Once upon a time, there was no better finisher in the world of cricket than India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Irrespective of the opposition, match situation, pitch, Dhoni would lead India past the victory most of the times. His cool and calm demeanor and chasing method were unreal. Dhoni's confidence and temperament were second to none. The Ranchi-born cricketer got synonymous with the word "finisher."
But time and tide spare none. And with time, Dhoni also started declining. At first, he needed time before he could unleash his demolishing array of strokes, which doesn't bode well for a middle-lower order batsman who comes to crease late in the innings. But slowly and steadily, he has even lost the magical touch that once allowed him to hit big shots at will.
MS Dhoni did a reasonably good job in the Adelaide ODI against Australia. But Kohli's knock had ensured the run-rate wasn't as daunting. But while he was at the crease. Dhoni was finding it difficult to rotate the strike at run-a-ball.
Even during his partnership with Karthik, it was DK, who hit two crucial boundaries and also a scoop shot for three runs that prevented the run-rate from turning into something that required big hits, where Dhoni has been getting found out regularly. Karthik batted at a strike-rate of 178.57 and took off the pressure from Dhoni. Unlike, Dhoni who has failed to hit the fifth gear, Karthik has been able to clear the ropes with ease.
Dhoni is no longer able to replicate his heroics of the past but in Karthik, India have an experienced campaigner, who is perhaps at the peak of his powers. Who can forget his Nidahas Trophy heroics? We are used to seeing Dhoni pulling off such acts of brilliance but now Karthik looks more likely to accomplish such magical moments for India than Dhoni.
Dinesh Karthik was overlooked from ODIs against West Indies. But his finishing skills in Australia T20Is reaffirmed Karthik's value to India's side. the Men in Blue have been struggling for a finisher big-time. In the Brisbane T20I against the Men in Yellow, the Tamil-Nadu batsman played a 13-ball 30-run knock and almost got India home.
In the do-or-die Sydney T20I as well, the right-hander made 22 runs and paired up with Kohli to ensure India chased down Australia's total to level the series.
The 33 years old is one of the most talented batsmen in the Indian team. He has got all the shots up his arsenal. Karthik had got out trying to pull the ball in the first ODI but when Australia attacked him again with this tactic, he was up to the challenge. In fact, both his boundaries came off short deliveries in Adelaide, which shows that he can handle pace well. And there is no doubt regarding his ability against spinners. SO, he is good against pace and spin likewise and can also change gears at will, which is how you want your finisher to be.
Karthik also has unorthodox shots up his repertoire, which is a must in modern-day cricket, where you need to be bloody good at manipulating and playing with the field. In the penultimate over, when India needed 11 off eight balls in Sydney, it was DK's scoop shot that brought down the equation to eight runs off seven balls, thereby killing any hopes of Australia's comeback in the game.
The stylish batsman has got well-versed with the art of finishing the games. He is a fidgety character but now he has found a way to remain cool and calm during pressure situations. One can attribute this to his time at Kolkata Knight Riders, where he captains the side and also plays the role of a finisher.
Even Indian team management is looking at him as a finisher, a role earlier assigned to Dhoni. After the Sydney ODI, he said “Definitely the team management has told me this (finishing) is the role for me right now. And they want me to do the best I can. They are backing me completely. They have told me that this is where I’m going to bat and this is what they expect out of me and I’m trying to achieve that.”
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's rise literally took out a major chunk of time from someone like Dinesh Karthik's career. After all, both were wicket-keepers and only one could play mostly. But, now it seems, at least until Dhoni hangs up his boots that both Karthik and Dhoni can play in the team. Karthik might not have been able to replace Dhoni at his peak, but he looks a better proposition than him as a finisher at the moment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Dinesh Karthik attracted ample of negative press after he denied single to Krunal Pandya on the third ball of the final over of the series-decider between New Zealand and India in Hamilton, which the Black Caps won narrowly. India's middle-order batsman, Karthik has finally opened on the issue.
“Some days you are able to hit a boundary, some days the bowler does a good job. And there, you have to give credit to Tim Southee for the way he executed those yorkers under pressure. One mistake there and I am sure we would have taken him down,” Karthik was qouted as saying by The Indian Express.
“I think Krunal and I batted really well from that situation (145/6). We were able to bring the match down to a place where the bowlers were under pressure. We backed ourselves to do the job. And at that stage (after refusing the single), I genuinely believed that I could hit a six,” he added.
Notably, the Tamil-Nadu batsman had won India the Nidahas Trophy in 2018 by hitting six off the final delivery in the tournament's finale. But, the stylish batsman couldn't quite replicate the same magic at Seddon Park, which costed India the game and the series.
The veteran Indian batsman also said that sometimes certain things come off and at times, it doesn't but that's the nature of the game.
“As a middle-order batsman, a lot of times you have to trust your ability to play those big shots under pressure. It is also important to trust your partner at that time. I did not come off on that occasion but those things happen in the game of cricket,” said Karthik.
A well-known cricketing adage says that spin bowlers like good wine get better with age. Clarrie Grimmett the legendary Australian leg spinner was 44 when he took 44 wickets in the series against South Africa in 1935-36. Nearer our time the great Shane Warne was 36 when he took 40 wickets in the unforgettable contest against England in 2005.
But looking at some of the great fast bowlers the adage could be applied to them too. The West Indian duo of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose remained deadly till the end of their careers. Walsh was 38 when he played his last Test and Ambrose was almost 37 when his career ended. Two of their great predecessors Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan were even older when they played their last Test, Hadlee being 39 and Imran 40.
These thoughts come to mind when seeing James Anderson bowl these days. He is in his 37th year and played his first Test almost 16 years ago. But he remains England’s pace spearhead even with the introduction of several youngsters who have come and gone. To be candid one marvels at the man. He has played 148 Tests much more than any other fast bowler and but for the odd injury or two he has remained remarkably fit. He has sent down over 32,000 deliveries, over 2000 more than Walsh the next on the list. And yet there is no talk of retirement. And why should there be when he continues to be highly successful. Why, only in the just concluded Test series against the West Indies he took ten wickets in the three matches at 24.5 apiece. And the manner in which he demolished the West Indian top order in the second innings of the third Test with a quick three wicket burst showed that there was still a lot of fuel in the tank.
Given his method of bowling which is basically seam and swing it is inevitable that Anderson should have an envious record in England. The cynics uncharitably say that he can take wickets only in England and helpful conditions. That is an unfair criticism and one would think they would have some respect for a bowler who has lasted the course successfully for so long. The fact is that in 65 Tests abroad he has taken 207 wickets at 33 apiece. And while it is true that he has a much better record at home – 368 wickets from 83 Tests at an average of 23.76 – he still has well over three wickets a Test abroad. With 575 wickets Anderson is the most successful fast bowler of all time and the fourth highest wicket taker - a no mean feat by any yardstick.
Son Heung-min has every reason to be constantly smiling, and Tottenham has many reasons to be thankful.
For a footballer so understated, so seemingly undemanding, the forward has become indispensable for Tottenham.
Borussia Dortmund was reminded of that in the Champions League, when Son scored the opener to spark a 3-0 victory in the last-16 first leg. It was Son's ninth goal in 11 games against Dortmund, including his time in Germany playing for Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen.
In his fourth season at Tottenham, the 26-year-old South Korean has emerged as one of English football's most influential players. In the 13 games Son has scored this season, Tottenham has gone on to win.
"Next time when Son scores, I go to the dressing room and shower," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino joked, "and wait for the game to finish."
There was little for Pochettino to laugh about a month ago when top-scorer Harry Kane damaged ligaments in his left ankles. But Son is helping to dispel suggestions Tottenham is overly reliant on Kane, inspiring this commanding lead over Dortmund that was secured by late goals from Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente.
Son's contribution — 11 goals in his last 12 games — is even more remarkable considering he started the season at the Asian Games and took a couple of weeks out in January to go to the Asian Cup with South Korea.
"Son is a player that of course has a lot of quality and is a very talented player," Pochettino said. "But he is always available to learn, improve and listen to what you expect from him. He is capable of adapting the quality in different situations."
He proved that right at the start of the second half after Tottenham had been run ragged in the opening 45 minutes and was on the back foot after an error-strewn performance.
In the dressing room, Pochettino got the video clips out during the break.
"We showed a few actions defensively and positions in the offensive situations," Pochettino said.
A refugee soccer player who was detained in Thailand for three months under threat of extradition to Bahrain shook hands with Australia's prime minister, whom he credits with securing his freedom.
Three days after he was released from a cramped Bangkok cell, Hakeem al-Araibi was welcomed into Prime Minister Scott Morrison's ornate office in Parliament House.
Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne had repeatedly lobbied the Thai and Bahrain governments on al-Araibi's behalf for his return to Australia where he is a permanent resident.
"Thank you very much. I'm so happy to be back in Australia now and I'm grateful to be here to live in this country," the 25-year-old said.
Morrison said he was pleased al-Araibi had come home and looked forward to him soon becoming an Australian citizen.
Al-Araibi had arrived in his home city of Melbourne on a flight from Bangkok where he had been detained since November following an extradition application from his native Bahrain.
He came to Parliament House to watch a soccer match played by lawmakers, supporters and stars of the Australian national women's team wearing the yellow uniform of Amnesty International and the blue of al-Arabi's Melbourne team Pascoe Vale Football Club.
The former Bahrain national team player watched from the sidelines with the foreign minister, explaining that his hamstrings remained too tight after weeks in a crowded cell to play.
The soccer match had been planned as a demonstration of support for al-Araibi when he faced indefinite detention. But instead, it became a celebration of his release.
Former Australia national team captain Craig Foster had been a leader in the campaign for al-Araibi's release and played for Pascoe Vale on Thursday.
"We're all very worried about him," Foster said. "He's obviously riding on incredible adrenalin and elation. "
"I would image ... in the next week or two or three, he's going to need some help. He's been through an incredible ordeal and I think that's exacerbated by the fact that he was a torture survivor previously," Foster added.
Al-Araibi has said he was blindfolded and had his legs beaten while he was held in Bahrain previously. He said he believed he was targeted for arrest because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy.
Bahrain wanted him to serve a 10-year prison sentence in an arson attack that damaged a police station. He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated.
Al-Araibi was detained by mistake upon arrival in Bangkok on his honeymoon. Interpol rules do not allow refugees to be deported to the countries from where they fled persecution.
He was released when Thai authorities shared a letter indicating that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for al-Araibi.
Officials in Bahrain said the country "reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against" al-Araibi.
Al-Araibi says he fled Bahrain because of political repression and that he fears torture if he returns.
The International Cricket Council has banned West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel for most of the upcoming one-day international series against England after he was accused of making a homophobic comment.
Gabriel will miss four of the five upcoming ODIs against England.
England captain Joe Root was picked up on a broadcast feed saying to Gabriel: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay."
The preceding comment by Gabriel could not be heard on the clip posted by British broadcaster Sky Sports.
The ICC says Gabriel admitted to "personal abuse of a player" in an incident with Root but there was no reference in the statement to the contents of the slur.
We are in that period of time where everything leads to one and only destination- the World Cup. The 50-overs World Cup has a charm of its own. Every cricketer craves to play the ICC megaevent while countries, for years, prepare themselves to strike gold in the cricketing carnival. It is the most-sought-after cricketing tourney. When the World Cup is around, the excitement and buzz is of different magnitude and euphoria.
The Men in Blue will be one of the red-hot favorites to win the World Cup. And one of their most lethal weapons or I should say, the man who can win matches on his own- Kuldeep Yadav will be in the spotlight throughout.
How good has been Kuldeep Yadav? For that, let's take a look at a table, which will help us asses that.
Leading Wicket-takers in ODI cricket since Kuldeep Yadav's debut:
No one has taken more wickets than Kuldeep Yadav since his ODI debut, which goes on to show good he has been.
Rashid Khan has mind-boggling numbers. But Kuldeep Yadav's wickets have come against far superior teams, which showcases his mettle.
Let's take a look at how Kuldeep Yadav has fared in home and away conditions:
Here as well, Kuldeep Yadav comes out with flying colors. He has shone through in away games more than at home, which is remarkable given how often players find it difficult to adapt to foreign conditions.
In fact, Kuldeep Yadav was one of the major factors behind India's historic bilateral series triumphs in both South Africa and New Zealand. He was exceptional in England as well.
Not only in ODIs, but the Kanpur-born spinner has been excellent in the shortest format as well. The wrist-spinner has scalped 35 wickets in 18 T20Is at an average of 12.97. His economy has been 6.72, which is again great for any bowler. In this format as well, no one has taken more wickets than him since his debut.
But despite being the best in the 50-overs format and T20Is, at least, statistically, the chinaman spinner has been, at times, shown the door, which defies logic and can be dangerous when India play the World Cup in England and Wales, which starts from May 30.
Kuldeep Yadav became the talk of the town in England, right after the first T20I against the hosts, last year. Kuldeep had taken a fifer in the Manchester T20I. But, he went wicketless in the next game and was subsequently dropped for the third T20I, which raised many questions. But, then Kuldeep came up with his best ODI figures in the first 50-overs game against the Poms.
In the home ODI series against Windies in 2018, Kuldeep Yadav was overlooked for the first ODI. Indian bowlers got hammered all around the park. As a result, India were forced to bring back the unorthodox spinner in the team. He picked up three wickets on his comeback and wasn't dropped going forward in the series.
Even in the Australia ODI series, he didn't find a place in the series-decider. Yadav had picked up two wickets in the first ODI but he went wicketless in the next game, and arguably, the best ODI bowler didn't find a place in such a crucial match. Chahal was brilliant in Melbourne game but that in no way, justifies the exclusion of team's biggest match-winner.
Kuldeep, however, returned with four-wicket hauls in consecutive ODIs against New Zealand to prove himself for the nth number of time. Even in the New Zealand T20Is, he wasn't picked until the last T20I. And in the final T20I, he was the best of Indian bowlers.
It clearly shows a lack of belief in Kuldeep Yadav, which is quite staggering given his magnificent displays. In most of these instances, he has been dropped after going wicketless. It is quite difficult to understand why he is dealt with in such a rough manner despite being a consistent performer. He will easily walk into the XI of any team in the world in each and every white-ball game
His importance is much beyond what numbers say. He is someone, who takes crucial wickets in the middle-overs to leave the opposition reeling. In an age, when the bat has overpowered the ball, a player like Kuldeep is of immense value.
He picked up 17 wickets in six games in South Africa, nine wickets in three games against England, eight wickets in four games against Black Caps when it comes to ODIs, which is par excellence. Kuldeep has been the architect of many Indian victories.
But the way Kohli and team management treat him at times, it won't be a surprise if they drop him for the semi-final or the final (in case India makes it) just because of one or two average games.
Kuldeep is going to be critical to India's hopes in the World Cup. If Kohli and team management keep messing up with him, not only it will impact his confidence but also India's chances to get back the World Cup trophy in India.
Team India is back home after a long tour of Australia and New Zealand. The visitors defeated Australia in the Tests and ODIs while drew the T20I series.
Men in blue won the ODI series against New Zealand while they lost the T20 series. Many of the players were spotted at the airport. After bidding good bye to each other, they headed in different directors before they resemble for the limited overs series against Australia.
Kuldeep Yadav shared a picture of himself along with Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant and Khaleel Ahmed. “After a long and grueling tour, time to head back home with loads of happy memories to cherish," he wrote.
They were spotted at the airport and even shared an Instagram story with the fans.
Rohit Sharma was seen playing with his daughter Samaira after returning from New Zealand.
He posted a picture of enjoying South Indian food at home. His better half Dipika also shared a pic of Karthik relaxing at home.
He was seen at the airport after returning back from New Zealand. The former skipper won the man of the series award against Australia in ODIs.
Former fielding coach of Mumbai Indians Jonty Rhodes is regarded as the best fielder of all time. In a recent interview with the governing body of international cricket, he revealed the names of top five fielders of all time. He included one player each from Australia, India, England and two from South Africa. He gave fifth spot to former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, followed by English player Paul Collingwood. The second and third place went to AB de Villiers and Herschelle Gibbs respectively. He kept Suresh Raina at the number one spot.
Talking about Raina, Rhodes said “I’ve been a massive fan of Suresh Raina ever since he started to play. I know what the conditions of the fields are in India, and every time he practices, every time he dives, it’s gonna be so much of heat. He doesn’t even give a second hesitation of should I have dived or shouldn't have dived.
"He goes for the ball which pretty much what my philosophy is, 'if you don't go, you'll never know' and he has done that. He has taken great catches in the slips and in the outfield and in the circle. I have loved watching Suresh Raina. He is my number one fielder."
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