Central Punjab thrashed Northern by an innings and 16 runs to lift the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy; ICC will contemplate four-day Test matches; Australia have announced their squad for their tour of India; and Faf du Plessis criticised the centralisation of cricket around the Big Three.
Triumph for Central Punjab
Thanks to Umar Akmal (218), Azhar Ali (119), and Zafar Gohar (99), Central Punjab had already batted Northern out of the final of the 2019 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with a mammoth 675/8. Requiring 471 to make Central Punjab bat again, Northern had finished Day 3 on 109/2.
It took Central Punjab well over two sessions, but Bilal Asif (8/112, match figures 11/149) kept pegging away at the wickets. Haider Ali (134), Ali Sarfraz (81), and Rohail Nazir (78) took Northern to 400/5, but they lost their last 5 wickets for 5 and, with that, the final.
Four-day Tests on the card
ICC are now contemplating four-day Tests, something they would want to implement during the 2021-23 edition of the Test Championship. In that case the minimum number of overs in a day may be raised from 90 to 98. However, no final decision has been arrived at.
Two four-day Tests have been played in recent past: South Africa had hosted Zimbabwe in 2017-18, while England had hosted Ireland in 2019. However, both Tests got over inside three days.
Australia announce squad for India tour
Australia have announced their squad for their tour of India; the 3 matches will be played at Mumbai (on the 14th), Rajkot (the 17th), and Bengaluru (on the 19th).
Notable selections include Marnus Labuschagne, and, as a replacement for the injured fast bowler Sean Abbott, opening batsman D’Arcy Short. The squad reads:
Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb (wk), D’Arcy Short, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Faf lashes out at ICC
Faf du Plessis expressed his displeasure at the dominance of the Big Three – India, England, and Australia – in contemporary cricket. The reaction was probably triggered by BCCI’s announcement of an annual four-nation tournament, including the Big Three and on rotational basis, a fourth side.
“There’s a lot of smaller nations not playing a lot of Test cricket,” du Plessis complained. “They’re actually playing less”.
It may be worth a mention that England, one of the Big Three, have lost Test series in West Indies and New Zealand this year and are 0-1 down in the series in South Africa.