News Cricket

MSK Prasad still has faith in struggling KL Rahul

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • KL Rahul is one of the most talented cricket players
  • He was also part of the Koffee with Karan controversy
  • Prasad says, "We really want him (Rahul) to make a strong comeback"

KL Rahul is going through a tough time. First of all, he endured a rough phase in Tests which led to his ouster from the XI in the red-ball cricket and then he lost his place in India's white-ball games against New Zealand. He was also part of the Koffee with Karan controversy that got both Hardik and Rahul plenty of flak on social media.

But Indian chief selector MSK Prasad still has faith in KL Rahul. “Everybody goes through those phases. Even the greatest of players have their ups and downs in their careers with regard to their form. We want KL to be among runs and that’s why we have included him against England Lions and BP XI match,” Prasad was quoted as saying by Sportstar.

He added, “We really want him (Rahul) to make a strong comeback by getting runs in whatever matches he gets. I am sure he will do so,” he said.

KL Rahul is one of the most talented cricket players going around in the Indian cricket. He has been out of form in the last few months but possesses huge potential.

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News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar agrees with Ravi Shastri's view of batting Kohli at no.4 in World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri recently suggested that he is open to batting Virat Kohli at no.4 slot in 2019 Cricket World Cup that will take place in England and Wales. Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar also believes that there needs to be flexibility in India's batting cometh the World Cup.

"There needs to be flexibility. More the flexibility in the batting line-up, more beneficial to the team. Let's look at what happened in the Champions Trophy final. Rohit Sharma was dismissed by Mohammed Aamir early. When Virat Kohli came out to bat, the ball was swinging quite a bit. Pakistan were pumped up after having put 300 on the board," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today.

"In such situations, an important player like Virat Kohli needs protection. He can come in at No. 4. Maybe the ball may not move that much when the No. 4 batsman walks out to the middle. Such moves can be beneficial to the team.

"Yes, according to the conditions, flexibility is needed. If not, Virat Kohli is suited to batting at No. 3. In conditions that are conducive to swing bowling, India can afford to play Virat at No. 4," he added.

Feature Tennis

Keen tussle for supremacy in women's tennis

Partab Ramchand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

There is no denying that Serena’s Williams’ fortunes are finally on the downslide. The great champion has reigned for so long at the top and with 23 Grand Slam singles titles she takes her place among the greatest to play the game but one is not sure whether she will achieve her lifetime ambition of equaling Australian Margaret Court’s all time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. She last won a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2017 and then was runner up at Wimbledon and the US Open. At last month’s Australian Open however she went down to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals and with the competition from the GenNext of players very strong even Serena could find it difficult to serve and volley her way back to the top. The 37-year-old is currently No 11 on the WTA rankings and that in itself is a tribute to her fighting qualities for she had slipped out of the top 100 after she missed a lot of tournaments following the birth of her child.

So perhaps it is time for the GenNext of players to stake their claim to reach the pedestal and symbolizing this was the crowning of the new world No 1 when the latest WTA rankings were released last week. Naomi Osaka took over at the top for the first time following her victory over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final on Saturday. The interesting point to note is that had Kvitova had won she would have been crowned the new world No 1. That’s the kind of competition currently on in the women’s section and any one of half a dozen players is capable of winning a Grand Slam or taking over at the top.

At the moment however it is Osaka’s moment to savour following her second successive Grand Slam triumph after she won the US Open last year. But she will have to be on her toes if she wants an extended run at the top. Simona Halep, the women Osaka dethroned, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova besides Kvitova are all bunched together in the rankings and some of them are already Grand Slam winners. The tussle for top honours is bound to be extremely keen and interesting in 2019.

News Cricket

Lungi Ngidi says chokers tag doesn't affect us

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 4:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Lungi Ngidi is likely to feature in the World Cup for the Proteas
  • The youngster is recovering from a knee injury at present
  • He feels the Proteas have got nothing to lose

Lungi Ngidi, who made a sensational debut against India in Centurion, last year, is recovering from a knee injury.at present The youngster has said that chokers tag doesn't affect us and the team will enter the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales with low expectations.

The young pace sensation said that “As a team, you don’t see it as choking. People are allowed to play good cricket on the day. It’s all international teams so you can’t tell me you’re not going to lose a semifinal game.”

He added, “It is tough [to win a semifinal], and it hasn’t been able to be done in the past, but it could happen this year. That chokers tag is created by people, but I wouldn’t say it affects the team.”

“We’ve got nothing to lose. It (winning the World Cup) has never been done before by the cricket team, so we’re going there with a clean slate,” he said.

Feature Cricket

Day and Night Not Enough to Save Test Cricket

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 7 February, 2019, 4:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

As the action moves from Test cricket to the World Cup prospects, the angst over India’s refusal to play the day and night version in Adelaide will have been briefly assuaged. But it brings about the question: how important is day and night Test cricket and really, how feasible?

While the push for day and night Test cricket as also, the shortest format of cricket as are being introduced, has been tremendous, it has often overlooked the fact that while Test cricket itself has not always enjoyed fairness of pitches and conditions, more is being demanded of an ill prepared cricket world to reap the advantages of a radical idea called day and night cricket.

For one, not every stadium around the world hosting Test cricket is capable of hosting a day and night affair. With the conditions over lighting, the colour of the ball, the pitch conditions and the weather, it appears there is still a long way to go in terms of a fair assessment and universal standard before day and night Test cricket can be dubbed the messiah that saves the five day format.

Undoubtedly any innovation is at first a novelty and then an addiction provided it can provide all the pieces of the jigsaw or in the case of Twenty20, usurp the relevance of one day internationals by simply emulating the formula on a smaller, much faster scale. For Test cricket, while its greatest test of sustainability has come from the over commercialization of Twenty20 that has had the potbellied administrators running to the bank in glee, there is merit enough to understand that while the players may have compromised some of their skills for the game to barely go the distance of five days these days, not enough has been invested into making Test cricket as pliable as Twenty20 in the first place in the advent of the latter.

If anything, there has been this contentious issue that worldwide there has been a deliberate push by the cricket’s administrators to milk cricket through its easiest format, Twenty20, which calls for less fairer pitches, only more batting opportunities for the bludgeoning batsmen. While that equation has changed a bit in recent years with a change in perception, it has not been drastic enough to give Twenty20 the legitimacy to represent cricket as the game’s highest, most revered format. That day and night Test cricket has not been tested enough even at the domestic cricket level and yet is being pushed as the savior that upholds cricket in its most pristine avatar is foolhardy.

While the novelty of a day and night Test and the possibility of increasing gate revenue may be enticing, what has to be remembered is that day and night Test cricket can do only as much as a day affair that is the present Test cricket scenario and unless more is done in the area of preparing fairer pitches, of allowing players to shift formats with greater tour practice which has gone out of the window with the advent of Twenty20 and that the cricket administrators put more time, energy and money into marketing these Test cricket series, day and night cricket could simply go the way of Test cricket or worse, die out as an idea that never saw the light.

News Cricket

KL Rahul donates a huge sum of money to help ailing Baroda cricketer Jacob Martin

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 3:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • KL Rahul has donated a huge sum of money to Jacob Martin
  • Martin has been in the hospital since December 28 following a serious accident
  • Jacob Martin said, "A big thanks to Rahul and everyone who has helped.”

As per reports, Indian batsman KL Rahul has donated a huge sum of money to help former India cricketer Jacob Martin, who has been in the hospital since December 28 following a serious accident. The accident injured Martin's lungs and liver. Martin's family has received help from the cricketing community with present and past Indian cricketers coming to his rescue after his family was confronted with a shortage of funds.

According to a report in Mumbai Mirror on Thursday, Martin’s family confirmed that they got a large amount of money from discarded Indian batsman Rahul. The Indian opener has requested them not to reveal the amount so they didn't disclose the sum received by them.

Jacob Martin was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror, “A big thanks to Rahul and everyone who has helped.”

“They asked about our immediate requirement and the money was transferred into our account the same day,” Jacob’s wife Khyati said.

“The body is reacting very well to treatment and I am now in a stable condition. I am hoping to be home in a couple of days and I want return to the ground. I can’t wait for it, I just want to get back to cricket,” Martin said.

News Cricket

“Ashwin’s home record is impressive but his overseas record is not the same": Harbhajan Singh

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 3:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Harbhajan Singh never shies away from speaking his mind. He has again taken potshots at India's off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin. The veteran Indian spinner said the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja can prove to be a good combination for India going forward.

Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying by India Today, “Ashwin’s home record is impressive but his overseas record is not the same. That’s why the team management thinks Kuldeep should be preferred over Ashwin. He made most of the opportunity he got. To get five wickets away like he did at Sydney is no mean task. I think Jadeja did well too by performing at Melbourne, Sydney and at the Oval in England. So I think this spin duo could take things forward from here.”

“With what Ravi bhai has said about Kuldeep being your no.1 spinner in overseas conditions, I think the team is now going to that zone where they are looking for wicket-taking options. Look, Ashwin started off so well in England and was a joy to watch in the first Test but he lost his way as the series progressed and Moeen Ali overshadowed him. It’s a tough call but I am sure it’s in the best interest of the team,” the 38-year-old further added.

News Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar says Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw have a lot of potential

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 2:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Prithvi Shaw made a dazzling Test debut against West Indies
  • Shubman Gill also made his international debut recently against New Zealand
  • Sachin Tendulkar has endorsed talented youngsters, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill

India's legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar has endorsed talented youngsters, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill to come good in times to come. Both the U-19 stars have made a name for themselves. Prithvi Shaw made a dazzling Test debut against West Indies. Shubman Gill also made his international debut recently against New Zealand though he failed in his first two international appearances.

“I’ve spoken about Prithvi earlier as well, having watched him bat in the nets as a little boy, all of 8-9 years of age, he had something special even back then. I knew instantly that he would play for India,” Tendulkar told Timesofindia.com.

“Shubman also played a crucial role in last year’s U-19 World Cup and has had a good domestic season, so both of them (Prthivi and Shubman) have a lot of potential. Having said that, these boys have just started playing for India and they should enjoy their cricket,” Tendulkar added.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Smriti Mandhana terms Yuzvendra Chahal her batting inspiration on Chahal TV

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 12:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Chahal TV has become quite popular with time
  • The Indian wrist-spinner interviewed a woman cricketer for a welcome change
  • Mandhana has been in brilliant form for India

Chahal TV has become quite popular with time. Indian wrist-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal interviews Indian cricketers in this special segment released by the BCCI.

This time, Chahal interviewed a woman cricketer for a welcome change. India's vice-captain Smriti Mandhana appeared on Chahal TV.

She joked that Chahal's batting has greatly inspired her. "Yes, yes. I was inspired a lot after seeing you bat in the 4th ODI (vs New Zealand in Hamilton). I felt like I have to develop my game. You're one my inspirations when it comes to batting," Smriti Mandhana said.

Mandhana has been in brilliant form for India in the ongoing tour of New Zealand. The left-hander is currently the world No.1 ranked batter in Women ODIs.

Mandhana also reflected on hitting gold in the 2018 ICC Cricket awards and said: "I am very happy to have won the ICC Player ofthe Year award. When Jhulu di (Jhulan Goswami) had won it, I was a kid. I read it in newspapers. It feels nice."

The Indian southpaw also opened up on sharing jersey number 18 with India captain Virat Kohli.

The 22 years old said, "I wanted number 7 on the back of my jersey. My roll number at school was 7. But someone else had already taken 7. Vikas sir, our team manager, then suggested me to take 18 (Virat Kohli's jersey number). I knew it only a couple of years ago that Virat also has been playing with 18 on the back of his jersey."

News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar explains the rationale behind Vijay Shankar's promotion in the first T20I

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 11:01 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • New Zealand outplayed India in the first T20I in Wellington
  • The visitors lost the T20I series opener by 80 runs
  • Gavaskar also revealed why he felt Vijay Shankar's alleviation to no.3 was not wrong

New Zealand outplayed India in the first T20I in Wellington. The visitors lost the T20I series opener by 80 runs. India's composition in the match was a matter of debate. The Men in Blue didn't pick Kuldeep Yadav and had three all-rounders and wicket-keepers each in the XI.

Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, however, sees no fault in India's XI. "No, I don't think so [missed a trick with the playing XI]. It was the first match of the T20I series. You're trying to sort of assess the strengths and weaknesses of not just your team but also your opposition. I wouldn't be too worried about it. T20I can be very unpredictable. The best of teams can lose on the day," Gavaskar said.

Gavaskar also revealed why he felt Vijay Shankar's promotion to no.3 was not wrong.

"I think what India is looking at with this T20I how maybe some of the players can be looked at for the 50-over World Cup, which is a couple of month's time. So maybe that's the reason why Vijay Shankar got the promotion. So if the team is looking to experiment at this stage, I won't be worried too much about the result."

News Cricket

Pakistan play like a number one team, beat South Africa by 27 runs in final T20

AP Updated: 7 February, 2019, 10:48 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan won the final Twenty20 against South Africa by 27 runs to end its tour with a positive result having already lost all three series.

Top-ranked T20 team Pakistan defended its total of 168-9 when it held South Africa to 141-9 in its 20 overs at SuperSport Park.

South Africa took the series 2-1 and also won the test and one-day contests.

South Africa couldn't round off a whitewash in the T20s despite a late half-century by Chris Morris, who hit 55 not out off 29 balls but had too much to do at the end. Morris reached his maiden T20 50 with consecutive sixes off Shaheen Afridi in the final over, when South Africa was left needing 40 runs off the last six balls.

Mohammad Amir took 3-27 to lead Pakistan's bowlers and Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf collected two wickets each. Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim and Afridi were key for Pakistan in an impressive bowling performance as they restricted South Africa in the early overs. Both went for less than six an over.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan top scored for the tourists with 26 after Pakistan was put in to bat. There were also contributions from Asif Ali (25) and Babar Azam (23) and although Pakistan's total wasn't huge, it was enough.

Shadab hit 22 not out off just eight balls in a crucial late effort, launching three sixes and plundering 21 runs off the final over of the innings.

Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks' career-best 4-14 for South Africa came in a losing effort.

News Cricket

David Saker resigns amid criticism of his handling of Australian fast bowlers

AP Updated: 7 February, 2019, 10:45 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cricket Australia says bowling coach David Saker has announced his immediate resignation.

The cricket body confirmed in a statement that Saker would leave the post after a home season in which Australia's fast bowlers were criticized for going six test matches without an lbw decision against India and Sri Lanka.

Head coach Justin Langer said he reached a mutual agreement with Saker, a former England bowling coach, that it was time for the pair to part ways.

"David and I have had ongoing discussions over the past nine months about his role with the team, and we agreed it's the right time to head in a different direction in the best interests of the team," Langer said in the statement.

Troy Cooley will serve as acting bowing coach on upcoming limited-overs tours of India and against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Langer is likely to hire a new bowling coach ahead of the team's marathon tour of England, during which Australia will defend both the World Cup and Ashes series.

News Cricket

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc to miss India ODI tour

AP Updated: 7 February, 2019, 10:42 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc will miss Australia's limited-overs tour of India with a torn left pectoral muscle.

National selector Trevor Hohns said that Starc, who took 10 wickets in the final test against Sri Lanka earlier this week, tore the muscle on the final day of the match in Canberra.

Hohns said Starc hopes to return for five one-day matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in late March.

Australia will play two Twenty20s beginning Feb. 24 and five one-dayers against India, an important buildup to its World Cup title defense in England beginning in June.

Fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood is already out of action with a back injury, sustained during the home test series loss to India.

Former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, suspended over the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last March, are still unavailable for selection.

D'Arcy Short was recalled to the 16-man squad named Thursday with Shaun Marsh set to miss the first half of the India series. Marsh will remain in Perth for the birth of his second child but is expected to be available for the third of five ODIs.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, D'Arcy Short.

News Cricket

Shane Warne picks favorite teams to win World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Aussie great Shane Warne has rated Team India as one of the favourites to win this year's World Cup along with England and reigning champions Australia.

"As I'm putting my #worldcup squad together for my column, I really believe Australia can win it again. As we have the players for the conditions, match winners etc. I think England & India go in as hot favourites, but if the selectors play their part - then the Aussies can 100 per cent win," Warne wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Men in Blue have done exceptionally well in the fifty-over format, defeating South Africa 5-1, Australia 2-1 before thumping New Zealand 3-1 this year.

Sachin Tendulkar is also backing India to come good in the World Cup. "I have gone on record saying that we have a perfect balance in the team where we will be competitive in any part of the world or on any surface." "As far as our chances are concerned, I will not hesitate in saying that we are the favourites," Tendulkar told PTI.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma & Co register embarrassing record

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert hit 84 from 43 balls to help New Zealand to an 80-run win over India in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

It is India’s biggest loss in this format as far as the margin of runs is considered. Seifert's maiden half century lifted New Zealand to 219-6 after being put in to bat, and the team then handed India its worst loss in Twenty20 when it was bowled out for 139 in 19.2 overs.

It was only the eighth time India has been bowled out in a T20 international. An opening partnership of 86 in 8.2 overs between Seifert and Colin Munro (34) got New Zealand off to a strong start.

Captain Kane Williamson hit 34 from 22 balls, Ross Taylor 23 from 14 and Scott Kuggeleijn 20 from only seven deliveries as New Zealand posted its highest score in T20 matches at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

In contrast, India struggled to attain any momentum in its innings. Opener Shikhar Dhawan struck 29 from 18 balls with two fours and three sixes and Vijay Shankar hit 27 from 28 with two fours and two sixes.

Wickets fell at regular intervals although M.S. Dhoni top-scored with 39 from 31 balls and was out two balls before the end. In the early part of its innings, India was close to the pace set by New Zealand.

It was 46-1 after five overs when New Zealand had been 54-0; the equation becoming more balanced when Dhawan struck 18 from the fifth over. In the sixth, Lockie Ferguson bowled Dhawan with a 151.5 kph (94 mph) yorker. Mitchell Santner then removed Rishabh Pant (4) and Shankar in the space of two balls in the ninth over.

Apart from Dhoni, only Krunal Pandya (20 from 18 balls) made an impact in the lower half of the order.

"We were outplayed in all three departments," India captain Rohit Sharma said. "We always knew 200 is not going to be an easy chase, although the grounds are smaller here. But we kept losing wickets which kept throwing us out of the game."

New Zealand benefited from the crucial opening partnership between Seifert and Munro. Seifert blazed his way to a maiden T20 half century from only 30 balls with five fours and three sixes.

He finished with seven fours and six sixes in an innings which likely secured his place as the backup keeper in New Zealand's squad for the upcoming World Cup. New Zealand produced an outstanding collective bowling performance.

Ferguson took 2-20 from his four overs and claimed two catches in the outfield while Tim Southee took 3-17 and Santner 2-24. Daryl Mitchell, son of former All Blacks rugby coach and current England assistant coach John Mitchell, took a wicket on debut.