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India's England Tour 2021

Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Image.
Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Image.

England To Take A Cue From India’s Game Plan Against Australia In Ashes 2021/22: Chris Silverwood

Chris Silverwood, England’s head coach says his team will look to take a cue from India’s game plan, which saw the visitors script a stunning, come-from-behind Test series triumph in Australia earlier this year when they face their traditional rivals in the upcoming Ashes 2021/22.

Down 0-1 after being skittled out for a paltry 36 in the opener, an injury-ravaged India staged an incredible comeback to claim the four-match series in their last Test series in Australia.

Chris Silverwood Getty Images
Chris Silverwood – Getty Images

Chris Silverwood: England Will Be Very Competitive In The Ashes 2021/22 Respecting Australia

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, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul, and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries at various stages of 4 match Test series, a second-string Ajinkya Rahane-led India staged a comeback as they won their second straight Test series on Australian soil.

“I think we’ll be very competitive (in the Ashes). We look at the fact Australia have been very strong over the years and we have to respect them. But we have over the last 6-7 months played the top two teams in the world, learned a hell of a lot,” Chris Silverwood said.

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

“We look at India, how do they go about their business. They’ve shown a game plan that was successful over there and so we will be learning from them. There is a strong belief we can do something very special,” Chris Silverwood was quoted as saying by ‘Cricbuzz’.

India used no fewer than 20 different players during their four-Test series in difficult, hostile conditions. In the 2020/21 Australia series, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane set the tone for a dramatic turnaround for the visitors with a match-winning ton in the 2nd Test at Melbourne.

He was the guiding light for the youngsters like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, and T Natarajan who stepped up in the absence of senior injured players and gave their best to outclass the Aussies in their own backyard.

Chris Silverwood: England Has Proven To Compete With India

England is seeking to reclaim the Ashes for the first time since 2015. Chris Silverwood was speaking after naming his 17-man squad for the series which begins in Brisbane on December 8. He also said his team has become battle-hardened having played top sides like India in recent times.

“We are battle-hardened. We had some success along the way and we’ve proven we can compete with India.  The important thing for me is our players have seen what the best in the world look like, they’ve played against it, they’ve felt what it is to have them push against us. We’ve also tasted success against them.”

“Look at the Headingley Test when we came back very strong, which shows that we have got the skills within the ranks to take 20 wickets and push the best. So I see that as a real positive, a real galvaniser to the group, to better handle pressure now that they see it more and more, which is great.”

India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Chris Silverwood also said that his coaching staff would study how India’s bowlers operated during their series in Australia. Mohammed Siraj ended the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy as India’s highest wicket-taker, with 13 wickets in three Tests in his debut Test series.

“We watched how India performed in Australia (last winter) and we tried to learn lessons from them. What we will be doing is looking back over the plans India used and adapting any of those to what our bowling attack is.”

“How do we get the best out of the bowling attack we have got rather than worrying about what we haven’t got. There is nothing we can do about that so it’s pointless. We will be using the skills we have in the best possible way and I do believe that we can make it work.”

In the four matches prior to the canceled Manchester fixture, India had led the series 2-1. The opening Test at Trent Bridge was drawn due to persistent rain on the 5th day before India won the next clash at Lord’s. England inflicted India an innings defeat in the third Test at Headingley but the visitors rallied to win the fourth Test at the Oval.

India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

ICC To Discuss The Course Of The 5th Test Of The Incomplete India- England Test Series

ICC- International Cricket Council is likely to discuss the course of an incomplete bilateral series in the ICC board and chief executive committee meeting at the end of the T20 World Cup next month.

The recent five-Test series between England and India in the UK was halted after the fourth Test because the Indian team refused to take the field at Manchester, Old Trafford, following a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp as assistant physio Yogesh Parmar was found to be Covid-19 positive.

International Cricket Council – AFP File Photo
International Cricket Council – AFP File Photo

International Cricket Council (ICC) Likely To Discuss The Course Of India- England Incomplete Test Series

The England and Cricket Wales Board (ECB) had sought forfeiture from BCCI’s end or a continuation of the series. In turn, BCCI has offered to play a standalone Test in England next year to make up for the financial loss incurred by the ECB. India was leading 2-1 when the series was halted.

The fifth Manchester Test between England and India at the Old Trafford was cancelled – which the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) first called forfeiture but soon changed it & the BCCI called postponement.

So far, the big talking point has been whether this series has ended up being 2-2 in favour of England and India or 2-1 in India’s favour, which was the result after the first four Tests. As per BCCI’s announcement, the two teams will play a standalone Test or the rescheduled 5th Test when India tours England in 2022, which ICC will decide.

“The competition terms of the World Test Championship states that if, for whatever reason, the series is not being able to be completed with matches left to be played, the first step is to reschedule those matches in the competition window. As for teams pulling out on the morning of matches in the T20 World Cup, we have our own team to assess the situation unlike it happens in bilateral series,” ICC’s acting CEO Geoff Allardice said during a session with select media on Sunday.

ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice. (Credits: Twitter)
ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice. (Credits: Twitter)

“During the ICC board and CEC meeting, we have set aside a day to talk about the future directions of the FTP,” he added.

The ICC has managed to get all of its elite panel umpires to travel and officiate in the T20 World Cup. However, the tournament will continue to have two DRS reviews instead of having just one in T20Is. The ICC had increased the number of reviews last year during the pandemic because the host boards could not get neutral umpires.

Geoff Allardice: ICC Has Been In Regular Contact With Afghanistan Cricket Board After Militant Group Taliban’s Takeover

Geoff Allardice also mentioned that the ICC was hoping to get neutral umpires back after the T20 World Cup. But it will also depend on the travel restrictions in various countries since making arrangements for three-four officials is not the same as making one for an entire cricket team.

The ICC official also confirmed that the 20-overs World Cup, last staged in 2016, will embrace the Decision Review System (DRS), with each team having a maximum of two reviews per innings.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul (Image Credit: AP)
Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

The ICC Board will also discuss how to deal with Afghanistan cricket following the Taliban takeover of the nation. While calling off Afghanistan’s tour of Australia this year, Cricket Australia has made it clear that they won’t be playing the Afghanistan men’s team since the ruling regime doesn’t support women’s cricket in Afghanistan.

“When the change of regime took place in Afghanistan in August, we have been in regular contact with their cricket board and our primary function is to support the development of cricket in that country through the member board,” Allardice said.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) acting CEO, Geoff Allardice, has revealed that the Afghanistan cricket team is currently preparing for the upcoming 2021 T20I World Cup, and their participation isn’t under any threat at the moment. The acting CEO further stated that ICC will have a meeting where they will discuss how to maintain a relationship with the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

Currently, they will play in the World Cup, but further participation will be pondered over.

Danish Kaneria (Getty Images)
Danish Kaneria (Getty Images)

Danish Kaneria: BCCI’s Top Brass Won’t Tolerate Indiscipline From Virat Kohli

Danish Kaneria, the former Pakistan spinner shared his thoughts on Virat Kohli’s captaincy tenure coming under the scanner of late. Danish Kaneria expressed his views on his YouTube channel and responded to the rumors of senior players complaining about Virat Kohli’s behavior to the BCCI. Recent rumors have floated around about Virat Kohli’s boorish behavior towards the senior teammates, who have complained to the BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

Reports have suggested that the Indian skipper behaved rudely with Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Cheteshwar Pujara following the side’s loss in the World Test Championship final.
Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)
Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)

Danish Kaneria: Virat Kohli’s Captaincy Is In A Dilemma

Danish Kaneria opined that Virat Kohli’s leadership could be in danger as the BCCI’s top dignitaries demand discipline from every individual. He feels that if the reports have any truths attached to them, Sourav Ganguly will deal with it strongly to ensure such behavior isn’t encouraged in the future.

Danish Kaneria said: “Virat Kohli’s captaincy is in a dilemma because BCCI’s top bosses in Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah won’t tolerate indiscipline towards anybody. They won’t see if he is a big-ticket player and treat everyone the same way. Unlike Pakistan, where there are such concerns, I don’t think it happens in India because a top-notch cricketer is the BCCI president.”

Virat Kohli in action during the third day of the WTC final against New Zealand. (File)
Virat Kohli was in action during the third day of the WTC final against New Zealand. (File)

Danish Kaneria added: “He (Ganguly) changed Indian cricket and he won’t see different players in different ways. Thus, I trust the BCCI to ensure that in future no player behaves roughly with their teammates.”

Despite rumors of a rift within the dressing room, the Indian team, under Virat Kohli, has delivered compelling performances on the pitch. Their recent outings in Tests against England justified why Virat Kohli is the right man to lead the side. Virat Kohli is India’s most successful captain to date, winning 38 out of 65 Tests he has led. Of those 38, six have come in Australia, England, and South Africa, four in the Caribbean, five in Sri Lanka, and 23 at home.

One of India’s most successful captains, Virat Kohli led India in 95 ODIs, and with 65 wins and 27 defeats. In 45 T20Is so far where he has been the captain, India has won 29 times while losing 14 times.

Danish Kaneria: Virat Kohli Needs To Follow The Culture Set By Predecessor Skipper MS Dhoni

Danish Kaneria opined that while aggression is a good trait to have, but it must be controlled while dealing with your countrymen teammates. The 40-year-old former spinner thinks Virat Kohli must take a leaf out of his predecessor MS Dhoni’s book ahead of the World Cup.

Kaneria added: “Virat Kohli’s aggression while captaining is a known thing, but misbehaving with your own players isn’t acceptable. He needs to follow the culture set by MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni dragged the players along with him despite win or loss by backing them. Hence, with the T20 World Cup looming and with Ravichandran Ashwin also part of the squad, Kohli must handle things carefully.”

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

MS Dhoni will join Team India as a mentor for the upcoming T20I World Cup. The retired cricketer is the first and only Indian captain to win the T20I trophy in the inaugural edition in 2007. Fans will hope the Men in Blue break their jinx this year and Virat Kohli ends his T20 captaincy reign with an ICC trophy.

Virat Kohli announced that he will step down as the captain of RCB after IPL 2021 concludes. Virat Kohli had also announced earlier that he will relinquish his India T20I captaincy after the upcoming T20I World Cup to be staged in the UAE and Oman, while MS Dhoni retired as the only captain to win all major ICC trophies (2011 ODI World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup, and 2013 Champions Trophy).

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

Arun Dhumal Ridicules Rumours: No Complaint About Virat Kohli’s Captaincy

Arun Dhumal, BCCI treasurer claimed that rumours going around that Virat Kohli’s captaincy has been complained about by senior Test cricketers on England tour would only do damage to Indian cricket.

The BCCI is “peeved” over obscure and unsubstantiated media reports doing the rounds lately that certain Team India cricketers complained to BCCI about Virat Kohli. Sections of the media reported this week about Indian cricketers calling BCCI secretary Jay Shah to complain about Virat Kohli and his captaincy, and hence the BCCI decided to step in.

Arun Dhumal
Arun Dhumal, Treasurer of BCCI Photo by: Arjun Singh / Sportzpics for BCCI

Arun Dhumal: Media Must Stop Writing This Rubbish, No Indian Cricketer Made Any Complaint Written Or Verbal To BCCI

The BCCI, once again for the record, revealed that the board had no role to play in all format skipper Virat Kohli resigning as captain of the T20I team as it was the cricketer’s own decision. When he resigned as T20I captain on September 16, certain media reports claimed that Virat Kohli had gone to the selectors and asked that Rohit Sharma be removed as vice-captain of the team.
On September 28, there were reports going around that two senior India cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane complained to Jay Shah about Virat Kohli’s captaincy. Initially, it was suggested that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had gone and spoken to the BCCI top brass over issues with Virat Kohli’s leadership probably since he didn’t feature in any of the 4 Tests against hosts England.

“The media must stop writing this rubbish. Let me say this on the record that no Indian cricketer has made any complaint to the BCCI – written or verbal. The BCCI can’t keep answering every false report that keeps appearing. The other day, we saw some reports saying there will be changes in India’s World Cup squad. Who said that?” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told TOI on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

On September 13, when it was reported that Virat Kohli would step down as India’s white-ball captain, Arun Dhumal had denied the same to the media and said that BCCI had not discussed the matter of split-captaincy. Arun Dhumal was technically right because it wasn’t the BCCI that was discussing the removal of Virat Kohli as white-ball captain.

“Virat himself will make the announcement. He is of the view that he needs to concentrate on his batting and go back to becoming what he’s always been – the best batsman in the world. The decision to quit (white-ball) captaincy is his alone, ” said Arun Dhumal.

Virat Kohli himself made the decision to relinquish T20I captaincy after World Cup’s conclusion. Arun Dhumal’s statement to the media then was also absolutely in line with the said report because, as the treasurer maintained, it wasn’t BCCI’s but Virat Kohli’s decision to step down.

“The media asked me if the BCCI had taken a decision and I said no because that was true – the BCCI had not taken any decision or even discussed it. Eventually, Virat took his own decision and conveyed it to the BCCI and that was his call. Today, the same media is saying players complained to the BCCI. So, on behalf of the board, I can tell you, there have been no complaints. Is there any confusion?” Arun Dhumal further said.

There shouldn’t be any more confusion because even the office of the BCCI secretary is not aware of any such complaint. The BCCI says it finds it extremely intriguing that hours after Virat Kohli resigned as T20 captain, a section of the media seems to know almost everything about the Indian team. But 24 hours before he resigned, nobody had a clue that there were complaints against him.

Virat Kohli Decided To Quit As T20I Captain After World Cup And RCB Skipper After IPL 2021 Concludes

Virat Kohli later spoke with several individuals who hold positions of responsibility in Indian cricket after reports emerged that a few cricketers were unhappy with his captaincy. Every single one of those individuals has denied that players have filed any complaint whatsoever against the current Indian captain, not with the secretary’s office or with any other office within the Board.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

“This kind of reporting harms Indian cricket more than anything else. We can understand if senior journalists – who have followed the game for a very long time and tracked it so devotedly – believe the Indian team should do this or do that. That’s an opinion and we respect that. It’s an observation and that’s their job. I myself enjoy reading good reports. But to concoct tales and say this person said this or that person said that, without substantiating it, is not done,” Dhumal further said.

With the BCCI treasurer deciding to put the record straight, it is now clear that the rumours were without any substance. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has gone on to announce that he will step down from the captaincy of Royal Challengers Bangalore as well at the completion of IPL 2021. The Indian skipper will be leading the T20 side for the final time at the T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE and Oman next month.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP

Ravi Shastri Told Virat Kohli And Selectors Not To Unleash Pacer Jasprit Bumrah In Tests In Indian Soil

Ravi Shastri was ready to put his money on pacer Jasprit Bumrah being an all-format bowler so much that he even told captain Virat Kohli and the selectors not to reveal him before the South Africa tour in 2018.

When Jasprit Bumrah with an unorthodox bowling action burst onto the scene in the cash-rich IPL playing for Mumbai Indians in 2013, very few believed he could make it big at the international level. Those who predicted he would gain stardom were only vouching for Jasprit Bumrah’s white-ball skills.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI11_21_2014_000176B)
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI11_21_2014_000176B)

Ravi Shastri Told Virat Kohli And Selectors Not To Unleash Jasprit Bumrah In Tests Before 2018 Cape Town Test Against South Africa

There was hardly anyone willing to put their weight behind Jasprit Bumrah as the Test cricketer apart from India head coach Ravi Shastri who vouched to include Jasprit Bumrah in Tests. After making his limited-overs ODI and T20I debuts in Australia in 2016, pacer Jasprit Bumrah quickly built a reputation of being a bankable seam bowler. It was Ravi Shastri who insisted not to ‘unleash’ Jasprit Bumrah on Indian pitches in Test cricket.

“No one believed Jasprit Bumrah could play Test cricket. He was a white-ball bowler. But when I took over as coach I asked myself: ‘How do I take 20 wickets overseas?’ said Ravi Shastri.

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

“I knew I needed four great fast bowlers because I had played so much Test cricket against the West Indies. It started in South Africa in 2018 and we lost that fantastic series 2-1. I wanted to unleash Bumrah in that first Test in Cape Town. I bounced the idea off Virat months before and told the selectors: ‘Do not unleash him in India. I don’t want the world to see him in Test cricket before Cape Town.’ That was three years ago. Since then he’s taken 101 wickets [in 24 Tests]. It’s remarkable,” Ravi Shastri said.

Jasprit Bumrah was an instant success in his first Test appearance in Cape Town. His delivery to Proteas batsman AB de Villiers that found the gap between his bat and pad had a stamp of class and authority. Since then, the right-arm seamer has never looked back.
In his three years at the Test level, Jasprit Bumrah has proved coach Ravi Shastri right and all his doubters wrong.
During the recent Test series in England, he was India’s most impressive seamer and even went on to become the fastest Indian pace bowler to reach 100 Test wickets.
Before his achievement, Kapil Dev held the record, getting to the feat in 25 Tests, but the World Cup-winning captain’s record was bettered by Jasprit Bumrah, who picked up his 100th Test scalp in his 24th game. He has picked 6 five-wicket hauls and his career-best figure is 6/27 and his career average is 22.79 which is quite impressive.

Jasprit Bumrah Will Ply His Trade For The Mumbai Indians In IPL 2021 UAE Leg

Jasprit Bumrah, who will ply his trade for the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021 resuming on Sunday at the UAE, had major roles to play in India’s historic back-to-back Test series wins in Australia in 2018-19 and then in 2020-21.

Ravi Shastri said that India had the upper hand in the series when he was asked about the outcome of the England series which is still undecided as the fifth Test was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns in the Indian camp.
Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I think so because you are playing overseas and you’re ahead with one game to go. Look at the first Test [India were 52 for one and chasing 209 when the rain ruined the final day]. We would have knocked off those runs, definitely. It could have easily been 3-1. Then no one would have cared for the last Test,” Ravi Shastri added.

Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best bowlers in recent times in the world at the moment and he showed his class in the recently concluded red-ball Test series against England. He finished as the highest wicket-taker for India in the four Tests and picked up 18 wickets. In his prime form, Jasprit Bumrah has been one of the match-winners for the Mumbai Indians and has bowled splendidly in the India leg of IPL 2021 as well.

The right-arm quick was superb in the previous edition of IPL 2020 held entirely in UAE too by being the 2nd highest wicket-taker and he enjoyed the conditions really well. He used the pace of the wickets to his advantage and executed the yorkers to perfection. In the first leg of IPL 2021, the right-arm pacer with an unorthodox action scalped 6 wickets in 7 matches at an average of 32 and an economy of 7.11. In the previous season in IPL 2020, he picked 27 scalps in 15 games averaging an awesome 14.96.

World Test Championship, India
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]

Paul Newman Blames IPL 2021 For 5th Test Cancellation Saying “India Did Not Respect Test Cricket”

Paul Newman did not shy away from firing shots at the IPL, Indian cricketers, and the BCCI after the fifth Test against England in Manchester was cancelled due to Covid-19 fears in the Indian camp. India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the series-decider sending tremors down the Indian dressing room and ultimately leading to the cancellation of the match.

The former English cricketer said the Indian cricketers did not want to take the field because they did not want to risk missing the resumption of IPL on September 19 in Dubai.

Paul Newman (Image credit: Reuters)
Paul Newman (Image credit: Reuters)

Paul Newman: No India Player With An IPL Contract Wanted To Risk Playing In The 5th Test, Testing Positive And Be In England Missing Restart Of IPL 2021

Paul Newman, however, said the Indian cricketers did not want to take the field because they did not want to risk missing the resumption of IPL on September 19 in Dubai.

“There is no way this series decider would have been called off on the morning of the first day had the majority of India’s players not been flying to Dubai next Wednesday for the resumption of the richest tournament in cricket.

“No India player with an IPL contract wanted to risk playing in this Test, then testing positive and being forced to stay in England for another 10 days, so missing the restart of the tournament in the UAE on September 19,” Newman, who has played 135 first-class matches and 177 List A games, wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

India vs England Test
India vs England Test- Image Credit: Twitter

“The positive PCR test of Yogesh Parmar was the trigger India’s players needed to up sticks and get out of here as soon as possible even after they had all returned negative tests themselves en masse on Thursday evening.

“There really should have been no reason why they could not play on once those test results were returned. That is the criterion that has governed every game this season as cricket continues to navigate the complex Covid world. Why should that change now?”

Junior physio Yogesh Parmar was tested positive for COVID-19 and even the ECB in their press release explained that the Indian players will not be able to take on the field. Now, former English cricketer Paul Newman has slammed Indian players for flouting the rules.

Paul Newman: India Did Not Respect Test Cricket And Series

Paul Newman said that India did not respect this series and they did not respect Test cricket by violating the guidelines of Covid-19 before the fourth Test.

“India did not respect this series in pulling out yesterday and they did not respect Test cricket either in flouting Covid guidelines ahead of the fourth Test,” he added.

The former seamer also blamed India head coach Ravi Shastri‘s book launch event ahead of the fourth Test in London. Paul Newman was quite angry with the Indian team pulling out of the series and slammed Virat Kohli and men for pulling out the series.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri's book launch event in London | Twitter
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri’s book launch event in London | Twitter

“This whole outbreak in their camp could well have been started by the presence of Shastri along with captain Virat Kohli and several players and staff at a book launch at a London hotel attended by more than 150 people two days before the Oval Test.

“It was a breach of protocols that privately angered those at the ECB who have done so much to keep the show on the road in the last 18 months, not least with three Tests at Old Trafford last year that salvaged millions of pounds of revenue for the game. What a way for Lancashire to be rewarded for all they did then,” he said.

He said that the team disrespected the series by pulling out in this fashion. The former England cricketer also slammed the Indian team for flouting COVID-19 rules and not following the given guidelines. The England Cricket Board was about to write to the ICC for seeking the results of the last Test match.


VVS Laxman Hopes ICC Will Award The Series 2-1 In Favour Of India As He Refused To Blame IPL 2021 For Manchester Test Cancellation

VVS Laxman, the former Indian batsman expressed his disappointment at the abrupt end of the Test series between India and England but refused to blame the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the cancellation of the 5th Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

While the Covid-19 scare is certainly one of the factors affecting the cancellation of the Manchester Test with India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar testing positive for the virus, there could be more factors that led to the calling off of the Manchester Test.

VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)
VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)

VVS Laxman Says It’s Unfair To Play The Blame Game And Hopes ICC Will Award The Series 2-1 In Favour Of India

Some reports claim that Indian players, despite testing negative on the eve of the match, were reluctant to take the field, while some others are blaming the IPL, believing that players prioritized the IPL since the tournament was to resume from September 19, a few days after the conclusion of the 5th Test.

In his column, VVS Laxman wrote, “It was an abrupt, somewhat disappointing end to what had been a cracking series but given the circumstances in which the final Test at Old Trafford was cancelled, it’s unfair to point fingers or play the blame game.”

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

The fifth and deciding Test was dramatically cancelled on Friday just over two hours before the scheduled start because of Covid-19 concerns in the Indian camp. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said fears over the coronavirus, related to an outbreak among backroom staff, had left India unable to field a team at Old Trafford.

“To take the field in that mental state is far from ideal. So is the potential risk of endangering others on the park, be it your teammates, the officials or the opponents. Against that backdrop, I think the cancellation of the Test was the right call, though I feel deeply for the fans who had invested so much time, money and emotion in the contest. I hope the ICC sees the situation for what it is and awards the series 2-1 to India, particularly with the BCCI having offered to play a Test during their white ball tour of England next year,” VVS Laxman added.

India was 2-1 up in the five-match contest after a 157-run win in the fourth Test at the Oval and was bidding to complete a notable double just months after winning a series in Australia. India cancelled their final training session and mandatory pre-match press conference on Thursday after reports that a physiotherapist who had been in close contact with the players had tested positive for Covid.

“What this episode reiterates is that we must not let our guard down. If that means having to stay in bubbles, even if the host country doesn’t demand it, so be it. It might be tough on players, agreed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I understand bubble fatigue can become a factor, but there can’t be any compromise on safety,” VVS Laxman opined.

Cancellation would give India a 2-1 series victory, and a forfeiture led to a 2-2 draw. Currently, India has pocketed 26 WTC points from the series while England has 14 out of the available 48 points.

VVS Laxman: Biggest Takeaway From India Was The Quality And Belief Of Their Pace Attack

In the fourth Test at the Oval, where 50 years earlier India won their first Test on English soil, Rohit Sharma scored his first overseas Test century and Shardul Thakur starred with both bat and ball. Jasprit Bumrah’s devastating spell of reverse swing — 2-6 in six overs — was key to England losing their last eight wickets for 69 runs.

“It might be stating the obvious, but the biggest takeaway for the visitors was the quality and belief of their pace attack. The fast bowlers are the reason India are winning Tests and series overseas with regularity, and once again, they stood up and asked to be counted,” VVS Laxman observed.

Virat Kohli backs Ajinkya Rahane Image Source : GETTY IMAGE
Virat Kohli backs Ajinkya Rahane Image Source: GETTY IMAGE

The Indian team management preferred the left-spinner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja over off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the Test matches in England.

“If there is one thing the attack can get better at, it is in staying patient and stringing maidens together when the pitch flattens out like it did on Day Three at Lord’s and Day Two in Leeds. I know I have been insistent on R Ashwin’s inclusion in these columns; that being said, Ravindra Jadeja was more than effective throughout the series, especially on the final day at The Oval, both in a containing and wicket-taking role,” VVS Laxman wrote.

Rohit Sharma’s 127 was the cornerstone of India’s second innings at Oval in the 4th Test. It was the opener’s eighth hundred in 43 Tests but first outside of India in 24 matches at this level.

“India’s largest plus was the unearthing of a fabulous opening pair. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are not just skilled but also experienced. They brought those traits into play to make handsome, significant runs. They trusted their game plans and backed their defense; I would go so far as to say that they are the best opening pair in Test cricket currently, shading Tom Latham and Devon Conway,” VVS Laxman added.

Ajinkya Rahane, who led India to a series victory in Australia earlier this year when regular captain Virat Kohli was on paternity leave, has now gone 20 innings without a Test hundred.

“The one obvious concern India must address is the inability of the experienced middle-order to capitalize on the great starts. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli showed signs of returning to form, but Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant were out of touch. A few technical issues have crept into the middle-order batting, and with more challenging assignments in store, it’s imperative that those are ironed out at the earliest,” VVS Laxman signed off.

Ajinkya Rahane has batted in seven innings and has managed to score only 109 runs at a pathetic average of 15.57. He was dismissed for an eight-ball duck in the second innings of the Oval Test. Earlier in the first innings, he scored just 14 off 47 deliveries.

Chris Woakes. (Getty Images)
Chris Woakes. (Getty Images)

Chris Woakes Preferred The 2021 T20I World Cup And Ashes 2021/22 Over IPL 2021

Chris Woakes, England seam-bowling all-rounder has elaborated on his decision to skip the second phase of the IPL 2021. Chris Woakes of Delhi Capitals earned a spot in England’s T20 squad and is among three English players to pull out of the UAE leg.

The 32-year old has put his international commitments ahead of the lucrative tournament. Chris Woakes wants to be available, fit and firing in England’s bid to win their second T20 crown and the Ashes in Australia soon after.

Chris Woakes, playing for his first-class side Warwickshire, preferred the T20 World Cup and the Ashes, claiming it would be an exciting few months for the English team. Thus, he had to sacrifice his IPL deal. The UAE leg of the IPL 2021 begins on September 19 and goes on till October 15, following which the T20 World Cup will begin in a couple of days.

“With the World Cup and the Ashes, it would have been too much in a short space of time. I would have loved to have been part of the IPL but something has to give. A World Cup and an Ashes tour, it’s almost as big a winter as our summer was in 2019.”

“It’s a shame with what’s going on Covid-wise that it’s not going to be as normal as everyone would like. But, from a cricket perspective, it’s very exciting,” Woakes said as quoted by The Guardian.

Story Image Ben Dwarshuis is the sixth-highest wicket-taker in the BBL Getty Images
Ben Dwarshuis is the sixth-highest wicket-taker in the BBL Getty Images

Chris Woakes further remarked that he was unaware of being part of the T20 squad. The right-arm seamer said the IPL has stumbled upon them at the end of their summer. Chris Woakes has featured in only 10 T20Is since debuting in early 2011. He was recalled after 6 years in T20Is and featured in 2 matches of the Sri Lanka T20Is in June 2021.

“My inclusion in the World Cup squad, I didn’t know was going to happen – especially a couple of months ago. The IPL has been rescheduled and thrown on to the end of our summer,” Woakes said as quoted by The Guardian.

Chris Woakes was part of the Delhi Capitals and took five wickets in three games in the first half at 16.40 apiece. The franchise announced Australian seamer Ben Dwarshuis as his replacement on Monday.

Chris Woakes Played Only 1 Test This Summer Against India

The 32-year old could only feature in one Test this summer, playing in the fourth Test at the Oval against India. He recovered from his heel injury to replace Sam Curran and picked up four wickets in the first innings. Chris Woakes followed it by scoring a crucial fifty.

The all-rounder was named in England squad for South Africa, Sri Lanka, and India series but wasn’t picked in the playing XI in any of the tours. The talented all-rounder underwent knee surgery before New Zealand Tests, which made him unavailable for the 2 match Test series against the Kiwis.

England’s Chris Woakes Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
England’s Chris Woakes Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Unfortunately, England slumped to a 157-run loss in the 4th Test. The fifth Test in Manchester was abandoned after India refused to take the field. It emerged later that the influx of COVID-19 cases within their support staff had created tensions in their minds.

Chris Woakes had pulled out of the remainder of the IPL because of personal reasons, joining Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Jonny Bairstow, Punjab Kings’ Dawid Malan, and Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler in withdrawing from the tournament. The Delhi Capitals are currently on top of the IPL points table with 12 points from eight matches. They resume their campaign against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 22.

Chris Woakes did not feature in IPL 2020 but Delhi Capitals retained the England cricketer for the IPL 2021. He scored 15 runs and picked up 5 scalps in 3 games before IPL 2021 was suspended due to Covid-19. Overall, he has 30 scalps in 21 matches averaging 21.93 and scored 78 runs playing IPL 2017,2018, and 2021.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt Feels It’s Not The Proper Time To Rake Up The Captaincy Debate Between Virat Kohli And Rohit Sharma

Salman Butt said with a successful Test series in England and a crucial T20 World Cup looming, this is not the time to rake up the captaincy debate.

Following reports that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was unhappy with some of Virat Kohli’s decisions during the World Test Championship (WTC) final, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt said that the Indian skipper is being made a target of a “dirty game”.

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

Salman Butt Feels It’s Not The Proper Time To Discuss Captaincy

Salman Butt was responding to a recent news report that also claimed that Virat Kohli could be asked to make way for Rohit Sharma as captain if India fails to perform well in the ICC World T20 competition. The former Pakistan captain further said with a successful Test series in England and a crucial T20 World Cup looming, this is not the time to rake up the captaincy debate.

“Do you see the timing of this news? I don’t have a problem with what the board thinks, it’s about their own evaluation of who can take their cricket forward… but is this the time to discuss these things? Now there’s talk of Virat Kohli’s captaincy being on the danger line,” Butt said in a video on his YouTube channel.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma- Twitter

“He’s (Virat) recently played a series in England, led his team really well, he was being criticized for his team selections but he’s constantly backing his team and in turn, the team is responding to him and playing good cricket… the team is at the top in every format and the World Cup is right up front, so such news surfacing in the media is nothing but a dirty game.”

One of India’s most successful captains, Virat Kohli led India in 95 ODIs, and with 65 wins and 27 defeats. In 45 T20Is so far where he has been the captain, India has won 27 times while losing 14 times.

Salman Butt: Virat Kohli Has Done A Lot Of Good As Captain In Indian Cricket

Asked about comparing the white-ball trophies won by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Salman Butt said the latter is a very good captain but the former, too, has a decent win percentage across formats.

“I have said this before, Rohit Sharma is a very good captain, very successful, but this is not the time to talk about these things… Trophies matter, I agree but see the percentage of the games he has won and how successful he has been around the world. I think this is not the time and the guy has done a lot of good to Indian cricket. This news resurfacing is nothing but bad intent which shouldn’t happen.”

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Rohit Sharma has also inspired the team in Virat Kohli’s absence to memorable triumphs in Asia Cup 2018 and Nidahas Trophy 2018, besides leading Mumbai Indians to an unprecedented five IPL titles. Rohit Sharma, 34, has led India 10 times in ODIs and led them to victories on eight occasions. In T20Is, he has captained them 19 times of which they have won 15 and lost four.

Rohit Sharma has proven his mettle as the most successful captain in the Indian Premier League. The hitman Rohit Sharma has led the Mumbai Indians (MI) to victory in the seasons 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020.

One of the biggest criticisms of Virat Kohli’s captaincy is his failure to land a major ICC trophy since taking over the charge of the team. Recently, in June, India lost in the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand in Southampton. India’s all-format captain Virat Kohli will soon quit ODI and T20 captaincy.

Virat Kohli will quit as India’s white-ball captain right after the T20 World Cup and IPL’s most successful skipper Rohit Sharma will take over the mantle. However, on Monday, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal rubbished the reports.


England Pacer James Anderson Hopes Manchester Test Will Be Played Again

England pacer James Anderson on Sunday said he hopes the Manchester Test against India will be played at some point and the fast bowler will get to feature in the game at his home ground.

The fifth Test match between England and India was cancelled in Manchester on Friday. The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the game.

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

England Pacer James Anderson Hopes Manchester Test Will Be Played Again And He Will Play Another Int’l Match At His Home Ground

James Anderson felt gutted for the Lancashire fans but is hopeful of playing another international game at his home ground. Ahead of the fifth and final Test against England, physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19 in Manchester. This had led to Team India’s training session for Thursday afternoon being cancelled.

“It’s such a shame the summer of international cricket ended this way. I’m gutted for everyone at @lancashirecricket, for the fans who paid for tickets/trains/hotels, for both sets of supporters that wanted to see the finish this series deserved,” Anderson said in his Instagram post.

James Anderson
James Anderson. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

“I hope it will be played again at some point and I hope I will get to play another international game at my home ground that I love so much,” he added.

The 39-year-old bowler rued the anticlimactic end to the summer cricket season and offered words of support to hosts Lancashire country cricket club as well as fans who had travelled to the stadium. Even at the age of 39, he doesn’t seem to lose his magic and showed his calibre outright in the last Test series against India. James Anderson picked 15 wickets against India across four Tests with an average of 24.66.

James Anderson, who is the leading wicket-taker of England in Test cricket, said his family won’t be travelling with him to Australia as his children will have to be present in England for their education.

There will be a lot of hectic moments for England players who will be travelling to both UAE for the T20 World Cup (and IPL 2021) and later Australia as they will have to be under various COVID-19 bubbles and compel to strict quarantine rules of the respective country. James Anderson, who only plays red-ball cricket for England, said he will manage somehow but expressed concern over his teammates who would be participating in both the tours.

England Was Trailing By 2-1 When The Manchester Test Was Abandoned Without A Ball Being Bowled

In the four matches prior to the Manchester fixture, India had led the series 2-1. The opening Test at Trent Bridge was drawn before India won the next clash at Lord’s. England inflicted India an innings defeat in the third Test at Headingley but the visitors rallied to win the fourth Test at the Oval.

India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled 5th Test match which was scheduled to be played at Manchester from Friday.

England’s James Anderson became the first seam bowler to reach 600 Test wickets, reaching the milestone in a gloomy last session of a rain-hit final day of the third Test against Pakistan. He is now the first bowler to possess 400 wickets in England, and the second bowler – after Muttiah Muralitharan – to have claimed as many wickets in his home country.

James Anderson is one of only two England bowlers – the other being Stuart Broad – to have taken more than 300 wickets at home in Test matches. Fred Trueman is third in the list of highest wicket-takers in England, with 229 wickets. Among the leading wicket-takers at home, Anil Kumble is third, with 350, followed by Stuart Broad (341 wickets), and Shane Warne (319 wickets).

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