Can GenNext halt dominance of The Big Three?

Partab Ramchand Updated: 28 June, 2019, 4:22 PM IST

Wimbledon is round the corner and the main point of interest this year will be whether the Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will continue their dominance or whether the GenNext of challengers led by the likes of Kevin Anderson, Stephanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev can end it.

The Big Three along with Andy Murray have between themselves won every singles title since 2003. That is an unbelievable 16 years with the spoils being shared between Federer (8), defending champion Djokovoc (4) and Nadal and Murray twice each. For some time the younger challengers have been climbing up the ladder as far as the rankings are concerned, have been able to get the better of the Big Three around the ATP Tour circuit and have been winning tournaments including a couple of major competitions. But when it comes to the top three rankings and the four Grand Slams these are seemingly the property of Messrs Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Just to emphasize this point all the last ten Grand Slam titles since January 2017 have been cornered by The Big Three.

It is of course a tribute to the amazing skill and longevity of the Big Three that they have been able to dominate the scene for so long. Entering Wimbledon they are still the top three seeds and with a total of 53 Grand Slam titles between them one of them is poised to take the number to 54. They are all showing admirable form on court and winning tournaments. Federer just five weeks short of his 38th birthday won the Halle Open title for a record tenth time a few days ago. Nadal won a record 12th French Open crown earlier this month and in January Djokovic won a record 7th Australian Open crown. Both Nadal and Djokovic are in their early 30s and showing no signs of slowing down.

One more point in favour of the Big Three is the fact that none of their nearest challengers has a particularly good record at Wimbledon. Anderson would appear to be the best being runner-up last year to Djokovic. Thiem who is more at home on clay (he has been runner-up to Nadal at the French Open the last two years) has never gone beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon. The same goes for Tsitsipas and Zverev. Under the circumstances there is every reason to believe that the winner at Wimbledon this year will be one of the Big Three. Tsitsipas at 20 arguably the best of the GenNext of players has spoken of his eagerness for a change of guard at Wimbledon. But that is unlikely to happen this year.

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IPL 2020: RR skipper Steve Smith available for selection after clearing concussion tests

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 7:44 PM IST

Ahead of their opening fixture against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Steve Smith has been declared fit to play, having passed his concussion tests.

Smith has missed three ODIs against England in the UK due to a concussion issue, and there were doubts whether he will be fit to feature in Royals’ season opener.

Andrew McDonald, RR's head coach, confirmed that Smith is available for selection against CSK.

“Fantastic news that Steve is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It’s obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game as I’ve said before we are in really good hands. In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn’t be happier with their preparation. We have got what we needed, having been here nice and early to get our preparation going on the back of the long lay-off,” McDonald said in a RR's virtual press release

“We have got the bases covered and have some really good depth in the squad and really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a real competitive match against CSK. They had a fantastic first game, they’re one game into the tournament which is a slight advantage when you come out against the team that’s already played and performed. So, we’ll definitely have our work cut out and really looking forward to what our guys can bring to the table and we’re really excited about what the journey presents,” he added.

Smith, meanwhile, revealed that he is eager to get back to action, having missed the ODI series against England.

The 31-year-old, Smith, is one of the four main overseas players in the team alongside English trio of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

Jofra is expected to be in the playing XI while both are Buttler and Stokes will play no part in the game. Buttler is serving a 6-day quarantine period with his family while Stokes has not yet arrived in UAE.

IPL 2020: Jimmy Neesham reacts hilariously after losing yet another super-over

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 7:10 PM IST

The Indian Premier League 2020 campaign finally went up and running after Delhi Capitals won a thrilling Super over against the KXIP on Sunday.

After being put out to bat first, DC suffered a massive top-order collapse, only for Marcus Stoinis to save the blushes with a match-deciding half-century.

In their reply, KXIP's openers couldn't better their counterparts but Mayank Agarwal's knock of 89 turned the game in their favour. However, the match forced to Super over after KXIP failed to score 12 runs in the final over.

In the super-over, DC's Kagiso Rabada showcased his class and restricted KXIP to a meagre 3-run target. DC achieved the target with four balls to spare.

However, KXIP's Kiwi all-rounder, Jimmy Neesham, couldn't believe that his team lost the Super over and posted a funny reaction on Twitter. Neesham is very famous for his social media banter.

Interestingly, Neesham was part of New Zealand's team which lost the 2019 World Cup final to England, which went all the way through to the Super over.

The BlackCaps haven’t been lucky, especially in Super Overs. They had also lost two back-to-back T20I's against India in the tie-breaker earlier in 2020.

Neesham posted a gif of famous American comedian/actor, Jim Carey, to express his feelings after losing the Super over. “Oh come on!” said Carey in the gif.

In their second match, Punjab will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 24.

IPL 2020: A loss for India for not selecting Ambati Rayudu for World Cup, says Shane Watson

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 6:17 PM IST

Ambati Rayudu was at his ruthless best as Chennai Super Kings outclassed Mumbai Indians on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

He smashed 71 runs off just 48 balls, which proved substantial to guide his team to a famous win over their eternal rivals.

Rayudu knock was heavily appreciated by fans, who flooded the social media with memes targeting former BCCI selector MSK Prasad, who ignored the former during last year's World Cup squad selection.

Former Australian cricketer and Rayudu's current CSK teammate, Shane Watson, believes that Indian selection panel made a big mistake by not picking Rayudu in the World Cup held last year.

“He an incredibly talented batsman and I think so it was a loss for the Indian ODI team for not picking him in the World Cup squad,” Watson said in a YouTube show named The Debrief.

“He batted incredibly well with scoring options all over the ground,” the Aussie veteran added.

Rayudu was expected to take the crucial number 4 spot, but MSK Prasad decided to pick all-rounder Vijay Shankar, describing the latter as a 'three-dimensional player'.

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra posted a cryptic tweet to MSK Prasad, following Rayudu's match-winning knock on Saturday.

"Might not be a 3D player but still fairly efficient at the one dimension he knock Ambati Rayudu," Chopra tweeted.

Kane Williamson should sit out in SRH’s IPL 2020 opener against RCB - Scott Styris

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 September, 2020, 6:13 PM IST

As the Sunrisers Hyderabad are ready to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the third match of the Indian Premier League 2020 in Dubai, fans are curious to know what will be the team combination of the David Warner-led side. SRH have plenty of quality batsmen in their ranks.

While David Warner and Rashid Khan will definitely be seen in action against RCB, the choice becomes difficult when it comes to in-form Jonny Bairstow and experienced player Kane Williamson or Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.

Shedding light of SRH’s best possible team combination, former New Zealand all-rounder, Scott Styris said that the former SRH skipper, Williamson should warm the bench in the upcoming clash against Virat Kohli-led side. Explaining the reason behind his bold statement, the Kiwi great highlighted that Bairstow was in a blistering touch in the 2019 IPL and his opening partnerships with 33-year-old Australian stalwart gave SRH flying starts in several matches.

Afghanistan duo Rashid and Nabi will add more balance to the side

Speaking on Star Sports’ show Game Plan, Styris said, “Kane Williamson sits out, I know he is the orange cap holder. But I just think with the balance of that side, they have got a proven match-winner, David Warner. Bairstow’s performance last year and the relationship he has with Warner at the top. They just seem to gel and sink nicely.”

"Nabi is certainly in my eyes and so is Rashid. So, out of that group, unfortunately, Kane Williamson sits out,” the 45-year-old added.

IPL 2020: CSK's Ruturaj Gaikwad resumes training after Quarantine ends

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 5:31 PM IST

Chennai Super Kings batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad has rejoined the squad for training after finally testing negative of Covid-19.

Earlier, Ruturaj had tested positive of Covid-19, not once but thrice, and has been quarantined ever since the squad's arrival in the UAE.

Gaikwad was one of the 12 player and staff members to have tested positive of Covid-19 in the CSK camp. As a result, the entire contingent had to quarantine themselves for longer than expected.

"The first thing you wanna see on a Monday morning. Look who's back! #Ruturaj #WhistlePodu," CSK captioned a picture on Twitter.

The three-time champs made a winning start to their IPL 2020 campaign as they secured a five-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians./p>

CSK will now take on Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday, September 22.