2020 was a different year for the cricket fans and the cricketers. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill. The cricket universe had to stay without any live action for months. Even when cricket resumed, it happened behind closed doors. Australia and New Zealand have allowed live audience now.
However, many other cricketing nations have hosted matches with zero crowd. The BCCI had to shift IPL 2020 to the United Arab Emirates. Also, India did not play a single home Test match in 2020. The cricket teams will put 2020 behind and look forward to 2021 now. There are some high-profile events scheduled for the New Year.
The fans will witness an eight-team IPL before two new teams join in 2022. India will host the ICC T20 World Cup, while the Asian teams will clash in Asia Cup. The inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final will also happen at Lord’s.
So, here’s a look at the top 10 international cricket teams and what could be their New Year Resolutions in 2021:
Sri Lanka – Build consistency
The Sri Lankan cricket team has registered victories over England, South Africa, Pakistan, and New Zealand in recent times. However, they have not played with consistency in all formats. Speaking of their performance in 2020, the Sri Lankan team suffered an innings loss in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.
Before that, Zimbabwe almost defeated them in a Test match at home. It is pertinent to note that Sri Lanka had beaten Zimbabwe by ten wickets prior to the Test where they gave the islanders a scare. In T20Is, Sri Lanka failed to register a single victory last year despite playing the matches in the sub-continent.
They played only one ODI series and whitewashed West Indies 3-0 in that series. Hence, Sri Lanka did manage some wins but they simultaneously had off-days where they looked a totally different team. Dimuth Karunaratne’s men will look forward to playing with some consistency in 2021.
Pakistan – Avoid controversies and win overseas
The Pakistan cricket team has impressed the fans with their performances at home. After the COVID-19 break, they invited Zimbabwe for a home series and defeated them in ODIs as well as T20Is. However, Pakistan has not had the best record in overseas conditions. They have come very close only to lose by a small margin.
In the recently-concluded Test match against New Zealand, Pakistan fought back and almost drew the game. With only 28 balls remaining on the final day, Pakistan lost their last wicket, handing New Zealand a 101-run victory. Even in T20I series, they lost the first two T20Is but came back strongly to win the third T20I.
Pakistan toured England after the COVID-19 break and almost beat them in the first Test. Unfortunately, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes denied them a win. Thus, they will be keen to improve their overseas record. Also, Pakistan was involved in some big controversies like the COVID cases in New Zealand and Mohammad Amir‘s retirement. So, to stay away from unnecessary controversies will be the resolution of Pakistan.
Australia – Win the ICC T20 World Cup
Cricket Australia secured the hosting rights for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, they could not conduct the competition. ICC then delayed the event to 2022, extending Australia’s wait for hosting their first ever T20 World Cup Down Under.
India will play host to the T20 World Cup in 2021. The Australian team has some fantastic T20 players like Aaron Finch, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, and Pat Cummins in the mix. These players have enough experience of playing in the Indian conditions.
Thus, Australia will aim to win the only ICC white-ball trophy that has stayed away from them for years now. Australia has never won the T20 World Cup. In the previous edition, they crashed out of the Group Stage after losing to India in a close encounter at Mohali.
New Zealand – Win their first major ICC Trophy
The New Zealand cricket team came very close to the number one position on the ICC Test Rankings in 2020. A win against Pakistan in the New Year’s Test will help them reach to the top. However, the Blackcaps will aim to move to top of the ICC World Test Championship standings.
They are at the third position right now. Along with India, Australia, and England, New Zealand is in the race for a spot in the ICC World Test Championship summit clash. Hence, Kane Williamson‘s men will try their level best to qualify for the final and then end their ICC trophy drought.
After losing in the semi-finals of the previous T20 World Cup, the Kiwis will look forward to improving their record in the knockout stage of the competition. New Zealand’s players know the Indian conditions well. Thus, they will start as one of the favourites to win the ICC T20 World Cup in 2021.
South Africa – Continue their good form at home
Surprisingly, the South African cricket team, which has dominated its rivals at home, lost Test series to Sri Lanka and England recently at home. However, they ended 2020 on a grand note. Playing under Quinton de Kock‘s captaincy, the Proteas beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 45 runs.
South Africa will host the Indian cricket team in 2021. They should target to continue in the same vein at home. Even in the T20I series, the Proteas got whitewashed at the hands of England at home. The rainbow nation will try to get back to form in the game’s shortest format and perform well at the World Cup.
Notably, South Africa had defeated Australia 3-0 in a 3-match ODI series at home. A similar performance in ODIs could help them finish higher on the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League standings. Thus, continuing their good form should be the New Year’s resolution for the South African side.
England – Win ODI series in India
England ended their 50-over Cricket World Cup drought with a championship triumph at home in 2019. They played three ODI series and could win only one. It is pertinent to note that even that series victory came against Ireland, where the minnows beat them by seven wickets in the third ODI.
The English team will begin 2021 with tours of Sri Lanka and India. While they will play only Test matches in Sri Lanka, the Indian cricket team will host them for a full-fledged tour in Pune, Ahmedabad, and Chennai. Eoin Morgan‘s men will try to perform well in this series because the 2023 World Cup will happen in India.
They will be the defending champions in that global event. Also, another point that fans should note is that England has not won an ODI series in India since 1984/85. It will be intriguing to see if the English cricket team could begin 2021 with their first ODI series win on Indian soil in over 35 years.
Bangladesh – Win their first Asia Cup
The Bangladesh made history by winning the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2020. The senior team should draw inspiration from the juniors’ performance and end their trophy drought at the senior level. While Bangladesh still need to work on their skills before winning an ICC tournament, they can win the Asia Cup.
Bangladesh has regularly defeated Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and other Asian countries. However, the Indian cricket team has been the most challenging opponent for Bangladesh. In the 2018 Asia Cup, Bangladesh qualified for the final and had an intense match with India. But they could not win the title.
Even in 2012, when Bangladesh knocked India out of the tournament, they lost to Pakistan in a closely contested match. In 2016, Bangladesh lost to India at home. Thus, the Bangla Tigers will try to break their three-match losing streak in Asia Cup finals and win their first Asia Cup trophy in 2021.
Afghanistan – Direct qualification for ICC World Cup 2023
Many fans would know that the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League got underway in 2020. The Indian cricket team has already secured its place in the global event. However, the other teams will have to perform consistently in the 50-over format to ensure they gain a direct entry in the competition.
Teams like England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa might not find it too difficult to qualify. However, for the remaining spots of direct qualification, there will be a close battle between West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. Even Zimbabwe and Ireland have an outside chance.
Afghanistan cricket team has won its first Test match. After a forgettable performance at the 2019 World Cup, the Afghans should aim to secure a direct qualification and then perform well in Indian conditions. 2021 will be a challenging year for Afghanistan because they will also play a Test against Australia next year.
West Indies – Improve overseas record
Along with Pakistan, another former World Cup-winning team that will take the resolution to improve their record in foreign conditions is the West Indies cricket team. The Men in Maroon are the only ones to lift the ICC T20 World Cup trophy twice. However, recently New Zealand blanked them in a T20I series at home.
The West Indies cricket team has some of the best T20 players in the world. They even perform well in the home conditions. But when it comes to playing overseas and even the countries where their players regularly play T20 cricket, West Indies fall short.
Their record in Tests has been even more dismal. Barring the win against England in the first Test after COVID-19 break, there were no top-quality performances from the Caribbean side. Thus, taking their win percentage higher in matches outside home will be the priority of the West Indies team.
India – Win Test series in England, South Africa
The Indian cricket team will visit England and South Africa for a Test series in 2021. The English team has always dominated India at home in Tests. Even though India has done well against England in the United Kingdom playing in the other two formats, the same cannot be said of Test cricket.
A series win in England is something that would establish Virat Kohli and co. as world beaters. They have already won a series against Australia and will likely retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, the Indian team’s record in English and South African conditions has not been the same as Australia.
With South Africa coming back to form and England having a top-quality fast bowling attack, the Indian batsmen will have to play out of their skins to win these two series. The fans can back India to fulfil their possible New Year’s Resolution. Also, India can become the first country to win the ICC T20 World Cup on home soil in 2021.
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- West Indies
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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