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Veteran South African umpire Marais Erasmus has announced retirement from international cricket. The 60-year-old has been one of the best umpires on the international cricketing circuit with officiating experience of 80 Tests, 124 ODIs, and 43 T20Is in men's cricket and 18 women's T20Is. 

Coming to Indian cricket, BCCI announced the Indian squad for the fifth Test against England which will be played in Dharamshala, starting on March 7. KL Rahul has been ruled out for the final Test while Jasprit Bumrah who was released from the squad for the 4th Test in Ranchi, will return. Washington Sundar has also been released from the squad.

Here in this article, we’ll look at all the big news that took place on February 29.

Major cricket events that happened on February 29

Veteran umpire Marais Erasmus announces retirement from international cricket

Veteran South African umpire Marais Erasmus has announced retirement from international cricket. The 60-year-old has been one of the best umpires on the international cricketing circuit with officiating experience of 80 Tests, 124 ODIs, and 43 T20Is in men's cricket and 18 women's T20Is. Erasmus's final international match will be the ongoing Test between  Australia and New Zealand.  Since starting his international career in 2006 in a T20I between Australia and New Zealand, Erasmus has been among the best umpires in the world, winning the ICC Umpire of the Year thrice (2016, 2017, and 2021).

Devdutt Padikkal to make Test debut against England in Dharamshala: Reports

Devdutt Padikkal is set to make his red-ball debut against England in the final Test of the five-match series.  The 23-year-old has also been in scintilating form in first-class cricket with a 90+ average in the 2024 season.  Coming back to the Indian team, after Madhya Pradesh star Rajat Patidar failed to deliver with a tally of 63 runs in six innings, Padikkal is set to replace the Royal Challengers Bangalore batter as per Hindustan Times.  The report by HT quoted a  BCCI source that revealed the team management wants to look at the Karnataka star ahead of the IPL.

Chin up and come back stronger: Ravi Shastri to Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer

Former India cricket coach Ravi Shastri shared a piece of advice for Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer after they were dropped from the BCCI’s central annual contracts. Shastri opined that both the players will eventually find their way back to the Indian team.  Shastri took to X to say, “In the game of cricket, comebacks define the spirit. Chin-up, @ShreyasIyer15 and @ishankishan51! Dig deep, face challenges, and come back even stronger. Your past achievements speak volumes, and I have no doubt you’ll conquer once again.” 

WPL 2024:  Kapp, Jonassen's cameos help DC beat RCB by 25 runs

After winning their opening two WPL 2024 fixtures, Smriti Mandhana-led Royal Challengers Bangalore succumbed to a huge 195-run target set by Delhi Capitals on Thursday, February 29. Despite Smriti Mandhana's 74-run onslaught, RCB lost the game by 25 runs as Shafali Verma and Alice Capsey's 82-run partnership for the second wicket followed by Marizanne Kapp and Jess Jonassen's cameos helped DC get success at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

Bumrah returns, Rahul ruled out of India's squad for the 5th Test against England

BCCI announced the Indian squad for the fifth Test against England which will be played in Dharamshala, starting on March 7. KL Rahul has been ruled out for the final Test while Jasprit Bumrah who was released from the squad for the 4th Test in Ranchi, will return. Washington Sundar has also been released from the squad.

India’s updated squad for the 5th Test: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), Devdutt Padikkal, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep.

BCCI to match players’ red-ball fees with IPL contracts: Reports

After announcing the annual central contracts for Indian players, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are reportedly contemplating matching the red-ball fees with IPL contracts. They are currently in discussions with the Indian head coach Rahul Dravid, captain Rohit Sharma, and the chief selector Ajit Agarkar about reviving the interest among players for red-ball cricket.

Na mereko fark padta hai: Hardik Pandya opens up on handling social media trolls

Hardik Pandya, who is set to lead Mumbai Indians at the Indian Premier League 2024 declared he doesn’t pay attention to social media.  The all-rounder also addressed social media talks around one of his photos in a supercar, that went viral. Pandya revealed that somebody had sent him the car for a test drive. The cricketer then said, "Main kabhi media mein comment karta nahi hu, to maine kabhi kia nahi, na mereko fadak padta hai (I don't comment in media, I have never done it, it does not bother me).” 

Lucknow Super Giants name Nicholas Pooran vice-captain ahead of IPL 2024

Indian Premier League franchise Lucknow Super Giants announced West Indies international Nicholas Pooran as their new vice-captain ahead of the 2024 season.  Pooran played a vital role in Lucknow's success in 2023 as the Trinidadian smashed 358 runs, with two fifties, at an impressive strike rate of 172.94.  The announcement was made at an event in Lucknow on Wednesday where LSG captain Rahul handed Pooran the vice-captain's jersey with the number 29.