News Cricket

India will easily beat Pakistan in the World Cup

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


Calling Team India better than Pakistan in all departments of the game, Varun Aaron feels Men in Blue will easily go past their arch rivals in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales. He further added that India-Australia rivalry is bigger than India-Pakistan.

"We have a much better team than Pakistan, there is no reason why we shouldn't win the match against Pakistan. I feel India has developed a fierce rivalry with Australia off late and the intensity of India-Australia matches are almost outdoing the intensity of India-Pakistan matches. The rivalry between India and Pakistan will always be there, but the match to look out for will be the India-Australia one," Aaron told ANI.

When asked about Shahid Afridi's take on Gautam Gambhir in his latest autobiography 'Game Changer', Aaron said Afridi is doing his best to make book interesting.

"Everybody wants to make the book interesting for the readers. But as far as I know, all India-Pakistan cricketers have good relations off the field. Knowing all the Pakistan players, we are just like brothers from another country. All of the guys speak to each other in Punjabi, otherwise I don't see anything much serious in this issue."

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Feature Cricket

Lifeline for Amir, Jofra Archer

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 4 May, 2019, 5:43 PM IST


Alex Hales’ absence may have left England a little under handed. On the other hand, the England-Pakistan series is expected to play out a little strangely as two men, on the verge of contention, could find themselves back in the reckoning.

Shadab Khan is nursing an injury and serving a time out for Pakistan, tantalizingly close to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 also scheduled to be played out in England, where Pakistan are now waiting for their final dress rehearsal against the no.1 ranked team in the world. Ironically while Pakistan sweat over their spinner, they have left the door open for a man on a mission, Mohammad Amir.

The young player who got himself embroiled in the spot fixing at the start of the decade in England and cost himself five years in the wilderness while serving ban returned a somewhat sober man with a passion for the game. However, passion and performance did not coincide for Amir, not enough to make it to Pakistan’s fifteen man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

But in a curious turn of events, the selectors were clear that Amir could still earn a place based on his performance in the forthcoming one day international series. It seems somewhat daring to leave it to the eleventh hour and also, to leave one of the selected fast bowlers in constant state of worry about his place in the team. But it does give Amir a lifeline to make it to the ICC Cricket World Cup in pursuit of Pakistan’s ambitions to relive Imran Khan’s success as the Pakistan captain of the winning team in 1992.

England have some problems on their hands in the form of injury concerns. It has not helped matters that they have had to leave Alex Hales out of the ICC Cricket World Cup provisional squad after it was revealed that he had failed a recreational drug test for a second time. Although the original plan was to have Hales serve out a twenty-one day ban, pressure from the public has forced England to look to fill up an empty spot.

But while Hales is a batsman and reserve wicketkeeper, it could see another strange substitution since England have been divided over whether to include Jofra Archer, eligible to play for England after a sudden change of rules after representing the West Indies at the under-19 level, in England’s final squad. Archer will get to showcase his bowling prowess as a final audition for the World Cup when the series against Pakistan gets underway. Stranger things have happened which is why the series may be worth the wait and the watch.

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh names the bowler he thinks will rule the World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 4 May, 2019, 5:19 PM IST


The 2019 Cricket World Cup will kick-start from May 30 in England and Wales. It will be interesting to see which team goes on to win the ICC's showpiece event, which comes only once in four years. The pitches in England and Wales have been quite flat in recent times. So, it will be some task for bowlers to succeed in the World Cup. But, there are some bowlers, who are expected to deliver the goods.

World Cup winner, Yuvraj Singh thinks India's Bumrah will be the best bowler in the upcoming IPL. "Bumrah is amongst the top three pacers in world cricket at the moment. He's been winning us games. He's at his best when he's attacking the batsman. I'm definitely gunning for Bumrah as the best bowler in the World Cup," said Yuvraj, who was the Man of the Tournament in 2011 World Cup.

He added, "I don't play him in the nets. I tell him not to bowl to me." The Indian pacer has been in great form for Mumbai this season. He has 15 wickets from 13 games at an economy of 6.70.

News Cricket

King Khan dedicates KKR's win over KXIP to Shubman Gill's father

Staff Writer Updated: 4 May, 2019, 4:55 PM IST


Shubman Gill is doing wonders since coming to open the innings for two-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders. Like previous game, the right hand batsman was in full flow against Kings XI Punjab. The young Indian player scored an unbeaten 65 runs off 49 balls which led his franchise to an easy win. With this victory, Knight Riders have managed to stay in the hunt for playoffs.

His knock was praised by his father who witnessed his son's display from the stands at the PCA stadium. KKR's co-owner Shah Rukh Khan was ecstatic after his side registered another win in the tournament and took to twitter to praise Shubman Gill. He even dedicated KKR’s win over KXIP to Gill's dad who was seen dancing during the course of his son innings.

"Well done @KKRiders & @DineshKarthik . All played like u should…by backing urselves. @lynny50 #SWarrier @RealShubmanGill good job. But tonite belongs to Papa! 3 cheers for proud papa & family," Khan wrote on Twitter.

He has accumulated 287 runs in 13 games this season at an average of 35.87 with the help of three fifties.

News Cricket

'IPL even better than World Cup' says AB de Villiers

Harshit Anand Updated: 4 May, 2019, 4:52 PM IST


AB de Villiers, who once harbored dreams of winning the ICC Cricket World Cup and even wept when his dream couldn't quite see the light of the day has termed "IPL as even better than World Cup." In Football, club leagues are considered greater than even World Cup but when it comes to cricket, it is not quite the case. And AB de Villiers' latest admission comes as a surprise.

“Nothing comes close to the IPL, to be honest. I know I am sitting in India and busy playing in the IPL, so it’s easy to say. But I have played in quite a few (tournaments) now across the world. I think it’s better than the World Cup,” the South African was quoted as saying in Livemint.

“It’s the most incredible tournament to be part of. It wasn’t always the case. The first five years were nowhere close to where we are now. It’s so intense, so fast, and the following is just incredible,” the former Proteas skipper added.

AB de Villiers has batted extremely well in this season of IPL. He has made 441 runs in 12 matches at an average of 49 and strike-rate of 154.73. ABD had blasted 480 runs at an average of 53.33 and strike-rate of 174.54 in the last edition of the IPL as well. He has made 50 or more on 11 occasions in last 24 games.

Feature Cricket

IPL 2019: From Rahul's performance to Bhuvi’s worrying form, Here's a look at the hits and flops

CT Contributors Updated: 4 May, 2019, 4:46 PM IST


The Indian Premier League 2019 edition has entered its final phase with the battle for playoffs qualification going on. Three teams have already qualified for the IPL 12 playoffs. Like every season, Indian players both capped and uncapped often play a major role in the tournament. Be it bowlers, batsmen and all-rounders, it is often a massive opportunity for Indian cricketers to show their potential.

IPL 2019 was no different and we had several rising performers with the bat and ball. The youngsters in particular showed that they belong to this level. On the other hand, several seasoned stars continued from where they left off in IPL 2018. What we witnessed was a flair in the cricket from several of these Indian players.

Meanwhile, certain big names disappointed this season and this also had an adverse effect on the teams. Here we look at the hits and misses this season as far the Indian players are concerned.


KL Rahul: The dashing KXIP opener was among the runs in IPL 2018 and produced a stellar show. He scored a whopping 659 runs. Consistency was his forte. Many felt that it could be difficult for Rahul to keep up with the momentum this season. But he responded with 522 runs already from 13 matches. Although KXIP are out of IPL 2019, Rahul showed why he is their main player for years to come. He amassed a century and five fifties this season.

Shreyas Gopal: The Rajasthan Royals spinner stood tall to dictate the show. He has been bowling consistently well for his side and also took a hat-trick against RCB. Gopal has shown that he could break into the Indian side in T20Is in the near future. He has all the credentials of a seasoned spinner. Also, he is a handy customer with the bat as well. Gopal has picked up 18 scalps for RR in 13 games so far.

Hardik Pandya: This season was important to the MI player in many ways especially after the controversies that surrounded him off the field over the last few months. Pandya, who was rested for the ODIs against Australia, came back strongly and took charge. He has been efficient with the bat and has muscled his way hitting sixes at will. Pandya has amassed a total of 380 runs. His cameos for MI helped them win several games. He has also picked up 12 scalps.


Kuldeep Yadav: The KKR spinner has been a shadow of himself and was dropped by the franchise towards the last phase of their campaign. Kuldeep hardly got the ball talking and was plundered for runs at will from almost every team. He is down on confidence and his economy-rate was sky high. His flop show hurt KKR badly. Kuldeep needs to regain form ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: From being dismal on the field as skipper in the matches he led, Bhuvi had a difficult time this season the ball as well. He has taken just nine wickets from 13 matches this season. This is really low from a player of his standards. He has also been ineffective towards the death at times.

Jaydev Unadkat: RR's million dollar man Jaydev Unadkat was terrible in IPL 2018. But RR's decision to buy him once again proved costly. He has given away runs at will at a rate of over 10. Also, he was attacked by many batsmen at the death where he lacked ideas and bowled in the channel. Another poor season from the left-arm pacer.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Virat and AB de Villiers promise fans for something special next IPL

Harshit Anand Updated: 4 May, 2019, 4:03 PM IST


Royal Challengers Bangalore continued their poor run in IPL this year as well. They are ranked eight, which is the worst among all teams this season. They are yet to win the IPL title despite featuring in all the 12 seasons, which is utterly shambolic, to say the least.

This season again their bowling tanked while their batting's overdependence on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers also got exposed. RCB have continued to be the most disappointing team in the cash-rich league.

However, like last year, Virat and ABD have again promised fans to do special things next year. RCB posted a video of the same on Twitter. Here is what they said:

AB - RCB fans, thank you so much for the support throughout the season, you guys are incredible. Virat will agree to the fact that the last game with the rain, it was only a 5-over game but one of the most memorable games in my life and it wasn't even the result. Thanks to you guys.

Virat - One game left for the season, it's been disappointing for us and for all of you but as we do every year, we are going to come out and do everything next season to turn it around.

AB - Sorry about the up and down performances, we are hoping to finish on a high. Please keep supporting us, it keeps us going. Hoping something special is coming in the last game and next season.

Virat - This has to be a special message for you all because even after three hours of a game being washed out, you still sit in the stadium and give us the loudest cheer when we walk out to bat. It's special and It's always going to be special in our hearts and minds. Thank you for being the best fans that you are.

News Cricket

I will take you to a psychiatrist: Gambhir takes potshots at Afridi

Harshit Anand Updated: 4 May, 2019, 3:57 PM IST


After former Pakistan cricketer, Shahid Afridi targeted Gautam Gambhir in his book "Game Changer", the Indian cricketer has fired back at Afridi. Gambhir said that he will personally take Afridi to a psychiatrist. Afridi had slammed the former Indian opener and called him a negative person with a lot of attitude and not much records in cricket, which Gambhir didn't like one bit.

Gambhir, who recently joined the Bhartiya Janta Party and is fighting Lok Sabha elections tweeted, “@SAfridiOfficial you are a hilarious man!!! Anyway, we are still granting visas to Pakistanis for medical tourism. I will personally take you to a psychiatrist.”

Afridi has written in his book that, "Some rivalries were personal, some professional. First the curious case of Gambhir. Oh poor Gautam. He & his attitude problem. He who has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He who has no great records just a lot of attitude.

"I remember the run-in with Gambhir during the 2007 Asia Cup, when he completed his single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have. Clearly, we had a frank bilateral discussion about each other's female relatives.

"Gambhir behaves like he's a cross between Don Bradman & James Bond. In Karachi, we call guys like him saryal (burnt up). Its simple, I like happy, positive people. Doesn't matter if they are aggressive or competitive, but you have to be positive & Gambhir wasn't."

Feature Cricket

Kumar Sangakkara worthy of MCC honour

Partab Ramchand Updated: 4 May, 2019, 12:31 PM IST


The honour could not have been conferred on a more qualified or a more respectable personality. On and off the field Kumar Sangakkara has been both the ultimate in cricketing excellence and an extremely cultured and knowledgeable human being. And the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) could not have picked a better person to become the first non-British President of the prestigious organization which is rich in cricketing tradition and stands for all that is best about the sport.

But then so does the 41-year-old Sangakkara who has also upheld the noble traditions of the sport whenever he has been on the field. As one of the few walkers in the contemporary game he has been the symbol of sportsmanship. He belonged to an earlier era when cricket was truly a gentleman’s game. As for his cricketing feats there are so many that one does not know where to begin and when to end. He is arguably Sri Lanka’s finest cricketer and this judgement is borne out by facts. He is the sixth highest run getter in Tests with 12,400 runs. With 38 hundreds he is fourth on the list behind Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis and Ricky Ponting. He has the highest average (57.40) for anyone who has played in over 100 Tests. He is only one among two (Graham Gooch being the other) to hit a triple hundred and a hundred in the same Test. With eleven double hundreds he is second only to Don Bradman (12) in Tests. In ODIs he is the second highest run getter after Tendulkar and with 25 hundreds he is fifth in the all-time list. He was for long Sri Lanka’s principal wicketkeeper, had a long reign as Test captain and led his country to the World Cup final in 2011.

Almost as impressive are his credentials off the field. Erudite (he has studied law) and polished in his behavior Sangakkara is at home in elite company and speaks English impeccably. In 2011 he delivered a powerful MCC Spirit of Cricket Colin Cowdrey lecture in which he touched on the power and importance of cricket in healing the wounds of the civil war in Sri Lanka and recounted his experience of the terror attack in Lahore in 2009. In 2012 Sangakkara was awarded honorary life membership of the MCC. The same year he joined MCC’s world cricket committee and remains an active member.

Sangakkara’s nomination was announced by the current president Anthony Wreford at the MCC annual general meeting. Wreford spoke about how MCC is looking to broaden both the club’s horizons and international reputation and referred to Sangakkara as an outstanding individual both on and off the field while expressing the view that he would make a huge contribution to the MCC. In accepting the post Sangakkara spoke about how honoured he was to be named as the next president of the MCC and how it is a role he is thoroughly looking forward to. Knowing Sangakkara he will not treat it as a ceremonial post.

News Cricket

Gary Kirsten tells how he will change RCB's fortunes next season

Staff Writer Updated: 4 May, 2019, 10:55 AM IST


It has been yet another dismal season for Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore. They lie at the bottom of the table. They had not reached the playoffs last season as well. Despite boasting big names like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Southee and Moeen Ali, they failed to qualify for playoffs this season.

RCB's head coach, Gary Kirsten has revealed how he will change team's fortunes next season.“I have been a fan of continuity. You want to build a core of players and culture and keep coming back to the same players. I think most successful franchises in IPL have done that and we are searching for that in RCB. There might be a structural change next year,” Kirtsten told reporters on the eve of RCB’s final game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“I am hopeful and confident that we stick to the continuity of players because we need to really start building a core of players we believe in and back. Franchises that do a lot of chopping and changing every year, run into problems because IPL is not about an individual performing every IPL, it will just not happen, but if you keep backing the guys they can come good for you in one season,” he said while adding “It is not difficult to iron out the areas we struggled with,” he added.

News Cricket

Smith, Warner back in Aussie camp to prepare for World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 4 May, 2019, 10:09 AM IST


Titled. Untitled. Entitled. Australia coach Justin Langer doesn't care too much about labels in the process of reintegrating the ex-captain and vice-captain into his World Cup squad following 12-month bans.

Steve Smith and David Warner are in camp with the defending champion Australian squad less than a month out from their World Cup opener against Afghanistan in England, and Langer said there's not even the hint of tension.

Smith remains barred from leadership positions in the Australian team for at least another 12 months, and Warner will never again be selected as captain or vice-captain because of their roles in a ball-tampering scandal last year in South Africa. But that doesn't bother Langer.

"Whether it's titled or untitled, we expect all our players to be leaders. They're (Smith and Warner) both natural leaders," Langer told a news conference Friday at the national cricket academy, where the Australians will play three warm-up matches against a New Zealand XI next week. "We'll draw on their experience on and off the field. We'd be absolutely crazy not to.

"Their leadership will be crucial for us to win on the field, and win off the field. We're looking forward to them developing that."

Langer took over as coach after Darren Lehmann quit last March following the ball-tampering episode that sent Australian cricket into turmoil. Smith, Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft were rubbed out of the game by Cricket Australia for lengthy periods for their parts in a plot to tamper with the red leather ball in a test match in Cape Town.

The sanctions were significantly harsher than anything ever imposed by the International Cricket Council for ball tampering, but reflected a deeply held sentiment in Australia that the players who represent the country in the national sport should be above that kind of cheating.

Langer, a gritty opening batsman for Australia in its era of domination around the turn of the millennium, guided the remnants of the team through a domestic summer that included a first-ever test series loss on home soil to India and an extended drought in limited-overs cricket.

Things have only just turned around, with the Australians recovering from 2-0 down in a five-match limited-overs series in India to win it 3-2, and then securing a series sweep against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Aaron Finch, who took over as one-day captain in the absence of fellow World Cup winners Smith and Warner, struggled to make runs until he went on a roll of high scores that now has created a problem for selectors of where to include the returning star batsmen in the lineup.

Suddenly, the Australians have risen from being rank outsiders to strong contenders to win the World Cup for a sixth time. England is ranked No. 1 and is playing at home, and Langer regards the hosts as the favorites.

Being in England, the Australian players can expect some extra attention from the Barmy Army, the vociferous band of England cricket supporters who're renowned for their songs and chants. That applies particularly to Warner, who has made himself a target for their attention in previous trips to England.

Warner returned to competitive cricket with 692 runs in 12 games in the Indian Premier League last month, immediately hitting the form in Twenty20 cricket that makes him one of the most destructive batsmen in the shorter formats of the game.

Langer said he'd learned during his own career not to antagonize the Barmy Army, and would be advising Warner and his teammates to ignore them or, at the very least, treat them with respect.

It's a mantra that Langer uses across the board as he bids to reintegrate two of the best Australian players of the last decade back into a team that struggled in the enforced absence of the pair. He regularly uses the words humility, recognizing that Smith and Warner will need to show a lot of it after losing their titles as team leaders and having to play under a new captain despite having a wealth of experience, and respect — for rivals, fans and for the game.

"We've had a very humbling experience, and we brought it on ourselves," Langer said. "I still have that vision of Steve almost being almost frog-marched out of South Africa. Sad vision.

Now, "Obviously every opportunity we get of celebrating Australian cricket, and to make Australians proud of us again ... is important for us. We'll make sure we make the most of every opportunity that comes up, including this World Cup."

News Cricket

The umpires had to finish off the fight or I would have: Afridi on brawl with Gambhir

Harshit Anand Updated: 3 May, 2019, 5:31 PM IST


Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi are known for their rivalry on and off the field. The Indo-Pak clashes are never low on intensity and in 2007, Gambhir had collided into Afridi while taking a single, which led to a heated verbal fight between both the hot-headed cricketers. Both were fined by ICC in the aftermath of the incident.

Remembering the rivalry, Shahid Afridi in his book wrote, "Some rivalries were personal, some professional. First the curious case of Gambhir. Oh poor Gautam. He & his attitude problem. He who has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He who has no great records just a lot of attitude.

"I remember the run-in with Gambhir during the 2007 Asia Cup, when he completed his single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have. Clearly, we had a frank bilateral discussion about each other's female relatives.

"Gambhir behaves like he's a cross between Don Bradman & James Bond. In Karachi, we call guys like him saryal (burnt up). Its simple, I like happy, positive people. Doesn't matter if they are aggressive or competitive, but you have to be positive & Gambhir wasn't."

This is not the first time when Afridi's Autobiography "Game Changer" has made it to the headlines. In the book, Afridi has also revealed his real age and the fact that he was born in 1975.

Videos Cricket

Watch - Dwayne Bravo making kids of CSK players dance to his tunes has gone viral

Staff Writer Updated: 3 May, 2019, 5:24 PM IST


Dwayne Bravo is a class act when it comes to cricket and songs. He recently made MS Dhoni's daughter Ziva and kids of other CSK players dance to his tunes. The video, which was shared by the official handle of the Chennai Super Kings, has gone viral.

The players were joined by their families during their off-day. CSK’s social media post read: “Champion spreading smiles and filling hearts with joy since forever! Watch Bravo’s sweetest tribute to the Super Cubs and have a Yellove’ly day!”

Chennai Super Kings are leading the points table in the ongoing edition of the league with 18 points from 13 games. They are certain to finish in the top two at the end of the league stage. CSK will take on Kings XI Punjab in their final game of the group stage on Sunday at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.

Feature Cricket

Power Struggle Costs Women’s T20

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 3 May, 2019, 5:15 PM IST


In a scenario where dramas never cease, it appears that while teams fight it out on the field in the determination of the winner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 2019, the women’s exhibition is already in a losing battle as the top Australian women cricketers have been barred from playing in the tournament.

In the battle between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA), women’s cricket has been given a jolt. Already struggling for eyeballs, there is little doubt that the addition of high profile Australian women cricketers such as Alyssa Healy, Elysee Perry and Meg Lanning would have given the short six match tournament on the lines of the IPL a great impetus. Instead their availability has been usurped in the power struggle between the two cricket boards.

Cricket Australia has been floating the idea that the BCCI’s adamant stance to go ahead with its own home series of one day internationals with Australia was costing Australia both, money in millions, as well as the opportunity for Australia’s own cricketers to participate in the Big Bash League. It claims that this has upset broadcasters as well as Australia’s supporters deprived of home one day internationals in its own season as well as for their players to honor commitments elsewhere at a time when their own cricket season is in peak.

The BCCI, on its part, has stated categorically that the issue was discussed at length and agreed upon as part of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) by both consenting boards and that there was no reason for Cricket Australia to raise the issue suddenly out of the blue.

Irrespective of the two boards’ scheduling wrangles, it seems that cricketers and that too women’s cricketers have become pawns in the battle with Cricket Australia holding back its cricketers from competing in the tournament, therefore, depriving the tournament of interest and also, their own cricketers of financial remuneration as well as the opportunity to entrench themselves further. The fallout of Cricket Australia’s bargaining chip may yet to come as it is unlikely that the BCCI, as powerful as it has been, will let this go lightly.

It could mean further acrimony between two of cricket’s most powerful boards, this after the idea was once floated not that long ago about the two boards being in collusion with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to form a consortium that dictates cricketing decisions for other teams and nations around the world. If that was considered a rather blatant diabolically devious plan, this fall out between the boards will be one to watch because it could either unravel the power position at the top or lead to friction and division wherein other boards might be drawn into taking sides, as they were forced to do when the idea of the big three was first floated.

For the moment though, it is women’s cricket that suffers which is tragic enough given that women cricketers have been competing for more opportunities on par with men and would have, also, liked to have seen their pockets swell like those of their male counterparts playing the cash rich IPL. ‘But who cares’ seems to be the anthem even as the two boards wrestle for the upper hand.

News Cricket

Pakistan continue to rule T20 cricket, India slip to 5th spot in rankings

Staff Writer Updated: 3 May, 2019, 5:10 PM IST


India have dropped three place in the latest ICC T20 international team rankings while arch rivals Pakistan are still leading the race. Pakistan, who won the T20 World Cup in 2009, have 286 points while the next four teams are within two points of each other - South Africa (262), England (261), Australia (261) and India (260).

The two arch rivals will take on each other in the upcoming fifty over World Cup in England and Wales. Virat Kohli-led India are one of the top contenders for the title while Pakistan are renowned for their never say die attitude.

The green brigade have already reached England to play against English counterparts. Men in Blue are currently part of the ongoing Indian Premier League season and will depart after the finale of tournament.