News Cricket

30 minutes of poor cricket snatched away our chance for the cup – Rohit Sharma

Staff Writer Updated: 12 July, 2019, 4:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Rohit Sharma, the vice-captain of the team, has stated that 30 minutes of poor cricket snatched the chances of Men in Blue lifting their third World Cup title. He took to social media to post an emotional message after New Zealand defeated India in the semi-final of the tournament.

The right hand, who scored five tons in the World Cup, accumulated just one run in the rain-affected semi-final at Old Trafford. India were 5 for 3 at one stage but Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni took them closer to the target. They shared a 116-run stand for the 7th wicket but Jadeja's dismissal ended Team India's hopes as New Zealand sealed the game by 18 runs.

"We failed to deliver as a team when it mattered, 30 minutes of poor cricket yesterday & that snatched away our chance for the cup. My heart is heavy as I’m sure yours is too. The support away from home was incredible. Thank you all for painting most of uk blue wherever we played (sic)," Rohit Sharma wrote on Twitter.

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Feature Cricket

Indian Twist to SL’s Tour of Pakistan

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 20 September, 2019, 5:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

One of the stranger twists to come out of the saga involving Sri Lanka eventually agreeing to keep its commitment to tour Pakistan has been the angle of allegation that suggests that India had a role to play in Sri Lanka’s reluctance.

Not for the first time has the link to the Indian Premier League been brought up in connection with Sri Lanka Cricket. Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, in the past, had been acrimonious about Sri Lankan cricketers’ participation in the Indian domestic Twenty20 tournament with it clashing with Sri Lanka’s bilateral series at the same time and therefore, pulling the players in different directions with regard to availability and commitment.

Shahid Afridi, former Pakistan all-rounder and captain, reiterated what one of the ministers in the Pakistan government had stated in the early days when Sri Lanka expressed reluctance to tour Pakistan for the three Twenty20 internationals and three one day internationals. With news of as many as ten Sri Lankan cricketers including captains – present and former – Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews refusing to tour Pakistan, the allegation was made that Sri Lankan cricketers were threatened with losing IPL contracts should they go ahead and commit to the tour of Pakistan.

On the face of it, although India and Pakistan are at odds over issues not limited to the Indian state of Kashmir, it seems preposterous that apart from not committing to a tour of Pakistan or hosting the team for that matter, that India – the government or the cricket board – would bother to interfere in cricketing decisions of Sri Lanka that have little bearing on anyone other than Pakistan. Besides, India’s clout, whether it is on a diplomatic level or in cricketing terms, is far superior to that of Pakistan’s to feel threatened if Sri Lanka did commit to the tour.

Although Sri Lanka Cricket have admitted threats to the team should they undertake the tour of Pakistan, it has to be on record that Sri Lanka did tour Pakistan in 2017 for a limited series encounter. It is another matter that players such as Thisara Perera, who toured then, are hesitant and unwilling to go to Pakistan now. That is something Sri Lanka will have to investigate and for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to look into to ensure everything is above board.

For former players such as Javed Miandad and Afridi to suggest that Sri Lankan players should be punished for refusing to tour seems almost audacious given that it was the Sri Lankan cricket team that agreed to tour Pakistan in the immediate wake of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Although Sri Lanka replaced India, their tour was a terrifying one after terrorists surrounded the tour bus outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore and ended up injuring some Sri Lankan cricketers and an umpire.

With Pakistan facing constant constraints when it comes to hosting foreign teams on their own soil and having had to play away from home themselves in a proxy environment, one would think they would find more diplomatic, persuasive ways to convince teams rather than take such an antagonistic stand when met with resistance.

News Cricket

Remove Sarfaraz Ahmed as skipper – Pakistan Greats

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 4:09 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Pakistan captains Zaheer Abbas and Shahid Afridi want their national board to sack Sarfaraz Ahmed as Test skipper. The former all-rounder is fine with the decision to retain Sarfaraz as captain in the shorter formats but he feels Pakistan need someone else in Whites.

"I think it would be better for him if Sarfaraz didn't become the Test captain because I think captaining in three formats is a big burden for him. He is naturally inclined to be a successful captain in the limited over cricket formats," said Afridi.

Zaheer Abbas has similar views when it comes to Test captaincy.

"I don't think he can manage the pressure of captaining in three formats. He would be better off only managing the ODI and T20 formats," said Zaheer.

"Test cricket is the most difficult format in cricket and it is not easy captaining in this format. Sarfaraz should be allowed to focus on 50-overs and T20 cricket," he added.

He further added that the PCB should look at other options.

"Test cricket is the most difficult format in cricket and it is not easy captaining in this format. Sarfaraz should be allowed to focus on 50-overs and T20 cricket," he said.

News Cricket

PCB should ban foreign players from PSL if they refuse to tour Pakistan - Saeed Ajmal

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 3:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan star players are not happy with ten Sri Lankan players after they opted out of the upcoming tour. Saeed Ajmal and Faisal Iqbal stated international cricketers, who are not coming to Pakistan with their national teams, should be banned from the Pakistan Super League.

"I was very hurt when these Sri Lankan players backed out of the tour because the security situation in our country has improved a lot... Our board or government would never ask anyone to play in Pakistan unless they were not sure they could provide the best security environment," star spinner Ajmal said on the GSports show on GNews channel.

"I think those Sri Lankan players or foreigners who can come for the PSL matches should also tour with their national teams. And if anyone refuses to come with their teams they should not be included in the PSL draft," he added.

Iqbal said that it’s been a decade since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists and it was time to move on.

"I was in the Pakistan team when the attack took place but since then things have changed, many international players have come and played in Pakistan. Sri Lankan players have come and played in the PSL. So there was no reason for these 10 Sri Lankan players to back out of the tour," he said.

News Cricket

Shahid Afridi plays dirty, says IPL franchises behind Sri Lankan players opting out of Pak tour

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 3:28 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry claims that India was behind Sri Lankan players opting out of Pakistan tour, former skipper Shahid Afridi has joined the debate. He went on to blame the Indian Premier League franchises, stating 10 Sri Lankan players were put under pressure by teams of the cash rich tournament.

Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Malinga, Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Karunaratne are the ten Sri Lankan players who opted out of the Pakistan tour.

According to Afridi, he had spoken to a few Island players, who told him that they won't be awarded IPL contracts if they travel to Pakistan.

"Sri Lankan players are under pressure from IPL franchises. I spoke to Sri Lankan players last time when there was talk of them coming to Pakistan & playing in PSL. They said they wanted to come, but IPL guys say if you go to Pakistan we won't give you a contract," Afridi said in a video interview.

Afridi wants Sri Lankan board to put pressure on its players to travel to Pakistan. "Pakistan has always supported Sri Lanka, it never happened that we had a tour of Sri Lanka & our players rested. Sri Lanka's board should put pressure on their contracted players to go to Pakistan. Sri Lanka players who'll come will always be remembered in Pakistan's history," he added.

News Cricket

Ricky Ponting or MS Dhoni? Michael Hussey picks the best ODI captain

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 2:34 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni and Ricky Ponting have an excellent track-record as captains of their respective national teams. They went on to win multiple ICC trophies during their tenures. While the former Aussie skipper won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007, along with two Champions Trophy titles, MS Dhoni won the T20 World Cup in 2007, Fifty Over World Cup in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.

Dhoni has also won the Asia Cup in 2010 and 2016 and is the only captain in the world to win all the big ICC trophies.

Michael Hussey, who has played under both of them, was asked to pick the best skipper between Ricky Ponting and MS Dhoni.

Michael Hussey made his debut for Australia under Ponting in 2005, while he went on to play under MS Dhoni in the Indian Premier League.

“It’s a tough one, well, I will have to say, Ricky. I never played in ODIs with MS Dhoni, so I will go with Ricky,” Hussey was quoted as saying by Times Now.

News Cricket

India grooming backups for failing Rishabh Pant – Chief Selector

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 2:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is failing miserably in the shorter formats of the game. In the second T20I against South Africa, his quick dismissal was criticized by leading experts.

BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad, who has always backed Rishabh, has said some players are being groomed as Pant's backup.

“We are monitoring the workload of Rishabh. Of course, we have been grooming backups across all formats. We have the young KS Bharath doing well in the longer format for India A. We also have Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson doing well in the shorter formats for India ‘A’ and domestic cricket,” Prasad told The Indian Express.

Rishabh Pant (4) carelessly pulled Bjorn Fortuin (1-32) straight to short fine leg, resulting in yet another cheap dismissal.

“I have already said that post World Cup we have been concentrating on the progress of Rishabh. We need to be patient with him, considering the immense talent that he possesses,” MSK Prasad added.

News Cricket

I have a huge amount of respect for what Virat has achieved as a player and captain – Simon Katich

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 1:56 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Simon Katich, the newly appointed coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), has lauded Virat Kohli. According to him, Virat Kohli’s records speak for him and his contribution as a player and skipper has been massive. The right hand batsman surpassed Rohit Sharma in the list of leading run-scorers in the shortest format of the game during the course of second T20I between India and South Africa.

Katich rated Virat Kohli's century in Perth as one of the best he has ever seen.

“Kohli’s records speak for him. I have a huge amount of respect for what he has achieved not only as a player but also as the captain of India. What I really like about him is the fact that he is super competitive. I also had the pleasure of watching him score a hundred at Perth last year in the Test series at what was like an old WACA wicket. It was one of the best Test hundreds I have seen,” Simon Katich said as quoted by India Today.

News Cricket

I wanted to retire after being left out of 50-over World Cup squad in 2007 – Gautam Gambhir

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 1:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Gautam Gambhir will always be remembered for his twin innings in the finale of T20 World in 2007 and fifty over World Cup in 2011. His knocks were one of the main reasons behind Team India's triumph in South Africa and Mumbai. He retired from all forms of cricket in 2018. However, he was thinking of bidding adieu in 2007. The southpaw, who made his ODI debut in 2003, couldn't make it to the World Cup squad in 2007.

He couldn't handle the rejection and was on the verge of quitting.

“In 2007, when I missed the 50-over World Cup, that was the lowest moment in my cricketing career. I had given up on cricket. Before that, I had missed both U-14 and U-19 World Cups. In 2007 I thought I was the closest to play the World Cup, but when they did not include me in the squad, I had given up on cricket,” Gambhir was quoted as saying in India Today.

Just when things looked over for him, he was picked in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup in 2007.

“Then I was chosen in Twenty-20 World Cup in 2007 and I got dismissed for a duck in the first match against Pakistan. But as fate has it, I finished as the leading run-scorer in the World Cup and we ended up winning the tournament so one should never give up,” the veteran added.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid joins Team India ahead of 3rd T20I

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 1:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The governing body of Indian cricket posted a photo of Rahul Dravid who paid a visit to Team India ahead of the third T20I in Bengaluru. He met head coach Ravi Shastri and players during the course of their practice session.

The BCCI posted the photo on Twitter with the caption: "When two greats of Indian Cricket meet."

The former Indian skipper was appointed as the head of cricket at NCA (National Cricket Academy) earlier this year.

After taking retirement from cricket, Dravid has worked in various capacities. He was associated with Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils. The legendary batsman also worked with U-19 and India A teams.

Meanwhile, Ravi Shastri was recently reappointed as the head coach of the Indian team for a two-year period, ending with the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.

News Cricket

No question of sacking Virat Kohli as skipper of Royal Challengers Bangalore – Mike Hesson

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 12:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have been one of the most famous franchises of the cash rich league but they have never tasted success since the inception of the tournament in 2008. Even Virat Kohli, who is their longest serving skipper, has failed to lead them to glory in the league. In the last three seasons, the performance of RCB has been worst.

The owners of the team made some key changes ahead of the new season in 2020. Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra were told to leave while former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson was appointed as director.

He has ruled out any captaincy change for the under-performing team.

“We don’t have that perception that Virat controls things. But maybe he has had his learnings from the past (mistakes) while moving forward. There has been no question mark over Virat’s captaincy during last couple of weeks (of discussions),” the 44-year-old Hesson said during a media interaction on Thursday.

“…we have been very much aligned and he has been more than happy to take our advice from our experience,” he added.

News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar wants MS Dhoni to retire before T20 World Cup in 2020

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 12:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni has sealed lips when it comes to his future with Team India. The former skipper, who has not represented India since the last edition of the World Cup in England and Wales, is making everyone wait.

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, the two most powerful personalities in Indian cricket, haven't touched this subject either.

Meanwhile, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar wants MS Dhoni to retire from international arena. He believes only Dhoni can speak about his association with the national team.

Gavaskar further added India should start preparing for life after the veteran Indian batsman.

He pointed out that Dhoni would be 39 at the time of the next year's T20 World Cup and its time for him to draw curtains on his glorious career.

"Nobody knows know what is in MSD's mind. Only he can clarify what he thinks his future with Indian cricket is. But I think with him being 38 now, India should be looking ahead. Because by the time the next T20 World Cup comes around he will be 39 years old," Sunil Gavaskar was quoted as saying.

"His value to the side is always going to be fantastic. Not just the runs he will score or the stumpings he will effect. But his overall presence on the field will be calming for the captain because the captain gets the benefit of his views. So that is a huge plus. But I do believe the time has come," Gavaskar added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli is breaking records as skipper because of Dhoni and Rohit – Gambhir

Staff Writer Updated: 20 September, 2019, 12:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Gautam Gambhir has some kind of enmity with Virat Kohli. He has time and again targeted the current Indian skipper for no reason. In his latest attack on Virat, the Member of Parliament has stated that he is able to lead India efficiently because of players like MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma in the squad.

"Still a long way to go for him. Kohli was very good in the last World Cup but he has a long way to go. He captains so well in international cricket because he has got Rohit Sharma, he had MS Dhoni for a long time. Captaincy credentials are noticed when you are leading a franchise, when you do not have other players supporting you," Gambhir told reporters while interacting with the students of a university.

"I have been honest whenever I have spoken about this. See what Rohit Sharma has achieved for Mumbai Indians, see what Dhoni has achieved for Chennai Super Kings. If you compare that with RCB, the results are there for everyone to see", he added.

News F1

Hamilton looking to extend F1 lead at Singapore Grand Prix

AP Updated: 20 September, 2019, 11:07 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Lewis Hamilton aims to turn up the heat in his bid for a sixth Formula One championship at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver heads into Sunday's race with a 63-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas.

As with last year's race, drivers can expect sweltering heat and humidity. In addition to the heat, a thick haze has set in over the city-state with advisories issued from the national government over "unhealthy" air conditions.

Hamilton will be hoping for a repeat of the 2018 race here when he won comfortably from pole position to extend his championship lead.

He was on a major roll entering last year's GP, having won four of the past five races. While he already has eight wins this season, the British driver last won at the Hungarian GP in early August.

"The offset schedule and the climate make it a demanding weekend for the team," Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said of the night race. "Temperatures in the garage can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) or more with high humidity levels as well. It's a tough environment to work in and it's equally challenging for the drivers and the car itself."

Hamilton has won here the last two years. A win on Sunday would move him a step closer to his third straight championship and sixth overall, moving him just one away from equaling Michael Schumacher's all-time record of seven titles.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc heads into Singapore having won the previous two races this season. After his first-ever F1 victory in Spa at the Belgian GP, the 21-year-old Leclerc became the first Ferrari driver to win the Italian GP since Fernando Alonso in 2010.

Leclerc, who is now fourth in the standings, finished ninth for Sauber here last year.

"Singapore is maybe the toughest track for us drivers physically, just because of the heat and the humidity," Leclerc said. "After two positive weekends in Belgium and Italy, the race in Singapore doesn't look as good on paper for us, because of the very different circuit layout, featuring lots of slow corners and fewer straights ... but we will give our all to have a good result."

News F1

F1 driver Kubica to leave Williams at end of season

AP Updated: 20 September, 2019, 11:04 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Formula One driver Robert Kubica says he has decided to leave his Williams team at the end of the season after a widely praised return to the sport.

"I will not continue with Williams after the end of the season," the Pole said Thursday at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Kubica made a return to F1 with Williams after a serious injury at the Ronde di Andora rally in 2011 in which his right forearm was partially severed.

In November last year, Kubica was announced as a Williams driver for 2019.

However, the 34-year-old has taken only one point after 14 races this season.

"Definitely it has been the biggest achievement of my life to come back," Kubica said. "To go through what happened and still manage to race. Being back on the F1 grid was the best outcome I could imagine."

News Tennis

Federer, McEnroe push for Laver Cup's place in team tennis

AP Updated: 20 September, 2019, 11:01 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Team events are having quite the resurgence on the men's tennis circuit, with three different competitions scheduled in the next four months. What's still unclear, though, is whether they can all co-exist in the long term.

"Something's got to shake out," John McEnroe acknowledged Thursday, ahead of captaining a six-man world team in the annual Laver Cup event.

The three-day Laver Cup, co-owned by and starring Roger Federer, started in 2017 while the International Tennis Federation sought a new format for the historic but ailing Davis Cup. It pits a team of European stars against a selection of players from the rest of the world.

The revamped Davis Cup arrives in November with 18 nations — though not Federer's Switzerland — playing over seven days in a single city, Madrid, to end the 2019 season.

Another team event launches the 2020 season — the inaugural 24-nation ATP Cup played Jan. 3-12 in Australia. Then there's the Tokyo Olympics as well, another addition to an already packed schedule.

Federer has committed to playing at the ATP Cup but hasn't made up his mind yet on the Olympics. He is confident, though, that there is room in the calendar for all three team events.

"Absolutely," Federer said Thursday, at the Europe squad's Laver Cup news conference in Geneva.

"There were places in the past for four different Davis Cup matches," Federer said, recalling the February-April-September-November fixtures he and Stan Wawrinka played to lift the 2014 trophy. "Now it's less than that" for the three separate team tournaments.

Since Switzerland won its first and only Davis Cup title, Federer has only played a single fixture to gain eligibility for the 2016 Olympics.

Few expect the 38-year-old Federer to fit a Davis Cup comeback into his selective schedule. He would likely get a wild-card exemption for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, if he decides to play there.

McEnroe noted there was no Olympic tennis for most of his career, during which he committed to the Davis Cup more than most peers.

"Davis Cup was an important part of my life and career, a chance to represent your country," he said, adding that the competition founded in 1900 was only recently "on life support."

Then came a flurry of team formats.

"(This) radical change finally took place after way too long," McEnroe said. "Now they have this, what's it called, ATP Cup. So we have three of them when it almost seemed like there was none."