Retired England opener Alastair Cook reportedly in line for knighthood

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Alastair Cook retired as England's all-time leading run-scorer in Tests.

Having just retired from international cricket, Alastair Cook could soon be heading for a knighthood.

The England opener called time on his international career with the final Test against India and bowed out of the game after notching up his 33rd ton in his final innings.

Now, the 33-year-old could be on the shortlist for receiving a knighthood according to a report by the Telegraph.

Cook has already been awarded the title of CBE (Commander of the British Empire) and his name could feature in the Queen’s New Year list.

The last England cricketer to be knighted was Ian Botham in 2007. However, the all-rounder’s knighthood was awarded for his charity work rather than his cricketing contributions. The last England player to be knighted for his contributions towards sports was the late Alec Victor Bedser who was awarded the title in 1996.

Ian Botham was the last England cricketer to be knighted.

Ian Botham was the last England cricketer to be knighted.

The report goes on to state that Cook’s inclusion in the New Year’s list could be championed by Prime Minister Theresa May who is said to be a big fan of the sport.

Cook retired as England’s all-time leading run-scorer in Tests after scoring 12,472 runs in 161 Tests at an average of 45.35. The 33 tons registered by his bat are also the highest by any English batsman and the ninth highest overall in the history of the format.

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Virat Kohli's 183 against Pakistan and other interesting stats in Asia Cup's 24-year history

Ashish Peter 14/09/2018
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Virat Kohli slammed 183 in the 2012 Asia Cup clash against Pakistan.

The six best teams in Asia are set to tussle it out for the continent’s biggest prize when the 2018 Asia Cup gets underway in Dubai on Saturday.

Established in 1984, the biennial tournament has served up plenty of titanic clashes as well as some superb individual performances. This year, the tournament reverts to its original 50-over avatar after the 2016 edition was held in the Twenty20 format.

Here, we take a look at some of the interesting numbers and statistics from the tournament’s 24-year history.

183 – The highest individual score by any batsman in the Asia Cup. That innings was notched up by Virat Kohli at Dhaka in the 2012 edition against India’s arch-rivals Pakistan. It is also Kohli’s highest ODI total of his career.

1220 – The number of runs accumulated by the tournament’s all-rime leading run-scorer. That accolade belongs to Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya who notched up the runs between 1990 and 2008 in 25 matches at an average of over 53.

No batsman has been as prolific as Jayasuriya in the Asia Cup.

No batsman has been as prolific as Jayasuriya in the Asia Cup.

30 – Is the number of wickets claimed by the tournament’s all-time leading wicket-taker. Here too, a Sri Lankan takes the honours with off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan being the holder of the record. The legendary spinner picked up the haul between 1995 and 2010.

95.16 – Is the batting average of India’s MS Dhoni in the tournament. The India wicket-keeper batsman’s average is the highest among any player who has played a minimum of 10 innings in the tournament’s history. In 12 ODI innings in the tournament, Dhoni has aggregated a total of 615 runs with the help of a ton and three half-centuries.

3 – Is the most number of ducks accumulated by any batsman in the tournament’s history. The infamous record belongs to three players – Pakistan’s Salman Butt, Bangladesh’s Aminul Islam and Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardane.

6-13 – Best figures by any bowler in the tournament. These figures were achieved by Sri Lanka’s mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis against India at Karachi in the final of the 2008 edition. Remarkably, the Sri Lankan spinner conceded only 13 runs in his eight overs when he picked up that match-winning haul.

Mendis decimated India's batting-order in an eight-over burst.

Mendis decimated India’s batting-order in an eight-over burst.

6 – Most number of titles won by any single team in the tournament. India are the most successful team in the tournament with six titles to their name. They are followed by Sri Lanka who has won it five times while Pakistan have laid their hands on the trophy on two occasions.

87 – The lowest ODI total by any team in the tournament. It was achieved by Bangladesh in the 2000 edition in their clash against Pakistan.

385 – The highest ODI total by any team in the tournament. This accolade belongs to Pakistan who racked up 385-7 in their clash against Bangladesh at Dambulla in the 2010 edition.

224 – The highest partnership for any wicket in the tournament’s history. It was notched by the Pakistan pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed against India in the 2012 edition at Dhaka. The two batsmen put on the partnership for the opening wicket.

Jamshed and Hafeez had India on their knees with their opening stand.

Jamshed and Hafeez had India on their knees with their opening stand.

2000 – The year in which India failed to make the final of the tournament for the first time in its history. It was Sri Lanka and Pakistan who advanced to the final on that occasion.

2014 – The year in which Afghanistan entered the tournament for the first time.

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Dale Steyn makes return to South Africa ODI squad after a gap of nearly two years

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Steyn is back in South Africa's ODI fold.

After a gap of almost two years, Dale Steyn has made a comeback into South Africa’s ODI squad.

The South African pacer was included in the 16-man squad for the upcoming ODI series against Zimbabwe which gets underway on September 30.

The 35-year-old has had rotten luck with regards to injury over the past two years. He was sidelined for almost a year after fracturing his shoulder South Africa’s 2016-17 tour of Australia. When he did finally make his much awaited comeback in the first Test against India at the start of the year, Steyn suffered another freakish toe injury which triggered another extended spell on the sidelines.

The Proteas pacer then made his return competitive cricket for Hampshire in the County Championship this summer before being included in South Africa’s Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.

The fast-bowling stalwart had recently expressed his desire to put on the South Africa jersey for the 2019 World Cup in England. Therefore, Steyn’s return to the ODI fold for the first time since October, 2016 augurs well for his chances of fulfilling that dream.

Christiaan Jonker is the only new face in the 16-man squad announced on Friday with Quinton de Kock and David Miller being given a rest.

Faf du Plessis continues to lead the Proteas side despite struggling with a shoulder injury sustained on the tour of Sri Lanka. The South African skipper’s availability for the series is subject to fitness tests and a replacement will be named in case he is unable to recover in time.

The three ODIs between hosts Zimbabwe and South Africa will be followed by as many T20Is.

ODI SQUAD

Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Khaya Zondo.

T20I SQUAD

Faf du Plessis (c), Gihahn Cloete, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Robbie Frylinck, Imran Tahir, Jonker, Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Phehlukwayo, Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.

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