Feature Cricket

A Royal Challenge for Kohli

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 8 April, 2019, 12:24 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

A strange little conundrum has erupted as a result of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s beleaguered early efforts. While Virat Kohli could accuse an umpire for failing to overturn their fortunes, there is the notion that Kohli should step down and rest for India’s challenges instead. But will he then be accused of throwing in the towel or abandoning ship?

It must be strange being in Virat Kohli’s shoes. On the one hand, it would appear he could do no wrong. For all his brashness, his aggressive overtones, he has proved to be miles ahead of the rest, with the bat anyway. As a captain, although he has had huge setbacks, not to mention some embarrassments, he has managed to hold his ground and even add one significant feather or two to his cap down under.

Yet come the Indian Premier League, a different Kohli emerges, a slightly more diffident, even more clueless captain, having to marshal a team not unlike him, superstars in their own right but a strange intermeshing that never quite seems to get the job done. Kohli was bristling at the start of the 2019 season at the mere mention of it. Some would argue, it was playing on this mind. Others could daringly state that perhaps being the Indian captain had taken a lot out of Kohli who now finds himself suddenly inadequate and unable to pick up the pieces and the paces of a team he encounters just once a year.

Whatever be the cause of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s flamboyant team’s epic failures, at the heart of the matter lies Virat Kohli himself and whether it is a tired mind at play or simply a captain who finds himself at odds, leading a team he has barely had time to get acquainted with, leave alone plan. After all, the Royal Challengers Bangalore are not famous for going the way of the Chennai Super Kings or even the Mumbai Indians, who go to great lengths to ensure the crux of the team stays the same, steadying the ship for the captain at the helm.

Even as teams are pushing for early ascendency in the tournament, Kohli is unable to steer ship of the once again all-at-sea Royal Challengers Bangalore. It begs the question, particularly in light of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in England with Kohli expected to be India’s lynchpin to revive memories of 1983 and 2011: at what point does Kohli count himself and the Royal Challengers Bangalore out of contention, out of challenge and therefore, drop out?

The even bigger question is that given that Kohli is not one to usually throw in the towel, no matter the deep end of the ocean that the team finds itself in, whether Kohli’s daring decision then to either step down or briefly rest himself and take him out of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s equation will not earn him wrath not only of his own franchisee owners but also, of the team’s fans as well as the critics at large whose mission it is to find their new scalp. While he could be lauded for putting India’s chances ahead of his IPL team’s, there could, also, be some backlash for this kind of a move, particularly at the franchisee level where corporates get one chance to see their investments reap dividends most prominently.

A hypothetical scenario but nevertheless one that has undoubtedly been sparked by Kohli himself who spoke volumes about the need for work load management for the Indian cricket team and the need to prioritize and rotate with a better understanding, all of which seemed to have caused Kohli to bite his lip just ahead of the IPL 2019 season. Given how vocal the captain was about the workload, there was concern whether the skipper himself is feeling the pinch of leading the national team ambitions and managing his own gargantuan ones while also, having to maintain this persona which means remaining the flag bearer for the IPL franchisee, even if the ship appears to be going down in a hurry.

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News Cricket

KRK targets Virat for RCB's form, says India will play in World Cup as brilliantly as his RCB team

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 3:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli is not having the best of time in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League. The skipper of Royal Challengers Bangalore has failed to motivate his troops and they have lost six matches in a row. With RCB's latest defeat against Delhi Capitals, he has now got an unwanted record to his name having led the team in 87 defeats in the history of cash rich league.

With questions being raised on Virat Kohli's captaincy in the IPL, Kamaal Rashid Khan has blasted the skipper. "Virat Kohli is such a great captain that his India team will play in the #ICCWorldCup as brilliantly as his #RCB team is playing for last 10 years!" KRK tweeted.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli was furious with the effort of his teammates in the game against Delhi Capitals. "We just weren't good on the given day. That's the whole story of RCB this season," said Virat Kohli.

"When the mind is cluttered, you wouldn't be able to focus on the chances that come your way. Clarity of mind is very important in the game especially if you want to convert the half chances and pull the game back.

"Shreyas (Iyer) got 67, he was dropped (on four)...you never know, you can come back in the game at any time," he added.

"There's nothing more you can tell the team. We've asked the boys to take responsibility. It hasn't happened so far, and that's the reality," he said.

"Personally, not trying to control. After a while, it's about the skill. Key is to relax, whatever's in front of us. We want to enjoy as a team, otherwise we won't be able to play any good cricket," he added.

News Cricket

Chris Lynn wanted to visit the casino to cash in on his luck after bail fail against RR

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 3:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Kolkata Knight Riders opening batsman Chris Lynn was lucky when the ball hit the wicket but the bail did not fall during his team's IPL match against Rajasthan Royal. Lynn, who was given not-out, was interviewed by his teammate Harry Gurney after the match. Lynn stated that he was happy that luck was on his side. "I am happy to ride on that luck."

When asked about the delivery that flicked the stump, Lynn said:

"I always walked around my luck... Told the umpire that I had inside edged it for a boundary. I am happy to ride that luck, I might actually go to casino tonight."

"Absolutely. Sounds like a plan," said Harry Gurney.

The debutant Harry Gurney told Lynn that he was nervous before the game. "I was a little bit nervous at the hotel this afternoon... a few butterflies... I always am but when I arrived at the ground and started warming up, I was fine.”

Chasing 140, Sunil Narine (47) and Chris Lynn (50) played aggressive brand of cricket from the first ball of the innings. They shared a 91-run opening stand in 8.3 overs to make things easy for the remaining batsmen. With this win, KKR is at the top of the table after notching up eight points from five matches.

News Cricket

Michael Vaughan believes Virat Kohli should take a break from RCB

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 April, 2019, 2:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former England skipper, Michael Vaughan feels Indian skipper Virat Kohli should be rested from IPL ahead of the World Cup 2019 as Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to their sixth straight defeat in the ongoing edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). Delhi defeated Bangalore at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Sunday.

RCB are in a helpless situation at the moment and even one victory is looking helluva of a task for them given their misfiring side, which have always been short on bowling resources and over-dependent on the dynamic duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

“If India are smart they rest @imVkohli now for the World Cup ... Give him some time off before the big event ... #IPL2019,” Vaughan tweeted as RCB’s horrible run in the tournament continued.

Virat Kohli has looked ineffective with the bat thus far in the IPL. He is also looking uninspiring as captain and the mental after effect of losing continuously is quite obvious with his demeanor in the lucrative league. It will be better for him and the team India if he takes a short break and gets to his best before the World Cup commences on May 30 in England and Wales.

News Cricket

Dhoni bhai was very angry and said a lot of things to me - Deepak Chahar

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 2:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Deepak Chahar was at the receiving end of MS Dhoni's anger during IPL match against Kings XI Punjab at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The skipper, who is known for his cool and calm nature, was upset with fast bowler. The reason was Chahar's back to back poor deliveries during CSK's win over KXIP.

With Kings needing 39 runs off 12 balls, Chahar stated his over with an above the waist delivery, which was smashed for a four by Sarfaraz Khan. He was penalized by the umpire as the ball was called a no ball. Chahar repeated the same mistake again on a free hit and bowled another full toss above the waist and conceded two runs.

This was enough to upset MS Dhoni, who went to Chahar and blasted him for his mistake. In an exclusive interview to TimesofIndia.com, Chahar has revealed the exact nature of the incident.

"Dhoni bhai was very angry with me. It was a big mistake that I made. He said a lot of things. Honestly, at the back of my mind, I was thinking 'what to bowl next?',” Chahar told TimesofIndia.com.

"After the match every player of my team came and congratulated me. They said I bowled brilliantly at the death'," he added.

"Dhoni bhai also came up to me. He smiled and hugged me. He said 'well done'. I know I bowled two bad deliveries, but I made an immediate comeback. He (Dhoni) also encouraged me and asked me to do well in the tournament. I was extremely happy that I contributed in my team's victory.”

News Cricket

‘Virat not captain material, Rohit should lead India in World Cup’: Fans react to IPL results

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 1:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli-led RCB lost their sixth straight match in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League.

After posting 149 on the board, they couldn't defend the total and lost the game by four wickets.

"We just weren't good on the given day. That's the whole story of RCB this season," said Virat Kohli.

Helpless Virat Kohli was looking down and out and despite his 41 runs off 33 balls, RCB ended up as the second best side against Delhi Capitals.

"When the mind is cluttered, you wouldn't be able to focus on the chances that come your way. Clarity of mind is very important in the game especially if you want to convert the half chances and pull the game back.

"Shreyas (Iyer) got 67, he was dropped (on four)...you never know, you can come back in the game at any time," he added.

"There's nothing more you can tell the team. We've asked the boys to take responsibility. It hasn't happened so far, and that's the reality," he said.

"Personally, not trying to control. After a while, it's about the skill. Key is to relax, whatever's in front of us. We want to enjoy as a team, otherwise we won't be able to play any good cricket," he added.

However, fans were not impressed with Virat Kohli's statement and demanded his sacking from the post of RCB and Indian captain.

News Cricket

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: BCCI reveals the date for the Indian team selection

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 12:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Indian cricket team for the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales will be announced on 15 April in Mumbai. The wise men of selection committee will also take IPL's performance into consideration before finalizing the squad for the mega event.

The committee will have to fill up the number 4 position, which has become a bone of contention in the recent times. Also the position of an all-rounder and the number of spinners to be included in the team are the other two areas that need attention.

Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma has already stated that Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli’s inputs will play a vital role in selection of the players.

“I think we are pretty much settled. There are a few spots (undecided) which everyone knows about but again that depends on what the captain and the coach and the selectors think whether they want to go for the extra seamer or the extra spinner or extra middle order player or a reserve opener.

“It also depends upon the conditions. The last time we were in England, the conditions were quite dry. I don’t know how things will be. So if it is like that than you take an extra spinner, as simple as that. If it’s not then probably take the extra seamer,” he said in Mumbai.

Feature Cricket

Amidst the huge hits bowlers too hold their own in IPL

Partab Ramchand Updated: 8 April, 2019, 12:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The first fortnight of IPL - 12 is over and with it a third of the matches have been completed and a few noteworthy points have emerged. First, a quick look at the points table and it is clear that no team has taken that kind of runaway start to be termed as favourites. Two teams on eight points and four teams on six points indicates the intense competition and hopefully this trend will continue so as to make the four teams who will make the play offs anyone’s guess. Even Rajasthan Royals who are in seventh position with two points from five games cannot be ruled out completely. Only Royal Challengers Bangalore with six straight losses can be taken out of the equation.

The most noteworthy change in the IPL scenario this year is the fact that amidst the big hits, the huge totals and the outrageous strike rates the bowlers have more than held their own. If there have been three hundreds so far in the competition there have four bowlers with four-wicket hauls and topping all other individual performances we have had Alzarri Joseph finishing with a six- wicket haul which is now the best figures ever in 12 years of the tournament.

Sam Curran’s hat- trick too sums up the fact that the bowlers too have had their moments and T-20 is no longer only a batsman’s game. Yes, maybe the bat still dominates the ball but not as emphatically as in the past. The bowlers have been able to come up with tricks of their own in tying down the batsmen. In a format where there is little room for error and every small mistake gets magnified the batsmen are under tremendous pressure if there are two or three dot balls in succession. The result could well be a rash shot and a dismissal.

In this year’s competition there have been just six totals in excess of 200 and a target of 200 has been chased down only once. Against that a team has been shot out for a double digit total twice and 113 once. Teams have also been restricted to totals of 129, 133, 139, 147, 149, 152 and 158 while totals of 166, 160 and 136 have been defended. The ideal cricket match is a keen contest between bat and ball and so while we have Andre Russell with his outrageous strike rate we also have Imran Tahir who while picking three for nine in four overs for CSK against RCB had an equally outrageous economy rate of 2.25.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Jonny Bairstow pulls brilliant in-flight prank on Kane Williamson

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 12:14 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sunrisers Hyderabad opener Jonny Bairstow is a funny man, who loves playing pranks on his teammates. He scared flight staff and his colleague Kane Williamson ahead of clash against Kings XI Punjab. The English batsman was hiding in his seat and suddenly got up making a weird noise in order to scare flight crew and team skipper Kane Williamson.

The Hyderabad based franchise posted a video of the incident for their fans to see what their star cricketers are upto when they are on flight.

"Ever wondered what the players do while travelling? Here's Jonny Bairstow giving you a glimpse of it...," SRH captioned the post.

The crew member got scared but Williamson was not impressed.

The orange army lost their last match against Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad. Alzarri Joseph's sensational six-wicket haul was enough to seal victory for his franchise at the fortress of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

They will be hoping to bounce back strong against Kings XI Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.

News Cricket

Sourav Ganguly rejects conflict of interest allegations

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 April, 2019, 11:43 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sourav Ganguly's name got embroiled in controversy when a complaint was filed against him in relation to conflict of interest. The former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, who is Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President and also Delhi Capitals advisor has rejected all the allegations that were levied against him.

Speaking to IANS, a senior BCCI official said that Ganguly made his stance clear. Dada wrote a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ombudsman and ethics officer D.K. Jain and cleared his stand on the controversial issue. Earlier, D.K. Jain had written a letter to Ganguly wherein he asked him to come clean on this sensitive matter.

“At present I do not hold any post whatsoever or howsoever in the BCCI. I am neither a member of the Apex Council of the BCCI nor an office bearer nor a member of any of the Cricket Committees constituted by the BCCI under its Constitution.

“I am also not connected with the administration, management or running of the IPL by being a member of any of the committees or other organisational units set up by the BCCI in connection with the IPL.

“Previously I had been a part of the BCCI Technical Committee; the IPL Technical Committee and the IPL Governing Council.

“I have resigned and/or withdrawn myself from all the said Committees. I am not a part of any committee/council/entity which has control or supervisory power or powers of management or administration of the IPL,” Ganguly’s letter read.

Conflict of interest has been a major issue in the Indian cricket ever since the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal broke out.

News Cricket

I don't think there's been a better player than Lionel Messi ever – Rahul Dravid

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 11:28 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian skipper and current coach of India A and U-19 teams, Rahul Dravid is a die-hard football fan. He has been seen in attendance during some of the matches of Indian Super League. Meanwhile, Dravid witnessed the marquee La Liga clash between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

He was presented with a customized Barcelona jersey on his visit to the historic venue. Dravid shared his experience about watching the match, which was posted by the Catalan club on their official Facebook account.

"It's incredible, it's a huge honour, it's one of the things I've always wanted to do - come to Camp Nou and watch a football match. To be here and experience the atmosphere, it's absolutely electric," said Dravid.

He hailed Lionel Messi for his performance. "To be able to watch players like Messi and Suarez play live, it's fantastic for me and my family. Thanks to Barcelona FC for the hospitality, it's been excellent," Dravid said.

"He's an absolute genius. It's incredible to watch what he does and to watch him live... One thing to see with Messi is how fantastic he is with the ball but it is incredible to see how good he is without the ball and how he is able to find spaces. I don't think there's been a better player than him ever. It's fantastic to watch him live," the 46-year-old added.

News Cricket

South Africa cricketer killed in road accident

Staff Writer Updated: 8 April, 2019, 11:09 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former South Africa Women’s World Cup cricketer Elriesa Theunissen-Fourie and her child lost their lives in a fatal car crash. The accident took place in the northwestern mining town of Stilfontein. The 25-yeal old played three ODIs and one Twenty20 and was part of the 2013 World Cup squad.

“This is a dreadful tragedy in the true sense of that word,” said Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Thabang Moroe. “This is devastating news for all of us.

“Elriesa did so much for the community in which she lived and gave excellent service both as a national player and in the work she did at grassroots level.

“On behalf of the CSA family, I extend our deepest sympathy to her husband, her family, friends and all her cricketing colleagues.”

News Cricket

"RCB’s failure this IPL will be a blessing in disguise for Indian cricket"

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 April, 2019, 10:55 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Royal Challengers Bangalore's poor form continued in the game against Delhi Capitals as well on Sunday. Now, they have lost their first six games. The Virat Kohli-led side are the only team in the IPL to not have won even a single game thus far. They are at the bottom of the IPL points table.

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have failed to score consistently and as a result, the already imbalanced side are having a disastrous campaign. Sunil Gavaskar, however, thinks it can be blessing in disguise for Indian cricket if RCB continue to falter like this.

“If RCB don’t qualify, as seems likely as of now, then it could well be a blessing in disguise for Indian cricket. Firstly, it will mean a week off for the Indian skipper to recharge his batteries for the ICC World Cup 2019 and from a superstitious point of view, it could mean that all the luck that he didn’t have in the IPL has been kept for the World Cup,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for MID-DAY on Monday.

“That is what India wants, for the World Cup comes every four years while the IPL is every and so winning the World Cup is far more important that winning the IPL this year,” he added.

News Cricket

"Andre Russell is a BILLION DOLLAR man for KKR"

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 April, 2019, 5:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

With scores of 49, 48, 62 and 48 in first 4 matches in the IPL so far, the big man from West Indies, Andre Russell is on fire. His strike-rate has been 268.83 and the KKR finisher has hit more sixes (22) than fours (17) in the ongoing edition of the cash-rich league. He is hitting sixes every 3.5 deliveries.

"We keep putting him in tough situations and he keeps lifting his game. He is just too good," said KKR opener and hard-hitting batsman, Chris Lynn. "Two-hundred and fifteen was probably par on that wicket. Both teams gave opportunities. We dropped Kohli and AB de Villiers and RCB also dropped a couple of chances. Luck was on our side. Change of fortune for us. It is unbelievable and entertaining for us. He keeps doing it. He is a billion dollar man for KKR," he added.

In Kolkata's last game against Bangalore, Russell smoked seven sixes and a four in his 13-ball 48-run knock that helped KKR beat RCB from jaws of defeat.

News Cricket

What is making Sunil Gavaskar depressed? Find out here

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 April, 2019, 5:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian cricketer, Sunil Gavaskar is feeling "depressed" and "disappointed" over one of the laws of the game that has divided the cricketing community in last week or two. We are talking about the so-called "mankading" law, which has become a talking point ever since Ashwin used this form of dismissal to run-out Jos Buttler in the game against Rajasthan Royals.

However, Gavaskar doesn't have problems with the law itself rather the name of the law, which is after former Indian cricketer, Vinoo Mankad. Gavaskar finds the name of the law as disrespectful towards Vinoo Mankad.

“Just because over 70 years back a lazy foreign journalist called a run-out of Bill Brown the Australian non-striker for backing up out of his crease by Vinoo Mankad as being ‘Mankaded’ the term has stuck,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for The Times of India.

He added, “That Brown had been warned more than once by Mankad and still continued to transgress was overlooked and even after Sir Don Brahman found nothing wrong in Vinoo Mankad’s action the media called it Mankaded.”

“It really has been depressing and disappointing reading the Indian media over the last few days. The lack of respect shown to an Indian legend and referring the run-out by a bowler as ‘Mankad’ is indeed very sad,” he wrote.