News Cricket

MS Dhoni or Rishabh Pant for India's World Cup squad? Rahul Dravid answers

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 2:36 PM IST


With the World Cup around the corner, there are a lot of debates on who should be in the Indian team and who shouldn't be. With waning powers of MS Dhoni, he is often targeted by a group of fans, who consider Dhoni as a liability on the team. But, there is a vast section, which feels that Dhoni is still invaluable to the team with his experience and strategic powers. The veteran cricketer has done well this year with the bat as well.

Rahul Dravid expressed his opinion recently when he was asked to pick on between Dhoni and Pant for the WC team.

“As a coach of the India U-19 team, I should not be commenting on who should be included. Everyone is same for me. All I will say is that Dhoni has incredible experience and he has been playing very well in the past few months. Rishabh is definitely an exciting young player and he has got the talent,” Dravid told TOI.

“If the selectors feel, two wicketkeepers can play. The best 15 should be in the team,” the legendary Indian cricketer further added.

There are also a lot of question marks over the no.4 spot. India tried Rayudu, Rahul, and Pant at the crucial spot, which shows they are yet to finalize anyone for the World Cup.

Dravid refused to state his preference for the no.4 spot player.

“Like I said, I cannot be commenting on that. I am coaching 10 boys and all of them are fighting for a place in that squad. I cannot publicly pick one particular player,” said Dravid.

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News Cricket

Rahul Dravid defends R Ashwin

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 12:07 PM IST


Legendary Indian cricketer, Rahul Dravid has come out in support of Ravichandran Ashwin in wake of the mankading controversy. Big names like Shane Warne, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and host lot of cricketer have criticized R Ashwin. Many believe that it might be right under the laws of the game but is not morally correct. However, Rahul Dravid's taken on the whole fiasco is refreshing.

“I think some of the reactions were overblown. Questioning Ashwin’s character because he did that is totally wrong. He has every right to his view. You might not agree with it, but it was well within his rights to do it and that does not make him a bad person,” Dravid told the Times of India.

“I don’t have a problem with someone deciding to do it. Ashwin was well within his rights to do what he did. However, personally, I would prefer it if somebody warns someone first. That would be my personal choice, but I respect someone’s view to think differently. I might not agree with it necessarily, but I would just have to agree to disagree whether someone should run someone out without warning him,” he explained.

News Cricket

It’s unfortunate that my father’s name has been tainted: Vinoo Mankad’s son

Staff Writer Updated: 27 March, 2019, 11:04 AM IST


The mankading law has been back in focus ever since Ashwin mankaded Buttler during one of the IPL games. Many people consider the law to be against the "spirit of cricket." This law has been named after Indian cricketer, Vinoo Mankad, who was one of the earlier cricketers to use this way of effecting a run-out.

“I have spoken to many greats, including Sunil Gavaskar, the Chappells (Greg and Ian) and Michael Holding and they have no issue with this form of dismissal. But this doesn’t die as a controversy, it’s unfortunate that my father’s name is tainted because of this,” the 63-year-old Rahul, one of the three sons (Ashok and Atul were others), told Mumbai Mirror.

“The mode of dismissal is within the laws of cricket. It was not as if my father did it the first time, or it hasn’t been done subsequently. I think it was Australian journalists who had coined the phrase (way back in the 40s). The ICC has already ruled that the mode of dismissal should be called run out. I think it’s appropriate,” Rahul explained.

News Cricket

Mankad decision in IPL divides cricket fans around world

AP Updated: 27 March, 2019, 9:20 AM IST


There are contentious issues in cricket that, it seems, just aren't cricket.

Take for instance one particular run out, within the laws of the game but against some people's concept of the spirit of cricket, in the Indian Premier League that has divided fans, former players and experts across the world.

It's called a Mankad, named after the first player to do it in an international match in 1947. Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravi Ashwin ran into bowl but didn't release the ball, instead taking off the bails at the non-striker's end of the pitch while Rajasthan Royals batter Jos Buttler was out of his crease.

The Indian Premier League posted the full video online under the questions: Within the rules of the game? Fair play? Would you have done it?

In the video, there's some lively discussion between Ashwin and the English batsman Buttler on the field while the decision was referred to the TV umpire.

Respected international cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle said it was within the laws of the game for the bowler to run out a batter backing up at the non-striker's end, and there was no need for the bowler to warn the batter.

Bhogle was commentating on the game for TV. His co-commentator described Ashwin's run out as a "terrible, terrible gesture."

"Lots of drama on the Buttler run-out," Bhogle later posted on Twitter. "He was livid but the law and the advisory on it is clear. The bowler is within his right to run a player out at the non-striker's end if he is out of his crease."

It sparked immediate debate among other former cricketers. Some, such as ex-Australia legspinner Shane Warne, describing it as "disgraceful and embarrassing," while others could see no problem with the decision.

"As captain of your side you set the standard of the way the team wants to play and what the team stands for!" Warne posted on Twitter, adding that Ashwin would be remembered for it."

Under the old more-or-less unwritten rules, a bowler was supposed to warn a batter at the non-striker's end the first time a Mankad run out was an option in cases where the runner was leaving the crease too early.

The International Cricket Council codified the rule to reflect the bowler didn't need to warn a batter, so long as the bowler abided by certain conditions.

What is still debatable is whether a bowler can lure the non-striker into leaving the crease early by faking a bowl.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, regarded as the guardian of the laws of the game, sided with Ashwin when it released a statement about the incident on Tuesday.

"It has never been in the laws that a warning should be given to the non-striker," the Lord's-based MCC said, "and nor is it against the spirit of cricket to run out a non-striker who is seeking to gain an advantage by leaving his/her ground early.

"Furthermore, with batsmen now being deemed in or out by millimetres by TV replays on quick singles, it is right that they should remain in their ground at the non-striker's end until it is fair for them to leave."

Ashwin's team won, and he said in a later interview that it wasn't a predetermined idea to run out Buttler.

"Look, it was very instinctive on my part. It was not planned or anything like that," Ashwin said. "It's there within the rules of the game. I don't know where the understanding of spirit of the game comes because quite naturally, if it's there in the rules, it's there."

In an International Cricket Council poll on Twitter, 72 percent of the 31,417 voters said they didn't believe Ashwin did the right thing.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan posted the question to those supporting Ashwin's move , if it had been India star Virat Kohli batting would they think it was a good idea?

"I would say to all India ex-players/Pundits who are supportive of what R Ashwin did ... If @imVkohli was batting would you be so supportive !!???"

Rajasthan Royals head coach Paddy Upton said in a post-match TV interview Ashwin's "actions tonight speak for him and represent him."

"When I looked in the eyes of his teammates, I'm not sure if it represented his teammates," Upton said. "I think we'll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that's the kind of thing they want to see. We'll leave it up to the cricket world to judge Ashwin's actions tonight.

"We're here to play cricket and entertain the fans and be good role models for people who love the game."

News Cricket

I was under the shadow of de Villiers and Virat at RCB, at KXIP I am the number one – KL Rahul

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 11:14 PM IST


KL Rahul couldn't do much in the opening game of the IPL season against Rajasthan Royals. He was dismissed cheaply by Dhawal Kulkarni. Meanwhile, the right hand batsman had a mind-blowing 2018, where he scored more than 600 runs in the cash rich league. Prior to Kings XI Punjab, he was part of Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he was overshadowed by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

After he missed the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury, RCB decided against retaining him in the next year. He was bought by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping Rs 11 crore.

Rahul has stated that he is more settled at Kings XI Punjab since he is no longer under the shadow of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.

"2018 was magical for me as far as IPL is concerned. With a really good and balanced team, this year also should be good. At RCB I was under the shadow of Virat and AB de Villiers and here I am the number one and that has helped.

"Chris Gayle is just an incredible entertainer. I told him at 37 he has rediscovered form. He said he is nearing 40! At 40 he can play like this is unreal. I am going to be far more disciplined this IPL with the World Cup in mind," KL Rahul told India Today in an exclusive interview.

He is still not sure of his place in the World Cup squad. "Selection is not in my hands but I will do all to give myself the best chance. Last two months have been very tough for me," said Rahul.

News Cricket

Danielle Wyatt reacts on R Ashwin mankading Jos Buttler, calls it embarrassing

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 10:50 PM IST


R Ashwin led his side to win in their first game of the season against Rajasthan Royals. Despite being on the winning side, he is under the pump for mankading Jos Buttler when the game was looking in favor of the home team following English's batsman blistering knock.

However, his controversial dismissal changed the course of the match and Royals lost the game by 14 runs. During the 13th over of the second innings, Buttler moved out of the crease even before Ashwin had bowled. The off-spinner removed the bails and appealed to the umpire, which was referred to the third umpire. He declared Buttler out.

In the post-match conference, Ashwin clarified his actions. However, England’s women’s cricket team, opener Danielle Wyatt, has blasted the Indian spinner for his act. “Embarrassing!! He was still in the crease when he would have let go of the ball,” Wyatt wrote in her tweet.

News Cricket

BCCI officials come down hard on Ashwin, say mankading is like back-stabbing

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 6:37 PM IST


R Ashwin is facing criticism after he ran-out Jos Buttler controversially in Jaipur on Monday. Although, he has backed his decision and has no regret, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Ajinkya Rahane, head coach Paddy Upton and brand ambassador Shane Warne have registered their disappointment.

Even the officials of the governing body of Indian cricket have stated that Ashwin should have used cricketing skills and not shady skills to dismiss the opposite number.

Speaking to IANS, a senior BCCI official said that Ashwin should have maintained decorum. "The match officials have failed in their duty with the handling of this issue. Buttler ought to have been adjudged not out if the laws were applied squarely to the situation. Ashwin also must understand that laws and the spirit of the game both have to be kept in mind.

"A player is supposed to deceive the other with his cricketing skills and not with shady skills. If the batsman is taking advantage, deal with it in the right way - as a gentleman. Competitiveness is all very well but a standard of decorum ought to be maintained," the official said.

Another official said that these things will impact the popularity of the player. "This mode of dismissal is akin to back-stabbing. That is why it will always be criticized. It gets you the result, but you surely won't win a popularity contest this way," he said.

He also blasted Jos Buttler for not shaking hands with R Ashwin after the game. "Buttler not shaking hands with Ashwin after the game was also against the spirit of the game. Both these things are inexcusable where the spirit of the game is concerned," the official said.

Feature Cricket

Clock This One!

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 26 March, 2019, 5:47 PM IST


A countdown timer will now decide the pace at which Test cricket is played, that is if the Marylebone Cricket Club has its way.

Timeouts and countdowns are relatively new concepts, brought into the more traditional sport of cricket through its youngest avatar, Twenty20. However, following the research that suggests that the past year was the slowest in Test cricket in terms of over rate, the Marylebone Cricket Club’s world cricket committee comprising of illustrious former cricketers has suggested that a countdown timer be used to ensure that time wasting is reduced to the bare minimum.

This would include time for drinks breaks, for when one batsman is dismissed and also, for the use of the Decision Review System (DRS). Of these the latter has been considered one of the big factors when it comes to slow over rate even though cricket laws allow for just two reviews per innings for each team.

There have been rare instances in the past when a batsman was timed out simply for not being ready at the fall of a wicket and it could go some way between teams that look to simply play for time. How a timer would work in such a scenario is still anyone’s guess. For the moment though the MCC is only suggesting addressing the issue of the former where a prefixed time would be set for the new batsman to take the crease. Furthermore, only marginal more seconds would be accorded to the fielding team for a change of bowler and even the decision review system is not being spared either.

Rather than run through the mandatory replays, speeding up the process of arriving at a decision without going through all of the protocol for the sake of television is being mooted. In that light, there is a proposed countdown for play to resume even as the broadcasters and the umpires decide on the fate of the batsman.

While on the face of it, it seems in line with the times and with the need particularly to improve on overrates, at the present time, there are already penalties on teams as well as captains and countdown or no countdown, one wonders if the quantum of punishment change would have a more drastic effect than merely imposing a clock on the screen. Unless the punishment, which currently goes as far as barring a skipper for a match even, perhaps is more impactful on the match proceedings directly, infringements could well continue even if the clock is now prominently displayed before every over, between drinks and between change of guard at the fall of a wicket. Changing the scenario of over rates could, also, prove tricky on pitches that favour pace and bounce rather than the slow, enticing duel of bat versus spin. Several factors to consider as a countdown clock might need an additional support system to be truly effective over time.

News Cricket

Punjab's youngsters want to win the IPL for the Universe Boss: Chris Gayle

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 5:44 PM IST


Universe Boss, Chris Gayle has been on fire in the last few months. He had a prolific series against England where he took the Poms to the cleaners in the ODI series. And he has made an excellent start to IPL as well. Gayle blasted 79 runs off 47 balls against Rajasthan Royals to help Punjab win the game. The southpaw hit eight fours and four sixes and also won the Man-of-the-Match award for his superlative show with the bat.

"I have been in a bit of form in the England series and it’s good to start off the IPL on a positive note. What was more important is that we got a win. We just keep getting better and better. Sometimes some people will write you off but it’s still early days and I’m enjoying my cricket,” Gayle said during the post-match presentation.

“Eventually they got a better wicket to bat on but our bowlers did the job the for us. Sarfaraz got some runs today and it was really good. Our youngsters have a lot to offer for the team, they want to win the IPL for the Universe Boss,” he added.

News Cricket

Sarfraz Ahmed says there's no need to panic

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 5:42 PM IST


Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed feels there is no need to panic despite Pakistan's consecutive defeats against Australia in the ongoing ODI series. He believes that the Men in Green have a lot of time to prepare and for the World Cup that will take place in England and Wales from May 30.

"The World Cup is a tough competition because of the format this time but we have done our preparations and we will have time to finalise our plans when we go to England and also play the ODI series against England and some practice games as well," said Sarfaraz.

The national skipper had recently led the Quetta Gladiators to a title win in Pakistan Super League. Sarfarz wore a Pakistan Army uniform to cherish the PSL win at a special ceremony, which was organised by the Baluchistan government.

News Cricket

Shane Warne attacks Harsha Bhogle, terms him biased after he defends Ashwin's Mankading

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 5:39 PM IST


Shane Warne has been on a ranting spree ever since Kings XI Punjab skipper, R Ashwin mankaded Rajasthan Royals player Jos Buttler in yesterday's encounter, which took place at Jaipur during IPL. Punjab went on to win the game against Rajasthan by 14 runs. At one stage, it seemed as if Buttler will run away with the game but he got run-out at 69 and after that, the hosts suffered a collapse and ended up losing the game.

Rajasthan Royals' brand ambassador, Shane Warne not only slammed Ashwin but also attacked popular TV commentator, Harsha Bhogle.

Harsha Bhogle did respond to Warne.

News Cricket

Ricky Ponting says Rishabh Pant has X-factor

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 12:50 PM IST


Rishabh Pant is very quickly evolving into one of the biggest draws in T20 cricket. He had a phenomenal IPL last year and in 2019 IPL as well, he has made a brilliant start. The southpaw scored 78 runs off 27 balls against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium

Delhi Capitals coach, Ricky Ponting revealed how much Pant has evolved with time."I have seen Rishabh mature in his game and as a person and that won't be the only game he wins for DC. He will win many more games for sure," said Ponting on the eve of Delhi's match against Chennai Super Kings.

Ponting is quite impressed with Pant's match-winning abilities. "I have known for a couple of seasons now that Rishabh Pant has got that X-factor but what I like more and more about him is how he is turning that into match-winning performances more and more often as well," said Ponting.

Ponting reckons Pant can does a very good job as a finisher. He said, "If you look at the back half of the last edition, he was playing his best when our team was playing its best in those games. Even yesterday, we set up a good platform for him to go and express himself.

Feature Cricket

The onus is on the batsman to be more careful

Partab Ramchand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 12:30 PM IST


So yet again ``Mankading’’ becomes the hot topic for discussion. Ravi Ashwin’s running out of Jos Butler on Monday has set off the predictable reactions on social media, on television and on websites.

Right from a very early age when I became interested in cricket and learnt of the incident involving Vinoo Mankad and Bill Brown during the Indian tour of Australia in 1947-48 – bowler Mankad ran out Brown at the non-striker’s end thus leading to the term ``Mankading’’ which has stood the test of time since then – I always wondered why there should be such a big hullabaloo about the dismissal. I have always maintained that the bowler is right and the batsman wrong. It is as simple as that. Somewhere along the line however the phrase ``spirit of the game’’ crept in and people tended to look down at the bowler dismissing the batsman thus and taking the high moral ground that he should be warned first.

I have always been clear in my mind about the various aspects concerning this kind of dismissal. First, does the umpire warn the bowler that he is sending down a no ball and tell him that hereafter he will be pulled up for stepping over the crease? Second the batsman is gaining an unfair advantage by stepping out of the crease before the bowler has delivered and in a close run out decision that extra yard or so could make a difference.

In any case to quell charges of the bowler acting in an unsportsmanlike manner – a rather unfair charge - we now have a law that states ``if the non-striker is out of his ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him out.’’ With the rule in place the onus is clearly on the batsman to be more careful to stay within the crease till the ball is delivered.

I can do no better than to quote Sir Donald Bradman and he wrote this in his autobiography ``Farewell to cricket’’ released in 1950. Recalling the incident which happened in the second Test at Sydney Bradman writes: ``Brown was run out by Mankad who in the act of delivering the ball held on to it and whipped the bails off with Brown out of his crease. In some quarters Mankad’s sportsmanship was questioned. For the life of me I cannot understand why. The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the non-striker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered. If not why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage. On numerous occasions he may avoid being run out at the opposite end by gaining this false start.’’

After hearing from the greatest cricketer of all time little more need be said.

News Cricket

Mr. Ashwin, you will be remembered for that low act: Shane Warne

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 12:11 PM IST


Rajasthan Royals' brand ambassador, Shane Warne has taken a strong disliking to Ravichandran Ashwin's mankading act and he is making no bones about it. Warne has been on a ranting spree and is playing the role of moral police on the whole fiasco, which has divided the cricketing community.

“So disappointed in @ashwinravi99 as a Captain and as a person. All captains sign the #IPL wall and agree to play in the spirit of the game. RA had no intention of delivering the ball – so it should have been called a dead ball. Over to you BCCI – this a not a good look for the #IPL,” he wrote.

“As Captain of your side – you set the standard of the way the team wants to play and what the team stands for! Why do such a disgraceful and low act like that tonight? You must live with yourself and FYI – it’s too late to say sorry Mr Ashwin. You will be remembered for that low act,” he wrote.

“Last point on t