News Cricket

Sourav Ganguly bats for Rohit Sharma as India's Test opener

Staff Writer Updated: 5 September, 2019, 5:28 PM IST


KL Rahul again failed to impress in the recently-concluded two-match Test series against West Indies, which the visitors, India won by 2-0. Rahul couldn't cross the fifty-run-mark even once in four innings that he batted despite looking extremely good with the bat in the first Test, where he made scores of 44 and 38 runs respectively.

Former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly has opined that India should try Rohit Sharma as opener in Test cricket after Rahul's continuous poor show.

"I had suggested earlier about trying Rohit Sharma as an opener in Test cricket and I still believe that he needs to be given an opportunity because he is too good a player to be left out in the cold," Sourav Ganguly wrote in his column for The Times of India.

He added, "After a fantastic World Cup, I believe he will be itching to grab the opportunity to open in Tests. With Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari settling in nicely, there is not much left to play around in the middle order."

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Feature Cricket

A triumph for Steve Smith the non-conformist

Partab Ramchand Updated: 20 September, 2019, 10:26 AM IST


For all the many hours that Steve Smith batted during the Ashes series while notching up 774 runs in four Tests including two centuries and a double hundred he didn’t exactly satisfy the purists who winced at his unusual technique or the ungainly manner in which he left balls outside the off stump. Some of them said he was a ready candidate for leg before for the manner in which he moved his feet across to cover the stumps while he got into position to play a shot. The experts also pointed out other faults in his approach and opined that he would be caught ere long in the slip cordon or on the leg side. Some former cricketers particularly bowlers were of the view that if they were out there they would get him out sooner rather than later.

Well, Smith was in fact out leg before twice in his seven innings but not before he got 92 and 80. And if there was any beef in the theory put out by the experts there was no way Smith could have batted more than 32 hours in the four Tests while amassing all those runs. No, Smith could come up with his Bradmanesque run only because he did it his way. And his way was to be a non-conformist.

His coach in the formative years Trent Woodhill has now revealed how Smith had worked upon his approach very early in his career. According to him Smith was determined to be different and Woodhill lamented Australian cricket’s ``aversion’’ to embrace unconventional styles while emphasizing the point that uniqueness and unorthodox styles should be celebrated. He wasn’t too happy with those unwilling to accept uniqueness adding that this attitude could have a negative impact on a young player’s career.

``Young players need protection from those who don’t like anything different. A dressing room can be a brutal place for a young player who might be forced to conform’’ he opined adding that his famous ward’s unusual technique would be accepted in the Indian system where it is ``all about the output.’’

While technique remains the foundation on which good batsmanship is based one cannot make an absolute rule of it. The prodigiously gifted player gets past the technical test thanks to excellent hand eye coordination and extraordinary speedy footwork. Ultimately it is all about putting up those runs on the scoreboard and while doing so if you are not looking pretty or even ungainly it shouldn’t matter in the least. That is what Smith has proved in unmistakable terms. Whatever one may say about his technique no one can deny that he has an organized mindset. The elegant 30s and 40s have a place in cricket but they don’t get you or your team very far; big hundreds do. In this regard Woodhill said something that the cricketing world by and large has come to accept. ``He is the best since Bradman. This is not even an argument anymore.’’

News Cricket

Sri Lanka cricket team to go ahead with tour of Pakistan

AP Updated: 20 September, 2019, 10:16 AM IST


Sri Lanka is going ahead with its cricket tour of Pakistan after saying it had received assurances from the Pakistan government that the level of security will be comparable to a head of state's visit.

The tour was in jeopardy after the Sri Lankan cricket board said last week it had been warned by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's Office about a possible threat.

However, the board said Thursday that the Pakistan government had written to guarantee the team's safety.

"Accordingly, Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan will proceed," it said in a statement.

Sri Lanka will play three one-day internationals at Karachi with the first ODI on Sept. 27. Lahore will host three Twenty20s Oct. 5-9.

News Cricket

Sri Lanka spinner banned because of illegal bowling action

AP Updated: 20 September, 2019, 10:07 AM IST


The ICC banned Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya from bowling in international cricket for 12 months Thursday because of an illegal bowling action.

The 25-year-old Dananjaya, who has four five-wicket hauls in his first six test matches, twice failed an assessment on his bowling action inside the stipulated two-year period.

Dananjaya was first suspended from bowling in November 2018, before he underwent remedial work and resumed bowling earlier this year.

However, he was reported again after the first test match against New Zealand at Galle last month. He underwent an independent assessment in Chennai, which revealed his bowling action was illegal.

"As the latest report constitutes the player's second report within a two-year period, the first of which led to a suspension, he is automatically suspended from bowling in international cricket for a period of 12 months," the ICC said in a statement.

"Dananjaya will be entitled to approach the ICC for a reassessment of his bowling action after the expiry of this one-year period."

News Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar has played a big role in Jasprit Bumrah’s development - Monty Panesar

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 5:03 PM IST


Former England spinner Monty Panesar has lauded Jasprit Bumrah for his rise in international cricket. The Indian pacer has carved a niche for himself since making his debut and is regarded as one of the best bowlers across formats. Bumrah was in top form in the last Test series in the West Indies and is expected to take wickets in the upcoming three Test matches against South Africa.

Panesar further went on to claim that Bumrah is the best Indian bowler.

“He (Jasprit Bumrah) is brilliant and amazing. The amazing part is that he transformed himself as an important member of the tam in a short period of time. His ability to learn and to adapt to things quickly has amazed me. I think he has learnt a lot at Mumbai Indians,” he said.

“I am sure Sachin Tendulkar has played a big role in his (Bumrah’s) development. He has a huge influence on him. What length to bowl, how to swing. How to judge a batsman – all these things Bumrah has learnt so quickly. How you think about the game and how you tactically take the right decisions – all these things Bumrah has learnt so fast and under the guidance of Sachin,” he added.

News Cricket

Virat has a better chance of breaking Sachin's record of 51 Test centuries - Monty Panesar

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 4:59 PM IST


Former England spinner Monty Panesar has stated that Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world if we take three formats into account. However, he rated Steve Smith ahead of the Indian skipper in Test Cricket.

Speaking in an interview to Times of India, Panesar said: “Steve Smith is a better Test batsman than Virat Kohli. But if you take an overall package, especially limited-overs, Virat stands out. He is overall a world-class batsman. Virat is the best batsman in the world. Smith is the best Test batsman in the world.”

He is backing Virat Kohli to break Sachin Tendulkar's record of 51 Test centuries.

“Virat (Kohli) has a better chance of breaking his (Sachin’s) Test centuries record (51 Test centuries). The way he is batting and the form he is in, he will go on and break both the ODI and Test centuries records. He has the ability to make more than 100 centuries,” he added.

News Cricket

I think Steve Smith will lead Australia again - Ricky Ponting

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 4:29 PM IST


Smith finished with 774 runs in the Ashes in only seven innings at an average of 110. The star batter received a standing ovation from England and Australia fans as he left the field on Sunday, a strong sign Smith has been forgiven after a ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal. The 30-year-old Smith posted the highest number of runs in a five-match series since Brian Lara managed 798 against England in 1993-94.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has stated that he is sure that Smith will lead Australia once again after his captaincy ban ends in 2020.

“Steve Smith – I think he will captain again. I don’t know what the Australian public might think about that. So, to me that seems like Cricket Australia has left the gate open … so if Cricket Australia thinks it’s OK then I’m happy with [it]. I think he knows his role now. But once that ban is lifted, I don’t think it will be too long until he’s captain again,” Ponting was quoted as saying by Times Now.

News Cricket

Azharuddin files nomination for president's post in the Hyderabad Cricket Association

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 4:24 PM IST


Former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has filed his nomination for the post of president in the Hyderabad Cricket Association.

Azhar, whose nomination was rejected two years ago, completed the formalities in front of Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath.

"I want to take inputs from everybody and work for promoting cricket. I want to do something for districts also (towards growth of cricket)," Azharuddin told PTI.

He has the backing of Arshad Ayub and Shivlal Yadav.

The Hyderabad Cricket Association will hold its elections on September 27.

Azhar was one of the best fielders during his heydays and even captained India in Tests and ODIs.

He holds the world record of scoring three consecutive Test tons in his first three Test matches.

News Cricket

It is easy to bowl in death overs - Deepak Chahar

AP Updated: 19 September, 2019, 4:01 PM IST


Deepak Chahar was India's most successful bowler with 2-22 from his four-over spell, carrying on the good work from the recent West Indies' tour in the dual absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“I find it easy to bowl death overs because, in the powerplay, you only get two fielders outside the circle. However, after the powerplay, you get five fielders outside. Therefore, I find it easy to bowl death overs,” Chahar was quoted as saying about his performance during a post-match press conference.

He also spoke about his chances for T20 World in 2020.

“Whenever you do good in a match, you get confidence. And the confidence I got from IPL, it benefitted me. It is still one year for the World Cup and I do not think far too ahead. I take every match as my last match. At this time, Indian cricket is at the top and if you want to find a spot, you will have to do very good and that too, in every match because there is a lot of competition.”

Feature Cricket

India, SA, DRS and the Third Umpire

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 19 September, 2019, 3:24 PM IST


As South Africa embark on yet another historic series with India, an interesting side story perks up its ears. India have always been reluctant users of technology, probably because they have had an uncomfortable history as Sachin Tendulkar’s run out points out.

South Africa was where the first instance of the third umpire was trialed. And the unfortunate first batsman to be ever run out in the game of international cricket through the decision of the third umpire was none other than the batting maestro, Sachin Tendulkar.

That little fact today might seem of little relevance, given how prevalent the third umpire has become in the sport. For those still imagining the game before the introduction of the third umpire or the television umpire as he was, also, known, two umpires shared dubious history. Cyril Mitchley got it right referring the decision of Sachin Tendulkar’s run out to the third umpire. Steve Bucknor did not want to use technology, backed himself and got it wrong against Jonty Rhodes. The television umpire was born in the series between India and South Africa.

India have been allergic to use of the Decision Review System (DRS), formerly known as the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). Although other cricket playing nations around the world have embraced the technology, it has not been without controversy. The recent instance when Tim Paine’s captaincy was brought into question after he failed to use the technology well in the dying moments of the one Test England managed to win in the Ashes shows just how much peril such quick decision making - to use or not use the reviews at the team’s disposal and the timing – puts captains in these days.

It seemed that India were put off when Anil Kumble used the technology and not well at all against Sri Lanka. It put India and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at odds with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the rest of the cricket member boards. While there are some nuances of the technology that India have stubbornly held grievances over in terms of determination of a dismissal of a batsman, the Decision Review System and the third umpire are now part and parcel of the sport, almost to the point of being taken for granted.

But it was not just the players alone that felt threatened about the worthiness of the technology at hand. There was, also, concern that the fabric of the game as it were would change drastically with the umpire on the field no longer the sole determining authority on the field. There was worry that in the event that the umpire’s ruling was overruled by the technology, the players would lose the traditional respect reserved for the umpires as adjudicators on the field.

No technology has been without flaws. Technology has not managed to solve all problems, whether it is taking a low catch on an uneven field which makes decision making drastically polar from different camera angles or when determining to the minutest frame whether the batsman has crossed the crease or whether he is on the line that belongs to the umpire. Touch and go decisions continue to enthrall and aggravate the game’s aficionados.

Eventually the umpires have either invited scorn for being too conservative to the point of being wrong or have had to swallow the bitter pill and refer everything under the sun for the sake of safety. Even more recently, the umpires have generally learnt to accept that they might have been wrong or that they could be challenged irrespective of the accuracy of their decision on the field as is now the privilege and prerogative of the cricketers because of the Decision Review System (DRS).

If anything, such as been the integration of technology with the sport that the role of the umpires on the field has once again been brought into question. With the umpires in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final not having referred to the third umpire in the matter of over throws and therefore, having controversially accorded a crucial additional run to England that in the end, putting New Zealand behind despite double ties with England, it has brought the role, relevance and also, more importantly, the degree of importance, of the third umpire once again back front and center.

It seems hard now to imagine that the sport once relied solely on the eyes and discretion of the umpire on the field and that Sachin Tendulkar being run out by a television umpire once grabbed the headlines. Fortunately Tendulkar has seen better days and despite the reservations of both, the umpires and the cricketers, the sport has seen better decisions being made in the interest of the game.

News Cricket

Sourav Ganguly warns KL Rahul, names two batsmen who can replace him in ODIs

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 1:54 PM IST


KL Rahul is under pressure after losing his place in the Test squad. Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly feels that the 27-year old will have to perform well and make most of the opportunities coming his way.

According to Dada, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer can snatch number four slot from KL Rahul.

In the ODIs, he hasn't played since the World Cup. He replaced an injured Shikhar Dhawan as opener in the tournament and played some good knocks in the process.

However, Ganguly feels his place is not guaranteed in the squad.

“With Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) at the top as the best possible opening pair, K L Rahul will be pushed. He has lost his place in Test cricket due to indifferent form and the likes of Shreyas and Manish Pandey will keep him on his toes if he wants to hold on to the No. 4 slot,” Ganguly wrote in his column.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Frustrated Virat Kohli breaks stumps in anger

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 1:47 PM IST


Virat Kohli is known for his aggressive nature on the field. Be it any format of the game, skipper of the Indian cricket team never misses a chance to prove his point.

In the second T20 international of the series, his aggression was in full flow as he took an exceptional catch to get rid off Quinton de Kock.

However, he lost his cool in another moment after Shreyas Iyer failed to collect the ball.

The incident took place in the 10th over of South Africa's innings when the fumble by Iyer allowed rivals to take an extra run.

Iyer's throw was not on the target and the skipper was visibly upset with him. Virat Kohli, who was fuming, broke the stumps with his hand after collecting the ball.

Chasing 150 for victory, Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 72 off 52 balls. With his 22nd fifty in T20 internationals, he surpassed Rohit Sharma to become the batsman with most runs in this format.

News Cricket

I will do whatever it takes to win for my country – Virat Kohli

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 1:39 PM IST


Skipper Virat Kohli played another memorable knock of his T20I career when he led India to win in the second match of the series against South Africa. He was proud of his effort.

"It's the badge in front of my shirt. It's a pride to play for my country so whatever it takes to get over the line, I will do. Get the team across the line anyhow. If you want to make your team win, you'll find a way," Virat said.

Virat Kohli, who scored an unbeaten 72 to guide India to a seven-wicket win, lauded bowlers for their exceptional performance.

"Bowlers showed a lot of character. The pitch was very good and they (South Africa) got off to a good start so it was an outstanding effort from the bowler to pull the game back from us," he said at the post-match press conference.

"That's exactly what we're looking at, try out new people and see who stands up under pressure," he added.

News Cricket

I got a bit of motivation from T20 World Cup win in Mohali – Virat Kohli

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 12:50 PM IST


Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman at the moment. He played one of the best knocks in T20 international cricket in Mohali during the T20 World Cup in 2016 when he single-handedly won the game against Australia. The right hand batsman scored an unbeaten 82 off just 51 balls, hitting 9 fours and 2 sixes in the process.

He was reminded of that knock as he led India to another emphatic win over South Africa in the second T20I of a three-match series. Virat amassed an unbeaten 72 from 52 balls as Men in Blue successfully chased down 150 runs.

Speaking at the post match presentation ceremony after winning the Man of the Match award, Virat Kohli revealed he got a bit of motivation from that during India’s triumph against South Africa.

"You reminded me of the best game of my T20 career. I got a bit of motivation from that. When you play like that and win a game for your team, it is always a good feeling. That night [2016 T20 World Cup match against Australia) was a revelation of how fit you can be on a cricket field," Kohli told Star Sports host Sanjay Manjrekar.

News Cricket

Shahid Afridi hails Virat Kohli, calls him a great player

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 12:31 PM IST


Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi lauded Indian skipper Virat Kohli after his another match winning performance in international cricket. The right-hand batsman became the only batsman to have his batting average above 50 across formats.

Chasing 150 for victory, Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 72 off 52 balls. With his 22nd fifty in T20 internationals, he surpassed Rohit Sharma to become the batsman with most runs in this format.

Shahid Afridi retweeted ICC's tweet and captioned it: "Congratulations @imVkohli You are a great player indeed, wish you continued success, keep entertaining cricket fans all around the world."

Earlier, India won the toss and put South Africa in to bat. The visitors handed T20 debuts to Fortuin, Temba Bavuma, and Anrich Nortje.

New Proteas' skipper Quinton de Kock (52 off 37 balls) started his reign with a third T20 half-century, giving his side a quick start. But India put on the brakes quickly as South Africa only managed 39 runs from the six powerplay overs, with Deepak Chahar removing Reeza Hendricks (6) cheaply.

Bavuma added 57 runs with the captain for the second wicket and steadying the South African ship after the latter's dismissal in the 12th over. Kohli took a diving catch to his left at mid-off to dismiss his counterpart off Navdeep Saini (1-34) and that breakthrough sucked out momentum from the Proteas' innings.

They lost wickets at regular intervals thereafter and never looked like making a charge in the final overs despite a 15-ball cameo from Miller (18).

News Cricket

Bring back MS Dhoni, says fans after Rishabh Pant's failure with the bat

Staff Writer Updated: 19 September, 2019, 12:19 PM IST


Rishabh Pant was expected to score heavily in the ongoing T20 series against South Africa but he failed to get going in the second T20 international, scoring just 4 runs. The fans were not happy with his display and want MS Dhoni to return.

He came out to bat after Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal but his habit of playing too many shots resulted in his downfall. With Virat Kohli standing at the other end, Pant had all the time in the world to get himself in but he went for a big one, offering a simple catch to Tabraiz Shamsi.

Virat Kohli scored 72 runs off 52 balls as India coasted to a seven-wicket win over South Africa in the second Twenty20 on Wednesday.

Chasing 150, Kohli eased his way to a 22nd half-century in T20 cricket as India won with an over to spare. Shikhar Dhawan contributed 40 off 31 balls after South Africa was restricted to 149-5.

Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (12) gave the hosts a fiery start and put on 33 off 23 balls. Andile Phehlukwayo (1-20) trapped Sharma lbw and broke the flow of runs.

Kohli and Dhawan then came together to put on 61 runs for the second wicket as India was coasting at the halfway mark of their innings. But South Africa struck twice in the space of 13 balls to cause a minor wobble.

Kohli, though, quickly dashed any South African hopes of an unlikely victory. He reached his half-century off 40 balls and then shifted gears with ease.

In doing so, he went atop the list of run scorers in international T20 cricket with 2,440 runs, six ahead of compatriot Sharma (2434).

Shreyas Iyer (16 not out) played the ideal foil to his skipper as India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.