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Thursday,17-June-2021

International

ICC introduces ‘ICC Player of the Month’ awards

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday announced the introduction of the ‘ICC Player of the Month’ awards to recognise and celebrate the best performances of both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket throughout the year.

In a media release, ICC stated that an independent ICC voting academy comprising former players, broadcasters, and journalists from around the world, will team up with fans to vote for the ICC men’s and women’s player of the month respectively.

Youngsters such as Mohammed Siraj (India), Washington Sundar (India), T. Natarajan (India), Rishabh Pant (India), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (Afghanistan) to established players such as Ravichandran Ashwin (India), Joe Root (England), Steve Smith (Australia), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Nadine de Klerk (South Africa), Nida Dar (Pakistan) will be among the candidates for the month of January.

“The ICC Player of the Month is a great way to connect with fans of the sport and celebrate performances of their favourite players through the year. It gives us all an opportunity to acknowledge world class performances on the field by male and female cricketers and they have been in abundance throughout January,” Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager – Cricket, said.

The nomination and voting process:

The three nominees for each of the categories will be determined by the ICC Awards nominations committee based on on-field performances and overall achievements during the period of that month (the first to the last day of each calendar month.)

This shortlist is then voted for by the independent ICC voting academy and fans around the world.

The voting academy will submit their votes by email and will retain a 90 per cent share of the vote. Subsequently, on the 1st day of each month, fans registered with the ICC will be able to submit votes via the ICC website and will have a 10 per cent share of the vote. Winners will be announced every second Monday of the month on the ICC’s digital channels.

International

Test rankings: Steve Smith new No.1 batsman, Virat Kohli moves up to 4th

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Ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final, India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday moved up one spot, to fourth, in the ICC Test batting rankings while New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lost his top spot to Australian Steve Smith.

With 891 points, former Australia skipper Smith is the world No.1 Test batsman while Williamson is now second with 886 points. Kohli, with 814 points displaced England captain Joe Root, who is now fifth with 797 points.

Two more Indians featuring in the top-10 – wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma with 747 points each – are joint sixth.

Williamson lost his top spot in the rankings due to his omission from the playing XI in the second Test against England, while Root slipped to fifth after a forgettable outing in the two-Test series against New Zealand, which the hosts lost 0-1.

In the Test bowling rankings, Ravichandran Ashwin is the lone Indian in the top-10 — at No.2 with 850 points. Australia’s Pat Cummins is leading the pack with 908 points.

In the Test all-rounders rankings, Ravindra Jadeja (386 points) and Ashwin (353 points) are holding on to their second and fourth positions respectively. West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder, with 412 points, is leading the rankings.

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International

Virat Kohli gets a taste of pace, bounce at Southampton

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India skipper Virat Kohli got a glimpse of pace and bounce, that groundsman Simon Lee wants in the World Test Championship (WTC) final pitch, during a nets session at the Hampshire Bowl here.

Kohli was felled by a fast bouncer from one of India’s throwdown specialists in a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday as he prepared for the WTC final that gets underway from June 18.

Lee was on Monday quoted as saying, “For me personally, I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch.”

The 32-year-old, who is India’s No. 4 in Test batting line-up, was also seen blocking a yorker, playing drives and reaching out for a delivery.

The video also showed India pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami as well as spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowling to other batsmen with Rishabh Pant smashing a six.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also seemed to be getting a hang of things as he played a flick shot that was acknowledged by teammates including bowler Ishant.

India had reached Southampton on June 3 and underwent quarantine for 10 days during which they also played an intra-squad simulation match.

They came out of quarantine on Monday.

The Indian Test squad is staying in United Kingdom for three-and-a-half months during which they will also play a five-Test series against England in August-September.

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Indian cricketers loving the taste of England

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Scrambled eggs, baked beans, brown toast, and sausages seem to be the favourite breakfast of Indian cricketers while they are in England for the World Test Championship (WTC) final and a five-match Test series against the hosts.

Pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin say their favourite English breakfast was scrambled eggs, baked beans and toast, while India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane added sausages to the menu.

In a video posted by bcci.tv on Tuesday, the fifth player, Cheteshwar Pujara, said he preferred brown toast, potato roasties and beans, as he was a vegetarian.

While fielding a ‘Rapid fire Challenge'”, all the cricketers were in agreement that Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) was one of their favourite films shot in England.

The other movies shot in England that they could immediately think of were: Namaste London, Kal Ho Na Ho, and Houseful.

All the cricketers agreed that the balmy England weather was the biggest attraction to tour the country.

Shami said he liked England because of the weather and the plenty of opportunities it provided for shopping.

Ashwin said that “the greatest blessing of coming to England is to walk on those big streets especially in the London mainstream…you can grab a coffee by the road, sit around and calmly have a chat with whoever you’re going with”.

Rahane made it clear that though he liked walking around parks and going to cafes with his family, his immediate task was to play competitive cricket against New Zealand in the WTC final in Southampton from Friday and the Test series against England in August-September.

“Playing cricket here is what I really enjoy,” said the vice-captain. And as an afterthought he said that “walking around the parks and going to cafes with your families, especially now that my daughter is here, are what I like a lot”.

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