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ROUNDUP: WATLING TO RETIRE, SRI LANKA’S ODI SHAKE-UP

A roundup of the news that has made headlines in the cricket world over the past few days.

BJ Watling Test record
BJ Watling will hang up the gloves after New Zealand's tour of England. (Credit: Black Caps)

Here’s a roundup of the news that has made headlines in the cricket world over the past few days.

Watling to hang up gloves after WTC final

New Zealand’s record-setting Test wicketkeeper BJ Watling has announced that he will retire from all forms of cricket after his team’s tour of England, which will culminate in the ICC World Test Championship final against India in late June.

Watling, 35, is New Zealand’s most successful Test wicketkeeper with a record 249 catches and eight stumpings. Since he made his Test debut in 2009, he has scored 3773 runs in 73 matches at an average of 38.11, placing him 10th among New Zealand’s run-makers, with eight hundreds and 19 fifties.

BJ Watling retires
BJ Watling, 35, has been an integral part of New Zealand’s Test team since 2009. (Credit: Getty)

Among those to have kept wickets in 50 or more Tests, only Andy Flower (53.70) and Adam Gilchrist (47.60) have a higher batting average than Watling.

“It’s been a huge honour to represent New Zealand and in particular wear the Test baggy,” Watling said in a statement this week. “Test cricket really is the pinnacle of the game and I’ve loved every minute of being out there in the whites with the boys. I’ve played with some great players and made many good mates. I’ve also had plenty of help along the way for which I’ll always be grateful.

England’s players will not put IPL first

Ashley Giles, England’s director of cricket, has suggested that England’s players will not miss international matches in order to play in the rescheduled IPL. A total of 31 IPL matches remain in this year’s edition of the tournament, which was indefinitely postponed earlier this month after multiple cases of COVID-19 inside the tournament’s bio-security bubble.

READ: WILL THE IPL RETURN IN COVID-RAVAGED 2021?

England have a busy nine months of cricket, starting with next month’s home Test series against New Zealand and culminating in the Ashes in Australia. Two Tests versus New Zealand will be followed by five against India, followed by two months of ODIs and T20Is away from home, including the T20 World Cup, and then the tour of Australia.

And even though the management is facing the very realistic prospect of naming new faces for the New Zealand series, Giles has hinted that England’s cricketers will not choose the IPL over international cricket.

Sri Lanka axe three former ODI captains

With an eye on the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup, the Sri Lankan selectors have dropped former captains Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews in a major team overhaul while naming Kusal Perera installed as the new ODI captain.

The new selection committee, led by Pramodya Wickramasinghe, has named a youthful 18-man squad in which just three players are 30 or older, for the upcoming three matches in Bangladesh later in May. Perera is Sri Lanka’s ninth one-day captain in the last five years after Chandimal, Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedara and Karunaratne, who led them at the World Cup two years ago.

Angelo Mathews Dinesh Chandimal dropped
Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal have been dropped from Sri Lanka’s ODI squad. (Credit: SLC)

The trio of Karunaratne, Chandimal and Mathews have played more than 400 ODIs and scored more than 10,000 runs.

Sri Lanka ODI squad: Kusal Perera (capt), Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Pathum Nissanka, Dasun Shanaka, Ashen Bandara, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Niroshan Dickwella, Dushmantha Chameera, Ramesh Mendis, Asitha Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando.

Pakistan debutant strikes after 18-year wait

Thirty-six-year-old pace bowler Tabish Khan needed six balls to capture his first Test wicket – and his 599th in first-class cricket – to become the oldest to do so in 70 years. Tabish, a veteran of Pakistan’s domestic cricket setup, made his Test debut 18 years after starting his first-class career and struck in his first over after Abid Ali’s double-ton deflated Zimbabwe in Harare.

Tabish Khan Test debut
Pakistan’s 36-year-old debutant Tabish Khan needed just six balls to claim his first Test wicket. (Credit: PCB)

Down 0-1 in the two-match series, the hosts were playing catch-up in the second Test after Pakistan piled up 510/8 at the Harare Sports Club. Tabish took a wicket with his sixth ball bowled in Tests and that set Zimbabwe on the slide to 52/4 at the end of the day. They lost the Test by an innings.

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