England will break years of tradition when they step out on the field during the upcoming Ashes with names and numbers on the back of their Test whites.
The England Cricket Board (ECB) tweeted a picture of Test captain Joe Root with his name and the number 66 in the back of his jersey. The official handle of International Cricket Council too shared images of Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad sporting their numbers on the back of their shirts.
While the ODI and T20I jerseys have had names and numbers on the back for a while, the Test jerseys have not seen such modernisation. But the ICC in March gave the go-ahead to the changes and the Ashes will be the first series when the altercations will come into effect. It is unclear though whether the Australian players too will follow suit.
County cricket already has seen personalisation on the back of the jerseys for a while now while Australia’s domestic first-class tournament Sheffield Shield too has players sporting numbers on the back of their shirts.
England after the high of claiming their first-ever ODI World Cup will now get into Test mode. They first face Ireland in a four-day Test at Lord’s before the highly anticipated Ashes get underway from August 1.
Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga will be retiring from ODI cricket after Sri Lanka’s first ODI against Bangladesh on July 26, bringing the curtains down on an immensely successful 50-over career.
Malinga 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.
The 35-year old has time and again proven to be a match-winner for Sri Lanka with his spells often single-handedly decimating the opposition batting. Here we look back at five of his best performances in ODI cricket.
4-54 vs South Africa, March 28 2007
This particular spell didn’t end with Sri Lanka on the winning side of the game but it very nearly saw the Proteas collapse to an almighty loss in what was a straightforward chase that would have contributed even further to their ‘Chokers’ tag.
Chasing 210 to win in a 2007 World Cup Super Eights match, South Africa were cruising but Malinga got rid of Shaun Pollock and Andrew Hall off successive deliveries in the end of the 45th over before dismissing Jacques Kallis and Mkhaya Ntini in the first two balls of the 47th over.
Malinga got both a hat-trick and accomplished the feat of taking 4 wickets in 4 balls but South Africa ended up winning the match by one wicket.
5-44 vs England, October 13 2018
Another match that saw a Malinga masterclass end in defeat for Sri Lanka, the veteran paceman rolled back the years to almost single-handedly run through one of the best ODI batting line-ups in modern limited-overs cricket.
Malinga got the dangerous Jason Roy early before removing Eoin Morgan for a well-made 91. He then got rid of Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson in quick succession to ensure England finished below the 300-run mark.
In the second innings, Sri Lanka lost early wickets and when rain ensured no further play was possible after the 29th over, England were declared winners by 31 runs (D/L method).
5-34 vs Pakistan, June 15 2010
The first match of the 2010 Asia Cup was a low-scoring thriller that saw Sri Lanka emerge victorious thanks in no small part to Malinga, whose five-wicket haul helped them defend a par total to begin their campaign with a win.
Batting first, Sri Lanka could post only 242 in their 50 overs. Pakistan started the match poorly and were reduced to 32-4 after 13 overs thanks to double strikes from Malinga and Angelo Mathews before a Shahid Afridi counter-attack rebuilt their innings.
Afridi was eventually removed by Muttiah Muralitharan after a well-made century before Malinga ran through the lower order to complete a memorable win for the home team.
5-28 vs Australia, August 16 2011
Sri Lanka were 2-0 down in the five-match series and needed a win in the third ODI to keep the series alive. A century from Upul Tharanga and another inspired spell from Lasith Malinga helped them do just that.
Batting first, Sri Lanka posted a respectable total of 286-9 thanks to Tharanga’s hundred. Malinga got things rolling in the second innings, getting Shane Watson early on before two wickets from Shaminda Eranga further dented the away team’s hopes of chasing the target.
Malinga would eventually remove both Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey before getting the last two wickets to seal a dominant 78-run win.
6-38 vs. Kenya, March 1 2011
Malinga’s best-ever figures in ODI cricket came against a weak Kenya side in the 2011 World Cup but the sheer sight of watching the man bowl yorker after yorker with unerring accuracy makes this an excellent spell no matter the opposition.
Batting first, Kenya could only put up 142 as Malinga ran through the top and lower order of a side not used to playing a bowler like him. He took another hat-trick – his second in World Cup cricket – and the fans at Colombo enjoyed every wicket.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost just one wicket in pursuit of the target, getting the required runs in 18.4 overs to notch a massive win.
Record-breaking fast bowler James Anderson has been ruled out of England’s one-off four-day Test against Ireland that gets underway on July 24 at Lord’s as he recovers from a calf injury in a bid to be fit for the first Ashes Test.
Anderson tore his right calf while playing for Lancashire against Durham in a county game earlier this month. He was included in the 13-member squad that faces Ireland but failed to completely recover in time for the Test.
“Jimmy will continue to be assessed ahead of the first Specsavers Ashes Test at Edgbaston on August 1,” an ECB statement read.
Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes largely pick themselves in the final eleven for the Test and the race for the final spot will be between Olly Stone and Lewis Gregory. Both bowlers are yet to make their Test debut though Stone has featured in four One-Day Internationals for England.
There have been a few injury concerns in the England pace unit with both Mark Wood and Jofra Archer nursing niggles. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler too have been rested for the game against Ireland as all focus now turns to the Ashes with the first Test set to get underway on August 1.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has backed out from the race to be become ‘New Zealander of the Year’, saying it doesn’t ‘sit right to be nominated for such a prestigious award’. Stokes, who was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, moved to England at a young age with his family before going on to represent Durham and England.
The all-rounder was instrumental in England winning the ICC World Cup title for the first time earlier this month scoring 465 runs including a man-of-the-match-winning unbeaten 84 in the final against New Zealand.
“I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year. I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award. There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand,” Stokes said in a statement released by his management firm.
“I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12-years old,” he added.
The official shortlist is yet to be made but the 28-year old is an early contender among the public nominations with ‘New Zealander of the Year’ awards chief judge Cameron Bennett quoted on stuff.co.nz saying, “there’s clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him.”
Apart from Stokes, the New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is also expected to be nominated for the award and the Englishman wants his Kiwi counterpart to win the award.
“I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a Kiwi legend,” Stokes said in the statement.
“He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour. He was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men. He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke. He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander.
“He would be a worthy recipient of this accolade. New Zealand, fully support him. He deserves it and gets my vote,” Stokes said about Williamson.
New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill posted an emotional tweet as he looked back at the World Cup final against England at Lord’s.
“Hard to believe it’s been a week since that incredible Final at Lords. I think it was both the best and worst day of my cricketing life! So many different emotions, but mainly proud to represent New Zealand and play…” said Guptill in a tweet.
Hard to believe it’s been a week since that incredible Final at Lords. I think it was both the best and worst day of my cricketing life! So many different emotions, but mainly proud to represent New Zealand and play… https://t.co/fBMTPDNXaz
He followed that up by thanking his daughter and wife Laura McGoldrick.
I couldn’t have been more proud to have my 2 best supporters with me for the ride. @lauramcgoldrick you are my rock. Thank you and Harley for being there through the good times and the tough. Love my girls more than… https://t.co/BW7tjkcnq5
Guptill had a disappointing tournament and could only score 186 runs with the bat. However, he was pivotal in the field, effecting MS Dhoni’s run out which helped New Zealand win the semi-final against India.
He was the batsman on strike when New Zealand needed 2 off 1 ball in the super over but he could only muster a single, which meant England won the cup on the total number of boundaries scored.
Liam Plunkett was an important part of England’s World Cup winning squad earlier this month, picking up crucial wickets at important stages of matches. However, Plunkett has had his down moments as he comes to terms with the biggest achievement of his career.
However the fast bowler, who has experienced anxiety early in his career and suffered a panic attack while travelling outside the game, said he has been keeping on top of his mental health.
“I’ve always been big into it [mental health awareness],” Plunkett told the Telegraph. “I had a panic attack a long time ago. I never knew what it was and I got anxiety around it. I struggled being in one-on-one situations and certain situations like travelling on a plane and I’ve always been conscious of that.”
For him the transition from the high of winning the World Cup at Lord’s to regular life has been tough.
“I went from winning the World Cup and all of a sudden I’m sat on my sofa watching Netflix a day and a half later. It was quite hard and honestly I felt quite down a little bit,” he said.
“Everything was building up to that World Cup and it was the highest point of my career. I’m not sure anything’s going to happen like that again in cricket for me.”
The Surrey bowler revealed that he had felt the impact of the squad disbanding too. “In the blink of an eye it was gone, as I say it felt like a massive low then. Everyone just disappeared everywhere else, so it was sad a little bit because you still want to be around people.
“You’ve just won the World Cup, you might never see that again never mind winning it so I felt a little bit down after. It was sad.”
Plunkett acknowledged that he had spoken to professionals before and if the need arises he would do so again.
“I’ve never stopped speaking to anyone, but it’s just a natural thing. From winning the World Cup to sitting on your sofa it is a big drop. I think a lot of the guys felt the same, we spoke to each other about it but as I said you’ve got to go back to playing for your county, some guys are playing in the Ashes and the Test against Ireland.”
Plunkett said he had also taken steps outside of speaking to team psychologists to manage his mental health in the past. “For maybe three or four years I was in and out of meditating. I’ve always tried to do a bit of yoga and to take a breath out [of the game] too,” he said.
The England and Wales Cricket Board and the Professional Cricketers’ Association have not ignored the mental well-being of players after former players like Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Flintoff, and more recently Jonathan Trott opened up about their experiences.