Cricket is gaining popularity worldwide. But even before the pandemic, test cricket was gaining some prominence behind a concerted push by the ICC to feature more without lapping over the more popular Twenty20 iteration of cricket, a darling of the whole industry of sports betting.
So here are the top cricketing events, either ongoing or scheduled to start.
1. Indian Premier League 2021
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league comprising eight teams based on eight different Indian cities. One of the world’s biggest and most supported sports leagues, the IPL is well into its thirteenth season that tipped off in May.
The defending champions Mumbai Indians took on perennial challengers Royal Challengers Bangalore captained by Virat Kohli. With the new season ongoing, this is the outlook for each of the eight sides going into the season.
a) Chennai Super Kings
Led by one of the best white-ball skippers, MS Dhoni, CSK is never out of the running. Nonetheless, something unique would be required to bag their fourth title at the end of the season. New signings Cheteshwar Pujara, Moeen Ali, and Robin Uthappa are expected to bring depth to a side brimming with experience.
Youngsters such as Curran and Gaikwad will need to put up big performances to aid their quest for glory. CSK is off to an impressive start, winning 7 out of 9 and riding high.
b) Delhi Capitals
The Capitals took a significant hit with skipper Shreyas Iyer out for the season with a shoulder injury and star man Axar Patel down with covid for the first couple of games in the season. Regardless, that didn’t take much wind out of their sails.
With the addition of leading batsman Steve Smith to compliment fast bowling and power hitting, Delhi has an excellent start to the season, winning 7 on their first nine games.
c) Kolkata Knight Riders
Head coach Brendon McCullum has had the opportunity to settle into his job. Morgan is entrenched firmly as a skipper. The KKR also has a solid roster: they have good options in pace as well as spinning.
KKR aims to find a working roaster balance of overseas stars to mount a title challenge with new additions. So far, they have an average campaign, dropping five of their first nine games, well under five hundred. Can they recover in time to make a consolidated push toward the end?
d) Mumbai Indians
Mahela Jayawardene’s side keeps the group to beat. They have been dubbed the best T20 side of all time. Indeed, they have a loaded roster with stars at all positions; their balance is supreme. They are looking at a three-peat, but they have inexplicably come stumbling out of the gate by dropping five of their first eight and a substantial points differential off the top.
Not quite the chasm to bridge, but the Indians will have to dig deep and go on a run to reclaim their crown for a third straight year.
e) Punjab Kings
Perennial doormats Punjab enter the season, hoping their name change can prove advantageous in delivering a winning season. They sign top-ranked batsman Dawid Malan alongside prospects Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson for depth. So far, they look primed to roost in their usual station, amassing only 6 points from their first 9 matches.
f) Rajasthan Royals
The Royals maintain a strong stable of talent, led by the English contingent of Butler, Archer, and Stokes. So far this season, they are middle of the pack with 8 points in 9 contests. Can they put a sequence of results together when Archer comes back from injury to make a run? We’ll have to see.
g) Royal Challengers Bangalore
Led by one of the best to ever do it in Virat Kohli, the Challengers are expected to fight for the title. Coming off a fourth-place finish last season, RCB will have to make waves early. Their side still lacks balance, depending too much on their batting stable. This term, they are up there with 10 points from 9 matches so far.
h) Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers are a consistently competitive side. They’ve finished top four since clinching the title in 2016. Therefore, it is pretty surprising that they have stumbled mightily out of the traps, dead last with a measly 2 points from their first 8 games.
2. 2021 County Championship
Coming out of the covid-19 hiatus in May, the County Championship made a hearty return this past April after the pandemic-induced lockdowns put off the campaign. With shutdowns easing in England and Wales, fans can indeed anticipate an entire campaign of homegrown domestic cricket.
However, it will be a bit unique to what in particular we’ve been familiarized with. The 18 top counties will be parted into three groups with six teams each, a departure from the division 1 and division 2 sides that played eight and ten teams respectively before the pandemic in 2019.
Every region will then, at that point, play 10 four-day games throughout the group stage – five home and five away – with the last round in mid-July.
3. ICC World Test Championship 2021-23
The ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 was the debut competition of the World Test Championship scheduled by ICC nearly 10 years prior in 2010. Tests’ top nine positioned sides will play an association stage over two years to fit the bill for the Final in June 2021.
The competition has been set up to guarantee that all the Test series between nations acquire greater significance. New Zealand won the Inaugural ICC Test Championship by overcoming India at Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton.
The five-match Pataudi Trophy among England and India beginning 4 August 2021 started the second period of the World Test Championship. An aggregate of 27 series will be contested across the globe to choose the best two sides in the World Test Championship standings.
If teams are tied on points, the sides with more series wins will be considered for capability. The first title teams are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, and New Zealand. Test series played amongst these teams will constitute the 27 series run to the final on June ’23.
The world is slowly coming back to a semblance of normality, especially with vaccination rates growing. Cricket action is back and, in some cases, already ongoing. These events are going to take the flag of cricket and fly it into this new decade.