The post 2019 World Cup period begins for West Indies and India with a three-match T20 series, the first game of which is being played in Florida on Saturday.
Virat Kohli captains an Indian team which will be without Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. The spotlight will, however, be on the dynamic between Kohli and Rohit Sharma following reports of a rift between them.
The Windies, on the other hand, will be most comfortable in the format and will be banking on the hitting power of the likes of Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran.
They will also be buoyed by the return of Sunil Narine, while star all-rounder Andre Russell in unavailable.
Who will prevail in the opening encounter? Catch the live updates below.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said it’s time to have a relook at the concept of neutral umpires after numerous incorrect decisions were made in the first Ashes Test in Birmingham.
Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar and West Indian Joel Wilson drew criticism after 10 decisions were overturned on the first two days of opening Test between England and Australia.
Ponting is member of Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) crucial Cricket Committee and said he will make sure the topic is discussed during their next meeting.
We have #10 -- Here's another decision that's been overturned. Root had a big inside edge and Aleem Dar's lbw decision has been reversed again!— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) August 2, 2019
No of wrong decisions: Aleem Dar - 5 | Joel Wilson - 5.
Who's winning this battle between the umpires?
“It’s already been spoken about a lot among the players. If it’s not brought up (at that next MCC meeting), I’ll make sure it’s added to the agenda,” he told Cricket Australia‘s website.
“I would like to think the game has come far enough now for the game to not have neutral umpires. People might say that with all the technology we’ve got now, it doesn’t matter that much. But it’s not a good spectacle when pretty obviously wrong decisions are made,” Ponting added.
“There’s been a lot of negativity about the DRS (Decision Review System) over the years, but we’re pretty lucky that we had it (at Edgbaston).”
The ICC has made neutral umpires mandatory in 2002, which means umpires from England and Australia can’t officiate in the Ashes.
Ponting said quality umpires like England’s Richard Kettleborough are being forced to miss major series and travel the rest of the world.
“Surely Richard Kettleborough and the like would want to be umpiring the best series. The best umpires can end up missing out on all the big tournaments,” he said.
“It could force umpires into retirement a bit early as well when someone like (former Australian umpire) Simon Taufel is spending most of his life overseas, which is a bit harder than spending your time in Australia.”
Russell has been struggling with knee issues that have hampered his bowling. He batted in the IPL and then the World Cup despite wrist issues and started the World Cup bowling at top pace but soon broke down. He was ruled out of the World Cup after four matches.
He underwent knee surgery but experienced discomfort once again during the Global T20 Canada tournament, playing for Vancouver Knights.
He expressed his unavailability for the first two matches of the T20 series against India in Florida which starts on Saturday. West Indies announced Jason Mohammed as his replacement.
It is rather strange that Andre Russell was declared unfit for the West Indies vs India T20Is, yet played for Vancouver Knights in the Global T20 in Canada. https://t.co/8f8rn7Voum— Blacks in Whites (@BlaqsInCricket) August 3, 2019
However, just hours after West Indies Cricket made the announcement, Russell turned out for Vancouver in the GT20.
Russell did not bowl against Edmonton Royals but he did bat, getting out for a golden duck against Ben Cutting. The star all-rounder’s decision to play in the GT20 after announcing his unavailability for the Windies has not gone down well with a section of fans.