News Cricket

Latest update on MS Dhoni's fitness out

Harshit Anand Updated: 2 February, 2019, 3:02 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar has confirmed that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will feature in fifth and final ODI against New Zealand. Dhoni has regained his fitness as per Sanjay Bangar. India and New Zealand will lock horns in the final ODI at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington tomorrow.

The Men in Blue have already won the series 3-1. They suffered humiliation in the fourth ODI at the hands of the hosts after they got bundled out on 92 runs. The no.2 ranked ODI side in the world will look to finish the ODI series on a high.

Bangar told reporters on the eve of the game, “Yes, he is fit and will be playing the fifth ODI.”

Dhoni was Player-of-the-Series in ODI series against Australia after he scored three fifties in as many games. He had also scored a 33-ball 48 in the second ODI at bay Oval.

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Feature Cricket

Test Cricket Alive; But Unhealthy?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 2 February, 2019, 2:38 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • India’s overseas Test series win over Australia has really been a thought-provoking pivotal moment on cricket’s map
  • India held the aces even in England even though the result was rather adverse
  • England found succour at the deep end and pulled wool over the Indians

India’s overseas Test series win over Australia has really been a thought-provoking pivotal moment on cricket’s map. Even as queries were raised about whether the Test series win matters more than a World Cup, as the landscape of cricket appears to be rapidly evolving, one wonders if being alive can alone be equated with being healthy.

One of the facts stated explicitly at the outset of India’s tour of England which preceded their travelling down under was that this was India’s golden opportunity. With South Africa not as far down the road as England and particularly Australia, it was considered that while the South African sojourn was a slightly more even battle, there was never a better time for India to conquer England and Australia.

To a large extent, it was proven right. India held the aces even in England even though the result was rather adverse in hindsight. It is another matter than a befuddled Indian think tank messed up and never utilized or realized their full potential. The one thing England did right was play their cards at the right time. In the battle between underperformers, England pulled through because they backed their fringe players even as India seemed heavily consumed with the weight of expectations thrust virtually solely on the shoulders of India’s prolific premier batsman and captain, Virat Kohli.

Once too often, England found succor at the deep end and pulled wool over the Indians. Jolted by that unexpected, rather embarrassing turn of fate, it was expected that India would present a much stiffer competition for Australia who looked beaten down by their own problems besetting their topmost leadership. Without a steady team or cohesive leadership, Australia operated like a rudderless ship, unable to capitalize on the opportunities when they were thrown their way.

In the end, India’s series win down under was well deserved, although the haunting thought remained at the back of the mind like a nagging whisper. How much does this win count given that Australia have conspicuously not been at full strength? Can this series stand up to the test of time? If the adage that credit must be given where credit is due, then it stands to applaud India’s effort to make the most of their opportunities and make amends for the missed opportunities in England.

It is easy to be swayed into believing that being number one is being one’s best when perhaps India could easily raise the bar if they were presently given the opportunity to play against a tighter opponent than Australia. A corollary of a thought perked its head as the West Indies celebrated a Test win over England. Was it a shock? By common standards, yes. But the idea that a West Indies win keeps Test cricket alive is somewhat misleading from the standpoint that England’s cricket is not where it is supposed to be. After the Ashes, Joe Root and England were a doleful lot that found a hint of light in the series against India when they dodged the bullet courtesy primarily of India’s largesse of muddled team selections and decisions. Does West Indies’ win mean they raised the bar? Or does it mean England were caught with their pants down?

Australia are taking heart from winning the first Test over Sri Lanka when the latter are competing with the hosts for the wall of shame over the controversies that have plagued cricket. How much can it really count with so much in disarray and Australia seemingly groping in the dark trying to come up with the answers? While Test cricket has now absorbed Afghanistan and Ireland into its fold, apart from the inaugural jubilation, they have nothing lined up on the horizon to keep them busy, honing their skills for their next severe test. At the present time, it all seems like a bit of a mirage.

Feature Cricket

The unique achievement of Anderson and Broad

Partab Ramchand Updated: 2 February, 2019, 2:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Anderson and Broad are the first pair of fast bowlers to take over 1000 Test wickets between them
  • At the start of the ongoing Test Anderson had 570 wickets and Broad 433
  • They are of course fortunate in that both have played well over 100 Tests

Watching James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowling in tandem during the ongoing Test against the West Indies I couldn’t help feeling a sense of amazement at the sheer longevity of their partnership. For a fast bowler to carry on for over 15 years is a rarity. For two fast bowlers to bowl in tandem for over a decade – they first bowled together against New Zealand at Wellington in 2008 – is an eye rubbing and mind boggling achievement. Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were another pair who bowled in tandem for over a decade picking up 924 wickets between them but what makes the Anderson – Broad duo absolutely unique is that they are the first pair of fast bowlers to take over 1000 Test wickets between them.

At the start of the ongoing Test Anderson had 570 wickets and Broad 433. There have been at least three pairs of bowlers who bowled a lot together and were also rewarded with a tally of over 1000 wickets but they were either the pace spin duo of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and Chaminda Vaas and Muthiah Muralitharan or the all spin pair of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.

So it does speak volumes of the skill and stamina of Anderson and Broad. And while they have enjoyed most success in England – not surprisingly given the fact that they excel in seam and swing bowling - they have also come out with flying colours in away Tests having bowled in all conditions and against every kind of opposition. They are of course fortunate in that both have played well over 100 Tests but the stats – average, strike rate, economy rate – are all symbolic of the tremendous success they have enjoyed.

The English cricket follower must be dreading the day when they call it a day which cannot be far away since Anderson is 36 and Broad 32. But as long as they are around the fans know that the England pace attack continues to be in very good hands.

News Cricket

Sledging Dravid brutally the worst moment I have ever been involved, says Allan Donald

Staff Writer Updated: 2 February, 2019, 2:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Allan Donald was one of the most fierce bowlers of his times
  • Donald once rubbed Rahul Dravid the wrong way
  • The former paceman now regrets the incident

Allan Donald was one of the most fierce bowlers of his times. He was not just hostile with the ball in hand but savage with his words as well. Known as "White Lightning," Donald once rubbed India's legendary batsman Rahul Dravid the wrong way. He brutally sledged Dravid, who was never the kind of guy to retaliate back in one of the Tests in 1997.

Now, he regrets the incident. “My sledging of Rahul Dravid in 1997 was way over the top. The way I said what I did to Dravid was definitely not on but I was willing to do something that might bring me a wicket. Two overs later, we got him out and eventually won that ODI final against India in Durban,” Donald recalled the incident while talking to Sport24.

“Post-match, I went up to Rahul who obviously didn’t want to speak to me, and of course the Indian team wasn’t happy with me, but down the line we managed to sort it out. Looking back at it now, I reckon the match referee would have given me a year off from cricket. I said all sorts to Dravid and there was a fair amount of swearing involved. That is probably the worst moment I have ever been involved in,” the former paceman added.

News Cricket

Dimuth Karunaratne taken to hospital after he cops a nasty blow on back of the helmet

Staff Writer Updated: 2 February, 2019, 1:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sri Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne suffered a dangerous blow on the back of his helmet on the bowling of Pat Cummins during the second day of the 2nd Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval, Canberra.

The hostile bouncer from Australian speedster hit Karunaratne just above the neck, and as a result, he went down on the ground which demanded immediate medical attention on the field. The southpaw was stretchered off so that he is given appropriate help.

Fox Cricket’s Neroli Meadows was quoted as saying, “He has been taken to hospital. It was quite distressing at the time. His dad came around and was visibly upset, his sister came as well. They’ve gone to hospital in a separate car to support Karunaratne. The manager from Sri Lanka was also with him.”

He has been to the Canberra Hospital as a precautionary measure.

News Cricket

Steve Waugh names the best batsman among Kohli, Root, Kane, and Smith

Staff Writer Updated: 2 February, 2019, 11:46 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Steven Waugh is a veteran of 168 Tests
  • He named the best batsman of the present generation
  • The former Aussie skipper also explained the rationale behind his choice

Australian legend Steve Waugh named the best batsman of the present generation. The Fab Four compromising of Steve Smith, Joe Root, Virat Kohli, and Kane Williamson is considered to be the gold dust of batting in international cricket. Waugh picked Virat Kohli as the best batsman and also explained why he rates him so highly.

"I think Virat Kohli has got the best technique. If I told someone to model himself on a particular player I would say Kohli has got a perfect technique," Waugh told ESPNCricinfo when asked to pick the best batsman of the current generation.

Virat Kohli is world's no.1 when it comes to ICC's ODI and Test rankings. Not very long ago, Kohli became the first cricketer to sweep all three ICC awards - Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and the ICC ODI Player of the Year awards following an astonishing 2018.

News Cricket

India's Chief Selector MSK Prasad showers huge praise on Hardik Pandya

Staff Writer Updated: 2 February, 2019, 11:37 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Pandya is one of the vital cogs of India's limited-overs outfit
  • He put up a strong show at Bay Oval in the third ODI
  • Prasad says Hardik has an abundance of talent

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya is one of the vital cogs of India's limited-overs outfit. After getting ruled out of the side from September 2018, firstly due to injury and then owing to the Koffee with Karan controversy that got him temporarily suspended, Pandya was added to India's squad mid-way for the New Zealand ODIs.

He put up a strong show at Bay Oval in the third ODI as well to stamp his authority and reaffirm his value to the team. India's chief selector MSK Prasad has praised the lanky all-rounder, emphasizing on the kind of balance he brings to the plate.

“Hardik Pandya definitely adds huge strength to the team’s balance. He brings in that additional strength to all three departments (batting, bowling and fielding). He has an abundance of talent, which he needs to realise and convert into match-winning performances,” Prasad said in an interview with Cricbuzz.

News Cricket

Michael Vaughan questions absence of Rishabh Pant from India's ODI squad

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 8:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Michael Vaughan has questioned the absence of young wicket-keeper batman Rishabh Pant

Men in Blue were bowled out for 92 as Trent Boult took five wickets

India had already won the five-match series 3-0

With India's mediocre performance in the fourth ODI against New Zealand, former England skipper Michael Vaughan has questioned the absence of young wicket-keeper batman Rishabh Pant from the ODI side.

Men in Blue were bowled out for 92 as Trent Boult took five wickets in the game. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Why isn’t @RishabPant777 getting a go in the ODIs !???”

India had already won the five-match series 3-0, outplaying New Zealand by eight wickets in the first match, 90 runs in the second and seven wickets in the third.

But New Zealand finally found conditions to its liking — hot conditions which made the ball swing — and in the absence of captain Virat Kohli, who was rested, and M.S. Dhoni, who has a hamstring strain, bowled out India for 92 in 30.5 overs.

New Zealand reached 93-2 in only 14.4 overs, concluding the match before the scheduled dinner break. Ross Taylor made 37 in an unbroken 54-run partnership with Henry Nicholls (30 not out) to see New Zealand home, clinching the win with a six and a four from the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal.

"I think it was one of our worst performances with the bat for a long, long time," stand-in captain Rohit Sharma said.

"Games like this can happen. You've got to give credit to the New Zealand bowlers; after losing three matches to come out and bowl like that was a magnificent effort."

Boult was thrilled to find the swing which is the foundation of his bowling success — he is ranked 10th in the world in ODIs — and used it expertly to wreck India's top and middle order. The full ball, swinging into the stumps late, was too much for India batsmen who flourished in more placid conditions in the first three matches. India lost three wickets for 33 runs and slumped to 55-8 before some tail-end resistance took it past 88, its previous lowest score against New Zealand.

"When you get conditions like this you obviously want to make the most of it," Boult said. "Coming off three pretty good wickets for batting, it was nice to come across something like this that gave us something to offer at the start and it was nice to put some pressure on the visitors."

Boult bowled his 10 overs consecutively, showing reluctance to give up the ball in such advantageous conditions. Colin de Grandhomme also bowled 10 consecutive overs of medium pace and swing, taking 3-26 including two wickets in his opening over.

Without the steadying influences of Kohli and Dhoni, India crumbled. Once New Zealand broke the opening partnership between Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply for the first time in the series, it was able to expose a middle order it hadn't previously seen.

The New Zealand bowlers had taken only nine wickets in the three previous matches. Sharma was promoted to captain India in Kohli's absence and in his 200th ODI.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma on the verge of joining Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli in elite list

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 8:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rohit Sharma, who is leading Men in Blue in the absence of Virat Kohli, will look to finish the series on winning note

He currently has 22 ODI tons and is joint third with Sourav Ganguly

He needs one more century to overtake former Indian skipper

Rohit Sharma, who is leading Men in Blue in the absence of Virat Kohli, will look to finish the series on winning note when the two teams take on each other on Sunday.

He currently has 22 ODI tons and is joint third with Sourav Ganguly on the list of most centuries for India. He needs one more century to overtake former Indian skipper.

Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli sit at the first and second spot with 49 and 39 centuries respectively.

Trent Boult took five wickets for 21 runs to lead New Zealand to a face-saving eight-wicket win over India on Thursday in the fourth one-day cricket international. India had already won the five-match series 3-0, outplaying New Zealand by eight wickets in the first match, 90 runs in the second and seven wickets in the third.

News Cricket

Watch: After Sarfraz Ahmed racist comment, Fakhar Zaman uses a cuss word while batting

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 8:31 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sarfraz Ahmed was caught on the stump mic making racist remark

Fakhar Zaman was caught using a cuss word on the stump mic

Fakhar Zaman was hit by a short delivery bowled by Kagiso Rabada

Last month, Sarfraz Ahmed was caught on the stump mic making racist remark against South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo during the 2nd ODI of the series.

He was banned for four matches after he was found guilty of breaching ICC’s code of conduct.

Now Pakistan's opener Fakhar Zaman was caught using a cuss word on the stump mic during the fifth ODI against South Africa. On the final ball of the 12th over of Pakistan's innings,

Fakhar Zaman was hit by a short delivery bowled by Kagiso Rabada. Watching his batting partner getting hit in the ribcage, Babar Azam walked up to Zaman to check up on him.

Looking frustrated, he was caught on the stump-mic saying: "Slow ho gaya. Yaar woh 140 hai, behen***d slow aa raha hai. (It got slow. He is 140 mate, beh*n***d it is coming slow)”. He scored 70 runs in the match but couldn’t save his team from losing the game as the hostswon the game by 7 wickets in the end.

News Cricket

 200 is just a number, says Mithali Raj after achieving World Record

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 8:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mithali Raj became the first woman cricketer to play 200 matches in the ODI format

She is also the highest run getter in the world with 6622 runs

She made her debut way back in 1999

Mithali Raj became the first woman cricketer to play 200 matches in the ODI format. She is also the highest run getter in the world with 6622 runs.

"200 is just a number for me but it feels nice to come so far," the unassuming India's ODI captain said after completing a maiden 2-1 series win on New Zealand soil. "I have seen different stages of (transformation) in women's cricket across the globe since I made by debut way back in 1999 under IWCC (International Women's Cricket Council). Coming under ICC, we could see the difference. I am just happy to represent the country for so long," Mithali said.

It was an emotional day for the Indian skipper as she was able to represent India for so long at the top level.

"When I started, I didn't think that I will come so far. Initially, my aim was to only wear the India colors, be one of the core members of the team but never did I think that I will continue to play for so long," said Mithali. "When you have a long career, you have different elements and reasoning that comes into factor. But one thing has been to constantly thrive and change my game to suit different conditions, different areas of my game and trying to keep up with the international standards. "I have seen joys, highs and lows -- when you have a long career," she said.

News Cricket

When Sunil Chhetri made fun of Virat Kohli for ordering Idli

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 8:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli and football captain Sunil Chhetri have achieved a lot in their respective professions

Sunil Chhetri has revealed that his chat with Virat Kohli played an important part in the former turning vegan

He also shared an incident where he made fun of Virat for ordering idli

Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli and football captain Sunil Chhetri have achieved a lot in their respective professions.

Sunil Chhetri has revealed that his chat with Virat Kohli played an important part in the former turning vegan.

He also shared an incident where he made fun of Virat for ordering idli. In a chat with TOI, Chhetri admitted that his friendship with Virat has helped him realize the benefits of going vegan.

"I didn't start because of love for animals. Because after eating 2000 lambs I can't say that. (But at my age) It helps in recovery." “I used to make fun of him. One of the things we did for Star Sports, he ordered for some idli and I asked him what was wrong with him.” Chhetri said.

He also praised Virat Kohli for his hard work and achievements.

“He is one sportsman who is unbelievable. It is not easy to do what he is doing. What Virat is doing is unbelievable. He is also different from others in person. What he eats, how he trains, he is different from others. He actually trains like a footballer, he talks about body fat, he talks about sprints," he added. "He actually puts a lot of energy and time on being a better player and it is great because it is something which I learnt from,” the 34-year-old said.

News Cricket

 Selection committee and team management was sure of Bumrah’s success in Tests, says MSK Prasad

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 8:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Jasprit Bumrah has been phenomenal in Test cricket since making his debut

Bumrah proved doubters wrong with fine display of bowling with the red ball

Chief selector MSK Prasad is a relieved man now with Bumrah's emphatic performance

Jasprit Bumrah has been phenomenal in Test cricket since making his debut against South Africa in 2018. In his first year in Whites, he took 49 wickets to finish among the top wicket-takers in the world. There was a view that he was more suited to limited overs cricket and could get injured if exposed to five-day game. But Bumrah proved doubters wrong with fine display of bowling with the red ball. Chief selector MSK Prasad is a relieved man now with Bumrah's emphatic performance in the longest format of the game.

“There were many theories that this kid shouldn’t be exposed to the longer format. Since he has a peculiar action, which can lead him to injuries. In fact, the selection committee and team management thought the other way round, If this kid can get stronger without making any changes to his action, he can prove to be effective in the longer format, especially while playing abroad,” Prasad was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

News Cricket

Anushka Sharma and Sakshi Dhoni Were Schoolmates. See Pics

Staff Writer Updated: 1 February, 2019, 3:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli have a great bond and mutual understanding, which is quite reminiscent as well on the field. Not only Dhoni and Kohli but even their wives Anushka Sharma and Sakshi Dhoni have a connection, which we didn't know earlier.

Anushka Sharma and Sakshi Dhoni were in the same school when they were growing up. And this very revelation is breaking the internet with their pics going viral.

Check the pictures here:

“Sakshi and I lived together in a very small town in Assam. When she told me where she lived, I said wow, I have lived here too! She said I went to this school, I said I went to this school too... And then I found a picture in which Sakshi is dressed as a fairy and I’m dressed in a ghaghara like my favourite idol Madhuri. Sakshi is extremely funny,” Anushka Sharma had revealed during an earlier interview, as reported by India Today.

Feature Cricket

Sri Lanka: Riddled with Problems

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 1 February, 2019, 2:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Lasith Malinga took over from Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 and one day internationals captains
  • The past few months have been torturous for the one-time ICC Cricket World Cup winners
  • Sanath Jayasuriya and Nuwan Zoysa were found in the red for non-cooperation

If Australia were looking for a desperate way to push the spotlight away from them, they could not have asked for a better opponent. After being ripped apart to reveal fragility against the Indian team, Australian cricket can breathe easy as Sri Lanka appear to be falling apart on and off the field.

That the rot had indeed sunk deeper into the cricketers was evident in the fact that not a month after Lasith Malinga took over from Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 and one day internationals captains respectively, his wife posted a message on social media that has set the cat amongst the pigeons even as Sri Lanka are dealing with a heavy defeat in the first Test down under and in the midst of fighting for pride in the second.

That Sri Lanka’s cricket administration had trouble within the ranks is not a new headline. For at least the past couple of decades, there has been no hiding from the fact that Sri Lanka’s cricket is deeply embroiled in power struggle, nepotism, government interference and is an entity unlike no other. Time and time again, irrespective of the results on the field, Sri Lanka’s cricket administration has faced fickle times as a result of the disharmony, seeking dissolution and ad hoc appointments on a whim.

The past few months have been torturous for the one-time ICC Cricket World Cup winners whose had captured the hearts and imagination of the cricket loving public. However, 1996 seems a faraway dream as Sri Lanka wrestle to maintain equanimity in the face of corruption charges that have led the International Cricket Council (ICC) to give the board a fifteen day amnesty period to come clean. This came after former cricketers such as Sanath Jayasuriya and Nuwan Zoysa were found in the red for non-cooperation and fixing respectively.

In turmoil on the field in terms of producing consistent results in the aftermath of the exit of the talented twin duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka’s cricket has struggled to maintain an aura of dignity. Captaincy since had become Russian roulette with all-rounder Angelo Mathews even threatening to quit cricket at one point over being demoted from the captaincy ranks.

Lack of success has continued to make matters worse as Malinga, only days after being appointed captain, has to now face another barrage as his wife, Tanya, alleged Perera was seeking government intervention for his place in the team. With the unrest having spread into the WAGS corner and with social media now becoming an unwitting participant, it is hard to see Sri Lanka being able to back out of this corner for the team to perform in cohesion.

Even the coaching position has not been spared ignominy and the sense of farce about the proceedings. Once banned for stalling play along with the captain over ball tampering allegations in the West Indies, Chandika Hathurasingha now finds himself out of the on-tour selection team that now includes the team manager and the captain. It is hard to see how the dynamics plays out or for the sport to suddenly come clean given that Sri Lanka already have their backs to the wall, on the field and off it as well with the malice having spread deep enough to create proxy wars.