India have moved on from defeat in first T20I, all set to hit Bangladesh hard in second match – Chahal

Staff Writer Updated: 6 November, 2019, 12:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

India were comprehensively defeated by Bangladesh in the first T20I of the series in Delhi. The visitors, who were missing some of the senior players including star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, outplayed India in all the departments of the game. However, India's star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is not dwelling too much on the shortcomings of the first match. He stated that there is no pressure from the team management and they just need to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated in Rajkot.

"The 11 that is playing now, and the players who are there in the 15-member squad they know their roles, it is not like someone is going out after playing one or two matches," Chahal told reporters ahead of the second T20 International against Bangladesh.

"A couple of matches can go wrong but there is no pressure from the management. The only thing is that we shouldn't repeat the mistakes that we commit in any particular match."

The players are positive ahead of the next match.

"I think we are positive. It is not like we haven't lost the first match of any series and didn't go on to win the series. The first match is done, if you think about the last match then negatives will come into mind," Chahal said.

"Before we came here, we have forgotten about that loss and we are making a fresh start and the entire 15 are focused and positive, and hopefully, we will win," he added.

When he was asked about pressure on the team, Chahal said, "It is not about pressure. It is a three-game series, not a knockout game, so obviously one will win one will lose, and that day they played better than us.

"We are one down and still two matches to go and obviously if we believe in ourselves we will come back."

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News Cricket

Lesson for Pant? Dhoni reveals mantra to score runs like him at No. 6 batting position

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni has started batting in nets in order to prepare himself for future assignments. It is still not clear when we are going to see him in Indian colours, but the way he took his first practice session, it was visible that he wants to represent India for few more years.

With Rishabh Pant getting all the preference in his absence, things haven't been fine for the team in shorter formats. The young gloveman has failed miserably so far and has been lambasted for his performance behind the stumps. Even his style of batting has come under the scanner because of his habit of playing too many reckless shots.

During one of his interviews, the former India skipper spoke about the art of scoring runs at No.6 position.

"It is very important to have a practical approach. If I'm batting at number 6 and play 15 balls, I know if I score 25-30 runs, it is very good, outstanding performance. But at the same time, there can be hindrances.

"You think about scoring for your team and go for big hits, it may also cost you a wicket. So you will have to practically set up what your target is," the veteran wicket-keeper batsman was quoted saying by news agency ANI.

News Cricket

Terror attack survivor Simon Taufel wants international teams to play in Pakistan

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan have suffered a lot in terms of international cricket since bus carrying Sri Lankan players was attacked by terrorists in Lahore in 2009. The big teams have refused to play in Pakistan citing security as the main reason. West Indies, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka have toured Pakistan in the recent times but other teams have said no. With Sri Lanka's decision to play a two-Test match series in Pakistan, the traditional format is making a return to Pakistan after a gap of 10 years.

Former Aussie umpire Simon Taufel was one of the umpires when the Lankan team bus was attacked. He feels it was deadly and the security of the players and officials is paramount, but he wants to see international cricket in Pakistan.

“Never say never. Things change. There is no country in the world that is immune to bad things happening,” Simon Taufel said as quoted by Geo.tv.

“I do hope that cricket spreads to more parts of the world and even though it was a traumatic experience in Pakistan, I sincerely hope that we see international cricket played there again.”

The home won the ODI series against Sri Lanka but the tide was reversed in the shortest format of the game where Sri Lanka whitewashed Pakistan in a three-match series.

News Cricket

Misbah-ul-Haq reveals plan to stop Steve Smith in Test series

Tarun Singh Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Misbah-ul-Haq, the head coach of Pakistan, has revealed a mantra to stop the batting maestro of Australia Steve Smith in the Test series commencing from November 21 in Brisbane.

Misbah-ul-Haq, while applauding their pace-attack, has instructed bowlers to keep hitting the ‘blind spot’ of ‘batting genius’ Steve Smith to prevent the damage he does to the rivals with his willow.

Smith is in tremendous form and broke a plethora of batting records in the recently concluded Ashes. Smith accumulated 774 runs in seven innings at an astonishing average of 110.57 in the Test series against England.

Misbah believes that every batsman has a ‘blind spot’ where he gets uncomfortable, bowlers need to identify that spot and keep pitching the bowl there to lead the batsman to commit a mistake.

Misbah-ul-Haq, disclosing his plan against Aussies said, “As far as Steve Smith goes, there’s a blind spot for every top batsman in the world; as a bowler you’re always interested in pitching the ball there.

“It’s important that we bowl with consistency there. Our bowlers are executing the plans very well right now, and hopefully we’ll be able to build that kind of a pressure, and stay disciplined especially early in the innings.”

“No matter how good a batsman is batting, it’s about consistency and bowling the maximum balls in those areas that build pressure and the batsman respects you, and you force him to make a mistake,” he added.

News Cricket

Paralympian Deepa Malik lauds Virat, says great to see skipper talking about mental health issues

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:23 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli spoke about mental health issues ahead of the first Test match between India and Bangladesh. While lauding Glenn Maxwell for disclosing his ongoing fight with mental issues, he revealed about his as well. The Aussie all-rounder has taken an indefinite break from cricket after failing to win over his problem. The 31-year old Virat had encountered similar situation in 2014 when his mediocre performance in the Test series against England was widely covered by media. Virat was ridiculed for his below par batting, which gave birth to several doubts in his mind. However, he fought with them and the rest is history.

Even famous Indian Paralympian Deepa Malik has lauded Virat for speaking about a sensitive issue like mental health.

“It was great to hear a highly successful cricketer like Virat Kohli talking about the mental issues,” Malik was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

She feels cricket is a demanding sport and can put even the best in business under pressure.

“Cricket has become very demanding and that puts cricketers under tremendous pressure to perform. This leads them to depression-like situations and they find it difficult to deal with it,” the 50-year-old Khel Ratna awardee told the newspaper. “I would suggest them to take a break from the monotonous routine. Give free time to themselves which will do wonders for them.”

News Cricket

Ashwin gets ‘Man of the Watch’ award from Netflix, leaves off-spinner in splits

Tarun Singh Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:21 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The man of great wit, Ravichandran Ashwin, who recently emulated Sanath Jayasuriya’s bowling action, was involved in a humorous conversation with Netflix India.

Ashwin burst into laughter when he was offered ‘Man of the Watch’ by Netflix India for not playing a match this time, but for the great knowledge he shared with Netflix on a trending TV series.

Netflix India thankfully tweeted, “Ashwin's fantastic suggestion has won him today's Man of the Watch award.”

The Indian off-spinner Ashwin, who is known for his sense of humor, accepted the unexpected award offered by Netflix India and Tweeted with a smiley, “Look forward to the presentation ceremony.”

Earlier, Netflix India had awarded Ashwin with a tag of ‘Man of the Look’.

Ravichandran Ashwin, apart from being a bowling great also follows the trending and engaging TV series on Netflix and shares his experience through Tweets.

Ashwin took five wickets in the first Test match against Bangladesh.

The Indian bowler is gearing up for the second Test against Bangladesh, which will be India’s maiden day-night Test.

Ashwin was impressed with the way Indian pace-attack crushed ‘Bangla Tigers’ in the first Test. “I think Shami, Ishant and Umesh have been bowling well as a pack and if you add Bumrah to it over the last few months or a year in Test cricket, I think it's one of the most lethal pace attacks going around in the world if not the best.”

Milestones Cricket

In numbers: Ravindra Jadeja’s impressive rise as a Test batsman

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:17 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India have been dominant in Test cricket over the last year, and have made an excellent start to the World Test Championship as well. As per the updated points table, they are the leaders by some distance, with 300 points from six games. New Zealand are a distant second, with 60 points from two Tests.

The biggest reason for India’s rise as a Test nation over the past year has been their potent pace attack, which is capable of taking 20 wickets on any surface. Mohammed Shami has reinvented himself, and is among the best fast bowlers in the world today. Jasprit Bumrah has taken to Test cricket like fish to water. All along, Ishant Sharma has used his experience to deliver at vital moments. And, with the resurgence of Umesh Yadav, India’s pace attack has never looked better.

Of course, India’s batting strength has also made a big difference with Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma making the openers’ slots their own, and Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane taking care of the middle-order. Amidst all these big positives, Ravindra Jadeja has quietly announced himself as a Test batsman, and so well that he is now occupying the crucial number six slot in the batting line-up.

Oval to Indore, the Jadeja story

The resurgence of Jadeja as a Test batsman began at The Oval in 2018 during the fifth Test in September 2018. Responding to England’s 332, India seemed down in the dumps at 160 for 6. However, Jadeja lifted them to 292 with a belligerent 86 not out from 156 balls, an innings featuring 11 fours and a six. Although India lost the Test despite second innings hundreds from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, Jadeja’s confidence as a batsman has been at a different level since.

Following the innings at The Oval, Jadeja went on to register his maiden Test hundred against West Indies at Rajkot. He has also scored 81 against Australia at Sydney, 58 versus West Indies at North Sound, 91 and 51 against South Africa at Pune and Ranchi, and 60 not out against Bangladesh at Indore. In 11 Tests starting with The Oval game, Jadeja averages 63.60 with one hundred and six fifties. In fact, he has crossed fifty in all his last three Test innings.

A different story before that

Jadeja struggled to find his feet as a batsman in Test cricket in the first few years. From his debut in December 2012 to December 2016, he featured in 25 Tests. However, he managed only 848 runs with four fifties at an average of 26.50, with a highest score of 90. There was a significant improvement in the second phase of his career, from January 2017 to June 2018, when he featured in 11 Tests and managed 348 runs at an average of 38.66, with four hundreds and a best of 70 not out. This was followed by The Oval Test, and Jadeja has not looked back since.

While the Indian pacers and top and middle-order batsmen deserve a lot of plaudits for their exploits, the efforts of Jadeja the batsman are also highly praiseworthy.

Jadeja’s overall numbers in Tests as a batsman: 47 Tests, 1,832 runs, 35.92 average, one hundred and 14 fifties.

Feature Cricket

Two potentially engrossing contests on the cards

Partab Ramchand Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:14 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Away from all the excitement of the pink ball game at the Eden Gardens two Test matches commence on Thursday which could turn out to be engrossing contests. Of course if one goes by past record it would appear that Pakistan don’t have a chance against Australia. In 35 Tests they have played ``Down Under’’ over 55 years Pakistan have won just four and lost 24. The last victory was in 1995-96 at the height of the Waqar Younis – Wasim Akram double menace, they have lost the last 12 in a row and are ranked No 7 to Australia’s No 5.

All the same Pakistan as is well known are a mercurial lot capable of scaling the heights and plumbing the depths in quick succession and Australia are not likely to take the visitors lightly. There is already considerable talk of the challenge posed by their pace attack which holds the key if Pakistan hope to do well in the two Test series. The Aussies will be particularly wary of Mohammed Abbas who has 66 wickets from just 14 matches at just under 19 apiece. But there is already a lot of buzz around the two teenagers Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah particularly the latter. He is just 16 and yet to make his international debut but his first class figures are impressive – 27 wickets from seven games at 16 apiece.

Leg spinner Yasir Shah who is a class act will carry their spin hopes and will be eager to make up for his nightmarish experience on the last tour three years ago when he took eight wickets in three Tests at an average of 84. It should be interesting to see how they tackle the strong Aussie batting, the menace of Steve Smith in particular. What will also be keenly followed is how their batting fares against the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.

Over in New Zealand their two Test series against England is clearly too close to call. It is not just the rankings which have the hosts at No 2 and the visitors at No 3 that makes predicting the result difficult. Even a cursory glance at the team personnel and it can be seen that they are evenly matched in all departments of the game. One side has players of the calibre of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult and Tim Southee and the other has classy players like Joe Root, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes.

Again on past record New Zealand with just five wins against 18 defeats in their own backyard would seem to give England the edge but this stat can be ignored. In recent years New Zealand have proved to be tough opponents at home winning ten of the last 12 series. Yes, one prediction can safely be made - that it will be a high quality contest.

News Cricket

Pakistan 16-year-old Naseem Shah set to break Harbhajan Singh’s 21-year old record

Tarun Singh Updated: 20 November, 2019, 4:12 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Pakistan 16-year-old pace ace Naseem Shah, who is touted to be the sensational bowler, is gearing up to make his debut in the upcoming (PAK vs AUS) Test series, starting from November 21 in Brisbane.

Yet a school student, Naseem Shah is on the verge of breaking Indian veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh’s record of being the youngest ever player to debut in Tests against Australia.

Harbhajan Singh made his debut against Australia in 1998 when he was 17 years and 265 days, but the young firebrand Naseem will be only 16 years and 279 days old when he wears the Test cap.

The teenager, fast bowler Naseem was already seen troubling the best-batting-unit Australia in the practice match. Australian batsmen did not look comfortable in tackling the teenager’s deliveries.

Aussies also admitted that they were stunned to see the performance of the young sensation who is half of the age of Steve Smith and the party.

Misbah-ul-Haq, the head coach of Pakistan also applauded the young pace ace Naseem and said, “The best thing about Naseem Shah is the control he has on his bowling.”

“He has a very good bowling action and knows which deliveries to bowl. He can bowl with a very good control.

“He knows his stuff and bowled really well in the first-class matches he played this season. He’s bowled well here too and is the standout bowler for us. The way he’s been bowling, he can be a match-winner for us, Misbah further added.”

News Cricket

Virat shares throwback picture with his partner in crime, wants fans to guess the name

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 3:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India skipper Virat Kohli is currently preparing hard for the first-ever day night Test match in India. The home team will turn-up against Bangladesh at the famous Eden Gardens from November 22. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli, who is quite active on social media, took to different sites to post a throwback picture with former captain MS Dhoni. The face of Dhoni is not visible and Virat urged his fans to guess the name of that person.

“Partners in crime.. Crime : stealing doubles from fielders at the boundary. Guess who”.

Dhoni has not played cricket since Team India's exit from the World Cup in England and Wales. He was expected to return for the upcoming series against West Indies but the 2011 World Cup winning skipper has extended his break.

The national selectors have decided to move on from the veteran as they feel Rishabh Pant is the right person to replace him in shorter formats of the game.

News Cricket

‘Oh I love this man’: David Warner salutes Virat Kohli for his impressive eight-pack abs

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 1:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli is one of the fittest cricketers at the moment. The Indian skipper hardly misses his exercise sessions and has cultivated this habit in his teammates as well. From giving up on non-vegetarian food to identifying the needs of his body, Virat has come a long way in his career. He recently posted a video on Instagram handle of him training in the gym and flaunting his abs.

He captioned the video, "No days off. @one8.innerwear". While fans praised him for his dedication, David Warner wrote about the admiration he has for the Indian captain. “Oh I love this man. ABS ABS".

Meanwhile, after defeating Bangladesh in the first Test match, Virat and his players are ready to take on the same team in the first-ever Day and Night Test in India. The match will be played at the Eden Gardens from November 22 to 26.

India are currently leading the points table in the ongoing World Test Championship. With 300 points and six consecutive wins, India have stamped their authority on traditional format of the game.

Virat Kohli has accumulated 7066 runs in 83 Tests at an impressive average of 54.4. The right handed batsman, who was dismissed for a rare duck in the first Test match against Bangladesh, will be eager to score heavily in the second match.

News Cricket

Lasith Malinga backtracks, indicates to play beyond T20 World Cup

Tarun Singh Updated: 20 November, 2019, 11:59 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The 36-year old Lasith Malinga, the immensely talented pacer of Sri Lanka, showed that he is still capable of leading the struggling team. He believes that his vast experience will be beneficial for the youthful team in overcoming their shortcomings.

Earlier, the master of the finest and unplayable Yorkers, had stated that he would retire after the Twenty20 World Cup, which is to be held next year in Australia.

But suddenly Malinga has changed his stance after his return as the captain of the inexperienced side in T20Is and has realized that his body can give two more years of cricket.

“T20 is four overs and I feel with my skill, I can manage T20 as a bowler. As a captain, because I've played so many T20s around the world that I feel I can manage that period for maybe another two years,” he said.

Lasith Malinga, who is the only bowler to scalp more than 100 T20I wickets, said that the Sri Lanka team is going through a transition phase. And the youthful team needs to discover skillful bowlers who can perform consistently.

“Sri Lanka are lacking that skillful bowler, they lack those consistencies. We can’t get one year, one and a half years, all fixed, it might be that we need to get patience, maybe two or three years,” he added.

However, under Lasith Malinga’s captaincy in the last eight T20Is, Sri Lanka have managed to win only one.

News Cricket

KKR CEO gets cheeky with Yuvraj, says they released Lynn to bid for former Indian all-rounder

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 10:35 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

With Yuvraj Singh's strong reaction on the release of Chris Lynn by Kolkata Knight Riders, the CEO of the franchise, Venky Mysore has given a witty response. According to him, they parted ways with the Aussie player in order to bid for the former Indian all-rounder.

The right handed batsman, who is playing in the ongoing T10 league, scored 91 off 30 balls for his team Maratha Arabians.

"Chris (Lynn) was outstanding today, unbelievable hits," Yuvraj, who is also playing for the Maratha Arabians this season told reporters after the match. "He is someone I have seen in the IPL. He has given some great starts to KKR. I really don't understand why they have not retained him. I think it is a bad call, must send SRK a message on that. Chris was just outstanding today," he added.

Taking note of Yuvraj Singh’s statement, Venky came up with a hilarious reply.

"@YUVSTRONG12 we released @lynny50 so that we could bid for you! Love and respect for both of you champions!," the KKR CEO said in his tweet.

News Tennis

Nadal leads Spain to win over Russia in Davis Cup Finals

Staff Writer Updated: 20 November, 2019, 9:51 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rafael Nadal kept Spain’s hopes alive, then Marcel Granollers and Feliciano López completed the comeback in the decisive doubles match to give the hosts a 2-1 win over Russia in the inaugural Davis Cup Finals.

Granollers and López defeated Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-6 (5) to seal the victory for Spain in a marathon series that ended close to 2 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) on Wednesday.

The top-ranked Nadal earlier defeated Khachanov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to level the series 1-1 after Rublev had rallied to beat Roberto Bautista-Agut 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (0) in the first match.

“It was a difficult situation for us,” López said. “We needed this win, otherwise we could be close to being out of the tournament. Now we are in a good position to advance.”

Although only one of the matches reached three sets, it took nearly eight hours to complete the series at the “Caja Mágica” (Magic Box) center court. Spain will be back in action on Wednesday against defending champion Croatia. Russia beat Croatia on Monday.

In the revamped Davis Cup format debuting this year, teams play only two singles and a doubles in each tie, with the group winners advancing to the knockout stage along with the two best second-place finishers in the six groups.

“The format makes things very difficult because every mistake puts you in a position that you don’t want to be,” Nadal said. “And losing that first match, we were under pressure.”

News Football

Pochettino fired by Tottenham after magic wears off

AP Updated: 20 November, 2019, 9:48 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mauricio Pochettino was widely lauded as something of a miracle worker by elevating Tottenham into English soccer’s established elite and inspiring its improbable run to a Champions League final.

In his sixth season at the north London club, the magic of the Argentine coach finally wore off.

Pochettino was fired by Tottenham on Tuesday, a move that was sudden yet perhaps inevitable with the team’s declining fortunes on the field mirroring the ostensible disaffection of its manager.

British media reported that Tottenham was in negotiations with Jose Mourinho to take over.

“We were extremely reluctant to make this change,” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, whose relationship with Pochettino has appeared strained in recent years as they clashed over transfer spending, “and it is not a decision the board have taken lightly, nor in haste.”

Nor would they. It wasn’t long ago that Pochettino was one of the most sought-after managers in world soccer, having transformed Tottenham into a title contender in the Premier League and guided the team into last season’s Champions League final — a remarkable feat that remains the standout achievement of his 5½ years in the job.

That masked, however, an alarming slump in results on the domestic front that has seen Spurs win just six of their last 24 Premier League games since February, a period that goes back to the end of last season.

News Cricket

PCB CEO wants return of international cricket, says there have been no terrorism incidents

Staff Writer Updated: 19 November, 2019, 4:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The PCB has long been seeking to regain the confidence of foreign teams that it’s safe to play in Pakistan.

Foreign players have visited Pakistan and played in the Pakistan Super League matches at Lahore and Karachi for the last three years.

Zimbabwe, West Indies, a World XI and Sri Lanka have also visited for limited-overs series in recent seasons and now Pakistan is set to host Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi and Karachi for the two test matches next month.

Khan said for the last two to three years there have been no terrorism incidents in any major city of Pakistan.

"Terrorism is a scourge for everybody and we've probably lost more people to terrorism in Pakistan than any other country, but I firmly believe that all those things are behind us now," he said. “There's a perception in the outside world which is not a reality of what's going on in Pakistan."

Australia has not toured Pakistan since 1998 but Khan hoped to organize a series at home within three years. Australians Tim Paine, Ben Cutting and George Bailey played with the World XI team for three Twenty20s matches at Lahore in 2017.

"We know it all comes down to the players," Khan said. "Players have to feel confident. They have to feel comfortable in the environment they're coming into."