Former Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag has pledged to bear the educational expenses of children of all the CRPF personnel martyred in the terrorist attack in Pulwama.
On Thursday, at least 42 CRPF brave hearts lost their lives when an explosive-laden car rammed into one of the buses carrying security personnel.
"Nothing we can do will be enough, but the least I can do is offer to take complete care of the education of the children of our brave CRPF jawans martyred in #Pulwama in my Sehwag International School @SehwagSchool , Jhajjar. Saubhagya hoga," Sehwag wrote on his twitter handle.
Earlier, Sehwag took to twitter to condemn the terror attack.
“Really pained by the cowardly attack on our CRPF in J&K in which our brave men have been martyred. No words are enough to describe the pain. I wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”
In a noble gesture, Irani Cup winners Vidharbha donated their entire prize money to the donated to the families of the CRPF personnel martyred in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday. Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal made this announcement after defeating Rest of India in the finale.
"Our heart goes to victims of the terrorist attack. As a small gesture from our side we dedicate this victory to the martyrs of Pulwama attack. The Vidarbha cricket team will donate the entire prize money to the families of the victims in the attack," said Fazal.
The Ranji champions were a better side and became the third team after Mumbai and Karnataka to clinch two successive Irani Cup titles.
Rishabh Pant's stocks are on a rise at the moment. He is India's wicket-keeper batsman in Test cricket. The left-hander has been remarkable in red-ball format and averages close to 50 after playing nine Tests. His amazing displays in Tests have also helped him get a place in the Indian squads for white-ball cricket.
After being ignored for the New Zealand ODIs, he has been selected for the five-match ODI series against Australia. His wicket-keeping has often been doubted but he is improving with time. And the Indian youngster has credited Kiran More for the improvement in his glovework.
In a chat with PTI, Pant said " "Keeping in England was an altogether different experience. After that, I worked with Kiran sir at the NCA on a few specific areas. It included hand-positioning and body posture. Every keeper has distinct movement and I tweaked it a little and it worked".
"When you make it to the team at a young age, the more you are keen to learn, the better you get at utilizing the opportunities that come your way," the 21-year-old added.
The Vidarbha pacer, Umesh Yadav made it to India's T20I squad for the two-match series against Australia. Umesh didn't make it to the ODI side but only the T20I side but his selection in the shortest-format does indicate that he is one of the back-options when it comes to India's seam-attack in 50-overs format
There has never been any doubt about the talent that this pacer possesses but his inconsistency often puts him down. He is always in and out of the team. The right-armer has raw pace and ability to reverse-swing the ball. He was exceptional in the Ranji Trophy, which his side Vidarbha won for the second consecutive year.
After his selection, Yadav put out a motivational tweet, which read, “I’m going to always rise above the doubt that may exist about me.”
It willl be interesting to see if he is given a chance in the team for the series which starts on February 24.
Elli Avram, who was rumored to be dating Hardik Pandya, has quashed reports of her marriage with Indian cricketer. While they never confirmed or denied their affair, this is the first time that rumors of their marriage started doing the rounds.
"For God sake whoever have created this false article should be ashamed!!! Whatever it was, it ended a long time back!!! Kindly understand this and move on in life. I'm here for my work and not for disrespectful publicity like this. Thank you [sic]," Elli tweeted.
Speaking to Spotboye, she stated that they are no longer in touch and Hardik hasn’t called her regarding the fake news of their marriage.
"Nope, he hasn't. We are not in touch. And I wish this finishes all the questions on Hardik addressed to me forever. I don't even want to be asked anything about him on red carpets," she said.
Earlier, she had slammed the Indian cricketer for his sexist comments on Koffee with Karan.
“I got a little bit surprised because that’s not really the Hardik Pandya I personally once used to know! I think it’s great that people are reacting and putting their foot down on this kind of behaviour because it’s about time we all realize that this kind of mentality is not cool. Neither is it something to brag about,” IndiaToday quoted Elli as saying.
“On terms of what is happening from what I read, they are getting suspended right? I mean I just feel when you get an opportunity to represent your country, it’s a really big privilege to get that and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I believe because by the end of the day the youth that is our next generation are actually they are watching and learning from their idols. So… that’s all I have to say on this,” she added.
Vijay Shankar was impressive on India's tour of New Zealand, which comprised of five-ODIs and three T20Is. The right-hander scored an invaluable 45 in the fifth ODI when India was under the pump and then managed scores of 27, 14, and 43 batting at no.3 in the shortest format against the Black Caps. His good performances have earned him a place in India's squad for the home series against the Men in Yellow.
The Tamil-Nadu all-rounder disclosed that he wants to express and explore his bowling more in the Australia series.
"Last time, when I was playing in the Nidahas Trophy, my mindset was to pick wickets. In recent times, I was much more restrictive mentally. I was just thinking about putting the balls in the good areas. Maybe, in the Australia series, I will look to express myself a lot more if I get to bowl" said Vijay.
Indian chief selector, MSK Prasad had expressed how Shankar's rise had changed things in terms of team's selection.
"Shankar's performance in the recent series really changed a bit of dynamics and he brings a double impact to the side that's why have we have included him. We'll see how he performs in the next few matches," Prasad said after his selection in the squads.
Rishabh Pant was recalled to the ODI side after being axed following his mediocre performance against West Indies in 2018. He was exceptional in the Test series in Australia while made some vital contributions in T20 internationals against New Zealand.
Shane Warne and Sunil Gavaskar want team management to try Rishabh Pant in the opening slot for the upcoming ODI matches against Australia.
If Pant fits the ball, he should open with Rohit Sharma in the World Cup.
When asked about his preferred batting position, he stated that he would like to bat as high as possible.
“As a batsman, I would always like to bat as high as possible but the team combination is also very important,” said Pant.
He is expecting to see better display from his IPL franchise, Delhi Capitals.
“We have had a change in name, jersey and new players have come in. It’s a good blend of youth and experience. Hope both our departments click this time and Delhi Capitals have a good tourney.”
Former Australian Cricket captain, Michael Clarke feels discarded duo of David Warner and Steven Smith will hit back form instantly on their return to the senior team. They are currently serving a 12-month ban. Warner and Smith were banned after they were found to be guilty in Cape Town ball-tampering scandal. Cameron Bancroft had carried out the task of tampering with the ball but he has already served his nine-month ban and is back to the cricket field.
Both Smith and Warner will be eligible to play from March 29 onwards. Clarke reckons there's no doubt that the duo would hit gold on their return.
For Australian cricket there’s absolutely no doubt we need them back,” Clarke told Fox Sports News. “They deserve to come back because they’ve done their crime, they’ve suffered their time. They’ll scores runs, there is no doubt about (it). They’ll walk back into that team and perform straight away.”
Clarke, however, cautioned people not to think that these two would put everything on track for Australia. “We’re putting a lot of expectations and a lot of pressure on Steve Smith and David Warner to come back (and) all of our problems will be fixed when they come back. The reality is we have got to No.5 in the world with Smith and Warner in the team. Sports teams are a lot bigger than one or two players,” he said.
Navjot Singh Sidhu has been shown the door from The Kapil Sharma Show following his comments on the Pulwama terror attack. He will be replaced by Archana Puran Singh on the show.
“His remarks have not been taken kindly by most. Also, the channel and the show was getting dragged into the unwanted controversy. This is when the team amicably decided that Navjot make a distance from the show. The team has already shot a couple of episodes with Archana,” a source told indianexpress.com.
Earlier, Sidhu landed in a controversy after he urged people to not blame entire Pakistan for the attack.
“For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?,” Sidhu was quoted as saying in Economic Times.
He went to Pakistan to attend the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan, who was appointed as Prime Minister of the country in 2018.
“It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished,” the 55-year-old from Patiala added.
Punjab wrist-spinner, Mayank Markande received a maiden call-up to India's T20I team for Australia series on Friday. India will play a two-match T20I series, which will be followed by a five-match ODI series. These are the last seven games for India to try out different players and combinations keeping the World Cup in mind.
Mayank shot to fame with his appreciable performance in the last season of the IPL. He played for Mumbai Indians under Rohit Sharma. Markande termed Rohit as "legend" and also shared his excitement on the fact that he will get to play alongside Dhoni if given a chance.
“Sharing the Indian dressing room with Rohit Sharma will be special. He had motivated me a lot during the IPL. I always kept talking to him. He is a legend of the game now so I always try to learn as much as possible from him,” Markande told The Indian Express.
He further stated, “As for now I am not even thinking about getting in the playing XI. But if I do then having MS Dhoni keep for me will be special.”
Markande picked up 15 wickets in 14 games and had an economy of 8.36.
There is always the danger of costly errors being overshadowed by stupendous wins. India could be in danger of committing an oversight if they do not take stock upon their return back home after the terrific tours of Australia and New Zealand.
While Virat Kohli has already returned to the country as a result of having rest attributed to him through the tour of New Zealand, the rest of the Indian team returns home victorious from what would have undoubtedly been an enormously taxing tour, particularly of Australia. Although Australia were not as quick as England to step up to their game as on India’s previous overseas tour prior to the tour of Australia, India still had to put in the hard yards. That brought about some rather memorable and vindicating moments for players such as Cheteshwar Pujara and the Indian bowling quartet despite some injury niggles.
India’s win in Australia, the first time in seven decades, cannot overlook the fact that Australia were clearly playing well beneath the standards expected of them. And India had the opportunity to seal their success in England but let one too many opportunities slip through their fingers, literally and metaphorically speaking.
Not to be forgotten is the fact that prior to embarking on the tour down under, Virat Kohli was facing flak and not just because of his errant comments on social media. The duo of Kohli and Ravi Shastri, captain and coach respectively, had committed one too many blunders, whether it was in reading the pitch wrong or getting the team combination wrong and it had cost India dearly in terms of ceding to England a Test series that was, by most counts, India’s for the taking.
In the making of some rather bizarre moves such as at Lord’s when India’s team seemed to defy logic, the duo seemed to reflect thinking that was not on the par with that of the selectors, suggesting divisions right down the line where the squad did not match the think tank’s preferences and it led to the benching of some players such as Karun Nair who made their mark rather spectacularly. It kept the atmosphere terse and speculation rife, not an ideal situation on an overseas tour.
As the series improved down under, while India seemed to have been rewarded for backing some youngsters, the Nair issue was clearly one that would remain stuck in the throat, questioning whether the coach and captain were deciding teams based on who they favoured rather than who merited a place in the playing eleven.
As an afterthought, it would not be surprising that the team management may now claim they were running a horses-for-courses strategy when they may be asked to explain why Rohit Sharma was not considered for the home Test series against the West Indies but was selected without a single performance to justify his being picked for the tour down under.
Had India let the Australian series slip away, questions would have been asking about the manner in which the duo were running the show, at one point, even seemingly to openly differ with each other. Fortunately they quickly learnt the perils of leaving out a solid, weighty batsman like Cheteshwar Pujara, particularly when they play a mercurial player like Rohit Sharma in the Test format. While Pujara’s omission in England drew criticism, Pujara’s performance down under only underlined the learning curve that the skipper and coach had to go through.
Despite how well India played down under, even relieving some of the pressure and the idea that everything rested on how Kohli fared as a batsman, and the bowling fulcrum coming into their own with Jasprit Bumrah forming the core of the lineup, India cannot overlook the fact that they had their chances in South Africa which they failed to capitalize on and then let England regenerate themselves on the momentum they gained by making the right moves in terms of having their finger on the pulse as far as their fringe players were concerned. A hapless England was not only allowed to believe in themselves again but also, to celebrate vanquishing the team that Ravi Shastri once called ‘the best travelling team in the world.’
The victory down under may have undone some of the ignominy from the tour of England but it did not spare the bloopers as the coach was caught playing the game of whether a player was fighting fit or not with the captain talking otherwise when it came to India’s lead spinners in Test cricket, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. A review would be advised.
Does the non-inclusion of Dinesh Karthik in the Indian team to play Australia in the ODI series starting later this month mean that he is out of contention for a berth in the World Cup squad? One would hope not and chief selector MSK Prasad has also hinted along these lines saying that there is a pool of about 20 players from which the final selection will be made. But it does put needless pressure on a player who has performed admirably of late, on numerous occasions rising to the occasion on the big occasion and displaying his prowess as a finisher.
From being in and out of the team for long Karthik who made his ODI debut against England at Lord’s in 2004 seemed to have finally cemented his place in the side thanks to a series of sterling performances. He has gone in for India from anywhere between the No 3 and No 7 positions besides opening the innings on a few occasions. He took a lot of time to consolidate his position in the side because the middle order was very competitive and he could only get in as a specialist batsman since MS Dhoni was always around as the wicketkeeper.
Despite the meteoric rise of Rishabh Pant one would like to think that Karthik would be an automatic selection for the World Cup given his recent showing. With Dhoni still around even Pant will play as a specialist batsmen and there is place for both. But while Pant finds a place in the team to play Australia – making his elevation to the World Cup squad almost automatic – Karthik will have to withstand the suspense of whether he is going to make the team for England following his omission from the side to play Australia.
Very clearly the selectors have opted for KL Rahul in place of Karthik. Overall Karthik would seem to have the better figures. In 77 innings he has scored 1738 runs at an average of 31 and a strike rate of almost 74. Rahul from 12 innings has 317 runs at an average of 35 and a strike rate of 80. On recent form though there is no denying the fact that Karthik’s record is far superior. In the last two years Rahul has scored just 121 runs from nine innings at an average of 15. Karthik on the other hand in the last six months has scored 221 runs from nine innings at an average of 44. On the evidence of all this it is clear that the selectors have not been fair to Karthik.
Former Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden has joined Virender Sehwag in the babysitting advertisement for the upcoming T20 and ODI series between India and Australia. Star Sports, the official broadcaster, had launched Sehwag’s ad in the first place where he was seen with kids wearing Australian jerseys.
"Jab hum Australia gaye the, toh unhone poocha tha babysitting karoge? Humne kahaa sabke sab aajaao. Zaroor karenge [When we had gone to Australia, they asked us, will you babysit? We said all of you come, we will surely do]," Sehwag had said.
Matthew Hayden took potshot at Sehwag by saying "Never take Aussie's for a joke Viru Boy."
Now Hayden has joined Viru in a new commercial released by Star Sports. The former Indian opener is seen bringing milk bottles for the kids and he goes to one kid and says, "Beta aap bhi doodh pee lo, warna Kohli aa jayega [Son, you also have milk, otherwise Kohli will come]"
As he turns around, a ball hits the tray and they all fall. Hayden make his entry at this very moment and with a smile on his face, he says, "Viru Paaji, Australians ko bachcha mat samajhna!"
The selectors have included Siddarth Kaul in the ODI series in order to try him, considering they are yet to fill the spot of fourth seamer for the upcoming World Cup. England have always been a paradise for fast bowlers so theory of face pacers is vital for Men in Blue. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are the frontline pacers, who are expected to play a key role but India are still looking for one more bowler.
They tried Khaleel Ahmed in Australia and New Zealand series but he failed to perform. Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if Umesh Yadav makes it to the final team.
He has been included in the team for the T20 series against Australia.
“Yes because if they don’t find any viable and dependable fourth pure seamer by the end of the T20I series they will go to Hardik Pandya and use him as a third or the fourth seamer. But there is I think a back-door entry for Umesh Yadav. Don’t be surprised if he is in the final squad there. In T20Is he has proved his worth for RCB. So this works out well for him,” Sanjay Manjrekar said in a conversation with ESPNCricinfo.
The current selection panel led by MSK Prasad has axed in-form batsman Dinesh Karthik from the ODI squad. Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant, who failed to get going in the one-day format, has been recalled to the side meaning selectors have finalized him for the World Cup.
In the wake of Dinesh Karthik's latest ouster, former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar feels it is the end of the road for the right hand batsman in ODIs.
“His fans will feel sorry because with the opportunity he has got, he has done as well as he could but I feel with this selection or non-selection of Karthik, India have told everyone that we look at Karthik as a T20 batsman and his 50-over future is over as far as we are concerned,” said Manjrekar in conversation with ESPNCricinfo.
“He has done well in the opportunities he has got, but he has been around for a long time and the selectors are thinking just like me – World Cup, big stage, big match, 50-overs cricket, Dinesh Karthik. Ambati Rayudu by playing that innings in New Zealand when he put India on the track of recovery and got the team to get a big score. Dinesh Karthik hasn’t played that kind of an innings.
“He has mostly played the role of a finisher. So this is where the numbers are disregarded by the selectors, the captain, the management and they are thinking temperamentally so far what we have seen of Karthik, is he someone who will excite us a 50-overs cricket at World Cup and they have said no and I don’t grudge them for that,” he added.
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