Opinion Cricket

Three things that Indian batsmen can learn from Pujara's Adelaide Master-Class

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 December, 2018, 10:59 AM IST


Today marked the advent of the mouth-watering clash between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval. India's Kohli won the toss after he had lost all five tosses in England. Kohli was in full flow with the bat in England but his form at toss was pathetic, to say the least. Today, he shone with the toss and failed with the bat. Yes, the man, India have greatly banked upon across formats didn't quite stand up. Everyone in top seven failed as well barring India's no.3 Cheteshwar Pujara.

Pujara's gritty 246-ball 123 run-knock helped India reach 250 for nine after, at one stage, they were struggling at 86 for five. No other batsmen could even reach 40. Apart from Pant, all major batsmen were guilty of playing poor shots.

Let's take a look at Three things that Indian batsmen can learn from Pujara's Adelaide Master-Class:

A "Monk" Like Patience

The Indian no.3 didn’t score a run for 55 minutes on either side of lunch. That is typical Pujara for you. His patience is akin to a monk. Today, as well, he was unruffled at the crease. From the other end, one Indian batsman after another were biting the dust but here was Pujara in his own zone. He was willing to bat for long hours and he did just that. He left 34% of 246 balls he faced while on the other hand, the Indian batsmen left 24% of balls. He played the ball late and exhibited the perfect template of patience when batting in a Test match.

Controlled Aggression

Just like the Southampton Test, Pujara showcased that he can bat aggressively with the tail. It is something which we generally don't associate with Pujara but it is an aspect of the game that he can perform if the situation demands. He added 21 runs for the eight wicket with Ishant Sharma and 40 runs for the ninth wicket with Mohammed Shami. Pujara hit seven fours and two sixes in his enterprising knock. After completing his century, he scored his next 23 runs off just 15 balls. Pujara even blasted a six off Mitchell Starc. The Saurashtra batsman adjusted gears like a boss and unlike other Indian batsmen, put his foot down when there was a need of it than going for it unnecessarily

Pitch-Perfect Preparedness

Pujara looked a very prepared man today. He had a game plan in mind. He left the ball, rotated the strike and played the pro-active game when needed. He had a plan against the four-man bowling attack of Australia. He played quite aggressively against Nathan Lyon, coming down the track often to put off Lyon's length and kept the score moving. He was well aware that on a day that was as hot as 40 degrees, bowlers would become less sharp as they move on to their third and fourth spells. Given the fact, that he had no other choice as well with the tail around, it made his pursuit to attack during the closing hour of the day even more clear and reaped fruits for India. Unlike other batsmen, he wasn’t reckless and didn’t expect freebies and put top-notch application in a pressure situation.

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News Cricket

Will IPL influence Men in Blue’s World Cup selection? Here’s what Sourav Ganguly said

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 10:27 PM IST


Virat Kohli had stated that performance in the Indian Premier League will not influence India's World Cup selection. Speaking on the eve of first ODI between India and Australia, Virat had clearly laid out the road map ahead of World Cup.

“No, I don’t see the IPL having any influence on World Cup selection. I think that will be very, very radical sort of analysis,” he had said.

When asked about IPL’s impact on the selection of the World Cup squad, Ganguly said: “World Cup is how you play in the World Cup. It’s (IPL) a different tournament. You just play and move on to the World Cup,” Ganguly opined.

He termed the upcoming World Cup to be the strongest because of the format.

“It’s difficult to pick a winning recipe, you just have to play well. This will probably be the strongest World Cup because everybody plays everybody.

“A lot of strong teams this time. India, Australia England, West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan play very well in England. After winning against South Africa, I hope Sri Lanka turn it around. It will be a good World Cup,” said Ganguly.

News Cricket

World Cup 2019: Michael Hussey names his India squad for the showpiece event

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 10:09 PM IST


Former Australian cricketer Mike Hussey has picked his 15-member squad of Men in Blue for the World Cup. Hussey has omitted Rishabh Pant from his team as he preferred to go with Dinesh Karthik as second choice wicketkeeper batsman, while picking KL Rahul as a reserve opener. According to him, India are one of the favorites for the coveted title and it will not be easy for other teams to beat India in the showpiece event.

Mike Hussey's 15-member Indian squad for World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Amabati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja

Rohit and Dhawan have been kept as openers while Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu will follow next. Apart from choosing Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep as frontline spinners, he backed Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the main pace bowlers.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni overtakes Rohit Sharma to script another major record

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 10:04 PM IST


Men in Blue were in a spot of bother after losing three quick wickets in the first ODI against Australia in Hyderabad. However, veteran batsman MS Dhoni brought things under control and shared a match winning partnership with Kedar Jadhav.

Apart from playing some attractive strokes, they completed their individual fifties as well. After the quick dismissal of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu, they batted cautiously before unleasing their strokes.

Dhoni, who played another gem of an innings, hit a massive six against Coulter-Nile in the 38th over. With this big hit, he surpassed Rohit Sharma on the list of most number of sixes for India in ODI cricket. He now has 216 sixes in the format, one more than Rohit.

Most sixes for India in ODIs:

216 MS Dhoni*

215 Rohit Sharma

195 S Tendulkar

189 S Ganguly

153 Yuvraj Singh

131 V Sehwag

Earlier, Aussies posted a below par score of 236 for 7 from their allotted 50 overs. Indian bowlers had a reasonably good outing with Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav picking up two wickets each.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav lead India to 6-wicket win over Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 9:50 PM IST


MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav produced another match winning performance to lead India to a 6-wicket win over Australia in the first ODI against Hyderabad. They stitched a match winning partnership of 141 runs for the fifth wicket to anchor another chase against Australia.

Kedhar Jadhav scored an unbeaten 81 while MS Dhoni amassed 59 not out to take India to win in 48.2 overs.

After Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal, Rohit and Kohli added 76 runs before Kohli was dismissed by Adam Zampa. Men in Blue then lost Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu in quick succession to leave India in tatters.

Dhoni’s experience combine with Kedar’s aggressive display panned out perfectly for India as they cruised to the target in the end.

Earlier, Aussies posted a below par score of 236 for 7 from their allotted 50 overs. Indian bowlers had a reasonably good outing with Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav picking two wickets each.

News Cricket

Did Olivier make the right call to retire from international cricket? Here’s what Morkel said

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 5:16 PM IST


Morne Morkel has spoken in favor of retired Duanne Olivier. The young pace sensation shocked the world when he decided to bid adieu to international cricket in order to sign a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Morkel said that the timing of the decision was not right but Olivier took a family decision and everyone should respect his call.

“It's just unfortunate because Duanne had really settled in and is finding his feet … he knows what Test cricket is about. In terms of timing, it's not great. (But) I think that decision was made long before a couple of months ago. He weighed his options up and it was a family decision and you have to respect that,” Cricket.com.au quoted Morkel, as saying.

“It's never nice to lose quality players, you always want to see them play for South Africa. But I understand it completely and I wish him all the best,” he added.

Morkel wants Cricket South Africa to come up with a better plan to give career security to players.

“They have to sit down and come up with plans because they're going to lose a lot of players in the near future and they need to protect against that. Do you structure the contracting a little bit better? What security do you give the guys (in terms of) life after cricket? You talk about investing, but once a guy retires, they sort of drift away. I can name a number of players who they have invested a lot of money in, but you don't see them coaching, you don't see them involved with our academies,” he said.

“Give those guys a platform and say; 'we've invested in you for so many years when you're thinking of settling down or moving on, this is where we see a role for you,” he added.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Shami rattles Maxwell’s stumps with a peach of a delivery

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 4:50 PM IST


Mohammed Shami bowled with a purpose during the first ODI between India and Australia in Hyderabad. After his sensational performance Down Under, Shami started brilliantly in the ODI series against Aaron Finch-led team. He cleaned up dangerous looking Glenn Maxwell with a peach of a delivery.

Shami bowled a length delivery which straightened a bit and went on to uproot the stumps. Maxwell was trying to swing through the line and completely missed the line, resulting in his dismissal.

Earlier, Maxwell was star of the T20 series. The right hand batsman was adjudged Man of the series for his sensational batting against Men in Blue.

Feature Cricket

The fall and fall of Hashim Amla

Partab Ramchand Updated: 2 March, 2019, 4:07 PM IST


The shock defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka notwithstanding there is little doubt that South Africa have a pretty impressive home record. In the past one year they have defeated India and Australia besides making a clean sweep of the three-Test series against Pakistan. And the main reason behind this triumphant run has been the high quality fast bowling attack. In Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier they have the most destructive pace bowling line-up since the days of the fearsome West Indian pace attack of the 80s. The figures associated with the South African quintet are of the mind boggling and eye rubbing variety and even the best of batsmen have not been able to succeed against them.

However for all their skill and hostility it must be said that the South African quicks have been helped by fast and bouncy tracks. But by playing to their main strength South Africa have also undermined the confidence of their batsmen. On such surfaces even the visiting fast bowlers are bound to strike gold and the result is that South Africa have generally been out for low totals. It is another matter that the superb fast bowling attack has been able to defend such totals.

Perhaps no other batsman symbolizes the manner in which the South Africans are being besieged as Hashim Amla. The epitome of class, style and skill Amla has been one of the truly great contemporary batsmen. His impeccable technique and unflappable temperament have also made him one of the most prolific run-getters in modern times. He is the only South African to hit a triple hundred in Tests and on the way he became among the fastest to reach several marks be it runs or centuries. His batting average for quite some time exceeded 50.

And yet Amla’s 28th and last hundred was compiled against Bangladesh in October 2017. Since then he has played 15 Tests (29 innings) without getting a hundred forced to be content with just half a dozen fifties. His average has slipped to 46 which does not measure up to the high standards he has set for himself. And after seemingly racing to the 10,000 run mark in Tests he is right now on 9282 after 124 matches. And while the fact remains that he has played 13 of those 15 Tests at home he has also failed in the two Tests he has played in Sri Lanka during the period.

Amla turns 36 next month and does not have time on his hands. And while his ODI form remains good – he averages almost 50 in this format – ironically he has been dropped from the squad to play Sri Lanka from Sunday. Perhaps the time has come for the selectors to drop Amla from the Test squad too. It will be a tough decision but sometimes these have to be taken in the larger interests of the team.

Feature Cricket

IPL Ceremony Alone Will Not Cut It

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 2 March, 2019, 4:05 PM IST


The landscape of the Indian terrain changed once more less than a fortnight ago, this time perhaps more laudably than it has had in years. In that light, while it is great that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to scrap the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League and instead donate the money, more needs to be done from the sport’s giant organization.

For a week now, the cacophony has been loud as it has been clear. Public sentiment is enraged that there is not enough being said from the Indian cricket contingent and fraternity, particularly the richest, most influential cricket body in the world in the wake of the Pulwama attacks on the Indian army convoy. While the nation mourned the loss of the brave soldiers who are just the latest in the line of casualties and lives lost with the ongoing proxy war at the country’s border over the Kashmir dispute, the time has come when the BCCI must now show its real mettle, where it matters.

For the past decade Pakistan cricketers were already isolated in that they were not allowed to play the IPL. A major setback even as cricketers from other countries cashed in on the money spinner, it failed to set straight Pakistan Cricket Board or the country in terms of realizing that in being isolated from a revenue source in a major world sport, Pakistan was facing dark days. The BCCI refused to honour its bilateral commitments in the wake of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which has meant that Pakistan were already at the losing end of the stick as far as a revenue generating bilateral series were concerned and their latest attempt to sue for compensation was squashed without ceremony.

However, given that India’s absence has seriously dented Pakistan’s cricket financially, if not in the sense of image, and with the BCCI being arguably the richest and the most influential cricket board anywhere in the world, generating almost seventy per cent of the world’s income from cricket, there is a loud silence emanating from the cricketers who represent the nation under the banner of the BCCI.

Although the sum from the IPL opening ceremony has been stated anywhere between five crore rupees to twenty crore rupees which will now be wisely donated to the martyrs’ families who suffered tremendous, irreplaceable loss as a result of the Pulwama attack, given that the Kashmir issue has been an ongoing point of contention between India and Pakistan and the loss of lives innumerable, there is grave dissatisfaction that the current generation of cricketers who are not only ambassadors for the country but also, have a formidable voice, particularly on social media, have not taken a stance but instead cowered under the unwritten gag order of the BCCI from speaking their minds and taking a stand.

While money will go a long way towards taking care of some of these families’ financial needs, it is ultimately not the solution or the means to an end to a problem that does not just affect one region of the country alone. With cricket being a pseudo religion in the country, cricket has the ability to make one of the bigger impacts on Pakistan’s income and reputation which is why India’s cricketing voice has to be one of the louder ones.

News Cricket

Team India's new jersey gets mixed reviews from fans

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 3:51 PM IST


The governing body of Indian cricket unveiled the new Team India jersey for the World Cup. It was launched in the presence of Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur.

When asked about what Indian jersey reminds him, MS Dhoni said: "It always reminds me of the great legacy that we have got. It’s not only that. Playing each and every bilateral series, reaching No 1 across formats, all these are motivational stuff."

Virat Kohli spoke about the importance of jersey and what should be done to become a part of the Indian team.

"There is a certain importance and pride attached to this jersey. Everyone needs to realise that. You have to strive for excellence and show that you are obsessed to win every minute of the game. That’s how you get that jersey," said Kohli.

Cricket fanatics gave their reviews about Team India’s new jersey.

News Cricket

IPL will benefit India ahead of World Cup 2019, says MSK Prasad

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 3:32 PM IST


The upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League will benefit Men in Blue ahead of the World Cup. This was stated by none other than India chief selector MSK Prasad. He believes that the players should not be rested from the cash rich league because of the World Cup and the experience of playing in the league can be beneficial for players.

“I have a different view (on the IPL debate). IPL is an international tournament which offers so many complex pressure situations. Rather than sitting and training, you will have to go through so many pressure situations be it with the batting, bowling or fielding. This IPL offers a competitive atmosphere. If you see the example of 2013 and 2017 Champions Trophy, we did exceedingly well because we had IPL prior to that. It will only help our players which otherwise a normal bilateral series will definitely not offer. It is just four overs (for bowlers) but it is important how to keep themselves fit other than that,” Prasad said in the India Today’s panel discussion on Friday.

Earlier, Virat Kohli had said IPL performance will have no bearing on the World Cup team selection.

“No, I don’t see the IPL having any influence on World Cup selection. I think that will be very, very radical sort of analysis,” the Indian captain, known for his forthright views, said on the eve of the first ODI against Australia.

News Cricket

Yuvraj complains about Nehra's mischief to bowlers wife Rushma Nehra

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 3:08 PM IST


Yuvraj Singh hosted a birthday party for his wife Hazel Keech. Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar and Ashish Nehra graced the occasion with their presence. Among many of Yuvraj's friends, Ashish Nehra entertained the gathering with his sense of humor.

In the photos uploaded by the Indian all-round star, Nehra is seen shaking his leg and smearing the cake on the face of birthday girl Hazel Keech.

After seeing Nehra’s mischief, Yuvraj Singh jokingly complained about formers behavior to his wife Rushma Nehra.

"@rd.nehra look what your husband did to my wife's face," Yuvraj said in an Instagram post on Friday.

Yuvraj Singh, who is no more part of Team India, is looking forward to Indian Premier League. The southpaw was purchased by three-time IPL champions, Mumbai Indians.

He was welcomed by Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma, who is looking forward to play alongside one of the best Indian cricketers of all time.

News Cricket

Yeh BHAI log jaisa koi hard-ich nahi hai: Prithvi Shaw lauds Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 2:45 PM IST


Prithvi Shaw, the young Indian cricketer, has shared a picture on his twitter account where he is seen with two senior pros, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. He met the two stalwarts during India's jersey launch at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad.

Team India's jersey was launched in the presence of above mentioned cricketers along with Ajinkya Rahane and women cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur.

Shaw got himself clicked with Kohli and Dhoni and shared the picture with the caption, "Yeh BHAI log jaisa koi Hard ich nahi hai @imVkohli @msdhoni #legends."

Shaw had a memorable debut for India in the Test series against West Indies. He was selected in the squad for the Australia series but an unfortunate ankle injury ruled him out of the tour.

The right hand batsman recently made his comeback in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

News Cricket

Michael Clarke is not impressed with this approach of Team India ahead of World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 2:06 PM IST


Former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke said that he is bit concerned about Men in Blue's chopping and changing strategy ahead of the World Cup. He further added that Virat Kohli led team is not concerned about winning or losing at the moment and their main focus is on getting their team combination right.

His comments came after hosts were defeated in the two-match T20 series against Australia. India had rested Kuldeep Yadav and rotated their openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.

"My only concern with India's approach in the first two T20s against Australia and in the current series is that they are not too concerned about winning or losing those games.

"Listening to Virat talking after the last T20, these ODIs their approach is going to be the same, they are going to try a few players whom they are going to take in the 15 to the World Cup. That would be a little bit different from my approach. My attitude leading up to the World Cup was trying and winning every game to get the momentum and get confidence into our group."

News Cricket

Abhinandan Varthaman is another name for bravery, says Rohit Sharma

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 12:48 PM IST


Team India Vice-captain Rohit Sharma welcomed back Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The IAF pilot returned to India after spending two day's in Pakistan's custody. During the aerial combat with Pakistan Air Force, his jet was hit and he unfortunately landed in Pakistan.

He was ill treated by the mob before Pakistani army saved him. The Indian brave heart, who was taken into custody, kept his cool. After several rounds of negotiation, Imran Khan announced that Abhinandan would be returned to India as a peace gesture.

Since that announcement, the whole of India was eagerly waiting for his return. He was handed to India around 9 pm.

Rohit took to twitter to welcome Abhinandan Varthaman and even wrote a special message for the IAF pilot.

“Welcome to our motherland #WingCommanderAbhinandan Another name for bravery”

News Cricket

Sourav Ganguly sounds warning bell for Rishabh Pant

Staff Writer Updated: 2 March, 2019, 12:26 PM IST


Rishabh Pant is eyeing an opportunity to make it to the World Cup squad of Team India and a lot will depend on his performance in the ODI series against Australia.

The left hand batsman had a miserable outing in the T20 series against Aaron Finch led team and another failure couldn’t dent his chances of representing India in the show piece event.

Sourav Ganguly, who had lauded Pant for his performance in Test cricket, has sounded warning bell for the wicketkeeper batsman.

"He has to fit in. I don't know whether he would be able to fit in at this moment. So it depends. But he's obviously a player for the future," Ganguly told reporters in Kolkata.

Talking about KL Rahul, Sourav said the opening batsman has to score runs outside India.

"I've been backing him. He has to score runs away from home. He's a superb talent. He played superbly in the two T20Is," he said.

"Karthik is not part of the ODI squad then obviously they are not thinking of him as an option. It depends on what the selectors want," Ganguly added.