Feature Cricket

Disaster at Hamilton raises a few pertinent questions

Partab Ramchand Updated: 1 February, 2019, 12:19 PM IST


  • Defeat also underlines the truth that the team is over dependent on the top order
  • Result came as rude wake up call for the Indians
  • Moreover a defeat is one thing, a rout quite another

India’s ignominious defeat in the fourth ODI against New Zealand at Hamilton raises a few pertinent questions. One may be tempted to shrug off the loss coming as it does after the visitors had taken an unassailable lead in the series. But it is still a valid point to be ruthless at all times. That is one quality the unbeatable West Indies under Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards displayed in unmistakable terms. They kept up the pressure at all times. Once they had the opposition down they trampled all over them and that is how they made a clean sweep of several Test and ODI contests.

Secondly the defeat also underlines the truth that the team is over dependent on the top order. If the top three fail the rest of the side could just collapse like a construction made of adulterated cement. This was one opportunity for the middle and late order batting to show that they were made of sterner stuff and could rise to the occasion in a crisis but they failed abysmally.

Overall the result came as rude wake up call for the Indians and underscored the fact that in international sport there is no room for complacency. One has to play their best side and play at their best at all times to be truly world class. To that extent despite their No 2 ranking the Indians do not appear to be a side to be installed as one of the favourites for the World Cup.

Moreover a defeat is one thing, a rout quite another. To go down without a fight by eight wickets with a record 212 balls to spare after being bowled out for 92 and then allowing opponents who have been at the receiving end so far to canter to victory is all a bit hard to swallow. There can be no excuse for plumbing the depths to this extent and even a vastly improved performance by the Indians in the final ODI on Sunday will not erase memories of the all-round disaster at Hamilton.

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News Cricket

Anushka Sharma and Sakshi Dhoni Were Schoolmates. See Pics

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 3:23 PM IST


MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli have a great bond and mutual understanding, which is quite reminiscent as well on the field. Not only Dhoni and Kohli but even their wives Anushka Sharma and Sakshi Dhoni have a connection, which we didn't know earlier.

Anushka Sharma and Sakshi Dhoni were in the same school when they were growing up. And this very revelation is breaking the internet with their pics going viral.

Check the pictures here:

“Sakshi and I lived together in a very small town in Assam. When she told me where she lived, I said wow, I have lived here too! She said I went to this school, I said I went to this school too... And then I found a picture in which Sakshi is dressed as a fairy and I’m dressed in a ghaghara like my favourite idol Madhuri. Sakshi is extremely funny,” Anushka Sharma had revealed during an earlier interview, as reported by India Today.

Feature Cricket

Sri Lanka: Riddled with Problems

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 1 February, 2019, 2:25 PM IST


  • Lasith Malinga took over from Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 and one day internationals captains
  • The past few months have been torturous for the one-time ICC Cricket World Cup winners
  • Sanath Jayasuriya and Nuwan Zoysa were found in the red for non-cooperation

If Australia were looking for a desperate way to push the spotlight away from them, they could not have asked for a better opponent. After being ripped apart to reveal fragility against the Indian team, Australian cricket can breathe easy as Sri Lanka appear to be falling apart on and off the field.

That the rot had indeed sunk deeper into the cricketers was evident in the fact that not a month after Lasith Malinga took over from Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 and one day internationals captains respectively, his wife posted a message on social media that has set the cat amongst the pigeons even as Sri Lanka are dealing with a heavy defeat in the first Test down under and in the midst of fighting for pride in the second.

That Sri Lanka’s cricket administration had trouble within the ranks is not a new headline. For at least the past couple of decades, there has been no hiding from the fact that Sri Lanka’s cricket is deeply embroiled in power struggle, nepotism, government interference and is an entity unlike no other. Time and time again, irrespective of the results on the field, Sri Lanka’s cricket administration has faced fickle times as a result of the disharmony, seeking dissolution and ad hoc appointments on a whim.

The past few months have been torturous for the one-time ICC Cricket World Cup winners whose had captured the hearts and imagination of the cricket loving public. However, 1996 seems a faraway dream as Sri Lanka wrestle to maintain equanimity in the face of corruption charges that have led the International Cricket Council (ICC) to give the board a fifteen day amnesty period to come clean. This came after former cricketers such as Sanath Jayasuriya and Nuwan Zoysa were found in the red for non-cooperation and fixing respectively.

In turmoil on the field in terms of producing consistent results in the aftermath of the exit of the talented twin duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka’s cricket has struggled to maintain an aura of dignity. Captaincy since had become Russian roulette with all-rounder Angelo Mathews even threatening to quit cricket at one point over being demoted from the captaincy ranks.

Lack of success has continued to make matters worse as Malinga, only days after being appointed captain, has to now face another barrage as his wife, Tanya, alleged Perera was seeking government intervention for his place in the team. With the unrest having spread into the WAGS corner and with social media now becoming an unwitting participant, it is hard to see Sri Lanka being able to back out of this corner for the team to perform in cohesion.

Even the coaching position has not been spared ignominy and the sense of farce about the proceedings. Once banned for stalling play along with the captain over ball tampering allegations in the West Indies, Chandika Hathurasingha now finds himself out of the on-tour selection team that now includes the team manager and the captain. It is hard to see how the dynamics plays out or for the sport to suddenly come clean given that Sri Lanka already have their backs to the wall, on the field and off it as well with the malice having spread deep enough to create proxy wars.

News Cricket

Mitchell Starc no longer a certainty for Ashes: Former Aussie Captain

Harshit Anand Updated: 1 February, 2019, 2:02 PM IST


Mitchell Starc hasn't been in the best of form of late. He has lost his sharpness, which once made him one of the best Test bowlers in the world. Former Australian player Mark Taylor feels Mitchell Starc might be in danger of missing the Ashes series against England, which is scheduled to be played in the UK after the culmination of the Cricket World Cup.

Taylor wrote in a column for Fairfax, “Australia’s Big Three fast bowlers is on the verge of becoming a Big Two. Mitchell Starc’s membership is in danger of being revoked. This has not been a great summer for the big quick which is why it’s so important he gets something out of the final Test of the season.

“Starcy’s numbers – 15 wickets at 36 – are not awful but they do not show how inconsistent he has been. His pace is still up but control is an ongoing issue. There were spells in Brisbane where he bowled on both sides of the pitch, just as he did at a crucial stage in Adelaide.

“I no longer have him as a certainty for the Ashes, but as a probable. My issue with him in England is his inability to maintain pressure. He took a bag of six and five in 2015 but he leaked four to five runs an over in those innings and Australia lost comfortably. His higher run rate places extra pressure on the other two quicks to keep it tight.

“His advantage is that as a left-armer he gives the attack a point of difference but some of Australia’s express-pace quicks of the past, like Jeff Thomson, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie, had higher averages in England compared to the rest of their career. Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, if fit, will go. It’s hard to leave out Jhye Richardson, who can bowl fast outswing.

News Cricket

Zaheer Khan names his Indian squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 12:21 PM IST


  • 2019 Cricket World Cup is just a few months away
  • Zaheer Khan was part of India's World-Cup winning squad in 2011
  • He named his Indian squad for World Cup

The 2019 Cricket World Cup will commence from May 30 in England and Wales. The megaevent will culminate on July 14. England and India are prime favorites to win the 50-overs cricket World Cup. They are ranked no.1 and no.2 in ICC ODI team rankings and have been performing brilliantly in the last few years. 

India's former pacer and World Cup winner, Zaheer Khan named his Indian squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Here is the Indian World Cup 2019 squad named by Zaheer Khan:

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (captain), MS Dhoni (wk), Ambati Rayudu/Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul/a fast bowler.  

Zaheer told Cricbuzz, “The main factor which will up for the debate is basically you want to go with four fast bowlers and Hardik Pandya or you want to take that chance and say okay, Hardik Pandya is our fourth seamer,” Zaheer said, adding the latter option would give India the space to accommodate an extra batsman. According to him, two players out of Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and KL Rahul would get a nod if Pandya is picked as the fourth bowler.

“I still feel the four fast bowler option is still important. Considering the fact that the World Cup is going to be a long tournament. So you don’t want a bowler to come from outside and right away try to fit in the squad. So when you are picking your squad, you would want to cover all your bases,” he added.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid gives out his verdict on struggling KL Rahul

Harshit Anand Updated: 1 February, 2019, 11:48 AM IST


Discarded Indian opener KL Rahul is going through a turbulent phase in his career at the moment. Firstly, he endured a dry run with the bat and then the Koffee with Karan controversy further added salt to injury. All-rounder Hardik Pandya got selected in the senior team after both the players were allowed to play again but that wasn't quite the case with Rahul. The 26 years old is sweating it out for India A under the able guidance of Indian legend Rahul Dravid.

KL Rahul's poor form has continued even for India A. Things are getting murkier for him with time. It is never easy to make it to the Indian team but earning back your place again is even tougher. But the Karnataka batsman has found support in Rahul Dravid.

India A head coach Rahul Dravid said, “He (KL) got a good first ball today as it seamed. I have no doubt that he has got quality and ability. He is playing four-day games as well and he has shown that he can succeed at the international level in all three formats.”

“He has got a hundred in T20, ODI and Test and not many batsmen have that record. He is a proven performer and I am not too worried about his form,” the India A coach added.

Dravid also reflected on the relevance of India A for upcoming as well as senior players. “India A is always a combination of two things. There’s always some players coming in from India (senior national team) and there are some other senior boys selectors want to see. They are looking at players from a short-term perspective and there are other boys they are looking at medium and long term perspective. India A is a balance of both,” said Dravid.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid names favorites for 2019 Cricket World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 10:53 AM IST


The 2019 Cricket World Cup is just a few months away. It is going to be the biggest extravaganza of the year. It will be played in England and Wales. Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid has named India as one of the favorites for ICC's mega event.

Dravid said, “I think India are playing very good cricket at the moment and go in as one of the favourites. Hopefully, we will peak in the next few months.

“Wickets will be very flat in England and I expect it to be quite a high-scoring World Cup. When we were in England with A team, 300 was regularly scored,” Dravid said, citing how things have changed in the last two decades.

“A lot more runs will be scored compared to the 1999 World Cup, where we used the Dukes white ball. The white Kookaburra with two new balls, revised field restrictions (different Powerplays) are different, so you can’t compare the two World Cups.”

Opinion Cricket

What makes Shami deadly outside the subcontinent?

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 10:14 AM IST


  • Mohammed Shami has gone on to become one of the most pivotal bowlers for India
  • He has been among the wickets
  • Shami's rise in stature away from home is a lot due to his fitness levels

Mohammed Shami has gone on to become one of the most pivotal bowlers for India outside the sub-continent since the start of 2018. He has been among the wickets and his form in Test cricket has helped him do well in the 50-over format as well in recent times. The player, who was India's second highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup, is once again showing his vitality outside India. Shami has done enough in recent times to cement a place for himself in the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup this year.

One will hope that the right-arm fast bowler keeps himself injury-free and gets proper rest in between to show his mettle in England and Wales. Shami's rise in stature away from home is a lot due to his fitness levels. He has lost weight and is looking leaner. His pace has not dipped and the accuracy is notable. The reason what makes Shami a deadly force outside the sub-continent is that his vision for being consistent and accurate. Another plus is that he gets the ball to swing both ways and his deliveries often zip past the batsmen.

In recent times, Shami has picked 12 wickets from six ODI matches. His consistency with the white ball helped India win successive series in Australia and New Zealand. Shami fills in the void of a third pacer in the side. His record outside home is terrific in both ODIs and Tests. After raking in consistent shows in Test cricket, Shami got the ball talking in the ODIs as well. A big factor that has helped him is that he can get his side wickets upfront. He bowls a lot of good length deliveries that are in the right channels. This is a strong feature of the senior cricketer.

Shami was top class for India in Test cricket in 2018. He finished the year with 47 Test scalps and was one short of Jasprit Bumrah (48). What has helped the side massively is that the quartet of Indian pacers in the Tests know each other well. They understand the needs of the side and work well in tandem. This is of massive help for skipper Virat Kohli. Shami's performances outside the subcontinent is helped massively by having the experienced seamers around him. That form has transpired into the ODIs. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar present, Shami has found a partnership.

He also excels with Bumrah. So the confidence factor comes into play. Shami is a genuine wicket-taking bowler and his statistics reveal the same. He was consistent in South Africa, England and Australia in Tests. His ability to get wickets in pitches that assist pace, will serve India well in the World Cup. His reverse swing can be a pivotal factor in England. Shami comes out as one of the biggest winners in this tour of Australia and New Zealand. He is someone, who should be the prime option overseas.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli memes take the Internet by storm after India's humiliation in Hamilton

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 5:47 PM IST


Indian skipper was rested for the last two ODIs as well as T20Is against New Zealand so that his hectic workload can be managed in a better way especially keeping the upcoming World Cup in mind, which isn't too far away.

MS Dhoni, who is nursing a hamstring injury for the past few days, has also missed the last two ODIs. After India's poor show at Seddon Park, fans went on a meme-spree.

Here are a few of them:

News Cricket

We can't have someone with a better influence than Pujara: Jaydev Unadkat

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 5:10 PM IST


  • Cheteshwar Pujara scored a brilliant century in the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy
  • Unadkat says, "We are fortunate to have him in the team."
  • Pujara was also India's batting star in their historic Test series win over Australia

Cheteshwar Pujara scored a brilliant century in the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy game against Karnataka. He helped Saurashtra chase down a challenging target and his ton in the fourth innings of the game was at the heart of his team's fantastic victory in Bangalore.

He was at the receiving end of booing, however, in the aftermath of the game for not walking off after nicking the ball to the keeper off R Vinay Kuma in second innings of Saurashtra's innings.

Despite that, his fellow Saurashtra teammate Jaydev Unadkat hailed him for the kind of influence he has on the team.

Unadkat was quoted as saying by the PTI, “I have been saying this since the Lucknow game (quarter-final against Uttar Pradesh), we cannot have (someone) with a better influence than him (Pujara) in the team. He has been the pillar for India now, like he has been for Saurashtra for a long period of time.

“We are fortunate to have him in the team, at the moment, in the knock-out stage and looking forward for one more performance. But having said that it is not just (about) him, all the guys are playing their best game. During knock-outs, away from home, you need everyone to step up and it can’t be one or two guys, so that’s what we have been doing in the last two games."

News Cricket

Trent Boult says "I am a different bowler when it swings" after humiliating India in fourth ODI

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 4:43 PM IST


The Men in Blue struggled to put up a decent total on board in the absence of batting stalwarts Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in the fourth ODI against New Zealand at Seddon Park, Hamilton. They got bundled out on 92 runs.

Trent Boult was the destructor in chief for New Zealand as he finished with exceptional figures of 5/21. The pitch was providing help to seamers and Boult exploited the conditions beautifully.

Boult said after the match, "It was nice to see the ball move in the air like that. I feel I'm a different bowler when it swings.

"One of my home grounds domestically, I live about an hour away from here. I have a bit of experience here I suppose. It does swing around, bit humid here and it was nice to make the most of it today.

"Just one of those things when you get a couple of wickets at the top... a pretty unique thing to bowl 10 overs on the bounce. But it's just one of things, when the rhythm's good and the ball is swinging late in the spell so I just wanted to make the most of it."

News Cricket

India don't want to be dependent on Virat Kohli all the time: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 4:39 PM IST


The Black Caps won the fourth ODI against India by eight wickets at Seddon Park, Hamilton. India has already won the five-match ODI series. They gained an unassailable lead after the winning the third ODI at Bay Oval. Today, the hosts New Zealand restricted India to a below-par total of 92 runs.

In the aftermath of the loss, Bhuvneshwar Kumar said, "You always miss him [Virat] or his kind of player. At the same time, it's a good opportunity for the young guy who came in place of him. We don't always want to depend on him. Of course, what he has done is amazing.

“If you look at the cricket we have been playing in the last few months, we have played good cricket and such matches come after some time. So, it is a kind of reality check what we can do and improve in the next matches.

“We were confident after winning the series but things didn’t go our way. I don’t want to take credit away from these guys (New Zealand bowlers). They bowled really well and outplayed us.

News Cricket

Thisara Perera complains about Lasith Malinga's wife to SLC

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 3:59 PM IST


  • Things have turned sour between Thisara Perera and Lasith Malinga's wife.
  • As per reports, Malinga's wife targeted Perera twice on Facebook.
  • Thisara Perera wrote, "We have become the laughing stock of a whole country all because of one person's personal vendetta."

Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera wrote a letter to Sri Lankan Cricket Board after he got into a fight with the wife of fellow pacer Lasith Malinga, Tanya Perera. As per reports in ESPNCricinfo, Tanya Perera had accused Thisara Perera in a Facebook post to have met Sri Lanka's sports minister, earlier in the month, to secure a berth in the Senior Men's side.

At that time, the Sri Lankan all-rounder had rubbished the allegations on Facebook. But, a few weeks later, Tanya again took potshots at Thisara on the same platform, which compelled the former Sri Lankan skipper to write a letter to the board.

Excerpts of the letter are as follows: "When these kinds of accusations are made by the incumbent captain's wife on social media, it is hard to prevent the general public from believing and further slandering me in various ways.

"There has been a general sense of unease in the dressing room ever since [the Facebook post] and to be honest the environment was rather unpleasant for the youngsters especially when two senior players were not on the same page. We cannot play as a team with friction. The leadership's role is to create stability and unity within the team even before one could start with a game plan. In this instant I regret to say we had none of the above."

"We are at the verge of the World Cup. Our focus and attention should be on performing well at it instead of bickering over social media on pointless issues. This team is in dire need of steady leadership and guidance. Importantly, and environment of unity is needed… These issues need rectifying ahead of the World Cup. The leadership and seniors of the team must set the example for this.

"We have become the laughing stock of a whole country all because of one person's personal vendetta. This is not something to be taken lightly, especially at a time like this. I humbly request SLC to intervene and help us overcome our difference and move forward with a renewed confidence and sense of unity."

News Cricket

Fans troll Michael Vaughan for mocking Team India's batting collapse in fourth ODI

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 3:52 PM IST


  • New Zealand reached 93-2 in only 14.4 overs
  • Boult was thrilled to find the swing which is the foundation of his bowling success
  • Michael Vaughan mocked Men in Blue for their batting collapse

New Zealand finally found conditions to its liking — hot conditions which made the ball swing — and in the absence of captain Virat Kohli, who was rested, and M.S. Dhoni, who has a hamstring strain, bowled out India for 92 in 30.5 overs.

New Zealand reached 93-2 in only 14.4 overs, concluding the match before the scheduled dinner break. Ross Taylor made 37 in an unbroken 54-run partnership with Henry Nicholls (30 not out) to see New Zealand home, clinching the win with a six and a four from the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal.

Boult was thrilled to find the swing which is the foundation of his bowling success — he is ranked 10th in the world in ODIs — and used it expertly to wreck India's top and middle order. The full ball, swinging into the stumps late, was too much for India batsmen who flourished in more placid conditions in the first three matches.

India lost three wickets for 33 runs and slumped to 55-8 before some tail-end resistance took it past 88, its previous lowest score against New Zealand.

Without the steadying influences of Kohli and Dhoni, India crumbled. Once New Zealand broke the opening partnership between Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply for the first time in the series, it was able to expose a middle order it hadn't previously seen. The New Zealand bowlers had taken only nine wickets in the three previous matches.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan mocked Men in Blue for their batting collapse.

His comment invited the wrath of Indian fans, who reminded him of England's collapse in their first innings of the 1st Test against the Windies last week.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma reflects on his journey to 200 ODIs

Staff Writer Updated: 31 January, 2019, 3:48 PM IST


  • Trent Boult took five wickets for 21 runs to lead New Zealand to a face-saving eight-wicket win
  • India had already won the five-match series 3-0
  • Rohit Sharma reflected on his journey to 200 ODIs

Trent Boult took five wickets for 21 runs to lead New Zealand to a face-saving eight-wicket win over India on Thursday in the fourth one-day cricket international.

India had already won the five-match series 3-0, outplaying New Zealand by eight wickets in the first match, 90 runs in the second and seven wickets in the third.

"I think it was one of our worst performances with the bat for a long, long time," stand-in captain Rohit Sharma said. "Games like this can happen. You've got to give credit to the New Zealand bowlers; after losing three matches to come out and bowl like that was a magnificent effort."

Earlier, Rohit Sharma reflected on his journey to 200 ODIs. The right hand batsman became the 14th Indian player to play 200 one-day internationals. “Yeah, 200th game is special. Lots of ups and downs but I am happy where I am,” Sharma said during the pre-match interview.