Messi back in training, could be fit for weekend's game

AP Updated: 22 August, 2019, 11:13 AM IST


Lionel Messi was back in full training again and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team's 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener.

Barcelona have not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suárez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday's match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suárez also isn't likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday's game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn't loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

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News Cricket

Ivy Mae hits her father David Warner for a boundary, says she is Virat Kohli  

Staff Writer Updated: 10 November, 2019, 9:21 PM IST


David Warner had a memorable T20I series against Sri Lanka where he remained unbeaten. The left hand batsman, who couldn't set the field blazing in the Ashes, was back in form in the shortest format of the game. Meanwhile, he is spending quality time with his family ahead of the Test series against Pakistan.

David Warner took to Instagram to upload a video of his daughter's Indi-Mae batting session. She can be seen hitting her father for a boundary and stated that she is Virat Kohli.

“I’m not sure about this one. Indi wants to be Virat Kohli," he wrote.

The video was also posted by Warner’s wife Candice.

“This little girl has spent too much time in India. Wants to be Virat Kohli.”

News Cricket

Virat Kohli is a headache for coaches - Ian Chappell

Staff Writer Updated: 10 November, 2019, 9:19 PM IST


Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are the two best batsmen across formats. The Indian skipper has performed consistently in the last five years. He is the number one batsman in ODIs while his exceptional track record in Tests and T20Is is not hidden from anyone. Steve Smith, who was banned for one year following his involvement in the ball tampering scandal, has comeback strongly. He was the best batsman in the Ashes scoring more than 700 runs. The former captain showed his class in the last T20I series against Sri Lanka where he won the Player of the Series award. Smith has dethroned Virat from the top spot in the Test rankings.

Former Aussie player Ian Chappell feels both Virat and Smith are impactful students of the game.

“Kohli is a great role model for young players searching for a way to build their game for international success. He’s also a headache for coaches who theorize on modern methods and disparage traditional approaches as being “old-time cricket,” Chappell wrote in his column.

“Smith and Kohli are adequate proof that batting is very much an individual exercise and whatever works for you is the correct method,” he added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli will master cooking skills after retirement

Staff Writer Updated: 10 November, 2019, 9:16 PM IST


Virat Kohli is a big time foodie and loves trying different dishes. The Indian skipper has a knack of identifying good dishes from across the globe. However, his fitness regime has stopped the star player from having anything. In his interview with NDTV, he revealed about his interest in trying out new cuisines.

“I’ve been a foodie since I was a kid, I loved trying foods, used to eat a lot of junk bag then. But then I started travelling and trying different cuisines but yeah I love food….love having well-cooked food.”

He added, “I do not (cook) but I understand flavour, I understand how well a dish is cooked, so can potentially learn it. When I’m done with playing cricket I think cooking is something, I would definitely be interested in.”

Virat Kohli will lead India in the Test series against Bangladesh. He was rested for the T20I series against the same opponent considering his hectic schedule.

News Cricket

Jimmy Neesham urges god to intervene after another super over defeat against England

Staff Writer Updated: 10 November, 2019, 9:13 PM IST


England beat New Zealand in a thrilling Super Over finish to their rain-reduced Twenty20 cricket international Sunday, clinching a 3-2 win in the five-match series.

The teams were tied when England replied with 146-7 to New Zealand's 146-5 in a match shortened by heavy rain to 11 overs per side.

Jonny Bairstow and captain Eion Morgan took 17 runs from England's Super Over, bowled by New Zealand captain Tim Southee, before Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert and Colin de Grandhomme managed only eight from New Zealand's single over.

The match was reminiscent of the World Cup final between the teams in June when England won on a count back of boundaries after being tied at the end of 50 overs and again after the one-over eliminator.

This time England's performance in the tiebreaker was decisive. Bairstow and Morgan both hit sixes to set New Zealand a chase for 18 runs, a total which was challenging even on the postage stamp boundaries ofEden Park.

New Zealand made the unusual decision to nominate wicketkeeper Tim Seifert to take the first ball of its Super Over, bowled by Chris Jordan. Seifert took two, left a wide, hit four and had a dot ball before falling to a brilliant catch by Morgan.

With New Zealand needing 10 runs from the last two balls Guptill could only manage a single from the first ball he faced and the match was over.

Bairstow was Man of the Match for his 47 from 18 balls which helped England match New Zealand's formidable 11-over total and for his contribution in the Super Over.

New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has urged the almighty to intervene after another super loss defeat against England.

"Hey you up there, any chance you could change the script?"

Feature Cricket

Which team chases best in T20Is?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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


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


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


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.