Australia has been in rough waters in the past few weeks due to the sexting scandal that forced wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine to step down from captaincy. Cricket Australia salvaged the situation by handing the leader’s cap to fast bowler Pat Cummins, known to be a gentleman who plays hard.
But there is no end to the problems.
Pandemic-related restrictions in Western Australia kept CA under the pump, and it confirmed that the fifth and the final Ashes Test would not go ahead in Perth due to logistical constraints. The WA state government had strict 14-day quarantine rules and restrictions on the players’ family members.
Since there is a short break after the January 6-9 Sydney Test, it is nearly impossible to follow the protocols before the scheduled January 14 start of the final rubber.
Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc and Travis Head have made it to the Australia XI for the Ashes opener in Brisbane starting December 8.
Pakistan’s Abid Ali struck a hundred and a fifty to guide his side to victory in the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram. – AFP
Abid Ali packs a punch
Pakistan opener Abid Ali struck a hundred and a fifty to guide his side to victory in the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram this fortnight. The 34-year-old batter scored 133 in the first innings and fell nine runs short of his second hundred while chasing 202 in the fourth.
Hasan Ali’s five-for helped Pakistan restrict Bangladesh to 330 despite a fluent 114 from Liton Das and a fighting 91 from Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bangladesh stopped Pakistan at 286 with spin bowler Taijul Islam picking up seven wickets. But the host could not build on the 44-run lead and was dismissed for 157. This time, left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi finished with a fifer.
The 151-run opening stand between Ali (91) and Abdullah Shafique (73) set the stage for the chase. Azhar Ali (24 not out) and Babar Azam (13 not out) finished the game.
Eileen Ash, oldest Test player, dies at 110
Eileen Whelan, also known as Eileen Ash, the oldest living Test cricketer, has died at the age of 110 on December 4. She had made her Test debut for England against Australia in 1937 in Northampton.
In her 12-year international career comprising seven Tests, she picked up 10 wickets at an average of 23.00 with her right-arm seam bowling.
Besides cricket, she gained respect for her involvement with the M16 — the UK’s secret intelligence service during World War II. In her later years, Ash kept playing golf till 98 and could practise yoga till 105.
“Our sport owes so much to its pioneers, and Eileen was one of them. I am deeply sad to be saying goodbye to her today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eileen’s family as they come to terms with losing such a wonderful woman and the end of an astonishing life,” Clare Connor, ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, said.
New high for Harmanpreet
India T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur was named Player of the Tournament in the 2021 edition of the Women’s Big Bash League.
Harmanpreet was the top-scorer and top wicket-taker for the Melbourne Renegades. The right-handed batter smashed 406 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 130.96, and the right-arm off-breaks fetched her 15 wickets at an economy of 7.46. She also holds the record for the most number of sixes (18) in the edition.
Earlier this fortnight, the 32-year-old all-rounder was named in the Team of the Tournament.
The Renegades’ journey in the WBBL ended against the Adelaide Strikers, but Harmanpreet’s achievement augurs well for the future of Indian cricketers in the glamorous league in Australia. She beat Perth Scorchers’ Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney by three votes to win the honour.
The Scorchers beat the Strikers for the title.