In Case You Missed It: Crowds, centuries and a whole lot of cricket

Just like old times: Crowds were back in the stands for a men's international for the first time since March Getty Images

Crowds returned to cricket in New Zealand and Australia for the first bit of international cricket since March this year, and were in for a treat as Australia claimed a decisive victory over India in the first ODI in Sydney, while New Zealand went 1-0 over West Indies in a rain-affected first T20I in Auckland. The ICC got a new chairman, the PCB got its first woman director, Pakistan breached quarantine protocol, and in perhaps the cruellest stroke of 2020 yet, the Sussex League voted to end the tradition of cricket teas. Never worry, we've got all the tea from a very eventful week of cricket in this round-up.

Lockie Ferguson five-for, battling Jimmy Neesham-Devon Conway stand give New Zealand victory
International cricket returned to New Zealand after eight months, as did the rain, and the hosts swept to a five-wicket win in a truncated match. Lockie Ferguson precipitated a near-catastrophic collapse taking 5 for 1, before Kieron Pollard smashed a rearguard 75 to take West Indies to 180, but despite New Zealand losing four wickets for a combined five runs, debutant Conway and Jimmy Neesham took them home.

Zampa, Hazlewood defend big total set up by Smith, Finch tons
Hundreds by Steven Smith and Aaron Finch catapulted Australia to their biggest ODI total against India at the SCG. Sidharth Monga says India's one-dimensional batters are hurting their five-bowler strategy, while Andrew McGlashan is just revelling in the much-missed soundtrack of a chanting, roaring, booing crowd back in stadiums.

Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma ruled out of first two Tests
Their chances of taking part in the third and fourth Tests also appear slim after both were injured in the IPL without enough time to recover for the Australia series. Sidharth Monga asks if perhaps we should accept that players are going to prioritise the IPL over bilateral series. Aakash Chopra meanwhile argues that IPL success shouldn't be confused with success in international cricket, and Rohit's form in the IPl does not mean he should take over the T20I captaincy from Virat Kohli.

Bairstow 86* powers England to five-wicket win
Sam Curran shone with the ball before England chased down their target with four balls to spare in the first T20I. Matt Roller says the team has the IPL to thank for their form - England players had the biggest impact of overseas performers and they've carried that form to this series. While Mark Nicholas goes to bat for Quinton de Kock, and says he's among the best all-format players of our time
and will make sure South Africa take the fight to England

This Australia-India series might hinge on who makes the better selection decisions
Australia will never have a better chance to trial Will Pucovski, and the absence of Virat Kohli after the first Test makes room for a talented Indian batsman to step up, says Greg Chappell. Andrew McGlashan also has five key questions that Australia will need to answer during the three-match series

Alia Zafar: 'My presence in PCB will create a sense of empowerment for women cricketers'
The Pakistan Cricket Board has its first-ever female director, who says she can make decisions pressure-free since she's an independent member of the board.

'We take a dim view of it' - New Zealand director of public health slams Pakistan Covid protocol breaches
The Pakistan tour of New Zealand is already in jeopardy after six players returned positive tests on landing in the country and then broke protocol by mingling in hallways, sharing food and not wearing masks. Their quarantine was reset, and the PCB CEO Wasim Khan was told in no uncertain terms that one more breach could send the players home.

What Australia, India, New Zealand and England need to do to qualify for World Test Championship final
The ICC finally confirmed the methodology for the Covid-disrupted inaugural World Test Championship - the two teams with the highest percentage of points earned from those they contested for would play for the title, which currently are Australia and India. New Zealand could be strong contenders if they win their four remaining Tests, while England need a series win against India.

ICC chairman Greg Barclay: 'I don't subscribe to the Big-Three concept at all, there's no big three to me'
The ICC finally has a new chairman - New Zealand Cricket head Greg Barclay - who has already flagged the major issues he wants to focus on, namely the "unsustainable" cricket schedule currently and the intent to focus on nations like the USA. In a candid chat with Daniel Brettig, Barclay outlined his plans for his tenure, from the proposed Super Series to the future of Associate nations.

Who played the most cricket in the 2010s?
Our annual player workload survey this time maps cricket over the last decade. Turns out nobody could keep up with England, or Kohli. Who faced the most balls? Who made the most runs? And who played the most days?

Ruturaj Gaikwad: 'I hadn't seen my team-mates for 30 days, then suddenly they were all patting me on the back'
Shashank Kishore chats to the Chennai Super Kings batsman who didn't have a great start to the IPL that started with a positive Covid test, but managed to turn things around and become a star batsman for his team.

Dinesh Chandimal, Isuru Udana star as Colombo Kings steal Super Over victory on opening night
Isuru Udana clubs 34 off 12 in tied chase of 219 before bowling Super Over in an exciting start to the Lanka Premier League - here's a primer for the tournament that Andrew Fidel Fernando says is powered by stars and riding the crest of chaos - that could also perhaps help once-dynamic Sri Lanka regain its T20 mojo.

Is Ishan Kishan the only uncapped player to make 500 runs in one IPL season?
And what was the first Test series that didn't involve either England or Australia? Steven Lynch knows.

Trent Boult: 'Reverse swing is a string I want to add to my bow'
The New Zealand quick spoke to Vishal Dikshit while in post-IPL quarantine about being a gun powerplay bowler in the IPL, adjusting to bubble life, and switching plans up in Tests

The evolution of Arshdeep Singh, from Canada plans to Kings XI Punjab stardom
If it weren't for the IPL, the Kings XI fast bowler might have been on his way to Canada. Life has taken a turn for the better, but Singh has his sight set on greater success.

Aaron Finch has got a bloody great job
Australia's white-ball captain rose from small-town Victoria to lead his country. It hasn't been roses all the way but he's not complaining. Melinda Farrell charts his journey to the top.