Hello and welcome to the daily round-up of all the major stories happening in the cricketing world today.
First up is Sachin Tendulkar leading a star-studded Road Safety World Series 2020 side, followed by Steve Waugh speaking highly of Virat Kohli over D/N Tests. Sourav Ganguly affirmed that India will play more of D/N Tests in the future while Faf du Plessis relinquished his captaincy from ODIs and Tests. And lastly, New Zealand announced a 13-man Test squad to face India.
Here is a look at those stories in detail.
#1 Indian legends announce star-studded squad
The Sachin Tendulkar-led Indian Legends in the Road Safety world series - a five-nation tournament for spreading a message for road safety - announced a 12-man squad featuring India's 2011 World Cup heroes Yuvraj Singh, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, and Virender Sehwag.
Apart from the India Legends, West Indies Legends, South Africa Legends, Sri Lanka Legends, and Australia Legends are the remaining teams taking part in this mega event.
All matches are scheduled to be played in Mumbai and Pune, with the tournament starting from 7th March.
Also see – Indian Premier League 2020 schedule
Complete 12-man squad
Sachin Tendulkar (C), Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Sanjay Bangar, Munaf Patel, Mohammad Kaif, Pragyan Ojha, Sairaj Bahutule, Sameer Dighe (WK).
#2 Waugh lauds Kohli for taking on D/N Test challenge
After playing their first pink-ball Test against Bangladesh last year, India were challenged by their Aussie counterparts to bring the D/N encounter to Australia next year. While Kohli expressed his readiness to play with the pink-ball, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly recently gave the official go-ahead to the proposal.
Waugh sounded excited about a potential blockbuster series featuring the top two sides in the world.
"Australia will be the favourite I think. We know the pitch"
well and the day-night Test is going to be something relatively new for India. I like the way Virat Kohli is taking that challenge. If you want to be the best side in the world, you have to win away from home as much as possible."
"You can’t take away from India winning last time but Australia did not have the best batsmen. Marnus Labuschagne has come out of nowhere, the bowling looks much settled now. India do not have weaknesses too, so it’s potentially to be a great series."
#3 Ganguly affirms India will be playing D/N Tests regularly
Former India skipper and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed more Day-Night Tests for India in the future, affirming that India will play more of pink-ball Tests, making it a regular feature in their FTP.
Ganguly revealed that India will also be playing one day-night Test against England at home next February after playing a day-night Test in Australia.
"A formal announcement will come soon but we have decided to play a day-night Test in Australia. We will also play one against England at home next February. Day-night Tests will be a regular feature from now on."
"It will have to be seen if the team will be comfortable playing the opening Test of the series or is willing to break the rhythm in the middle of the series."
#4 Faf du Plessis steps down as SA captain
After stepping down from the ODI captaincy earlier, South Africa's Faf du Plessis relinquished the Test as well as T20I captaincy earlier today with immediate effect.
After losing the home Test series against England 1-3 along-with the T20I series 1-2, Du Plessis faced enormous pressure to keep his captaincy. Quinton de Kock, the new ODI captain, is almost certain to takeover in the rest of the formats as well.
CSA took to social media to make the announcement -
“Faf du Plessis has announced that he is stepping down from his role as captain of the Proteas’ Test and T20 teams effective immediately.
“The 35-year-old has cited a need to take a step back from captaincy in order to help facilitate the emergence of the next generation of leaders within the team under the new stewardship of Quinton de Kock.”
The 35-year-old has cited a need to take a step back from captaincy in order to help facilitate the emergence of the next generation of leaders within the team under the new stewardship of Quinton de Kock. pic.twitter.com/SXpQSAEGRO— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 17, 2020
“South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership, new faces, new challenges and new strategies. I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team." Du Plessis pic.twitter.com/UAZd6OqLmn— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 17, 2020
“When I took over the leadership, I did so with the commitment to lead, perform & most importantly, to serve. As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players, I feel it will be in the best interests of SA cricket to relinquish the captaincy,” Faf du Plessis told CSA."
“I have strived to lead the team with dignity and authenticity during exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I have given my everything during my tenure."
#5 Kiwis announce 13-man squad for Test series
New Zealand announced a 13-man Test squad to face India in a two-match Test series beginning February 21 in Wellington. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult will make his long-awaited comeback from injury after missing the entire ODI and T20I. The Kiwis made a phenomenal comeback, winning the ODI series 3-0 after getting whitewashed 5-0 in the T20I series before.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel is also set to make a comeback into the Test side, having played his last Test way back in August 2019 against Sri Lanka. Pacer Kyle Jamieson, who made his debut ODI series against India, also earned a Test call-up.
Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling