)

T20 Cricket: 5 New Rules Which Can Make T20s More Interesting

1. 8 runs for sixes over 100 meters

Chris Gayle Image Source : IPLT20.COM
Chris Gayle Image Source: IPLT20.COM

The T20 cricket matches carry a tag of being entertaining and full of action-packed performances. With the likes of power hitters like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, AB de Villiers to name a few, big hits are always in the scenario. Often the power that these players generate whilst hitting the shots leaves many in awe of their strength.

Big sixes aren’t a rare sight in T20 cricket and often the ball is out of the stadium. So the thought of rewarding the batters with much more than just 6 runs for their effort of hitting it big will do wonders to the individual player and team. Hitting the ball over 100 meters requires immense strength in T20 cricket and the ones who can do it must be provided with some advantage. So giving eight runs instead of six to a maximum that goes over 100 meters could be a new rule that adds to the fascination of the T20 cricket format.

Maybe one can think of bringing it in the franchise leagues in the first place. If that happens, the team with hard hitters will benefit. It will take the target of the side to an even more challenging total for the opposition to chase. In case the team batting first had struggled initially to get in runs, if their attacking batters are able to send the ball out of the stands it might help the team to chip in some necessary runs.

2. More Than 4 Overs For A Bowler

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The format is shorter but it demands the players to challenge themselves even more. By tuning out all the distractions, they have to find the shelf of possibilities to take the team past the total or put a commanding target on board. It thus becomes the game of calculation, wherein the batters decide their targets.

They play out the tough bowlers and then design their approach in such a way that they then take on the part-timers and the less fancied ones. A batter has the opportunity to play an entire inning when in form, but when it comes to the bowlers, they have just four overs to bowl.

However, a tweak in the quota of the bowlers can be made. If the number of overs is increased, the bowler who is having a good day will make most of it and the team will be gifted with more important breakthroughs. This will scrape off the tension of the skipper in case one of his prime bowlers is having a bad day.

The batters will then have to face more balls from the lethal in form bowlers and that would test their abilities in T20 cricket. This move can provide more challenges to the batters and will produce furthermore compelling contests for the fans. The batsman will have to go big against the prime bowlers and that would exude more competition and build excitement around the matches.

Bowlers like pacer Jasprit Bumrah of Mumbai Indians or spinner Rashid Khan of Sunrisers Hyderabad can bowl more than 4 overs if this rule comes to effect in T20 cricket thus worrying the opposition.

3. Player Replacement In The 2nd Half Of T20s

Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence
Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence in Big Bash League (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

This rule was brought in by Cricket Australia in the recent edition of the Big Bash League. As per the rule, the teams will be allowed to make use of one ‘X’ factor player after the 10th over of the ongoing match.

The ‘X’ factor player can only replace a player who hasn’t been quite active in the game. Thus, on the batting side, he can replace a batter who hasn’t taken the charge of the field. And from the bowling side, the replacement will come for a bowler who hasn’t bowled more than an over. If this rule is considered in the bigger picture, it might sometimes change the fortunes of the game upside down.

For instance, after playing a few overs on the field, if the team realizes that a certain player who isn’t in the playing XI can be crucial whilst the conditions, they can rope in him. It takes no time for the game to turn around completely in T20 cricket. The substitution of the player at times can have an immediate impact on the game.

If the team is in trouble they can get in an extra batsman and put a respectable total on the board. On the other hand, with the bowlers, it will provide an extra option for the side. The teams will have the opportunity to bring in an extra spinner or pacer depending on the surface and the condition. The anticipation that the substitute will bring on the 22 yards will keep the fans etched to the match to see if he changes the things around.

Super Substitute was a rule that was in existence in 2005, for ODI cricket but was scrapped within a year of its introduction. So, this rule says that a team can select a player and nominate him as the SuperSub before the toss. And, during the game, they can substitute the Super Sub, with another player in the playing XI.

4. 5 Penalty Runs For Slow Over Rate

IPL Franchises' Skippers
IPL Franchises’ Skippers

There have been talks on the issue of slow over-rate since always. To complete the innings in the fixed time is what is expected of the teams. Often it doesn’t go that way as the teams exceed the time and are then fined for the same in T20 cricket. But imposing fines on the cricketers particularly captains necessarily doesn’t solve the concern.

Instead, if 5 penalty runs are added to the opposing team’s total, then it might create a greater impact and a convincing solution. In the shorter format, even a single run can decide the outcome of the match. The teams strive hard on the field to save runs. Probably a run saved in the T20 cricket format is a run scored. And thus if this ruling comes to the forefront, the teams will put their thinking hats on the seriousness of following the time.

This will make the teams more conscious about the pre-set marks and they might follow them more effectively. A fine might not hurt the players the way these penalty runs would. It can then go on to affect the match’s outcome.

An over rate in cricket is generally defined as the number of overs bowled in an hour (60 minutes). In the general run of things, an over-rate in the range of 13-15 is considered to be an apt one for it allows the match to move at a fast pace.  To further curb fielding captains regarding over rates, the authorities have reduced the mandatory time of completing an IPL inning to 90 minutes in IPL 2021.

Therefore, starting from tonight in IPL 2021, fielding captains will have to ensure that they bowl their 20 overs within a 90-minute period. Technically, the time for a fielding side to bowl 20 overs in 85 minutes as an IPL innings comprises a couple of strategic timeouts (combined duration of five minutes).

5. The Golden Over

AB de Villiers played an unbeaten 75-run knock against the Delhi Capitals [P/C: iplt20.com]
AB de Villiers played an unbeaten 75-run knock against the Delhi Capitals [P/C: iplt20.com]

If one aims to add even more thrill to the T20 cricket, another rule that probably sneaks in is the golden over. Under this, the team can avail one over from the match wherein the runs scored in that particular over will count double, including the extras. The batting team will have to decide on that over before their innings start.

This creates a lot more enthusiasm as the fans will probably be waiting for that over to start. The batting team will have an unsaid pressure of delivering in this over. The over will be of utmost importance as if the side is able to smash big and pile up good runs, it will take them in a better position in the match. It would equally be challenging as well because the opposition will make sure that their best bowler takes the run-up in this case.

This tussle between the two teams in T20 cricket might produce a good fight as both sides will be keen on seizing the moment. If it is in the case of a chase, the batters on the field can calculate their innings and think of fetching in maximum runs from the over as it will get doubled.

In the T20 cricket matches where a single delivery changes the fate of the game, a Golden Over can pretty much do wonders by further increasing the anticipation of the fans. In franchise cricket leagues which attracts a lot of audiences already, such a ruling can add to the plethora of anticipation of the leagues.

In a first for a major T20 cricket competition, the Big Bash League introduced three major rule changes in the 2020/21 season: the Power Surge (the usual six-over powerplay split into four overs at the start of an innings and a floating block of two for the batting team to call in the second half of the innings), the Bash Boost (a bonus point for the team with the higher ten-over score) and X-factor replacements (the option to bring in a substitute player after ten overs of the match).


India Is In A Good Position Having Bowling Out Hosts England For 183, Says Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami, who was at his fiery best on the opening day of the first Test against England, said that his team was in a ‘good position’ after bowling out the hosts for 183.

England skipper Joe Root’s decision to bat first backfired badly as India pacers led by Jasprit Bumrah (4/46) and Mohammed Shami (3/28) put up an impressive show to bowl out the hosts for 183 runs in the opening Test at Nottingham on Wednesday.

 Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Courtesy: AP)
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Courtesy: AP)

Mohammed Shami: India Is In A Good Position Having Dismissed Hosts England To Only 183 Which Is A Good Performance

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul provided a solid start after India dismissed England for only 183 runs. Jasprit Bumrah took four wickets whereas Mohammad Shami bagged three wickets to put India in front.

“Obviously because 183 as per me we should make a good score and take the lead. We are in a good position, because any team you bowl out for 183 at its home is a good performance,” Shami said at the post-day press conference.

“Now the thing is that we need to focus on the first hour and according to me the ball has not done much, the way we bowled in the day, we bowled in the right length, and accordingly you have got wickets. I think, we need to focus, and (it) doesn’t matter whether it is 183 or 283, you need to focus a bit and need to add runs,” the right-arm speedster added.

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

Injury-stricken India, yet to get their reinforcements, took on England in the first Test from Wednesday 4th August with hopes of ending a streak of series losses that extend to 2011. Even as they have conquered Australia twice over the last decade, India has managed to win just two of the 14 Tests they have played in England.

They have drawn one and lost 12. It will be a tough task to beat England in England considering that India is struggling to find an opener to provide stability and a pace-bowling all-rounder who can bring in the balance.

Mohammed Shami: India Should Play The First Hour Of The 2nd Day With Caution And Mustn’t Lose Focus

At the Stumps, India was 21 without losing any wickets. India’s openers Rohit Sharma (9 not out) and KL Rahul (9 not out) negotiated the burst of English pacers in the evening session. Mohammed Shami stressed that the batsmen would need to focus in the first hour.

“Our first innings, the bowling part is over. Our batting part is left. I will say only one thing, you need to play the first hour with caution, because you should not lose your focus, be in control, so the first thing is to achieve this score and then think about the lead. The main focus will be to score 183 and after that whatever comes,” the speedster added.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Earlier on Wednesday, England’s decision to bat first backfired as they got bowled out for 183 in 65.4 overs, the third-lowest total a team has managed against India on the first day of a Test match outside Asia. Four of their batsmen got out without scoring, a first for England against India in a Test innings on home soil.

Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler, and Ollie Robinson were sent packing by Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Shardul Thakur before they could even open their accounts in Nottingham. Jasprit Bumrah finished as the standout bowler for India with 4 wickets for 46 runs while Mohammed Shami bagged 3 for 28 and Shardul Thakur finished with 2 for 41 in just 13 overs.

England captain Joe Root was the only batsman who could deal with the pace and swing of the Indian speedsters. Joe Root scored his 50th fifty in the format and ended up with 64 runs off 108 balls while Jonny Bairstow (29), Zak Crawley (27), and Sam Curran (27 not out) managed to reach the twenties but the rest failed miserably against the Indian pace trio.

Michael Vaughan (L), Shane Warne and Mark Waugh
Michael Vaughan (L), Shane Warne and Mark Waugh

England’s Batting Order Is Fragile: Michael Vaughan, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh Blast England

England’s recent 1-0 defeat to New Zealand in a two-match series at home has put up big question marks over their batsmen.  The New Zealand series was the second time when the England batsmen failed to produce a comprehensive performance. Earlier in the year, during their tour of India, England, barring the series opener in Chennai, failed to match India in a 1-3 series defeat.

England has a chance to avenge the loss when they host India for a five-match series starting August 4 but they need to sort out their batting in order to avoid a second straight series defeat at home. Considering 2021 is the Ashes year as well, former stars including Australian leg spinner Shane Warne, England batsman Michael Vaughan, and former Australian batsman Mark Waugh have suggested changes Joe Root must make to succeed.

England skipper Joe Root
England skipper Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

England’s Batting Order Is Fragile Admits Michael Vaughan Who Feels Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, And Chris Woakes’ Inclusion Will Improve The Team

Speaking on Fox Cricket’s ‘Road to the Ashes’ podcast, Michael Vaughan opened up on the discussion by issuing a warning to the England side that they can’t go into Ashes with a batting order this fragile and incompetent. Michael Vaughan believes that the inclusion of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Chris Woakes will improve the team but it won’t be sufficient as the team management needs to take some harsh calls.

“The batting line-up is fragile, it is as simple as that,” he said. “[Jos] Buttler, [Ben] Stokes will come back in, [Chris] Woakes – yes, they will improve the team but unless that batting line-up changes and can learn and understand how to get big scores against good bowlers, I can’t see how they can compete. It’s going to be tough to beat India on these shores but Australia will get 450-500, I can’t see it unless they make one or two changes.”

“I’d bring in Dawid Malan back in at No. 3,” he said. “Apparently he is not popular but you know what, who gives a hoot if he scores runs, that’s what I like to see. He’s got a bit of experience, he played well against you guys in Australia last time.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“I’d put him at No. 3, I’d put [Zak] Crawley in to open. I know that’s a bit of fortune for Crawley because he hasn’t got as many runs but I think he can play. I’d leave [Rory] Burns, Crawley, Malan, Root, Stokes, Ollie Pope at six, Buttler at seven, Woakes at eight. Will that be a good enough eight to get big, big scores? I think it’d be a better chance than the seven I saw against New Zealand. They were very, very fragile,” he added.

Injuries to pacer Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes have been compounded by rest breaks for the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, and Mark Wood.

Zak Crawley is having a poor run as he averaged a mere 8.75 against Sri Lanka, 16.75 against India, and 5.25 against New Zealand in the Test series, but is still being persisted with. Dominic Sibley’s average hasn’t been above 35 in any of the series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, and New Zealand.
Joe Root managed only 97 runs averaging a mere 24.25, Dominic Sibley managed 103 runs averaging 34.33, Daniel Lawrence managed 81 runs averaging 40.5 while Rory Burns managed 238 runs averaging 59.5 in the Test series against New Zealand.

Mark Waugh Wants To Exclude Dom Sibley While Shane Warne Feels England Missed A Trick By Playing Rory Burns And Dom Sibley As Openers

Mark Waugh also backed the idea of the exclusion of Dom Sibley from the side as he believes that the batter isn’t a Test player and shouldn’t have been selected in the team in the first place. Mark Waugh added that there is no depth to the England batting as no player including the likes of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence have shown any intent or quality.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

Meanwhile, Shane Warne echoed the same sentiments as Mark Waugh and Michael Vaughan. The spin legend asserted that England is missing a trick by playing Rory Burns and Dom Sibley as their opening pair. He also criticized the two England batsmen by saying that they don’t pose any threat to the opposition team and play into the opposition bowlers’ hands.

Speaking about the changes, Shane Warne suggested that England needs to persist with middle-order batsman Zak Crawley as he is a class player but is going through a lean patch. He also wants Jonny Bairstow to be recalled.

The likes of James Bracey, Joe Denly, Tom Lammonby, Joe Clarke, Will Rhodes, Sam Northeast, James Vince, Gary Ballance, and Dawid Malan are in contention for Test recall, debut, or more opportunities.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Alastair Cook Expresses Sympathy For Joe Root Over England’s Rotation Policy

Alastair Cook has expressed sympathy for Joe Root, his successor as England’s Test captain, over a rotation policy he believes has left the current side “chasing their tail”. Several key players have been deliberately omitted from the eight Tests that England has played so far this year, meaning Joe Root has repeatedly been denied his strongest XI.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have defended the rotation system as a sensible response to the peculiar pressures of prolonged periods amidst the bio-secure bubbles which are now needed for the international game to continue amidst the coronavirus-induced pandemic.

File image of Alastair Cook. Reuters
File image of Alastair Cook. Reuters

Alastair Cook Genuinely Feel Sorry For Joe Root Who’s Been Denied England’s Best Possible XI Due To Controversial Rotation Policy

But with the likes of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler having missed five Tests in a row, partly also as a result of his Indian Premier League commitments, many have questioned the policy’s implementation, if not the motives behind it amidst accusations it has been skewed in favour of white-ball cricket. England went 1-0 up away to India in February after a victory in Chennai — Jos Buttler’s last Test.

But they lost that series 3-1 and this month their seven-year run without a home Test series defeat ended after New Zealand won a two-match campaign 1-0, with a draw at Lord’s followed by an eight-wicket defeat at Edgbaston. Injuries to pacer Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes have been compounded by rest breaks for the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, and Mark Wood.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“You have to say it hasn’t worked for Rooty, and I do genuinely feel sorry for him,” said Cook who was taking part in a sponsor’s event on Monday.

“When you’re playing for England, or you’re the captain, coach, or selector, you get judged on end results most of the time and he hasn’t had his best players available. You can’t buy the experience of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali — that kind of players make a big difference.”

Opening batsman Cook, who retired from international duty in 2018 as England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, added: “I’ve never had to captain during a pandemic — I didn’t even know what a pandemic was when I was captain — but you’ve got a Test captain who hasn’t been able to play his best side.”

“The decisions don’t seem like they’ve been made correctly. I’ve been on the other side, where you’re trying to make decisions for the right reasons, but you get judged on your results by it, don’t you?”

“It was going so well, winning Test series at home, then Sri Lanka away and 1-0 up against India. Then you rest and rotate players, and ever since that moment on it’s been chasing their tail a little bit.”

But multi-format star Jos Buttler in a separate conference call Monday, said: “I don’t think there are any perfect answers.”

The dashing shot-maker, who played for Lancashire in the T20 Blast, will be back on England duty when Eoin Morgan’s limited-overs side begins a three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

He added: “Of course it’s always frustrating to miss games. You wish you were available for everything. But in the current climate with all the complications of Covid etc, I do think we have to look after our people.”

Multi-format players Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes were rested after completing a quarantine period following the postponement of the Indian Premier League 2021. All-rounder Ben Stokes (fractured finger) and seam bowler Jofra Archer (elbow injury) were not considered for selection for the New Zealand Tests.

Alastair Cook Warned Against Wholesale Changes To England Test XI

Meanwhile, Alastair Cook warned against wholesale changes to an under-performing Test-match top order where Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence have all had their positions questioned ahead of an upcoming five-match series at home to India, currently contesting the inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

Alastair Cook, still playing for Essex, was asked if he had seen any obvious replacements on the county circuit, ahead of England’s bid to regain the Ashes in Australia later this year.

“No, not really, not in terms of someone who is totally ready,” he replied. “These players, I would say, are the best players around. It just seems like when the pressure is on, they haven’t yet found their method yet to be able to respond to that.”

The likes of James Bracey, Joe Denly, Tom Lammonby, Joe Clarke, Will Rhodes, Sam Northeast, James Vince, Gary Ballance and Dawid Malan are in contention for Test recall, debut or more opportunities.

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain Feels England Made A Tactical Blunder By Not Including Spinner Jack Leach

Nasser Hussain believes England made a tactical blunder by not including left-arm spinner Jack Leach in the playing XI for the Edgbaston Test. According to the former England skipper, since the Edgbaston pitch is a flat one, the hosts needed variety to make an impression on the New Zealand batsmen without Kane Williamson.

Responding to England’s first-innings total of 303, New Zealand ended Day 2 of the second Test at 229 for 3. It could have been worse for England had Dan Lawrence not dismissed Will Young (82) just before stumps. Earlier, opener Devon Conway, the double centurion in his debut Test-the 1st Test vs England again thwarted the English attack, making a well-made 80.

Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Nasser Hussain Wanted A Spiner At Edgbaston And Expressed Surprise At Jack Leach’s Omission

In his column for the Daily Mail, former England skipper turned commentator Nasser Hussain wrote that England needed a frontline spinner in the second Test to compete against a strong Kiwi batting line-up.

He explained:“I did not think that at Lord’s, where there is always something in for seamers. But whenever I have come to Edgbaston I’ve always wanted a spinner because of the conditions we’ve seen in this game. So I’d have found a way to get Jack Leach in the side. If he doesn’t play here, it’s difficult to see just where he will play Test cricket.”

Nasser Hussain expressed his surprise at England’s bowling line-up, pointing out that managing director Ashley Giles (a left-arm spinner during his playing days) and spin coach Jeetan Patel should have known better. The former skipper added that part-time spinner Joe Root cannot be considered as England’s main spinner.

Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

He wrote: “Yes, Joe Root is a good off-spinner but it is an indictment on the slow bowling options in our country if he is now considered England’s best spin option. He is already England’s captain and best batsman, so it’s asking a lot for him to shoulder the spin load too. It’s an area of our game where we continue to struggle.”

“Perhaps England’s thinking is connected with two left-armers in the New Zealand attack, in Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, and the fact Stuart Broad is doing a lot of his bowling from round the wicket. That will create rough outside the right-hander’s off-stump for Root. But just look at the weather. It’s going to be very hot for the last three days, and it’s going to get harder for an all-seam attack.”

Devon Conway, who cemented his place in the side with 200 on debut in the series opener at Lord’s, produced another valuable, though not chance-less, innings of 80. And, while he would have been disappointed not to press on to triple figures again, a gutsy 82 from Will Young – in the side as a replacement for injured captain Kane Williamson – mitigated the damage.
Stuart Broad bowled superbly for his 2 for 22 from 15 overs, including six maidens, but he was the only England bowler to reap any reward for his considerable efforts – until Will Young’s dismissal by part-time off-spinner Dan Lawrence on the last ball of the day.

Nasser Hussain: Stuart Broad Was The Pick Of The England Pace Attack

Even though England could only claim three wickets on a tough Day 2, Nasser Hussain felt that the pacers did a reasonable job. He picked Stuart Broad (2/22) as the best of the lot. Stuart Broad went past Courtney Walsh (520) on the list of leading Test wicket-takers on Friday.

Praising England’s faster men, Nasser Hussain wrote: “That’s not to say England’s seamers didn’t bowl well — even though Olly Stone struggled to maintain control as the day went on — and there was much more swing on offer once they persuaded the umpires to change the ball. The old one was doing nothing. Broad was the pick of the attack. “

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

“His new-ball spell was exceptional and he was excellent after tea when he got that changed ball. Perhaps seeing sides struggle against the Dukes’ ball in England has made us expect wickets to come much more cheaply than this. But Test cricket is tough and that’s why you need proper variety in every attack.”

Resuming the day on 258 for 7, England was all out for 303 in 101 overs. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult claimed 4 for 85 for New Zealand. The Kiwis lost Tom Latham (6) early, but the 80s from Devon Conway and Will Young gave the visitors the upper hand.

New Zealand 229 for 3 (Conway 80, Young 82, Taylor 46*, Broad 2-22) trail England 303 (Lawrence 81*, Burns 81, Boult 4-85) by 74 runs at Stumps on Day 2

England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

Ollie Robinson Decides To Take A Sabbatical From Cricket After His Suspension

Ollie Robinson has decided to take a short break from cricket. England pacer Ollie Robinson, who was suspended from international cricket recently for his racist tweets, has decided to take a sabbatical from cricket.

Ollie Robinson, England pacer issued an apology for the posts he sent in 2012 and 2013 when he was in his late teens, which were unearthed and shared online on the day he made his Test debut against the Black Caps.

Ollie Robinson has apologized for offensive tweets posted as a teenager PA Images via Getty Images
Ollie Robinson has apologized for offensive tweets posted as a teenager PA Images via Getty Images

Ollie Robinson Missed 2nd Test Against New Zealand For Suspension

The 27-year-old missed England’s second Test against New Zealand after being suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation into historical racist and sexist tweets. Ollie Robinson issued an apology for the posts he sent in 2012 and 2013 when he was in his late teens, which were unearthed and shared online on the day he made his Test debut against the Black Caps earlier this week.

A statement from the player’s county, Sussex, announced: “After a difficult week, Ollie has decided to take a short break from the game to spend time with his young family.”

Confirming Robinson would not be part of the Sussex squad for the team’s opening two Vitality Blast fixtures against Gloucestershire and Hampshire, the statement continued: “Player and staff welfare – including mental health and wellbeing – is a priority for the club and, as such, Sussex Cricket fully supports Ollie in his decision.”

Olly Stone’s last appearance for England was his Test debut, against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019.
Olly Stone’s last appearance for England was his Test debut, against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019. Photograph: Shutterstock

“When he is ready to return, Ollie will be welcomed back to the club, where discussions with the remainder of the squad over the last week have made clear that he retains the support of all his Sussex teammates. We remain in close contact with Ollie from a welfare perspective and will issue further updates on his availability at the relevant times.”

Sussex quick Ollie Robinson made an impressive on-field England debut in the drawn first Test at Lord’s concluded Sunday. But his efforts with bat and ball were overshadowed by the re-emergence of racist and sexist social media messages the 27-year-old had posted as a teenager in 2012 and 2013. Olly Stone replaced Ollie Robinson in England’s XI for the second Test that is currently underway at the Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Ollie Robinson Picked 7 Wickets In The 1st Test While Rory Burns Who Scored 132 In The 1st Innings Of The 1st Test Scores 81 In The 2nd Test’s 1st Innings

The pacer Ollie Robinson led England’s attack with 4-75 in the first innings at Lord’s and followed up with 3-26 in the second while in between making a useful 42 with the bat as England fought hard to earn a draw in the 1st Lord’s Test against New Zealand.

Rory Burns Getty Images
Rory Burns Getty Images
In the 2nd ongoing Test, England managed 258/7 at stumps at the end of 1st day’s play. Rory Burns, who scored 132 in the 1st Test, scored 81 as Zak Crawley and Joe Root failed with the bat. Dan Lawrence was unbeaten on 67 with Mark Wood giving him company on 16.
New Zealand showed their impressive strength in depth in making six changes to the side which drew at Lord’s and three of the bowlers who came in – Trent Boult, Matt Henry, and Ajaz Patel – claiming two wickets apiece so far.

England Playing XI: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (captain), Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey, Mark Wood, Olly Stone, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson

New Zealand Playing XI: Tom Latham (captain), Devon Conway, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Daryl Mitchell, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes Will Miss England’s Test Series Against New Zealand Due To Surgery

Ben Stokes will miss England’s Test series against New Zealand as he requires surgery on a broken finger that will rule the all-rounder out for up to three months.

Ben Stokes broke his hand taking a catch for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League earlier this week and a repeat X-ray and CT scan on Friday revealed that he has a fracture of his left index finger.

Ben Stokes (Photo | AP)
Ben Stokes, England all-rounder (Photo | AP)

Ben Stokes May Miss Both New Zealand Tests As Well As Limited Overs Series Against Sri Lanka And Pakistan

A specialist hand surgeon told Ben Stokes that he would require surgery and the 29-year-old will now fly home from India and have surgery in Leeds. Originally, it had been thought that Ben Stokes might only be ruled out for six weeks, and therefore still be in contention to play the first Test against New Zealand, which is at Lord’s on June 2.

Ben Stokes has proven to be a thorn in the side of the Black Caps throughout his career. Photo / Photosport
Ben Stokes has proven to be a thorn in the side of the Black Caps throughout his career. Photo / Photosport

Instead, Ben Stokes will now miss both NZ Tests, as well as the three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka. He is also likely to miss the three ODIs and three T20Is against Pakistan, which conclude on July 20. Ben Stokes’ absence will have major implications for England’s Test side against New Zealand, depriving them of an all-rounder who balances their side.

Ben Stokes Absence May Increase Chances Of Chris Woakes At No. 7 If England Need An All-Rounder

Without him, England should be able to retain both Dan Lawrence and Ollie Pope in their Test XI, if they deem that four specialist bowlers are sufficient in early-season conditions. One of the two may yet bat at No 3 – the only way of accommodating both in a full-strength line-up when Ben Stokes returns at five, with Joe Root at four.

England’s batting situation is further complicated by opener Dom Sibley suffering a suspected broken finger, too. Should Dom Sibley be fit, England’s likeliest top six for the first Test at Lord’s at this stage is Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Joe Root, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence. But Rory Burns was dropped last winter and needs to score consistently in county cricket to retain his berth.

England’s Chris Woakes walks off after his match-winning innings against Pakistan in the first Test at Old Trafford. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
England’s Chris Woakes walks off after his match-winning innings against Pakistan in the first Test at Old Trafford. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

If England feels that they need a fifth bowler, then Chris Woakes could slot in at No 7, below the wicketkeeper – either Jos Buttler, depending on Rajasthan’s IPL availability, or either Ben Foakes or James Brace. In this scenario, England would have to leave out one of Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence.

Ben Stokes now faces a race to be Test-match fit for England’s summer opener against India, which begins at Trent Bridge on August 4. England plays five Tests against India, but, with the Hundred launching on July 21, Ben Stokes could now go into that series without any first-class cricket in five months, going back to England’s 3-1 defeat in India last winter. Apart from Ben Stokes, speedster Jofra Archer has also been ruled out of the New Zealand Tests.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had announced a 15-member squad to face New Zealand in the two-match Test series which is all set to take place from June 02. Notably, veteran English batsman, Jos Buttler has been rested for the Test series as part of the English rotation policy.

England Squad For New Zealand Tests: Joe Root, James Anderson, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood.

Chris Silverwood will hand over the reins to assistants Graham Thorpe and Paul Collingwood Getty Images
Chris Silverwood will hand over the reins to assistants Graham Thorpe and Paul Collingwood Getty Images

Chris Silverwood Won’t Be With England Team For ODI Series Vs Sri Lanka And Pakistan

Chris Silverwood, England coach won’t be with the team for the ODI series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He has decided to take a break as part of England’s rotation policy. In Chris Silverwood’s absence, England’s assistant coaches Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe will take charge of one ODI series each.

After the two-Test series against New Zealand early next month, England will host Sri Lanka and Pakistan in limited-overs contests before taking on India in a five-match Test series.

England coaches Chris Silverwood (c) with Graham Thorpe (batting coach) and Paul Collingwood (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
England coaches Chris Silverwood (c) with Graham Thorpe (batting coach) and Paul Collingwood (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Chris Silverwood Will Be Passing The Reins On For The ODI Series

Speaking to the media, Chris Silverwood explained that it was important for everyone to keep themselves as fresh as possible, given the current scenario.

He elaborated: “It’s not fair on the players if I am operating at less than 100 percent and it is not fair on myself either. I won’t be providing the level of service that I need. You saw during the winter what we tried to do that with our players to the best of our ability. It’s equally as important we do that with the staff. It’s important we look after each other.”

Chris Silverwood, however, will be available for all of England’s Tests and T20Is as two T20 World Cups are scheduled for back-to-back years. The England coach admitted that while it is not easy, it is important for him to “switch off” at times.

Chris SIlverwood with Jofra Archer | Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Chris Silverwood with Jofra Archer | Reuters/Andrew Boyers

“I’m not going to deny it: it’s not easy for me to switch off. I am wholly on-board with what we are doing. I am very embedded in it now. I do find it hard to switch off but I’ll do my best. I’ll be passing the reins on for the ODI series. Thorpey will do one and Colly will do the other and I’ll use it as my break to refresh and get ready for what is ahead of us. My missus has already booked us a little getaway up in Norfolk somewhere. I’ve got to do that otherwise I won’t switch off,” Silverwood added.

Chris Silverwood will confirm the squad for the two Tests against New Zealand, the first of which begins at Lord’s on June 2, on Tuesday (May 18).  The likes of uncapped Sussex fast-bowler Ollie Robinson and Gloucestershire wicket-keeper batsman James Bracey are likely to be included.

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence is also set to be picked while Ben Foakes may continue to wear the gloves. Jofra Archer seems to be winning his fitness battle after being ruled out of the recently suspended IPL 2021 to manage an elbow injury. Playing for Sussex against Kent, he took 2-29 from 13 overs, including the wicket of his England teammate Zak Crawley, on the first day.

Chris Silverwood Backs Experienced Paul Collingwood And Graham Thorpe To Do Well In His Absence

Even as he briefly steps away, Chris Silverwood is confident that England assistant coaches Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe, with their wealth of experience in international cricket, will do well in his absence.

“I said right from the start I was going to step back at times and promote them forward to give them leadership opportunities. This is a great opportunity for us to do that. I think it will be a great experience for them.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t trust them 100 percent. If you look at the wealth of experience that the two of them have, it’s a massive bonus for me to have them next to me wherever we go. They have had success all round the world. As players, they played a lot more international cricket than me. They’re a huge asset to us,” Chris Silverwood said.

Paul Collingwood
Paul Collingwood Photograph: Gareth Copley/PA Photograph: Gareth Copley/PA

England is currently gearing up to face New Zealand in a two-match Test series, which will begin at Lord’s on June 2.

Chris Silverwood will make first use of his new responsibilities for selection early next week as he names the England squad for the opening Test match assignment of the summer against New Zealand. Last month, Ed Smith was sacked and the position of National Selector made redundant as Ashley Giles, the ECB’s director of men’s cricket, gave responsibility for choosing all of England’s senior men’s teams to head coach Chris Silverwood.