India Grind SA, But Proceed with Caution

India Grind SA, But Proceed with Caution

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 3 October, 2019, 5:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

South Africa were reminiscing the last tough tour of India even as they headed into the first Test in Vizag. It came as no shock, therefore, that South Africa seemed to play like visitors, sedate and still coming to terms late into the second day. While India’s openers stories is a much needed breath of fresh air, the bugle sounds caution for the future.

There was as much speculation about Rohit Sharma’s place in the team and his new role as India’s Test opener as there was about Rishabh Pant’s viability as India’s wicketkeeper in the near future. To that end, India found at least one answer, albeit for the moment.

Rohit Sharma’s near double century and Mayank Agarwal’s maiden double century ensured India ground South Africa, reminding them of how hard this tour of the Indian dust bowl was going to be. For some of South Africa’s bowlers, such as spinner Senuran Muthusamy, it was a tough initiation. For others, it was a timely reminder of the last tour that went India’s way, arguably with some dubious pitches to contend with.

Despite South Africa’s studious mind set, India still had to exploit the advantage of winning the toss.

To the openers’ credit, the duo not only put on a mammoth opening wicket partnership, but also, blunted the South Africa’s hope of making amends for the last tour. Although it is still early days on the tour, the first two days have fielded a monumental task already for the weary, sweaty visitors, having spent considerable time under the sun and in extremely humid weather.

While Rohit Sharma has made good on the opportunity fallen upon him fortuitously after KL Rahul’s underwhelming recent performances. Yet despite the terrific effort that has yielded a huge, early advantage for the hosts, this is only the beginning of Rohit’s stint as an opener.

While playing at home may have its advantages, India will still be wise to keep an eye on grooming a youngster for the opening role on more aggressive, fiery foreign pitches when India tour. It is still the long term perspective if India are to lay the platform for continued world dominance in the Test arena.

While Rohit Sharma could indeed carve a longer Test career with this unexpected, bonus opportunity, the litmus test awaits beyond the Indian sub-continent. While Mayank Agarwal is slightly older than Rohit in the role of the opener and this first performance off the blocks have been phenomenal as it has dominated the proceedings, India would still want to pay close attention to the bench strength, given the pivotal role that the opener’s presents.

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News Cricket

We met in Hobart where you don’t even see animals after 6 pm: Sania on her first meeting with Shoaib

Staff Writer Updated: 8 December, 2019, 9:21 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has disclosed about her first meeting with Shoaib Malik. They bumped into each other at a restaurant in Hobart.

“We knew each other socially and then we bumped into each other at a restaurant in Hobart where you don’t even see animals/birds after 6 pm, forget people,” Sania told India Today.

“Must’ve been destiny that we met over there to be very honest. Only later I realized that he had actually planned to come to the restaurant because I was there. I was giving destiny all the credit but it was clearly not,” she added.

They got married on April 12, 2010 in Hyderabad. Sania is planning to play Hobart International in January 2020.

“I am playing in Hobart, then I am playing the Australian Open. I am planning to play a tournament in Mumbai, which is a USD 25,000 (ITF women event) next month, but I am 50-50 about it, so let’s see how my wrist behaves. We will see, but Hobart and Australian Open (for sure),” she said.

News Cricket

If given an opportunity, I will definitely like to prove myself again - Dinesh Karthik

Staff Writer Updated: 8 December, 2019, 9:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Indian wicket-keeper batsman, who was axed from Team India after the World Cup, is planning to stage another comeback. Dinesh Karthik scored a runs in the two domestic tournaments - Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. The captain of the Tamil Nadu tried his best but failed to lead his team to titles. The veteran will not lead his state side in the Ranji Trophy as he wants some youngster to take the team forward.

However, with T20 World Cup in mind, Dinesh Karthik believes that he can still be a part of the squad if given a chance to prove himself.

"Everybody tries to get into the India side and I’m not an exception. I am trying very hard to be a part of the India set-up again,” Karthik said.

He is ready to deliver as a finisher. “Finisher’s role is something which I have always enjoyed. If given an opportunity, I will definitely like to prove myself again,” he added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli is ever hungry to learn more and stay fit - Shanker Basu

Staff Writer Updated: 8 December, 2019, 9:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian cricket team's former strength and conditioning trainer Shanker Basu has lauded Virat Kohli for his commitment towards fitness. According to him, Virat Kohli is ever hungry to learn more about fitness. When he was asked about Virat Kohli's fitness level, he said, "I think there is still more exploring for him to do. We are looking at performance. In fitness, the sky is the limit. "The beauty of Virat Kohli is that he is ever hungry (to learn more, to stay fit)."

Dinesh Karthik, who was the part of an event with Basu, also spoke about the importance of staying fit.

"All that I have done is I have not tried anything different. I keep saying (myself) is to win matches. I want to be a part of that situation so that make it easy for youngsters", Karthik said at the sidelines of an event here.

"...using my experience and my prowess I think it is important that we face all the tough situations and help the team make sure to cross the winning line" the cricketer told reporters.

News Cricket

He’s lying in bed with my sister: Faf’s hilarious reply on Viljoen's absence leaves presenter in splits

Staff Writer Updated: 8 December, 2019, 9:17 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Paarl Rocks captain Faf du Plessis was at his humorous best in one of the matches of the ongoing Mzansi Super League. The skipper was asked about Hardus Viljoen's from playing XI and his reply was enough to leaves match presenter in splits. "Viljoen is not playing today because he's lying in bed with my sister as they got married yesterday," he said. Hardus Viljoen recently tied the knot with sister of Faf du Plessis.

His absence was not felt as Paarl Rocks won the match by 12 runs. Faf du Plessis accumulated 22 runs off 19 balls as his side scored 168/5 in the allotted 20 overs.

Chasing 169 runs to win, Nelson Mandel Bay Giants managed to score 156/6. Paarl Rocks are leading the points table with 27 points from 10 matches. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants also have also identical points but Paar Rocks lead the points tally due to superior net run rate.

News Cricket

Ramdin presents 4-year old fan with tickets and a gift ahead of the 2nd T20I against India, wins hearts

Staff Writer Updated: 8 December, 2019, 5:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The visiting West Indies side lost to India in the first T20I of the series. Kieron Pollard's side posted a mammoth total of 207 runs on the board but lost the game because of poor bowling and fielding. Meanwhile, ahead of the second match of the ongoing series, Denesh Ramdin won hearts by presenting his 4-year old fan with match tickets and a gift. The official twitter handle of West Indies posted pictures of Ramdin with his cute fan.

"Probably one of the cutest things on the internet today. Denesh Ramdin makes a stop on his way to the match to present this cute 4-year old fan with tickets and a gift ahead of the 2nd T20I! ❤ #MenInMaroon #ItsOurGame."

He was praised for his noble gesture.

Earlier, Kieron Pollard had blasted his bowlers for their poor execution.

"I think we batted pretty well. We scored above 200 runs which more often than not you take that. But discipline in bowling and execution let us down tonight," he had said.

"No balls are something we stress on in terms of non-negotiable and we bowled a couple of them tonight. It's something we need to look on."

News Cricket

‘Manchester is Red’: Gambhir lauds Manchester United for their win over Manchester City at Etihad

Staff Writer Updated: 8 December, 2019, 10:47 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian player and the Member of Parliament, Gautam Gambhir praised Manchester United for their win over Manchester City at the Etihad. He took to Twitter to express his feeling for his favourite football club. 'Manchester is Red', he wrote. United defeated their arch rivals City 2-1 in the thrilling match at the fortress of opposite team.

The champions were torn apart by the visitors in the first half, conceding goals in a six-minute span from Marcus Rashford’s penalty after being bundled over by Bernardo Silva and Anthony Martial’s strike which followed a slick exchange of passes with Daniel James.

Although Nicolas Otamendi’s header reduced the deficit in the 85th, City couldn’t prevent United from claiming only a second away win of the season.

That means United is still in a scrap just to make the Champions League places, five points from fourth-place Chelsea.

It left City with as many losses — four — as last season. And Pep Guardiola’s side fell 14 points behind Liverpool, which is 11 points ahead of Leicester.

News Cricket

Pakistan recalls batsman Fawad Alam after 10 years

AP Updated: 8 December, 2019, 10:46 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan has recalled 34-year-old middle-order batsman Fawad Alam for the first time in 10 years for the test series against Sri Lanka.

Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said Saturday that the left-handed batsman was selected because of his recent prolific scoring in domestic cricket. The series, which is part of ICC’s World Test Championship, starts at Rawalpindi next Wednesday. Karachi will host the second test from Dec. 19-23.

Alam last played a test match against New Zealand at Dunedin in 2009, eight months after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore that shut the doors of international cricket on Pakistan. Alam scored a century in his debut test against Sri Lanka in July 2009 and has scored over 12,222 runs in a 16-year first class career at a healthy average of 56.84.

Alam is one of the two changes Pakistan selectors have made from the 16-man squad that lost the two-test matches against Australia.

Alam has replaced Iftikhar Ahmed while leftarm fast bowler Usman Shinwari comes in in place of young fast bowler Mohammad Musa. Misbah said Musa will remain with the test squad and will continue working with bowling coach Waqar Younis.

“Our thinking is that we need consistency in the team and that’s the reason we didn’t make a lot of changes for the series against Sri Lanka,” Misbah said. “There should be continuity so that players get confidence. We made changes where we feel it’s necessary.”

Misbah was given three responsibilities — chief selector, head coach and batting coach —when the Pakistan Cricket Board removed head coach Mickey Arthur and batting coach Grant Flower after the World Cup while chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down.

“The perspective is that it’s a one-man show,” Misbah said. “I think there should be a clarity on this, there are six selectors who closely watch players in domestic cricket and also do work with the players on their technique. They know all the minus and plus of these players very well and my prime job is the head coach.”

Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari.

News Cricket

Match abandoned at MCG due to dangerous pitch

AP Updated: 8 December, 2019, 10:44 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

A domestic first-class Sheffield Shield match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between Victoria and Western Australia was abandoned Sunday after attempts by ground staff to make the pitch playable were unsuccessful.

Play was called off midway through the second session Saturday because of fears for the players' safety. Western Australian batsmen Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis both required concussion tests after being hit by deliveries from Victorian fast bowler Peter Siddle that moved up unexpectedly, but both players were cleared.

Officials said too much moisture in the drop-in wicket led to divots, which hardened under the sun, creating uneven bounce and danger for the batsmen.

The wicket is not the same one which will be used at the MCG for the Boxing Day test beginning Dec. 26 between Australia and New Zealand.

News Cricket

King Kohli thanks Big Boss Viv Richards for his congratulatory message

Garima Kotroo Updated: 7 December, 2019, 10:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After playing sensational knock of unbeaten 94 runs off 50 balls against West Indies, Virat Kohli was widely praised. In the enthralling opener of ongoing three-match T20I series against Kieron Pollard’s team, India won the match by six wickets.

Kohli played his career-best T20I knock against Windies in Hyderabad. His flabbergasting innings had six fours and the same number of sixes.

Sir Vivian Richards lauded Virat’s stellar performance. Virat Kohli was quick to reply and wrote, “Thanks big BOSS. Coming from you means a lot”.

Both India and West Indies will play the second encounter of the ongoing series on December 8 at Greenfield International Stadium in Trivandrum.

News Cricket

King Kohli’s ‘notebook’ celebration invites hilarious meme fest on social media

Garima Kotroo Updated: 7 December, 2019, 8:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

One more cricket match, one more historic win and one more spectacular show of Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper rewrote the record books after scoring unbeaten 94 runs off just 50 balls against West Indies in the first T20I match of the ongoing series.

Apart from his mesmerizing innings in the T20I opener, King Kohli dominated the headlines for his ‘notebook’ celebration. He performed the unique celebration after hitting a six on one of the Kesrick Williams’ deliveries in 16th over.

His celebration led to a meme fest on social media.

The Indian skipper reveled the reason behind his celebration.

"No, it is not the CPL. It happened to me in Jamaica when he got me out so I thought I would tick a few in the notebook as well but all good, smiles out there, in the end, that's what you want to see, good competitive cricket but at the end of the day we shake hands, that's what cricket is all about, play hard but at the end have respect for your opponents," Kohli said at the post-match ceremony.

News Cricket

‘Kohli hai to kuch bhi possible hai’: Harbhajan Singh hails Virat Kohli’s masterclass in Hyderabad

Tarun Singh Updated: 7 December, 2019, 3:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli hammered the Windies bowlers to chase a mammoth target of 208 and single-handedly took away the match from the rivals in the 1st T20I in Hyderabad.

Kohli’s majestic innings of (94* off 50) laced with six fours and as many maximums prompted Harbhajan Singh to realize that ‘King Kohli’s masterclass can make the impossible possible.

After India’s emphatic 6-wicket victory over West Indies with eight balls to spare, Harbhajan Singh applauded Kohli and performance of other players.

The ‘Turbanator’ also praised KL Rahul who contributed with much needed 62 runs after Rohit Sharma departed early on just 8 runs.

He also praised Rishabh Pant for his cameo of 18 runs in 9 balls against the Caribbean bowlers.

Harbhajan Tweeted, “Kohli hai tho kuch bi possible hai what a chase @imVkohli well done captain. superb inn from @klrahul11 too and lil cameo from @RishabhPant17 great win @BCCI”

Earlier, India were in a bit trouble, when the visitors posted a mammoth total of 207 runs.

However, Kohli’s career-best 94* took India to an emphatic win.

With Kohli’s heroics, India are now 1-0 up in the ongoing three-match T20I series against Kieron Pollard-led West Indies.

News Cricket

'Everybody likes me when I score runs', says KL Rahul after first T20I against Windies

Garima Kotroo Updated: 7 December, 2019, 3:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Although Indian skipper Virat Kohli stole the show against West Indies in the first T20I encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, explosive opener KL Rahul also put his best efforts to drive the hosts to the brilliant six-wicket win.

The 27-year-old right-handed batsman gave a head-start to Men in Blue as he notched up important 62 runs off just 40 balls after ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma failed to score for the home team. Sharma lost his crucial wicket to Khary Pierre in the fourth over after scoring just 8 runs off 10 balls.

Rahul also touched down the benchmark of 1000 runs in T20I format and became the third fastest batsman to achieve this feat in just 29 innings.

In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, the Karnataka based batsman was asked to fill the big void and he successfully justified his role by playing some excellent shots against Kieron Pollard-led team.

Being an Indian opener, Rahul feels that his job is to set the foundation for his team so that the other players can easily achieve the target in the end .

Speaking to the press after the memorable win of India over Windies, Rahul said, “Everybody likes me when I score runs, that's how it goes. I don't plan my innings according to the strike rate. If I get set, I can chase it down, I know that. My role is to set the foundation and we have others to do their job later, the finishing job”.

Feature Cricket

4 things that make Virat Kohli the best chaser in white-ball cricket  

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 December, 2019, 3:12 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

With an average of 96.55 in successful ODI run-chases and 120.90 in successful T20I chases, Virat Kohli is the king of chases in limited-overs cricket. His numbers are awe-inspiring. The Indian skipper has made a habit of winning games consistently when it comes to hunting down totals.

 

He is an absolute master and genius in such scenarios. He shone through for the Men in Blue in the first T20I against West Indies in Hyderabad. Kohli's unbeaten 50-ball-94 helped India chase down 208 runs, their highest-ever in the format. Today, we will take a look at 4 things that make Virat Kohli the best chaser in white-ball cricket.

 

Consistency

 

You don't earn reputation in anything by doing it just on a few occasions. You have to keep repeating the same feat numerous times to establish yourself as master in anything. And Kohli has proven that there is no better master in the art of run-chasing than him. The right-hander has helped India win games in chases consistently. The unbeatable hunger and passion with which he plays drive him to such consistency. Because only those attributes can keep pushing you towards excellence over and again. We might get bored of seeing him winning the games for India in chases given how often he does it, but he won't as he had once said that consistency is boring but he would keep pushing himself towards it.

 

Machine-esque Calculation

 

Unlike batting first, in chases, you have a fixed target in mind. The moment you start drifting, the required run-rate starts climbing. A great presence of mind and discipline is required in chases. You have to blunt out the most potent bowlers of the opposition, know when the weakling will come on and target in alignment to the target. Kohli does all of it smoothly. He is one-step ahead of the opposition and very well knows how to execute his game plan. The star batter will hit boundaries when he wants, will keep sprinting between the 22 yards in middle-overs, play out the biggest threats with solid planning and he just functions like a ruthless calculator.

 

Acceleration Power

 

Unlike the older times, in modern-day cricket, you can't survive without accelerating rapidly as a chaser since there are bigger totals to chase. And Kohli does that very well. He is not someone known for hitting too many aerial/lofted strokes but when the situation arrives, he can decimate even the best of bowlers in the business in his own imitable way. He doesn't muscle the ball rather times it effortlessly. Once he gains momentum in his knock, the acceleration that his innings goes through is simply phenomenal.

 

Take the example of his 94* against Windies in the first T20I. The no.1 Test and ODI batsman in the world had made just 44 runs off his first 34 deliveries at a strike-rate of 129.41. But suddenly, he changed gears akin to some power-hitter and blasted the next 50 runs in just 16 deliveries at a remarkable strike-rate of 312.50. His ability to cut loose successfully makes him a top-notch chaser.

 

Ability to handle pressure

   

A player like Virat Kohli revels under pressure. He is a world-class batsman and champion players like him want to be in the thick of things when the going gets tough. Kohli loves the spotlight and wants to shine under it. The 31 years old is the man for big occasions. Chasing might be daunting for some, but Kohli craves such situations as it keeps him going.

 

In the first T20I against Windies, there was a war of words going on between Kohli and West Indies players, India were chasing 208 runs, he wasn't middling the ball in the first half of his innings but all these didn't deter him. In fact, it pumped him up to bring out his best game on display and helped India cross the line with ease. King Kohli is born to handle pressure.

 
News Cricket

Glenn McGrath pens down a heartwarming note for his daughter who graduated high school

Staff Writer Updated: 7 December, 2019, 2:42 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Glenn McGrath was one of the best fast bowlers of his time. He still holds numerous records in Test cricket and one-day internationals. The former pacer is spending quality time with his family since he bid adieu to his beloved sport. The proud father congratulated his daughter, Holly, who graduated High School. The veteran took to Twitter to pen down a heartwarming message for Holly.

“So proud of my daughter Holly for graduating High School. Her dedication, organisational skills & work ethic has been amazing, plus she’s a beautiful person, inside & out. Chase your dreams, continue to work hard & enjoy life. Congrats Doll xx #proudfather,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, he has limited his presence as far as cricket related activities are concerned. The 49-year old former star takes care of McGrath Foundation, which he had started with his late wife Jane. She passed away after a long battle with breast cancer.

The foundation raises money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia and increase breast awareness in young women.

News Cricket

Kitni baar main tereko bola Virat ko mat chedh: Amitabh Bachchan mocks Kesrick Williams

Staff Writer Updated: 7 December, 2019, 2:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli played one of the best innings of his T20I career in the first match against the Windies. The Indian skipper scored an unbeaten 94 runs which led India to a comfortable win by six wickets.

The 31-year old was slow in the first phase of his knock but picked the pace at the right time. He was particularly severe against Kesrick Williamson, who had once mocked Virat after dismissing him in 2017.

Men in Blue blasted him for 23 runs in the 16th over of the Indian innings. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan took to twitter to mock the rival bowler.

He recreated a famous dialogue from his blockbuster movie Amar Akbar Anthony, and wrote, “यार कितनी बार बोला मई तेरे को .. की Virat को मत छेड़ , मत छेड़ , मत छेड़ … पन सुनताइच किधर है तुम … अभी पर्ची लिख के दे दिया ना हाथ में !!!!देख देख .. WI का चेहरा देख; कितना मारा उसको, कितना मारा.”

Virat spoke about his notebook celebration after the match. The captain revealed that he was taking revenge from the West Indies bowler, who had celebrated in the same fashion after dismissing him in one of the T20I matches.