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Marnus Labuschagne


Joe Root And Eimear Richardson Voted Winners Of ICC Player Of August Month

Joe Root, England skipper and Ireland star Eimear Richardson have been voted winners of the ICC Player of the Month for August. Joe Root saw off competition from Jasprit Bumrah, the India pacer, and Pakistan speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi to win the award following a stellar August for the England captain.

Joe Root scored 507 runs in three Tests against India in August. He scored three important centuries, including an unbeaten 180* at Lord’s, and the form propelled him to the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings for batters. The five-match series ended abruptly when the final Test had to be cancelled because of a Covid-19 outbreak in the Indian camp.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Joe Root Was Impressive With The Bat Leading England From The Front: JP Duminy

Joe Root had scored more runs (507) in the first three Tests than England’s next three highest run-scorers combined and had also been their highest individual scorer in each of their five innings. He scored three centuries, 109 in Trent Bridge, an unbeaten 180 in Lord’s, and 121 at his home ground in Headingley, which resulted in an England win.

“With the expectation and responsibility on his shoulders as the captain, I was really impressed with how he led from the front with the bat, and become the number one ranked Test batter in the world,” said former South Africa all-rounder JP Duminy, one of the panellists in the ICC Voting Academy.

Virat Kohli, Joe Root
Virat Kohli, Joe Root

On the back of his stunning display in August, Joe Root climbed to the top of ICC Men’s Test Rankings for batters on September 1. Placed fifth in the rankings before the start of the series, the England skipper had leapfrogged Virat Kohli, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, and Kane Williamson to the No.1 spot.

Eimear Richardson Of Ireland Put In A Fine All-Round Display In Women’s T20 WC Europe Qualifier

In the women’s award, Eimear Richardson saw off tough competition from teammate Gaby Lewis and Thailand’s Nattaya Boochatham.  Eimear Richardson put in a fine all-round display in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier last month, which led her to be named the Player of the Tournament.

She took seven wickets at an economy rate of 4.19 in the tournament, including important spells of 2/6 in the opener against Germany and 2/24 against group-toppers Scotland. She also returned 2/0 and 1/22 against France and Netherlands respectively, as Ireland came second in their group.

Her contributions went beyond the ball. She scored a crucial 49-ball 53 in their final match against the Netherlands and totalled 76 runs in the tournament – a return that put her in the top five of the run charts.

“It was very exciting to be nominated for the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for August and to now be voted as the winner is just so amazing and humbling,” Richardson said.

“It was great to contribute to overall team performances at the European Qualifiers and hopefully we have done enough to make the next stage and compete on a global level again.”

Joe Root, Elmear Richardson, ICC Player Of The Month August 2021
Joe Root, Elmear Richardson, ICC Player Of The Month August 2021

Her performances were lauded by Pommie Mbangwa of the ICC Voting Academy.

“What an amazing and important contribution in a tournament that is important to all the teams, “he said. 

“What any team wants is for players to stand up at critical times and Eimear’s contributions with bat and ball have come at the right time, been consistent and particularly significant.”

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and West Indies women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor were the winners of the ICC Player of the Month in July.

Jofra Archer made his Test debut at Lord’s against Australia last year. (Source: Reuters)
Jofra Archer made his Test debut at Lord’s against Australia last year. (Source: Reuters)

England Can’t Win 2021-22 Ashes Without Pacer Jofra Archer, Says Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke has stated that England stands no chance of winning the Ashes series Down Under later this year without the services of paceman Jofra Archer, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. The former Australian captain also hoped for an improved performance from the hosts.

England’s last Ashes triumph in Australia came in 2010-11 when they’d taken the series with three games to one under Andrew Strauss. It remains their only success Down Under since 1986-87. After going down 0-4 in 2017-18, England failed to reclaim the honours at home in the 2019 edition that followed, which ended at 2-2.

Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)(Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke: England Can’t Win Without Jofra Archer

Joe Root’s men went into the final Test of that series at The Oval trailing 1-2, facing an uphill challenge against an in-form Australia. However, much like he had done at the World Cup earlier that summer, Jofra Archer made a decisive impact in the decider, returning with 6/62 in the first innings to set up England’s series-levelling 135-run win.

Jofra Archer eventually finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the series, with 22 scalps at 20.27. In 2021, his longevity in Test cricket now seems in jeopardy, courtesy of a recurring elbow injury. The 26-year-old has been ruled out of all cricket for the remainder of the year, which includes the T20 World Cup in the UAE and the Ashes tour.

Jofra Archer - GETTY IMAGES
Jofra Archer – GETTY IMAGES

Michael Clarke, who had led Australia to a 5-0 whitewash in his last Ashes series at home, believes that Jofra Archer’s absence has dented the visitors’ chances significantly ahead of the next edition.

“They can’t win without him. England cannot beat Australia in Australia without Jofra Archer,” Clarke was quoted saying on Sky Sports Big Sports Breakfast on Friday, August 6.

“No Ben Stokes either, they’re cooked. Their batting is not that good. He (Archer) is their fear factor. Without Archer I think they’re cooked.”

Ben Stokes, who too may be unavailable, compounds England’s problems. He took an indefinite break from all forms of cricket with immediate effect, England Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed in a statement. Ben Stokes didn’t take part in the 1st Test and won’t do so in the remainder of the ongoing series against India.

The 30-year-old will also be nursing his left index finger which has not fully healed before he led England’s limited-overs squad against Pakistan in the absence of skipper Eoin Morgan and the rest of the team as they were in isolation following Covid-19 positive report from 7 members including 3 players.

Michael Clarke Hopeful Of An Improvement From Australia In The Ashes

Australia had gone down to India in their last Test assignment at home, with Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood being their standout performers in a closely fought series. Michael Clarke is optimistic of an improved all-round show from Tim Paine’s side against England.

“Our quicks and Nathan Lyon should perform better than against India,” said the former World Cup-winning captain Michael Clarke. “The batting is another year older and another year wiser. I think you’ll see a better team (in the Ashes).”

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Marnus Labuschagne scored 426 runs averaging 53.25 while Steve Smith scored 313 runs averaging 44.71 and were Australia’s leading run-scorers in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy won by India.

Josh Hazlewood(17), Pat Cummins(21) were among the wickets while Mitchell Starc (11) and Nathan Lyon (9) were disappointing, to say the least. In fact, Mitchell Starc’s average was above 40 while Nathan Lyon’s average was 55.

Jofra Archer - GETTY IMAGES
Jofra Archer - GETTY IMAGES

Marnus Labuschagne Excited And Can’t Wait To Face Jofra Archer For The Upcoming Ashes

Marnus Labuschagne, Australia batsman is excited at the prospect of this winter’s Ashes, even if his country’s Covid restrictions will make tour life even more challenging than usual for England. Joe Root’s men face being without their families for up to four months and Marnus Labuschagne, who has been away from his own loved ones while playing for Glamorgan for the last three months, admits it is going to be difficult.

Marnus Labuschagne emerged from isolation and cracked a massive double century with a record score for Glamorgan’s 2nd XI ahead of his final few weeks in county cricket. Marnus Labuschagne and his Queensland team-mate Michael Neser had been forced into ten days isolation having been deemed a close contact of Glamorgan batter Nick Selman who tested positive for Covid-19.
Marnus Labuschagne - Getty Images
Marnus Labuschagne – Getty Images

Marnus Labuschagne Excited For The Upcoming Ashes And Relishes To Play Against Jofra Archer If He Is Fit

Australia is set to play six matches in fewer than eight weeks next summer, after a gap of 312 days since their last assignment against India in January. A one-off Test against Afghanistan at Bellerive Oval in November-December – Hobart’s first Test match since November 2016 – will be followed by an Ashes series that will take in matches at the Gabba, Adelaide Oval (day-night), the MCG, the SCG and concluding at Perth Stadium in mid-January.

‘I’m so excited,’ he said. ‘We’re not going to have Test cricket at all until around the Ashes — we play Afghanistan just before that.”

Marnus Labuschagne is excited at the prospect of this winter’s Ashes Test with England.

‘It’s so exciting to be back playing Test cricket and playing in the Ashes at home. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully, both teams are fully fit and we can have a really good contest.’

He added: ‘I’ve been in England without my family for three months and it’s not nice. We prefer people to be with their families. We’re not talking cricket right now. We’re talking about people’s well-being and families.’

‘One thing we have realised with Covid is that things change quickly. I just hope things sort themselves out and families will be allowed to come.’

Although the 27-year-old batsman knows that being on tour for prolonged periods is a part and parcel of the job, he accepts the impact affects people differently especially in testing times arising due to Covid-19.

Jofra Archer - Action Images Via Reuters
Jofra Archer – Action Images Via Reuters

‘There are always injuries in sport but I want to be playing against the best so if Archer is fit, I want to be playing against Jofra Archer,’ he explained.

Since 2019, Marnus Labuschagne has kicked on to be recognized as one of the world’s leading Test batsmen. His average of 60.8 from 18 Tests speaks for itself.

Marnus Labuschagne Was First Even Concussion Substitute In Tests Replacing Then Skipper Steve Smith In 2019

Marnus Labuschagne replaced Australia captain Steve Smith when he was hit by a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer in August 2019.

‘I think it’s really individual,’ he explained. ‘At the end of the day, it’s our job as players. You’re not forced to be a cricketer and I think in the current environment it’s sometimes the way it is. You have to be away from your family. No one wants to be away from their family for three or four months but we’ve got to keep the game growing.’

Marnus Labuschagne took international cricket by storm with a gutsy 59 after becoming Test cricket’s first concussion substitute, replacing concussed captain Steve Smith. Marnus Labuschagne has kicked on to be recognized as one of the world’s leading Test batsmen.

‘It has been an amazing journey so far in Test cricket, especially since that day at Lord’s,’ said Labuschagne. ‘That’s what sticks in people’s minds. What gets forgotten is I played 10 games of county cricket — I was very familiar with the conditions in England and my own game.’

Steve Smith was hit by a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer in August 2019 AFP via Getty Images
Steve Smith was hit by a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer in August 2019 AFP via Getty Images

England’s rest-and-rotation policy has received plenty of criticism. But Marnus Labuschagne is hopeful it will allow them to land in Australia with a strong bowling unit.

He said: ‘England are playing 13 Test matches in the same period we are playing none. Their bowlers can’t play in 10 Test matches — not many bowlers are going to last that in a 12-month period.’ 

Marnus Labuschagne was the highest run-scorer in the inaugural World Test Championship with 1675 runs at 72.82 playing 13 Tests. On the 2019 Ashes tour to England, Marnus Labuschagne found his form in Tests. After replacing Steve Smith as a concussion substitute, the right-hander overcame the fire of England pacer Jofra Archer and hit four consecutive half-centuries.

Peter Handscomb. Image-Getty
Peter Handscomb. Image-Getty

Peter Handscomb, Who Leads English County Side Middlesex Tests Covid-19 Positive

Peter Handscomb, a former Australian batsman and Victoria skipper has tested positive for COVID-19 while in England for a county cricket stint.

The 30-year-old has been captaining Middlesex this season but was forced out of their Championship Group Two game on Sunday after getting the test result.

Peter Handscomb
Peter Handscomb. Image-PTI

Peter Handscomb Failed To Pass 50 In Last 13 Innings For Middlesex

Peter Handscomb has had a horrid time in England, failing to pass 50 in 13 innings for Middlesex after starting his season with a duck. It’s the second instance of Covid affecting Australian cricketers in England.

Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne and fast bowler Michael Neser, who have been playing for Glamorgan, were both forced into isolation after being in close contact with a positive case. They have since resumed playing but are set to return to Australia earlier than planned.

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Peter Handscomb was struggling to get runs under his belt. In this season, he just had 227 runs to his name in seven games at a dismal average of 17.46. It was reported that he was looking up to mark his comeback in the upcoming Ashes. However, with this performance in the County, it is highly unlikely that he would be able to cement his place.

Peter Handscomb Replaced By Tim Murtagh

Irishman Tim Murtagh stepped up to fill in for Peter Handscomb as skipper as Middlesex ended day one of the clashes with Leicestershire at 280/3. Peter Handscomb last played for Australia in 2019 after having appeared at Test, ODI, and Twenty20 levels during that year.

Cricket in England has continued to be impacted by positive Covid tests. National selectors were forced to pick a new one-day team led by Ben Stokes to play Pakistan after all first-choice players led by Eoin Morgan were forced into isolation as close contacts of a positive case. In the last 24 hours, county side Kent was forced to do the same thing after one of their players tested positive to Covid-19.

Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes -Getty
Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes -Getty

England wrapped up the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan with a game to spare following a 52-run victory over Pakistan at Lord’s. Having won the first match ODI in Cardiff by nine wickets, the result means England go into the final game at Edgbaston on Tuesday with an unassailable 2-0 lead.

England’s top-order batters Zak Crawley and Phil Salt, wicketkeeper John Simpson, seam-bowling allrounder Lewis Gregory and fast bowler Brydon Carse all made their debuts in the first ODI against Pakistan. Zak Crawley and Lewis Gregory had played Test cricket and T20Is respectively, but the other three cricketers had no experience of international cricket.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma Is Likely To Struggle A Bit Against The Swing: Salman Butt

Rohit Sharma will be a crucial player for India in the ICC World Test Championship Final, scheduled to begin this Friday, 18th June against top-ranked Test side New Zealand in Southampton. However, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt feels the opener may struggle against swing.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt highlighted how swinging deliveries trouble every batter while playing against the Dukes’ ball in English conditions.

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

Rohit Sharma, A Free-Flowing Stroke Player Is Likely To Struggle A Bit Against The Swing: Salman Butt

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag has backed Rohit Sharma to score big in English conditions this summer. However, Salman Butt believes Virender Sehwag has publicly backed Rohit Sharma to bolster the Indian opener’s confidence ahead of the WTC Final.

The former Pakistan cricket team skipper opined that a player needs to respect the fast bowlers in the initial phases of his innings in English conditions. According to Salman Butt, the batsman can dominate the proceedings after settling in the middle.

“A free-flowing stroke player like Rohit Sharma is likely to struggle a bit against the swing. Virender Sehwag himself had great hand and eye coordination, but every batsman faces some issues while playing in swinging conditions.

“Even Sehwag knows that. Rohit Sharma scored four centuries during the World Cup in England, but it was a white-ball game and not a Test match with the Dukes ball. Batsmen need to be a little patient while playing the Dukes ball,” Salman Butt said.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Salman Butt felt the unique nature of the Dukes’ ball could trouble any batsman from either team and not just Rohit Sharma. Lastly, Salman Butt concluded by stating that if Rohit Sharma gets going, New Zealand will find it challenging to dismiss him.

Salman Butt Don’t Think India Will Show Unnecessary Aggression Because It Is The WTC Final

The cricket fraternity has its sights set on the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final, with few players labelling it the equivalent of a World Cup final. However, Salman Butt feels India should play their natural game and treat this fixture as any regular match. In his view, there’s no need for India to alter their approach to this game.

“Team India has its own approach. I don’t think the team will show unnecessary aggression because it is the final. Attacking batsmen like Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma will play a bit more aggressively than others, while someone like Cheteshwar Pujara will take his time to settle in the middle. So, I don’t think they will change their natural game,” Salman Butt added.

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

The World Test Championship Final will begin on June 18, and it will be exciting to see if Virat Kohli’s side can become the first-ever winners of the ICC World Test Championship. Rohit Sharma has amassed 1030 runs in 11 Tests averaging 64.37 in the WTC cycle of 2019-21.

The likes of Marnus Labuschagne (1675 runs), Joe Root (1660 runs), Steve Smith (1341 runs), Ben Stokes (1334 runs), Ajinkya Rahane (1094 runs), and Rohit Sharma have managed to score above 1000 runs in the WTC. Virat Kohli is the third-highest scorer among Indians with 877 runs.

Ishant Sharma(3/36) shone with the ball in the ongoing intra-squad practice match in Southampton before the WTC final. Openers Shubman Gill (85 off 135 balls) and Rishabh Pant (121* off 94 balls) shone with the bat. Ravindra Jadeja scored an unbeaten 54 off 76 balls in India’s intra-squad practice match at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Picks Team For Entire WTC 2019-21 Cycle

Aakash Chopra, the cricketer-turned commentator has picked his team for the entire World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. The ICC WTC final will be played on June 18 in Southampton between India and New Zealand. Both teams deserve to be in the finale due to their consistent show in the two-year cycle.

While many former cricketers, experts, and fans have picked their teams, favourite batters, and bowlers whom they feel will have an impact, Aakash Chopra rather picked his hypothetical team who he believed were good during the WTC cycle. Many players like Steve Smith, Dean Elgar, Joe Root, and Jason Holder had made significant contributions to their respective teams and helped win games singlehandedly.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Picks Likes Of Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Steve Smith, And Marnus Labuschagne As Batsmen

Aakash Chopra picked his XI players based on their performances on his YouTube channel. The 43-year-old went with Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne at the top, stating the duo’s consistency in scoring runs at the top was important for India and Sri Lanka respectively.

Rohit Sharma scored 1030 runs in 11 Test matches at an average of 64.37 whereas Dimuth Karunaratne scored 999 runs in 10 Test matches at an impressive average of 55.50. Steve Smith amassed 1341 runs in 13 Test matches at an impressive average of 63.85 with the help of four centuries.

“At the top, I have kept Rohit Sharma. He has scored 1030 at an average of 64. Of course, he has played fewer matches outside India but he has played amazingly well at home. I have gone with Dimuth Karunaratne as his partner. He has scored 999 runs at an average of 55,” Aakash Chopra said.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

At number three and four, he picked the Australian pair of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne due to their phenomenal ability to bat for longer periods of time and score runs in any conditions. Marnus Labuschagne was the highest run-getter with 1675 runs in 13 Test matches at a splendid average of 72.82, including five centuries. He, however, left out Indian skipper Virat Kohli and India’s highest run-getter of the tournament, Ajinkya Rahane.

Aakash Chopra Picks Ben Stokes, Ravichandran Ashwin As All-Rounders, And Rishabh Pant As Keeper

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and mercurial England all-rounder Ben Stokes slots in at five and six respectively. While the former plundered runs at home, the latter single-handedly helped his team win games against rivals Australia in the Ashes 2019.

Kane Williamson scored 817 runs in nine Test matches at an average of 58.35. Ben Stokes takes the all-rounder role as he scored 1334 runs in 17 Test matches whereas he scalped 34 wickets during the WTC cycle.

“At No.5, I have got Kane Williamson, who is the captain of my side. He has scored 817 runs at an average of 58. At No.6, there is no confusion here, because only 2-3 names come to your mind when you talk about all-rounders, I have picked Ben Stokes. 1334 runs at an average of 46 and he took 34 wickets as well,” Aakash Chopra said.

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

Rishabh Pant is the designated wicketkeeper-batter due to his stunning counter-attacking abilities and his recent form. As for bowlers he has gone with Ravichandran Ashwin and Pat Cummins at number eight and nine due to their ability to also be handy batters.

Rishabh Pant takes the wicket-keeping gloves as he scored 662 runs in 11 Test matches for India at an average of 41.37. Pat Cummins makes the cut into the commentator’s team as he scalped 70 wickets (at an average of 21.02), which is the maximum of the WTC cycle before the final.

“At No.8, I have got Cummins. There is no doubt about that, he is the best Test bowler in the world. He has taken 70 wickets at an average of 21. At No.9, I have got Ravichandran Ashwin, he has taken 67 wickets at an average of 20,” Aakash Chopra said.

He rounded off the list by including Stuart Broad and Tim Southee as his seam bowlers in WTC XI.

Ravichandran Ashwin is the solitary spinner in the team as the off-spinner snared 67 wickets in 13 matches at an impressive average of 20.88. Stuart Broad also gets a place as he scalped 69 wickets in 17 Test matches at a sublime average of 20.08. New Zealand’s fast bowler Tim Southee makes it to Aakash Chopra’s team as he bagged 51 wickets in 10 Test matches at an impressive average of 20.66.

Aakash Chopra’s combined best XI of WTC 2019-21: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Williamson (c), Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant, Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Broad, Tim Southee

Australian fast bowler Jason Behrendorff. (Reuters)
Australian fast bowler Jason Behrendorff. (Reuters)

Jason Behrendorff Named In Australia’s 23 Member Preliminary Squad For West Indies ODI, T20 Tour

Jason Behrendorff and Tanveer Sangha on Monday were named in Australia’s 23-member preliminary squad for the upcoming limited-overs tour of West Indies.

Australia and West Indies are set to lock horns in five T20Is and three ODIs in July this year. The likes of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Alex Carey, and Pat Cummins return to the squad after missing the recent white-ball tour of New Zealand.

Australia pacer Jason Behrendorff (file image)
Australia pacer Jason Behrendorff (file image)

Jason Behrendorff Named In Australia’s 23 Member Preliminary Squad For 5 T20Is And 3 ODIs Against And In West Indies

Hard-hitting middle-order batsmen Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, and Mitchell Marsh join opener D’Arcy Short in the mix for the final batting places. They all add the flexibility of being able to play in the top or middle-order. Highly rated batsman Josh Phillipe adds another top-order option with captain Aaron Finch and David Warner and as an additional backup wicketkeeper-batsman to Alex Carey and Matthew Wade.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Experienced all-rounders Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques, and Mitchell Marsh are joined by the in-form hard-hitting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in the preliminary squad. Daniel Sams advised the NSP he was unavailable for selection for the tour of the West Indies on health and wellbeing grounds. CA supports Daniel Sams’s decision.

Jason Behrendorff made his T20I debut for Australia against India on 7 October 2017. On 12 January 2019, he made his One Day International (ODI) debut against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, taking 2 wickets. In April 2019, Jason Behrendorff was named to Australia’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 25 June 2019 in the match against England, Jason Behrendorff took his first five-wicket haul in ODIs. He has played 11 ODIs and 7 T20Is picking up 16 and 7 scalps respectively.

Marnus Labuschagne Not Named For Remaining In The UK For Logistical Complexities

Pacers Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, and Andrew Tye join Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc as the primary pace strike weapons. They are joined by pacer Riley Meredith and left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: “This preliminary list gives selectors a solid base from which to choose a final touring party in the coming weeks while allowing players to prepare.”

“The Australian men’s T20 squad has the ability to match it with any team in the world and the competition for places will be fierce, which is exactly what we are looking for. The West Indies men’s team has won two of the six ICC T20 World Cups played, including the most recent tournament in India and 2016, and this series will provide us with excellent preparation ahead of the 2021 edition in October and November,” he added.

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ben Oliver, CA’s EGM of National Teams said: “It was great to see our Olympians receiving their vaccination shots ahead of the Tokyo Games and we are working through logistics for the Australian men’s team with the relevant agencies. We will comply with all government directives in relation to vaccinations and international travel.”

Marnus Labuschagne, however, will remain in Wales with county side Glamorgan because of “the logistical complexities of joining the squad from the UK and associated quarantines”, Cricket Australia (CA) said in a news release. Australia will play three one-dayers in Barbados and five 20-over internationals in St Lucia as they continue their preparations for the World Twenty20 in India later this year.

Australia’s 23-member preliminary squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

James Anderson Likened Bowling To Marnus Labuschagne As If To “Impress A Girl At A Nightclub”

James Anderson, veteran England seamer dismissed Marnus Labuschagne in a County match and pulled off one of the best one-liners that will leave even one of the most intense MCC members in splits. He likened bowling to the Australian to impress a girl at a nightclub.

James Anderson is not the only one who feels the same way about Marcus Labuschagne. He has been in supreme form and reached his peak here in England back in 2019 Ashes but James Anderson wasn’t there due to an injury.

James Anderson
James Anderson is set to play his fifth Ashes series later this year.© AFP

James Anderson Never Bowled At Marnus Labuschagne Before And Said A Good Impression Should Be Created To Get His Wicket

But James Anderson secretly relished having a go at the Australian batsman and finally, he got his chance when Lancashire took on Glamorgan.

“You want to create a good impression and stamp your authority on that battle. It’s nice to get the first blow in. I’d never bowled at him before,” James Anderson told BBC Podcast ‘Tailenders’.

Then came the punch: “It’s like when you see a girl at a club and you try to play it cool. You want her to be impressed. You start dancing to the Stone Roses while your shoes stick to the floor.”

James Anderson
James Anderson  had Marnus Labuschagne caught behind for 12 during Lancashire’s draw with Glamorgan Getty Images

The 38-year-old James Anderson, who is the highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers in Test cricket, is set to play in his fifth Ashes series come December. James Anderson missed almost all of the last Ashes series in 2019 because of a calf injury, managing only four overs on the first morning of the first Test.

Marnus Labuschagne came into the Australia side as a concussion replacement for Steve Smith midway through the second Test at Lord’s. Since that point, only England captain Joe Root has made more runs in Tests than 26-year-old Marnus Labuschagne.

Marnus Labuschagne Feels For Australian Players Playing In IPL 2021

Marnus Labuschagne has expressed concerns for Australian players who are featuring in the IPL 2021 even as India battles a record surge in daily coronavirus cases. The daily coronavirus count in India touched a new high with over 3.7 lakh fresh cases reported.

A host of Australian cricketers and one match official including Andre Tye, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, and umpire Paul Reiffel have already left IPL 2021. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has taken a break while umpire Nitin Menon has also left for home after his mother and wife were tested positive for the deadly virus.

“You obviously feel for them,” Labuschagne told Sky Sports. “But I haven’t spoken to too many guys that are feeling unsafe. It’s more about getting back into Australia and what does that look like. I just hope that they stay safe and get back to Australia safely whenever they do.”

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

A mass exodus of Australian players, coaches, and support staff to the Maldives is the expected remedy to a dilemma created by the postponement of the 2021 IPL and the current closure of the Australian border to citizens currently in India during its rampant Covid-19 outbreak. There are close to 40 Australians in the IPL bubble comprising players, coaching staff, and commentators.

The likes of Pat Cummins, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Ricky Ponting, and Simon Katich are expected to join the commentator Michael Slater, who had already headed to the Maldives as a temporary post in the wake of bans on entry to Australian citizens who have recently been in India, a state of play that will exist until at least May 15.

Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

No Reason Why Steve Smith Shouldn’t Be In Line For Captaincy: Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja has called for former Australian skipper Steve Smith to again captain Australia once Tim Paine’s tenure ends. Tim Paine took over as Australia captain from Steve Smith in 2018 after the duo of Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for ball tempering offence for a year from international cricket.

The Queensland skipper said if Steve Smith who was stripped of the Test captaincy after the South African sandpaper scandal again wanted the job, it should go to him, despite some calls among ex-players and fans for vice-captain Pat Cummins or batting sensation Marnus Labuschagne to succeed Tim Paine.

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja: Steve Smith Should Captain Australia If He Wants To Do So

Steve Smith might replace Tim Paine as the skipper if there is no other option available for Australia in the aftermath of their humiliating defeat against India in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar 4 Test series earlier this week by a margin of 2-1.  Tim Paine has led Australia in 23 Tests since succeeding Steve Smith in 2018, winning 11 and losing 8 games with 4 draws. Steve Smith had won 18, lost 10 and drawn 6 Tests when he led Australia from 2014 to 2018.

“If Steve Smith wants to captain Australia, I think he should captain Australia,” Khawaja said.

“He’s our number one batsman, he’s done it before, he’s paid for his mistakes, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in line for the captaincy if wants to do it.”

Usman Khawaja said there had been no discussions among the Queensland hierarchy about batsman Marnus Labuschagne taking over the Queensland Bulls captaincy to prepare him for the possibility of him leading Australia in the future. He added that Marnus Labuschagne had not approached him for any captaincy or leadership tips.

Steve Smith celebrates reaching his century in Australia’s comfortable win over India in the first ODI at the SCG. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images
Steve Smith celebrates reaching his century in Australia’s comfortable win over India in the first ODI at the SCG. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

The pair will be key to the Queensland Bulls’ hopes of winning their Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia starting on Saturday at the Gabba.

Usman Khawaja Felt Nice To Get Support From Ex Skipper Michael Clarke Who Called For The Left Hander’s Recall

Usman Khawaja brings great form into the match after scoring an unbeaten 115 in Queensland’s three-wicket win over Tasmania at Blundstone Arena last month. It’s his form that has led to former Test captain Michael Clarke calling for the 34-year-old left-hander to be recalled to the Australian team. Usman Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019.

“It’s always nice to get support from an ex-Test captain. He’s a gun player himself, but I don’t read too much into it,” Khawaja said.

“I feel good. All season actually I’ve felt really good. Sometimes that always doesn’t translate to runs. You can’t get too relaxed on yourself and think that things are going to work out. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done. When things are going well, you just try to keep doing the same thing for as long as you can, because there are plenty of time when things don’t go well, no matter who you are. Hopefully I can keep getting runs for Queensland and we can win more games.”

The Queensland Bulls currently top the Sheffield Shield ladder but are wary of a West Australian side containing Test all-rounder Cameron Green.

“WA play quite well here too most times. They have a similar wicket at home, they have a bouncy track, and I think out of all the teams, they handle these (Gabba) conditions as well as anyone,” Usman Khawaja said.

Cameron Green
Cameron Green. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“(Green) batted beautifully last year in the second innings here … he’s going to be a big one.”

Usman Khawaja scored an unbeaten 115 against Tasmania in his last first-class game and followed it up with 93 against the same opposition in List A-game. Cameron Green recently scored unbeaten 168 against South Australia in his last First-Class game and then 144 against the same opposition in List A.

Cameron Green scored his first one-day hundred from 82 balls, powering the latter part of Western Australia’s innings with some fierce strokeplay, but Travis Head responded in kind with a brilliant 68-ball century as West Australia won by 13 runs in a 725 run affair. Shaun Marsh and Harry Nielsen too struck tons.

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon

Nathan Lyon Has No Issues With Coach Justin Langer

Nathan Lyon is unaware of any discontent regarding former batsman Justin Langer’s coaching style in the Australian dressing room. The off-spinner insisted that he personally has no issues with the former opening batsman.

Last month, reports emerged that most of the Australian players were unhappy with Justin Langer’s ‘micromanaging’ and strict coaching style. The report attributed the development to dressing room sources.

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Nathan Lyon Don’t Have A Problem With Justin Langer

Now, Nathan Lyon has gone on to back the Australian coach and said he doesn’t have any problem with coach Justin Langer as he denies rumours and questions the source of the news.

“Me personally, if I had a problem with JL, I’d go straight to him, But I don’t have a problem with him. I don’t understand where it’s all coming from. I’d like to think anyone in that change room or anyone at Cricket Australia or outside – if anyone has a problem with anyone, we’re about being honest with each other,” AAP quoted Nathan Lyon as saying.

Ever since their defeat to an injury-ridden Indian team last month in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Australian team has come under severe scrutiny. Their recent Test series to South Africa was also postponed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa meaning the team will play England in the Ashes later this year.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne came in defence of coach Justin Langer after reports emerged about the Australian players are not liking the latter’s headmaster-like coaching style.

In the recently concluded Test series, India won 2-1 after the Adelaide debacle in 1st Test where the team scored only 36 in 2nd innings and lost. Australians Marnus Labuschagne (426 runs) and Pat Cummins (21 scalps) were leading run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively

Justin Langer Insisted On Honest Conversations

Justin Langer recently said that he has always insisted on having an honest conversation in the dressing room, and said it was a killer blow to him when he learned about the discontent in the dressing room from the media.

“That’s the killer (learning about the discontent from media). I’ve talked for years about honest conversations, and the worst part about it all for me was it came out two weeks after the Test match; if there was such an issue, the players or the assistant coaches would have come and spoken to me,” Justin Langer told Perth’s Sport.

The left-hander Justin Langer
The left-hander Justin Langer (Source: Reuters)

Australia’s hopes of getting into the ICC World Test Championship final depend on the result of the fourth India-England Test. If England wins the Test and level the series 2-2, Australia will go through. Any other result will see India face New Zealand in the final.

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