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Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Pakistan Will Help India If They Defeat New Zealand In 2021 T20I World Cup: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes a Pakistan win against New Zealand in tonight’s T20 World Cup 2021 encounter will help Team India’s cause.

The Indian team was handed a comprehensive 10-wicket drubbing by Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opener. The Virat Kohli-led side has a week’s break before they take on New Zealand in their second Super 12 encounter on October 31.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Pakistan Will Help India’s Cause If They Defeat New Zealand

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the Babar Azam-led side can do Team India a favour by defeating the Kiwis. At the same time, he previewed the Pakistan-New Zealand encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel.

He explained: “I feel Pakistan will help India if they defeat New Zealand. But if it happens the other way round, New Zealand beats Pakistan, it can be a three-way tie, the net run rate story can come if India beats New Zealand and assuming the three teams win their remaining matches.”

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India's score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India’s score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Pakistan will have one foot in the semi-finals if they put it across the Black Caps.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “If Pakistan beat New Zealand, then only Afghanistan will be there in between and two teams who have come from the qualifiers – Scotland and Namibia. Then Pakistan through, make your place in the semi-finals and enjoy.”

Pakistan will almost certainly seal a berth in the knockout stages of the ongoing T20 World Cup with a win tonight. It would leave India and New Zealand to fight it out for the other semi-final spot from the group unless Afghanistan can spring a surprise or two.

Aakash Chopra: Pakistan Will Look For Revenge As They Felt Humiliated When New Zealand Went There And Returned Back Without Playing Any Match

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Pakistan might even be looking for revenge after New Zealand’s last-minute withdrawal from their tour recently.

He observed: “It is slightly a grudge match because Pakistan felt very humiliated when New Zealand went there and returned without giving any reason. So I feel Pakistan may have a point to prove.”

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

The 44-year-old concluded by stating that Pakistan seems to be a well-rounded unit with both their bowling and batting coming to the fore.

Aakash Chopra said: “Pakistan is the team on song. They are playing like that, top three were anyway playing well and these conditions are going to suit Hafeez and Shoaib Malik a lot. They are bowling well. The team is looking formidable.”

Pakistan had limited-overs series against England and New Zealand scheduled at home ahead of the T20I World Cup, but the tours never came to fruition. Both boards pulled out at the last minute to tour Pakistan, citing security concerns and the wellbeing of players. New Zealand had even arrived there, but withdrew a few minutes before the toss happened.

New Zealand pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight the next night. The Pakistan tour was Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003, and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

A deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore saw Pakistan become a no-go destination for international teams. In between 2012 and 2015, Pakistan hosted England in the UAE, which has staged most of its “home” games since the attack. However, a rapid improvement in security in recent years has led to the return of international cricket, with Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa, and Bangladesh touring in the past six years.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sunil Gavaskar: Everyone Would Like To See India Face Pakistan In 2021 WC Final

Sunil Gavaskar said that even the ICC, and not just fans or commentators, would like to see India face Pakistan in the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that even the apex board International Cricket Council (ICC), and not just fans or commentators, would like to see India face Pakistan in the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup. India had beaten Pakistan in the final of the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup.

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

Sunil Gavaskar Would Like To See India Play Pakistan In The T20I World Cup Final

England and the West Indies were the finalists of the 2016 T20 World Cup. India and Pakistan are both looking to win the tournament for the second time in their history having won the trophy in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

India-Pakistan faced each other last in the 2019 ODI World Cup round-robin stage, where the former won by 89 runs (DLS method). Their last T20 World Cup face-off resulted in India’s 6-wicket win over Men in Green in Kolkata in the 2016 edition.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

However, due to the unfortunate political situation, the two teams haven’t played a bilateral series since 2012-13. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

“I would like to see India in that final, and Pakistan. What else does anybody want? Even the ICC wants India and Pakistan to be in the final,” Gavaskar said on Salaam Cricket 2021.

Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar and former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram both named India, Pakistan, England, and the West Indies as favourites to reach the semi-finals.

Wasim Akram: New Zealand’s Chances Depend On The Weather

Wasim Akram said that 2019 World Cup runners-up and World Test Championship winners New Zealand’s chances would be dependent upon the conditions.

“New Zealand’s chances really depend on the weather I feel. It is hot now and if it remains like this, it will be difficult for them but then by October, it will be pleasant. For me, the four sides that can reach semis are India, West Indies, Pakistan and England,” he said.

“They have won the World Cup twice and people keep underestimating them,” said Gavaskar of the West Indies.

Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)
Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)

It’s worth noting that Pakistan is yet to beat their arch-rivals India in a World Cup game in 12 encounters across the T20I and 50-over editions.

 

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Brad Hogg Reckons If Pakistan Loses Against India, They Will Not Get Through

Brad Hogg, former Australia spinner, feels Pakistan might be out of the World Cup very soon if they lose their opening game against India.

Speaking to Deep Dasgupta on his YouTube channel, Brad Hogg said that Pakistan won’t be able to turn around their campaign in case of a possible loss as they play their next game in two days’ time against New Zealand.

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images

Brad Hogg Backing India, Pakistan, West Indies, And England To Reach Semi-Finals

The former Australian bowler is backing India, Pakistan, West Indies, and England to reach the semi-finals of the upcoming T20I WC. The Super 12s stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup is set to get underway this week.

“If Pakistan gets beaten by India in the first game, they’ve got a short turnaround to play New Zealand. I think that will be a huge factor in whether Pakistan goes through or not. If Pakistan loses against India in the first game, I don’t think they will get through, India will get through. So watch that space,” Brad Hogg said.

Meanwhile, Brad Hogg sounded quite optimistic about their arch-rivals India who he felt will surely be in the semi-finals, adding that Pakistan will also go through provided that they win against India.

“The teams that I think are going to go to the semis are England and the West Indies from Group 1 and from Group 2 I think it’s going to be Pakistan and India,” Brad Hogg added.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

These are certainly interesting picks from Brad Hogg, who is not expecting his home country Australia to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. England and the West Indies were the finalists of the 2016 T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan are both looking to win the tournament for the second time in their history having won the trophy in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

India has been outstanding so far in a couple of warm-up games they have played so far. They beat England quite handsomely and then went on to beat Australia as well. India has some issues to ponder, but they look for the team to beat with their top three in prime form. In their first warm-up game,

Pakistan brushed defending champions West Indies aside, crushing Kieron Pollard’s side with seven wickets with 27 balls to spare. Russie van der Dussen hit a stunning unbeaten century off 51 deliveries as South Africa pulled off an extraordinary run chase to beat Pakistan.

Brett Lee Expects KL Rahul To Be Top Scorer and Mohammed Shami To Be Leading Wicket Taker

Former Australia speedster Brett Lee feels India’s KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami could emerge as the top run-getter and the leading wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup Super 12s. KL Rahul has been in sublime form in the IPL where he was the third-highest scorer and his Punjab Kings teammate Mohammed Shami bowled some great spells in recent times including one in the World Cup practice game against England.

Against England in their first warm-up game, chasing a target of 189, India reached 192 for three in 19 overs. Openers KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan were in brilliant form. KL Rahul smashed 51 off 24 deliveries, and Ishan Kishan retired after playing a knock of 70 runs off 46 balls.

KL Rahul for Punjab Kings In IPL 2021
KL Rahul for Punjab Kings In IPL 2021 (Image Credit: Twitter)

In their second warm-up game, India thumped Australia by nine wickets with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Suryakumar Yadav (38), all getting some runs under their belts. Australia’s bowlers captured only one wicket, with spinner Ashton Agar removing opener KL Rahul for 39.

Rohit Sharma (60 retired off 41) showed sublime touch alongside opening partner KL Rahul (39 off 31) as India chased down Australia’s 152 for five in 17.5 overs.

Mohammed Shami picked up three wickets to deal body blows to England on the bowling front, while Jasprit Bumrah picked up one scalp with an excellent economy rate. Although Bhuvaneshwar Kumar went for plenty against England, he made a strong comeback against Australia, showing that the ability to bowl late swing hadn’t deserted him completely.

Ravichandran Ashwin – who had a rather barren IPL — picked up two scalps in one over early in the innings to scuttle Australia’s prospects of getting a big score.

T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Brad Hogg Backs India, Pakistan, West Indies And England To Reach 2021 T20I WC Semis

Brad Hogg, the former Australian bowler is backing India, Pakistan, West Indies, and England to reach the semi-finals of the upcoming T20I WC. The Super 12s stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup is set to get underway this week.

Brad Hogg appeared on former India batter Deep Dasgupta’s YouTube show DeepPoint. He previewed Australia’s chances at the T20 World Cup and also gave his predictions for the four teams that will reach the semi-finals.

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images

Brad Hogg Predicts England And West Indies Will Go To The Semis From Group 1

These are certainly interesting picks from Brad Hogg, who is not expecting his home country Australia to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. England and the West Indies were the finalists of the 2016 T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan are both looking to win the tournament for the second time in their history having won the trophy in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

“The teams that I think are going to go to the semis are England and the West Indies from Group 1 and from Group 2 I think it’s going to be Pakistan and India.”

West Indies players celebrate with the 2016 T20 WC Trophy [Image-Getty]
West Indies players celebrate with the 2016 T20 WC Trophy [Image-Getty]
Afghanistan combined a belligerent batting performance with tight bowling to stomp to a shocking 56-run win against a somewhat lethargic 2016 T20I WC defending champions West Indies in both teams’ second and final warm-up match for the T20 World Cup 2021.

Mohammad Nabi opened the bowling for Afghanistan and bowled his four overs straight through to return figures of 4-2-2-3, completely stifling West Indies’ chase. Mohammad Nabi bowled 22 dot balls out of 24, conceding only two singles off the bat all through.

Pakistan brushed defending champions West Indies aside in their first warm-up game, crushing Kieron Pollard’s side by seven wickets with 27 balls to spare. In a comprehensive all-around bowling performance, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imad Wasim, Haris Rauf, and Hasan Ali found themselves amongst the wickets while keeping the run-scoring down, before a majestic half-century from Babar Azam, and an unbeaten 24-ball 46 from Fakhar Zaman put West Indies out of their misery.

Brad Hogg Predicts Pakistan And India Will Go Through

Brad Hogg is backing Pakistan to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. But he believes they will need to beat India in their first game to have any chance of qualifying.

“If Pakistan get beaten by India in the first game, they’ve got a short turnaround to play New Zealand. I think that will be a huge factor on whether Pakistan go through or not. If Pakistan lose against India in the first game, I don’t think they will get through, India will get through. So watch that space.”

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

India and Pakistan will face off in their Super 12s opener on Sunday, October 24. And fireworks are expected in the game between the two arch-rivals. Pakistan’s next game will see them take on New Zealand just two days later. Defeats in those two games would probably spell curtains on their campaign.

India chased down 189 to beat England with an over to spare as the bat-dominated ball in Dubai. Russie van der Dussen hit a stunning unbeaten century off 51 deliveries as South Africa pulled off an extraordinary run chase to beat Pakistan. Russie Van der Dussen and David Miller slammed 22 off the final over to seal the win off the very last ball of the match.

India cruised to back-to-back wins in the warm-up games ahead of the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. All the Indian batters contributed to the eight-wicket win, with Rohit Sharma leading the way with a fantastic half-century. India spun a web around the Australian top-order before Steve Smith’s half-century and Marcus Stoinis’ cameo propelled Australia to 152.

Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
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India Will Take On England And Australia In Two Warm-up Games Before T20I World Cup Kicks Off

India is scheduled to take on England and Australia in two warm-up matches ahead of the start of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Even as the 14th edition of the IPL 2021 is closing in on its climax, the UAE is also gearing up to host the much-awaited T20 World Cup a few days after IPL concludes.

The qualifying round will see eight teams including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh fighting it out from October 17 to 22. The top eight teams are already qualified for the Super 12 round and those sides, during this period will get into the groove with warm-up matches.

India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI

India Will Face England And Australia In Warm-Up Matches

The schedule for the warm-up games has been announced and the matches will be played only on two days, October 18 and 20 with four matches taking place on each day at different venues. Every side will get to play two matches each in the lead up to the Super 12 round starting from October 23.

Team India, led by Virat Kohli, will face England and Australia in their warm-up matches which is good for the team given the strength of both sides. However, before facing their arch-rivals in the Super 12 round, Pakistan will be challenged by the defending champions West Indies and South Africa.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

Australia will also face New Zealand in their other warm-up encounter while repeating the World Cup 2019 final in England’s other warm-up. In total, 8 matches will be played across two days with Dubai and Abu Dhabi hosting them. As of now, it is confirmed that Star Sports will telecast India’s warm-up matches apart from the main tournament from October 17.

Indian Players Participating In IPL Will Be Busy As T20I World Cup Will Immediately Follow The League

The Super 12 round, meanwhile, will commence with the game between Australia and South Africa while on the same day, the finalists of the 2016 T20 World Cup, England, and West Indies will lock horns. The magnitude of matches being played in the UAE is huge, and one will hope for the pitches to last till the end of the mega event.

India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

All of the Indian players selected for the T20 World Cup 2021 are presently busy with their respective franchises in the IPL 2021. The T20 league will conclude on October 15 while the Men in Blue are scheduled to open their campaign in the T20 World Cup against Pakistan on October 24.

With the warm-up matches scheduled for October 18 and 20, the Indian cricketers bound for the T20 World Cup are set to remain busy even after the conclusion of the T20 league. The Indian team of 15 players for the T20 World Cup 2021 featured Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner, who returned to the white-ball side after 2017. Among the notable omissions were Shikhar Dhawan, and the wrist spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

Here’s the schedule of the warm-up matches

October 18, Monday – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Match 1 – Afghanistan vs South Africa – 3:30 PM IST

Match 2 – New Zealand vs Australia -7:30 PM IST

October 18, Monday – Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

Match 3 – Pakistan vs West Indies – 3:30 PM IST

Match 4 – India vs England – 7:30 PM IST

October 20, Wednesday – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Match 5 – England vs New Zealand – 3:30 PM IST

Match 6 – South Africa vs Pakistan – 7:30 PM IST

October 20, Wednesday – Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

Match 7 – India vs Australia – 3:30 PM IST

Match 8 – Afghanistan vs West Indies – 7:30 PM IST

T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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India Well Placed To Win Forthcoming 2021 T20I World Cup, Says WV Raman

WV Raman, former Indian Women’s coach has claimed that Team India under Virat Kohli is well placed to win the upcoming T20I World Cup 2021. India last won an ICC event way back in 2013 when they beat England to be crowned as the Champions Trophy 2013 winners under talismanic skipper MS Dhoni, the only skipper to win all 3 ICC trophies.

India’s best chance to break that trophy drought this year will come in the form of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

WV Raman PC: Twitter
WV Raman PC: Twitter

WV Raman: Virat Kohli-led India Shouldn’t Be Complacent

With a strong and established mixture of youngsters and seniors in the squad, Virat Kohli has a great opportunity to lead the side to success. However, they need to be wary of complacency while facing the ‘weaker sides’ in the tournament, according to WV Raman.

“It’s not so much pressure as it could be complacency. Complacency may not be the reason every time. But most importantly, if a very powerful and popular side is up against a side that is seen as inexperienced and weak, there is the danger of always being caught unawares by a team of unknown.

“Because, if you have a side where you know about each and every player, the opponents can plan and try and see how they can counter the best players in the opposition side,” the 56-year-old WV Raman said.

The T20 World Cup will be held from October 17 starting with the qualifiers in Oman. Alongside England and West Indies, the Men in Blue go into the tournament as firm favorites. But the nature of the format doesn’t guarantee anything, as stated by WV Raman.

Taking the example of tennis legend Novak Djokovic, WV Raman said: “T20 is a format where no one is sure what would happen. Everything can change in just one over. That is the beauty of sport. You look at World No. 1 Djokovic, who could not win the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics He was in great form in tennis this year.”

Virat Kohli T20 World Cup
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

“This happens in top-level sport. Generally, we cannot predict what happens in cricket, and more so in T20 cricket. Who wins, whether Kohli wins, it is different. If you look at his captaincy record, he has a very good success record. India is well placed to win the T20 World Cup,” WV Raman said.

The World Cup will be held right after the completion of the 2nd phase of the IPL 2021. Both the mega-events are set to take place in the United Arab Emirates in the September-November window.

West Indies Are The Defending Champions Of T20I World Cup

T20 World Cup 2021 is set to start from October 17 in the UAE, with the final for the 16-team tournament scheduled for November 14. T20 World Cup 2021 will start a few days after the IPL final, which is likely to be held on October 15. The remainder of IPL 2021 will also be played in the UAE, starting September 19.

According to the current plan, the first round of the T20 World Cup 2021 will be split across two groups and played in the UAE and Oman. Round 1, which will include 12 matches, will comprise eight teams from which four (top two from each group) would qualify for the Super 12s.
Chris Gayle PTI
Chris Gayle PTI
Four teams from this lot of eight – Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, Oman, Papua New Guinea – will then progress to the Super 12s, joining the top eight ranked T20I teams. The Super 12s phase, which will comprise 30 matches, is scheduled to start from October 24.
The Super 12s, where teams will be split across two groups of six each, will be played at three venues in the UAE – Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah which will be followed by three playoff games – the two semi-finals and the final.
The T20 World Cup which was scheduled to be held in Australia from October 18, 2020, was postponed in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making way for the cash-rich IPL 2020 in the United Arab Emirates. The T20 World Cup in 2021 will be the seventh edition of the tournament and the first since 2016.
West Indies, the defending champions of the T20I World Cup in 2016, is the favourite and frontrunner to win again with consistent big-hitting performers like Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell in the team.
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
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India’s Schedule For The Next World Test Championship Cycle Announced

India’s Schedule For The Next World Test Championship Cycle Announced as the ICC World Test Championship’s 2nd edition from 2021-2023 will begin with the 5-match Test series against England and end with the tour of Bangladesh. The first cycle of the ICC World Test Championship concluded with the Indian cricket team ending second best despite dominating the league stage of the competition.

Putting behind the disappointment of the defeat in the final against New Zealand, the Virat Kohli-led side is now gearing up for the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship which begins for India with the 5-match Test series against England, starting August 04 at Trent Bridge.

 ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 Winners New Zealand
ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 Winners New Zealand Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

India Play England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, And Bangladesh In The ICC World Test Championship’s 2nd Edition

After the conclusion of the England series, Indian cricketers will keep themselves busy with the remainder of the Indian Premier League 2021 and the ICC T20 World Cup.

India’s second assignment in the Test Championship (2021-23) will be against defending champions New Zealand at home. The series is likely to take place after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup in November this year. Their third assignment will be when they lock horns with South Africa in December-January in the Rainbow nation before hosting Sri Lanka in a 3-match Test series.

Indian test team
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
After a lengthy break from the longest format of the game, the team will then battle it out against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which will take place in the second half of 2022. The team’s second WTC campaign will conclude with a 2-match Test series against Bangladesh.

India’s WTC schedule 2021-23:

– India tour of England (5 Test matches)

  1. August 4-8: England vs India, First Test, Trent Bridge
  2. August 12-16: England vs India, Second Test, Lord’s
  3. August 25-29: England vs India, Third Test, Headingley
  4. September 2-6: England vs India, Fourth Test, Kennington Oval
  5. September 10-14: England vs India, Fifth Test, Old Trafford

– New Zealand tour of India (2 Test matches)

– India tour of South Africa (3 Test matches)

– Sri Lanka tour of India (3 Test matches)

– India tour of Bangladesh (2 Test matches)

 Virat Kohli-led India’s Aim Is To Finish The League Stage Among The Top 2 Sides

Virat Kohli & Co. would look to put in a similarly dominant performance in the 2nd phase of the Test Championship as they did in the first phase. With the initial aim being to finish the league stage among the top two sides, Virat Kohli would be hopeful of a WTC final series this time rather than a one-off contest, having publicly expressed the same after his team’s defeat to the Kiwis.

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

The 32-year-old spoke about the need for a minimum of three-Test series in the future to decide the potential winners of the WTC Final. The next WTC Final will now be played in 2023 and Virat Kohli like coach Ravi Shastri and former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar feels one match is not enough to determine the winners.

Tim Southee
Tim Southee
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Changes Can Be Made In WTC Final Format Instead Of It Being A One-off Match, Says Tim Southee

Tim Southee, who has scalped 309 wickets in 78 Tests, said the team has prepared well for the marquee Test against India. New Zealand pacer Tim Southee on Wednesday said changes can be made to the format of the World Test Championship final going ahead, instead of it being a one-off match.

Earlier this month, India head coach Ravi Shastri said that the WTC final should be decided in a best-of-three match series, which he feels would have been a fitting finale after two and a half years of cricket.

Tim Southee is impressed with India's strong batting line-up. (Getty Images)
Tim Southee is impressed with India’s strong batting line-up. (Getty Images)

Tim Southee: Maybe ICC Can Look At One-Off Final And Then Potentially Make Changes

Deciding the World Test Championship (WTC) in a best-of-three final is not a realistic idea in a crowded calendar, the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) said. India takes on New Zealand in the final at the Ageas Bowl after the two teams finished on the first two spots on the WTC table. During the current period of the WTC, India played 6 series and won 12 matches while New Zealand played 5 series and won 7 matches.

“At the start of the two-year cycle, we knew that it was going to be a one-off final. Maybe it’s something they can look at going forward and then potentially make changes,” Southee said during a virtual press conference.

“It was made clear two years ago at the start of the cycle, what was required to win the championship. It’s been great to put context around the Test game, to have the two-year cycle. There have already been adjustments going forward to the next cycle. So, it’ll be an evolving thing,” he added.

India vs New Zealand
India vs New Zealand
“We’ve come very close in the last couple. We know that it’s going to be a tough week. Having a number of the guys that have been very close to winning an ICC event on the side, we have the experience of playing in the finals.”
In Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, and Rohit Sharma, India possess one of the strongest batting line-ups in modern-day cricket, and New Zealand is aware of it, said fast bowler Tim Southee ahead of the World Test Championship final beginning on Friday in Southampton.

Tim Southee: New Zealand Prepared Well For The WTC Final

Tim Southee, who has scalped 309 wickets in 78 Tests, said the team has prepared well for the marquee Test against India, starting in Southampton from Friday.

“We’ve played two Tests against England, which obviously has been pretty good for us. It’s been a great preparation leading up to this Test final good number of guys that have had good performances throughout those two Test matches. A couple of good days training today and tomorrow. And as you know, we’re all looking forward to what is the ultimate goal of this tour.”

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

Aware that the Indian side has a potent batting line-up with the likes of opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli in their ranks, the pacer said Kiwi bowlers will have to be on top of their games to succeed.

“Rohit is a tremendous player in all three formats. He’s personally a guy I like watching bat. He can take the game away from the opposition. But I know as a bowling group that it’s a dangerous batting lineup throughout. For he’s only one of many, many very good batters in this lineup and we know we’re gonna have to be on top of our game.”

Tim Southee said New Zealand will be viewing footage of not just the experienced batsmen in Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane in particular but also the youngsters like flamboyant keeper Rishabh Pant and talented Shubman Gill.

“It’s an exciting batting lineup, a mix of experienced guys and a couple of young guys who are coming to play with that freedom and the excitement that they have. Nowadays, there’s plenty of footage out. So, we will discuss footage and then come up with plans which will hopefully work.”

Tim Southee, who was rested from the second Test against England after picking up a six-wicket haul in the first Test match at Lord’s, reserved high praise for India opener Rohit Sharma, whom he termed as the most watchable one in the Indian unit. New Zealand is the only team to beat India in the WTC but Tim Southee said that shouldn’t be taken into consideration for the final.

Image Source : TWITTER Asia Cup called off due to rising COVID cases in Sri Lanka
Image Source : TWITTER Asia Cup called off due to rising COVID cases in Sri Lanka
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Pakistan Is Likely To Host Asia Cup 2022

Pakistan is likely to host the 2022 edition of the Asia Cup, with Sri Lanka hosting in 2023, reported ESPNcricinfo.
If Asia Cup had gone ahead this year, it would have been a T20 affair in order to give all participating teams a chance to get practice before the T20 World Cup which is to be played in India later this year.

With Asia Cup 2021 set to be officially postponed, it is now emerging that the tournament will be played in consecutive years — 2022 and 2023.

The 2018 Asia Cup Trophy. (Getty Images)
The 2018 Asia Cup Trophy. (Getty Images)

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani Had Earlier Also Confirmed Asia Cup 2021 Was Likely To Be Postponed As The Dates Clashed

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani had confirmed that the Asia Cup slated to be held in June this year was likely to be postponed if India managed to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship.

“Asia Cup was set to go last year but it got postponed to this year. Right now, it looks like Asia Cup won’t be going ahead this year as the WTC finals are set to go ahead in June. Sri Lanka had said that they would try to host the tournament in June,” Mani had told reporters in Karachi during a press conference.

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani

“The dates are clashing. We think the tournament would not be going ahead, and we might have to push the tournament to 2023,” he added.

There has not been an Asia Cup after 2018. The tournament planned for 2020 scheduled in Pakistan had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. India has managed to win the last two editions of the tournament.

Reasons For Asia Cup’s Likely Postponement Are COVID-19, LPL, BPL, And Missed Series Of 2020

The Asia Cup scheduled for 2021 had to be postponed, with all four major Asian sides facing packed schedules until the end of the year. It was set to be hosted by Sri Lanka, mid-year. Partly, the reason for the postponement is due to the pandemic – both the IPL and PSL had to be cut short and rescheduled for later in 2021 due to a breach of their respective bio-bubbles.

Rohit Sharma led India to their Asia Cup crown in 2018 Associated Press
Rohit Sharma led India to their Asia Cup crown in 2018 Associated Press

This rescheduling takes chunks out of the time available this year. Sri Lanka also plans to play their LPL in August, while Bangladesh’s BPL is also set for later in the year besides Pakistan Super League’s remaining 20 games. On top of which teams are also attempting to catch up on the international series missed in 2020.

The 2018 Asia Cup (also known as Unimoni Asia Cup) was a One-Day International (ODI) cricket tournament that was held in the United Arab Emirates in September 2018. It was the 14th edition of the Asia Cup and the third time the tournament was played in the United Arab Emirates, after the 1984 and 1995 tournaments. India was the defending champions, and retained their title, after beating Bangladesh by three wickets in the final.

India was the defending champions of Asia Cup 2016, and retained their title in 2018, after beating Bangladesh by three wickets in the final. Asia Cup 2016 was a T20 tournament. India had won all of its matches played in Asia Cup 2016 beating Bangladesh 2 times, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and UAE, and apart from the tied game against Afghanistan had won all games in Asia Cup 2018 too.

Sri Lanka had the hosting rights for Asia Cup, which was scheduled to be held in June 2021. Sri Lanka Cricket chief Ashley de Silva on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of hosting the Asia Cup in June 2021 due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the sub-continent. Asia Cup 2021 was supported to be played in the lead-up to T20 World Cup, which will be held in October-November.

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.

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