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T20 World Cup 2021 – Ind vs NZ

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Says India’s last-minute rejig of their batting order may have done them more harm than good

India have fallen behind in the race to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, and according to Mumbai Indians’ head coach and former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, they may have contributed to their own downfall a little bit by fiddling with a settled batting order.
Rohit Sharma was pulled out of his usual position at the top of the order in the game against New Zealand and made to bat at No. 3. While that was in response to an injury – Suryakumar Yadav – and the replacement’s – Ishan Kishan – best chance of success being at the top, it left too many players dealing with unfamiliar roles. In the end a rejigged line-up could only post 110 for 7 and was soundly beaten.

“You can be flexible. But not with your top-three batters,” Jayawardene said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out. “I think most teams if you take, you don’t have too much flexibility in that top three. They are settled. They are the ones who are going to give you that initial tempo, who are going to go about things. And then you have that guy at No. 3 who is going to glue things together and bat in both halves of the innings and the rest of the guys are the ones who will probably get floated in and around.”

Jayawardene, in his tenure as Mumbai Indians coach, has seen a lot of India’s players up close and he believed that the team would have been better served if Rohit had stayed at the top of the order.

“That’s his role he plays in T20 cricket and Virat Kohli is either an opener or No. 3. I think KL Rahul would have been able to play that No. 4 role because he has that ability to change and adapt.
“In an ideal scenario, if India had a good start and had a settled thing, even Rishabh Pant could have batted No. 4 – given they [New Zealand] had a left-arm spinner [Mitchell Santner] and a legspinner [Ish Sodhi], he would have got more licence to then play knowing that he had two-three batters behind him.

“So rather than making all those changes they should have done just that subtle change – one in, one out – and then maybe one batter changing positions, rather than three batters changing their slots, would have made a bit more sense. Especially going against a very good New Zealand new-ball attack because it was always going to do a little bit in those three-four overs.”

Jayawardene found it odd that India would ask their players to adapt to new responsibilities in the middle of a World Cup. “If you batted them in those correct positions, they are familiar with those roles and they would have executed,” he said. “If they had failed in those roles, then that’s a question you can always ask. But if you are pulling guys away from those particular roles where they are quite familiar with, then it’s always going to be a tough one.

“Especially when you are going into a World Cup, you should have a steady, stable, settled set-up where everyone understands where if someone fails, that’s my role, to go in, consolidate and then kick on, get the tempo going again. I think that’s where India struggled. Especially having lost to Pakistan and then going into another big match, once you unsettle that, the fear of failure and all those thought processes creep into your game.”
With back-to-back losses, India’s chances of making the semi-finals are complicated. But Jayawardene is not writing them off. “They still have an opportunity. Anything can happen. And if they sneak through to those semi-final spots they are a force to reckon with. But if they don’t have a successful T20 World Cup, there’s another one coming pretty soon [in Australia in late 2022] and obviously it’s an opportunity for them to look at some of the other options that they have.

“We see a lot of young Indian players coming through, we’ve seen it in the IPL as well, in the big stage, playing with fearlessness. They bat just the situation, they don’t bat anything other than that. So that’s something you need in T20 cricket. Bit of experience and bit of fearlessness to guide you through those tough situations.”



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James Anderson sits out first Test with an eye on Adelaide pink-ball contest

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England said there are no injury concerns around the quick bowler and he was fit for selection



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BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival

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The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop

Captain Nic Maddinson
Coach David Saker

Squad
Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)

In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim

Last season

It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
International impact
Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
Player to watch
Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series

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The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park

West Indies will play three ODIs and a T20I against Ireland in Jamaica from January 8 to 16, the CWI has announced, with the possibility that the standalone T20I will be used as a farewell match for Chris Gayle.

While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.

“It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.

“It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”

Ireland will travel to the Caribbean on December 31, immediately after their series against USA which starts on December 22 and comprises two T20Is and three ODIs. They have already named their squads for both tours, with Kevin O’Brien left out and David Ripley taking temporary charge as interim head coach.
Ireland last toured the Caribbean in 2020, drawing the T20I series 1-1 and losing the ODI series 3-0. Sabina Park was also the venue for one of the finest moments in Irish cricketing history, their victory over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup on St Patrick’s Day.

“We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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