JUNE 25 – The most significant date in Indian cricket

Partab Ramchand Updated: 25 June, 2019, 11:43 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

June 25 is clearly the most significant date in Indian cricket history for on that day, not one but two really important events took place giving that date an aura all its own.

The first is the fact that India made her Test debut on that day in 1932. It was on a Saturday that CK Nayudu led the Indian team on to the field at Lord’s to take on England for the country’s first Test match. Predictably the Indians were rated as no-hopers against a strong home side but the early moments were really dramatic. England opting to bat were rocked on their heels by Mohammad Nissar then rated as among the fastest bowlers in the game. Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe who opened the innings had only a week before put on a world record partnership of 555 runs for Yorkshire against Essex. But the burly Indian paceman bowled Holmes (6) and Sutcliffe (3) and then brilliant fielding by Lal Singh saw Frank Woolley run out and England were 19 for three. The spectators could not believe what they were seeing and Neville Cardus caught the mood aptly with his impeccable prose in his report in The Guardian which is quoted every now and then whenever the events of that inaugural Test are discussed.

It was too much to expect the babes of international cricket to maintain the pressure and England not unexpectedly first wriggled out and then consolidated their position in such a manner that they won the Test by 158 runs. Skipper Douglas Jardine top scored in both innings with 79 and 85 not out and there were half centuries by Les Ames (first innings) and Eddie Paynter (second innings). But India’s gallant effort marked by Nissar’s five-wicket haul, Nayudu’s fighting 40 in the first innings and Amar Singh’s breezy 51 in the second innings received a lot of praise.

As luck would have it exactly 51 years later again at Lord’s the Indian team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of cricket by defeating mighty West Indies, the defending champions and prohibitive favourites by 43 runs in the World Cup final. The memorable events of that game are too recent and too well chronicled to need any repeating here. But more important than the result itself what that triumph sparked off in India was unprecedented interest in limited overs cricket which till then was not followed as closely as Test cricket.

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News Cricket

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

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

HIGHLIGHT

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

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

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

News Cricket

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

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

HIGHLIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Cricket

KL Rahul to lead Kings XI Punjab after R Ashwin's departure

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 5:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

KL Rahul will be asked to lead Kings XI Punjab after R Ashwin's departure. The former skipper and Kings XI Punjab parted ways after Ashwin's failure to lead them to title glory. He captained the franchise in the past two seasons but failed to give impressive results.

“I know there is a lot of speculation but we are still talking. Ashwin is a very good, versatile player. Any team would love to have him. We are talking to a few different teams (including Delhi) and as soon as we are clear, we will announce it,” Wadia said, according to PTI.

“We (Ashwin and KXIP) have amicably come to a conclusion that we should part ways and now we are trying to get the best fit, the best solution for everyone. We are talking to a few teams to see where the best fit is and the best value comes for both Ashwin and ourselves. We want the best deal for everyone,” he added.

News Cricket

Cricket in South Africa is in a pretty bad state - Mark Boucher

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 4:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Mark Boucher has spoken about the way cricket is managed in South Africa. He feels the game is in a pretty bad shape the moment and wants some clever heads to clear the mess. After South Africa's World Cup failure, the team got another shock in the Test series against India where they were routed 0-3 by the home team.

However, the focus has shifted to second edition of the Mzansi Super League, which will start on Friday. “There might be quite a few people looking at this and saying we're sugarcoating the actual situation we are in with South African cricket at the moment," Sport24 quoted Boucher, who is Tshwane Spartans coach in MSL, as saying.

"We've got ourselves into a pretty bad state. Hopefully there are some clever heads there to try and turn things around," he added.

However, the former wicketkeeper believes MSL will not fix cricket issues.

"The tournament will be well supported as it was last year, but we've got to be very careful with putting too much emphasis on this tournament. There are bigger problems that need to be sorted out," he said.

"It's sad to read, watch and listen about our cricket. There's a lot of negativity," he added.

News Cricket

Day-night matches in Ranji Trophy too? Cheteshwar Pujara answers interestingly

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 4:28 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Team India and Bangladesh are ready to lock horns in their maiden day-night Test with the pink ball at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

The Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was asked by a reporter if the BCCI should introduce day-night Test matches in Ranji Trophy as well.

The right-hand batsman Pujara gave a mindful answer. Pujara said he is not sure about the day-night matches to be introduced in the Ranji Trophy as he feels that the players need to get used to playing with the pink ball first.

Only after playing the first-ever day-night Test against Bangladesh, the team will have a better idea to take the format forward into domestic games or not.

Pujara told the reporter, “In my opinion, I am not sure about day-night games in the Ranji Trophy. After we play this Test match, we will have a better idea. Then, we can see how to take this forward.”

The right-hand batsman was excited, but also feels that the team needs to practice playing the pink ball under the lights in the nets before the Test match against Bangladesh.

“See, when it comes to pink-ball cricket, you need to get used to it. Before the Test match, I will try and play with the pink ball and even as a team, we will conduct a few net sessions with the pink cherry. We have played it in the first-class cricket and now is the time in a Test match so definitely looking forward to it. It is an exciting prospect for the longer version,” he further added.

News Cricket

Mominul Haque is ready to take on world’s best skipper Virat Kohli in Test series

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 4:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mominul Haque will lead Bangladesh in the Test series against India after Shakib Al Hasan was banned by the apex body of world cricket. The new skipper never thought that he would lead his national team against the best skipper, Virat Kohli in the world. He is excited to take on Virat Kohli, who is the best player across formats.

"I was not ready at all. It was completely unexpected. I never thought even in my dreams that I will be the captain of Bangladesh or I will captain the Test side," Haque said.

"I am very excited as I think (Kohli) is the best player in the world, the best batsman in all formats combined. Thinking about that makes me feel good," he added.

Mominul has played 36 Tests and scored 2,613 runs at average of 41.47.

News Cricket

Dinesh Karthik is confident of representing India in T20 World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 3:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Dinesh Karthik had to pay a heavy price for his below-par performance in the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. The middle-order batsman was dropped from the team after India's shock defeat. He hasn't got another chance to prove himself despite his impressive run in domestic cricket. However, with Pant's dipping graph, Karthik could be an answer to India's problems. The wicket-keeper batsman averages 57.00 in 18 T20 internationals since the start of 2018.

“We have a T20 World Cup coming up and I am definitely keen on contributing for the team in the finisher’s role. I feel confident playing that role and can also contribute when it comes to setting a good total batting in the middle-order,” Dinesh Karthik told TOI.

He will be leading Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.

“As a senior member of the stateside, it is my responsibility to be able to contribute each time I step on the field,” Karthik added.

News Cricket

Former Karnataka and IPL player arrested for spot-fixing in KPL finals

Tarun Singh Updated: 7 November, 2019, 2:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The never ending match-fixing scandals have tainted the gentleman’s game thoroughly. For alleged involvement in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) fixing scandal, two top domestic players - CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi were arrested by the city Central Crime Branch.

The investigation is underway by the police and a total number of six accused have been detained till now.

Captain CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi of Bellary Tuskers team are accused of spot-fixing in the KPL finals against Hubli Tigers.

An investigation police officer said, “They (CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi) were paid Rs 20 lakh for slow batting, and for other things. Also, they fixed another match against the Bengaluru team.”

CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi have featured in several editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and in Ranji Trophy also.

Earlier this week, the Bengaluru team player Nishant Singh Shekhawat was also detained by police in connection with the KPL spot-fixing.

A senior police officer Sandeep Patil said, “Cricket player Nishanth Singh Shekhawat has been arrested. He was in touch with bookies and had contacted Bangalore Blasters team bowling coach Vinu Prasad to fix players.”

The KPL spot-fixing scandal came to limelight after the Belagavi team’s owner Ali Ashfaq Thara got arrested in connection with an alleged international cricket betting scandal.

News Cricket

Star batswoman Smriti Mandhana becomes second fastest Indian to score 2000 ODI runs

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 2:08 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Smriti Mandhana is one of the best batswomen in international cricket. The star Indian player has achieved another milestone in her career. She became the second fastest Indian to score 2,000 ODI runs. The left-hand batsman achieved the feat during the third and final match against West Indies, which India won by six wickets. She was flawless touch during the game, scoring a well compiled 74 runs and also shared a 141 runs opening partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues.

She took 51 innings to reach the mark and became the third fastest woman after Belinda Clarke and Meg Lanning to achieve the milestone.

Smriti has hit four centuries and 17 fifties so far in her ODI career. Shikhar Dhawan, the opening batsman in men's team, had scored 2,000 ODI runs in 48 innings. In men's cricket, Hashim Amla holds the record of being the fastest to 2,000 runs in one-day internationals. He achieved the landmark in 40 innings.

News Cricket

Steve Smith has no technique or style - Shoaib Akhtar 

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 2:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Steve Smith has looked unstoppable since making a comeback to international cricket after serving his one-year ban. After ruling the Ashes, where he scored more than 700 runs, the former Aussie skipper is making his performance count in the shortest format of the game as well. The right-hand batsman scored a sublime fifty in the second T20I of the series against Pakistan. The rivals are finding hard to dismiss the veteran and it was only Jofra Archer, who troubled him with his bouncing deliveries.

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar, who is not a big fan of Steve Smith's technique and style, has come up with his own idea on how to stop the Aussie star batsman from scoring runs.

“Steve Smith has no technique or style but he has bravery. If he was playing in my time, I would have definitely tried to hit him and I would have tried to hurt him. But it’s impossible to hurt this guy, he’s playing so well, he’s one of a kind,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by Pakistan journalist Saj Sadiq.

News Cricket

Virat and Anushka's breathtaking vacations pics will make you want to pack your bags and leave

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 12:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma are away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded Mumbai and Delhi. The India skipper, who turned 31 on November 5, is spending quality time with his wife in Bhutan. He took to Twitter and shared a few pics from his vacation and we bet they will make you go green with envy!

“When you get a chance to come close to the beauty of nature, thoughts cease and you become one with the moment and merge with the divine energy. So grateful,” he wrote.

On the work front, Virat Kohli last played against South Africa and led India to a 3-0 Test series win. With this triumph, India consolidated its position in the World Test Championship after registering five consecutive victories in Whites.

Virat is expected to return for the two-match Test series against Bangladesh. The current Indian skipper is one of the best batsmen in the world and scored a well compiled double hundred in the second Test match against South Africa.

He is even more dangerous in the ODIs where he has hit 43 tons and has every chance of surpassing great Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 49 centuries in his glorious career.

News Cricket

World Cup winning opener wants Rohit to play KL Rahul as opener and drop Shikhar Dhawan

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 12:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Shikhar Dhawan was not able to hit the ball in the first T20I between India and Bangladesh in Delhi. His slow knock played a key role in India's below par score against the visitors. The southpaw accumulated 41 runs but his strike rate was less than 100. Former Indian cricketer Kris Srikkanth, who was renowned for his explosive batting, wants to see KL Rahul to be paired alongside skipper Rohit Sharma at the top.

“In my opinion the defeat in Delhi should not lead to any knee-jerk reaction. With the T20 World Cup in mind, these experiments are required and if your not fielding the best side, a reversal has to be accepted as part of the learning,” he said in his column for the Times of India.

Srikkanth, however, said that Rohit Sharma should try KL Rahul at the top and drop Shikhar Dhawan, who has failed to get going during the powerplay.

“However, the team management must find a settled combination sooner than later. Workload management is also vital, so the think tank does have their work cut out. As often in the past, India failed to accelerate during Powerplay. Rohit Sharma often make it up but Shikhar Dhawan does fail to shift gears when required and that has cost the team. What baffles me is the approach of Dhawan. His inability to go out and play his natural game despite being a senior member is hurting the team. I will stick my neck out and field KL Rahul as an opener in this format. Along with Rohit, the team will have two explosive batsmen when field restrictions are in place,” he added.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni unlikely to don commentator’s hat in day-night Test against Bangladesh

Tarun Singh Updated: 7 November, 2019, 12:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni remains the top newsmaker in Indian cricket, even when he has been out of action for four months. He has not played cricket since Team India's exit from the World Cup in England.

Dhoni was speculated to be seen in a commentator’s role after the broadcaster Star Sports requested BCCI to rope in Dhoni as a guest commentator in the upcoming Test between India and Bangladesh.

But Mahendra Singh Dhoni is unlikely to commentate in the day-night test as a source close to the player firmly said, “There is no way Dhoni can commentate.”

Dhoni is a contracted player of BCCI and it will amount to a conflict of interest if he commentates during the contract.

Ganguly-led BCCI is yet to respond to the request made by the broadcasters.

Meanwhile, ‘captain cool’ Dhoni, as usual, has chosen to remain silent on the matter.

It’s unlikely, but if Dada’s BCCI gives permission, then Dhoni will be seen donning the hat of commentator for the very first time in Indian cricket.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli makes major blunder, refers Suresh Raina as Bhavesh. Gets brutally trolled

Staff Writer Updated: 7 November, 2019, 12:15 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli celebrated his 31st birthday on November 5. The Indian skipper is on a vacation with wifey Anushka Sharma in Bhutan. Wishes poured in from all corners for the star Indian player, who responded to wishes from his loved ones. However, he made a mistake while replaying to Suresh Raina's wish.

Raina had wished the Indian skipper on his birthday. He took to Twitter and shared an old photograph with Virat.

“Happy birthday, brother @imVkohli more runs, more power & more glory to you on your special day. Keep doing what you do. Best wishes, always!” the left-hander tweeted.

However, while responding to his teammate, Kohli referred to him as Bhavesh. “Thanks Bhavesh,” Kohli tweeted.

The keyboard warriors started trolling the Indian captain for his blunder.

Virat Kohli will come back to lead India in the two Test match series against Bangladesh. India are currently leading the points table in the ongoing World Test Championship after winning five consecutive Test matches.

While they thumped West Indies 2-0, their scoreline against South Africa was even impressive after Virat Kohli-led team won all the three matches.

News Football

Teenager's 3 goals, City's 3 goalies spark Champions League

AP Updated: 7 November, 2019, 10:46 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

A teenager's three goals and one team's three goalkeepers perked up the Champions League as three European powers advanced to the round of 16.

Real Madrid prodigy Rodrygo's hat trick in a 6-0 rout of Galatasaray gave notice of a fresh young talent on a night when the familiar names of Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain won to take their usual places in the knockout rounds.

The wealthy trio was the first wave of teams to advance with two group-stage games to spare.

Manchester City missed a chance to join them as it had to use three keepers — including defender Kyle Walker in emergency duty — in a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.

Madrid is heavily favored to advance after unleashing its 18-year-old Brazilian at Santiago Bernabeu stadium to make his mark on the storied competition.

Rodrygo scored twice in the opening seven minutes of his home Champions League debut. No player has scored two goals faster in a game in 28 seasons since the European Cup was rebranded.

Tottenham was also impressive in winning 4-0 at Red Star Belgrade but has more to do in the group led by Bayern.

EARLY BIRDS

Bayern Munich and Juventus played in the early kickoffs and became the first teams into the round of 16 draw.

Bayern's 2-0 win over Olympiakos was a winning start for coach Hansi Flick, the interim replacement for Niko Kovac who was fired on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski got the opener in the 69th to score for a fourth straight Champions League game. The Poland forward's tally of six Champions League goals this season trails only Salzburg's 19-year-old breakout star Erling Haaland.

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the all-time competition record of 127 goals, and was denied adding to it by teammate Aaron Ramsey in a 2-1 win for Juventus at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Ronaldo's third-minute free-kick squirmed through goalkeeper Guilherme's hands and the ball was rolling over the line when Ramsey poked it into the net. The victory was secured in stoppage time by substitute Douglas Costa after a dancing run through the defense.

Juventus leads Group D by three points from Atletico Madrid — which lost 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen — but is seven ahead of Lokomotiv and Leverkusen.

TEENAGE SENSATION

Rodrygo was just 17 when Madrid agreed in June 2018 to pay Santos a reported 45 million euros ($52 million) for him to come to Spain one year later.

His first Champions League action was in Madrid's 1-0 win at Galatasaray last month, and his second was stunning.

A slick left foot shot and soaring glanced header put Madrid up early, and it was 4-0 at halftime when Rodrygo took advantage of slack defending to set up Karim Benzema for a tap-in.

Rodrygo got his third with the last kick of the game, sliding the ball past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after more good interplay with Benzema.

Madrid should advance from Group A despite trailing Paris Saint-Germain by five points.

PSG got a fourth straight win with a 1-0 home victory against third-placed Club Brugge, which trails Madrid by five points. PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved a second-half penalty to preserve the win.

CRAZY GOALIES

A curious night for goalkeepers saw Manchester City use three, and Shakhtar Donetsk's win a game-saving penalty deep into stoppage time.

City's first-choice keeper Ederson went off injured after 31 minutes in Atalanta, with his team leading by Raheem Sterling's goal.

Substitute Claudio Bravo was later sent off for racing out of the penalty area to bring down an attacker, leaving defender Kyle Walker to come off the bench in the 88th to put on the gloves. Walker made one save from a free kick and was protected by his defense through eight minutes if stoppage time.

Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar were level at 1-1 and both down to 10 men late in the game. Dinamo then scored twice before the 90-minute mark to go 3-1 up, but conceded three minutes into stoppage time.

Five minutes later, Tete leveled a wild match from the spot with a penalty given when his goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov — who had come up to attack a corner — was fouled in the box.

Man City leads Group C by five points from Shakhtar and Dinamo, though the Ukrainians are in second place on a head-to-head tiebreaker.

PINBALL WIZARDS

Tottenham netted the wildest goal of the night to open the scoring in Belgrade. A flurry of activity in the Red Star goalmouth saw Harry Kane's shot strike a post and Son Heung-min's shot rebound off the bar before Giovani Lo Celso score from close range.

Son later scored twice as last season's beaten finalist followed up a 5-0 home win over Red Star last month.

Bayern leads the group with a maximum 12 points, five ahead of Tottenham which is four clear of Red Star.