WCZ Cricket Cuisine Issue-2 : When will India play next?
A Brief Starter
Hello peeps! First of all, wish you all a very happy new year! Every year is a new beginning. An opportunity to start with a clean slate, both on a personal and professional level. It gives us a chance to take a step back and reflect, reassess things we have done and plan for the future. In sports, it is no different. While the pandemic might have affected the women’s sport and pushed it a year or two back, the future does look hopeful. An ODI World Cup, Commonwealth Games, followed by a T20 World Cup are aligned for the next three years. If the situation does not get any worse and the boards plan ahead, we might be in for a lot more of cricket than last year.
Speaking of planning ahead, we all know that the former India captain Shantha Rangaswamy had already organised two inter-academy tournaments in Bangalore since the COVID-19 breakout. In the third tournament, the stage has gotten only bigger. They are organising an Inter-Academy T20 Tournament in Bangalore that begins on January 4, 2021. Several Indian internationals are expected to be a part of this tournament. Rangaswamy said that it is an opportunity for them to get some exposure, and our youngsters to rub shoulders with some of the leading players in the country.
Come to think of it, this year could be off to a good start for the domestic players who are involved in the tournament. And we all hope that the full-fledged domestic season will begin at the earliest. So, just like you all, we hope and wish that 2021 will not be anything like the year gone by. Now, we might be a day late, but we have got all of it covered for the last fortnight. Let’s jump in.
The Main Course: The Wait Continues
The last time India took the field was on March 8, 2020 in the final of the T20 World Cup. Among the top eight teams, only India and Sri Lanka are yet to find out when they would return to the international arena since the pandemic struck. First, it was the England tour that got cancelled followed by the series against Sri Lanka.
And now, Cricket Australia announced that the three-match ODI series had to be called off due to the COVID situation. The announcement comes at a time when there is an ongoing men’s Big Bash League, the Women’s National Cricket League is slated to begin on January 15 and above all the Indian men will be playing two more Test matches in two different cities.
While it is plausible to understand the constraints that come with a pre-series quarantine, one cannot help but wonder whether it could be reasoned so almost every time when it comes to women’s cricket. Nevertheless, the latest update is that India is likely to play a bilateral series against Sri Lanka in March followed by one against England. Hopefully, there would not be anything preventing those series from going ahead.
All the same when it comes to gender
In the last issue of the Newsletter, we talked about cricketers having full-time contracts from their respective boards. Although job security is one thing, it is not the be-all and end-all of it. The more pressing and less discussed issue is the disparity in the pay gap between male and female athletes.
While New Zealand might be a team that people generally do not have any dislike for, their cricket board seems no different from many other boards when it comes to this. The women, who are participating in the Super Smash, receive 88 per cent less than their male counterparts.
Similarly, while the men are paid a base retainer of 27,000 dollars for the season, the 54 domestic contracted female cricketers will get 3250 dollars. Well, it might be one thing to build a reputation for playing the sport the ‘right’ way, but when it comes to gender disparity, there is always work to do.
Can Javeria Khan rise up to the occasion?
As India and Sri Lanka await their chance to play, Pakistan and South Africa have started their preparations for the first international series of 2021. While the hosts have a preparatory training camp scheduled for the first week of January, Pakistan have completed one and have announced their 17-member squad for the tour.
The tourists will be missing the services of regular skipper Bismah Maroof as she opted out of the series due to family reasons. Javeria Khan will be leading the side in her absence. Urooj Mumtaz, the head of the selection committee, has said that Khan will rise to the occasion and inspire the players.
In the absence of Maroof, it will be a challenging tour for the head coach David Hemp in his first international assignment. Earlier, he had said that the players are highly skilled and they will only get better by playing more matches.
Your Nuggets for the day:
- The first round of the Women’s Super League T20 in South Africa came to an end with Sune Luus leading the way with the bat among the run-scorers. She scored 150 runs in three matches followed by Laura Wolvaardt, who made 14 runs less than her. Among bowlers, Nobulumko Baneti picked up seven wickets followed by Masabata Klaas, who scalped six. Hilton Moreeng, the head coach of South Africa, said that he was delighted to see the young players back in action given the way the year had progressed.
- Meanwhile, in the latest update about The Hundred 2021, England pacer Anya Shrubsole and star batter Danielle Wyatt will be playing for the Southern Brave. The England duo has joined the West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, who was retained by the franchise. Maia Bouchier, Freya Kemp, Tara Norris, Carla Rudd and Paige Scholfield are the five local players who were signed by Southern Brave.
- The uncertainty over the coaching position for Baroda continues as the state cricket association alleged that the newly appointed coaches are refusing to take charge of the team. Responding to the controversy, former Indian cricketer Anju Jain, who was initially appointed, has said that the delay is caused by the association and not by her. With the domestic season expected to believe in a couple of months, the sooner the issue is resolved, the better it is for the team.
- When the International Cricket Council announced that Australian allrounder Ellyse Perry was the ICC Women’s Player of the Decade, it was almost a no-brainer. However, when she won all ODI & T20I player of the decade awards did raise some eyebrows. Nevertheless, with 4349 runs and 213 wickets, Perry’s performance in the last decade is unmatched. Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce was the ICC Associate Player of the decade.
Did You Know?
In 2020, only 56 T20Is were played, as opposed to 287 in 2019 and 143 in 2018. In 2017, the year that featured the previous ODI World Cup, it was just 13. Although the pandemic almost wiped out three-quarters of the international calendar, the World Cup and the series that happened towards the end of the year did give us a few moments to remember.
Did you know that only three of the top ten ranked teams played ODI cricket in 2020? Here Shajin Mohanan takes a look at the year through the eyes of numbers from those matches. Apart from the stats, the year did leave a lot for us to reflect, reminisce, rethink and appreciate things we took for granted both in life and sport. S. Sudarshanan’s compilation of the events and what it taught us is something you should not miss out.
You can also listen to the latest episode of the Clean Bowled Podcast, where S. Sudarshanan, Ananya Upendran and I join to chat about the past year, below:
Through the lens
We all have our sporting heroes. No matter how many come along as we grow up, the first one to make us fall in love with the sport will always remain special. However, for those who grew up in the 1990s, access to pictures of women athletes was a rarity. Here, Ananya Upendran relives her childhood memory of the first picture of Mithali Raj that struck her and stayed on since.
Some Dessert to sign off
- Afghanistan Cricket Board has secured land in Kabul to build a new state-of-art international cricket stadium which is likely to be named Kabul International Stadium. The venue will have a five-star guest house, a standard swimming pool, indoor and outdoor academies, canopies for the crowd, health clinic, mosque, car parking, administrative block and other facilities. The stadium is expected to accommodate 35, 000 spectators.
- Zimbabwe are heading to Namibia to play a five-match T20I series and two one-dayers starting on January 22. Zimbabwe have a busy 2021 ahead of the T20 World Cup qualifiers and this series against Namibia could be a perfect preparation for them.
- The inaugural edition of the Singapore T10 League is scheduled to be held between July 1 and 15, 2021 at the Singapore Sports Club in Kallang. The tournament is set to feature six men’s and women’s teams and is expected to be increased in the coming years.
- The first six rounds of Hallyburton Johnstone Shield 2020-21 were completed before the Super Smash began. Central Hinds and the Canterbury Magicians top the table so far with five wins each. The further rounds will resume in February after the Super Smash T20 tournament.
- In the ongoing Super Smash, Wellington Blaze lead the points table with two wins in three matches. Amelia Kerr is the top performer this season so far with 138 runs and five wickets in three innings. Central Hinds is the only team that is yer to register a win in the tournament.
- Armed Police Force and Province Number 1 have progressed to the final of the Prime Minister Cup Women’s National Cricket Tournament. Both the teams remained unbeaten through the group stage where eight teams were divided into two groups. In the semi-finals, they defeated Sudur Paschim Province and Lumbini Province respectively to qualify for the final which is scheduled to be played on Sunday (January 3).
That’s all for now! Once again, wish you a very happy 2021! We will catch up with you in a couple of weeks with more interesting stories! Cheers!