A Brief Starter
Hello everyone! Hope you had a good time with your beloved on valentine's day. We, however, are still waiting to get any affirmative information regarding India's return to cricket. As you know, cricket is our first love, after all.
It has been a rather quiet couple of weeks when it comes to live-action. The Super Smash in New Zealand and the Women's National Cricket League kept us going. Oh, and also the sports documentary on Australia's T20 World Cup campaign last year - The Record - has come out on Amazon Prime. All I can say is that it is something you do not want to miss! We will be reviewing it shortly, but for now, let's jump into the latest updates from last fortnight.
The Main Course: The pain of uncertainty
Ever since it was reported that the South Africa team would tour India in March, multiple media organisations have reported various version of stories as to when and where the series might happen. If there was a report stating that the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) is awaiting permission from the state government, the very next day another report said they have obtained the same. To top it off, a couple of days later, KCA announced in a press release that they are withdrawing as host as the ground has been allotted for army recruitment activities without prior information to them.
The worrying sign is the ambiguous and uncertain nature of all the reports that have come so far. Almost all of them use 'likely', 'probably', 'proposed' while describing the series. While the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket Graeme Smith has said that they are in talks with the BCCI, the Indian board has not confirmed anything. The Women's World Cup runners-up have not played an ODI in 469 days, and they haven't played an international match since their final appearance in the T20 World Cup 2020 in March last year. At this point, one cannot help but only be frustrated with the uncertainty that is associated with the many reports that have come so far.
Super Smash performers brace for England battle
This year's Super Smash final saw Kate Ebrahim and Lea Tahuhu play out of their skins to undo the damage done by Amelia Kerr's hat-trick and help Canterbury Magicians win the title for the fifth time in the history of the tournament. And deservingly, the top performers from the tournament have been included in the New Zealand squad for the England series.
While 16-year-old Fran Jonas earned her maiden call-up to the ODI side, Ebrahim and Thamsyn Newton were recalled for the T20 format. The hosts will play their first ODI against the world champions on February 27. After the warm-up fixtures, England skipper Heather Knight said that being consistent for longer periods is key to be successful in the 50-over format. “As bowlers you need to find that consistency to build pressure and as batters you need to go on and score those big scores," she said.
Your Nuggets for the day:
- Despite losing both the ODI and the T20I series, Pakistan finished the tour on a high before travelling to Zimbabwe. However, the series was unfortunately cut short after the first one-dayer due to suspension of flight services. While Pakistan at least had their share of matches in South Africa, the series would have marked the return of Zimbabwe to international cricket since May 2019. Now, their wait continues.
- New Zealand Cricket chairman Martin Snedden has been appointed to the board of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in place of Greg Barclay, who was elected as ICC chairman in November 2020. Snedden said that the forthcoming World Cup would be a chance to showcase the progress cricket has made in New Zealand while continuing to engage new audiences and attract even more people to the sport.
- At the start of the year, the ICC had announced that every month the best performer across teams would be awarded with an award named the Player of the Month. In January, unsurprisingly South Africa seamer Shabnim Ismail won the award. She took 14 wickets combined in the three-match ODI and T20I series against Pakistan.
Did You Know?
Often, what is seen on the screen does not necessarily tell the whole story about a person. For the world, Jemimah Rodrigues is a serious, extremely talented cricketer on the field and a fun-loving, jovial entertainer off it. Was she always like that while growing up?
There is always more to someone than what we get to see. In our latest series, WCZOriginals, we spent some time with the Rodrigues family to know more about Jemimah's journey. Here’s the second episode of the series where her parents talk about how it all started for the young batter.
Through the lens
Beth Mooney was the player of the series in the remarkable T20 World Cup victory for Australia in 2020. When Cricket Australia announced the southpaw as the T20I player of the year it did not come as a surprise. Mooney was also the winner of the prestigious Belinda Clark Award 2021. While T20 has largely become a format for the swashbuckling batters, Mooney showed everyone that consistency is as important as aggression in the format. You can read the cover story on her by ever-impressive Adam Collins in the third issue of our magazine here.
Some Dessert to sign off
- Former India cricketer Sunetra Paranjpe has been appointed as the head coach of the Baroda senior team. Earlier last year, it was announced that former cricketer Anju Jain will be taking up the job but there was a fallout between the association and her.
- Jharkhand State Cricket Association is organising a T20 tournament for women cricketers that has begun on February 14, 2020. JSCA honorary secretary Sanjay Sahay said that strict rules would be put in place for all the players and officials to ensure their safety.
- Cricket Ireland has announced the schedule for the Super 50 Series and the domestic T20 series for the upcoming season. As both the ODI World Cup Qualifiers and the T20 World Cup regional qualifiers lined-up closely, the board has planned to increase the number of matches and coaching hours to get the players ready for the qualifiers.
- With the Zimbabwe tour getting cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, Namibia coach Francois van der Merwe has said that they are focusing on preparing the players mentally for the busy season ahead of the T20 World Cup Africa qualifier in October. “It’s been a great learning curve for the women, and they are now starting to think like international players,” he said.
- Uganda Cricket Association has announced a 28-member probable for the preparatory camp ahead of the T20 World Cup African Qualifiers. While players from Jinja would be training with the Kampala group under the guidance of UCA Development Manager Davis Turinawe, the players from Soroti would be under Ivan Kakande in Soroti Cricket Academy.
That's it for this fortnight. Hopefully, we can give you the further confirmation on the return of Indian team next time around. Until then, the wait continues!