News Cricket

Virat Kohli deserves to lead RCB despite trophy-less CV - Sourav Ganguly

CT Contributors Updated: 20 March, 2019, 10:16 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has stated that Virat Kohli deserves to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore despite not winning the IPL once. He praised captain Kohli, stating he will turn it around for his franchise. Having started leading the side in 2013, Virat has failed to lead the troops to glory.

"If you talk about Virat Kohli and keeping him as a captain, just look at what he has done. What he has done with the bat in every format of the game. Absolute champion. And he deserves to be captain of RCB for whatever period of time. I am sure he will turn it around," Ganguly opined.

Earlier, Gautam Gambhir had stated that Virat Kohli should consider himself lucking having led RCB for so long despite not winning the Indian Premier League.

Gambhir further added that Virat shouldn't be compared to Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni, who have won the league title thrice as skippers of their respective franchises.

"There are people who have won the trophy three times. MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go. You cannot compare him to someone like Rohit or Dhoni at this stage," Gambhir said. "He has been a part of RCB, and captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years, and he has been very lucky and should be thanking the franchise that they stuck with him. Because not many captains have got such a long rope where they haven't won a tournament," said Gambhir.

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News Cricket

No team in the world can match the quality of Team India's top three - Ganguly

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 5:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Team India's middle order concern is still unresolved and it was widely exposed in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia.

Men in Blue lost 2-3 to their Aussie counterparts. Despite trying a lot of players, India are still looking for answers.

Former cricketers have also warned the sub-continent team of below par performance if they don't sort out their middle order mess ahead of the World Cup in England.

The only positive that came out of the last ODI series was Rohit and Dhawan's performance, who showed some kind of form in the fourth match in Mohali.

Speaking about the talent that the top three posses, Sourav Ganguly said that there is no other team in the world which has players like Rohit, Shikhar and Virat at top of the order.

“Team India ke top 3 jo hai, kisi aur ke paas itni quality nahi hai (No team in the world can match the quality of Team India's top three).”

Feature Cricket

 A Forgotten Match

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 19 March, 2019, 5:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

In the midst of the IPL hype and in the aftermath of the terror that saw Bangladesh leave New Zealand, a solitary battle was being waged between two unlikely teams. Test cricket was still on fading light even as the spotlight was engaged on the IPL glitz. However, what lies on the horizon for these two teams is anyone’s guess.

Afghanistan scored their first Test win, over Ireland. The question is: how many even knew that the two latest entrants to Test cricket were engaged in a contest, absorbing by their standards, and that it was happening right here in India, the land in which cricket is already now overshadowed by the commencement of the relentless tourney that is the Twenty20 tournament.

Both teams had previously played just the one Test, Afghanistan against India that ended in two days and Ireland against Pakistan. Therefore, in only their second Test, it was a momentous occasion for both teams, even if it was not enticing enough to catch the news headlines instantly. However, to Afghanistan’s credit, they have kept their promise to keep striving for cricket recognition, now forging forward with their first Test win, albeit against another newcomer. In some ways, Ireland have been late to get the invitation although they have been an enterprising qualification at limited overs World Cups in past editions.

While both camps will have be celebrating another international opportunity in the longest, most pristine format of the sport, questions will be asked if enough has been done or is being done to not just send out the invitations to join the club but also, to adequately prepare themselves for this level. With the World Test championships around the corner, while the top tier teams will be engaged in this unique, one of a kind battle, there is likely to be a greater visibility of the disparity between the competitive levels of teams and in that light, it is rather paltry that the calendars of Ireland and Afghanistan look rather bleak.

After all apart from their inaugural euphoria, there was also the descending fear that they would be subjected to the oblivion and expected to perform at the drop of a hat without having enough systems in place to ensure their ascent to more competitive level could be fast-tracked by greater participation with the ‘A’ teams of the top teams, if not the top teams themselves. While there have been some big brother approaches in that Afghanistan have been allowed to use India as home to train and play, it is far from enough if Afghanistan are to quickly climb the rungs to ensure they and teams such as Ireland are not simply making up the numbers for numbers sake alone particularly in the longest format of the game that is seeking for safety in numbers as well as integrity in the quality of the sport being played in the backdrop of the glut of Twenty20.

While it is a great advocate to showcase the latest entrants to the Test match making a honest game out of the opportunity, unless there is more done in terms of exposure that attracts people to the match and also, to ensure that they can stay competitive when their international cricket appeals bleak, the message to the other associate teams might be that they must earn their ticket and also, find a way to make the top league, without virtually no help at all.

Feature Cricket

Players must be smart about managing workloads during IPL

Partab Ramchand Updated: 19 March, 2019, 5:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

It’s THAT time again - when the cricketing world’s sights are on India – and in particular the IPL. The competition now in its 12th year has seen the good, the bad and ugly. There have been thrills and excitement galore and the presence of film stars being owners of some of the franchises have given it more than a touch of glamour. It has also been marred by controversies and scandals but has emerged as the Teflon event. Its popularity has remained undiminished. One simple fact will underscore this.

Over 12,000 spectators turned up at the MAC stadium in Chennai to watch the Chennai Super Kings play a practice match. Yes, a practice game between its own players. Perhaps it was because of the fact that CSK are playing in their home town after three years (they were banned for two years and played only one game last year before the matches were shifted out of Chennai because of the Cauvery waters issue). But one can somehow sense the same kind of excitement around other franchisees going by what has one seen over the years.

Starting March 23 with the opener between CSK and Royal Challengers, Bangalore at the MAC stadium the IPL will be the centre of attraction. Discussion in homes and bars, at work places and on the road will be only about various aspects of the IPL. One would like to think that even talk about the general elections will take second place.

This time however there is one important point to be considered and this is the fact that the IPL is being conducted just before the World Cup. In both 2011 and 2015 the event was conducted after the World Cup. So it will be a bit tricky for the players to manage the injury and fatigue equations. Certainly the World Cup is the more important event and the players would want to be available for it and give off their best on the biggest stage of all. At the same time they would not want to be seen as compromising on their playing standards for their franchises.

It is this problem that Virat Kohli tackled head on at the press conference the other day. Asked whether the IPL franchises have been asked to ``manage’’ the workloads of the India players who are likely to be part of the World Cup squad the Indian skipper said no such instructions had been issued to cap the number of games a player would take part in. As he rightly said each player’s body is different and the workload they can handle varies from cricketer to cricketer.

``If I am able to play 12 or 15 games it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of of games and I need to be smart about this. Someone else might be more capable so it is an individual thing. But everyone wants to play the World Cup so they will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event,’’ emphasizing that the responsibility for managing workloads and fitness levels lay with the players themselves.

It will be interesting to see how the players manage this during the IPL.

News Cricket

Gautam Gambhir blasts Virat Kohli for not backing Ambati Rayudu

Staff Writer Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has questioned skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri for not sealing team's number 4 slot for the ICC World Cup.

He lambasted Virat Kohli for not backing Ambati Rayudu, who was dropped from the side mid-way during the ODI series against Australia.

"If you want a settled batting order in the World Cup, then the No. 4 has to be decided beforehand and he should be backed completely," he said.

Gambhir feels team management should have continued with Ambati Rayudu like they did with MS Dhoni when he was going through poor form.

"You have backed others too. You backed MS Dhoni too last year and even Shikhar Dhawan. Ambati Rayudu averages nearly 50 in ODIs, he hasn't done anything wrong. Failures are part and parcel of the game. You didn't drop any other player after two or three failures," said the former India opener.

According to him, too much experimentation could unsettle the team.

"No. 4 should have been a settled position by now. Virat Kohli played the 2011 World Cup at No. 4. Whoever the team management decides to back should be backed to the hilt and they should stay patient with him. It is a very important slot and you can't have a floater at No 4 because the No. 3 and No. 4 makes the core of your middle order," he added.

News Cricket

Jos Buttler wants to reach Virat Kohli’s level in international cricket

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:55 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Jos Buttler is one of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball. The right hand batsman has been churning runs after runs and has become England's most sought after player. He is following Virat Kohli's footsteps and wants to emulate the Indian skipper when it comes to consistency level.

Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world currently, who has reached new heights in international arena. The England wicketkeeper batsman is confident of reaching the level of Virat Kohli.

"I know I can go to another level," Jos Buttler was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk.

"Why couldn't you just stay at peak level? Someone like Kohli scores a hundred every game, he doesn't settle for: "Ah, that was ok, I'll peak at some point." Just do it every day. That's the sort of mindset I've been wanting to hit," said the Englishman.

He has cleared his intentions ahead of the IPL and World Cup. Buttler believes an aggressive approach during the league phase and knockout matches of the World Cup could prove more beneficial.

“Even in knockout games, it won't be a side that plays cautiously that wins the World Cup,” he said. “It will be a side that plays some brave cricket and smart cricket, making good decisions under pressure.”

News Cricket

It is a huge plus for Virat to have Dhoni around for the World Cup - Ponting

Staff Writer Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:52 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Aussie skipper and three-time World Cup winner, Ricky Ponting knows what it takes to win big ICC events. Talking about Team India's chances, Punter has identified the main man, who could lead India to third World Cup trophy.

"It is a huge plus for Virat to have someone like MS Dhoni around for the World Cup. He brings in a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge about the game. He has been there before, been through the World Cups and was the captain of the World Cup-winning team," Ponting told India Today in an interview.

He added: "It is nice to have someone like that in your corner. But I think not as much for the captaincy side of the thing for Virat, the match-winning ability of Dhoni is somewhat overlooked to a certain degree. I think he always controls the middle of the innings with the bat, particularly during the run chases. I think he was the main reason (Dhoni not playing) why Australia were able to get back on the top during the last series," Ponting added.

He is backing India to perform well in the showpiece event in England and Wales. "There is no doubt about the quality of the Indian team. We have seen it on display for a number of years now. I think they have got so many, really good, match-winning players starting with someone like Rohit Sharma at the top who has made three or four double hundreds in one-day cricket. They've got so much talent available and will do really well in the English conditions as well. They will be one of the favourite teams going in," said Ponting.

"The only concern that they have got right now is the No 4 batting spot. They have been tinkering with it for the last few weeks. I think Australia, England and India will be the top three favourite teams in this World Cup. I will be surprised if the winner comes outside of those three teams," he added.

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah will have to play IPL, says Mahela Jayawardene on workload

Staff Writer Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli had earlier stated that players like Jasprit Bumrah need proper workload management during the Indian Premier League in order to keep them fit and fine for the World Cup.

Bumrah has become one of the most feared fast bowlers in the last one year and is being tipped as the bowler to watch out for at World Cup in England and Wales.

However, Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene feels Bumrah must play in the league and the Indian cricket team shouldn't lose its sleep over Bumrah's workload.

"The work load needs to be managed but at the same time they need to play good competitive cricket. I think India has managed their players well over the years giving them breaks. I think your best players need to play. They can't stay at home and turn up and perform. It's about that fine balance and as long as we can manage that, they will be fine," Jayawardene told India Today.

Bumrah's unorthodox bowling action could prove to be his nemesis during the course of the tournament.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma to open batting for Mumbai Indians

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former and current cricketers have time and again spoken about the significance of Rohit Sharma opening the batting for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. He did came as an opener for the first two matches of the league last season but curtailed the move in order to add more firepower in the middle order.

Keeping the World Cup in mind, he has once again decided to open the innings for his franchise.

"This year, I will open the batting in all the games. That's for sure. World Cup is one of the factors. But that [opening position] is where I have got a lot of success of late. The team understands that. We now have got some experience in the middle order. That allows me to go and bat at the top. I will try and open in every game possible."

According to him, his approach will be the same as it is for any series or tournament.

"My approach will be the same as it is for any tournament. I have in the past batted in the middle order and I have opened as well in a few games. Yeah, wherever the team requires me to bat, I have to bat there. We have to make sure we get the right balance and team composition," Rohit told the media on Tuesday.

News Cricket

Yuvraj is doing everything possible to perform for Mumbai Indians - Zaheer Khan

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Yuvraj Singh is no more a match winner and is struggling to keep his cricketing career alive. The southpaw was handed a lifeline by Mumbai Indians when they bought him in the final round of the IPL auction.

Zaheer Khan, who is Yuvraj's closest friend, is not convinced that he has passed his prime and will not be able to perform in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

Former Indian bowler has stated that Yuvraj is looking more determined this time.

"We needed an experienced batsman who controls the game in the middle. Who is better than Yuvraj Singh to do this? Yuvraj is looking forward to this season. He's doing everything possible to make it count. This is great news for all his fans," Zaheer Khan told the media on Tuesday.

Yuvraj Singh will play for Mumbai Indians for the first time in his IPL career. The left hand batsman has represented Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors India, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past.

News Cricket

We have the talent and we have the skills to beat any side in World Cup - Rashid Khan

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 3:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rashid Khan is one of the best spinners in limited-overs cricket currently. He played a key role in Afghanistan's maiden Test victory in their second Test match. He took five wickets in the second innings against Ireland to start another golden chapter in the history of war-torn country.

Before the start of the Indian Premier League where he plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rashid is confident of seeing better performance from his national teammates in the near future. Rashid stated that players will have to believe in themselves.

"We have the talent and we have the skills," he told AFP in an interview.

"How we played in the Asia Cup was totally different and we showed that we can beat any side," said Khan.

"The only thing is to believe in your skills. Just to be relaxed in big matches and enjoy your game," he added.

"And that's how we should be in the World Cup." He credited IPL for honing his bowling skills. "The IPL gives you lot of motivation. Once you play in these leagues, it gives you confidence playing with big players," said Khan.

"And then you perform there on flat wickets like the IPL and that gives you a kind of satisfaction and confidence that I can deliver when I am in the national side."

News Cricket

PCB pays USD 1.6 million as compensation to BCCI after losing case

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 1:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The governing body of Pakistan Cricket has paid USD 1.6 million as compensation to the BCCI after losing the case in the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

According to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, they incurred costs of around USD 2.2 million on the compensation case.

“We incurred costs of around USD 2.2 million on the compensation case which we lost,” said Mani.

Mani further added that the entire amount also included the other expenses related to legal fees and travelling.

The PCB had filed a case against the BCCI last year to recover the losses they had to incurred following India's refusal to play bilateral series against them.

PCB had sought around USD 70 million from BCCI for not honoring a MoU signed between the two boards.

The Indian cricket board had maintained that the MoU was not legally binding.

The dispute resolution committee of the ICC had accepted BCCI’s claims and instructed Pakistan to pay USD 1.6 million to the Indian Cricket Board.

“The ICC committee did accept that Pakistan had a case and that is why the damages/cost we had to pay to the Indian board was around USD 1.6 million,” Mani added.

News Cricket

Steve Smith looking forward to play alongside Jos Buttler

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 12:35 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australia's Steve Smith had to miss the last edition of the IPL following his one-year ban for his involvement in ball tampering incident in South Africa. However, the right-hand batsman is ready to represent Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming edition. He is looking forward to play along side Jos Buttler. Smith has stated that Buttler is an exciting player and is one of the most destructive batsmen around the world.

“It’ll be great, makes things easier for me, batting with Jos,” Smith said during a live chat on Royals’ social media platforms, Sport360 reported.

“He’s an exciting player and one of the most destructive batters around the world. I’m really excited to play with him,” he added.

The right hand batsman knows that IPL will help him to stage his comeback to national side. “I’ll be hitting as many balls as I can, getting myself into a good rhythm. I started batting a couple of weeks ago back home and I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well,” said Smith.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni is the world’s coolest captain

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 11:14 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ankit Rajpoot, who has played for the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders, has hailed MS Dhoni as the coolest captain and Gautam Gambhir as a very aggressive leader. He will play for the Kings XI Punjab this season. Playing for the Kings last year, he had scalped 11 wickets in 8 matches. He reserved the best praise for his current skipper, R Ashwin.

“The three are totally different captains and can’t be compared to anyone. Dhoni is the world’s coolest captain. Gauti bhai has an attacking-style of captaincy. Ashwin is a bowlers’ man. The best part is that bowlers get a lot of help from him. The three captains have different thinking but the execution is same. They are all amazing leaders,” Rajpoot was quoted as saying on TOI.

“A captain who is a bower will always be there to sympathise with you when you are being sent to cleaners. Honestly, I got a lot of help from him. Ashwin bhai has played a lot of cricket and has a lot of experience. He understands the mentality of a bowler. If you request him for something (regarding field setting), he will understand you immediately,” he added. He had a decent outing in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and is hoping to leave his mark in the Indian Premier League.

“Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy was a kind of preparation for me ahead of the IPL. It was the best platform to get into the IPL groove. I want to carry on the same show in IPL too. I will go in with the same strategy,” he conceded.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli should thank RCB for sticking with him as captain - Gambhir

CT Contributors Updated: 19 March, 2019, 10:27 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian skipper Gautam Gambhir believes that Virat Kohli should be grateful that Royal Challengers Bangalore have decided to stick with him as captain in spite of heartbreaking results. He stated that Virat should not be compared to Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni as their respective franchises have won the Indian Premier League thrice.

“Still a long way to go. I don’t see him as a shoot captain or a tactful captain. And he hasn’t won the IPL. So ultimately a captain is only as good as his record till the time you don’t win the IPL. There are people who have won the trophy three times - MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go. You cannot compare him to someone like Rohit or Dhoni at this stage because he has been part of RCB and captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years and he has been very lucky and should rather thank the franchise that they stuck to him because not many captains have got such a long run where they haven’t won a tournament,” Gambhir said on Star Sports’ analysis show ahead of IPL 2019.

Despite Virat Kohli's brilliant performance with his willow, Royal Challengers Bangalore have not tasted success in the league. Virat Kohli has amassed 4,948 runs at an average of 38.36.

According to Virat, bad decision making has undone his franchise in the tournament.

“The (RCB’s) failure lies where decisions aren’t made properly. If I sit here and say our luck was bad, that won’t be right. You make your own luck, and if you make poor decisions and the other team makes good ones, you will lose,” he said.