Although one Test series has just ended, another is underway and a third is starting on August 27, the main talking point in Tuesday’s (August 22) newspapers seemed to be the downfall of Test cricket coinciding with Windies’ embarrassing innings defeat at the hands of England in Birmingham. Criticism from both sides and beyond was plenty, but the call for solutions to save Windies cricket featured prominently as well.
Meanwhile, Michael Hussey made fierce claims that the current Indian Test side, led by Virat Kohli, reminded him of the Australian sides of the 2000s. Sanath Jayasuriya also discussed the effect of bat regulations and what he would do if he was an active player in these modern times.
‘Indians playing cricket the Australian way’ (The Hindu)
Michael Hussey feels the Indians are now playing their cricket the Australian way. And he believes Virat Kohli is the reason behind this mental transformation. The former Aussie batting star told The Hindu on Monday, “India are now starting to get that tougher Aussie cricket culture as well. Skipper Kohli is very hungry for success, he’s happy to get into a scrap for a win which we haven’t always seen from the Indian teams in the past.”
Test cricket desperately needs a new structure, and now (The Indian Express)
“West Indies were embarrassing and pathetic… they just threw in the towel,” wrote Curtly Ambrose in his column for Daily after West Indies’ demoralising loss to England in the first game of the three-Test series. West Indies were thrashed by an innings and 209 runs by England at Edgbaston in a dismal show that saw 19 West Indies wickets fall on the third day. This continued West Indies’ dismal run of 17 years of not winning a Test in England. As one West Indies wicket fell after another, much like dominoes, not only did England inch towards yet another home win – after winning 3-1 against South Africa – it made brutally clear that not only West Indies cricket but the sport itself needs a change.
BCCI reforms and growing concerns (The Hindu)
There is a growing concern among the cricket administrators with the 2017-18 season a mere month away. There is a clamour now to announce their “willingness” to adopt the Lodha Committee reforms as the date for the Supreme Court hearing nears but it is the daunting task of organising the game that is giving the officials sleepless nights. Uttar Pradesh has indicated it was ready to implement the reforms. Punjab too has said it would fall in line. “Do we have a choice if the Supreme Court declares that we have to adopt the reforms in toto,” asked a veteran Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official.
If I had the opportunity to play with modern bats, I would have picked one: Sanath Jayasuriya (The Indian Express)
When I was playing, the only thing that mattered to me was a lighter bat and making sure I get the proper wood. We never thought anything about bat dimensions. Whatever the manufacturers did, we used to play. It all depended on the manufacturers. In countries where pitches had higher bounce, I used to have more meat at the top half of the bat. In the subcontinent, the bottom half used to be heavier. It was like that only, when we were playing. We never got worried about the thickness and edges. In fact, I always preferred thinner edges (to keep the bat to 2.6-2.7 pounds).
More history beckons for all-round hero (Cricket.com.au)
In accruing achievements that – according to Bangladesh’s long-serving Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – elevates him to a “wonder of the cricket world”, Shakib Al Hasan has pocketed more than his share of history. The first cricketer to simultaneously hold the world’s number one ranking in all three contemporary formats – Test, ODI and T20. An honour that he continues to claim. At age 22 and four months, the youngest man to captain his country in Test matches with his inaugural match at the helm against the West Indies in 2009 securing Bangladesh’s maiden offshore Test series success.
‘We are very much unbeatable at home’: Shakib Al Hasan ready to upset Australia (The Guardian)
If his enduring excellence is not more widely appreciated beyond Asia, it is no slight on him. Instead, it is a reflection of how Bangladesh have been treated as a second-rate cricketing nation. Shakib has played 49 of Bangladesh’s 56 Tests since his Test debut in 2007; England have played 131 in this time and Australia 114. “It is frustrating,” he said, while playing for Jamaica Tallawahs during the Caribbean Premier League. “We can see the difference. But that’s how it is. We can’t do anything.” Since his Test debut in 2007 Shakib has been Bangladesh’s totem, simultaneously fulfilling the role of frontline batsman and bowler with a reliability that few in Test history have matched. He averages 40.92 with the bat and 33.04 with the ball, numbers that bear comparison with cricketers venerated as greats; both figures actually improve away from home, in defiance of the traditional jibe that subcontinental players cannot replicate their success beyond home climes.
Bangladesh pull rank on Aussie batters (Cricket.com.au)
And while Australia’s captain Steve Smith retains his hold on the top rung of Test batting, Bangladesh boasts its own number one – the world’s best allrounder in all formats, Shakib Al Hasan – as well as a top-order that (on spreadsheet, at least) appears far more potent than their 2006 iteration. The other Australian batters rated among the world’s top 50 – David Warner (11), Usman Khawaja (14), Peter Handscomb (38) and Matthew Renshaw (39) – arrived in Dhaka bearing better preparation than their 2006 predecessors but with not quite the swagger of Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist et al.
The time has come to celebrate cricket’s homecoming! (Geo News)
In mid-February, when everyone involved in Pakistan cricket was busy with the Pakistan Super League in UAE, back home a powerful explosion had hit a Sufi shrine in Sehwan, while another explosion targeted policemen in Lahore. With these two terrorist attacks, the dream of bring cricket back home (the Pakistan Super League final at that time) appeared to have been shattered into countless pieces. But, with the tireless efforts of the PCB, PSL management, and PSL franchise owners, the dream became reality and the PSL final was successfully held in in Lahore. That PSL final wouldn’t have been possible if Najam Sethi, the head of PSL, would not have taken a firm position along with the support of the Pakistan Army, who made sure that all the security arrangements were properly in place.
England can’t ignore the role English authorities played in killing Test cricket’s competitiveness (The Independent)
In a format so small – only 10 nations have ever played, though that will soon increase to 12 when Afghanistan and Ireland play their first Tests – Test cricket cannot afford to lose teams. This century, it has effectively lost both Zimbabwe – who once beat Pakistan and India in consecutive Test series – and the West Indies, who have won 16 and lost 89 of their 146 matches against other top eight teams since June 2000, as competitive sides. The West Indies’ complicity in their own downfall – the endless petty politicking, the stubbornness, the squabbling between islands – is well-known. Yet England should not feel entitled to any sanctimony. The West Indies are also the victims of a broken structure in international cricket – one that England, the second wealthiest cricket nation, did a great deal to build.
West Indies players and fans alike left out in the cold and horribly exposed (The Guardian)
Donald Trump was at Edgbaston. So was the Queen. And Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. There were at least a dozen priests and as many Mexican bandits and even more Dutch footballers. There cannot have been a fancy dress shop anywhere in the Midlands with an outfit left to spare – unless they happened to stock West Indian cricket kit. The only colour you did not see in the stands was maroon. Their supporters seem to have long since given up on the team. There are no definite numbers to compare but it was apparent how many more Jamaicans came to the London Stadium on the nights Elaine Thompson and Usain Bolt were running at the World Athletics Championships.
Why are West Indies so poor – and can problems be fixed? (BBC Sport)
Although West Indies drew with England at home in 2015, their most recent Test victory away came in 2012 against Bangladesh. They have lost seven of their past 14 Tests on the road by an innings and are eighth in the world rankings. “West Indies used to do to England what England are doing to them now,” Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special. Earlier this year, West Indies lost a home series to Pakistan when last man Shannon Gabriel, needing to bat out two overs, was bowled via an inside edge as he tried to slog the last ball of the penultimate over. “I’m so accustomed to this sort of performance now that it’s not even funny,” said legendary fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose, who took 405 wickets in 98 Tests between 1988 and 2000.
Windies road record is poor historically (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian)
A look at the West Indies team away performances against other teams will show that the last time they won against Pakistan in Pakistan was 27 years ago. The last time they defeated India in India was 23 years ago. Against New Zealand on the road has also been difficult with the last win coming 22 years ago. The last time a West Indies team won in Australia was 20 years ago. Fourteen years ago they took a win over Zimbabwe in Africa, seven years ago they won against South Africa and five years ago they were able to beat Bangladesh in Bangladesh. The West Indies have never won a Test match against Sri Lanka in that country. The last time they tasted success outside the Caribbean was against Pakistan last year at the neutral venue of Sharjah.