News Cricket

Preparing for the worst against India: Quinton de Kock

Staff Writer Updated: 6 September, 2019, 5:02 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

After India routed West Indies, they are set to take on South Africa at home in three T20Is and Tests each, starting with T20I series from September 15. Quinton de Kock will be leading South Africa in the T20I series. He seems wary of the kind of wickets that India will prepare for the Proteas especially in Test cricket.

"From our side what we are going to do is to make sure that we prepare for the worst," said De Kock, who is an integral part of South Africa's side across formats.

"To be honest I don't know what we are going to get. In T20s I don't think it will spin that much because in the IPL they prepare pretty good wickets.

"But Test matches are a different story and it could end up turning on day one. It is more of a mental thing and not being caught up too much on whether it is spinning or not that is what it boils down to."

"The last time we were there guys didn't really expect those type of surfaces but this time around we will have a little bit of head start about that" De Kock said.

On the last tour of India, South Africa had won the ODI and T20I series but they suffered annihilation in the Test series.

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News Cricket

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz still counting on Sri Lanka coming

AP Updated: 13 September, 2019, 9:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is still counting on Sri Lanka turning up for a limited-overs tour this month despite alleged terrorist threats.

Sri Lanka Cricket said it was warned of a possible terrorist threat during the scheduled tour of Pakistan, and sought a reassessment of the security situation before the first of three one-day internationals on Sept. 27 in Karachi. There's also three Twenty20s scheduled in Lahore from Oct. 5-9.

"Inshallah (God willing) they will come, we should hope for the best," Sarfaraz said on Friday in Karachi.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board is trying its best and we should all pray that international cricket should come back to Pakistan."

Sarfaraz added the International Cricket Council and other national boards should come forward and support Pakistan more in its bid to revive international cricket.

"The way PCB has worked over the last 10 years, it's a tremendous effort," he said.

He also noted how quick Pakistan supported Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday bombings there by sending a junior team to tour.

Major teams have avoided Pakistan since the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by terrorists in 2009. Over the past three years, Pakistan has successfully hosted Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, and a World XI in limited-overs matches amid intense security.

Sarfaraz was confirmed as captain on Friday for both limited-overs series. Babar Azam was named as vice-captain and PCB chairman Ehsan Mani hinted the middle-order batsman could be Pakistan's future captain in the shorter formats.

"This is part of Babar's gradual development as a future captain and in line with our strategy of introducing a succession plan across the board so that there are no gaps," Mani said in a statement.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli likes to hear Punjabi songs - Shikhar Dhawan

Staff Writer Updated: 13 September, 2019, 5:12 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

A stand at Feroz Shah Kotla ground was named after Indian captain Virat Kohli on September 12. The stadium was renamed after former DDCA President, Arun Jaitley. Team India along with the family of Virat Kohli attended the ceremony.

Virat took to social media to thank the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

"Thank you @delhi_cricket and @BCCI for bestowing this honour upon me. The pavilion will remind me of my journey in life and in cricket but most importantly I hope it will serve as an inspiration for the next generation of young cricketers of our nation," Virat wrote on Twitter.

Earlier, Virat Kohli’s teammates were asked questions related to him.

Shikhar Dhawan, the left hand batsman, was asked to reveal the type of songs Kohli likes to listen.

“Before marriage or after marriage?” was Dhawan's response.

He went on to add that Kohli likes to hear Punjabi songs.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli is not superstitious - Hardik Pandya

Staff Writer Updated: 13 September, 2019, 4:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Men in Blue were present at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in the national capital to attend an event where a pavilion at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground was named after Virat Kohli.

The Indian skipper was honored by the Delhi and District Cricket Association and the governing body of Indian cricket for his contribution towards cricket in India. Virat's teammates were asked questions related to their skipper.

Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder, who was recently selected for the upcoming T20 series South Africa, was asked about Kohli's superstition. According to him, Virat Kohli is not superstitious.

Hardik was rested from the tour of West Indies considering his workload. He will play a key role in the home season where India have couple of important assignments lined-up.

News Cricket

Shubman Gill acknowledges Yuvraj Singh's contribution in his career

Staff Writer Updated: 13 September, 2019, 4:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Shubman Gill was finally selected in Inia's Test team after being overlooked from all formats for the tour of West Indies. He replaced KL Rahul for the three-match Test series against South Africa. He has been selected as a back-up opener with Rohit Sharma likely to open the batting with Mayank Agarwal.

The 20 years old has acknowledged the contribution of Yuvraj Singh in his growth as a cricketer so far and had words of praise for him. "Yuvi paji keeps telling me what needs to be done. A few years back, he told me I shouldn't sign any company, I should just go and play. I didn't sign anyone. He keeps guiding me, keeps tells me what to do what not to do," he said. "There are a lot of people who keep guiding me. In our team (Punjab), we have Yuvraj Singh, Gurkeerat Mann, my father. I'm very close to my father. He keeps telling me, guiding me."

Shubman also told how his father has helped him in his career. He said, "I've learnt (to be patient) from my father - he had the patience and calmness to keep throwing 200-300 balls at the nets when I was a kid. From my early days my mindset was such that if I am set, batting on a hundred, I have to go on to a big one. I should not lose my concentration and should not play any loose shots. This is one habit I have adopted when I was young and it has helped me."

News Cricket

Will have to work harder to get into Test team: Navdeep Saini

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 September, 2019, 4:38 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Navdeep Saini, who had a brilliant 2019 IPL made a smooth transition in T20 Internationals as well when he debuted against West Indies. Now, the lanky pacer wants to play Test cricket in the future but he is well aware that he needs to work much harder if he has to break into India's Test team, which already has quality pacers in form of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

"Our bowling unit in the Test format is very strong. When I was with the team (in West Indies) I realised that I'll have to work harder to get into the side. Only by doing that a I might get a chance," Saini told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of All India Public Sector T20 cricket tournament.

"When I speak to bowlers like Shami, Bumrah, and Bhuvneshwar in the nets I get a lot of help from them. At the international level error of margin is very less so I learn how to work around it in practice," Saini said.

Saini was in the fray for selection in India's squad for home Test series against South Africa but he didn't make the cut to the squad, which also saw Umesh Yadav getting trimmed from the team. The 26-year-old Saini, who made his T20I debut against West Indies in Florida last month, had a memorable debut as he won the Man of the Match award and showcased his caliber at the top-level.

News Cricket

It's wonderful to have the talent like Rishabh in the twilight years of Dhoni's career - Lance Klusener

Staff Writer Updated: 13 September, 2019, 4:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener feels that Rishabh Pant will have to learn from others mistakes in order to become a better player across formats. The left hand batsman has been inconsistent in shorter formats.

"It would hard for me to pinpoint but with a phenomenal talent like that, one always tends to get a bit ahead of himself," Klusener, who is currently in India as the white ball batting coach of the South African team, told PTI during an interaction.

He worked with Pant when he was appointed as Delhi senior team's white ball consultant last year.

"He needs to give himself time to get in and that bit of time will allow him to showcase his talent," he added.

"What gets you ahead in international cricket is learning from others' mistakes rather than making your own mistakes along the way and learning," he said.

"I will tell you why. You can learn from your own mistakes but it will take a lot more time to realize, correct and become a better player using that process. If you look at mistakes others are making, you will learn quickly and thus improve fast," said Klusener.

He further added that Pant can speak to senior pros to solve his problems.

"It's wonderful to have the talent like Rishabh in the twilight years of MS Dhoni's career. From an Indian point of view, maybe they should try and get him to contribute more.

"He has some wonderful coaches and players around him so take their advice but at the same time don't curb your natural talent," advised Klusener.

News Cricket

Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff & I were possibly last batch of pure all-rounders – Lance Klusener

Staff Writer Updated: 13 September, 2019, 4:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener, who was recently appointed as the white-ball batting coach of the national team, feels more focus on shorter formats has impacted all-rounders in international cricket.

He, along with Andre Flintoff and Jacques Kallis, were pure all-rounders with Ben Stokes being one among active players.

"We were possibly (that last batch of pure all-rounders)," he agreed.

"I think in the past, when the focus was more on Test cricket, you had to bowl 15-overs-a-day. The more you bowled or longer you batted, you got better at it naturally," he said.

He will go back after the T20 series against India but he is thinking of coming back.

"I haven't yet decided but I would like to comeback. There are a few offers that I am contemplating. One is Bangladesh Premier League the dates of which, I believe, have been deferred and now clashing with Mushtaq Ali," he said.

"I had good communication with DDCA brass and I thoroughly enjoyed my time over here. It was wonderful to work with Mithun Manhas last year, who is a good friend of mine and unfortunately, not there this year," he concluded.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli tells how late Arun Jaitley inspired him after his father's death

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 September, 2019, 3:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India skipper Virat Kohli has disclosed how late former Finance Minister and DDCA President, Arun Jaitely motivated him after he lost his father due to a cardiac arrest when he was merely 18 years old and just getting into his groove as a cricketer.

On the occasion of renaming Feroz Shah Kotla stadium as Arun Jaitley Stadium and the unveiling of the stand named after him, Kohli remembered how Jaitley came to his home and offered words of encouragement after passing away of his father.

"It is more special. It is happening at the same time as the stadium being named after Arun Jaitley Ji," said Kohli at the event.

"I know Jaitley Ji as a person who came to my house and encouraged me when my father passed away. He also motivated me. So, I had a special connection with him. He was a very good person. So, it is a proud moment that both the things happened at the same time," he said.

A while back, Kohli had opened up on his father's demise. “I was playing a four day game at the time and was supposed to resume batting the next day when this (father passed) happened at 230 odd in the morning. We all woke up but had no idea what to do. I literally saw him breathe his last,” Kohli had told Graham Bensinger in a freewheeling interview.

News Cricket

Andre Russell has been cleared off serious injury

Staff Writer Updated: 13 September, 2019, 3:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, who copped a nasty blow on his helmet and carted off the ground during a Caribbean Premier League match, has been cleared off a serious injury, which comes as a huge relief for Jamaica Tallawahs and his fans.

In an attempt to pull a short ball, the right-hander was struck near the right ear off paceman Hardus Viljoen. The scary injury forced him to leave the field that too on a stretcher in a neck brace, making it a dreadful sight for the lovers of the game.

But thankfully, the CPL organizers today announced that the 31-year-old had been cleared by scans at hospital.

“Under the doctor’s advice he has headed back to the team hotel with his wife and a member of the Tallawahs medical team to rest and recover,” the league said on Twitter.

Head injuries are being taken very seriously, ever since the unfortunate death of Australian batsman, Philip Hughes. Now, in international cricket concussion substitutes are allowed, which was the case when Marnus Labuschagne of Australia became the first-ever concussion substitute in the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

Feature Cricket

Five Greatest South Africa-India Moments

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 13 September, 2019, 1:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Every series between India and South Africa have had their epic moments. The challenge, therefore, to pick five has meant having to sift through the many robust performances from players on both sides that made virtually every series historically significant.

1992 Friendship Series

True to form, South Africa’s captain, Kepler Wessels, kicked off the first Test of India’s inaugural tour with a century worthy of his stature. However, it was in the same series and Test that a young Indian debutant by the name of Praveen Amre made a name for himself with a praiseworthy century of 103 runs. While the series in the end was a draw at 1-1, it was Amre whose innings made an impact and really put his name on the map. This, even as Kapil Dev made a strong century in Port Elizabeth even as Allan Donald made a name for himself as a lethal spearhead, picking up seven Indian wickets in the second innings, and taking his tally to twelve for the match. However, it was the debutant’s strong statement in his first Test century in the Durban Test that has become the stuff of legends.

1996 South Africa’s Tour of India

The 1996 South Africa’s tour of India was a tale largely of two bowlers. While Javagal Srinath blew away South Africa’s hopes in Ahmedabad with a logic defying return figures of six wickets for twenty-one runs in a low target chase, Lance Klusener converted what looked like a disastrous debut into a memorable one, erasing an expensive first innings outing with stupendous returning figures of eight wickets for sixty-four runs to hand South Africa an improbable win at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Srinath, however, would walk away with the cake after annihilating the South Africans, this time at Kanpur in the third and decisive Test, thereby making this a rare series for an Indian fast bowler to walk away with accolades under conditions that would otherwise be considered the death bed of pace bowlers.

Cape Town 1996-‘97

Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin put forth one of the more magnificent batting partnerships witnessed in world cricket when they defied the odds at Newlands, this despite the hosts putting up a mammoth score declared at 529/7 after centuries by Gary Kirsten and Brian MacMillan. Their partnership, worth 222 runs, brought India back from the brink, tottering at five down for only fifty-eight runs on board. Sachin Tendulkar’s 169 run innings and Azhar’s blazing 115 runs knock at Cape Town had South Africa befuddled, as the world watch mesmerized. Although India could not do an encore in their second innings to prevent a comprehensive defeat, it was the solitary memory of that enigmatic partnership that has become one for the cricket books.

Durban 1996-’97

It might seem hard to believe that in a match where Venkatesh Prasad took five wickets in each innings of the Test, India lost by over 300 runs. Andrew Hudson's half-centuries in both innings were forgotten by the impact of India being bowled out for paltry scores in both innings of the Durban Test in the 1996-’97 series. The supporting cast of Brian MacMillan and Shaun Pollock would also be soon forgotten as White Lightning dominated the headlines. Allan Donald was at his lethal best in conducive conditions as he returned with figures of a five wicket haul in the first innings and four wickets in India’s abysmal second innings that yielded just 66 runs. It was a match to be forgotten for India in a hurry but it was the sheer intensity and exploitation of conditions by South Africa and particularly by Allan Donald that makes this match a stand out in memory.

2013 Johannesburg

What could have been an Indian victory turned out to be a great chase by the hosts. South Africa almost bagged the impossible chasing 458 runs for victory in the fourth innings. Although overpowered by the towering partnership between Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, South Africa found their own in the form of AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis in the final innings of the Johannesburg Test of 2013. Although Kohli nearly made history with a century in each innings only to miss the second one by four runs, it was his double century partnership with Pujara in the second innings that put South Africa under great pressure. In what eventually became Jacques Kallis’ final Test, South Africa were stopped in their tracks from pulling off an unthinkable victory by the fact that they did not want to take risks at the end stages of the game. While the match ended in a draw, it was as close a draw as one could expect in Test cricket.

Feature Cricket

Inclusion of Shubman Gill a welcome move

Partab Ramchand Updated: 13 September, 2019, 11:38 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The most welcome aspect of the selection of the Indian team to play South Africa in the three match Test series is the inclusion of Shubman Gill. In picking him the MSK Prasad led selection committee has rewarded both an uncommon talent and an awesome domestic record. At 20 Gill is already well known in cricketing circles thanks to his penchant for big scores and consistent run getting. He has been in rip roaring form of late while playing for India A against both West Indies A and South Africa A, the highlight being an unbeaten 204 against the former when he shared an unbroken 315 run partnership with Hanuma Vihari. Besides he has a superb first class record. In 23 innings he averages 72 with a highest score of 268 – just the kind of figures that are a passport to the Test squad.

Gill may have to wait a while to actually earn his Test cap for with Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal in the squad it is unlikely he will be drafted into the playing eleven right away. Rohit of course will be the subject of much focus as he has been picked for the first time in the Test squad as an opening batsman having played 27 Tests in the middle order. It will be interesting to see whether he can successfully make the transition into the game’s traditional format from ODIs where of course he has an excellent record at the top of the order. There will be those who will press the case for younger players like Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran but these two gifted cricketers will surely get their opportunity an indication being their inclusion in the Board President’s XI to play the visitors in the three day game that starts on September 26.

Following the success of Hanuma Vihari in the West Indies the middle order picked itself and there are no real surprises in the rest of the squad too. Senior spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja should get the nod in the playing eleven ahead of Kuldeep Yadav and while Jasprit Bumrah is a cert among the fast bowlers it could be a toss-up between Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami as to who will be his new ball partner. Rishabh Pant should get the stumper’s slot ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.

It is a balanced squad, strong enough one feels to get the better of South Africa who have won only one series in India way back in 2000. Since then only Australia in 2004 and England in 2012 have emerged triumphant in a Test series in this country and one cannot see Faf du Plessis’ side emulating them.

News Cricket

Bangladesh hoping for turnaround in T20s after test defeat

AP Updated: 13 September, 2019, 10:34 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Bangladesh is looking to dampen the disappointment of the humiliating test loss to Afghanistan by winning the Twenty20 tri-series involving Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

The 224-run loss to test cricket's newest team last week has put Bangladesh on high alert. Under fire from home fans, the team is determined to win the trophy to get the critics off their backs, captain Shakib Al Hasan says.

Bangladesh opens against Zimbabwe on Friday in Dhaka.

"We need to win the first T20 match," Shakib said. "If we can do that then we will have the chance to bring everything under control."

The three teams meet each other twice. The final is on Sept. 24.

Afghanistan is the higher ranked T20 team, being seventh in the world. Bangladesh is 10th and Zimbabwe 14th.

Bangladesh has a 1-3 record against Afghanistan in T20s, and 5-4 against Zimbabwe.

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said they are also using the tri-series to prepare for the World T20 in Australia next year.

While Bangladesh played the test match without a pacer, Domingo said they will groom fast bowlers for T20s with Australian conditions in mind.

"You need to play some fast bowlers," Domingo said. "That's really important. And with the World Cup in Australia, there is no doubt you need them."

Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza declined to comment on his team's suspension from International Cricket Council events.

The ICC in July suspended Zimbabwe for government interference in the sport. The suspension cost Zimbabwe a place in the World T20 qualifier, as it was replaced by Nigeria.

The decision meant ICC funding to Zimbabwe Cricket is frozen, and all national teams aren't allowed to participate in ICC events.

"Obviously, a lot of things have happened but that's all behind the scenes," said Masakadza, who is retiring from cricket after the tri-series.

"As cricketers, our job is to get on the field and play our best. That's how we are judged. (The suspension is) happening to the board."

News Cricket

Incident about Virat Kohli after his father's death makes Anushka Sharma emotional

Staff Writer Updated: 12 September, 2019, 9:34 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Anushka Sharma has stood by Virat Kohli in difficult times. The Indian skipper time and again has credited his better half for calming him down and adding perspective to his life. Virat's wife and Bollywood actor Anushka accompanied him to the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, which was renamed after former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who passed away last month. Even a stand was named after the current Indian captain.

During the ceremony, DDCA president Rajat Sharma spoke about an incident wherein late Jaitley had visited Virat's house after his father's death.

Virat went to play a game despite personal tragedy and Jaitley had predicted great future for him.

The mention of Virat's father made both Anushka and Virat emotional.

Virat Kohli will lead India in the upcoming T20 series against South Africa. Men in Blue are in good form and won the last series in West Indies.

South Africa, on the other hand, had a disastrous World Cup and would like to win against India in order to get their mojo back.

News Cricket

Dhoni has nothing left to achieve and the decision to walk away should be his own - Viswanathan Anand

Staff Writer Updated: 12 September, 2019, 9:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni has not played cricket since Team India's exit from the World Cup. His future remains one of the hot topics in the cricketing circles. After representing India in his fourth World Cup, he took a two-month break to serve in the Indian army.

Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand, who is following MSD since long has spoken about former skipper of India. He feels Dhoni has achieved everything in his illustrious career and should be allowed to walk away on his own terms rather than forced out.

"He (Dhoni) knows what's the right decision for him. But I think nothing is left behind or on the table for him. He has a phenomenal fan following. He had achieved everything which he had set out to achieve. He has won India two World Cups (2007 World T20 and 2011 ODI World Cup) as captain. He has been a great captain. No one can decide (when to quit) better than him," Anand was quoted as saying by PTI.

News Cricket

Sakshi brilliantly shuts down MS Dhoni’s retirement rumors with one tweet  

Staff Writer Updated: 12 September, 2019, 9:28 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sakshi Dhoni has broken her silence on MS Dhoni's retirement from cricket. Rumours regarding his future started spreading after Virat Kohli posted a tweet on the former India skipper.

The current skipper shared a picture of a match against Australia during the T20 World Cup in 2016.

“A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test.”@msdhoni.”

Sakshi took to Twitter to end speculations. “Its called rumours!”

Earlier, chief selector MSK Prasad too denied such stories on MS Dhoni's career.

“No update on MS Dhoni’s retirement, the news is incorrect.”

MS Dhoni has not played cricket since Team India's exit from the World Cup. His future remains one of the hot topics in the cricketing circles. After representing India in his fourth World Cup, he took a two-month break to serve in the Indian army.