Cricket can be gruelling at times. The schedules, the travel and being on the road constantly can take a toll on a player. There’s a lot of talk about scheduling these days and how matches are panned out in the series and also, in between two series. At times, there are back to back T20 games on successive days.
Fitness plays an important role in this. However, there have been occasions when players have even played two games in less than 24 hours in two different places, for two different teams and two different time zones altogether.
With T20 leagues going on around the world for most part of the world, players have tended to fly down immediately after their international assignments to join the franchise teams.
Hence, here is a look at five such instances where players have played in two different places and for different teams in less than 24 hours: –
1. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga is one of the IPL regulars and is an integral part of the Mumbai Indians (MI) setup. There were multiple constraints with overseas players in the 2019 IPL with the 2019 World Cup starting on the 30th of May. Players kept coming and going but Malinga didn’t waste time.
Despite being allowed to stay and participate in the IPL, the ace Sri Lankan fast bowler took part in the domestic 50-over competition in Sri Lanka. But the way he did that was remarkable. Mumbai Indians played Chennai Super Kings on the 3rd of April in which Malinga took 3/34 from his four overs.
Next morning, he was on a flight to Colombo (from Mumbai) and turned up to play for his domestic side in Kandy. In that game, he took 7/49 to lead his side to a win and record his best ever List ‘A’ figure. Hence, there is barely anyone who has played two different formats in two different countries in less than 12 hours.
2. Umar Akmal
There is an unwanted record that Umar Akmal holds. As we talk about playing two matches in two different time zones and different places in less than 24 hours, Akmal has not only done that but has also been dismissed three times in less than 24 hours. He was in Sharjah one night and Chattogram the next night. Akmal played T20 cricket on back to back days for different teams and in different places.
He was a part of the Pakistan T20I side in the 2015-16 season when they played England. In the third T20I, Akmal was out for just four in Pakistan’s chase of 155. He walked out to bat in the Super Over of that game as well and scored one run off just three balls.
The next day, he was taking part in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). He represented the Chittagong Vikings but couldn’t make a mark in that tournament either. Akmal scored just one off eight deliveries batting at No. 5.
3. Mike Whitney
Mike Whitney made one of the most surprising debuts in international cricket. He made his first-class debut in the 1980-81 season and did decently as he picked up 11 wickets from four games for New South Wales. He flew to England to play County cricket and was a part of the Gloucestershire side.
However, in the middle of Gloucestershire’s game against Hampshire, Whitney got an Australia call-up. He didn’t expect to play but with injuries to Rodney Hogg and Geoff Lawson, Australia didn’t have enough pace bowling resources. Thus, they called up Whitney who took two wickets in each innings on debut.
He went on to play 12 Test matches and 38 ODI games for Australia. Whitney played the next Test as well before he had to wait for another six years to play another game in the longest format.
4. Kieron Pollard, Mohammad Nabi, Evin Lewis
T20 leagues have become a trend now and it’s infectious with quite a few players deciding to feature in largely only T20 leagues around the world. West Indian players are some of the key attraction for these leagues and it was no different in the T10 league either. Mohammad Nabi was also one of the other star attractions.
West Indies travelled to India to face Afghanistan first in November 2019 and played all three formats. The white-ball leg was played first and West Indies won the ODI series 3-0. However, the Afghans came back strongly as they came from 0-1 behind to win the T20I series 2-1. At the same time, the Abu Dhabi T10 league was on and there were a few players participating.
Kieron Pollard, Evin Lewis and Mohammad Nabi flew from Lucknow to Abu Dhabi and featured in a game the very next day. They played a T20I in Lucknow before flying to play T10 cricket. Nabi turned out to play for Delhi Bulls. On the other hand, Lewis played for Karnataka Tuskers while Pollard donned the Deccan Gladiators colour.
5. Surrey Stars
We talk about men’s cricket but when it’s back to back games, it isn’t easy on anyone. Women’s cricket have often faced this problem of playing on consecutive days due to multiple reasons. But they do it time and again and seldom complain. However, a Kia Super League (KSL) team has played two consecutive matches at two venues which are 130 miles apart.
Surrey Stars played two KSL games in as many days but at venues which were way apart from each other. They were in Guildford on the 20th of August as they faced Yorkshire Diamonds while they reached Taunton on the 21st of August to play Western Storm.
Surrey Stars lost both their games but they were exciting and thrilling ones. The Stars lost both the encounters in the final over, once while defending 122 and the other time, chasing 160. But they achieved a unique feat and it may have been the first instance of a women’s team doing it.
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