In today’s cricket news, learn more about how the dry SCG field supports Australia picking two spinners for the New Year’s Test for the first time in six years, but Sydney’s produced an intriguing selection problem ahead of the third and final Test against South Africa. Meanwhile, Fox Sports will remain the home of Australian cricket until 2031, per a new arrangement between Cricket Australia and the Foxtel Group. Lastly, The Pakistan Cricket Board responded to former chief Ramiz Raja’s claims against the board and chairman of the management committee.
SCG Pitch Mystery Forces Aussie Third Test Selection
Original Source: SCG pitch mystery leaves Aussies with third Test selection dilemma
For the first time in six years, Australia might pick two spinners for the New Year’s Test, but Sydney’s weather forecast has created an intriguing selection problem ahead of the third and final Test against South Africa.
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Nathan Lyon carefully examined the SCG wicket before training on Monday afternoon.
Players were confused by the “two two-paced” wicket, which resembled the Border-Gavaskar Trophy pitch Australia will play on next month in the subcontinent more than any other Test pitch this summer.
21 of 40 wickets fell to spin in the most recent Sheffield Shield play at the SCG.
Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood, returning from a side strain that sidelined him for three Tests, predicted the SCG surface would turn but warned selectors may wait until the last minute to decide.
“There’s less grass and it’s quite a lot drier, I think footmarks will come in early on in the game,” Hazlewood told reporters on Monday.
“There’s grass, there’s dry…” two-paced.
“I expect it to go up and down. It’s unique, which I like. Leading into India, it’s probably a solid Test.
“I’m not a wicket reader, but sure it maybe lends itself towards it,” he said (two spinners).
Since the 2017 New Year’s Test against Pakistan, Australia hasn’t used two spinners at home.
If selected, Agar may bat at No. 7 in Sydney, giving wicketkeeper Alex Carey four more bowling options.
Adam Lewis, SCG curator, told CODE Sports last week that adding a second spinner would help the hosts.
Lewis suggested using spinners because of the soil’s breakdown.
I think things will turn later in the game, but happily I take care of the pitches and not the team selection.”
Agar’s long-awaited Test return is threatened by Sydney’s troublesome weather, with the Bureau of Meteorology expecting rain for the first four days of the New Year’s game.
Due to mild temperatures, national selectors may play one strike spinner and top-order Matthew Renshaw or Marcus Harris. In such a scenario, uncapped West Australian fast Lance Morris, who replaced Mitchell Starc, is likely to make his Test debut.
Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald said earlier this week, “There’s so many choices depending on the surface, in terms of the balance of the attack.”
“Two spinners, two quicks.”
With Alex Carey at six and five bowlers, we may play a more aggressive team. We could play Australia’s standard structure with three quicks, one spinner, and several part-time spin possibilities. We’re truly there.”
Agar’s left-arm orthodox spin could be dangerous in India next month—O’Keefe famously took a 12-wicket haul in Pune six years ago.
McDonald prioritized defeating South Africa in Sydney, which would secure Australia’s berth in the World Test Championship Final.
McDonald remarked, “You’re still wanting to pick the right team for the appropriate conditions, you don’t want to play in spite of the conditions.”
“We think left-arm orthodox can work in Sydney and the subcontinent.”
Would we have liked more first-class chances for Agar? Yes. However, we believe his skills are ideal for the subcontinent. He’s a mature player now, and we think he could step up if he got that opportunity in India or first here.”
If selectors chose to unleash “The Wild Thing” in Sydney this week, Hazlewood and Scott Boland would battle for the final berth.
Since his Test debut last summer, Boland has taken 28 wickets at 12.21, but Hazlewood insists his 217 Test wickets were enough to maintain the pecking order.
Hazlewood stated, “It’s always wonderful to have pressure and Scotty’s played exceptionally well.”
“With the Ashes coming up, it’s a huge one (tour) that he’s looking at, and he’s a similar bowler to Pat and myself. We could play on a seaming and swinging wicket. It’s good to have options because it keeps you on your toes.”
The day before a Test, Australian captain Pat Cummins announces the starting XI, but selectors may want to evaluate the ground and circumstances.
Wednesday’s first delivery at the SCG begins the third Test between Australia and South Africa.
Fox Sports Signs $1.5b Cricket Rights Deal
Cricket Australia and Foxtel Group reached a historic agreement to keep Australian cricket on Fox Sports until 2031.
All home Tests, one-day internationals, T20Is, Big Bash League, and Women’s Big Bash League events will be broadcast live and ad-free on Fox Cricket, Foxtel, and Kayo Sports for eight years.
Foxtel Group Chief Executive Officer Patrick Delany said, “With the addition of the cricket rights for a further seven years until 2031, the Foxtel Group remains the unquestioned home of Australia’s most popular and premium sports.”
“This renewal is wonderful news for our more than 4.6 million subscribers, who will continue to see Fox Sports’ world-class talent and production teams bring the magic across Foxtel and Kayo Sports.”
“The Foxtel Group is Australia’s cricket home, and we’re proud of our part in supercharging the sport’s rise from grassroots to top levels over more than two decades.
“With 4K on Foxtel and our continuous investment in innovation and multi-sport environment on Kayo Sports, we give a fan experience like no other and support the growth and promotion of cricket in Australia.
“The new arrangement will feature enhancements, including a revised Big Bash League format, a shortened calendar of 43 games, and better alignment with school holidays.
In wonderful news for our fans, Fox Sports will continue to air all Men’s Test matches played in Australia under the new arrangement, and we have secured 10 exclusive Big Bash League events, including a new Super Saturday series, and up to 36 exclusive Women’s Big Bash League matches.
“This renewed collaboration with Cricket Australia complements our existing multi-year agreements with the International Cricket Council, the IPL, and the cricket boards of New Zealand, England, South Africa, and India to show the best of global contests and matches to fans across the country.”
CA’s new $1.512 billion broadcast rights deal with Foxtel and Seven West Media extends its cooperation for seven years.
On Tuesday morning, the BBL’s 61-match schedule was cut to 43.
At a press conference to announce the new rights, Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley justified the reduction.
This included player availability, prime-time broadcasting, and school holidays.
Hockley stated, “We are thrilled to continue our broadcast partnership with the Foxtel Group and Seven under an enhanced arrangement and appreciate them for their continuous support of cricket.”
“The breadth and quality of cricket to be played in Australia over the coming summers is exceptional and we are looking forward to working with our partners to not just televise the games but promote and expand cricket by encouraging more kids to pick up a bat and ball.”
“This is a major business achievement for everyone of Australian Cricket and will guarantee we can continue to deliver our community initiatives, support volunteers, and boost engagement to keep cricket strong.”
Pakistan Cricket Board Addresses Ramiz Raja’s Allegations
The Pakistan Cricket Board called former chief Ramiz Raja’s claims against the board and chairman of the management committee Najam Sethi “disappointing” on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board is disappointed in former Chairman Ramiz Raja’s social media and TV comments towards PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi. “The PCB believes former Chairman Mr Raja’s comments are aimed at tarnishing and damaging the impeccable reputation of present Chairman Mr Sethi, and it reserves its rights to pursue legal proceedings to protect and defend the image and credibility of its Chairman and the institution,” the board stated.
The PCB release stated, “PCB Chief Operating Officer Mr Salman Naseer has already rebutted Mr Raja’s allegations that he was not allowed to collect his belongings by confirming these were picked up personally by him and will be returned to Mr Raja today (Wednesday) as a part of the usual handing and taking over process.” “Mr. Raja was never barred from visiting the Gaddafi Stadium premises and would be welcome to visit any time.”
After the PCB’s 2019 constitution was revoked and a 14-member committee chaired by Sethi was given full executive authority to restore the department structure, which had been eliminated in 2019 after Imran Khan became Pakistan’s prime minister (the PCB’s patron-in-chief), Ramiz Raja and his Board were ousted by the Pakistani government.
England swept the three-match test series this month to whitewash Pakistan for the first time at home. New Zealand is visiting Asia for a two-Test series.
Summary of today’s Cricket/Sports News
Overall, It seems likely that Australia will pick two spinners for the New Year’s Test for the first time in six years due to the dry SCG pitch, but the weather forecast in Sydney presents an intriguing selection problem in advance of the third and final Test against South Africa. Last week, experienced spinner Nathan Lyon was joined by West Australian Ashton Agar, who has only played four Tests, the most recent of which was in 2017.
On the other hand, With the unprecedented new arrangement between Cricket Australia and the Foxtel Group, Fox Sports will continue to be the home of Australian cricket until 2031. Fox Cricket will continue to broadcast all domestic Tests, ODIs, T20Is, Big Bash League, and Women’s Big Bash League games on Foxtel and Kayo Sports commercial-free for the next eight years.
Finally, The Pakistan Cricket Board has issued a statement expressing its displeasure with the words and language used by Mr. Ramiz Raja, previous chairman, against Mr. Najam Sethi, chairman of the PCB Management Committee, on social media and in a TV interview. An official statement from the PCB stated that the board “reserves its rights to pursue legal proceedings to protect and defend the image and credibility of its Chairman and the institution” in response to comments made by previous chairman Mr. Raja.