The landscape of the Indian terrain changed once more less than a fortnight ago, this time perhaps more laudably than it has had in years. In that light, while it is great that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to scrap the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League and instead donate the money, more needs to be done from the sport’s giant organization.
For a week now, the cacophony has been loud as it has been clear. Public sentiment is enraged that there is not enough being said from the Indian cricket contingent and fraternity, particularly the richest, most influential cricket body in the world in the wake of the Pulwama attacks on the Indian army convoy. While the nation mourned the loss of the brave soldiers who are just the latest in the line of casualties and lives lost with the ongoing proxy war at the country’s border over the Kashmir dispute, the time has come when the BCCI must now show its real mettle, where it matters.
For the past decade Pakistan cricketers were already isolated in that they were not allowed to play the IPL. A major setback even as cricketers from other countries cashed in on the money spinner, it failed to set straight Pakistan Cricket Board or the country in terms of realizing that in being isolated from a revenue source in a major world sport, Pakistan was facing dark days. The BCCI refused to honour its bilateral commitments in the wake of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which has meant that Pakistan were already at the losing end of the stick as far as a revenue generating bilateral series were concerned and their latest attempt to sue for compensation was squashed without ceremony.
However, given that India’s absence has seriously dented Pakistan’s cricket financially, if not in the sense of image, and with the BCCI being arguably the richest and the most influential cricket board anywhere in the world, generating almost seventy per cent of the world’s income from cricket, there is a loud silence emanating from the cricketers who represent the nation under the banner of the BCCI.
Although the sum from the IPL opening ceremony has been stated anywhere between five crore rupees to twenty crore rupees which will now be wisely donated to the martyrs’ families who suffered tremendous, irreplaceable loss as a result of the Pulwama attack, given that the Kashmir issue has been an ongoing point of contention between India and Pakistan and the loss of lives innumerable, there is grave dissatisfaction that the current generation of cricketers who are not only ambassadors for the country but also, have a formidable voice, particularly on social media, have not taken a stance but instead cowered under the unwritten gag order of the BCCI from speaking their minds and taking a stand.
While money will go a long way towards taking care of some of these families’ financial needs, it is ultimately not the solution or the means to an end to a problem that does not just affect one region of the country alone. With cricket being a pseudo religion in the country, cricket has the ability to make one of the bigger impacts on Pakistan’s income and reputation which is why India’s cricketing voice has to be one of the louder ones.
Morne Morkel has spoken in favor of retired Duanne Olivier. The young pace sensation shocked the world when he decided to bid adieu to international cricket in order to sign a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Morkel said that the timing of the decision was not right but Olivier took a family decision and everyone should respect his call.
“It's just unfortunate because Duanne had really settled in and is finding his feet … he knows what Test cricket is about. In terms of timing, it's not great. (But) I think that decision was made long before a couple of months ago. He weighed his options up and it was a family decision and you have to respect that,” Cricket.com.au quoted Morkel, as saying.
“It's never nice to lose quality players, you always want to see them play for South Africa. But I understand it completely and I wish him all the best,” he added.
Morkel wants Cricket South Africa to come up with a better plan to give career security to players.
“They have to sit down and come up with plans because they're going to lose a lot of players in the near future and they need to protect against that. Do you structure the contracting a little bit better? What security do you give the guys (in terms of) life after cricket? You talk about investing, but once a guy retires, they sort of drift away. I can name a number of players who they have invested a lot of money in, but you don't see them coaching, you don't see them involved with our academies,” he said.
“Give those guys a platform and say; 'we've invested in you for so many years when you're thinking of settling down or moving on, this is where we see a role for you,” he added.
Mohammed Shami bowled with a purpose during the first ODI between India and Australia in Hyderabad. After his sensational performance Down Under, Shami started brilliantly in the ODI series against Aaron Finch-led team. He cleaned up dangerous looking Glenn Maxwell with a peach of a delivery.
Shami bowled a length delivery which straightened a bit and went on to uproot the stumps. Maxwell was trying to swing through the line and completely missed the line, resulting in his dismissal.
Earlier, Maxwell was star of the T20 series. The right hand batsman was adjudged Man of the series for his sensational batting against Men in Blue.
The shock defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka notwithstanding there is little doubt that South Africa have a pretty impressive home record. In the past one year they have defeated India and Australia besides making a clean sweep of the three-Test series against Pakistan. And the main reason behind this triumphant run has been the high quality fast bowling attack. In Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier they have the most destructive pace bowling line-up since the days of the fearsome West Indian pace attack of the 80s. The figures associated with the South African quintet are of the mind boggling and eye rubbing variety and even the best of batsmen have not been able to succeed against them.
However for all their skill and hostility it must be said that the South African quicks have been helped by fast and bouncy tracks. But by playing to their main strength South Africa have also undermined the confidence of their batsmen. On such surfaces even the visiting fast bowlers are bound to strike gold and the result is that South Africa have generally been out for low totals. It is another matter that the superb fast bowling attack has been able to defend such totals.
Perhaps no other batsman symbolizes the manner in which the South Africans are being besieged as Hashim Amla. The epitome of class, style and skill Amla has been one of the truly great contemporary batsmen. His impeccable technique and unflappable temperament have also made him one of the most prolific run-getters in modern times. He is the only South African to hit a triple hundred in Tests and on the way he became among the fastest to reach several marks be it runs or centuries. His batting average for quite some time exceeded 50.
And yet Amla’s 28th and last hundred was compiled against Bangladesh in October 2017. Since then he has played 15 Tests (29 innings) without getting a hundred forced to be content with just half a dozen fifties. His average has slipped to 46 which does not measure up to the high standards he has set for himself. And after seemingly racing to the 10,000 run mark in Tests he is right now on 9282 after 124 matches. And while the fact remains that he has played 13 of those 15 Tests at home he has also failed in the two Tests he has played in Sri Lanka during the period.
Amla turns 36 next month and does not have time on his hands. And while his ODI form remains good – he averages almost 50 in this format – ironically he has been dropped from the squad to play Sri Lanka from Sunday. Perhaps the time has come for the selectors to drop Amla from the Test squad too. It will be a tough decision but sometimes these have to be taken in the larger interests of the team.
The governing body of Indian cricket unveiled the new Team India jersey for the World Cup. It was launched in the presence of Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur.
When asked about what Indian jersey reminds him, MS Dhoni said: "It always reminds me of the great legacy that we have got. It’s not only that. Playing each and every bilateral series, reaching No 1 across formats, all these are motivational stuff."
Virat Kohli spoke about the importance of jersey and what should be done to become a part of the Indian team.
"There is a certain importance and pride attached to this jersey. Everyone needs to realise that. You have to strive for excellence and show that you are obsessed to win every minute of the game. That’s how you get that jersey," said Kohli.
Cricket fanatics gave their reviews about Team India’s new jersey.
The upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League will benefit Men in Blue ahead of the World Cup. This was stated by none other than India chief selector MSK Prasad. He believes that the players should not be rested from the cash rich league because of the World Cup and the experience of playing in the league can be beneficial for players.
“I have a different view (on the IPL debate). IPL is an international tournament which offers so many complex pressure situations. Rather than sitting and training, you will have to go through so many pressure situations be it with the batting, bowling or fielding. This IPL offers a competitive atmosphere. If you see the example of 2013 and 2017 Champions Trophy, we did exceedingly well because we had IPL prior to that. It will only help our players which otherwise a normal bilateral series will definitely not offer. It is just four overs (for bowlers) but it is important how to keep themselves fit other than that,” Prasad said in the India Today’s panel discussion on Friday.
Earlier, Virat Kohli had said IPL performance will have no bearing on the World Cup team selection.
“No, I don’t see the IPL having any influence on World Cup selection. I think that will be very, very radical sort of analysis,” the Indian captain, known for his forthright views, said on the eve of the first ODI against Australia.
Yuvraj Singh hosted a birthday party for his wife Hazel Keech. Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar and Ashish Nehra graced the occasion with their presence. Among many of Yuvraj's friends, Ashish Nehra entertained the gathering with his sense of humor.
In the photos uploaded by the Indian all-round star, Nehra is seen shaking his leg and smearing the cake on the face of birthday girl Hazel Keech.
After seeing Nehra’s mischief, Yuvraj Singh jokingly complained about formers behavior to his wife Rushma Nehra.
"@rd.nehra look what your husband did to my wife's face," Yuvraj said in an Instagram post on Friday.
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About last night who made @hazelkeechofficial bday special! friends 👫 who matter the most were there ! We all love you hazel 😘🥳🕺🏼🎂 🍷🍺 ❣ @ashishchowdhryofficial @zaheer_khan34 @sagarikaghatge absent 🤪 @harbhajan3 @geetabasra @gauravkaps @rd.nehra look what your husband did to my wife’s face 🤪 @kiratbhattal
Yuvraj Singh, who is no more part of Team India, is looking forward to Indian Premier League. The southpaw was purchased by three-time IPL champions, Mumbai Indians.
He was welcomed by Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma, who is looking forward to play alongside one of the best Indian cricketers of all time.
Prithvi Shaw, the young Indian cricketer, has shared a picture on his twitter account where he is seen with two senior pros, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. He met the two stalwarts during India's jersey launch at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad.
Team India's jersey was launched in the presence of above mentioned cricketers along with Ajinkya Rahane and women cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur.
Shaw got himself clicked with Kohli and Dhoni and shared the picture with the caption, "Yeh BHAI log jaisa koi Hard ich nahi hai @imVkohli @msdhoni #legends."
Shaw had a memorable debut for India in the Test series against West Indies. He was selected in the squad for the Australia series but an unfortunate ankle injury ruled him out of the tour.
The right hand batsman recently made his comeback in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke said that he is bit concerned about Men in Blue's chopping and changing strategy ahead of the World Cup. He further added that Virat Kohli led team is not concerned about winning or losing at the moment and their main focus is on getting their team combination right.
His comments came after hosts were defeated in the two-match T20 series against Australia. India had rested Kuldeep Yadav and rotated their openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.
"My only concern with India's approach in the first two T20s against Australia and in the current series is that they are not too concerned about winning or losing those games.
"Listening to Virat talking after the last T20, these ODIs their approach is going to be the same, they are going to try a few players whom they are going to take in the 15 to the World Cup. That would be a little bit different from my approach. My attitude leading up to the World Cup was trying and winning every game to get the momentum and get confidence into our group."
Team India Vice-captain Rohit Sharma welcomed back Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The IAF pilot returned to India after spending two day's in Pakistan's custody. During the aerial combat with Pakistan Air Force, his jet was hit and he unfortunately landed in Pakistan.
He was ill treated by the mob before Pakistani army saved him. The Indian brave heart, who was taken into custody, kept his cool. After several rounds of negotiation, Imran Khan announced that Abhinandan would be returned to India as a peace gesture.
Since that announcement, the whole of India was eagerly waiting for his return. He was handed to India around 9 pm.
Rohit took to twitter to welcome Abhinandan Varthaman and even wrote a special message for the IAF pilot.
“Welcome to our motherland #WingCommanderAbhinandan Another name for bravery”
Rishabh Pant is eyeing an opportunity to make it to the World Cup squad of Team India and a lot will depend on his performance in the ODI series against Australia.
The left hand batsman had a miserable outing in the T20 series against Aaron Finch led team and another failure couldn’t dent his chances of representing India in the show piece event.
Sourav Ganguly, who had lauded Pant for his performance in Test cricket, has sounded warning bell for the wicketkeeper batsman.
"He has to fit in. I don't know whether he would be able to fit in at this moment. So it depends. But he's obviously a player for the future," Ganguly told reporters in Kolkata.
Talking about KL Rahul, Sourav said the opening batsman has to score runs outside India.
"I've been backing him. He has to score runs away from home. He's a superb talent. He played superbly in the two T20Is," he said.
"Karthik is not part of the ODI squad then obviously they are not thinking of him as an option. It depends on what the selectors want," Ganguly added.
The much-awaited 5-match India-Australia ODI series is all set to begin at Hyderabad from the 2nd of March. This will be a significant series for both the sides as it will the last time they can finalize their combinations for the ICC 2019 World Cup.
The two teams share a rich ODI history and had played their first ODI way back in December 1980 at Melbourne during the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup. Before the series begins, here is a look at some interesting stats and numbers from India-Australia ODIs.
India’s batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar had produced some truly epic performances against Australia; they always brought out the best in him. Sachin is also the leading run-getter in ODIs between the two teams with 3077 runs in 71 matches at an average of 44.59 along with 9 hundreds and 15 fifties. The next on the list is Ricky Ponting with 2164 runs in 59 ODIs.
Australian speedster leads this chart with 55 wickets in 32 ODIs at an average of 21.00 and an economy rate of 4.49. The next best is by India’s Kapil Dev who has 47 wickets in 41 ODIs against Australia.
Rohit Sharma’s epic 209 in Bengaluru in November 2013 remains the highest individual score by a batsman in India-Australia ODIs. In fact, no other batsman is yet to score a double hundred in ODIs between the two teams. The next best score is 175 by Sachin Tendulkar in 2008 at Hyderabad.
India’s ‘Hit Man’ Rohit Sharma tops this list with 66 sixes in 31 matches against Australia. He is well ahead of anyone else by a significant distance as the next best on this list is Sachin Tendulkar who had 35 sixes in 71 ODIs. Given that Rohit is only going strong, he is likely to be at the number one of this list for a long time to come.
India’s mammoth 383-6 in 50 overs at Bengaluru in November 2013 is the highest team total in India-Australia ODIs’. India reached that total courtesy an incredible 209 by opener Rohit Sharma. The next highest team total is India’s 362-1 in 43.3 overs at Jaipur in October 2013 when they were chasing Australia’s 359-5.
Indian off-spinner Murali Kartik leads this list with his outstanding spell of 6-27 that dismantled the Australian batting in an ODI at Mumbai in October 2007. Before Kartik, the record for the best bowling figures in India-Australia ODIs was held by Australian seam bowler Ken MacLeay with his spell of 6-39 at Nottingham in the 1983 World Cup.
Steve Smith and George Bailey’s massive 242-run stand in the 1st ODI at Perth is the highest ever partnership in India-Australia ODIs. While chasing India’s 309-3, Australia was in trouble at 21-2. But Smith (149) and Bailey (112) came together to stitch a record-breaking partnership and win the game for Australia.
Australia’s Ricky Ponting stamped his authority as a leader in India-Australia ODIs as well being the most successful captain in ODIs between the two sides. He captain Australia in 35 ODIs against India and won 21 games while losing only 10, thus ending with win percentage of 67.74.
MS Dhoni is helping Virat Kohli a lot in shorter formats. The former Indian skipper manages bowlers and fielders during crunch situations and legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar feels Virat Kohli is lucky to have Dhoni in his team.
Critics have been slamming Dhoni for his slow approach in the shorter formats but Virat Kohli has clearly stated that Dhoni is one of the most important members of Men in Blue and there is no way he is done with his career.
Virat has always backed Dhoni and there on-field chemistry is there for the taking. According to Gavaskar, Virat will require Dhoni’s assistance in the World Cup.
"I think the best thing for Virat Kohli is that he is got MS Dhoni as a keeper. You can see whenever he is in the deep, MS Dhoni helps him with the field, talks to the bowlers in crucial situations," Gavaskar said during the India Today Conclave 2019. "Your best fielder should be at the deep during the death overs. That's where MSD comes into play, telling the bowlers what to do."
"Appreciate the chemistry between both. Both of them share a lot of respect. Their chemistry is going to help us at the World Cup," Gavaskar added.
Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, has welcomed back Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with a heartfelt message. The Indian IAF officer was in Pakistan’s custody after his jet was hit during aerial battle with Pakistan’s Air Force.
Virat took to Facebook and wrote: “Real Hero. I bow down to you. Jai Hind.”
Abhinandan was expected to arrive at 17:00 hours but due to some paper work and judicial intervention, his return was delayed by few hours.
A PIL was filed in one of the courts of Pakistan to prevent the government from releasing Indian IAF officer but it was rejected, paving the way for Abhinandan’s return to India.
Virat Kohli has always stood up for the security forces of the country.
Meanwhile, he is all set to lead India in the first ODI against Australia, which will be played in Hyderabad.
He has stated that the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League will have no bearing on the selection of the World Cup squad.
Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri and chief selector, MSK Prasad had opined that India can shift Virat Kohli to no.4 if the circumstances demand so in the upcoming 2019 Cricket World Cup that commences from May 30 in England and Wales.
Indian ODI team greatly depend on their top three- Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. India’s top three form the backbone of the side. There is a view that slotting your best three together can backfire and make the side vulnerable on a challenging track, so it is better to separate the top three, thereby making Kohli bat at 4. It also makes the middle-order stronger.
Kohli revealed whether he would bat no.4 or not. “If that’s the requirement of the team at a particular stage in the game or before a particular game, I am more than happy to do it,” Kohli said ahead of the Hyderabad ODI.
He added, “I have batted a lot of time at No. 4 and so I don’t necessarily need to try it out because I have done that a lot in the past. My game doesn’t change much from No. 3 to No. 4 because the template is quite similar and in any given situation I back myself to play the game that I know. If a team wants it at any stage, I’m more than happy to do it.”
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