BCCI plays smart game to ensure Ravi Shastri is reelected as Team India’s head coach

BCCI plays smart game to ensure Ravi Shastri is reelected as Team India’s head coach

Staff Writer Updated: 18 July, 2019, 12:54 PM IST


The governing body of Indian cricket has played smartly to make sure Ravi Shastri gets back the job of Team India's head coach. They have laid down a complete different criteria from the last time to keep most of the former cricketers away from applying for the job.

Interestingly, Ravi Shastri would have never qualified if this eligibility criteria was in place when he was named Team Director in 2014.

The new advertisement clearly states that anyone who is willing to apply for the post should have a minimum experience of two years as a head coach of a full member Test playing nation or he should have coached an associate member/IPL or equivalent international leagues/first class teams/national A teams for a minimum period of three years.

According to a report from The Times of India, Ravi Shastri remains a popular choice to continue in the role.

“It is very unlikely that he (Shastri) will not be retained. This coaching unit has done well and there has to be continuity. Even the team wants the same,” sources told The Times of India.

According to this report, players are satisfied with Ravi Shastri's efforts and want him to continue.

“Those who blame Shastri for coming in mid-way as coach forget that he was always there. It is because of the mess created in the board by certain individuals that he was so rudely and shockingly sidelined.

“Who do you think came to the Indian team’s rescue when there was nobody (in 2015)? Did anyone raise his hand during the crisis?” said the quoted source.

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Opinion Cricket

What KL Rahul's versatility means for Team India in limited-overs cricket?

CT Contributor Updated: 18 January, 2020, 11:04 PM IST


KL Rahul has been the talk of the town as far Indian cricket is concerned for a while now. The injury to Shikhar Dhawan ahead of the Bangladesh series back in November opened the floodgates for Rahul to show his credentials. Since then, the player has been unstoppable and has scored heavily in both T20Is and ODIs.

Rahul amassed four half-centuries in nine T20I matches, starting against Bangladesh. And in ODIs, he amassed a ton and two half-centuries against West Indies and Australia respectively. Dhawan returned to the fold for India in the T20Is against Sri Lanka and opened with Rahul. And both the batsmen scored crucial runs. In the ODIs against Australia, Rohit Sharma returned and the talk of the town was will India leave out Dhawan or play all these three opening players.

The latter happened. Dhawan, who has been India's consistent force in ODIs of late, was handed the chance to open alongside Rohit. The southpaw scored 74 and 96 in the first two ODIs to show his mettle. Rahul batted at number three in the opener and then came in at number five in the second match. He got scores of 47 and 80 to show his versatility in both these positions.

Rahul's form at the moment makes him inseparable. He deserves a place in the side. However, with Dhawan and Rohit being principle openers, Rahul will now need to come in the middle order. Number five is what looks feasible for him. After the 80-run knock, Rahul showed he can be a threat in that position. He is ready to bat anywhere and his natural instincts can help him immensely. That's a major plus for Team India.

Also, another factor of Rahul is his keeping. With Rishabh Pant out with a concussion, Rahul fitted in well at number five. He did reasonably well behind the stumps. India have an option here. If the side prefers Rahul as the keeper, for now, it opens up things. In that manner, Dhawan can play atop, Iyer can continue at number four. And India can go in with both all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja at number six and seven respectively.

India will have an option of six bowling options, besides adding solidity. Also, Pant has been highly inconsistent and this can help Rahul fight for the number one choice as a keeper.

News Cricket

Ashwin gives a hilarious reply to a fan asking for his signed Delhi Capitals jersey

Garima Kotroo Updated: 18 January, 2020, 11:01 PM IST


Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been quite active on the social media platforms in recent times. Even the fans are enjoying the interaction with the Chennai-born cricketer on Twitter.

Ashwin recently took to his official Twitter handle to ask Cheteshwar Pujara about the par score at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot during the second ODI between India and Australia.

Before Pujara could reply to the Tamil Nadu veteran, a fan chipped in and asked Ashwin, “How many retweets for a signed @DelhiCapitals jersey this IPL??!!”

At this, Ashwin gave a hilarious answer to the user as he wrote, “Once I get hold of my jersey, I will let u know.” However, the fan was also very quick to respond and he said that he will pick up the jersey personally and save the courier charges for Ashwin.

“Ok deal then. Pls don't forget! I'll follow up of course and fly down from Dubai to meet you & take it personally. Will save you the courier charges,” he wrote.

“Ashwin had represented Kings XI Punjab in the last two seasons of the Indian Premier League but failed to make a mark as the franchise couldn’t qualify for the play-offs under his captaincy.

News Cricket

KL Rahul knocking on the doors of the Indian Test team

Abhishek Singh Updated: 18 January, 2020, 10:57 PM IST


The Test and ODI squad for the New Zealand tour will be announced on Sunday. KL Rahul’s sensational form for the Men in Blue in white-ball cricket has increased the headache of the Indian selectors to accommodate him in the Test squad.

Rahul lost his spot in India’s Test squad following a torrid tour of Australia. He last played a Test for India against West Indies in Kingston where he scored a dismal 25 in two innings.

Young speedster Navdeep Saini along with Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are also knocking on the doors of the Indian Test team. While both Shubhman and Prithvi are on the New Zealand tour with India A, and it is likely that their performances will be monitored. Navdeep Saini, however, makes a strong case of himself in the seeming conditions of the Kiwi nation.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul has impressed all with his batting skills in the white-ball format. Also playing in the domestic cricket, he has struck gold with the bat. Now, it will become a tough choice for selectors on whether they would persist with Shaw and Gill or would they give an inform Rahul a chance to prove himself in Tests as well.

India’s tour of New Zealand starts from January 24 with the Men in Blue scheduled to play five T20I, three ODIs, and two Tests.

News Cricket

Karun Nair ties the knot with long-time girlfriend Sanaya Tankariwala

Garima Kotroo Updated: 18 January, 2020, 4:57 PM IST


Indian batsman Karun Nair recently tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend and fiance Sanaya Tankariwala in Udaipur. The 28-year-old right-hander proposed her for marriage last year during their vacations. He had shared a heartfelt video of his proposal where he was bending on his knee to ask for Sanaya’s hand.

Notably, the Jharkhand fast bowler Varun Aaron was one of the guests who attended Nair and Shanaya’s wedding on Thursday.

Varun took to his official Instagram account to post an adorable picture with the couple and captioned it, “To a lifetime of love and happiness !!???????? @sanayatankariwala @karun_6.”

Even the Karnataka Ranji Team took to their Twitter handle to congratulate the newly-wed couple, “Wishing a very Happy Married Life to Karun Nair (@Karun126) and Sanaya Tankariwala (@SanayaT10).”

As far as cricket is concerned, Nair has been a force to reckon with in the domestic circuit. He has accumulated 5446 runs at an average of 49.50.

However, he didn’t get enough chances to prove himself in international cricket.

Nair became the second Indian batsman to score a triple-century in the Test cricket during his debut game against England in November 2016.

While speaking about his triple-ton back in 2018, the cricketer had said, “It’s been two years already and I think it’s time we moved on. The past is gone and we have to look ahead to what’s ahead; I don’t think it should be a disadvantage at all. It can only be an advantage, people know what I can do now, I don’t need to prove it to myself or to anyone that I can score runs at the international level because I have done it before.

News Cricket

His best innings so far: Virat Kohli on KL Rahul’s heroics in second ODI

Abhishek Singh Updated: 18 January, 2020, 4:29 PM IST


India captain Virat Kohli has said that KL Rahul's innings in the second ODI against Australia was his best in international cricket. He was impressed with KL Rahul who batted below his usual position in the batting order.

"It's important to not leave someone like KL out. You saw how he batted today. This is probably the best he's played at the international level. The knock showed maturity and class, and we know exactly what we're doing in the dressing room," Kohli said in the post-match presentation ceremony.

Coming in at No. 5, Rahul scored a brilliant 80 off 52 balls to give India a much-needed push in the final 10 overs that saw the home team post an imposing 340/6 in 50 overs.

While Rahul came to bat at number 5, Kohli reverted to his usual No. 3 position after demoting himself to No. 4 in the first ODI, which India lost by 10 wickets. Kohli hit 78 off 76 deliveries and shared a 103-run stand with Shikhar Dhawan, before adding 78 runs with Rahul.

Captain Kohli was also impressed with Rahul’s wicket-keeping.

"When you are playing well, it seeps through into your other skills as well. KL keeping like that certainly gives us another option to think about. He is becoming a multi-dimensional player, and it's really great when players step up like this," said Kohli.

India leveled the three-match series with a 36-run win in Rajkot and the decisive final ODI will be played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.

News Cricket

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are like long-lost brothers – Aaron Finch

Staff Writer Updated: 18 January, 2020, 4:16 PM IST


Australia skipper Aaron Finch has spoken about the chemistry between Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who shared a 96-run partnership for the third wicket in the second ODI against India. The visitors lost the game by 36 runs in the end. While Steve Smith scored a well compiled 98 runs, Marnus Labuschagne accumulated 46 runs.

At the post-match presentation ceremony, Finch was asked about the partnership between Smith and Labuschagne.

“Smith and Labuschagne, they look like long-lost brothers, don’t they?” he asked. In reply, Finch said: “They certainly are (long-lost brothers). They love batting together, they spend every minute of the day together. I think the only time they don’t spend with each other is when they sleep.”

News Cricket

I watched the videos of AB, Smith and Williamson to learn how to bat at different positions - Rahul

Garima Kotroo Updated: 18 January, 2020, 3:59 PM IST


KL Rahul’s heroics with the bat and gloves drove the Men in Blue towards a 36-run win against Australia in the second ODI at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday. The 27-year-old right-handed batsman came at the number five slot in Rajkot and he stunned the opponent bowlers with his amazing shots. He smashed 80 runs off 52 deliveries before losing his wicket.

Not only this, Rahul proved his brilliance behind the stumps as he quickly grabbed the ball and removed the bails to dismiss the Australian skipper Aaron Finch.

Speaking about his game at No. 5 position, Rahul said, “I watched the videos of players like AB de Villiers, Steve Smith, and Kane Williamson. The only thing is I adjusted my game to it. My game reading has also become much better.”

When he was asked about the pressure of batting at different positions in the international arena, Rahul replied, “I get to learn so much about batting as art when I get to bat at different positions, new ways to counter the bowlers, new ways to adjust to the situations. I don't look at it is as pressure, just enjoy it. I am more than willing to bat at any position for the team. It is a team game and anybody would do it for the team.”

News Cricket

KL Rahul has ability and composure like Dhoni and Yuvraj: Sehwag

Abhishek Singh Updated: 18 January, 2020, 1:09 PM IST


Virender Sehwag has said KL Rahul has the calm and composer like that of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh and could well fit into the role of a finisher, which has been left vacant since the World Cup last year.

Sehwag while speaking at a post-match show on Cricbuzz said, “I think KL Rahul is batting in a good form. When Dhoni and Yuvraj batted in slog overs, they always set up targets for every over. Scoring nine runs if they hit a four or 11 if they hit a six, they negated the risk this way. KL Rahul is getting into that groove as well. I can safely say, if he continues to work on his batting, he can become a good finisher like Dhoni and Yuvraj”.

Former Indian cricketer, Mohammad Kaif, who was also present on the show, said that Rahul has learned to adjust and play at any position. “It’s easier going up from down in the batting position. You have many examples, be it Sehwag, Sachin or Rohit Sharma, all of them batted down the order at the start of their career, but moved up gradually. In the case of Rahul, he has come down the order and it takes courage and consistency to prove yourself at a time when your position keeps changing in the batting order”.

Rahul played a crucial role in India’s 36-run win over Australia on Friday. Scoring 80 runs off just 52 deliveries, he gave team India the required momentum. The Karnataka batsman then kept wickets with the utmost composure, pulling off a quick stumping, making himself a deserving candidate for the Man of the Match award, which he was presented with after the end of the match.

News Cricket

Apna time aaega - Irfan posts a motivational message for Sanju Samson after the T20I snub

Garima Kotroo Updated: 18 January, 2020, 1:08 PM IST


The young wicketkeeper-batsman from Kerala, Sanju Samson is currently making the headlines for his cryptic tweet on the account after getting dropped from the T20I squad for the upcoming five-match series against New Zealand. The 25-year-old right-hander posted a comma on his official Twitter handle to show his disappointment on the team selection. This tweet left the cricket fans in a split and went viral in no time.

Meanwhile, the former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan came forward to support the youngster after his exclusion from the squad. He wrote, “Keep at it. Apna time aaega”.

Irfan also hailed the impressive innings of Dhawan during the second ODI against Australia at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.

“If situation pushes you towards the wall what do you do???? Score 3 half-centuries and become @SDhawan25 #wellplayed #INDvsAUS.”

The 34-year-old Indian opener played an important knock of 96 runs off 90 balls against the visitors and helped his side to clinch the game by 36 runs. After their humiliating 10-wicket defeat in the series opener, Virat Kohli and the team finally bounced back against Aaron Finch's troops.

The Men in Blue have now leveled the ongoing series against Aussies by 1-1 and will play the series-decider at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on January 19.

Milestones Cricket

4 instances where 600-plus runs were scored in an ODI in India without a hundred

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:39 PM IST


India overcame a tough challenge from Australia in the second one-dayer at Rajkot to square the three-match series 1-1. Batting first, India posted an impressive 340 for 6 on the board courtesy half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan, skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. While Dhawan was dismissed for 96 from 90, Kohli contributed 78 from 76, and Rahul blazed his way to 80 from 52 balls.

In response, Australia finished on 304 as Steve Smith contributed a wonderful 98 from 102 deliveries. No other Aussie batsman could cross the fifty mark though. Marnus Labuschagne was the next highest scorer with 46 from 47 balls. The Rajkot ODI saw a combined total of 644 runs being scored. This was one of the rare instances of 600-plus runs being scored in an ODI in India without an individual century. Here’s a look at three other times where over 600 runs were registered in one-day international without any batsman scoring a hundred.

643 runs -- Asia v Africa, Afro-Asia Cup 2nd ODI (Chennai 2007)

In the second match of the Afro-Asia Cup played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on June 9, 2007, a match aggregate of 643 runs was registered. Asia XI, after winning the toss and electing to bat first, posted an imposing 337 for 7 on the board. Sourav Ganguly was the top-scorer for Asia XI, with a fluent 88 from 112 balls. At the top, Virender Sehwag blasted 52 from 38 balls while Mohammad Yousuf contributed 51 from 44 towards the end. Yuvraj Singh too played a splendid cameo, making an unbeaten 30 from 13 balls.

In reply, Africa XI were bowled out for 306. Mark Boucher was the top run-scorer for them with 73 from 71 balls. Batting at number three, Boeta Dippenaar contributed 67 from 72 deliveries. Opener Vusi Sibanda and Shaun Pollock hit 35 each, but Africa XI fell 31 runs short of the target. For Asia XI, Dilhara Fernando was the standout performer with 4 for 36.

641 runs -- India vs England, 1st ODI (Rajkot 2013)

In the first ODI of the five-match series between India and England, played at Rajkot on January 11, 2013, a total of 641 runs were scored without a batsman from either side hitting a hundred. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, visitors England put up a highly challenging 325 for 4 on the board. Opener and captain Alastair Cook scored 75 from 83 while Ian Bell made 85 from 96. The impressive contributions continued as Kevin Pietersen hit 44 from 45, Eoin Morgan 41 from 38 before Samit Patel gave the finishing touches to the innings with a blazing 44 not out from 20.

India were competitive in response, but eventually ran out of steam, losing the contest by nine runs. Openers Ajinkya Rahane (47 from 57) and Gautam Gambhir (52 from 52) added 96 for the opening wicket. Yuvraj Singh contributed 61 from 54 and Suresh Raina 50 from 49. However, England kept chipping away at the wickets, and eventually ended up on top. Off-spinner James Tredwell was named man of the match for picking up 4 for 44 and stalling India’s chase.

637 runs -- India vs England, 3rd ODI (Kolkata 2017)

England defeated India by five runs in a high-scoring encounter at Eden Gardens on January 22, 2017. The teams combined to put up 637 runs on the board, yet again with no batsman from either side scoring a hundred. England batted first and put up 321 for 8 on the board. Jason Roy hit 65 from 56 while Jonny Bairstow contributed 56 from 64. Towards the end, all-rounder Ben Stokes blazed his way to an unbeaten 57 from 39 balls while Chris Woakes also impressed with 34 from just 19.

In India’s chase, Kedar Jadhav made a belligerent 90 from 75 balls while skipper Virat Kohli and all-rounder Hardik Pandya contributed 55 and 56 respectively. However, India fell tantalizingly close to the target, finishing on 316 for 9. Stokes sent back both Kohli and Pandya to finish with 3 for 63 and was adjudged man of the match for his all-round brilliance.

Feature Cricket

Nadkarni – Gutsy with the bat, parsimonious with the ball

Partab Ramchand Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:37 PM IST


The objective of any cricketer is to win the match but if a situation arises when the team is facing defeat and a draw is the best possible option that’s when you need someone like Rameschandra Gangaram Nadkarni. It was Indian cricket’s good fortune that during their formative years in the fifties and sixties when they faced one setback after another they could rely on Nadkarni, gutsy with the bat and parsimonious with the ball to bail them out.

With all his courageous deeds with the bat Nadkarni who passed away on Friday will be remembered for his niggardly left-arm spin bowling. Taking runs off him was like squeezing the proverbial water out of the stone. Hour after hour, over after over he kept wheeling them down on the same good length spot and the batsman just had no option but to play the ball dead at his feet. When the batsmen tried to take liberties he found the ball hitting the middle of the middle stump. The batsman had to be the epitome of patience in negotiating Nadkarni who was accuracy personified. He did not turn the ball much and the joke among his Indian teammates was that he fooled the batsman by forcing him to think that he was turning the ball. The fact remains that Nadkarni is not remembered for being a big turner of the ball; he is remembered chiefly for his ability to bottle up one end as few bowlers have done in the history of cricket. Little wonder then that he is second among the most economical bowlers in Test history (1.67) among those with 75 wickets or more just behind South Africa’s Trevor Goddard (1.64).

But then Nadkarni also notched up four five-wicket hauls and a ten-wicket haul during his 41-Test career that stretched from 1955 to 1968 and brought him 1414 runs at an average of 25.70 and 88 wickets at fractionally over 29 apiece. The feat for which he is most famous of course is his world record 21 successive maidens he sent down during the Test against England at Madras in January 1964. He ended the innings with the mind-boggling figures of 32-27-5-0.

A more than useful left-handed batsman down the order Nadkarni scored one hundred and seven half-centuries. His lone hundred came in a match-saving act against England at Kanpur in February 1964. India were following on 293 runs behind and Nadkarni who had remained unbeaten with 52 in the first innings was promoted to No 3 the second time around and responded with an unbeaten 122 in seven hours which enabled India to save the match.

At the first-class level Nadkarni was among the giants running up a record of 8880 runs at an average of 40 with the highest score of 283 not out coupled with 500 wickets at 21 apiece. He represented Maharashtra and Mumbai during a long first-class career. In later years he was a popular manager of Indian teams and served as national selection committee chairman in 1987-88.

News Cricket

No Comments: Ganguly on Dhoni’s omission from the contract list

Abhishek Singh Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:36 PM IST


BCCI president Sourav Ganguly refused to comment on MS Dhoni's omission from the annual central contract list. The World Cup-winning captain was left out of the list for not playing international cricket since the last edition of the World Cup in England and Wales.

"I can't comment on this," Ganguly said in his straightforward response on Dhoni's omission from the BCCI's annual player retainers for 2019-20.

The possibility of Dhoni making a comeback cannot be ruled out as India’s coach Ravi Shastri has already said that the former captain’s chances of playing the T20 world cup would depend upon his IPL performance.

The iconic former captain has been out of action since India's World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand in July last year. He started training with his state team Jharkhand from Thursday with an eye on the upcoming edition of IPL.

Ganguly, however, spoke on the merger of the Kolkata's iconic club Mohun Bagan with ATK and hailed it as the "way forward".

"Game has professionalized. This is the right way forward. Many big clubs like Manchester have also done this. Only time will tell (about the success). This is the way forward," Ganguly said.

The historic Indian football club Mohun Bagan was merged into the newbie Amar Tomar Kolkata, a side that represents the city of joy in the Indian Super League, one of the two top tier football leagues in the country.

News Cricket

Mohammad Hafeez to retire after T20 World Cup

Garima Kotroo Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:35 PM IST


Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez recently revealed that he will bring down the curtains on his 17-year-old career after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup this year.

Speaking on his decision of retirement from international cricket, Hafeez said, “It has been a privilege. I want to play the Twenty20 World Cup and then exit from Pakistan’s international team. I have played 17 years for Pakistan and tried my level best. At times I missed my bowling.”

Hafeez is currently gearing up for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Bangladesh starting from January 24. He will be making a comeback to the Pakistani squad after getting dropped by the selectors following his underwhelming performances in the 2019 World Cup.

While recalling the experienced players Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the team for the next series at home, Head Coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq said, “We never said Malik and Hafeez aren’t in our plans, we were trying out our pool of players and we felt we needed them here. Hafeez is experienced and he has so many performances, he is mature. We feel he can contribute to the team and perform for Pakistan.”

Hafeez captained the Men in Green in 29 T20I matches. Under his guidance, Pakistan have won 17 games and lost 11 with one ending in a tie.

Feature Cricket

Dhoni’s Omission the Only Practical Option

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:33 PM IST


Why did it not send shockwaves that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was omitted from the central cricket contracts for 2019-’20? With the former Indian captain out of the playing field by his own volition, this was the only logical move.

The current BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, would rather comment on the state of Bengal football and the team merger rather than shed light on the status of Dhoni following the decision not to award the wicketkeeper-batsman a central contract for the current year. Previously Dhoni was the recipient of payment in accordance with the top tier Grade A level players.

However, while there is talk of Dhoni making a comeback to the national side for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia later in the year, Dhoni has been absent from India’s limited-overs cricket team since the conclusion of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 in July in England. Back then, Dhoni’s form came into question as did the merit in having Rishabh Pant in the wings and not be used if the former captain was a reluctant player.

Repeated continuation of his self-imposed sabbatical post the ICC flagship event has raised questions of even the illustrious former Indian captain and the feasibility of his making a direct entry into the team without having played any cricket in the interim in the international arena.

The Indian coach, Ravi Shastri, spoke recently of assessing Dhoni’s form after the Indian Premier League 2020 where Dhoni is the captain of the Chennai Super Kings. But this would be met with some antagonism given that the norm is not to use the IPL alone as the basis for selection. With India playing a limited number of one-day internationals and Twenty20, it would not have been the strenuous task for Dhoni to show up as part of the squad if his intention was indeed to prolong his international career.

Whether this is some concocted behind-the-scenes plan of the current captain, Virat Kohli, the Indian coach and Dhoni himself that the latter should stay on as backup in case his successor – Rishabh Pant or anybody else – fails to sufficiently meet the team’s criteria by the time of the next World Cup event later in the year, it has not been a popular decision, not to mention undermining the confidence of the young replacement.

Furthermore, it would appear the selectors and the BCCI are not on board with the plan, having previously communicated to Dhoni that the wait for him to return was not a patience game anymore with the intent to look forward. With Dhoni’s continued absence, there was little choice other than to decide not to award him a retainer contract.

While some have dubbed it humiliating on Dhoni, it seemed like the only practical precedent to be set in the event that the player himself makes himself unavailable for the squad, irrespective of the number of years he has served as part of the team and the accolades that have come his way.

News Cricket

Family above Cricket: Mushfiqur Rahim reveals the reason for opting out of Pakistan tour

Abhishek Singh Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:32 PM IST


Bangladesh’s top batsman and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim has refused to tour Pakistan. Rahim has cited security concerns as the main reason for his decision. “I have already informed Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) that I am not going to Pakistan for the upcoming series. I have submitted an official letter, and BCB accepted that. Not just T20Is, I am unavailable for the entire series,” Mushfiqur told media after the final of Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.

“My family is afraid of the security condition of Pakistan. In this situation, I can’t go to Pakistan and play cricket there. It is always tough for me to sit down from a series of Bangladesh national team,” he added.

The gritty wicketkeeper cringed on the fact that he will be losing an opportunity to play cricket on batting-friendly wickets of Pakistan. The little dynamite also opined that the situation in Pakistan is getting better for playing cricket, but he is bound by family commitment and concerns.

“Cricket is not bigger than life. But at the same time, I would like to say that the situation in Pakistan is better than before. I toured Pakistan in 2008 before that incident (terror attack on Sri Lankan team in 2009). Pakistan is a wonderful place to play cricket. The wickets of Pakistan are batting-friendly and I will miss playing there. But if the situation gets better and remains better consistently, I would definitely love to go to Pakistan to play cricket,” said an optimistic Rahim.