With World Cup, IPL, Ashes lined up, exciting 2019 awaits cricket fans

Mumbai: 2019 promises plenty of action in the cricket field. The World Cup in England, IPL and return of Warner and Smith will happen this year. India captain Virat Kohli and South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada emerged the best batsman and the best bowler in the ICC Test Player Rankings for 2018 released on Monday.
Kane Williamson of New Zealand is the second.  Kohli scored 1322 runs in 2018. Rabada became the youngest to take top position among bowlers during the year.  grabbed six wickets in the opening match at Centurion that South Africa won by six wickets to finish with 52 wickets in 10 Tests in 2018. Cheteshwar Pujara maintained his fourth position among batsmen.
The premier tournament in UK will be the highlight of 2019. Windies and Afghanistan had to battle it out in the Qualifiers to seal their spots in the 10-team line-up. While legends are picking out their favourites, the ECB looks at hosting the event as an opportunity to develop the game in the country given that it will be played in 11 venues across 10 cities. The World Cup will be played between May 30 and July 14.
MS Dhoni, for one, who led India to the title in 2011, is touted to call it a day post the tournament.
Smith-Warner to return
Australia will be boosted by the return of David Warner and Steven Smith after the pair served their one-year bans for ball tampering. The incident that took place in Cape Town in March derailed Australian cricket to monumental degrees, with the national team losing the support and faith of the general public. The loss of the pair – along with Cameron Bancroft who copped a nine-month ban – hurt Australia’s top order, which has failed to get going in their absence.
IPL 2019
With 2019 general elections happenoing in March -April, the BCCI will have to make a decision of hosting the tournament in India, or having it outside the country. It could also be the case of hosting a few games in India, before moving to the UAE at a later stage. With a mandatory 15-day gap between the end of the IPL and India’s next international assignment, as per the Lodha reforms, the IPL will be held from March 29 to May 19.
Juicy battle
England will hope to regain the Ashes on home turf after having conceded the urn in 2017 4-0 to Australia. In what will be a highly anticipated summer for England, with the World Cup and a historic four-day Test against Ireland, the Ashes, that begins on August 1, will cap off an electric season for them, with ticket allocation for the Tests to be made available by a public ballot citing high demand. What would add to the anticipation will also be the possibility of watching Warner and Smith – arch-rivals England, the local crowds, or the Barmy Army won’t pass off a chance to be on to the pair.
Test Championship
The league competition for Test cricket will finally make its way to being. It is a tournament that will be contested by the top nine teams over two-year cycles, in 27 series, the first of which begins in July 2019 when the league phase kicks off. It was an idea that came into conception in order to add further context and significance to bilateral series.
Points being awarded for individual matches, as opposed to series, will make every game significant. Yet, the details are still blurry as to how it’ll be possible given the difference in the number of Tests played in respective series’. Home and away Tests will be treated on even keel, which can be a disadvantage for teams who will play overseas in majority.

NT Bureau