Feature Cricket

Yuvraj Singh

Mohd Asim Updated: 2 April, 2018, 8:40 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Yuvraj Singh’s selection in the one-dayers against England emanated as a huge surprise, though his berth in the T20 squad seemed to have been speculated. After the 1st ODI in Pune, the southpaw was questioned over his ability to play reminiscent of his old days. What happened next not only etched a significant place in the record books, but also portrayed sheer inspiration.

Batting first, Indian openers departed cheaply to the pavilion. Virat Kohli was expected to have spurred India to a respectable total as he did in the Pune ODI. The England bowlers got off to a great start, having bowled in decent areas initially. India were tottering on 22-2 and in came Yuvraj Singh. Dhoni arrived on the crease as Chris Woakes got rid of Shikhar Dhawan. Mere 4 overs in a one day fixture in front of a thronged home crowd and the middle order was already exposed. Before the commencement of the series, Yuvraj signaled in the press conference that he will adhere to his vindicated batting style. Besides, he started playing earnestly on the ball’s merit, having produced his first boundary after 8 balls. 3 crucial breakthroughs early in the game, but the stage perhaps was set for both the veterans to recalibrate the vintage Yuvraj-Dhoni. Jake ball was the first bowling change for England, who was dispatched thrice in his first over by Yuvraj. For the next 20 odd overs, Yuvraj salvaged the run rate to dip, while Dhoni was defensive.

Yuvraj got past the 100-run mark in 98 deliveries in the 32nd over. The old warrior thumped his chest in joy, trying to suppress the stray tear as he struck his first ODI century after the 2011 World Cup. Dhoni too completed a voracious, yet settled century, his first since having stepped down as captain. It was a sight to behold as the duo, especially Yuvraj decimated the bowling line up tantamount to the good classic days. He also surpassed his previous highest score (139) as he got dismissed on 150. Indian innings ended on a mammoth 381 after a big turmoil early on. In response, England too dissipated the Indian bowlers, Eoin Morgan being the anchor. Eventually, England fell short of 15 runs to complete what would have been a brilliant chase.

The naïve Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj certainty has a knack of defying the odds. He was picked by Sourav Ganguly in the national squad for ICC Knockout Cup 2000 on back of his impressive performance in the U19 World Cup. He played a pivotal 84-run innings against Australia to have made the difference in the Indian innings which ended on 265 after 50 overs. India gradually won the match by 20 runs and entered the semi-finals. Yuvraj momentarily kept on scoring runs for India until his famous Lord’s innings in the NatWest final against England made him the toast of the town. The swashbuckling innings cemented Yuvraj as a mainstay middle order batsman in the team. His impeccable, ‘clean as whistle’ strokes earned him a tag of ‘hard hitter’. Another World Cup awaited him, but this time a senior World Cup under scorching conditions in South Africa. Yuvraj had a decent run in the ICC World Cup 2003, India though lost to Australia in the final. He reached another milestone with yet another blistering innings, having rocketed to his then-highest score of 139 at the SCG against Australia. Yuvraj traversed another unscathed patch to have propelled a string of emphatic scores against the heavyweights. The 2007 World Cup went paradoxical as team India were shown exit gates following the group stages.

World T20 2007

The inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in 2007 witnessed the birth of fierce trendsetter. None other than Yuvraj Singh smashed 6 sixes in a single over of Staurt Broad in a group fixture against England to have awe-struck the entire cricket fraternity. The stellar display was followed by another ecstatic innings against Australia, which sealed the Final berth for India. India later became World Champions defeating Pakistan in the final.

Yuvraj couldn’t leave any impact in both the matches played against Pakistan in the tournament. The undone task was achieved after a couple of months in the Indo-Pak ODI series. He swooped 4 fifties in 5 matches to win matches for India. While, Yuvraj was having a memorable time in the limited overs format, his endurance in Test cricket was going through a vivid test.

England Again!

In form Yuvraj blasted England with an unbeaten 138 in the very first ODI against England at Rajkot, which single handedly took away the momentum from the visitors. His ferocious hitting left England clueless over and over. India crushed England 5-0 in the 7-match ODI series and Yuvraj was adjudged Man of the Series. He scored a total of 325 runs in 5 matches, including 2 hundreds. For next 3 years, Yuvraj cemented his place in the middle order.

World Cup 2011 – Did it like a boss!

The 2011 edition of ICC World Cup was not only a turning point of Yuvraj’s career, but his life as well. He embattled the impending or perhaps unknown intricacies, while serving his nation. During the group stage fixtures, Yuvraj had developed cancer, which he had no idea about. India had to play West Indies in order to qualify for the quarter finals. Batting first, Indian lost their openers early on. Yuvraj along with Virat Kohli put up 122 runs together. The southpaw scored a terrific hundred to have set up a decent 268 in front of the Caribeans. West Indies were bundled out for 188, Zaheer Khan being the pick of the bowlers. Yuvraj yet again did the trick to have produced two crucial breakthroughs. He was adjudged Man of the Match for the third time in that tournament. He also stole the show against Ireland and Netherlands earlier.

Another mountainous task, another stellar display on cards. It was Australia this time in the quarter final. Replying to Australia’s 260, India having struggled on 143-3 required a firm partnership, Yuvraj being exposed in the middle. His vehement cover drive off Brett Lee projected an uproar as India defeated Australia to book the Semi Final place. He was out for a duck in the semi-final against Pakistan, but scalped a couple of wickets. Yuvraj must have been a lucky lad as he witnessed the winning six by Dhoni in the final against Sri Lanka, having shared a pivotal stand with him. He was adjudged Player of the series for an incredible all-round performance (362 runs, 15 wickets).

The World Cup might have been a dream for a bunch of legends, but it was a strenuous battle for another legend. Yuvraj fought his heart to provide India some miraculous moments. “At first I was in denial about it — playing for India was more important than my health and for a few months I chose to ignore the blood I spat out or my decline in stamina. It’s only once I accepted cancer that I could beat it. When life knocks down you have a choice — to get up. So I thought to myself, ‘get up and do it again’,” Yuvraj once quoted.

As soon as he was diagnosed with cancer, several rounds of chemotherapies followed. In 2012, he flew to Boston to meet the same doctor who treated cycling legend Lance Armstrong. During the mid-2012, Yuvraj was back to normal with a vision of resuming cricket.

Return to International Cricket

Yuvraj made a promising comeback to international cricket in the T20 series against New Zealand in 2012. He scored 34 off 26 balls and bowled a couple of overs conceding 14 runs. “There are mixed emotions. We lost a game that we should have won, but for me personally it was a big emotional moment to get on the field. I had tears in my eyes when we were fielding, luckily the cameras did not catch it,” Yuvraj said after the game. India had an ordinary outing in the T20 World Cup 2012 in Sri Lanka, so did Yuvraj. He failed miserably with bat in the following ODI series against Pakistan, which India lost and then against England. Yuvraj, who was once known for his dives and flying catches, looked weary on the field due to his disease. He played his last ODI against South Africa in Johannesburg before staging a comeback in 2017.

However, he looked consistent in T20s. 72 against Pakistan in the T20 series, followed by an unbeaten 77 against Australia put him in contention ahead of the World T20 2014. Besides, he could managed a single 50 plus score (60 off 43 against Australia) in the tournament. He also was widely criticized for a seemingly jaded innings against Sri Lanka in the final. Yuvraj was finally dropped from the limited overs squad after having given respite for quite a time.

A decent comeback

After a span of 20 months, he was picked for the T20 squad touring Australia, considering his performance in the domestic circuit. The first two matches of the three-match series didn’t see much of his demeanor, perhaps Yuvraj showcased pure class by winning the third one to complete India’s maiden clean sweep in Australia. An unpretentious juncture awaited him in the first ever T20 Asia Cup. Much of the same was witnessed in the World T20 2016 in India. He got off to a fair start, stonewalled his innings, but constantly failed to muster it. The custodian of Indian middle order who set benchmarks with his fielding was repeatedly impeached for his fitness. An Indian schedule packed with Test cricket kept Yurvaj away from international cricket for another 9 months. While, the southpaw found his lost silken touch in the Ranji Trophy. He emerged as the highest run-scorer for Punjab smashing 672 runs in 8 innings with 2 centuries and two half centuries.

Luck deserted on the seasoned campaigner as he got hitched to Hazel Keech in November. As a result of his prolific Ranji campaign, Yuvraj was picked in both ODI and T20 squad against England. 5 miserable years blended with a deadly disease could have clogged Yuvraj’s career, but the lone warrior hit back firmly. For someone who has carried ‘no retreat, no surrender’ vision, the scintillating knock against England in the 2nd ODI would have meant the world.

“Look at me, I never thought I’d get the chance to again play for India, but I’ve beaten cancer… God has given me this opportunity and my love for cricket has brought me back. I see this alone as a huge achievement… The experience has made me stronger (in the mind)… If you’re strong, then you automatically become a positive person. Cancer doesn’t mean that you’re going to die.” This immortal spirit has rode Yuvraj’s journey to a new high.

What Next?

MS Dhoni has been carrying the legacy of attaining fitness to its prime level. Technique, temperament and a number of external factors couldn’t overshadow fitness under Dhoni’s captaincy. Now that Virat Kohli is holding the baton, his inherited yardstick from Dhoni would make the team work from fingers to bones.

Yuvraj has been middling the balls, more often than not against England. He has also been in fine touch in the Ranji season. There is no doubt about his stroke playing ability. His recent form can certainly unlock the gateway to the upcoming Champions Trophy. The sole reason to elevate his qualms would be his lousy persona on field. He has dropped quite a few crucial catches post-comeback. The next couple of months are scheduled for Test cricket, followed by IPL. Although World Cup 2019 is out of sight as of now, Yuvraj will have to be consistent in the remainder of limited overs cricket ahead of Champions Trophy.

Get Daily Updates From CricToday

Subscribe and get the latest Sports News delivered to your inbox.

Email is required. Invalid email address.
News Cricket

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed vows to comeback stronger after ban

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 9:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Pakistan Cricket Board expressed its disappointment over the ban

He has vowed to comeback stronger and improved man after his ban

He was welcomed by 200 fans at the airport

The Pakistan skipper, who was banned by the ICC following his racist remarks against South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second one-day international, has vowed to comeback stronger and improved man after his ban.

The Pakistan Cricket Board expressed its disappointment over the ban, saying ban was not required as the two players had resolved the issue.

He was welcomed by 200 fans at the airport who were holding placards condemning ICC’s decision.

"Whatever happened has happened," Sarfraz told media at the airport after landing from Cape Town. "I accepted my mistake and ICC's decision is in front of you. "I will improve myself and my performance in the future and I thank my supporters for their backing."

He will have to attend an education programme as directed by the ICC to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed.

News Cricket

Harmanpreet Kaur is unstoppable, says former Aussie skipper

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 9:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Harmanpreet Kaur is blazing all guns in the shortest format of the game

Women in Blue have been paired with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and a team yet to qualify team

Former Aussie skipper Alex Blackwell has praised the Indian skipper

Harmanpreet Kaur is blazing all guns in the shortest format of the game and is at the peak of her batting prowess.

She will lead India in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in 2020. Women in Blue have been paired with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and a team yet to qualify team.

Former Aussie skipper Alex Blackwell has praised the Indian skipper. "India are positioned to make a final. Sometimes we see Harmanpreet Kaur play within herself. But when she goes out there 100 per cent, she has proven to be very hard to stop," Blackwell said.

Mitchell Starc’s wife and Australia's wicket-keeper batswoman Alyssa Healy has cautioned her side from India’s top batswoman. "When I saw the fixtures announcement, I said, 'Damnit!' I was hoping to avoid them. India are such a powerhouse in the cricketing world, on the rise in the women's game, which I think is special," said Healy. "They have got some serious players which they are going to unleash. It is Harmanpreet Kaur's home ground (from the Women's Big Bash League), the Spotless Stadium, so definitely one to watch," added Healy.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni to miss 4th ODI

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 9:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni is likely to miss fourth ODI as the team management wants him to completely recover

He scored 33-ball unbeaten 48 in the second ODI against New Zealand

India are expected to make couple of changes in the fourth ODI match against the Kiwis

MS Dhoni is likely to miss fourth ODI as the team management wants him to completely recover from his hamstring injury ahead of a hectic season.

Dhoni, who was declared Man of the Series in India's ODI assignment against Australia, didn’t play in the third match. He had scored 33-ball unbeaten 48 in the second ODI against New Zealand.

In his absence, Dinesh Karthik will continue as the wicket-keeper batsman for Men in Blue and Shubman Gill will make his debut. India are expected to make couple of changes in the fourth ODI match against the Kiwis.

Gill is expected to replace Virat Kohli in the playing XI. Team India's regular skipper has been rested owing to workload. The visitors are leading 3-0 in the five-match series.

News Cricket

Partners in crime, Jodi no.1, Gabbar lauds partnership with Hitman

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 9:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Shikhar Dhawan has lauded his partnership with Rohit Sharma 

He shared a throwback picture with Hitman

The duo surpassed Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in the second ODI 

Shikhar Dhawan has lauded his partnership with Rohit Sharma ahead of the fourth ODI match against New Zealand.

He shared a throwback picture with Hitman to show their journey for Men in Blue. "Partners in crime! Jodi no.1. #partnership #friends #cricket #teamindia," Dhawan wrote with pictures of them from past and present.

The duo surpassed Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in the second ODI with their 14th 100-run partnership. Sehwag and Sachin had shared 13 100-run partnerships as an opening pair.

A 154-run opening partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma set India on course to a 90-run win over New Zealand in the second one-day cricket international on Saturday and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Sharma made 87 and Dhawan 66 as India posted 324-4 after winning the toss and opting to bat. New Zealand mustered only 234 from 40.2 overs in reply for its second heavy defeat after losing the first match of the series by eight wickets.

News Cricket

Nobody like Mahi Bhai, says Khaleel Ahmed as he shared a fun filled picture with MS Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 9:36 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Khaleel Ahmed shared a fun filled picture with former skipper MS Dhoni

The visitors are leading 3-0 in the five-match ODI series

MS Dhoni was back at the training session but is expected to miss the upcoming match

India's new speedster Khaleel Ahmed shared a fun filled picture with former skipper MS Dhoni ahead of the fourth ODI against New Zealand.

The visitors are leading 3-0 in the five-match ODI series and will look to win the remaining matches.

He uploaded a picture on Twitter with Dhoni and wrote: ‘Nobody like him #MahiBhai #Legend #IndianCricketTeam #BCCI’.

MS Dhoni was back at the training session but is expected to miss the upcoming match as team management wants him to fully recover from his hamstring injury.

They don’t want to take any risk considering Team India’s hectic limited overs schedule.

News Cricket

Bee Attack halts match between India A and England Lions, Hurts Fans

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 6:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rahul Dravid had to get back to the dugout

Players protected themselves by bending downwards

Five fans were taken to hospital for medical care

The cricket match between India A and England Lions was halted because of an attack by bees. Due to the invasion, there was no play for 15 minutes.

None of the players, match officials and support staff were injured but five fans were taken to hospital for medical care. This incident took place in the 28th over of the England Lions innings when a group of five people threw something at the beehive that led to the attack giving little time to the victims to hide somewhere.

Rahul Dravid had to get back to the dugout, while the players protected themselves by bending downwards and waited around the pitch to let the swarm clear out. The India A team is leading 4-0 against the England Lions in the five-match series.

Chasing 222 to win, the home side successfully chased the target in 46.3 overs and won the game by six wickets.

Opinion Cricket

Why haters and critics need to shut up and applaud current Team India?

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 5:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Indian cricket fans are the harshest critics in the world
  • When India lost the Test series against South Africa and England, there were too much criticisms
  • Fans were too harsh on MS Dhoni in the first ODI

Indian cricket fans are the harshest critics in the world and it often takes them just a single opportunity to lash out at the team and certain individuals. When India lost the Test series against South Africa and England away from home in 2018, there were too much criticisms on offer from both fans and pundits alike. But the moment India won in Australia and the Asia Cup, things changed.

Recently in the tour of Australia, fans were too harsh on MS Dhoni in the first ODI at the SCG. People blamed him for India's loss and accused him of slowing things down. Not many realized that he hardly played any cricket coming into that game and also had to do recovery job with India reeling at 4/3.

The same Dhoni then went on to win the series for India after scores of 55* and 87*. People jumped into conclusions too early and suggested Rishabh Pant should be included and that Dhoni should be dropped from the squad to be selected for the World Cup. Next moment when Pant will fail, then he too won't be spared.

The much of the hatred stems on social media sites like Twitter. Several fans, who do or don't understand cricket are quickly to shun anybody in order to prove their point. Their baseless comments are often mixed with abuses and social media aggressions. This is the reality we are living in. Not long ago, former Aussie cricketer Dean Jones pointed out that Indian fans are just too critical and hard.

When India lost the ODIs against England last year, Dhoni was booed off despite the batsmen coming on before him failed to do anything substantial. One feels that he is one of their favourite targets. Besides Dhoni, several fans and pundits alike went too hard on Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul recently regarding the Koffee With Karan controversy.

Pandya asked for apology and the BCCI also suspended the two cricketers. One should leave it till there, but no things went too far. Another major issue fans in particular have is regarding team selection matters and are quick to lash out at the captain and the management. India's overseas form, comments regarding short pitch balls and many more are subject of the criticisms.

Recently Cheteshwar Pujara was called a cheater because of him not walking off after nicking a delivery to the keeper. Isn't that the job of the umpire? Why he gets the blame? The same Pujara was India's hero in Australia in the Test series. So quickly fans shift their focus and rely on anything to spill their venom at.

The question is that can we leave the cricketers alone and let them play the game. Can we for one moment enjoy the cricket and don't utter any judgement? Can we learn to accept defeats as much as enjoy wins? The Indian team needs to be lauded for what they achieved in Australia and now in New Zealand. We need to support the side and the players. That's where sanity and sense prevails.

The World Cup starts from May 30 onwards, and we need to be behind the side as much as we can and stop this blame game and hate.

News Cricket

West Indies women's team in Pakistan for cricket series

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 5:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • The West Indies women's team arrived in Karachi to play three Twenty20 matches
  • There was a heavy security presence between the airport and the team hotel
  • A women's team from Bangladesh also toured Pakistan in October 2015 for a limited-overs series

The West Indies women's team arrived in Karachi to play three Twenty20 matches as Pakistan once again bids to showcase its ability to host international cricket.

There was a heavy security presence between the airport and the team hotel, and traffic on one of Karachi's busiest roads was halted while the visiting squad travelled through on bullet-proof buses.

"The security system is top class," West Indies stand-in captain Merissa Aguilleira said. "There was security on both sides of the roads and these things show that everybody has put (security) things in place."

A terrorist attack in March 2009 on the Sri Lanka test cricket team's bus in Lahore killed six policeman and two civilians and injured six members of the touring group.

Pakistan has hosted only short limited-overs series against Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, a World XI and the West Indies since the attacks.

A women's team from Bangladesh also toured Pakistan in October 2015 for a limited-overs series.

West Indies regular captain Stafanie Taylor is skipping the T20 matches this week in Karachi because of security concerns but will rejoin the squad for a series of three one-day internationals against Pakistan in Dubai next month.

"Of course we will always miss our skipper," Aguielleira said. "But after all I think this is a good opportunity for the players to step up ... I really believe in the potential of this team and we are willing to go forward and make sure go there and represent the people of the Caribbean to the best of our ability."

The West Indies team was warmly received by the officials of the PCB before they were whisked from the airport in tight security.

Aguielleira said the security issue came up for discussion before the team travelled to Pakistan.

"Everyone had some issues about it, being honest, but after all collectively we joined together as a team," she said. "We had discussion and we are happy to be here."

The West Indies captain said she would have been "disappointed" had she not agreed to tour Pakistan despite Taylor showing her reservations to compete in Karachi.

"When I'm looking at it right now if I don't come to Pakistan I would have been so disappointed," she said with a smile. "Away from Pakistan you can be like, 'There's so much going on,' but when you are here you just get lost in the moment so I really urge other teams to really come back to Pakistan because the people (in Pakistan) they love cricket and which is the most important."

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma Turns Cameraman for Chahal TV

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 5:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared the latest video of Chahal TV on Twitter.
  • The latest episode of this series features Indian youngsters Shubman Gill, Khaleel Ahmed and Kuldeep Yadav
  • Rohit Sharma turned into a cameraman

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared the latest video of Chahal TV on Twitter. It is an interview series hosted by Chahal. The latest episode of this series features Indian youngsters Shubman Gill, Khaleel Ahmed and Kuldeep Yadav with Rohit Sharma as the cameraman.

The BCCI captioned the video on Twitter: "On our latest episode of Chahal TV, we talk to #TeamIndia's young brigade with @ImRo45 donning cameraman duties and our host and dost @yuzi_chahal behind the mic."

Shubman Gill in the interview said, "We follow a schedule to maintain our fitness. The training has been good so far. I am feeling wonderful as I received a warm welcome from everyone in the team."

Kuldeep Yadav said, “Our seniors like Rohit bhai, Virat bhai motivate youngsters like us a lot. When they do so, we too feel that we need give our best (on being fit).”

Khaleel Ahmed said, "Anytime you can get a chance to play in a match, you have to maintain yourself. You need to keep yourself fit every time.”

Watch the full interview here:

Feature Cricket

A ‘Revoke’ Decision in the Face of Confusion

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 30 January, 2019, 5:12 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Rahul Johri was cleared of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour
  • An uneasy calm must settle around Hardik Pandya
  • It appears to be back to business for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul

An uneasy calm must settle around Hardik Pandya. His partner in crime as it were, KL Rahul, can breathe easy, not under the spotlight as much, an odd advantage to not being considered in form enough to make the team.

After all after the hullabaloo about the quantum of punishment to be meted out to the young duo after their rather ludicrous, ill-informed and ignorant remarks on a scandalous talk show known for spurning gossip, the public castigation seemed to have the duo stitched up in knots, not because the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had a code of conduct or laws as laid down in the constitution for such mishaps but because they had publicly revealed what people suspected about the mindset of a generation that has grown up on easy glitz and glamour and less on the grassroots that shaped the men before them.

Now even as some suggested that the ICC Cricket World Cup could be out of bounds for the motor mouth, braggadocios Hardik Pandya, the BCCI decision to bring the players back into contention is not necessarily a pardoning of their public gaffes but rather a way for BCCI to buy time as they figure out not only the unusual scenario that elicited such public vilification of the duo but also, their own internal matters that have grown awry in the face of confusion, mayhem and power struggles.

It is hard not to see the present scenario where the players are in limbo because the mechanisms are not in place as a situation where the power in the hands of the two member Committee of Administrators, set up to redress the issues appears to have gone to their head. However, the truth may be closer to home in that given the unusual situation that Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji have found themselves in with the overall operations of the BCCI, they may have been in need of guidance themselves in operating a system that had long been run like a personal fiefdom. It is not surprising that while the former got caught up in the age limit fiasco, the latter has embroiled herself in selection bungles that may have sealed her own fate and could back at a time to bite her at a time when the BCCI’s bigwigs are looking for a back door to make their comeback.

For the moment, it appears to be back to business for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul and perhaps in hindsight, it is a better strategy to keep the players busy and harnessed to their primary jobs while the BCCI’s operating duo figure out the way forward and also, help set an order and precedent whereby the players and the BCCI are more sensitive when talking and handling about such issues.

That brings back to the table the contentious issue still simmering the background about the muddled manner in which the BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri, was cleared of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour and yet assigned to undergo sensitivity training which speaks to the contrary. With that counseling yet to get underway, the BCCI presently appears to be running amok a bit not unlike a headless chicken, which is no surprise why some in the old guard are rearing their ugly heads in the prospect of a way to claw back into the game.

News Cricket

Mitchell Santner reveals the reason behind India's series win over New Zealand

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 4:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • India have already won the 5-match ODI series.
  • Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli have fired with the bat in the series.
  • Mitchell Santner feels this Indian side is quite good.

New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner, who recently returned to the senior team after recovering from an injury, has showered praise on the Indian team, which has an unbeatable lead of 3-0 in the five-match ODI series.

He feels Black Caps' inability to strike upfront and get into the Indian middle order early has cost them the ongoing series.

Santner said, “We are playing a very good side … I do think we’re not too far off. I think the plans have been pretty solid – maybe the execution’s been off at times. I guess the key for us is to keep taking wickets through the middle, keep being aggressive. They obviously hate getting out – just got to find ways to try and get wickets.”

“With the bat, it’s trying to build those partnerships throughout. We saw a good one between Ross [Taylor] and Tom [Latham] last game, then we lost a couple and we fell over a bit. They’ve bowled very well in the top 10 and we haven’t really got away so if we can get through the first 10 [overs] with wickets in hand then set up the back-end where we’ve got some power hitters that we can get to a pretty good total,” he added.

This is only the second time in India's One-day cricket history that they have registered a bilateral triumph in New Zealand.

News Cricket

Hardik Pandya was dying to get back to the team: R Sridhar

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 4:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Pandya returned to Indian team in third ODI at Bay Oval.
  • He took an astonishing catch to dismiss Williamson.
  • R Sridhar was full of praise for the lanky all-rounder.

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya made a rocking return to the Indian side. He was named in India's XI for the third ODI against New Zealand in place of Vijay Shankar. And the lanky player impressed one and all with his excellent fielding and bowling. He took a brilliant catch to get rid of the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson in last ODI.

On the bowling front, Pandya ended up with figures of 2/45 in his quota of 10 overs. The Baroda lad had a very disciplined start and gave away just 9 runs in his first five overs and in his last five overs scalped two wickets though he was slightly on the expensive side.

India's fielding coach R Sridhar explained to the media what was going through Pandya's mind before the third ODI. Sridhar was quoted by cricbuzz as saying, “No one was more keen than Hardik Pandya to play that game. He’s been working very hard during the time he got back home and the kind of energy he brought into the team, the desperation he brought was magnificent to see. He’s always been a good fielder. He was just dying to get into the thick of things and be a part of this and get back to what he loves doing, that is to play cricket and play it best he can.”

“That catch – he made a very difficult catch look easy. By no means an easy catch and then also the fact that it was Kane Williamson’s catch; the extra pressure of one of the best batsmen in the world. I think that was a turning point. I would say piece of magic from Hardik Pandya. He’s known for that. He’s one of the best fielders as we have in the country. If you also notice, he hit the stumps on quite a few occasions in his comeback match, which was very pleasing to see,” he added.

News Cricket

Shubman Gill, Khaleel Ahmed set to play in the fourth ODI against New Zealand?

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 3:18 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • The Men in Blue have an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand.
  • The last two games are going to be dead rubbers.
  • India are likley to give their reserve players game time in remainder of the series.

The Men in Blue have been in blazing form so far in the ODI series against New Zealand. India won the five-match ODI series after they clinched the third ODI at Bay Oval, which means the next two games are going to be dead rubbers. And it might be a perfect time for them to try out reserve players and India's fielding coach, R Sridhar has also indicated to something of that sort.

"See, winning is a habit which we would obviously want to continue. When you're one-up or three-up against a team, you want to continue with the form; you want to don't want to let down the intensity. At the same time, we also need to give game-time to our reserves. There's just seven games remaining for us before we play our first World Cup game. We should not end up in a situation where the main eleven has played and the reserves have not got enough game time, and then suddenly they have to play an important crucial game in the World Cup," Sridhar said on the eve of the fourth ODI.

"And that is what we would like to achieve from the remaining two games in this series and no better place than New Zealand to simulate the conditions in England in June," he added.

Players like Mohammed Siraj, Khaleel Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, and Shubman Gill have not got a chance to play in the ongoing series so far. Shubman Gill is likely to make his ODI debut tomorrow given India would like to test him before the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Mohammed Shami might get some rest after he has featured in India's XI in last six ODIs. He was also part of the team in all the four Tests against Australia. Khaleel Ahmed, who impressed one and all last year in home series against Windies might get preference over Mohammed Siraj, who looked sluggish in the only ODI he played in Australia.

Given the fact that India have got back an all-rounder in form of Hardik Pandya, and the wrist-spin duo of Chahal and Kuldeep is doing extremely well, Jadeja might not get a go in the fourth ODI.

News Cricket

Playing Test cricket against Australia in Australia is more than a dream, says Rashid Khan

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 1:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Limited overs specialist Rashid Khan is looking forward to take on Australia
  • Rashid reckons it is more than a dream to play Australia in Australia
  • He said wickets in Australia are bowling friendly

Limited overs specialist Rashid Khan is looking forward to take on Australia in Whites next year. Being the newest member of the Test playing nations, Rashid reckons it is more than a dream to play Australia in Australia.

“From Afghanistan, playing Test cricket against Australia in Australia it’s more than a dream. Afghanistan got the full membership and last we played against India in India and now we’re playing against Ireland in India and then Australia here,” Cricket.com.au quoted Rashid, as saying.

“Being a player, it means a lot. Against Australia, playing Test matches is a huge achievement and me and the players are really looking forward (to it). We played here (in T20 games) a lot but, Test cricket is very different. Pretty excited to face the quick bowlers here, big bouncy wickets,” he added.

He said wickets in Australia are bowling friendly and he is hoping to not get a juicy track like Perth when they take on the home team.

“As we have seen against India, I think wickets are very tough here to bat on, especially in the Test cricket. I hope that we don’t play in Perth, we play somewhere else on a good wicket to make some runs and a little bit good for the spinner as well,” Rashid said.

News Cricket

Michael Vaughan mocks Team India and Sanjay Manjrekar with a sassy tweet

Staff Writer Updated: 30 January, 2019, 1:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Michael Vaughan mocked Sanjay Manjrekar after he criticized Trevor Bayliss
  • England lost the series opener in the Caribbean by 381 runs
  • Curran was adjudged Player of the Series for his remarkable performance

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan mocked Sanjay Manjrekar after he criticized the current English coach Trevor Bayliss for his take on Sam Curran's performance in the first Test against the Windies. England lost the series opener in the Caribbean by 381 runs. They scored 77 and 246 in the first and second innings respectively. The management was lambasted for preferring Sam Curran over Stuart Broad in the playing XI. After facing humiliating defeat, coach Bayliss had defended Curran's selection stating that he had the first bad game of his career.

“It was down to Curran and Broad [for the final seamer]. Our gut feel was Curran as he has done well for us over the last six or seven games. It didn’t work out like that, the young bloke has had his first bad Test in his career. It won’t be his last but he’s a good young player who will learn from it,” Bayliss had said after the game.

However, his words didn't go down well with the former Indian player, Sanjay Manjrekar, who took to Twitter to point out flawed approach adopted by the visitors.

“Trevor Bayliss said that Sam Curran has endured the first bad game of his career. Curran has 15 wickets in 15 innings. So it’s more his batting Bayliss is talking about…Curran bats at no 8 & 9. Highlights the flawed thinking & approach of England. #ENGvWI,” wrote Manjrekar.

He was given an apt response by Michael Vaughan, who reminded him of Curran's performance against India. Curran was adjudged Player of the Series for his remarkable performance in England's 4-1 win over India.