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.
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.
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.
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.