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No Indian in ICC’s team for T20 World Cup, Pakistan’s Babar named captain

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After their dismal show, no Indian cricketer was on Monday named in the official 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup team of the tournament with Pakistan skipper Babar Azam leading the star-studded side.

The Virat Kohli-led India started the T20 World Cup in UAE with the favourites tag but they were knocked out of the tournament after the ordinary performance in the Super 12 phase.

India’s much-trumpeted batters, as well as bowlers, flopped in back-to-back crucial matches against Pakistan and New Zealand. The Indian cricketers had great outings in the last three clashes against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia but it wasn’t enough to help them feature in the ICC’s team of the tournament.

Based on their performances, stars from champions Australia, runners-up New Zealand, semi-finalists England and Pakistan as well as Sri Lanka and South Africa feature in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup team of the tournament.

Opening batter David Warner, leg-spinner Adam Zampa and seamer Josh Hazlewood all make the cut after helping steer Australia to its first-ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title.

Warner had a power-packed set of performances and scored a total of 289 runs — the second most of the tournament — at a healthy average of 48.16, playing a major role in Australia winning their maiden ICC Men’s T20 World Cup crown.

On the other hand, Zampa picked 13 victims from seven matches — including a memorable five-wicket haul against Bangladesh in the Super 12s while his teammate Hazlewood followed in his footsteps with a total haul of 11 wickets as the skillful right-armer proved a crucial weapon in guiding Justin Langer’s team to its maiden tournament title.

There are also spots for England ace Jos Buttler as wicketkeeper, Pakistan’s Babar Azam as captain, New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult and Sri Lanka star Wanindu Hasaranga — the tournament’s leading wicket-taker — in the line-up.

England star Buttler was in blistering form throughout the event, scoring just 20 runs fewer than Warner at a brilliant average of almost 90. He cracked a perfectly-paced century against Sri Lanka — off just 67 balls – when his team needed him most, while his brutal knock of 71 not out against Australia helped fire England to an emphatic eight-wicket victory against the eventual champions.

Captaining the side at No 3 is Pakistan skipper Babar, who was the only batter to break the 300-run barrier in the competition, scoring 303 runs with an impressive average of 60.60.

His 68 not out against old rivals India powered Pakistan to a memorable 10-wicket victory, while three further half-centuries in the Super 12 stage helped book his team’s slot in the semi-final against Australia. And while they were unable to battle past Aaron Finch’s outfit in the semi-final, Babar helped himself to 39 runs to finish his campaign in a typically consistent fashion.

Left-armer Boult took three-fers against both India and Afghanistan while grabbing both of his team’s wickets in the final helped him finish the tournament with 13 wickets at an average of 13.30.

Completing the middle order is another Sri Lankan in the form of Hasaranga, who stands tall as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with a stunning 16 from his eight matches.

The skillful leg-spinner bagged a brilliant hat-trick against South Africa as he dismissed Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, and Dwaine Pretorius – across two separate spells – to etch his name into ICC Men’s T20 World Cup folklore. And a further three wickets against England, bolstered by two against Australia, saw him emerge as the most prolific bowler of the tournament and firmly deserving of his place in the Team of the tournament.

The side was pulled together by a selection panel featuring commentators, former international players, and journalists.

“As with any team selection there will be varying opinions, and robust discussion on the final composition of the squad. The panel respects that, and we encourage the strong debate that will ensue. This team was incredibly difficult to select over such a highly competitive tournament. Selections were based predominantly on the Super 12 onward to the final,” said convenor Ian Bishop about the team.

The team of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 (in batting order) is:

David Warner (Australia) – 289 runs at 48.16
Jos Buttler (wk) (England) – 269 runs at 89.66, five dismissals
Babar Azam (Captain, Pakistan) – 303 runs at 60.60
Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka) – 231 runs at 46.20
Aiden Markram (South Africa) – 162 runs at 54.00
Moeen Ali (England) – 92 runs at a strike rate of 131.42, seven wickets at 11
Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka) – 16 wickets at 9.75
Adam Zampa (Australia) – 13 wickets at 12.07
Josh Hazlewood (Australia) – 11 wickets at 15.90
Trent Boult (New Zealand) – 13 wickets at 13.30
Anrich Nortje (South Africa) – nine wickets at 11.55
12th: Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan) – seven wickets at 24.14

International

England beat Germany after extra time to win UEFA women’s Euro

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England beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in a packed Wembley Stadium in London, bringing home the trophy of the UEFA women’s Euro for the first time.

Germany suffered a heavy blow minutes ahead of the final on Sunday evening as their captain Alex Popp had to pull out after picking up an injury during the warm-up.

The 31-year-old forward had scored in all five previous matches in this tournament and scored twice in Germany’s 2-1 win against France in Wednesday’s semifinal, reports Xinhua. England, reaching the Euro’s final for the third time, couldn’t break the deadlock until Ella Toone came off the bench to score the opener in the 62nd minute.

But midfielder Lina Magull helped Germany equalise in the 79th minute.

The 1-1 scoreline was held until the 110th minute while substitute Chloe Kelly prodded in her first goal for the England team.

“What we’ve done is incredible. I knew we had England behind us- we saw that coming to the stadium,” said England head coach Sarina Wiegman in front of 87,192 fans in Wembley.

“But the whole tournament we’ve had so much support from our fans. I’m so proud of the team.”

The 52-year-old Dutchwoman, who also guided the Netherlands to win the women’s Euro trophy in 2017, is the first coach to lead two different teams to the title.

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Pakistan Cricket Board wants ICC to form strategy on growth of franchise T20 leagues

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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Saturday that it has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to form a strategy on controlling the growth of lucrative franchise T20 leagues with rising concerns about its impact on the international cricket calendar.

Earlier this week, South Africa pulled out of a three-match bilateral ODI against Australia in January as it clashes with their new domestic T20 competition, the third time they will be attempting to have a successful franchise T20 League.

The next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (FTP), for 2024-31, which shows the schedule of teams playing bilateral series against each other and at what venues, is set to be confirmed in the upcoming week during the annual conference of the ICC at Birmingham.

“Growth of franchise cricket is impacting the already crammed international cricket calendar. The PCB is concerned about this development and wants the ICC to formulate a strategy on this issue,” said PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain in a statement.

“We have sent a proposal to the ICC, which they have added to their meeting agenda. Two other boards have also conveyed their apprehensions to the ICC on this matter and urged the ICC to create a working group to debate on the expansion of franchise-based T20 leagues,” added Hasnain.

Talking about the confirmation of the FTP, in the context of Pakistan recently starting to host international cricket at home, Hasnain remarked, “Finalising the Future Tours Programme (FTP) is very important for us.

“This will give us certainty about which teams will be visiting us and which countries we will be touring. 80 per cent of the FTP has already been agreed upon and the remaining 20 per cent will be completed in the upcoming meeting.”

The upcoming ICC Annual Conference in Birmingham also marks the first time the meeting will happen after a Covid-19 pandemic caused a stoppage. “The annual conference presents a unique opportunity for networking with representatives of the world cricket.

“We are planning several initiatives that involve fellow members and meetings have already been set up on the sidelines with other boards to collectively enhance our common interest,” concluded Hasnain.

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T20 World Cup could be a swansong for several Australian cricketers, indicates Finch

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Australia white-ball skipper Aaron Finch has no doubt in his mind that he will be leading an “ageing side” in the ICC T20 World Cup at home later this year, and indicated that the tournament could be a swansong for several cricketers, especially batters.

As Australia prepare to defend the title they won in the UAE in 2021, Finch added that lifting the trophy in front of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground in November would be a dream come true for him.

“It might be a full stop on everything (several players retiring from T20Is, including him) if it goes to plan like that. Fairy tales can happen in sport,” Finch, 35, was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au during the 100-day countdown celebration to the mega event on Friday.

While Finch has indicated that this could be the last T20 World Cup for him, it could also be opener David Warner and wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade’s last mega T20 event, given that both are in their mid-30s.

Wade has already said the 2022 T20 World Cup will be his international swansong, while Warner has also indicated that he might retire from T20Is to prolong his Test and ODI career. Finch will also probably turn his attention to the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023 to finally call it a day from international cricket.

Asked about his white-ball future post the T20 World Cup, Finch said, “Good question… It obviously shifts to a 50-over World Cup focus… after the (T20) World Cup, so I don’t think there’s too many T20 games in the next 12 months (after the World Cup) anyway. So I don’t know.

“I think just naturally when guys get to their mid-30s, it’s going to be that way. Davey (Warner) just keeps going; he could play for another 10 years, I think, with how fit he is and how much he loves the competition and continuing to challenge himself.

“(Matthew) Wadey has gone through a few phases (and) he’s now become so important to the structure of our team, batting at seven there and being so dynamic. But it’s an ageing side, isn’t it? Especially in that batting group,” said Finch.

Finch added that the World Cup in Australia would be “incredibly tough” after what he saw in the UAE last year where South Africa, in spite of winning four out of their five games, missed out on net run rate.

“Iit’s going to be an incredibly tough competition. We saw how brutal the format is with South Africa winning four out of their five games at the last World Cup and still not qualifying on net run rate. It’s just so brutal that you do need a bit of luck along the way. So let’s see.”

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