News Cricket

Holding comes down hard on NRR concept, says Pak should be in semis if they beat Bangladesh

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 5:17 PM IST


Bangladesh is definitely out but fifth-place Pakistan, which has won its last three games, has a remote mathematical chance of advancing to the semifinals. It can draw level with New Zealand in fourth on 11 points if it beat Bangladesh but needs to win by at least 316 runs on Friday to advance. That has never been achieved before in ODI history.

Pakistan delayed its likely Cricket World Cup exit by winning the toss and choosing to bat against Bangladesh in their group match at Lord's.

Pakistan made no changes to the team that beat Afghanistan for its third straight win.

Earlier, Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed had acknowledged the almost impossible task ahead for his team under the current system.

"It is very difficult (to advance) ... Only if you're batting first, if you score 600 runs or 500 runs," Sarfaraz said Thursday at a pre-match news conference. "So I don't know what the study is behind this, but I can't do anything."

Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has criticized the NRR concept of choosing a semifinalist.

He stated if the number of wins and points are same for two teams, the result between the two should be considered.

"Pakistan should be in the semi-finals if they beat Bangladesh. NRR should be the last thing to consider. If points & wins are equal then the result between both teams should be the deciding factor. Since Pakistan beat New Zealand they should be in semi-finals," said Holding.

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News Cricket

Brian Lara picks the better batsman between Sachin and Kohli

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 5:15 PM IST


Who is the better batsman, Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar? Well, this has to be one of the most debatable questions. Virat Kohli is the current kingpin of India's batting while Sachin Tendulkar once formed the spine of India's batting. West Indies legend, Brian Lara was asked to pick one between Sachin and Kohli. Lara picked his contemporary Sachin Tendulkar over India's present captain and world's no.1 Test and ODI batsman, Virat Kohli.

Lara said, "He (Virat Kohli) is a (run) machine. But sorry to say Sachin Tendulkar is my (choice).” He further added that Sachin left an unbelievable impression on the game.

“The (impression) Sachin left on the game is just unbelievable, because he sort of bridged that period, where you felt that when Indian batsman leaves Indian soil, Indian pitches, they are not that good. But Sachin Tendulkar was good on every surface and all of the Indian batsman are good on every single surface today, I think simply because they took a page out of his (Sachin’s) book,” Lara said.

“But getting back to your question, no doubt there is a huge gap between Virat Kohli and the rest of the world in all forms of the game. Rohit Sharma might have got four centuries in this World Cup, (Jonny) Bairstow or whatever, if you want somebody to bat in T20, T10, 100 balls (cricket) or Test cricket, it is going to be Virat Kohli today,” he said.

News Cricket

People just trying to find scapegoat out of somebody, Dhoni is brilliant: Bhaichung Bhutia

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 4:35 PM IST


We have to keep repeating it but MS Dhoni polarizes opinion like none else. His batting in the 2019 Cricket World Cup has been a topic of hot debate. The 37 years old Indian stumper has made 223 runs in seven innings at an average of 44.60 with a strike-rate of 93.31 in the 2019 WC. His knocks against Afghanistan and England put him under the scanner.

Dhoni made 42 runs off 31 deliveries in the game against England. But, most importantly, he didn't go for the big shots in the last five overs and that was something that irked one and all. India needed 71 runs off 31 deliveries but the partnership between Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni added just 39 runs in last 31 deliveries. He had also made 28 runs off 52 balls against Afghanistan, a match that India won narrowly.

But India's football legend, Bhaichung Bhutia feels the criticism that Dhoni has been facing is unjustified. "I think he has been brilliant. People have been giving stick to him right now as they are just trying to find a scapegoat out of somebody. But if you look at this World Cup, I think he has done pretty well," Bhutia said.

News Cricket

No need of farewell match for Shoaib Malik, we can rather give him farewell dinner – Akram

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 4:29 PM IST


Former Pakistan skipper is not in favour of giving Shoaib Malik a farewell game before he bids adieu to international cricket. The legendary cricketer further added that Malik can be give a farewell dinner. Malik had announced that he will retire from the ODIs after the ICC World Cup in England and Wales.

Malik had a disastrous World Cup and played in just three matches. He accumulated scores of 8, 0 and 0 and was axed from the playing XI after continuation of poor display.

“Of course, he had announced that he will retire after the World Cup. Unfortunately, it has not ended on a high note. I think he deserved to end his career on a high as he has done a lot for Pakistan cricket,” Akram said while speaking to a Pakistani journalist.

“He did not play many matches in the World Cup. He got out twice on duck, but this can happen to any player. We should always remember his services as he has won Pakistan many matches. He is a nice guy, so let’s send him a nice farewell, for once. I know he could not perform in this World Cup, but he has performed over the years for Pakistan.

“This is not club cricket where you can ask a player to play a one-day match. We can rather organize a farewell dinner for him,” Akram added.

News Cricket

Harbhajan Singh backs Ravindra Jadeja to play remaining matches in World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 4:15 PM IST


India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes Ravindra Jadeja's inclusion can benefit the team in the remaining matches of the World Cup.

Bhajji said that Jadeja is a handy batsman, who can bowl economically in the middle overs.

The Indian all-rounder is part of the 15-man squad but hasn't played any game so far. He has been used as a substitute fielder and hasn't disappointed.

With India’s semi-final qualification confirmed, the team management can experiment a bit in their last league match against Sri Lanka.

Speaking to India Today, Harbhajan said: "Would like to see Ravindra Jadeja get a game against Sri Lanka or from there onwards. He gives you options - he can bowl 6, 7 or 8 overs. Imagine if anyone has a bad day with the ball, Jadeja will not just give you 6 or 7 overs but he is a very, very handy batsman in the later part of the game."

Earlier, Sanjay Manjrekar’s comments on Jadeja has not gone down well with the Indian all-rounder.

"I am not a big fan of bits and pieces players which Jadeja is at this point of his career in 50-over cricket. In Test matches, he is a pure bowler. But in 50-over cricket, I would rather have a batsman and a spinner," Manjrekar had said.

Jadeja had blasted Manjrekar for his pointless take on his abilities.

"Still i have played twice the number of matches you have played and i m still playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved. I have heard enough of your verbal diarrhoea (sic)."

News Cricket

Pakistan’s performance in World Cup not bad by any means – Moin Khan

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 3:54 PM IST


Pakistan went through another fruitless World Cup campaign. They were defeated by West Indies, India and Australia in the league matches leaving no chances of making it to last four of the tournament. Despite their win against England, New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan, Pakistan’s run rate remained in negative. Pakistan were banking on India to beat England in order to make their passage easy, but the Men in Blue were undone by Englishmen. Sarfaraz-led team need to beat Bangladesh by a margin of over 300 to dethrone New Zealand from fourth spot in the points table.

Moin Khan, the wicketkeeper-batsman, believes that his national team didn’t underperform in the tournament.

“Look if we win against Bangladesh we would end the World Cup with five wins out of nine with one match abandoned which is not a bad performance by my standards. So, whatever the PCB does it needs to think very carefully because just changing faces or positions will not help,” Moin was quoted as saying on Times Now.

News Cricket

Why Dhoni has been changing bat logos in the WC? Find out

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 3:49 PM IST


MS Dhoni might well not be in his peak time as a cricketer. But, he is still one of the most talked about cricketers in the world. Be it his slow batting, work from behind the stumps or tactical acumen, he is just too good not be in the headlines.

But, there's also one thing that Dhoni has bewildered everyone with. He has been batting with different logos on his willow. The 37 years old has been seen playing with at least three different bat stickers in the ICC's mega event.

Dhoni’s manager, Arun Pandey, told Mumbai Mirror, “It’s a fact that he has been using different bats with different brandings, but he is not charging them. He wants to say thanks to them for helping in various stages of his career.”

“Dhoni has a big heart. He does not need money, he has enough of it, he is using those bats as a goodwill gesture. BAS was with him from the beginning and SG also was very helpful to him,” he said.

Dhoni so far has made 223 runs in seven innings at an average of 44.60 with a strike-rate of 93.31 in the 2019 WC. The right-hander's slow-batting approach especially his inability to rotate strike against spinners has got him plenty of flak on social media. Also, players like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Shoaib Akhtar have questioned his sluggish batting.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni to miss final league game against Sri Lanka?

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 3:27 PM IST


Not too long ago, a picture of India's veteran wicket-keeper batsman, MS Dhoni spitting blood had gone viral on social media. It made his fans worried about his health. During the Sunday game against England at Edgbaston, Dhoni was seen spitting blood while batting and it was later confirmed that it was blood from his thumb. The 37 years old had apparently hurt himself first while wicketkeeping and then while batting. In spite of the pain, he came out to bat.

But it was giving a scare to the fans in regards to his availability for the game against Sri Lanka. The good news is that Dhoni will be available for selection in India's final league game on Saturday. "Hai toh pahadi, woh yodha hai (he hails from the mountains and is a warrior). After more than 300 ODIs, do you think these little things even bother him? He has an amazing capacity to ignore pain. But more importantly, his finger is fine and there is nothing to worry about," a source told IANS.

It is never possible for professional cricketers to be fit 100% all the time. They learn to play with slight discomfort and that is how Dhoni goes about his business as well. It is something that he had also said some time back.

"If you wait to be 100 per cent before you play a game maybe you'd have to wait five years before you play the next game. It's something I can afford to do (play with pain)," Dhoni had once said.

News Cricket

Feel very sad and emotional that I'm going to leave: Imran Tahir

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:47 PM IST


Imran Tahir has been a great ODI bowler for South Africa in the last few years. His overall record reflects that as well. He will retire from the international cricket at the culmination of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. As South Africa have already failed to make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup, they will play their last game against Australia on Sunday. It will be Tahir's last appearance in the South African jersey.

Tahir is quite emotional that he will not play for South Africa again. “As a team, we need to think about finishing on a good note,” he said. “But it makes me feel very sad and emotional that I’m going to leave. It was always my dream to play international cricket and I’m really grateful to everyone who helped me along on the way. They accepted me for who I was, the guy who came from overseas.

He added, “It’s a big moment of my life –- I always wanted to play cricket and play as long as I could and now is the right time to go. It will be quite a hurtful and sad moment for me but I’ve prepared myself for that, so hopefully it will go well for me and the team. I strongly believe there is lots of talent but they just need experience and then they’ll get to the stage where everyone wants to see South African cricket.

Tahir has taken 10 wickets in eight games of the World Cup so far. His economy rate has been 4.70. The leg-spinner has been of the bright spots of South Africa's World Cup campaign. The Pakistan-born spinner has taken 172 wickets in 106 ODIs for the Proteas and has an average of 24.63 to go with an economy of 4.63.

News Cricket

Entire world will miss Chris Gayle when he retires – Shai Hope

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:39 PM IST


Chris Gayle waved to all sides of Headingley as he walked off the field for the last time at a Cricket World Cup. Upon reaching the boundary edge, he was met by Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib who bowed before the West Indies great.

It wasn't the perfect farewell for the man otherwise known as the "Universe Boss" — Gayle's last World Cup innings was a scratchy 18-ball 7 — but he still made a telling contribution in his own inimitable style.

With his occasional off-spin, Gayle took the pivotal wicket of Ikram Ali Khil for 86 that sparked a mini-collapse as Afghanistan stumbled in its pursuit of 312 in a match between the World Cup's two worst teams on Thursday.

"I'm sure we're going to use this as a platform for the next four years," said Hope, "and hopefully we can have something stronger."

It will be without Gayle, however.

"I don't think we're going to cry about it," Hope added. "I think we have a lot to cherish."

News Cricket

West Indies can replicate England's model to build team for the next World Cup - Carlos Brathwaite

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:31 PM IST


Next-to-last West Indies ended the World Cup with two victories — from their first and last games — and moved level on five points with South Africa, which still has a match to play against Australia.

It was a disappointing tournament for the Windies.

The Windies won the toss and made 311-6 on a good batting strip, with Evin Lewis (58) and Hope (77) scoring half-centuries at the top of the order.

Nicholas Pooran (58 off 43) and Jason Holder (45 off 34, including four sixes) teed off near the end, helping the team rack up 111 runs off the last 10 overs that ultimately proved the difference.

Afghanistan was on track to chase down the target when Gayle, 39, trapped Ikram — at 18, less than half his age — leg before wicket. Two more wickets were lost in the next 13 balls as Afghanistan slipped from 189-2 to 201-5.

West Indies failed to kick on from a seven-wicket win in its opening game against Pakistan, which was skittled out for 105 in 21.4 overs.

There were narrow losses to Australia and New Zealand, but their batsmen never hit top form. Gayle, the talisman at the top of the order, made only two half-centuries in nine games.

All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite wants his team to follow the model of England and rebuild the team for the next World Cup in India.

"As a team, we need to regroup. We have some time off, some aching bodies will get time to recuperate and then it's about finding ways and combinations to compete and win series," Brathwaite said.

"Hopefully we can take that winning mentality into the next World Cup. If you look at 2015 and what England did after the World Cup, they have built straight up to the 2019 World Cup and it's paying dividends."

"I don't know off the field what the plans are for the 2023 World Cup but I think it's something we need to look at and build towards that."

News Cricket

MS Dhoni is still the best finisher in world cricket and should play another year or two – Malinga

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:14 PM IST


It is being reported that MS Dhoni will hang his boots after Team India's last game in the World Cup. The former skipper has been criticized for his slow batting in the tournament with many calling for his head. However, Sri Lanka's pace spearhead Lasith Malinga wants Dhoni to continue playing international cricket.

He further added that MS Dhoni is the best finisher in world cricket.

"He should play another year or two and prepare players who can do the job of finishers on the big stage. He is still the best finisher in world cricket. It will be difficult to fill his shoes and the young players should look to learn from him," Malinga was quoted as saying by IANS.

The 35-year old pacer also lavished praise on Jasprit Bumrah, who has bowled exceptionally well in the World Cup.

"What is pressure? Pressure means you don't have the skill. If you have the skill, there is no pressure. It is all about skill and accuracy and if you are accurate, you know you can do what you aim to. He is a skillful bowler and knows he can bowl same balls one after the other."

"The thing is anyone can bowl yorkers, slower balls and good length balls. But the idea is to have the accuracy. How many times can you hit the same spot? Then comes analysing the game. The handling of situation is what counts, and then comes the application," Malinga explained.

News Cricket

Ambati Rayudu got step-motherly treatment – Former Indian selector

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:11 PM IST


Ambati Rayudu bid adieu to cricket after he was overlooked by the national selectors. He was on standby for the ongoing tournament in England and Wales and despite injuries to Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal were preferred over Rayudu.

Many of the former cricketers have blasted the national selection committee for their unfair treatment of the middle-order batsman. Former selection committee chairman Sandeep Patil has spoken in favour of Ambati Rayudu and even slammed MSK Prasad.

“This is sad. The step-motherly treatment has been dished out to Rayudu and all this has been handled very badly,” Patil was quoted as saying by mid-day.

Sandeep Patil further added that he has nothing personal against Mayank Agarwal but Rayudu should have been asked to join the team as he was on standby.

“Look, Mayank is a good player and we cannot say that there has been any bungling simply because we have reached the semi-finals of the tournament. But somewhere I would say that all this doesn’t do justice to the horses for courses policy. I had Rayudu in my team for the World Cup,” Patil added.

News Cricket

Langer says team need to take emotion out of the game against SA

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 12:54 PM IST


There will be a lot going through the mind of David Warner and Steven Smith when they face the Proteas in the 2019 World Cup on Sunday. Last year, they were caught in the ball-tampering scandal and after that, they faced a one-year ban. And now, they will again take the same opponents in arguably the biggest cricketing event in what is going to be an important game as losing against South Africa will open up India's chances of finishing at the top of the table.

Justin Langer is quite confident that the senior duo of Warner and Smith will be able to deal with whatever comes their way.

“They got a good taste of what they were going to expect from the moment we turned up in England,” Langer told reporters at Old Trafford.

“This game is significant for a lot of our players, but we’ve just got to take all the emotion out of it. We’re here to take the two points, keep the winning momentum going forward and for those guys this is just another exciting game of World Cup cricket,” said Langer.

“They’re cherishing playing cricket for Australia again, they’re both playing really well,” he said.

“To get to this point has taken a lot of hard work from where we came from in Cape Town,” said Langer, appointed after Darren Lehmann resigned in the aftermath.

Feature Cricket

Afghanistan’s performance should not be judged only by the final result

Partab Ramchand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 12:50 PM IST


On the face of it a team with a record of played nine, lost nine would be treated with scorn. They obviously don’t belong in the elite group would be the immediate reaction and questions would be asked as to how they got there in the first place. Afghanistan’s campaign in the World Cup however will not receive this disdainful treatment. In the first place their losing all nine games they played was very much on the cards given the competition. But the manner in which they played, the way they fought gallantly before going down in most of the games marked them out as fighters and a team that is bound to improve with experience.

The story of Afghanistan’s entry into international cricket has been well documented. A war ravaged country, citizens learning the rudiments of cricket in refugee camps across the border in Pakistan and the several heartwarming tales about how the players made it first to limited overs cricket and finally the Test ranks. Afghanistan first played in the World Cup four years ago and immediately served notice with a famous victory over Scotland, winning with one wicket and three balls to spare. This meant that they avoided finishing in the cellar position in their group that unwanted place going to Scotland.

Last year Afghanistan was elevated to the Test ranks and though India demolished them in two days they performed admirably in getting the better of Ireland who were also elevated along with Afghanistan. They still might be debates about whether Afghanistan deserves to be playing Test cricket but there is no doubt of their rightful place in the limited overs game. After all they earned their ticket for England entirely on merit defeating West Indies not once, but twice during the World Cup qualifying tournament. And even during the competition they were not overawed by any of the opposition. After all given their background the Afghans are the original bravehearts who love fighting the odds. In almost every one of their nine games they went down with their guns blazing, doing particularly well against India and Pakistan when the result was in suspense till the last over. And in their final game against West Indies they went down by just 23 runs in a high scoring encounter. Yes, the batting and bowling could have been more consistent while the failure of Rashid Khan to live up to his lofty reputation was a major blow. But overall Afghanistan’s was a performance which should not be judged only by the final result.