It’s official: Virat Kohli is India’s most successful Test skipper

AP Updated: 3 September, 2019, 10:38 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Bumrah took 6-16 and became only the third Indian bowler to post a test hat trick.

India won the first test by 318 runs, its biggest away win by runs in test cricket.

The win in the second test Monday was Kohli's 28th victory from 47 tests as India captain, surpassing M.S. Dhoni's record for test wins in charge of the national team.

India batsman Hanuma Vihari was the top scorer in the series with 289 runs, including a century and two half-centuries.

"Hanuma was the standout batsman," Kohli told Press Trust of India. "He is someone who is sure of his game and it shows. The dressing room feels calm when he's batting. That's a quality he possesses naturally."

Kohli said his side's bowlers were the key.

"It's a by-product of the quality team we have here, if we didn't have the bowlers we have, these results wouldn't have been possible.

"If you see these guys running in — Shami's spell today, Bumrah ... Ishant bowling his heart out, Jadeja bowling a long spell. Captaincy is just a 'C' in front of your name. It's the collective effort that matters."

West Indies captain Jason Holder said his bowlers performed well despite their heavy workload over both tests.

"Obviously we are disappointed, we didn't play a complete game of cricket in both the games," Holder said. "The bowlers (were) on the field every single day of this test series ... and at no point have they dropped their heads."

Get Daily Updates From CricToday

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

Email is required. Invalid email address.
News Cricket

Rohit Sharma shines as Test opener, scores ton in first innings against South Africa

AP Updated: 2 October, 2019, 2:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rohit Sharma overcame a nervous start to stroke his first century in his new role as an opener as India reached 202 without loss in 59 overs on the first day of the test series against South Africa.

Opening the innings in a test for the first time, Sharma hit 5 sixes and 12 boundaries and was unbeaten on 115 from 174 balls at the time of penning down. Mayank Agarwal was batting on 84 not out.

It's the first test since Sunil Gavaskar and Ramnath Parkar paired up against England in 1972-73 that India has selected two fresh openers in a home test match.

The new duo appeared to be unsure at the crease in the early overs when Sharma struggled against Vernon Philander (0-19), who used the new ball to good effect and hit a brilliant length outside off.

Sharma played and missed a couple of times as he worked hard to counter the little movement Philander generated. At the other end, Kagiso Rabada (0-16) tested Agarwal with some short bowling but without success.

India made slow progress in the first hour, scoring only 37 runs off 15 overs.

The South Africans introduced spin in the ninth over via left-armer Keshav Maharaj (0-26). With spinners operating in tandem after the drinks' break, the openers found their rhythm and opened up. Sharma, in particular, changed gears quickly and smashed Maharaj for a six.

He hit a second six off Dane Piedt (0-20), who also conceded a six to Agarwal as India upped the scoring rate and took 54 runs in the second hour of play.

Sharma and Agarwal, India's ninth different opening pairing in 24 tests since July 2017.

News Cricket

Ravi Shastri heaps praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his initiatives

Staff Writer Updated: 2 October, 2019, 10:59 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian player and current head coach of Team India, Ravi Shastri has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative of Fit India Movement and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. He has urged the Indians to support both the initiatives of Prime Minister.

"On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, join me for a unique combination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative - the Fit India movement and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," he said.

India are currently engaged in a three-match Test series against South Africa. Virat Kohli-led team is currently leading the World Test Championship and if they manage to whitewash South Africa, their position will consolidate further in the championship.

News Cricket

More bad news for Team India as Hardik Pandya aggravates back injury

Staff Writer Updated: 2 October, 2019, 10:58 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Hardik Pandya is one of the most important members of India across formats. The all-round star has carved a niche for himself after putting in match winning performances. However, he is struggling with a back problem and might miss the Bangladesh series.

He will soon fly to the UK to meet the doctor who had treated him after the Asia Cup. His comeback date is still not clear.

Hardik is also set to go the United Kingdom to consult the same doctor, who had treated him during the first injury post Asia Cup. He is certainly not playing the Bangladesh series but how long he will be out is still not clear. We will know after he comes back from the United Kingdom,” a senior BCCI official said as quoted by Times of India.

According to sources, Hardik will have to undergo back surgery which can sideline him for over five months.

News Cricket

My fights with Shahid Afridi were personal – Gautam Gambhir

Staff Writer Updated: 2 October, 2019, 10:55 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Gautam Gambhir, the former Indian opener, achieved a lot during his playing days. His knocks in the finale of T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup were one of the main reasons behind India's triumphs. His verbal slugfest with Shahid Afridi are talk of the town. Their hate relationship started in 2007 when India went to Pakistan.

Earlier, this year the former Pakistan skipper wrote in his autobiography that Gambhir has an attitude problem. During one of the recent interviews, Gambhir spoke about his relationship with Shahid Afridi.

“I have had decent relationships with Pakistani players, off the field, but not with Shahid Afridi. So that is the reason we got personal. Some fights do get personal, and there is nothing wrong with that. It has been like that for a very long time. Sometimes it is nice to get personal with someone.” former Indian player told Indian Express.

News Cricket

Anil Kumble to coach Kings XI Punjab?

Staff Writer Updated: 2 October, 2019, 10:52 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former India skipper and coach, Anil Kumble is on the verge of returning to coaching with the IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab. As per Mumbai Mirror, Kumble is in talks with the management of the franchise and a final decision will be taken when the board members of the franchise meet soon.

He has worked with Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the past.

Mike Hesson was KXIP coach in the previous season but he left his job. George Bailey, the former Aussie player, who has played for Kings XI Punjab, has agreed to join the franchise as their batting coach.

The auction for IPL 2020 will take place in Kolkata on December 19. The trading window is open till November 14.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli meets super fan, who considers the Indian skipper his god

Staff Writer Updated: 2 October, 2019, 10:49 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India skipper Virat Kohli is leading India in the ongoing Test series against South Africa. Ahead of the first Test, Virat Kohli met one of his craziest fans whose body his covered with the tattoos of the India skipper. Pintu Behra who hails from Odisha has a huge tattoo of No.18 on his back.

He got the opportunity to meet Virat Kohli during the last practice session before the first Test match and even got a hug from the star batsman.

"People get tattoos as fashion or to show respect to god. Kohli is my god and this is my way of showing my love and respect for him and how he plays his cricket. Whatever he has achieved so far or done on the field that I liked, I got it inked,” Behra was quoted as saying.

“The first one I got was in 2016 and I have been adding to that since. In total now I have 15. The first one I got was his face on my right chest and the latest has been the World Cup.”

Feature Cricket

Batting, Spin Bowling Key Factors for India

Partab Ramchand Updated: 1 October, 2019, 3:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Their pace bowling can match anything that South Africa can come up with but one reckons that India will rather pin their hopes on spin bowling – and the batting – to deliver the goods in the three-match Test series starting on Wednesday. After all one must always play to one’s strength and whatever the merits of the pacemen the Indian team’s trump card at home is spin bowling.

One has only to go back to the previous series four years ago when Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja wove patterns round the South African batsmen and the duo were the chief architects of the 3-0 victory in the four-match contest. On pitches tailor made for them Ashwin and Jadeja finished with 31 and 23 wickets respectively as the visiting batsmen were largely clueless in negotiating them.

Even if the surfaces are not so openly in favor of the turning ball this time the Indian think tank would do well in making spin their potent mode of attack. Ashwin and Jadeja are still around and they have Kuldeep Yadav in tow so India are well served in the spin department. Yes, the pace attack of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are a match for the likes of Vernon Philander, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada but one can only see them playing a supporting role. Indeed over the years spin has been more successful than pace for India in Tests against South Africa at home.

India will also expect their strong batting to live up to its exalted status. The middle order in particular looks pretty formidable with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari having the class, skill and experience to counter the menace of the South African speedsters. There will have to be a question mark over the opening slots though. For one thing Rohit Sharma is opening for the first time in Tests and one does not know who his partner will be. The call in favour of giving Shubman Gill the big break is getting more and more vociferous and it would constitute a bold move to include the youngster though conventional wisdom favours Mayank Agarwal.

There is also a question mark over Rishabh Pant with his batting approach coming increasingly under the scanner. But whether it is going to be Pant or Wriddhiman Saha runs can be expected from the keeper; only the approach will be different. And with Ashwin and Jadeja being genuine all-rounders the team bats till No 9. This is something that will test even the redoubtable South African pace attack.

News Cricket

Netizens troll Virat Kohli as he goes shirtless again

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 3:28 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli is known for his fitness in the world of cricket. The Indian skipper has become a role model for youngsters around the globe. He has worked hard to attain top level fitness, which has helped him in his performance in international cricket.

The 30-year old earns a whopping amount for an Instagram post and is among the most followed personalities. He is pocketing around $25m in a year from endorsements and salary.

He recently uploaded a video to promote one his brands. In that video, he can be seen practicing shadow boxing and pulls-ups. The video went viral within few minutes. However, some of his fans were not convinced with his shirtless avatar and started trolling him.

From questioning his choice of brands to urging him to concentrate on cricket, there was no end to suggestions.

He is all set to lead India in the first Test match against South Africa. Kohli had a mediocre last Test series in Windies. The skipper would be hoping to score heavily in home conditions.

News Cricket

Rohit comes forward to conserve the wildlife, donates Rs 25 Lakh to WWF and Ol Pejeta

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 3:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rohit Sharma has advocated the need to conserve our wildlife and is an active member of the moment working towards protecting animals. The Indian batsman made a contribution of Rs 25 lakh to World Wide Fund (WWF) and Ol Pejeta.

He got associated with the campaign in 2015 and even met Sudan, the last male rhinoceros of the Northern White African species.

Ol Pejeta was touched by Rohit Sharma's association and even named a baby rhinoceros after the batter’s daughter Samaira, who was born last year.

On World Rhino Day on September 22, he took to twitter to update his fans about the critical status of yet another species of the rhinoceros.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma is set to open the innings in the three-match Test series versus South Africa. Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, has given his backing to the right hand batsman.

News Cricket

President Kovind lauds MS Dhoni, says he made Ranchi famous in the world of cricket

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 3:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

President Ram Nath Kovind has lauded MS Dhoni, stating that he is loved by people across the country. The former Indian skipper had met President at the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi along with his wife Sakshi and daughter Ziva.

“MS Dhoni met me at Raj Bhavan yesterday (Sunday) as a courtesy call. I felt good. I told him he maintains a low profile but people are fond of him as he is talented,” the President said.

“His talent reflects the talent of Jharkhand. MS Dhoni has made Ranchi famous in the world of cricket,” he added.

President Kovind also praised ace archer Deepika Kumar and Jaipal Singh Munda.

Dhoni has been on a sabbatical since Team India's exit from the World Cup in England and Wales.

News Cricket

I believe players of other countries will also come to Pakistan - Sri Lanka's Sports Minister

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:34 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Harin Fernando, Sri Lanka's minister for telecommunications, foreign employment and sports, says the bilateral series is important to show regional support.

"Cricket has become a universal game and it's not just about the competitiveness, but it is also about showing solidarity among the neighboring nations," Fernando said. "Life has to go on. We have to move on, sports should not stop. I believe players of other countries will also come."

The team buses are heavily surrounded by armed security personnel between the hotels and the playing venues, and the main roads along the route are being blocked from normal traffic.

Security staff also keep a close eye on the spectators coming into the stadium.

"What amazes me is the amount of security that have been given and how they've looked after it," Fernando said. "To see that you will recognize every gate, every aspect, every person who gets into the ground and gets out of the ground is being monitored."

Mani said officials from Cricket Australia also visited Pakistan recently and met with government and PCB officials. And the PCB chairman said officials from England and Ireland are scheduled to visit Pakistan soon to assess the security situation.

"The message is getting across and that is why this (Sri Lanka) tour was so important for us," Mani said. "We can all say things are fine, come and have a look, but when cricket is actually taking place in Pakistan there's no better endorsement than that."

Several top Sri Lanka players pulled out of the tour, but Fernando said those players who came to Pakistan could boost the confidence of those who missed out.

Pakistan is due to host Sri Lanka for two test matches as part of World Test Championship in December and Fernando was optimistic his country would host the pair of five-day games.

"I thought this tour had to happen if we have to play a test series here, so I think I'm quite positive," he said.

Mani said Pakistan will have to maintain high security for some time to reassure visiting teams.

"It's for us as Pakistan to make sure that the standards (of security) that we have given to the Sri Lankan cricket board remain consistent," he said. "I'm confident that the message going out is a strong and powerful one."

Mani said he didn't want to put Sri Lanka Cricket under any pressure for December's test series, but he hoped that "players who are here will act as ambassadors for Pakistan by going back and giving their version of security."

Pakistan's ultimate goal, he said, is to make visiting teams comfortable instead of the focus being on the security around them. And Mani is realistic: "It might take a couple of years."

News Cricket

It's important that the game of cricket wins over any threats and terrorism - Ehsan Mani

AP Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The return of limited-overs international cricket to Pakistan after a 10-year absence following a terrorist attack targeting a foreign team has coincided with a renewed plea from the country's cricket chief to recommence full, in-bound tours.

Pakistan had a 67-run victory over Sri Lanka on Monday to kick start the important cricket homecoming, which was delayed an extra couple of days because of the weather. It's the first time since Sri Lanka's team bus was attacked on the way to a stadium at Lahore in 2009 that a foreign team is conducting a two-week tour of Pakistan.

Major teams have avoided the country since the ambush that killed eight people and injured several star players. This series, initially scheduled to include three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals — went ahead after the Pakistan government assured the Sri Lanka delegation of high-level security normally reserved for heads of state.

It will be the longest period in a decade for any of the top-ranking national cricket teams to have visited Pakistan, which has been "hosting" games abroad mostly in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani says he wants more international teams to return to Pakistan instead of playing at neutral venues.

"It's so important that the game wins over any threats and terrorism," Mani told a news conference Monday. "The main thing is that the security and safety of the players cannot be compromised, so it was important that the Sri Lankan (cricket) board was comfortable."

News Cricket

AB de Villiers to light up Big Bash League with Brisbane Heat

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former South Africa skipper and one of the best batsmen of modern day generation, AB de Villiers will make his Big Bash League debut with Brisbane Heat. The right hand batsman has agreed to join the Heat for the second half of the competition.

Coach Darren Lehmann is ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with one of the best players.

"World class players don't just come along every day and to have a player of AB's stature and skill in the BBL is a fantastic outcome for everyone, not just the Heat," he said.

"He's a 360-degree player, great skills, outstanding temperament and an insightful leader."

De Villiers was part of international arena for 14 years and went on to play 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 Twenty20s.

He stated the decision to join one of the best franchises was an easy one.

"They play the kind of brand that I want to be associated with. It's quite aggressive, they go after the attack, and I'm looking forward to going to the Gabba," said de Villiers.

"It's a beautiful cricket field. It's a great wicket and games are always of a high quality."

News Cricket

Indian Premier League auction to take place on December 19 in Kolkata

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The auction for the new season of the Indian Premier League will be held on December 19 in Kolkata. It is for the first time that the BCCI has moved away from Bengaluru.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, this year's auction will not be a big affair as the eight franchises will have to disband next year in order to assemble new looking squads from 2021.

The trading window will be shut on November 14.

The IPL franchises have been allocated Rs 85 crore for the 2020 season. Apart from the allotted money, every franchise will have also have an additional purse of Rs 3 crore in addition to the balance left in their pockets from the last auction.

Delhi Capitals have the biggest balance of Rs 8.2 crore, followed by Rajasthan Royals (Rs 7.15 crore), Kolkata Knight Riders (Rs 6.05 crore), Sunrisers Hyderabad (Rs 5.3 crore), Kings XI Punjab (Rs 3.7 crore), Chennai Super Kings (Rs 3.2 crore), Mumbai Indians (Rs 3.05 crore) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (Rs 1.8 crore).

News Cricket

Virat Kohli bats for Rohit Sharma, says he will be given time and space to find rhythm as opener

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rohit Sharma is one of the best batsmen in limited-overs cricket, but he has failed to score runs in Whites. Despite boosting a great track record in ODIs and T20Is, the right hand batsman has not clicked in red ball cricket. The 32-year old has been given another chance to reconstruct in Test career. He will open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal in the upcoming three-match Test series against South Africa. Rohit was dismissed for a duck in a warm-up game against the visitors.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli said that the team management is ready to give time to Rohit Sharma in order to allow him to settle down in his new role in Test cricket.

“We are in no hurry with Rohit Sharma as opener. He will be given time and space to find his rhythm and the way he wants to play at the top,” Kohli was quoted as saying at the pre-match press conference.

The opening game will be played in Visakhapatnam. Pune and Ranchi are the other two venues for the remaining two matches.