News Cricket

"Read Rashid’s googly and went for it," Pant on his second-ball six in Test cricket

Harshit Anand Updated: 19 February, 2019, 2:15 PM IST


Rishabh Pant has made a special place for himself in the red-ball format. He has played nine Tests and is averaging close to 50 with two centuries to his credit. The fact that both his hundreds have come in SENA countries makes his tons extra special. The southpaw is the only Indian wicket-keeper batsman to smash centuries in England and Australia respectively. It is something that even the great MS Dhoni couldn't. 

One of the most remarkable moments of Pant's career came on the second delivery he faced in Test cricket. He had smacked legspinner Adil Rashid into the stands during India’s first innings of the Third Test of the series to get off the mark. He became the first Indian to do something of that sort.

“I was nervous when I went out to bat. I was reminding myself to play according to the ball. I defended the first ball, but I saw what he [Adil Rashid] was trying to do. The second ball was a googly, and we Indian batsmen are good at reading spin. I read it from the hand, I felt like I could hit it, and I hit it,” Pant told ESPNcricinfo in an interview on what was going through his mind during that shot.

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News Cricket

India, England are top contenders for 2019 World Cup, says Herschelle Gibbs

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 1:05 PM IST


Former South African opener Herschelle Gibbs feels India and England are the top contenders for the World Cup title. The host nation is chasing their maiden World Cup title while Men in Blue have lifted the prestigious cup twice after notching up wins in 1983 and 2011.

While he named England and India as favorites but he failed to come out with two other semifinalists of the event. According to him, a lot will depend on the weather conditions in England & Wales.

"It is always wide open. The two standout contenders will be England and India. But, who is going to make the other two places for the semi-finals? It is difficult to say. A lot depends on the weather in England. The bowling attacks will all play a part (in the tournament)," the 44-year-old Gibbs said on Monday.

When asked about South Africa chances, he stated that Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock will have to play a key role but absence of a genuine all-rounder could hurt the Proteas.

"We (South Africa) are always up there irrespective of ABD. We have got Faf (Du Plessis) and Quinton de Kock. The only issue for South Africa is not having an all-rounder," said Gibbs.

News Cricket

Watch: MS Dhoni takes part in football charity match, fans flock to stadium to greet him

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 1:03 PM IST


MS Dhoni is followed by millions across the globe. Ahead of the T20 series against Australia, he was seen taking part in a charity football match in Mumbai.

The crowd turned up in huge numbers to see their favorite star in action. Apart from the former Indian skipper, Bollywood celebrities Dino Morea, Aparshakti Khurana, Marc Robinson also took part in the match.

Here are some pictures and videos from the occasion:

After failing to perform in 2018, the right hand batsman roared back to form in the ODI series against Australia scoring three consecutive fifties.

The right hand batsman was award Man of the Series for his clinical display in Men in Blue’s maiden bilateral ODI series triumph in Australia.

He is part of the T20 and ODI squads for the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia.

News Cricket

Ayesha Dhawan gives the perfect reply to trolls targeting Sania after terror attack in Pulwama

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 1:00 PM IST


Indian tennis star Sania Mirza took to Instagram to condemn the barbaric terror attack on the convoy of CRPF security personnel. She was in utter shock after hearing the news of this tragedy and termed it as black day for India.

"I stand with the CRPF jawaans and their families, my heart goes out to them and they are our true heroes who protect our country. 14th February was a black day for India and I hope we never have to see another day like this, no amount of condolences can make any of this better," Sania Mirza said in a lengthy post on Twitter.

As many as 42 soldiers lost their lives when an explosive-laden car rammed into one of the buses carrying CRPF men. She further added that celebrities doesn't need to condemn an attack publicly to prove their patriotism.

"This post is for those people who think that as celebrities we need to 'condemn' an attack, tweet and Instagram and be all over social media to prove that we are patriotic and care about our country. Why? Cause we are celebs and some of you are frustrated individuals who have nowhere else to target your anger towards and grab every opportunity to spread more hate?

Sania continued: "I don't need to condemn an attack publicly, or come and scream from roof tops or all over social media that we are against terrorism. Of course we are against terrorism and anyone that spreads it. Any person in their right frame of mind is against terrorism and if they are not then that's a problem!"

"This day will not be forgotten and neither shall it be forgiven but yes I will stay pray for peace and you should too instead of spreading more hate. Anger is good as long as it's being channeled into something productive," added Sania.

"You are achieving nothing by trolling other people. There was no place for terrorism in this world and there never will be. Find you way to serve the nation instead of sitting and swearing and judging public figures for how many posts they have posted about the tragedy!

"Do your bit and we are doing out bit without announcing on social media! Yes that's a thing too. Prayers and peace," Sania concluded.

She was soon targeted by trolls for expressing herself. Wife of Shikhar Dhawan, Ayesha has come out in her support and even shared Sania’s post before penning down condolence message for the martyred bravehearts.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant reveals the mindset of team India that is reaping sweet fruits

Harshit Anand Updated: 19 February, 2019, 12:04 PM IST


Team India are one of the most domineering sides at the moment in the world of cricket. They are ranked no.1 in ICC Test rankings while the Kohli-led side is no.2 in both ODI and T20I formats respectively. Be it any format, the Indian team are a tough nut to crack and put up a competitive show over and again. One of India's upcoming stars, Rishabh Pant disclosed the mindset that drives Virat Kohli's India when they take the field. 

“Right now in this Indian team, we only play to win. Whatever the match, whatever the situation, every player, from No. 1 to 11, only thinks about how he can win the match for India. That is the most important thing for us. That we have to win it for India,” Pant said.

Rishabh Pant also revealed how Virat Kohli's words inspired him to do something special in just his second Test match at the Oval.

He said, “During that hundred in England [at The Oval], we were too far behind. You had to be careful to pick what balls you hit. In England, if you give yourself some time, you can score runs. So I was very selective at the start of the innings. Once I got used to the conditions, the runs came. He (Virat Kohli) said it is not compulsory that you attain experience after 100 Tests. Even in your second Test, you can do what nobody has ever done."

News Cricket

Playing with Pakistan at World Cup would mean cricket is bigger than country: Ex-BCCI secretary  

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 11:13 AM IST


Ever since the Pulwama terror attack, the hostility between South Asian neighbors- India and Pakistan is on the rise. There have even been suggestions that India should refuse to play Pakistan in the 2019 Cricket World Cup that will commence from May 30 in England and Wales. 

Harbhajan Singh had opined that the Men in Blue should not play the Men in Green in the ICC megaevent. And now Ex-BCCI secretary, Sanjay Patel has also said that country is bigger than any sport and India should not play Pakistan in the World Cup. 

“How can you expect India to play Pakistan at the time we have lost so many of our brothers in these cowardly terrorist attack. I am of the firm view that India should not play Pakistan in the coming World Cup,” former BCCI secretary Patel was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

“If we play the World Cup, then it’s clear that game is bigger than the country’s image. For me, India is first and it’s not only me who has such a sentiment. Ask any Indian now, and they will be of the same view. Cricket will only take place if terrorism is stopped. I hope the current COA and BCCI takes note of it. There is always a limit to everything and this time all limits have been crossed.

“During the recent India-Pakistan board dispute, my stand was clear that we should not pay a single penny to PCB. The moment India withdraws from an ICC event, the World Cup will start falling. For me, human life is more important than sport,” Patel added.

News Cricket

Smriti Mandhana continues to top ICC ODI rankings for batswomen

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 10:54 AM IST


Indian opener Smriti Mandhana has maintained her top position in the ICC ODI rankings for batswomen. She has raked in 774 rating points and is ahead of Australia pair of Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning.

New Zealand’s Amy Satterthwaite is in 4th spot, just ahead of Indian skipper Mithali Raj.

The other Indian batswomen to feature in top 20 are Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet Kaur, who are at 17th and 19th positions respectively.

The opening batsman was adjudged ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ as well as the ‘Women’s ODI Player of the Year’ by the ICC. This is huge for Indian cricket and it will boost her confidence.

Left-handed opener Mandhana was terrific with the bat last year and won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ for scoring 669 runs in 12 ODI matches.

She also amassed 622 runs in 25 T20 Internationals in 2018.

Her ODI runs were scored at an average of 66.90. The talented batswoman showed her prowess for the Indian team and brought many laurels along the way. What was impressive was the strike-rate she enjoyed in T20Is. It was an impressive 130.67.

News Cricket

Watch: Hitman, Gabbar sweat it out in the gym ahead of the T20 series against Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 10:33 AM IST


India are all set to take on Australia in the upcoming T20 series. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, the two openers, are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the mega showdown against the visitors.

Both of them took to Instagram to post inspirational messages and update fans about their whereabouts. In his post, Shikhar Dhawan is seen working out in the gym and wrote: “Jeet Ki Khatir bas jannon chahiye, Jisme ubaal ho vaisa Khoon chahiye, Ye Asma bhi ayega Zameen par Bas irado main jeet ki goonj chahiye.”


On the other hand, Dhawan's opening partner Rohit Sharma posted a picture in which he looks all set to hit the gym in order to prepare himself for the limited overs series against Australia.


Shikhar and Rohit have been performing exceptionally well for Men in Blue in ODIs and T20 internationals. They will have a key role to play for their team in the upcoming World Cup, which is due to be played in England & Wales.

News Cricket

India should not play Pakistan in World Cup, says Harbhajan Singh

Staff Writer Updated: 18 February, 2019, 10:22 PM IST


Furious Harbhajan Singh has stated India should not play Pakistan in their World Cup match in Manchester on June 16 after the terror attack on convoy killed 40 soldiers.

According to Bhajji, Men in Blue are strong enough to make up for the points if they decide to concede their match against Pakistan.

"India should not play Pakistan in the world Cup. India are powerful enough to win the World Cup without having to play Pakistan," Harbhajan Singh told Aaj Tak.

He added: "This is a difficult time. The attack that has happened, it was unbelievable and it's very wrong. Strict action will surely be taken by the government. When it comes to cricket, I don't think we should have any relations with them otherwise they will keep treating us like this.

"I don't think we need to have any relations with Pakistan or play any cricket with them.

"I don't think India should play the World Cup match against Pakistan. Country comes first and we are all standing behind our country. Cricket or hockey or sports, it should be kept aside because this is a huge thing and repeatedly our soldiers are killed. We should stand with our country. Cricket or hockey or any sport, we don't need to play with them."

When asked what India need to do if they meet Pakistan in the semis or final of the event, he said: "We are too small to discuss what needs to be done - there are big people sitting in power who can take a call.

"What happens if we have to play Pakistan in the semi-final or final? There's plenty of time for June-July. The people in power will need what to do. But nobody can harm India. What happened in Pulwama is tragic. We are safe today only because of our defence forces," Harbhajan said.

News Cricket

India vs. Australia: MSK Prasad reveals the reason behind KL Rahul’s selection

Staff Writer Updated: 18 February, 2019, 10:17 PM IST


KL Rahul was picked in the squad for the upcoming T20I and ODI series against Australia. Rahul, who was in horrendous form in Australia, came back into his groove in the matches against England Lions.

He is being viewed as a third opener for the World Cup and chief selector MSK Prasad has said that onus is now on KL Rahul to prove the selectors right.

“At such a major tournament [World Cup], we can’t afford to go in without a third opener. That’s why we have included KL Rahul for the T20Is and the ODIs against Australia. We have to see how he performs because his form is also very important,” Prasad said in an interview on Hotstar.

Earlier, he had spoken about the inclusion of Rishabh Pant ahead of Dinesh Karthik.

“We have included him (Rishabh Pant) considering the fact he is a left-hander. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for him. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination,” the chief selector had said.

Opinion Cricket

Five Experiments that India should try in Australia series

Harshit Anand Updated: 18 February, 2019, 5:04 PM IST


India will take on Australia in two-match T20I series, which will commence from February 24. It will be followed by five-match ODI series. It is going to be the last series for the Men in Blue before the 2019 Cricket World Cup that will start from May 30 in England and Wales. 

Australia are reigning World-Cup champions. They aren't the same force they once were, but still, you can never count them out. Even in ODI series that India won in Australia, the games were quite close. It will be last chance for India to get its combination and balance right.

Here are Five Experiments that India should try in Australia series:

Playing Virat Kohli at no.4

There has been a lot of talks in regards to Virat Kohli's batting position in the last few days. Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri was of the view that the Indian skipper should bat at the no.4 position if the situation demands. Even India's chief selector, MSK Prasad backed Shastri's views. The logic behind sending Virat at 4 is that India's batting firepowers heavily depend on the top three- Rohit, Dhawan, and Kohli. So, in testing conditions, let's say on a seaming track, the Indian batting might get exposed in case the top three departs early. Sending Kohli at 4 would strengthen the middle-order. But who should bat at no.3 if Kohli bats at 4? India can experiment in this series. It can be a disaster if India tinker with their best batsman in the World Cup directly. 

Giving proper run to Rishabh Pant as a finisher

Rishabh Pant's power-hitting can help India finish off the innings with a flourish. Ever since the decline in MS Dhoni's hitting abilities, the Men in Blue have struggled to maximize run-making in the last 10 overs. If someone from the top three is there till the end, India accelerates through the fag-end. But if there are two new batsmen at the crease, the run-rate takes a hit. But, someone like Pant can smash the ball right from the word go and can play those important cameos at the end, which often turn out to be the difference between the two sides. Pant did show us the teaser in New Zealand T20Is, and he can exhibit the whole movie if given proper chances. 

Giving KL Rahul the chance to open in ODIs

India went ahead with Shubman Gill as reserve-opener in New Zealand. Though they played him in the middle-order. But, now he has been overlooked from the ODI and T20I squad against Australia, with KL Rahul returning back to the team. India would need to give chances to KL Rahul, and fix up the slot of reserve opener going into the World Cup. Rahul has largely underperformed in the recent past and is also coming out of a controversy, so India need to ensure whether he is good enough or not for the ICC megaevent, which would require all the players to be in good form. 

Playing Mayank Markande in T20Is

Punjab wrist-spinner, Mayank Markande got his maiden call-up in the Indian squad for Australia. India have rested Kuldeep Yadav from the T20Is. And they must play Mayank Markande in the series against Australia so that India have a back-up spinner ready in case of injury to either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal. Mayank is also a wrist-spinner so he can be a like for like replacement to them. He is an attacking option and can do well for India if his IPL and domestic performance is anything to go by.  

Game time to Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul

Umesh Yadav has been included only in the T20I team while Siddarth Kaul will be part of the T20I series as well as first two ODIs against Australia. India have already locked three seamers for the World Cup in form of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. But the Kohli-led side are still auditioning for the spot of the fourth seamer. Both Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul are in the mix. But, they need to be given game time as so that the 2011 World-Cup champions can lock the fourth seamer for the ICC megaevent. 

News Cricket

Mohammed Shami donates Rs 5 lakh to families of CRPF Martyrs

Staff Writer Updated: 18 February, 2019, 4:48 PM IST


Mohammed Shami has come forward to help the familes of CRPF martyrs, who lost their lives in a dastardly attack carried out by terrorists in Pulwama. 42 CRPF soldiers were killed in the attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed and the leading personalities of India are helping grieving families after the loss.

Mohammed Shami donated Rs 5 lakh to help the wives of the martyred security personnel. He also assured them that entire country will always be there to help them. “When we play for our country they stand at the borders protecting it. We stand with the families of our jawans, we will always be there for them,” he said.

Shikhar Dhawan has also pledged to donate money to the families. He took to Facebook and posted an emotional video requesting all Indians to support the families in this difficult time.

Earlier, Virender Sehwag offered to take care of educational expenses of the children of all CRPF personnel killed in Pulwama.

News Cricket

Watch: Yuvraj Singh’s switch-hit six is enough to excite Mumbai Indians fans for IPL 2019

Staff Writer Updated: 18 February, 2019, 4:43 PM IST


Yuvraj Singh is out of Team India and future looks bleak for him as far as international cricket is concerned.

Despite his exile, he continues to be a part of domestic tournaments. He recently played for Air Indian against the Maldives Cricket team and hit a brilliant switch hit six.

He picked the length of the ball early and whacked it for a huge six. However, he didn't last long and was dismissed for 17 runs off six deliveries.

He last played for India in 2017 and was released by Kings XI Punjab before IPL auction. The left hand batsman went unsold in the first of auction round but was bought by Mumbai Indians in the closing stages of the proceedings.

Yuvraj Singh was elated after getting another chance to showcase his abilities in the slam bang league of T20 cricket.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni sports a new hairstyle ahead of T20 series against Australia  

Staff Writer Updated: 18 February, 2019, 3:50 PM IST


MS Dhoni will be sporting a new look in the upcoming T20 series against Australia. Ahead of the series against visiting team, he paid a visit to his hairstylist Sapna Moti Bhavnani. She gave him a clean cut with short sides.

He was last seen in the T20 series against New Zealand which India lost 1-2. Dhoni was in fabulous touch in Australia. The right hand batsman was declared Man of the Series after scoring three consecutive fifties against Australia in the ODI matches.

Dhoni is expected to play a big role in the World Cup. Apart from his batting, he is known for his guidance from behind the stumps.

News Cricket

India are the best side in ODIs in their own conditions, says Aaron Finch

Staff Writer Updated: 18 February, 2019, 3:48 PM IST


Aaron Finch has praised Virat Kohli-led Men in Blue for their display in limited overs cricket. Calling them as the best white-ball side in their own backyard, Finch stated that Aussies can't afford to relax a bit in the upcoming matches.

"I don't think you need anything to put a pep in your step when you're going on an Aussie tour, particularly to India," Finch said.

"If you're slightly off the mark you're going to get hurt. They're the best side in one-day cricket in their own conditions, I think. So you've got to go there full of confidence and have a real clear game plan."

Australia T20I squad for India tour: Aaron Finch(c), Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, D Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa

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