News Cricket

Watch - Shah Rukh Khan gives pep talk to Kolkata Knight Riders Ahead of IPL

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:39 PM IST


Two-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders will play their first game of this year's season against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Kolkata. Ahead of the season opener, Shah Rukh Khan, the co-owner of the team, has posted a video on his official Twitter account, to offer a pep talk for the players and fans.

“Aakhri dum tak, aakhri run tak (Till the last breath, till the last run)”, he says in the video.

The team's weakness seems to be their batting lineup. The lack of depth could be their biggest nemesis in the 12th edition of the tournament.

New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson, England's Harry Gurney, South Africa's Anrich Nortje and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite will play a crucial role in the bowling department.

“You pray for us, we play for you,” Shah Rukh Khan tells fans of KKR in the video.

SRK is always there to support his team and he has backed players in the past despite their mediocre performances.

Kolkata Knight Riders have one of the strongest fan base in the cash rich league tournament.

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News Cricket

Back with a Bang: David Warner smashes 65 off 43 balls in practice game - Watch

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 4:02 PM IST


Sunrisers Hyderabad star batsman David Warner has announced his arrival in style. The left hand batsman scored 65 off 43 balls in a recent practice game. Apart from him, Manish Pandey made useful contribution, smashing 67 off 43 balls.

Warner will play for his franchise after missing out the last edition of the league, following his one-year ban for his involvement in ball tampering in South Africa.

Here's the video of his knock:

David Warner was the skipper of the side when Sunrisers Hyderabad won their maiden IPL title in 2016. The franchise would be hoping for a repeat of that. Sunrisers have assembled a strong unit and they are one of the top contenders.

News Cricket

Watch - Suresh Raina gets thunderous welcome at Chepauk Stadium  

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:58 PM IST


Chennai Super Kings have the most loyal fan base in the Indian Premier League. The Chennai based franchise was welcomed back in style when they made their comeback to the IPL fold after serving two-year ban. They not only played impressive cricket but also went on to win the league.

Suresh raina has been one of their best players since inception of the tournament in 2008. He has played a crucial part in the success of the franchise. The left hand batsman has scored 4985 runs.

Raina was welcomed by fans at the famous MA Chidambaram Stadium as he came out to bat in a practice session ahead of tournament opener against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“Chinna Thala entry! #YelloveAnbuDen,” wrote CSK on Twitter

Earlier, Raina had revealed what makes CSK players perform in the league. "The best thing about CSK is we played really well as a unit. And we haven't changed much (from 2018 edition) and have only two new players in the squad. So I think that is the success ratio for CSK," said Raina in a recent video released by CSK.

News Cricket

Shreyas Iyer targets selectors, says didn't get enough chances

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:55 PM IST


Shreyas Iyer had a reasonably good outing for Men in Blue in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. When it looked like that India have found another superstar, he was dropped from the squad without any concrete reason.

He is trying his best to stage another comeback into the Indian team.

In the last edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he scored 484 runs at an average of 60.5. During the course of the tournament, he also hit two sublime hundreds.

However, his performances have done no good to him as he continues to be away from the national team. Iyer, who will lead Delhi Capitals in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League, feels he didn't get enough chances to prove his talent at the highest level of the game.

“Yeah, I felt that way. If there was some other player in place of me, he would have also felt disappointed. Your eventual goal is to play for your country. I was disappointed when I was dropped and didn’t get fair enough chances,” Shreyas told The Times of India (TOI). “But when you look at the TV and see your team winning, it gives a lot of satisfaction. That is more important.”

“I back myself at any number. I am just waiting for my chance,” he said. “I am doing really well in every tournament. I am enjoying my cricket and not thinking about the selection process. Selection is not in my hands. My job is to perform and I’m doing that. Anything can happen (in the future), you can get a random call from the selectors that you’ve been selected for the World Cup,” he added.

News Cricket

Shikhar Dhawan confident of Delhi Capitals’ win in IPL

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:53 PM IST


Delhi Capitals are looking to win their first IPL title this season. Despite being home to some of the biggest names, Delhi based franchise has failed to perform well in the past. They bought Shikhar Dhawan in order to change their fortunes and the left hand batsman is confident of seeing his home team lifting the IPL trophy in the upcoming season.

He is delighted to be back and he is looking forward to play an important role for the Capitals.

“It is like a second home-coming for me, and I am very excited to be a part of the Delhi Capitals for the IPL season. It is a very happy feeling for me to have come back to my home city of Delhi after spending 10 seasons away in the IPL,” said Dhawan.

“Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium has been my home ground since my early days, and I will be doing my best to perform for the team as I know the conditions and pitches well. Apart from that, I will also be looking to help our younger players get used to the pressure of playing in such a big tournament, and hopefully I can spur them on to perform on the field to the best of their abilities," he added.

Dhawan also spoke about the combination of Delhi Capitals and feels they have players, who can play a vital role this year.

“In IPL, the team who wins the trophy is always the one who has the best balance in the squad. Our team this year is also very balanced as we have good all-rounders, spinners and batsmen. The most important thing for us will be that our Indian batsmen play well and our top 4-5 batsmen are Indian, so I am expecting a great season ahead,” said the 33-year-old.

News Cricket

Afghanistan clinches historic maiden test victory

AP Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:49 PM IST


Afghanistan notched a historic maiden win in only its second test match when it defeated Ireland by seven wickets in the one-off test ending Monday.

Needing 118 runs, Rahmat Shah scored his second half century of the match and Ihsanullah Janat made 50 in his debut test as Afghanistan reached 149-3 just before lunch on the fourth day.

"It was our dream to play test cricket and today we won a test match so I am very happy for Afghanistan and its people," Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan said.

"I want to give credit to the bowlers, especially Rashid Khan, Waqar (Salamkheil), Yamin (Ahmadzai) and (Mohammad) Nabi because the wicket was good for batting."

Leg spinner Rashid claimed the match haul of 7-102 and played the test match while nursing his injured spinning finger.

It was only the second test match for both countries since gaining test status in 2017. Afghanistan lost its inaugural test against India last year before Pakistan went on to beat Ireland.

Man-of-the-match Shah, who missed out on the century in the first innings before falling for 98, played another splendid knock of 76 with 13 fours before he got stumped when Afghanistan required only three runs for victory.

Janat was equally good in scoring an unbeaten 65 off 129 balls as both batsmen dominated Ireland bowling with attacking shots during their 139-run match-winning stand.

Ireland had an early opportunity to break the stand but Shah was dropped on 19 by Stuart Thompson in left-arm spinner George Dockrell's second over of the day after Afghanistan resumed on 29-1.

Although Mohammad Nabi missing Afghanistan's winning moment on the field when he got run out, Hashmatullah Shahidi got the winning runs when he pulled James Cameron-Dow to the square leg fence off his first delivery.

Ireland captain William Porterfield saw his team's first-innings effort of 172 as the prime reason for the defeat as Afghanistan replied strongly with 314.

"In any multi-day game, we had to capitalize on the first innings. If we'd done how we'd done in the second innings then, it could have been a completely different game," Porterfield said.

Ireland fought back in the second innings by scoring 288, thanks largely to the last-wicket half century stand between Cameron-Dow and Tim Murtagh that set up Afghanistan's target of 147 runs.

"Credit to Afghanistan, they outplayed us ... and once Afghanistan got past us in the first innings, it was always going to be hard," Porterfield said.

News Cricket

India have the bowling attack to win World Cup

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:47 PM IST


Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun believes that Men in Blue have a great chance to win this year's World Cup in England and Wales. According to him, bowling attack of Team India is capable of going to the distance in the showpiece event.

The current bowling arsenal is one of the best in the world and has been hailed by legends for the consistency it has displayed across the globe.

Virat Kohli-led team has enjoyed an incredible run of form in one-day internationals. The recent ODI series defeat against Australia was the only second such defeat since the Champions Trophy loss at the hands of Pakistan in 2017.

Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are in the top 10 of the ICC bowlers rankings.

“We have the bowling to win the World Cup in England. We have the right kind of pacemen, wrist spinners, finger spinner and support bowlers,” bowling coach Arun was quoted as saying by Sportstar.

“In Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar, India has two of the best ODI bowlers in world cricket. And Shami, with his speed and movement, can win you games. India has a formidable pace pack. And it is backed by a very good spin attack," he added.

Feature Tennis

Challenge to the big three getting stronger

Partab Ramchand Updated: 18 March, 2019, 3:37 PM IST


Novak Djokovic making an early exit, Rafael Nadal getting injured before his semifinal against Roger Federer who then goes on to lose in the title clash against Dominic Thiem. Things are happening in the world of tennis. Could this be the year when the younger generation of players who have been threatening to take over from ``The Big Three’’ finally achieve their objective? They have been snapping at the heels of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal for a couple of years now but it is the senior trio that is still winning the Grand Slams or occupying the top spots in the ATP rankings.

However some of the players who are in the top 10 have also been registering notable victories. Late last year Alexander Zverev won the season ending Masters defeating Federer in the semifinals and Djokovic in the final a feat which catapulted him to No 3 in the rankings. Stefanos Tsitsipas the fast rising Greek has been making waves defeating Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open, making the semifinals there and then entering the final of the Dubai Open before losing to – Federer. The prodigiously gifted 20-year-old has made it to the top ten while the others in the top eight like Juan Martin del Potro, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson have either won a Grand Slam or made the title clash. And now after his performance in the just concluded BNP Paribas Masters event at Indian Wells Thiem has joined the list of serious Grand Slam contenders and a challenger for ending the supremacy of ``The Big Three.’’

The 25-year-old Austrian has been around for some time but his performances at the Grand Slams have been below par, his best being finalist at the French Open last year. But in the Californian desert he at last gave proof that he is right up there with the other challengers. Federer was on the verge of creating history in Indian Wells a match away from becoming the first player to capture six titles there. But Thiem made Federer wait for the historic moment with a three set victory that gave him his first ATP Masters 1000 title. The major triumph saw Thiem climb from No 8 to a career high of No 4 in the latest ATP rankings while Federer is now No 5. So things are hotting up and the challengers to ``The Big Three’’ are getting closer. But will the take over happen this year remains to be seen. It must not be forgotten that the only Grand Slam of the year has been won by Djokovic.

News Cricket

Watch - 10000 fans pack Chepauk Stadium for Dhoni’s rock star welcome

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 2:50 PM IST


MS Dhoni is the undisputed king of Chennai Super Kings. The adopted son of Chennai has led his IPL franchise to three titles since inception of the league in 2008.

Ahead of CSK's tournament opener against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, fans filled the Chepauk stadium to get a glimpse of their most favorite superstar.

As soon as he came out to bat, chants of Dhoni Dhoni were heard around the stadium. Over 10,000 fans flocked to the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai to watch the Chennai Super Kings practice session.

Here's the video:

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli will lock horns when their franchises Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) take on each other in the first match of the Indian Premier League on March 23.

News Cricket

Watch - Dhoni, once again, plays hide and seek with fan in CSK’s Practice session

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 1:56 PM IST


MS Dhoni is followed by millions, who are ready to do anything for their favorite cricket star.

They have dodged security to enter the field and meet MS Dhoni.

During the limited-overs series against Australia, one of Dhoni's fans had entered the field to greet the former Indian skipper.

Dhoni, who is renewed for his humoristic side, had played hide and seek before meeting him.

Similar incident happened at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday during Chennai Super Kings' practice game. Dhoni was once again chased down by a fan but the Indian wicket-keeper was in no mood to let him fulfill his wish easily. He played hide and seek game with him before security came in.

While security was taking him away, Dhoni went up to his fan to shake hands. The memorable fan-boy moment was captured on camera and was shared by Chennai Super Kings on their Twitter handle with the caption, "Catch Me If You Fan #AnbuDen Version! #SuperPricelessThala @msdhoni and the smiling assassin @Lbalaji55! #WhistlePodu"

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant is not thinking about the World Cup

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 12:52 PM IST


Rishabh Pant has stated that he is not thinking about the World Cup. According to him, his sole focus is on the IPL and he wants to win the T20 league for his franchise. The left hand batsman is in tussle with Dinesh Karthik for the second wicket-keeper’s slot.

"Frankly, I am not thinking about the World Cup. Yes, looking back the season; it has been a good year for me. On a personal level, it's good going. Of course, there are ups and downs in cricket always but that's how you learn. I am too young and what I constantly do is learn from my seniors. They have been in tough situations and they know how to tackle them. I just keep learning," added Pant, speaking to Mail Today in Gurugram.

Pant will go by what Virat Kohli wants out of him and will stick to his aggressive batting style.

"There's been a pressure, I know that. But I'm not thinking about it too much. I'm learning from every game and trying to make a difference. I will do what the skipper wants me to do. He will tell me where to bat, where to play and at what position. I will stick to my game and try to do the best for the team."

News Cricket

Younis Khan to coach Pakistan’s U-19 team 

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 12:50 PM IST


Younis Khan has been appointed as the coach of Pakistan's Under-19 side. PCB chairman Ehsan Mani cited the example of Dravid who has done an outstanding job with young Indian cricketers. Younis will also manage the responsibility as the chief of the national junior selection committee.

“A decision has been taken in this regard within the PCB but the announcement will be made soon after completing a few formalities,” the source said.

“Younis will be given full powers as head coach and also chief selector of the national junior selection committee and he will be assisted by another former Test player, Nadeem Khan who is in line to be appointed as manager,” the source said.

“In the past there has been a tendency to change coaches and managers of the junior team after one or two series and this has hurt the progress and development of the junior players,” the source said.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli depends a lot on MS Dhoni in ODIs

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 12:49 PM IST


Former India skipper and head coach Anil Kumble believes Virat Kohli is more comfortable when MS Dhoni is behind the stumps. MS Dhoni was rested in the last two games against Australia and Virat couldn't motivate the team in his absence.

“I think he is certainly more comfortable, rather saying better captain; he is probably a lot more comfortable when MS is behind the stumps and then the conversation between him and Virat definitely helps him make the right decisions,” Anil Kumble said in a conversation with Cricket Next.

“I mean it comes naturally to MS,” said Kumble. “He had been the captain for a long long time. He is behind the stumps so he reads the game better than anybody else. He obviously is in conversation with the bowler on the kind of lines that he needs to bowl, the kind of pace that the bowlers need to bowl. And also with the field placing.”

Virat Kohli is often seen in consultation with the former skipper when it comes to DRS and field placement. Kumble further added that its pretty obvious Virat needs Dhoni to achieve success in one-day internationals.

“I think Virat certainly depends a lot on MS Dhoni in One Day Cricket, for him to have those proper field placings. So that is something he probably had missed in the last two matches. And if you look at last 10 or 15 overs – the second half or the final powerplay Virat is generally manning the boundary. So yes, when MS is there he is on the boundary line and suddenly he had to man the last two overs and the last ten overs under pressure. So yes he certainly depends a lot on MS Dhoni,” he added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli to end his IPL career with Royal Challengers Bangalore

CT Contributors Updated: 18 March, 2019, 12:47 PM IST


Virat Kohli is the only cricketer who has played for one franchise in IPL. The RCB skipper has acknowledged that he will not leave Royal Challengers Bangalore in his career. Kohli admitted that he can’t see himself playing for another franchise.

“To me, it (playing for RCB) has been a most special experience. I don’t see myself leaving or playing for any other franchise,” Kohli was quoted saying to the reporters during RCB’s official app launch.

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 him, 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 added.

News Cricket

Bangladesh cricketers arrive home after mosque shootings

AP Updated: 18 March, 2019, 10:09 AM IST


Bangladesh's cricket team arrived home after its tour of New Zealand was abandoned following the Christchurch mosque shootings a day earlier.

Forty-nine people were killed after a gunman attacked two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's modern history.

A bus carrying members of the Bangladesh squad had just driven into a street near one of the mosques when the shooting started. Players and support staff had planned to pray at the mosque before continuing on to the Hagley Oval ground where it was due to play the third test.

The match, which was due to start on Saturday, was cancelled and the Bangladesh squad flew home.

"We had a sleepless night after the incident," said the team's stand-in captain Mahmudullah. "We are lucky to escape and can't imagine what would have happened had we entered the mosque just five minutes earlier. Thanks to the BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) for bringing us back to the country very quickly."

BCB president Nazmul Hassan said: "The players are still in a traumatic state. It will take time for them to recover."

Bangladesh was whitewashed by New Zealand in the three-match series of one-day internationals and also lost the first two tests.