6 things to look forward to in cricket in 2019
2018 was an incredible year for Test cricket. There were several mouth-watering Test series in 2018- the final match of the Ashes, India’s much-awaited Test series against South Africa, England avenging Australia in the ODIs away and home, Australia’s controversial Test series against South Africa.
In addition, there were other incidents like New Zealand’s remarkable series victory in UAE, Pakistan’s familiar batting collapses, England’s noteworthy series victory in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies cancelling out their losses at their respective home series, Afghanistan and Ireland’s Test debut and Zimbabwe’s rare away Test match victory.
In the limited-overs format, we witnessed several exciting series like the Asia Cup, England five-match tussle with the Kiwis, Nidahas Trophy, ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2018, IPL 2018.
On the controversial side, the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ topped the list. Just like every other year, a bunch of players retired from various forms of cricket in 2018. Among them, AB de Villiers’ shocking International retirement tops the list.
With 2018 now officially over, let us look at six things, which we can look forward to in the world of cricket in 2019.
#6 Return of Steve Smith and David Warner
2017 was a remarkable year for Steve Smith as he led his team to a thumping 4-0 victory against their archrivals England in the 2017-18 Ashes series to reclaim the prestigious ‘Urn.’ Based on his great run of form at the end of 2017, many predicted that 2018 would be the year in which Smith could completely stamp his authority over the other members of the ‘Fab 4'.
On the other hand, David Warner was in sublime form in all the formats. He had scored close to 1000 Test runs in 2017 with four hundreds and four fifties. In ODIs, he had three centuries against his name in 13 innings with the high score of 179. Both Smith and Warner were the pillars of Australian batting lineup in 2017. Hence, a lot more was expected from the duo in 2018.
However, 2018 turned out to be a disastrous year for both the duo and Australian cricket. The infamous ‘Sandpaper Gate’ incident completely changed the entire landscape of Australian cricket. Cricket Australia banned the pair along with Cameron Bancroft for their actions that shattered the reputation of Australian cricket.
With the absence of the duo in the batting lineup, the Australian team predictably struggled against all the opponents in all the formats in all the conditions. Even in the press conference at the end of the third Test against India, Tim Paine, the current Australian skipper openly admitted the fact that the team is eagerly waiting for the duo to join the setup and change the fortunes of Australian cricket.
The duo is expected to join the team for the limited-overs series against Pakistan before the ICC World Cup 2019.