News Cricket

Who is a better T20 batsman Virat or Rohit? Harbhajan Singh Opines

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 1:56 PM IST


Rohit Sharma was in top groove and created history during the second T20 internationals against New Zealand. The right hand batsman scored a well compiled 50 off 29 balls to lead India to seven-wicket victory.

He also became the highest run-getter in the shortest format of the game surpassing New Zealand's Martin Guptill during his knock which was laced with four sixes and three fours.

Rohit became the first Indian cricketer to hit 100 sixes in T20 internationals and he also holds the record of most 50-plus scores in the slam bang version of the game.

When Harbhajan Singh was asked to name a better batsman between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, he said: "That's a tricky question. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are tremendous players and both are match-winners. Both are class players and their records speak for themselves. Rohit Sharma is supremely talented while Virat Kohli is a hard-working cricketer. Maybe, Kohli is not as talented at Rohit but his hard-work and passion have taken him to where he is right now. So, it's tough for me to pick who's a better batsman. I will not be able to answer this question. But both play for India, that's what matters," Harbhajan Singh told Sports Tak.

"Rohit has scored so many hundreds in T20Is because he opens the innings and he gets to play that many deliveries. Virat Kohli sometimes has to play slow at the start of his innings after India lose early wickets. And, when he gets a set platform, 15-16 overs are already over. So we should not look at the stats but look at how much these two players have contributed playing for India," he added.

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News Cricket

Jason Holder reveals how he overcame off-field issues and stagnant form

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 12:49 PM IST


Jason Holder's West Indies have been on fire against England in the ongoing three-match Test series between the two nations. West Indies have gained an unassailable lead of 2-0.

It is their first Test series win over England since 2009. And Windies skipper, Jason Holder has been a central figure in their rise from the ashes. He has led them the front be it with the bat or the ball in hand.

Jason Holder reflected back on his journey and made quite a few interesting revelations. "I knew it was going to be difficult – maybe not this difficult – and that there would be some pushback from fans and people around West Indies cricket,” Holder told Sky Sports. “But I knew I had what it takes to lead as I have been leading sides for as far back as I can remember. I led plenty of Barbados sides in youth cricket, had the opportunity to captain the West Indies U19 team in spurts – I have always been seen in a leadership role."

He continued, “Honestly, I didn’t expect to captain Windies at 23 years of age and I have had some really tough days but I have just tried to be as positive as I can and draw on people close to me for guidance. Team-mates have also helped me out a lot.”

“When I first took up the captaincy I felt as though I was getting distracted by stuff off the field and tried so hard to get the players in their comfort zone and keep them happy. I probably lost sight of my actual role in the team and felt my performances were a bit stagnant.

“I got to a point where I said to the lads: ‘Look, we have all signed contracts to play for West Indies so that means we are committed to playing for West Indies and might as well get on with it and play cricket’. From then, I started focusing a lot more on my cricket and trying to lead by example. I felt if I wasn’t going to be captain I would have to be stripped of it – I felt if I got a sniff and some momentum I would be able to do something different,” he said.

News Cricket

Proud of you big bro, says Hardik Pandya after Krunal’s match winning performance

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 11:54 AM IST


Hardik Pandya congratulated his brother, Krunal after he came up with a match winning performance in the second T20 international against New Zealand.

Krunal took three wickets which helped India restrict New Zealand to 158 in 20 overs. He dismissed Colin Munro and Daryl Mitchell in his first over while returned to pick up the wicket of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.

Chasing 159 to win, Men in Blue gunned down the score comfortably after a magnificent fifty from captain Rohit Sharma and an aggressive 40 from Rishabh Pant. Hardik took to Instagram to post a picture of himself with Krunal and wrote: "Proud of you big bro".

Krunal was ecstatic with his Man of the Match performance, which was his second in this format of the game.

"It felt really nice to contribute for the team. It's always special when you contribute to a win. The dimensions are quite different from Wellington, the straight boundaries were short and I had to adjust my length to it. Looking forward to the decider in two days' time."

News Cricket

Harbhajan Singh reveals how Dhoni helped Pant succeed in Auckland T20I 

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 February, 2019, 10:49 AM IST


  • Pant scored 40 runs off 28 balls to help India win the second T20I
  • India defeated New Zealand by seven wickets with seven balls to spare in Auckland T20I
  • Bhajji praised both Dhoni and Pant

Indian off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh has praised veteran Indian cricketer, MS Dhoni for helping out Rishabh Pant in the middle during the second T20I game between New Zealand and India in Auckland. Dashing young batsman Rishabh Pant scored 40 runs off 28 deliveries and remained unbeaten till the end. India defeated New Zealand by seven wickets with seven balls to spare to level the series 1-1.

Harbhajan praised Pant and also revealed how Dhoni helped Pant in the second T20I. “Rishabh Pant made full use of his opportunity today while batting with MS Dhoni. When he hit a few casual shots, Dhoni walked up to him and explained what he needed to do. After that he played safer shots, down the ground and hit only the balls which were there to be hit,” he said.

The seasoned India offie also feels if Rishabh Pant keeps performing well, he would get selected for the World Cup. “Every opportunity will take Pant closer to the ICC World Cup 2019 squad, especially if he continues to keep scoring like this. I fell he has that X factor which India will need in the World Cup. Pant is someone who can change games," Harbhajan said.

News Cricket

Where should MS Dhoni bat for India in ODIs? Yuvraj Singh opines

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 9:43 PM IST


A lot has been written about MS Dhoni's ideal batting position in one-day internationals. Former cricketers have revealed their choice ranging from no. 4 to no. 5.

Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, feels Dhoni should bat at no. 5 but his deputy Rohit Sharma differs from his skipper. "MS (Dhoni) batted at number 4 in 2016 for a while. After that, he has been pretty happy playing at number 5 and 6 for the team. I personally feel number 5 is the best-suited spot for him because that allows him to get some game time, finish games off and attack as and when required," Kohli had said.

Rohit stated that no.4 is Dhoni’s ideal batting slot going into the World Cup. The former Indian skipper, who endured a forgettable 2018, hit back to form, scoring three consecutive fifties against Australia in the ODI series. He has scored a total of 242 runs in the five innings he played in 2019 at an average of 121.

When asked about his ideal batting position, Yuvraj Singh said: "That you have to ask Dhoni, which number he has to bat."

News Cricket

KL Rahul hits top form on comeback, scores unbeaten 88 runs against England Lions

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 9:39 PM IST


KL Rahul scored an unbeaten 88 on day two of the unofficial Test against England Lions. Playing for India A, out of favor opening batsman, made full use of the opportunity as the home side steered to 219 for 1.

Priyank Panchal, the other batsman, amassed an unbeaten 89 after England Lions' first innings score of 340. Earlier, Navdeep Saini picked up five wickets restricting the rivals, who resumed the day at 303 for five.

KL Rahul was slow off the blocks scoring 12 runs off 57 balls. After setting his eyes in, he played some attractive strokes all-round the wicket. He played fast bowlers and spinners with ease.

The stylish batsman was sent back from Australia after he and Hardik Pandya were caught in a controversy following their comments of Koffee with Karan. They were suspended for an indefinite period but it was revoked by the BCCI pending inquiry.

Brief scores: England Lions 340 all out in 104.3 overs (Ben Duckett 80, Will Jack 63, Sam Hain 61; Navdeep Saini 5/79) vs India 'A' (K L Rahul 88 batting, Priyank Panchal 89 batting, A R Easwaran 31.

Videos Cricket

Watch: MS Dhoni again proves why no one can match his chutzpah

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 5:41 PM IST


MS Dhoni is one of the most entertaining cricketers in the world. His antics are of a different class altogether. The way he bats is highly unorthodox still he has achieved a tremendous level of success with the unconventional ways.

In the second T20I against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland, Dhoni again proved why he is the boss. An interesting incident happened in the 16th over of the chase when Ish Sodhi was bowling. Dhoni was on the strike and came down the track but Sodhi was smart enough to throw the ball wide outside of the off-stump but Dhoni proved that he is even smarter.

Look at how Dhoni saved himself from getting stumped:

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma hails his boys after an emphatic win over New Zealand

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 5:20 PM IST


It takes a lot of character and hard work to bounce back from setbacks. And the Indian cricket team has over and again shown their ability to deliver when it matters the most. Today, India, for the third time on their ongoing tour Down Under made a comeback in the do-or-die game after being 0-1 down.

Australia had defeated India in the first T20I in Brisbane but India ended the series 1-1. In ODI series against Australia, the Men in Blue returned to winning ways after losing the ODI series opener. And today against New Zealand, they again exhibited their ability to bounce back after they won the second T20I by seven wickets. India were handed over their biggest T20I defeat in last game by the Kiwis.

Rohit Sharma was ecstatic after the win and said, “Very pleased to see how we bowled, and we were quite clinical with the bat as well. We have quality in our side, but we executed our plans better today, after learning from our mistakes. It’s important to understand the mistakes that we made – it’s been a long tour for everyone. So, we didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on the boys, just go in there with a clear mind,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

The series decider will be on Sunday at the Seddon Park in Hamilton. “It’s going to be a cracker of a game in the 3rd T20I, but nothing to take away from New Zealand, they’re still a quality side,” Rohit said.

News Cricket

Hardik Pandya or Vijay Shankar in World Cup squad? Sunil Gavaskar reveals his choice

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 5:08 PM IST


Vijay Shankar has shown a considerable improvement in his display since making debut in the Nidahas Trophy. The Indian all-rounder has made some useful contributions in the ongoing series against New Zealand. Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar are the two genuine all-rounders, who are in contention to represent India in the World Cup. Sunil Gavaskar, the former Indian skipper, wants national selectors to give Vijay a long run before deciding the fate of two players.

“Vijay Shankar has a chance for the World Cup. You need an extra seamer in England. He is a good all-round fielder too. He showed in the ODI (5th ODI in Wellington) where he got the team out of trouble with the bat. He read the game situation well with his experience of having led in domestic cricket. You build hopes on a player who reads match situations well. He should also be under consideration,” he told India Today.

Hardik has made a remarkable comeback to international cricket after his ban was lifted by the BCCI and could edge Vijay because of his impressive all-round display in the recent times.

“I think he should be playing all the three T20 games. Give him games after games and you would know if he has what it takes. Because if there is a situation that even after the five ODIs vs Australia, we don’t find a fourth fast bowler we can rely on, then we should be open to having Hardik Pandya as the fourth seamer in the squad and Vijay Shankar as an additional option,” Gavaskar further added.

News Cricket

Ross Taylor equals unwanted world record after another run-out

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 5:05 PM IST


Colin de Grandhomme raced to a maiden T20 half-century from 27 balls in a 77-run fifth-wicket partnership with Ross Taylor (42) which revived the New Zealand innings. However, with his run-out, Ross Taylor equaled an unwanted world record.

Mitchell Santner hit the ball towards long-on and as Taylor was going back to complete the double towards the non-striker's end, Shankar's direct throw ended his innings. This was Taylor's ninth such dismissal in the slam bang version of the game and now he shares top spot with Bangladesh star Mahmudullah in the list of most run-outs in T20Is.

Earlier, Left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya bowled an outstanding four-over spell, taking 3-28 as India contained New Zealand to 158-8 as it batted first after winning the toss. He was man of the match.

News Cricket

Numbers don't lie: Rohit Sharma is better captain than Virat Kohli

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 4:52 PM IST


Rohit Sharma led India to an emphatic victory in the second T20I at Eden Park, Auckland. India won the game by seven wickets with seven balls to spare. It was a do-or-die game for India as New Zealand had started off the T20I series with a massive victory by 80 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match T20I series.

Rohit also equaled the number of wins achieved by Kohli as T20I skipper. Under Virat Kohli's captaincy, India have won 12 games out of 20, losing seven while one game has ended without a result. In comparison, Rohit Sharma has led India to 12 victories in just 14 games and his record is far superior to Kohli. Rohit Sharma has a winning percentage of 85.71, which is way better than Virat's winning percentage of 63.15.

India chased down the total of 159 runs with ease. Rohit Sharma blasted 50 runs off 29 balls while Rishabh Pant scored an unbeaten 40 off 28 deliveries. Krunal Pandya was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for ending up with figures of 3/28.

The series decider will be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton on February 10.


News Cricket

Krunal Pandya ecstatic after winning the 2nd Man-of-the-Match award in 8 T20Is

Staff Writer Updated: 8 February, 2019, 4:44 PM IST


Captain Rohit Sharma dashed a half-century from 28 balls and Rishabh Pant made an unbeaten 40 as India beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the second Twenty20 to level the three-match series at 1-1 on Friday.

New Zealand won the first match by 80 runs on Wednesday. The final match is on Sunday at Hamilton.

Left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya bowled an outstanding four-over spell, taking 3-28 as India contained New Zealand to 158-8 as it batted first after winning the toss. He was man of the match.

"It felt really nice to contribute for the team. It's always special when you contribute to a win. The dimensions are quite different from Wellington, the straight boundaries were short and I had to adjust my length to it. Looking forward to the decider in two days' time," Krunal said after receiving his man-of-the-match award.

Sharma set up the India run chase in a 79-run partnership for the first wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, who made 30 from 31 balls, and Pant saw India home in an unbroken 44-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who made 20 from 17 balls.

India reached its winning target with seven balls remaining.

"I was very pleased with the way we bowled to start with and then it was very clinical with the bat as well," Sharma said.

"Something like that we were expecting. We've got quality in our side. It's just that we didn't execute our plans in the first game and we learned from our mistakes. We executed those plans in this game and we got the reward for it."

New Zealand fell well short of the total it needed to have any chance of beating India on Eden Park, where short boundaries make defending any score extremely difficult.

Krunal Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismantled the New Zealand top order, reducing the home side to 50-4 after 7.5 overs.

Colin de Grandhomme raced to a maiden T20 half-century from 27 balls in a 77-run fifth-wicket partnership with Ross Taylor (42) which revived the New Zealand innings. But Hardik Pandya removed de Grandhomme, and Khaleel Ahmed took two late wickets to ensure New Zealand fell short of an adequate total.

New Zealand needed early wickets but Sharma and Dhawan denied them, knocking off almost half of India's target inside the first 10 overs.

Sharma reached his 16th T20 half-century from 28 balls with three fours and four sixes. He was out immediately afterwards, caught in the deep by Tim Southee from the bowling of Ish Sodhi.

India stayed ahead of the run-rate, and wicketkeeper Pant saw India home in a superb partnership with his mentor, Dhoni.

Dhoni came to the crease to an enormous ovation from the crowd of 30,000, almost two thirds of whom were India fans and most of whom had come to watch Dhoni in his last tour to New Zealand.

The pair came together when India was 118-3 in the 14th over and saw India home in the 19th over when Pant struck a four down the ground off Scott Kuggeleijn.

News Cricket

Arthur reveals why Sarfraz was named skipper for World Cup despite his racist remarks

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 4:41 PM IST


Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur says it's time to move on from captain Sarfraz Ahmed's four-match ban for a racial taunt and concentrate on finalizing the team for the Cricket World Cup.

Sarfraz was reaffirmed on Tuesday as captain to the end of the World Cup in July, despite the Pakistan Cricket Board saying its policy was to name the captain on a series-to-series basis.

Pakistan media have questioned the Sarfraz decision, including whether it was a political riposte at the ICC for banning Sarfraz. Private broadcaster Geo News wondered whether the PCB did a U-turn or succumbed to pressure from unnamed quarters.

On the national team's return on Friday from the tour of South Africa, Arthur said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani talked with him and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq before reappointing Sarfraz as captain.

"We've made that decision because we are very comfortable with Sarfraz leading this team forward," Arthur said in Lahore. "There's clarity, there's no more speculation."

Sarfraz was banned for racially taunting South Africa allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo in an ODI last month in Durban. He returned home and missed the last two one-day internationals and the entire three-match Twenty20 series.

"What he did was wrong and it was worked through," Arthur said. "Saffy took it on the chin, he apologized, he moved forward, everything was handled properly."

Arthur believed Sarfraz's main job is wicketkeeping, and he was not worried about his captain's dip in batting form.

"He (Sarfraz) has dropped eight balls in four and a half months, so he is not out of form in his core job," Arthur said. "I'm not, and I want to reiterate, not worried about Sarfraz Ahmed's (batting) form."

Pakistan lost the test, ODI, and T20 series in South Africa.

While Arthur acknowledged Pakistan needed to improve a lot in test matches, he was disappointed to lose the ODIs 3-2 and the T20s 2-1.

"We thought we were as good as South Africa in those conditions," he said.

Arthur criticized the test pitches as none of the games went to the fifth day. But Arthur said Pakistan was not the only team which has struggled in South Africa.

"I don't think there's any coincidence that no Asian team has won a test series in South Africa," he said. "So we know we've got a lot of work to do with our test side."

He picked out Babar Azam for praise, for becoming the batting mainstay in white-ball cricket.

"South Africa is the toughest place to bat ... to see Babar Azam's development across all formats on this tour was simply amazing and I think was something to be proud," he said.

The South African-born Arthur said he had a pool of about 20 players from which the final 15 will be picked for the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

"We're probably ahead of lot of other teams ... we have condensed our pool and now have to finalize it after the Australia tour (in March), so we are pretty much on track."

News Wrestling

Pakistan’s ace boxer Mohammad Waseem set to bring world title to Pakistan

Alam Zeb Updated: 8 February, 2019, 4:20 PM IST


After having completed a complicated but a productive stint with the Korea-based AK Promotions Pakistan’s professional boxer Mohammad Waseem is now set to begin what could be an interesting stint with England-based MTK Global, the world’s major boxing management company.

The 31-year old Quetta boxer a few days ago struck a three-year deal with MTK at a gripping ceremony in Dubai. It is highly expected that during his fresh journey former Pakistan’s amateur fighter will be able to win the coveted world title in the flyweight category.

“Yes, it’s my mission and that is why I have now joined MTK Global,” Waseem told in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

After having won several international medals during his decade-long amateur boxing journey for Pakistan which also includes a bronze in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, silver in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and a bronze in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Waseem also shot to fame in professional circuit within short time when he became a rare boxer of the world to clinch the World Boxing Council (WBC) world silver flyweight title in July 2016 in only his fourth professional fight. He then went on to defend it in November the same year. He has played so far nine professional bouts, winning eight with six knock-outs, losing just a single when he was denied a victory in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world title bout against South Africa’s Moruthi Mthalane in July 2018 in Malaysia.

“MTK Global is a big company as over hundred of world’s leading fighters are playing under its wing. I am lucky to have joined a good group and am confident I will win the world title soon,” Waseem said.

“They are professional people and know how to deal with a boxer. I have really been impressed by the treatment the company extended to me during my whole stay in Dubai and the way they gave me the protocol was fantastic,” said Waseem, who turned pro in early 2015.

The former world No1 fighter said he was going to prepare for his new stint.

“I am renewing my passport. And in the next few days I will forward it to my company and will then act what I will be advised by them,” Waseem said.

“In the last few years I faced ups and downs mainly due to financial issues. Now I am not worried as I know I will be looked after strongly by MTK Global and my focus will now only be on my game,” the fighter said.

“What I believe in the start fights for me will be organised for promotions and then we will decide about the world title fight. Personally in the next few days I will start my training. I am confident my stint with the new group will be more productive for me, for my company and for my country,” the boxer said.

Waseem said that there was more chance he would train in Scotland.

“I have been told that Scotland could be my second home as the group has more fighters from that region. Glasgow is also a lucky place for me. The people of that area know me as I have already won silver medal there in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games,” said Waseem, nicknamed Falcon.

Waseem also disclosed that MTK was also interested to organize a few bouts for him in Pakistan.

“Yes definitely. They are interested. They will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and I hope if any such step was taken it would help promote professional boxing in Pakistan,” Waseem said.

During his previous stint with AK Promotions Waseem was mainly coached in Las Vegas, USA, by Jeff Mayweather, uncle of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Junior.

Impressed by Waseem’s professional commitment, Jeff had once told this correspondent that he had never seen such a hard-working fighter in his entire career.

“When he boxes the whole gym stops,” Jeff had told this correspondent.

News Cricket

Twitter reacts to India's first T20I win in New Zealand

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 3:49 PM IST


  • Krunal Pandya (3/28) and Rohit Sharma (50 off 29 balls) starred in India's historic win
  • The three-match T20I series is now leveled at 1-1
  • The series decider will take place at Seddon Park, Hamilton on February 10

The Men in Blue registered their first T20 International win in New Zealand. India defeated New Zealand by seven wickets with seven balls to spare in the second T20I of the three-match T20I series at Eden Park, Auckland.

Krunal Pandya (3/28) and Rohit Sharma (50 off 29 balls) starred in India's historic win in Auckland. India was handed over a big defeat in the T20I series opener in Wellington. They had lost the game by 80 runs- their bigger ever loss in terms of runs.

Batting first, New Zealand scored 158 runs, which India chased down with ease on the back of brilliant first wicket partnership of 79 runs between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.

The series is now leveled at 1-1 with the series decider set to be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton on February 10.

Take a look at how Twitter reacted: