Feature Cricket

The onus is on the batsman to be more careful

Partab Ramchand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 12:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

So yet again ``Mankading’’ becomes the hot topic for discussion. Ravi Ashwin’s running out of Jos Butler on Monday has set off the predictable reactions on social media, on television and on websites.

Right from a very early age when I became interested in cricket and learnt of the incident involving Vinoo Mankad and Bill Brown during the Indian tour of Australia in 1947-48 – bowler Mankad ran out Brown at the non-striker’s end thus leading to the term ``Mankading’’ which has stood the test of time since then – I always wondered why there should be such a big hullabaloo about the dismissal. I have always maintained that the bowler is right and the batsman wrong. It is as simple as that. Somewhere along the line however the phrase ``spirit of the game’’ crept in and people tended to look down at the bowler dismissing the batsman thus and taking the high moral ground that he should be warned first.

I have always been clear in my mind about the various aspects concerning this kind of dismissal. First, does the umpire warn the bowler that he is sending down a no ball and tell him that hereafter he will be pulled up for stepping over the crease? Second the batsman is gaining an unfair advantage by stepping out of the crease before the bowler has delivered and in a close run out decision that extra yard or so could make a difference.

In any case to quell charges of the bowler acting in an unsportsmanlike manner – a rather unfair charge - we now have a law that states ``if the non-striker is out of his ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him out.’’ With the rule in place the onus is clearly on the batsman to be more careful to stay within the crease till the ball is delivered.

I can do no better than to quote Sir Donald Bradman and he wrote this in his autobiography ``Farewell to cricket’’ released in 1950. Recalling the incident which happened in the second Test at Sydney Bradman writes: ``Brown was run out by Mankad who in the act of delivering the ball held on to it and whipped the bails off with Brown out of his crease. In some quarters Mankad’s sportsmanship was questioned. For the life of me I cannot understand why. The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the non-striker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered. If not why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage. On numerous occasions he may avoid being run out at the opposite end by gaining this false start.’’

After hearing from the greatest cricketer of all time little more need be said.

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News Cricket

Ricky Ponting says Rishabh Pant has X-factor

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 12:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant is very quickly evolving into one of the biggest draws in T20 cricket. He had a phenomenal IPL last year and in 2019 IPL as well, he has made a brilliant start. The southpaw scored 78 runs off 27 balls against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium

Delhi Capitals coach, Ricky Ponting revealed how much Pant has evolved with time."I have seen Rishabh mature in his game and as a person and that won't be the only game he wins for DC. He will win many more games for sure," said Ponting on the eve of Delhi's match against Chennai Super Kings.

Ponting is quite impressed with Pant's match-winning abilities. "I have known for a couple of seasons now that Rishabh Pant has got that X-factor but what I like more and more about him is how he is turning that into match-winning performances more and more often as well," said Ponting.

Ponting reckons Pant can does a very good job as a finisher. He said, "If you look at the back half of the last edition, he was playing his best when our team was playing its best in those games. Even yesterday, we set up a good platform for him to go and express himself.

News Cricket

Mr. Ashwin, you will be remembered for that low act: Shane Warne

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 12:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rajasthan Royals' brand ambassador, Shane Warne has taken a strong disliking to Ravichandran Ashwin's mankading act and he is making no bones about it. Warne has been on a ranting spree and is playing the role of moral police on the whole fiasco, which has divided the cricketing community.

“So disappointed in @ashwinravi99 as a Captain and as a person. All captains sign the #IPL wall and agree to play in the spirit of the game. RA had no intention of delivering the ball – so it should have been called a dead ball. Over to you BCCI – this a not a good look for the #IPL,” he wrote.

“As Captain of your side – you set the standard of the way the team wants to play and what the team stands for! Why do such a disgraceful and low act like that tonight? You must live with yourself and FYI – it’s too late to say sorry Mr Ashwin. You will be remembered for that low act,” he wrote.

“Last point on the embarrassing and disgraceful act of @ashwinravi99! This win at all costs mentality has got to stop and the integrity of the game along with the spirit of the game must be of the most importance, as we need to set examples to the young boys and girls playing cricket!” he said.

“And to all the people (including former players) saying it’s in the laws of the game, but you don’t like what he did and you wouldn’t do it – I ask you this “why wouldn’t you?”! Simple answer – it’s disgraceful and embarrassing plus it’s against the spirit of the game!

“Sorry – one more thing to add. If Ben Stokes did what Ashwin did to @imVkohli would it be ok? I’m just very disappointed in Ashwin as I thought he had integrity and class. Kings lost a lot of supporters tonight. Especially young boys and girls! I do hope the BCCI does something,” he said.

Punjab captain, R Ashwin has defended his actions and said, "My actions were within cricket's rules, can't be called unsporting." Jos Buttler was in full flow against Punjab but his wicket turned the game around and in the end, Punjab secured a brilliant win to kick-start their campaign on a high.

News Cricket

Ashwin's actions represent him: Rajasthan coach

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 March, 2019, 11:33 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

When R Ashwin mankaded Jos Buttler in yesterday's game at Jaipur, it created a stir. It divided the whole cricketing community. While some thought it was against the spirit of the game and should not have been done by Punjab's skipper, there were others who were of the opinion that following the laws of the game can never be equated with breaking the spirit of the game.

Rajasthan Royals head coach, Paddy Upton opened up on the controversial run-out and said, “I think R Ashwin’s actions tonight speak for him and represent him. When I looked in the eyes of his team-mates, I’m not sure it represented his team-mates. We’ll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that’s the kind of thing they want to see, and we’ll leave it up to the cricket world to judge R Ashwin’s actions tonight. But for us, we certainly are here just to play cricket and entertain the fans and just be good role models for people who love the game.”

Feature Cricket

The Workload Debate

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 26 March, 2019, 8:43 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ever so often a scenario emerges wherein the idea of managing workload in the present generation cricketers appears to get the goat of former cricketers. There has been a fair debate for some time now about whether the modern cricketer simply finds the various formats too taxing and therefore, carries the illusion of carrying more workload on his back than his predecessor.

The Indian Premier League never fails to rake up a debate along similar lines. Not only is the Twenty20 summer extravaganza an enticing, lucrative, financial opportunity for the cricketers but also, in some ways a necessary evil for simply that factor for the sustenance and security it provides the cricketer and his family, no matter how fleeting. While most cricketers willingly and sometimes grudgingly submit themselves to the gruelling nearly two month tournament, travelling home and away and playing under conditions that are sometimes either humid or under intense heat, the notion of feeling the load is often expressed only in terms of citing the international cricket calendar playing in national colours for breakdowns or simply breaks.

Shane Warne, one of the more successful former captains of an IPL team, recently shared his take which ironically is not that different from those of his contemporary generation who have played alongside or against him and in contrast to the current lot of cricketers who feel they are playing much more than cricketers have ever played before. The former Australian leg spinning legend was vocal about the fact that the idea of additional workload was a mere illusion and simply a case of viewing the calendar with a different lens.

For one, Warne feels that his generation of cricketers played a lot more first class cricket, even in the midst of a busy international cricket season. That fact can be attested to by the consensus around the cricket world that the modern day cricketer plays not enough domestic cricket in his own home not only to hone his own skills but also, to be able to impart his international experience amongst his aspiring peers. To an extent, it has been attributed as one of the reasons why while Test cricket has been enticing, it has not always lived up in terms of quality.

For another, playing three formats has become almost the norm for most cricketers and those that do not play limited overs cricket somehow tend to be the anomaly, almost forgotten right between seasons and/or series. With cricket now a virtually non-stop affair, played somewhere around the world, even if not all cricketers are participating, there is the illusion that there is too much cricket being played when perhaps there are too many cricket tournaments, particularly under the banner of Twenty20, being held which attract a bevy of cricketers, some part of a retired junket discarded for representation in national colours.

Perhaps what is a fairer line to draw is the fact that while most cricketers in the past went back to the drawing board by playing in this home town matches to maintain rhythm or correct errors, cricketers playing the three format game now feel the load of having to not only switch between formats but also, travel more as a result of meeting these commitments even though they are often seen skipping local and domestic tournaments as a result of it. In that light, it is easy to see why the idea of workload management in more professional set ups has become a buzzword, even if its implementation is still far from desired.

News Cricket

Ashwin requests PM to allow Indian cricketers playing in IPL to vote from wherever they are

Staff Writer Updated: 25 March, 2019, 11:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

R Ashwin, who is leading Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League, has urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow Indian cricketers to cast their votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.

He wants every cricketer playing in the IPL to be allowed to cast their votes from which ever place they find themselves at.

His request came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tagged several sports personalities including him, Shikhar Dhawan, Dipa Karmakar, Hima Das and Sakshi Malik on twitter, urging them to inspire their fans to exercise their voting right in the upcoming elections.

“On the cricket field, @SDhawan25, @BhuviOfficial and @ashwinravi99 shine with their incredible talent and absolute commitment towards their team. I urge them to encourage greater voter awareness and voter participation. Young India will follow their lead. #VoteKar,” Modi tweeted.

R Ashwin, who hails from Chennai, would travel with his IPL franchise to different parts of the country during the Indian Premier League.

"I would also like to request you @narendramodi sir to enable every cricketer playing in the IPL to be allowed to cast their votes from which ever place they find themselves at," Ashwin wrote in response to the tweet.

News Cricket

Cricketers blast R Ashwin for mankading Jos Buttler

Staff Writer Updated: 25 March, 2019, 11:35 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cricketers have blasted R Ashwin after he ran out Jos Buttler via Mankad. The right hand batsman was hitting Kings XI Punjab's bowlers to all parts of the park and reached his fifty in just 29 balls.

During the fifth ball of the 13th over of the Rajasthan Royals innings, Buttler left his crease at the non-strikers end even before R Ashwin had completed his bowling action.

Realizing that there was an opportunity to dismiss Jos Buttler, Ashwin dislodged the bails and appealed to the umpire. The umpire went upstairs and the English batsman was declared out.

He looked angry while leaving the field after scoring 69. Ashwin was slammed by cricketers who stated that his act was against the spirit of the game.

News Cricket

Brian Lara wants India-Pakistan final in World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 25 March, 2019, 7:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former West Indies skipper Brian Lara wants to see India taking on Pakistan in the finale of the World Cup. However, he is also backing West Indies to perform better in the mega event in England.

"The World Cup is going to be very dependent on weather. The English weather, you never know what it is going to be like. England in England are a tough opposition but they are also a team that knows how to lose important matches.

“I was not surprised when Pakistan won the Champions Trophy. I felt that even though they are a team that are inconsistent, they do have players that can win any tournament. The West Indies are similar. Very inconsistent, but on their day they can beat any team," he added.

He praised the Indian team despite their recent ODI series defeat against Australia. "They are capable of playing all around the world. India start as favourites," added the 49-year-old.

"The Champions Trophy final a couple of years ago, Pakistan versus India… that would be a wonderful final to see again," opined the veteran.

News Cricket

Stephen Fleming makes a big statement on Rishabh Pant

Harshit Anand Updated: 25 March, 2019, 5:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant is the talk of the town after he made a brilliant 78 in the tie against Mumbai Indians. He was amazing for Delhi last season as well. In fact, he was one of the major talking points in the last year's edition of the lucrative league.

Chennai Super Kings coach, Stephen Fleming heaped high praise on Pant and said, “You have to respect so many players in the tournament and he is one of them. But there are others as well. Have to be sure you don’t overplan. He is one of the great young prospects in Indian cricket. But there is Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Ingram, captain Shreyas Iyer. One thing is to find a weakness, but have to use it well. You must focus on own strength.”

News Cricket

Lyon highlights massive headache for AUS heading into the WC

Staff Writer Updated: 25 March, 2019, 5:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australia have been on fire in the last seven ODIs, winning five and losing just two that too against India and Pakistan, the top two sides of the 2017 Champions Trophy. Australia's 3-2 win over India was unprecedented as not many gave them a chance and now the Men in Yellow are creating ripples against Pakistan in UAE as well.

Not to forget with the comeback of Steven Smith, David Warner, and Mitchell Starc, Australia will only get stronger. But, whom will the trio replace is a question that will give sleepless nights to selectors.

"That is just going to cause a massive headache for our selectors heading into the World Cup. It is a great problem to have for Australia. The guys in our dressing room, and with Steve Smith and David Warner coming back – they are world-class players – we have enough to be adaptable to whatever conditions and scenarios are thrown at us. The guys worked their backside off, firstly, and are now getting the rewards in the middle,” Nathan Lyon was quoted as saying by ICC.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant reflects on his heroics against Mumbai

Harshit Anand Updated: 25 March, 2019, 4:09 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Delhi Capitals' wicket-keeper batsman, Rishabh Pant starred for his side in the encounter against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. He scored 78 runs off 27 deliveries and helped Delhi post in excess of 200 runs, which proved too much for the hosts, Mumbai Indians to chase down.

Rishabh Pant is a star in making. He has made giant strides at the highest level and is also doing well in IPL. "It's been a great journey, I'm trying to learn every day of my cricketing career. It feels good when your team wins. I always play according to the situation most of the time, said Rishabh Pant.

"This time I needed to increase the run rate for the team, and I took my chances, and it came off today. Especially in T20, you have to do something different. When the bowler cramps you for room, you need to make your own room."

"First game is always a bit of a challenge for most of the teams. Lot of new players in the squad as well. We made a lot of mistakes today, as simple as that. We were pretty much in the game in the first 10 overs when we were bowling, but the way Rishabh batted, you've got to give him credit, said the swashbuckling batsman.

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh names the next big thing in Indian Cricket

Harshit Anand Updated: 25 March, 2019, 3:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Yuvraj Singh hit back to form with a smashing fifty against Delhi Capitals in his very first appearances for the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium. However, his inning was overshadowed by Rishabh Pant's 27-balls-78 run-knock, which included seven fours and as many sixes. Pant's knock helped Delhi win the first game.

Yuvraj Singh heaped high praise on Pant's batting. "I can't really say about (World Cup) selection but Rishabh was outstanding today," 37-year-old Yuvraj told reporters at the post-match media conference.

"He (Pant) had an outstanding season last year as well. He is playing well in Test matches as well. To score two hundreds overseas at such an age (21 years) shows his character. It is important that we groom him well and hopefully, he is the next big thing for us," said Yuvraj.

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh announces his retirement plans

Staff Writer Updated: 25 March, 2019, 2:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian southpaw, Yuvraj Singh has been one of the biggest match-winners for India over the years. He hasn't been in the best of touch for a while now. The 37 years old, however, returned back to some sort of form as he smashed a fifty in his very first outing for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Capitals in the IPL.

Yuvraj Singh last played for India in June 2017 when the team toured West Indies. He opened up on his retirement plans in the post-match press conference after his side lost to Delhi Capitals.

“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang up my boots. I spoke to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through such a time at 38-39. Talking to him makes things easier for me,” said Yuvraj Singh during the post-match press conference.

“In the last two years, I have been up and down. I started playing cricket because I enjoyed the game and then I was not playing for Indian. It was U-14, U-16, so till the time I enjoy, I will play,” he added.

Feature Cricket

Knocks by Pant and Russell may have set the pattern for IPL-12

Partab Ramchand Updated: 25 March, 2019, 1:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

These are very early days yet but it can safely be said that the batting pyrotechnics that one witnessed in the two matches on Sunday has set the pattern for IPL – 12. The shocking low scoring game at Chepauk in the tournament opener on Saturday can be taken as an aberration.

Right from the time Brendon McCullum smashed a breath taking 158 not out off just 73 balls in the very first IPL game in 2008 the premier T-20 league in the contemporary game has been associated with huge hits, breezy hundreds, unorthodox, even outrageous strokes, strike rates of 200 and above and outsize team totals. Even then, some of them are not safe for huge targets have been chased down quite often. Yes, this is the tone in almost every T-20 match but it applies even more so in the IPL given the kind of wickets that the games are played on. The slow surface at Chepauk surprised everyone even if it was not a 70 all out pitch.

The knocks played by Andre Russell and Rishabh Pant symbolized the fare generally provided in the IPL. But a 19-ball 49 at a strike rate of 258 and a 27-ball 78 at a strike rate of almost 289 is superlative even by T-20 standards and it will be something if these feats are matched over the next six weeks of the tournament. But then with so many T-20 specialists around and with the wickets being in favour of the batsmen it would not be surprising even if a strike rate of 300 is reached for an innings of some length.

Of the two knocks Rishabh’s was the one that stood out. Russell has made a name for himself over the years for big hitting, for sixes that are hit out of the ground and for not being overawed by a seemingly insurmountable target as was the case on Sunday. His career strike rate of 140 tells its own tale. Rishabh in contrast is a new kid on the block even though he has already earned a reputation for fast scoring and unorthodox shots. His penchant for the leg side is well known and this was underlined by his pyrotechnics on Sunday when 63 of his 78 runs were scored on that side. The manner in which he hit balls pitched well outside the off stump and smashed them to the on side repeatedly underscored his timing and confidence. In the process he also did his chances of making the squad for the World Cup no harm.

News Cricket

When Rishabh Pant's hitting made Ishant Sharma nervous

Harshit Anand Updated: 25 March, 2019, 12:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Delhi Capitals' wicket-keeper batsman, Rishabh Pant made a terrific start to the 2019 IPL. He started off from where he had left in the last season of IPL. The young southpaw blasted 78 runs off 27 deliveries against Mumbai Indians. His knock helped Delhi post a big total on the board and win the game against the hosts.

Pant not only terrified the opposition bowlers but also his own teammate, Ishant Sharma. The senior Indian pacer revealed how. “Actually I was quite nervous. When you see the ball flying everywhere when Pant was batting, it shows how good a batting track it was. I was backing myself, I had a good County season, a good Test season as well and was among the wickets. I was only trying to hold my nerve and control the process because when you try and control the results, you lose track of the processes,” he explained.

Ishant Sharma, who was making comeback to the IPL finished with figures of 2/34 from his quota of four overs, on a flat batting deck, which isn't a bad beginning at all.