News Cricket

Ashish Nehra pens down 5 reasons why Rishabh Pant should be in India’s World Cup squad

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 10:26 PM IST


Ashish Nehra feels Rishabh Pant should be a part of India's World Cup squad as he is a genuine match winner, power hitter and a back-up opener. The former Indian pacer gave five reasons for the left hand batsman's inclusion in the team.

“In a team, there will always be contributors but at a big event like the World Cup, you need players with X-factor. Rishabh Pant is not a mere contributor but a pure match-winner who should be picked for the World Cup,” Nehra said.

According to him, Men in Blue need a left hand batsman as there aren't many in the team.

“If you look at India’s batting line up, save Shikhar (Dhawan), there aren’t any left-handers in the top seven. You need variety with a left-right combination, where Rishabh perfectly fits,” he reasoned.

The senior statesman stated that Pant can bat at any position between 1 to 7.

“Rishabh can bat at any position between No. 1 to 7 and so Virat (Kohli) and the team management can use him as a floater,” said Nehra.

Nehra is impressed with Pant’s ability to hit effortless sixes.

“If it comes to effortlessly hitting sixes, Rishabh comes second only to Rohit Sharma with his big-hitting ability. India will need that in abundance during the World Cup,” Nehra said.

Nehra felt Pant can win matches single-handedly.

“No disrespect, this team has three clear match-winners and they are Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. For me, the fourth one is going to be Rishabh Pant. Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik are all fantastic players but they are all in the same mould. You need X-factor which this boy possesses,” he added.

Nehra further added both Pant and Karthik can represent India in the World Cup.

“As I have already said, Rishabh could also be your third opener, so DK (as Karthik is referred to) could be your middle order batter,” he said.

Nehra said looking at Karthik and Pant as second and third wicketkeepers is wrong.

“I don’t look at it from that perspective. If Rishabh and DK are being picked ahead of specialist batsmen like Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer, then you are looking at them as specialist batsmen.

“So why complicate the thought process. As it is we have the peerless MS Dhoni behind stumps so treat both as specialist batsmen,” he concluded.

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News Cricket

Pulwama terror attack: Condemnation, condolences pour in from cricket fraternity

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 9:53 PM IST


More than 40 security personnel have been martyred in a gruesome attack on the covey of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy by terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, who rammed an explosive laden car into the vehicle carrying security personnel.

This tragic news of the CRPF jawans being killed has sent a shockwave across the country and condolences for the families of the deceased jawans have poured in from across the country.

The attack was condemned by cricket fraternity, who took to Twitter to send their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack.

VVS Laxman, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir and Mohammed Kaif were left devastated after hearing the news of terror attack on CRPF convey.

Feature Cricket

Missing the Point Altogether!

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 14 February, 2019, 5:17 PM IST


This is not an uncommon gaffe amongst commentators these days: to err beyond measure, beyond belief even, and then to continue to hold the privilege of the microphone to make sweeping statements about the sport when the fan has traditionally looked for more from the commentators he/she has revered in the past. Even more dangerously, it tends to overshadow the real issue at hand.

The Joe Root versus Shannon Gabriel tiff on the field quickly became Sanjay Manjrekar versus Twitter, overshadowing once more the more crucial aspect of addressing the on-field argument in the first place. And the worst part is that the former Indian cricketer and a quiet opener at that appears to be making calls that would perpetuate such insensitive behaviour on the field.

Shannon Gabriel, the West Indies fast bowler, appeared to have called Joe Root, the England captain, gay judging by the response that came forth from the latter in the course of the third Test in St. Lucia. Root’s response, caught on the stump microphones as the umpires tried to break up the verbal tiff, had Gabriel in hot water even as the match progressed thereafter.

However, in what is increasingly becoming a common scenario amongst commentators who are not appropriately trained for the job but inducted by mere virtue of being former cricketers, there is often a comment or two that does not go unnoticed despite the necessary, almost monotonous drivel that is dished out these days in the name of commentary. While loudness and abrasiveness have replaced knowledge, equanimity and objectivity, there has, also, been a case when the commentator has been exposed only too easily and unfortunately as a sign of falling standards in the sports and not always just limited to the field.

What happened on the field should have been addressed, not the faux pas on the part of the commentators. This is not the first time Manjrekar has made comments that seem out of tune with the sports and with the times. The last time he alluded to mental illnesses and this time he is willing to cover up equally serious issues by suggesting that the solution to the Gabriel-Root argument is to turn off the stump microphones!

How does turning off the stump microphone highlight the issue of players’ sensitivity training to matters of race, age, gender and sexual orientation and how does it then eradicate the malaise in the sport? Instead of nipping the matter in the bud, it allows the sportspersons in question to get away with anything at a time when sledging has become an issue and the degree to which it is harmful not only to the team at the receiving end but also, to the team perpetuating it.

It was, also, one of the concerns raised when Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, included in his apology that while alluding to the race of a South African cricketer, he did not intended for his comments to be aired. How does a statement not being aired make it alright? There are still two people involved, one doing the damage and the other potentially incurring the damage. It is quite astounding that in this day and age there are no media spinners for these players as well as publicity agents who would know better to check the apology releases before they are made public.

Likewise, it seems commentators, particularly former players turned commentators, could use an opportunity to rewind to earlier times when the person holding the microphone outside of the cricket field, also, held privilege and responsibility to convey the game as it evolves, to allude to the game that came before, and also, to respectfully and thoughtfully raise the thinking for the fascinated listener about the potential changes that would make the game even better.

Instead the scenario has become such that the attention has moved away from a rather relevant, worthy issue at hand to a rather callous one, which is not how the game works, or should work.

Feature Cricket

India's Predicted Squad for Australia ODIs

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 5:15 PM IST


India will take on Australia in five-match ODI series preceded by two T20Is that commence from February 24. It will be the final chance for India to get their act together as, after this series, India's next international assignment will be the 50-overs World Cup. Australian cricket might be on a decline but they are still the reigning champions and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are considered certainties in the team for the World Cup. But for others spots team India are in a fix.

There is still a question mark on India's reserve opener especially after India dropped Rahul in controversial circumstances. Shubman Gill was in New Zealand as a back-up opener but after his lackluster performances, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul are back in contention. KL Rahul looked in fine form in the four-day games against the England Lions scoring 89 and 81 in the last two knocks while Rahane's was back in headlines after chief Indian selector, MSK Prasad revealed that he is pretty much in the plans.

For the spot of reserve wicket-keeper, there is stiff competition between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. It is likely that both will be tried and tested in the upcoming Australia series. Rishabh Pant impressed with 40 and 28 in the second and third T20I internationals in New Zealand. Karthik also has been doing well in the white-ball format as a finisher, for a while now.

Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami have nailed their World Cup spots, but there is a four-way race for the place of the fourth seamer. Khaleel Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj are the four contenders.

Khaleel Ahmed and Mohammed Siraj have been disappointing. There is a suggestion that India might field Unadkat in Australia series and there is a toss-up between him and Khaleel. The Saurashtra pacer, Unadkat has experience and also provides the variation of a left-arm pacer. Umesh Yadav has also thrown his hat in the ring with impressive displays in Vidarbha's Ranji trophy win.

Krunal Pandya was Man-of-the-Match in the second T20I against New Zealand while he displayed supreme power-hitting the series-decider but there are no indications to a two-way battle between like-for-like players, Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal Pandya for the slot of spinning all-rounder.

Men in Blue are likely to field their strongest squad in initial games. But in the latter part of the series, we might see experimentation in full-swing with India trying to get their best possible combination going in the World Cup.

Indian skipper, Virat Kohli will be back in action after being rested for the final two ODIs and the whole of three-match T20I series against New Zealand. 

The squad for the series will be picked by MSK Prasad-led senior selection committee on Friday, February 15.

First choice: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed.

Options for a part of the series (Last two/three ODIs): Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammed Shami.

News Cricket

How Men in Blue are celebrating Valentine’s Day

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 5:12 PM IST


Cricketers are celebrating Valentine’s Day with their partners. After hectic tours of Australia and New Zealand, Indian cricketers are spending quality time at home. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina took to social networking sites to post pictures with their wives. While Virat Kohli went out for dinner with wife Anushka Sharma on the eve of Valentine’s Day at his restaurant Nueva, Rohit Sharma posted a picture of Ritika Sajdeh to wish her Valentine's Day. Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina also wished their wives on social media.

Kohli and Anushka enjoyed their time in New Zealand after Indian skipper was rested from the last two ODIs and T20 series. Rohit and Ritika were blessed with a baby girl and Rohit had to return mid-day during the Test series in Australia.

Here's how they celebrated Valentine's Day...

View this post on Instagram

How you doing my valentine ? @ritssajdeh

A post shared by Rohit Sharma (@rohitsharma45) on

View this post on Instagram

#happyvalentinesday #Love @priyankacraina

A post shared by Suresh Raina (@sureshraina3) on

News Cricket

VVS Laxman names his two favorites for 2019 Cricket World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 14 February, 2019, 3:05 PM IST


The 2019 Cricket World Cup is just a few months away. Cricket pundits are busy in picking their favorites, naming the ideal XI and different things related to the ICC megaevent. Former Indian batsman, VVS Laxman has named India and England as favorites for the 50-overs World Cup, which will commence on May 30. Laxman, however, maintained that teams need to get their best game forward at the right time.

"It's all about peaking at the right time which is so important. The World Cup is a long format so every player should be at his best physically and mentally if India has to win the World Cup. They start as favourites. For me, India and England start as favourites," Laxman was quoted as saying by IANS.

The Men in Blue recently completed a highly successful tour Down Under. They won Test and ODI series in Australia while they ended up as winners in New Zealand ODIs as well.

Laxman reflected on the win and said, "I think brilliant. The way they played, I would like to congratulate the entire team. The way they played right from the Australia series to the New Zealand series... and it's not only one or two players who have put their hand up. Everyone has contributed. So it's great to see bowling and batting departments contribute," he added.

News Cricket

Gautam Gambhir discloses his biggest regret in life

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:50 PM IST


Former Indian cricketer, Gautam Gambhir was key to India's 2007 WT20 and 2011 World Cup triumphs. He top-scored for India in both the games when it mattered the most. Gambhir has been the epitome of resilience and determination. But, despite achieving big things in life, there is one thing that Gautam Gambhir deeply regrets in his life.

"It was pure destiny and had I not played Ranji Trophy in 12th (standard), I would have definitely gone into the NDA because that was my first love and it still remains my first love. In fact, my only regret in life is that I couldn't join the army," Gambhir said at a book launch, as quoted by PTI.

India's World Cup hero has, however, found another way to stay connected with his first love. His foundation looks after the children of army martyrs and that is one thing that has got him loads of appreciation from people.

"So when I got into cricket I decided that the best thing I can do now is contribute in what has always been my first love ... and I started this foundation that looks after the children of all the martyrs," Gambhir said.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni set to have stand named after him at JSCA Cricket Stadium

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:47 PM IST


Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni will have a stand named after him at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium in Ranchi. The South Stand at the stadium will be known as 'MS Dhoni pavilion' and a placard has already been installed.

To honor his achievement and service to the game, his home association has decided to name a stand after him. An official announcement is expected to be named when India play Australia in the 3rd ODI of the upcoming series.

MS Dhoni, who made his international debut in 2004, led India to two World Cup titles - ICC World T20 in 2007 and ICC 50-over World Cup in 2011.

He is the only skipper in the world to have won all major ICC trophies.

The Ranchi lad is one of the most successful cricketers of all time in international arena.

News Cricket

Aww! Rohit Sharma Posts Adorable Picture With Daughter Samaira

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:35 PM IST


  • Rohit Sharma took to Instagram to post a picture with his daughter
  • He landed in Mumbai after the grueling tours of Australia and New Zealand
  • Men in Blue are likely to rest Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma took to Instagram to post a picture with his daughter Samaira resting on his chest.

He landed in Mumbai after the grueling tours of Australia and New Zealand where he led the team in Virat Kohli's absence (New Zealand).

"This is special, so good to be back," Rohit captioned the post.


This is special, so good to be back ❤️

A post shared by Rohit Sharma (@rohitsharma45) on

Under his leadership, India lost the fourth ODI but came back to outgun the rivals in the final match of the series, winning 4-1 in the end. However, Men in Blue lost the three-match T20I series 1-2 after losing the first and final match.

India will now take on Australia in two-match T20 series and five ODIS. Men in Blue are likely to rest Rohit Sharma for some part of the upcoming matches to give him a much-needed break keeping his workload in mind.

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Videos Cricket

Watch: Martin Guptill interviewed by better half Laura McGoldrick after match winning knock

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:30 PM IST


Martin Guptill carried his bat for 117 as New Zealand eased to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first of three one-day internationals.

Bangladesh was bowled out for 232 in 48.5 overs after batting first on winning the toss. New Zealand surpassed that total at 233-2 with 33 balls to spare.

Guptill locked in his place in the New Zealand squad for the World Cup in England later this year with a confident, match-winning century from 116 balls which included eight boundaries and four sixes. While his selection might have been automatic in the past, Guptill was under pressure after a recent run of low scores.

He made 138 in his first ODI innings of the season against Sri Lanka, returning to the New Zealand team after a long injury break. But he didn't score more than 15 in his next seven one-day matches against Sri Lanka and India and also lost the chance to press his World Cup selection claims when he missed New Zealand's T20 series against India with a back injury.

He demonstrated an ability to anchor an innings, in which he hit a six from the penultimate ball of the match to tie the scores.

Guptill was interviewed by none other than his better during the post-match presentation ceremony.

He praised his teammates for the way they played in the first ODI against Bangladesh.

"It feels nice but I think the most pleasing thing was the way the guys really restricted Bangladesh up front with the ball," Guptill said. "We made them tough to get away and losing four wickets in the top 10 is hard to come back from," said Guptill while speaking to his wife.

Here’s the video

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Bumrah reveals how he's able to bowl toe-crushing Yorkers

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:28 PM IST


Jasprit Bumrah is the best fast bowler in the world at the moment. The Indian pacer has become Team India's most threatening bowler since making his debut in 2016. He has been phenomenal across formats and was simply sensation in Test cricket in 2018. Bumrah's variations are tough to pick especially his toe-crushing Yorkers. The 25-year old has revealed the secret behind his most lethal weapon.

"As a kid, I played a lot of tennis ball cricket and with the tennis ball, you can bowl only one kind of a delivery. There's the length in question, no bouncers. There's only one ball that you have to practice. At that time, I played for fun. But later, when you start playing serious cricket, you realize the importance of that delivery,” Bumrah told Times of India.

"But not that because it naturally comes to me, I don't have to keep practicing it. It still takes the same amount of hard work to get it right in a match situation. I do spend enough hours now trying to get all the little things correct. The line, the length, the bounce. The game now actively involves playing three formats that are very different from each other. So, there's constant work to be done to stay in tune with each of them," Bumrah added.

News Cricket

Prithvi Shaw Seeks God Of Cricket’s Help Ahead Of Comeback From Injury

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:22 PM IST


  • Prithvi Shaw had a memorable Test debut
  • The youngster had a counselling session with former Indian skipper
  • He is targeting Indian Premier League to get back into action

Prithvi Shaw had a memorable Test debut when he smashed a well compiled hundred against West Indies. He was expected to play a big role in Australia but an unfortunate injury in the practice game against Australia XI ruled him out of the four-match Test series.

Ahead of his possible return, he turned to Sachin Tendulkar for help. The youngster had a counselling session with former Indian skipper at his Bandra residence in a bid to regain complete focus, according to Mumbai Mirror.

Earlier, Sachin had praised Shaw and Gill and also insisted that they should enjoy cricket and focus on the game.

"I've spoken about Prithvi earlier as well, having watched him bat in the nets as a little boy, all of 8-9 years of age, he had something special even back then. I knew instantly that he would play for India," Tendulkar had said.

When asked about his possible comeback, Shaw had told India TV that he is targeting Indian Premier League to get back into action.

"I will be fit before the Indian Premier League and I am trying hard to reach full fitness. I am working on my ankle as well as on my upper body," Shaw had said.

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News Cricket

Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah set to return for limited-overs series against Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 2:14 PM IST


  • Virat Kohli was rested from the last two ODIs and T20 series against New Zealand
  • Jasprit Bumrah didn't play the ODI series in Australia and limited overs matches against New Zealand
  • Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan could be rested from some of the matches

Skipper Virat Kohli and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah are set to return for the limited overs series against Australia. India and Australia will play two Twenty20 Internationals and five one day internationals.

Virat Kohli was rested from the last two ODIs and T20 series against New Zealand while Jasprit Bumrah didn't play the ODI series in Australia and limited overs matches against New Zealand.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan could be rested from some of the matches against Australia considering their workload. KL Rahul is back in the mix after his impressive performance for India A against England Lions in the two unofficial Tests.

Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are set to represent Men in Blue in the World Cup while the remaining slots will be filled after the series against Australia.

Videos Cricket

Bad News for Pakistan! American rapper Pitbull pulls out of PSL opening ceremony

Harshit Anand Updated: 14 February, 2019, 12:49 PM IST


American rapper Pitbull has pulled out of Pakistan Super League's opening ceremony, which will take place today in Dubai. A plane fault has ruled out his appearance in the much-awaited event for the Pakistani fans. The American rapper has apologized to the fans for disappointing them.

Apologizing to the fans, Pitbull shared a video on Twitter and said: "I wanna start off by saying I was very, very excited to be able to go to Dubai and perform for the HBL Pakistan Super League cricket tournament. "But, unfortunately, what has happened was … it was such a long flight … they took the plane for a test flight, and when they landed, pieces of the engine had come apart.”

"Between the Pakistan Cricket Board … we had tried our hardest to get over to Dubai. I just wanna say I'm sorry, I apologise … deeply apologise for that. Enjoy, have fun, thank you to HBL and Super League, for even thinking of me to be able to come to the cricket tournament. Really appreciate it!," he added.

Today, some of the biggest names in the global and Pakistani entertainment industry will rock the curtain-raiser event of the T20 league. Geo Super will broadcast the ceremony today on 9pm.

News Cricket

Has Gabriel been wronged? He finally reveals what he said to Root and it's not insulting

Staff Writer Updated: 14 February, 2019, 12:41 PM IST


West Indies fast bowler, Shannon Gabriel, who has been banned for four-ODIs for his alleged homophobic comments on English skipper, Joe Root has issued an “unreserved apology”.

The tall Windies pacer was charged with a Level 2 offence under article 2.13 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct, which deals with “personal abuse”. He was also fined 75% of his match fee.

Gabriel apologized and also revealed the details of the exchange between him and Joe Root.

The statement read, “The exchange occurred during a tense moment on the field. The pressure was on and England’s captain Joe Root was looking at me intensely as I prepared to bowl, which may have been the usual psychological strategy with which all Test cricketers are familiar. I recognize now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: “Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?””

The statement continued, “His response which was picked up by the microphone, was: Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.” I then responded: “I have no issues with that, but you should stop smiling at me.”