With a new year and a whole lot of cricket coming our way in the next 12 months, here are a few 'unpredictions' of what awaits the international game in 2017.
After losing the first three ODIs against India, a downcast Eoin Morgan resigns as England captain. In a move which antagonises the normally nonjudgmental British sports media, Morgan announces he’s taking a complete break from the game to backpack around rural Bangladesh. In light of the losses, the ECB declare England’s recent experiment with attacking cricket a “complete failure” and reappoint Alastair Cook as ODI captain. The decision is fully vindicated as he makes a feisty 57 off 94 balls in a close ten-wicket defeat in the fourth ODI. It’s not all good news for India, however, as Amit Mishra faces a three-month lay-off when a clumsy misfield leads to him being badly traumatised by a look from Virat Kohli. In Australia, Misbah-ul-Haq resigns as Pakistan captain after allegations that he’s deliberately been setting unhelpful fields for Yasir Shah purely to avoid having to do any more victory press-ups. “I’m 42, you know,” he says, “They’re really hard work.”
In a boost for the associates, the ICC announce Ireland will be granted full Test status if they beat Zimbabwe in a playoff match. The only condition is that the Irish team must all bat without gloves and field in flip-flops. “Finally our critics will be forced to admit we are 100 percent behind a true meritocracy in world cricket,” says ICC CEO Dave Richardson. Zimbabwe win by two wickets. Back in India there are suspicions the BCCI still aren't taking the Lodha Committee seriously when they refuse to say who is to replace ousted president Anurag Thakur. A spokesman reveals only that it will be someone with “lots of cricket administration experience and good connections in the cement industry.”
After taking a mere 13 wickets and scoring a paltry 254 runs in the first Test against Australia, Ravichandran Ashwin declares he’s still not satisfied with his all round contribution to the Indian side. He therefore insists on wicketkeeping for the remainder of the matches, including to himself, leading to his stock ball becoming rather more flighted than usual. Some dashing opposition batsmen can’t resist the temptation and “Warner st Ashwin b Ashwin” becomes the most frequent dismissal of the series.
South Africa arrive in England for their summer tour. Preparations are disrupted, however, when spinner Imran Tahir accidentally wins the London Marathon after getting lost during one of his celebrations in the middle of a warm-up match against Surrey. He is found safe and well-wrapped in a foil blanket near Buckingham Palace and resumes his spell later that day. There are further complications for the tourists when, in a new bid to curb lollipop-based ball-tampering, the ICC announce Faf du Plessis will no longer be allowed to receive pocket money from his parents.
After a shock 2-1 loss to England in the T20 series earlier in the year, the BCCI decide to scrap the IPL and, in an attempt to replicate their opponents’ success, replace it with something more British. The city franchise system is therefore abolished with the new IPL instead featuring regional teams who will compete at various challenges including “tutting at noisy fellow passengers on trains” and “holding unnecessary referendums”. The tournament is won by MS Dhoni’s new side, the Tamil Nadu Teapots.
After already having cancelled the World Test Championship and replaced it with the Champions Trophy, the ICC declares all matches at the one-day tournament shall be played over four days. They deny accusations of muddled thinking, claiming the experiment is a great chance to showcase four-day One Day Internationals. If successful, they commit to introducing both four-day Tests and, more controversially, four-day T20s. England respond by appointing Alastair Cook as T20 captain.
Shahid Afridi appears on TV to announce that Misbah has come out of retirement. He later reverses his statement on Misbah’s retirement before reversing it again, two weeks later. Misbah is then forced to make clear he has no intention of making a return to cricket, claiming his new job as UN Secretary General is far less stressful than captaining Pakistan.
Following a creditable draw in the first Test against England at Edgbaston, delighted West Indies skipper Jason Holder suggests his young side has “really turned a corner” and calls for “calmness and stability so we can finally get back to being a force in the longest form.” He is immediately sacked by the West Indies cricket board for wearing the wrong sort of sun hat, the WICB explaining that they “simply will not tolerate sun hat indiscipline.” A recalled Dwayne Bravo takes the captaincy reins, pledging to unite the side by making them all sing his new single, Bravo for Bravo (he king, he rule), at the end of each over. England clinch the series 2-0.
In the second installment of the Shane Warne All-Stars matches in America, the teams are watched by new US president Donald Trump, who insists on throwing the first “pitch” of the game. Controversy arises as he is repeatedly no-balled by a vigilant Simon Taufel, with Congress threatening to impeach the new White House incumbent unless he irons out his action. When asked what she thinks of her former presidential rival’s elbow, ex-Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton simply says: “Crooked”.
Recalled to Australia’s ODI side for their tour of India, Glenn Maxwell declares he has “never been more determined to nail down my place in the side.” Appalled by this self-obsessed attitude, captain Steve Smith demands Maxwell apologise in writing to all other squad members for threatening to take their place in the side and then sends the all-rounder home. India clinch the series 6-1.
The MCC Cricket Committee urges the game to do more to uphold their vote the previous year reducing bat sizes. The ICC therefore grant umpires unlimited powers to enforce the new regulations, although they later distance themselves from Kumar Dharmasena’s decision to take a chainsaw onto the field during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. In the same match, Stuart Broad brings up his 10,000th unsuccessful appeal in international cricket and his 9,996th unsuccessful review. He is presented with a bronze statue of Cook looking quite cross.
In Melbourne, newly crowned Player of the Year, Haseeb Hameed, makes a match-winning triple century to clinch the urn for England. There’s amusement, however, as the young batsman’s mobile goes off during the post-match press conference: “Hi….no, it’s fine, any time….yep, just do what I told you when we met in Mohali last year…..yes….just try to transfer your weight more fluidly when you play your on drive.....I know you always call me for advice…. No, of course I don’t mind….no worries…take care, Virat.” In response to the unexpected Ashes defeat, Australia ban Glenn Maxwell from all cricket until 2024.
And if these predictions don't come to fruition, don't feel too bad, don't get angry and most of all, don't harm those around you. Help yourself to a pinch of salt instead.
Updated Date: Jan 04, 2017 11:37 AM