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Mitchell Marsh

Perth Scorchers team. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Perth Scorchers team. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
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Perth Scorchers Docked For Breaching BBL Rules After Fielding Brayden Stepien

Perth Scorchers were found guilty of a breach of the Big Bash League (BBL) Player Contracting and Remuneration Rules at a Cricket Australia Code of Conduct Commission hearing.

The Perth Scorchers fielded Central Local Replacement Player Brayden Stepien during their Big Bash League match against the Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval on Friday, January 14.

Local replacement player Brayden Stepien’s first appearance as a Perth Scorchers came in remarkable circumstances.
Local replacement player Brayden Stepien’s first appearance as a Perth Scorcher came in remarkable circumstances. Credit: Fox Cricket

Perth Scorchers Quilty Of Breaching BBL Rules After Using Central Replacement Player Incorrectly

Perth Scorchers have been found guilty of breaching BBL contracting rules after using a central replacement player incorrectly during their loss to Adelaide Strikers on January 14, but will still finish top of the ladder as the BBL lock away their finals venues.
Laurie Evans of the Perth Scorchers (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Laurie Evans of the Perth Scorchers (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Perth Scorchers called in a replacement player Brayden Stepien from the newly-created central pool to keep wicket for 14 overs during the Strikers match after Laurie Evans, who was initially picked to keep the wicket, had suffered an injury. The Perth franchise was already missing Josh Inglis, who was with Australia’s Test squad, while Cameron Bancroft was missing due to Covid.

Brayden Stepien Kept Wicket For 14 Overs During The Adelaide Striker’s Innings Despite Not Being Part Of Perth Scorchers’ 18 Men Squad

Brayden Stepien kept wicket for 14 overs during the Adelaide Strikers’ batting innings despite not being part of the Perth franchise’s 18-player squad.

“At the hearing, Commissioner Alan Sullivan QC heard evidence from representatives of both Clubs and Cricket Australia. He determined that Stepien was an ineligible player for the match and as such, the decision to field Stepien was a breach of the Rules,” said an official statement.

Adelaide Strikers (Image Source: @StrikersBBL)
Adelaide Strikers (Image Source: @StrikersBBL)

The Commissioner determined the penalty for the Perth Scorchers would be the deduction of their Bash Boost point earned on the night. He noted the unique and challenging circumstances of the current Big Bash League season and the low impact of this breach.

For clarity, the Bash Boost point from that match will not be awarded to the Adelaide Strikers. Brayden Stepien was on standby for the game as a replacement player, but clubs need to officially add the replacement player to their squad list prior to the game to allow him to play. But Brayden Stepien was called upon to field despite not being added to the Perth Scorchers list.

An undermanned Perth Scorchers outfit has been dealt a “rude shock”, producing their lowest total of BBL11 in just their third loss of the summer as the Adelaide Strikers kept their slim finals hopes alive. Pacer Matt Kelly returned a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 and didn’t travel with the squad. Batsman Cameron Bancroft also returned a positive PCR test result while in isolation, joining Colin Munro. Mitchell Marsh, Josh Inglis, and Ashton Agar were also unavailable for selection.

With six first-choice Scorchers unavailable, the Adelaide Strikers on Friday played with great discipline – with both bat and ball – to record an impressive six-wicket win in their first game without superstar spinner Rashid Khan in a rare mid-morning BBL game at the Adelaide Oval. It was Adelaide Strikers’ second consecutive win, helping it jump into the top five on the table amid the crucial closing stages of the BBL regular season.

Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
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Michael Vaughan Reckons Justin Langer Is Doing A Fantastic Job As Australia’s Head Coach

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain has advised Australia against ending head coach Justin Langer’s tenure when his contract ends in mid-2022. Michael Vaughan believes Justin Langer has done a commendable job since taking the team’s charge three years ago.

Cricket Australia will decide whether or not to extend Justin Langer’s tenure after the ongoing Ashes 2021/22 series. While the West Australian intends to continue in the role and has done remarkably well, the board could replace Justin Langer.

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

Michael Vaughan Reckons Justin Langer’s Doing A Fantastic Job And If He Was Cricket Australia, He Would Sign Him Up For 2 More Years

Michael Vaughan said that Australia must extend Justin Langer’s contract. Justin Langer, Australia coach had earlier hinted that he would seek an extension of his four-year contract, expiring in June 2022, saying he “loves his job”. Justin Langer had faced criticism for his coaching methods from the players but now has a Twenty20 World Cup in his CV besides adding the coveted Ashes Trophy 2021/22 win to it.

The 47-year old feels the national team might suffer from Langer’s departure, so he should stay for two more years, saying: “I would jump at the chance. Be careful what you wish for – that’s all I’ll say. The grass is not always greener, and Justin Langer, from what I see – he’s doing a fantastic job. If I was Cricket Australia, I’d sign him up for at least a couple more years.”

Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Justin Langer came under serious pressure after last year’s home series loss to India. The 51-year old’s fraught relationship with the players also emerged. However, he boosted his chances of remaining with the team following the World T20 and Ashes 2021/22 wins.

Opener David Warner fired another shot at his critics and Mitchell Marsh scored a quickfire half-century as Australia cruised to its maiden T20 World Cup triumph, beating New Zealand by eight wickets.

Justin Langer was given the job to overhaul the team’s culture and regain the respect of the Australian public after the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 (Sandpaper Gate) which saw then skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft banned for a year or so.

Michael Vaughan Suggests England May Appoint Justin Langer As Coach If Australia Doesn’t Want Him To Continue

Michael Vaughan also backs Justin Langer to lead Australia to an Ashes victory in England next year, trusting his knowledge and experience.

However, he also feels the 105-Test veteran would be a perfect fit for England’s coach, saying: “He’d take all that information to make sure that in 2023, Australia go on to win the Ashes convincingly in English conditions because they’ve got the squad and the mentality around the group with Justin’s kind of leadership to go on and do so. But if you don’t want him, yeah, we’ll have him.”

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Australia has won the Ashes for the third time in a row as they lead the five-match series 3-0. They have beaten England convincingly in all three Tests.

In the ongoing Test, Usman Khawaja departed after scoring a fantastic century on return to Test cricket to power Australia to 416/8 declared in the first innings while Stuart Broad took a brilliant five-wicket haul on Day 2 of the 4th Ashes Test at the SCG.

Usman Khawaja was added to the Australia squad after middle-order batter Travis Head returned positive for COVID-19 last week. This is also Usman Khawaja’s first international match since the 2019 Ashes in England.

Australia has made one forced change in their XI for the 4th Test match as Usman Khawaja has replaced middle-order batter Travis Head who was ruled out for this match after testing positive for Covid-19. Meanwhile, pacer Scott Boland has been retained in the XI as Josh Hazlewood still hasn’t recovered from injury.

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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James Anderson Thought England Had A Chance To Regain Ashes Urn But Plans Failed

James Anderson, the England pacer expressed his disappointment at the team’s efforts in the ongoing Ashes. James Anderson said he genuinely believed England could regain the Ashes 2021/22 urn by beating Australia Down Under this time around.

England’s Ashes campaign was ground to dust as they crashed to an innings defeat in a must-win third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia’s relentless bowling unit bundled the visitors out for 68. Scott Boland surprised himself with a sensational debut at his home ground. The Victorian pacer returned with figures of 4-1-7-6 in England’s 2nd innings.

Scott Boland.
Scott Boland. Getty Images.

James Anderson Thought England Squad Would Compete But The Plans Failed

James Anderson admitted England has failed to execute their plans in all three Tests, surrendering abjectly without any effort to compete.

Citing his disappointment at not meeting expectations, the 39-year-old stated: “The first three games have been really gutting. The lads are pretty flat at the minute. I genuinely thought we had a good chance when we came over here. I thought the squad we’ve got would be able to compete but it’s clearly not gone to plan.”

England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter
England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson, Twitter

He added: “The more senior players have to rally round and make sure everyone is in a good headspace to compete because the first three games have been really gutting.”

Although James Anderson gave his best in the two Tests he played, England’s batting unit has collapsed in all six innings played so far. The team has been reliant on Joe Root, who has had a prolific 2021, amassing 1708 runs.

James Anderson Gutted For Not Performing For Fans Urging Teammates To Leave No Stone Unturned

James Anderson urged his teammates to leave no stone unturned in the final two Tests and give the England supporters something to cheer for.

The Lancashire seamer said: “I think we’ve just got to throw absolutely everything at the next two games. We’re aware that we’ve got so much support and I know people are getting up in the middle of the night watching us as well at home. We are just gutted that we’re not performing for those people and giving them what they want to see.”

Travis Head has tested positive for Covid 19 Getty Images
Travis Head has tested positive for Covid 19 Getty Images

James Anderson was part of England’s 2010-11 Ashes series victory, emerging as the highest wicket-taker that year. Since then, the veteran has seen Australia steamroll his side in the previous two tours. This tour could possibly be his final appearance Down Under, as James Anderson will want to sign off with two wins.

Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson, and Josh Inglis have been called up as cover as Australia batter Travis Head has tested positive for Covid-19.  Australia already has Usman Khawaja with the squad and he would be the likely replacement for Travis Head in the middle order. England head coach Chris Silverwood, like Travis Head, will miss the Sydney Test and remain in isolation in Melbourne after one of his family members tested Covid-19 positive.

Captain Pat Cummins, who missed the second test due to a Covid scare, is one pacer assured of playing. If fellow pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both play, it means there will be no room for debutant Scott Boland despite his stunning 6/7 on debut at the MCG.  Spinner Mitchell Swepson could also play if there is a turning wicket in Sydney and Australia decide to play two spinners, with allrounder Cameron Green as the third seamer.

James Anderson has been one of England’s standout performers in the series and took 4-33 from his 23 overs, including 10 maidens, as England bowled Australia out for 267 on day two of the third Test. He has picked 7 scalps in 2 Tests averaging a mere 14.14.

Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga
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Mohammad Rizwan And Wanindu Hasaranga Among ICC’s 4 Nominees For T20I Player Of The Year Award

Mohammad Rizwan, the Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter topped the batting charts in 2021 when it came to the shortest format of the game. Aggregating a staggering 1326 runs in only 29 matches, Mohammad Rizwan struck at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89. Another keeper England’s Jos Buttler amassed 589 runs in 14 matches at 65.44 with one century alongside getting 13 dismissals. Mohammad Rizwan registered his name in history as he became the first-ever batter to reach 2000 runs in a calendar year in the T20s.

Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lankan all-rounder established himself as one of the best spinners in the shortest format picking up 36 wickets in 20 matches at 11.63 while also being a player who could contribute with the bat scoring 196 runs with one half-century. Another Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh amassed 627 runs in 27 matches at 36.88 besides picking 8 wickets at 18.37.

Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Rizwan Of Pakistan And Jos Butler Of England Are Keepers Among ICC Player Of The Year 2021 Award

Apart from Mohammad Rizwan’s exploits with the bat, he was as solid as ever behind the stumps, getting 24 dismissals and playing a key role in Pakistan’s run to the semi-finals during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, where he ended up as the third-highest run-scorer.

He also scored the maiden T20I century of his career against South Africa in Lahore early in 2021 and ended it continuing his form with a brilliant knock of 87 against West Indies in Karachi. Pakistan will hope that Mohammad Rizwan continues in the same vein, with another 2022 T20I World Cup nearby. Though a chase of 152 looked relatively easy on paper, Pakistan had never beaten India in a World Cup encounter.

Jos Buttler smashed his maiden T20I ton | Photo: Rajasthan Royals
Jos Buttler smashed his maiden T20I ton | Photo: Rajasthan Royals

With the likes of pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in opposition attack, the task was made all the more complicated. Mohammad Rizwan along with his skipper Babar Azam ensured that a famous victory would be sealed to break the jinx. He smacked an unbeaten 79 in only 55 deliveries, hitting six fours and three sixes. He ensured that there were no hiccups in the run-chase as Pakistan galloped towards the target without losing any wicket to seal a 10-wicket victory.

Jos Buttler started the year off brilliantly with two blistering knocks against India away from home. He would continue this run in the subsequent series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, despite not playing all the matches. This boded well for England as their key batter was in sublime touch heading into the T20 World Cup.

He did not disappoint in the tournament, always getting his side off to brilliant starts. His two best knocks came in consecutive matches – first against Australia and then against Sri Lanka who faced his full wrath. He ended the tournament as England’s leading run-scorer with 269 runs before their run ended by New Zealand in the semi-finals in a nail-biting thriller.

Blasting the first century of the 2021 T20I WC, Jos Buttler was at his belligerent best in the encounter against Sri Lanka in Sharjah. It was ball-striking of the highest order as the wicketkeeper-batter penetrated all areas of the ground.  His unbeaten 101 came in only 67 deliveries and consisted of six fours and six sixes. His knock allowed England to post a competitive score of 163/4, which they ended up defending and winning the contest by 26 runs.

The value of his knock was vital as it came on a slow and low pitch in Sharjah, which wasn’t conducive to a stroke-maker like Jos Buttler, with the batters finding it generally tough to time the ball.

Wanindu Hasaranga And Mitchell Marsh Are The Two All-Rounders Among Nominees For Player Of The 2021 Year In T20Is

A consistent performer throughout the year, Wanindu Hasaranga’s star shone the brightest during the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman.  He ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps and also played some handy knocks with the bat, like his 71 against Ireland.

He was a constant menace for the opposition as Sri Lanka impressed all during the tournament with their young and energetic side. Still only 24, Wanindu Hasaranga is expected to become a cornerstone of Sri Lankan cricket, especially in the shortest formats of the game.

In a pressure encounter in Sharjah against South Africa, Wanindu Hasaranga almost single-handedly helped his side claw back into the contest with his brilliance with the ball. Claiming a memorable hat-trick, he took the big scalps of Aiden Markram (19) and Temba Bavuma (46) before dismissing Dwaine Pretorius to complete his hat-trick.  He ended up with figures of 3/20 in his four-over spell, and it was only the power-hitting of David Miller at the death that got the Proteas over the line.

Australia’s success at the T20 World Cup can be traced back to the decision to move Mitchell Marsh up the batting order to No.3, instead of designating him the role of being a finisher lower down. Throughout the calendar year, he was their best batter in the shortest format, improving his game by leaps and bounds, especially against spin and when it came to rotating the strike.

Mitchell Marsh soaks the T20 World Cup triumph ICC via Getty Images
Mitchell Marsh soaks the T20 World Cup triumph ICC via Getty Images

He was the silver lining in Australia’s otherwise poor showings in West Indies and Bangladesh, where they lost both T20I series by 4-1, batting higher up the order. Heading into the tournament in UAE, he was in supreme confidence after his good displays and improved fitness. This led to a fruitful tournament as he aggregated 185 runs in 6 matches at an average of 61.66 and a healthy strike rate of 146.82.

He reserved the best for the last, playing a match-winning knock in the final against New Zealand. Chasing down a stiff target of 173 and after the early departure of skipper Aaron Finch, the pressure was on Mitchell Marsh to build a substantial partnership with David Warner. He played his best knock of the tournament. His unbeaten 77 off 50 deliveries consisted of six fours and four sixes.

Starting off on an aggressive note, he rotated the strike brilliantly in the middle overs as he teed off again towards the end. His knock ensured that Australia chased down the challenging target in only 18.5 overs, and was crowned the winners of the T20 World Cup for the first time. For his performance, he has been adjudged the Player of the Match.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer
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Justin Langer Would Seek Extension Of His 4 Year Contract Ending In June 2022

Justin Langer, Australia coach on Thursday hinted that he would seek an extension of his four-year contract, expiring in June 2022, saying he “loves his job”.

Justin Langer had faced criticism for his coaching methods from the players but now has a Twenty20 World Cup in his CV and is also close to adding the coveted Ashes Trophy win to it.

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

Justin Langer Loves His Job Of Coaching The Australian Team And Would Seek An Extension Of His 4 Year Contract Ending In June 2022

Australia is leading the home series against England 2-0. The 51-year-old former Test opener and current coach insisted that his thought process has not changed.
Opener David Warner fired another shot at his critics and Mitchell Marsh scored a quickfire half-century as Australia cruised to its maiden T20 World Cup triumph, beating New Zealand by eight wickets.

“I have never thought differently, to be honest. I have been consistent with what I have said for the last four years. I love my job,” Langer was quoted as saying.

“The boys are playing well, no doubt about it, it’s a great team to be involved in. So, nothing has changed from my point of view.”

Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia’s maiden T20 World Cup win was expected to help his cause when cricket officials meet after the Ashes to discuss whether to renew his contract next year. Retaining the Ashes at home would almost cement that — after a period in which Australia recovered from the 2018 ball-tampering scandal to retain the urn in England but lost two home series to India.

Former skipper and much-respected former batsman Steve Waugh is one of those cricketing figures in Australian cricket who advocate splitting the coaching duties.

“Langer confirmed he wanted to remain in charge of the Test squad and the limited-overs teams in the long term, for there has been a debate that the senior coach for the red-and-white-ball teams should be split,” the report said.

“Langer’s senior assistant Andrew McDonald would be the ideal white-ball coach if Langer remained and the roles were split. McDonald, who listens closely to players and has an excellent rapport, is seen as a fine leader and also capable of guiding all three teams.”

Justin Langer was given the job to overhaul the team’s culture and regain the respect of the Australian public after the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 (Sandpaper Gate scandal) which saw then skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft banned for a year or so.

Justin Langer: Struggling Marcus Harris Will Play 3rd Ashes Test

Australia will retain struggling opener Marcus Harris for the third Ashes Test and are confident paceman Mitchell Starc will recover from a rib problem in time to bowl at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, coach Justin Langer said. With 38 runs in four innings so far in the series, Marcus Harris is the one specialist batter in the Australia team who did not thrive as the hosts secured big wins in the first two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Marcus Harris (AP Photo)
Marcus Harris (AP Photo)

Regular skipper pacer Pat Cummins and fellow fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will return to the squad later on Thursday after missing the second Test in Adelaide, which Australia won by 275 runs.

England suffered humiliating defeats in the first two Tests — by nine wickets in the tour opener at the Gabba and by 275 runs in the next outing at Adelaide Oval. The visitors need to win the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground to keep the five-match series alive. The third Test match starts on December 26. It will be followed by matches in Sydney (January 5 to 9) and Hobart (January 14 to 18).

Matthew Wade revealed he tore his side prior to the T20 World Cup final Getty Images
Matthew Wade revealed he tore his side prior to the T20 World Cup final Getty Images
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Matthew Wade Played T20 World Cup Final Despite Picking Grade 2 Side Strain

Matthew Wade played a remarkable inning in the T20 World Cup 2021 semi-finals that will be remembered for ages. Batting at No. 7, the Australia wicketkeeper-batsman smoked three back-to-back sixes that knocked out knocked Pakistan out of the tournament.

He returned unbeaten on 41 off just 17 deliveries as the Aussies were through to the finals with a five-wicket win. However, days after Australia’s first-ever T20I World Cup triumph, Matthew Wade disclosed that he played the high-octane final against runners-up New Zealand on November 14 with a grade 2 side strain.

Matthew Wade
Matthew Wade (PA AAP)

Matthew Wade Picked Up Grade 2 Side Strain At Training A Dey Before Final Of 2021 T20I World Cup

As reported, the 33-year-old picked up the injury at training a day before the final face-off in Dubai. He was taken for the scans, which revealed a grade two strain. Matthew Wade said that he was worried about getting ruled out that would have meant an international debut for Josh Inglis.

“I was a little bit worried the night before the game, for sure,” Wade said.

“If I had woken up and I couldn’t swing the bat, I wouldn’t have played. I was worried that if we’d batted first and I had to go as hard as I could, and I tore it then, I wouldn’t be able to keep, and that would hurt the team a lot.”
Glenn Maxwell | Source: Twitter
Glenn Maxwell | Source: Twitter

“But in my mind, they would have had to strap me to the bed. I was always going to go out there and play. But I wouldn’t have played if there was a chance it was going to hurt the team. I went and hit some balls before the game and bluffed my way through that. Then they made me hit a few more, but I got through it and it felt pretty fine,” he added.

The report further quoted all-rounder Glenn Maxwell explaining how Matthew Wade tried to hide his injury during the training session.

“The way he was gingerly hitting underarms (in the warm-ups) … I said ‘what’s going on here? Hit the ball harder!’,” Maxwell said. “And he said, ‘I’ve got a side strain’. I didn’t even know.”

Matthew Wade (41 not out off 17) and Marcus Stoinis (40 off 31) shared an unbeaten 81-run stand for the sixth wicket to pull off a five-wicket win over Pakistan in the 2nd semi-final.

After his semi-final heroics, Matthew Wade, who turns 34 in December, said that he thought he might be playing his last international match for Australia. But he confirmed on Thursday that he would love to play in Australia’s title defence at home next year to finish off his international career.

Matthew Wade Will Focus On 2022 T20I World Cup After Missing Ashes Due To The Injury

Matthew Wade now has lost his spot in the upcoming Ashes Down Under owing to the injury and will focus on the next year’s T20 World Cup that will be held in Australia. As a result, Wicket-keeper-batsman Matthew Wade, whose heroic innings saw Australia win the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021, and the man of the match of the final, Mitchell Marsh, have not been included in the team for the Ashes 2021/22.

“That’ll be my next motivation – hopefully get to that World Cup, defend the title and then I can sail off into the sunset. I certainly won’t be playing (international cricket) beyond that point. That would be my goal from here,” Wade said.

Australia's Matthew Wade and Australia's Marcus Stoinis celebrate after the match. Credit: Reuters Photo
Australia’s Matthew Wade and Australia’s Marcus Stoinis celebrate after the match. Credit: Reuters Photo

After the dropped catch by Hasan Ali in the penultimate over, Keeper Matthew Wade subsequently smacked Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi for three consecutive sixes as Australia won with an over to spare. Marcus Stoinis (40*) and Matthew Wade (41*) took Australia over the line in a pulsating finish in Dubai against Pakistan.

Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
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Kevin Pietersen Picked His Best 11 After 2021 T20I World Cup Concludes; David Warner Left Out

Kevin Pietersen, the former England superstar, has also picked his Best XI on the completion of the T20I World Cup in a blog after Australia won their maiden title. Interestingly, Kevin Pietersen has picked a spinner (Wanindu Hasaranga) and a batsman (Charith Asalanka) from Sri Lanka. Both have shown enormous promise.

Pietermaritzburg (Natal)-born Kevin Pietersen has chosen South Africans batsman Aiden Markram and pacer Anrich Nortje in his XI. Anrich Nortje has emerged as a top T20I bowler and should be a hot property in the big IPL 2022 auctions early next year.

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

Kevin Pietersen Picked 2021 T20I World Cup Top Scorer Babar Azam In His XI

Another ICC event has ended, and every cricket lover is busy picking his best XI of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. In a format where the margin of error is virtually negligible, it is extremely difficult to shortlist the best 11 players. The T20I  World Cup 2021 in UAE has been a tournament of comebacks.

If Player of the Tournament opener David Warner and Mitchell Marsh turned up for Australia at a time when critics had written them off after defeats against West Indies and even Bangladesh prior to WC, debutants Namibia caught the eye with some spirited performances.

At the same time, Pakistan rose from the ashes, and India’s pride as a T20I monster was buried. A World Cup tests the skills, temperament, and application of every cricketer. India was a classic example of how reputation can go for a toss if a team has two bad days in office.

After losing for the first time in a World Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan and then being humbled by New Zealand, India was always playing catch-up in their group and eventually did not qualify for the knockouts. As a result, Virat Kohli, who was captaining India for the last time in T20Is, had to leave UAE a disappointed man.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan and Australia were never the bookmaker’s favourites. Australia had never won the T20 World Cup, and Aaron Finch’s team arrived in the Emirates, sans the aura of formidability usually associated with an Australian cricket team. A defeat against India in a warm-up match did no good to their morale.

A loss against England in a group match further exposed their vulnerability. But then the Aussies made a stunning turnaround, improved every match largely due to their top-order batting where David Warner and Mitchell Marsh were simply outstanding.

Even when the ICC named their dream 11 at the end of the T20 World Cup, there was not a single Indian player. There were no Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah – the world’s leading players in the game’s shortest format. And even more surprising, there was no Mitchell Marsh, who anchored Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title.

Invariably, the ICC had a jury comprising former cricketers, journalists, and even match officials who racked their brains to arrive at a list agreeable to all. ICC produced a team with Pakistan’s Babar Azam as captain. No one questioned Babar Azam’s selection. He led Pakistan from the front in every game till Mathew Wade played an unbelievable inning to end the fairy-tale run by the Green Shirts.

While Babar Azam scored 303 runs in 6 innings, David Warner managed 289 runs in 7 innings, followed by Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (281 runs) and Jos Buttler (269 runs).

Kevin Pietersen Didn’t Pick Player Of The Tournament David Warner In His XI.

Interestingly, there is no David Warner, no Mitchell Marsh, Kane Williamson, or Daryl Mitchell in Kevin Pietersen’s Best XI. Kevin Pietersen has gone with four specialist batsmen, three all-rounders, and four specialist bowlers, two of whom are leg-spinners.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia’s David Warner (Associated Press)

Kevin Pietersen’s Best XI

Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan, 281 runs): Consistent run-scorer at the top of Pakistan’s line-up, who did brilliantly to battle back from illness and scored 67 against Australia in the semi-final.

Jos Buttler (England, 269 runs): Magnificent century against Sri Lanka was the highlight of a superb tournament for England’s opener.

Babar Azam (Pakistan, 303 runs): Proved once more that he is among the most consistent and best T20 batters in the world.

Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka, 231 runs): One of several exciting young Sri Lankan players who we can look forward to watching again at next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Aiden Markram (South Africa, 162 runs): A solid presence in South Africa’s middle-order and bowled some useful overs with the new ball.

Moeen Ali (England, 92 runs): A very versatile and important member of England’s side, who impressed with bat and ball.

Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka, 119 runs, 16 wickets): The tournament’s leading wicket-taker with his devilish leg-spin, and showed his potential with the bat, too.

Adam Zampa (Australia, 13 wickets): Wicket-taking ability in the middle overs was one of the key reasons why Australia won the tournament.

Trent Boult (New Zealand, 13 wickets): Once again proved his worth to New Zealand with a string of timely and important wickets.

Anrich Nortje (South Africa, 9 wickets): Becoming a leader in South Africa’s attack after taking more wickets in the tournament than all but five bowlers.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan, 7 wickets): A sensational new-ball spell against India set Pakistan’s tournament tone.

File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
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Australia Will Take Confidence Into Ashes After Winning Maiden T20I World Cup: Pat Cummins

Australia is absolutely “buzzing” after clinching their maiden T20I World Cup title defeating New Zealand in the final. It will bring that confidence into their Ashes 2021/22 series against England, fast bowler Pat Cummins said on Wednesday.

Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the T20 decider on Sunday and has six players from the championship-winning outfit in their Ashes squad.

Australia- Aaron Finch's team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)
Australia- Aaron Finch’s team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)

Australia Will Take Confidence From Winning T20I World Cup 2021: Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins, who, along with fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, shared in the triumph in Dubai, said capturing the elusive title was a huge spur for the home summer.

“Absolutely, I think we’ll take confidence from it,” vice-captain Cummins told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s a different format but you saw somebody like (batter) Davey Warner, player of the tournament, that’s going to have huge confidence for him going into the summer.”

Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

“As an Australian side, I think we all probably felt like we’ve underperformed a little bit in the last few years, haven’t won as many games as we’d probably expect. So to get back out and win a title on the world stage … it can be era-defining for a side. So everyone’s just absolutely buzzing, really excited for what’s next.”

Australia has not played a test since losing to India at the Gabba in January, which saw the hosts fall to a 2-1 series defeat as the tour to South Africa and the one-off Test against Afghanistan didn’t happen. As a result, the World Cup-winning players arrived home on Tuesday and have little time to get accustomed to red-ball cricket.

Currently undergoing a two-week COVID-19 quarantine in southern Queensland, they are able to train with each other during their isolation but will have only one three-day warmup match with other squad players in Brisbane before the Dec. 8 Ashes opener at the Gabba.

Pat Cummins Feels Fresh, And There’s No Niggles

Pat Cummins played down concerns that Australia might be underprepared.

“I always feel it’s better to be underdone than overdone coming into a big Test series,” he said.

“My body feels as good as it has in a couple of years. There’s no niggles, I feel really fresh. I think we’ve given ourselves the best chance to bowl plenty of overs and do well this summer.”

Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Veteran Usman Khawaja and middle-order batsman Travis Head were recalled to Australia’s squad for the opening two Ashes Tests against England Wednesday, with incumbent number five Matthew Wade axed. Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson were also in the 15-man line-up as back-up for the fast-bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood after the shock retirement of James Pattinson last month.

Marcus Harris, as expected, got the nod in the absence of concussion-hit Will Pucovski and is expected to open alongside David Warner, fresh from his exploits in helping Australia win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday. But there was no place for his fellow World Cup standout performer and Man of the final Mitchell Marsh, despite calls for the all-rounder to be given another chance at Test level.

Usman Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019. Usman Khwaja had since played 44 Test, 40 ODI, and 9 T20I matches for Australia.

Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
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Pat Cummins Feels He Is As Fresh As He Has Ever Felt Before Ashes 2021/22

Pat Cummins, an Australia vice-captain, feels he is as fresh as he has ever felt coming into a Test series but says he would be surprised if Australia persists with the same four-man pace attack throughout all five Ashes Tests, something they did against India last summer, in a losing cause.
Pat Cummins has returned to Australia and is into hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast on Tuesday with the majority of the triumphant 2021 T20I World Cup-winning squad to begin their Ashes 2021/22 preparation. He hasn’t played a first-class match since February 2021.
Since April, Pat Cummins has only featured in seven T20Is, having opted out of the limited-overs tours to the Caribbean and Bangladesh during Australia’s winter. He also missed the second half of the IPL 2021 prior to the World Cup to be home for the birth of his son.
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters.

Pat Cummins Said There’s No Niggles As He Feels Fresh For Ashes 2021/22

Australia will only have one three-day intra-squad match to prepare for the first Ashes Test starting December 8, but Pat Cummins has no concerns about his personal preparation.
“My body feels as good as it has in a couple of years. There’s no niggles,” Pat Cummins said. “I think the first, I guess, benefit of the short spells is we’re all feeling really fresh. I always feel like it’s better to be underdone than overdone coming into a big Test series.
“For now it’s just trying to work back from that day one, get a few good bowls in, I think. We’ve got access to quite a few center wickets. So we’ll have three, four, five center wickets where we try and have relatively big days, you know, bowl a couple of spells on those days. And we’ll be ready to go. And we had a similar prep last year and all felt really good going into that Adelaide first Test, ” Pat Cummins said.
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc played all four Tests against India last year, but the plan backfired as the trio tired on the final days in Sydney and Brisbane and were unable to bowl out India in either game as the visitors produced a famous come-from-behind series win.
Australia rotated their bowlers heavily in the 2019 Ashes series, using Peter Siddle and James Pattinson as specialists in those conditions. Pat Cummins was the only one of the five Australian fast bowlers used in that series to play all five Tests, and he expects that there will be some rotation again this summer.
“When someone’s I guess rested it is normally more to it than just purely workload,” Pat Cummins said. “There’s always niggles and small little injuries that we’re dealing with, basically after every single Test match.”
“The great thing is we’ve got a huge stable of fast bowlers. So yeah, I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue if someone’s not able to get up for a Test or someone’s just red-lining a little bit. Someone else can slot in.”
“I’d be surprised if the same four bowlers were used for all five Tests. That’s pretty rare, especially the five-Test match summer. But I certainly won’t be putting my hand up to be rested unless I’ve got something going wrong.”
Michael Neser | Getty
Michael Neser | Getty Images.
Jhye Richardson is firming as a certainty to play a part in the upcoming Ashes series, having not played a Test match since 2019 when he dislocated his shoulder in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup and the then Ashes tour. In recent years, Michael Neser has also been a constant presence in Australia’s Test squads and could also make his Test debut this summer despite coming off a hamstring injury.
“I think both can slot in really well,” Cummins said. “It might be like-for-like maybe in some regards. I’d say probably Jhye, especially last week, I only saw a little bit but apparently, he bowled beautifully up here at the Gabba.”
“It’s really great to see him back around the squad. He was on the verge of a World Cup and an Ashes series a couple of years ago before having a shoulder injury, so it’s great to see him get back and bowling well, fully fit, and hopefully he kind of starts off where he left off against Sri Lanka a few years ago.”
Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson were in the 15-man line-up as back-up for the fast-bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood after the shock retirement of James Pattinson last month.

George Bailey Impressed By Jhye Richardson’s Form

The 15-man Ashes squad for the first two Tests, as well as an Australia A squad, was announced on Wednesday. Chairman of selectors George Bailey was also impressed by Jhye Richardson’s form leading into the Ashes series following his Player of the Match performance for Western Australia against Queensland at the Gabba last week, where he took eight wickets, including 5 for 23 from 22.2 overs in the second innings.
“Getting pretty excited by Jhye,” Bailey said. “One physically, I think he looks as strong as I’ve seen ever seen him.”
Jhye Richardson
Jhye Richardson. Image Credits: Twitter.
“He’s had a couple of niggles, and he’s worked his way back from those so he’s starting to build some resilience into his body, still a young body.

“I think he’s worked his way into the last three shield games quite nicely, but one particular spell I think it was the morning of day [three], a really impressive spell early on, I think he ended up ended up getting the wickets of Marnus [Labuschagne] and Joe Burns, who both commented that it was it was impressive quality.”

Veteran Usman Khawaja and middle-order batsman Travis Head were recalled to Australia’s squad for the opening two Ashes Tests against England Wednesday, with incumbent number five Matthew Wade axed. Marcus Harris, as expected, got the nod in the absence of concussion-hit Will Pucovski and is expected to open alongside David Warner. But there was no place for his fellow World Cup standout performer in the final — Mitchell Marsh.

Australia squad: Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

ICC T20 World Cup
ICC T20 World Cup Image Credits: Twitter
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2022 T20I World Cup Day Night Final To Be Held At Melbourne On November 13

2022 T20I World Cup will be held across seven cities in Australia, the ICC has confirmed. The tournament will kick off on October 16, with the final slated to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground under lights on November 13.

A total of 45 matches will be held across Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. The first semi-final of the 2022 T20I World Cup is scheduled to be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 9 and Adelaide Oval will host the second on November 10.

2022 T20I World Cup- Sydney Cricket Ground To Host A Semi Final © Getty
2022 T20I World Cup- Sydney Cricket Ground To Host A Semi-Final © Getty

2022 T20I World Cup Will Be Held In Australia, Winners Of 2021 T20I World Cup

Hosts and newly-crowned champions Australia will join Trans-Tasman rivals and 2021 runners-up New Zealand, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, England, and South Africa in the Super 12 stage of the tournament. Namibia, Scotland, two-time winners West Indies, and 2014 champions Sri Lanka will play in the first round. Four more teams will join them via the qualifiers.

Australia- Aaron Finch's team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)
Australia- Aaron Finch’s team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)

The ICC announced on Tuesday that the 45 matches of the 2022 T20I World Cup tournament will also be played in Perth, Brisbane, Geelong, and Hobart for the 2022 event that begins on October 16, just 335 days after the 2021 World Cup was won by Australia in Dubai on Sunday.

The Kiwis-New Zealand did well to put a challenging 172/4 on the board riding on Kane Williamson’s superb 85. However, Australian opener David Warner’s 38-ball 53 and Mitchell Marsh’s 50-ball unbeaten 77 meant that Australia overhauled the target with consummate ease in 18.5 overs.

Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, England, South Africa, India, Afghanistan, And Bangladesh Have Qualified For Super 12s

The tournament 2022 T20I World Cup was initially supposed to be held last year in the same timeframe but was postponed to 2022 following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are looking forward to seeing the return of ICC events to Australia and are delighted to announce the seven host cities for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022,” Head of Events, Chris Tetley said.

Adelaide Oval to host a T20 World Cup semi-final in 2022 AFP
Adelaide Oval to host a T20 World Cup semi-final in 2022 AFP

“Following the success of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020 and a two-year postponement, our sights are now firmly set on planning for the 2022 event in collaboration with the LOC. With 12 teams already confirmed in the line-up, we eagerly await the culmination of the qualification process to see which other teams will join them,” Tetley added.

Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, England, South Africa, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have already qualified for the 2022 Super 12s stage of the 2022 T20I World Cup. Sri Lanka, West Indies, Namibia, and Scotland have qualified for the first round of the event but will need to win their way through to the Super 12 stage against four other qualifiers.

Meanwhile, plans are already ramping up for next year’s event with Australia set to defend their title at home. The Adelaide Oval will host a semi-final at a global event for the first time, on November 10. The SCG, which will host the other semi-final on November 9, has hosted semi-finals for the 1992 and 2015 men’s 50-over World Cups and both semi-finals for the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup.

The Adelaide Oval hosted a quarter-final in 2015 but the other semi-final was at Eden Park in Auckland in both 1992 and 2015.

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