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Friday,21-January-2022

International

Ross Taylor credits Martin Crowe for his rise in Test cricket

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After he became New Zealand’s leading Test run-scorer, an emotional Ross Taylor has credited former Kiwi skipper Martin Crowe for influencing and shaping his skills in the longest format of the game.

Taylor achieved the feat on the fourth day of the third and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Monday. The 35-year-old has 7,174 runs from 99 Tests and 174 innings, averaging 46.28, including 19 centuries and 33 fifties.

Speaking at the post-match press conference later on Monday, Taylor said he had always believed himself to be a white ball batsman but it was Crowe who helped him become a serious Test batsman. “My goal was to play one Test match,” he said.

“I guess it’s an emotional time because my mentor Martin Crowe, that was one of the goals he put down for me was to be New Zealand’s highest Test run-scorer. To be honest, I didn’t believe him, but I’d have loved for him to be here and help celebrate,” Taylor expressed.

In February 2019, Taylor had also moved past Fleming for the most ODI runs by a New Zealand batsman, and has the most runs in all international formats for the Black Caps, passing 17,250 international runs in this innings, which includes 39 centuries and 88 half-centuries.

Recalling the old days, he said: “When I first played for New Zealand, I’d had a pretty decent one-day career and only scored three or four first-class hundreds and Twenty20 was just coming through.”

“I always thought I was good enough to play one-day cricket, but Test cricket was something I was never quite sure if I was good enough. That’s why I’d seek Martin’s help to become a better player than the raw, gay abandon player that I was as a youngster,” he added.

Taylor will achieve another milestone in his career as he would likely become the fourth New Zealand cricketer after former skipper Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum to play 100 Tests when the Kiwis take on India in Wellington on February 21.

International

Australia rise to top of ICC Test rankings, India slip down to third spot

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Australia climbed to the top spot in the latest ICC Test team rankings released on Thursday on the back of their 4-0 Ashes series victory against England while India slipped down to the third position after suffering a 2-1 away series defeat in South Africa.

Pat Cummins led Australia won the first, second, third and the fifth Test matches convincingly against England at Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart. England only were able to draw the fourth contest in Sydney, managing to save the Test by the skin of their teeth.

This relentless display has seen Australia jump up two places to No 1 in the rankings, overtaking both New Zealand and India with 119 rating points.

On the other hand, India, who were ranked No 1 in the Test team rankings, slipped down to the third spot after their series loss against Proteas and have 116 points at present. After a brilliant victory in the first Test in Centurion, they were dealt back-to-back defeats in Johannesburg and Cape Town as their quest for a first Test series victory in South Africa continued.

South Africa after their series win have climbed up one spot to No 5 in the rankings chart with 101 rating points.

Meanwhile, New Zealand, the inaugural World Test Championship winners, have retained their second position in the rankings with 117 rating points after their drawn home series against Bangladesh. After losing the first Test at the Bay Oval, the Kiwis bounced back with a comprehensive performance at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Pakistan slipped down one spot to No 6 with 93 rating points. Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland have managed to retain their respective positions in the ranking charts.

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Sharma, Pant and Ashwin included in ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year

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India opener Rohit Sharma, wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have been included in the ICC Men’s Test team of the year for 2021.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has been given the charge of captaining the eleven which also has his countryman and Player of the Match in the inaugural World Test Championship final, Kyle Jamieson, as well.

Apart from three Indians and two New Zealanders, England captain Joe Root, Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne, Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne, and Pakistani trio of Fawad Alam, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi are in the eleven as well.

It is Ashwin’s fifth appearance and Pant’s second time in the Test team of the year honours while it is the first time Sharma is in the coveted eleven of Test cricket.

2021 was the year when Sharma came into his own as an opener in the longest format of the game for India. He cracked 906 runs in the calendar year at an average of 47.68 with two centuries and four half-centuries.

Both of the centuries were memorable knocks in contrasting conditions against England — one at home in Chennai and the other in overcast conditions away from home at the Oval. Though Sharma missed out on the recent Test tour to South Africa, he will have a key role to play for India in 2022.

Pant, in 2021, further established himself as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batter in all three formats, with his continuous development especially coming to the fore in the Test arena.

He scored 748 runs in 12 matches at an average of 39.36 with a memorable ton against England at Ahmedabad, a 97 against Australia, and an unbeaten 89 against the same opposition at The Gabba in leading India to a memorable Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory by 2-1.

He also accounted for 39 dismissals in 23 innings, with his glovework continuing to improve. Recently, in Cape Town, Pant scored a high-quality hundred despite India losing the series to South Africa 2-1.

Ashwin, the off-spinner bamboozled many batters with his sheer wizardry to be the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket in 2021. Ashwin scalped up 54 wickets in nine matches at an average of 16.64, making a big impact in the home series against England and New Zealand.

He also chipped in with 355 runs at an average of 25.35, which included a vital century against England at his home ground in Chennai.

ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year: Dimuth Karunaratne, Rohit Sharma, Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root, Kane Williamson (captain), Fawad Alam, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kyle Jamieson, Hasan Ali, and Shaheen Afridi

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Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami named in ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year

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Veteran Indian cricketers Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami on Thursday were named in ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year for 2021.

The ICC Team of the Year, led by England’s Heather Knight, recognizes the achievements of some exceptional players in women’s cricket who impressed one and all with their on-field exploits in a calendar year.

India’s ODI skipper Mithali Raj amassed 503 runs at an average of 62.87 in 2021. Her runs came at a time when the Indian team struggled as a unit, which makes her contribution even more important.

The veteran batter didn’t score any century this year but made a total of six half-centuries.

On the other hand, Jhulan Goswami claimed a total of 15 wickets in 2021 and maintained an excellent economy rate of 3.77 as well.

The 39-year-old Indian pacer is still proving herself to be a force to reckon with. An experienced bowler who can keep runs in check, and pick up wickets at the same time, is an asset for any side.

Overall, the ODI team has three players from South Africa, one from Australia, two from West Indies, and two from England, two from India and one from Pakistan.

ICC Women’s ODI Team of 2021: Lizelle Lee (South Africa), Alyssa Healy (wk) (Australia), Tammy Beaumont (England), Mithali Raj (India), Heather Knight (c) (England), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Hayley Matthews (West Indies), Fatima Sana (Pakistan), Jhulan Goswami (India), Shabnim Ismail (South Africa), Anisa Mohammed (West Indies)

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