Opinion Cricket

How good a Test player Ravindra Jadeja has been in the last two years?

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 October, 2018, 11:18 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2018 continues to be quite special for Ravindra Jadeja
  • Jadeja has matured as a cricketer, which is quite evident in the way he plays
  • The left-hander scored 86 in the first innings and took seven wickets in the Oval Test

2018 continues to be quite special for Ravindra Jadeja. India tasted its biggest ever win in Test cricket against West Indies in the opening Test of the two-match series. But, many people would remember this Test for Shaw's debut ton and Jadeja's maiden international century.

Not very long ago, the Jamnagar boy was sitting on the sidelines waiting for his turn. He was neither part of the Test XI nor the limited-overs squad. In what was India's longest home season - 15 Tests from September 2016 to December 2017, Jadeja was one of the biggest match-winners for world’s no.1 ranked Test side.

Still, he wasn't considered good enough to make it to the playing XI in seven out of eight Tests, India played in South Africa and England, this year.

But, Jadeja proved his worth when he finally got a chance at the Oval against England. The left-hander scored 86 in the first innings and took seven wickets in the game, showing to the team management what "might have been" had they played him, earlier. He celebrated that brilliant knock by dusting his sword (bat) before pulling off his much famed sword-twirl celebration.

It was a knock that exhibited the temperament of that guy, who shot to fame on the back of three triple-centuries in Indian domestic circuit than the diffident batsman he had turned into playing for India. Rajkot might not be as difficult or challenging as the Oval. But here as well, Jadeja's temperament was quite remarkable. He came at a time, when he could have gone for attacking shots, which are there in plenty when it comes to his repertoire. Instead, he batted like a man on a mission.

And the mission was accomplished when the 29-year-old, whose international career has spanned almost 10 years and 167 innings, finally reached the three-figure mark. He leaped in the air, kept looking skywards as if he was thanking someone right from the bottom of his heart, and then came out his epic sword-twirl celebration. Similarly, he had made a brilliant comeback to ODIs, in the Asia Cup, after a long exile.

The left-armer has been wronged, especially in Tests, despite being one of the best all-rounders in the world. The way he was overlooked in England with Kuldeep playing ahead of him at Lord's and not-so-fit Ashwin at Southampton, was alarming, to say the least.

In the last two years, Jadeja has blasted 788 runs in 26 innings at an average of 49.25, with a strike-rate of 63.85. He has seven fifties and a century to his name. The slow-left arm orthodox has scalped 101 wickets in 38 innings at an average of 23.68. He might not have had got a century until the Windies Test, but he did play some critical knocks, at times, on low-scoring turners to help India win Tests, at home. And not to forget, he is one of the best fielders in the world, at present.

But where does Jadeja stands up among other Test all-rounders? Let’s take a look at how all-rounders have fared in the last two years in Test cricket. (Min 500 runs and 20 wickets)

Name Batting avg. Bowling avg.
Ravindra Jadeja 49.25 23.68
Jason Holder 33.54 22.37
Shakib Al Hasan 39.50 27.61
Ben Stokes 34.61 28.25
Vernon Philander 27.03 20.58
Chris Woakes 30.05 42.56
Moeen Ali 29.71 35.67
Ravichandran Ashwin 23.81 25.98
Colin de Grandhomme 38.35 29.16

Statistically, no one has averaged better than India’s Jadeja (49.25) with the bat, and only two bowlers namely, Philander (20.58) and Holder (22.37) have had a better bowling average than him (23.68).

Jadeja has matured as a cricketer, which is quite evident in the way he plays. He is only 29, and perhaps, at the peak of his powers. It’s surprising that despite such amazing numbers, the left-armer has been unfairly overlooked by his own team and generally, he hasn’t been talked up as much as the Stokes, the Shakibs or the Ashwins are, despite being so good in all three departments.

Jadeja was always good with the ball, but the way he has started batting off-late makes him good enough to walk into the side either as a batsman or a bowler, which is the true sign of any good all-rounder. India should feel lucky that they have such an immensely talented player at their disposal.

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News Cricket

MSK Prasad says India might well try Rishbah Pant as an opener

Harshit Anand Updated: 16 February, 2019, 12:34 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The BCCI announced India's T20I and ODI squad for Australia home series yesterday. Rishabh Pant has been included in the team for both the formats. He was in the T20I team against New Zealand where he impressed in the last two games. Now, he has been named in the ODI squad as well and would look to make a strong case for himself.

Indian chief selector, MSK Prasad has said that India are open to playing Pant in the top-order as well. “We have included him considering many factors. We will try and figure out his best possible batting position, because being a left-hander, there is an advantage of playing left-right combination. We are discussing all that,” Prasad said. He also said, "Yes" when asked if India would try Pant in top-order.

He further added, "Prior to this, we had series in New Zealand and Australia. That is where Karthik was chosen because Rishabh played four Tests (against Australia) and we wanted him to get a good rest. Then he (Rishabh) played a couple of matches against England Lions where he played extremely well. Then he played the T20I matches. So we wanted him to give him a few ODIs as well before we take the final call."

News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar feels England and not India are the favorites to win the World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 16 February, 2019, 11:55 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • England and India are top-contenders to win the 2019 WC
  • They are ranked no.1 and no.2 in ODI rankings
  • Gavaskar picked England over India to win the ICC megaevent

England and India are touted to be the two favorites for the 50-overs Cricket World Cup that will commence from May 30 in England and Wales. England and India are ranked no.1 and no.2 in ICC ODI team rankings. They are playing at a level, which is far superior in comparison to other ODI sides at the moment.

Indian legend, Sunil Gavaskar has picked England over India as favorites to win the World Cup.

"The strong favourites in the World Cup tournament are England. And it is not because of the fact that it will be a home World Cup for them. But because they have changed their attitude towards ODI cricket. They had lost in the league stage in 2015 World Cup, probably against Bangladesh. But since then, the manner in which they changed their game, the way in which they picked their team, England have grown into a strong side. They have a good opening pair, they have strong middle-order batters, they also have a good all-rounder in the form of and when you play at home you also have a strong backing," Gavaskar told India Today.

"The advantage that India have is they have played in England for two consecutive years - 2017 and 2018. So the players who will be part of the World Cup squad will be aware of the conditions and hence will be able to use their experience and probably India can use the factor to lift the World Cup. But I feel the most favourites are England and then come India," Gavaskar added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli postpones RP-SG Indian Sports Honours

Harshit Anand Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:56 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

In wake of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack, the RP-SG Indian Sports Honours has been postponed. The entire nation is saddened over the loss of lives of our brave hearts in the attack in which at least 42 CPRF jawans have been martyred. The cowardly attack took place on Thursday when terrorists targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district. They were carrying more than 350 kg of explosives.

“At this heavy moment of loss that we all find ourselves in, we would like to cancel this event that was scheduled to take place tomorrow,” said Kohli in his tweet.

“The who’s who of entertainment and sports industry were supposed to be present for the award ceremony. every partner and all the sport-stars and delegates associated with this award have been informed and communicated with stating that hosting an event was unacceptable at this moment when India is mourning the death of its jawans,” the batsman’s PR team said in a statement.

News Tennis

Defending champion Thiem advances to Argentina Open semis

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:46 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Top-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria advanced to the Argentina Open semifinals, beating Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Thiem will face fourth-seeded home favorite Diego Schwartzman on Saturday. Schwartzman beat Spain's Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1, 7-5.

In the other quarterfinals, third-seeded Marco Cecchinato of Italy beat Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6 (3), 6-4, and Argentina's Guido Pella topped Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-7 (3), 7-6 (9), 6-1.

News Wrestling

Houston to Host the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:43 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

WWE announced that Minute Maid Park in Houston will host the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 26, 2020. The event will mark WWE’s debut at Minute Maid Park and the second time the Royal Rumble has been held at a baseball stadium following this year’s event at Chase Field in Phoenix which took place in front of a capacity crowd of 48,193.

Fans attending this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber event at the Toyota Center in Houston will receive an exclusive pre-sale offer to buy tickets to the Royal Rumble before the general public. Details on ticket availability will be forthcoming. Additionally, fans in attendance will have the chance to win four tickets to the 2020 Royal Rumble by taking part in a special Twitter and Instagram sweepstakes.

“We are thrilled to bring one of WWE’s biggest events of 2020 to Minute Maid Park,” said Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County - Houston Sports Authority. “We look forward to WWE fans from around the world descending on Houston for the Royal Rumble.”

The event, which will stream live around the world on WWE Network, will feature a 30-Man Royal Rumble match, and a 30-Woman Royal Rumble match, with the winners of both matches receiving Championship opportunities at WrestleMania 36.

News Football

Man United forwards Martial, Lingard out for 2-3 weeks

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:40 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Manchester United could be without forwards Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial for at least two weeks.

In the 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, Lingard was substituted just before halftime with a hamstring injury. Martial's groin problem saw him withdrawn before the start of the second half.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the players will be "out for two to three weeks, looking at it now."

It is a setback for United, which plays Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday before hosting Liverpool on Feb. 24.

The injuries could see Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku get more playing time. Teenage attackers Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes could also be in the frame.

News Football

Juventus beats Frosinone 3-0 to go 14 points clear

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:33 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Juventus warmed up for the Champions League round of 16 in the best possible way, easing to a 3-0 win over Frosinone to move 14 points clear at the top of Serie A.

The result was decided early after goals from Paulo Dybala and Leonardo Bonucci in the first 16 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo then added his league-best 19th goal as Juventus continued its seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title.

"The team is growing from a physical point of view," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We struggled a bit after the winter break but now we're ready to face this important period of the season, both in the league and in the Champions League."

Second-place Napoli hosts Torino on Sunday.

Frosinone remained next to last in the standings, but only two points from safety in a tight bottom half of the table.

Juventus plays the first leg of the round of 16 at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and Allegri was able to rest several players while also giving a run out to Bonucci and fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini, who were returning from injury.

Dybala had played just seven minutes in the past two matches but was included in the starting lineup and the Argentina international curled a shot into the top right corner from 20 yards in the sixth minute for his first league goal since Nov. 3.

"I'm happy for Paulo," Allegri said. "He had a great performance and a great goal. Forwards live for that.

"We need his work between the lines, all the more so this year that we're playing with two forwards other than him. That has limited him a bit maybe in scoring but not in his movements and his performances, he's still playing very well."

Juventus doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Bonucci bundled home the rebound after Frosinone goalkeeper Marco Sportiello made a great save of Mario Mandzukic's diving header.

Juventus then sat back and took until the 63 minute to extend its advantage as Mandzukic cut the ball back and Ronaldo fired it into the bottom right corner.

Ronaldo is Serie A's top scorer with 19 goals, three more than Atalanta's Duvan Zapata and Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella.

News Cricket

Navjot Sidhu urges people not to blame entire Pakistan for Pulwama attack

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 11:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu condemned the terror attack on CRPF convey in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on Thursday.

Around 40 security personnel were martyred in this gruesome and coward attack. However, Sidhu landed in a controversy after he urged people to not blame entire Pakistan for the attack.

“For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?,” Sidhu was quoted as saying in Economic Times.

He went to Pakistan to attend the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan, who was appointed as Prime Minister of the country in 2018.

“It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished,” the 55-year-old from Patiala added.

News Cricket

It's fun hitting guys on the head, says Dale Steyn  

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 10:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Dale Steyn picked up 4-48 to move joint-seventh on the list of all-time wicket-takers as South Africa led Sri Lanka by 170 runs in the first test.

Steyn was the spearhead of South Africa's attack again — as he was so often before a serious shoulder injury in 2016 sidelined him for the best part of two years — and overtook Indian great Kapil Dev in career test wickets.

Steyn was instrumental in bowling Sri Lanka out for 191 to see South Africa hold a 44-run first-innings lead in the series-opener at Kingsmead.

"After not playing for two years, I feel like it's a blessing to just be playing again. I've almost had to start over. I'm not on 430-odd wickets, I'm on 20 since breaking Shaun Pollock's record. It's nice to finish a three-Test series against Pakistan and not have someone write: 'He's an injury away from retiring.' It's nice to contribute again. Hopefully, I can continue this for longer," said an exciting Steyn.

He said that it was good to back among wickets.

"When I'm bowling 10-over spells, it shows I'm enjoying what I do. I could take the easy option, take 4 for 30 and go and stand at fine leg and tell someone else to do it. But it's fun. It's fun taking wickets. It's fun hitting guys on the head. As long as nothing serious happens."

News Cricket

We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup, says chief selector

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 10:12 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The national selectors have announced squads for the limited overs series against Australia. Rishabh Pant, who is touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, has been recalled to side after being axed from the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand.

Pant was given a go in the ODI series against West Indies but he failed to deliver. However, he has been impressive in the Test format.

"We have included him [Pant] considering the fact that he is a left-hander and we are going to discuss with the team management. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for Pant. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination," India's chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said.

"We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup."

Leg-spinner Mayank Markande was included in the squad in place of Kuldeep Yadav.

"We are looking at Markande as a backup spinner. We have been grooming him though India A process and today also he picked up a five-wicket haul. So, we want to look at him and he'll be a backup spinner," Prasad said.

News Cricket

Fans slam BCCI for giving preference to Pant over Dinesh Karthik for Australia series

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 9:56 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant was recalled back for the ODI series against Australia while Dinesh Karthik was axed from the team.

The Indian selectors announced squads for the five match ODI series and tow T20 internationals. Pant has done well in whites but he still has a long way to go in ODIs.

Dinesh Karthik was lambasted for refusing to take a single during the last T20 against New Zealand, which India lost by 4 runs. Krunal Pandya, who was at the other end, was left baffled by Karthik’s decision.

The axing of Karthik didn’t go down well with cricket fanatics, who slammed the BCCI for dropping the right hand batsman.

News Cricket

Dinesh Karthik dropped, Rahul, Pant, Kaul return back to ODI squad

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The BCCI announced India's squad for first two ODIs and the last three ODIs separately for the five-match ODI series against Australia.

Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Siddarth Kaul have been named in India's ODI squad to take on Australia in the home series, which will be the last series for the Men in Blue to fine tune their balance and combination going forward in the World Cup. Dinesh Karthik has been dropped from India's ODI squad.

India’s squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul

India’s squad for remaining three ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant

News Cricket

KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav recalled for T20 series against Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The national selectors have named the T20 squad to face Australia in the upcoming two-match T20 series. KL Rahul, Sidharth Kaul and Umesh Yadav have been recalled while Mayank Markande has been selected for the first time.

India’s squad for T20I series against Australia: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande

News Cricket

Will Pucovski says mental health issues have nothing to do with his Australia non-selection

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Kurtis Patterson's twin centuries against Sri Lanka in tour game propelled his selection over Will Pucovski in Australia's Test side against Sri Lanka. Pucovski was likely to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka but Patterson's impressive display in the warm-up game changed everything. But the Australian youngster has dismissed suggestions that his mental health issues were related to non-selection for Sri Lanka Tests.

“I don’t think it (the challenges he faced in Canberra) was anything to do with that,” Pucovski told Cricket.com.au. “A lot of people messaged me afterward (in Brisbane) as if I’d be really shattered. To a degree, I was sitting there like ‘I’m 20 years old, I’m in the Test squad – there are a lot worse situations to be in’. Obviously, it would have been amazing to play, but I was kind of just relieved to find out, either way, to be honest.”

Pucovski was recently honored with the Bradman Young Male Cricketer of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards. He had left the Australian squad mid-way when they were taking on Sri Lanka in the home Tests due to mental health issues. But, now he is all geared up for returning back to action.

Feature Cricket

The Duality of Not Touring Pakistan

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:06 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

While releasing the dates for the bilateral one day international series, Pakistan expressed disappointment over Cricket Australia’s refusal to bifurcate the series such that a part of it could be played in Pakistan soil. Do Pakistan have the right to feel aggrieved with Australia?

On the one hand, Pakistan seems to have little choice to accept that it will have to contend with having to continue playing away from their own home. On the other hand, it cannot put an embargo on the foreign cricketers who choose to come to Pakistan to play in Pakistan’s own Twenty20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League. Currently it is the only way Pakistan’s cricket public can see some of the international stars in action, even if some of these stars are either those who are making reparations or looking for one final attempt to catch the attention of their selectors back home. For Pakistan, it is only another opportunity to show not only the safety measures it has in place but also, expose the dual nature of the positions taken by cricket boards with regards to safety and security concerns of their players while their players are willing to play on Pakistan soil in individual capacity.

The Pakistan Super League has played home to players such as Steven Smith and Shane Watson and has become the only way that foreign cricketers are enticed to travel to Pakistan even though cricket boards have maintained that the players’ objections and the security reasons have stopped resumption of cricket in the country on bilateral terms. Pakistan had to step away from hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and also, has had to resort to other venues to play hosts on its behalf, taking a toll on cricket in their own country.

After the 2009 tour of Sri Lanka where the touring team was attacked by terrorists outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, this after Sri Lanka stood in for India who refused to tour following the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan cricket has suffered for want of cricket in the region. Deprived of hosting duties, shunned by the rest of the world, Pakistan’s cricket loving public continue to wrestle with the reality even as the Pakistan Cricket Board has seen its coffers shrink miserably.

In that light, with a decade long isolation and forced to play in the Gulf countries as surrogate hosts as the only alternative, there was optimism expressed at the start of the year when Pakistan claimed to be in conversation with Australia to the point of hosting two or three matches on Pakistan soil and then shifting the rest to the Gulf. However, the schedule released of the tour came with the explicit suggestion that Cricket Australia did not comply with Pakistan’s request and for the moment, the status quo remains, this despite Pakistan playing host to tainted players such as Steven Smith who were using every loophole in their own home board’s one year ban for taking their cricket overseas, a fact that left many around the world baffled.