Cricket to be part of the 2028 Olympics?

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 August, 2019, 2:51 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

There is a no bigger and greater sporting event in the world than the Olympics. And there are chances that cricket might well get included in the Olympics . The MCC, which is the custodian of the sport's laws, had its World Cricket Committee (WCC) discuss the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Olympics, which would take place in Los Angeles.

"There is still much to be done if cricket is to be included in the Olympics, with Los Angeles 2028 the earliest likely opportunity, and the ICC continuing to work internally to align cricket to pursue the sport's Olympic ambitions," the WCC said in a statement.

"The WCC is pleased to see that Women's T20 Cricket is likely to be included at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, having supported this in their last meeting in March," it added.

"Cricket is also due to return to the Asian Games at Hangzhou 2022, likely again to be in T20 format. Including cricket at Hangzhou 2022 is the perfect opportunity to showcase the sport to the market in China."

BCCI is now under the ambit of National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), an affiliate of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and it might well play a key role in the inclusion of cricket in Olympics as it is mandatory for all sporting federations' doping policy to be overseen by the premier body.

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News Cricket

Rohit’s cut shot against Mitchell Starc reminds Shoaib of his beating at the hands of Sachin

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 January, 2020, 1:04 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian opener Rohit Sharma played a big role in his side’s most recent win against Australia in the final ODI at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. The 32-year-old right-handed batsman scored 119 runs off 128 deliveries against the visitors and his record-breaking innings was laced with eight boundaries and six sixes. The likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Adam Zampa were seen clueless against Hitman in the thrilling series-decider.

Sharma left everyone in awe with his amazing shots in Bangalore. Even the former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar came forward to praise his batting style. Akhtar stated that Rohit’s cut shot against the talented pacer Mitchell Starc reminded him of the legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster played the same iconic stroke against the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ in the World Cup 2003.

Taking to his YouTube channel, Shoaib Akhtar said, “When Rohit is on the song then he doesn’t care whether the ball is good or bad because he has so much of time, he has so much of elegance when he plays the shots. It (batting) comes very easy and naturally to him. You saw his ruthlessness today. Usne maar maar k bharta nikal dia. He hit Mitchell Starc, he went after Cummins. The cut shot that he hit reminded me of Tendulkar’s six.”

Feature Cricket

England Give SA the Blues

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 21 January, 2020, 1:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The rout was complete. What continued in the gloom of the shadow of rain at St. Georges Park in Port Elizabeth ended that way for South Africa – in dismay. As England retained the Basil D’Oliviera Cup, they, also, reminded that they are a young team in the making.

The performances of Ollie Pope – a century and record six catches for the match and Dom Bess, who picked up four wickets in addition to the fifer in the first innings, not to mention skipper Joe Root who buried the South Africa on the fourth day with his wicket-taking, must greatly hearten England.

After the Ashes saw a see-saw battle that went Australia’s way in terms of retaining the urn, there have been questions asked about England’s ability to cope with the five day Test match in the same way they had approached the challenge of the ICC Cricket World Cup which they won in 2019 after four years of deliberate preparation.

Although South Africa have been a beleaguered lot, plagued by on-field lackadaisical performances and off-field jousts of governance, England needed a win under their belt to get their confidence in the right direction. Although South Africa fought tooth and nail to stay in the game as long as they could in the previous Tests the only real resistance that came briefly in the second innings following on in this Test was from the skipper, Faf du Plessis, before Keshav Maharaj and Dane Paterson put up a 99 run resistance for the final wicket, which fell short by ten runs of overcoming a history set in 1929. It did manage to prolong proceedings on the fifth day almost up to lunch.

For South Africa, it was a desultory result following a dreary performance all round. There was simply no foothold for the hosts in the third Test after taking it to England rather enterprising with the change of guard at the top with the likes of Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher working behind the scenes in the first two Tests.

Although it was widely considered that there were no magic wands, South Africa had shown more bite than they had in nearly a year. To that end, this Test was anti-climactic to their efforts, and the surrender of the Test series 2-1 going into the final Test would have once again brought the gloom back into perspective. That they will have to bench Kagiso Rabada would have only made the Wanderers Test a little more stacked against them right from the outset. With not much time between the start of the fourth Test, it will be intriguing to see if South Africa can find another gear and regain some intensity and whether England can sustain the momentum and push for an outstanding series result.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni most searched cricketers in the world

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

In an interesting study by a global data collector and analyzer SEMrush, it has been revealed that current Indian skipper Virat Kohli and former Indian captain MS Dhoni were the most searched cricketers around the world from December 2015 till December 2019.

The study tracked the number of times cricketers and cricket teams were searched for globally. While Virat Kohli topped the list, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Hardik Pandya, and Yuvraj Singh were ranked second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the study, respectively. While Kohli was searched 17.6 lakh times each month, others in the top six were searched an average of 9.59, 7.33, 4.51, 3.68, and 3.48 lakh times each month, respectively.

Dhoni remains one of the most popular cricketers around the world, in spite of him not featuring regularly for the national side. Speculations regarding his future in international cricket continue to be part of major debates in the cricket fraternity. Seven Indian cricketers feature in the top ten list of most searched cricketers with the other three being Steve Smith, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.

England cricket team toppled India with an average of 3.51 lakh searches every month compared to the latter's average 3.09 lakh to become the most searched cricket team in the world. While West Indies took the third spot, it was closely followed by Pakistan and Australia in the top 5.

Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe were searched at an average of merely fifteen thousand, seven thousand, and five thousand times each month, respectively.

Feature Cricket

Rabada has no one to blame but himself

Partab Ramchand Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Kagiso Rabada is one of the leading fast bowlers in the world. Even with a surfeit of outstanding pacemen these days he stands out as one who is a skillful exponent of the art and craft of his trade, troubling the best of batsmen with his pace and accuracy, making them bob and weave their way out of the thunderbolts he sends down almost routinely and forcing them to make desperate shots which lead to their dismissal. A tally of 197 wickets from 43 Tests at just under 23 apiece allied to an economy rate of 3.38 and a strike rate of a little over 40 are figures that establish his qualities as a fast bowler par excellence.

Unfortunately Rabada is also a bowler who is habitually on a short fuse. This has led to unseemly gestures on the field and frequent visits to the match referee’s room. His latest misdemeanor has led to a one-match suspension which will see him miss South Africa’s fourth and final Test against England at Johannesburg a game the home team must win to draw level in the series with England having taken a 2-1 lead with the innings victory at Port Elizabeth.

The 24-year-old clearly invited trouble with his over-exuberant celebration after bowling England captain Joe Root with a terrific delivery on the first day of the just-concluded third Test. Taking such a prized scalp prompted Rabada to rush down the wicket, drop to his haunches and let out a piercing yell right under the nose of his victim.

These are days when players are frequently guilty of unseemly words or gestures either through going overboard with celebrations or in the heat of the moment. Fortunately, there are rules which have been set to curb such scenes that the game can do without and his latest indiscretion saw Rabada docked with a demerit point and consequently a suspension which comes about as a result of accumulated demerit points it being his fourth in the last 24 months.

The really sad aspect of this unseemly episode is that Rabada seems to have the backing his team management. Coach Mark Boucher has been quoted as saying that he saw ``nothing wrong’’ in his celebration in theory disagreeing with match referee Andy Pycroft’s decision. Bowling coach Charl Langeveldt was even more approving with Rabada’s behavior dismissing it as ``Kagiso is always looking for a scrap’’.

Off the field Rabada is reputedly a thoughtful and enquiring individual. On the field, it is a different story. He himself has spoken about his ``natural aggression and competitiveness’’ that has always been there but admits that the really high intensity and emotion just happen impulsively. ``The aggression is something that is natural in me. It makes me a better bowler’’ says Rabada. It will make him an even better bowler if he could keep his emotions somewhat under control and within the rules that govern on-field. behavior.

Feature Cricket

India vs New Zealand T20Is stats preview: Dominant Kiwis hold the upper hand

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:31 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Team India will kick off their long tour of New Zealand with the first game of the five-match T20I series at Eden Park in Auckland on January 24. India will go into the tour on a high, having gotten the better of Australia at home 2-1 in a three-match ODI series. The T20Is in New Zealand will be a completely different challenge though. As India and the Kiwis get set for the face-off, we take a look at all the important numbers from India vs New Zealand T20Is.

Head-to-Head record

India and New Zealand have faced each other in 11 T20Is to date, and the Kiwis have a clear upper hand. While New Zealand have won eight matches, India have been successful in only three. The Kiwis have a win percentage of 72.72 as against India’s 27.27.

Highest totals

New Zealand’s 219 for 6 at Wellington on February 6, 2019, is the highest team total in India-New Zealand T20Is. The Kiwis won the match by 80 runs. For India, the highest team score is 208 for 6 at Hamilton on February 10, 2019. India, however, went down in the match as they were chasing 213 for victory.

Lowest totals

India’s 79 in 18.1 overs at Nagpur on March 15, 2016, is the lowest team total in India-New Zealand T20Is. The performance came during the World T20 at home as India lost the contest by 47 runs, chasing 127. Incidentally, New Zealand’s 126 for 7 in the same match is their lowest-ever total.

Most runs

Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has scored the most runs in India-New Zealand T20Is. In four games, McCullum scored 261 runs at an average of 130.50 and a strike rate of 137.36. For India, the record is in the name of MS Dhoni. In 11 matches, he posted 223 runs at an average of 37.16 and a strike rate of 111.50.

Highest individual scores

Colin Munro’s 109 not out from 58 balls is the highest individual score in India-New Zealand T20Is. Munro smashed seven fours and as many sixes in the knock at Rajkot on November 4, 2017. This is the only hundred registered so far in India vs New Zealand T20Is. Thanks to Munro’s heroics, New Zealand posted 196 for 2 on the board and won the contest by 40 runs.

For India, the record for the highest individual score is jointly held by Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Incidentally, both of them made the 80s in the same match, at Delhi on November 1, 2017. Dhawan’s 80 came off 52 balls and Rohit’s off 55. India posted 202 for 3 batting first and won the match by 53 runs.

Most fifties

McCullum holds the record for having posted the most fifties in India-New Zealand T20Is. In four matches, he notched up three fifties with a highest score of 91. For India, Virat Kohli has scored the most half-centuries -- two in five matches with a best of 70.

Most sixes

Munro has hit the most sixes in India-New Zealand T20Is. He has smashed 17 in seven games. For India, Rohit’s nine from as many games is the best.

Most wickets

New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has claimed the most number of wickets in India vs New Zealand T20Is. In seven matches, he has 11 scalps to his name at an average of 16.18 and a strike rate of 12.5. His best of 3 for 18 came in the 2016 World T20 encounter at Nagpur as India were bundled out for 79. For India, Irfan Pathan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have picked up five scalps each from four and six matches respectively.

Best bowling figures

Mitchell Santner’s 4 for 21 in the 2016 World T20 contest against India are the best bowling figures in India-Kiwi clashes. For India, Krunal Pandya claimed 3 for 28 in Auckland on February 8, 2019.

Feature Cricket

New Zealand vs India, T20 Series: 5 Kiwi players India should fear

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:28 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Indian team is all set and ready for the New Zealand tour. The team for the five-match T20 series beginning 24th of January has already been announced. Last time when India toured New Zealand, it was again a series, where the Kiwis continued their dominance over Men in Blue in the shortest format of the game. Overall New Zealand lead (8-3) over India in the T20Is. In the last series, New Zealand outsmarted Indian 2-1. It was an amazing series for the debutante wicketkeeper-batsman, Tim Seifert, who has again been selected in the 14 man Kiwi squad for the series against the blue tigers. Apart from Tim Seifert, there are many other players who would play a defining role in the upcoming series.

Martin Guptill

Martin Guptill has been that cog in the New Zealand cricket’s wheel who has kept the ship sailing through all continents and against all kinds of troubled waters. Off late, Guptill has scored match winnings knock-in New Zealand’s domestic T20 championship. In 10 innings the Auckland opener amassed 403 runs with an impeccable average of 44.77 and a prolific strike rate of over 142. Before the Super Smash, Guptill was a key force behind a terrific 5 match T20 series against the nemesis England which the Blackcaps eventually lost 2-3, in the Super Over. In that series against the Three Lions, the Kiwi batsman scored 153 runs with an average of 30 and a blistering strike rate of 177.91. Despite all these numbers, there is one number, which would make Indian fans happy and that number is 15. Yes, Martin Guptill averages only 15 against India in T20Is with the highest score being 45 and the strike rate is also a minimal 101.8. However, Guptill’s current form can cause serious damage to India’s aspirations of winning the series.

Kane Williamson

The Kiwi captain is bruising from the humiliating series defeat against Australia. Although that was a Test series, it has hampered the reputation of New Zealand as a powerful cricketing nation. Williamson would be raring to go against his next opponents albeit in a shorter format, just to salvage some pride and show to the world, why New Zealand are considered a dangerous side on home soil. The last time Williamson featured in a T20 at the international level was against the Men in Blue. He doesn't have those scary T20 numbers behind him. With 1505 runs in 55 innings at a more than a decent average of 31.35, the Kiwi captain always chips in for the team. He has a mediocre strike rate of 121.76, but just the presence of him on the crease makes all the difference.

Hamish Bennett

With 17 wickets in 10 matches of the Super Smash, Hamish Bennett has barged through the gates into the New Zealand squad. One of the chief architects of the Wellington team, which won the domestic T20 league, Bennett could well turn out to be the surprise package against India. He has not played any T20I but could have dream debut against a side that would be coming on the Kiwi shores to better their records. He alongside Tim Southee can complement each other to give Indian batsmen the unwanted headache.

Colin Munro

Having not been picked in the IPL, Colin Munro would be looking to showcase his class to the franchises, especially against India. Munro has a prolific T20I career, where he has scored more than 1500 runs at an average of 30.92 and a stupendous strike rate of 160.04. He is one of the only three batsmen to have scored three or more centuries in T20Is. Against India, he becomes even more dangerous scoring at an average of 41.33 and a strike rate of 165.33. It is the pair of the two Auckland players, Munro and Guptill that the Indian team would have to vary of.

Colin de Grandhomme

Based on statistics, de Grandhomme does not seem to be a player who can harm the interests of any team. With just 479 runs in 31 innings at a lowly average of 19.95 and only 10 wickets from 33 matches, one could not rate him as a match-winner. But in 20-20, all that matters is a span of 4-6 overs and de Grandhomme is tailor-made to deliver in those instances. He scores briskly and takes wickets at important junctures of the game. Not only that, he is one of the best fielders as well. As an all-rounder, he could turn out to be the game-changer for the Kiwi team and a party pooper for team India.

Apart from these five, Mitchell Santner deserves a special mention as he too has been in a great form and would demand a great deal of attention and respect from Team India. With 11 wickets in the last series against England and being a more than useful batsman, Santner could just well be the most deadly strikers of them all.

Feature Cricket

3 openers for whom Prithvi Shaw’s red-hot form could prove to be a major threat

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

It is not that easy to make a strong comeback in the cricket fraternity after facing a doping-ban. However, Prithvi Shaw, who has the fire in him to mark his name on the map of world cricket, made it possible with his flabbergasting innings. After serving an eight-month ban by the BCCI, Shaw joined back the Mumbai squad for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019 where he scored 240 runs for his state-team. He continued his great batting form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy as he slammed his maiden double hundred against Baroda.

Shaw is currently making the headlines for his exceptional knock of 150 runs off 100 balls in the second practice game of India A against New Zealand XI. With this remarkable innings, Shaw has certainly forced his way into the selectors’ minds and could secure his place in the Indian team as an opener with his red-hot form. His form could prove problematic for three Indian players.

Shubman Gill

The young and dynamic player of the Indian cricket team, Shubman Gill has gained immense popularity among fans in his short career stint. He was asked to lead India A in the warm-up matches against New Zealand XI. The 20-year-old right-handed batsman shot to fame with his brilliant performance in the Under-19 World Cup in 2018. He was the leading run-scorer for India in the tournament, with 372 runs under his belt. As far as international cricket is concerned, Gill didn’t get enough chances to showcase his talent. He played his first ODI for India in January 2019 and managed to score nine runs against New Zealand at the Seddon Park, Hamilton. With Prithvi Shaw performing exceptionally for his team, the first casualty could be Gill.

Shikhar Dhawan

Believe it or not, but this is the fact that Shikhar Dhawan, who was among runs for the Men in Blue in the recently-concluded ODI series against Australia, could be replaced by the young opener Prithvi Shaw in future due to inconsistency in the international matches. There is no doubt in saying that Dhawan is one of the best opening batsmen in Team India but his constant injuries could end-up his role as an opener for the Virat Kohli-led team. Apart from his injuries, Dhawan’s age is another factor which will act against the 34-year-old southpaw and can open the door for Prithvi Shaw to showcase his caliber in the world cricket.

KL Rahul

This might be a quite surprising name in the list as the star Indian batsman KL Rahul has successfully carved a niche for himself with his excellent show in the three-match ODI series against Australia. The 27-year-old cricketer proved his brilliance not only with the bat but with the gloves also. When Dhawan got injured in the series-decider against Aussies, Rahul was given the responsibility to fill his boots. However, he failed to score well for the hosts as he went back to pavilion after amassing 19. With the inception of Shaw, Rahul’s hopes of becoming the first-choice opener for India might be put on hold once again. The right-handed batsman has already lost his place in the Test squad.

News Cricket

Sakshi reveals Dhoni’s massive bike collection to the world

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni’s wife Sakshi, shared pictures and videos of her husband’s bike collection on Instagram captioning it as, “Even bikes have a view.” Sakshi has tagged the picture with a location as “Dhoni Farm House Ring Road”. She then shared the video of the bike collection.

The two are quite active on social media, drawing the attention of millions. As soon as Sakshi posted the video, it was shared by many fans. MS Dhoni, as known to all, is a great lover of automobiles and he keeps sharing his vast collection of cars and bikes on social media.

The 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is reportedly the owner of several high-end vehicles including Ferrari 599 GTO, Hummer H2, the GMC Sierra when it comes to four-wheelers.

As far as two-wheeler is concerned, Mahi has some great range of bikes which include Kawasaki Ninja H2, Confederate Hellcat, BSA, Suzuki Hayabusa, and a Norton Vintage among others.

The former Indian captain has been on a sabbatical from cricket ever since India were knocked out of the 2019 World Cup. Recently, he was dropped from the BCCI’s list of centrally contracted players.

News Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar and Courtney Walsh to coach Australian teams in the bushfire relief match

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Courtney Walsh will coach the Aussie teams in the Bushfire Cricket Bash on February 8. It is going to be a charity match to raise funds for victims of Australia's bushfires.

The bushfire relief match will take place ahead of the Big Bash final with the venue to be confirmed on January 31. Before that double-header, the Australia and India women's teams will play their tri-series match in Melbourne, a situation can develop where the city hosts the trio of matches if the Melbourne Stars secure the BBL final at the MCG.

The former Test captains are the latest players joining Aussie greats Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson. India's Tendulkar and Windies fast bowler Walsh will coach teams skippered by Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne respectively. Steve Waugh and Australian coach Justin Langer will also have non-playing roles.

"We are absolutely honored to be welcoming Sachin and Courtney back to Australia where they both enjoyed a lot of success as players, and we can't wait to have them involved," said Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts.

Earlier, tennis superstar Serena Williams gave her US$43,000 WTA Auckland Classic winners' cheque to a bushfire relief fund, while an exhibition match featuring Roger Federer and other top players in Melbourne raised money ahead of this week's Australian Open.

The Bushfire Cricket Bash is one of a range of initiatives the sport has undertaken to raise funds for those impacted by the devastating bushfires around the country over the last few months.

News Cricket

Ishant twists ankle before the announcement of Test squad, doubtful for New Zealand series

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The senior paceman of the Indian team, Ishant Sharma has twisted his ankle and has been rested for the rest of Delhi’s Ranji Trophy encounter against defending champions Vidarbha, at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. If Sharma’s ankle injury gets serious, his availability for the tour of New Zealand might become doubtful, causing a serious dent to Indian’s chances.

“Ishant has twisted his ankle and it has swelled. It's looking pretty bad at the moment. We will not risk him again in this match," a senior Delhi team management member told PTI.

"If it's pure swelling, he will be fit in some days. He needs to go to NCA obviously and get his rehab done along with RTP (Return To Play) certificate," the team member added.

It was a short delivery, which rival skipper Faiz Fazal tried to pull only to see it hit his pads, prompting an optimistic Ishant to vociferously appeal on the follow-through before slipping suddenly.

Ishant looked in real pain as he hobbled off the ground with the help of support staff. His condition needed immediate medical attention.

The veteran of 96 Tests is expected to be in the Test squad for the New Zealand tour. But in case the injury turns out to be serious, he will be going to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for rehabilitation.

India are scheduled to play two Tests in New Zealand, from February 21-25 and February 29 to March 4, respectively.

News Cricket

Virender Sehwag wants India to persist with KL Rahul at No. 5 slot

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 January, 2020, 12:17 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag believes that KL Rahul, who came to bat at different positions in the recently-concluded ODI series against Australia, should play at number five in the limited-overs setup for the Virat Kohli-led side. Rahul lived up to the expectations of his teammates in the Mumbai ODI as he scored important 80 runs against Aaron Finch’s team.

Sehwag claimed that players used to get adequate chances to showcase their talent in the era of great batsman MS Dhoni, unlike the current scenario. He feels that the current Indian team management will change the slot of KL Rahul if he fails to perform at No. 5 a few times.

"If KL Rahul fails four times batting at No.5, the current Indian team management will look to change his slot. However, the same wasn't the case with Dhoni, who knew how important it is to back players at such positions, having himself gone through the hard grind.”

Sehwag also added that the management should give plenty of time to the players and back them in the hard times. If the selectors don’t give them time to learn and adapt to new things, they won’t be able to become big players.

"If you don't give players time, how else will they learn and become big players. I myself batted in the middle-order before opening and made a lot of mistakes, which even resulted in the team's losses. But you don't become a big player sitting outside on the bench. Players need time.”

News Cricket

Faf du Plessis refuses to retire after the ordinary performance against England

AP Updated: 21 January, 2020, 10:49 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Faf du Plessis' worth at the very beginning of his test career was measured — strangely for a batsman — by the time more than runs. He'll return to that at the end.

Du Plessis said Monday in the aftermath of a dispiriting innings defeat to England for his inexperienced South Africa side that he wasn't going to retire from tests just yet. Even when it's probably the right time for him personally to go.

“I felt that the team has needed a leader to stand up and try and guide the ship through a difficult time,” du Plessis said. "Yes, duty is one (of the reasons). If you leave the team when they need you most, that’s not my style.

“It’s just about trying to be the strongest leader that I can be for the team. For now, that's committing to this series. The worst thing a leader can do is pull the plug mid-series and say, ‘Sorry boys, I am out. I’ve had enough.’ I don’t think that's what leadership is about."

After losing to England in Port Elizabeth to go 2-1 down in the series with one game to come, du Plessis didn't once cite a reason why staying would be good for his own career when he wants to now concentrate on limited-overs cricket. All the indications are — including from du Plessis himself — that it's the right time to give up tests for him.

But South Africa has lost a large amount of experience in recent seasons to test retirements — AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn stand out. And the Proteas have been further drained by a host of players choosing overseas Kolpak club contracts over South Africa.

The team that lost to England in Port Elizabeth has five very new players and brand new coaching staff. They are all finding how tough test cricket can be at the start. The 35-year-old du Plessis, in his ninth year with the test team, is the stability in what he called “the toughest of times."

So, du Plessis will lead South Africa in the crucial, series-deciding final test against England in Johannesburg starting on Friday, when the Proteas need to win to save the series and avoid slipping further into the mire. But he will also then probably play one more series, he indicated a handover of leadership duties in the West Indies later in the year.

That'll be nearly a decade of service to South Africa's test team, first as a batsman than a captain as well.

Back at the beginning of that service, du Plessis made 110 not out on his test debut in Australia in 2012. It saved a test from a position of no hope. It was century but what really mattered to South Africa was not the runs but the time he stuck it out: Nearly eight hours over two days at the Adelaide Oval. That saved South Africa.

Du Plessis would clearly love to get one more century. It would be his 10th in tests and round it off nicely. His last hundred came more than a year ago and his lack of batting form has been an additional weight. And a century from du Plessis in Johannesburg would obviously be precious in the context of the England series. This can still be saved for South Africa, too.

But, like in Adelaide at the start, the most valuable thing du Plessis can give South Africa at the end of his career is his time. And he recognizes that once again even when there's far less to gain for him this time.

News Cricket

Virat and Anushka celebrate India’s win over Australia with Sunil Chhetri and his wife Sonam

Staff Writer Updated: 20 January, 2020, 4:14 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli-led India defeated Australia in the ODI series. He was joined by wife Anushka Sharma to celebrate the series win. The two were joined by close friends Sunil Chhetri and his wife Sonam Bhattacharjee.

Actually, the skipper of the Indian Football team, Sunil Chhetri and his wife Sonam Bhattacharya had invited Virushka for a dinner at their residence. Sonam took to Twitter to share a picture of their meeting.

"No phones (till we picked one up for this picture), no glance at the clock. Just four such different people speaking about everything under the sun."

She also wrote about the Indian skipper and his beautiful wife.

"It was lovely hosting the two of you for dinner. You two are all kinds of wonderful!"

Anushka and Virat had a gala time and the leading Bollywood actress wrote in the comments section that they enjoyed themselves.

"We had such a beautiful evening that don't be surprised if we land up at your house uninvited next time."

News Cricket

‘A Man for the Future’: Virat Kohli heaps praise on Australian sensation Marnus Labuschagne

Abhishek Singh Updated: 20 January, 2020, 4:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has said that Marnus Labuschagne, the Australian batting sensation, is going to be a player to watch out for in the future. The Indian Talisman further went on to say that Marnus has the right mindset to become a consistent performer “He’s got the right mindset to be a consistent player, to be a top player in the world for a while,” Kohli was quoted as saying.

Kohli, elated after the hard-fought series win over the Kangaroos, looked in a jovial mood in the press conference. “Just stay at the cover and catch the ball when he hits in the air,” said Kohli jokingly when asked whether he learned anything about the batsman that his team can use on the next tour of Australia.

Kohli further said that Australia’s newest run Machine, has proved himself at both the Tests and ODI level and he won’t be surprised if Labuschagne does equally well in the T20s. “He wants to be in important positions in the field. He’s shown that in Test cricket, he’s shown that in one-day cricket and if he plays T20 cricket, I am sure he’ll show that clarity there as well. He looks like a complete team man. He’s always and always energetic. He’s like a bunny running around,” added Kohli.

In 5 Tests this summer at home, Labuschagne scored a staggering 896 runs with the help of 4 tons including a career-best 215 as Australia won all the five Tests. In the just-concluded ODI series against India, he scored 100 runs in 2 innings.

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Glenn Maxwell is not in Aaron Finch’s plans, says he doesn't make Australia's top seven

Staff Writer Updated: 20 January, 2020, 3:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Glenn Maxwell was not picked for the tour of India despite being in red hot form in the ongoing Big Bash League. Virat Kohli was surprised to see the Aussie side without their star all-rounder, who was awarded the Man of the Series when Australia visited India in 2019.

"Honestly I did not look at the (squad) and I asked Aaron that have you got only 14... and asked 'Is Maxwell here?' and they said he is playing the BBL," said Kohli.

"I was a bit surprised that he wasn't here, especially the way he performed last time in the T20 series.

"He got a hundred in the last game and they won the series. So surprised not to see him because he brings the spinning option as well."

However, Aaron Finch had a different take on Maxwell's absence. He feels Maxwell is not in his plans as he doesn't make the top seven of the current squad.

"Outside the top seven at the moment," he said.

According to him, he can still come back. “It's about form, picking players for the right role. I think it's just going to come down to whichever way you want to match up, specific roles for specific players."