Cricket News Today: India get the better of New Zealand, Graeme Smith opens up on AB de Villiers' return and more - 24th January, 2020

Shashwat Kumar

India clinched the opener at Auckland

Hello and welcome to the daily round-up of all the interesting storylines dominating the world of cricket on the 24th of January, 2020.

On Friday, India began their T20I series against New Zealand in pristine fashion as they trumped the hosts by 6 wickets, although the Men In Blue skipper, Virat Kohli had earlier opined about the packed nature of the international cricketing calendar.

Elsewhere, Sachin Tendulkar talked about the challenges that would await Rohit Sharma in New Zealand whereas Graeme Smith also offered a slight insight into what might be in store for South African cricket, in terms of its captaincy in the ODI format and AB de Villiers' future with the national side.

Here is a look at the aforementioned narratives in more detail.

#1 India clinically hunt down the Kiwis

Kohli's men got off to a winning start

India cruised past New Zealand in the 1st T20I courtesy a string of belligerent innings by their premier batsmen. While KL Rahul and Virat Kohli laid the foundation adeptly, Shreyas Iyer conjured a sumptuous innings towards the later stages to ensure that the Men In Blue enjoyed a winning start to their Kiwi adventure. For his heroics, Shreyas was also awarded the Player of the Match accolade.

Earlier, the likes of Colin Munro, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor had compiled half-centuries to enable the hosts to post a par total of 203 on the board. For the Indians, Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers while Shivam Dube and Yuzvendra Chahal also gave a good account of themselves.

The two teams next lock horns on the 26th of January, when Eden Park hosts the nations again.

Read the full article: Match Report: Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul help India clinch series opener

#2 Graeme Smith opens up on De Villiers and future of South Africa cricket

AB de Villiers could return to South African colours by the end of the year

Over the past few weeks, speculation has been rife about AB de Villiers making a return to international cricket and possibly, making himself available for the T20 World Cup in Australia, later in the year.

On Friday, Cricket South Africa’s Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith opened up on that possibility and stated that it was something they were looking at. Additionally, he also talked about how South Africa could also look at roping in free agents who frequently ply their trade across the planet’s premier T20 leagues.

I think it is great that AB has expressed his desire to be back in the system. Those chats (with De Villiers) aren’t formal, but we are looking at options around the T20 World Cup. We would be stupid not to look at the free agents who play in most T20 around the world.

Furthermore, the former Proteas skipper elaborated on how South Africa were looking to plan for the future in ODI cricket and what made them hand Quinton de Kock the reins ahead of the series against England.

It has been our intention to put a succession plan in place for 2023. We see him playing a role, but from a leadership perspective, we see an opportunity to move forward in the one-day arena. And Faf is honest he won’t be around in 2023. Leadership has been an issue in South African cricket, and we felt we should give Quinnie (Quinton de Kock) an opportunity.

Read the full article: Graeme Smith reveals AB de Villiers' future and South Africa's captaincy plan in ODIs

#3 Virat Kohli takes a dig at packed schedule

Kohli took a dig at the tight schedule

India have played an enormous amount of cricket in 2020, despite the year only being 24 days old. In fact, they flew out of Bengaluru for Auckland merely 24 hours after their series against Australia had culminated. Inevitably, Kohli was asked on his opinion on the schedule and he appeared to take a slight jibe on the eve of the 1st T20I.

Well, it's definitely getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium and playing straight. That's how compressed the game has become but I think this kind of travel and coming to a place, which is seven hours ahead of India time, is always difficult to adjust to immediately.

He also added that that particular aspect was commonplace for international cricket these days and it was something that could be looked at in the future, especially when scheduling tours.

Moreover, he maintained that the quick turnaround would help his team remain in the zone, considering the proximity of the T20 World Cup and that particular aspect certainly came to the fore on Friday as they swatted aside the Black Caps’ challenge. 

Read the full article here: New Zealand vs India 2020: Virat Kohli takes a dig at tight schedule

#4 Sachin Tendulkar identifies potential challenges for Rohit Sharma

Sachin Tendulkar

In 2019, Rohit Sharma was cast as India’s Test opener against Bangladesh and South Africa. The Mumbai Indians skipper rose to the occasion and performed admirably, meaning that he pencilled down his spot in India’s upcoming Test rubber against New Zealand.

Thus, with a seemingly tough series ahead, Sachin Tendulkar opened up on the challenges that Rohit would potentially have to deal with. He quipped,

The challenge would be to go out and open in different conditions. I think Rohit had opened in New Zealand in ODIs and has been there quite a few times, he knows the conditions well. But all depends on surfaces that they provide. If they provide green tops, then it’s a challenge.

Read the full article here: New Zealand vs India 2020: Sachin Tendulkar identifies potential challenges for Rohit Sharma