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In Case You Missed It: India's Australia tour confirmed, the IPL hits home stretch

Our best content of the week

Virat Kohli and Tim Paine exchange team sheets before the coin toss, day one, third Test,  Australia v India, MCG, Melbourne, Australia, December 26, 2018

These two captains will be exchanging Christmas cards again soon  •  Getty Images

International cricket returned to the subcontinent this week for the first time since the pandemic lockdowns began, as Pakistan took Zimbabwe on at home in the first of three ODIs. Meanwhile the Mumbai Indians are a shoo-in for the playoffs as the IPL moves into its last leg, but the other three spots are still being hotly contested, with an eliminated CSK gleefully looking to spoil everyone's party. And with a little more than two weeks between the IPL final and India's now confirmed Australia tour, it's starting to look a lot like Christmas for cricket fans. Here's your catch-up for the week.
KL Rahul, Mohammed Siraj in India Test squad for Australia tour; Rohit Sharma out with injury
India's tour of Australia - three ODIs, three T20Is, four Tests - was officially confirmed last week. KL Rahul and Kuldeep Yadav have made the Test squad along with uncapped debutant Mohammed Siraj, but Rohit Sharma, who sustained a hamstring injury in the IPL, and Ishant Sharma are both missing from the roster. Also missing from the white-ball squad is Rishabh Pant, though mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy earned a surprise call-up for the T20Is on the back of his performances for KKR in the IPL. Rahul has been prolific in the IPL, and is currently the tournament's lead run scorer, but his red-ball selection has been somewhat contentious. Aakash Chopra, though, argues that giving him another chance in Tests is the right decision. And Ian Chappell says the unpredictability around the Australia tour could work to the benefit of India, who thrive on chaos.
Cameron Green earns Australia call-up, Moises Henriques returns after three years
The 21-year-old Green has had a prodigious run in the Sheffield Shield so far, has been included in the 18-man white-ball squad against India, and is in the running for a Test berth. But the selectors are considering resting mainstays David Warner, Steven Smith, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood for the white-ball leg as the quartet were part of the England tour in September and then went straight to the UAE for the IPL.
Andre Russell, Faf du Plessis among five overseas players to pull out of Lanka Premier League
The LPL has suffered another setback as five high-profile overseas players have chosen to withdraw a week after the draft. Three players -David Miller, Dawid Malan and du Plessis - have become unavailable because of the limited-overs series between South Africa and England, set to begin on November 27, while Andre Russell has stood down due to injury.
Life in the bubble is okay for a while, but over time it is an existential threat
Mark Nicholas on why we should take seriously the issue players have raised of the mental toll that living in confinement takes on them.
Sophie Ecclestone: 'I'm really excited to see what the future holds for a women's IPL'
Matt Roller speaks to the England spinner, currently in quarantine for the Women's T20 Challenge, about her No. 1 ranking, the pressure of being an overseas player, and hopes for a women's IPL.
Meet the coaches behind the success of a generation of Bangladesh's best players
Mohammad Isam profiles Mohammad Salahuddin and Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, who are the men the likes of Shakib Al Hasan turn to repeatedly when they need advice.
'It's nice to feel important' - 'Blessed' Chris Morris on bond with RCB, chatting with Dale Steyn, and more
He was one of the IPL's late entrants who walked in and changed the game, and improved RCB's chances of making the playoffs with his death bowling. Morries spoke to Shashank Kishore about the importance of feeling wanted, and getting a chance to pass on knowledge from the likes of Steyn to young bowlers today.
How many IPL teams have won and lost a match by ten wickets in the same season?
And which horse named after a cricketer won a classic race? Ask Steven Lynch and it shall be answered.
The balls of the century, No. 4: Shane Warne to Andrew Strauss
As we inch up to the final few, Rahul Bhattacharya remembers a ball with turn so sharp it could cut through your psyche.