With the Asia Cup ending on a last ball high for India, Bangladesh walk away with their heads held high. What a game! What a tournament! What now, after the high-calibre action dies down? Well, there’s a lot more cricket in the pipeline with the 2018–19 international cricket season kicking off. The season, from September 2018 to April 2019 sees 34 Test matches, 76 One-day Internationals (ODIs) and 35 Twenty20 International (T20Is) scheduled and it all started off this month with India leading the Test cricket rankings, England leading the ODI rankings, Pakistan leading the Twenty20 rankings, and Australia women leading the women’s rankings.
October, being right bang at the start of the international calendar has a packed schedule that sees 10 of the 12 Test playing nations facing off in full fledged series apart from the first season of the Afghanistan Premier League taking off in the UAE. To kickstart proceedings, a new look South Africa host Zimbabwe in the 1st of three ODI’s on Sunday, 30th September (Leagues up in the Lobby) before a full blown, action packed October kicks in.
Zimbabwe tour of South Africa, 2018
3 ODIs, 3 T20s. September 30th – October 14th
Afghanistan Premier League 2018
23 T20s. October 05th – Oct 21th – Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah
Windies tour of India, 2018
5 ODIs, 2 Tests, 3 T20s. September 29th – November 11th
Australia v Pakistan in UAE, 2018
2 Tests, 3 T20s. September 29th – October 28th
England tour of Sri Lanka, 2018
5 ODIs, 3 Tests, 1 T20. October 05th – November 27th
Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2018
3 ODIs, 2 Tests. October 21st – November 15th
South Africa tour of Australia, 2018
3 ODIs, 1 T20. October 31st – November 17th
New Zealand v Pakistan in UAE, 2018
3 ODIs, 3 Tests, 3 T20s. October 31st – December 07th
South Africa Women tour of West Indies, 2018
3 ODIs, 5 T20s. September 16th – October 06th
New Zealand Women tour of Australia, 2018
3 T20s. September 29th – October 05th
Pakistan Women tour of Bangladesh, 2018
1 ODI, 4 T20s. October 01st – October 08th
Pakistan Women vs Australia Women in Malaysia, 2018
3 ODIs, 3 T20s. October 18th – October 29th
With the World Cup in sight, Steyn admits ‘fighting for a spot’ – “It’s so bloody long ago I can’t even remember it.” That’s Dale Steyn talking about the last ODI he played. “What I do remember is that we won five-nil. And it’s a team game. And that’s all that matters,” he adds. The highlight of the scheduling will be the return of an injuries sidelined Steyn, now 35, ever since South Africa beat Australia five-nil at home in October 2016. Now back to fitness, he returns to a side that’s learnt to live without him. Kagiso Rabada and Lungisani Ngidi – both young, fiery and at the helm of South Africa’s pace regeneration – are the new incumbents. But with the team management looking for the right mix of bowlers before the 2019 World Cup, the competition for spots has sure lit up. Steyn, who was a part of South Africa’s heartbreaking exit from the 2015 World Cup, knows what a title win can do to cricket in the country, and is willing to take a step back if that means a better bowling attack.
South Africa have recalled Dean Elgar, who last played a One-Day International in 2015, as a replacement for Hashim Amla, who is struggling with a finger injury. Faf du Plessis too will not feature in the series having not made significant progress from his shoulder injury and the onus of leading the side will, for now, rest with JP Duminy.
Zimbabwe have received a massive boost ahead of their tours to South Africa and Bangladesh after Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams made themselves available for selection. The trio has been named in the ODI squads for both the tours as well as the Test squad for the two-match series in Bangladesh.
Pakistan, after a forgettable Asia Cup campaign, have dropped Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam from the 17-member squad for a two-match Test series against Australia which begins from October 7 in Dubai. Wahab Riaz, who marks a return to the side, after being excluded for the tour of Ireland and England earlier this year for a questionable work ethic and Mir Hamza have been recalled to the team in which Sarfraz Ahmed retains his captaincy despite pressure from some quarters that he be sacked over his poor showing in the Asia Cup. .
Australia on the other hand have appointed two new vice-captains for the Test side – all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood – after a lengthy selection process, the board announced on Thursday (September 27). Tim Paine’s deputies have been picked following an application process endorsed by the new national coach, Justin Langer. Australia have also named five uncapped players in their 15-member squad for the two-Test series – the team will feature Queensland’s trio of Michael Neser, Brendan Doggett and Marnus Labuschagne, apart from Travis Head and Aaron Finch – all of whom are yet to make their debuts.
Windies’ bid to register their first Test win against India since May 2002 will get underway from October 4th at Rajkot, which has been announced as the venue for the opening Test of the two-match series. BCCI, which announced the full schedule for Windies tour of India on Tuesday (September 4), allocated the second Test to Hyderabad with the match set to be played from October 12. This will be Windies’ first tour to India for a Test series since their visit in November 2013 for two Tests, which was also the retirement series for Sachin Tendulkar. Windies suffered innings losses in both the matches in 2013 while they lost 2-0 to India in the four-match series they hosted in 2016. The last time India failed to win a Test series against Windies at home was in 1994 when the Caribbean side managed a 1-1 draw. The last time Windies won a Test series in India was way back in 1983 when they secured a 3-0 finish in the six-match series.
Windies are also yet to taste success in bilateral ODI series against India since May 2006, when they clinched an ODI series at home by a 4-1 margin. Their previous series success in ODIs in India came in November 2002 when they secured a 4-3 finish, winning the last ODI to clinch the seven-match series.
Angelo Mathews, who was removed as Sri Lanka‘s ODI captain after the national team’s poor show in the Asia Cup, has been dropped from the 15-member squad to take on England in the upcoming five-match ODI series, starting on October 10. Dinesh Chandimal will lead Sri Lanka for both the ODI and Test series. The all-rounder has been left out of the squad despite being in good nick in recent times. The seasoned campaigner has amassed 1597 runs at an average of over 48 since the 2015 World Cup. Mathews, though, has been retained in the 16-man Test squad for the three-match Test series against England, commencing on November 6.
England will travel to Sri Lanka with three debutants and four full spinners split between five individuals. Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Jack Leach make up the full-time options, while Joe Root’s offies and Test squad first-timer Joe Denly’s developed leg spin offer part-time alternatives.
All three newbies in this party of 16 have their own tales of redemption and rediscovery, aside from Rory Burns who has been just straight relentless. After a fifth straight summer of a thousand-plus first class runs, Burns, captain of 2018 County Champions Surrey, looks set to make his Test debut in the first Test at Galle.
In other cricketing news, the inaugural edition of Afghanistan Premier League 2018, a T20 tournament organized by the Afghanistan Cricket Board, has been announced. The APL 2018 envisions to become the top domestic Twenty20 cricket league competition for Afghanistan. The first edition, as announced by the ACB, will be played in the United Arab Emirates beginning 5th October.
The Afghanistan Premier League (APL T20) will feature twenty-three matches to be played between 5th and 23rd October 2018 in Sharjah. There are reports of over forty overseas players joining the league featuring big names around the international T20I circuit. The squads are yet to be announced.
TEAMS FOR AFGHANISTAN PREMIER LEAGUE 2018
Interesting October in store before a harder-hitting November. The heat is on and promises to just get hotter!
Ready For Some Hot October Action Folks?
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