News Cricket

Umar Akmal goofs-up big time, says agla IPL Pakistan mein hoga

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 2:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Umar Akmal, who is more often in the news for his trash talks and out of the box ideas, has goofed up once again. During one of the promotional events for the ongoing Pakistan Super League, Akmal, who is part of Quetta Gladiators, made a big mistake while promoting the league.

“Zaahir si baat hai Quetta ki team Karachi aayi hui hai aur hum apne home ground pe khel rahe hai, aur crowd jitna bhi support karega humari team ko, team utna accha perform karegi. Aur crowd issi tarike se har team ko support karega toh agla IPL (corrects), sorry PSL yahi pe hoga [It is obvious that with Quetta at home in Karachi, we will be banking on our home support. As many people come out and support us, the better our team will perform. If the crowd continues to support us like this then the next IPL, sorry PSL, will be played here only],” he said.

Karachi was not part of the original plans to host PSL matches in the ongoing edition but Lahore’s inability to conduct the games on its soil due to suspension of airspace moulded things in Karachi’s favor.

The eight matches – four in the league stages and four in the playoffs, including the final, will be played in Karachi.

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News Cricket

Dhawan jumps to Rishabh Pant's defence, says don't compare him to Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 2:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant had a miserable outing in terms of wicket-keeping in the third ODI between India and Australia. The youngster not only dropped catches but also missed a crucial stumping of Ashton Turner, who led Australia to victory.

The fans at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium were not amused by Pant’s glovework and they chanted Dhoni Dhoni to remind him of his role. During the 44th over of the Australia innings, Pant missed a straight forward stumping chance to dismiss Turner, who was on 38 at that moment.

He also tried to emulate MS Dhoni by flicking the ball towards the stumps to run Alex Carey out but missed the target and even conceded an extra run.

Pant also forced Virat Kohli to opt for a review against Turner but the on-filed decision was upheld by the third umpire.

Pant’s teammate Shikhar Dhawan has backed the young Indian star, saying it's unfair to compare him to legendary player MS Dhoni and he should give more time to prove himself in international cricket.

"Rishabh is a young bloke and like any other youngster, you have to give time to him. Rishabh is still finding his feet. You cannot compare Pant to Dhoni [bhai], given the experience he has having played over the years," Dhawan told the media in Mohali.

He added: "Of course, had the stumping chance been taken, it could have turned the game. Having said that, the game slipped away from our hands quite quickly after that. The dew also played its part in the game. But that's what it is."

News Cricket

Fans want Dinesh Karthik for World Cup after Rishabh Pant messes up big time in third ODI

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 1:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

A lot was expected from Rishabh Pant after MS Dhoni was rested for the last two ODIs against Australia. He was given preference over Dinesh Karthik to prove his credentials ahead of the World Cup. However, his glovework was shabby all through Australia's innings.

He was booed by the fans during the match and they even chanted Dhoni Dhoni to remind him of his duties. Apart from dropping catches, he missed the easiest of stumping chance to give reprieve to Ashton Turner, who won the game for his side in the end.

Pant also tried to copy MS Dhoni to run Alex Carey out but the ball went past the stumps, leading to more embracement.

Here's how fans reacted to Pant's shabby glovework.

Few of the fans even called for Dinesh Karthik's return to the World Cup squad.

News Cricket

Match-fixing bigger crime than murder: Dhoni breaks his silence on CSK’s two-year ban

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 1:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings to its third IPL title in 2018 after the franchise was inducted back into the league following the completion of a two-year ban period for its involvement in the 2013 spot fixing scandal.

Former Indian skipper, who had to play for Rising Pune Supergiants for two years during that period, has finally broken his silence on the whole incident.

“The biggest crime that I can commit is not a murder, it is actually match-fixing,” Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said in a soon-to-be released documentary that focuses on Chennai Super Kings’ fairy tale comeback to the Indian Premier League last year.

“The team was involved, I was accused too. It was a tough phase for all of us. Fans felt that the punishment was harsh. Coming back was an emotional moment and I have always said, what doesn’t kill you makes you strong," he added.

The punishment was handed down by a Supreme Court-appointed three-member committee after they found Gurunath Meiyappan's involvement, who was one of the key officials of the Chennai Super Kings, in betting related activities.

News Cricket

Shikhar Dhawan reveals how he deals with criticism

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 12:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Shikhar Dhawan scored his 16th ODI hundred as India reached 358-5 after opting to bat on the best pitch in this series. Rohit Sharma also scored 95 runs and the duo put on 193 runs for the opening wicket to set the stage for a challenging score.

Earlier, opting to bat, Dhawan and Sharma made good use of the batting track on offer as they provided a rollicking start to the Indian innings.

Dhawan in particular was harsh on the Australia bowlers as the duo brought up 50 off just 56 balls. India's 100 came up in 104 balls.

After a slow start, Sharma scored his 40th ODI half-century off 54 balls, hitting seven fours and two sixes overall.

Dhawan reached his first hundred since September off 97 balls.

Sharma fell with his hundred in sight, holing to the deep off Jhye Richardson (3-85). Dhawan took over the reins as he continued attacking, hitting 18 fours and three sixes overall.

"First of all, I don't read newspapers and I don't take information which I don't want to. So I don't know what's happening around me and I live in my own world. So, I decide in which direction my thoughts are going," said the 33-year-old after the match.

"I perform best when I am calm. There's no point in cribbing or being sad," said Dhawan.

"When I feel hurt, I move on quickly. And I don't really know what people are writing. I make sure that I am in a positive frame of mind and keep doing my process," he added.

"I accept the reality and move on. I don't resist something that's happening. If it's going good, then it's good."

"If I am doing all my skill work, taking care of my fitness and having the right mindset, then I just sit back and enjoy," said Dhawan, who has been India's key player in all the recent multi-nation tournaments.

News Cricket

Finding of MCC survey on Test cricket not surprising

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 11:56 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

I am not exactly surprised by the findings of the MCC survey on cricket. An overwhelming 86 percent of fans prefer watching the five day matches as compared to limited overs versions being of the opinion that Test cricket is the ``ultimate’’ form. This comes on top of a survey conducted last year by the ICC which said that close to 70 percent (of 19,000 people between the ages of 16 and 69 supported Test cricket.

How often have we heard the phrase that ``Test cricket is dying’’. Just last month we had no less a personality than the ICC chairman saying much the same thing. First it was said that Test matches had lost out to ODIs. Then with the proliferation of T-20 leagues around the cricketing world it was opined that there is no hope for Test cricket. And yet here we have facts that state just the opposite.

As a traditionalist and a bit of an old timer I still follow Test cricket. Of course I follow the limited overs versions too as a cricket fan and a professional writer on the sport but overall there is no greater satisfaction than watching a well contested Test match. The twists and turns, the lengthy suspense till the match is won or lost – or even when it ends in an exciting draw – is the apotheosis of the sport. Sure they have been dull Test matches but then there have been dull and totally one sided limited overs games which one hardly remembers. The events of a Test match however stay in the mind for long.

The cynics point out to the empty stands during a Test match to underscore their point that there is hardly any interest in cricket’s traditional format. While it is not an encouraging sight to see international games played before empty stands for crowds after all is what the game is all about this does not prove that there is a lack of interest in the format. People keep track of it on the internet or their mobiles, they watch it on TV and follow it on the radio. Fans still stop people on the road and want to know the latest score.

The survey was carried out across 100 countries with over 13,000 fans responding so the results can be taken as fairly conclusive. ``Overwhelmingly Test cricket came out as the format that interests fans the most regardless of country or age,’’ the MCC said in a release. Certainly the survey points out to a positive future for Test cricket. The findings may also raise eyebrows among global cricket administrators including the ICC who are convinced that T-20 cricket is behind the growth of the game.

Yes, the administrators can look at steps like day/night Test cricket or four day matches or anything else that can bring the crowds back to the stadia. Or perhaps the Test Cricket Championship commencing later this year could be the answer. But one thing is sure – Test cricket will never die.

Opinion Cricket

What’s ailing Virat Kohli against spinners?

CT Contributors Updated: 11 March, 2019, 10:56 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli is undoubtedly the best batsman in the world at the moment and is also one of the better players of spin bowling in India. But time and time again, we have seen Kohli struggling against spin bowling and especially leg-spinners.

In the ongoing ODIs against Australia, leggie Adam Zampa has dismissed Kohli twice and earlier in the T20Is he got the 30-year-old once. In Ranchi, Zampa dismissed Kohli on 123 and that was the turning point in the match as Australia won the same to claw back in the five-match series.

After the match, Zampa was asked about Kohli and whether the Indian star has become his bunny. Zampa played it down and said, “Virat is a serious player, it was good to take his wicket when we did. I don’t think he’s my bunny, he’s one of the hardest players to bowl to. I was under a bit of pressure, if he had hit a couple of more boundaries, the momentum would have shifted towards them.”

Kohli’s trend against the spinners hasn’t been something laudable in recent times. Last season in the ODIs against England, Adil Rashid got the player twice. And then Moeen Ali too dismissed him once. Credit must be given to Rashid for bowling cleverly against the Indian batsman.

Notably, in the third ODI, Rashid got Kohli with a beauty. The ball pitched around middle and leg stump and then took a sharp turn beating Kohli's outside edge as the ball clipped the top of the off-stump and then nestled into Jos Buttler's glove.

In the third ODI against Australia, Zampa’s googly got the better of Kohli. It was full on middle, and spinning into Kohli. He tried to whip the one off his toes to mid-wicket, but the ball went under his bat, and clipped the leg stump. What the spinners have done with time is mix things up and been confident.

Zampa was smashed for two successive fours prior to him dismissing Kohli. That’s where the confidence came into play. Back in IPL 2018 edition, Kohli was dismissed 8 times by spinners out of the 14 innings that he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. This is an interesting trend to follow.

Teams will target Kohli in ODIs with quality spin bowling during the ICC World Cup 2019. They will feel that there is an outside chance of getting the legend if the ball is pitched on the right areas. Rashid Khan is another bowler, who will fancy his chances against Kohli. The Afghan sensation has had success against Kohli in the IPL.

Looking at Kohli's dismissals against spin, it has got to be the googly that is causing issues. Rashid, Khan and Zampa have all tried this delivery and it has worked for them. Kohli will need to work his way through. Intense preparation and using the feet well can serve him better.

It remains to be seen how the likes of Zampa and Nathan Lyon goes against Kohli next. It will be a great battle to watch nonetheless.

News Cricket

Disgruntled skipper Virat Kohli reveals reasons for defeat

Staff Writer Updated: 11 March, 2019, 10:05 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ashton Turner bludgeoned 84 off 43 balls as Australia beat India by four wickets in the fourth ODI to level the five-match series 2-2.

Peter Handscomb added 117 off 105 balls, while Usman Khawaja made 91 runs as Australia made surprisingly easy work of an imposing 359-run target.

Handscomb and Khawaja put on 192 runs for the third wicket after Australia had been reduced to 12-2 and Turner applied the finishing touch to lead Australia to 359-6 in 47.5 overs.

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan scored his 16th ODI hundred as India reached 358-5 after opting to bat on the best pitch in this series. Rohit Sharma also scored 95 runs and the duo put on 193 runs for the opening wicket to set the stage for a challenging score.

But dew and poor fielding put paid to India's chances as Australia rallied to its record chase in ODI cricket.

Chasing 359, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-67) bowled Aaron Finch for a two-ball duck and then Jasprit Bumrah (3-63) sent back Shaun Marsh (6) with Australia struggling to get going.

Khawaja and Handscomb then dug deep, rebuilding the innings from scratch but took calculated risks to keep pace with the asking rate at all times. Australia crossed 100 in the 19th over.

While Handscomb passed 50 off 55 balls, Khawaja scored his seventh ODI half-century off 52 balls, his second of the series as they kept Australian hopes alive after taking the score past 200 in the 33rd over.

With the asking rate touching 10 per over, it was time to change gears but Khawaja holed out to Bumrah in the 34th over.

However, dew was starting to make its presence felt and the Indian spinners struggled to grip the ball. But that was scant excuse for some poor Indian fielding for a second game running after a torrid show in the third ODI on Thursday.

After Handscomb scored his maiden ODI hundred off 92 balls, Rishabh Pant missed a stumping chance. The young wicket keeper would then miss another later on with Turner making the most of his second chance.

In between, Kuldeep Yadav (1-64) trapped Glenn Maxwell (23) lbw, with DRS ruling against the batsman.

Handscomb and Turner put on 42 runs as the game changed course toward Australia in the final power play. Even when Handscomb was caught at long on off Yuzvendra Chahal (1-80) in the 42nd over, Australia remained in contention.

Playing only his second ODI, Turner made great use of the conditions as he smacked five fours and six sixes to stun the Mohali crowd, putting on 86 runs with Alex Carey (21).

He reached his maiden half-century off 33 balls and gained from two dropped catches in an over off Kumar, taking Australia across the finish line with 13 balls to spare.

"The partnership between Usman and Peter was crucial to get us deep (in the innings). The wicket was good and there was no panic. This is what we try to do when chasing 300-totals in Australia. We have seen Ashton do this a lot in Big Bash League, and it was a world-class knock to take on two of the best death-bowlers in cricket at the moment," said skipper Aaron Finch after the win.

Earlier, opting to bat, Dhawan and Sharma made good use of the batting track on offer as they provided a rollicking start to the Indian innings.

Dhawan in particular was harsh on the Australia bowlers as the duo brought up 50 off just 56 balls. India's 100 came up in 104 balls.

After a slow start, Sharma scored his 40th ODI half-century off 54 balls, hitting seven fours and two sixes overall.

Dhawan reached his first hundred since September off 97 balls.

Sharma fell with his hundred in sight, holing to the deep off Jhye Richardson (3-85). Dhawan took over the reins as he continued attacking, hitting 18 fours and three sixes overall.

Lokesh Rahul (26) came out to bat at No. 3, but couldn't sustain the momentum, though he managed to add 61 runs with Dhawan for the second wicket.

Pat Cummins (5-70) took his maiden five-wicket haul in ODI cricket and applied the brakes to India's innings when he bowled Dhawan in the 38th over.

Virat Kohli (7) fell cheaply for a change, caught behind off Richardson, and despite Rishabh Pant's cameo of 36 off 24 balls, India were in danger of falling short of 350 after crossing 200 in the 32nd over.

Vijay Shankar then hit 26 off 15 balls and pushed the score higher, but it didn't prove enough.

"It became too wet to bowl. The stumping chances were crucial, but we were sloppy in the field as well. We should have grabbed our chances," said Kohli. "Handscomb and Khawaja played well, but Ashton played one hell of a knock. It was the game changer. The wicket was good throughout and dew made it difficult to bowl in right areas. (But) It was a record chase and they deserved to win."

The fifth and final ODI will be played in Delhi on Wednesday.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma set to surpass Dhoni to create this big record

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 5:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India lost the third ODI against Australia by 32 runs at JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on Friday. India are leading the ODI series 2-1 but the tourists have also kept their hopes alive. The fourth ODI between both the sides will be played in Mohali on Sunday.

Indian vice-captain, Rohit Sharm is one the verge of leaving MS Dhoni behind in terms of most ODI sixes while playing for India. The Indian right-hander is just two sixes away from surpassing Dhoni in the list of most ODI sixes hit by an Indian. The veteran Indian glove-man, MS Dhoni has 217 sixes while Rohit has 216 sixes to his credit, playing for India.

Dhoni and Rohit are followed by Sachin Tendulkar (195), Sourav Ganguly (189), and Yuvraj Singh (153) when it comes to players with the most number of sixes for India.

The Indian opener has just scored 220 runs in his last eight ODI innings at a poor average of 27.5. Both Dhawan and Rohit have struggled for runs of late.

Feature Cricket

Exclusive: Yusuf Pathan reveals the difference between captaincy of Warne, Gambhir, and Kane

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 March, 2019, 5:06 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sunrisers Hyderabad got a massive blow even before the commencement of the 11th edition of the IPL when they lost their captain David Warner after he was found guilty in the ball-tampering scandal. David Warner was central to Hyderabad's triumph in 2016 IPL. It was a double whammy for them as they not only lost their captain but also their best batsman.

Kane Williamson, who was not even a regular starter in the Hyderabad side was handed over the reigns. He had big boots to fill. And the Kiwi player, not only shone through as captain by taking SRH to the finals but also ended the season as highest run-getter to stamp his authority.

"A great leader is who, takes the team to greater heights in difficult times, and Kane Williamson has that capability, and that's why we reached the finals as well. There were a lot of close games, and it's not easy to take tight decisions but he handled the team really well," Yusuf Pathan told Cricket Today when asked about captaincy of Kane Williamson.

"Kane is very calm, reads situations well, and has a positive attitude towards teammates, and that's' why he is the captain. It was not easy to captain the team for the first time and take them through to the finals that too in absence of David Warner. With a cool and calm head, he handled the team, and scored lots of runs to take the team through to finals," added Pathan, who played for SRH in 2018 for the first time.

Before Kane Williamson, Pathan had also played under the likes of Shane Warne and Gautam Gambhir while representing Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively. He not only played under them but also won IPL with them. Both Warne and Gambhir are known as astute tacticians of the game. Pathan shed light on captaincy styles of both Shane Warne and Gautam Gambhir.

He said, "Shane Warne is very positive, be it as a person or a cricketer." Notably, Shane Warne had taken four wickets in semi-finals of both the 1996 and 1999 World Cup. The leggie had also bagged four wickets in the 1999 World Cup final. Warne was a big-match player. And Yusuf learned a great technique of success from him. "Warne taught me how to visualize well before games. I learned how to visualize keeping in mind the strong and weak points of the opposition players," asserted Pathan.

"As far as Gautam Gambhir is concerned, he is a very aggressive cricketer and steps on to the field with a lot of positivity and fire," revealed Pathan.

The elder Pathan brother might be 36 years old, but he still has the fire and belief that he can win games for his side. He is someone, who can take the game by storm. His aggressive batting and audacious strokeplay have won his teams' many games, over the years. The right-hander intends to do the same this year.

Pathan announced, "I have this tag of being a match-winner and my role is to play aggressively. My approach is to win matches for my team. Inshallah, till the time I keep playing cricket, I would love to keep playing aggressively. He added an interesting point, "A lot of times in order to curb my aggressive instinct, the opposition think too much about me and as a result, my partners get the benefit and they go on to score runs."

Pathan also relishes the fact that he gets the license to play his natural game at Hyderabad. He shared his experience of playing under legends like VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan. "VVS bhai is always like when you go out to bat and start doing well, opposition team panics. So when a legend like Laxman says things like that it feels good. He appreciates my talent and approach."

He also disclosed how much fun it is to be around Muttiah Muralitharan. "Murali is a very fun loving person, he keeps having a lot of fun banter with me, and I enjoy playing with him around the team. I have played against him as well, and its a very good experience playing under such a bonafide legend of the game," said Pathan.

Yusuf Pathan was part of India's 2007 WT20 and 2011 World Cup winning side. He didn't have the most fulfilling career in the Indian jersey but some of his knocks have stood up to the test of time. "There are a lot of innings that I have forgotten, but when fans talk about those innings, which I have played for India, it feels special. And all the wonderful memories get freshen up in my mind," asserted Pathan.

He has played some brilliant knocks for India. Be it his 96-ball 123 against New Zealand in 2010, where India chased down 316 runs after being 108 for four or his 50-ball 59 in Cape Town against South Africa (2011) were the Men in Blue won a thriller after being 93 for five, or his 70-ball 105 in Centurion against the Proteas in a losing cause, where no other Indian batsman could even touch 40, Yusuf had his share of moments at the highest level.

"It has always been my approach, which helped me play innings like these, I cherish difficult situations and it helped me give my best. Whenever I sit down and reflect on those innings it feels special", gushed Pathan taking a walk back to nostalgia.

But as he got back from nostalgia to the present moment, he looked all fired up to put his best foot forward in the IPL. "My preparations for IPL are going very good, I am having a good time in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, practice is going well and I have more time for individually fine-tuning myself before our camp starts," stated Pathan.

He signed off by saying or rather announcing, "There are a lot of matches to come and Inshallah, I will play many more memorable knocks in times to come for my team."

*The Interview was taken by Harshit Anand.

This is part 2 of our Interview, here is part 1:

 

Feature Cricket

Brexit Worries for SA

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 9 March, 2019, 4:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Even as South Africa try to lift their morale in the course of the one day internationals series with Sri Lanka, there is undoubtedly a pall of gloom hanging around the still shocking announcement of Duanne Olivier going the Kolpak way. But it was looming on the horizon as the Brexit deadline drew closer.

For years, South Africa have had to deal intermittently with the problem of their national players abruptly shutting shop by signing Kolpak deals that effectively made them available for English county circuit but no longer available to represent South Africa. At the height of their success, just as they were realizing their potential in South Africa’s greens, it seemed South Africa’s promise has been snuffed out right in front of them. Repeated instances however did not prod Cricket South Africa to check the exodus.

The decision by Duanne Olivier, just as he was hitting his strides in Test whites and becoming a stronger candidate to make the berth for the ICC Cricket World Cup in June in England, to announce his departure from the South African cricket team, having signed the Kolpak contract continues to be a major talking point, a shock South Africa still seem to be trying to get over.

The fact that it has perhaps hit harder than it even did when Kyle Abbott was the last prominent South African cricketer to quit at the height of his success in national colours is telling of just how much of an impact Duanne Olivier has had in recent months. It is, also, evident of the fact that South Africa, despite a brave façade, are still very much in transition, not quite recovering from the larger-than-life losses of the retirement of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers last year.

However, South Africa knew that not only was the Kolpak contract a perennial worry lurking in the shadows but also, that the Brexit decision arrived at by a referendum in Great Britain two years back was going to make for a greater push for cricketers to sign on the dotted line before the deadline. With the European nation yet to arrive at a Brexit deal, the idea of a no-deal Brexit is causing consternation not only within commercial establishments dependent on import-export barters and partnerships but also, cricket as a sport. With potentially unforeseeable changes on the anvil, there are perhaps more revelations in the offing but not quite on the level as that of Olivier’s that could be on the cards as the race to the Brexit deadline now gathers speed.

The Kolpak contracts have become a perennial problem for Cricket South Africa from the standpoint that cricketers not only earn a greater remuneration as a result of the rand to pound conversion rate but also, have a sense of security, particularly after Cricket South Africa were forced to follow the country’s sports laws that suggest heavy penalties including non-hosting of global events if not compliant with the mandatory inclusion of non-white players. With cricket also now subjected to the quota system, the uncertainty factor in the air has been more prominent leading to an exodus of players virtually en masse which has greatly dented South Africa’s potential to not only stay competitive but also, become a powerhouse looking for its first World Cup trophy.

With Brexit now throwing another spanner in the works, cricketers harbouring uncertainty over their future and doubts about their place in the national team will have already been scouted and scooped up in a hurry. It is a now a longstanding problem that Cricket South Africa have failed to check address in the past and indeed may now look helpless in the immediate future and an uncertain of their place going into the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Feature Cricket

Friday’s result a wake-up call for high flying Indians

Partab Ramchand Updated: 9 March, 2019, 4:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Friday’s result was a timely wake-up call for the rather high flying Indians. Successive wins can give a side an illusion of invincibility and can lead to over confidence. Despite the victories and the current No 2 ranking this Indian team has weaknesses and the defeat to Australia will show them up as a good side and nothing more.

For some time there were rumbles that the middle order is not settled. Suddenly it is the top order which is the subject of much concern. It is difficult to win any match when a side is 27 for three especially when the target required is a stiff 314. And gallantly as Virat Kohli and others performed truth be told the Indians were always going to fall short.

The match also did little to boost the chances of Kedar Jadhav as he tries to stake his claim for inclusion in the World Cup squad. He did come up with a cameo with the bat but was harshly treated while bowling. Jadhav in fact was badly exposed and certainly the kind of tripe he sends down is not what the Indian team requires in the World Cup. With Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya now almost certainties to make the cut there could be place for one more utility player but that is not Jadhav.

One is also concerned about Kuldeep Yadav’s form. He picked up three wickets but at a cost and the danger is that opposing batsmen are able to read him better. A chinaman bowler like him is a precious talent and perhaps he should not be played again before the World Cup.

It is a pity that a regal innings by Kohli for once had to be in a losing cause. The Indian captain is in a league of his own and the manner he is batting of late the Australians can well paraphrase something that Bjorn Borg’s opponents said in the 70s when the legendary Swede was at his peak. ``We play tennis, he plays something else.’’ Kohli’s opponents could well be saying about the Indian captain that while they play cricket, he is playing something else.

News Cricket

Karachi set to watch top cricketers in PSL T20 finals

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 4:04 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan's biggest city is set to witness some of the biggest stars in international cricket over the next nine days as the last leg of Pakistan Super League begins on Saturday.

Shane Watson of Australia, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy of the West Indies will be the star attractions in the Twenty20 format for cricket-frenzied fans in Karachi.

Watson will be playing in Pakistan 14 years after being a member of the Australia A team in 2005, while Pollard will be playing in Pakistan for the first time.

Sammy has been an unofficial ambassador of the PSL around the world since the league began in 2016. Sammy, who leads Peshawar Zalmi, won the second edition of the PSL at Lahore in 2017 as the PCB gradually started organizing more and more league games at home.

"It's been 14 years since I last visited Pakistan, a place with some of the most passionate fans in world cricket. Can't wait to give it our best shot in winning the trophy," Watson said in a video message tweeted by his team Quetta Gladiators.

Lahore, which organized the PSL final two years ago, was ruled out to host three of the remaining eight PSL matches after the recent political tensions between Pakistan and India forced a delay in opening of the international air space in Lahore.

This led the Pakistan Cricket Board to contemplate rescheduling the remaining eight games in Pakistan after organizing 26 PSL league matches in the United Arab Emirates.

But then Karachi, which also hosted the last year's PSL final, was chosen as the PCB was adamant to show the cricketing world that it's safe to again host international teams in Pakistan.

"The perception that foreigners have about the safety situation in Pakistan will change and they will be satisfied with the security arrangements," PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said in Karachi.

"I am delighted to welcome the foreign players who have come here for the PSL and I am sure it will help us in bringing more international matches to the country."

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Mani had said that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were the two teams which could tour Pakistan later this year if the PCB successfully organizes PSL games in Pakistan.

It's been 10 years since Pakistan hosted a fully-fledged bilateral cricketing series when terrorists attacked on Sri Lanka cricket team bus at Lahore in 2009.

Several key cricketing delegates from around the world that include top officials from the ICC, Federation of International Cricketers Association and Bangladesh Cricket Board will also oversee security arrangements during the matches in Karachi.

Tight security will be provided for the six franchise teams, including more than 13,000 policemen and 2,500 armed paramilitary personnel in place en route from hotel to the stadium and in the surroundings of the National Stadium.

Hundreds of CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the National Stadium to monitor the movement of spectators. Spectators have to show their original National Identity Cards along with their tickets at the entry points.

Defending champions Islamabad United will take on Lahore Qalandars at 7 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).

The main roads of the metropolis city have been decorated with lights and cardboard cut-outs of players on the roadside. There are also giant billboards showing several foreign players representing the six teams — Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans.

News Cricket

Pakistan want ICC to take strict action against Men in Blue for wearing Army Caps 

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 3:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan Minister Fawad Chaudhry has urged the ICC to take action against Virat Kohli-led team for politicizing the game by wearing army caps during the third ODI against Australia.

Indian players were sporting camouflage caps as a mark of tribute to the CRPF security personnel, who lost their lives in Pulwama terror attack.

Men in Blue also donated their match fee to the National Defence Fund, which will use the money to take care dependents of Pulwama attack martyrs.

“It’s just not cricket,” Chaudhry tweeted late on Friday. “By wearing the caps, the Indian team has politicized the Gentleman’s Game”, Dawn quoted the Information Minister as saying.

He insisted that PCB should lodge a formal protest against India.

“And if the Indian team does not stop wearing the caps, the Pakistan team ‘should (also) wear black bands to remind the World about Indian atrocities in (occupied) Kashmir,” said Chaudhry.

Many in Pakistan, including journalists Owais Tohid and Mazhar Abbas lambasted Team India for donning Army Caps.

“Sad to see war hysteria in Indian cricket team with great players like Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni leading it,” Tohid said in a tweet. “Heroes shouldn’t act like losers,” he added.

Abbas criticized the Indian players for their gesture. “Sports can defuse tension but not like this. Don’t (drag) cricketers in(to) politics.”

News Cricket

Virat Kohli joins Michael Bevan in elite list after 41st ODI ton

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 2:18 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli's batting average in ODIs has gone past 60 after he scored a magnificent hundred in the third ODI against Australia. Despite Virat's 41st ODI ton, India lost the match by 32 runs in Ranchi.

Men in Blue now lead the series 2-1 having won the first two matches in Hyderabad and Nagpur. This is the highest batting average Kohli has reached in his career thus far. Virat is now behind former Aussie batsman Michael Bevan, who reached an average of 62.1 in his 102nd innings.

Virat and Bevan are the two players who have gone past the 60 mark as far as average is concerned. West Indies legend Viv Richards is at the third spot in the list. He had touched 56.8 average in his 100th ODI innings.