News Cricket

MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Stephen Fleming felicitated by CSK

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 5:01 PM IST


MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and head coach Stephen Fleming were felicitated by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for being the longest serving members of the franchise.

Dhoni and Raina have been a part of the franchise since the inaugural edition in 2008. While Stephen Fleming joined the team as a player and then was appointed the coach in 2009.

The trio played an important role in CSK's IPL triumphs in 2010, 2011 and 2018.

Fleming feels defending IPL title in the upcoming season won’t be easy and they will have to perform exceptionally well to land second consecutive and fourth title overall in the league.

"Our challenge is to win the Cup again. It's difficult, takes a lot of things to work for you," Fleming said.

"We've come back and rebased ourselves on what we need to do to stay comfortable and what we need to do from a skill point of view to compete with seven other very good sides," he added.

"We prefer experienced players because they identify big moments and last year they won them. That's our challenge again."

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News Cricket

Aaron Finch ready to sacrifice opening slot

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 4:48 PM IST


With Smith and Warner likely to return for the World Cup, skipper Aaron Finch is ready to demote himself in the batting order. Finch said he is fine with the idea of batting at any position for the benefit of the team. His position has become dicey with Usman Khawaja displaying terrific form in the ODI series win over India.

“If that means me batting at six, I’ll comfortably do that. If it’s at the top, three or four, it doesn’t matter. I can bat down the order if need be,” Finch was quoted as saying by the Cricket Australia website on the eve of the first ODI versus Pakistan in Sharjah.

“Personal results aren’t what this side is about. I think that’s what has made our improvement as dramatic and quick as it has been.

“If you go in just solely focused on scoring a hundred or thinking, ‘if I bat at five, I’m not going to get a hundred. I don’t get enough opportunity’, that’s not what is best.”

Feature Cricket

A Free Hit or Test Cricket Gone for a Toss?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 22 March, 2019, 4:44 PM IST


Where in the world is seriousness mixed with the frivolous to the point of turning a revered game into one that was built specifically for entertainment purposes? If the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has its way, Test cricket may be one of those in that rare, ignominious league.

Amongst the many recommendations made by the World Cricket committee of the MCC was the idea of introducing free hits in the sphere of Test cricket. Currently a no-ball on the part of the bowler in the limited overs game incurs a free hit wherein the field changes to enhance the scoring opportunity for the batting team. Not only does the no ball prove costly for the bowler but also, the free hit generates added excitement because of the run scoring opportunity provided to the opponent.

Over the years, particularly over the last decade since the advent of Twenty20, several recommendations have been made towards incentivizing spectators to turn up at the stadiums for the five day format. With a greater propensity of cricket boards to propagate the shorter formats, particularly Twenty20, with a view to making easy money, Test cricket has often had to bear the brunt of ideas that are not only not original but also, unlike its own character.

However, the idea being mooted is not just or rather primarily from the point of view of generating additional energy and excitement but rather as a way of curbing bowlers from bowling too many no-balls in Test cricket. While the bowler is indeed penalized for the no ball in that he has to bowl the additional delivery but also, is now threatened with being hammered for runs given the idea of the field change as a result of the free hit.

The question though arises whether the MCC or even the International Cricket Council (ICC) could not come up with a better solution towards the transgression of bowers, particularly fast bowlers, which, also, means more time in the field in order to bowl the additional delivery and the eventual cost of time in Test cricket terms. Whether free hit and not a penalty run system is a better way to tackle the menace of no balls is highly debatable.

For Test cricket to become more popular, several ideas have been derived from the more so-called entertaining formats. However, it seems somewhat misplaced to have Test cricket suddenly change from a more deliberate, tactful avatar into a sudden death scenario every time the bowler steps across the white line at the crease in his bowling stride. While innovation and ideas have their place, whether Test cricket should go to such an extent wherein the batsmen, playing essentially the endurance game, should suddenly be asked to switch gears and play with a limited overs mindset every time the bowler veers off his mark is under consideration.

While Test cricket does provide its exhilarating moments as it does its absorbing ones, the idea of a free hit seems to have hit the fabric of Test cricket for a toss. If the intention behind the effort of introducing such a formula is to prevent the incidence of no balls alone, arguably there are more adequate measures to put in place that would take care of it more effectively. Automatic run penalties to the batting team in addition to the one additional delivery and run would be one way to go.

Feature Cricket

Gambhir is gutsy off the field too

Partab Ramchand Updated: 22 March, 2019, 4:40 PM IST


He was gutsy with the bat while opening for India. These days Gautam Gambhir is gutsy in his statements. He speaks candidly on issues and personalities and is unafraid of ruffling a few feathers along the way. He is not one for the tiresome, clichéd platitudes. Gambhir believes in calling a spade a spade and he backs his views with facts and figures making it difficult to argue with him.

In the last couple of months Gambhir has taken a bold stand on many issues and personalities in the course of interviews and at promotional events. For example he never hid his disappointment at Mohammad Azharuddin given the honour of ringing the bell at a Test at the Eden Gardens. He made it clear that the former Indian captain had never been given a clean chit by the CBI in the match fixing case and only his ban was removed.

Gambhir was also brave enough to advocate that the BCCI should either snap all cricketing ties with Pakistan including multilateral events or engage with the arch rivals at every level as ``there cannot be conditional bans.’’ Outspoken in his support for the armed force on social media Gambhir said that what happened in Pulwama was ``absolutely not acceptable’’ and reiterated that there should be a blanket ban on engagements with Pakistan even if it came at the cost of being ostracized by the sporting community.

Asked what should be done if the two teams meet in the final Gambhir said in that case India should forfeit the final. ``The country is more important, those 40 soldiers who lost their lives are far more important than a cricket match. If we let go of the World Cup final the country should be ready for it.’’ Queried if India’s stand could lead to a sporting boycott of the country Gambhir said he would not mind that. ``All of us need to decide if sport is more important or the lives of our soldiaers. I am all for facing a backlash if the international sporting federation decides to ostracise us. If we get boycotted at sports event we should be ready for it,’’ he said.

In the last few days Gambhir has questioned Virat Kohli’s tactical nous in the lead up to the IPL saying that the Indian captain is ``very lucky’’ to be continuing as captain of the Royal Challengers, Bangalore. Gambhir said that Kohli should be thankful that the franchisee has not sacked him despite his continued failure to win them a title. ``Still a long way to go’’ Gambhir said not holding back when asked about Kohli’s captaincy. ``I don’t see him as a shrewd captain. And he hasn’t won the IPL. Ultimately a captain is only as good as his record.’’ Kohli took over the captaincy full time in 2012 and in seven seasons under him RCB have progressed to the play offs on just two occasions despite having the most star studded batting line-up in the competition which besides the captain includes Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers.

A couple of months ago Gambhir said that he was of the view that the likes of MS Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan should be asked to play first class cricket before joining the Indian team for the ODI series in Australia. ``I was a little disappointed because some of the guys should have played first class cricket. Ultimately you will get confidence only by scoring runs, not by hitting the nets.’’

Gambhir has also been very clear in his view that Rishabh Pant has not earned a place yet in the ODI squad. ``We have got Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. He can wait for his opportunity. Obviously he has done well in Test cricket but In ODIs he can wait for his turn.’’ What a difference he makes from other cricketers who are either afraid to talk on contentious issues or controversial personalities or prefer to take the diplomatic route and indulge in commonplace remarks.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli will be remembered like Tendulkar and Lara

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 4:36 PM IST


Former Aussie fast bowler Glenn McGrath has picked India and England as favorites for the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales. He stated that India's bowling unit will hold key to the fortunes of Men in Blue in the show piece event.

He further added that Australia' ODI series win over India have increased their chances of defending the World Cup they won in 2015.

"The top two teams are going to be England and India. England had a tough time in West Indies and India lost to Australia. So, the competition will be tighter. Australia's chances have improved after their ODI and T20 win over India," said McGrath.

"The fact that Australia won the T20 series and the ODIs against India in India will boost their confidence. With those two (Steve Smith and David Warner) coming back, the team will be strengthened and those players were missed during the Australian summer," he added.

He said Indian skipper Virat Kohli will be remembered just like a Brian Lara or a Sachin Tendulkar after he bids adieu to cricket.

"Kohli is a class player. He is easily one of the best going around now. By the end of his career he will be held up there alongside the likes of Lara and Tendulkar. As a captain and player he is quite aggressive. He likes getting involved in the game. As long as the emotions do not run too much and if he is playing well, it is fine. He has matured a lot and he knows his game.

"He has got the respect of his players. Watching the way he batted in Australia, the only thing I would have said to the home bowlers is I would have preferred them to bowl a little bit short and be more aggressive when he first came out to bat. A lot of times they tried to swing the ball and if it is full, he is in complete control. There is no obvious weakness in his game. To get him out early is a massive bonus,” he added.

Videos Cricket

Watch - Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s latest ad reveals what makes their love special

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 4:30 PM IST


Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma recently shot for a new advertisement. Virat Kohli shared the video on his official Twitter handle and wrote that it was joy to shoot with her.

“Was a joy shooting for this, #PureFun! Check out the new Shyam Steel ad for their TMT bars made from #PureSteel,” Virat wrote in his tweet.

The commercial starts with Virat brining a cup of coffee for his better half. As she starts taking a sip, Virat stops her to cool it down for her.

Anushka Sharma likes his gesture a lot and coos at him while pulling his nose.

“Everyone asks us what is special about out love,” Virat says to the camera. “Nothing,” Anushka cuts him off. “...Just pure love.”

Anushka Sharma’s last release was ‘Zero’ with Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif. The film did do well at the box office.

News Cricket

Pakistan ban broadcast of Indian Premier League

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 3:21 PM IST


The upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League won't be telecast in Pakistan after their Information and Broadcasting ministry decided to ban the Indian Premier League.

They took this step after the telecast of the Pakistan Super League was stopped in India following the attack on the convoy of CRPF personnel that claimed the lives of 40 bravehearts.

“During the PSL, the way the Indian companies and the government treated Pakistan cricket... after that, we can’t tolerate that IPL is shown in Pakistan,” Chaudhry told a Pakistan news channel.

“We tried to keep politics and cricket apart but then the Indian cricket team played matches wearing army caps against Australia.

“There was no action taken against that. I feel if IPL is not shown in Pakistan it will be a loss for IPL and Indian cricket. We are a cricketing superpower in international cricket,” the minister added.

News Cricket

Gautam Gambhir joins Bharatiya Janata Party

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 3:16 PM IST


Former Indian cricketer and world cup winner Gautam Gambhir joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday and said he was impressed with the work carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last few years.

“I am impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision... I have contributed to the field of cricket and now hope to do more for the country”, the 37-year-old cricketer said.

He was welcomed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who praised the former star. “Gambhir has excelled in his career and the party hopes to utilize his talent. The BJP will benefit from his talent.”

When asked if Gambhir would contest from Delhi in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, Jaitely said let the election committee of the party decided that.

Earlier, there were speculations that Gambhir would soon start his political innings but he had ruled out the possibility of joining any political party.

“I have got a young family and I need to think about them as well because I have hardly spent any time with them. I do not want to miss their early days and let us see where I go from here.”

News Cricket

Twitter unites to congratulate Gautam Gambhir as he begins political innings

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 3:09 PM IST


Gautam Gambhir, who was part of the two World Cup winning teams, has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was welcomed by Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Gambhir said he was mighty impressed with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra and hence decided to become part of his inspirational journey.

"I am joining this party (BJP) after getting influenced by PM Narendra Modi's vision. I am honored to get the opportunity to join this platform," said the 37-year-old.

Fans took to Twitter to congratulate the former Indian cricketer.

Gambhir scored over 10,000 runs in international cricket. He was one of the most successful skippers in the Indian Premier League having led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles - 2012 and 2014.

If reports are to be believed he could contest from a New Delhi constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.

News Cricket

Dhoni hails wife Sakshi for her contribution in his career

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 2:05 PM IST


The HotStar documentary “Roar of the Lion” is based on the return of the Chennai Super Kings to Indian Premier League after completing their two-year ban.

In the documentary, MS Dhoni has shed light on the role played by his wife Sakshi during the darkest phase of his career.

According to Dhoni, Sakshi has always been there and it was because of her he could cope up with the allegation of spot fixing.

“I feel Sakshi’s contribution to my cricket is very important in its own way wherever and however she can chip in. I always felt she was always there for all of that,” MS Dhoni can be seen saying in the documentary.

MS Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings to its third IPL title in 2018.

They will start their title defense against Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 23 at the Chepauk on Saturday.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid warns Virat Kohli & co.

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 11:22 AM IST


Rahul Dravid has warned Team India that World Cup won't be a cakewalk and the players will have to perform exceptionally well to win the trophy. The former Indian skipper feels the defeat against Australia was a reality check for the Indian team.

"I think there was a bit of notion that we are going walk there and win the World Cup easily. So it's a good thing that has happened. What it has done has reminded us that we have to play the World Cup very, very well," said at an event organised by ESPNcricinfo.

"India has performed well in the last couple of years. There was a little bit of talk that we are almost going to walk in there and win the World Cup very easily because we are the No. 1 team and we have been dominating one-day cricket for the last couple of years," the former India captain and the current India A coach added.

However, Dravid has not dismissed India’s chances at the World Cup. He feels India can go all the way but it will be a competitive tournament.

"I still feel that we are still going to be one of the favourites. But it's going to be tough, it's going to be competitive. I think there was a bit of notion that we are going to walk there and win the World Cup. So it's a good thing that has happened. What it has reminded us is that we have to play the World Cup very very well," he said.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli can break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 tons

Staff Writer Updated: 22 March, 2019, 10:45 AM IST


Former Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis has stated that nothing is impossible for the Indian skipper.

He feels Virat Kohli can break Sachin Tendulkar's record of 100 international centuries if he stays fit as nothing is out of reach for him.

“Kohli I believe can go as far as he wants to. He is a world class player. He is hungry. He works hard. He has proved that over the years. The main thing about him is that he keeps it simple. People enjoy watching him bat,” said Kallis.

Kallis believes Virat Kohli will not be under pressure in the World Cup and he is backing him to score heavily in England.

“I don’t think Kohli will be under pressure. He has produced the goods time and time again. He is a world class player and the guys follow what he does. He is certainly one of the best in the world.”

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant can lead India to World Cup glory

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 3:00 PM IST


Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting is backing Rishabh Pant to come good in the World Cup. He has described him as one of those players who can help the team in winning the World Cup.

However, Pant recently failed with both the bat and gloves in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia at home.

“The first thing I would do is pick him in that Indian squad for the World Cup, I would play him as a batter, I would play him at number four,” said the former Australian captain.

“He is the sort of guy, with that kind of talent, he can win you a World Cup, he has just got that x-factor.”

Delhi Capitals squad for IPL 2019

Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, Manjot Kalra, Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Hanuma Vihari, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Ankush Bains, Nathu Singh, Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Jalaj Saxena, Bandaru Ayyappa.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli continues to lead ICC Test Rankings

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:58 PM IST


Indian skipper Virat Kohli retained the number one rank in latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen. Kohli has played just one Test innings this year scoring 23 runs against Australia. He has a total of 922 points.

Cheteshwar Pujara has also retained the number three position on the Test batsman rankings. The batsman has 881 points.

R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the two Indian bowlers in the top 10 of ICC Test bowler rankings. Ashwin is in the tenth place while Jadeja holds the sixth position.

Virat Kohli-led team continues to lead the rankings in Test format followed by New Zealand who are at the number two position.

Afghanistan have gained the most in rankings following their maiden Test win over New Zealand. Rahmat Shah, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his impressive performance, has reached the 89th position.

Rashid Khan had a memorable outing against Ireland, picking his first fifer in the purest form of cricket. The leg-spinner is now at the 67th position.

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah is an asset to Mumbai Indians

Staff Writer Updated: 20 March, 2019, 2:56 PM IST


Mumbai Indians' Director of Operations and former player Zaheer is impressed with Jasprit Bumrah. According to him, Bumrah is a world class bowler and an asset to have. He has taken 63 wickets in 61 matches for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

Zaheer said in a tweet which came from the official Twitter handle of Mumbai Indians: "Bumrah is a world-class bowler. He's an asset to have."

Bumrah has been phenomenal since making his international debut in 2016. The pacer has accumulated 49 wickets in 10 Tests, 85 wickets in 49 ODIs and 51 wickets and 42 T20 internationals.

He has impressed everyone with his pace and accuracy and this led to his success in South Africa, England and Australia.

Bumrah is the number one ranked ODI bowler in ICC rankings and is expected to perform well for Men in Blue in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.