News Cricket

After retirement u-turn, Rayudu opens up on '3D glasses' tweet and World Cup "disappointment"

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 September, 2019, 3:18 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Ambati Rayudu was considered unfortunate after he missed the flight to England for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Initially, India's chief selector said that Vijay Shankar's 3-dimensional skills got him the nod over Rayudu, who was playing at the no.4 position for India in the lead up to the World Cup.

But, after that despite injuries to players from India's World Cup squad, Rayudu was not picked and players like Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal were selected over him, which angered Rayudu up to an extent that he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket including IPL.

But recently, he took a u-turn, and announced his comeback to cricket and made himself available for the upcoming season of IPL. Rayudu has now said that he was left shattered after the World Cup snub.

“I was very disappointed,” Rayudu was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. "I mean, anyone would be because I had worked so hard for it. I was very prepared for that specific role at No. 4, but maybe their idea of No. 4 might have changed all of a sudden. Maybe they just wanted something else…I’m not too sure,” he added.

He also opened on whether he regrets his 3D glass tweet post his non-selection or not a. The Hyderabad cricketer said, “Not at all. If it comes down to such things…I don’t know how to put it, but I don’t think that would’ve played any part. And if it did, I can’t imagine what cricketers must be going through honestly.”

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News Cricket

Shakib Al Hasan doesn't have much interest in Test cricket: BCB chief

Staff Writer Updated: 12 September, 2019, 4:52 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Shakib Al Hasan is the no.2 ranked Test all-rounder in ICC rankings. But Bangladesh cricket chief Nazmul Hassan feels the Bangladesh captain doesn't have much liking for the longer version of the game.

Interestingly, the veteran Bangladeshi all-rounder has 3,862 Test runs at an average close to 40 while he also has 210 wickets at 31.12, which is really good for an all-rounder. The 32 years old did express reservations about captaincy in the aftermath of the loss against Afghanistan.

"We have noticed he did not have much interest in Test (cricket). You have seen that when we were touring foreign countries, he wanted to have a break during the Tests,” BCB chief Nazmul told reporters in Dhaka.

“Naturally he might have less interest. But we never heard that he has less interest in captaincy. If he is skipper, then he has to play. If you are not skipper, then you can skip,” he said.

“It will be best if I didn’t have to lead,” Shakib told reporters after the Afghanistan loss. “I personally believe it will be good for my game.

“And if I have to continue leading, then obviously there is a lot to discuss about (with the board),” he said.

News Cricket

Shubman Gill replaces KL Rahul for Tests against SA

Staff Writer Updated: 12 September, 2019, 4:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India have announced their Test squad for three-match Test series against South Africa. Shubman Gill has replaced opener KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav has also not found a place in India's squad. Barring that, there is no change in the team that traveled to West Indies for two Tests.

The likes of Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran, who were also said to be in the fray for selection have been overlooked. Recently, Shubman Gill had made 90 runs against South Africa A and before that he had become the youngest double centurion for India in first-class cricket against West Indies A. Rohit Sharma might well get a shot in the Test team as an opener this time around.

India’s squad for 3 Tests: Virat Kohli (Capt), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk),Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill

News Cricket

MS Dhoni to announce retirement today?

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

HIGHLIGHT

On Thursday morning, Indian skipper, Virat Kohli shared a photo from India's memorable win over Australia in the 2016 World T20, giving tribute to then captain MS Dhoni for putting Kohli on a fitness test in that game. From then onwards, people are speculating that Dhoni will be announcing retirement today and it was Kohli's way of giving tribute to Dhoni.

Kohli had captioned the picture and tweeted, 'A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test'.

Social media is abuzz with messages that former Indian captain has called for a press conference at 7 pm today to announce his retirement from all forms of the game. There is no official confirmation or announcement yet.

News Cricket

"I just love him," Rishabh Pant on MS Dhoni

AP Updated: 12 September, 2019, 4:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant is often compared with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He faces much more sticks than he deserves at times because of the fact that he is seen as an apparent heir of MS Dhoni. The great MS Dhoni, who is one of the greatest Indian cricketers ever forget just about wicket-keepers. MS Dhoni fans also have a gala time when it comes to criticizing Rishabh Pant. But despite all this, Rishabh Pant absolutely loves his Mahi Bhai.

"I just love him. I am focussing on my cricket and taking one match at a time. I am trying to improve every day," Pant said at an event.

Pant didn't have the best of tours against West Indies. The southpaw could make just one fifty across formats and was largely inconsistent. But, he wants to improve his game than focusing much on his failures.

"The team played really well (in the West Indies). I am looking forward to improving myself and helping team India to win more matches," said Pant reflecting on the Windies tour.

News Cricket

Steve Smith will captain Australia again: Mark Taylor

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 September, 2019, 3:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Australian captain, Mark Taylor is confident that Steve Smith will captain Australia again. Smith is having a memorable time in England at the moment and he has taken the Ashes series by storm. The ongoing Ashes is his Test comeback after he was banned for 12 months. Smith was found guilty of ball-tampering in Cape Town Test, last year. The ace batsman was also suspended from any leadership role for two years, which will culminate in March next year.

Mark Taylor said, "I was on the Cricket Australia board that determined the penalties for Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft over the events of Cape Town and have no doubt he will be a better leader next time around because of the very harsh lessons he learned."

"To me, it's not a matter of whether he (Smith) becomes captain again on April 1. It doesn't have to happen that quickly," he said.

"But I'd like to think when Paine is finished as Test captain -- whether that's in six months' time or two or three years -- he would be a candidate to lead the side again."

Australia's incumbent captain, Tim Paine is close to becoming Australia's first captain to win a Test series in England since 2001. Australia are leading the Ashes series 2-1 and need a draw or win in the final Test match at the Oval to script history.

News Cricket

Dilip Vengsarkar questions Kohli for overlooking Rohit Sharma from WI Tests

Staff Writer Updated: 12 September, 2019, 2:33 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

There is a lot of talk going about the potential future of India's limited-overs vice-captain, Rohit Sharma in Test cricket. With him not getting any younger and emergence of young turks in domestic cricket, now a time has come where things are in the do-or-die state for India's seasoned cricketer. Former Indian cricketer and selector, Dilip Vengsarkar has, however, backed Rohit to deliver the goods against South Africa in the three-match home Test series.

"To make him bat in the opening position or No. 3 or 4 doesn’t really make much of a difference. It is just about the mental state. It is a good thing that he will be opening; he will get a dedicated slot to bat in. He is a world-class player and has proved it. Give him a platform, and he will perform. He delivered when the whole world was watching during his innings [of 140] against Pakistan in the World Cup. He is a big-match player, so I am sure he will succeed," Vengsarkar said.

The 63-year-old added, "Leaving a player like Rohit out of the playing XI was very surprising. He is a world-class player. Would the team management have dropped him if we were playing a strong team like England or Australia? “After scoring five centuries in the World Cup and being in such great form, it was unfair to leave him out of the playing XI. We don’t know why he was dropped."

News Cricket

Steve Smith will 'always be known as a cheat': Monty Panesar

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 September, 2019, 12:42 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Steve Smith has been simply sensational in the Ashes 2019. The former Australian captain has made 671 runs at an average of 134.20 with three centuries and two fifties in five outings. He has been one of the biggest differences between the two sides. His Test career average has also reached close to 65. Smith is the no.1 ranked batsman in Test cricket.

But some former England players are insisting that despite his golden run, Smith will always be remembered as a cheat for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. After Steve Harmison, Monty Panesar has also opined that Smith will always be known as a "cheat".

In an interview with The Times of India, Panesar compared Smith's disgraceful moment against South Africa to footballer Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal against England in the World Cup.

"(Steve) Smith was probably honest with himself. He is back and doing what he always loves to do. He is batting well and scoring runs. He is a traditional Australian cricketer with the baggy green. He is exactly what an Australian cricketer looks like," said Panesar.

"We all have heard of great (Diego) Maradona and his hand goal (hand of God) in the World Cup. People remember him because of that goal. Similarly, people will always remember Smith's involvement in the ball-tampering episode during the Test against South Africa. He will always be known as a cheat, despite scoring huge number of runs.

"There is no doubt though, that he is a great talent. He has been phenomenal for Australian cricket. After some years, I am not sure how people will treat him. When his name will be placed alongside great cricketers then there will be a question that is he really a great or just a good cricketer who is also a cheat," added the former English cricketer.

Feature Cricket

The Rohit Sharma conundrum

Partab Ramchand Updated: 12 September, 2019, 12:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

So everything is hunky-dory about Indian cricket? The team continues to be No 1 in the ICC rankings, they are winning Test series both at home and away, the batting is strong, there is plenty of variety in the spin bowling and the pace attack never had it so good.

But wait, there is a major problem and this exists at the top of the batting order. For some time now the Indians have struggled to get off to a good start and as the sporting adage goes ``well begun is half done.’’ Various combinations have been tried out but none has really succeeded. So it is back to the drawing board as far as the opening slots are concerned.

This is where Rohit Sharma comes in and that is why there has been so much talk about his skill and experience being required at the top of the order. There is of course a big difference between Tests and ODIs and not everyone can be successful in both formats. Rohit is a prime example of this. In the shorter format he is one of the best batsmen in the contemporary game. No other single stat symbolizes this better than being the only batsmen with three hundreds in ODIs – no other player has more than one. His recent feat of scoring five hundreds in the World Cup only enhanced his reputation.

Hailing from the Bombay school of batting Rohit should have been a natural for Test cricket but his record is not in keeping with his skill, class and experience. Three hundreds in 27 matches – and two of these came in his first two innings in Test cricket – and an average of 39 is not something that Rohit will be happy about. He will also not be pleased with the fact that he has got only one half century in his last eight innings. Another stat against his name is also not very complimentary – he averages 26 in 18 away Tests.

Interestingly Rohit who is natural as an opener in ODIs has never opened in Tests. He has batted in every position from No 3 to No 6 but with the search now on for a new opener why not Rohit is the question being openly asked. The series against South Africa is at home where Rohit averages 85 after nine Tests. Given this record it is hard to ignore his claims even if he will be opening for the first time.

Rohit however has got competition from many a young talent among them Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran. It now all depends on the selectors whether they opt for youth or experience.

News Cricket

Ben Stokes won’t bowl in 5th Ashes Test

AP Updated: 12 September, 2019, 10:31 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

England dropped batsman Jason Roy for the fifth Ashes test against Australia on Wednesday.

Roy failed to impress in the first four matches of the series, which Australia leads 2-1 and will retain the urn.

The final test starts Thursday at The Oval.

England seamer Craig Overton was also dropped. Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, who made way for Overton in the last match at Old Trafford, will take the places of Roy and Overton, respectively.

The England and Wales Cricket Board also said Ben Stokes will bat but not bowl in the match because of a shoulder injury.

England captain Joe Root said Roy had missed out because of Stokes' injury.

"(We) had to change the balance of the side, and Jason's the unfortunate one to miss out," Root said.

Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh replaced Travis Head.

News Cricket

Sri Lanka cricket team warned about Pakistan terror threat

AP Updated: 12 September, 2019, 10:25 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Sri Lankan cricket board says it has been warned about a possible terrorist threat during its planned tour of Pakistan and called for a reassessment of the security situation before play starts in two weeks.

The SLC said in a statement that the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's Office "has received reliable information of a possible terrorist threat on the Sri Lankan team, while touring Pakistan. Hence, SLC has been advised to take extreme care, and 'reassess' the situation, before embarking on the said tour."

The tour is set to start Sept. 27 with a one-day international in Karachi. Ten of Sri Lanka's top players, including Twenty20 captain Lasith Malinga and one-day international skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, have already pulled out of the limited-overs tour because of security concerns.

Pakistan has not hosted a test match since Sri Lanka's team bus was attacked by terrorists in 2009. Eight people were killed during the ambush and several Sri Lankan players were also injured.

The upcoming tour was originally set to begin with test matches, but the schedule was flipped after discussions between the heads of the two cricket boards. The two-test series is now scheduled for December.

Karachi is set to host three one-day internationals while three Twenty20s will be played at Lahore on Oct. 5, 7 and 9.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said it has not received any information about a terrorist threat.

"The PCB reiterates its commitment to provide complete safety and security to the SL side and in this relation will continue to work with the SLC," it said in a statement.

A high-level SLC security delegation visited both cities last month and was satisfied with the security arrangements made by the PCB for the visiting team.

Over the past three years, Pakistan has successfully hosted Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, and a World XI for limited-overs matches amid intense security as it tries to win back confidence of foreign teams to restart fully fledged international cricket at home.

News Cricket

MSK Prasad discloses why KulCha didn't even make it to T20Is against SA

Harshit Anand Updated: 11 September, 2019, 5:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

From once being India's most dangerous bowling pair to not even finding a place in the T20I squad, KulCha (Kuldeep and Chahal) are certainly going through a rough patch. Things have gone downhill for them after they disappointed in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, where India failed to progress to the finale after losing the semi-final encounter at the hands of New Zealand.

MSK Prasad-led selection committee picked leg-spinner Rahul Chahar along with Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya for the three-match T20I series against South Africa.

“In order to bring variety in the spin bowling department, we have been trying youngsters keeping in view of the T20 World Cup in Australia. Chahal and Kuldeep have been outstanding performers in the shorter formats in the last two years. They are definitely ahead in the race now. It’s just that we are trying few other options now,” Prasad said in an interview with India Today.

India's chief selector also applauded India's young players, who are performing well at the international stage. “In shorter formats, we have seen Shreyas Iyer emerging as a matured batsman who can play to the situations and demands of the team and deliver accordingly. Similarly, we have seen Navdeep Saini, Krunal Pandya, Washington (Sundar) progressing well in shorter formats,” he said.

Feature Cricket

Remembering the greatest Test series between India and South Africa in India

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 11 September, 2019, 5:02 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Almost every contest between South Africa and India has been memorable, spawning greater challenges and whetting the appetite for more contests between the two teams. While it is a rather subjective issue to pick from the sentimental first Test series in South Africa in 1992 under the Friendship series guise to the battle between champions in 2011, South Africa’s tour of India in 1996-’97 takes the cake simply because of the manner in which both teams battled it out before India ceded home advantage albeit temporarily.

It is ironic that South Africa could not retain Lance Klusener for the Test tour of the current series because few know better the initiation by fire than the all-rounder also known as Zulu. “I wished the ground would open up and swallow me,” was how Lance Klusener described the hammering he took on debut in the first innings when Mohammad Azharuddin decided to tee off at will at the hallowed Eden Gardens, scoring 109 runs off only seventy-seven balls, equally Kapil Dev for the fastest Test century by an Indian batsman.

But despite that pulverizing, Klusener reserved his own special debut which he earmarked with spectacular bowling figures of eight wickets for sixty-four in India’s second innings as South Africa went to win the Test in Indian soil, the first time a foreign beat India in a Test match on their own soil since Pakistan accomplished the feat in 1986-‘87.

South Africa’s comeback was even more impressive from the point of view that it seemed that they had the game wrapped up in the first Test in Ahmedabad when they were left to chase 170 runs for a win. However, what they did see coming was a determined Javagal Srinath fired up and running in with lethal intentions at Motera. South Africa’s dreams were agonizingly stolen by a larger man with a lion hearted performance. Srinath’s six wicket spell conceding just twenty-one runs put paid to South Africa’s efforts, making this a rare game when an Indian fast bowler held the decisive upper hand on the dust bowls.

The series decider then became the al-important match with Kanpur the venue to call forth the winners. Although South Africa did wrest the initiative in Kolkata, India got their back in Kanpur. Once again it was Javagal Srinath and Mohammad Azharuddin in an extraordinary effort on a difficult pitch that edged out South Africa. Azharuddin was once again on song with the bat and Srinath kept wrecking South Africa with wickets. South Africa did not have answers for Kanpur and it decimated their early efforts in the series. Eventually India won the hard-fought contest by a 2-1 to make it one of the most exciting, memorable moments in cricket history, leave alone the two nations.

News Cricket

Sanjay Bangar reveals how he helped Kohli and Rohit become better batsmen

Staff Writer Updated: 11 September, 2019, 4:52 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sanjay Bangar‘s five-year stint as batting coach of the Indian cricket team culminated as soon as India's tour of West Indies came to an end. Generally, people in India have their reservations about lesser successful players coaching the heavyweights of the Indian cricket team.

They are of the opinion, let's say, in case of Sanjay Bangar, if he is good enough to coach Indian batsmen like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, why didn't he apply all those principles and methods during his playing days to become a better player himself. The coach's playing credentials often come in the way of judging a coach itself, which is baffling, to say the least.

In an interview with Times of India, Sanjay Bangar opened up on how he helped premier Indian batsmen like Virat Kohli, Rohit, Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujaraa and Shikhar Dhawan. It's in a way a sneek peak to how a lesser successful player helped big names of the Indian cricket team.

“Virat always looks to iron out deficiencies. We worked on his alignments, positioning on the crease, his approach in seaming conditions. With Rohit, we worked on his head position to overcome problems against incoming deliveries from right/left arm angles,” Bangar told TOI.

Bangar, who represented India in 12 Tests and 15 ODIs, also said he helped India's limited-overs format vice-captain, Rohit Sharma improve his "head position" to play "incoming deliveries" from right/left arm angles.

The 46 years old also described what changes he brought to respective games of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara, which brought them much more success than before.

“Shikhar was initially considered to be an off-side player, he used to stay beside the line of the ball. We worked on how he could get behind the line and open up scoring areas and overcome his dismissals against the short ball. In Pujara’s case, we worked on reducing the width of his stance and being more upright. It is to their credit that they worked to unlearn old methods,” said Bangar.

News Cricket

SL minister rejects Fawad Chaudhry's claims, says India not behind players pulling out of Pak tour

Staff Writer Updated: 11 September, 2019, 4:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sri Lanka minister Harin Fernando has rejected claims made by Pakistan Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry that India had forced the Lankan players to opt out of the tour of Pakistan.

Fernando, who is Sri Lanka's sports minister, stated that players have opted out of the tour considering what happened in 2009 when Sri Lanka's team bus was attacked by terrorists.

"No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan. Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team & we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan," he tweeted on Tuesday night.

Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella are not going to Pakistan.

Earlier, Fawad Chaudhry had blamed India stating the players from Sri Lanka were told that there IPL contracts would be terminated if they decide to opt for Pakistan tour.

"Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they will be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities," Chaudhry tweeted on Tuesday.

News Cricket

Pandya vs Pandya in training: Watch which brother wins the battle

Staff Writer Updated: 11 September, 2019, 4:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Hardik and Krunal, the two Pandya brothers, have come a long way in their careers. They both will be donning the Indian jersey in the upcoming T20 series against South Africa. Ahead of the series, Hardik and Krunal went through an intense training session.

In a video posted by Hardik Pandya, he can be seen hitting long sixes off Krunal's bowling.

"Pandya vs Pandya in training. I think I won that round big bro @krunalpandya24. P.S: Sorry for almost knocking your head off," Hardik tweeted.

Krunal Pandya responded back by sharing a video where he can be seen foxing the 25-year old all-rounder.

"Hahaha it's all cool bro but why didn't you upload this video? ?????? @hardikpandya7," the tweet read.

The home series against South Africa will be Hardik's first outing after the World Cup. He was rested from the tour of the West Indies keeping his workload in mind.

India are scheduled to play three T20Is and three Test matches against South Africa at home.

Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill are ready to take over whenever the seniors strike a poor patch, are injured or out of favour.