KL Rahul, who scored heavily in the T20 series against Australia, was the lone Indian to feature in the top 10 of ICC T20 rankings. The right hand batsman scored 47 and 50 in the two matches of the series against the visitors. He has jumped four places and is now placed at sixth spot with 726 rating points.
Current skipper Virat Kohli has improved on his previous ranking and is now ranked 17th in the world while the former Indian skipper MS Dhoni has also gained and is placed at 56th spot in the world.
Glenn Maxwell has reached third position after his scores of 56 and 113 not out led Australia to triumph in India.
The right hand batsman single-handedly took Australia over the line in the second T20 match in Bengaluru. He was declared Man of the Match and Man of the Series for his effort.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday added another feat to his illustrious career. The right hand batsman has entered the list of top three run-getters in T20 internationals. He has climbed to third spot with 2263 runs from 67 matches.
Rohit Sharma of India leads the list with 2331 runs to his name in 94 matches and is followed by Guptill, who has amassed 2272 runs in 76 matches. However, Virat Kohli’s average of 50.28 is the best among the top five highest run-getters in T20Is.
Kohli scored 72 runs off 38 balls in the second and final T20 against Australia but he ended up on the losing side as Maxwell's brilliant century proved to be decisive in the end.
He has been one of the most consistent performers across formats since last few years and was awarded the ICC Cricketer of the Year by the governing body of international cricket.
Chris Gayle, who had announced on February 17 that he would retire from ODIs after World Cup, is reconsidering decision after his stellar show with the bat in the ongoing ODI series against England. The left hand batsman has smashed two tons so far and is looking in great touch ahead of the World Cup.
"I've been playing a lot of T20 cricket, so it's always going to be a difficult coming back into 50 over cricket. But eventually the body gets accustomed to the 50-over format," Gayle was quoted as saying by icc-cricket.com. Since making his comeback in the Windies ODI squad, Gayle has scored 347 runs from four matches at a strike-rate of 120.06.
"I just have to work on the body, and then maybe you can see a bit more Chris Gayle. Things change quickly. Hopefully, the body can change in the next couple of months and we can see what happens. What's the matter with the body? I'm nearly 40. But could I un-retire? We'll see. We'll take it slowly."
He reached the 10,000-run mark in ODIs with his 25th century in one day internationals. Gayle also became the first batsman to hit 500 sixes in international cricket.
Virender Sehwag warned the Aussies ahead of the T20 series against Men in Blue and had even mocked the visitors in a babysitting advertisement featuring him and former Aussie batsman Matthew Hayden.
His mocking and warning turned the tables in Australia’s favour as they raced away with the trophy after thumping the hosts comfortably.
Australian journalist Dennis Freedman took a dig at Sehwag with a hilarious meme. The meme shows Maxwell babysitting Sehwag.
Maxwell was a satisfied soul after leading Australia to win.
“It feels really good. We haven’t had a lot of success here of late. To come over here and perform like we have has started it off well for us on this tour. It helps a big bulk of T20 cricket in the domestic tournament back home. Having confidence in my game also has helped a lot and it feels great to contribute to two special wins,” said Maxwell at the post-match presentation party.
Steve Smith, who was out of the action after going under the knife to fix his elbow injury, has hits the nets running after recovering from the problem. He has showed signs of quick recovery after an unfortunate injury had ruled him out of the Bangladesh Premier League.
He shared the good news with the fans by uploading a video from his latest training session where he can be seen playing his trademark shots. “Great to have my first hit back today. The elbow is feeling good," he wrote.
His 12-month ban is about to end and he is expected to play a big role for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. Smith's performance for his IPL franchise will determine his participation in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.
The 29-year old player was banned for one year following his involvement in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa. He was also stripped off his captaincy armband.
Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan took to twitter to post a heartfelt message for Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is in Pakistan custody. Pakistan has confirmed the release of Indian braveheart. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the release of IAF pilot as a peace gesture.
He was taken in custody after his fighter jet had crashed in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir’s (PoK’s) Bhimber district.
"As a peace gesture, we are releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan (Varthaman) tomorrow," said Pakistan PM Imran Khan, confirming the Indian pilot's release.
Reacting to this piece of news, Dhawan wrote: "Eagerly waiting for our braveheart to return home. #WelcomeBackAbhinandan."
Earlier, Indian Air Force had carried out strikes across the line of control, killing more than 300 terrorists. This move was taken to avenge the killing of 42 CRPF security personnel in Pulwama.
The understanding and bond between MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli is well documented. Virat Kohli's career flourished under the able leadership of MS Dhoni. They have a great amount of mutual respect for each other, which is evitable on the field as well.
MS Dhoni has struggled in the last two years, yet Virat Kohli has been backing him. Kohli depends on Dhoni for tactical inputs and we see many times that Kohli keeps fielding on the deep boundary, leaving the bowlers under the guidance of Dhoni.
BCCI has released a video, which showcases the camaraderie between the two:
Glenn Maxwell wants to bat higher up the order in ODIs. He made a series-winning 113 at number four for Australia in the Bengaluru T20I. He took just 55 deliveries for his 113 and smashed seven fours and nine sixes. His knock helped Australia cross the line with ease.
Maxwell bats at number seven in ODIs but would love to get promoted in the five-match ODI series against Australia, starting in Hyderabad on March 2.
He revealed how he countered the Bumrah threat. Bumrah had the wood over Maxwell in T20Is. “I was always trying to attack him. We needed 44 off the last four overs and he came back on. I suppose it was a key over. If that only went for four or five, suddenly you need 13 an over. And it only takes six good yorkers from him to push that up to 18-19. That can be quite difficult to get in the last two overs, or the two other overs.
“So I was just hoping he missed a couple of times and wanted to pounce on that. He’s done me a fair few times in T20 cricket to his credit. I have sort of changed my approach to him a little bit. Been able to wait for a ball that’s slightly off and capitalise on that.
“I was able to get him for two boundaries in that over, and keep the run rate in check and I was able to target Siddarth next over and then we only needed 14 off 12 balls,” said Maxwell.
Even as the Test cricket season draws to a close, South Africa had expected they would be raising a toast to their home Test series successes as a boost to their World Cup preparations. However, the stunning defeat to Sri Lanka has now firmly placed doubts in their mind not only about the World Cup but also, about their Test future.
Sri Lanka were expected to be easy game. There was not to be much resistance from the team that was coming to South Africa after being routed in Australia and New Zealand and before that at home by England. South Africa, with one eye on the ICC Cricket World Cup coming up in June in England, did not think they would have someone nipping at their feet.
Instead Durban proved to be at first, a nagging passage of play with the last wicket partnership for Sri Lanka delaying what seemed like the inevitable. With nearly eighty runs to get and a disastrous season behind them off and on the field, Sri Lanka were a ticking bomb, or so the cricket world, including South Africa thought. But South Africa’s fierce pace attack was treated confusingly at times, with reverence and then indifference. The plan worked. Sri Lanka pulled off the unthinkable.
With just the two Test series, South Africa found themselves in an unusual scenario: win the Test in Port Elizabeth, draw the series. Their best case scenario. Could the seemingly buried Sri Lankan team do it twice in a row? Turned out, they could. And it has left South Africa in a fix. They now not only have to bolster their World Cup preparations for England but also, square off against questions they may not have immediate answers for, even if the examination is still a fair way away in September when they play their next Test series against India.
The series against Sri Lanka exposed what South Africa had been trying to cover and assuage for themselves. Under Ottis Gibson, the current coach, South Africa reverted to their age old tactics of pace only, no spin. Keshav Maharaj became an irregular fixture as the faster pitches proved an awkward proposition to South Africa’s own batsmen who struggled, Hashim Amla included as the barren of Test centurions shows. Dean Elgar admitted as much previously about compromises having to be made about batsmen contending with pitches that were prepared to undermine the opposition strengths. Modest batting totals were laudably defended by a formidable pace attack even as it changed faces depending on injury status.
What South Africa did not see coming was their careful, safe, almost defensive plans unraveling against an unexpected, till-then-beleaguered opponent. Armed with safe results, South Africa could have headed into the World Cup believing they were fine just as long they crossed the line. The bar was set low. The bar was subsequently breached and how!
Now age is being brought out onto the table. Hashim Amla is thirty-six, Faf du Plessis thirty-four. Those knocking on the door are far too embryonic to take on India or such is the contention. The balance has been skewed far too low in the absence of recent retirees such as Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers. The bowlers can only do so much and under restrictive plans for a one trick pony.
Coach Ottis Gibson must now first contend with taking the team to the ICC Cricket World Cup to England in June without appearing to look light on experience. His tenure is up in July shortly thereafter and it will be interesting to see how South Africa approach what has been by the captain’s own admission ‘a huge dent’ to their confidence going forward. How much of this upset applecart has eaten into South Africa’s fragile build up to the World Cup remains to be seen. But the real test (pun intended) awaits them thereafter as well.
Two matches were played on Wednesday thousands of miles apart which were the perfect advertisement for the respective formats. Both were high scoring games but they were well contested providing a thrilling finish complete with some fine performances and what more can the cricket fan ask for?
At Bangalore a Glenn Maxwell Masterclass overshadowed the Virat Kohli – MS Dhoni show to steer Australia to a seven wicket win over India with two balls to spare in a T-20 international. At St George’s in an even more enthralling contest England defeated West Indies by 29 runs in an ODI. Not unexpectedly batsmen dominated both the games and the ODI in fact saw all sorts of records being set up with 46 sixes being hit and three batsmen getting hundreds. Chris Gayle in the process became the second West Indian after Brian Lara to get past the 10,000 run mark. But it was not a game only for batsmen; Adil Rashid saw to that with a five wicket haul including four wickets in five balls to give the match a dramatic denouement.
India would have felt that with 190 they had enough on the board. But then with Maxwell around virtually no total is safe and that is precisely what happened with the limited over specialist hammering an unbeaten 113 off just 55 balls with nine sixes and seven fours. After losing a low scoring game narrowly in the first T-20 India this time went down again in a last over finish but in a high scoring match. Last time they went down because of a middle order collapse and an unduly long tail. This time they plugged that loophole by strengthening the batting but in the process the bowling became weaker leading to the defeat. The right balance between batting and bowling has to be found for India to win matches but then of course this is easier said than done.
At St George’s England taking a 2-1 lead in the five match series again showed why they are regarded as early favourites for the World Cup. But the contest has also underlined the fact that West Indies are on the way back. With the talismanic Gayle back in the ranks they are a much more confident side. It certainly does not seem like a contest between the No 1 ranked team and the No 9 ranked team and one man has made a major difference. Gayle has shown that sometimes one charismatic individual can inspire his team to achieve greater heights.
As we are getting closer to the 2019 IPL, different ads have started coming out to create excitement around the much awaited and anticipated league. After Rishabh Pant got a brilliant response from Dhoni, now Jasprit Bumrah has got an epic response from Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
Responding to Bumrah's warning, Kohli said, "Cheeku bhayia! Apne captain ko sledge karega, chal...aakhir seekh hi gaya tu..bas apne Cheeku bhaiya se koi udhari expect mat karna." (You will sledge your captain now, good that you have also learnt how to sledge now but don't expect any favours from your Cheeku bhaiya)
The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League starts on March 23 and Virat kohli's RCB will face Rohit Sharma-led, Mumbai on March 28 in a blockbuster encounter.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is out of action due to injury shared a ‘then and now’ picture with brother Krunal Pandya. It is amazing how much the Pandya brothers have progressed with time in life. They didn't have it easy but after a lot of struggles, they both have managed to represent India, which is a big achievement indeed.
Check out the pictures:
His family was once rich but then they lost everything. Hardik Pandya had revealed during Breakfast with Champions that, "I always had this thing in my mind (wondering) how can I succeed in life. Because we used to be really rich, from a well to do family. And from having that, to struggling for Rs 10 - it was disappointing for me...because I had money when I was small so I never thought that when I'm older I'd have to struggle so much.
"No one knows that we've struggled for 3 years for every penny. Even saving Rs 5-10 was a big trouble for us. I still remember before the IPL, we had won the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and got Rs 70,000 each. Me and Krunal said to ourselves that at least we'll get by for a while."
Ahead of the upcoming Indian Premier League, in a bid to create buzz around the cash-rich tourney, popular players are making videos in which they are seen giving warning and challenging opposition players. Talented youngsters like Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant have fired shots and challenged the two biggies of Indian cricket- Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.
Rishabh Pant, who plays for Delhi franchise in the lucrative league had challenged Dhoni by saying, "Mahi bhai na guru ke samaan hain. Agar Mahi bhai nahi hote na, pata nahi mai wicketkeeper-batsman hota, nahi hota [Mahi bhai is like a teacher. If Mahi bhai wouldn't have been there, I don't know if I would have been a wicketkeeper-batsman].
Lekin is baari unki team pe main aisa barsoonga ki captain cool, cool nahi rahenge [But this time, I will rain down at his team so hard that captain cool won't remain cool].
Mahi bhai tayyar rehna, game dikhane aa raha hoon." [Mahi bhai be ready, I'm coming to show you the game].
Dhoni has come up with a brilliant response to troll Pant. See the video here:
Indian wicket-keeper batsman, Wriddhiman Saha made a brilliant century in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy against Arunachal Pradesh. He made a 62-ball 129 and dedicated his century to Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was caught by Pakistan yesterday when MiG 21 jet landed across the LoC.
The 34 years old, Saha tweeted, “Thank You everyone for your wishes for my today’s knock. This innings is very special to me and I dedicate this inning to India’s brave son AIF Wing Commander Abhinandan. I pray that he returns to India, safe. Jai Hind.”
Saha has been sidelined with multiple injuries for close to 10 months. He has now made a return to competitive cricket. Saha was India's first-choice wicketkeeper in Tests before a shoulder injury and a broken thumb hampered his 2017-18 season.
Chris Gayle, who outscored Jos Buttler in a high-scoring fourth ODI in Grenada said that the Englishman is still not close to the "Universe Boss". Gayle hammered 162 runs off 97 deliveries with the help of 11 fours and 14 Sixes. Jos Buttler had made a 77-ball 150 with 13 fours and 12 sixes. England won the fourth ODI by 29 runs to take a lead of 2-1 in the five-match ODI series.
Gayle applauded Buttler and said, “He is superb, one of the best strikers in world cricket today.”
“He is playing all around the world and showcasing his talent. We can see he is a game-winner, a game-changer and every team needs a player like that to win games. He took the game away from us,” added the veteran Windies batsman.
But then came Gayle’s witty one-liner, which stole the show: “He’s not close to the Universe Boss – but he is a youngster and will get there eventually!”
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