News Cricket

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says no to cricket with Pakistan

Staff Writer Updated: 20 February, 2019, 5:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has called for a ban in cricket ties with arch-rivals Pakistan. The country is still reeling after Pulwama terror attack took away lives of 40 CRPF soldiers. India and Pakistan do not play bilateral cricket anymore but now there are question marks on their meeting in ICC Cricket World Cup as well, which will take place in few months' time in England and Wales.

"I cannot make any comment [on cricket issues] except to say those who are demanding it have some justification. You can see many films and concerts have been cancelled. Things are not normal. If things are not normal, the jhappiyan-pappiyan (hugs and kisses) issues have always been there," Prasad told India Today.

"Since it's an international tournament, the ICC and our Indian cricket board (BCCI) have to take a call after consideration with our security establishment.

"But I don't wish away their concern. It's time to say no. Mr Imran Khan had no word of condolence for those who were killed," he said.
 

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News Cricket

Yuzvendra Chahal reveals an unknown thing about MS Dhoni

Harshit Anand Updated: 20 February, 2019, 5:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni's fan-following in the Indian dressing room is huge. No one is more senior and experienced than him in India's white-ball team. The former Indian skipper is the only international captain to have led his country to wins in all the major ICC events. 

It is a great learning curve for youngsters in the team like Rishabh Pant, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar to share the dressing room with someone like MSD. Yuzvendra Chahal opened up on how MS Dhoni is around the team and shared a few unknown things about Dhoni. 

In an interview to Hindustan Times, the 27-year-old wrist-spinner said, “It is a big thing to play under Mahi bhai. Mahi bhai and I play PUBG together sometimes (laughs). Seven-eight people play PUBG for two hours. We go for dinners, [have] fun. It’s a big thing to play under Mahi bhai. He was my first captain. Whenever we need help in bowling, Kuldeep and I always ask him.”

He further added, “Whenever I feel something, I always talk to the senior players — Virat (Kohli) bhaiya, Mahi (Dhoni) bhai, Rohit (Sharma) bhaiya, Shikhar (Dhawan) bhaiya. They always help me. When Virat bhaiya is not there, I always [speak to] Rohit bhaiya and ask him what to do and what not to do.”

News Cricket

What mystery? Sab bakwas hai: Kuldeep Yadav  

Harshit Anand Updated: 20 February, 2019, 4:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Kuldeep Yadav is one of the most promising spinners in world cricket at present juncture. His bowling in white-ball cricket has been magical, to say the least. No one has taken more wickets than him in ODIs and T20I since his debut. He has also done well in what little opportunities he has got in Test cricket. The chinaman spinner even scalped a five-fer in his maiden in Australia. 

But, it was not easy for Kuldeep Yadav to do what he did in the Sydney Test against Australia especially after his failure in the Lord's Test against England. He opened up on what was going through his mind post the second Test in London. 

“I could rarely smile,” Kuldeep told The Indian Express. “I saw the world crumbling in front of me, but when I look back now, I realise that everything in life has a purpose. The Lord’s Test was an eye-opener, a reality check. I realised I needed to work harder and prepare better so that I wouldn’t repeat the mistakes.”

Some people were of the view that Kuldeep's mystery was solved by the Englishmen as they had played him in the T20I and ODI series in lead up to the Test series. But, Kuldeep, right from the beginning has never considered himself as a mystery spinner.

"What mystery? Sab bakwas hai. I am using the same weapons like Ash [Ravichandran Ashwin] bhai — flight, drip, drift and turn — only that I’m a wrist spinner and he’s finger spinner,” said the young Indian wrist-spinner.

News Cricket

Expect India-Pakistan Game at World Cup to go Ahead as Scheduled: ICC

Staff Writer Updated: 20 February, 2019, 2:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Indo-Pak World Cup clash has been under the scanner ever since the Pulwama terror attack. Many people are of the belief that India should not play the game against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup. Harbhajan Singh had also said that India should not play against Pakistan in the ICC megaevent, which was backed by the ex-BCCI secretary, Sanjay Patel as well. 

But Indian team are set to play arch-rivals against Pakistan on June 16 match in Manchester. ICC’s outgoing chief executive officer, Dave Richardson has made it clear that all the games will go ahead as planned.

"Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident and we will be monitoring the situation with our Members," Richardson said, offering his condolences on the Pulwama terror attack in which, at least 42 CRPF jawans were martyred.

"There is no indication that any (of the) matches at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup will not go ahead as planned," Richardson said.

"Sport, in particular, cricket, has the wonderful ability to bring people together and unite communities and we will work with our Members on that basis," he added.

Even a BCCI official had shared his view on the same. "Harbhajan had shared his point of view but he didn't clarify what happens if we are again pitted against them in semi-final or suppose final. Does that mean that we will be forfeiting World Cup semi-final or final? So we are all talking about hypothetical situations," said a senior BCCI official.

He further added, "For the record, India played Pakistan in a World Cup game in England in 1999 edition when Kargil War was at its peak."

News Cricket

Hayden names the better all-rounder between Marcus Stoinis and Hardik Pandya

Harshit Anand Updated: 20 February, 2019, 12:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Australian opener, Matthew Hayden feels Marcus Stoinis is a better all-rounder compared to Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya. Both Hardik and Stoinis are currently among the best seaming all-rounders in white-ball cricket.  

Hayden feels Stoinis' approach is better than Hardik Pandya. "Marcus Stoinis is developing into a world-class all-rounder. He is unlucky not to be playing a little bit more Test cricket. He has quality in his play, although Hardik is also a fine player," said Hayden.

He went on to add, "Stoinis has adopted a wider approach to his game which is winning matches for his country. Hardik Pandya also has the same responsibility, but I think right now Stoinis is a better player."

Pandya has played 45 ODIs and averages 29.24 with the bat and has a strike-rate of 116.59. He has also taken 44 wickets. Stoinis averages 42.47 with the bat after having made 24 ODI appearances. The Aussie all-rounder has also scalped 22 wickets. Stoinis also won Australia's ODI Player of the Year award in annual Australian cricket awards held in Melbourne. 

News Cricket

Yuzvendra Chahal wants 'aar paar ki ladaai' against Pakistan

Staff Writer Updated: 20 February, 2019, 11:57 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Pulwama terror attack has saddened the whole country of India. It took away the lives of India's brave security personnel. There have been a lot of talks about a possible war between South Asian neighbors- India and Pakistan. Indian wrist-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal weighed in on what India should do in response to Pakistan's terrorism from across the border. 

"This should settle once and for all. We can't tolerate it any longer. Every three months we get to hear about our jawans losing their lives to terrorism and we can't keep waiting for things to happen. It's high time and we have to make things happen and we should settle this face to face, even if that means aar paar ki ladaai (fight on the battlefield)," Yuzvendra Chahal was quoted as saying by India Today.

"The decision to play the World Cup match against Pakistan has to be taken by the BCCI and the government. One or two players cannot decide but I think it is high time and we need to take strong action against the perpetrators of terrorism," added Chahal. 

Feature Cricket

Chris Gayle – Entertainer par excellence

Partab Ramchand Updated: 20 February, 2019, 11:01 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

If Chris Gayle stands by his decision to retire from ODIs after the World Cup there is little doubt that he will be missed by the entire cricketing community the world over. As an entertainer par excellence Gayle has few equals. Few batsmen have made bowlers look more helpless as he just smashes them for fours all over the ground or for huge sixes into the stands and beyond. Moreover his image as a fun loving cricketer who loved his dance steps almost as much as he enjoyed batting endeared him to cricket fans. His approach might have looked casual but he was deadly serious about his game.

Gayle is very much a cricketer of the times. As a professional to the core he always felt it was his right to ply his trade around the cricketing world and a look at his CV is simply astonishing. The number of teams he has played for in the various T-20 leagues is unique. All the same whenever he represented the West Indies he did his best for the team and this is underscored by his superb record in international limited overs cricket.

And for someone who once famously said that he would not be sad if Test cricket died Gayle did a lot to keep it alive. He is only one among four cricketers to have scored a triple hundred twice the others being Don Bradman, Brian Lara and Virender Sehwag. And he did play in 103 Tests between 2000 and 2014 and would have played many more but for his brushes with authority. And given his batting approach a record of 7214 runs at an average of 42 with 15 hundreds is not one to be scoffed at.

Overall however Gayle will be remembered for his exploits in limited overs cricket for his game was tailor made for it. After a 19 year career Gayle is approaching the 10,000 run mark. He is only 273 runs short and should get there during the World Cup. A strike rate of almost 86 with 23 hundreds allied to the fact that he is only one of six batsmen to get a double hundred in the format underscores his brilliance. And as only to be expected Gayle was a natural for T-20 cricket. His swashbuckling batting empties bars and attracted a worldwide TV audience and not unexpectedly he has been among the first choices for T-20 franchisees anywhere in the world.

Feature Cricket

Rest, But for Whom?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 20 February, 2019, 10:58 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

One of the contentious side issues that erupted as India’s tour of Australia drew to a close was the question of the Indian captain suggesting the idea that some of India’s frontline bowlers might be rested ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. However, some of the franchises as well as fans are asking, why shouldn’t Virat Kohli, India’s premier batsman, not be rested himself?

On the tour of Australia, there was a contention that some of India’s premier bowlers, namely, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, should have the option of being rested for the Indian Premier League with an eye on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which commences shortly after the conclusion of the cash rich Twenty20 tournament. The idea being propagated was by none other than the Indian captain who was obviously keeping his eye on his resources to ensure India’s best chances come England.

However, closer to home, as the IPL comes into prominence even before the ICC Cricket World Cup, there are no rumblings that not all of the franchisees have been quite as accommodating of the Indian skipper’s ideas even if it is ultimately in India’s interests. Furthermore, with money on the line with the ownership a different landscape as compared to representing the country, there are questions whether any franchisee, who has bought the players at a considerable price, would be willing to compromise on their own chances of lifting up the trophy which could be their greatest advertisement at the end of the day to make business sense.

There is, however, another angle that is both, commercial as well as practical. For one, while some franchises have questioned the logic of resting bowlers who bowl for four overs, even though the IPL is generally a lengthy affair that involves matches and travelling on the go, they are simultaneously suggesting that perhaps the skipper take a dose of his own medicine and rest premier batsmen including himself by not playing the IPL and thereby, even the odds, which could, also, work in the interests of Indian cricket going into the ICC Cricket World Cup.

While the onus ultimately lies in the hands of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) who is unwilling to forgo the tournament for even a year given the commercial ramifications of such a move, there is, also, the thinking that it is better for players, particularly for the bowlers to keep up their rhythms and their body maintenance and let them keep playing, a logic that could well be applied to batsmen as well who could use the match practice although playing the Twenty20 format is not sufficient enough to prepare them for the more elaborate fifty overs version that involved patience and platform building for a significantly longer length of them.

Perhaps a more practical solution is to find some middle ground where all Indian cricketers that would make up the World Cup squad be restricted to a certain number of matches with the provision in the event that the team they represent does get to the business end of the tournament, some additional rules will have to be established well in advance about franchisees relying on their bankable commodities that are the players.

News Cricket

Harbhajan Singh has a strong message for Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Harshit Anand Updated: 20 February, 2019, 10:38 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who had earlier called India to boycott Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup, has now urged Pakistan Prime Minister and World-Cup winning skipper, Imran Khan to do something quickly about the violence perpetrated in India from Pakistan.

The entire nation is grieving over the loss of lives of our brave hearts in the Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 42 CPRF jawans have been martyred. The dastardly attack took place on February 14 when terrorists targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district. They were carrying more than 350 kg of explosives.

"I can only tell Imran Khan that he should take steps so that these issues can be addressed and how they can be addressed, he knows best," Harbhajan told India Today.

"We are too small to understand how these issues can be tackled politically. But there should be an end to this. An end after which not a single soldier of ours has to lose his life. Because every soldier is someone's son or brother and only that family can understand the pain," he added.

Yesterday, Pakistan PM Imran Khan spoke up on the Pulwama attack in a video message. Imran Khan said, "India has blamed Pakistan without any proof. Pakistan has nothing to gain from this attack. Pakistan is moving towards peace and stability."
 

Opinion Cricket

Five Best ODI knocks by Chris Gayle

Harshit Anand Updated: 19 February, 2019, 4:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Chris Gayle is one of the most popular cricketers going around in the world of cricket. The Universal Boss is loved by one and all for the kind of entertainment he provides with his brand of batting. But, much to the disappointment of his fans, he recently announced that he will retire from One-Day International cricket after the 2019 ICC World Cup. 

Today, let’s take a look at some of his finest knocks with the bat in ODIs, where his career has spanned over two decades:

215 vs Zimbabwe

The aggressive West Indies batsman, Chris Gayle smacked Zimbabwe brutally en route to 215 runs in 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Canberra. It was a historic double-ton as he became the first batsman in World Cup history to touch 200-run mark. Gayle’s 138-ball 215 powered Windies to a colossal total of 371 runs. The dashing left-hander took 105 balls to reach his century but after that, the Zimbabwe team faced absolute mayhem at the hands of the Jamaican batsman, who joined the elite list of batsmen with 200s in 50-overs cricket. 

133* vs South Africa

Chris Gayle had an excellent time with the bat in the 2006 ICC Champions trophy that took place in India.  The West Indies batsman ended with 474 runs in the event, the most by any batsman and was also adjudged the Man-of-the-Series. His best knock came in the semi-final game against South Africa, where he scored 133* runs to take his team past the victory line and into the finale of the tourney. Gayle had hammered 17 boundaries and three sixes in this match-winning knock.

140 vs India

The 2002 India v West Indies ODI series was the best-ever for Chris Gayle in any bilateral series in terms of runs. Gayle smoked 455 runs in seven ODIs at an average of 65 and strike-rate of 95 with the help of three centuries against India. But his best century of the series came in Ahmedabad when he scored 140 runs off 127 deliveries. Gayle had gone on an absolute rampage in the knock and hit 12 fours and five sixes. Unfortunately, for him, the team couldn't win the game. 

135 vs New Zealand

In 2009 Napier ODI against New Zealand, Chris Gayle, who was captaining West Indies was at his absolute best. He played a 129-ball 135-run knock to set the hosts a total of 294 runs. But the Duckworth–Lewis method went in favor of the Black Caps and they won the game by nine runs. Despite being on the losing side, Gayle has adjudged the Player of the Match for magnificent innings, which included nine fours and five sixes. 

152*vs South Africa

In 2004 Wanderers ODI between South Africa and West Indies, the crowd emerged as the real winner as they first witnessed an absolute masterclass from the bat of the Windies destructor, Chrisy Gayle and then their side winning game. The Jamaican southpaw scored 152* runs off 153 balls to help Windies reach 304 runs batting first. But the hosts won the game by four wickets with two balls to spare on back Kallis' brilliant century. 

News Cricket

IPL schedule for first two weeks released, CSK to face RCB in the opener

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 3:38 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

IPL released the schedule of the first two weeks (17 matches) of the 12th edition of the lucrative league. IPL fans were keenly awaiting the announcement. The dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections have not been announced yet. And that is why only the schedule of the first two weeks are out, as of now. 

A total of 17 matches will be played during this period, with every team playing a minimum of 4 matches. Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore will be playing five matches each. CSK and RCB will lock horns in the IPL opener on March 23 in Chennai. 

Here is the schedule:



 

 

Feature Cricket

Pakistan’s Wait Just Got Longer

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 19 February, 2019, 3:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

In an act of defiance before the Pulwama attack on the Indian army, an official in Pakistan had claimed Pakistan would raise their own game such that India would come knocking, asking to play in Pakistan. However, while the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan community may be dreaming of a tantalizing Indo-Pak contest, the idea of resumption of tours and talks just got longer.

The stunning jolt to the Indian army last week put paid to any conciliatory efforts of mending bridges with Pakistan. The ghastly attack that claimed the lives of the Indian soldiers created an atmosphere of such grief, anger and dismay that in such an atmosphere, it was hard to even entertain the notion that India would be contemplating the idea of resumption of bilateral tours or envision themselves touring Pakistan, let alone allow the Pakistan cricket team to come to India, even at a later date given the current scenario and atmosphere and the respective governments at a standoff.

Those that thought that the ascension of Imran Khan, the former Pakistan captain who took Pakistan to their first ICC World Cup in 1992, to the role of Pakistan’s Prime Minister would ease tensions and pave way for improving relations, not to mention resumption of cricket between the two nations, were given a reality check when not only was the state sponsored terrorism continuing to wreak havoc on its own soil but also, continuing to perpetuate divisive and destructive activities across state borders. With militancy being a critical issue that has made the state of Jammu and Kashmir volatile with incursions and terrorist activities, even the idea of Imran Khan at the helm failed to assuage thoughts that things would only more difficult with the Pakistan army largely in control and not the Prime Minister per se.

The words by Wasim Khan and Ehsan Mani, who is the current Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, about raising the level of Pakistan cricket to the point where India would be soliciting opportunities to play Pakistan seems not only ironic but also, the prospect bleak given the political and emotional volatility in the region, particularly in the aftermath of this dastardly act. Furthermore, with Cricket Australia rejecting the offer to tour Pakistan for part of its tour has compounded matters because it continues to isolate Pakistan on the world stage.

The idea of Pakistan claiming compensation for lack of bilateral tours and for being sidelined was, also, shot down recently and it is unlikely that India will take a more lenient stand any time soon when it comes to resumption of cricket which seems now to have been firmly consigned to the backburner with bigger issues dominating the agenda with regards to the affairs of both nations.

Pakistan’s cricketers have not enjoyed an easy time playing away from home, caught in turmoil of their own and also, with the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which not only sealed Pakistan cricketers’ participation to play in India, but also, isolated Pakistan as India cancelled the bilateral tour home and away thereafter. The terrorists ambush on the Sri Lankan team thereafter in Lahore outside the cricket grounds sealed Pakistan’s fate and with this latest, most obvious hand in the state sponsored terrorism playing havoc with the youth of Kashmir and causing grave damage to the Indian army, withholding cricket is the least of India’s policies on a bureaucratic level, throwing a spanner in the works of those harbouring ideas of the resumption of the mouthwatering bilateral contests which now seems like a thing of the past.

Feature Cricket

World Cup: The 100-day countdown begins

Partab Ramchand Updated: 19 February, 2019, 3:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

It’s exactly 100 days to go for the start of the World Cup in England on May 30 and the countdown has started in real earnest. All the ten competing teams are busy with preparations. Eight of them in fact are currently involved in either Tests, ODIs or T-20s. Sri Lanka are in South Africa, England in the West Indies, Bangladesh are in New Zealand while Australia have reached India for a series of limited overs games. Pakistan has just completed a tour of South Africa while Afghanistan will shortly commence a limited overs series against Ireland.

So the ten participating teams are approaching their campaign in the best possible manner – playing international matches. Preparatory camps serve a purpose for it enables the team members to jell together but there is no substitute for match play.

The distribution of the ten World Cup competitions so far is very simple – five for Australia, four for the sub-continent and two for the West Indies. Among the senior Test playing nations who have been regular participants England, South Africa and New Zealand have not had their names inscribed on the trophy so far. England have been finalists three times in 1979, 1987 and 1992 while New Zealand were runners-up to Australia four years ago. South Africa’s best has been to reach the semifinals four times in 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015.

Favourites have generally won the World Cup but the tournament has also produced surprise champions. The most famous of course is India winning in 1983 but Australia’s triumph four years later and Sri Lanka’s victory in 1996 were also unexpected. And the manner in which Pakistan won the trophy in 1992 after being on the verge of elimination midway through the campaign also deserves special mention.

So which team is likely to lift the handsome trophy at Lord’s come July 14? These are early days yet but on the basis of the rankings England and India appear to have the best chance. The two teams are ranked No 1 and No 2 and there is a fair gap between them and four teams bunched together in the middle – New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia. Conventional wisdom would have it that the champion should be one among these six but then given the fact that Sri Lanka and West Indies are witnessing an upsurge in their fortunes and also that upsets as we have seen have marked the competition over the years one is tempted to term it is a rather open World Cup.

News Cricket

Matthew Hayden issues Virat Kohli warning to Australia ahead of T20 series

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 3:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australia will play two T20 internationals and five ODIs against Men in Blue. Virat Kohli is part of the squads after skipping last two one-day internationals and T20 series against New Zealand.

All eyes will be on Virat Kohli, who couldn’t dominate the last few series keeping his lofty standards in mind.

The right hand batsman accumulated a century each in Tests and ODIs against Australia while he failed to reach three-figure mark in New Zealand.

Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden feels Virat will pose a tough challenge for the Aussie bowlers especially youngster Jhye Richardson.

The 22-year old pacer was impressive against the Indian skipper in the ODI matches in Australia dismissing him thrice in as many games.

However, conditions would be different in India for the fast bowler, who replace Josh Hazlewood in the squad.

“In the recent series (in Australia), Virat did have some trouble against Richardson, who played beautifully, taking Virat’s wicket thrice. But, I believe it will be a very different scenario this time around. Jhye is a young player, not with a lot of experience of playing cricket in India, so I believe Virat will be dominant in this one,” Hayden was quoted as saying by Times of India.

News Cricket

Revealed: The staggering amount Steve Smith has earned from IPL

Staff Writer Updated: 19 February, 2019, 2:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Australia skipper Steve Smith is expected to play a key role for Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. The right hand batsman is currently serving one-year ban imposed on him for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

With his ban coming to an end in March, he will be turning up for his IPL franchise. He is currently recovering from an elbow injury he sustained while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League.

The royals retained him for a whopping INR 12.5 crores for the 12th edition of the league, which is 66% percent more than his existing salary contact.

Moneyball, the automated salary calculation engine, has calculated his salaries over the years. He has earned INR 33.1 crores from IPL till date and stands at 65th position in the list of highest IPL earners.