News Cricket

Rohit Sharma to open batting for Mumbai Indians

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:48 PM IST


Former and current cricketers have time and again spoken about the significance of Rohit Sharma opening the batting for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. He did came as an opener for the first two matches of the league last season but curtailed the move in order to add more firepower in the middle order.

Keeping the World Cup in mind, he has once again decided to open the innings for his franchise.

"This year, I will open the batting in all the games. That's for sure. World Cup is one of the factors. But that [opening position] is where I have got a lot of success of late. The team understands that. We now have got some experience in the middle order. That allows me to go and bat at the top. I will try and open in every game possible."

According to him, his approach will be the same as it is for any series or tournament.

"My approach will be the same as it is for any tournament. I have in the past batted in the middle order and I have opened as well in a few games. Yeah, wherever the team requires me to bat, I have to bat there. We have to make sure we get the right balance and team composition," Rohit told the media on Tuesday.

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News Cricket

Gautam Gambhir blasts Virat Kohli for not backing Ambati Rayudu

Staff Writer Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:57 PM IST


Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has questioned skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri for not sealing team's number 4 slot for the ICC World Cup.

He lambasted Virat Kohli for not backing Ambati Rayudu, who was dropped from the side mid-way during the ODI series against Australia.

"If you want a settled batting order in the World Cup, then the No. 4 has to be decided beforehand and he should be backed completely," he said.

Gambhir feels team management should have continued with Ambati Rayudu like they did with MS Dhoni when he was going through poor form.

"You have backed others too. You backed MS Dhoni too last year and even Shikhar Dhawan. Ambati Rayudu averages nearly 50 in ODIs, he hasn't done anything wrong. Failures are part and parcel of the game. You didn't drop any other player after two or three failures," said the former India opener.

According to him, too much experimentation could unsettle the team.

"No. 4 should have been a settled position by now. Virat Kohli played the 2011 World Cup at No. 4. Whoever the team management decides to back should be backed to the hilt and they should stay patient with him. It is a very important slot and you can't have a floater at No 4 because the No. 3 and No. 4 makes the core of your middle order," he added.

News Cricket

Jos Buttler wants to reach Virat Kohli’s level in international cricket

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:55 PM IST


Jos Buttler is one of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball. The right hand batsman has been churning runs after runs and has become England's most sought after player. He is following Virat Kohli's footsteps and wants to emulate the Indian skipper when it comes to consistency level.

Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world currently, who has reached new heights in international arena. The England wicketkeeper batsman is confident of reaching the level of Virat Kohli.

"I know I can go to another level," Jos Buttler was quoted as saying by

"Why couldn't you just stay at peak level? Someone like Kohli scores a hundred every game, he doesn't settle for: "Ah, that was ok, I'll peak at some point." Just do it every day. That's the sort of mindset I've been wanting to hit," said the Englishman.

He has cleared his intentions ahead of the IPL and World Cup. Buttler believes an aggressive approach during the league phase and knockout matches of the World Cup could prove more beneficial.

“Even in knockout games, it won't be a side that plays cautiously that wins the World Cup,” he said. “It will be a side that plays some brave cricket and smart cricket, making good decisions under pressure.”

News Cricket

It is a huge plus for Virat to have Dhoni around for the World Cup - Ponting

Staff Writer Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:52 PM IST


Former Aussie skipper and three-time World Cup winner, Ricky Ponting knows what it takes to win big ICC events. Talking about Team India's chances, Punter has identified the main man, who could lead India to third World Cup trophy.

"It is a huge plus for Virat to have someone like MS Dhoni around for the World Cup. He brings in a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge about the game. He has been there before, been through the World Cups and was the captain of the World Cup-winning team," Ponting told India Today in an interview.

He added: "It is nice to have someone like that in your corner. But I think not as much for the captaincy side of the thing for Virat, the match-winning ability of Dhoni is somewhat overlooked to a certain degree. I think he always controls the middle of the innings with the bat, particularly during the run chases. I think he was the main reason (Dhoni not playing) why Australia were able to get back on the top during the last series," Ponting added.

He is backing India to perform well in the showpiece event in England and Wales. "There is no doubt about the quality of the Indian team. We have seen it on display for a number of years now. I think they have got so many, really good, match-winning players starting with someone like Rohit Sharma at the top who has made three or four double hundreds in one-day cricket. They've got so much talent available and will do really well in the English conditions as well. They will be one of the favourite teams going in," said Ponting.

"The only concern that they have got right now is the No 4 batting spot. They have been tinkering with it for the last few weeks. I think Australia, England and India will be the top three favourite teams in this World Cup. I will be surprised if the winner comes outside of those three teams," he added.

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah will have to play IPL, says Mahela Jayawardene on workload

Staff Writer Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:50 PM IST


Virat Kohli had earlier stated that players like Jasprit Bumrah need proper workload management during the Indian Premier League in order to keep them fit and fine for the World Cup.

Bumrah has become one of the most feared fast bowlers in the last one year and is being tipped as the bowler to watch out for at World Cup in England and Wales.

However, Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene feels Bumrah must play in the league and the Indian cricket team shouldn't lose its sleep over Bumrah's workload.

"The work load needs to be managed but at the same time they need to play good competitive cricket. I think India has managed their players well over the years giving them breaks. I think your best players need to play. They can't stay at home and turn up and perform. It's about that fine balance and as long as we can manage that, they will be fine," Jayawardene told India Today.

Bumrah's unorthodox bowling action could prove to be his nemesis during the course of the tournament.

News Cricket

Yuvraj is doing everything possible to perform for Mumbai Indians - Zaheer Khan

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:46 PM IST


Yuvraj Singh is no more a match winner and is struggling to keep his cricketing career alive. The southpaw was handed a lifeline by Mumbai Indians when they bought him in the final round of the IPL auction.

Zaheer Khan, who is Yuvraj's closest friend, is not convinced that he has passed his prime and will not be able to perform in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

Former Indian bowler has stated that Yuvraj is looking more determined this time.

"We needed an experienced batsman who controls the game in the middle. Who is better than Yuvraj Singh to do this? Yuvraj is looking forward to this season. He's doing everything possible to make it count. This is great news for all his fans," Zaheer Khan told the media on Tuesday.

Yuvraj Singh will play for Mumbai Indians for the first time in his IPL career. The left hand batsman has represented Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors India, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past.

News Cricket

We have the talent and we have the skills to beat any side in World Cup - Rashid Khan

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:44 PM IST


Rashid Khan is one of the best spinners in limited-overs cricket currently. He played a key role in Afghanistan's maiden Test victory in their second Test match. He took five wickets in the second innings against Ireland to start another golden chapter in the history of war-torn country.

Before the start of the Indian Premier League where he plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rashid is confident of seeing better performance from his national teammates in the near future. Rashid stated that players will have to believe in themselves.

"We have the talent and we have the skills," he told AFP in an interview.

"How we played in the Asia Cup was totally different and we showed that we can beat any side," said Khan.

"The only thing is to believe in your skills. Just to be relaxed in big matches and enjoy your game," he added.

"And that's how we should be in the World Cup." He credited IPL for honing his bowling skills. "The IPL gives you lot of motivation. Once you play in these leagues, it gives you confidence playing with big players," said Khan.

"And then you perform there on flat wickets like the IPL and that gives you a kind of satisfaction and confidence that I can deliver when I am in the national side."

News Cricket

PCB pays USD 1.6 million as compensation to BCCI after losing case

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 1:58 PM IST


The governing body of Pakistan Cricket has paid USD 1.6 million as compensation to the BCCI after losing the case in the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

According to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, they incurred costs of around USD 2.2 million on the compensation case.

“We incurred costs of around USD 2.2 million on the compensation case which we lost,” said Mani.

Mani further added that the entire amount also included the other expenses related to legal fees and travelling.

The PCB had filed a case against the BCCI last year to recover the losses they had to incurred following India's refusal to play bilateral series against them.

PCB had sought around USD 70 million from BCCI for not honoring a MoU signed between the two boards.

The Indian cricket board had maintained that the MoU was not legally binding.

The dispute resolution committee of the ICC had accepted BCCI’s claims and instructed Pakistan to pay USD 1.6 million to the Indian Cricket Board.

“The ICC committee did accept that Pakistan had a case and that is why the damages/cost we had to pay to the Indian board was around USD 1.6 million,” Mani added.

News Cricket

Steve Smith looking forward to play alongside Jos Buttler

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 12:35 PM IST


Australia's Steve Smith had to miss the last edition of the IPL following his one-year ban for his involvement in ball tampering incident in South Africa. However, the right-hand batsman is ready to represent Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming edition. He is looking forward to play along side Jos Buttler. Smith has stated that Buttler is an exciting player and is one of the most destructive batsmen around the world.

“It’ll be great, makes things easier for me, batting with Jos,” Smith said during a live chat on Royals’ social media platforms, Sport360 reported.

“He’s an exciting player and one of the most destructive batters around the world. I’m really excited to play with him,” he added.

The right hand batsman knows that IPL will help him to stage his comeback to national side. “I’ll be hitting as many balls as I can, getting myself into a good rhythm. I started batting a couple of weeks ago back home and I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well,” said Smith.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni is the world’s coolest captain

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 11:14 AM IST


Ankit Rajpoot, who has played for the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders, has hailed MS Dhoni as the coolest captain and Gautam Gambhir as a very aggressive leader. He will play for the Kings XI Punjab this season. Playing for the Kings last year, he had scalped 11 wickets in 8 matches. He reserved the best praise for his current skipper, R Ashwin.

“The three are totally different captains and can’t be compared to anyone. Dhoni is the world’s coolest captain. Gauti bhai has an attacking-style of captaincy. Ashwin is a bowlers’ man. The best part is that bowlers get a lot of help from him. The three captains have different thinking but the execution is same. They are all amazing leaders,” Rajpoot was quoted as saying on TOI.

“A captain who is a bower will always be there to sympathise with you when you are being sent to cleaners. Honestly, I got a lot of help from him. Ashwin bhai has played a lot of cricket and has a lot of experience. He understands the mentality of a bowler. If you request him for something (regarding field setting), he will understand you immediately,” he added. He had a decent outing in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and is hoping to leave his mark in the Indian Premier League.

“Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy was a kind of preparation for me ahead of the IPL. It was the best platform to get into the IPL groove. I want to carry on the same show in IPL too. I will go in with the same strategy,” he conceded.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli should thank RCB for sticking with him as captain - Gambhir

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 10:27 AM IST


Former Indian skipper Gautam Gambhir believes that Virat Kohli should be grateful that Royal Challengers Bangalore have decided to stick with him as captain in spite of heartbreaking results. He stated that Virat should not be compared to Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni as their respective franchises have won the Indian Premier League thrice.

“Still a long way to go. I don’t see him as a shoot captain or a tactful captain. And he hasn’t won the IPL. So ultimately a captain is only as good as his record till the time you don’t win the IPL. There are people who have won the trophy three times - MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go. You cannot compare him to someone like Rohit or Dhoni at this stage because he has been part of RCB and captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years and he has been very lucky and should rather thank the franchise that they stuck to him because not many captains have got such a long run where they haven’t won a tournament,” Gambhir said on Star Sports’ analysis show ahead of IPL 2019.

Despite Virat Kohli's brilliant performance with his willow, Royal Challengers Bangalore have not tasted success in the league. Virat Kohli has amassed 4,948 runs at an average of 38.36.

According to Virat, bad decision making has undone his franchise in the tournament.

“The (RCB’s) failure lies where decisions aren’t made properly. If I sit here and say our luck was bad, that won’t be right. You make your own luck, and if you make poor decisions and the other team makes good ones, you will lose,” he said.

News Cricket

India should boycott playing against Pakistan in all events - Gautam Gambhir

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 5:34 PM IST


The likes of Harbhajan Singh, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly had stated that India should boycott the World Cup match against Pakistan following dastardly Pulwama terror attack in which 42 security personnel lost their lives.

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir is the latest former cricketer to voice his opinion on the matter. He feels India should boycott Pakistan in all the major cricket tournaments.

He also requisite the fellow Indians to support the team if they fail to reach the knockout stages at the World Cup after forfeiting two points against arch rivals.

"We should also boycott the Asia cup so we don’t play Pakistan. No problem in forfeiting 2 points India-Pak match but the entire country should then stand behind the team and not blame them for not making it to the semis or finals," Gambhir told Times Now.

He wants fans to ignore such personalities, who say sport is above politics. "That certain section who say sport is over politics need not be considered. Nothing is bigger than the loves of the soldiers for me. We can’t put conditional bans on Pakistan, we should stop everything," Gambhir reckoned.

Feature Cricket

Cricket in the Age of Terror

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 18 March, 2019, 4:31 PM IST


When the BCCI contrived to send a formal letter to exhort the International Cricket Council (ICC) to boycott Pakistan from cricket, even it knew what it was asking was not within the realm of possibility and ambience of the world’s governing body. With the Bangladesh cricket team having returned home with barely a scratch but plenty of mental scars, cricket has been put on a rather sticky wicket.

The letter of intent sent by the CoA on behalf of the BCCI to the ICC under pressure from the general mass population of the country to cut ties with Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack on army personnel was in reality a matter of mere formality considering the fact that the ICC has been wary in the past from intervening in political embargo within and between cricket playing nations. That the ICC cannot afford to alienate any Test playing nation given the number of teams participating at any one time is another obvious factor that would have, in any case, made the BCCI letter redundant.

However, last week’s terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, one of which was being visited by the visiting Bangladesh cricket team ahead of the Hagley Oval Test has thrown the debate wide open. Under pressure to show some sort of reaction, the BCCI had tried to appease the general public in India by claiming to assert with the ICC the need to ramp up security for the Indian cricket team, particularly during the key clash with Pakistan, in the course of the ICC Cricket World Cup given the backdrop of tension and terror escalating between the borders of the two nations.

Now while a visibly shaken Bangladesh team returned home after the cancellation of the Hagley Test, a situation not unlike the one New Zealand faced a few years back when they returned home from Pakistan following a bomb blast outside their hotel, Pakistan is up in indignation although the scenario appears unlikely to change anytime soon.

When India refused to tour Pakistan post the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, Sri Lanka travelled to Pakistan only to return home shellshocked followed an attack on their team bus outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. With injuries, physical and mental, the scars refuse to go away even as it has been ten years since that dreaded attack. While the BCCI has passed the buck on to the Indian government and then onto the ICC to take a call, the Pakistan public is now demanding whether similar action will be taken to alienate New Zealand or whether it is a case of discrimination that has seen Pakistan isolated from hosting international cricket matches.

It is a situation the ICC will be hard pressed to answer in a manner that will seem fair, uniform and just across the playing field.

News Cricket

Back with a Bang: David Warner smashes 65 off 43 balls in practice game - Watch

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 4:02 PM IST


Sunrisers Hyderabad star batsman David Warner has announced his arrival in style. The left hand batsman scored 65 off 43 balls in a recent practice game. Apart from him, Manish Pandey made useful contribution, smashing 67 off 43 balls.

Warner will play for his franchise after missing out the last edition of the league, following his one-year ban for his involvement in ball tampering in South Africa.

Here's the video of his knock:

David Warner was the skipper of the side when Sunrisers Hyderabad won their maiden IPL title in 2016. The franchise would be hoping for a repeat of that. Sunrisers have assembled a strong unit and they are one of the top contenders.

News Cricket

Watch - Suresh Raina gets thunderous welcome at Chepauk Stadium  

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:58 PM IST


Chennai Super Kings have the most loyal fan base in the Indian Premier League. The Chennai based franchise was welcomed back in style when they made their comeback to the IPL fold after serving two-year ban. They not only played impressive cricket but also went on to win the league.

Suresh raina has been one of their best players since inception of the tournament in 2008. He has played a crucial part in the success of the franchise. The left hand batsman has scored 4985 runs.

Raina was welcomed by fans at the famous MA Chidambaram Stadium as he came out to bat in a practice session ahead of tournament opener against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“Chinna Thala entry! #YelloveAnbuDen,” wrote CSK on Twitter

Earlier, Raina had revealed what makes CSK players perform in the league. "The best thing about CSK is we played really well as a unit. And we haven't changed much (from 2018 edition) and have only two new players in the squad. So I think that is the success ratio for CSK," said Raina in a recent video released by CSK.