Ashes, the Drama and Injury

During the second test series of the Ashes being played between Australia and England, Jofra Archer, British fast bowler sent the Australian batsman, Steve Smith, collapsing face down after a bouncer hit him at a sickening speed on the side of his neck. Smith managed to walk off the field a little while later to have a proper concussion check done. This was done under the applause from the crowd. It was, however, upon return to the field that he got booed. Some sections within the British crowd wanted to send out a reminder about his 12-month ban due to ball-tampering.

ACA Speak Out against Verbal Abuse

The Australian Cricketer’s Association which acts as a representative body for the Australian cricketers, condemned the situation where an injured player is receiving abuse for a matter which was already dealt with. During a joint statement Alistair Nicholson, chief executive and Greg Dyer, president, also stated that not only does the sport of cricket deserve better behaviour, but especially so at Lord’s which many consider as the heart and home of cricket. They applauded Smith’s bravery and stated that his conduct should much rather be praised. Many other former stars on the Australian side also applauded the courage of Smith.

The consensus was that the correct protocol was followed to send the injured Smith off the field to be able to do proper checks to determine whether he has a concussion or not. In recent years the Australian cricket world already lost the former teammate of Smith at Sheffield Shield, based in Sydney, in 2014. Phillip Hughes got hit by a bouncer during a domestic game and died due to the injury. After Hughes’s unfortunate death, wearing a neck guard was introduced, but remained optional. During this recent incident, Smith was wearing a helmet, but no neck guard. The event might lead again to reconsidering the neck guard and maybe make it part of compulsory wear in the future.

Smith Missing Out on the Third Series

After Smith did return to the field, his performance was mostly unsteady. Now it was confirmed that the star performer on the Australian side would have to sit out for the third series. Thus far he has been delivering excellent performance with scoring two centuries during his three innings up to now. 144, 142 and 92 are what he managed to achieve before being hit by the bouncer.

Smith did pass the initial testing for a concussion, but then, later on, showed signs of a mild concussion and he was out of the rest of the match. Smith stated that he would be playing at Headingley if he was declared fit enough according to the set protocol to play. This is, unfortunately, not the case now. The Aussies will now have to face the English without their star player. Smith will be replaced by Marnus Labuschagne, who stands in as concussion substitute.

English Cricket Going Vegan

No more leather balls for the Early Cricket Club set in the town of Reading outside of London. This club is switching their leather balls to a more vegan-friendly option. Since they turned to a vegan-friendly menu two years ago, they are known as the vegan club in the cricket world. This new menu was accepted well by most, who fully understood the need to offer a list which allows all religions and dietary requirements to be able to join in.

Starting With Vegan Teas

The notion of turning vegan all began when the Gary Shacklady, the chairperson and founder of the club became vegan. He realized that almost all cricket club teas served ham sandwiches which he had to pass on with his newly founded dietary interest. The change was made to serve vegan beverages at the club.

Going the Full Distance

Keeping up with the vegan spirit, a new vegan-friendly ball was introduced to play. The animal-friendly option is manufactured of synthetic products, and it contains no parts stemming from animals. According to Shacklady, the ball’s most significant difference is that it is slightly harder to grip than the well-known leather version and it bounces more. The club still finds this ball a new replacement of the standard leather balls which the game is known for. They are, however, keen on finding an even better solution to fill the position.

Early Cricket Club

The club was founded only 12 years ago by Shacklady. Currently 33-years old, he is the youngest in the circles of cricket club chairpersons in entire England. Shacklady expressed his hopes that other clubs will soon follow in this notion with, especially within their league, the Berkshire Cricket League. Shacklady is a primary school teacher and said that when the new vegan menu was introduced about two years ago, it was accepted by the club members with little resistance. He is hoping that the new ball will be taken within the cricket world with the same ease as that the new menu was.

Currently, the club is serving meat-free spaghetti Bolognese, lasagne and Moroccan tagine instead of the usual beef and ham sandwiches. He also stated that when teams visit to play, they still enjoy the food and often stack plates up high. It is only seldom that someone would complain, but the reasoning behind the menu is to allow all to be able to eat. Except for his vegan background, Shacklady also felt the exclusivity of the meals when players of different religious backgrounds visited the club, which means that Hindu and Muslim players couldn’t join in on the feed. He is stating that the new menu allows for all to be able to eat.

The cricket club in Reading is nicknamed the vegan club, and it is, in fact, no surprise that they are the first to introduce a vegan option for the leather made balls used for so long in the history of cricket.

Cricket Australia Announcing All-inclusive Gender policy

This week Cricket Australia made a formal announcement regarding their controversial decision of gender inclusivity. According to the new system, cricketers would be allowed to play according to the gender with which they identify and not their biologically born gender. This is the new policy in place for both amateur and professional cricket. Even though some are happy about the decision, some consider it the end of women’s cricket in the country.

Promoting Inclusivity in Sport

According to the CEO of Cricket Australia, Kevin Roberts, the policy is driven by their desire to ensure fair and inclusive play for all cricketers of the country. Clubs won’t be allowed to require these players to undergo a medical examination to determine whether they are allowed to play or not, yet players who would want to play according to their identified gender would have to produce statistics of 12 consecutive months indicating testosterone levels below ten nanomoles per litre.
He furthermore stated that discrimination won’t be allowed within the world of cricket in Australia and that this policy will enable transgender players to be able to represent the country in elite levels. It will also apply to the grassroots level, and even in clubs run within neighbourhoods by parents, children would be allowed to play according to the gender with which they identify. This matter is so severe that one article was published already, stating that parents who are denying children this right could be prosecuted.

Hence guidelines on incorporating the new policy would be communicated to all local clubs. These guidelines would create a place of free and inclusive involvement for all players, coaches and volunteers. Australian women’s cricketer, Megan Schutt, echoes Roberts, in her excitement. She believes that the policy would create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, expressed his objections to the plan. He felt that it is an inappropriate way to enforce clubs to deal with the matter. He is also stating that he is convinced that there are alternative ways of dealing with the issue.

His objection is shared by a professor in Paediatrics from Western Sydney University. Professor John Whiteball is convinced that the policy is giving women cricket a death blow. It will tremendously reduce any hardworking female’s ability to achieve greatness. Physically she won’t be able to compete. He has also mentioned the destructive effect which it can have on a teenage girl’s confidence to have to compete with someone physically stronger than her, due to being transgender and identifying as a female, although it is not the person’s born gender. The policy can change the face of women’s sports completely. Even though it was meant to create inclusivity, there are, without a doubt, a large number of people who will most definitely be excluded from sports due to this.

The Ashes – England Standing Embarrassed

The forecast has been made that when Australia is meeting England in this year’s Ashes five-game series, it is two very much mediocre test cricket teams competing against each other. It was expected that England’s glorious moments after winning the World Cup, only two weeks before the start of the Ashes, might come crashing down and so it did.

England’s Ashes History

There have been 27 Ashes series over the last 50 years. During this period England has only lost the first test twice before then going on to winning the series. This happened in 1981 and 2005, and both of these are referred to as miracle series. History also teaches us that during these 50 years of Ashes, Australia has either won or drawn the first test in 17 of the series and then they have won the series. Will this year be a repeat of past events or are there other factors to keep in mind?

England’s Poor Luck

This year England’s loss of the first test can’t simply be summed up as a poor play on the English side. They were struck with a bit of bad luck. Not only did England end up without their best bowler only one hour in of play, but they are also competing against stronger players. The best spinner of the series is indeed in the Australian team. The same goes for the best batsman. Australia is also holding the best pace attack on the two sides.

In comparison, the English team is riddled with weaknesses. They have six players who are injured or unproven and only have five players to show who is in good form and possibly placed in the correct spot. This led to their humiliation in the first test — a loss which only added to the mental scars gained from previous Ashes results. For England to get back into the game, they would need to fight not only a physical battle on the field, but also overcome the mental demons which they are struggling with now.

The Australian Performance

Winning the first test in the series was a significant boost of confidence on the Aussie side. This became their first win at Edgbaston in any form, since 2001. The Australians came to England without any fear factor accompanying them. They were fully aware that they have four consecutive losses of the Ashes series on English soil, but taking the first test gave them back their power, according to Shane Warne.

He also mentioned that it seemed that the English weren’t worried about the Australians ability pre-series, but the Aussies’ performance has given them a reason for concern. Even previous captain of the 2005 English Ashes team, Michael Vaughan mentioned on social media that the Australians came prepared and in good shape. He also said that the local team is not showing the much-needed movement. What the next few weeks will deliver is still to be seen. It seems possible that the Ashes will turn out to be a much more exciting event than expected initially.

The World’s Highest-Paid Cricket Players

Great players attract large sums of money, and over the years, an increase in sponsorships just kept on adding to the lucrative remuneration that some players receive. Ever wondered how much they do get paid? Let’s have a look at the top five highest-paid players in the game.

Number Five Brings us, David Warner.

The Australian left-hander is noted as one of the controversial players of the decade. His skills have, however, managed to overshadowed his behaviour mostly. Due to the ball-tampering saga which he was involved in, Cricket Australia did suspend him for one year from the game. He was still one of the highest-paid cricketers of Aussie country. The number bringing him into the fifth-place is $5.5 million.

The Charming Number Four – AB de Villiers

Charming and sweet, this South African legend has the crowd at his feet when he steps onto the field. His 360-degree game is legendary, and he is the driving force behind many of the Protea wins. He retired from international competitions in 2018, but the fans can still find him in T20. Coming in at the $6.4 million marks, the South African superstar is at number four on the list.

Number Three, Jamaican Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle is considered to be a great ambassador to the world of cricket. His career is stretching over two decades, and at the age of 39, he is still as potent as always. His ability to hit sixes is unparalleled, and he is also known for pioneering slam-bang cricket. Lately, he was playing less for the Caribbean, while being kept busy with T20 leagues internationally. $7.5 million places him in bronze position.

Number Two – the Favourite Son of India

Taking a significant leap to $21.7 million places MS Dhoni in the second position. His career stretches over fifteen years, and it brought him great success and recognition. Three ICC trophies and ranking on the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes during 2014. He is a great inspiration in the Indian cricket community with many youngsters looking at him in admiration. His value has decreased over time, but he still has a list of names which he endorses including some giants in the likings of Reebok, Sonata and TVs.

Number One – A Global Icon

His career took off in 2008, and since then he grew in greatness. Today Virat Kohli is seen as an icon with international acclaim. Nineteen thousand international runs to his name at the age of 30 testifies about the game he plays. In no time, he managed to gain a tremendous amount of popularity both locally as well as globally. During 2019 he was the only cricketer making it to the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes with $24 million assigned to him. Brands like Audi, Tissot and Uber signed him on for endorsement and from all the approvals alone, he secured $20 million into his pocket.

England Win Cricket World Cup in Super Over Against New Zealand

This was never going to be an easy match. The ICC Cricket World Cup Final featured two teams that didn’t have a World Cup title between them for over four decades in the men’s competition. Following 100 overs, the last few containing as much drama as the previous finals, nothing could separate New Zealand from England. For the first time in the history of the World Cup, a Super Over was needed to determine the outright winner.

The Super Over

Jimmy Neesham was asked to score 16 runs from 6 balls, striking the second legitimate delivery of Jofra Archer into the Mound Stand which made the equation go to 7 terms off four balls. A series of two’s followed before the bumper of Archer took Jimmy off the strike. At the end of a personal trail tournament, Martin Guptill had to score two more runs otherwise England was bound to lift the trophy.

Archer delivered a Yorker, Guptill managed to find deep midwicket, and the throw of Jason Roy managed to find Guptill short. This allowed Joe Buttler to complete the run-out to finally end all the years of hurt and disappointment in an afternoon of agony.

England’s Performance

England only managed to get close to the chase thanks to the partnership between Ben Stokes and Buttler with their phenomenal 110-run stand that lifted the hosts from an awful 86 for 4. Both players walked out again during the super over to score 15 runs which shifted the pressure back to New Zealand once again. The team responded by taking out Neesham, a player that was contemplating retiring from cricket, to face Archer during his 14th ODI. There could only be a single hero.

That being said, there was a handful of heroes on both teams during the final. For the second consecutive time, New Zealand managed to accumulate a score hovering around 240 and managed to defend it with the best of their abilities. However, just when they thought that they claimed victory at Lords, players from Christchurch ripped it away from their hands in a truly unbelievable and extraordinary fashion. Ben Stokes ended the match with 89 runs unbeaten. However, like Guptill, he was also unable to score two runs from the final ball to win the game during regulation time.

New Zealand entered the final already believing that they won the trophy before the game even started. This was probably the biggest mistake in the match as England was ready to give it their all to finally bring the trophy home. There are tons of highlights to look back on during the game, but there’s no denying that Ben Stokes was the critical ingredient for England to win the World Cup finally. It was a truly magnificent performance by both teams, and it will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best cricket matches to date.

India vs New Zealand Prediction in 2019 Cricket World Cup

The semi-final of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is on the horizon, and the four best cricket teams of the competition have managed to make it through. Those that are Pakistan supporters might disagree with this statement as the team managed to end up on the same points when compared to New Zealand and defeated New Zealand in their head-to-head encounter. However, that’s an entirely different discussion altogether.

The first semi-final of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is going to take place between New Zealand and India, a team that has managed to finish at the top of the table and only lost one singles match during their entire campaign. New Zealand managed to finish fourth in the competition and was incredibly lucky to make it through to the semi-finals of the tournament due to their net run-rate statistics.

The only match that was washed out during the tournament for both New Zealand and India was against each other. These two teams played against each other during a warm-up game before the start of the competition. New Zealand managed to win the warm-up match, but will they have the required skills to defeat them again in the semi-finals?

India will enter the match filled with confidence, while New Zealand will enter the game after suffering three consecutive defeats. The game will take place at the Emirates Old Trafford ground in Manchester.

India’s Line-up

During our evaluation of the upcoming match between these two incredible teams, we attempted to include as many players as possible that will have a significant role to play during the game. MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, and Arivinda de Silva all enjoyed some of their best cricket moments towards the end of a World Cup. Our picks were also based on conditions for swing bowlers and an excellent batting line-up.

Wicketkeeper – The Indian wicketkeeper, Rishab Pant, is the number 4 batsman for India and has been performing quite well in the tournament. He is available for 8 points which makes him a fantastic pick, allowing you to select more expensive players.

Batsman: We decided to go with Henry Nicholls, Lokesh Rahul, Ross Taylor, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Rohit Sharma for this upcoming game. Rohit Sharma currently impresses with his skills and performance. However, you should avoid picking him as your captain as this will be an obvious move. The Manchester ground is perfect for batting, and this is where India will lead their attack. Most of the batsmen mentioned above are going to make a sizable contribution to the scoreboard.

Match Prediction

India managed to win the last match against New Zealand with ease in New Zealand. This is the game where two spinners from India dominated the game. We believe India will opt-in for a similar approach to receive the same result. India has better bowlers, batsmen, and fielders when compared to New Zealand.

Can Bangladesh Find a Weakness Against India?

Bangladesh has managed to destroy South Africa, walked over the West Indies, and looked quite phenomenal even during a defeat. The cricket team still has the opportunity to reach the semi-finals, and they could have had it already if the rain didn’t keep them from finishing their match against Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh vs India in 2019 Cricket World Cup

However, instead of looking back at what could have been, Bangladesh is focusing all their energy on what can be if they managed to claim victory in their remaining two matches. The first match will be against India, a fearsome opponent in many ways but also a team with significant weaknesses, especially in the lower and middle order.

These weaknesses provide Bangladesh with a clear and precise focus, obtain early wickets, and get past Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma if possible. This is much easier said than done, and we haven’t even discussed the superior bowling abilities of India. Still, there’s never been a better time to face India that right now. The team’s vulnerabilities are as clear as daylight when you take a look back at their last three matches. This is a team that is no longer unbeatable, and they are participating in their second match in only three days. On the other hand, most of the batsmen in the Bangladesh cricket team have been incredible in terms of performance, they have a star that is enjoying a fantastic World Cup as an allrounder, and the team’s bowling is more potent on slow pitches. The team will also be well rested before they face India, so everything is looking suitable for Bangladesh.

However, India is considered experts when it comes to shrugging off a few setbacks and providing professional and calm displays against a cricket team that they are expected to destroy. Bangladesh is well aware of this fact too as they’ve managed to push India quite hard in the last three matches. However, whether in Bengaluru, Birmingham, or even Melbourne, India have always found a way to defeat Bangladesh. Will the 2019 Cricket World Cup be the same?

Conditions and Pitch

The same strip in Edgbaston that played host to the India-England match will be utilised once more for this upcoming game. If the pitch is similar to the India-England match, it should be slow and flat as the game progresses, allowing the team that bats first to benefit greatly. The pitch position on the square means that one square boundary is much shorter when compared to the other. Kohli wasn’t pleased about this as the team was unable to match the know-how of England during the match.

However, now that the team is well aware of this fact, they will be much better prepared for the task that lies ahead. Loads of other conditions play a role in this match, but it will all boil down to the better team on the day. It will be a phenomenal match to watch, regardless.

Warner and Smith Not Yet Welcomed by Cricket Community

England will play against Australia later this week at Lord’s for the first international match between the two cricket teams since the pair from Australia returned to the game after their suspension from cricket due to the ball-tampering scandal that occurred in March 2018.

Even though Morgan did not call on fans to show their disapproval for the Australian pair’s action, he did use the opportunity to discourage boos that have welcomed them on several cricket grounds. By contrast, Virat Kohli has gestured that spectators should stop applauding and jeering Smith during the World Cup match between India and Australia.

Morgan stated that fans pay a great deal of money to see the matches live and therefore, they are welcome to react and do as they see fit. No one can anticipate their reactions to individual players. Just because two players received punishment for their actions, served their time, and returned to the game, doesn’t mean that they will be accepted back immediately. Patience is needed as this will take a great deal of time.

The Smith and Warner Scandal

Smith and Warner were suspended for 12 months by Cricket Australia after the incident occurred during the Newlands Test in 2018. The two cricket players received several boos from the crowd in various sections when Australia played against England in the warm-up match for the World Cup in Southampton during May. Fortunately, Smith was not too bothered by this who managed to make a century in the game.

The crowd at Lord’s is a bit more polite, and booing rarely occurs at this cricket ground. However, the World Cup tends to appeal to a completely different crowd than usual matches that are played here. Stewards will be briefed on the situation to assist in differentiating between banter and abuse.

The Australian cricket captain, Aaron Finch, stated that it would not make any difference to his team and their overall performance. It might even provide an extra layer of motivation for his team to win. He stated that as a cricket player, you rarely hear what people have to say about you. You might listen to noises at certain times, but nothing specific. Whether the entire stadium boos or only a handful of players, it doesn’t matter when Smith or Warner step out to bat.

The comments made by Morgan follow a similar pattern as those made by Jonny Bairstow. Jonny experienced a few exciting events during the Ashes Tour when he made references to Darren Lehmann, the coach for the Australian team, calling on fans to give it to Stuart Broad the entire summer in hopes that he would cry and go home ahead of the 2013/14 Ashes Tour.

The World’s Oldest Cricket Grounds

Cricket is a prevalent sport across the globe. The competition is accessible in several countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Pakistan, India, and many others. Due to its immense popularity, there have been several stadiums constructed around the world to ensure cricket games can be hosted for teams and spectators alike. Some of them form part of sports history because they’ve hosted some of the best cricket matches ever played. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the oldest cricket stadiums in the world.

Lord’s Cricket Ground

Often referred to as Lord’s, the Lord’s cricket ground is undoubtedly the oldest on our list. It’s often called the Home of Cricket and was established by Thomas Lord who was a professional cricket player from England. He managed to construct several cricket grounds from 1787 until 1814. The very first cricket ground was known as the Lord’s Old Ground, and it was situated where the Dorset Square is today in London. His second cricket ground that was used until 1813 was abandoned to construct Regent’s Canal.

Trent Bridge Ground

The second oldest cricket ground in the world is the Trent Bridge Ground which is situated in West Bridgford, England. This cricket ground has been used to enjoy cricket since the early 1830s. During 1899, the very first test match between Australia and England took place on this famous cricket ground. Since then, it managed to host several cricket matches, Test matches, and One Day Internationals. It’s also the home ground for the prestigious Nottingham County Cricket Club and is considered the best place to enjoy watching a cricket match.

The Oval

This is probably one of the most famous cricket ground’s on earth and the third oldest cricket ground in the world. The stadium is located in London, England and is the home ground for the impressive Surrey County Cricket Club. The cricket ground was initially constructed back in 1845 and has managed to host the very first international cricket match again in 1880. Thanks to tradition, each year the final test of the English season is held here, and it plays host to other sporting events, such as rugby and football matches.

The Sydney Cricket Ground

The fourth oldest cricket ground in the world is the SCG, or Sydney Cricket Ground, which is situated in Australia. It was initially constructed in 1848 and is located in New South Wales. You can enjoy all types of cricket on this ground, including One Day Internationals, Twenty20, and Test matches. Apart from cricket, it also plays host to a decent selection of other sporting events, such as rugby, football, and others.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

The fifth oldest cricket ground is also situated in Australia and was initially constructed in 1854. It is also considered the largest cricket stadium in the world. It’s located in Melbourne, Victoria and played host to two cricket world cups along with the Summer Olympic games in 1956. The fifth oldest cricket ground is also situated in Australia and was initially constructed in 1854. It is also considered the largest cricket stadium in the world. It’s located in Melbourne, Victoria and played host to two cricket world cups along with the Summer Olympic games in 1956.

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