Feature Cricket

Don’t be over critical of India, give credit to England

Partab Ramchand Updated: 1 July, 2019, 12:16 PM IST


There is nothing more dangerous in sport than a desperate, cornered opponent. England underlined the wisdom of this adage on Sunday. They had to defeat India – hitherto unbeaten in the competition – to keep their hopes alive in the World Cup. And no one will deny that they did it with a certain panache. They still have one more tough game against New Zealand on Wednesday to make absolutely sure of a semifinal berth but the victory over India will do wonders for their confidence.

England pre-tournament favourites were stung by the severe criticism particularly by some former players following two straight defeats that saw them in danger of not qualifying for the knockout. Winning the toss was an advantage and they came flying out from the starting blocks. No one symbolized the determination that characterized the team’s performance more than Johnny Bairstow who had countered the criticism with some stinging comments of his own. It seemed that he was not just hitting the Indian bowlers all over the ground but was taking it out on those who had come down hard on the team.

A victory target of 338 was always going to be tough particularly after the first Powerplay yielded just 28 runs and while there has been criticism against MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav for their dawdling in the last five overs I find it odd that the bowling has escaped scrutiny. Except Jasprit Bumrah all the other four bowlers conceded six runs and more an over. The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were carted around for 160 runs in their 20 overs. To be candid the match was probably lost at the halfway stage itself and KL Rahul’s early departure made it almost certain.

There is no point in just gunning for Dhoni and Jadhav. What for instance would have been the reaction if they had gone for an almost impossible target and been dismissed leading to India being all out? They then would have been accused of playing irresponsibly. At least this way they insured the NRR which in a close finish for the semifinalists spot can come in handy.

They were a couple of cameos by Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya following the century partnership for the second wicket between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli but that was never going to be enough against some accurate and incisive bowling by England. In the ultimate analysis instead of being over critical of the Indians let us give credit to England who were deserving winners by putting in a professional performance when it mattered most for them.

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News Cricket

King Kohli leads the list of top batters picked by Shahid Afridi

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 3:30 PM IST


Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi conducted an interactive session with his fans on Twitter. When he was asked to name his favourite batsman among current players, the veteran took the names of Virat Kohli, Babar Azam, Steve Smith and Joe Root.

“Virat Kohli, Babar, Root, Smith,” was Afridi’s reply.

However, he refused to choose between Virat Kohli and Babar Azam when asked by another fan. “Both,” he replied.

Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi recently lauded Indian skipper Virat Kohli after his another match winning performance in international cricket. The right-hand batsman became the only batsman to have his batting average above 50 across formats.

Shahid Afridi retweeted ICC's tweet and captioned it: "Congratulations @imVkohli You are a great player indeed, wish you continued success, keep entertaining cricket fans all around the world."

News Cricket

Don't blush boss: KL Rahul takes a dig at Universe Boss on latter's 40th birthday

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 3:13 PM IST


Chris Gayle is celebrating his 40th birthday today, and he is still hitting hundreds in T20 format. He was wished by leading cricketers from across the globe including his IPL teammate KL Rahul.

"Happy birthday @henrygayle Dont blush boss. Wish u many more legend," Rahul wrote in his tweet.

Gayle's 'Don't blush Baby' comment to a female sports presenter during the Big Bash League in 2016 had led to whispered criticism. However, Gayle maintained that his intention was not to harm or hurt anyone.

He was last seen in the ODI series against India and is currently playing in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League. He scored an impressive 116 off 62 balls for his franchise Jamaica Tallawahs in a game against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

The left hand batsman is West Indies' leading run-scorer in ODIs with 10480 runs under his belt.

News Cricket

Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali ruled out of ODI series against Sri Lanka

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 2:49 PM IST


Pakistan has to make two forced changes after fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali were ruled out due to illness and injury respectively. Afridi is down with dengue fever while Hasan was ruled out because of a back spasm.

Opening batsman Fakhar Zaman has retained his place in the squad despite the left-hander's poor show with the bat during the World Cup.

"No doubt his (Fakhar) performance has gone down, but still his average is around 47 in ODIs," Misbah said.

"He's an impact player. He is such a player that if he plays 10 overs, you have a chance to win the match. Instead of wasting him, we should see how we can utilize him in the future."

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan, who scored two centuries in the United Arab Emirates against Australia, also made a comeback after being ignored for the World Cup.

Misbah said captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Rizwan have different roles and Rizwan could be in the playing eleven as a fielder.

"If someone has scored two hundreds at No. 4 you have to give him a chance," Misbah said.

"You have added advantage of having two wicketkeepers, fitness wise he is very good ... we are trying to encourage such players and we will try to give them matches whenever we have a chance."

Karachi will host all the three ODIs with the first game on Sept. 27, followed by matches on Sept. 29 and Oct. 2.

The ODI series will be followed by three Twenty20s at Lahore in between Oct. 5-9.

Pakistan squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari, Wahab Riaz.

News Cricket

Iftikhar, Nawaz recalled for ODI series against Sri Lanka

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 2:46 PM IST


Pakistan recalled all-rounders Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz for three-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka, starting at Karachi from next week.

Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq also recalled three other players — Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari and Abid Ali — who were not part of Pakistan's World Cup squad.

The 29-year-old Iftikhar played just two ODIs against England in 2015 before he had been sidelined — mainly because of the presence of two more all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the team.

Malik retired from one-day internationals after the World Cup in July while Hafeez has received permission to skip the series against Sri Lanka from the Pakistan Cricket Board to play in the Caribbean Premier League.

Nawaz, who also bowls left-arm spin, has impressed selectors with his form in the domestic one-day tournament — Pakistan Cup — and has been recalled after one year.

Pakistan squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari, Wahab Riaz.

News Cricket

This photo of Indian players after gym session will give you the right motivation to workout

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 2:35 PM IST


Men in Blue are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the final T20I against South Africa. Virat Kohli was seen sweating it out in the gym with Shikhar Dhawan, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini and Shreyas Iyer. The whole team, including the players who are in the Test team, is training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

Shikhar Dhawan posted a picture on his Instagram account after his workout with teammates.

India's fielding coach R Sridhar commented on Shikhar Dhawan's post.

"Steaming hot line up," he wrote.

Earlier, Virat Kohli scored 72 runs off 52 balls as India coasted to a seven-wicket win over South Africa in the second Twenty20 on Wednesday.

Chasing 150, Kohli eased his way to a 22nd half-century in T20 cricket as India won with an over to spare. Shikhar Dhawan contributed 40 off 31 balls after South Africa was restricted to 149-5.

Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (12) gave the hosts a fiery start and put on 33 off 23 balls. Andile Phehlukwayo (1-20) trapped Sharma lbw and broke the flow of runs.

Kohli and Dhawan then came together to put on 61 runs for the second wicket as India was coasting at the halfway mark of their innings. But South Africa struck twice in the space of 13 balls to cause a minor wobble.

David Miller pulled off a stunning one-handed diving catch to his left at long on to leave Dhawan stunned. The left-hander was dismissed off Tabraiz Shamsi (1-19) in the 12th over.

An over later, Rishabh Pant (4) carelessly pulled Bjorn Fortuin (1-32) straight to short fine leg, resulting in yet another cheap dismissal.

Kohli, though, quickly dashed any South African hopes of an unlikely victory. He reached his half-century off 40 balls and then shifted gears with ease.

In doing so, he went atop the list of run scorers in international T20 cricket with 2,440 runs, six ahead of compatriot Sharma (2434).

Shreyas Iyer (16 not out) played the ideal foil to his skipper as India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma can be successful like Virender Sehwag in Test cricket – Sunil Gavaskar

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 2:20 PM IST


Rohit Sharma is one of the best batsmen in shorter formats of the game but he has failed to score runs in Whites. Despite getting a lot of changes to cement his place, Rohit has been found wanting in Test cricket.

The team management has decided to promote him as a Test opener in order to see whether he can be as good as he is in limited-overs cricket. He averages 39.6 in 27 Test matches with just three fifties outside the sub-continent.

India's former Test opener Sunil Gavaskar has urged Rohit to make some changes in order to score runs in Test matches.

"When we talk about Rohit Sharma, he doesn't have the water tight defence like Virender Sehwag. But he perhaps has more shots than Sehwag. Sehwag would not hit the ball so much on the on side. Rohit can use the pull and hook very well. So Rohit does have more attacking shots. If he can tighten up his defence against the good balls, he can also be successful like Sehwag in Test cricket,” he said.

News Cricket

ICC lists Rahul Dravid as a left-handed batsman in a goof-up on website

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 2:10 PM IST


In a major embarrassment for the ICC, Rahul Dravid has been listed as a left-hand batsman in their Hall of Fame page on the website. Rahul was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year and he became the fifth Indian to be conferred with this honor. However, it seems the governing body of intentional cricket failed to properly check the content uploaded on their website page.

“BATTING: LEFT-HAND” was written in Dravid’s section, drawing flak from fans.

Earlier, the governing body of Indian cricket posted a photo of Rahul Dravid who paid a visit to Team India ahead of the third T20I in Bengaluru. He met head coach Ravi Shastri and players during the course of their practice session.

The BCCI posted the photo on Twitter with the caption: "When two greats of Indian Cricket meet."

The former Indian skipper was appointed as the head of cricket at NCA (National Cricket Academy) earlier this year.

News Cricket

Australia likely to tour Pakistan in future - CA chief Kevin Roberts

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 1:56 PM IST


Cricket teams have been reluctant to visit Pakistan citing security concerns. The governing body of Pakistan cricket is trying to invite Australia from very long. However, Cricket Australia has turned down their request. But after a long time, Sri Lanka have agreed to tour the country and now CA Chief Executive Kevin Roberts is hopeful of touring Pakistan.

Australia played their last series back in 1998-99 in Pakistan but they have never visited the sub-continent country again.

Kevin Roberts recently returned from Pakistan after checking security arrangements.

“The purpose was really to understand the landscape, look at the plans they have in place around security and then start expressing our expectations for the safety of our players and our support staff well over two years away from when we’re due to tour.

“Things are heading in the right direction. In saying that we were traveling in armored cars and escorted by police and felt very safe over there. But certainly, that level of security is still required at this point,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.

“We would love to see international cricket return to Pakistan, but we would never put our people in jeopardy,” he further added.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant will be the X-factor for Virat Kohli-led team in future – Sourav Ganguly

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 1:45 PM IST


Rishabh Pant is facing a lot of flak for his recent performance in international cricket. Apart from his match winning knock in the third T20I against the West Indies, he has failed to contribute. His shot selection has been awful and even the head coach Ravi Shastri spoke about the same ahead of the T20 series against South Africa.

However, Sourav Ganguly has come out in support of the left hand batsman and has urged critics to be patient with the young Indian batsman.

While speaking to Cricbuzz, he stated players like Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant can turn the games on any given day.

“I think India is strong. India is strong and powerful. I wouldn’t go back to Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as the X-factors because they are the X-factor players.

“Rohit Sharma’s performance in the World Cup was unreal, five World Cup hundreds. Although India lost in the semi-finals, India played well in the World Cup. I think when you talk about X-factors and you talk about future players, Rishabh Pant will be the one to watch,” he said.

“Just be patient with him. I see the country goes up and down every time he gets dismissed. Every time Pant hits a ball in the air, Twitter goes berserk. ‘When will he learn to build an innings’ and all that.

But if you want to have a match-winner, you have to set him free. You will have people who will defend, who will prod, who will rotate and India has a lot of them. Shikhar Dhawan can do that, Virat Kohli himself can do that, but you need the likes of Pant and Pandya to bring the X-factor. To bring the explosive thing, the game-changing thing that you need to win matches. I think Pant will be a huge force in Indian cricket,” he added.

News Cricket

I am worried for Rishabh Pant because he is not delivering - Virat’s coach Rajkumar Sharma

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 1:40 PM IST


Rishabh Pant's place in Team India has become a matter of debate after his failure in the second T20I against South Africa. He had a chance to score runs against the visitors but badly timed shot resulted in his downfall. The left hand batsman has been a revelation in Test format but his form in the shorter formats is under the scanner.

Rajkumar Sharma, the childhood coach of Virat Kohli, is worried for Rishabh Pant. According to him, Pant should play sensibly to reap benefits.

“Its high time, he should be careful. T20 is his favourite format and he is not able to perform. He has quality strokes, he is an impact player and a match-winner too but unfortunately, he is not delivering,” Sharma was quoted as saying by Deccan Chronicle.

“I am really worried for Rishabh Pant because the way he is playing is really alarming and the kind of comments are coming especially from Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour is a matter of concern,” added Sharma.

He lauded Team India for its consistent performance across formats and even agreed with Ravi Shastri that the Virat Kohli-led side is the best touring side.

“The Indian team has given a consistent performance and I have not seen team India being so consistent in the past 20 years. I second Ravi Shastri’s statement that this team is the best travelling team.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja are super dads and we have Dhawan’s video to prove it

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 12:49 PM IST


India had a perfect game against visiting South Africa. The team led by Virat Kohli defeated its rivals in the second T20 international of the series. Shikhar Dhawan, who played an impressive knock, uploaded a video on Instagram showcasing different side of Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja.

Dhawan captioned the video: 'Meet the loving and caring fathers from our team @rohitsharma45 & @royalnavghan.'

Dhawan can be seen asking Rohit Sharma about the gifts he bought for his daughter Samaira. The vice-captain informed him about the toys, which he will give it to his bundle of joy when he meets his family in Bengaluru.

After speaking to Rohit Sharma, Gabbar turned his attention to Ravindra Jadeja, who was sitting behind. The Indian all-rounder informed both of them that he too bought toys for his daughter, prompting the trio to burst into laughter.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma's video reveals Shikhar Dhawan has a habit of sleep talking like many of us

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 12:30 PM IST


Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are renowned for their free flowing batting style in shorter formats. They have stitched match winning partnerships for Men in Blue and their presence is enough to make rivals worry. Apart from their on-field charisma, they share a close bond off the field as well. Rohit on Friday took to social media to share a video of his opening batting partner talking in his sleep.

Rohit captioned the video: “No no he isn’t talking to me! And he’s too old to have an imaginary friend. Why so loco jattji @shikhardofficial”.

Shikhar and Rohit are back as openers after the former was ruled out of the World Cup following a fractured thumb in the round-robin match against Australia.

He did play in the ODIs and T20 internationals against the Windies but failed to get going. However, the left hand batsman showed his class in the last T20 match against South Africa.

Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, had a fabulous World Cup. Apart from scoring the most runs, he also hit five tons in England and Wales.

News Cricket

David Warner makes fun of Rashid Khan's age on latter’s 21st birthday

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 12:26 PM IST


David Warner and Rashid Khan have played a lot of cricket together in the Indian Premier League. They represent Sunrisers Hyderabad in the cash rich tournament. Rashid Khan, who turned 21 yesterday, was hilariously wished by David Warner. The left hand batsman took to Twitter to mock him on his special day. He hilariously referred to Rashid as a 25-year-old.

Earlier, Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan claimed a career-best 6-59 amid the threat of rain, sealing a 224-run win over Bangladesh.

The six-for in the second innings, his third five-for or more in a row, took him to 11-104 in the match, alongside scoring 51 runs in the first innings. In doing so, he joined Pakistan's Imran Khan and Australia's Alan Border to have scored a half-century and taken 10 wickets while debuting as captain.

After getting test status last year, Afghanistan lost its first match to India before beating Ireland by seven wickets at its base in Dehradun.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni is a finished product - Aakash Chopra

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 12:01 PM IST


A lot has been written about Rishabh Pant and his comparison with MS Dhoni. The left hand batsman is seen as the right candidate to replace the former Indian skipper in the squad. However, he has failed to live upto the expectations with some below-par performances.

Former Indian cricketer turned expert Aakash Chopra is not satisfied with Pan't comparison with Dhoni. He feels Dhoni is a finished product and no one should compare the 21-year old with him.

Meanwhile, Dhoni has not played cricket since the last edition of the World Cup in England and Wales. While he is yet to speak about his future with Team India, selectors have decided to look ahead as far as international cricket is concerned.

The 38-year old is spending quality time with his family at the moment and is expected to reveal his plans in the coming days.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant is no MS Dhoni - Former Indian cricketer

Staff Writer Updated: 21 September, 2019, 11:54 AM IST


Rishabh Pant is going through bad times as far as his international career is concerned. Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri have already warned him about the consequences if he keeps failing and to make matter worse for him, he failed to get going in the second T20I against South Africa. He had all the time in the world to settle down but he went for a shot, which was not required, resulting in another cheap dismissal.

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra wants Pant to bat at number five as it might suit his batting style. “Would’ve liked Iyer ahead of Pant. Batting at 4 suits Iyer more. Batting at 5 might work better for Pant,” Chopra tweeted.

He further added that fans think Pant will replace MS Dhoni, which is completely unfair. According to Aakash, Dhoni is a finished product and Pant is a young lad trying to cement his place in the squad.

However, he feels Pant will have to score runs in order to play for Team India in the future assignments.