News Cricket

Virat Kohli has a lot of things in common with Imran Khan, says Abdul Qadir

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Virat Kohli, who has been rested by the national selectors keeping in mind his busy schedule, has found a new admirer in form of former Pakistan spinner Abdul Qadir.

The old fox sees a lot of similarities between Indian skipper and former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.

"If I look at Virat Kohli as a batsman and captain, yes, I can say he is similar to Imran in the manner that he also sets the example by doing something himself and then expects his team to also do the same," Qadir said on GTV news channel.

He was asked about Ravi Shastri’s statement that there are traits of Imran Khan in Virat Kohli’s personalities.

The veteran of 67 Test matches has played under Imran Khan’s captaincy.

"Both (Kohli and Imran) lead from the front. Kohli takes responsibility and performs and then expects other players to also perform," Qadir said.

"Imran has the personality and ability to get performance out of his players. Kohli is not yet there (at the level of Imran). But no doubt the Indian captain also leads by example by performing himself."

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News Cricket

Shane Warne picks favorite teams to win World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Aussie great Shane Warne has rated Team India as one of the favourites to win this year's World Cup along with England and reigning champions Australia.

"As I'm putting my #worldcup squad together for my column, I really believe Australia can win it again. As we have the players for the conditions, match winners etc. I think England & India go in as hot favourites, but if the selectors play their part - then the Aussies can 100 per cent win," Warne wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Men in Blue have done exceptionally well in the fifty-over format, defeating South Africa in 5-1, Australia 2-1 before thumping New Zealand 3-1 this year.

Sachin Tendulkar is also backing India to come good in the World Cup. "I have gone on record saying that we have a perfect balance in the team where we will be competitive in any part of the world or on any surface." "As far as our chances are concerned, I will not hesitate in saying that we are the favourites," Tendulkar told PTI.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma & Co register embarrassing record

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert hit 84 from 43 balls to help New Zealand to an 80-run win over India in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

It is India’s biggest loss in this format as far as the margin of runs is considered. Seifert's maiden half century lifted New Zealand to 219-6 after being put in to bat, and the team then handed India its worst loss in Twenty20 when it was bowled out for 139 in 19.2 overs.

It was only the eighth time India has been bowled out in a T20 international. An opening partnership of 86 in 8.2 overs between Seifert and Colin Munro (34) got New Zealand off to a strong start.

Captain Kane Williamson hit 34 from 22 balls, Ross Taylor 23 from 14 and Scott Kuggeleijn 20 from only seven deliveries as New Zealand posted its highest score in T20 matches at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

In contrast, India struggled to attain any momentum in its innings. Opener Shikhar Dhawan struck 29 from 18 balls with two fours and three sixes and Vijay Shankar hit 27 from 28 with two fours and two sixes.

Wickets fell at regular intervals although M.S. Dhoni top-scored with 39 from 31 balls and was out two balls before the end. In the early part of its innings, India was close to the pace set by New Zealand.

It was 46-1 after five overs when New Zealand had been 54-0; the equation becoming more balanced when Dhawan struck 18 from the fifth over. In the sixth, Lockie Ferguson bowled Dhawan with a 151.5 kph (94 mph) yorker. Mitchell Santner then removed Rishabh Pant (4) and Shankar in the space of two balls in the ninth over.

Apart from Dhoni, only Krunal Pandya (20 from 18 balls) made an impact in the lower half of the order.

"We were outplayed in all three departments," India captain Rohit Sharma said. "We always knew 200 is not going to be an easy chase, although the grounds are smaller here. But we kept losing wickets which kept throwing us out of the game."

New Zealand benefited from the crucial opening partnership between Seifert and Munro. Seifert blazed his way to a maiden T20 half century from only 30 balls with five fours and three sixes.

He finished with seven fours and six sixes in an innings which likely secured his place as the backup keeper in New Zealand's squad for the upcoming World Cup. New Zealand produced an outstanding collective bowling performance.

Ferguson took 2-20 from his four overs and claimed two catches in the outfield while Tim Southee took 3-17 and Santner 2-24. Daryl Mitchell, son of former All Blacks rugby coach and current England assistant coach John Mitchell, took a wicket on debut.

News Cricket

More trouble for Hardik, Rahul after case registered against them

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Just when things were falling in place for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, they have been hit hard by a case which has been registered against them and Karan Johar in Jodhpur for the comments made in Koffee with Karan earlier this year.

Pandya and Rahul recently made a comeback to cricket after their suspensions were lifted by the BCCI.

Hardik has been phenomenal for Men in Blue since his return to playing XI while Rahul is part of India A, which is taking on England Lions.

Pandya had issued an apology for his sexist remarks on the show. "After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in a way. Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect of hurt anyone’s sentiments. Respect," Pandya had tweeted.

Karan Johar too had expressed his regret over the whole episode. "I haven't spoken about it really... I feel very responsible because it was my show and my platform. I invited them as guests and so the ramifications and repercussions of the show are my responsibility. I have had so many sleepless nights, just wondering about how I can undo this damage. Who is going to listen to me? It has now gone into a zone that is beyond my control."

News Cricket

Smriti Mandhana takes a subtle dig at teammates after defeat in the first T20 against New Zealand

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:04 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Smriti Mandhana, who scored a magnificent 58 runs off 34 balls, was not happy with her teammates after Indian failed to go past New Zealand in the first T20 international of the series.

She believes she has to bat for 18 to 20 overs to ensure there is no repeated failure while chasing stiff targets. Chasing 160 to win, Women in Blue were in the hunt till the time she was at the crease but her untimely dismissal sparked the sudden collapse.

"My wicket along with Jemimah's turned out to be crucial. If you get out back-to-back in T20, it proves costly. When you are chasing 160 and the run-rate is above 7 or 8, next time we have to plan and play better. It didn't work out today," Mandhana said after the match.

"Practically, I would say I have to bat till 20 overs that is the best option. The more I bat till 18 overs, we won't collapse because if the top three or 4 batters can bat till the 18-20th overs then rest can revolve around them, so tactically that is what I will try to do," she added.

News Cricket

Hilarious memes trolling Men in Blue flood on Twitter after India's humiliating loss

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 7:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert hit 84 from 43 balls to help New Zealand to an 80-run win over India in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

Seifert's maiden half century lifted New Zealand to 219-6 after being put in to bat, and the team then handed India its worst loss in Twenty20 when it was bowled out for 139 in 19.2 overs.

It was only the eighth time India has been bowled out in a T20 international. An opening partnership of 86 in 8.2 overs between Seifert and Colin Munro (34) got New Zealand off to a strong start.

Captain Kane Williamson hit 34 from 22 balls, Ross Taylor 23 from 14 and Scott Kuggeleijn 20 from only seven deliveries as New Zealand posted its highest score in T20 matches at the Wellington Regional Stadium. In contrast, India struggled to attain any momentum in its innings.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan struck 29 from 18 balls with two fours and three sixes and Vijay Shankar hit 27 from 28 with two fours and two sixes. Wickets fell at regular intervals although M.S. Dhoni top-scored with 39 from 31 balls and was out two balls before the end. In the early part of its innings, India was close to the pace set by New Zealand.

It was 46-1 after five overs when New Zealand had been 54-0; the equation becoming more balanced when Dhawan struck 18 from the fifth over. In the sixth, Lockie Ferguson bowled Dhawan with a 151.5 kph (94 mph) yorker.

Mitchell Santner then removed Rishabh Pant (4) and Shankar in the space of two balls in the ninth over. Apart from Dhoni, only Krunal Pandya (20 from 18 balls) made an impact in the lower half of the order. Here are some memes trolling Team India:

News Cricket

Twitter reacts to India's huge loss against New Zealand in Wellington

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 February, 2019, 5:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Kiwis overpowered the Men in Blue by 80 runs in the first T20I in Wellington. India endured a poor start to the three-match T20I series. This is India's biggest ever loss in terms of runs in T20Is. India's skipper Rohit Sharma opted to bowl first. But New Zealand scored 219 runs in 20 overs on the back of Tim Seifert's 43-ball 84-run knock to prove Rohit's decision wrong.

New Zealand batsmen proved too hot to handle for the vistitors. Indian bowlers got hammered all over the park while their batsmen were of no match to New Zealand's brilliant bowling.

Take a look at how Twitter reacted:

News Cricket

It would be crazy not to include Steve Smith and David Warner in World Cup squad: Justin Langer

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 February, 2019, 5:15 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • The bans on Steven Smith and David Warner will come to an end next month
  • Australia have missed their services greatly
  • They are likely to feature in the 2019 Cricket World Cup

Discarded Australian cricketers Steve Smith and David Warner will not be brought back into the Australia side in any kind of haste. Their bans will come to an end next month. But Australia's head coach Justin Langer reckons it would be "crazy" not to include them in the World Cup squad.

"They're going to need to get some cricket before coming back into the squad. It's all part of the management. We'll have to wait and see," he said.

"We know it's been a tough time for them, it's been a tough time for Australian cricket, but we know the ... integration has been going for the last nine or ten months ... it's getting closer, isn't it? And that'll be a continued process.

"It's about how much cricket they get to play between now and then. They'll find opportunities. We'll find opportunities.

"We're talking about two great players, we're not talking about two really good players," he added. "Two great players who on paper we'd be crazy not to have them in the team."

News Cricket

VVS Laxman names the batsman that he would like to see at no.3 for India

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 February, 2019, 4:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Virat Kohli is currently holidaying with his wife Anushka Sharma
  • The 30 years old has been rested for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand
  • Kohli also missed last two ODIs against the Kiwis

Indian skipper Virat Kohli is currently holidaying with his wife Anushka Sharma. He is making most of his free time by spending quality time with the love of her life.

The 30 years old has been rested for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand. He was also not part of the team in the last two ODIs. He has been given a breather so that his workload can be properly managed in lead up to the World Cup.

In his absence, former Indian cricketer, VVS Laxman reckons that India should give the no.3 slot to someone like Dinesh Karthik. “India will take the momentum from their Wellington win into the Twenty20 Internationals. I for one believe that it is imperative to keep looking to develop more match-winners. Towards that end, I would like to see Dinesh Karthik bat at No. 3 in Virat's absence. It's important to entrust greater responsibility to DK, Rishabh Pant and Krunal Pandya,” Laxman wrote in his column for the Times of India.

“Rishabh has been in very good touch and Krunal caught the eye during the T20s in Australia, with ball and bat. They can both deliver the big blows at the death alongside the pedigreed Hardik, which is a welcome sign with the future in mind," Laxman wrote.

News Cricket

Numbers don't lie. Is MS Dhoni unlucky for India in T20Is?

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 4:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • New Zealand defeated India by 80 runs in the first T20I
  • This is India's biggest ever loss in terms of runs in T20Is
  • Dhoni top-scored for India with 39 runs off 31 deliveries

New Zealand defeated India by 80 runs in the first T20I of the three-match T20I series in Wellington. This is India's biggest ever loss in terms of runs in T20Is. New Zealand scored 219 runs in 20 overs on the back of Tim Seifert's 43-ball 84-run knock.

India got bundled-out on 139 runs in reply to the hosts. The 37 years old, Dhoni top-scored for India with 39 runs off 31 deliveries. He might have top-scored for India but his strike-rate of 125.81 in the chase was questionable given the required-rate, which was on the high right from the word go.

Interestingly, MS Dhoni's top-five T20I scores have all come in losing causes for India.

Unlike other Indian batsmen, Dhoni didn't attack straightaway despite the ever climbing run-rate. Dhoni has always been an underperformer in T20Is. Dhoni has just two fifties in 93 T20Is. He generally plays the role of a finisher for India in the shortest format. But his career strike-rate of 127.09 is quite average given the needs and demands of the game. Not only Dhoni but other Indian batsmen also put up a horrendous show in T20I series opener.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Dinesh Karthik stuns everyone with an acrobatic catch

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 February, 2019, 3:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Dinesh Karthik took a sensational catch in the outfield
  • He send back New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell back to the pavilion
  • Hardik Pandya was the bowler

Dinesh Karthik took a sensational catch in the outfield to send back New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell back to the pavilion for eight runs off six balls in the first T20I in Wellington. Hardik Pandya was the bowler but there are certain dismissals where fielders steal the spotlight. And so was the case with Karthik, who exhibited his acrobatic skills on long on to complete a screamer of a catch.

It was a moment of relief for Dinesh Karthik as he had earlier dropped a catch in the innings. But, he more than made up for it with a brilliant catch to dismiss the debutant, Mitchell.

Take a look at the video:

News Cricket

Ravi Shastri compares MS Dhoni to "con artist"

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 2:15 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri has smashed all the Dhoni critics out of the park with his latest statement on him, where he has lavished high praise on India's 37 years old wicket-keeper batsman. Shastri put Dhoni in the rare category of people like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, and Sunil Gavaskar. He also targeted his haters and advised them to learn about cricket before taking potshots at the veteran India batsman.

"Dhoni is like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. These guys come once in 30-40 years. He is an ornament to the game. He has been the captain of a number one Test team and has two World Cups to his name. In fact, tell me which trophy has he not won? Name it. There is no space in his trophy cabinet. I think people should learn a thing or two about cricket before they start talking about Dhoni. You don't get a guy (of his experience and ability) overnight," he said.

Shastri also appreciated Dhoni's wicket-keeping skills and even likened him to a con artist. "That was Dhoni at his very best, like a con artist. He was not even looking at the ball, and the run-out was done in a flash, and it changed the course of that game," he said.

Feature Cricket

England and Australia Crawling Towards Ashes

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 6 February, 2019, 2:05 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Even as Test cricket season has spawned the imagination for the Ashes still a fair way away, the greatest Test rivalry is currently in danger as both of the traditional teams find themselves in a world of peril, overtaken rather blatantly by other, more hungry and certainly more competitive teams and undone by their own policies and operations.

Australia would like to think they are a leg up when it comes to the Ashes, although it was not that long ago when Australia found themselves at the receiving end of a bucket load of criticism for a year that truly brought to the forefront the descent into ashes that Australia’s cricket has been since relinquishing a world class team through retirements and failing to sufficiently bridge the gap in competitiveness as well as hunger.

England are facing a rather unusual scenario, but they are coming to understand this is currently a part of their fragile fabric, much like the last Ashes contended down under. However, while Joe Root would have liked to believe that their Ashes troubles, on and off the field, were a thing of the past, even the astounding 3-1 win over India at home and the 3-0 series whitewash in Sri Lanka prior to the tour of the West Indies could not overlook the fact that England have been struggling with Test cricket, and particularly with their top order batting even before the tour of the West Indies and are looking far from being a dominant Test team, capable or worthy of the historic rivalry.

The loss of Alastair Cook at the top of the batting leaves a vacuum with only Root amongst the world class batsmen in the England dressing room. Crowded with middle and lower middle order all-rounders, England are being forced to compromise the likes of Jonny Bairstow, shunted from the middle to the top, to make room for the likes of Ben Stokes and Sam Curran and the such. While their bowling is wearing an aging look though James Anderson and Stuart Broad would not consider themselves past their prime, there is concern that England do not have the depth in their batting to withstand the best in the business on a good day. Worrisomely enough, their coach, Trevor Bayliss, has openly stated he suspected that the cricketers are unable to make the transition from the shorter formats to the endurance test that is the five day format.

Australia, on the other hand, are in danger of falling for a similar sense of false security after their win over the visiting Sri Lankan team. Australia have been beset by problems not quite unlike the England team. With Australia desperately waiting for the one year bans on Steve Smith and David Warner to complete their terms, Australia have been badly exposed for lack of depth and consistency in their batting, the selectors’ fickle fiddling only making matters worse.

The ball tampering scandal, in hindsight, may at a much later date in Australia’s cricket history seem like a blessing in disguise because Australia are finally faced with the truth about their waning talent and lack of skill and temperament coaching at the domestic cricket level which is clearly hampering their stepping up from possible contenders to serious competitors without a steady core composition of players or cohesive, consistent thought process.

Despite their lingering problems that have seen them cede their home turf advantage to India for the first time in seven decades, the once reluctant skipper, Tim Paine, now dreams of captaining Australia at the Ashes. While the Test cricket season is certainly igniting some hopes while holding up a mirror to some of the burning issues, it is unimaginable to think that England or Australia will be able to come up with some answers between now and the Ashes later in the year, with the Test cricket rounding off to give way to the exigencies of the ICC Cricket World Cup that England are set to host this summer.

News Cricket

Smriti Mandhana smashes fastest T20I Fifty by an Indian

Staff Writer Updated: 6 February, 2019, 11:23 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Smriti Mandhana hammered the fastest T20I fifty by an Indian batswoman
  • Smriti scored 58 runs off 34 deliveries
  • She finished with a strike-rate of 170.58

Indian opener Smriti Mandhana hammered the fastest T20I fifty by an Indian batswoman in the first T20I against New Zealand. Notably, she surpassed her own record. Mandhana blasted fifty off just 24 deliveries. Her previous record was reaching the fifty in 25 deliveries against England.

The Indian women team are chasing 160 runs in the T20I series opener in Wellington. India were 110 for three at the time of filing this copy. They require another 50 runs off 38 deliveries with seven wickets in hand. India women team had registered a 2-1 win in the three-match ODI series against the Black Ferns.

The dashing Indian player scored 58 runs off 34 deliveries with the help of seven fours and three sixes. She finished with a strike-rate of 170.58. She was in blazing form in the preceding ODI series as well. Mandhana was also the recipient of 2018 ICC 'Women's Cricketer' and 'ODI Player of the year' awards.

News Football

Barca optimistic about Messi, Madrid all fit for Copa semi

AP Updated: 6 February, 2019, 11:03 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Messi returned to training on Tuesday
  • Messi showed no signs he was bothered by the injury
  • Valverde said he will not take any risks with Messi or any other player

While Lionel Messi gave Barcelona reason to feel optimistic about his ability to play in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal, Real Madrid's main concern is who to leave out for the "Clasico" game.

Messi returned to training on Tuesday and was included in the squad for the first-leg match at Camp Nou Stadium, although it was still unclear whether he had fully recovered from a right leg injury.

"The most important thing is for the player to tell you that he is ready," coach Ernesto Valverde said. "Regardless of what the tests show and what the doctors say, if the player doesn't feel he is ready, you can't let him play."

Messi showed no signs he was bothered by the injury during the opening few minutes of the training session, which were open to media, as players warmed up and played keep-away.

However, Valverde said he will not take any risks with Messi or any other player.

"If it was the last match tomorrow, than it would be different," he said.

Barcelona has kept quiet about the full extent of Messi's injury since he was hurt in a Spanish league match on Saturday.

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said the uncertainty about Messi wasn't affecting his team's preparations.

"It's always good to have the best players playing in every match," he said. "Whether he plays or not, it's not going to influence how we prepare for the game."

Madrid arrives for the match at Camp Nou enjoying its best period of the season and with nearly all of its players available. Solari has all of his best forwards, including an in-form Karim Benzema, the quickly maturing Vinicius Junior, and a fully fit Gareth Bale.

"It's harder when you have all the players available, because it means you have to leave someone out," Solari said. "It's one of the hardest parts of the job for a coach."

Bale is one of the many Madrid players who have recovered from injury in recent days, along with other forwards Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio. Bale returned as a starter on Sunday alongside Benzema and Vinicius Junior as Alaves was beaten 3-0 in the Spanish league, the team's fifth consecutive win in all competitions.

Solari may not start Bale with Vinicius Junior on Wednesday as they usually play on the same part of the field and their presence could make the squad too unbalanced and more vulnerable defensively.

There is little doubt Benzema will start, as he has six goals in the last four matches. The French striker has 18 goals, six more than he had in all of last season.

It would also be hard to leave out Vinicius Junior, who has taken full advantage of Bale's absences to become a regular starter and a popular player with Madrid fans. The 18-year-old Brazilian has added flair to the attack.

Messi was hurt when Barcelona drew with Valencia 2-2 at home, a result that halted the team's eight-game winning streak in the Spanish league. The club has yet to release a full medical report on the injury, and he didn't practice with his teammates on Monday.

Messi has scored in nine straight games in all competitions, and is the league leading scorer with 21 in 22 matches.

He missed Barcelona's 5-1 league rout of Madrid in October because of a broken right arm. He was rested two weeks ago when Barcelona lost at Sevilla 2-0 in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

Valverde said his team won't change the way it plays if Messi is absent, and that his participation shouldn't be seen as a key factor.

"I don't think it (Messi playing or not) changes which team will be considered the favorite," he said. "I don't think there is a favorite in a semifinal between Barcelona and Real Madrid."

Ousmane Dembele, who had trained separately on Monday, also re-joined his teammates in Tuesday's practice, but he was not included in the squad list for Wednesday's game.

The first leg of the semifinal in the Copa del Rey is the first of three matches between the rivals in less than a month.