While India’s selectors didn’t take any drastic calls while announcing, there were a few fresh faces in the three squads for the upcoming tour of the West Indies.
One of the biggest takeaways from the squad selections was the rise of Rishabh Pant as India’s wicketkeeper for all three formats. The selectors have placed their faith in the 21-year-old and the left-hander is set to get an extended run. Here, we take a look at five other next gen India players who can seize their opportunity in West Indies.
The 24-year-old has long been seen as then next big thing and he now has another chance to establish himself in the ODI middle order.
The right-hander has already played six ODIs and as many T20s for India with his last appearance coming at the start of last year. Despite doing reasonably well and maintaining an average of 42 in the 50-over format, Iyer wasn’t given an extended run in the lead up the 2019 World Cup.
The Delhi Capitals skipper can be India’s long-term answer to the No4 problem with his calm approach at the crease. However, he will need to make the playing XI first and it remains to be seen how many chances he gets in the Caribbean.
The left-arm pacer was given a run in the ODI and T20 sides in the lead up to the World Cup but failed to grab the chance.
The 21-year-old was decent in his ODI outings but was wayward in the T20s, finishing on the expensive side. The left-arm quick was good in patches and there is talent there which can be polished.
Since being axed from the India squad, Khaleel had an excellent IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad and he will be confident of putting in a much better show in India colours this time around.
India lack a left-arm pace variation and Khaleel could provide them with that if he comes good.
The 19-year-old finished as the man-of-the-series in India’s Nidahas T20 tri-series triumph last year but has found chances hard to come by ever since due to injuries and fluctuations in form.
The youngster has shown plenty of promise since making his IPL debut as a 17-year-old for Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 and can be a handy batsman lower-down the order while bowling economical off-spin.
He had a poor IPL in 2019 but it is important to remember he is still a teenager. He will have, however, have his work cut out in making the T20 playing XI in the Caribbean with Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Rahul Chahar all competing for similar roles.
The 19-year-old leg-spinner left quite the mark in IPL 2019 for Mumbai Indians with 13 wickets in as many matches in his debut campaign.
The Rajasthan-born teenager’s most impressive attribute is his calmness under pressure. He showed great maturity against star batsmen and was able to maintain an excellent economy-rate of 6.5. He has been impressive for India ‘A’ as well since his breakout IPL campaign.
Chahar has all the variations in the book including a sharp googly and he has a chance to make his claim for a place in the T20 squad. India have not picked the wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for the T20 format and it is an excellent opportunity for Chahar to make a lasting impression.
While he might be the oldest of the bunch at 26, Navdeep Saini is still a rookie at international cricket and has just earned his maiden India call up.
The pacer has been a consistent performer for Delhi at the first-class level for some time now and grabbed eyeballs with his maiden IPL debut campaign with Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this year.
Saini picked up 11 wickets for RCB while also breaching the 150 kmph barrier. The right-arm pacer did well for India A in their recent one-day series in West Indies where he claimed a five-wicket haul in the second game.
Having been picked in both the ODI and T20 squads, Saini definitely should get plenty of chances in the upcoming tour and he will now be hoping to translate his domestic success to international glory.
Australia Test skipper Tim Paine is hoping that the infamous Newlands’ ball-tampering episode of last year will lead to the demise of questionable tactics by teams to generate reverse-swing.
Paine was instated to the Australia captaincy out of the blue last year following the debacle at Cape Town which ultimately saw Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft being handed suspensions from international and domestic cricket.
Smith and Warner have since made their returns to international cricket after serving their one-year suspension with the duo featuring in the recent World Cup in England.
As he now gets ready to lead the Aussies in the upcoming Ashes series against arch-rivals England, Paine feels that the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal has led to teams being less ‘adventurous’ in their quest to generate reverse-swing.
“I think teams are always looking at ways to get the ball to reverse swing,” Paine told cricket.com.au.
“Whether that’s throwing it into the dirt, or using their fingers to work on the quarter seam, or in England for years it’s been talked about mints being used to impart sheen through players’ saliva – there’s always something.
“The worrying trend was that teams were starting to try more and more methods, and getting more adventurous. So the thing I hope will come out of South Africa is that it will be cleaned up, and it will be a more level playing field rather than teams trying to push the boundaries and develop a mentality of ‘they’re doing this, so we’ll try this’ and ‘they do that, so we’ll try it too’. I think for too long, it was allowed.”
The first Ashes Test between England and Australia is slated to get underway at Edgbaston on August 1. Paine and his men will play a three-day intra-squad warm up game beginning on Tuesday to get battle ready for the hotly-anticipated Test series between the two old foes.
While the dust is yet to fully settle on the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, attention shifts to the inaugural World Test Championship which officially begins on August 1.
Created to provide context to the five-day format, the inaugural Championship will see the coronation of the top Test side in the world after the completion of a two-year cycle which ends on July, 2021.
The Test Championship is all set to start with a bang with arch-rivals England and Australia battling it out in the first Ashes Test at Birmingham beginning on August 1.
HOW THE TEST CHAMPIONSHIP WORKS
The inaugural World Test Championship will see the nine top-ranked sides play six series apiece over a two-year cycle. Each side will play three series on home soil and three away from home with the ICC mandating that ever series should comprise of at least two Tests with a maximum of five games.
Each series will have 120 points on offer for the contesting sides and the two sides with the maximum points at the end of July, 2019 will contest the World Test Championship final at Lord’s, England.
Should the final at Lord’s end in a draw or a tie, the team which finished ahead on points in the two-year cycle shall be awarded the World Test Championship.
Apart from matches in the official World Test Championship, teams are free to play Test matches which will not contribute towards their points tally. For example, teams can schedule Tests with sides such as Ireland and Afghanistan but they will not be a part of the Test Championship.
Each series which is a part of the Test Championship will have 120 points on offer irrespective of its length. Hence, a team will have a total of 720 points on offer over the course of the two-year cycle.
The points on offer will be the same for all series in the cycle and will not depend on whether it is a home game or an away one.
WHO PLAYS WHO
Home series: South Africa, Bangladesh and England
Away series: West Indies, New Zealand and Australia
Total Tests: 18 (10 home and eight away)
Home series: India, West Indies and Pakistan
Away series: Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh
Total Tests: 14 (seven home and seven away)
Home series: England, Sri Lanka and Australia
Away series: India, West Indies and Pakistan
Total Tests: 16 (nine home and seven away)
Home series: Australia, West Indies and Pakistan
Away series: South Africa, Sri Lanka and India
Total Tests: 22 (11 home and 11 away)
Home series: Pakistan, New Zealand and India
Away series: England, Bangladesh and South Africa
Total Tests: 19 (nine home and 10 away)
Home series: New Zealand, England and Bangladesh
Away series: Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies
Total Tests: 13 (Seven home and six away)
Home series: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa
Away series: Australia, England and New Zealand
Total Tests: 13 (six home and seven away)
Home series: India, South Africa and Sri Lanka
Away series: England, New Zealand and Bangladesh
Total Tests: 15 (six home and nine away)
Home series: Australia, New Zealand and West Indies
Away series: India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Total Tests: 14 (Seven home and seven away)