Graeme Smith reveals the reason behind Rohit Sharma's big scores against South Africa

Staff Writer Updated: 21 October, 2019, 11:47 AM IST


Rohit Sharma is ruling 2019 as far as cricket is concerned. He took his IPL franchise, Mumbai Indians to fourth title triumph. The right-hand batsman was not satisfied with this silverware and went on to hit world record five-tons in the World Cup. Even this was not enough for the Indian legend as he has scored two tons and one double ton in the ongoing Test series against South Africa.

He accumulated his first double century in Test cricket to help Team India declare on 497/9 on Day 2 of the third Test. Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, who is one of the commentators in the ongoing series, has lauded the Indian batsman for his discipline.

"Rohit has been highly motivated with his performances and the key here is his good discipline and strategy towards the game which makes him stand out as one of the best Test batsmen. Also, South Africa lacking in punch with the old ball and in the spin department allowed Rohit to play with freedom and that has been reflected in the excellent series he has had till now," said Smith.

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News Cricket

It’s important for someone to talk to Pant and keep him off the pressure - Kumar Sangakkara

Staff Writer Updated: 8 November, 2019, 4:35 PM IST


Rishabh Pant has found support in the form of Kumar Sangakkara, who wants someone to speak to him in order to resolve his problems. The young wicketkeeper has been lambasted for his approach in international cricket and is finding hard to put in match winning performances across formats.

“It’s also important for someone to talk to him on his batting and keep him off the pressure and let him be free with his game,” he said.

However, Sangakkara believes Pant needs to work on his weaknesses before the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“If you are looking at the World Cup it’s important for him (Pant) to understand what his role is in terms of helping his captain with the right information,” Sangakkara told the host broadcasters during the second T20I.

“However, at the same time as a wicketkeeper, it’s important to be neat and tidy behind the stumps which will give him confidence and put him in a better position to help his captain in calling for reviews,” he further added.

News Cricket

CSK and MS Dhoni's coldblooded focus lead the team to third IPL title – Team Owner

Staff Writer Updated: 8 November, 2019, 4:26 PM IST


Chennai Super Kings are one of the most competitive IPL franchises. They were going strong before two-year ban derailed their movement. However, they made a resounding comeback after serving their ban, winning the Indian Premier League for third time in 2018. The owner of CSK, N Srinivasan, has revealed how Delhi and other members of the team turned thing around for them in a short span of time.

“Turbulence can hit anybody. Dhoni and CSK dealt with it on merit and with coldblooded focus and it took us to victory,” Srinivasan was quoted as saying by Times of India.

Srinivasan was also under pressure following his son-in-law’s involvement in the 2014 betting scandal.

“The way the onslaught on CSK and me happened, there was only one thread in common: attack Srinivasan,” he said.

“We were put under the gun. There was also this one occasion when a senior police officer contacted me and passed on the message from some other authorities: 'Ask Srinivasan to step down [as BCCI president] and nothing will happen'. But then we chose to resist. It was a natural instinct of mine that I would never buckle down to these pressure tactics.”

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma promises to check cameras before abusing TV umpire

Tarun Singh Updated: 8 November, 2019, 3:28 PM IST


Besides Rohit’s blistering 85 leading India to level the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh, he made news for some other reason too.

In the heat of the moment, Rohit came into the spotlight when he abused the third umpire who mistakenly gave Soumya Sarkar’s stumping decision as ‘not out’.

The young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant had removed the bails of Soumya Sarkar when he was well out of the crease and the team was sure that TV umpire will confirm the same.

But the big TV displayed the decision as ‘Not Out’ and shocked to see the unanticipated decision Rohit lost his cool and abused the TV umpire. However, umpire changed the decision later to ‘Out’ as he accidentally had pressed the wrong button.

Post-match, as Rohit’s unkind reaction to the umpire’s wrong decision, was caught on camera, he was asked about the moment.

Rohit laughingly covered the matter and said he could not control his emotions in the heat of the moment. Next time he will make sure to check the camera placements before giving his emotional reactions.

“I'm quite an emotional guy on the field. Some of the decisions in the previous and some of the on-field moments today, we were a bit sloppy. Ultimately aim is to get the job done, and sometimes we display a lot of emotions. Next time I'll check where the camera is,” Rohit said in the post-match presentation.

News Cricket

Men in Blue break Australia's world record with win over Bangladesh in 2nd T20I

Staff Writer Updated: 8 November, 2019, 3:15 PM IST


The Rohit Sharma-led team defeated Bangladesh in the second T20I of the series at Rajkot. With this triumph, Men in Blue have drew level after losing the first game in Delhi. Chasing 154 runs to win, India were never in trouble and wrapped up the game with 8 wickets in hand.

This was India's 41st victory while chasing in the shortest format of the game, which is now a new world record. India surpassed Australia's record of 40 wins while chasing in this format of cricket. India have a better win percentage while chasing. They have 41 wins out of 61 times they have batted second in a T20I match.

While the Aussies have been on the winning side on 40 occasions out of 69 matches, Pakistan are third in the list with 36 successful chases in 67 matches.

Rohit was pleased with his effort in the second match against Bangladesh.

"It was very important for us to give a good start to the team as it is often seen that a set batsman wins the match for the team. I was a little unhappy that I got out at the wrong time. But nevertheless, I am happy with my performance as well as that of the team because we were under a lit bit of pressure."

"We had lost the first match in Delhi and it was important to win here in Rajkot," said Rohit.

Opinion Cricket

Why is Hashim Amla a Consultant at CT Blitz and not SA?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 8 November, 2019, 2:11 PM IST


The week began with the announcement that recently retired Hashim Amla would be joining the Cape Town Blitz team for the Mzansi Super League. Already mired in controversy as far as the tournament is concerned and with South Africa in the doldrums, it would have made sense to have Amla as a mentor in the South African dressing room, guiding the next generation and teaching them the ropes.

Who knows better the travail of the South African cricket team than the prolific batsman and former captain, Hashim Amla? A world class player by all accounts and a modest, humble gentleman by a mile, there are few players with integrity who could be a role model on the stature of Amla. In that light, it seems yet another waste of an opportunity that Amla has dedicated himself as a batting consultant to the CT Blitz team instead of the South African cricket which has returned home yet again with their tails between their legs after the tour of India.

Only last week Faf du Plessis, currently South Africa’s Test captain with an unspecified future and agenda for all practical purposes, raised the valid point upon returning home from the 3-0 drubbing at India’s hands in the Test series that the need of the hour was for Cricket South Africa (CSA) to find a way to provide remuneration to former South African cricketers who are imparting valuable wisdom of their experience in other ventures and venues. Faf spoke honestly that the young team replacing some giants including Amla himself had suffered a confidence crisis with the kind of challenge India imposed upon them.

It would seem that it would be rather raw for Amla to be back in the South African dressing room having only recently retired in July at the end of a deplorable ICC Cricket World Cup campaign for South Africa in England. But given the fact that the South African cricket team found themselves woefully out of depth on the tour of India, and Amla is a sublime cricketer who has enjoyed a fair bit of success as a batsman.

The need of the hour rather obviously would be for the CSA to have someone of the caliber, experience and talent of Amla to return to the dressing room as a mentor to instill some confidence into the batting rather than having his experience wasted away in the Twenty20 leagues, whether in the Gulf or in South Africa’s domestic cricket that is already mired in a fair bit of controversy over non-payment of dues and dismissal of certain officials which did not fly with the South Africa’s cricketers association.

Few like Amla have succeeded in the world arena and fewer still under the kind of cloud South Africa’s cricket has operated in the last decade in particular. It would have been more prudent for resources to be poured into more immediate needs such as restoring South Africa’s pride in international cricket rather than attempt to gloss over a tournament that has faced a lot of controversy, including being called into its relevance in the middle of South Africa’s worst cricket crisis since readmission.

Videos Cricket

Watch - Rohit Sharma trolls Yuzvendra Chahal, says even he can hit big sixes like him

Staff Writer Updated: 8 November, 2019, 2:08 PM IST


With Yuzvendra Chahal's inclusion in the Indian T20I squad, Chahal TV also made a comeback and this time Rohit Sharma was interviewed by one of his closest buddies, Chahal. The Indian skipper was declared the Man of the Match for his knock of 85 run.

Rohit hit 6 sixes in his knock and was particularly severe against Mosaddek Hossain, who went for three consecutive biggies. When Rohit was asked about his six hitting ability, he said: "When I hit three consecutive sixes, I tried to go for six maximums. But when I missed the fourth one, I decided I will take singles," said Rohit while speaking to Chahal after the match on Thursday.

"You don't need a huge body and muscles to hit big sixes. Even you (Chahal) can hit sixes. Power is not the only thing you need to hit sixes, you need timing as well. The ball should hit the middle of the bat and your head should be still. So, there are a number of things you need in order to hit a six," he told the wrist-spinner.

Rohit was pleased with his effort in the second match against Bangladesh.

"It was very important for us to give a good start to the team as it is often seen that a set batsman wins the match for the team. I was a little unhappy that I got out at the wrong time. But nevertheless, I am happy with my performance as well as that of the team because we were under a lit bit of pressure."

"We had lost the first match in Delhi and it was important to win here in Rajkot," Rohit added.

News Cricket

Prithvi Shaw will be considered for selection once his ban period ends

Staff Writer Updated: 8 November, 2019, 2:04 PM IST


Prithvi Shaw is likely to play for Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after his eight-month ban period ends. The opening batsman was suspended for a doping violation. Milind Rege, chairman of the state selection committee, said that Prithvi's selection will be discussed.

"He will be free to play from [November 16], so of course he will be considered for selection. I can't make any commitment to whether he will be back, but we will certainly discuss his selection," ESPNcricinfo quoted Rege as saying.

The selection has announced the squad for first three matches because Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, and Shivam Dube are part of the Indian squad for the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh.

The governing body of Indian cricket had suspended Shaw in July this year.

"Prithvi Shaw, registered with Mumbai Cricket Association, has been suspended for a doping violation. Shaw had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups," BCCI had said in a statement.

News Cricket

Hitman Sharma wanted to hit six sixes in an over off Mosaddek Hossain

Staff Writer Updated: 8 November, 2019, 2:00 PM IST


Rohit Sharma smacked 85 runs off 43 balls as India beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in the second T20 on Thursday and levelled the series 1-1.

Sharma, only the second male cricketer to reach a century of international T20s after Pakistan's Shoaib Malik, smashed three sixes off Moassadek Hossain in the 10th over.

According to him, he wanted to hit three more sixes off Moassadek Hossain's bowling in the same over.

Speaking to Yuzvendra Chahal on 'Chahal TV' after the game, Rohit Sharma said he wanted to go for 6 sixes in the over.

"When I hit three consecutive sixes, I tried to go for six maximums. But when I missed the fourth one, I decided I will take singles. The off-spinner was bowling and I knew there's wasn't much turn. So I was waiting at the crease and trying to hit them," Rohit Sharma said.

According to Rohit, hitting sixes is more about timing than power.

"You don't need a huge body and muscles to hit big sixes. Even you (Chahal) can hit sixes. Power is not the only thing you need to hit sixes, you need timing as well. The ball should hit the middle of the bat and your head should be still. When you're playing on a good wicket, if you keep these things in mind, sixes can be easily hit," Rohit Sharma added.

News Cricket

Rohit plays like Sachin, even Kohli can’t replicate the Hitman- Virender Sehwag

Tarun Singh Updated: 8 November, 2019, 1:55 PM IST


Virender Sehwag was impressed to see the way ‘Hitman” Rohit bulldozed Bangladesh’s bowlers with quickfire 85, which led Team India to win like a boss and level the ongoing T20I series 1-1.

Mesmerized with the ‘Hitman’ show, Sehwag compared him with Sachin Tendulkar and felt that even Virat Kohli is not seen scoring consecutively at such a staggering strike-rate as the ‘Hitman’ does.

“Hitting 3-4 sixes in a single over or scoring 80-90 runs in 45 balls is an art that I haven’t even seen Kohli pull off as regularly as Rohit,” said Sehwag.

The former explosive batsman Sehwag cited that Rohit Sharma is walking in the footsteps of the legend Sachin Tendulkar, and doing what the ‘Master Blaster’ used to do for Team India.

Sehwag going into flashback said that Sachin never realized that no one can replicate his performances because he was a one-of-a-kind gem for Team India.

Virender Sehwag remembering old times said, “Sachin used to tell others if I can do something on the field, why can’t you? But he never understood that there’s only one God and the sort of things God can do, no one else can.”

Sehwag further added that he does not see anyone in the current generation of cricketers impacting the game as Rohit Sharma does.

With Rohit's splendid knock of 85 off 43, India have bounced back 1-1 in the ongoing three-match T20I series against Bangladesh. Stand-in captain Rohit needs to continue his spectacular form in the last decider match to conquer the series.

Feature Cricket

5 Players who can win the Player of the Tournament award in T20 World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 November, 2019, 12:32 PM IST


T20 cricket is one of the most exciting formats that our sport has. The ebbs and flows of a T20 game is akin to a roller-coaster ride. The fact that it hardly takes three hours for a T20 game to culminate makes it all the more appealing to a vast fan base. After a gap of four years, which is the biggest between any two editions of the T20 World Cup, finally the next ICC world tournament is slated to take place in 2020, which makes up for a blockbuster time ahead for all of us. Today, we take a look at 5 players who can become the Man of the tournament in T20 World Cup.

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli might well be a great player in Test cricket but when it comes to limited-overs format, his stature elevates to a legendary level. The Indian skipper has proved his mettle in the ICC World T20 events like none else. He was Man-of-the-Tournament in the last two editions of the T20 World Cup (2014 and 2016) and is one of the favorites to bag the silverware this time around as well. Kohli has batted 16 times in T20 World Cup crossing fifty-run mark on nine occasions. The charismatic batsman has 777 runs at an average of 86.33 with a strike-rate of 133.04.

David Warner

The Pocket size dynamo, David Warner will be one of the biggest threats for the bowlers in the 2020 T20 World Cup. The fact that he would be playing at his home makes him even more dangerous as he is well versed with the conditions and angles of different Aussie grounds. Warner, who burst on the scene as a T20 specialist, has evolved with time, and now has the ability to score runs briskly in a risk free manner. We have seen Warner bossing the IPL many times and he is one of the major contenders to win the Man-of-the-Tournament award in 2020 edition of T20 World Cup.

Babar Azam

In the madness of the world of T20 cricket, Babar Azam is a classical artist, who charms everyone with his elegant stroke play and invariable consistency. He is a one-man army in batting for Pakistan. The newly-appointed T20I skipper has already shown that the extra responsibility of captaining the side will in no way bog him down. In fact, he has started off his leadership tenure with back-to-back fifties in the first two games against Australia. The world's no.1 ranked T20I batsman will have a major role to play in the 2020 T20 World Cup and one should not be too surprised if he emerges as the highest-run-getter in the ICC's showpiece event.

Ben Stokes

England's Ben Stokes is arguably the most valuable cricketer in the world. We knew all along how gun a player he is but now that it has translated into impactful performances on the biggest of stages, the expectations are only on the surge. The value of an all-rounder goes unabated in the shortest format. Stokes is a great hitter of pace bowling, can put in useful overs in the middle and is an acrobatic fielder. He is a dream player to have in T20Is. He had a forgettable time in the 2016 WT20 final but he made up for it with his Man-of-the-Match performance in the 2019 50-over World Cup. He would love to replicate his 2019 World Cup heroics in the 2020 T20 World Cup as well.

Andre Russell

Imagine a situation where a team needs 20 runs off the final over. Now, tell me who is the first player that comes to your mind to knock off these runs? Undoubtedly, it has to be the Jamaican heavyweight Andre Dwayne Russell. The powerful hitter of the ball is an absolute six-hitting machine. He is the best finisher in the world of T20 cricket. Russell has proved his credentials over and again in IPL and other franchise-based T20 leagues. With more than 5,000 runs and 275 wickets in T20s, he is someone who can prove to be a vital cog in West Indies' title defence in 2020 T20 World Cup.

Feature Cricket

Stop this selector bashing

Partab Ramchand Updated: 8 November, 2019, 11:20 AM IST


Selector bashing seems to be the in-thing these days. First we had Farokh Engineer terming the current national selectors as ``a Mickey Mouse selection committee’’ poking fun at their collective limited international experience. And now we have Yuvraj Singh saying that we need better selectors adding that ``their thinking in terms of modern day cricket is not up to the mark.’’

It is well known that selectors never get any praise and are only criticized. From ``bunch of jokers’’ to the derisive ``five wise men’’ and worse the barbs fly thick and fast. They obviously cannot please everyone and are sitting ducks for potshots. Some of the comments on the selectors can be pretty harsh and uncharitable. It is always easier to criticize than to praise and these days it appears more fashionable too.

The selectors are aware that they are in a no-win situation. A few years ago former Indian pace bowler TA Sekhar, then on the selection committee told me that he was well aware of what awaited him when he was nominated for the post. ``I knew there would be only criticism. So I just developed a thick hide and now the adverse comments don't really bother me,’’ he said. Selectors and thick skins have necessarily to go together.

Let us spare a thought for the selectors. They can select only about 15 players. And this is out of a number of suitable candidates. They have to examine the records from various angles. They have to juggle the form shown in instant cricket and the longer game. They have to judge the player's class and skill, technique and temperament. Is he an ideal player for Test cricket or one-day cricket? Is he a good player against pace bowling or a better player of spin bowling? Is he a good prospect for bouncier pitches or turning tracks? How is his record abroad vis a vis at home? And what of his fielding, so very important in the limited overs version? Is he too old? Is he being `rushed'? Does his fitness level come up to international standards? There are so many aspects to be considered.

In selection matters, predictably enough most of the players choose themselves. It is the borderline cases – generally two or three - that cause problems, heartaches and controversies. This is where the arguments and harsh and unfair comments start. And the critics’ viewpoints are so one-sided that frequently one finds little sympathy for them. Criticizing just for the sake of criticizing is something not to be considered seriously.

In the case of the present selection committee their task is made even more arduous as there are a number of talented youngsters and not everyone can be given an opportunity. They have to wait for their turn even as the selectors do a bit of juggling in getting the right combination.

Finally too much is being made of the limited international experience of the present committee. A cricketer with considerable international experience may be a great player but this does not automatically make him a good selector for which several other qualities are required. In the ultimate analysis the Indian team is performing admirably and that I suppose should be the bottom line in judging a selection committee’s work.

News Cricket

I knew the conditions were perfect for batting - Rohit Sharma

AP Updated: 8 November, 2019, 10:42 AM IST


Rohit Sharma smacked 85 runs off 43 balls as India beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in the second T20 on Thursday and levelled the series 1-1.

Playing his 100th T20, Sharma struck six sixes and six fours as he scored a 23-ball half-century.

He helped India score 154-2 with 26 balls to spare, chasing down Bangladesh's 153-6.

Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (31) put on 118 runs for the first wicket

Sharma, only the second male cricketer to reach a century of international T20s after Pakistan's Shoaib Malik, smashed three sixes off Moassadek Hossain in the 10th over. He eventually fell in the 13th over.

"With dew, it was difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball and we took maximum advantage of that," Sharma said. "I knew the conditions were perfect (for batting)."

Shreyas Iyer (24 not out) and Lokesh Rahul (8 not out) eased India across the finish line with 26 balls to spare.

News Cricket

It was a very good wicket to bat on and 180 would have been defendable – Mahmudullah

AP Updated: 8 November, 2019, 10:30 AM IST


Yuzvendra Chahal (2-28) and Washington Sundar (1-25) bowled tight spells to rein in Bangladesh after sending them in to bat.

Liton Das (29) and Mohammad Naim (36) gave a quick start to their innings and put on 60 for the first wicket.

But Sundar applied the brakes to the aggressive scoring and Chahal's leg spin played a key role as he struck twice in four overs.

The vital moment came when Mushfiqur Rahim (4) was caught in the deep off Chahal in the 13th over.

Soumya Sarkar (30 off 20 balls) and skipper Mahmudullah (30 off 21 balls) contributed important runs later in the innings, but Bangladesh fell short of a competitive total.

"It was a very good wicket to bat on and 180 would have been defendable," said Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah. "The Indian openers started superbly and got the momentum. On a wicket like this, wrist spinner is a very handy bowler to have in your side and Chahal showed that."

Bangladesh won the first T20 by seven wickets, its first win over India.

The third and final T20 will be on Sunday in Nagpur.

News Cricket

Steve Smith will become No.1 batsman across formats – Justin Langer

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 10:27 PM IST


Australia head coach Justin Langer believes Steve Smith will soon be number one batsman in all three formats of the game. The former Aussie skipper, who is ruling Test cricket, has displayed exceptional form in shorter formats of the game as well. His knock of 80 in the second T20I game against Pakistan had class written over it.

“Smith’s greatest strength is his ability to solve problems, whether it’s in Test cricket or T20 cricket. That’s where he’s so good at, the best players in the world do it. The best players adapt to white or red ball, or twenty-over or Test cricket. He played beautifully; we know how good a player he is. He loves batting, full-stop. He wants to be out there. I think Manuka Oval is an amazing cricket ground, it was a great batting wicket and Steve certainly took advantage.” Langer said to Cricket Australia.

The Aussie coach added, “Hopefully, he gets ranked one in all three formats, I think he’ll be aspiring to do that. His Test series in England was incredible, his 90 (sic) in the semi-final of the World cup was incredible and the innings he played last night was sublime. He’s getting better and better which is greater for Australian cricket.”

News Cricket

It is not easy to score runs at international level – Shubman Gill

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 10:25 PM IST


Shubman Gill has been in good touch of late. The youngster is one of the players to watch out for in near future. He is certain of representing India across formats and many believe he can be India's number four batsman in shorter formats. The 20-year old has stated that scoring runs at the international level is not easy.

“You need to be more focused and know that it won’t be as easy to score runs at the senior level as it was while playing at the Under-19 level. You have to accept that. And then learn how to set yourself as a batsman, how to build and pace your innings,” said Shubman at a promotional event as quoted by First Post.

“I can’t expect myself to score hundreds and settle down immediately but things do take time. It was a great experience, we had already won the series, especially to play on challenging wickets and then reflected on how to adapt the pressures of international cricket,” he added.

He further added it is important to prepare mentally while playing different formats.

“I think as cricketers we have to mentally prepare for this. There will be T20 or 50-over games or Test matches. Your batting doesn’t really change, it is just your mental approach.”

“There is not a big difference between the India A sides and the senior team in terms of the atmosphere, apart from the obvious difference between the standard i.e. international cricket is of the highest standard and how prepared you are mentally to play at the top level and willingness to succeed,” he added.