The Australian selectors have confirmed their pace attack for the first Ashes Test against England in Brisbane, although the batting conundrum hasn’t been solved yet. In the women’s Ashes, meanwhile, England Women resumed their quest with the historic day-night Test in Sydney.
Away from international cricket, back in India on Thursday (November 9), Mumbai are playing Baroda at the Wankhede Stadium in what is their 500th Ranji Trophy game and former players, as well as opponents, shared their memories of the team’s incredible history.
Australia’s first Test squad takes shape (cricket.com.au)
Australia have all but confirmed the four fast bowlers that will feature in their squad for the first Test Magellan Ashes Test. NSW pacemen Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood along with Tasmania seamer Jackson Bird will all sit out the third round of the JLT Sheffield Shield, which gets underway Monday, Cricket Australia confirms today.
Ian Healy a fan of Cameron Bancroft – but not as Australia’s wicketkeeper (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Wicketkeeping bolter Cameron Bancroft is confident he can perform well with the gloves if picked for the first Test but former Australian great Ian Healy has urged selectors not to give the job to the uncapped youngster. The West Australian has emerged as a left-field candidate after a fine performance against a star-studded NSW team.
South Australian coach Jamie Siddons has revealed how Jake Lehmann turned his game around in the off-season to be on the brink of a Test debut. With the No.6 position in the Aussie batting order up for grabs, Lehmann crafted a dazzling ton in the first innings against Victoria and then 93 in the second dig. The 25-year-old averaged a tick over 40 in Shield cricket with one ton and four 50s, but is a new player this summer, according to his coach.
The debut of the pink ball, and the new day-night element adds a degree of unpredictability in this match too. Whether it’s the experienced and battle-hardened Alex Blackwell with 11 Tests to her name or a fresh-faced debutant who has hardly played over two days let alone four, the pink ball will offer players plenty of questions.
Then there is the twilight zone: the time of day when artificial light takes over and the pink ball is said to swing more than usual, should the elements align. And with 20 wickets needed for a win, this is the moment that could become the focal point of the match.
Mumbai’s 500th Ranji Trophy match (against Baroda, which begins at the Wankhede Stadium today) is a significant milestone that highlights the city’s pre-eminent place in domestic cricket. No other team has played as many matches simply because none other has won as many. The correlation is direct.
Some other stats are even more telling. Bombay (Mumbai after the city was renamed) have been 46 times in the final of the Ranji Trophy, winning the title a mind-boggling 41 times in the 83-year history of the national tournament, including the first one in 1934-35.
Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath have some fond memories of their contests against Mumbai and Mumbai cricketers. “It was a name dreaded and respected in Indian cricket,” said Amarnath, who shifted from Delhi to Mumbai before settling down in Goa.
For Kapil Dev, a match against Mumbai was a battle worth looking forward to. “You lost some and won some but enjoyed each and every of those games.”
Playing round the year is the key, says Wadekar (The Hindu)
“Are you sure it wasn’t Pollykaka (Polly Umrigar)?”
Ajit Wadekar is surprised when you tell him he has lifted the Ranji Trophy as the Mumbai captain the most number of times. “Maybe it was because I would have joined the team only for the final or so or some of the other greats would have handed over the reins to an India regular,” says the 76-year-old and tries to play down his achievement, although one can clearly not miss the element of pride in his voice.
Sachin Tendulkar’s fond memories of Mumbai Ranji Trophy dressing room (Hindustan Times)
“I was selected at the age of 14 to go to Baroda. We travelled by train. My room partner was Suru Nayak, so it was appropriately selected for me to make sure I sleep on time and all that sort of things. As time went by, I grew up. All in all, the experience was overwhelming. With all these greats of Indian cricket, I started feeling at home. But I didn’t play a single game in that year. I spent time in the dressing room. And it was that time that made me belong to Mumbai cricket. I was never out of place after that,” said Tendulkar.
Opponents vouch for its competitive spirit (The Hindu)
Salim Durrani, who figured in five of the seven finals Rajasthan lost to Bombay in the 1960s, said, “Bombay in my time was a very talented side and a great competitor. It never gave in. The youngsters got opportunities and could look up to many great players and learn. Some of the Bombay players like Vijay Manjrekar and Subhash Gupte played for Rajasthan. Ajit Wadekar was a very talented and intelligent cricketer. He was very calm and composed.’’
Even if he had not taken 128 wickets in 35 Tests against Australia, Big Bob’s performance at Headingley in 1981 would earn him a place in cricket folklore. His thrilling, astonishing 8-43 that clinched victory in the game’s most fabled Test match will never be forgotten by those who witnessed, watched, listened to or read about it. So, when Willis warns that England’s bowlers do not have enough pace and penetration to roll over the Aussie batsmen this winter, it is worth listening.
The day my name changed (Players Voice)
I never thought it would hit me so hard. To that point, I had never had an issue with being adopted. I didn’t possess a burning, yearning desire to find my biological parents. I was comfortable sharing my story. I actually thought it made me unique compared to my friends.
It’s not quite the same now. Not since my trip to Pune. I was in India, and in the process of writing my autobiography, when my manager at the time suggested I go and visit the orphanage from where I was adopted.
Unheralded maestro – Sampath Perera’s gift for the future of Sri Lanka Cricket (Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka)
There were no trophies presented for coaches at last week’s Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Annual Awards Ceremony but you could not fault Sampath Perera if he still felt like a winner. Two of the country’s emerging cricketers are after all, players that came through his coaching system and once made history as part of Perera’s quadruple winning Trinity College Under-19 Cricket Team.
One of them, Ron Chandraguptha, is yet to break into the National Team but his performances at domestic level earned him the Emerging Player of the Year (domestic) Award, an accolade that ought to bring a recipient to the attention of the national selectors. The other player is Niroshan Dickwella who has lit up international cricket in the last two years and is the fourth highest run-getter for the National Team across all three formats since February 2016.
Passionate fans, not so passionate organisers (The Daily Star)
After a captivating five days of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) cricket, fans in Sylhet will return to their usual mundane lives without the slightest knowledge of another sporting festival for the foreseeable future.
The banners and posters of the seven participating teams, which are on display on the streets of the city, might be there for another few days. But the most disappointing aspect is that there is nothing on offer from the local organisers for any domestic cricket or football event round the year, let alone any international tournament.