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Kane Williamson.
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Kane Williamson Says T20 Cricket Helps an Individual To Explore Different Areas of His Game

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson despite being one of the modern greats in the longest format of the game is of the opinion that the shortest format of the game allows a cricketer to explore his game and take it to the next level. The modern great is currently in the West Indies playing for his Caribbean Premier League Franchise the Barbados Tridents.

Williamson during an exclusive interview with ESPN Cricinfo said that T20’s does help a player to explore different areas of his game.

“The T20 game certainly allows you to explore different areas of your own game that you might then bring into your other formats a little.”

“Naturally shots like the lap and the reverse sweep – things like that – certainly aren’t the first thing that comes to your mind playing Test cricket, but in other areas just to try and get the ball to different parts of the field. So you’re always working on your game, which T20 always tests,” he added.

Williamson speaking on the adjustments he has made as a T20 batsman said that he has looked for subtle changes in his batting technique for the shortest format of the game rather than going for slogs like most T20 batsmen.

“I try to make subtle adaptations rather than trying to slog because I always go into the net and have a bit of a slog and realise that I’m not any good at it,” he said.

The youngster also made it clear that to succeed in T20 cricket one has to stick to his strengths and the results will come automatically.

“But you still want to stick to the strengths that are important to your game – for some guys, it’s power, for some guys it’s touch and it’s gaps. Whatever the recipe is for your game, I think it is important you do stick to that and just try and make those adjustments,” he said.

“Someone like Joe Root and Steve Smith – those sorts of guys have been excellent at it. Without being huge power players, they’re still very, very effective in this format,” he further added.

Speaking on the definition of a good innings according to him Williamson said:

“A perfect T20 innings, yes, it’s scoring extremely fast and getting a good score and helping your team, but that won’t always happen – it’s high-risk, there’s a lot of failure in this format in particular. So it is being brave, sticking to a team plan, and just trying to help the team out as best you can.”

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Dropped Catches And Poor Fielding Let Us Down, Says AB de Villiers After The Cardiff Loss

Proteas skipper AB de Villiers has blamed incompetence in the fielding department as the reason for the loss against England in the deciding T20I in Cardiff on Sunday night.

The visitors were asked to chase a challenging total of 182 by England. It was a sort of price which the Proteas were asked to pay for their sloppy fielding and dropped catches apart from the bashing they received at the hands of the debutant Dawid Malan who made 78 off just 44 balls.

“We let ourselves down in the field with a couple of fumbles and a few drop catches. We lost by 19 runs and I could think of 20 runs that we threw away with silly mistakes,” De Villiers told reporters in Cardiff.

“The guys executed pretty well. Yes, there were a few softballs but it’s the same with the opposition.”

The match had some positives as well as Young guns stood out with impressive performances. The most outstanding was the Cape Cobra bowler Dane Paterson who emerged as a worthy death bowling option after ending the game with impressive figures of 4/32. His spell was crucial in restricting England to a sub-200 score, as he triggered a lower failure in the batting order.

“Dane Paterson bowled exceptionally well by getting four wickets in his last two overs and he is a great prospect for the future. Reeza (Hendricks) didn’t score as much as he wanted to, but I’ve seen him in the nets and he is a bright star for the future.”

Proteas could not show any class during the chase and was struggling at 91/6. But, fortunately, the seventh-wicket partnership of 54 between Mangaliso Mosehle (36 from 22 balls) and Andile Phehlukwayo (27* from 20 balls) gave some hopes to the Proteas before eventually falling short of 19-runs.

“Some young guns showed that they can play the game, Manga (Mangaliso Mosehle) towards the end and Andile (Phehlukwayo) batted superbly well,” said De Villiers.

South Africa is now readying up for the Test leg of the tour. The side will see some changes, as limited overs skipper AB de Villiers leaves the team making way for Faf du Plessis to take over the charge of the side. De Villiers is currently on a break from the Test format but says he will be watching.

“I believe we have a good chance, it’s not going to be easy. England Test team is pretty settled, they play well in home conditions,” he said.

“We’ve won a few series in the past, some of our senior players will draw a lot from those experiences and help the youngsters out with handling those pressure situations. We’ve got some good young talented players who will make their debut, so I’m looking forward to watching them perform.”

CSA earlier on Monday announced the 16-member squad for the four-Test series against England which commences on July 6 at the mecca of cricket, the Lord’s.

Gareth Batty

England Veteran Gareth Batty Is Against T20 Leagues

The increasing amount of T20 leagues has somehow vandalised the impact of other formats of the game.

There are large turnouts in the T20 competitions around the world but during the Boxing day Test last year, there were empty seats, which is enough to state the fact that the game is being affected by the cash-rich league’s going around the world.

England spinner Gareth Batty, who made a comeback to Test squad in 2016 after a period of 11 years, is in not much awe of the T20 leagues, as he feels these leagues are killing the ODI cricket as well.

In his column for Standard.co.uk, Batty criticised the increasing amount of T20 cricket around the world and has called for the survival of 50 overs cricket as he wrote,

“I am sceptical about whether there will be two T20 competitions running side by side in the future. I would like 50-over cricket to survive and it is disappointing to hear people say it will fall by the wayside.”

Batty was clearly unhappy with the fact that short heroics during a T20 game has affected the ODI cricket, as he thinks that it’s difficult for a batsman to replicate his T20 show in the 50-over game which needs a bit of longer patience,

“Because of the high totals, I have heard a number of people say that modern 50-over cricket is just an extended T20, but it is far more subtle than that. There are different skills required and, as a captain, different ways of setting your team up. In T20, a batsman can score 20 from 10 balls from anywhere in the order. You’d say okay, he’s not had a nightmare, but in a 50-over game that’s not enough. You have to play longer innings,” Batty added.

After few disagreements, the 39 years old bowler was happy by the fact that Jason Roy, a member of Gujarat Lions has returned to the side for the ODI series against Ireland,

“It’s good to have Jason Roy back at Surrey for most of this month after England’s games against Ireland. Even though he didn’t play much for Gujarat Lions at the IPL, the experience will have done him a lot of good and we hope to reap the rewards at Surrey,” Batty concluded.

Could Cricket Return To Commonwealth Games In 2022?

Men’s cricket has a good chance of returning to the Commonwealth Games if Birmingham is chosen as host city for the 2022 edition of the games, according to reports.

As per reports in news outlet ESPNcricinfo, Birmingham has been invited to bid for the Commonwealth Games by the UK government after Durban, which was originally scheduled to be the host city, was stripped of hosting the Games in March after failing to meet the criteria set by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

Birmingham had initially been preparing a 2026 bid but are now confident of hosting the games in 2022.

Neil Snowball, the Warwickshire chief executive and a member of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games bid company, has confirmed that the organising committee is mulling on including men’s cricket in the second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics. Meanwhile, the format would be Twenty20.

“It’s an obvious stepping-stone,” Snowball told ESPNcricinfo, “and, subject to ICC and ECB approval, we hope we can progress this four years earlier than we originally anticipated.

“We feel we have a very strong bid. Usually, cities have seven years to prepare to host such an event, but we are certain we can deliver an outstanding Games in 2022 that includes men’s and women’s cricket,” he added.

Women’s cricket was already included in the schedule which was planned for Durban.

Birmingham will not be the only city trying to secure the hosting rights for the Games. Liverpool has already confirmed their interest while countries in Canada, Malaysia and Australia are also expected to register their bids. Manchester has also expressed their desire to host the game.

Meanwhile, the ECB has previously backed the idea of cricket returning to the Games but there is still no certainty over whether ICC would give it a green light. The participation of the participating countries is not guaranteed yet.

Cricket has only featured once at the Commonwealth Games, at the 1998 event in Kuala Lumpur where South Africa had defeated Australia in the final.

During that edition, 16 teams competed in One-Day matches. Caribbean countries played separately rather than as West Indies which they do in international cricket while a Northern Ireland team also competed in the event. England’s cricket team had not participated on that occasion.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers (Credits: Twitter)

It Means Absolutely Zero To Me To Achieve 10,000 Runs, I Don’t Care, Says AB de Villiers

South Africa’s star batsman AB de Villiers has shown complete disregard to one of the most special milestones in the cricketing world –The 10, 000 runs achievement.

The 10K club is termed prestigious, exclusive and reserved for the finest names in the sport. However, all the shine of the 10k club has failed to attract AB de Villiers as the former Proteas Test skipper terms it absolutely unimportant to him.

“I mean no disrespect to anyone who has ever achieved that, but it means absolutely zero to me to achieve 10,000 runs. I don’t care about that at all,” AB de Villiers said in Bengaluru while speaking at a promotional event of his app AB17.

Also, talking about the future of the game, AB de Villiers has commended the efforts of ICC to keep the interest in the game alive. De Villiers feels that the longest version of the format, which is facing an existential crisis due to the surge of the T20 format, will continue to thrive despite facing challenges like dwindling crowd turnouts.

“The way T20 has hit the ground, it was always going to be a challenge for Test cricket to keep the people involved and interested. But the ICC have got it right in the last few years, not neglecting Test cricket. There’s been some unbelievable Test cricket played over the last five-seven years. Some games I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.”

“I’ve no doubt in my mind that the format is going nowhere; it’s definitely here to stay… forever, hopefully. I love watching Test cricket, and as a player, I know it’s the real challenge and the real test for a player. If you can survive in Test cricket, then you know you can play the game. I believe the ICC have got it right over the last few years to make sure Test cricket survives.”

He also felt the One-Day format of the game will also maintain its stature. When asked for a reason, he sarcastically said because he hasn’t won the 50 overs World Cup yet.

“Hopefully not, because I still want to win a World Cup. Hopefully, it doesn’t go away. Once we win the World Cup then it can go. No, I’m kidding (laughs).”

De Villiers sees all three formats as unique and feels they are all intertwined with each other as far as characteristics are concerned.

“I think the three formats that we have are very, very unique. Every single format is completely different. In T20, you see all the skills, the adrenaline rush and the match-winners coming out of nowhere. In ODI, it’s almost a little bit of a taste of both the formats, where the bowler’s got more time to work a batsman out, and a batsman has more time to get himself in and then express himself. It’s a beautiful format; I wouldn’t like to see it go anywhere. And obviously, Test cricket – it’s a test of endurance and mental skill. All three formats are so unique, and I really think there’s room for all three formats to survive in the future.”

The rise of T20 cricket has also led to the rise of T20 leagues all around the world. While initial, these T20 leagues appeared to be just a branch of the rising T20 format, later on, controversy related to the player’s loyalty became an issue giving birth to the ‘club over country’ debate.

Ab de Villiers presents a clear way for handling the problem from the player’s point of view.

“The first thing is to play for South Africa. That’s the first priority: to play international cricket. And then where the schedule allows it – this will be different to every player around the world – I think it is a great thing to go play cricket overseas in different conditions and different cultures. Guys who can’t play the IPL or different T20 tournaments, it is a great opportunity to play in county cricket in England. That’s always good for your cricket. So, I’m a big supporter of once your country’s cricket is done for the season to go and play wherever you can to pick up more experience and get better at your game.”

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Stats: 4 Batsman who carried their bat in T20 cricket

T20 cricket, the shortest and fastest format of the game, is known for just power hitting. The batsman arrives at the crease with a sole aim to score as many runs in the shortest period of time. He has no time to think about himself or to save his wicket. A batsman just thinks to come at the crease and smash it hard. But sometimes it has happened that a batsman has carried his batsman in T20’s as well.

There have been four occasions in the past when a batsman has carried a bat, today we have look at the batsmen who carried their bat in T20’s –

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Lure of money from franchise based T20 cricket spoiling fast bowlers

The  lure of money in the franchise based T20 cricket are spoiling fast bowlers across the world as they stop working hard after initial success, laments former Australian  bowling great Glenn McGrath.

“Biggest issue which I find, probably not just in India, probably around the world is how hard they are prepared to work. And if they do get little bit of success playing in IPL or big bash in Australia is that they get to that level and they think they have made it and they stop working hard and they stop training as much,” McGrath said after a coaching clinic here for Under-23 pacers at PCA stadium.

“Young bowlers have to be prepared to work hard and then work even harder to stay there, there are no easy options or shortcuts. Sometimes, I see young cricketers reach a certain standard, all of a sudden they get paid good money and they stop work.

“I think money should always be secondary. It’s great that cricketers are earning good money. But if money is secondary and it’s all about going out there, performing at their best and keeping themselves in best condition. Then that money will be there all the time. And I think that’s the attitude young cricketers should have. Ultimate goal should always be representing your country.”

Cricket boards around the world hosting franchise based T20 cricket in their country to brim their coffers with money. So, young bowlers have been lured by the bulk money.

Meanwhile, the idea of day night Test with the pink ball and experimenting with the idea, McGrath said the “pink ball adds a new dimension to the game.”

This year India are hosting Duleep Trophy matches with pink ball this season even as Australia and New Zealand have already played a Test match with pink ball under floodlights.

“Pink ball adds a new dimension to the game, I don’t mind it. With T20 really taking the world by storm, Test cricket to me is really important. We got to hold it in high regard,” McGrath said.

McGrath said the bowlers, specially the bowlers, will have a clear advantage in the contest.

“Obviously the pink ball does a little bit more, you got a little bit grass on the wicket. It loses colour very quickly and the ball doesn’t hold up like the older, specially the Test ball. It’s a little bit more in bowler’s favour, it’s going to swing around, it’s going to nip around a little bit more. I think bowlers will enjoy bowling with the pink ball, but at the end of the day they still they have to get the ball in the right area,” he said.

McGrath said the ability to adapt to different playing conditions and consistent hard work is key to a fast bowlers’ success.

“To be a good fast bowler, you have to bowl well in your own conditions, to be a great fast bowler, you have to be able to adjust and adapt to all different conditions throughout the world, quick wickets, bouncy wickets, slow, dry wickets,” the 46-year-old said as he gave tips to 25 fast bowlers along with M Senthilnathan, Chief Coach of the MRF Pace Foundation.

“We are here to see the young crop of fast bowlers. They can pick up one or two things how they can become better bowlers. We (at MRF Pace Foundation) never change actions, we always fine-tune them.”

“To be a fast bowler is the toughest part of the game.

You’ve got to be prepared to work harder than anyone else, you got to be prepared to go through more pain than anyone else.”

Mcgrath was asked how the budding bowlers can generate more pace, he said, “I think pace is something which is natural. We can extract a little bit more pace by getting more out of the action. But we can’t teach someone to bowl express pace.”

McGrath also took questions on how shorter version of the game was throwing up different challenge  for the fast bowlers.

“When I played I set a goal of (giving away) 4 runs or less in ODI and 6 runs or less in a T20 game. Now if you say if I keep it to 5 runs in ODI and 7-8 runs in T20, I have done my job,” he said.

“The biggest issue I have with being a fast bowler in this day and age is one there is no real offseason. For a bowler because it’s so tough, throughout the season your strength and fitness deplete, you need to backup, if there is no real off season its hard to do that.”

The Aussie emphasized on the need for bowlers to adapt to different conditions.

“When spinners first came in T20s they thought they are going to be hit out of the park and now they are opening the attack and doing well. Bowlers need to adapt. One thing a fast bowler can control is where he bowls at more. Control combined with pace can be a dangerous combination.”

McGrath also felt that India has many budding pace talent who can shine in international cricket.

“A couple of guys that stand out, Veer Pratap Singh is probably the best I have seen, he is bowling exceptionally well, he has got good pace, he swings the ball. He had little taste of IPL cricket. Anikeet Chaudhary, Ankit Rajput, Nathu Singh, they are good young upcoming bowlers.”