Irrespective of how it looks for the recently crowned ICC Cricket World Cup winners, as far as Test cricket is concerned, the first session post the World Cup could not have been more scintillating as England were brought down to earth with a strong dose of the Irish!
Ireland’s bowlers proved to be too hot to handle for the England cricket team still hung over from their stupendous and rather shocking final win over distraught New Zealand. Winning the final on technicalities after two ties – in the course of the match and the Super Over thereafter, the England cricket team were expected to be on a high ten days into the win although having to get down to business in preparation for the inauguration of the World Test championship and the upcoming Ashes series.
However, the rustiness of the switching over between formats, not to mention the difficulty of coming straight into the seriousness of the Test format, told on the top England batsmen, including those in prolific form in the course of the successful ICC Cricket World Cup campaign. They were thoroughly and fairly exposed on technique suggesting that while there were no demons in the pitch, the Ireland bowlers, particularly Tim Murtagh who walked off the field with a five-for for his efforts, were rewarded for sticking to their disciplines of line and length and walked away with a stupendous first session for any team in their inaugural Test debut at Lord’s.
While this kind of a hiccup could and sometimes does happen to teams on tour, in England’s case, it is particularly telling because of the fact that England have been so strenuously focused on the World Cup campaign and even talked about the emotional drain on the realization of a long cherished dream and a four year driven plan ad effort. That, however, even in the modern day context where within ten days teams are expected to change out of coloured clothing and limited overs mindset into their white flannels and the Test set up, is no excuse for the manner in which England went about their business with the bat. The fallacy of hurried behavior of the limited overs format showed up at Lord’s and not flatteringly for the hosts.
While Australia will be licking their lips from the sidelines at the first sign of vulnerability in the England batting line up, there is something to be said for warming up to a contest and it is would foolhardy to judge England on the one session alone. For a team that has been cooling its heels since playing its first two Tests in international cricket last year and fuming on the sidelines about truncated opportunities at the ICC Cricket World Cup events, for Ireland, irrespective of how the Test pans out, they have already made their case for more cricket exposure.
For the moment though, the Irish coffee has proved too strong for this first Test morning post the World Cup glory as far as England are concerned.
Former Indian cricketer and Member of Parliament Gautam Gambhir has hit back at rivals after their relentless attack on him following his absence from an anti-pollution meeting in Delhi. His missing posters had surfaced in the capital.
"If Delhi's pollution rose because I ate jalebis, then I can give up jalebis altogether," Gautam Gambhir told news agency ANI. "They started trolling me within 10 minutes...if they had invested so much effort in reducing pollution, we would have been able to breathe," he added.
Gambhir further added that he knew the importance of the meeting but was bound by professional commitment which he had given in January.
“I had signed the contract in January and I joined politics in April. Due to contractual obligations, I had to go for the commentary. On 11th November I received the mail and on the same day, I had informed them the reason for not attending the meeting,” news agency ANI quoted the East Delhi MP, as saying.
Bangladesh pacer Abu Jayed was the most successful bowler in the first Test match against India. He put India on the back foot by dismissing Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in quick succession. The young pacer was not finished with this and went on to pick two more key wickets. Abu looked confident and bowled brilliantly against the favourites. In order to capitalize and take more wickets in the second Test match, he has spoken to Mohammed Shami to seek guidance regarding the upcoming day-night Test match in Kolkata.
“I spoke with [Mohammad] Shami bhai yesterday [Saturday]. There are some similarities between him and me since we both use the seam. I have seen him bowl a lot of times and I paid extra attention to how he was bowling. I have compared his height to mine to find out if he is taller than me or of equal height. Then I figured maybe I could bowl like him,” Jayed was quoted as saying by icc-cricket.com about his tête-à-tête with Shami.
It was a dream come true for him when he dismissed Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
“I try to create more chances at times like these because they might take those ones. For example, Saif took a great catch which dismissed Pujara, it is also a part of cricket. It was an amazing feeling to dismiss the two best batsmen of our times. Getting Virat Kohli’s wicket was like a dream come true,” Jayed added.
Former cricketer of Pakistan Mushtaq Ahmed wants arch-rivals India and Pakistan to continue playing with each other as the two nations have not locked horns since 2012-13 in a bilateral series.
Ahmed feels that resuming the gentlemen’s game between the two cricket-loving nations will bring peace and harmony in the relations between India and Pakistan.
"I think cricketing ties should resume between India and Pakistan. I feel cricket has the ability to bind the two nations and improve their relationship. Cricket brings love, it brings joy and happiness to the fans.”
"Thus, it is important for both countries to play cricket against each other because fans want to watch them play.”
The 49-year-old Mushtaq Ahmed feels the iconic and intense matches between the two rival nations, India and Pakistan are loved more than the Ashes.
Former Pakistan’s great spinner claimed, “Whenever India and Pakistan meet, the cricket is highly competitive. In fact, the India-Pakistan series is bigger than the Ashes.”
Mushtaq, who feels cricket can play an important role in improving bilateral ties between the nations, further added, “When we play cricket, things will become easier. It provides politicians with a great opportunity to communicate and set things on the right track. And that's why I think communication needs to be there between the two governments.”
Gautam Gambhir had blamed MS Dhoni for missing out on a sure shot hundred in the finale of the World Cup in 2011. The former cricketer, who scored 97 runs in the all-important game, was dismissed by Thisara Perera. According to him, Dhoni’s reminder had distracted him which led to his dismissal. He revealed that Dhoni reminded him that he was three runs short of his ton, which proved fatal for him in the end.
“I remember that when an over was completed, I and Dhoni were at the crease. He told me that ‘these three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed," Gambhir said in an interview.
“Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka’s target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred.
“That’s why, till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred (took over). That’s why it’s so important to remain in the present… when I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn’t get those three runs,” he added.
His claims didn't go down well with fans as they brutally trolled him on Twitter.
The cricket-mad nation India is going to witness maiden day-night pink-ball Test between Virat Kohli-led team and Bangladesh at the famous Eden Gardens, starting from November 22.
After Team India won the 1st Test, the ‘city of joy’ Kolkata is buzzing with preparations to host and celebrate the historic occasion for India.
The match will be special for ‘Bangla Tigers’ as well as they will also be featuring in a pink ball Test for the first time.
This match will be different from the earlier pink-ball Tests because of many reasons.
After long advocacy of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, Virat Kohli-led team has agreed to play their first Test under the lights.
India’s second-biggest city Kolkata is already illuminated with pink lights on all its major buildings, parks, and landmarks to celebrate the first-ever pink-ball Test.
To beautify and paint the walls of the Kolkata, over 20 artists are working day and night to make the historic moment memorable.
The BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has unveiled ‘ Pinku and Tinku’, the two mascots of the pink ball Test. This move has been hailed by kids, who are in love with Pinku and Tinku’.
A large pink balloon was also released at the venue and it will be seen floating till the end of the match.
Six LED boards will create awareness and branded buses will run in the city to take crazy fans to Eden Gardens
Army paratroopers will hand over the pink balls to both the captains to kick-start their pink-ball Test under the lights.
Virat Kohli after taking a 1-0 lead in the ongoing Test series against ‘Bangla Tigers’ had said, “The pink-ball Test is going to be exciting, will be a challenge for the batters. With the older ball, it doesn't swing that much so the bowlers will have a challenge. We're just happy to be among the first to play pink-ball cricket for India.”
Mushfiqur Rahim top-scored with a gritty 64 before he fell to off-spinner Ashwin during the first match against India.
India declared on score of 493-6 and Bangladesh was quickly in trouble as it slumped to 72-5 before Mushfiqur and wicketkeeper Liton Das staged a mini recovery by sharing a stand of 63 for the sixth wicket.
Das hit six fours in a lively 39-ball 35 before Ashwin removed him with a sharp return catch.
Mushfiqur then put on 59 for the seventh wicket with Mehedi Hasan but their partnership was broken when Hasan was bowled by paceman Umesh Yadav for 38.
Bangladesh’s last hope disappeared when Mushfiqur was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara off Ashwin.
The former skipper has given up on his wicket-keeping in Test cricket to concentrate on batting. He was trolled by cricket fans during the course of India's batting.
The veteran was fielding near the boundary line when the crowd started pulling his leg.
“2 Rs ki Pepsi, Rahim bhai s*x*," they shouted.
The video has gone viral and the fans are giving hilarious reactions.
Rahul Dravid is always around for junior Indian cricketers. He is the only one who is taking the Indian cricket forward by nurturing young talent. Prithvi Shaw, who recently made a comeback after completing his ban period, has stated that Rahul Dravid ensured that he remains in a positive frame of mind during tough times. Shaw was banned for consuming a cough syrup, which had a prohibited substance.
The right-handed batsman made an impressive comeback by scoring 63 runs off 39 balls while playing for Mumbai against Assam in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Speaking after the match, Shaw acknowledged current NCA head coach Rahul Dravid’s help during the ban period.
“I had never thought that something like this would happen. I was obviously upset. For the first 20-25 days after I was banned, I was not able to understand how did it happen. Time passed by. I went to London and chilled out there as I was not allowed to practice till September 15,” said Shaw as quoted by India Today.
“There was nothing in my mind. I couldn’t have done anything about the ban. After returning from London, Rahul (Dravid) sir called me to the NCA for training. There I went through a series of fitness tests like yo-yo,” he went on to add.
Team India continued their impressive run in Tests in 2019 with a comprehensive innings and 130-run triumph over Bangladesh at Indore. As has been the case in recent times, pace bowling it was that dominated the proceedings even though the Test match was played in India.
Mohammed Shami was the standout performer with 3 for 27 and 4 for 31 in the two innings, as Bangladesh batsmen could not stand up to his fiery spells. Courtesy his effort at Indore, Shami broke into the top 10 of Test bowling rankings. Shami has moved up eight spots, and is now at number seven in the bowling rankings. He has 749 rating points.
Shami is, in fact, the leading wicket-taker for India in Tests this year. In 7 Tests, he has picked up 31 wickets at an average of 15.22 and a strike rate of 34 with one five-wicket haul. Shami’s best performance this year, unless he betters it at Eden Gardens, came at Visakhapatnam when he picked up 5 for 35 to run through South Africa in the second innings. Shami bowled India to victory by 203 runs after Mayank Agarwal’s 215 and Rohit Sharma’s 176.
The pacer from Bengal shone in the Test against the Proteas at Ranchi as well. After picking up 2 for 22 in the first innings, he was sensational in the second innings with 3 for 10. Shami sent back Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma in one unplayable spell as India rolled over South Africa for 133 after they were asked to follow-on. Shami was the star in the second innings of the Kingston Test against West Indies as well, picking up 3 for 58 as India won the game by 257 runs.
While Shami has taken it upon himself to lead the pace attack in injured Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, Ishant Sharma has quietly slipped into the role of senior pro, keeping things tight at one end while also claiming some crucial scalps. The lanky Sharma has featured in five Tests this year and has claimed 16 wickets at an impressive average of 19.43 and a strike rate of 41.5.
Ishant’s best performance this year, so far, came in the North Sound Test against West Indies when he picked up 5 for 43 in West Indies’ first innings. The Windies, replying to India’s 297 build around Ajinkya Rahane’s 81, were restricted to 222. Sharma got the wickets of Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer to keep India ahead in the contest. He also claimed 3 for 31 in West Indies’ second innings to finish with a match tally of eight wickets.
The injury to Bumrah gave Vidarbha pacer Umesh Yadav’s Test career a fresh lease of life, and the hungry bowler has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. In three Tests, he has 15 scalps to his name at an average of 15.46 and a strike rate of 27.0. Yadav claimed 3 for 37 in South Africa’s first innings at Pune, sending back the top three with his potent pace. He claimed another three in the second to cap a perfect comeback. At Ranchi, Yadav continued his impressive return, finishing with five wickets in the game. At Indore against Bangladesh as well he claimed 2 for 47 and 2 for 51 in the two innings.
Although, Bumrah is out injured, he made his mark even in the three Tests he featured in. His 6 for 27 in the Kingston Test broke the back of West Indies in the first innings. During the performance, Burmah also became the third Indian to claim a Test hat-trick. The supreme effort followed the 5 for 7 he finished with in West Indies’ second innings at North Sound, as the hosts crumbled to 100 all-out chasing 419.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have been one of the most under-performing teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL). After reaching the final in 2016, they are back to performing at their ordinary selves. Change of management, chopping and changing of players drastically and a clear roadmap have lacked in the RCB set-up. Like every year, the issue has been an over dependence on skipper Virat Kohli, who has gone on to score most runs for the side every time around.
When you look at the last three seasons, RCB struggled big time. They never quite had the understanding and an unsettled XI hurt their cause. From poor fielding, ordinary bowling to collapses in batting, RCB never quite reached the heights like in 2016. As the side chases its maiden trophy, the 13th edition of the IPL will be a crucial one for the side. In the recently concluded IPL trading window, RCB didn't do any business. However, they released a total of 12 players ahead of next month's auction in Kolkata.
RCB did away with several stars in the line-up, especially the foreign recruits. Now it remains to be seen how the team deals with the auction in terms of players bought. That will give us an indication of the strengths and weaknesses. However, Kohli will be the cynosure of all eyes especially in how he sets his side out and gets the players perform to a level that is meant for champions. RCB need a lot of freshness and cannot be plagued by inconsistency and the hangover of recent years.
Kohli will need to better his captaincy in the IPL and also expect his prime assets in the side to go out and deliver on a consistent basis. A title can only be won if everyone chips in together. Going by RCB's history and their flattery to deceive, it looks like a Herculean task for Kohli to lead his side to IPL glory. Going by what we have witnessed over time and given that RCB will once again be surrounded by new players, we feel Kohli's side can best finish in the lower half of the table.
Last month, former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly was formally elected unopposed as the new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president. Ganguly formally took over as the new boss at the apex body's Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Ganguly is in line to serve as president for 9 months as the "Cooling Off" period clause in the new BCCI constitution makes it mandatory for board officials to step down after 6 years in office. That was on the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee.
There have been calls from many corners including former cricketer Gautam Gambhir of wanting the officials to make a change in order to extend Ganguly's stay.
Like Gambhir said, Ganguly can contribute in this aspect. Ganguly is one of the rare personalities who is a true leader and he excels at helping things grow around him. He has a clear mind and a vision to help Indian cricket for the long run.
Another strong factor is that the domestic cricketers will benefit at large. He has already planned in introducing a contract system for First-Class cricketers. Also, this will help the cricketers at large as they will get a secured payment structure. Going forward, more facilities could be brought to players by Dada.
Ganguly can bring the zeal and interest of fans back to Test cricket. With the ICC Test Championship on, Dada can better the India's Test cricket sphere. He has already introduced the Day-Night Test for Team India and this could just be the start.
Dada is highly experienced and has been associated with CAB earlier. He knows the demands of the job and he will continue to bring in a strong culture. Under his leadership, Indian cricket will move along well.
When you look at other nations especially County Cricket in England, one gets to see foreign players be involved in domestic cricket. With Dada, one might see several foreign players feature in India's domestic cricket to bring in more competition. It will also benefit one and all.
Virat Kohli enjoys playing Test cricket as it is close to his heart. He feels this format of the game should be promoted in order to keep it alive. Time and again, Virat has shared his views on Test cricket and has revealed ways to make Test matches more interesting for the viewers. His team will play its first ever day-night Test match against Bangladesh on Friday at the famous Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Ahead of this historical moment, Sourav Ganguly and his team in the BCCI is working day and night to make the first pink ball Test in India a memorable one.
According to Ganguly, Virat Kohli will witness a full house for day-night Test at the Eden Gardens.
"He is a great player and he should be playing in front of a packed house. He will be happy to see it full house when he walks out to bat on day one. You will love the atmosphere at the Eden so come and watch," Ganguly said. "You can't have greats of the Indian cricket play in front of empty stands. And here you will have full house for the first three days," he added.
Ganguly also spoke about the rejuvenation.
"It happens all around the world. Somewhere it had to start. India is the biggest country in terms of cricket. I think that rejuvenation was important," the BCCI president said.
"The challenge was to get people back into the ground. An India-Pakistan match would anyways get filled anywhere in the world. You just announce it and the crowd will be filled," the former India skipper said. "This was much more difficult and we managed to fill 65,000 on each of the first three days. It feels more satisfying," he added.
As teams such as Bangladesh continue to source their competitive spirit for reasons other than qualifying at the end stages of the first ICC World Test Championship, a points revision could well bring about a more equitable distribution of points on the basis of merit.
At the end of the home series against South Africa, Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, touched upon the fact that he would have liked to have seen overseas Test wins awarded greater points. It is not hard to see the Indian skipper’s motivations given that less than a year ago, India pulled off their first major Test series win in Australia in seven decades. With the goal of changing India’s otherwise abysmal away series records, naturally Kohli would see a greater impetus to push his team on foreign tours with the added points on offer.
However, Kohli is not alone in stating that angst. In fact it was one of the issues raised when the points system was revealed to the public. With each Test win garnering points but no additional bonus points for a series win, it seemed that the ICC World Test championship had missed a beat. With every team continuing to favour its own home advantage matches, the need for self-preservation becomes predominant instead of daring to win abroad.
With more and more Tests increasingly becoming a case of players playing well in home conditions but not putting in the yards necessarily when it comes to playing abroad – overloaded schedule being one of the factors to blame, overlooking the idea of rewarding teams for winning away from home is an obvious miss.
The early days of the inaugural ICC World Test championship have revealed yet another loophole. With the Future Tours Programme (FTP) being unequal between teams in the sense that the decisions of the individual cricket boards had approved each team’s itinerary in the cycle, there were going to be some teams being tested to the mettle with stiffer challenges whereas some teams the beneficiary of unevenly matches contests as the one between India and Bangladesh is expected to be.
In such a situation, the ICC World Test championship points system could have been a more complicated but fairer system if it acknowledged and rewarded lower ranked teams for beating a top ranked team. With the system currently rewarding every team for a Test win, there is little differentiation between the quality of the opposition or the venue of the competition which are factors that determine the outcome of a Test match contest.
In the absence of such crucial demarcation, there is a sense of a flat rate for all teams but also, a lack of depth and substance to the nature of the contests being waged.
The Indian juggernaut just rolls on and on, seemingly unstoppable and in fact going from strength to strength setting up records and landmarks along the way. Three successive innings victories, six wins in a row and so on. The ruthlessness is symbolized by victories inside three days and that is the hallmark of a No 1 side – to win by the biggest possible margin in the shortest possible time. All the really great teams in the history of the game – recent examples being the West Indian sides of 80s and early 90s and the Australian team of the late 90s and the early years of the new millennium – have brushed aside the opposition in a similar emphatic fashion.
So it is perhaps not a surprise that a debate has started as to whether this Indian team is on its way to becoming one of the greatest of all time. On results and in the manner in which they have taken a runaway lead in the ICC Test Championship table there is little doubt that the Indian squad is an awesome one, clearly the finest in Indian cricket history. The batting is formidable, the fast men constitute the best Indian pace attack of all time by a distance, the rich spin bowling tradition remains strong and they are led by a charismatic captain who inspires his teammates to perform above their potential. Plainly put Indian cricket has never had it so good.
But does it really compare favorably with the greatest squads of all time? Generally in this category we have the two examples listed above as well as Don Bradman’s Invincibles of the late forties. Indeed the Australians laid the first benchmark of the really formidable squads by remaining unbeaten in 25 Tests between 1946 and 1951. This stood as the record till England surpassed it by remaining unconquered in 26 Tests between 1968 and 1971. The present record however is held by the West Indies who were unbeaten in 27 Tests from 1981 to 1984.
While this is an important stat in determining the really great sides another yardstick is the number of successive victories. The West Indians of the 80s set the ball rolling by winning eleven consecutive Tests in 1984 which was a remarkable feat cementing their position as an all- conquering side. But then Australia stretched the record to 16 wins on the trot from 1999 to 2001 and what’s more they repeated the feat in the period 2005 – 2008. Interestingly it was India who on both occasions ended their run, the first in the famous Kolkata Test and the second time around in Perth.
However outstanding the current Indian side is to join the ranks of the truly great one reckons it has to match at least one, if not both feats to really take their place among the greatest of all time even as they continue with their fabulous run of successes.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix for his eighth career victory in a race which ended badly for both Ferrari drivers.
It also finished poorly for six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin near the end and deprived him of his first podium. A post-race five-second punishment for Hamilton demoted the Mercedes driver from third to seventh place.
Brazil marked Verstappen’s third win this season, after victories in Austria and Germany. He started from pole position in Sao Paulo — the second pole of his career.
The result moved the 22-year-old Verstappen to third place in the driver’s championship, already won by Hamilton. Verstappen is 11 points ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with only the Abu Dhabi GP on Dec. 1 to go.
The victory in Brazil gives some relief to Verstappen, who in 2018 led here for much of the race but finished second after touching backmarker Esteban Ocon’s car. The Dutch driver had an angry altercation with Ocon afterward, and the race was won by Hamilton.
This year was different, with Verstappen appearing mostly unstoppable all weekend long.
Unlike the Ferraris. A dramatic late collision on the 66th lap at Interlagos between four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc happened when they were fighting for fourth position. Both failed to finish.
On team radio, Vettel blamed Leclerc for a puncture that caused him to stop. Leclerc was forced out shortly after. The light contact gave Vettel a right-rear puncture, while Leclerc had a broken suspension.
After the race, both drivers said they were “disappointed,” but refused to expand on what had happened between them.
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