Federer wins 1,232 tour singles match

AP Updated: 22 October, 2019, 10:43 AM IST


Playing in his 1,500th tour-level match, Roger Federer needed just 53 minutes to cruise past German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-1 Monday at his hometown Swiss Indoors event.

The nine-time Basel champion hit 12 aces in the first-round match to extend his winning streak at St. Jakobhalle to 21 straight matches, and improve his ATP career record to 1,232 wins and 268 losses.

The 38-year-old Swiss is top-seeded this week as he looks to add to his 102 career tour titles.

Federer won the last four times he played the Swiss Indoors — missing the 2016 edition through injury — since a 2013 final loss against Juan Martin del Potro.

He next plays 33rd-ranked Dusan Lajovic or 49th-ranked Radu Albot.

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News Cricket

Shami, Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah, Umesh Yadav are role models for youngsters - Rahul Dravid

Staff Writer Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:33 PM IST


Indian pacers have surprised even their opponents with remarkable consistency in the last few years. Be it Asia or tough conditions of other countries, fast bowlers from India have stamped their authority. Their display has ensured that India are ahead of its competitors in the ongoing World Test Championship. Former India skipper Rahul Dravid is mighty pleased with the way pacers have bowled in the recent times. He believes they are going to influence the budding cricketers to take up fast bowling as career option.

“What Ishant, Shami, Umesh, Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) and Bumrah are doing is they are actually in a way becoming role models for a younger generation of boys, who believe now they can be successful as fast bowlers in India. I think it is great to see,” Dravid was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

“Obviously we had people like Kapil (Dev), Sri (Javagal Srinath), Zaheer (Khan) in the past. But now, as a group, probably this is one of the best fast bowling attacks we have ever had. I think that’s a great inspiration for a lot of these young boys,” Dravid added.

He further added that there are a couple of good fast bowlers at the junior level as well.

“Now, at the under-19 level, we have very good fast bowlers. Last time (during the 2018 under-19 World Cup), we had three of them — Kamlesh (Nagarkoti), Shivam (Mavi) and Ishan (Porel). This year, you will also see some good fast bowlers in the team. That’s been fantastic. I think when you have role models and you have heroes like the senior team (it’s encouraging).”

News Cricket

Wasim Akram worried by Yasir Shah’s send-off to world’s best batsman Steve Smith

Staff Writer Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:31 PM IST


Steve Smith failed to score runs in the only innings of the first Test match between Australia and Pakistan. He was dismissed by Yasir Shah for the seventh time in his career, and the way Pakistani bowler celebrated, was widely covered. However, Wasim Akram is a worried man after Smith's statement about his dismissal performance against Pakistan's leg spinner. Smith had promised to take care of his performance in the second Test.

“You know in our times, when I played I didn’t bother with how many times I got out who,” Akram told foxsports.com.au.

“It was the last thing on our minds. Nowadays, with stats, people know everything.

“But I, as a bowler, (worried about) ‘am I impacting the game or not? Am I winning the game for Pakistan or vice versa?’ If not, that doesn’t matter if I’ve got him seven times. It was just an inexperienced mistake. I hope he hasn’t poked the bear there.”

Wasim refused to categories Yasir's mistake as 'unwise'.

“Not unwise … I wouldn’t have done it. I would have done it in the fourth innings if I got him out the second time winning the Test match. But not when you’re losing badly.”

News Cricket

VVS Laxman wants KL Rahul to open with Rohit Sharma in T20I matches

Tarun Singh Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:29 PM IST


India, after recording its 12th consecutive Test series win at home by thrashing Bangladesh recently, will lock the horns with West Indies at home.

Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has suggested a new opening partner for Rohit Sharma in the upcoming T20I series against West Indies.

VVS Laxman expressed that KL Rahul, who performed well at batting order number 3 during Kohli’s break from cricket, should now be promoted to open the game with Rohit Sharma.

“The big question is that with Virat Kohli back and K.L. Rahul doing a good job batting at number three so then where will he fit? I believe that it is time that K.L. Rahul opens with Rohit Sharma. I would definitely have Rahul open with Rohit for the West Indies Series.”

India skipper Kohli is back in the team, but the opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out due to his knee injury picked up in a domestic game.

This scenario is strengthening the possibility of KL Rahul to open the innings with Rohit Sharma against West Indies.

VVS Laxman also hailed Shreyas Iyer for his heroics and his batting prowess shown in the Twenty20 match against Bangladesh in Nagpur.

“I was very impressed with the way Shreyas Iyer has batted so far. The best part about him was when during the last T20 International in Nagpur when India lost their top 3 batsmen, he had the ability to assess the condition very well and was very versatile in his approach.”

News Cricket

Sanjay Bangar wants ‘match-winner’ Kuldeep Yadav to be backed by team management

Tarun Singh Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:28 PM IST


Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar came out to back Kuldeep Yadav amid his difficult phase, stating it is important to support Kuldeep as he is a match-winner.

"I'm a massive Kuldeep Yadav fan and in terms of strike rates you see he is the quickest to 100 ODI wickets and even in the shorter format, if you look at the match we won in England, he picked up five wickets at a time where the opposition was running away from the match," Bangar told.

The wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav is going through a lean patch in his cricket career, and he has found himself out of the T20I squad for the most part of the year 2019.

Yadav has been neglected by the team management this year, especially since the last edition of IPL where he had a couple of poor games.

However, Sanjay Bangar has complete faith in Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling prowess and he would not rule out Yadav on the basis of his two bad games in IPL.

"I wouldn't count out Kuldeep Yadav, it's just that he's had a couple of poor games in the IPL last season. For him, this IPL is going to be a massive factor and if he does really well, it will be very hard to keep him out,” Bangar further added"

Kuldeep Yadav has recently received a call-up for the upcoming Twenty20 series against West Indies at home.

Feature Cricket

The resurgence of Ishant Sharma

Partab Ramchand Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:27 PM IST


The Indian fast bowling quintet is very much the topic of discussion in cricket circles and why not? They have all been superb for some time now having played a leading role in the highly successful run the team is enjoying. Each of the five bowlers has an interesting background but surely Ishant Sharma tops the list. The ups and downs that he has had over these last 12 years and the resurgence he has experienced in the last couple of years has been nothing short of remarkable. He has had to endure injuries, bad patches and jokes about his non-performance at these times but he has overcome all this and is currently undergoing a metamorphosis that has seen the stats against his name get better and better.

When he exploded on the scene in Australia in 2007-08 he was hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket. Steve Waugh, Damien Fleming, Richard Hadlee and Ricky Ponting were effusive in their praise of the tall 19-year-old fast bowler who was making the ball fly about disconcertingly. He gave Ponting a harrowing time when the Australian captain was in the midst of a golden run and during the CB Series one delivery was timed at almost 153kmph making him the fastest Indian bowler of all time. He was hailed as Indian cricket’s next superstar and for some time he could do no wrong.

Then suddenly he couldn’t do a thing right. While the pace still remained around the 140 kmph mark the zing that accompanied it was missing. He was wayward, lost much of his rhythm and was just not in the zone. He still commanded a place in the side in all three formats so was it a case of too much cricket? In any event the strike rate, the economy rate and the average came in for much derisive comment. With an average of around 37 he had the worst figures for any specialist bowler with 200 wickets in Test history.

In the last couple of years however Ishant has been back to his glorious best knocking down stumps and sending down deliveries that have beaten batsmen for pace and swing. He is now more brain than brawn, cutting down on his speed and varying his deliveries so admirably that he is extremely deceptive. The strike rate and economy rate are much better and his career average is now 32.68. Of course he now plays only Tests so that has undoubtedly helped as also the fact that with plenty of competition around Ishant at 31 cannot afford to lag behind. Indeed he has risen to the occasion and struck up a good combination with his younger teammates. And as he approaches two important landmarks – 100 Tests and 300 wickets – Ishant is confidence personified.

Feature Cricket

Gavaskar’s History Lesson for Kohli

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:24 PM IST


Stung at being overlooked in the accolades, former Indian cricketer and captain, Sunil Gavaskar, took a jibe at the current Indian captain, Virat Kohli. In the race for being known as pathbreakers, Gavaskar certainly did not appreciate the team of his times being overlooked when it came to overseas records.

In what seemed like a harmless comment on the part of the current Indian skipper got the goat of the former cricketer turned commentator who let the viewers know on air that Virat Kohli’s knowledge of the game was far from adequate.

In a stinging and stunning turn of events, Gavaskar even stated at the end of the first ever day and night Test cricket at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata that “We were winning even before Kohli was born.”

Gavaskar is not wrong in stating that India did get in a few series wins in the 1970’s and 1980’s before the advent of Sourav Ganguly as India’s captain. However, it was under Ganguly’s leadership that India developed a more robust outlook that neither gave an inch nor took one. That bluster and bravado actually paid off as it was under Ganguly’s unpopular choice as captaincy, the ratio of wins in terms of Test matches turned favourably for captains.

When Virat Kohli mentioned at the post match press conference that Ganguly was the one to teach the Indian team to stand up and fight back, Kohli was talking about ideologies and the policies of the Indian cricket team as he viewed as a young impressionable boy. This is from the perspective since he began to follow the game. It was, in no way, a retelling of history.

Gavaskar though would not cut the Indian captain slack, despite the fact that the Indian cricket captain became the first batsman to score a Test century under floodlights. Instead he ripped, in his own way, into the idea that he thought Kohli was perpetuating by claiming that cricket did not begin in the 2000’s. Point taken, Mr. Gavaskar.

But what beats the mind is that Gavaskar would think Kohli was merely trying to score brownie points by mentioning the current BCCI chief in the latter’s presence.

That someone of the stature and standing that Gavaskar enjoys would even make the allusion seems like taking cheap potshots at the current Indian captain who has not only taken his cricket to great heights but also, taken the Indian cricket team to a much stronger position. It would seem that this would be the least offending remark on the part of Kohli and certainly not one to rile Gavaskar to speak the way he did.

There is little doubt the world over that sometimes legends are forgotten and consigned to the history books. But with the occasion replete with honouring legacy with the parade of former champions even as Test cricket in India marked a new chapter, this was an unusual moment when Gavaskar felt slighted and took it out on the current Indian captain.

Opinion Cricket

Why is Virat Kohli reluctant to play day-night Test matches?

CT Contributor Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:22 PM IST


Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli welcomed the move by BCCI to hold the side's first-ever day-night Test match against Bangladesh last week. India won that match by an innings and 46 runs to seal the series by a 2-0 margin. Kohli looked satisfied after the format was a success which drew a lot of fans and had several dignitaries attending the historical match. However, the 31-year-old said he doesn't want day-night Test to be the only version in the longest format in the near future.

Kohli said he still prefers the regular version and wants fans who understand Test cricket to attend the same. "This can be a one-off thing. It should not in my opinion become a regular scenario, because then you are losing out on that nervousness of the first session in the morning," Kohli had told reporters at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

"The entertainment of Test cricket lies in the fact that the batsman is trying to survive a session and the bowler trying to get a batsman out," he added. The day-night Tests have been aimed at increasing crowds and TV audiences for the longer format. It was successfully introduced in 2015 when Australia played New Zealand in Adelaide.

India had kept away, with its cricket board last year refusing to play a day-night Test in Adelaide. "Obviously, we wanted to get a feel of pink-ball cricket. Eventually it had to happen," said Kohli.

Going by his comments, Kohli is not someone who is advocating day-night Test on a regular manner. He prefers the older version and has always backed Test cricket. However, he isn't completely reluctant either. The Indian skipper is open to playing day-night Test next against Australia when the side visits Down Under end of 2020. He said India should be given a practice match ahead of the same.

Kohli has his own reasons and we should support him. Yes, day-night Test should be encouraged, however, it should not be the only version of Test cricket. We can have a match here and there. When India do host teams for 3 Tests or more, one match should be a day-night affair. Other venues should come into the picture like BCCI President Sourav Ganguly pointed out. Test cricket needs more excitement. The format has had a slow death in recent years with T20 cricket being the preferred choice.

However, there should be a collective approach to sort this. From lively pitches, association with fans and other aspects, one can perhaps see it get back to its feet. Day-night Test is one of those aspects that can help.

News Cricket

Why Jacques Kallis shaved half of his beard & moustache?

Staff Writer Updated: 29 November, 2019, 5:00 PM IST


Former South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis surprised everyone when he posted a picture of him with half shaved beard and moustache. The fans were amused with his new look and wanted to know the reason behind this move of the veteran cricketer.

"Going to be an interesting few days. All for a good cause Rhinos and golf development @alfreddunhill," wrote Kallis in his Instagram post.

He has taken up 'Save The Rhino' challenge in his country which required him to shave half of his facial and chest hair to raise awareness among the masses. This effort will also help in raising money to save the rhino population in South Africa.

Apart from Kallis, former cricketers like Kevin Pietersen and Mark Boucher are also associated with such projects. Time and again, they have urged people to come forward in their fight against poaching of Rhinos.

Even Rohit Sharma has advocated the need of working for the survival of Rhinos.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid is disappointed with IPL franchises, wants them to hire Indian coaches

Tarun Singh Updated: 29 November, 2019, 2:34 PM IST


Former Indian cricketer and currently the National Cricket Academy (NCA) Director Rahul Dravid has expressed his displeasure over lack of opportunities for Indian coaches in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"I believe we've got some very good coaches, a lot of good people. I'm fully confident [in their ability]. Just as we have a lot of talent in the cricket department, we have a lot of talent in the coaching department,” quoted Dravid.

Rahul Dravid believes that the Indian coaches would train and understand the players better than the foreign coaches in the league.

"Honestly, there are so many Indian players in the IPL, there's so much of local knowledge [among our coaches]. I feel a lot of teams could actually benefit from using a lot of our Indian coaches in the IPL. They know the Indian players better, they understand them better. Even as assistant coaches... there is a lot of talent and ability. It just needs to be given the opportunity, and flourish."

Indian Premier League (IPL) has played a crucial role in the development of fresh talents in Indian cricket.

Many key players of Team India have been produced by (IPL) like Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Deepak Chahar.

However, Rahul Dravid feels that the IPL teams could not utilize many talented Indian coaches by not giving them enough opportunities to coach.

"A part of our goal is to create a program for coaches as well so that we can give them certain skills in which they can develop - and hopefully then get the opportunities to work at a slightly higher level.”

"I think a lot of IPL teams miss a trick by not using more domestic talent in the coaching area and the talent identification area, even if it is as assistants. That's my personal opinion,” Dravid further added.

News Cricket

Anil Kumble clicks tigress ‘Maya’ fighting with rival to save her territory

Tarun Singh Updated: 29 November, 2019, 12:41 PM IST


The humble, Anil Kumble was not only one of the deadliest spinners of his time, but he is also the founder of the ‘Jumbo foundation’ which primarily focuses on wildlife conservation. Former India captain Kumble, who is passionate about wildlife photography, tweeted a sequence of pictures depicting a fight between two tigresses.

The images show ‘Maya’, the most popular and crowd puller tigress of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra.

Kumble in his tweet explained that ‘Maya’ the tigress was battling with another tigress to save her territory.

Kumble Tweeted, “I had a once in a lifetime sighting of Maya the tigress in #Tadoba, who was protecting her territory from another tigress. The sequence of pictures shared depicts the ferocious chase that culminated in a fight and a civilised way of asking the intruder to leave her territory.”

The wildlife enthusiast Kumble replied to his own tweet and shared another picture of the two tigresses standing face to face and also revealed that the moments were captured in May 2019.

The fans on Twitter have applauded Anil Kumble for always standing-tall for conserving and protecting the majestic-beast Tiger. The fans also praised Anil Kumble’s stunning photography skills.

News Cricket

42% Indians will cancel their honeymoon for cricket finale – Survey

Staff Writer Updated: 28 November, 2019, 5:35 PM IST


Cricket fanatics in India can do anything for their beloved sport. We have seen fans worshiping cricketers like their respective gods. A recent survey has revealed the passionate level of Indian fans.

According to the survey, 42 percent of Indian fans would cancel their honeymoon if it is on the day of some big finale. As per the report, 44 percent Indian sports fans are all set to watch their national team or favourite player playing in an international tournament within the next year.

Moreover, 88 percent of cricket fans believed that they will see their team or player win a big event in the next four years. 41 percent of Indians are ready to lose their jobs rather than missing a historic sporting finale.

The fans came in large numbers during the pink-ball Test between India and Bangladesh at the iconic Eden Gardens.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma a big hit among advertisers, expects to earn Rs 73-75 crore from 22 brands

Staff Writer Updated: 28 November, 2019, 5:34 PM IST


Rohit Sharma is one of the best batsmen in international cricket. The right-hand batsman is scoring runs for fun in the ongoing year. While he was the highest run-getter in the last edition of the World Cup in England and Wales, Rohit has made a sudden mark as an opener in Whites. According to a report in Economic Times, his exceptional form has not gone unnoticed. The limited-overs vice-captain is in great demand among the brands. He has been signed by ten new brands taking his overall tally to 22.

“The brand Rohit Sharma has seamlessly evolved over the last few years and has created a niche market for itself. His on field performance has rapidly advanced and complimented to our off-field strategy, offering a very exciting option for brands,” said Nikhil Bardia, head of sponsorship sales at IMG-Reliance as quoted by Economic Times.

He is now expected to earn Rs 73-75 Crore from the total 22 brands that he endorses.

News Cricket

Dhoni could return to play for India if both Pant and Samson fail to impress – VVS Laxman

Staff Writer Updated: 28 November, 2019, 5:32 PM IST


MS Dhoni has not given any affirmative answer on his possible return to international cricket. When he was asked about his future plans, he dogged the question. "January tak mat poocho (don't ask me till January)," said Dhoni.

Meanwhile, VVS Laxman feels that the former skipper could only return to play for India again if both Pant and Samson failed to impress.

"I think MS Dhoni will wait with patience to see the performance of Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson. Whenever he gets an opportunity and he will take a call after the IPL because the way I am seeing it, MS Dhoni is preparing himself for the IPL. I'm sure he will do well like he has done whenever he plays and leads CSK," said Laxman about Dhoni's future.

"If both these youngsters don't grab their opportunities, probably there is a thought that MS Dhoni can come back provided he shows that form in the IPL leading up to the World Cup.

"At the moment Rishabh Pant would be the first choice, his back up would be Sanju Samson and if both these youngsters don't grab these opportunities then you can probably look at MS Dhoni, keeping mind how he performs in the IPL," he added.

News Cricket

Shastri gets trolled again after he posts pictures with 'one of India's greatest' Anil Kumble

Staff Writer Updated: 28 November, 2019, 3:37 PM IST


Cricket fans are after Ravi Shastri. No matter what he does, fans find one way or another to mock him. The Indian head coach shared two pictures with for coach Kumble and wrote: “Great to catch up with one of India’s greatest – Anil Kumble". He was instantly trolled by keyboard warriors.

Kumble had to leave the post of India's head coach after his differences with Virat Kohli and was replaced by Ravi Shastri. In the picture shared by Shastri, he can be seen laughing with Kumble and India's batting coach Vikram Rathore.

Ravi Shastri expressed his satisfaction after Virat Kohli-led team defeated Bangladesh in the first-ever day-night Test match in India. He spoke about the performance of players.

"For me, the intensity shown by this team is fabulous. The way they have bounced back after those 15 minutes in Manchester. That was a bitter pill to swallow and hurt one and all. But then, the ferocity and intensity they have shown after that in the last three months is unbelievable. This is remarkable and that is why I say if you look back 5-6 years, this will have to be one of the most consistent Indian teams ever across all formats."

News Cricket

MS Dhoni reveals the top two moments of his international career

Staff Writer Updated: 28 November, 2019, 3:36 PM IST


Former India skipper MS Dhoni, who is on a break from cricket, has picked the best two moments of his international career. According to him, the reception his team got after its T20 World Cup Victory and the chanting of ‘Vande Mataram’ during the finale of the 2011 World Cup, will always be close to his heart.

“There are two incidents I would like to mention over here. So after the 2007 (T20) World Cup, we came back to India and had an open bus ride and we were standing at the Marine Drive (in Mumbai). It was jam-packed all around and people had come out of their cars,” said Dhoni.

“So, I felt good after seeing the smile on everyone’s face. Because, there could have been so many people in the crowd, who might have missed their flights, perhaps they were going for important work. The kind of reception, we got, the entire Marine Drive was full from one end to other.”

The other moment was from the 2011 World Cup final.

“And the second instance I would say the 2011 World Cup final, in that match when 15-20 runs were required, the way all the spectators started chanting ‘Vande Mataram’ at the Wankhede Stadium.

“These are two moments, I think, it will be very difficult to replicate them. Those are the two moments that are very close to my heart,” added Dhoni.