Debuts can go horribly wrong and for Australian Jack Wildermuth, it just went worse in his Pakistan Super League debut for Quetta Gladiators. Bowling in the 19th over of the game, he was smoked all over the park by Danish Aziz, conceding 33 runs in one over, the most for any bowler in PSL’s history. The previous record was held by another Aussie Dan Christain while bowling for Lahore Qalandars.
The Brisbane Heat player was asked to bowl the over as the original bowler, Naseem Shah pulled out before starting the overdue to cramps. Aziz, who had just arrived at the crease, barely playing five balls in his innings till then, got a four on the first ball through a Chinese cut.
Post that though, all hell broke loose as he smashed one six in the leg side with sheer wrist power, then went on to hit one over long-off after shimmying down the crease. On the fourth ball, he was offered a full ball in the slot and he maximised it to hit a six over the bowler’s head. Frustrated, Wildermuth tried a slower one, but to no reprieve, as it was a no-ball for height and was hit over square for the fourth six of the over by Aziz.
The last two balls were anti comatic in the manner that only four runs came from them after such belligerent hitting in the overs prior to them. Aziz had scored 45 off just 12 balls and was heading to what could have been the fastest PSL fifty, but was bowled by a Khurram Manzoor delivery on the fourth ball of the 20th over. The 53 runs conceded by Wildermuth was also the joint-most runs conceded by a bowler in a three-over spell in PSL. He equalled his compatriot from Quetta, Zahid Mahmood's record.
It was Aziz’s innings that put the Karachi Kings in a favourable position in a do or die match. The Kings set up a target of 177 for the Gladiators.
England have named a 16-member squad for the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka scheduled to start on June 29. Test skipper Joe Root, who was rested for the last series against India has made a comeback in the squad. Batsman Sam Billings, who injured his shoulder and was ruled out of the series against India has also made a comeback while the Curran brothers (Sam and Tom) have retained their place in the ODI squad as well. The ODI squad against Sri Lanka will also see the return of David Willey for England in the ODI side for the first time in two years. Jofra Archer who underwent an elbow surgery was not named in the squad while Ben Stokes, who has recovered from a fractured arm also missed out of a place. In the bowling department, Mark Wood will spearhead the pace department in the company of Chris Woakes and Tom Curran while Sam Curran will fill Ben Stokes’ shoes as an all-rounder. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have been retained as spinners in the squad to face Sri Lanka. Jonny Bairstow who faced an injury scare in the Vitality Blast has retained his place and will open the batting alongside Jason Roy while the skipper Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler will form the bulk of the middle order.
England star all-rounder Ben Stokes is all set to return to the cricketing action in a game for Durham against the Birmingham Bears in the ongoing edition of the Vitality Blast T20 tournament. Stokes was ruled out of the action in the early part of the Indian Premier League when he broke his hand while attempting to catch a ball fielding at long-on playing for the Rajasthan Royals. He was ruled out of the remainder of the IPL and England coach Chris Silverwood had last month said that Stokes’ return will begin with the Vitality Blast tournament. Meanwhile, Nottingham Outlaws all-rounder Samit Patel has registered his name in the record books of T20 cricket. He has become the first English cricketer to claim 200 wickets in T20 and 5000 runs in the format. He already had more than 5,000 runs in his career and took two wickets in the last game to go past the 250-wicket mark. He reached the dual landmarks in the last game against Derbyshire where he put on an all-round performance to win his side an important game. He first scored a sublime half century with the bat to help Notts post a good total on the board and picked up two wickets with the ball to help them defend the score.
Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur has said that the contract dispute wasn’t an issue ahead of their tour to England. The dispute could have come as a threat to the side’s tour. We have not mentioned it at all. It has not been on the radar. Since we have been here, it has just been cricket, cricket, cricket," he said. The coach further added that the players are “mature enough” to not get distracted from this. "Everybody has been mature enough to put it on the back-burner and realise why we're here so it has not been a distraction. It has not been an issue as far as I know,” he added. The Sri Lankan team was slated to play warm-up matches against Kent and Sussex but the fixtures were cancelled citing safety concerns due to Covid-19. The T20I series between England and Sri Lanka will commence on June 23 in Cardiff. The sides will lock horns in a three-match T20I series and as many ODIs. The touring team had intra-squad matches ahead of the T20I series. “This is a massive challenge for our young team but a wonderful opportunity and I just want to see us progressing,” Arthur said. "To see the players going head-to-head yesterday and competing for positions has certainly heightened the challenge,” he added.
Indian team playing the final of the World Test Championship wore black armbands to express sorrow and pay tributes to former Indian athlete Milkha Singh, after his demise. Singh, who was fondly remembered as ‘flying Sikh’ succumbed to Covid-19 complications in Chandigarh earlier last night. Wishes and tributes outpoured for Milkha Singh and cricketers across the country flocked to Twitter to celebrate the outstanding legacy of Milkha Singh.