Australia will have their minds fixed firmly on the T20 World Cup when it comes to the decisions made in their series against India, so says Aaron Finch, who will go "back to basics" with the bat.

Finch's team will look to defend their world title on home soil in October and November, though their immediate focus is on a three-match T20I series with India.

The series starts in Mohali on Tuesday, with India aiming to snap a three-match home losing streak in the format to Australia.

Finch, meanwhile, comes into the series on the back of playing his 146th and final ODI for Australia, with the 35-year-old having confirmed his retirement from the 50-over game ahead of his side's final match against New Zealand earlier this month.

Since the beginning of 2018, no player has top scored for Australia in men's T20Is more often than Finch who has led the team's scoresheet on 13 occasions during this span. However, he has struggled for form in ODIs, only getting into double figures once from his last eight matches.

Finch has been better in T20Is, averaging 27.4 in his nine matches in 2022, though the last of those came in June.

 

Asked in a press conference if he would be changing his approach at the crease, Finch said: "I'll be looking to be more aggressive and take a few more risks upfront, but obviously balance that out with the normal process.

"You just have to go in really clear minded. I think the difference between T20s and ODIs is you're expected but you’re also prepared to take a decent amount of risk earlier in your innings.

"It's about being clear minded, working with what I know has worked well in the past and going back to basics in that regard of anything technical or set-up related."

Finch will not have a full-strength team to call on against India, with Mitchell Marsh, David Warner and Marcus Stoinis all left out, while Mitchell Starc is struggling with a minor injury.

As such, Finch is open to experimenting ahead of the tournament, with Steve Smith to bat at three and Tim David set for a debut.

"Every decision that we make has one eye towards the World Cup... so I think we'll be mindful of not being too narrow-minded," Finch said.

"Everything we're doing in the T20 space ties back into the World Cup and for us it's about making sure once we get there, we'll have plenty of different combinations for teams we want to play, because the last thing you want to do is have an injury derail your whole campaign because you're pigeon-holed into playing one style of cricket or one structure of team.

"There'll be a little bit of mixing and matching but with one eye towards the World Cup to make sure we're still as rounded as we can be as a squad."

Hazlewood to lead in-form Australia attack

With Starc injured, the onus will be on Josh Hazlewood to deliver for the tourists with the ball. The seamer has 46 wickets in T20Is, and if he gets four in Tuesday's game (his 31st T20I) to reach the 50 mark, will become the fourth fastest player to reach the milestone for Australia.

Australia's seam bowlers have registered a bowling strike rate of 15 in T20Is in 2022, the best such rate among all full-member sides.

 

Rahul, Kumar eyeing landmarks

KL Rahul was the subject of Rohit Sharma's press conference on Sunday, with the India captain insisting the opener would keep his place at the top of the order, though acknowledging Virat Kohli is an option for the role.

Rahul, who struck 62 against Afghanistan earlier this month, has defended his position, too, saying: "I am just working towards how I can better myself as an opening batter, and see how I can have the most impact for my team whenever I go out to play in the middle."

The 30-year-old is just 37 runs away from reaching 2,000 in T20Is, with only Rohit and Kohli having previously hit the milestone for India. Meanwhile, team-mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar (84) needs two more wickets to become the outright fifth-highest wicket-taker among seam bowlers in T20Is.

Rohit Sharma has confirmed KL Rahul is the first-choice opener for India ahead of the T20 World Cup, though former captain Virat Kohli is an option.

India face Australia, who host the upcoming World Cup as reigning champions, in a three-match T20I series starting on Tuesday.

With Rohit rested for India's final Asia Cup match, Kohli filled in at the top of the order and plundered an unbeaten 122 from 61 balls to help seal an emphatic 101-run win over Afghanistan.

Kohli's knock is the highest score by an Indian player in men's T20Is, overtaking Rohit's 118 against Sri Lanka in December 2017, while it also ended his 1,020-day wait for an international century.

Ahead of the first match in Mohali, Rohit told a press conference: "It's always nice to have options available to you. It is very important when you go in a tournament like a World Cup.

"You want the flexibility. We only talk about it, but this is actually what it means. You want your players to be in their best shape, batting in any position and so on.

"For us, when we try and do something new, it doesn't mean that is permanent. We understand the quality of all the players and what they bring to us. We do understand that, but it is an option for us. 

"We will keep that in mind that since we haven't taken a third opener, [Kohli] can obviously open. He opens for his franchise and has done really well. We saw that in the last match, and we are quite happy with what we saw. I don't think we will experiment for that position a lot."

Rahul struck 62 in India's win over Afghanistan, though he has not scored a century in the shortest format since 2018.

However, he remains Rohit's first pick.

"KL Rahul will play the World Cup, and open," Rohit affirmed. "His performances for India tend to go unnoticed. He is a very important player for India. If you look at his record over the last two, three years, it is very good.

"I don't think it is right to not consider one performance because someone else has performed. There is no confusion. We are very clear about what KL brings to us.

"He is a very, very important and quality player and a match-winner as well. His presence at the top is very, very crucial for us."

Alex Hales feared he would never play for England again with his international exile set to end during the T20I series opener with Pakistan.

The explosive batsman has been named in the squad for next month's World Cup in Australia, having last played for England in a T20I fixture against West Indies in March 2019.

Hales was dropped from that year's World Cup-winning squad after testing positive for recreational drugs prior to the tournament, while then white-ball captain Eoin Morgan cited a "complete breakdown in trust" for his continued exile since.

However, the 33-year-old was recalled after an injury to Jonny Bairstow, and could open on Tuesday when England play the first of their seven-matches series in Pakistan.

"[Being left out of the 2019 World Cup squad] was extremely painful," he admitted. "It's your worst nightmare: to be involved in a World Cup squad, missing out on the eve of it.

"It was brilliant to see the team lifting it, but at the same time, it eats at you inside that you should have been part of it, and you weren't.

"I guess that drives you on, to improve as a person and a cricketer and get that spot back that you feel you deserve.

"I did think that the chance would not come again, for sure. At times, I felt like I wouldn't get this chance again.

"I felt like I'd been playing the best cricket of my career over those three years as well, so to get this chance again at this time is something I'm really proud of and something I'm really looking forward to. I feel like I can help push this team forward."

He continued: "I think I have changed. I've definitely matured. I'm comfortably into my 30s now and turning into a veteran. I feel as though I've grown as a person. Where I am at the moment – on and off the field – is probably the best of my career so far.

"I'm treating this as a blank canvas and only looking to the future now. I'm really looking forward to the next two weeks in Pakistan and what the World Cup can bring."

A fine batting effort from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and crucial contributions with bat and ball from Wanindu Hasaranga saw Sri Lanka win the Asia Cup as they beat Pakistan by 23 runs in Sunday's final in Dubai.

Sri Lanka had beaten Pakistan by five wickets in the Super Four on Friday to top the table, but nerves might have been jangling after Pakistan won the toss ahead of the title decider.

Prior to this meeting between two first-time 20-over finalists, 17 of the previous 20 T20I winners in Dubai had been the sides batting second.

And things did not start well for Sri Lanka either, with Kusal Mendis out to his first ball in one of five wickets inside nine overs.

However, after Dhananjaya de Silva had set the table with 28 from 21 balls, Rajapaksa led the recovery with the bat as he hit 71 from 45.

Hasaranga also ably supported with 36 from 21 as Sri Lanka posted a target of 171 that would prove beyond Pakistan.

Sri Lanka's start with the ball was similarly sloppy, with Dilshan Madushanka conceding nine runs before he had bowled a legal ball, but Pramod Madushan turned the tide by taking the wickets of Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman from consecutive balls.

Pakistan, having scored just 37 runs in the powerplay, improved courtesy of a partnership of 71 between Mohammad Rizwan (55) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32) before Madushan (4-34) struck again.

Then it was Hasaranga's turn in a dominant 17th over that had three wickets – including Rizwan's – to set up a straightforward finish that saw Pakistan all out for 147.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Virat Kohli impressed on either side of the ball as India ended their poor Asia Cup campaign with a resounding 101-run win over Afghanistan on Thursday.

India's thrilling six-wicket loss to Sri Lanka on Tuesday left their Super Four qualification hopes in ruins, but they took out any frustrations on their hapless opponents to end a dire title defence on a positive note in Dubai.

Skipper KL Rahul (62) and the outstanding Kohli, who required just 61 balls to bring up his mammoth haul of 122, led India to a scintillating start after they were put in to bat.

Afghanistan claimed the wickets of Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav (six) in quick succession in the 12th over, but were unable to build on those dismissals as India raced to a strong target of 212.

But Afghanistan's struggles with the ball were nothing compared to what was to follow with the bat; Kumar removed opening duo Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz for ducks within the first over, and added three more wickets before the end of the sixth.

Deepak Hooda, Arshdeep Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin then got in on the act with a wicket apiece as Afghanistan were limited to just 111 runs at the end of a chastening outing.

Kohli scales new heights

Kohli's unbeaten 122 is the highest score managed by an Indian player in men's T20 internationals, overtaking Rohit Sharma's 118 against Sri Lanka in December 2017.

While Kohli will be disappointed with India's failure to reach the Asia Cup final, he will no doubt be relieved at ending a long wait for a 71st century in international cricket; he last did so 1,020 days ago, against Bangladesh in November 2019.

Kumar on fire as Afghanistan collapse

India had a star at either end of the crease on Thursday, with Kumar bringing up a remarkable five-wicket haul to continue his excellent form.

Kumar has now taken 31 wickets in T20Is in 2022, surpassing India's previous record across a calendar year (Jasprit Bumrah's 28 in 2016).

Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim has announced his Twenty20 International retirement.

The 35-year-old has called time on his T20I career in order to "focus on Test and ODI formats of the game".

An Asia Cup defeat to Sri Lanka on Thursday will be Mushfiqur's 102nd and final appearance for his country in the shortest format.

He tweeted on Sunday: "Today, I am announcing my retirement from T20 Internationals.

"I will proudly continue to represent Bangladesh in Test and ODI formats. I am hopeful that I can bring success for our nation in these two formats. I will continue to take part in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and other franchise tournaments."

Mushfiqur's decision comes just over a month before the T20 World Cup gets under way in Australia.

He scored 1,500 T20I runs at an average of 19.48, taking 42 catches and finishing with 30 stumpings after making his debut back in November 2006.

Chris Woakes and Mark Wood have been passed fit to make England's squad for the T20 World Cup, which includes Test captain Ben Stokes.

Woakes had previously been a doubt for the October-November tournament due to knee surgery, while Wood required an operation on his elbow.

But both men have made Jos Buttler's 15-man group for the World Cup and the prior three-match tour of Australia.

Woakes and Wood were also included in a larger travelling party for the September tour of Pakistan, which was also confirmed on Friday.

Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone, who have respective finger and ankle injuries, will skip that series as they have been granted more time to recuperate, but both are still on course to feature at the World Cup.

Stokes – still engaged in a Test series against South Africa – also will not face Pakistan but will make the World Cup, returning to Twenty20 International cricket for the first time since March 2021.

Since then, Stokes has taken a break from cricket to look after his mental health, returned as Test skipper and retired from ODIs to help manage his workload.

The plan was always for Stokes to still feature at this year's T20 World Cup, and he is indeed involved.

Limited-overs captain Buttler is another whose fitness will be assessed carefully, however, with a calf problem meaning Moeen Ali will deputise as skipper for the start of the Pakistan series.

The squad for that tour includes five new faces in Jordan Cox, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Olly Stone and Luke Wood.

England squad for T20 World Cup and Australia series:

Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Harry Brook (Yorkshire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Chris Jordan (Surrey), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Reece Topley (Surrey), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

Travelling reserves:

Liam Dawson (Hampshire), Richard Gleeson (Lancashire), Tymal Mills (Sussex).

England squad for Pakistan series:

Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Harry Brook (Yorkshire), Jordan Cox (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), Richard Gleeson (Lancashire), Tom Helm (Middlesex), Will Jacks (Surrey), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Reece Topley (Surrey), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Luke Wood (Lancashire), Mark Wood (Durham).

Ravi Shastri expects Virat Kohli to have a "much calmer mind" when he returns at the Asia Cup and backed the former India captain to silence his critics.

Kohli has been given a break after failing to end his run drought on the tour of England last month, only managing a top score of 20 from six innings.

The ex-skipper has not made an international hundred since he reached three figures in a Test against Bangladesh in November 2019.

Kohli was recalled for the Asia Cup and is set to be back at the crease in a clash with fierce rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

Former India captain Shastri thinks the 33-year-old batter can reap the rewards of taking some time off.

Shastri said: "It is not rocket science. Mental fatigue can creep into the best in the world. This down time was not just needed for his body but to reflect.

"He will come back with a much calmer mind. He gets 50 in the first game, mouths will be shut. Public memory is very short and works both ways.

"There is no cricketer fitter than him. People keep saying one innings can make a difference, but with a player like Kohli it makes a massive difference.

"His hunger and passion remains undiminished. He would have learnt from this phase, let me tell you that."

India head coach Rahul Dravid was unable to fly out to Dubai with the squad on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus.

Rahul Dravid was unable to fly to Dubai with the India squad on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus.

Head coach Dravid has mild symptoms and is being supervised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) medical team.

The legendary former India batter will be able to join up with the team once he has tested negative.

India face fierce rivals Pakistan in their first match of the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

They will also take on a qualifier in Group A in a tournament that will be played with a Twenty20 format.

VVS Laxman stepped in to take over as head coach for the ODI series whitewash of Zimbabwe as Dravid was given a rest.

Mohammad Hasnain has replaced the injured Shaheen Shah Afridi in Pakistan's squad for the Asia Cup.

Afridi was ruled out after sustaining a knee ligament injury during the first Test against Sri Lanka last month.

The left-arm paceman's absence has presented Hasnain with an opportunity to join up with the squad for a tournament that starts in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

Hasnain has been playing for the Oval Invincibles in The Hundred, but will cut short that spell to report for international duty.

The 22-year-old quick has feature in 18 Twenty20 Internationals, taking 17 wickets at an average of 30.70.

Pakistan face fierce rivals India in their first Asia Cup match in Dubai on Sunday.

England will begin their first red-ball tour of Pakistan since 2005 on December 1 in Rawalpindi, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed.

Earlier this month, it was announced that England would travel to Pakistan for the first time in 17 years for a seven-match T20 series in September, and the dates have now been confirmed for the Test team's visit three months later.

Security concerns have prevented England from touring Pakistan since 2005, when Michael Vaughan's Ashes-winning side succumbed to a 3-2 series defeat.

But Brendon McCullum's red-ball side will now face Pakistan in a three-match series before the end of the year, travelling to Multan and Karachi after playing their first ever Test match in Rawalpindi.

The contests will follow on from a camp in Abu Dhabi, which will begin on November 18 and will take in a three-day warm-up match against the Lions at the Zayed Cricket Complex.

Clare Connor, the ECB's interim chief executive officer, said: "The return of our men's Test team to Pakistan for the first time since 2005 will be an historic occasion. 

"The opportunity to play Test cricket in front of passionate cricket-lovers in Pakistan after such a long time is something to be cherished. 

"We have been working closely with the PCB over recent months and I am grateful to them for everything they have done, and continue to do, to make our Test and T20 tours a mouth-watering prospect for all involved."

The PCB's director of international cricket Zakir Kahn added: "We are pleased that the Pakistan and England Test rivalry, which has historically produced close and tight matches, will return to our backyards in December. 

"Both the sides have evolved since they last played in Pakistan in 2005 and have recently been playing entertaining and exciting cricket. 

"I remain confident this series will live up to the expectations of the global cricket fans who want to watch and enjoy competitive and thrilling matches."

Before England can switch their focus to the trip to Pakistan, they must find a way to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their ongoing three-match series against South Africa, having been thrashed within three days at Lord's last week. 

Sanju Samson powered India to victory in the second ODI against Zimbabwe to seal an eighth consecutive series win in the one-sided rivalry between the teams.

The wicketkeeper-batsman followed up three catches by clattering four sixes in an unbeaten 43 as India won by five wickets at Harare Sports Club.

After bowling out Zimbabwe for 161 in 38.1 overs, India made largely light work of the run chase, and Samson's final maximum carried them across the line in style.

India's 167-5 came from just 25.4 overs, and although this was not as crushing a win as the 10-wicket trouncing meted out on Thursday, the result was never in real doubt.

It means India have now won 14 consecutive men's ODIs against Zimbabwe, extending their longest winning streak in the format against any team.

They have also prolonged their 100 per cent ODI series winning record against Zimbabwe, the only ICC full-member team against whom India have been so dominant.

Sean Williams made 42 and Ryan Burl added an unbeaten 39 for Zimbabwe, but the home team had seven batters dismissed for single-figure scores. Shardul Thakur took 3-38 with the ball for India, while Kuldeep Yadav, in his 100th international match, added 1-49.

In reply, Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill both scored 33 for India, and Deepak Hooda added 25, sharing in a stand of 56 for the fifth wicket with Samson after the tourists began to wobble.

Samson made sure by lofting Innocent Kaia over the ropes, with the series concluding at the same ground on Monday.

There will be an increase in the number of men's international cricket for the 12 full ICC members in the next Future Tours Program (FTP) cycle.

Australia and India will play two five-match series in the 2023-2027 FTP cycle, with the last time they have contested that many matches in a series being back in 1992.

There will be 777 internationals during the next cycle - 173 Tests, 281 ODIs and 323 T20Is - compared to 694 in the current one.

England, Australia and India will play the greatest number of Tests, featuring in 22, 21 and 20 respectively.

The next cycle will include five major ICC events, starting with the Cricket World Cup in India next year.

ICC general manager of cricket Wasim Khan said: "I'd like to thank our members for the effort that has gone into creating this FTP for the next four years.

"We are incredibly lucky to have three vibrant formats of the game, with an outstanding programme of ICC global events and strong bilateral and domestic cricket and this FTP is designed to allow all cricket to flourish."

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are back in the India squad for the Asia Cup, but Jasprit Bumrah misses out due to injury.

Kohli, who has been so short of runs, has not played since the tour of England last month as he was given a rest.

The former captain will return in the Asia Cup, which will be staged from August 27 to September 11 in the United Arab Emirates with a Twenty20 format rather than the ODI for the 15th edition of the tournament.

Rahul has been sidelined by injuries and COVID-19, but will be vice-captain for the four-team competition. 

Paceman Bumrah will play no part after reportedly suffering a back injury, while Harshal Patel unavailable due to a rib injury.

Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar will be on standby.

India face fierce rivals Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A, with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Group B.

India squad for the Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan.

 

 

Ravi Bishnoi claimed career-best Twenty20 International figures as India thrashed West Indies by 88 runs in Fort Lauderhill to win the series 4-1.

Shreyas Iyer top scored with 64 off 40 balls and Deepak Hooda made 38 as India posted 188-7 in the final match of the series in Florida on Sunday, 

The Windies were skittled out for 100 in reply, with all 10 wickets falling to spinners for the first time in a T20I.

Bishnoi took 4-16, while Axar Patel (3-15) and Kuldeep Yadav (3-12) also capitalised on West Indies' batting frailties as Shimron Hetmyer (56) scored over half of their runs.

India were not fazed by losing Ishan Kishan early on, Iyer and Hooda putting on 76 for the second wicket to put them on course to an imposing total.

Iyer finally fell to Jason Holder after Hayden Walsh saw the back of Hooda, but captain Hardik Pandya made a brisk 28 before he was run out by Odean Smith.

Smith (3-33) claimed his third scalp by sending Axar (9) packing in the final over, but the Windies were soon in big trouble in the run chase.

Axar bowled Holder for a duck with the third ball of the innings before getting Shamarh Brooks (13) stumped and the tweaker also cleaned up Devon Thomas (10) in the fifth over.

Kuldeep stepped up to remove West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran, reducing the Windies to 50-4, before Bishnoi trapped Rovman Powell (9) and Keemo Paul (0) lbw with successive balls.

Hetmyer was running out of partners as the procession of wickets continued, with the left-hander falling to Bishnoi, who then finished off the job by getting Obed McCoy caught in the deep.

India put Windies in a spin

Bishnoi was outstanding as the Windies failed a trial by spin, with Axar and Kuldeep also tormenting Pooran's side.

The excellent Bishnoi took four wickets for the first time in the shortest format at international level, ending the series on a high note.

Iyer shows his class

With such competition for places in a T20 World Cup year, Iyer gave another exhibition of his class.

He struck two sixes and another eight boundaries, setting India on their way to a total that was far too many for the Windies.

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