Interview with owners of Elevar: ‘We want to design the best products for cricketers’

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 12:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

India is such a cricket crazy country that every other kid aspires to be a cricketer. But not everyone can be a cricketer. When you leave the dream of becoming Sachin Tendulkar, you try to possibly become the next Harsha Bhogle, but that is even more difficult. And perhaps, realizing that Kunal and Aayush, tried to stay connected with their first love that is cricket albeit in a different manner altogether.

They dived into the deep sea that is bat-making industry but with a new vision and an edge over their peers that science and technology bring to the plate, which Indians are not very fond of, at large, with Elevar.

In a freewheeling chat with Cricket Today, Kunal and Aayush opened up on various aspects of their start-up which is in its baby stage but have its sights set to become one of its kind in bat-making industry.

How your journey to bat making started and when did you first fall in love with the game of cricket?

Kunal: I have been playing Cricket for longer than I can remember. From playing in my apartment with my father as a kid to playing in England for my school team, my love and passion for cricket has always been strong. Aayush has a similar love for Cricket and we became good friends in college. When we came back to India we noticed that bats haven’t changed since we were kids and this really baffled us. We love a bunch of different sports and in all of them, products keep evolving and companies focus on innovation and quality products. This was not true in Cricket and so we decided to change it.

Where did the idea for Elevar come from, and how did you make this idea a reality?

Aayush: As Kunal mentioned, we were surprised that Cricket, that is treated as a religion by a billion Indians and played and watched by so many other nations, has just lacked innovation and a desire to build the highest quality of products. So we decided to start ELEVAR. Elevar means “to elevate” and so the ethos behind Elevar is “to raise your game to the next level”. We want to build the best products to help athletes of all levels improve. We started working on Elevar in May 2017. Our product designer and engineer worked with hundreds of players to understand the ergonomics and bio-mechanics of batting and finally we came upon a unique handle design, grip, and bat making process. So after a complete year of R&D and prototyping our bat design, we launched this bat in May 2018.

Was it hard in the beginning to set up your business and compete with big fishes in the market?

Kunal: Yes it was undoubtedly difficult, and it still is, for a small startup like us. The biggest challenge comes when challenging the status quo. So, we were met with a lot of supply side problems as we tried to execute our different design. Similarly, it’s not so easy to convince customers to try something completely new and unknown. But fortunately, it turned out that there are other cricket crazy people like us who also felt that cricket bats could use a breath of fresh air and they decided to give us a shot. It’s these early adopters who have helped us scale the business because once they liked the product, their word of mouth marketing has convinced many others to try us out.

Tell us about the process from start to finish of crafting a top quality cricket bat?

Aayush: Our process starts at willow selection. Our product designer and quality control team evaluate thousands of clefts to decide which ones will be good enough to make Elevar Bats. Then handles are joined to those clefts and workers use special tools to give the handle our unique and trademark shape. The bat is left for a couple of days to let the joining become stable and strong. Bat finishing is a largely manual process and workers give a slightly different shape profile to each of our bats so that bat balance is optimized. Finally, bees wax is applied to the bat as a finishing touch and then our signature bat grip and stickers are applied. There are quality checks at each step of the process and we end up discarding many bats so that customers only get the best possible batting experience.

How do you continually manage to innovate and improve as a bat maker?

Kunal: By doing one thing – listening to our customers! As Aayush mentioned we spent one whole year in R&D working with players and understanding their needs and wants. Even after our launch, our product has changed drastically, and this is because we keep listening to feedback from customers and make changes. Our products team has a single goal and that is quality and not cost. So, the team keeps working with our manufacturers to ensure bat quality keeps improving. We have designed stringent quality control processes throughout our supply chain to keep checks and balances. And our product designer is always experimenting with new, innovative ideas so that the next iteration of the bat can be even better.

Can you elaborate the technology part of your bat making process?

Aayush: Our uniqueness is in our bat design. We used science and technology to study batting behavior and the range of motion and type of functions a player and his/her bat goes through. Using this we were able to come up with an optimal handle shape and grip materials. Now we use in-house designed manufacturing tools to ensure that our exact bat design is maintained. We also measure various metrics like moisture and weight throughout the manufacturing process to inform us on bat quality.

What separates Elevar from other bat making companies?

Kunal: Our attention to detail and willingness to innovate. Most bat companies have been around for decades but the bat in essence has remained the same. We want to push the bounds of innovation to keep evolving the bat as a product. As you have seen with tennis rackets of golf clubs, these instruments have dramatically changed over the last 50 years and bats should be no different given the resources we have available now. And then we backup this innovation with an attention to detail in getting it executed even though it may be more difficult and costly than the norm.

Where do you see Elevar in next five years?

Aayush: As Kunal mentioned, we want to keep pushing the bounds of innovation. We want to keep designing better products for Cricketers of all types. We aren’t only focused on the pro market of players who buy English willow bats. The casual gully cricketer is equally important to us. And so, we want to design the best quality of products for cricketers across formats and eventually across geographies.

How do you engage the youth with your brand?

Kunal: We’re an online only brand at the moment so we are engaging young hand passionate cricketers on all social platforms. We love hearing from our customers and featuring their stories on our page. And we love pushing content their way and will keep doing so. We also have a very young team – our average age is under 30! And we hope to keep building our team with young and passionate sports people.

What is your prediction for the upcoming World Cup?

Aayush: Heart is always with India and I do think we will make it to the semis but I think England go in as favorites this year!

How has your work influenced your lifestyle?

Kunal: Our biggest passion is our work and that’s the most awesome part for us. We always used to play and watch cricket in our free time and now that counts as work! So its much harder now for our wives to stop us.

Who's your all-time favorite sports person?

Aayush: Virender Sehwag. To me he’s one of the people who defined the age of power hitting that exists in Cricket Today. He was the bridge between old school cricket and modern cricket. The tradionalists used to say that you can’t play test cricket without impeccable technique and yet Viru will go down as one of India’s greatest test cricketers. He famously said, “I don’t believe in technique, I believe in performance” and that’s what modern day cricket is all about – trust your natural game and go out there and perform.

What do you like most about cricket as a sport?

Kunal: It’s hard for me to single out any one thing about a sport I love so much. But if I had to pick out one thing, I would say that I love how cricket is always evolving and that means that cricketers are constantly changing how the game is played. Every new generation grows up playing the game slightly differently from the previous one, and taking the game to a new level. So if you look at games from 25 years ago to now, you feel like you’re almost watching a different sport. This way the excitement never dies, and you never know how the game will evolve 25 years from now.

Do you think India is sports oriented country?

Aayush: Yes, it absolutely is. We said this before, we don’t think that a sportsperson is just defined by going out there and playing in a pro circuit. Look at every street, maidaan, building in India and you’ll see people playing. Of course, the initiatives being taken across India to help pro athletes is amazing and we hope that India can excel on a global standard. But the love and passion for sports is in the streets of India and this is something we celebrate at Elevar.

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Feature Cricket

Which team chases best in T20Is?

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 9 November, 2019, 4:08 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India levelled the T20I series against Bangladesh by registering a thumping eight-wicket triumph at Rajkot on Thursday. On the other hand, Australia embarrassed Pakistan by 10 wickets in the third T20I at Perth on Friday to clinch the series 2-0. It is pertinent to note here that Pakistan are the number one team in T20I cricket as per the ICC rankings. With the respective wins, India and Australia became the joint most successful team in T20I chases, with 41 wins each while batting second.

Decoding India and Australia’s success in chases

In terms of numbers, India have done better than Australia in chases. Out of 61 games in which the Indians have batted second, they have emerged victorious on 41 occasions. They have lost 18 matches in chases while two games have produced no result. On the other hand, the Aussies have taken 70 games to register 41 wins. In 26 matches while batting second, Australia have ended up on the losing side. Further, two games ended in a tie while one encounter ended in no result.

India’s highest successful chase in a T20I came against Sri Lanka at Mohali on December 12, 2009. Chasing 207 to win the contest, they finished on 211 for 4 courtesy blistering 60s from Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. They did amass 244 in a T20I against West Indies at Lauderhill on August 27, 2016. However, this came in a losing cause as India were chasing 245, and KL Rahul’s unbeaten 110 from 51 balls went in vain. Australia have done better in this respect. They chased down 244 against New Zealand in a T20I at Auckland played on February 16, 2018. Martin Guptill’s 105 from 54 balls was outdone by a combined effort from the Aussies -- D’Arcy Short (76 from 44 balls), David Warner (59 from 24) and Aaron Finch (36 not out from 14).

Star performers in chases

Indian captain Virat Kohli is the most successful batsman in chases in the history of T20I cricket. In 35 matches, he has amassed 1,381 runs at a stunning average of 81.23, and an impressive strike rate of 133.17, with 15 half-centuries. His highest successful total in a chase, that of 82 not out, came in the 2016 World T20 Super 10 clash against Australia at Mohali on March 27, 2016. India were chasing 161 to win, and Kohli, almost single-handedly, took India to victory by six wickets. His innings came off 51 balls, and featured nine fours and two sixes.

For Australia, David Warner is the stand-out batsman in chases. In 46 T20Is, he has 1,177 runs to his credit at an average of 29.42 and a strike rate of 140.45. The left-hander has scored 10 fifties while batting second. Warner’s best effort in a chase is 77. It came in the second T20I of the series against South Africa at Johannesburg on March 6, 2016. The Aussies were chasing 205 to win the contest, and Warner blasted 77 from 40 balls, hitting six fours and five sixes. Glenn Maxwell also starred in the game with 75 from 43 balls.

India’s Rohit Sharma also has an excellent record in chases. He has notched up 1,106 runs in 51 games at an average of 28.35 and a strike rate of 129.96. Sharma has managed nine fifties and one century in chases. His best of 100 not out came against England at Bristol on July 8, 2018. India were set a tough 199 to win the contest. However, Rohit eased his way to a century from 56 balls with 11 fours and five sixes, as the hosts were consigned to a seven-wicket defeat.

News Cricket

Shoaib Akhtar welcomes Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 4:04 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar has advocated the need of promoting peace and harmony between two rival nations. Shoaib, who shared hostile relationship with a lot of Indian players, has calmed down a bit in the past few years. On the occasion of Kartarpur Corridor’s opening ceremony, he took to Twitter to welcome Sikh Pilgrims to Pakistan.

"I welcome the Sikh brethren to Pakistan. #KartarpurCorridor is a road to peace & religious harmony. Beautiful scenes at the opening of corridor. I can see the priceless happiness on the faces. Special contribution of @ImranKhanPTI & @sherryontopp is highly appreciated," he wrote.

The first batch of over 500 Indian Sikh pilgrims entered Pakistan on Saturday through the historic Kartarpur corridor which was open ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu were part of the first batch.

Meanwhile, Shoaib Akhtar has blasted Men in Green for their performance in the recently concluded T20I series against Australia. The visitors were beaten 0-2 on the fast and pacey tracks of Australia.

“Our batsmen Haris Sohail, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Rizwan lack the maturity of that of Australian batsman Steve Smith,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel as quoted by the Business Recorder.

News Cricket

Coach Ricky Ponting believes Ashwin will turn the fortunes of Delhi Capitals

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 2:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Finally, Ravichandran Ashwin has been traded to Delhi Capitals after all the uncertainties over his association with Kings XI Punjab.

The head coach, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting seemed happy to have got his main target in Delhi Capitals, who have never even appeared in an IPL final.

Ricky Ponting has high hopes from Ashwin and feels that the clever bowler will definitely impact the fortunes of the Delhi Capitals team.

Trusting Ashwin’s bowling expertise, the head coach Ricky Ponting said, “Ashwin adds a lot of value to any team that he’s a part of, and I’m sure it’s going to be no different when he joins Delhi Capitals.”

“It is no secret that the pitch on our home ground is on the slower side, and is known to assist spinners. I believe, Ashwin, with his clever bowling, will have a tremendous impact when he bowls on it.”

Ravichandran Ashwin would definitely look forward to performing better with the Delhi Capitals team. The spinner displayed a mediocre performance as the skipper of Kings XI Punjab team, which led to his departure.

No doubt, Ashwin is one of the best spinners that Team India have produced. The right-arm off-spin bowler Ashwin has a tremendous record in Tests. He has snapped huge 357 wickets with 27 five-wicket hauls in 68 Tests that he has played for his national team.

News Cricket

Yuzvendra Chahal on the verge of becoming India's most successful bowler

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 2:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the one who scripted Bangladesh's defeat in the second T20I of the series. The visitors were blazing all guns before Chahal's introduction brought back things in India's favour. He was not only economical but also took two key wickets. The Indian spinner is standing on the cusp of achieving something massive in his T20 career. He needs four wickets to go past R Ashwin, who is currently the highest wicket-taker for India in the shortest format of the game.

The off-spinner has taken 52 wickets. Jasprit Bumrah is the other Indian bowler who has crossed the fifty mark (51) in his career. Chahal, who has 49 wickets so far, has a chance of becoming India's most successful bowler.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma gave him some batting trips after the second match against Bangladesh. Speaking about his six hitting spree, Hitman stated that even Chahal can hit sixes.

“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. 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 Chahal in the video.

News Cricket

Indian bowling attack is arguably the best in the world - Wriddhiman Saha

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 2:31 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Wriddhiman Saha has performed well behind the stumps in Test cricket. He is the best wicket-keeper at the moment and his exceptional catches in the Test series against South Africa were applauded by critics and fans. The Indian gloveman feels current bowling attack is the best in the world.

“The Indian bowling attack is arguably the best in the world at the moment. Every pacer in our team is bowling at 140+ (kmph) nowadays regardless of the conditions. Yes, it was definitely a big challenge keeping up with the improving bowling attack and hopefully, I did well (smiles),”Saha told Times Now.

When he was asked about his injury, which was not handled properly by the medical team of the BCCI, Saha said: “It was not a case of mishandling rather I would say there was some sort of miscommunication. Post my surgery, whatever exercises the medical team used to give me I enjoyed them a lot and gave me 100 per cent. And I had a gala time with all the physios, the medical staff and the players present there at that time, and hence it didn’t become boring. I just remained positive with just one thing in my mind – to get back to the cricket field again,” he added.

News Cricket

Rohit on the verge of becoming the first Indian player to hit 400 sixes in international cricket

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 2:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India skipper Rohit Sharma is on the verge of achieving a memorable milestone in international cricket. The right hand batsman, who hit six sixes in the second T20I against Bangladesh, needs to more hits to complete 400 sixes in his career. He has struck 232 sixes in ODIs, 115 sixes in T20Is and 51 in Tests.

Chris Gayle (534 sixes) and Shahid Afridi (476 sixes) are the only two players who have crossed this landmark.

“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. 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 Chahal in the video.

Men in Blue will be eyeing their first T20I series at home this season when they play against Bangladesh in the final match in Nagpur. The team is missing quite a few regular players and wants to identify the core group ahead of the next year’s T20 World Cup in England and Wales.

News Cricket

Mahmudullah is bold in his decisions like MS Dhoni – Irfan Pathan

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 2:05 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Irfan Pathan is mighty pleased with the way Mahmudullah has led Bangladesh in the ongoing T20I series against India. He feels the captaincy style of the visiting skipper is a bit similar to that of former Indian skipper, MS Dhoni.

Bangladesh won the first match comprehensively but were undone in the second game of the series.

"When you win a match against one of the best teams in the world, it helps in boosting your confidence and Mahmudullah had shown great qualities of a captain including the changes he made during the match," said Pathan speaking at the Nerolac Cricket Live show on Star Sports.

"There was a hint of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his captaincy as he also used part-time bowlers after the power play which is a strategy often used by Dhoni," he added.

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh has stated that Mushfiqur Rahim will have to perform well in the last game if Bangladesh are to win the first ever T20I series against India.

"Mushfiqur Rahim is a player with lot of experience, his ability to play both spin and pace bowling is great and he has the maximum responsibility in the Bangladesh squad in terms of batting which gives him an edge over Mahmudullah who is also a good player for the Bangladesh team," said Harbhajan.

News Cricket

Gabbar mimics Akshay Kumar’s ‘Bala’ character, Bhuvneshwar trolls him

Tarun Singh Updated: 9 November, 2019, 1:52 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The opening batsman of India, Shikhar Dhawan came into the limelight for enacting Bollywood star Akshay Kumar’s funny bald character ‘Bala’ from the movie Housefull 4.

Shikhar took to social media platform Instagram to upload his funny video enacting Bala’s character along with Yuzvendra Chahal and Khaleel Ahmed.

The fans on social media have loved Shikhar Dhawan’s funny side. Between many responses from fans, the most epic one came from the Indian pacer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bhuvneshwar said “Bhulne k acting K kya zarurt wo to natural talent hai” (What’s the need to act when forgetting is your natural talent).

Bhuvi trolled Shikhar Dhawan as he feels ‘Gabbar’ naturally forgets everything so he doesn’t need to imitate Akshay’s Bala character who forgets everything when exposed to loud sound in the movie.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bala ke side effects 😂 @akshaykumar @khaleelahmed13 @yuzi_chahal23

A post shared by Shikhar Dhawan (@shikhardofficial) on

It seems Bollywood star Akshay Kumar has many fans in the Indian cricket team also as earlier, the all-rounder Krunal Pandya was also seen dancing crazily on Akshay’s wacky song ‘Shaitan ka Sala’.

Shikhar Dhawan’s funny moments have come at the right time as Team India bounced back in the ongoing three-match T20I series against Bangladesh. Thanks to Rohit Sharma’s blistering 85 which helped India to register a vital win in the second match.

Team India needs to perform in the last decider match to conquer the T20I series against Bangladesh.

Opinion Cricket

Should ICC Release All Cases of Investigation?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 9 November, 2019, 1:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The timing of Shakib Al Hasan’s ban has been considered highly suspicious from the point of the rift between the Bangladesh Cricket Board and their cricketers. In that regard, the issue of whether the International Cricket Council (ICC) should make public every such incident at the time of its being reported is now a matter of serious debate.

The charges against the former Bangladesh captain are a degree short of serious in that he has not been publicly charged of having embroiled himself in fixing. But the ICC has taken note of the fact that one of the way to stem the rot of malpractice in the game is to penalize the cricketers who don’t report being approached by shady characters and by that standard, deemed the highly popular and successful allrounder guilty enough to be banned for two years, albeit one year suspended.

While it was astounding enough that a player of such caliber has found himself in such a tangle, what drew attention to the disclosure was, also, the timing so close to the Bangladesh Cricket Board threatening to take action against the revolting Bangladesh cricketers who were arguing for an older model of domestic cricket as well as a revise in pay scales, accusing the board of pocketing a majority of the profit. Not surprisingly with Shakib Al Hasan one of the leading faces, it seemed that perhaps the Bangladesh Cricket Board had pulled out a stock weapon whereby the player may have reported to the BCB but not necessarily to the ICC, the matter then conveyed to the ICC only as a matter of vengeance on the part of the BCB.

While it is speculative, the timing has led to several conspiracy theories with this being the strongest. In that light, as an afterthought, there is a debate in cricket circles whether the ICC should disclose not only the charge against a player but also, the first instance when it was brought to the notice of the ICC and by whom. While there is a case for protecting sources and the ICC being relatively tied with its hands behind its back, it speaks to a case of transparency, clarity and as a way for players to know how swift repercussions can be for not cooperating with the rules and laws of the game as things stand. With not many countries having clear criminal laws of cricketers involving in acts that are tantamount to money laundering and bribery, the situation becomes more complicated.

On the flip side, there is a case of compromising the investigation, of putting the player under public scrutiny without full knowledge of the fact and also, a case of tampering of evidence unless the trap was deliberately laid in openly disclosing the charge.

But full disclosure would expose the respective cricket board’s interests if any and ensure that action and consequence are being applied in keeping with the rules of the game and not with an interest to appease a board or as a way to resolve issues of conflict unrelated to the charge.

News Cricket

Australia lose another cricketer due to mental health issues

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 1:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australia have been hit hard by mental health issues troubling cricketers. After Glenn Maxwell's indefinite break from cricket, batsman Nic Maddinson has withdrawn from Australia A's squad which will take on Pakistan. The cricketer has cited mental health grounds for his absence.

Maddinson, who has represented Australia in three Tests, was marred with mental health issues in 2017 and even took a break from the game to overcome his problem.

The governing body of Australian cricket has decided to support the 27-year old in difficult times.

"Nic has made the right decision and we are all behind him," Australia A coach Graeme Hick said in a CA statement.

"It is braver to speak up than to suffer in silence and I applaud Nic for having the courage to put his health first."

Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft will replace Maddinson in Australia A XI for the three-day.

News Cricket

Athiya on relationship with Rahul: I don't want to speak publicly about something personal

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 12:31 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

KL Rahul, the Indian batsman, is not having the best of time in international cricket. After his axing from Test side, he was expected to deliver in the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh, but the talented batsman was found wanting in the first match. However, he is enjoying his life off the field. There are rumors of him dating Bollywood actress Athiya Shetty. The two have sealed their lips when it comes to disclosing about their relationship.

The two have been spotted together on a couple of occasions and this had added fuel to fire. Athiya has finally spoken about her link-up with the Indian cricketer. According to Times of India, she stated the stories about her affair do not bother her.

She further added that did not want to speak about her personal and private life. The diva wants to keep her private life away from the limelight.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul would be hoping to score runs in the final and third T20I between India and Bangladesh on November 10.

News Cricket

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly firmly backs immature Rishabh Pant

Tarun Singh Updated: 9 November, 2019, 12:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant, who is being brutally trolled by fans on social media, has failed to perform as expected from the swashbuckler in the first two T20Is against Bangladesh.

Backing the swashbuckler Pant, Sourav Ganguly firmly urged the fans to not be impatient with the ‘Young-Gun’. Ganguly believes that Pant is a super talented player and with time he will definitely flourish.

Sourav Ganguly was asked if India is missing Mahendra Singh Dhoni's safe hands behind the wickets.

BCCI chief Ganguly firmly replied "He's a superb player. Give Rishabh Pant time, he will be fine.”

“He will mature slowly, you have to give him time. India played really well last night.”

In the absence of MS Dhoni, wicket-keeping has not been that great as MS Dhoni does for the Team. Behind the stumps, Pant was found fumbling and misjudging on several occasions, leading to a lot of criticism for the Delhi Lad.

Meanwhile, the MSK Prasad-led selection committee has shown belief in his capabilities and wants to give Rishabh Pant more time to prove himself and find a permanent place in the team.

Rishabh Pant should definitely make use of these opportunities as he already has been given many chances in the absence of Dhoni.

The star wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni has been missing from the action since Team India’s exit from the World Cup in England and will he be back in the team or not, is a big question on social media.

News Cricket

Virender Sehwag give his reaction after Supreme Court announces Ayodhya Verdict

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 11:55 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The apex body of judiciary in India announced the Ayodhya verdict on November 9. The judgment has cleared the way for the construction of temple after the Supreme Court awarded the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land to the Hindu side. The court also instructed the government to allot alternative land to Muslims for the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya. The Government of India has three months to come up with a plan for the implementation of orders.

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag took to twitter after the verdict was announced and shared a picture of Lord Rama and wrote: “Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram”.

Sehwag was recently blasted by fans for his comments on Bangladesh during one of the commercials aired by official broadcaster of the ongoing series.

News Cricket

Pakistan are still no.1 ranked side in T20Is despite losing third successive series

Staff Writer Updated: 9 November, 2019, 11:30 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan lost their third successive T20I series of the year when Australia defeated them by 10 wickets in the third and final match.

Openers David Warner and Aaron Finch were untroubled at the crease, with Finch's boundary on the final ball giving him 52 runs from 36 balls. Warner had 48 runs from 35 deliveries as Australia scored 109 without loss in 11.5 overs.

Earlier, Mitchell Starc took advantage of a green-tinged pitch to help Australia restrict Pakistan to 106-8 after being sent in to bat by Finch.

Despite their latest defeat, Pakistan are still ranked number one in the latest rankings. Men in Green were thumped by South Africa (1-2) earlier in the year and then a home series defeat (0-3) piled up more misery on them before the most recent 0-2 defeat.

Pakistan have won only one of their last 10 T20Is while losing eight in the process.

Australia have improved their rankings and are second in the list.

Feature Cricket

Shardul Thakur should replace Khaleel Ahmed

Partab Ramchand Updated: 9 November, 2019, 10:41 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

It didn’t take long for India to put Bangladesh in their place, to exhibit the disparity that exists between the two sides. The close defeat in the first T-20 international was clearly an aberration and India should wrap up the series at Nagpur on Sunday.

All the same one cannot help wondering whether India should have allowed things to go to a decider. The home team is so much superior to Bangladesh who are without some of their leading players. It matters little that India too are without some of their stars who are resting which is just as well for it is a long season ahead. On paper, when one examines the team personnel and their records there really is no comparison.

One must however praise the Indian performance at Rajkot on Thursday. The emphatic nature of their victory did much to put the shock defeat at New Delhi on the back-burner even if the scars will remain. An eight wicket win with 26 balls remaining is a rout in T-20 cricket and it was clear that Rohit Sharma was keen to send a strong message to the Bangladesh players – we are much better than you on the cricket field.

The skipper himself shone with a 43-ball 85 in the process becoming the first Indian to play in 100 T-20 internationals. It was also good to see Shikhar Dhawan leave his travails of the first game behind even though he was overshadowed by Rohit’s brilliance. And Shreyas Iyer’s little cameo towards the end which saw India hasten to victory showed what he is capable of.

The bowlers too did their bit in restricting Bangladesh after they got off to a rollicking start though Khaleel Ahmed again stuck out like a sore thumb. The left arm paceman did not have a good match the first time around and it was a surprise that he kept his place for the Rajkot game. He didn’t fare any better with wayward figures of one for 44 following one for 37. With Shardul Thakur who has a commendable record in the few internationals he has played in the squad there is no reason to persevere with Khaleel Ahmed who is clearly out of his depth. The two should switch places for Sunday’s decider.