Yograj Singh accuses Dhoni of purposely losing against New Zealand

Staff Writer Updated: 17 July, 2019, 4:20 PM IST


Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh is after MS Dhoni since last few years. From accusing the former India skipper of playing with his son's career to blaming Dhoni for Ambati Rayudu's retirement, he is running a sort of hate campaign against one of the legends of Indian cricket.

In a controversial interview with News 18, he has claimed that MS Dhoni lost the World Cup semifinal to make sure that he would remain the only modern-day Indian skipper with a World Cup trophy.

“One boy (Ravindra Jadeja) comes and he starts playing the big shots at will without any worry. You are batting on the other end. You are telling him to play the shots while he was batting on 77. Before that, you told Hardik Pandya to take on the spinners,”

“Mr. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, you have played so much cricket. Don’t you have any sense about what to do and what not? Did Yuvraj ever tell any other player to play the shots as you do? You got so many half-volleys, you hit huge sixes, what happened to you at that moment? Were you worried? You should have got out. What difference would it have made?" he added.

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Batting, Spin Bowling Key Factors for India

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

News Cricket

Virat confirms Rishabh’s axing from playing XI, Saha to keep wickets against South Africa

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


Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, has stated that Wriddhiman Saha will keep wickets in the Test series against South Africa.

“Wriddhiman Saha will keep for us in this Test series,” said Kohli in the pre-match press conference.

It means Rishabh Pant, who has done well in Test cricket, will not feature in the Test series.

Virat also confirmed that R Ashwin will lead the spin-bowling attack along with Ravindra Jadeja with Hanuma Vihari providing the third spin option.

Virat further added that the team management has decided to relieve Pant of the wicket-keeping duties to give him more time to get accustomed to challenges.

While on the other hand, Saha is regarding is one of the best wicket-keepers in the world and he would like to cement his place in playing XI with some good performance with the bat and the gloves.

The first Test match of the series will be played in Visakhapatnam.

News Cricket

I have never been in favor of honorary ranks in defence forces, says Gambhir on Dhoni’s army rank

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:23 PM IST


Gautam Gambhir has time and again shown his love for the security forces of the country. He took the responsibility for the education of the CRPF martyrs, who were killed by terrorists. The former India player recently stated that the Indian forces do not need any endorsement and shouldn't award honorary ranks to anyone. He was replying to a question over MS Dhoni wearing army insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves during the World Cup in England and Wales.

The governing body of international cricket had to instruct Dhoni to change the gloves. Gambhir said that while Dhoni was right on his part but individuals shouldn't get honorary ranks.

“See, it’s fine. If he enjoys it and if it comes from within, he is absolutely right in wearing it,” Gambhir told The Indian Express. “But it should not be made into news. Honestly, I think, the Army doesn’t need any endorsement. The Army doesn’t need any marketing. I have never been in favour of honorary ranks (in defence forces) as well. I have been very vocal about it. People have given their sweat and blood to achieve that uniform. There is honorary everything, at least leave the defence services out of it…”

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah to travel to the United Kingdom to seek an opinion on his stress fracture

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 1:21 PM IST


The Indian fast bowler was gutted when he was ruled of the Test series against South Africa following the confirmation of stress fracture. Jasprit Bumrah, who was looking forward to play his maiden Test match in India, has decided to travel to UK to seek an opinion on his latest injury.

He was sensational in the last Test series against the Windies. Bumrah was the highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps under his belt.

According to Cricbuzz, he will meet a couple of specialists during his visit to the UK in October. The extent of his injury is unknown and after speaking to the specialists, the future course of action would be decided.

Bumrah will be accompanied by Ashish Kaushik, the head physiotherapist at the National Cricket Academy.

The governing of Indian cricket is already managing his workload in order to keep him injury free.

News Cricket

'Itna Kashmir kiya ke Karachi bhool gaye’: Gambhir mocks Pak for security arrangements

Staff Writer Updated: 1 October, 2019, 12:07 PM IST


Pakistan is taking no chance with the security arrangements during the ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka. The governing body of Pakistan cricket has given Presidential level security to the visitors. The tight security has created curfew like situation in Karachi where all the three ODIs have been scheduled to take place. Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir shared a video on his Twitter account which was recorded by a Pakistan national.

“Itna Kashmir kiya ke Karachi bhool gaye,” tweeted Gambhir.

Meanwhile, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in the second ODI of the series.

Babar Azam formed the backbone of Pakistan's strong total of 305-7 as he smashed 115 off 105 balls. Babar also became the fastest Pakistani batsman to complete 1,000 ODI runs in a calendar year in 19 matches.

In the absence of some key players who pulled out of the tour due to security concerns, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 238 in 46.5 overs.

News Cricket

Babar Azam surpasses Virat Kohli to become third quickest to 11 ODI tons

AP Updated: 1 October, 2019, 10:35 AM IST


Pakistan marked the return of ODI cricket in Karachi after 10 years with a 67-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second one-day international on Monday.

Babar Azam formed the backbone of Pakistan's strong total of 305-7 as he smashed 115 off 105 balls. Babar also became the fastest Pakistani batsman to complete 1,000 ODI runs in a calendar year in 19 matches.He also went past Virat Kohli to become the third fastest to 11 ODI tons. The right hand batsman reached his 11th century in his 71st innings while Virat took 82 innings to reach this milestone.

In the absence of some key players who pulled out of the tour due to security concerns, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 238 in 46.5 overs.

Shehan Jayasuriya (96) missed out on a maiden ODI hundred and Dasun Shanaka made a career-best 68 before both fell in successive overs after sharing a century partnership.

Left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari rattled Sri Lanka's inexperienced top order and reduced the visitors to 28-5 before Jayasuriya and Shanaka shared a 177-run sixth-wicket stand.

Shinwari returned and broke the partnership by having Jayasuriya caught behind and finished with 5-51. Shanaka was brilliantly snapped at midwicket by the diving Fakhar Zaman off leg-spinner Shadab Khan (2-76) in the next over.

A power failure at the National Stadium disrupted play for 26 minutes during Sri Lanka's run-chase when one of the six floodlight towers malfunctioned twice.

It was not a packed house at the 32,000-capacity National Stadium, where Sri Lanka was the last team to play an ODI in 2009. But still around 12,000 cricket enthusiasts braved the strict security checkpoints under hot and humid conditions and were enthralled by Babar's imperious 11th ODI hundred that featured eight fours and four sixes.

Pakistan, which won the toss and opted to bat, got off to a good start with Fakhar (54) and Imam-ul-Haq (31) adding 73 runs for the opening stand.

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2-63) got two wickets by removing both openers before Babar took charge. He shared a 111-run stand with Haris Sohail (40) before holing out at wide long on in the 46th over as Pakistan looked for quick runs in the final overs.

While Sri Lanka lost the game, the team still won the hearts of many Pakistanis.

"I have come here to support Sri Lanka because it is due to them that international cricket has come here," said fan Quratul Ain. "My message to other countries is that they should also come here and play because we are a peaceful country and we love the game of cricket."

Unseasonal rain in the southern port city washed out the first ODI on Friday and forced the Pakistan Cricket Board to reschedule the second ODI for Monday instead of Sunday. The third and final match will be played at the same venue on Wednesday.

The ODI series will be followed by three Twenty20s at Lahore from Oct. 5-9.

It is the first time since Sri Lanka's team bus was attacked in 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 players.

The present tour went ahead after Pakistan government assured Sri Lanka team high level security normally reserved for heads of state.

News Cricket

Who is the bigger prankster, Dhoni or Kohli? Yuzvendra Chahal spill the beans

Staff Writer Updated: 30 September, 2019, 4:57 PM IST


Yuzvendra Chahal is counted among the most jovial cricketers in the Indian team. He loves having a laugh or two with his teammates whenever time and situation permits. The wrist-spinner even has his own "Chahal TV", where he interviews different Indian cricketers to give an inside view of the things in the Indian cricket team.

In a recent interview, the leg-spinner spilled the beans about a wide range of things concerning Indian cricket. Given the kind of fanfare Indian players enjoy, fans would absolutely love what Chahal has to say about different Indian players.

“These days we play dumb-charades. I credit my seniors that they don’t let you feel like an outsider and you can talk to anyone at any time. Mahi Bhai whenever we play PUBG together or talk, it doesn’t feel like we are talking to MAHI BHAI. He is a real prankster and so is Rohit bhaiya,” Chahal told India Today.

He also praised Virat Kohli and termed him a "silent killer". “Virat bhaiya is a silent killer. He intervenes in other pranks and does his own thing as he knows no one will reply. We always listen to songs, Virat bhaiya, Shikhar bhaiya play Punjabi songs all the time,” he further added.

“A perfect example (of Virat’s commitment) as he became vegan. His lifestyle and going to the gym even after 7-8 hours of shooting. Even if we get 30% of such qualities we would become so much better,” the leggie said.