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World Cricket On Hold

Cricket has gone the way of the other sports in the wake of the coronavirus spread, and stumps won’t be pitched for a while yet.

It’s a frustrating time in the game, with fans just getting their heads around the inaugural World Test Championship and with the crowd pulling T20 competitions about to start.

We might see some village cricket over the next few weeks, but we’ll have to wait a while to see the best players in the world facing up to each other again. But it will be worth it!

 

First Test Championship hits the skids

There has been some criticism from fans and pundits around the complicated nature of the new Five Day tournament, but at the time we’re beginning to get used to it there will be no play for the next few weeks. India leads the ICC World Test Championship table, ahead of Australia and New Zealand but partly by virtue of the fact Virat Kohli’s side has played four test series whereas the chasers have played three.

The Green Baggies beat the Kiwis in a three match series over Christmas, and then they   recently came head to head in the first ODI of the Chappell – Hadlee Trophy, a game the Aussies won in an eerily quiet Sydney Cricket Ground as the Australian Cricket authorities ordered the game to be played behind closed doors.

Aaron Finch, David Warner and the in-form Marnus Labuschagne all scored half centuries for Australia as the home side won comfortably, an impressive achievement on the back of a packed schedule which included a 3-0 defeat to South Africa. So the Aussies probably needed a break, but not in these circumstances.

When we’re back up and running, check out Cricket at SBOTOP and rest assured the Green Baggies will be ready!

 

IPL and PSL delayed

Cricket: Jasprit Bumrah was named man-of-the-match in India's 5-0 win vs New Zealand
Jasprit Bumrah in action during India’s match against New Zealand

The IPL in India was due to start on March 29th but that was initially postponed for 17 days until April 15th, and we’re waiting for an update. The two month extravaganza is the sport’s most lucrative competition which generates close to £9 million, thanks to the appearance of the best players in the world including Kohli and England’s swashbuckler Ben Stokes.

Eight teams play a total of 60 matches in packed stadiums across the nation, but with domestic flights in India grounded just today we need to be patient.

It’s going to be tough because T20 is in the DNA of India cricket fans and they will be right up for the IPL having watched their side hammer New Zealand 5-0 in a recent series. It was an eagerly anticipated clash between two explosive sides and one we expected to be evenly contested. But India’s attack had too much venom for the Kiwis, Jasprit Bumrah winning the man-of-the-match award in the fifth match with a return of 3-12.

In Pakistan the PSL has become a casualty and that’s particularly hard to take for a nation which has just welcomed the sport back to its own territory having been forced to play in the United Arab Emirates for a number of years due to security concerns. But the Pakistan Super League fell victim to the COVID-19 virus after some of the last leg games were played behind closed doors at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The semi-finals were due to take place on the 17th and 18th March, but after reports emerged than one overseas player showed symptoms the Pakistan Cricket Board decided to take no risks. Chief Executive Wasim Khan insisted: “This is absolutely the right thing to do after a player, who will be tested in his country shortly, has shown symptoms of COVID-19.

“This is an unprecedented situation, which is evolving with each passing day. The PCB has closely monitored the situation and had taken precautionary measures including consultation with relevant authorities and temperature screening of players, officials and media on match and non-match days.”

It’s a fast moving situation and we hope to get back to sport before too long, and in the meantime we’ll be back with more Cricket news and analysis here at SBOTOP later this week.

 

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