News Cricket

Ayushmann Khurrana rates Sachin Tendulkar above Lionel Messi

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:50 PM IST


It is a common occurrence to compare athletes from same sporting discipline. However, when it comes to sporting heroes from different fields, comparison doesn’t hold relevance. A new comparison has surfaced and the players in focus are Indian batting legend and god of cricket Sachin Tendulkar and the GOAT of football world Lionel Messi.

It all started when a Twitter account with the name God had tweeted about Lionel Messi following his sensational hat-trick in Barcelona's La Liga clash against Sevilla. "I'm leaving. Messi, take over."

This tweet, however, didn't go down well with Bollywood actor Ayushman Khurrana who wrote Sachin's name in his response.

Tendulkar is considered to be the best cricketer of all time while Messi enjoys the same status in the hearts of football fanatics. The former Indian captain is the only player to score 100 international tons in his 24-year career.

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MS Dhoni again faces unfair criticism

Partab Ramchand Updated: 26 February, 2019, 5:22 PM IST


Not for the first time in recent memory the knives are out for MS Dhoni. But this time he has had to share the brunt of the criticism with Umesh Yadav. Indian cricket fans are blaming the duo for the narrow defeat in the first T-20 international against Australia at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

On the face of it the lambasting might appear to be justified. Dhoni took 37 balls to get an unbeaten 29 and a strike rate of 78 is bewildering in cricket’s shortest format where anything less than 100 is considered unacceptable. And after Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliant bowling in the 19th over – he conceded just two runs and picked up two wickets – it was largely expected that Yadav would be able to defend 14 runs. Australia’s winning run came off the last ball with No’s 8 and 9 at the crease.

On closer scrutiny the criticism against Dhoni does seem to be unfair. He walked in at 80 for three after ten overs and ideally the situation was perfect for a player of his class, skill and experience. What he could not have bargained for was the collapse which saw India slide sharply to 109 for seven in the 17th over. Dhoni was left with a long tail.

Under normal circumstances Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal should come in at No 10 and No 11. But here there were batting at No 8 and No 9. Dhoni had to take most of the strike and by keeping away his partners from the bowling had to turn down many singles that were there on offer – a tactic found acceptable by Glenn Maxwell. ``With the wicket being difficult I think it was right for him to try and farm the strike,’’ said the Australian all-rounder. It is worth mentioning that the batsmen below Dhoni in the batting order made a combined four off 17 balls.

There is no denying the fact that in his 38th year Dhoni is not the Dhoni of old but as he has shown recently he has it in him to be a great finisher whether batting first or chasing. This time however he was defeated by the presence of the extended tail.

As regards Yadav his economy rate has always been a problem in all formats of the game. He is a wicket taker who believes in bowling fast and being always on the attack. In the process he tends to be profligate and if the selectors feel that his bowling is more suited to Test cricket then he can be omitted from the limited overs squad.

In the ultimate analysis neither Dhoni nor Yadav were responsible for India’s defeat but the middle order slide and the unduly long tail.

Feature Cricket

Sri Lanka Revives Ambition on Field

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 26 February, 2019, 5:19 PM IST


There are fewer things sadder in a sport than when a team is led down by administrative muddles, political interference, nepotism and issues of corruption involving former cricketers. Given how Sri Lanka pulled a rabbit out of the hat in South Africa, their board needs to decide how it wants to take the game forward.

South Africa were in for a jolt they had not expected. From feeling relaxed in their place, realizing they could close out their assignments before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with an expected, easy series against Sri Lanka, South Africa have been left to face some hard questions, not to mention humiliation. From being the team with a sharp bowling attack and some scintillating batsmen, South Africa were reduced to an embarrassing heap, bundled up by a team they did not see coming. (To be fair, no one saw coming.) The manner in which Sri Lanka resurrected not only their fortunes in South Africa but also, rose up against all odds does not paint South Africa in the rosy colours with which they would have liked to finish their report card.

Instead the beleaguered team from the Emerald Isles shocked South Africa twice, the first time in the first Test in Kingsmead in a nail biting affair and the second time with an almost emphatic chase to finish off the second Test in under three days in Port Elizabeth. The fact that only Australia and England share the honours for having the record of beating South Africa at home only makes it worse for the hosts who now have to turn inwards and face some serious issues including the fact that their lower order collapse has been almost a given and barring the odd performance from the skipper, Faf du Plessis, and wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock, they have shown vulnerability that betrays the gap without the likes of someone of the caliber of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers.

Sri Lanka, it has to be remembered, were beaten resoundingly by the touring England team who revived their own ambitions after their own Houdini act at home against India who seemed to not have their homework quite done. Thereafter, Sri Lanka suffered ignominy upon ignominy on their tours of Australia and New Zealand to land in South Africa, expecting to be easy meat for the team looking to challenge the Indian team for top rank and consistency.

Instead South Africa were stunned twice, first by Sri Lanka’s enterprise to pull off a solitary wicket win against a formidable bowling attack and then by their initiative and daring to make some bold moves when reduced essentially to a ten man team. If the last wicket partnership in the Durban Test was evident of Sri Lanka’s ability to dig in, the St. Georges Park match showed Sri Lanka can turn a match on its head.

This is not to say, Sri Lanka are a regenerated team. But it does indicate that despite the chequered season that has seen so much off field brouhaha as well as on field controversies, causing changes in captaincy that created discord, and former players getting caught in the ICC’s investigation and obstruction plans, Sri Lanka’s cricket is still hungry even if their successes on their field have been rare at best. For a team that was scrapping the bottom in the event of a two tier Test championship schedule, beating a top ranked team has to be the pivotal moment when the administrators and cricketers wake up and take stock of what the team are capable of and what needs to be done to ensure that Sri Lanka are once again contenders amongst the top, even if it means some serious house cleaning.

News Cricket

Krunal Pandya reveals his preferred batting position

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:31 PM IST


Krunal Pandya is sure of seeing a better performance from his teammates during the upcoming T20 match against Australia. According to him, Men in Blue have not loss the momentum despite their defeat in the first match of the series. Defending 126 runs, the hosts lost the match by three wickets in the end. Krunal was brilliant with the ball and ended up picking one wicket.

"It was a great bowling effort. Everyone chipped in and we almost defended the low total. We just have to be more cautious about our batting," said Krunal.

Tomorrow is a very important game as we are 0-1 down but I would not say that we have lost momentum. We lost the other night but we are not losing consecutive games. I am sure we will do well tomorrow," he added.

When asked about his preferred batting position or if he would like to bat higher up in the order, he said:

"Honestly, I am not thinking about where I want to bat. I am just focused on what is in my hands irrespective of the situation. I want to contribute with both bat and ball."

News Cricket

AB de Villiers makes a big statement on his international return

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:28 PM IST


For the first time in their cricket history, South Africa got defeated by an Asian team at their backyard in Test cricket. We are talking about Sri Lanka's historic Test series win over South Africa. South Africa's batting has been found wanting. On the other hand, AB de Villiers has endured a purple patch and he recently won a match for his side in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

2019 Cricket World Cup is not too far away. Connect the dots now. Quite simply, the moment the Proteas start underperforming, the demand for return of De Villiers starts gaining momentum. And why not, he is such a quality player.

Even AB misses playing for his country. He was qouted as saying by Standard Sport, "Playing at the highest level alongside your friends, scoring runs for your country are things that I look back and go, ‘Ah, I miss that a little bit." But, he has moved on and has no intentions of making a magical return to the Proteas side.

He added, “I don’t miss 90 per cent of it. I’ve pretty much moved on. I’ve made peace with the fact that the World Cup will not define me. Yes, it would be nice to add that to what’s been a very enjoyable career, but I know it won’t define me as a person or cricketer.

“You can never keep everyone happy. I’ve always been a people pleaser. I’m very passionate about my country, but I’m at a stage of my life where I’ve moved on. There are people who think I should still be playing, but the international scene just became a little bit too much for me with my family and a few other things. You have to answer to yourself, look yourself in the mirror and that’s what I’ve done. The most important people to please are your family.”

News Cricket

Watch: Rohit, Bumrah, Hardik and Krunal unveil new Mumbai Indians Jersey for 2019 IPL season

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:22 PM IST


Ahead of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians have unveiled their new jersey.

In a video posted by Mumbai based franchise, Pandya brothers, Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma can be seen presenting the new kit in style.

Mumbai Indians have won the IPL title thrice while they have lifted the Champions League T20 trophy twice in their illustrious history.

The 2019 IPL will start from 23 March with the opening match being played between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Mumbai Indians squad for IPL 2019: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Evin Lewis, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Barinder Singh Sran, Lasith Malinga, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Pankaj Jaswal, Rasikh Dar, Quinton de Kock and Jayant Yadav.

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah is obviously a class act, says Pat Cummins

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:10 PM IST


Pat Cummins has heaped praise on Jasprit Bumrah, stating that he is a class act across formats and his pace and accuracy has made him one of the best bowlers in international cricket at the moment.

The Indian pacer was on-song in the first T20 against Australia. He picked up three wickets in the game and his last over almost led India to win before Umesh Yadav’s expensive 20th over spoiled Bumrah’s hardwork.

“He is obviously a class act. Two of the basics he does really well is that he bowls fast and he bowls accurately. Anyone who does that in world cricket will pose a real challenge for the batsmen. He has got a great slower ball, seems to have a great cricketing brain, executes his skills really well,” Cummins said.

“He has done really well in all three formats and the one to watch out for, added the Aussie speedster ahead of the second and final T20 here Wednesday.

Pat Cummins was Australia’s top performer in the Test series against India before raking in another exceptional performance against Sri Lanka.

“I haven’t seen too many memes (of myself on social media) but really happy with how my game is going at the moment. So many things have fallen into place. Playing quite consistent cricket has helped,” Cummins said.

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Promising youngster wants to forget his first India outing

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:07 PM IST


Playing for your country at the highest level is a dream come true for anyone. It's an absolute honor for any budding cricketer. But not all players have a fairytale beginning. Some players greatly struggle after making their debut while some don't get enough chances despite doing well. Young Mumbai batsman, Shreyas Iyer falls into the latter category.

Iyer averages 42 and has a strike-rate of 96.33 after playing five ODIs, still he is not anyway near to India's World Cup squad. His First-class average is 52.18. List A average is 42.01, which is quite good. While he is on fire in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. He made 55-ball 147 (15 sixes and seven fours) and 55-ball 103* (10 sixes and five fours) against Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh respectively.

When asked about his India stint by SportsStar, Iyer said, "I don’t like to talk much about that as I am playing Mushtaq Ali now. It is all past. I just want to forget it and concentrate on my cricket and perform."

Shreyas Iyer was made Delhi's capital in last season of IPL. He also opened up on how captaincy shapes a player. “You become mature and you start taking responsibility as an individual. Other players also look up to you as captain and they start respecting you,” Iyer said of captaincy. “ think I have improved a lot as a batsman and I have realized my strengths and weaknesses. I try to learn as much as possible from everywhere I play. All these things have really helped me as a captain,” said Iyer.

News Cricket

Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane salute Indian Air Force for giving fitting reply to Pakistan

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:02 PM IST


Leading Indian cricketers have saluted Indian Air Force after its jets crossed the line of control and destroyed terror camps, killing 350 Pakistan sponsored terrorists.

Cricket stars Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane joined the rest of the country in saluting IAF.

Suresh Raina, who recently completed 8,000 runs in T20 format, took to twitter to hail the IAF.

My salute to #IAF for showing great courage in the face of adversity. A fitting reply to cowardice,” he wrote.

He was joined by Ajinkya Rahane, the vice-captain of the Indian team in Test cricket.

Bravo to the #IndianAirForce! They have sent a much needed message against terror. We are proud of you," he wrote.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale stated India carried out strike to eliminate terrorists.

"Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary," Gokhale said.

"The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details," he added.

News Cricket

Our niceness should never be comprehended as weakness, says Sachin after IAF destroys camps

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 3:16 PM IST


Former Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar has given his reaction after the Indian Air Force carried out strikes to destroy terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed across the border.

“Our niceness should never be comprehended as our weakness. I salute the IAF, Jai Hind,” tweeted Sachin Tendulkar.


According to Indian government, 350 terrorists were killed in the strikes carried out by IAF. There was a lot of pressure on the present Indian regime to avenge the killing of 42 CRPF security personnel in Pulwama.

Former Indian cricketers are demanding to boycott World Cup match against Pakistan in the wake of dastardly terror attack on the Indian soldiers. Players like Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin and Harbhajan Singh are not in favour of cricketing ties with arch rivals after gruesome attack took away the lives of Indian bravehearts.

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Rohit Sharma trolls Yuzvendra Chahal on Instagram once again

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 2:55 PM IST


Rohit Sharma and Yuzvendra Chahal are close buddies and they never misses a chance to troll each other on social media. Their funny banter is loved by everyone and they are hailed for their on-field chemistry.

It was Rohit Sharma's turn this time to settle the score with Yuzvendra Chahal. Rohit made fun of Chahal’s sponsor less bat when he saw him shadow practicing with his willow.

The Indian vice-captain reminded Chahal of his unbeaten innings of 18 runs in the fourth ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton.

Chahal was the highest run scorer for Men in Blue in that game.

“Plain bat? I thought by now you could get a sponsor for your bat after that knock in NZ. #GOAT,” Rohit wrote on an Instagram story.

India are currently trailing by 0-1 in the two-match T20 series against Australia after an ordinary batting performance led them to a three-wicket defeat in the first game.

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Yuzvendra Chahal lauds bohot hard, ‘bohot hard strike by Indian Air Force

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 2:33 PM IST


India cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal has lauded the Indian Air Force after they carried out strikes at Balakot, which is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. He took to twitter to hail the Indian security personnel for their efforts.

The IAF destroyed the terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in the wake of Pulwama attack, which had resulted in the killing of 42 Indian bravehearts. The Indian Air Force conducted this successful operation with the help of 12 Mirage 2000.

Chahal was mighty pleased with the news and he wrote: “Indian Air Force 🇮🇳👏 Bohot Hard Bohot Hard #IndiaStrikesBack #JaiHind 🇮🇳🇮🇳”

Earlier, he had requested Indian Government to take stringent action those who were involved in Pulwama attack in Kashmir.

“It’s not in our hands, if BCCI says, we will play if they say no then we won’t. I think it is high time, we need to take firm action.

“I am not saying all people there (Pakistan) are at fault but those who are responsible should be acted against,” he had said.

News Cricket

Choose between IPL and PSL? When BCCI considered giving foreign players a choice between IPL and PSL

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 February, 2019, 12:49 PM IST


Ever since the Pulwama terror attack, the animosity between India and Pakistan have soared. There were even calls of boycotting Pakistan in the 2019 Cricket World Cup that will commence from May 30 in England and Wales.

Now, as per reports, BCCI was considering giving foreign players the choice to pick one between Indian Premier League and the Pakistan Premier League. But, after discussions, the idea wasn't considered feasible.

As per a report in Indian Express, the BCCI contemplated this way so as to isolate Pakistan. The members of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) — Vinod Rai, Diana Edulji and Lieutenant General Ravi Thodge along with BCCI CEO Rahul Johri had an exhaustive meeting over the same but they decided against it as it is the IPL franchises, who buy players than the BCCI itself.

Today, India finally avenged the Pulwama terror attack, when several Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed terror camps in Balakot, Muzaffarabad, and Chakoti.

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Rohit Sharma to join MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina in elite list

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 12:25 PM IST


Hitman is on the verge of joining MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina in the elite list. He is just one match away from becoming the third Indian player to play 300 T20 matches. Former Indian skipper has been part of 301 matches in the shortest format while Suresh Raina recently touched the 300 mark.

14 cricketers in total have played 300 or more T20 matches with Kieron Pollard leading the table with 451 appearances. The current vice-captain of the Indian team has played 94 T20Is for Men in Blue.

He needs just two sixes to go ahead of New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and West Indies batsman Chris Gayle (both with 103 sixes) to become the leading six hitter in T20 internationals.

News Cricket

Surgical Strike 2.0: Cricketers Bow Down to Hail IAF's Strikes Across LoC

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 11:50 AM IST


India finally avenged the Pulwama terror attack, when several Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed terror camps in Balakot, Muzaffarabad, and Chakoti. ANI reported that around 3:30 this morning, 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force dropped 1,000 kg bombs on terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.

“At 0330 hours on 26th February a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it,” IAF sources were quoted by ANI as saying.

In the dastardly Pulwama terror attack that took place on February 14, terrorists had targeted a convoy with a car bomb. They were carrying more than 350 kg of explosives.

Take a look at how cricketers reacted to the attack: