Opinion Cricket

Why Krunal Pandya might be a better bet than Ravindra Jadeja in World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 February, 2019, 5:35 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

There are some players who have a special aura about them. And you need not to be in the face of your opponents, be aggressive on the field or do things that cater to the general perception of being special to be a special player necessarily. Not all heroes wear capes.

Unlike younger Pandya, the elder Pandya doesn't command your attention with his style and attitude. Both brothers are poles apart. If one is fire, the other is ice, if one is madness the other is calmness, if one is chaotic, the other is harmonized. But, one thing common among them, except for the genes, is that both are highly talented players.

Krunal oozes calmness and maturity. His moves are calculated and he gives a feeling of reliability. One can make out from his body language and his aura, that he is special. He has that X-factor in him to solve team's all-rounders problem.

Unlike Hardik, Krunal had to wait for long and hard for the elusive India call-up. But, boy he has arrived in style and showed to the world, why he should have been in the set-up, much earlier. Krunal has played eight T20Is but already exhibited what made him a stand-out player right from his IPL days, which would often leave the cricket pundits perplexed as to why this Baroda lad is not making to the senior team.

Krunal Pandya is temperamentally very strong. He has this knack of bringing his best game forward in times of adversity. He is also resilient and knows how to deal with setbacks and bounce back. In the third T20I against Australia in Sydney, he starred for India in a do-or-die game. The Men in Blue were 0-1 down going into the final T20I.

Pandya bagged four wickets and was adjudged the Player-of-the-Match. He didn't have the best of starts to the series. He was hammered all around the park in the first T20I, but he put up a decent show in the second T20I and then was central to India's win in Sydney. And this was just his first overseas series.

Even in the ongoing New Zealand T20I series, he made a terrific comeback in the second T20I to win Man-of-the-Match award after being ineffective in the T20I series opener. Krunal's triple-strike dented New Zealand's hopes of putting a big total on the board in Auckland.

It was a commendable performance from the left-armer, especially when we put into perspective, the flat pitch, small boundaries and the pressure that a do-or-die game has on the players. India had succumbed to their biggest T20I defeat in the series opener in Wellington.

There was enormous pressure on the 27-year old, more so, after Rohit Sharma picked him at the expense of India's premier white-ball spinner, Kuldeep Yadav. But, he was unperturbed by everything and delivered, which showcases his mettle. Even in IPL, he has made a world-class batsman like AB de Villiers his bunny. So more the challenges, the better Pandya performs.

The Ahmedabad-born cricketer is quite adaptable. He not only reads the game situations well but is also smart enough to translate them into performances. Who can forget his 2017 IPL final heroics for Mumbai Indians? The southpaw made a crucial 47 when the chips were down and then bowled an economical spell to help Mumbai Indians win the title. He was later given the Man-of-the-Match award as well.

Krunal's batting skills have still not come to the fore at the highest level. He has only batted on three occasions for India, which is not enough for a rookie player to leave his mark. Batting has been his stronger suit, so he will only enhance his reputation in international cricket when given adequate opportunities.

Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal are like-for-like cricketers. Both are slow left-arm orthodox and left-handed batsman. Jadeja is currently India's no.1 choice for the spinning all-rounder position but Krunal might be able to do a better role than him in that slot.

First of all, despite all the talent that Ravindra Jadeja has, he has been average with the bat, at best. Jadeja lacks the versatile game that has been significant to Krunal's success with the bat in IPL. Not only the elder Pandya can build innings but he possesses a much better power-game, which is need of the hour for India in limited-overs format since the waning powers of MS Dhoni.

If you need a bowler to bowl at one line and length with invariable consistency all day, you won't find a better bowler than Ravindra Jadeja. Perhaps, that's why he is so successful in Tests. But it becomes his weakness in white-ball cricket, where you cannot afford to be predictable. On the other hand, Krunal is a street-smart bowler. He varies his line, length, and pace perfectly and is quite good at being one step ahead of the batsman.

Krunal Pandya's IPL success speaks volumes about his potential. And we have often seen that IPL has been a pathway to the Indian team, so let's not pretend that IPL's success doesn't have bearing on ODI selections. Pandya has impressed in T20Is and can be India's surprise package for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

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Videos Cricket

Daniel and George Bailey produce heartwarming gesture after kid gets hit by George Bailey six - Watch

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 5:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Hobart Hurricanes star George Bailey and Sydney Thunder all-rounder Daniel Sams were involved in a heartwarming gesture after a young BBL fan got hit by latters six.

George Bailey slammed one of the deliveries for a six but it unfortunately hit the young boy. The game was stopped briefly as the crowd and the players attended the youngster and even the team doctor came to check the kid.

Thunder’s Daniel Sams signed his cap and gave it to the young fan. Bailey met the boy after the innings and handed him a pair of his gloves.

Bailey scored 53 off 35 balls and shared a 94-run partnership with Ben McDermott (44 not out) as they took their team to a formidable total of 4/165 from 19 overs after a rain delay.

News Cricket

Nathan Coulter-Nile taken to hospital after he felt unwell during a Big Bash League match

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 4:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Nathan Coulter-Nile, the Aussie quick, was taken to hospital on Saturday after a bout of vertigo during a Big Bash League match. The Perth Scorchers pacer sat on the ground holding his head after the 18th over of the Adelaide Strikers innings.

Nathan was asked to bowl 18th over and he started brilliantly by dismissing Wells on the first ball of his over and then conceded 5 runs off the next three deliveries. The next ball went for a boundary and it was then he felt uncomfortable.

Coulter-Nile, however, continued to bowl and was hit for a six on the final ball of his fourth over. He sat down on the ground after completing his over and was taken off the field. He was taken to the hospital after the match.

"Nathan was hit with a bad bout of vertigo at the end of his final bowling over during the game against the Adelaide Strikers. He was taken to hospital after the game as a precaution and will be monitored over the next few hours," Perth Scorchers physio Chris Quinnell said.

News Cricket

Big setback for Bangladesh as Shakib ruled out with broken finger

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 4:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan, who suffered an injury to his left ring finger in the finale of the Bangladesh Premier League, has been ruled out of the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand.

“An X-ray was done after the match and the results have confirmed a fracture on the left ring finger. The affected area will now have to be immobilized for around three weeks,” Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief physician Dr. Debashish Chowdhury was quoted as saying in a BCB media release.

He will also miss the first Test against New Zealand in order to allow him time to recover fully and be ready for the World Cup in England & Wales.

It's a heartbreaking news for one of the best all-rounders who just made return from a career threatening injury to his bowling hand that he had sustained during the Asia Cup.

He was adjudged as the best player of the recently concluded edition of Bangladesh Premier League.

News Cricket

Darren Sammy shuts down troll who labeled Pakistanis as terrorists

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 4:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Darren Sammy is loved across the globe because of his humble and down to earth nature. The former Windies skipper is part of T20 leagues and is winning hearts with his display on the field and off the field. He is currently in Pakistan to participate in the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League.

He took to Instagram to shower love on Pakistan.

“United we stand divided we fall”
Love makes the world go round.
Nothing but love for the people of Pakistan
#ClarasBoy #AspireToInspire.”

This didn’t go down well with one of his followers, who abused Pakistanis by calling them terrorists. Like a true professional, Sammy kept his cool and asked that person to leave his page.

Pakistan has been marred by terror activities since long and despite a lot of efforts, cricket nations have refused to play cricket in Pakistan. Sammy is trying his best to convince leading nations to come to the sub-continent country as he feels Pakistan is safe enough to resume cricketing action in the country.

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh lauds MS Dhoni, sings praise for him

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 February, 2019, 3:18 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mahendra Singh might not be India's captain anymore but many people, arguably, consider him to be the mastermind behind a lot of decisions made by Virat Kohli in white-ball cricket for India. Virat Kohli is currently India's regular captain across formats. But Virat relies heavily on inputs from MS Dhoni. Mahi is often seen guiding the bowlers from behind the stumps.

Yuvraj Singh has showered praise on India's limited-overs wicket-keeper batsman, MS Dhoni, who, not too long ago was adjudged the Player-of-the-Series in India's historic bilateral ODI triumph in Australia.

Yuvraj Singh reckons, "Mahi (MS Dhoni) has a great cricket brain and as a wicketkeeper, you're in the best position to monitor the game. He's done that fantastically well over the years. He's been a great captain. He guides Virat (Kohli) on the field all the time. I think his presence is very important in terms of decision-making. He had a fantastic series in Australia. It's good to see him hitting the ball the way he used to do it. I wish him all the best."

News Cricket

Big setback for England as star player doubtful for final Test against West Indies

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 3:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

England, bidding to avoid a 3-0 clean sweep against West Indies, has fitness doubts over all-rounder Ben Stokes for the third and final test that starts on Saturday.

Opening batsman Keaton Jennings has been recalled after being dropped for the second test, while wicketkeeper Ben Foakes is dropped.

Captain Joe Root suggested Stokes' bruised right heel was a result of the heavy burden he carried with the ball during England's defeats in Barbados and Antigua, bowling more than 77 overs in baking conditions, but he did not completely dismiss reports the injury was sustained while running on the beach during a fitness session.

"Whether it was before that or during that I'm not really sure," Root said on Friday. "It's down to a huge amount of workload over the first two tests. He woke up sore with his heel."

Stokes could feature as a specialist batsman if he cannot play a full part with his bowling.

"As we've seen in the recent past, when he's not been around it can make a huge difference," Root said. "Of course we want Ben fit and firing and ready to go as many times as possible, but it's so important he is able to do his job properly."

Sam Curran will keep his place if England decides not to risk Stokes. Paceman Mark Wood is set to return to the attack, while Jonny Bairstow will reclaim the wicketkeeping gloves from Foakes.

West Indies is hoping fast bowler Shannon Gabriel will again take a liking to the St Lucia venue.

Gabriel picked up 13 Sri Lankan wickets on his last visit to the Darren Sammy Stadium, including career-best figures of eight for 62.

"This ground has been good to me. I have some good memories here," he said. "I have some plans but your plan and God's plan might be two different plans, so let's see how it goes."

Gabriel has been the fastest bowler in the series, touching 94mph (151kph).

"As a group we've been bowling well together, and applying pressure, and once you apply pressure, batsmen make mistakes," he said. "My role is no secret, it's to run and bowl as fast as possible."

Kraigg Brathwaite will captain West Indies in the absence of Jason Holder, who is suspended following the team's slow over-rate in the second test.

Squads:

West Indies: Brathwaite, Campbell, Hope, Darren Bravo, Hetmyer, Chase, Dowrich, Roach, Joseph, Gabriel, Thomas, Paul.

England: Burns, Jennings, Denly, Root, Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler, Moeen Ali, Curran, Broad, Anderson, Wood.

News Cricket

Khaleel Ahmed reveals strategy that helped in India's win

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 3:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in the second T20 international. Khaleel Ahmed, who took two wickets in the game, has revealed the strategy that led Men in Blue to win. He said that the Indian fast bowlers were told to bowl back of the length to contain rival batsmen.

Asked about the plan to curtail the boundary percentage of the home team, he said:

"Because the ground was small, we deliberately bowled back of length to curtail boundaries. We had to shorten the length as conventional swing was not on offer. We showed a lot of improvement today and hope to improve further in the next game."

He also spoke about Rohit’s inputs as the Eden Park Ground has different dimensions in comparison to other stadiums in the world.

"Rohit bhai told us about are the areas batsmen will target and how to cut the angles," the Rajasthan speedster added. According to Khaleel, one of the major challenges encountered by pacers coming to New Zealand was bowling into the wind.

"One difficulty that we face in New Zealand while bowling is running into the wind which is a rarity elsewhere. But then these are little things that you learn and it's a great experience."

News Cricket

Excited Rohit Sharma looking forward to final T20 clash against New Zealand  

Staff Writer Updated: 9 February, 2019, 2:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After leading India to series leveling win in the T20 series in absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, the stand-in skipper is looking forward to final T20 international of the three-match series. He took to Instagram to post a picture of himself from inside the bus with the roads of Hamilton in the backdrop. "Beautiful drive to Hamilton, look forward to one last game of what has been a grueling 3 months," he wrote.

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.

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

"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."

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh praises Rohit Sharma, intends to take the burden off him for Mumbai Indians

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 February, 2019, 2:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Rohit Sharma leads Mumbai Indians in the IPL
  • He is currently leading India in absence of Kohli in T20Is against New Zealand
  • Rohit Sharma will unite with Yuvraj Singh in IPL 2019 for MI

Rohit Sharma is one of the most successful captains in the history of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). He is considered one of the sharpest brains going around when it comes to T20 captaincy. He has a phenomenal record in T20 Internationals as well.

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.

Experienced Indian cricketer, Yuvraj Singh also praised Rohit's captaincy and said that he would like to take pressure off him when the southpaw plays for his new franchise, Mumbai Indians in 2019 IPL.

"Rohit is a fantastic captain. He's got a very good cricket brain. He's been batting in the middle order for MI, and opening for India, where he's been really successful. I think that if I can contribute in the middle-order, it'll just take some weight off him and he can just go and play his natural game while opening. So we'll see how the combinations go," said Yuvraj.

Feature Tennis

WHITHER INDIAN TENNIS?

Partab Ramchand Updated: 9 February, 2019, 2:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Whither Indian tennis? This question springs to mind in the wake of India going down without much of a fight to Italy in the Davis Cup qualifiers at Kolkata last week. The down slide has been evident for some time but now it has become more pronounced and what is a matter of concern is there is no indication that the slide will be arrested.

There was a time when India were serious challengers for the Davis Cup. The team was a regular in the prestigious World Group and made the final in 1974 and 1987 besides entering the Challenge Round in 1966. Even in the 90s India were regular participants in the World Group and made the semifinals in 1993 with an incredible win over France at Frejus.

In the new millennium however India have struggled to maintain their once exalted status. For much of the last 20 years India have languished in the Asia/Oceania group and have faltered time and again when just a step away from moving back into the World Group.

The problem with India is that they just do not have world class singles players. When India did admirably all those years ago it was because Ramanathan Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan were able to pull off victories in the singles. Even Leander Paes before he concentrated on doubles notched up some amazing victories over higher ranked players in the Davis Cup. Paes and Bhupathi have been one of the most successful doubles pairs around the circuit winning Grand Slams besides registering several notable wins in Davis Cup doubles play. But doubles gives only one point and that is why the four singles are important. Even in the just concluded tie against Italy India won the doubles but that hardly mattered in the overall context.

Among the contemporary players Yuki Bhambri reached a high of 83 while the best that Ramkumar Ramanathan has touched is 111. The current leading player Prajnesh Gunneswaran has made it clear that his first objective is to break into the top 100. Currently he is 102 so he is almost there. Hopefully he will break the barrier soon but then comes the harder task – to stay there. Yuki for example could not stay in the top 100 for too long and is currently ranked 137 while Ramkumar has slipped to 123. Non-playing captain Bhupathi made the point after the loss to Italy that India cannot hope to advance in the Davis Cup without a couple of players in the top 100.

Feature Cricket

The Exodus Goes On

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 9 February, 2019, 2:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

As the ICC Cricket World Cup approaches as does the various team’s preparations and dress rehearsals, while England are dealing with the reeling loss in Test cricket, Australia appear to be moving backwards in the limited overs cricket as well, not a good sign for the world champions.

It is too far to predict how the Australian squad shapes up in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup although going by the current trend of exiting people and unsure composition of the team, it seems Australia will have little choice but to include David Warner and Steven Smith back into their ranks, irrespective of where the players stand with the rest of the team or in terms of their own rustiness after having served one year bans. For one, the Australian support staff continues to be on a tizzy run and it was spelt out louder with the immediate exit of David Saker, their bowling coach. It is certainly one pull out that has set the cat amongst the pigeons in terms of where things stand with Australian cricket.

At a time when one would have expected Australia to pull together as a core unit before their final travel to India and Pakistan for the limited overs cricket series as a precursor to the World Cup, it appears that it is not just the team that is in limbo. David Saker, the bowling coach turned assistant coach to Justin Langer who took over from fellow compatriot and former Australian cricketer, Darren Lehmann, in the aftermath of the ball tampering incident, tendered in his resignation but with the catch: immediate effect.

Not too many teams would look to shake things up, particularly less than six months in the run to a World Cup expedition. It would have seemed more prudent for team to make such changes at the end of an event rather than in the race towards it. But while Langer seemed to suggest that Saker was in discussion for a while about his continuing role, it seemed out of character for even the studious and practical Langer to think he could throw the media off the scent.

There was no doubt that the assistant coach who served as a bowling coach was at odds with the bowlers who seemed cantankerous by his standards, the result revealing itself in the Sydney Test when matters seemed to have come to a head publicly. That the players were involved in a heated meeting behind closed doors with the coaching staff was hidden in plain sight and arguably even Saker did not mince words for what he thought was the Australian bowling effort.

Mitchell Starc’s praise for a coach outside of the ranks then seemed as a direct slight to Saker who must have surmised that in the absence of a cohesive coordination, the working relationship had become untenable and beyond a point although many in the current lot began their career or honed their success and their skills with Saker at the helm. It would explain why his departure has been so sudden and unexpected, at a time when the support staff and the possible squad should have closed ranks and used every opportunity, particularly on foreign tours and alien conditions to those that they will have to contend with in England. At a time when Australia, as the defending champions and five time World Cup winners, should have been setting the example and fine tuning for the tournament, they appear a highly unsettled lot, on and off the field.

News Cricket

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

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

HIGHLIGHT

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.

News Cricket

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

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

HIGHLIGHT

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

HIGHLIGHT

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".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Proud of you big bro @krunalpandya_official 🔝🇮🇳❤

A post shared by Hardik Pandya (@hardikpandya93) on

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."