Ashton Turner, the quiet captain of five-time BBL champions Perth Scorchers, refused to be drawn into the growing debate over whether he should be Australia’s next T20I captain. This is in keeping with the team’s style and reputation.
When we asked him about Aaron Finch, Turner instead gave him credit. Finch recently retired from international cricket, leaving Australia without a leader ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States.
“I’ll always be grateful to Finchy for how he influenced me and how much he believed in me,” said Turner, who played in nine ODIs and 18 T20Is between 2017-21. “He leaves big shoes to fill.”
But Turner, who learned at the Scorchers that you shouldn’t reveal too much in public, took a moment before raising his hand in a very subtle way. “I’ve never been more sure of my game and my ability to lead,” he said.
The 30-year-old Turner is being talked about as a possible Finch replacement after leading the Scorchers to a successful title defense and a dominant season in which he rediscovered his aggressive hitting style.
After a couple of poor years that kept him out of the Australian white-ball teams and the West Australian Sheffield team, Turner had a batting average of 155.51 and an average of 42.33.
Turner saved the Scorchers time and again, winning the BBL final against the Brisbane Heat, which was even more impressive than those numbers. He hit a 32-ball 53 as the Scorchers scored 176 points in front of nearly 54,000 raucous fans at Optus Stadium. That performance earned him the Player of the Final award.
Turner had bailed out the Scorchers with a half-century in last year’s final against the Sydney Sixers, which was the start of his comeback with the bat.
Turner’s Shield career had stalled because he had not played a first-class match since October 2020. He decided to focus on shorter formats instead.
Turner said, “I have spent more time playing white-ball cricket in the last year than I ever have.” He is still available for Shield selection, but is not currently in the strong lineup at WA.
“My career has been moving in this direction. I’ve strived to get better at white ball cricket every month of the year. Most of the time you get better by spending more time doing one thing.”
His skills in the middle and late overs should be particularly appealing to the national leadership, which showed it was looking for a finishing specialist by selecting Tim David for last year’s T20 World Cup.
Turner had never really hit his stride in international cricket. In T20Is, he averaged just 12 runs and had a strike rate of 84, but in 2019 he scored 84 runs in 43 balls in an ODI against India in Mohali.
“I had some success in international cricket, but it was clear that I couldn’t do it all the time. I know I didn’t play as well as I could have,” he said.
Turner used a variety of shots around the wicket in his comeback BBL. In the past, he had mostly hit straight for boundaries.
“In past seasons, my boundaries and hitting zones have been consistent,” he said. “But the pitches have different characteristics. How you hit at Optus Stadium is different than how you hit at SCG or Bellerive. I felt like I had a clearer game plan and could trust myself.”
Turner’s mastery of the chase game helped the Scorchers, whose traditional recipe for success has been to bat first and then let their stingy offence defend such a total.
The Scorchers had a 10-2 record in chasing this season, with the only blemishes being close losses away from home to the Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes. What was thought to be a possible weakness for the Scorchers suddenly became a major strength.
“There was no change of plan, we were put on the spot in the first few games by teams deciding to bat first,” he said. “Momentum is a strong thing. Once we got a run, I asked the players what they wanted to do.
“The consensus was that the batsmen wanted to set the pace. The bowlers enjoyed bowling first, and that’s how it worked out
This process illustrates Turner’s inclusive leadership style, where he participates in decision-making.
“I rarely make a decision on my own; I spend a lot of time consulting,” he said. “I like to listen to the input of other cadre members and support staff. We have good conversations and come to good conclusions.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is that I feel I can help a lot of guys in our group. If I wasn’t playing, we have guys who could fit in seamlessly and do a great job, like Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis and Mitch Marsh, who have great leadership skills.”
Turner’s encouraging leadership qualities came to the fore under immense pressure in the BBL final, when he was taken out of the game at a crucial moment after a horrific mix-up with inexperienced batsman Nick Hobson.
“As we sat there waiting for the decision, he said, ‘You’re a weapon, you’re going to get us over the line, you’re going to be absolutely fine, take good shots,'” recalled Hobson, who is an accountant in his day job and became an unexpected hero with his runs.
“There was no resentment [about the exclusion]. He’s an amazing leader. He gives his players so much belief
Turner downplayed his pep talk, of course, but it undoubtedly bolstered his ethos.
“It’s easy to pat the guys on the back when we’re ahead, but I want to do that at every moment,” he said. “Whether we’re under a lot of pressure or not… Consistency is really important.
“There’s no room in T20 cricket for guys to falter or doubt themselves. I want everyone to feel empowered to play the brand they want to play. I never want anyone to feel restricted.”
After playing mostly on the road in BBL11 due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Scorchers have had to deal with a number of injuries and absences from overseas recruits this season.
It didn’t shake them up, and a quiet team kept rallying at crucial moments to win its second title under Turner.
Turner said, “It may look like composure, but it’s really just confidence” “You look calm when you’re under pressure, when you’re confident in your abilities, your teammates and the way things are planned and executed.
“We’ve worked hard enough to believe we can win games. We believe that what we’re going to do is going to work.”
Turner will likely be in demand on the T20 circuit, but he’s yet to return to the IPL where he had a poor time in 2019.
“I don’t lose sleep if I don’t play,” he said. “But I know I could do well if I got a chance at the IPL.” “It spurs me on to compete against the best players and teams and see how I do.”
Who knows where Turner will be in his career when next season BBL begins, but he’s already looking forward to helping the Scorchers win a historic hat trick of titles with his methodical and calm style.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on staying the same. Most of the players will be the same, which gives us a lot of confidence,” he said. “I love playing cricket with a smile on my face and making every team I’m in better.”
1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy
On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.
Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs
Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.
Sachin Tendulkar with god of cricket Virat Kohli pic.twitter.com/zmztejNBBB— Kevin (@imkevin149) November 2, 2023
An Unforgettable Journey
In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.
Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.
Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets
Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.
A Landmark Moment
In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.
Surpassing Preceding Records
Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Legacy of Excellence
Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.
Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
A Testament to Talent and Dedication
Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.
ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.
India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation
In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.
India’s Path to World Cup Glory
Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.
Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism
Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.
Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli
Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.
In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.
In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.