Australia will travel to India to play ODI matches and T20 internationals and head coach Justin Langer has clarified that the squad travelling to India is not Australia’s final World Cup team and there are still places up for grab.
Australia were recently defeated by visiting Team India in Tests and ODIs.
"Whether you are on this tour or not, there is still going to be spots up for grabs. But the World Cup is going to come up sooner than you know and guys like Steve Smith and Dave Warner are obviously going to bang very hard on the door. So there is going to be some competition there, but that’s good as there is going to be some guys that need to stay on their toes the entire time and keep playing great cricket every time we play."
In a major setback for Australia, Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the tour owing to his injury. "It’s really disappointing for him as he bowled so well in that last Test match. (It’s) disappointing for us as we would have loved to have him there, but hopefully, he will be right for that second leg against Pakistan" said Langer on his premier pacer.
If Ravi Shastri is to be believed Kuldeep Yadav has raced ahead of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja when it comes to performance in overseas conditions.
In a recent interview with Cricbuzz, India coach made a statement that Kuldeep will be preferred over two senior pros whenever India play one spinner.
"He plays overseas Test cricket and he gets five wickets, so he becomes our primary overseas spinner. Going ahead, if we have to play one spinner, he is the one we will pick," Shastri told Cricbuzz.
However, in an interview with Sportstar, chief selector MSK Prasad stated that Ashwin continues to be India's no.1 spinner in Test cricket.
"Undoubtedly. There are no two ways about it. Ashwin is our No. 1 spinner and he is one of the best spinners in the world. In fact, every country we play, they always plan against Ashwin first compared to other spinners. He is our premier spinner," he said.
Chris Gayle has been named in the West Indies squad for the first two matches against England. He last played for his national team in July 2018 in a home series against Bangladesh.
The left hand batsman had made himself unavailable for national selection in order to play in the Afghanistan Premier League. He has scored 9727 runs in 284 ODI matches.
Courtney Browne, the Chairman of Selectors, has also shed light on Marlon Samuels’ unavailability.
"As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team. This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy," Browne said in press release.
"We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI squad for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order. Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series," Browne added.
Australian bowler Riley Meredith conceded 17 runs off one ball in a Big Bash League match between Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes.
He was asked to bowl the first over of the chase but he ended up giving away 23 runs.
Riley bowled three no-balls and conceded 5 wides in his over and finished with figures of 1/43 in his 3 overs spell.
Here's the video:
It started when he bowled a no-ball on the fourth delivery of the over. He followed up with a wide that beat wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to the boundary, earning rivals 5 wides.
The next ball went to the boundary and was called a no-ball for height. Meredith overstepped again and Finch didn't miss out on the free hit as he wacked the delivery for another four.
Despite his over, Hobart Hurricanes were able to defend the total and clinched a 16-run win.
Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri recently suggested that he is open to batting Virat Kohli at no.4 slot in 2019 Cricket World Cup that will take place in England and Wales. Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar also believes that there needs to be flexibility in India's batting cometh the World Cup.
"There needs to be flexibility. More the flexibility in the batting line-up, more beneficial to the team. Let's look at what happened in the Champions Trophy final. Rohit Sharma was dismissed by Mohammed Aamir early. When Virat Kohli came out to bat, the ball was swinging quite a bit. Pakistan were pumped up after having put 300 on the board," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today.
"In such situations, an important player like Virat Kohli needs protection. He can come in at No. 4. Maybe the ball may not move that much when the No. 4 batsman walks out to the middle. Such moves can be beneficial to the team.
"Yes, according to the conditions, flexibility is needed. If not, Virat Kohli is suited to batting at No. 3. In conditions that are conducive to swing bowling, India can afford to play Virat at No. 4," he added.
KL Rahul is going through a tough time. First of all, he endured a rough phase in Tests which led to his ouster from the XI in the red-ball cricket and then he lost his place in India's white-ball games against New Zealand. He was also part of the Koffee with Karan controversy that got both Hardik and Rahul plenty of flak on social media.
But Indian chief selector MSK Prasad still has faith in KL Rahul. “Everybody goes through those phases. Even the greatest of players have their ups and downs in their careers with regard to their form. We want KL to be among runs and that’s why we have included him against England Lions and BP XI match,” Prasad was quoted as saying by Sportstar.
He added, “We really want him (Rahul) to make a strong comeback by getting runs in whatever matches he gets. I am sure he will do so,” he said.
KL Rahul is one of the most talented cricket players going around in the Indian cricket. He has been out of form in the last few months but possesses huge potential.
There is no denying that Serena’s Williams’ fortunes are finally on the downslide. The great champion has reigned for so long at the top and with 23 Grand Slam singles titles she takes her place among the greatest to play the game but one is not sure whether she will achieve her lifetime ambition of equaling Australian Margaret Court’s all time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. She last won a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2017 and then was runner up at Wimbledon and the US Open. At last month’s Australian Open however she went down to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals and with the competition from the GenNext of players very strong even Serena could find it difficult to serve and volley her way back to the top. The 37-year-old is currently No 11 on the WTA rankings and that in itself is a tribute to her fighting qualities for she had slipped out of the top 100 after she missed a lot of tournaments following the birth of her child.
So perhaps it is time for the GenNext of players to stake their claim to reach the pedestal and symbolizing this was the crowning of the new world No 1 when the latest WTA rankings were released last week. Naomi Osaka took over at the top for the first time following her victory over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final on Saturday. The interesting point to note is that had Kvitova had won she would have been crowned the new world No 1. That’s the kind of competition currently on in the women’s section and any one of half a dozen players is capable of winning a Grand Slam or taking over at the top.
At the moment however it is Osaka’s moment to savour following her second successive Grand Slam triumph after she won the US Open last year. But she will have to be on her toes if she wants an extended run at the top. Simona Halep, the women Osaka dethroned, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova besides Kvitova are all bunched together in the rankings and some of them are already Grand Slam winners. The tussle for top honours is bound to be extremely keen and interesting in 2019.
Lungi Ngidi, who made a sensational debut against India in Centurion, last year, is recovering from a knee injury.at present The youngster has said that chokers tag doesn't affect us and the team will enter the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales with low expectations.
The young pace sensation said that “As a team, you don’t see it as choking. People are allowed to play good cricket on the day. It’s all international teams so you can’t tell me you’re not going to lose a semifinal game.”
He added, “It is tough [to win a semifinal], and it hasn’t been able to be done in the past, but it could happen this year. That chokers tag is created by people, but I wouldn’t say it affects the team.”
“We’ve got nothing to lose. It (winning the World Cup) has never been done before by the cricket team, so we’re going there with a clean slate,” he said.
As the action moves from Test cricket to the World Cup prospects, the angst over India’s refusal to play the day and night version in Adelaide will have been briefly assuaged. But it brings about the question: how important is day and night Test cricket and really, how feasible?
While the push for day and night Test cricket as also, the shortest format of cricket as are being introduced, has been tremendous, it has often overlooked the fact that while Test cricket itself has not always enjoyed fairness of pitches and conditions, more is being demanded of an ill prepared cricket world to reap the advantages of a radical idea called day and night cricket.
For one, not every stadium around the world hosting Test cricket is capable of hosting a day and night affair. With the conditions over lighting, the colour of the ball, the pitch conditions and the weather, it appears there is still a long way to go in terms of a fair assessment and universal standard before day and night Test cricket can be dubbed the messiah that saves the five day format.
Undoubtedly any innovation is at first a novelty and then an addiction provided it can provide all the pieces of the jigsaw or in the case of Twenty20, usurp the relevance of one day internationals by simply emulating the formula on a smaller, much faster scale. For Test cricket, while its greatest test of sustainability has come from the over commercialization of Twenty20 that has had the potbellied administrators running to the bank in glee, there is merit enough to understand that while the players may have compromised some of their skills for the game to barely go the distance of five days these days, not enough has been invested into making Test cricket as pliable as Twenty20 in the first place in the advent of the latter.
If anything, there has been this contentious issue that worldwide there has been a deliberate push by the cricket’s administrators to milk cricket through its easiest format, Twenty20, which calls for less fairer pitches, only more batting opportunities for the bludgeoning batsmen. While that equation has changed a bit in recent years with a change in perception, it has not been drastic enough to give Twenty20 the legitimacy to represent cricket as the game’s highest, most revered format. That day and night Test cricket has not been tested enough even at the domestic cricket level and yet is being pushed as the savior that upholds cricket in its most pristine avatar is foolhardy.
While the novelty of a day and night Test and the possibility of increasing gate revenue may be enticing, what has to be remembered is that day and night Test cricket can do only as much as a day affair that is the present Test cricket scenario and unless more is done in the area of preparing fairer pitches, of allowing players to shift formats with greater tour practice which has gone out of the window with the advent of Twenty20 and that the cricket administrators put more time, energy and money into marketing these Test cricket series, day and night cricket could simply go the way of Test cricket or worse, die out as an idea that never saw the light.
As per reports, Indian batsman KL Rahul has donated a huge sum of money to help former India cricketer Jacob Martin, who has been in the hospital since December 28 following a serious accident. The accident injured Martin's lungs and liver. Martin's family has received help from the cricketing community with present and past Indian cricketers coming to his rescue after his family was confronted with a shortage of funds.
According to a report in Mumbai Mirror on Thursday, Martin’s family confirmed that they got a large amount of money from discarded Indian batsman Rahul. The Indian opener has requested them not to reveal the amount so they didn't disclose the sum received by them.
Jacob Martin was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror, “A big thanks to Rahul and everyone who has helped.”
“They asked about our immediate requirement and the money was transferred into our account the same day,” Jacob’s wife Khyati said.
“The body is reacting very well to treatment and I am now in a stable condition. I am hoping to be home in a couple of days and I want return to the ground. I can’t wait for it, I just want to get back to cricket,” Martin said.
Harbhajan Singh never shies away from speaking his mind. He has again taken potshots at India's off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin. The veteran Indian spinner said the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja can prove to be a good combination for India going forward.
Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying by India Today, “Ashwin’s home record is impressive but his overseas record is not the same. That’s why the team management thinks Kuldeep should be preferred over Ashwin. He made most of the opportunity he got. To get five wickets away like he did at Sydney is no mean task. I think Jadeja did well too by performing at Melbourne, Sydney and at the Oval in England. So I think this spin duo could take things forward from here.”
“With what Ravi bhai has said about Kuldeep being your no.1 spinner in overseas conditions, I think the team is now going to that zone where they are looking for wicket-taking options. Look, Ashwin started off so well in England and was a joy to watch in the first Test but he lost his way as the series progressed and Moeen Ali overshadowed him. It’s a tough call but I am sure it’s in the best interest of the team,” the 38-year-old further added.
India's legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar has endorsed talented youngsters, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill to come good in times to come. Both the U-19 stars have made a name for themselves. Prithvi Shaw made a dazzling Test debut against West Indies. Shubman Gill also made his international debut recently against New Zealand though he failed in his first two international appearances.
“I’ve spoken about Prithvi earlier as well, having watched him bat in the nets as a little boy, all of 8-9 years of age, he had something special even back then. I knew instantly that he would play for India,” Tendulkar told Timesofindia.com.
“Shubman also played a crucial role in last year’s U-19 World Cup and has had a good domestic season, so both of them (Prthivi and Shubman) have a lot of potential. Having said that, these boys have just started playing for India and they should enjoy their cricket,” Tendulkar added.
Chahal TV has become quite popular with time. Indian wrist-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal interviews Indian cricketers in this special segment released by the BCCI.
This time, Chahal interviewed a woman cricketer for a welcome change. India's vice-captain Smriti Mandhana appeared on Chahal TV.
She joked that Chahal's batting has greatly inspired her. "Yes, yes. I was inspired a lot after seeing you bat in the 4th ODI (vs New Zealand in Hamilton). I felt like I have to develop my game. You're one my inspirations when it comes to batting," Smriti Mandhana said.
Mandhana has been in brilliant form for India in the ongoing tour of New Zealand. The left-hander is currently the world No.1 ranked batter in Women ODIs.
Mandhana also reflected on hitting gold in the 2018 ICC Cricket awards and said: "I am very happy to have won the ICC Player ofthe Year award. When Jhulu di (Jhulan Goswami) had won it, I was a kid. I read it in newspapers. It feels nice."
The Indian southpaw also opened up on sharing jersey number 18 with India captain Virat Kohli.
The 22 years old said, "I wanted number 7 on the back of my jersey. My roll number at school was 7. But someone else had already taken 7. Vikas sir, our team manager, then suggested me to take 18 (Virat Kohli's jersey number). I knew it only a couple of years ago that Virat also has been playing with 18 on the back of his jersey."
New Zealand outplayed India in the first T20I in Wellington. The visitors lost the T20I series opener by 80 runs. India's composition in the match was a matter of debate. The Men in Blue didn't pick Kuldeep Yadav and had three all-rounders and wicket-keepers each in the XI.
Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, however, sees no fault in India's XI. "No, I don't think so [missed a trick with the playing XI]. It was the first match of the T20I series. You're trying to sort of assess the strengths and weaknesses of not just your team but also your opposition. I wouldn't be too worried about it. T20I can be very unpredictable. The best of teams can lose on the day," Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar also revealed why he felt Vijay Shankar's promotion to no.3 was not wrong.
"I think what India is looking at with this T20I how maybe some of the players can be looked at for the 50-over World Cup, which is a couple of month's time. So maybe that's the reason why Vijay Shankar got the promotion. So if the team is looking to experiment at this stage, I won't be worried too much about the result."
Pakistan won the final Twenty20 against South Africa by 27 runs to end its tour with a positive result having already lost all three series.
Top-ranked T20 team Pakistan defended its total of 168-9 when it held South Africa to 141-9 in its 20 overs at SuperSport Park.
South Africa took the series 2-1 and also won the test and one-day contests.
South Africa couldn't round off a whitewash in the T20s despite a late half-century by Chris Morris, who hit 55 not out off 29 balls but had too much to do at the end. Morris reached his maiden T20 50 with consecutive sixes off Shaheen Afridi in the final over, when South Africa was left needing 40 runs off the last six balls.
Mohammad Amir took 3-27 to lead Pakistan's bowlers and Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf collected two wickets each. Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim and Afridi were key for Pakistan in an impressive bowling performance as they restricted South Africa in the early overs. Both went for less than six an over.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan top scored for the tourists with 26 after Pakistan was put in to bat. There were also contributions from Asif Ali (25) and Babar Azam (23) and although Pakistan's total wasn't huge, it was enough.
Shadab hit 22 not out off just eight balls in a crucial late effort, launching three sixes and plundering 21 runs off the final over of the innings.
Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks' career-best 4-14 for South Africa came in a losing effort.
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