News Cricket

Gautam Gambhir joins Bharatiya Janata Party

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 3:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Indian cricketer and world cup winner Gautam Gambhir joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday and said he was impressed with the work carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last few years.

“I am impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision... I have contributed to the field of cricket and now hope to do more for the country”, the 37-year-old cricketer said.

He was welcomed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who praised the former star. “Gambhir has excelled in his career and the party hopes to utilize his talent. The BJP will benefit from his talent.”

When asked if Gambhir would contest from Delhi in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, Jaitely said let the election committee of the party decided that.

Earlier, there were speculations that Gambhir would soon start his political innings but he had ruled out the possibility of joining any political party.

“I have got a young family and I need to think about them as well because I have hardly spent any time with them. I do not want to miss their early days and let us see where I go from here.”

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News Cricket

Twitter unites to congratulate Gautam Gambhir as he begins political innings

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 3:09 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Gautam Gambhir, who was part of the two World Cup winning teams, has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was welcomed by Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Gambhir said he was mighty impressed with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra and hence decided to become part of his inspirational journey.

"I am joining this party (BJP) after getting influenced by PM Narendra Modi's vision. I am honored to get the opportunity to join this platform," said the 37-year-old.

Fans took to Twitter to congratulate the former Indian cricketer.

Gambhir scored over 10,000 runs in international cricket. He was one of the most successful skippers in the Indian Premier League having led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles - 2012 and 2014.

If reports are to be believed he could contest from a New Delhi constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.

News Cricket

Dhoni hails wife Sakshi for her contribution in his career

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 2:05 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The HotStar documentary “Roar of the Lion” is based on the return of the Chennai Super Kings to Indian Premier League after completing their two-year ban.

In the documentary, MS Dhoni has shed light on the role played by his wife Sakshi during the darkest phase of his career.

According to Dhoni, Sakshi has always been there and it was because of her he could cope up with the allegation of spot fixing.

“I feel Sakshi’s contribution to my cricket is very important in its own way wherever and however she can chip in. I always felt she was always there for all of that,” MS Dhoni can be seen saying in the documentary.

MS Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings to its third IPL title in 2018.

They will start their title defense against Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 23 at the Chepauk on Saturday.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid warns Virat Kohli & co.

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 11:22 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rahul Dravid has warned Team India that World Cup won't be a cakewalk and the players will have to perform exceptionally well to win the trophy. The former Indian skipper feels the defeat against Australia was a reality check for the Indian team.

"I think there was a bit of notion that we are going walk there and win the World Cup easily. So it's a good thing that has happened. What it has done has reminded us that we have to play the World Cup very, very well," said at an event organised by ESPNcricinfo.

"India has performed well in the last couple of years. There was a little bit of talk that we are almost going to walk in there and win the World Cup very easily because we are the No. 1 team and we have been dominating one-day cricket for the last couple of years," the former India captain and the current India A coach added.

However, Dravid has not dismissed India’s chances at the World Cup. He feels India can go all the way but it will be a competitive tournament.

"I still feel that we are still going to be one of the favourites. But it's going to be tough, it's going to be competitive. I think there was a bit of notion that we are going to walk there and win the World Cup. So it's a good thing that has happened. What it has reminded us is that we have to play the World Cup very very well," he said.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli can break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 tons

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 10:45 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis has stated that nothing is impossible for the Indian skipper.

He feels Virat Kohli can break Sachin Tendulkar's record of 100 international centuries if he stays fit as nothing is out of reach for him.

“Kohli I believe can go as far as he wants to. He is a world class player. He is hungry. He works hard. He has proved that over the years. The main thing about him is that he keeps it simple. People enjoy watching him bat,” said Kallis.

Kallis believes Virat Kohli will not be under pressure in the World Cup and he is backing him to score heavily in England.

“I don’t think Kohli will be under pressure. He has produced the goods time and time again. He is a world class player and the guys follow what he does. He is certainly one of the best in the world.”

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant can lead India to World Cup glory

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 3:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting is backing Rishabh Pant to come good in the World Cup. He has described him as one of those players who can help the team in winning the World Cup.

However, Pant recently failed with both the bat and gloves in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia at home.

“The first thing I would do is pick him in that Indian squad for the World Cup, I would play him as a batter, I would play him at number four,” said the former Australian captain.

“He is the sort of guy, with that kind of talent, he can win you a World Cup, he has just got that x-factor.”

Delhi Capitals squad for IPL 2019

Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, Manjot Kalra, Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Hanuma Vihari, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Ankush Bains, Nathu Singh, Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Jalaj Saxena, Bandaru Ayyappa.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli continues to lead ICC Test Rankings

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian skipper Virat Kohli retained the number one rank in latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen. Kohli has played just one Test innings this year scoring 23 runs against Australia. He has a total of 922 points.

Cheteshwar Pujara has also retained the number three position on the Test batsman rankings. The batsman has 881 points.

R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the two Indian bowlers in the top 10 of ICC Test bowler rankings. Ashwin is in the tenth place while Jadeja holds the sixth position.

Virat Kohli-led team continues to lead the rankings in Test format followed by New Zealand who are at the number two position.

Afghanistan have gained the most in rankings following their maiden Test win over New Zealand. Rahmat Shah, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his impressive performance, has reached the 89th position.

Rashid Khan had a memorable outing against Ireland, picking his first fifer in the purest form of cricket. The leg-spinner is now at the 67th position.

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah is an asset to Mumbai Indians

Staff Writer Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:56 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mumbai Indians' Director of Operations and former player Zaheer is impressed with Jasprit Bumrah. According to him, Bumrah is a world class bowler and an asset to have. He has taken 63 wickets in 61 matches for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

Zaheer said in a tweet which came from the official Twitter handle of Mumbai Indians: "Bumrah is a world-class bowler. He's an asset to have."

Bumrah has been phenomenal since making his international debut in 2016. The pacer has accumulated 49 wickets in 10 Tests, 85 wickets in 49 ODIs and 51 wickets and 42 T20 internationals.

He has impressed everyone with his pace and accuracy and this led to his success in South Africa, England and Australia.

Bumrah is the number one ranked ODI bowler in ICC rankings and is expected to perform well for Men in Blue in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli eyeing two records in IPL opener against Chennai Super Kings

Staff Writer Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli has been one of the best batsmen in the history of Indian Premier League. The skipper of Royal Challengers Bangalore has led from the front, scoring more than 4900 runs in the cash rich league.

He will look to achieve two personal milestones in the IPL opener against Chennai Super Kings. Apart from defeating their arch rivals, Virat will be hoping to come good with his willow.

Virat needs just 37 runs to topple Suresh Raina from the spot of highest run-getter in the tournament. The left hand batsman has 4985 runs to his name.

Raina will also be present in the playing XI of CSK, meaning intense competition between the two.

Kohli is also on the verge of equaling David Warner's record of most 50+ scores in the IPL.

Former skipper of Sunrisers Hyderabad has touched the mark 39 times while Kohli is at the second spot with 38 such scores.

News Cricket

Hardik's priority is cricket and he is in right frame of mind - Zaheer Khan

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:52 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Zaheer Khan, who is associated with Mumbai Indians, has stated Hardik Pandya is on the right track to make his comeback in Mumbai's colors after being sidelined for Australia limited-overs series following an unfortunate back injury.

Khan, who has been one of the most successful Indian bowlers, said: "Sometimes the distraction actually helps you get back on track. So, Hardik is pretty much on track. For any cricketer, the best way to go about his business is by going out there on that field and let his numbers talk. Hardik is in that frame of mind. He wants opportunities, he wants to go out there, express himself and let everyone know that his priority is cricket," he said.

"He is very serious and passionate about the game. In terms of monitoring his workload, he has been very good with that. For a fast bowler, for the kind of injury he had in Asia Cup, it is not easy. He has to be monitored. There is no doubt about it. He is in consultation with the team of support staff that he has been working with. So, everything is under control so far. He has done a couple of bowling sessions. And he has got to progress in that fashion."

News Cricket

Sunil Narine begins IPL preparation with ‘mystery ball’ warning for other franchises

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:51 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sunil Narine is Kolkata Knight Riders’ best bet in the Indian Premier League. Despite remodeled bowling action, he has taken a lot of wickets for his IPL franchise.

They will be banking on their star spinner to get them wickets in the upcoming season of the cash rich league. According to KKR bowling coach Carl Crowe, Narine is working on hiding the ball from batsmen to keep the mystery intact.

“With so much analysis, we are aware of that (the mystery being solved). His action changed slightly since last year in terms of hiding the ball,” Crowe said ahead of the team’s practice session at the Eden Gardens.

“We are working on him in terms of staying ahead of batsmen. After IPL, we have plans for next year with mystery ball, hiding the ball. We are one step ahead of them and are looking at new ways to hide (the ball) and make sure batsmen don’t pick up,” he added.

Narine will play in the IPL after recovering from a finger injury that made him miss the Pakistan Super League.

“He is in good shape. He didn’t play the PSL due to a finger injury. His performance has always been of high quality. His batting is now part of his game as well. But when you modify your action and be able to maintain the standard, which he has done, credit should go to him,” Crowe added.

News Cricket

Should Ishant be selected for the World Cup? Here’s what Ponting and Dada said

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ishant Sharma has led the Indian pace attack pretty well in Test cricket in the last few years. However, he continues to be out of the limited-overs squad but the lanky fast bowler has not given up yet and is looking to show his talent through the upcoming edition of the IPL.

Delhi Capitals advisor Sourav Ganguly and mentor Ricky Ponting are backing him to seal number World Cup spot.

“I think he’s bowling at his best at the moment,” Ganguly said while speaking about Ishant's case on Tuesday. “I think he has matured with so much of experience under his belt and I think he’s really working hard in the nets and I know he’ll do well.”

“I don’t believe someone is a T20 bowler or a 50-over bowler or Test bowler. Test bowler is the highest level of bowling that you can achieve. You got to be at a really good level at that and I’m not saying that you don’t have to be good in the limited-overs but Ishant has it in him the ability to adjust and reshape his bowling in this format. You can see it in him that he’s keen to turn it around and you always go for players like that,” he added.

Ponting also lauded the Indian speedster. “He’s reshaping his bowling. We have watched him closely in the practice game we played a couple of nights ago. He bowled well in the game, stayed on after it. His ability to hit Yorkers is probably better than ever before. The other thing he brings with himself is the experience to our line-up. It’s invaluable in the T20 format,” said the former Australian captain.

He further asserted: “It’s been talked about a long time that T20 cricket is a young man’s game but it’s not that. It’s probably an older person’s game and experienced players game that can think their ways through tough situations in the game. We have a lot of you bowlers in our squad and he can be a mentor to them.”

News Cricket

KL Rahul reveals What Virat Kohli said to him when he joined RCB

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

KL Rahul was Kings XI Punjab's best player in the last edition of the Indian Premier League. He scored over 600 runs after he was bought for a mammoth Rs 11 crore.

Earlier he was part of Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore. He joined the Bangalore based franchise in 2016 and scored 397 runs at an average of 44.1 and a strike rate of 146.49.

The right hand batsman has revealed how he was treated when he went to sign the papers.

"The day when I went to sign my RCB contract papers is my next great memory. I thought it would just me signing the papers with some manager," Rahul told Redbull.

"But I remember I walked into the room and there was a full team meeting with the directors; Virat Kohli was also sitting there. I walked into the room like I was the coolest person there but suddenly I saw everyone and thought, "What have I walked into?" The contract is about 20-30 pages so it took me a while to go through it.

"After that Virat came to me, put an arm around my shoulder and said, 'Welcome to the team. We are going to have a blast.' That was a big moment for me and also the start of my first IPL season so I think of all the cricketers I played with then; Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Zaheer Khan, and everyone else. Just getting to hang out with all of them is what I remember fondly."

Feature Cricket

No clear favorites for the IPL

Partab Ramchand Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have won it three times and Kolkata Knight Riders twice. Going by past record it may seem that these three teams would be the favourites going into the IPL which commences on March 23. The fact of the matter is that there are no favourites when it comes to the IPL. In the first place it is T-20 cricket which is most unpredictable. Moreover the long drawn out format gives every team a chance to come back after an indifferent start or to falter after a getting off to a flying start.

There is also the question of selection for the World Cup. Yes, that is Fifty50 and this is T-20 but there are still a couple of slots that need to be filled. The series against Australia did not exactly solve all the puzzles in the jigsaw that is the Indian World Cup squad and a really fine performance could end up in a surprise choice or two for England. The World Cup squad is to be picked around April 20 so the players have four weeks in which to try and impress the selectors.

While there is speculation about the slots to go to the utility players and how many of them should make the cut there is also considerable discussion around the No 4 slot that certainly remains to be filled for none of the candidates tried out in recent matches have shown the consistency to make the position their own. The experts have all come up with their own choices which include Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar while Sourav Ganguly has come up with a surprise option in Cheteshwar Pujara. And while there is a need for someone to play the anchor role in limited overs cricket one doubts whether Pujara is the man. Whatever his impressive showing in Tests, his dismal record in ODIs – 51 runs in five matches at an average of 10.20 and a strike rate of 39 straightaway rules him out, besides the fact that he hasn’t played an ODI for five years.

Feature Cricket

Standardizing the Ball or the Game?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), widely considered the custodian of the laws of the game, put forth a recommendation that seems more like a googly.

Amongst several suggestions being made to improve the game and the viewership, the world cricket committee of the MCC suggested standardizing the ball used around the world in the course of Test cricket. Currently there are three different balls in use: Duke, Kookaburra and the SG which is used in India. If the ICC adopts the MCC proposal, the red ball will become the first thing to become the uniform code after the universal white flannels.

While the idea being standardizing the ball may be to minimize discrepancies across the playing field as it were, the concept behind using different red balls is to better utilize the varying conditions found in different parts of the world. Therefore, whether a particular seam and stitch may be more conductive to a pitch in one part of the world, it is not necessarily the case in another part of the world.

Every once in a while, the quality of a particular pitch comes into question given how the pitch behaves and the match evolves. There is now the danger that standardizing the use of the ball will be the first of several such moves towards making the game more uniform and therefore, lacking in character. Apart from the fact that whether such a move is even feasible, what it essentially does is take away the character of Test cricket and the home and away concept where playing in home conditions carries its own advantage as does the challenge of playing away from home. Fast, bouncy, seaming pitches in one part of the world and dustbowls in the other that favour reverse swing and leg spin, these are the factors that decide which ball is favoured in which part of the world. It is highly unlikely that a single ball will be able to cater to the unique qualities of the game across the regions where Test cricket is played.

Whether the use of a single ball will be able to extract maximum advantage across the playing field of the Test playing countries where there are so many variables in the game including the weather, the pitch conditions and the size of the outfield makes this recommendation somewhat untenable, leave aside the fact that Test cricket will be in danger of becoming one dimensional, stereotypical and totally lacking in colour or essence.

Whether making the playing conditions more level for all teams across all places means standardizing the ball across the matches is the only right, best option is something that must be considered and weighed before the recommendation can even be tabled before the International Cricket Council for adoption is imperative. At the moment, the idea of a single red ball in use is essentially an utopian idea that does not have its base in practicality.