News Cricket

MS Dhoni ready to lead Men in Blue in World Cup if Virat Kohli decides to step down 

Staff Writer Updated: 1 April, 2019, 12:44 PM IST


The former Indian skipper expressed his desire to lead India in the World Cup if Virat Kohli decides to step down following Royal Challengers Bangalore’s three consecutive defeats in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League.

With no Dhoni by his side, Virat was found wanting in the last ODI series against Australia as well. The current Indian skipper has failed to motivate his troops in the absence of Dhoni, who is the most successful skipper in the history of Indian cricket.

Meanwhile, after winning the toss against Sunrisers Hyderabad Virat Kohli’s decision to field first backfired big time, with both Jonny Bairstow and David Warner slamming individual hundreds to lead their franchise to match winning totals.

The visitors were never in the game and were folded for a partly score of 113. Click here to read MS Dhoni's statement:

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News Cricket

See how Stephen Fleming got cake smeared all over his face during birthday celebration

Staff Writer Updated: 1 April, 2019, 12:24 PM IST


Chennai Super Kings have won three consecutive games and are leading the points table in the ongoing edition of the league. They defeated Rajasthan Royals by 8 runs. After their victory over Royals on Sunday, players celebrated head coach Stephen Fleming's birthday.

His face was smeared with cake by Mohit Sharma. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and other members also joined the celebrations.

He joined the team in the first edition of the Indian Premier League and was appointed as the coach of the franchise in 2009. Fleming has been part of three IPL one Champions League T20 title.

MS Dhoni was the star of evening as his brilliant 75 off 46 balls guided Chennai Super Kings to 175/5 in 20 overs. He had two fruitful partnerships with Raina (36) and Bravo (27) to take his side to a competitive total.

Imran Tahir and Deepak Chahar picked up two wickets each and Bravo defended 12 runs off the final over to clinch third win for the side.

Feature Cricket

The first week of IPL 12: The pattern as before

Partab Ramchand Updated: 1 April, 2019, 11:37 AM IST


There is a feeling of déjà vu whenever a new IPL season starts and this time it’s been no different. The first week of IPL – 12 and the pattern has been much the same – huge hits, big crowds, the dominance of the bat over ball, closely fought matches and a couple of one sided games, a super over finish and controversies. All these will be repeated over the next few weeks till the tournament ends in the second week of May. Interest will not slacken and supporters of the eight franchisees will follow with bated breath their team’s fortunes and it is clear that over the years their loyalty has become that much more intense.

As far as the teams are concerned, perhaps not unexpectedly defending champions Chennai Super Kings have taken an early lead winning all their three matches. On the other hand occupying cellar position are Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore having lost all their three matches. But as we have seen in the past the format gives even such teams the opportunity to keep climbing while at the other end of the scale teams that have started well have frequently faltered and even failed to make the play offs. Yes, with each side having 14 games, home and away, the chance is there to override even two or three bad games and yet be successful.

How much of an impact the IPL is going to have on selection to the World Cup squad is a moot point but there is no doubt that a really outstanding performance by one of the fringe players can play a part in his selection. Yes, this is T-20 and the World Cup is ODIs but the two remain shorter formats of the game and in many ways the skills required are the same.

No IPL is free of controversies but it must be said that this year in just over a week the tournament has had more than its share. The Ashwin – Buttler run out drama, umpire Sundaram Ravi overlooking the no ball off the last ball of the game and a couple of other minor incidents have dominated the headlines, even prompting the experts to ask for changes in the rules. But they have also been excellent performances underlined by three hundreds and two four wicket hauls. A keen contest for the places in the play offs also cannot be ruled out.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli sacked as RCB Captain, Chahal named as the new skipper

Staff Writer Updated: 1 April, 2019, 10:48 AM IST


Indian skipper, Virat Kohli is the biggest superstar in the world of cricket. Whatever he does becomes a matter of great discussion. Recently, he led India to historical bilateral Test and ODI series victories in Australia. But there has been no change in his fortunes for Royal Challengers Bangalore as captain.

Yesterday, Bangalore got hammered by 118 runs against Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium. In their first game as well, they had suffered a huge loss. RCB are yet to win a game even after featuring in three games. As a result, RCB skipper, Virat Kohli has been sacked as captain of the team.

Leg-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been the star performer for Bangalore over the years and is the second leading wicket-taker in the IPL so far, has been named as the new skipper.

He trumped AB de Villiers and Parthiv Patel in the race for captaincy. It is understood that the team doesn't want to put further pressure on ABD as he is already carrying heavy baggage to score consistently alongside Virat and also he isn't considered as the sharpest of captains.

People don't recognize Parthiv Patel with the brand RCB yet and that is why he wasn't given the captaincy role despite having a brilliant track record as captain in the domestic circuit. Click here to read the official statement:

News Cricket

Australia sweeps Pakistan 5-0 in ODI series

AP Updated: 1 April, 2019, 10:02 AM IST


Australia swept new-look Pakistan 5-0 with a 20-run victory in a high-scoring fifth one-day international.

Glenn Maxwell's blistering 70 off 33 balls propelled Australia to its highest total in the series with 327-7 after Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl in the final match.

Pakistan, going into the series without seven of its likely World Cup players, put up a fight but was restricted to 307-7.

"The way everyone contributed throughout the series was fantastic," Australian captain Aaron Finch said.

"Everyone has played a really good role, so the selectors have a hard job to select that World Cup squad."

Haris Sohail (130) got his second century of the series and stand-in captain Imad Wasim hit an unbeaten 50 off 34 balls but Australia was always ahead with Jason Behrendorff claiming 3-63 and off spinners Maxwell (1-45) and Nathan Lyon (1-50) each bowling a decent 10 overs.

"No matter what players are playing, 5-0 is a bad loss," Wasim said.

"We have to chin up as we have a series coming up against England and then the World Cup. We also need to take initiative and play attacking cricket."

Maxwell smashed 10 boundaries and three sixes after Usman Khawaja (98), Shaun Marsh (61) and captain Aaron Finch (53) had scored heavily upfront.

Pakistan saw two World Cup pace contenders impress with Usman Shinwari grabbing 4-49 and Junaid Khan picking up 3-73.

Pakistan lost the previous match's century-makers Abid Ali for a duck and Mohammad Rizwan for 12 before Sohail and Umar Akmal (43) led the fightback with a 102-run fourth-wicket stand.

But both batsmen fell in successive overs while looking for big hits.

Akmal holed out in the deep off Lyon while Sohail, who hit 11 fours and three sixes, was caught at backward point in the 41st over.

Earlier, Finch and Khawaja continued their prolific run of form in the series when they shared a 134-run opening stand.

Finch scored back-to-back hundreds in the first two matches at Sharjah before failing by just 10 runs at Abu Dhabi to become the first Australian batsman to score three successive ODI centuries.

Shinwari finally broke through when the left-arm fast bowler had Finch clean bowled but Khawaja batted solidly and added a further 80 runs with Marsh.

However, Shinwari denied Khawaja a deserving century when the left-hander was caught at short mid-wicket. He hit 10 boundaries.

Maxwell's arrival at the crease saw Australia adding 107 runs in the last 10 overs. Maxwell raised his third successive half-century of the series and smashed Pakistan seamers at will with his extravagant shots on both sides of the wicket.

Australia rounded off its World Cup preparation tour with eight successive ODI victories. It won the series against India 3-2 despite losing the first two games.

News Cricket

Hundred doesn't really matter too much to me: Glenn Maxwell

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 5:41 PM IST


Australian middle-order batsman, Glenn Maxwell played a brilliant knock in the fourth ODI against Pakistan to set-up a win for the Men in Yellow, who have registered series wins over both India and Pakistan in their last two bilateral ODI series that too away from home.

Glenn Maxwell made 98 runs to help Australia recover from 140/5 to post a decent 277/7, which proved too good to chase for Champions Trophy winner, Pakistan. Maxwell isn't too bothered about missing out on a well-made ton.

“I’m not going to look back on my career when I’m done and think about all the hundreds I’ve missed,” Maxwell said after Australia secured a thrilling six-run win in the final over of the fourth ODI.

“It would have been nice to get a hundred but I was really happy with the way I played today. To put that partnership on with Carey, to get us to a total we thought we could defend – I was really proud of the way I went about it. The hundred doesn’t really matter too much to me.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes as a middle-order batter and not quite made it to the time when I can go. It was nice to be there for the back end and delay the bigger hitting until a little bit later when we felt like we could comfortably get to a total we could defend,” the 30-year-old said.

Maxwell was one of the most important members of the Australian side that won the 2015 World Cup and he will again be crucial to Australia's chances this time around in the ICC showpiece event that commences from May 30 in England and Wales.

News Cricket

Ganguly has a piece of advice for struggling Dhawan

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 5:18 PM IST


Shikhar Dhawan hasn't been in the best of form this year. He has played 13 ODIs and scored 420 runs at an average of 35. The left-hander is averaging 19.50 in T20 internationals. And even in the first two games for Delhi Capitals, Dhawan has struggled to find his imperious touch.

Delhi Capitals mentor and former Indian skipper, Sourav Ganguly has revealed that the Indian opener will play differently against Kolkata Knight Riders.

"It wasn't a struggle in the last few games. He just played differently and will play differently against Kolkata. I had a chat with him after the nets and just asked him to take it like a normal T20 game and play attacking cricket," Ganguly said in an interview with IANS.

Shikhar Dhawan is an integral part of the Indian team and his form is going to be crucial for India in the upcoming days.

Shikhar Dhawan hasn't been in the best of form this year. He has played 13 ODIs and scored 420 runs at an average of 35. The left-hander is averaging 19.50 in T20 internationals. And even in the first two games for Delhi Capitals, Dhawan has struggled to find his imperious touch.

Delhi Capitals mentor and former Indian skipper, Sourav Ganguly has revealed that the Indian opener will play differently against Kolkata Knight Riders.

"It wasn't a struggle in the last few games. He just played differently and will play differently against Kolkata. I had a chat with him after the nets and just asked him to take it like a normal T20 game and play attacking cricket," Ganguly said in an interview with IANS.

Shikhar Dhawan is an integral part of the Indian team and his form is going to be crucial for India in the upcoming days.

Feature Cricket

Need for wider use of technology to spot no balls

Partab Ramchand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 4:43 PM IST


Sundaram Ravi will just have to live with it. There are umpiring errors and umpiring errors and while some of them are either minor or do not have a major impact on the result of the match his overlooking of the no ball sent down by Lasith Malinga in the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians on Thursday has predictably – and rightly - caused an uproar.

It was the last ball of the match and a right call from Ravi would have given RCB an opportunity to win. The wrong call meant that MI won by six runs. Unfortunately for Ravi it also turned out to be a high profile game and as Virat Kohli fumed ``We are playing at the IPL level and not playing club cricket. That’s a ridiculous call off the last ball.’’ Yes, and in a game of small margins umpiring blunders can be decisive.

Ironically Ravi is the only Indian representative in ICC’s elite panel and is regarded as one of the better Indian umpires. However neither he nor the other umpire C Nandan who unfairly signaled a wide in the previous (19th) over have been adversely reported by the match referee Manu Nayyar. Also Ravi is unlikely to be sanctioned due to lack of officials with international experience on the BCCI roster.

There have been a fall in umpiring standards of late in domestic cricket – particularly in the Ranji Trophy – and experts have put this down to a lack of professionalism on the part of the BCCI. It’s been two years since the umpires subcommittee has functioned. In the past a process was followed wherein the umpires were assessed during the year by a panel of former officials.

The umpiring howler has led to calls for greater use of technology. Many former cricketers are of the view that there should be a separate technology to spot no balls while others have said that the third umpire can check for no balls for every delivery. Either way a solution has to be found to this problem which is causing growing annoyance.

Two other separate points too need to be discussed. One, what was Malinga doing bowling a no ball at that critical juncture? A bowler of his skill and experience sending down a no ball off the last delivery of a T-20 match is absolutely unacceptable. Secondly a close look at the photograph of Malinga about to send down that delivery has the tell-tale image of the non-striker (AB de Villiers) still in the crease. Obviously Ravi Ashwin’s run out of Jos Buttler has had the desired impact.

Feature Cricket

Warner: The Scapegoat for Outing Team?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 30 March, 2019, 4:40 PM IST


Even as the Australians are using the Indian Premier League as a distraction from their ball tampering saga as well as a way to rebuild their ICC Cricket World Cup form and plans, the doubts and suspicions about the Australian cricket team continue to do the rounds.

It appeared that Australia’s recent success against India in the one day internationals had helped assuage some of the concerns Australia had going into the ICC Cricket World Cup about their batting order and form. However, even as Australia’s cricketers are using the IPL as a platform to put Australia’s troubles behind them, it appears that they cannot quite shake off the ghost of ball tampering quite yet.

For the past year, the ball tampering that damaged Australia’s reputation in the course of the Newlands Test has refused to leave the headlines. Even as Australia have tried desperately to focus on the redemption part of the return of Steven Smith and David Warner, not in Australian colours, but rather conveniently in IPL shades, the focus of the fallout of the ball tampering refuses to leave Australian cricket circles.

Furthermore, even as former Australian greats themselves are voicing serious concerns about the depth of the malice and whether enough has been done to go deep not only to unearth the truth but also, to find appropriate remedial measures, the story that once did the rounds when the story first broke out continues to gather storm. And not surprisingly it revolves around David Warner.

Although deliberate attempt is being made to shift focus by dubbing Warner’s enterprising IPL 2019 debut match innings, it has not really allowed people to shift the focus of the conspiracy theory that Warner, whose career was stated as being practically over, was blamed as the mastermind of the fiasco was in fact just a scapegoat to cover a deeper problem, one that penetrated more than just the ‘leadership group’ as stated by Smith in the press conference following the breaking out of the story last March in Cape Town.

Warner, who had been the perennial bad boy of cricket, was attributed even by his own team mate and fellow perpetrator, Cameron Bancroft, as being the one to hatch the idea in the first place of using sandpaper to manipulate the surface of the ball in a desperate attempt to change the course of the match. However, while it seemed fishy to many that the Australian team that did not want to have anything to do with Warner last year was willing to welcome him back into the fold right before the ICC Cricket World Cup, it has allowed for the emergency for the alleged back story that Warner was made to look back not only because of the escalating level of personal transgressions that involved Quinton de Kock but also, and perhaps more importantly, because Warner had apparently reported that the entire Australian team was in on the act, which did not amuse the rest of the team.

At the time of the ball tampering incident, Smith had suggested there was a group behind the decision and that he was merely a passerby who did nothing, which is quite serious in itself given that he was the captain and a batsman of fair repute at the time, and many conjectured that the bowlers could not have possibly been ignorant that the nature of the ball was being deliberately manipulated. It raised furious reactions back and forth and it seemed that Australia had more to cover up when Darren Lehmann, the coach at the time, refused to resign under pressure but eventually stepped down at the end of the Test tour. If Smith must be believed, then Warner alone is not culpable. That said, if Cameron was being a spokesperson for the rest of the team by throwing Warner under the bus for spilling the beans, it explains a lot. As conspiracies abound, this one would take the cake for the lack of clarity.

In what seems like unfinished business, perhaps it is for these cricketers to then convert their back stories into juicy bestsellers when a financially lucrative proposition presents itself though it leaves cricket none the richer now or in the future.

News Cricket

Former England captain praises Warner's attitude during ball-tampering scandal

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 4:16 PM IST


David Warner's international ban has come to an end. He is now available for selection at the highest level. Warner had got banned for one year post his involvement in ball-tampering scandal. Former England captain, Mike Atherton has praised David Warner's conduct during and after the whole fiasco that shocked the cricketing community.

“He has stayed out of view. He has refused all of the presumably many juicy offers to reveal his side of the story and maintained a telling silence,” Atherton wrote in an article for The Australian.

“Warner has simply kept his head down, his mouth shut and accepted the punishment.

“The list of those who have left their jobs in Australia in the past year is a long one: gone are the chief executive James Sutherland, chairman David Peever, high-performance manager Pat Howard, head coach Darren Lehmann and bowling coach David Saker.

“Having wisely kept his counsel, Warner will outlast them all.”

David Warner has made a scintillating return to IPL. He has made half-centuries in first two games for Hyderabad and is looking in red-hot form.

News Cricket

After Lungi Ngidi, another star CSK player ruled out of IPL 2019

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 3:59 PM IST


David Willey will take no further part in the ongoing Indian Premier League because of personal reasons. Willey, who played three matches for CSK in 2018, was looking forward to play for his IPL franchise.

"We are due for our second baby and my wife's had a bit of a tough time, so I'm having to make sure she's alright," he said.

"It's a bit open-ended as to when I'll be available for Yorkshire, but hopefully I'll be available for the start of the 50-over competition," Willey added.

He stated that it was not an easy decision to take.

"Chennai were very understanding and very supportive, as have been Yorkshire. It's never an easy decision. But, nonetheless, it's the right decision," the 29-year old said.

"I need to put my family first and cricket's secondary to that. We'll get that sorted and then I can concentrate on cricket."

News Cricket

My 100 was not enough because of the way you batted, Sanju Samson to David Warner

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 2:26 PM IST


Sanju Samson’s magnificent ton went in vain as David Warner's blistering knock took Sunrisers Hyderabad to win in their match against visiting Rajasthan Royals. Samson scored 102 not-out, his second-hundred of the Indian Premier League career but Warner's 69 off 37 proved to be the difference in the end as home team won the game by five wickets.

After the match, Warner interviewed Samson. “You destroyed my day. My 100 was not enough because of the way you batted. The way you started the innings we lost the game in the powerplay. We needed some 250 on the board with someone like you in the opposition. It was special,” Samson told Warner.

David Warner praised Samson for his exceptional batting. “We didn’t get off to a good start, a serious innings from Sanju and full credit to him. He came out and played really well. He allowed himself time and the wicket got better. Actually, I didn’t think it was a 200 wicket. We have played on similar wickets where if you bowl that hard length it is tough to get under. He showed us how to go about it,” said Warner.

News Cricket

Not Dhoni or Pant, Gambhir reveals the name of best wicketkeeper batsman in India

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 2:02 PM IST


Sanju Samson played one of the finest innings of Indian Premier League at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad. Despite losing Jos Buttler, Rahane and Samson combined together to lead Rajasthan Royals to a competitive total. While Rahane scored 70, it was Samson, who earned a lot of praise for his chance less knock. He second century of the Indian Premier League came off only 52 deliveries. Gautam Gambhir was mighty impressed with Samson and heaped praise on the young batsman.

"I normally don’t like to talk about individuals in cricket. But seeing his skills I am glad to note that Sanju Samson is currently the best Wicketkeeper batsman in India. For me he should be batting number 4 in the World Cup @BCCI @rajasthanroyals @IPL @StarSportsIndia," he wrote on his Twitter handle.

Men in Blue have tried different players at the No. 4 spot but they haven't been able to finalize one till date. With Gambhir backing Rajasthan Royals' batsman Sanju Samson, it will be interesting to see whether wise men of Indian selection committee would consider him while naming World Cup squad.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Pizza delivery boy interrupts Sanju Samson's march towards hundred in Hyderabad

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 1:58 PM IST


Sanju Samson scored an impressive hundred, becoming the first player to reach three-figure mark in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League. While he was batting on 44, he had to stop his innings, courtsey pizza delivery guy. Actually, a pizza delivery guy was walking in front of the sight screen when Samson was about to face a ball. The match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan was stopped for a moment to allow the delivery guy to get out of the way. Samson resumed his innings after that and went on to score second century of his IPL career.

Sanju Samson remained unbeaten on 102 with the help of 10 fours and 4 sixes. However, his knock went in vain as David Warner (69 off 37 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (45 off 28 balls) stitched a 110-run stand for opening wicket to lead Sunrisers' charge. Vijay Shankar’s 35 runs off just 15 balls and Rashid Khan's 15 off 8 helped their team in registering first win of the season.

News Cricket

Crease or road, you will regret, if you cross the line: Cops use 'Mankad' meme for awareness

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 1:51 PM IST


R Ashwin had to face flak for mankading Jos Buttler during one of the IPL matches. However, the skipper of Kings XI Punjab was unfazed by the criticism coming his way after his controversial decision to run-out Buttler. The incident has inspired Kolkata Police, who have used Ashwin's picture on Twitter to create awareness among residents of the city. "Crease or road, you will regret, if you cross the line".

Many former cricketers including Shane Warne had questioned Ashwin's move, saying it was against the spirit of the game. This was not the first time Kolkata Police used an incident from cricket world to promote their campaign. When Cheteshwar Pujara scored a sublime hundred in Australia in December 2018, Kolkata Police combined his picture with a picture of a person wearing the seat belt while driving his car. "Defence should be like Pujara," they wrote.