Gratifying to see R Ashwin gaining support

Partab Ramchand Updated: 1 September, 2020, 3:41 PM IST

As one who has always backed the bowler in cases pertaining to running out non-strikers who gain an unfair advantage by backing up too far or too early I am overjoyed to read that Ravichandran Ashwin is gaining support for the act. The Indian off-spinner has never been shy of running out batsmen in this manner something that is erroneously looked upon as ``against the spirit of the game.’’ Nothing can be further from the truth for the so-called spirit of the game works both ways. In any case, it is now there in the rules that the bowler can run out a batsman in this manner and that should be the end of the matter.

This mode of dismissal was again in the news recently when Ricky Ponting - of all people - said that he would tell Ashwin not to run out batsmen in this manner. In his capacity as coach of the Delhi Capitals, he said he would have a ``hard conversation’’ with Ashwin for while ``he may say it is within the rules this is not within the spirit of the game.’’ Coming from Ponting who as captain of the Australian team stretched the laws of the game to their very limit and sometimes even transgressed them this is quite laughable. In any case, Ashwin’s stand has always been clear. ``It’s there within the rules of the game so I don’t understand where the spirit of the game comes in.’’ After all the relevant law is clear that the non-striker may leave the crease only after the ball is delivered so as not to gain an unfair advantage.

Under the circumstances it was gratifying to read the comments made by Javagal Srinath on the subject. The former Indian fast bowler is now a much-respected match referee and he has a clear message for batsmen the world over – do not invoke the spirit of cricket if you are run out at the bowler’s end backing up too far. In a recent interview, he said he was ``perfectly fine’’ with bowlers running out batsmen who tried to gain advantage by leaving the crease early. In fact, he was even more emphatic in spelling out his thoughts. ``Don’t look for any empathy. Don’t invoke the spirit of the game. The spirit of the game is with the runner. He cannot move out of the crease. If he is doing it he is not invoking the spirit of the game. I believe that the batsman should stick to the crease.’’

Ashwin also found support from his new IPL boss Parth Jindal who felt that the bowler had shown ``a lot of courage’’ in running out Jos Buttler while captaining King”s XI Punjab in last year’s IPL. ```Rules are rules’’ Jindal said highlighting the example of MS Dhoni’s run out in last year’s World Cup semifinal. ``He was run out just by inches. If he wasn’t India would have possibly made it to the finals.’’

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IPL 2020: Playing under Rohit has boosted my confidence, says Bumrah

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 9:54 PM IST

Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrahrevealed that the freedom he enjoys playing under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy in Mumbai Indians set-up has been a massive confidence booster for him in his career.

Bumrah has been an integral part of Mumbai Indians' team, which has won record four IPL titles since Rohit Sharma took over as captain in 2013.

“For me, he (Rohit) has always given me the freedom, he has always told me to express yourself (myself), be whatever you want, be it any situation, take ownership of your own bowling, so that gives me a lot of confidence and a responsibility that I’m responsible for whatever I’m doing,” Bumrah said.

“So that’s a big thing for a captain because then he gives a bowler so much of confidence. He trusts you so much and he trusts the decisions that you will take and that’s a very positive sign,” he added.

Not just Bumrah, Rohit’s captaincy has also come in for praise from fellow players and management staff.

“He is always open to take suggestions on the ground. I have seen him a lot of times when there is a crunch situation, or when he is put under pressure, that time he is very calm, cool and composed. He takes tough decisions during that time,” batsman Suryakumar Yadav told MITV.

Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene termed Rohit as a “very instinctive leader”, while former India speedster Zaheer Khan, who is part of the team’s support staff, described the right-handed batsman as “a thinking cricketer.”

IPL 2020: RCB to wear special training kits to thank frontline warriors

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 9:08 PM IST

Ahead of their IPL 2020 opener against SRH on Monday, the Royal Challengers Bangalore players were seen wearing jerseys in training which had the message ‘My Covid heroes’ written on the backside of it.

The franchise later announced that they'll be wearing the same, throughout the season during training sessions to celebrate everyone who have worked towards “making the world a better place” throughout the ongoing pandemic.

In an interview before the match, RCB star player AB de Villiers was asked about the same, and he believes that it's a great initiative by the franchise to honour the frontline warriors.

On being asked about the teams prospects for the ongoing season, De Villiers said: “Have done some fantastic work behind the scenes and we are very well prepared and our net session and training session have been very intense. It’s about trusting each other and executing all the hard work we have put in.”

IPL 2020: I started crying after Brendon McCullum announced that I’ll be playing for KKR, says Ali Khan

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 8:29 PM IST

Days before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Ali Khan's dream of playing in the cash-lucrative league got fulfilled.

The American pace sensation was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders as the direct replacement of bowler Harry Gurney.

Ali's surprise selection came after impressing during the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, where he plied his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders. He picked up eight wickets from eight matches with and an economy of 7.43.

Ali has won two of the last three CPL editions and he will be the first player to play in the IPL.

Acording to reports, Ali was also in KKR's radar, last year, after his solid performances in the 2018 Global T20 Canada with the Winnipeg Hawks. He was initially scouted by Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Just before their semi-final game against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the TKR squad had gathered for a team dinner when Khan came to know about the start of his journey with the Kolkata franchise.

“As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, ‘A man from the USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…’,” said Khan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Ali said that he started crying when Brendon made the announcement. He also revealed that the KKR coach gave him a big hug and said: "You deserve it".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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