News Cricket

Razzaq brings religious angle to target India, says only Shami played well

Harshit Anand Updated: 2 July, 2019, 4:21 PM IST


Former Pakistan cricketers have certainly lost it, especially after India lost their first game of the World Cup against England in Birmingham. Some are accusing Indian cricket team of losing the match deliberately but former all-rounder, Abdul Razzaq has gone a step ahead and brought religious angle to play in the defeat, which they faced against the Poms by 31 runs.

"Shami to hai bhi Musalman, jo ki achi baat hai. Wo pura jor laga raha tha match mein (Translation- Shami is a Muslim, which is a good thing and he was trying his best in the match)," Abdul Razzaq told a local television channel.

Basit Ali had also made controversial claim when he had said,"India will never want Pakistan to make it to the semi-finals. They have matches remaining against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Everyone saw the fashion in which they won against Afghanistan. They'll play in such a way that nobody will come to know what has happened. What happened in India's match against Afghanistan? What did Australia do against India? What did David Warner do?"

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Feature Cricket

‘The Big Four’ of international batsmanship

Partab Ramchand Updated: 17 September, 2019, 11:47 AM IST


It is not often that cricket has seen four outstanding batsmen gracing the fields the world over at the same time. Fans of the sport are lucky that Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root are around to regale them. It doesn’t matter if the England captain is going through a lean patch currently and his career Test average has slipped a little below 50. He is still a great batsman and surely it is only a matter of time before a lot of runs and big scores come his way. As the sporting adage goes ``form is temporary class is permanent.’’

The other three however continue to be among the runs. Kohli is acknowledged to be the best among the three formats and it is almost impossible to argue against this judgement. The Indian captain has got runs consistently and handsomely. His batting is an ideal blend of audacious strokeplay and sterling defence in Tests and ODIs and in T-20 cricket he bats with gay abandon but fully in control of the situation. A player who averages an unthinkable 60 after playing 230 innings in ODIs is nothing short of a phenomenon. But perhaps even more eye rubbing and mind boggling is an average of 49 in T-20 internationals. The format calls for explosive knocks but these are generally brief with the risk factor being very high. And yet Kohli has 21 half centuries four more than the next best Rohit Sharma who has played 23 more innings. In Tests with 25 hundreds from 79 matches and an average of 53 his record is second only to Smith which is saying something given the Aussie’s exalted status in the game’s traditional format.

Kane Williamson like Kohli excels in all three formats but it is his awesome record in Tests that takes precedence. With 20 hundreds from 74 matches at an average of 52 he is a class act. But the New Zealand captain averages almost 48 in ODIs with an impressive strike rate and has the game to adjust to the shortest format where he has an excellent record.

Much the same can be said about Smith who also excels in the two shorter formats to be bracketed with Williamson and Root with the Indian captain comfortably leading the way. But when it comes to Tests Smith stands on a peak well ahead of the others. What else can one say about a batsman who averages 64 in Tests, who has notched up 26 hundreds in just 68 Tests, whose name is second only to Don Bradman when it comes to notching up records. His unusual technique has got bowlers scratching their heads in dismay as they try and work out strategies to get him out. His appetite for runs and big scores are insatiable, his powers of concentration are legendary and he is the quintessential Aussie fighter who just never gives up. In years to come the era of The Big Four will bring a glint to the eyes of old timers fortunate to be around at this time.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli and selectors should take a call on MS Dhoni's future - Sourav Ganguly

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:55 AM IST


MS Dhoni has maintained silence on his future with Men in Blue. Many former cricketers feel Dhoni should be allowed to decide his future course of action.

However, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly wants Virat Kohli and national selectors to take a call on MS Dhoni's future.

"I don't know what the selectors think, what Virat thinks. They are the important persons, let them make the decision," he said.

The first T20 match between India and South Africa was washed out due to rain. Ganguly has rated Team India as favourite for the T20 and Test series.

"India are favourites. India at home is a dangerous team. They are very hard to beat and that's been the case for years," he added.

He also spoke about his role with Delhi Capitals.

"In any case I am already a coach. I look after the Delhi Capitals in the IPL. In my first season last year, they did well. They went to the semifinals from being last for last seven years so it's been good," he said.

News Cricket

No security for Virat Kohli & Co as BCCI fails to deposit a fee of Rs 9 crore to Chandigarh police

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:48 AM IST


Ahead of the second T20I between India and South Africa, Chandigarh police refused to provide security cover to the Indian team. According to reports, the governing body of Indian cricket has not deposited a fee of Rs 9 crore, forcing the police to deny security cover.

Both the teams were received at the airport by Mohali police but the Chandigarh police refused to give any personnel at all.

However, private security arrangements have been made for both the teams at the hotel.

Earlier, the first T20 between India and South Africa was abandoned due to rain at HPCA Stadium.

Weather threatened to play havoc with the start of South Africa's tour of India since the tourists arrived at the scenic hill station venue last week and the anticipated rain duly arrived on Sunday afternoon.

After the toss was initially delayed due to a wet outfield, the game was abandoned at 7.50 p.m. local time, 50 minutes after the scheduled start of play.

News Cricket

Miandad blasts Lankan players, says SLC should penalize those who have opted out of Pak series

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:42 AM IST


Pakistan were hoping to welcome full-strength Sri Lanka side for the upcoming tour. However, their plans were dashed when 10 top Sri Lankan players decided to opt of the tour citing security reasons.

This is the first time after a long time that a top cricket nation has decided to tour Pakistan. The Lankans will play three ODIs and as many T20Is in Pakistan.

Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, and Niroshan Dickwella are the players who have pulled out of the tour.

Former Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad is furious with Island players and has urged the national cricket board of Sri Lanka to take action against those who have decided to skip the tour.

“International matches should be the top priority for the players and SLC should penalize the ones who have opted out of the Pakistan series."

Earlier, Shoaib Akhtar and Ramiz Raza have slammed the Lankan cricketer for their decision.

News Cricket

No more Biryani for Pakistan players as Misbah changes diet plan

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:40 AM IST


Pakistan’s new head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has decided to work on the fitness of players. He has changed the diet plan to ensure players are fit when they take up national or domestic duties.

“No more Biryani or oil rich red meat meals or sweet dishes for the players now,” said a member of a catering company managing the food plan for the players in a match of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

According to new instructions players will be served barbecue items and pasta with lots of fruits.

“Pakistani players are known to have a fondness for junk food and rich oily dishes when they are not playing for the national team but Misbah has told every player that a log book will be maintained on their fitness and diet plans and anyone found lacking would be shown the door,” a source, aware of the developments, said.

Misbah was one of the fittest players during his days in international cricket. He has already chalked out plan and vision to take Pakistan cricket forward.

“I have been saying this forever that there is some confusion in the way we are thinking about being defensive and aggressive,” he said after his appointment. “I always believed that your strategy is based on the resources you’ve got. Ideally, you obviously try and wish to have resources that you can just dominate and knock out the opposition.

“Being a coach, I will try to build a team that plays aggressively and wins easily. But then at certain times you have to assess the strength of the opponent and make your strategy accordingly."

News Tennis

Nadal to open in ATP Cup in Perth; Djokovic on east coast

AP Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:29 AM IST


U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal will start his 2020 season on the opposite side of Australia to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer when he leads Spain in a group-stage qualifier in the new ATP Cup team competition.

Spain was drawn into Group B with Japan and Georgia and will play in Perth on Australia's west coast, where the U.S. team, Daniil Medvedev's Russia team and Italy will also be competing in Group D.

Nadal collected his 19th major title, moving within one of Federer's record for men, when he held off Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in a U.S. Open final that lasted nearly five hours. Nadal remained at No. 2 in the rankings, behind Djokovic, and Medvedev moved up to career-best No. 4.

Djokovic's Serbia squad was drawn into Group A along with France and South Africa in one of two groups based in Brisbane on Australia's east coast, along with Australia, Germany, Canada and Greece in Group F.

No. 3-ranked Federer's Swiss team will open in Group C against Belgium and Britain in Sydney, where Group E — containing Austria, Croatia and Argentina — will also be based.

There are five spots still open in the 24-country tournament which starts in the three cities on Jan. 3 and will double as the season-opening event for the men's tennis tour.

Eight teams from the six-day group stage will advance to the knockout rounds, which will continue in Sydney until Jan. 12.

The ATP says all players in the top 10, and 27 of the top 30 players in the rankings, have committed to playing in the ATP Cup.

The Australian Open, the first major of the season, is set to start Jan. 20 in Melbourne.

News Football

Liverpool begins Champions League defense at Napoli

AP Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:24 AM IST


Defending champion Liverpool and Barcelona open their Champions League campaigns with difficult away games as Europe's top club competition returns.

Liverpool travels to Napoli, where it lost in the group stage last season, while Barcelona visits Borussia Dortmund as the Spanish giant renews its search for a first European title since 2015.

Last season's surprise semifinalist Ajax is also in action, playing Lille at home, while Europa League champion Chelsea welcomes Valencia to Stamford Bridge.

Here's a look at Tuesday's group games:


Liverpool knows from experience that it can't take anything for granted at Napoli, where it lost 1-0 last season before beating the Italian side by the same score at Anfield to advance to the knockout stages.

"The manager said it was probably our worst game of the season," fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold said. "It is a really tricky place to go. The fans are really hostile."

Forward Divock Origi is out after twisting his ankle in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Newcastle at the weekend, and teenager Rhian Brewster has taken the Belgian striker's place in the squad. Midfielder Naby Keita and goalkeeper Alisson Becker remain sidelined.

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti has several new, enticing options in his second season. Substitute Fernando Llorente made his debut and set up Dries Mertens' second goal in a 2-0 win over Sampdoria on Saturday.

"Llorente is a complete forward. Because he is so tall, everyone thinks he's just an old-fashioned center-forward, but he can play football and has great technique," Ancelotti said. "I have many options available to me in attack now."

Mexico winger Hirving Lozano has also impressed, meaning Ancelotti can rest the veteran attack trio of Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon.

Austrian champion Salzburg hosts Belgian counterpart Genk in the other Group E game.


Dortmund fans are hoping Spanish forward Paco Alcácer can keep his scoring streak going against former side Barcelona. Alcácer netted again in his side's 4-0 rout of Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday to maintain his record of scoring in every competitive game so far this season — seven goals in six games for Dortmund and three in two games for Spain.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi is unlikely to feature due to a lingering calf injury.

Messi trained with his teammates for the first time on Sunday, a day after the team's 5-2 win over Valencia in the Spanish league.

The injury has prevented Messi from playing this season, but young sensation Ansu Fati could make his Champions League debut. The 16-year-old Fati is already a fan favorite after becoming the youngest Barca player to score in the Spanish league and the youngest to score at its Camp Nou Stadium.

Slavia Prague's daunting task to emerge from the group begins at Inter Milan, which has been the most consistent squad through three rounds of Serie A.

Center forward Romelu Lukaku has been standing out following his 65 million euro ($73 million) transfer from Manchester United, and Alexis Sanchez made a short but impressive debut off the bench in Inter's 1-0 win over Udinese on Saturday.

"It's a long road ahead of us, we have a lot of work to do and won't get caught up by easy enthusiasm," Inter coach Antonio Conte said.


Lyon opens its Champions League campaign at home to Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg, widely considered the weakest of the competition's eight top seeds.

Zenit has not played in the group stage since 2015-16, when it beat Lyon home and away. However, playing abroad has since become a problem for the side, which has won none of its last nine away European fixtures dating back to 2017.

Zenit signed winger Malcom in the summer from Barcelona but he has missed the club's last four league games due to hip problems, and seems unlikely to return against Lyon.

Lyon has not impressed in the French league so far. Center half Jason Denayer's return could be a much-needed boost for coach Sylvinho, who has been frustrated with the attitude of his players recently.

Lyon's 2-2 draw at Amiens on Friday was the side's third consecutive game without a win and its second straight draw after giving away a lead.

It lead to some stern words from Sylvinho, who is in his first season as coach. The former Arsenal and Barcelona left back rebuked his players and urged them to improve both their intensity and concentration starting against Zenit.

"Of course I'm worried. We need the mentality to win and keep on winning," Sylvinho said.

After being an unused substitute on Friday, Memphis Depay is expected to take his place in attack beside the in-form Moussa Dembélé and Netherlands teammate Denayer, who has reportedly shaken off a minor foot injury.

Benfica hosts German side Leipzig in the other Group G game.


Valencia arrives at Chelsea in crisis following last week's firing of coach Marcelino García Toral by Singaporean owner Peter Lim over planning discrepancies. Former Real Madrid assistant Albert Celades made his debut as coach on Saturday with a 5-2 defeat at Barcelona.

"The only way to rebound is to keep working hard," Celades said. "We'll give our best."

Chelsea counterpart Frank Lampard begins his bid to win the Champions League as coach after lifting the trophy as a Chelsea player.

After taking over from the fired Maurizio Sarri, Lampard leads Chelsea in only his second season in management. The first was spent in the second tier at Derby.

Meanwhile, Lille coach Christophe Galtier is under no illusions about the task facing his side away to last season's semifinalist Ajax.

"We know how good a side they are and how difficult it will be," Galtier said. "I won't give more importance to the Champions League than to the (French) championship."

The match features two teams with a strong reputation for giving talented young players the chance to shine.

The 21-year-old Jonathan Ikoné, who recently scored on his France debut, and 23-year-old Jonathan Bamba are expected to line up in a Lille attack that likes to hit teams with fast counterattacks.

Ajax, meanwhile, will have to cope without two of its key players from last season — center back Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Frenkie de Jong — who were both sold in the summer.

News Cricket

Hafeez and Malik allowed to skip series against Sri Lanka

AP Updated: 17 September, 2019, 10:12 AM IST


Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq named 20 probables for a short training camp ahead of the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka this month, with experienced all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik not included in the list.

Hafeez and Malik were granted permission by the Pakistan Cricket Board to play in the Caribbean Premier League until Oct. 12.

Fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain has already been asked by the board to return home from the CPL to compete in the country's premier first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

The 19-year-old Hasnain, who has played five ODIs, also was called up for the training camp that starts Wednesday.

Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal might get a chance to make it to the final squads for the three-match ODI series and the three Twenty20s against Sri Lanka. Both batsmen were included in Monday's list.

Shehzad, who has played 81 ODIs, has been sidelined since October 2017, when he played an ODI against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates. Akmal played his last ODI against Australia — also in the UAE in March — but was not selected for the World Cup.

The ODI series against Sri Lanka begins at Karachi on Sept. 27, while the three-match Twenty20 series will be played at Lahore from Oct. 5-9.

The PCB has retained Sarfraraz Ahmed as captain and named middle-order batsman Babar Azam as vice captain.

The PCB said Misbah will announce the final squads for both series on Saturday at Lahore.

Training camp probables

Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam (vice captain), Abid Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz.

News Cricket

Andre Russell getting ready for the next phase as he announces his Wife’s pregnancy

Staff Writer Updated: 16 September, 2019, 4:34 PM IST


Andre Russell is famous for his power-hitting in the shorter formats of the game. However, he is going through tough times at the moment. The all-round star was ruled out of the T20 series against India and now he has missed a couple of games in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League after he was hit on the helmet by Hardus Viljoen’s delivery.

But he is having a gala time in his personal life. Andre Russell is set to become a father as his wife, Jassym Lora, is pregnant. He celebrated his wife’s pregnancy news in an adorable way.

During a gathering with his family and friends, he was seen holding the bat while his wife had a cricket ball in her hand. After teaching Jassym Lora how to bowl, he played the delivery bowled by her and the surrounding was filled with colours.

Russell uploaded a video on his Instagram handle to share this news with his fans. “So it’s #GIRL another blessing in my life it didn’t matter if it was a girl or a boy, all am asking God for is a healthy baby #babyrussell,” he wrote.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni to lead CSK next year – CSK Owner

Staff Writer Updated: 16 September, 2019, 3:55 PM IST


MS Dhoni has been exceptional for his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. He is one of the main reasons behind the success of Chennai based team.

However, things have changed for the former Indian skipper. The 38-year old is currently on a break and his future with Team India looks bleak.

Dhoni failed to lead CSK to another title in the last edition of the cash rich league, losing the all-important finale against arch rivals Mumbai Indians.

N Srinivasan, the owner of Chennai Super King, has given a verdict over Dhoni's future with the IPL franchise.

“I can say only one thing. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will only be the captain for the next IPL season,” said the former BCCI President as quoted by Times Now.

Super Kings are the only team to feature in the most number of IPL finals with eight appearances in the last 12 seasons.

Feature Cricket

Ashes 2019: Closer Than Australia Think

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 16 September, 2019, 3:33 PM IST


The Ashes series of 2019 in England ended the way it should have: with the stakes even at the end of the five Test series contest. Yet while Australia would like to believe that they were the better of the two teams, the truth of the matter is that they have a lot to recover from themselves, revealing chinks in their own armour that caused them to slip up often enough.

Australia believe they had the upper hand in the series and this was their series to lose. In a sense, by retaining the urn with the win in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Australia did manage to do keep their Ashes intact. But it was not the true reflection of how many odds Australia themselves were beating, sometimes to stay alive and sometimes to get even and ahead. Remove Steve Smith from the equation and the inference becomes more obvious. At the start of the Ashes, there were, also, worried conjecture that Australia had to rotate their bowlers in order to keep them at full tilt, this while England ran through their frontline bowlers.

The reason the Australians were not able to overpower England was because they kept falling short when backing up Steve Smith’s performances with all-round effort consistency enough. They must ask themselves some questions with the likes of Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting and Steven Waugh around in the support staff, all members of the once dominant Australian team.

Australia would argue they had the better bowlers, Pat Cummins climbing up the charts, and that with Smith in the ascendancy, that they could have challenged matters at Lord’s or had England eating out of their hand in Headingley in the third Test. While Australia were a wicket away from a win, the truth of the matter is that their fielding was, also, not top notch. It explains why even when they think they could have had the better of Ben Stokes, they did not because like England, who let Australia’s fragile middle order off the hook, Australia too lost their chances in the field.

The result of the series, drawn at 2-2, is a fair reflection of the engaging battle both teams have had, partly because of the outstanding performances of one or two of their key players when the chips were down and also, because both teams struggled to yield top class performances from a majority of their players. Where England were exposed for fiddling around with the opening slot, Australia could not find the prolific David Warner of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

While Australia would rue missed opportunities through their own lack of consistency, England will equally reflect on the fact that the Ashes series began in Birmingham with Australia tottering on day one and England holding sway for much of the match until push came to shove. The Ashes result could though serve as the perfect catalyst, laying seeds for both teams to go back to the drawing board for the next contest in this historic battle.

News Cricket

Players will have to prove themselves in four to five games - Virat Kohli

Staff Writer Updated: 16 September, 2019, 3:27 PM IST


India skipper Virat Kohli has demanded performance from his players before the ICC World Cup in 2020. According to him, players will have to prove themselves in a short span of time as the management is looking to figure out the best possible combination.

Team India will play around 30 T20I matches before the World Cup.

"We are very clear. It is not that anyone will get 30 chances. Even when I came in the team, I didn't think I will get 15-20 games and I knew I will mostly get chances in three to five games and I have to prove myself. One will get suppose five chances and he will have to prove himself. That is the level we are playing at. As the team management has that mindset, the individual should also have the same," Kohli said in an interaction on

"It is a delicate balance to strike but as we have 30 games before it (World Cup), so we have to figure out how much time each individual gets," he added.

News Cricket

Ravi Shastri warns Rishabh Pant, says he is letting team down

Staff Writer Updated: 16 September, 2019, 2:38 PM IST


Team India's head coach Ravi Shastri is not happy with Rishabh Pant's habit of getting out in a similar fashion. He blasted the young Indian wicket-keeper for his poor shot selection and even warned him of consequences.

"When you see a shot like the one in Trinidad, off the first ball, (it's disappointing)," Shastri said while referring to the dismissal of Pant on the bowling of Fabian Allen during the third ODI between West Indies and India.

"He tries to repeat it a couple of times and gets out, he will be told," Shastri added.

"There will be a rap on the knuckles there - talent or no talent - because you are letting the team down, forget letting yourself down. You are letting the team down in a situation where you have the captain at the other end. You have a target to chase where the need of the hour is some sensible cricket."

Pant's performance in the T20 series was criticized by many who accused him of wasting opportunities.

"No one will change his style but match awareness becomes crucial, shot selection becomes crucial in particular situations," he said.

"If he can fathom that out, he could be unstoppable. You mentioned how many games, it could be one game, it could be four games. I don't see more than that. He will learn. He has played enough IPL cricket. So it's time now for him to step on to the stage and just show the world how devastating he is."

News Cricket

Ben Stokes crosses line again, calls David Warner a f***ing prick

Staff Writer Updated: 16 September, 2019, 2:36 PM IST


All was not well between players during the recently concluded Ashes. When the world thought that Ben Stokes has moved on from his controversial avatar, he touched another low.

The English all-rounder used colorful language to target David Warner. He was overheard calling the left-hand batsman a “f***ing prick” when the teams were heading for lunch.

UK journalist Isabelle Westbury has revealed the entire episode. Stump microphones later picked up one of the Australians saying “yeah, Bristol!”

Meanwhile, both teams had something to celebrate as Australia was later presented with the Ashes urn. Australia had already retained the urn as holder but was thwarted in its goal of a first outright series win in England in 18 years after being dismissed for 263 in its second innings deep into the evening session on Day 4.

It's the first time an Ashes series has ended in a draw since 1972.

News Cricket

Big relief for Dinesh Karthik as BCCI accepts his apology

Staff Writer Updated: 16 September, 2019, 2:34 PM IST


The governing body of Indian cricket has accepted Dinesh Karthik's unconditional apology after he was found to have breached a clause of his central contract. He went to the West Indies to attend one of the matches of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League and was seen in the dressing room of the defending Champions, Trinbago Knight Riders.

According to one of the BCCI officials, the matter has been closed.

“The BCCI has accepted Dinesh Karthik’s apology and the matter is now a closed chapter,” the official was quoted as saying in The Hindu.

The central contract bars any Indian player to get associated with any T20 league across the globe.

After seeing his presence, the BCCI sent him a show-cause notice asking to explain why his central contract shouldn't be terminated.

Thereafter, he tender an apology, stating that he went to the dressing room of one of the franchises on the invitation of Brendon McCullum, who was recently appointed as the head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders.