There is now the contention with the Indian selectors having got the Indian team selection out of the way for the Test series against India, Rohit Sharma has not only been handed a long rope but also, a silky one. A slippery road awaits him should he fail in the final possible slot he could be tried in. But while it seems the consensus holds that if Rohit Sharma is in the squad, he should be in the team, history does not lend itself kindly to Rohit or his prodigal talent.
Rohit Sharma has had a few false starts to his Test career. There was always the argument that sooner rather than later, his talent would come to the fore. But while Rohit Sharma’s stature grew with responsibility as he was handed the captaincy of the till then beleaguered Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, his Test career still leaves much to be desired.
A change of guard as far as the Indian captaincy is concerned has done little for Rohit who had continued to be a miss-and-hit. The only reason even now Rohit Sharma should consider himself fortunate to find himself in the Test squad for the home series against South Africa is the unfortunate lack of quality opening partnership at the top of India’s Test batting line up. But herein lies the trick.
Rohit Sharma could not cope in the middle order. In some ways, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh seemed to suffer from similar Test cricket blues: having enormous talent and potential but coming up short when put in the lion’s den. Even last year, Rohit Sharma’s Test cricket was a rocking ship on rough seas, not picked for the home series against the West Indies and then picked, without any recent performance to suddenly reverse the decision, for the tour of Australia.
Now it seems that some players must find a way to remain relevant. For some like Rohit Sharma, they must bite the bullet and take on the rather dangerous risk of opening the batting, more treacherous when it comes to Test cricket because it involves seeing off the new ball, facing the heat from the fresh pace bowlers and also, biding time while delicately scoring runs.
Suffice it to say, Rohit Sharma’s batting style does not naturally lend itself to traditional, orthodox, dogged Test cricket opening. Yet there is now hope, even though Rohit Sharma’s career has been flattering to deceive thus far, that he could be the answer to the void left after the prolific duo of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag exited the scene.
But where Rohit Sharma may struggle to do a serious Gambhir innings, he is not naturally inclined to go the Sehwag way either. Although he has the bluster, the five day match is a different ball game compared to the shorter formats where Rohit Sharma feels more at home taking the bull by the horns. Not only are the Test cricket bowlers a different beast but also, the situation of playing out five days for a result is a lot of pressure unless the selectors and the team management are willing to look the other way, as they have had to do sometimes when Sehwag’s style of batting brought home ducks.
It seems almost ironic that the proposal to gather the Indian cricket team for a conditioning/rebonding team is still being contemplated as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is headed overseas to host the Indian Premier League. So why an Indian camp?
The original thought process devised months ago was with the intent to ensure that before the Indian cricket squad embarks on its international assignments post the pandemic, the players who have been largely confined to their respective homes will have a chance to shake off their rustiness.
It would have made sense as part of the team bonding exercise if the situation of the pandemic had abetted equally across the country. That not being the case, not only would it endanger bringing the players together at a time of no international commitments but also, would have been a fruitless exercise.
However the idea has gained momentum after the announcement of the IPL to be held in the UAE.
While the same logistical issues remain about how to gather the centrally contracted players together, in this case, those involved with the IPL, there is a case being made for the opportunity to bring all the team India players together before the IPL season 13 that also involves foreign cricketers.
India's next international assignment is the tour of Australia at the end of the year which means a couple of players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari will have next to no interaction with their Indian teammates until such time.
However, while it seems like an interesting prospect, given the gamut of logistical headaches faced by the BCCI in the staging of the IPL, it might push down the rung of priorities the idea to have the Indian cricketers reconnect in person as a team before the razzmatazz of the IPL takes over. With too many factors at play, India's support staff might not get their wish after all, which could well mean that the Indian cricket squad will assemble as one only in Australia if they fly directly from the UAE.
Former India all-rounder, Irfan Pathan has expressed his desire to play in this year’s Lanka Premier League (LPL). The 35-year-old veteran player has been named among 143 overseas players who are very keen to participate in the league. Apart from Pathan, New Zealand opener, Martin Guptill has also shown his interest in the upcoming tournament.
“There are about 143 overseas players in the list who are very keen to play in this tournament and now it is up to the respective franchises to select these cricketers,” a high-profile official at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has told local newspaper Daily News.
Irfan, who decided to hang up his boots after 15 years of service in international cricket earlier this year, was last seen in action for India Legends during the Road Safety World Series back in March. He has represented India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs, and 24 T20Is, picking 301 international wickets to his name.
Franchises will make the final decision – SLC official
Furthermore, the SLC official has made it clear the decision regarding the selection of players will be in the hands of LPL franchises. The tournament will see the participation of both international and domestic players contracted to SLC.
“We have total of 80 players who are currently contracted with SLC and they will also be strong contenders to make it to the final squad. Some Premier Clubs have also named young players in the Under-23 and Under-19 category but altogether it is up to the franchises to make a final decision."
With the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) buying England’s limited-overs captain, Eoin Morgan in this year’s auction for INR 5.25 crores, the captaincy debate was started by fans of KKR. Most debated whether it would be Morgan who would replace Dinesh Karthik or would the Tamil Nadu player continue to hold the fort?
However, the English man now seems to have put water over all such debates, with him claiming Karthik as his leader. In a chat show with Harsha Bhogle, the 33-year-old said that he would only be entering the IPL in the capacity of a player.
“Dinesh is the leader of the club. I met him last pre-Christmas and I believe that he is a gem of a person and a fantastic cricketer. He knows that I want to contribute to the team. There are many players who have had the chance to captain at some stage or the other, but ultimately it would be Dinesh who would be making the decisions,” Morgan told Harsha on Cricbuzz.
Want to contribute towards KKR’s success - Morgan
Although Morgan started out in the IPL with RCB, it was with the KKR that he got prominence as he played for them from 2011 to 2013, before being roped in by Sunrisers Hyderabad. In 52 IPL matches, Morgan has scored 854 runs at an average of 21.35 with four half-centuries. Now returning back to KKR, Morgan wants to help them in getting more success.
“I met Trevor (Bayliss) there and our relationship started from KKR. That was an invaluable time and you know the rest. Also, I learned a lot from guys like Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, and Baz (Brendon McCullum). I’m looking forward to getting back to KKR and contributing towards their success,” said Morgan.
It would be the first time in 9 years that a member of the English cricket playing community would be honored by the Parliament of Great Britain for his outstanding work in public life. As the name of 36 new peers was announced for the House of Lords or the upper house of the Parliament, the cricket community had a reason to be proud of.
The reason was the recommendation of Legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham’s name among those 36 persons selected. He would now become a member of the unelected house. Botham, one of the finest all-rounders of all times is also one of the most vocal Brexit supporters.
The 64-year-old Botham will now sit in the British Parliament as a crossbench — independent — peer.
Only the fifth cricketer to be honoured with peerage
Prior to Botham, former England women’s team captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint had been awarded the peerage in 2011 and apart from her and Botham, former English Umpire David Sheppard, former cricketing great from England Colin Cowdrey and West Indian legend Learie Constantine had been honored with House of Lords seats earlier.
Botham in his career played 102 Test matches for England between 1977 and 1992. But his moment of glory came in 1981 when inspired by his all-round performance, England recorded a sensational win over Australia in the Ashes.
Botham was knighted in 2007 in recognition of his services to charity and cricket.
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