Cricket Opinion

Is this Australia’s best chance at a sub-continent victory?

Australia will embark on nine Tests against sub-continent teams this southern hemisphere winter, playing three away to Pakistan, two to Sri Lanka and the crown jewel in such an environment – four Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. There is also a single historic Test scheduled to be played against Afghanistan in India before the series against India itself gets underway.

India and Pakistan away from home has been a mountain which Australia have simply been unable to overcome over the years, failing to win series more often than they haven’t. 

In fact, while Sri Lanka have had some slip ups at home against the men from down under, Australia have won just 15 out of their last 71 Tests on the sub continent, and 9 out of 55 against India and Pakistan, losing 27 of those.

It means there will be serious value to be found at Neds when it comes to backing Australia to fall over the line when they take on Pakistan in the first of these three tours. 

But Australia can’t be written off, despite their lack of success against teams on pitches that can often be described as “dustbowls.”

That isn’t always the case in Pakistan, and hasn’t been in the last couple of years however, with quick bowlers doing plenty of damage for both Pakistan and opposition touring teams since tours resumed to the nation for the first time in more than a decade.

Pakistan are hard to beat at home – of that there can be no doubt.

But Australia are a strong side who are improving in these conditions. Last time against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, they held on for a famous draw and have only gotten since then. The green and gold have some of the world’s best players against spin in the shape of David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, while it’s fair to say Usman Khawaja has also improved that department of his game out of sight in the last couple of years, provided of course he is kept at the top of the order.

More than that though, it’s the bowling attack where it could be argued Australia have made the greatest strides forward in these conditions.

Nathan Lyon is now one of the greatest off-spinners of all-time, but on top of that, he is receiving substantial competition from Mitchell Swepson, who has lit up domestic cricket over the past 24 months. On top of that, the reverse swing exploits of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins continue to strengthen, while competition for pace bowling spots will come heavily from Melbourne Boxing Day debutant Scott Boland and Jhye Richardson.

It’s an attack with enormous depth, and given the lack of runs Australia have so often experienced on the sub-continent may not also be someway towards being taken care of, it’s going to be difficult to write off a team who just bombed England out of the Ashes with a 4-0 series win, which was just a single wicket away from being 5-0.

Pakistan recently got the better of Bangladesh in a Test series, but that doesn’t say all that much for the side against another sub-continent opposition in that part of the world.

Australia bring with them a new challenge, and while the history is against Justin Langer’s side, logic says they are more than just a half chance.

Cricket News

The Thrill of the Chase: An Inside Look at the 2021 Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league, which was first established in 2008. The competition is based on a group stage that is followed by a knock-out format, with a one-off final deciding the overall winner. Since the first tournament in 2008, the IPL has gone from strength to strength and has firmly established itself as one of the most anticipated events in the cricket calendar.

The 2021 installation of the IPL is a hotly contested tournament, which again speaks to the interest and intensity of the event as a whole. The opening 29 matches of the tournament were played in April and May of 2021, with the remaining 31 matches scheduled to take place between September 19th and October 15th. It has already proved to be yet another incredible tournament, and you can keep up to date with all the latest goings-on of the 2021 event with Sportsadda and IPL news.

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Firstly, the fact that the IPL has proved to be so popular around the world is no surprise since India is the most cricket obsessed nation in the world. The atmosphere there is always incredible and it is one of the best regions in the world to visit when it comes to all things cricket. Cricket in India is not simply treated as a sport or a pastime, but instead, it has earned the status of a religion.

Every Indian national team game brings the entire country together, and now, thanks to the IPL, there is an additional opportunity for Indians to unite every year in the name of cricket. While it could be said to be a surprise that India did not have an event of this kind before 2008, the country has made up for lost time and embraced it with open arms.

Furthermore, the organisers of the IPL must be given immense credit for how they have consistently improved the tournament over the years. The 2021 event, just like in 2020, will once again see no team having home advantage, as every game will be played at a neutral venue. When we compare this to other international competitions, whether in cricket or in any other sport for that matter, teams having home advantage in what is supposed to be a fair and balanced competition is often one of the criticisms levelled against it.

Based on the opening 29 matches of the 2021 competition, Delhi Capitals are currently in first position having won 6 out of their 8 opening games. Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore sit in 2nd and 3rd position respectively, with the reigning champions Mumbai Indians in 4th position with 4 wins from their opening 8 matches.

It is clear from the opening 29 matches that the competition could be won by any of a number of teams, once again illustrating the competitive nature of the IPL. It is rare that a new international competition catches the imagination of a sport’s fanbase so quickly, but despite only being in existence since 2008, the IPL looks set to have an incredibly bright future for years to come. With the 2021 final set to take place in Dubai in the wonderful Dubai International Cricket stadium, the stage is set for another memorable ending to a world class event.

The event has already had six different winners, so for those trying to predict who will be victorious in 2021, you can rest assured that it will prove to be a difficult task. While picking a winner is challenging, one thing we can say for sure is that the audience won’t be left disappointed.

Cricket Opinion Players

Will England’s poor form minimise Joe Root’s incredible legacy?

There must be times when Joe Root, standing at the non-striker’s end, feels a burning sense of frustration while watching his teammates get skittled cheaply yet again. 

The Yorkshireman will never admit it, but given he’s only human after all, you can be certain that the lack of application from his colleagues in cricket’s longest format leaves him feeling exasperated. 

To put it in perspective, Root has notched up a whopping 1244 runs in 2021, which is three times more than any other England batsman has managed over the course of the year so far. 

Indeed, Rory Burns is second on the list with a rather paltry 363 runs. Unsurprisingly, this lack of support for Root has seen England struggle in the Test arena in 2021 with a disappointing loss at home to New Zealand being the latest in a serially underwhelming run of results. 

This now leaves the ECB having to face up to the prospect of overhauling the Test side in an Ashes year, which is far from ideal. Indeed, you’re asking for trouble if you try to send the next generation of England’s cricketers to the fast pitches of Australia to play in front of the most hostile crowds in the world.

It’s naturally no surprise then to see the Australians as the favourites at 11/25 odds to win the Ashes in the latest cricket betting markets and should that happen, you do begin to fear for Root’s legacy as an England captain. 

After all, this would then be the second time Root has failed to win the Ashes as captain after the Australians managed to draw the 2019 series, which meant that they successfully retained the urn. Given that Root is now likely to oversee two Ashes’ disappointments, it’s easy to picture a scenario where his record as captain overshadows his remarkable achievements with the bat. 

Regrettably, that’s how cricket history is remembered, through numbers, but then this also offers the 30-year-old a chance to leave his mark on the game. If Root is to safeguard his legacy, then he’ll have to eclipse Sir Alastair Cook’s 12472 runs, which makes him currently England’s highest ever run-scorer in the Test arena. 

Encouragingly, Root went to second on the list during the second Test match against India at Lord’s and now sits on 9067, so you would imagine that if he was to notch up another 3406 runs, his legacy wouldn’t be tarnished by England’s poor form over the last 12 months. 

Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they get better for England when you consider how much work this side ultimately needs to do before they can begin holding their own in the Test arena again. Batting for England may still be a lonely experience for Root in the years to come, but should he keep scoring at the rate he is, then all of his brilliance at the crease won’t have gone to waste.


Who Will Take The 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup?

Beginning back in 2007, ICC World Twenty20 matches have kept both worldwide and local cricket club audiences captivated around the world. This short and action-packed version has held a worldwide audience due to its almost flamboyant nature, compared to the other formats in which the game is played. So let’s dig into the who’s who of potential T20 contenders for this year, and which team is most likely to take the top prize. Below are the most likely contenders for the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup with a few thoughts on the best picks to take the win.


Be it in ODIs or Tests, Australia has long been a powerhouse in international cricket, producing legends since day dot, and T20 has not dwindled that reputation. They have yet to secure a World Cup title, though they did get close when coming in second to England in the 2010 edition in the West Indies. Does Australia have what it takes to win it this time around? Only time will tell, but with the likes of batsman David Warner and superstar Steve Smith, and being headed by confirmed T20 captain Aaron Finch, they are definitely strong contenders.


These world class players have always been among the best of the best and the T20 game has further solidified that, with the Indian team winning the first T20 World Cup in 2007. Though the location for the 2021 T20 tournament was recently changed – for the second time – from India to the UAE, India’s odds of $3.50 to win suggest they are still the team to beat. With superstars of the game like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma at their disposal, there is no reason not to think that India isn’t a forerunner for the main prize.


Winning the World Cup by seven wickets over Australia in Bridgetown in 2010 certainly inspired the English team, but since then they have yet to secure another title. After losing the championship to the West Indies in 2016, you know they are hungry for another T20 win. The English team that has qualified for the 2021 Cup are likely to be as formidable as ever. Though they have suffered some injuries throughout the course of the season, it still looks like this side will push on with a quality T20 World Cup showing this year.

West Indies

The current ICC T20 World Champions have two titles under their belt and are well placed to contend once again this year. The West Indies were once a top-tier team with legendary players in all forms of the game, and though they are a long way from the force they once were, T20 cricket is a clear strength. Veteran Kieron Pollard heads a formidable team including the likes of legendary all-rounder Chris Gayle and top T20 bowler Sunil Narine. They might not boast the talent of the likes of India or Australia, but teams who take the Men in Maroon lightly do so at their own peril.


Runners up in 2007 and World Champions in 2009, the Pakistanis are no strangers to success on the ICC T20 World Cup stage. They lost just two wickets during the 2009 T20 World Cup final en route to beating Sri Lanka soundly by eight wickets, a dominant win which was indicative of their talent. The Pakistanis have not had as much luck in their last two outings, however after being eliminated in the Super 10 round in 2014 and 2016 they are ready to fight back in 2021 with T20 veteran Babar Azam leading the squad.

Sri Lanka

With reappointed captain Dasun Shanaka, who captained the T20 squad when they won the Cup back in 2014, you can tell that this is the year the Sri Lankans are pushing to get back to winning ways. Sri Lanka has spent time introducing new players who are more suited to the shorter format of the game according to their captain, and they have been collecting wins in the T20 arena with the new lineup. They have their work cut out to match it with the best teams in the world, but the new blood in the team may just give the Sri Lankans the winning edge they have been lacking. 

Commencing the delayed tournament in 2021
Originally, the T20 tournament for 2020 was set to be hosted in Australia before the location was changed to India, but that has again changed and it will now take place in the UAE. The long-awaited ICC Twenty20 World Cup is finally set to commence on October 17, 2021, with the final scheduled for November 14. Will the West Indies continue their winning streak and take out the 2021 World Cup? Or will the talented Indians still prove to be the best team in the world, despite the change of location? Elsewhere, the Aussies will no doubt be a threat and England is more than capable of winning, and with so many teams in the hunt, it shapes up as a compelling edition of the T20 World Cup.

Cricket Opinion

The Potential Of Steve Smith: The Next Australian Cricket Superstar in the Making?

Every sports discipline in history has produced their own specific sets of iconic figures.

These names that become renowned in households across the planet have achieved this status as they are the ones that redefine what it means to excel.

We understand what Tiger Woods means to the game of golf, just as we are aware of what Usain Bolt represents in the world of athletics. But in the history of Australian Cricket, much of the story remains unwritten.

With his individual idiosyncrasies and his sublime strokeplay, could Steve Smith carve his way into the summer game’s pantheon by the time the sun sets on his career?

The peerless contender

You could compare Smith’s performance to the likes of Virat Kohli, but when one considers Smith’s skills in comparison to his peers, the New South Welshman remains unmatched.

Of course, it’s impossible to give it context to ‘Smudge’s’ greatness without also mentioning Don Bradman, the undisputed legend of Australian cricket. One could very well say that Steve Smith is second only to him. And let’s be honest, that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Smith’s performance

Smith is one of the finest Test batsmen to have ever graced Australian cricket. He averages an impressive 64.56 from 68 Tests – which is the second most by any cricketer that has played 20 tests or more.

The only other name that currently comes close is Kohli, with an average of 53.14.

But what is it that is keeping Smith from soaring in the stratosphere with some of the game’s past stars?

For starters, he has shown to have trouble maintaining his form. On top of that, a whole year of his career was eliminated due to suspension.

However, keep in mind that Smith is still relatively young – the former captain only turned 32 this June – meaning he has a lengthy portion of his career still ahead of him. Therefore, there is a view that his full potential is yet to be seen.

The work of a batsman is never easy.


The next Ricky Ponting?

With a Test average of 51.85 over the course of his international career, Ricky Ponting is without doubt one of the greatest cricketers to ever pull on a baggy green cap.

However, since Ponting spends his days commentating or quaffing fine wines these days, his achievements are simpler to assess.

On the other hand, Smith’s career is still well and truly alive and kicking. For this reason, it is impossible to give an accurate assessment of where he’ll stand before stumps are called on his career.

One thing is for sure, if Smith keeps up his current pace, then chances are he will surpass Ponting’s overall statistics.

A big black mark on Smith’s reputation

With that being said, Smith’s reputation is not without stains either.

Remember the ball tampering events taking place in South Africa in March 2018? This resulted in receiving a year long ban from competing. Although he is not the first to have done so, he did cheat. And as the old adage goes, cheaters never prosper.

Not only did Smith let down the fans, he dragged Cricket’s good name down with him (or at least a sizable portion of it). Whether this alone is enough to put the game in a state of crisis, is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure – love him or hate him, he has made a name for himself and everyone recognizes him to be one of the greatest.

He can reach the lowest of lows and always finds a way to rise back from the ashes – or as proven 2019, ‘for the ashes’ as well.

Other batsmen can only fantasize about achieving half of what he already has under his belt, and when we remember that we haven’t seen the last of him, his peers and opponents are set to be daydreaming for many summers to come.


Steve Smith stands tall as one of the greatest Test batsmen of all time, second only to Don Bradman – that much remains undisputed.

A much better question, on the other hand, is this – who deserves to claim the title of the third best?

I guess we will see in due time.

As always, keep your eyes peeled on the bbl live score 2021 to keep yourself up-to-date on everything cricket-related. And don’t forget to stay in tune with more content on Australian cricket as we publish it.

IPL t20

Reasons why T20 cricket is the best

T20 cricket has come a long way since its first official match was played in June 2003 between the English counties. T20 World Cup helped to popularize the format while its fame also received a big boost due to T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League, the Big Bash League and the Pakistan Super League etc. 

Now teams spend a lot of money and energy in the planning and strategy of T20 matches, which were initially derided as pyjama cricket. Franchises work meticulously and use numbers to improve different aspects of the game. Particularly in tournaments like the IPL, data analysis is revolutionizing the game. It is now employed by teams for recruitment, selection and tactics. 

Mumbai Indians have the distinction of being the most successful team in the history of IPL. Their successes are largely due to the smart use of data, according to famous journalist Tim Wigmore.   

Mumbai Indians’ success has been rooted in out-thinking their opponents,” says Wigmore. “They are excellent at doing it before they even get to the auction table.

“They’ve got a very good idea of how to assemble a team because they’ve used data to establish the best strategy. Then they have a really strong scouting system that allows them to chase all of the most undervalued domestic talent.

1- Time 

Time has become very precious in the modern world where people have plenty of work engagements. Therefore, they can only afford to spend a little time on fun and leisure activities. 

Test matches continue for five days, making the format less suited to the needs of cricket fans. While T20 matches last for only about 3.5 hours and that makes it convenient for people to watch an entire match. Since the format is highly suitable to the entertainment needs of cricket enthusiasts, it is little wonder that the popularity of T20 is also increasing. 

For first-timers, it seems a very attractive option as the games are short and the spectacle is great. 

2- Spectacle 

In Test and ODI matches, batsmen play very cautiously with keeping wickets in hand their main concern. Therefore, spectators only get to watch an occasional six or four. 

Things are vastly different in T20 cricket where it’s all about explosive hitting. Batsmen throw all the caution to the wind and try to smash boundaries and sixers on every few deliveries. This makes for a great sporting spectacle, and people in the stadium as well as those watching on television immensely enjoy it. 

These T20 games are often played in conditions more favourable to the batsmen, and so the batters make full use of that advantage to provide a good display for the fans. Teams also prefer power hitters who can swing the momentum to their side in a few overs through their destructive batting. Bowlers often resort to Yorkers or slow deliveries, but that can also backfire, allowing batsmen to hit 4s and 6s.      

3- Fast-paced nature 

The defensive and slow nature of Test cricket doesn’t make a great spectacle to the television audience. Fans have to endure long, dull periods where nothing happens, with batsmen only thwarting the bowlers’ moves and not attempting something new and interesting by themselves. 

The matches become very uninteresting sometimes in ODIs as well, especially when one team loses a couple of early wickets and they become very defensive. However, T20 games rarely become dull and mostly provide a great sporting spectacle. Batsmen always look to hit boundaries and sixers, without worrying a lot about losing their wickets. Consequently, spectators either get to see explosive hitting or the fall of wickets and so they get a good display in both cases. 

Due to the fast-paced nature of T20, the momentum of the matches can turn very quickly. Just a single good over can bring the losing team back in the game, while a bad over can cause irreversible damage to the prospects of the winning team. Spectators in the stadium and the TV audience always get good value for their time and effort in T20 matches.   

 One cannot get such excitement and thrill from any other sporting event. Even viewing football matches and Premier League goal leaders in action cannot give one the same thrill. 

Cricket News Cricket Opinion

Could Major League Cricket boost the sport’s popularity in the US?

Sport is a huge part of American culture, whether it’s playing, competing or spectating, people in the United States spend a good chunk of their time enjoying sports games and competitions in some way. While sports such as football, baseball, basketball night receive the most airtime on live TV channels and news shows, cricket is one other sport that is once again finding its heading toward the media spotlight.

Cricket first became popular in the United States in the 1700s, where it was regularly played for fun and competition in locations such as Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, and Boston. By the middle of the next century, over 1,000 cricket clubs had been set up across the country.

However, around the time of the Civil War, baseball had overtaken cricket in terms of popularity due to it being a favourite game amongst soldiers at the time. The trend continued over the years and by the early 1900s cricket was pretty much non-existent across the states.

Popularity of Cricket across the world

Cricket players and spectator figures have improved somewhat since this time but still lags behind many other sports. It is now far more popular in other countries like India, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sri Lanka.

Worldwide, cricket is actually the second most popular sport and has a following of up to 2.5 billion people. However, in the United States people continue to pay more attention to big league games and competition, including the National Football League and Major League Soccer.

Fans of these sports often enjoy placing sports bets on league competitions. As more and more states continue to legalise sports betting and online sports betting, the choice of betting options and operators continues to grow in the country.

Development of the MLC

It is likely that soon fans of cricket will be placing wagers on their favourite teams thanks to the development of the new Major League Cricket, which has been modelled on other domestic cricket competitions like the Indian Premier League. Major League Cricket was founded in 2019 and is preparing to be launched some time in 2022.

Within the MLC, there will be six franchise teams. One team has been confirmed as being located in Dallas, and other teams are likely to be based in New York, Atlanta, New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco, as there is already a small market for the sport in these places.

The launch of Major League Cricket all forms part of the USA Cricket’s foundational plan which aims to increase the popularity of cricket amongst American citizens and improve the playing standard of its national team.

Before the Major League kicks off next year the Minor League Cricket will act as a developmental league and will play their competition this year. The Minor League consists of 24 teams that are all privately owned franchises.

The overall target of this process is for USA Cricket to achieve full membership status by the International Cricket Council on or before the year 2030. As part of these ambitious plans, the AirHogs Stadium in Texas is set to receive a $10 million dollar facelift to prefer it to become a venue solely hosting cricket matches.

But who is behind these plans to revolutionise the cricket industry in the United States?

There are some very well-known faces in the business world that are backing the expansion of cricket in the country, one such business leader is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Nadella is behind Microsoft’s plans to extend its campus in Washington to include a professional quality cricket pitch.

Other supporters from big name technology brands include Sundar Pichai from Google and Indra Nooyi from Pepsi. Even famous individuals within the entertainment industry are encouraging the development of cricket in the United States, with Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan investing in the Major League Cricket’s Los Angeles Knight Riders.

Even with all of the public support, there is still no guarantee that cricket is about to take off in America. There are still a number of obstacles that the MLC must work through in the medium and long term to ensure their success.

One main focus for the new MLC teams will be to secure the right talent to play at such a high level. It is also important that this talent is fairly evenly distributed so that all six teams have the ability to compete well.

One huge benefit of the development of Major League Cricket is the increased investment and development opportunities that will make its way to youth cricket clubs in the country. New talent programmes will be put in place to harness and grow the skills and abilities of younger players, helping to ensure the longevity of the sport.

While there is already a good fan base for cricket in the United States, the development of Major League Cricket is a huge opportunity for the sport and will hopefully increase the amount of attention and investment that cricket receives exponentially over the next few years.

Cricket News

India tipped for 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Victory

Overlapping the months of October and November this year, the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is a tournament that promises to have cricket fans on the edge of their seats. In March this year, two of the favourites met when England toured India, although the visiting side was quite literally bowled over by their hosts.

Despite a positive start for England winning the first match by 8 wickets, India rallied to win the second by 7 wickets. After another solid performance earned victory for England by 8 wickets in the third encounter, India once again levelled the series winning the fourth match by 8 runs.

Then came the moment when everything fell apart for the England T20 side. In the fifth and final match of the series, India put on a display of absolute superiority, crushing the visitors by 36 runs. Indeed, such was the margin of victory, the 224/2 score achieved by India was their fourth highest T20 score of all time.

Given that superb match victory and the overall series win, bookmakers are now tipping India as 9/4 cricket betting favourites to win the T20 World Cup. After licking their wounds and pondering what they must do to improve, England have now been handed 4/1 odds to win the tournament, although they will need to raise their game significantly.

England selectors will need to ponder their team selections very carefully, even if certain players are guaranteed to form part of the T20 World Cup squad. Dawid Malan remains top of the ICC T20I Batting Rankings, following the latest ratings updates at the start of April. However, only one other player features inside the top ten of any other categories.

Adil Rashid has climbed up to fourth position in the ICC T20I Bowling Rankings, based on the consistency of his performances. Meanwhile, the ICC T20I All-Rounder Rankings feature Ben Stokes way down in eleventh position. England still remains top of the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings, with a rating of 277 from 22 matches.

By comparison and with the recent series for India factored into the calculations, India has moved up to second position in the latest ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings, earning a rating of 272 from 25 matches. Insofar as individual players, several Indian players have made significant leaps up the ICC rankings.

Virat Kohli holds fifth spot in the ICC T20I Batting Rankings, while Lokesh Rahul features in seventh position. That said, breaking the resolve of rival batsmen is clearly an area which needs improving for the India T20 team. Washington Sundar is their highest ranked player, 13th in the ICC T20I Bowling Rankings, mostly based on his performance against England.

Rather than outstanding individual contributions, even with a quality pool of talented players to choose from, the key for India against England was overall team performance. Able to produce consistently solid results whoever takes to the field, this is why India will undoubtedly be the team to beat at the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Cricket News Players

What does Ben Stokes’ injury mean for the Rajasthan Royals?

One game into the 2021 season and things are already looking bleak for the Rajasthan Royals. Not only are they without first-choice fast bowler Jofra Archer for at least the first four games of the season, but they are also now going to be without one of the world’s best T20 players in the form of Ben Stokes.

2021 was already looking like a tough season for the Royals. Betway already had the Royals as the favourites for the wooden spoon at 21.00, and now this injury to Ben Stokes suffered during the opening game of the season against the Punjab Kings, puts further pressure on the Royals.

No luck for the Royals

After finishing the 2020 season at the bottom of the table, the Royals must have come into the 2021 season with renewed hope, with Archer and Stokes two of the leading lights in international T20 cricket.

With Archer already out for the opening four games, recuperating from an old injury, a lot of hope was placed on the shoulders of Stokes. 

After starting the game well, Stokes had bowled the eighth over of the Kings’ innings and was expected to come back to bowl at the death, however, an injury sustained in the tenth over meant he was not seen again with the ball as the Kings amassed 221 for 6 in their 20 overs.

He did come out to open the batting for the Royals, however, he only lasted three balls before top-edging a pull back to bowler Mohanned Shami to be out for a duck. It was unclear whether the injury was providing significant hindrance to Stokes, however, his early dismissal meant that it would not be put to the test.

The injury to Stokes, a broken finger on his left hand, was inflicted whilst taking a superb catch, running in from the boundary to catch Kings’ talisman Chris Gayle – a crucial wicket for the Royals with Gayle making 40 runs off just 28 deliveries.

The Kings went on to win the game by four runs.

Talisman Stokes to stay on

It’s no secret that Stokes loves to play in the IPL and he has been one of the shining stars since its inception. It is perhaps no surprise then, that he has elected to stay on with the Royals for the rest of the season to provide “support and inputs off the field’ as he looks to stay involved in the IPL 2021 season.

In the same week as Stokes suffered his injury, he was also named Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world for the second year in a row. He scored more Test runs than any other batsman in 2020, with 641 in seven matches, while also taking 19 wickets.

Whilst his presence in the changing room has been welcomed by the Royals and their owners, there is no doubt they would much rather see the world’s best cricketer out on the field as they try to avoid the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year.

What now for the Royals?

Without either Stokes or Archer, the overseas options for the Royals are limited. Both Jos Buttler and Chris Morris are first-choice picks, and for the other two slots, they have to choose from among Liam Livingstone, David Miller, Mustafizur Rahman and Andrew Tye. Rahman played in the first match and Livingstone – who can bat in the top order and turn his arm over for part-time off-spin – could be the most likely to fill in for Stokes.

Will Stokes be fit for England?

This summer is a huge one for England. They are scheduled to play a two-Test series against New Zealand, starting at Lord’s on June 2, just four days after the IPL final. Following the two-Test series with New Zealand, England is then due to face India in a five-Test series before heading to the T20 World Cup in India. They then head down under to Australia for the Ashes at the end of 2021.

It is understood that the ECB is working with the Royals to monitor Stokes’ fitness between now and the opening Test against New Zealand, however, it is unclear at this stage whether he will be fit to line up in that series or whether he will have to wait until the Test series against India before he will be able to represent the Three Lions in 2021.

Cricket News Players

Should England Select James Anderson for the 2021/22 Ashes Series?

Ahead of the 2021/22 Ashes series, every cricket fan has their own predictions on who will be included. One popular possibility is, of course, James Anderson. Based on his record alone, his inclusion should be something of a no-brainer. However, with an action-packed schedule awaiting the 32-time Ashes winners over the coming months, form and fitness will likely determine who’s lining up for England in Australia on November 22nd. But will the selectors opt for Anderson?​

Anderson’s Record Raises Questions 

​While nobody can deny the Englishman’s ability, Anderson’s overseas form is perhaps the only weakness to his game. On home soil, the Burnley-born right-hander is undoubtedly one of the finest seamers in cricket. Outside of England, however, he’s struggled to replicate his success at home venues. 

​According to figures from HowStat, in 842 matches in England, the 38-year-old has taken 384 wickets. Away, on the other hand, his record sits at 222 in 592 games. While still impressive, there are drastic differences in his average and bowling strike rate. The same data platform states that, at home, Anderson’s average is 23.84, and his strike rate is 50.23. Overseas, meanwhile, those figures rise to 31.40 and 65.96, respectively.  ​

​Regarding Australia specifically, Anderson has often performed well Down Under. As per ESPN Cricinfo, the 38-year-old averages 29.3 against Australia, which is below his total overseas average. Not only that, but as of 2017, Anderson performed best when facing Justin Langer’s team. At that time, he’d taken 87 wickets against the Baggy Greens, which was five more than against the second-highest team, India.​

Good to Leave Behind? 

​Regarded as an all-time great, Anderson cemented his legacy as an icon of the modern game after becoming England’s leading wicket-taker. Along with proudly holding that status, he’s also the first fast bowler in the sport’s history to reach 600 Test wickets. Given his record, it’s somewhat baffling that his inclusion for the 2021/22 Ashes series is in question. Anderson himself has stated his desire to play in the tournament, but Peter Siddle believes that Stuart Broad should get the nod ahead of the 38-year-old.  ​

​Currently, England’s pace bowling attack is formidable, with Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, and Mark Wood also available for selection. Siddle states that his preference to select Broad over Anderson relates to the pitch conditions, with the Burnley-born right-hander historically struggling to get the ball swinging

Talking about his progression, Anderson declared that he’s better now than he was eight years ago. That, combined with his experience, makes him a valuable asset to England, and he could be the key to success at the highly-anticipated competition. As of February 2nd, England are 11/4 in cricket betting to win the 2021/22 Ashes series, but only time will tell if Anderson plays a leading role in their pursuit of glory.​

If Selected, Anderson Can Hurt Australia  

Recently, Australia lost to a second-string Indian side on home soil. As such, their confidence won’t be at an all-time high. Should their dip in form continue into the Ashes, Anderson has the ability to punish them further. The Baggy Greens’ top order has struggled for consistency of late, and if the 38-year-old is selected and can ask questions of them in the opening overs, then England may reap the reward of his inclusion.