New Zealand captain Kane Williamson’s epic 238 in his second Test against Pakistan in Christchurch has helped him reach the best ranking points by New Zealand players while consolidating his position at the top of the batsmen list in the ICC Men’s Test Players Ranking.
Williamson, selected as a draw after leading his team to one inning and 176 run wins and 2-0 wins in two Test series, has achieved 919 rating points, improving his own mark to 915 in December 2018. ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Richard Hadlee is one only other player from New Zealand to cross the 900 points mark, reaching a career-high 909 points in bowling in December 1985.
In a recent ranking update which includes a second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Johannesburg and a third Test between Australia and India in Sydney, Steve Smith has jumped Virat Kohli to second after scoring 131 and 81 while Dean Elgar has moved to 13th positions with beats 127 and 31 do not come out.
In another move for New Zealand players, Henry Nicholls has earned three places to reach ninth among batsmen after his 157 strokes while fast bowler Kyle Jamieson 11-117 has lifted him the best seven places to 21 of his career.st the place. With 36 Test goals so far, Jamieson is also fifth among all rounds after just six Tests.
Azhar Ali’s 93 and 37 strokes have helped him move up seven places to 18th That position and half-century compatriot Mohammad Rizwan have helped him get 10 places to reach 37th position.
The Sydney Test draw saw Marun Labuschagne consolidate into fourth place with a career-best 866 points ranking after scores of 91 and 73 while fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has earned three places to reach fifth with four goals in the match.
For India, Cheteshwar Pujara’s 50 and 77 strokes have taken him from eighth to 10thth Rishabh Pant’s position and score of 36 and 97 have helped him earn 19 places to reach 26th position. Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin also got the win after their defeat, as did Shubman Gill.
The Centurion test saw Anrich Nortje (climbed 10 spots to 38th), Wiaan Mulder (increased 22 spots to 45th), Lutho Sipamla (increased 23 places to 47th) and Lungi Ngidi (rose seven places to 49th) made a huge advantage among bowlers while for Sri Lanka, captain Dimuth Karunaratne (moved up two spots to 15thth) and Kusal Perera (increased four spots to 56th) has climbed the list of batsmen.
ECB Cricket Women Managing Director, Clare Connor, said: “We are very pleased to be able to make this historic announcement today. The England Women’s cricket team has never toured Pakistan before, so this is another important step in our history and journey.
“This will not only be a cricket tour that provides valuable competitive opportunities for both teams, but should also serve as another strong and positive message as we push for our equality ambition so that more women and girls can be empowered through sport.
“I was in Pakistan last year and I know the impact of a women’s tour like this and how memorable it will be for our players and staff.”
PCB Chief Executive, Wasim Khan, said: “World champions England accompanying their men’s team for their first tour to Karachi is a very strong and powerful announcement for Pakistan, our female cricketer as well as for the global sport.
“This announcement reflects the trust, trust and relationship that PCB has with the Cricket Board of England and Wales, and is an acknowledgment of the successful international and domestic cricket deliveries in a challenging and difficult 2020.
“The T20I Women which takes place before the men’s match at the iconic National Stadium means more eyeballs will follow this match than ever before. While this provides a great opportunity for PCB to present the image and profile of female cricket, it is an opportunity for female cricketers to showcase their talents and skills, and play their part in attracting, inspiring and motivating the next generation of female cricket. so they too can fall in love with this great sport.
“The three ODIs against the world champions will help the Pakistani women’s team to access, measure and fine-tune the preparations for the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup as they aim to produce a better performance than in the past.
“Like the British men’s team, I believe the women’s tour will open up opportunities for their future tours which will further contribute to promoting women’s cricket in Pakistan and help our national team narrow the gap with the leading nations.”
Whether it’s scoring an important goal in the lower mid-list or breaking up a partnership, Ravindra Jadeja is fast becoming India’s newest Reliable Master. His versatile nature, Jadeja started out as a bowling player who could hit the punch, but given the incredible improvement from his hitting, the 32-year-old has filled a large part of the box for a place on the Indian team. Not to forget, Jadeja is arguably the best fielder in the world today.
Jadeja proved his credentials in the limited-overs leg against Australia and then the second Test at the MCG. Jadeja was technically Virat Kohli’s replacement, and the versatile man proved to be a superb substitute taking three goals in the match and scoring a valuable 57 goals in the first half, without which India might have struggled to get the first round of 131. -inning lead.
Based on Jadeja’s rapid rise, former all-round Australian Tom Moody has backed the all-around player to become a definite candidate in India’s XI, believing he is a perfect fit in No. 6 or 7. In fact, Moody’s is sure Jadeja is getting better with bat and ball, which in the long run, he believes will help India in a big way.
“I believe Ravindra Jadeja is a versatile quality test for all conditions. He has played 50 Test matches, and has played 33 at home and only 17 away. I feel that he is ready to start a new chapter in his career where he can lean on both pure bowling and pure top-level hitter. This gives the Indian team a great balance, “said Moody at ESPNCricinfo.
Jadeja during the previous test became the third Indian player to appear in 50 matches in various formats, behind MS Dhoni and Kohli. However, despite scoring nearly 2000 runs and over 200 wickets, Jadeja remains a valuable all-around player, but his ability to pick up wickets without relying too much on turns is what impressed Moody the most.
“He averaged just one tick over 35 on the cricket test. He’s got one hundred 15 fifties and I think he’s a much better player than he gets those numbers. So it will only increase over time, “he said.
“And I think he is a spinner who doesn’t depend on turns, so if you have a goal with a little grass it doesn’t offer turns, he will still be able to build up pressure and create chances for Team India to have a successful series at home or away. “
With India likely to hand over the longer ropes to Rishabh Pant in Tests, in Jadeja and him, Moody reckons, India boasts No. 6 and 7. “It seems to me the difference between six and seven is irrelevant. What’s relevant is how good your goalkeeper is as a hitter. “At the moment the decisions made by the Indian team with Pant, I think it’s a pretty strong combination at 6 and 7,” he said.
Former Australian captain and one of the best ever playing the game Ricky Ponting finds himself at No. 3 after Kohli. Branded a ‘once in a generation’ cricketer by academy coach Rodney Marsh – Ponting lived up to his reputation and left a mark on the cricket world. At No. 4 is versatile former South African player Jacques Kallis, while former Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan rounds out the Top five.
Another former Australian captain Steve Smith is 6th on the coveted list.
Meanwhile, Australia is hosting India in the four-match Test series. With the win at the MCG, India drew level 1-1.
The third test is scheduled to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, starting January 7.
At some point before the Melbourne Test, Bharat Arun, India’s bowling coach, reminded his team of the points he made before the first Test. ‘If Steve Smith want to score 50 runs, let’s make him play at least 200 balls. When we try to aim for the outer edge and the bowl at the fourth or fifth stump line when there isn’t much movement in these conditions, Australia keeps scoring via offside. Let’s change this time ‘. Words for that effect.
It’s a simple change: Pack the sides of the legs, bowl on the stump. It came to the four or five men hanging around the side. One in the short midwicket; another square, closer to square feet; another in the foot gutter; and a fourth hit in the good leg. Often times, the fifth person floats out of bounds on deep square feet. “If you keep more people on the flanks and in an attacking position it can limit the firing,” is an Indian theory.
Both offensive and defensive options for batsmen are made like a risk, a feeling generated by repeat bowlers. As the balls pile up in the annoying line and the layers formed further with the planes are arranged, the batsmen begin to examine themselves. Especially after the trap resulted in a goal. As happened with Marnus Labuschagne in the first half at MCG. At 48, he snapped Mohammed Siraj round the corner, only to find a pair of Indian palms, cupped and waited.
The self-criticism of the batsmen hardened after that. What if I flick and can’t help it? What if I miss a trial film that crosses the line and falls into the LBW trap? Is that deep square foot drifting for a weak hook from the guard, or is it double bluff for a full LBW ball? Negative thoughts accumulate. As well as point and pressure balls. Something must be given. Mainly, because the modern-day hitting temperament is not made to last much longer. The fake shots were coming too fast. Often, they don’t even counterattack, unable to bring themselves to challenge what-ifs. Except for Smith, and if nothing else David Warner, perhaps only Matthew Wade could have thought of attacking but his dismissal was in the first half in Melbourne – when he attacked Ravichandran Ashwin for the hole out – put was paid for that approach and he was transplanted in the second dig.
The simple plan is gaining momentum, as memories of past dismissals (such as Labuschagne in the first half) or fussy cues about future troubles force doubt into the mind.
What is most unusual about Indian tactics is how long they have managed to hold on to them. They did it briefly on the 2018-19 Australia tour, coincidentally at the MCG in the third Test at the opening Aaron Finch flick the straight from Ishant Sharma to the short midwicket. They seem to have taken the lessons learned from the previous tour and extended it for a longer time now.
Like Siraj’s spell against Cameron Green in the first half. For eight overs, on both sides of the tea break, he continued to do it. More than most people, Green seemed ready to handle it as he put his hands in front of the pad and kicked the ball into the short midwicket. At the end of seventh, Siraj started turning the ball, and after a series of six away tailors, he stalked one to nail the Green LBW.
The simple plan of straight line bowling is made like a provocation.
In the past, it was the Australian side who used such provocation. In 2004, when they returned to India without Steve Waugh after the previous fiasco at the last frontier, the fast bowlers led by Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie hatched a plan to make a straighter line. Two short midwickets grow, often similar to Laxman’s VVS. Run drip down. Air risk increases. The noose tightened.
Even further back, they had passed it on to people like Mohammad Azharuddin. David Boon on a deep, square short-leg magic catch from Azhar’s blurry flick. Of course, it was Keith Carmody from Australia who even had a field setting named after him – Carmody pitch – when he pioneered the umbrella grouping in the late 1940s, with people in bows stretching from conventional gutters to foot trenches.
Indians don’t fill bows like Carmody but make excellent use of the leg gaps. Especially for the three hitters – Smith, Labuschagne’s shadow, and Green. Among the three, the taller Green with its longer reach is willing to keep pushing upwards.
Labuschagne is more careful. He is similar to Smith in many ways, but there are also some differences. Unlike Smith, he doesn’t seem to like being up front, at least on this series evidence. He prefers to move sideways at the folds or hang back. To spin and speed. Both movements make a straight line ideal and stronger.
The side movements of Smith and Labuschagne made it more difficult for them, in theory. As they move towards off, the ball on the stump makes them hold the motion and hold their balance. Also, because of close-range catchers, they need to take extra care to keep the ball down when they try to pass it to the onside on the move. The Labuschagne drag shot also doesn’t flicker and keeps the buoy in the deep square foot region interested. As the risk increases (he can’t pull or flick without fear of being caught), the ball point and pressure builds up. India’s pioneering plan would not be too different from Smith’s, although he had a wider range of skills to counter it.
Ajinkya Rahane being congratulated by Steve Smith from Australia as they left the pitch at the close of play on the second day of the second cricket test (Source: AP)
India’s strategy is something that Joe Root, England captain, tried against Smith in the final Ashes series in England, albeit frugally. But something he’s hinted at, in The Analyst’s podcast this October, is he’ll be using it longer and more often in the future.
“You see the field we have for him at (First test at) Edgbaston. We’re having a leg slip. The ball was two yards from Ben (Stokes), and it ended in four. If we take it a yard or two finer, we’ll dump it in the warehouse for nothing. This series can look very different, ”said Root.
But England didn’t hit the field consistently or used it with the lines needed. “In the last test, we came back to it – I was strong enough that’s what I wanted for him with our attacks – and he ended up getting stuck on a leg-slip. When someone hits like him, very differently, as captain you need to think differently and be open enough to go to different plans as a bowling group … a danger ball for someone with more orthodox technique doesn’t seem to matter to him, Root said. “In the next few years, the team will start to do a lot more different things, try different areas, make him think differently about how he’s going to score goals.”
That’s what India has done with Labuschagne and Green; it was also something they would no doubt have done a lot more for Smith had he survived any longer against Ashwin, who used a similar strategy to some extent. If it was the agile skidder of the first Test, it was the ball spinning under the feet that lured Smith into trespassing into an area where he couldn’t let go of his hand in time.
Warner is in for the third Test but considering it is a traditional lap-friendly track in Sydney, India could strike him with Ashwin from the start, as they did in the 2017 series in India. Under the stress on the series-changing track, Warner mutes, pushes and shoves – and perishes. Australia’s luck may depend on whether it has the confidence to counter Ashwin. And of course, about how Smith and his associates handled the Indian plan of a straight bowl with crammed legs.