Virat Kohli Remains Atop ICC Test Rankings for…

India captain Virat Kohli retained his number one spot in the latest ICC Test batsmen’s rankings, a statement from the international body said on Tuesday. Kohli is on 922 points with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (913) just behind him and Cheteshwar Pujara (881) third in the rankings list.

In the Test team rankings, India remained in top position followed by New Zealand (2) and South Africa (3) with England (4) and Australia (5) the others in the top five. In the bowlers’ list, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are sixth and 10th respectively.

Meanwhile, veteran England pacer James Anderson was ruled out of the four-day Test against Ireland starting on Wednesday due to a right calf injury.

Anderson, who was overtaken by South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in November last year and subsequently by the present No. 1 Pat Cummins of Australia, is ranked second and would have had a chance to bridge the 16-point gap in the one-off Lord’s Test before featuring in a potential direct contest with Pat Cummins in the subsequent Ashes series.

Anderson’s fellow England fast bowler Stuart Broad (19th) will be looking to retain a top-20 place, which he maintained since 2009, while Moeen Ali (25th, 621 points) is only 12 points behind his best ever rating points achieved in August 2017.

Captain Joe Root is the highest-ranked batsman on either side in sixth place while Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are in 26th and 27th places, respectively.

For Ireland, Kevin O’Brien’s scores of 40 and 118 on debut against Pakistan and a subsequent half-century against Afghanistan have lifted him to 68th place while Gary Wilson is 140th in the batting table.

Stuart Thompson is their highest-ranked bowler in 64th position with Tim Murtagh just two places behind. Boyd Rankin, who played one Test for England in 2014, would be looking to improve his 106th position.

In the all-rounders’ list, the best ranked Indian is Jadeja at third spot sitting behind West Indies’ Jason Holder and Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.

Ashes 2019 | Pick Your Best Batsmen for Ashes:…

Former captain Allan Border feels Australia should pick their best six batsmen for the upcoming Ashes series against England beginning August 1 in Birmingham.

Border revealed his first-choice team to foxsports.com.au, naming southpaws David Warner, Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja as his preferred top three.

“The top three batsmen are left-handers, which is not necessarily the wrong thing,” Border said.

“A lot of people jump up and down about picking too many left-handers but if they are your best players then go with them. If they were right-handers, no one would say anything,” he added.

The former Australia skipper also stated that wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade should come into the side considering his good domestic form.

“I’d be very tempted to go with Wade. You talk about picking the guys in form, and he’s in great form. (Marnus) Labuschagne might get that guernseys in that he can bowl some pretty handy leg-spin and he’s good in the field too,” Border said.

“Wade can bowl some medium pace. He can get it through alright, you could sling him half a dozen overs if you had to here and there.”

The 63-year-old also advised the Australian team to resist from the temptation of playing an all-rounder at the number six spot and instead play a proper batsman.

“I wouldn’t go the all-rounder at No.6. I’d pick a straight out-and-out batsman. England’s conditions are a bit softer underfoot and temperature-wise. There’s not as much physicality and stress on the bowlers,” he said.

Allan Border’s XI: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade/Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Hope to Take Sri Lanka to the Next T20 World C…

Veteran Sri Lankan pace bowler Lasith Malinga confirmed he will retire from one-day international cricket after the first match against Bangladesh but hopes to play T20 cricket.

Malinga invited fans to his farewell ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday and said the cricket board agreed to his request to retire from the 50-over format of the game.

Posting a video message to his fans on his wife’s Facebook page, Malinga said he felt no ill will towards officials and players who may have tried to push him out of the team.

The 35-year-old said he was sidelined by selectors two years ago but was able to prove his value to the national team at the recent World Cup.

“Friday will be the last day you will see me playing an ODI match,” Malinga said. “If you can, please come for the match.”

During practice on Tuesday ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh, Malinga said he hoped to play T20 cricket and had his sights on the 2020 World Cup in Australia.

“I hope to be able to take Sri Lanka to the next T20 World Cup,” he said.

“I hope I will have an opportunity to play in that tournament, but if there are better players than me, I don’t mind being left out.”

Malinga’s retirement was first announced by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who on Monday told reporters the right-arm fast bowler indicated Friday’s match would be his last ODI appearance.

Malinga was named in the 22-man Sri Lanka squad for the series with matches scheduled for July 26, 28 and 31 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

He will leave as Sri Lanka’s third-highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with 335 wickets in 219 innings so far.

Only Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) have taken more wickets than Malinga in ODIs for Sri Lanka.

He was Sri Lanka’s highest wicket-taker at the World Cup, claiming 13 scalps in seven innings.

Malinga retired from Test cricket in 2011 but continued to remain available in other formats.

Chance for James Anderson to Regain No.1 Spot

England pacer James Anderson will be looking to work his way back to the top of the ICC rankings when the Three Lions take on Ireland in their one-off Test at Lord’s beginning Wednesday.

Anderson, who was overtaken by South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in November last year and subsequently by the present number one Pat Cummins of Australia, is ranked second and has a chance to bridge the 16-point gap in the one-off Lord’s Test before featuring in a potential direct contest with Cummins in the subsequent Ashes series.

Anderson’s teammate Stuart Broad (19th) will be looking to retain a top-20 place, which he has maintained since 2009, while Moeen Ali (25th, 621 points) is only 12 points behind his best ever rating points achieved in August 2017.

Test skipper Joe Root is the highest-ranked batsman on either side in sixth place while Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are in 26th and 27th places, respectively.

In the ICC Test team rankings, England will remain in fourth position and on 105 points if they win the match but will go down to 104 in case of a draw and to 102 should they suffer a loss. Ireland will gain 13 points with a draw and 30 if they win, but will still need to play another five matches for a full ranking.

Ireland Set for Landmark Lord’s Test Against E…

Ireland’s march to becoming a fully fledged member of cricket’s elite will reach another important staging post when they play their first Test against England at Lord’s on Wednesday.

The Irish men’s side only made their Test debut last year, suffering a final day defeat by Pakistan in Dublin in a creditable display before being well beaten by fellow newcomers Afghanistan.

Since the turn of the century, Ireland have become known for their one-day exploits, beating the likes of Pakistan (2007) and England (2011) at World Cups.

But Test status was always the dream.

Now this match at Lord’s is set to be the highlight of Ireland’s year given they did not qualify for the reduced 10-team World Cup won just over a week ago by tournament hosts England in a thrilling final against New Zealand, which also took place at ‘the home of cricket’.

The sport has a long history in Ireland and cricket was hugely popular there in the 19th Century.

But a rising tide of Irish nationalism and the growth of the Gaelic Athletic Association led to cricket being declared a “garrison” or “foreign” game.

Irish cricket went into something of a retreat although memorable occasions such as a televised win over the touring West Indies in 1969 helped to change attitudes.

Several of the present side have played county cricket, including Tim Murtagh, a stalwart for Lord’s based-Middlesex, who recently took his 800th first-class wicket.

Meanwhile fast bowler Boyd Rankin was briefly an England player when that was the only way Irishmen could play Test cricket before switching back.

‘Dream Come True’

“It is a dream come true, and it is something I never thought would happen in my playing career,” said Rankin, who played just the one Test for England on their ill-fated 2013/14 Ashes tour of Australia.

“You can’t get much better than a Test match at Lord’s.”

England will be resting several of their World Cup stars, including fast bowler Jofra Archer, all-rounder Ben Stokes and batsman Jos Buttler. They have handed debuts to World Cup hero Jason Roy and fast bowler Olly Stone while Somerset’s Lewis Gregory misses out. Pacer James Anderson has also been ruled out due to a calf injury he picked up earlier this month in a county game. Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran are the other pace bowlers included in the playing eleven.

Eoin Morgan, their victorious Dublin-born captain, no longer plays Test cricket with Joe Root, a fellow World Cup winner, in charge. Rory Burns and Roy will form a new opening combination with Joe Denly, Root, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali to follow. Jack Leach and Moeen will head the spin bowling duties.

The match will only last a maximum of four days rather than the standard five, a consequence both of being shoehorned into the narrow gap between the end of the World Cup and the start of England’s five-Test Ashes series against Australia next month and a desire by officials to experiment with ‘spectator friendly’ playing hours.

“It is one Test before the Ashes gets going so hopefully we can cash in,” said England opener Rory Burns.

“There is a chance to score runs here, so you have to back yourself and the game plan.”

Certainly an Ireland win would be a huge upset for all they recently beat Zimbabwe in a one-day series.

“In my generation I don’t think any of us expected to be playing a Test match at Lord’s, so to have the opportunity is great,” said Ireland wicketkeeper Gary Wilson.

“But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have to come here and perform as well. I mean that’s what it is about, it’s not just turning up and having all the fanfare around Lord’s.

"We have to try and put in a good performance against a very good England side, but we’ve got some good players as well and we’re confident we can do that.”

Squads:

England (Playing XI): Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Denly, Joe Root©, Jonny Bairstow(w), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Olly Stone, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach

Ireland: William Porterfield©, Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie, James McCollum, Kevin O Brien, Gary Wilson(w), Stuart Thompson, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin, Craig Young, Mark Adair, Simi Singh, Lorcan Tucker

Dhoni Should be Informed by Selectors About Th…

Former India batsman Virender Sehwag feels M.S. Dhoni should have the right to decide when to retire, urging the selectors to make it clear to the former skipper whether he is in their plans or not.

Since the World Cup got over, talks of Dhoni’s retirement has re-surfaced with reports saying that India’s 2011 World Cup winning captain might not be an automatic choice in the starting XI.

Dhoni had an average World Cup where his slow batting rate came under the scanner.

“It should be left to Dhoni to decide when to hang his boots. The duty of the selectors is to reach out to Dhoni and inform him that he is no more being seen as India’s wicket-keeper batsman going forward,” Sehwag was quoted as saying during a panel discussion.

He went on to add that he wished selectors had also asked him about his plans during his time with the Indian team.

“I wish the selectors had asked me as well about my plans so I would also have been able to inform them,” Sehwag said.

Sandeep Patil, the then chief selector, was also present in the discussion and he said: “The responsibility to talk to Sachin (Tendulkar) about his future was given to me and Rajinder Singh Hans while the same responsibility was given to Vikram Rathore for Sehwag. We had asked him and he said he had spoken with Sehwag. But if Sehwag is saying that Vikram did not talk to him, I would like to take responsibility for the same.”

Sehwag, in his reply said: “Vikram Rathore spoke to me after I was dropped. It would have made sense if he spoke to me before that. There’s no point talking to a cricketer once he is dropped. If M.S.K. Prasad speaks to Dhoni after he is dropped, what would Dhoni say – that he would play first-class cricket and the selectors should pick him if he scores runs. The point is that the selectors should reach out to cricketers before they are dropped.”

BPL Franchise Khulna Titans Rope in Shane Wats…

Dhaka: Former Australia captain and all-rounder Shane Watson was on Thursday roped in by Khulna Titans, the Bangladesh Premier League T20 franchise, as one of its two direct overseas signings for the upcoming BPL 2019-20.

Watson is slated to be available for the full season of the seventh edition of the BPL which is scheduled to start in the first week of December.

The former Australian all-rounder, who had missed the 2017 edition of the BPL due to injury, after signing up with Dhaka Dynamites that year, said his primary goal would be to win a maiden title for Khulna.

“I am super excited to join the Khulna Titans for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League season,” Watson said. “The coaching and management team at the Khulna Titans are putting together an amazing squad, so hopefully we can bring home that title that we have always been looking for.”