News Cricket

Offensive advertisements are on both sides of the border - Sania Mirza

Staff Writer Updated: 12 June, 2019, 1:40 PM IST


The advertisements ahead of the match between India and Pakistan are not in good taste. While the official broadcaster of the tournament in India, Star Sports launched another Mauka Mauka version to troll Pakistan, Pakistan too came out with their advert.

The ad from Star Sports depicts India to be Pakistan's father, while the other side has mocked India over Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's capture.

The ongoing advert battle has not gone down well with Indian Tennis player and the wife of Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik, Sania Mirza.

She took to twitter to express her displeasure over the commercials from both the countries.

“Cringeworthy ads on both sides of the border seriously guys, you don’t need to ‘hype up’ or market the match anymore specially with rubbish! it has ENOUGH attention already! It’s only cricket for God sake, and if you think it’s any more than that then get a grip or get a life!!” Sania wrote in her tweet.

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Feature Cricket

Who should bat at no.4 for India?

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 June, 2019, 3:59 PM IST


Just when we thought that India are sorted with their batting line-up, Shikhar Dhawan's injury has thrown some serious questions to Indian think-tank. The ballistic opening batsman fractured his thumb and that means he won't be part of India's upcoming games. Now, when he returns to the side is a thing that only time will tell. If reports are to be believed, the southpaw has to prove his fitness in a week's time.

With Shikhar Dhawan out, back-up opener turned India's no.4, KL Rahul will get a promotion. He is likely to open the batting alongside, Rohit Sharma. Now, the problem is KL Rahul was batting at 4 after his brilliant century against Bangladesh in the warm-up game. With him getting a promotion to the top, India's perennial problem of no.4 has again come to the fore.

Who should it be? Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar? Vijay Shankar is likely to bat at 4 given the fact that he was slated to bat at the position when the World Cup team was announced. But his untimely injury opened the door for Rahul, who batted at no.4 in both the warm-up games and proved his mettle by hammering a wonderful century against Bangladesh. Rahul leapfrogged Shankar after the player with 3-d skills was hyped up as a solution to India's no.4 quandary

And given Rahul's performance, it wasn't a wrong move. And it will be better for India if they don't play Shankar at no.4. If India wants to play him then at most, it should be at the expense of Kedar Jadhav, who has neither batted nor bowled much in the World Cup so far.

The no.4 position should be flexible than fixed. It's the approach which benefited India in the game against Australia at the Oval. After India got a great start, they utilized hard-hitting batsman, Hardik Pandya at no.4. He responded with an exceptional 27-ball 48-run-knock to provide impetus to India's innings.

ODI cricket is a dynamic format. You need to strategize and come up with tactics on the run. That's how it works in the 50-overs format. So, India should bat Dhoni at no.4 if there are a lot of overs remaining and if fewer overs remain like in the game against Australia when there were 13 overs to go, send in Hardik Pandya to cause mayhem in the middle.

Where should Dinesh Karthik fit in? He should play as a finisher. We have seen that he has the ability to get the big shots rolling without getting set. Playing in IPL and T20Is as a finisher has immensely helped him develop the cool and calm to unveil to bring his best game in the most pressure situations like we witnessd earlier in ODI series against Australia Down Under. He has a great range of orthodox and unorthodox shots, uses his mind well and knows how to use field placements to his advantage. The Tamil-Nadu cricketer doesn't rely on slogging and can play big shots against both pace and spin.

It also gives the likes of Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni the opportunity to play with a free mind. MS Dhoni should get as many balls as possible so that he can get his eye in and do maximum damage at the end. Yes, he faces problems in rotating the strike against spinners but he is high on confidence at the moment. And it is a risk worth taking given the fact that the veteran cricketer has a lot of experience and that should help him adjust to the needs and demands of the game. Most importantly, with Kedar/Shankar, Hardik, and DK to come, it gives him the license to play his game without much pressure.

Feature Cricket

Team India’s bench strength strong enough to overcome Dhawan injury

Partab Ramchand Updated: 12 June, 2019, 3:46 PM IST


Just when the Indian team’s campaign in the World Cup is gathering momentum it has been dealt a serious blow. The injury to Shikhar Dhawan is more than just a setback. The left handed opening batsman got a century in the last game against Australia during which he sustained the injury. He has an excellent record in the Champions Trophy and in the World Cup. In 20 matches across the two tournaments he has 1238 runs with six hundreds and four fifties averaging 65 at a strike rate of 98. In ten World Cup matches he has scored 537 runs at an average of 53.70 and a strike rate of 94. With Rohit Sharma he forms arguably the best opening pair in limited overs cricket today. The two have put on 4681 runs together in 103 innings averaging almost 46, the fourth highest by an opening pair in ODI history.

One does not yet know the full extent of Dhawan’s injury and how long he will be out of the tournament following the hairline fracture on his left thumb. The one silver lining is that he is staying back in England where he is under observation and according to the BCCI his progress will be monitored so perhaps he could still play in the competition but in the meantime India will have to soldier along without him. There are standbys and the best among would be Rishabh Pant. But calling for him might be unfair to those already in the squad. Dinesh Karthik is around and so is Vijay Shankar and both these players were talked about as being ready to man the No 4 slot before KL Rahul stepped in. The best thing under the circumstances would be to elevate Rahul into the top slot – he is an opening batsman anyway – and go with either Karthik or Shankar in the middle order now that Hardik Pandya has also shown that he could shine at the No 4 position.

The chief point is that the team management has little to worry about. They have a precedent to go by for the triumphant 1983 squad in England too was hit by injuries. First Dilip Vengsarkar one of the pivots in the middle order was injured in the game against West Indies and he did not play again in the tournament. Then Ravi Shastri a key utility player was also injured. There was a little shuffling in the batting order, Kirti Azad was brought in and in his limited opportunities proved his worth particularly in the semifinal against England where he and Mohinder Amarnath bottled up the much vaunted batting line-up in the middle overs. The present team’s bench strength is also strong enough and even without Dhawan – for argument’s sake for the rest of the tournament – they can continue to make smooth progress.

News Cricket

Men in Blue will dominate this World Cup like Australia did in 2003 & 2007 – R Ashwin

Staff Writer Updated: 12 June, 2019, 3:43 PM IST


Indian off-spinner R Ashwin believes India have talent to dominate the ongoing World Cup like Australia did in 2003 and 2007. Men in Blue have won first two matches against South Arica ad Australia. Both batsmen and bowlers have contributed in winning cause.

“India will go on to dominate this World Cup like Australia did in 2003 and 2007,” the bowler said after launching the ‘Ashwin Foundation’, which aims to help young cricketers at his Gen-Next Cricket Institute.

He praised Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for their performance in shorter formats.

“Chahal and Kuldeep have been doing well for a while now. Chahal has performed well in the World Cup also,” he added. On off-spinners not being preferred in the playing XI these days, Ashwin said that things would soon change.

“I think off spin is not very much (seen these days). The commodity in the game has changed. A lot of cricketers are right handers and requirement of left-arm spinners are lot more. But I think what goes comes around.

“Requirement of off-spinner in shortest format has become lesser but if you look at the IPL this year it was Harbhajan Singh and myself...I did not necessarily bowl off spin, it is perception and it will change, if you give can yourself a chance,” he said.

News Cricket

"Why Indians always get wickets which are good for batting?" complains Sarfraz Ahmed

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 June, 2019, 3:39 PM IST


India and Pakistan will take on each other on June 16 in the World Cup. It is going to be one hell of an encounter. Pakistan captain, Sarfraz Ahmed has attacked Indians even before the match has begun. As per reports, he is unhappy with the green top at Taunton. Pakistan will be taking on Australia today at Taunton.

According to a report in the widely circulated “Jang” newspaper from Taunton, Sarfraz also targeted the pitches that Indians are getting. “The captain has been wondering as to why the Indians always get wickets which are good for batting and also suitable for spinners. Such wickets suit Asian teams. However, the Pakistan team is almost always made to play on more challenging surfaces in ICC events like the one at Taunton,” said a source close to Sarfraz as reported by Geo News.

India have won their first two games in the World Cup so far. They will take on New Zealand in their next game at Trent Bridge. Pakistan have won and lost one game in the mega event so far.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli is the only Indian in Forbes list of highest-paid athletes

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 June, 2019, 3:35 PM IST


Star Indian cricketer and captain, Virat Kohli has again made it to the Forbes list of world's highest-paid athletes. He has estimated annual earnings of USD 25 million. He is ranked 100th in the list of highest-paid athletes.

Argentina football superstar Lionel Messi earned $127m (£99.8m) in the past 12 months and is the highest-paid athlete in the world. Juventus's Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is ranked second with earning of $109m (£85.6m). Paris St-Germain's Brazil forward Neymar is third in the list with $105m (£82.5m).

Kohli's earnings are USD 21 million from endorsements and USD 4 million from salary and winnings. However, he has dropped off 17 places. He was ranked 83rd last year.

Virat Kohli is currently the best batsman in the world of cricket. He is the most marketable cricketer and often creates a lot of interest among fans with his game.

News Cricket

Shikhar Dhawan hints World Cup journey not over, tweets poem after injury

Staff Writer Updated: 12 June, 2019, 3:23 PM IST


Injured Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan is still hopeful of playing in the ongoing World Cup. The left batsman has been ruled out for three weeks due to a hairline fracture after being hit on thumb. He posted a poem along with pictures if his injured thumb being attended by Team India physio Patrick Farhart.

The governing body of Indian cricket has decided to send Rishabh Pant as his cover. However, he has not been named as an official replacement.

“Kabhi mehek ki tarah hum gulon se udte hain...Kabhi dhuyein ki tarah hum parbaton se udte hain...Ye kainchiyaan humein udne se khaak rokengi...Ke hum paron se nahin hoslon se udte hain... (Sometimes we are like the fragrance of flowers, sometimes the smoke that comes out of mountains. How can any scissors cut short our flight as we don’t fly on wings but courage),” he posted.

Dhawan went on to score a hundred in the match against Australia despite playing with a swollen thumb. However, he didn't come out to field in the second innings.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant to fly to England this week: Reports

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 June, 2019, 2:10 PM IST


Rishabh Pant will be travelling to England as cover/standby for the injured Shikhar Dhawan and will join the team soon. He has not been named as a replacement for Dhawan yet. As per TOI, Dhawan has to prove his fitness in a week, if he fails to do so then Pant will be named as his replacement.

“Rishabh is just being called here in advance as standby so that he can acclimatize. If Dhawan can’t continue, we’ll seek an official go-ahead from ICC for replacement and he (Rishabh) can immediately join the team,” sources told Times of India.

“The scans have confirmed a hairline fracture. Doctors have given a tentative healing period. But the healing process is individual-specific and you can’t tell overnight if he’s going to be fine in 10 days or 15 days or more. But what you can certainly do is wait for a week and take a more assertive call.

“Look at it this way: Dhawan misses the matches against New Zealand and Pakistan but stays with the team. We get a fair idea of how he’s recovering. If all’s well, then we have a fully fit Dhawan towards the business end of the tournament and that’s great. If not, we can always have the replacement ready. We’ve got to be careful with how we choose our cards,” the sources explained. “This is obviously a huge, unfortunate blow. But then, we’ve got to live with it,” the source further said.

Dhawan has a fractured thumb. He had made a brilliant ton against Australia and his injury has come at a very bad time for the Men in Blue. In his absence, KL Rahul is likely to open alongside Rohit Sharma.

News Cricket

Indian team management never asked for replacements for Shikhar Dhawan: BCCI official

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:47 AM IST


Ever since Shikhar Dhawan fractured his thumb and got ruled out of next few games, several rumors are doing the rounds on the Internet. There were suggestions that Rishabh Pant will be flying to join the team in England and Wales. But that is not the case as BCCI has yet not sought a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan will stay back in England with the team and is currently under observation.

“The team management never asked for replacements. I don’t know from where the news of Rishabh Pant joining the squad was making rounds. It was speculation by the media,” a BCCI official told PTI.

“Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored,” said BCCI in a media release.

“Mr Dhawan sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb during the CWC 2019 league match against Australia,” added BCCI.

News Cricket

Mitchell Marsh on standby as Marcus Stoinis suffers injury

AP Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:44 AM IST


Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has been ruled out of the game against Pakistan in Taunton because of a side strain, and Mitchell Marsh is coming to the Cricket World Cup as cover.

Stoinis picked up the injury in the loss to India on Sunday at the Oval. He claimed two wickets, notably a brilliant caught and bowled against Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and earned Virat Kohli's, caught in the deep. In Australia's chase, he was out for a second-ball duck.

Stoinis hasn't been replaced permanently in Australia's 15-man squad.

Marsh was due to arrive in England at the end of the week as part of an Australia A tour of the counties, building up to the Ashes.

News Cricket

Lasith Malinga to return home to Attend Mother-in-law's Funeral

AP Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:42 AM IST


Sri Lanka Cricket has tweeted that Lasith Malinga will return home after the death of his mother-in-law, Kanthi Perera, in Colombo.

The fast bowler is due to leave England after the scheduled game against Bangladesh, which has yet to start because of rain in Bristol.

Her funeral is on Thursday, and SLC expect him to rejoin the team before its next Cricket World Cup match on Saturday against Australia at the Oval.

News Cricket

Pakistan fans will not boo Smith and Warner - Sarfaraz Ahmed

AP Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:39 AM IST


Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed doesn't think he'll need to follow India skipper Virat Kohli's lead and urge his team's supporters to stop booing Australia players Steve Smith or David Warner during the World Cup game at Taunton on Wednesday.

"I don't think Pakistani people are doing like that," Sarfaraz said. "Pakistan people love cricket and they love (to) support and they love the players."

The war of words may have already started ahead of Sunday's India vs Pakistan game in Manchester.

Kohli received plenty of accolades for intervening at the Oval in London on Sunday when the pro-India crowd relentlessly booed Smith, who along with Warner was banned for 12 months following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

Crowds in England have booed Smith and Warner in all of Australia's warmup games and in the World Cup group games against Afghanistan in Bristol and West Indies in Nottingham.

The defending champion Australians say Smith and Warner were expecting a hostile reception, and have no intention of reacting.

News Cricket

Short balls paying big dividends in World Cup

AP Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:37 AM IST


There have been more short balls bowled at this Cricket World Cup so far than in the previous three.

A third of the way into the 48-match event, 44.8% of deliveries by seamers have been short, the International Cricket Council says.

In the previous three World Cups, the percentages were 37, 37.3, and 31.9.

The team doing it the most was not surprisingly the pacer-filled West Indies, with 52.5%. England was second with 48.7% and Pakistan next on 47.7%.

They have all played three matches so far: West Indies and Pakistan have won once, and England twice.

While short-pitched deliveries have been successful in breaking partnerships, they have been expensive.

A wicket has been taken every 21 short balls, compared with 33 length balls, and 35 back-of-a-length balls.

But bouncers have also conceded 8.58 runs per over, length balls have gone for 5.03, and back of a length balls 5.08.

News Cricket

ICC has no reservations about rain at World Cup

AP Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:33 AM IST


Bristol already has an unwanted record as a Cricket World Cup venue after rain forced a second game to be abandoned without a ball bowled.

Cricket fans and critics have questioned why the games aren't being shifted to other days rather than teams being forced to share points.

"We put men on the moon so why can't we have a reserve day?" Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes said half-jokingly.

But the International Cricket Council has dismissed the idea of having reserve days for the 45 games in the group stage, saying it would significantly extend the length of an already lengthy tournament and would be logistically difficult for broadcasters and venue managers.

ICC chief executive David Richardson issued a statement in the wake of the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh washout on Tuesday saying there was little organizers could do amid the "extremely unseasonable weather."

"It would impact pitch preparation, team recovery and travel days, accommodation and venue availability, tournament staffing, volunteer and match officials availability, broadcast logistics and very importantly the spectators who in some instances have travelled hours to be at the game," Richardson said. "There is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either."

Sri Lanka has had two games washed out — against Pakistan and Bangladesh in Bristol — and its win over Afghanistan in Cardiff was interrupted by rain.

South Africa and West Indies had to split the points after only 7.3 overs were possible because of rain in Southampton on Monday.

Richardson said some areas of England had experienced more than double the average monthly rainfall for June in the last couple of days, a vast change from last year when only a fraction of an inch was recorded in June.

"When a match is affected by weather conditions, the venue team works closely with match officials and ground staff to ensure that we have the best possible opportunity to play cricket," he said, "even if it is a reduced overs game."

Five-time champion Australia is set to play Pakistan in Taunton on Wednesday.

News Cricket

Defending champs Australia ready for unpredictable Pakistan

AP Updated: 12 June, 2019, 10:25 AM IST


When Sarfaraz Ahmed says past results mean nothing to his Pakistan team, he genuinely means it.

Few would doubt him, either, particularly rival captains at the Cricket World Cup.

Five-time champion Australia swept Pakistan 5-0 in a one-day international series in March. That extended Australia's winning streak to eight in ODIs after coming back from 2-0 down to win a series 3-2 in India.

Australia is again favored to win the group-stage encounter against Pakistan at Somerset's County Ground on Wednesday, but the odds don't matter. Pakistan was bounced out for 105 in its tournament-opening loss to West Indies but rallied to beat top-ranked England, a pre-tournament title favorite, to end a run of 11 straight defeats.

Sarfaraz and his squad are sick of being dubbed the most unpredictable team in ODI cricket, but it's the most reliable tag for them.

"It's the past. We're not thinking about that," Sarfaraz told a news conference on Tuesday, reflecting on the 5-0 drubbing inflicted by Australia just over two months ago. "Our morale is very high. Momentum is very high. So hopefully we'll do very good against them."

Against England, Pakistan's top order all got starts, with Imam-ul-Haq (44), Fakhar Zaman (36), Babar Azam (63), Mohammad Hafeez (84), and Sarfaraz (55) helping post a total of 348-8. The bowlers kept England to 334-9 in reply.

Australia has won 14 of the last 15 and two-thirds of the 100 completed ODIs overall between the two nations but has only a 5-4 edge in World Cups.

The wins include the 1999 final at Lord's the last time the tournament was in England, and the quarterfinals in 2015 en route to winning the title. Pakistan took the early honors in the '99 tournament with a 10-run win at Leeds in the league phase.

The Australians lost to India by 36 runs at the Oval on Sunday, when David Warner was uncharacteristically cautious in compiling his 56, Steve Smith scored 69, and the run-rate required eventually got way beyond the lower-order in the run chase.

Skipper Aaron Finch predicted Warner is just finding his rhythm and his strike rate will improve.

Allrounder Marcus Stoinis strained his side bowling his second spell against India and will miss the Pakistan game and possibly the rest of the tournament. Mitch Marsh is coming as cover as a precaution, and Finch said he's undecided about whether to add a batter or a bowler to the lineup against Pakistan.

"We have not won many matches against Australia but we had not won too many against England, either, and we managed to beat them," Sarfaraz said in comments published by the International Cricket Council. "We will be as positive and aggressive as we were against England — that is the level of performance we need to be successful against a team like Australia."

With wet weather around, the captain winning the toss will likely want to bowl first and take their chances on the Duckworth-Lewis revised run-rate targets. Pakistan's third game, against Sri Lanka, was washed out without a ball being bowled last Friday in nearby Bristol and the teams had to share the points. The Sri Lanka-Bangladesh game in Bristol was also abandoned because of rain and the South Africa-West Indies match at Southampton on Monday was washed out after 7.3 overs.

Sarfaraz would like his team's chances in a rain-shortened match, and has confidence after its unexpected title in the Champions Trophy in England two years ago.

Finch said his team was approaching the match with confidence but noted Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali didn't play in the March series, and Mohammad Amir played only the first game, so he was expecting to face an entirely different attack.

"We've seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, they get themselves in a position to win the tournament," he said. "And they had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they're always incredibly dangerous.

"There's no player that you can disregard. They've got a lot of experience on their side, they've got a lot of match winners," he added. "Every time you come up against Pakistan you have to play your best to beat them."