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ICC considering expanding T20 World Cup to 20 teams from 2024

The International Cricket Council is reportedly considering expanding the T20 World Cup to 20 teams from its current number of 16. While the upcoming 2021 tournament to be held in India, will remain unchanged, the ICC is looking to add four more teams to the tournament from the 2024 edition.

Additionally, there is also speculation over the possibility of the ICC expanding the number of teams participating in the 50-over World Cup. The World Cup had been reduced to 10 teams from 14 in 2019 with the argument that broadcasters would prefer the lesser participation so as to reduce one-sided matches.

However, there is now talk of getting the number back to 14 teams. The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in October-November but there is uncertainty over India hosting the tournament due to the deadly second wave of Covid-19 ravaging the country.

Dashing teenaged opener, Shafali Verma has been included in the Indian women’s Test and ODI squads for the June-July tour of England after her absence from the South Africa ODIs in March had drawn widespread criticism.

The 17-year-old Rohtak-based girl is yet to play a Test or an ODI. She has played 22 Women’s T20 Internationals so far. Mithali Raj will lead the Test and ODI side while Harmanpreet Kaur, who is Mithali’s deputy in the longer formats, will lead the team in T20 International series.

Pace bowling all-rounder Shikha Pandey and wicket-keeper Tanya Bhatia, who were excluded from the limited overs home series against South Africa, have been recalled. Left arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who is down with Covid-19, has been left out.

India are scheduled to play a one-off Test in Bristol from June 16-19. It will be followed by three ODIs and three T20 Internationals. The ODIs will be played in Bristol (June 27), Taunton (June 30) and Worcester (July 3).

The T20Is will be played in Northampton (on July 9), Hove (July 11) and Chelmsford (July 15).

Test and ODI squad:

Mithali Raj (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Indrani Roy (wicket-keeper), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Radha Yadav.

T20I squad:

Midle of the post

Harmanpreet Kaur (captain) Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Indrani Roy (wicket-keeper), Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Simaran Dil Bahadur

Meanwhile outgoing women’s coach WV Raman has written to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and National Cricket Academy head Rahul Dravid alleging that there is a “prima donna culture” in the national team and it needs to change.

In his letter, the former India international has also offered to present a roadmap for women’s cricket in the country, if asked. Madan Lal-led Cricket Advisory Committee did not retain Raman as the head coach of the senior women’s team and picked former India off-spinner Ramesh Powar for the position.

Raman during his tenure guided India to the final of Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020. While Raman’s letter didn’t name anyone, it is understood that he has spoken extensively about the star culture that prevails in the team, which he said is probably doing more harm than good.

Former Australia batsman and Chennai Super Kings batting coach Michael Hussey has recovered from COVID-19 and is likely to fly back home on Sunday, along with the Australian cricketers, coaches and media currently stranded in the Maldives.

Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association and the BCCI are still awaiting confirmation from the Australian government that “the group of 38 players and support staff would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16, where they would then serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine period”.

West Indies are set for a busy home season between June and August with South Africa, Australia and Pakistan set to tour the islands for a combined four Test matches, 15 T20Is and three ODI matches.

The season starts with South Africa touring the islands for two Tests and five T20Is. The series was rescheduled from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tour starts with a two-Test series on June 10 after which T20I series will be played from June 26 to July 3.

West Indies then host Australia for a five-match T20I series and three ODIs. The T20Is will be played from July 9 to July 16 after which the ODI series will be played from July 20 to July 24. The season concludes with Pakistan’s tour of the islands.

The two teams play a five-match T20I series from July 27 to August 3 after which they play two Test matches starting on August 12 and August 20. Former India selector Sarandeep Singh has backed the current committee’s call to ignore Hardik Pandya from the Test squad and said the all-rounder doesn’t fit into the playing XI even in the shorter formats if he can’t bowl his quota of overs.

After undergoing a back surgery in 2019, Hardik has not bowled regularly since his comeback and not being able to offer his all-round skills cost him a place in the Indian Test squad for the England tour. Sarandeep, however, raised his eyebrows over how a rare talent like Prithvi Shaw did not even make the standbys for the England tour.

According to Sarandeep, Shaw has the potential to do what Sehwag did for India. And he should not be side-lined so early in his career as he has scored tons of runs in domestic cricket after being dropped post Australia tour. The four standbys picked for the UK tour are opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, pacers Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna and Arzan Nagwaswalla.

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