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Keegan Petersen, Beuran Hendricks out from SA squad for not entering bio-bubble

In the ongoing saga of South African cricket team's struggles with COVID-19 infections, the latest episode involves Beuran Hendricks and Keegan Petersen being withdrawn from the Proteas squad for the Test series against Sri Lanka as the two men failed to enter the bio-bubble created for the players ahead of the first match. 

The squad, which initially consisted of 19 players has now been reduced to 17. The remaining players have gone through three stages of testing and have all been found negative for the dreaded infection. This means the bio-bubble is secure. To keep it that way, no further additions will be made to the group. 

This exclusion is a big blow for Hendricks. A talented left-arm seamer who has been on the fringes of the national side for years, he finally made his Test debut during the last home season for his team, against England a Johannesburg, and managed to grab a five-for in the second innings. 

With Kagiso Rabada missing in action due to an injury, his place in the team was almost certain. Having squandered this opportunity, he now will yield his place to someone among a list of new names - Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, or Migael Pretorius. This would be a big blow for him. 

Petersen would be even more dejected by his failure to get into the bubble in time. South Africa have a vacancy in their middle order and he could have easily filled it. He too would make way for a new name, if South Africa go for a seven-men batting line-up. Otherwise, with Quinton de Kock batting at no. 6, the Proteas may be happy to play with a five-man bowling attack. 

The first Test of the two-match series begins on Boxing Day at Centurion. The secon Test would be played at Johannesburg, begining on January 3. 

Cricket South Africa have already suffered due to lax COVID protocols. The tour of England to South Africa had to be cut-short and the ODI series fully postponed due to players in the home team testing positive. The administrators wouldn't like any further cancellations this season. 

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David Warner won't play in Boxing Day Test against India

Despite all the hope and hype to the contrary, Australia's ace opening batsman David Warner won't be able to play in the upcoming Boxing Day Test match against India as he hasn't fully recovered from the groin injury he suffered during an ODI against India last month. The state of Warner's injury may have been a redundant issue anyway as the protocols in place for preventing the spread of COVID would have prevented the left-handed batsman from joining the Aussie squad in the bio-bubble anyway. In Warner's absence, Australia have declared an unchanged squad for the second Test and the team management and selectors have been rid, for the time being, the trouble of having to pick who will be the unlucky player to miss out from the playing XI after their comprehensive win over India in the first Test at Adelaide. In the absence of Warner, the Australians opted for the opening pair of Joe Burns and Matthew Wade. While both the batsmen failed in the first innings, they were able to put up a very impressive 70-run partnership in the second innings which smoothed the path for the team's victory in the match. Burns, who brought up his fifty by hook shot for six, off the last ball of the match, was certain to open. That left a difficult choice for the home team. In order to accomodate Warner, they would have had to drop either Wade or Cameron Green. Both would have been considered unfortunate if the axe fell of them. Along with Warner, seamer Sean Abbott has also not been cleared to join his team in the bio-bubble. His absence though, would not be felt since Australia's first-choice and very successful bowling attack is in top form and does not need any tinkering.


BBL 10: Debutant Davies shines in Thunder's mauling of Scorchers

The Sydney Thunder continued their winning momentum by defeating Perth Scorchers by a big margin of 7 wickets at the Manuka Oval on Tuesday 22 December. After a comprehensive bowling performance in the first innings, Thunder followed it up by a gritty batting performance to chase down 153 runs despite being under the cosh by the Scorchers bowlers. They completed the chase three balls and seven wickets to spare, with captain Callum Ferguson top-scoring with his knock of 61 runs in 53 balls. A complete bowling performance from Thunder Debuting for the Thunder, Adam Milne put in a performance to remember bowling great lengths at quick pace. His yorkers and surprise short deliveries put batsmen in trouble and his strict lines kept the batsmen in check. This meant that Scorchers were able to put away just 9 boundaries and 4 sixes in the entire innings and that turned out to be one of the major contributing factors in their loss. Milne was ably assisted by the likes of Nathan McAndrew, Daniel Sams, Ben Cutting and Tanveer Sangha who picked one wicket each. Barring the discipline, Milne entertained the crowd with a James Anderson-esque action. In the wrong side of Lady Luck Perth Scorchers came into defend with at least 15-20 runs short of the par score. Apart from the odd climbing up sharply, the deck looked pretty good to bat on. Scorchers’ needed quick wickets if they wanted to get any grip on the match, and they picked up their the most pleasing of manners. Coming from over the wicket, a left handed Jason Behrendorff went through Alex Hales’ gates and uprooted the stumps in the final ball of the first over. But since that wicket, nothing went there way. Dropped chances and a horrible decision by the on-field umpire meant that Scorchers were denied crucial wickets at important stages of the game and once the batsmen dug their feet in, it was just a matter of time before they win it. While dropping catches is a part and parcel of the game, the on-field call truly exemplified what the game was all about. Bowling over the wicket, Andrew Tye’s length ball kissed Usman Khawaja’s bat and went straight to the keeper. The edge was heard clear over the Television, but the umpire for some very odd reason, decided to reject the appeal. Once the decision was made and Tye went back to his bowling marker he asked the umpire for a rationale, to which the umpire shockingly replied that the bat had touched the ground. An agitated Tye looked at him in bewilderment and his bafflement was confirmed by the replays that reaffirmed that the bat was miles above the ground. This of course sparks the debate if the Decision Review System should be accepted by big tournaments as a standard measure because the whole idea of the review system is to eliminate errors that end up costing teams in crucial encounters. What a debut for young Oliver Davies A catch in the outfield and a blistering innings of 36 off 22 balls on a day where batsmen with international pedigree struggled to hit the balls, 20-year-old Oliver Davies had a debut to remember. Davies took on all Scorchers’ bowlers and dispatched them all over the park. He barely looked uncomfortable and at the fag end of his stay he toyed with the likes of T20 specialist Fawad Ahmed, reading and hitting them at will. He came into the crease at 34-2 with both openers back into the dugout and captain Callum Ferguson finding it hard to get bat on ball. His single handed hook against Behrendorff in the 11th over was the shot of the day that changed the entire momentum of the game and put Thunder in great position. At the end, he got out trying to step down against Fawad Ahmed and completely missing the flight of the ball, but there would not be many regrets considering he had done his job by then. In conclusion, Thunder would once again be happy with their performance and the fact that they once again did not falter despite losing early wickets. In the last game man of the match, Daniel Sams had said that Thunder as a unit pride themselves for not getting nervous and a great innings by their debutant only restores that faith. With games coming thick and fast, Thunder will go up against the Melbourne Renegades in a Boxing Day encounter, and Perth will look to manage their batting frailties as best as they can in their next game against Adelaide Strikers on 28 December.


A complete guide to Ultimate Kricket Challenge

It would be a totally new concept for the cricket lovers when some of the top current cricketers and format cricketers fight it out in a brand new gladiatorial cricket series termed the ‘Ultimate Kricket Challenge”. Six players including Yuvraj Singh, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Chris Gayle, Rashid Khan and Kevin Pietersen will fight it out against each other in a totally unique format of the game. Other than these 6 global superstars we will also see some surprise appearances from other star cricketers. Rules and format A unique format which should definitely keep the cricket lovers intrigued gets underway on 24th December. The game will be shortened to 4 innings of 15 balls each where each UKC Gladiator contender will go head to head against each other. The 16 match tournament will witness the introduction of some totally new cricket rules in a new one on one format. 2 points will be awarded to the UKC contender who wins a match in the league stage The contender with more runs at the end of each match will be declared the winner The top 4 UKC contenders will make it to the semi-final and the winners the semi-final will contest in the final. An innings for each UKC contender will comprise of 15 deliveries. Per UKC contender has to bowl minimum 8 deliveries per innings and while a substitute player, also called the ‘Ace’ can bowl a maximum of 7 deliveries per innings Each UKC contender who will be bowling will be assisted by a solitary wicket-keeper and a fielder who will be inside the UKC Dome. A bouncer will be called a no-ball and the next delivery will be a free hit One run penalty will be awarded to the batter in case of a no-ball and a wide A UKC contender has to complete a run physically in order to keep their scoreboard ticking The scoring procedures will be divided in 6 different zones Zone A-1 run Zone B- 1 run Zone C- 2 runs Zone D- 3 runs Zone E- 4 runs on the bounce Zone E- 6 runs for a direct shot However, if a batsman hits a Bullseye which is behind the bowler he will directly get 12 runs and will also get an opportunity to play an extra ball. If they hit the bullseye on the square of the wickets, they will be awarded 4 runs. 5 runs penalty every time a batsmen gets out Complete Fixtures December 24- Eoin Morgan vs Kevin Pietersen December 25- Rashid Khan vs Kevin Pietersen December 25- Yuvraj Singh vs Eoin Morgan December 26- Andre Russell vs Rashid Khan December 26- Chris Gayle vs Andre Russell December 27- Kevin Pietersen vs Yuvraj Singh December 27- Chris Gayle vs Kevin Pietersen December 28- Eoin Morgan vs Rashid Khan December 28- Chris Gayle vs Eoin Morgan December 29- Eoin Morgan vs Andre Russell December 29- Chris Gayle vs Rashid Khan December 30- Andre Russell vs Kevin Pietersen December 30- Chris Gayle vs Yuvraj Singh December 31- Semi-final 1 December 31- Semi-final 2 January 1- Final Where to Watch: The matches will be telecasted in Star Sports Network in India.