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Feature

In Case You Missed It: Covid challenges and captaincy changes

The best content from the week gone by

Cummins and goings: Pat Cummins had to hand over captaincy to his deputy, Steve Smith, after just one Test  •  Getty Images

Cummins and goings: Pat Cummins had to hand over captaincy to his deputy, Steve Smith, after just one Test  •  Getty Images

The C-word's shadow lengthened over cricket once again as a rash of suspected and positive cases disrupted games this week. Over in Australia, Pat Cummins has had to sit out his second Test as captain after being deemed a close contact of someone with Covid-19. West Indies' tour of Pakistan had to be cut short after five members of the visiting team tested positive. And in another twist in the India limited-overs captaincy saga, Virat Kohli said there had been little communication from the BCCI about the change in the ODI captaincy. Catch up on all the news and events of the week in our round-up.
Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam lead Pakistan to 3-0 sweep
Yet another clinical display from Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam powered Pakistan to their highest successful chase in T20I cricket as they beat West Indies by seven wickets in the third T20I in Karachi. Earlier, the game was in doubt after five West Indies players returned positive Covid Tests, including Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein and Justin Greaves. The ODI leg of the series is now postponed to June 2022.
Australia romp to nine-wicket win and 1-0 lead
England's decade-long drought down under continued as another calamitous collapse from the visitors handed the hosts a comfortable win in the first Ashes Test. The match was lost in its first half hour, says Andrew Miller, irrespective of "positives" England captain Joe Root says can be gleaned from the wreckage. Jarrod Kimber, though, argues that England are the most innovative team in the world. For Nathan Lyon, it was a match to remember: he picked up his 400th wicket; it's a landmark that took a while to arrive, but when it did, the wickets came in a rush.
Flawed but necessary: SJN hearings reveal no heroes, no villains
The report marking the culmination of South Africa's social justice and nation-building hearings is out, and there isn't anything in it we didn't already know, says Firdose Moonda, but extensive grassroots development and a detailed transformation policy that goes beyond mere numbers are now a must.
Have sweet spots on bats really got bigger?
Batmaking trends have changed greatly in the last two decades, but perhaps not as much as batting trends. Varun Shetty dives deep into the ever-evolving mechanics of batmaking.
How many times have there been four captains in two successive Tests?
And what's the highest score made by an opener in a Test innings in which his partner made a duck? Steven Lynch has all the answers to your stats and trivia questions.
'The more overs Lungi Ngidi bowls, the less niggles he gets'
The South Africa fast bowler is ready for a comeback after yet another spate of injuries. Ngidi, and his bowling coach Charl Langeveldt, look ahead to the home series against India.
Draft picks, retained players and potential XIs: How PSL teams stack up ahead of the seventh edition
The PSL starts on January 27 in Karachi, with all sides picking two supplement players to cover for injuries and Covid-19. Umar Farooq has the cheat sheet.
Do we really need neutral umpires anymore?
Kartikeya Date looks at the DRS numbers over the last three years that show that there is no case for saying that home umpires are biased.
We salute the best and brightest of 2021 with these totally not made-up awards
Alan Gardner and Andrew Fidel Fernando want you to share in the highs and lows, joys and Paine of a year of cricket that kept on giving, in this month's Light Roller.