Dan Christian tells Prime Minister Scott Morrison to follow Cricket Australia’s lead on Australia Day


Indigenous cricketer Dan Christian has told Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “read the room” following his criticism of Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to drop “Australia Day” from its Big Bash League promotions.

Mr Morrison on Thursday questioned CA’s move to drop the term as part of its effort to normalise conversations over the date’s history.

He described CA’s decision as “pretty ordinary”.

CA also announced this week three BBL clubs would wear Indigenous-inspired uniforms in matches on January 23, 25 and 26.

Christian, a Wiradjuri man who is one of five Indigenous cricketers playing in the BBL, took aim at Mr Morrison on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

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The Sydney Sixers all-rounder said Mr Morrison should support CA’s initiative.

“Read the room Mr Prime Minister,” Christian tweeted.

“@CricketAus are leading the way because your government won’t.

“There’ll be millions of kids watching our @BBL games on the 26th January, and they’ll see us taking a knee against racism, and promoting inclusion for all. Take note.”

Fellow Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja applauded Christian for raising his concern with Mr Morrison’s comments.

“I think for ScoMo (Scott Morrison) to say to CA ‘a bit more focus on cricket and a little less focus on politics’ is pretty petty,” Khawaja tweeted.

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The Prime Minister says Australia Day marks “how far we’ve come” as a country and is important.

Mr Morrison said he believed it was important Australia Day was recognised on January 26.

“When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, all those years ago, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either,” he said on Thursday.

“What that day, to this, demonstrates is how far we’ve come as a country and I think that’s why it’s important to mark it in that way.”

Co-chair of CA’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cricket Advisory Committee, Mel Jones, said she supported the decision not to make reference to “Australia Day”.

“It’s recognition that it’s a really hurtful day for many,” Ms Jones said on Thursday.

“We’ve got five Indigenous players playing those games and a lot of Indigenous fans that come to the cricket, we just want to make this space as safe and inclusive as possible.”

Perth Scorchers BBL players celebrate a wicket against Sydney Thunder in Perth.
Cricket Australia will not refer to “Australia Day” in BBL promotions this month.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Ms Jones, a retired Australian women’s Test and ODI player, said CA would be prepared to discuss its decision with Mr Morrison.

“Cricket Australia is very comfortable with where it’s at,” she said.

“It’s come from a cricket decision space, [we’re] more than happy to have a conversation with the Prime Minister, more just so he can see where we’re coming from.”

Although CA has recommended BBL clubs not use “Australia Day”, the two Melbourne franchises, the Stars and the Renegades, have said they would continue to use the term.

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1500 short balls a day primed Shubman Gill


Shubman Gill wowed fans with his backfoot game during India’s tour of Australia and the opener’s father says he honed those skills by facing 1500 short balls per day in practice, often using just a cricket stump as a bat.

The 21-year-old made his Test debut in the second match in Melbourne, smashed his maiden half-century in Sydney and produced an elegant fourth-innings knock of 91 in Brisbane where India completed a remarkable 2-1 series victory.

“Since he was nine, I made him play 1500 short balls every day,” Gill’s father Lakhwinder Singh told the Times of India newspaper.

To make it difficult for the youngster, Singh would often bounce the ball off a charpoy, a traditional woven bed.

“The ball tends to travel faster after skidding off the charpoy,” Singh said.

“Besides that, he practised with a single stump as his bat. That helped Shubman in finding the middle of the bat more often than not.”

Gill’s family moved some 300km from a village in Punjab to Mohali, a Test venue in the northern Indian state, in search of better training facilities.

Singh also made his son practise on coir or canvas matting wickets to prepare him better for short-pitched deliveries.

“The extra bounce that matting provides forces you to get in … the correct position,” Singh said.

“Batsmen who have played on matting pitches develop the ability to play on the backfoot, which is so essential for any higher level of cricket.”

The Punjab player’s rise has resolved India’s opening issues after Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal struggled in Australia.

Gill’s opening partnership with Rohit Sharma will next be tested in the four-Test home series against England beginning on February 5.

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Cricket Australia firm on Jan 26 stance




Cricket Australia will stand firm on the decision to drop the term “Australia Day”, adamant they must embrace hard conversations despite criticism from Scott Morrison.

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Looking back at the era of Smith, Warner, Lanning and Perry, and who’s next for Australian cricket


The Test series loss by the Australian men’s cricket team to India will trigger a period of reflection, as players, fans and selectors wonder what’s next.

The loss comes about 10 years after Australia’s four most senior players made their debuts: Tim Paine (2010), Steve Smith (2010), Nathan Lyon (2011) and David Warner (2011).

It’s been a rollercoaster decade: highs like holding onto the Ashes in 2019 after the cheating incident, but also multiple home series defeats against both India and South Africa.

Despite the failure to dismiss India at the Gabba, Australia’s bowling attack is its most fierce since the attack led by Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath at the turn of the century.

Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon are in elite company with at least 200 Test wickets each, and spearhead Pat Cummins with 164 is not far behind.

Queensland spinner Mitch Swepson took 10 wickets against NSW in November.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

If the form of Starc and Lyon continues to tail off, there are others ready to step up.

James Pattinson heads a backup band supported by players like Jhye Richardson, Sean Abbott and Chris Tremain.

Fears spin has become an area of weakness have been allayed somewhat this year by leg-spinner Mitch Swepson’s 23 wickets in the Sheffield Shield season so far. 

A run-scoring duopoly

Steve Smith and David Warner have defined the past decade of Australian men’s Test cricket … for good and bad.

Smith was recognised as the ICC’s Test player of the decade last year. He is on track to match some of the game’s great scoring records if his form holds up, while Warner is not far behind.

David Warner and Steve Smith
David Warner and Steve Smith in South Africa in 2018 during the tour they cheated.(Reuters: Rogan Ward)

Even comparing their records with the 100 all-time accumulators of Test runs, they both impress.

But the gap between them and their current team-mates is jarring.

Since the debuts of Smith in 2010, dozens of batters have been tried and discarded.

Of those that made it to at least 20 innings, some, like Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh, have been unlucky given their replacements have struggled even more than them.

Of the current crop, only Marnus Labuschagne appears to be on a similar trajectory to Smith and Warner.

Following defeat against India, selectors will go back over recent first-class performances. Will Pucovski and Cameron Green have already been elevated, but others like Ben McDermott are knocking on the door.

Australia is scheduled to host the Ashes in November.

Lanning climbs the ladder

The Australian women’s cricket team capped off a successful decade with their Twenty20 World Cup win in March, days before the coronavirus lockdown.

It was their fifth T20 title from six attempts since 2010.

After failing to make the final in the 2017 ODI World Cup, they will be looking to capitalise on the talents of the current generation to make amends in 2022 in New Zealand — six current players are among the top 100 run scorers of all time.

Two cricketers hug as they celebrate a T20 international victory.
Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry will be looking to crown a dominant era at the 2022 World Cup.(Reuters: Peter Cziborra)

Lanning is on the path to become the greatest ever if she can replicate the run scoring of her first decade in ODIs.

Ellyse Perry was recently named ICC’s women’s cricketer of the decade, despite enduring a tough year.

Her status as an all-time great is secured, but the team’s bowling attack has strength in depth.

Both Megan Shutt and Jess Jonassen debuted in 2012 and now have more than 200 ODI wickets between them.

The team plays Twenty20 and ODIs in New Zealand in March and April. The ODI World Cup is scheduled for the same time in 2022.

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Ashes Cricket Odds and Betting Preview – Australia vs England 2021


Despite being unable to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy yesterday, Australia has opened $1.25 favourites at TAB to retain the Ashes next summer.

Australia reclaimed the Ashes in the 2017/2018 home series when they defeated England four-nil in five Tests with the lone draw occurring at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten 244 in the first innings.

In the 2019 Ashes, Australia retained the urn as the five-Test series finished two-all after England – unable to regain the Ashes after the Fourth Test – won the Fifth Test at The Oval by 135 runs.

England are $4 at TAB to regain the Ashes as they aim to win their first series in Australia since 2010/2011, which was the first time since the summer of 1986/1987 that England won a series on Australian soil.

In fact, England has failed to win a Test in Australia in 10 attempts since thrashing the hosts by an innings and 83 runs in the 2011 New Year’s Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Australia are $1.45 to win next summer’s Ashes series outright with a drawn series at $7.50.

TAB ODDS

2021/2022 Ashes

Series Result

$1.45     Australia

$7.50     Drawn Series

$4           England

Regain/Retain

$1.25     Australia retain the Ashes

$4           England regain the Ashes



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Australia cricket 2021 vs India: Shane Warne, Tim Paine, David Warner, who is under pressure?, Test team, bowling attack


Shane Warne warns there will be a “huge fallout” from Australia’s series defeat to India, hinting that there will be a serious selection headache coming.

India’s list of unavailable stars seemed to just grow as the series went on, starting out with Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami before adding another nine names during the process.

It meant that all expectations and subsequent pressure was on Justin Langer’s men and they failed to deliver, with questions asked of both Australia’s bowling attack and batting order.

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India celebrate the impossible!

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Shane Warne commentary on T Natarajan no-balls, strange anomaly, cricket news


Shane Warne has added a strange moment to an already dramatic first session of play on day four of the fourth Test with his focus on an Indian bowler’s freak anomaly in his debut match.

The Aussie legend openly discussed Indian debutant Thangarasu Natarajan’s bizarre habit of regularly producing no-balls off the first delivery of his overs.

The 29-year-old had six no-balls in the first innings and another one on day four — with five of them coming from the first ball of his overs.

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Warne highlighted the “big no balls” Natarajan had bowled after also bringing up the subject on day three.

“Just something interesting that’s caught my eye when Natarajan was bowling, he’s bowled seven no-balls in this match and they’ve all been big ones,” Warne told Fox Cricket.

“And five of them have been off the first ball — and they’re miles over. I found that very odd. We’ve all bowled no-balls, but five of them off the first ball of an over, it’s just interesting.”

Natarajan went for 13 runs in hist first over and was immediately taken out of the attack.

He has been only a net bowler for the majority of the series and commentators online claimed his no-ball spree was likely to be the result of his lack of match practice — or teammates marking the top of his run-up incorrectly.

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Cricket world stunned by Washington Sundar no look six, video, MS Dhoni, Andre Fletcher BBL, reaction


There’s the helicopter, the switch hit, ramp and the scoop — T20 cricket has helped cricketers around the world hit in a 360 degree arc.

But when the argument between cricket traditionalists turns to how the batsmen have all the advantages, the latest trend could have an air of disrespect about it.

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Meet the no-look six — the hottest new shot taking the cricket world by storm.

And Indian debutant Washington Sundar has pulled it out in the deciding Test match in Brisbane.

With India 7/309 and Sundar on 54, he faced up to 100 Test and 397-wicket veteran Nathan Lyon — and spanked him out of the park.

Coming around the wicket to Sundar, he picked it up and dispatched it over the mid-wicket fence for a crushing six.

With only bowlers to come after Shardul Thakur had just departed for 67, what did Sundar have to lose?

In the Fox Sports commentators were stunned by the blow.

“That’s the no look slog sweep,” Isa Guha exclaimed.

“A bit of the Spiceman you think?” Adam Gilchrist added.

“Look at where his head is,” Guha said as they all laughed.

“An amazing stroke, he stayed in the stroke, he didn’t raise up, he kept his head down and even after the point of contact, he decided to keep looking down,” Gilchrist added.

Fans were blown away by the audacious shot.

Sundar took the game right to the Aussies as he got India within 33 runs, giving Australia plenty to think about as the side needs a win to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while India need a draw to retain it.

While while the shot appears to be something new, he may have seen the stroke on the BBL with Melbourne Stars’ West Indian batsman Andre Fletcher the chief proponent of the skill.

He made a name for himself when he arrived in Australia — despite some struggles with the bat — when he thumped the ball into the stands with the nonchalance expected of West Indian stars.

But he’d made this an art.

While Shreyas Iyer pulled one off in the T20 International series against Australia — a 111m monster — the move might actually date back to former Indian superstar MS Dhoni in an ODI against New Zealand in 2009.

Dhoni spanked the ball down the ground and held his gaze at the pitch for a good few seconds before checking out his handiwork.

Typical of MS Dhoni to be behind a brand new shot.

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Australia v India shows importance of cricket to trade relations


Even the Mumbai police commissioner, Shri Param Bir Singh, chimed in, with a Tweet saying: “Colour Of The Jersey – The Only Colour That Should Matter On Field.”

It’s not the first time a Sydney Test has raised hackles on the subcontinent – the India-Australia match in January 2008 was overshadowed by the so called “Monkeygate” episode and triggered a flurry of negative headlines.

Police remove six men from the SCG after more allegations of abuse were levelled by the tourists.Credit:Getty

Indian commentators and fans claimed spinner Harbhajan Singh was unfairly sanctioned after Australian players alleged he called all-rounder Andrew Symonds a monkey. The Indian star claimed he was falsely accused and had instead used the Hindi slur “teri maa ki.” A three-match ban originally handed to Harbhajan by officials was eventually downgraded but, in India, his treatment was widely interpreted as discriminatory.

Aggressive behaviour by Australian players during the match stoked further uproar. Cricket columnist the late Peter Roebuck labelled it the “ugliest performance put up by an Australian side” for decades and called for the captain Ricky Ponting to be fired.

I watched the reaction to the 2008 Sydney Test from the Indian capital, Delhi, where I was working as the South Asia correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The intensity of the public response was striking.

Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh at the SCG in 2008.

Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh at the SCG in 2008.Credit:AP

A few days after the Test I accepted an invitation to discuss the fallout from the match on a national television show called Face the Nation. The debate started at fever pitch – one participant said the events at the SCG had “become a national issue and a matter of honour” and the program’s host, high-profile broadcaster Rajdeep Sardesai, declared ties between India and Australia were under threat. Eventually Sardesai crossed to me saying: “As an Aussie in Delhi you must not be feeling too popular, Matt.”

Effigies of Australian players and match officials had been burnt across the country during the previous few days, so I chose my words carefully.

Two years later, a spate of violent attacks on Indian students in Australia again sparked accusations of racism and strained relations between the two nations. Inevitably, cricket became embroiled in that dispute when the Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist party with a reputation for street violence, “banned” Australian cricketers from playing Indian Premier League cricket matches in Mumbai in retaliation for student attacks.

Despite the often heated rhetoric in the Indian media, political and strategic ties between Australia and India have strengthened steadily during the past two decades. The Indian diaspora in Australia has grown rapidly in that period, adding new depth to the relationship.

Indian tourists at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney in 2019.

Indian tourists at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney in 2019.Credit:Steven Siewert

But it would be naive and complacent to think controversies like those during the Sydney Test matches of 2008 and 2021 have no consequences. Recent tensions between Australia and its biggest trading partner, China, underscore the need to nurture alternative export markets. India, Asia’s third biggest economy, presents huge opportunities.

Indian historian Ramachandra Guha describes the interest in cricket across the subcontinent as “one of the world’s great popular passions”. That widespread affection for the game makes Australia’s role in international cricket an asset as we forge deeper economic ties with India.

Nations across the world are clamouring for attention in India because of the vast scale and future promise of its fast-growing market. Cricket ensures Australia gets plenty of publicity on the subcontinent and is better known in India than many other countries.

But at the same time, Australian cricketers and the crowds that watch international matches have a disproportionate influence on the way our nation is perceived on the subcontinent. The eleven players that take the field for Australia’s men’s and women’s cricket teams are a window on our nation for millions of Indians. Whether we like it or not, their behaviour – and the actions of spectators – helps to shape impressions about Australia. And that has ramifications way beyond the stadium.

India, for instance, is an important market for our international education sector, a major employer in Australia and our biggest services export. But the widely publicised racist taunts at the SCG could easily discourage Indian families from sending a student to university here.

The political and economic relationship with India is already crucial to Australia and will become even more important over time. But that relationship can do without cricket fans targeting Indian stars with taunts. It can also do without boorish behaviour by Australian cricketers.

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Day two, results, score, Joe Root, Mickey Arthur, cricket news 2021


Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur was spotted fuming after a DRS call in the first Test against England, but his reaction has confused the cricket world.

On day two in Galle, England captain Joe Root attempted a reverse sweep off Sri Lankan spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, which spooned up and was caught at short leg.

The hosts appealed to no avail, before captain Dinesh Chandimal called for the DRS.

However, replays clearly showed Root had bottom edged the ball into the turf, and the on-field decision was not overturned.

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But Arthur was seemingly not impressed with the outcome, throwing his arms in the air in an animated dummy spit.

The 52-year-old was also seen talking with match officials moments after the ordeal.

“My goodness, he’s lost it,” Roshan Abeysinghe said in commentary.

“I’m not sure why Micky Arthur is upset,” former England cricket Owais Shah responded. “It was pretty clear.”

Arthur coached the Australian national team between 2011 and 2013 before he was replaced by Darren Lehmann ahead of the 2013 Ashes series in England.

Root said he wants England to be “ruthless” after his unbeaten 168 took the team’s lead to 185 over Sri Lanka on a rain-hit second day.

England were 320 for four when rain halted play in Galle. Root and Dan Lawrence, who scored 73 on his Test debut, built a 173-run partnership after the tourists resumed the day on 127/2.

Root hit his 18th Test ton and kept up the pressure on the home bowlers despite losing overnight partner Jonny Bairstow for 47 early in the day.

“I think the things could happen very quickly as the game moves forward, generally does here,” Root told reporters. “It is really important that we make the most of this first innings lead that we have got now.

“We will be really ruthless. I have spoken about this ahead of the series and make it count and put them under pressure. That way try and bat just once.”

It was Root’s highest Test score in more than a year after going through 2020 without a century and said he felt “good” to make it count.

“Generally when I get a hundred I make it really count,” Root said.

“I have got a good record past 100. Tomorrow I will try to make another really big one and drive the game forward from there.

“I felt I really got in a good mindset throughout this game so far. Will try and take that forward into the rest of this winter tour and beyond.”

England will tour India for a full series including four Tests after the two matches in Sri Lanka as part of a hectic cricket calendar in 2021.

– with AFP

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