Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced that the upcoming season of women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), comprising 59 matches, will be staged all across Australia after two years of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and state border closures.
The eighth edition of the tournament will begin with Brisbane Heat hosting rivals Sydney Sixers under lights in Mackay on Thursday, October 13 and the final is scheduled for November 27. Matches will be staged in all six states as well as the ACT, with a total of 14 metro and regional venues to host games.
The return of WBBL to teams playing at their home venues is a piece of joyful news for fans of Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars, with the clubs set to host matches in Victoria for the first time since 2019 as matches will be played at Junction Oval, Ballarat’s Eastern Oval and Moe’s Ted Summerton Reserve.
“The WBBL evolving into more of a prime time competition is exactly what it merits and it’s a great evolution for the competition. I think those festival weekends have proven really popular, and I think the players really enjoy them and fans love being able to see lots of cricket on one weekend.”
“But equally, in previous years we’ve had smaller festivals midweek, which is what we’ve been able to largely avoid this year and been able to move those midweek games into more standalone matches. More than ever, we’ve got one-off matches on an individual night, which just lends itself to sort of bigger crowds and bigger audiences. Ultimately, I think it’s one of the strongest schedules we’ve had, if not the strongest since we moved to a standalone season,” Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s Head of the Big Bash, was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
Sydney Sixers fans will be able to watch the Sixers and Sydney Thunder at North Sydney Oval and Blacktown International Sportspark, while the Thunder will also host a game at Canberra’s Manuka Oval. Hobart Hurricanes also make a return to hosting matches at Blundstone Arena and Latrobe Recreation Ground.
Brisbane Heat will return to the redeveloped Allan Border Field for the first time since 2019, while Adelaide Strikers will host Melbourne Stars at Nuriootpa’s Centennial Park and also at the Karen Rolton Oval. Perth Scorchers will once again host matches at both the WACA Ground and their popular Lilac Hill festival venue
Dobson pointed out that the WBBL has avoided a clash with the Men’s T20 World Cup, to be held from October 16 to November 13. “Ultimately, (the World Cup) hasn’t caused us too much disruption, partly because the venue mix is pretty separate and equally, the Australian matches in the World Cup are something we’ve been able to avoid.”
Perth Scorchers are the defending champions of the competition, defeating Adelaide Strikers in the final last year.
‘I Presume That He Will Continue As Captain Till The T20 World Cup In 2024’: Sourav Ganguly On Rohit Sharma
Impressed with his captaincy at the ODI World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday threw his weight behind Rohit Sharma, saying he should lead India at least till the T20 World Cup in June next year.
Rohit, who led India to the ODI World Cup final at home, and Virat Kohli have taken a “break” and will miss the white-ball leg of the upcoming South Africa tour, beginning December 10.
Talking to reporters, Ganguly said the duo deserved rest so that they come back “fresh” for the hectic calendar ahead.
“Once Rohit is back playing all formats, he should be the captain of India, because he has done so well in the World Cup,” said the former BCCI president, who was named the Dabur Chyawanprash’s brand ambassador for East India, during a program here.
“You saw in the World Cup how well they played. They are absolutely integral and an important part of Indian cricket. Interestingly, both Rohit and Kohli haven’t played a T20I since the semifinals against England in the 2022 T20 World Cup and the BCCI was not clear whether the duo should be in India’s scheme of things for the T20 global showpiece in six months time.
After the 2022 T20 World Cup, Hardik Pandya was named India’s T20 captain but following his injury during the ODI World Cup, Suryakumar Yadav is leading the team in the ongoing five-T20 series against Australia.
“They have been exceptional this World Cup” – Sourav Ganguly on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma
“World Cups are different than a bilateral series because the pressures are different. They have been exceptional this World Cup and hopefully six-seven months down the line in the West Indies they will be again at their best,” Ganguly said.
“He’s (Rohit) a leader. I expect and I presume that he will continue as captain till the T20 World Cup in 2024.” The duo will be back for the two-Test series in South Africa beginning with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion.
“Very rightfully, they have taken a break because there is so much cricket all the time. I cannot imagine that you played a World Cup final on the 19th and in three days’ time you’re playing a T20I series against the same team,” Ganguly said.
“It is not easy to pick yourselves up, especially with the pressures and demands of the World Cup. I’m happy that they have got a break.
IPL 2024: ‘We Respect His Decision’, Gujarat Titans’ Director Of Cricket On Hardik Pandya’s ‘Desire’ To Return To Mumbai Indians
Gujarat Titans’ Team Director Vikram Solanki acknowledged Hardik Pandya’s contribution to the team’s success in then last two seasons. The former England cricketer revealed that it was the all-rounder himself who expressed his desire to return to the Mumbai Indians and that they wholeheartedly respect it.
On Monday, Mumbai Indians’ officially proclaimed Pandya’s inclusion in their ranks as some confusion prevailed after all 10 franchises announced their retention and released list. The Titans decided to trade Pandya for a sum of INR 15 crore, with Shubman Gill succeeding the all-rounder as the franchise’s captain for IPL 2024.
As the first captain of Gujarat Titans, Hardik Pandya has helped the franchise deliver two fantastic seasons that resulted in winning one IPL championship and one appearance in the final,” Solanki was quoted as saying in a statement.
“He has now expressed a desire to return to his original team Mumbai Indians. We respect his decision and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours,” the former England batter further added.
“Shubman Gill has shown growth in stature and standing” – Vikram Solanki on Gujarat Titans’ new captain
Solanki, who has closely worked with the Gill, vouched for his maturity.”Shubman Gill has shown growth in stature and standing over the last two years at the highest level of the game. We’ve seen him mature not only as a batter but also as a leader in cricket,” Solanki opined.”His maturity and skill is evident in his on-field performance and we are extremely excited to embark on a new journey with a young leader like Shubman at the helm,” the head of GT think-tank said.
The Titans finished as the runners-up in IPL 2023.
‘Use And Throw Has Been…’: Did Irfan Pathan Take Dig At Hardik Pandya On Reports Of Moving Back To Mumbai Indians Ahead Of IPL 2024?
Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan posted a cryptic tweet on X, referring to the ‘Use and Throw’ policy and netizens have predictably started analysing who is it directed to. With star all-rounder Hardik Pandya likely to shift his base back to Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2024, fans allege that the post is meant for him.
Several reports have suggested that the Gujarat Titans captain will return to his old franchise in an all-cash deal of ₹15 crore ahead of the 2024 edition. Should it materialise, it will be the biggest trade of the season, given the 30-year-old is one of the most-sought white-ball players in the world today and won the crown on his captaincy debut.Pathan took to X and wrote, ‘Use and throw has been the real characteristic since the start.’
Hardik Pandya currently nursing an ankle injury suffered during the 2023 World Cup:
With the seam-bowling all-rounder suffering an ankle injury during the 2023 World Cup game against Bangladesh, ruling him out of the remaining fixtures too, he is likely to mark his return during IPL 2024. Notably, Pandya could also be leading Team India in the 2024 T20 World Cup set to take place in June 1st week in the West Indies and USA.
The Baroda-born cricketer was part of Mumbai Indians from 2015-2021 and played a hand in four of their title wins. Hence, he would be an invaluable addition to the five-time champions’ arsenal.
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