Overdependence on top three is not a cause of concern for Men in Blue – Sanjay Bangar

Overdependence on top three is not a cause of concern for Men in Blue – Sanjay Bangar

Staff Writer Updated: 8 July, 2019, 1:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

India won the 10-team group with 15 points, one more than Australia. England finished third on 12 points and New Zealand had 11.

India will take on New Zealand in the first semifinal, in Manchester.

"It's not too long ago that we played a full series in New Zealand," Bangar pointed out.

"We are just keen to get on and play the semi-final as soon as possible. We need to keep doing the things we are doing at the moment.

"We have always maintained that we are looking at our internal parameters. If we are hitting our internal indicators, then we will be playing at our best and that is what we aspire to do," he added.

India's superb run in the World Cup has been largely due to the performance of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. However, Sanjay Bangar is not thinking too much about this factor as he feels others have also contributed in the winning process.

"I don't think so," he said. "Of course the middle order hasn't got to bat for a longer period of time, except for the Afghanistan game. But Hardik has done a role, Mahi has done a role and Rishabh has had a few good knocks.

"As long as we are getting the job done it really augurs well for the team."

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News Wrestling

Wrestling, of course, is topic at offbeat NFL media night

AP Updated: 29 January, 2020, 10:30 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Roman Reigns went from the Royal Rumble to the Super Bowl.

The WWE star was in Miami for the opening night festivities at Marlins Park a night after wrestling in the Royal Rumble match in Houston, where he was the last competitor eliminated by eventual winner Drew McIntyre.

“What’s up?” San Francisco tight end George Kittle asked Reigns. “You sore at all?”

Reigns also earlier Sunday night defeated King Corbin in a falls-count-anywhere match.

“A little,” Reigns said. “Not too bad.”

Kittle is a huge wrestling fan and uses a gesture to celebrate first downs that he borrowed from

Pentagón Jr., a Mexican wrestler. Kittle makes a circle with his thumb and forefinger to form a “0” and then flicks his wrist so his other fingers form an “M” for Pentagón Jr.’s catchphrase: “Cero miedo” — or, “zero fear.”

Kittle caught some of the Royal Rumble action on TV after the 49ers got into Miami on Sunday night as they begin to prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I loved it when you all just beat the crap out of Seth (Rollins),” Kittle told Reigns with a huge smile. “That was awesome. That was fun.”

Reigns then asked Kittle who on the 49ers would win a Royal Rumble among teammates. The wrestler told the tight end most of the 49ers said Kittle would take home the belt.

“Yeah,” Kittle said without hesitation.

So, who would go out first?

“I think we’d throw Jimmy (Garoppolo) out first,” Kittle said. “He gets too much attention. Just get him out of the ring, throw him out of the ring and let the attention be on us for once.”

Garoppolo was also asked, and he went a different direction: rookie defensive end Nick Bosa.

“First time I heard Bosa,” Reigns said. “Everybody’s saying Kittle.”

That surprised the 49ers quarterback.

“George?” Garoppolo said. “Who said that?”

Reigns told him “everybody,” and then asked who’d be tossed out of the ring first.

“Deebo Samuel, probably,” a grinning Garoppolo said of his wide receiver.

Feature Cricket

Two Wins Don't Make It Right For Team India

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 28 January, 2020, 5:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India's double back to back in the Twenty20 International series in New Zealand makes it easy to forget that this is a team that landed in the southern hemisphere less than a week after playing Australia.

The last week ended in bickering within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over Virat Kohli's remarks about the itinerary getting so compressed that it is getting closer to landing at the stadium.

The ill-tempered relationship between the BCCI and the Supreme Court appointees took center stage with a finger pointing at the scheduling. In the midst was lost the whole issue of players' need for acclimatization of mind and body and of playing in foreign conditions in a different time zone and against different opponents.

Taking the attack to the captain for making a valid point is the myopic reaction, particularly from a cricket board being led by a former captain and cricketer.

If that reaction is not incredulous enough, what is even more dangerous is assuming that two worthy wins for India under the belt are just enough that there is nothing wrong with the scheduling.

The idea that the team had time out after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2029 and must be prepared to take on the workload in whatever shape and form. While there is something to be said for professionalism, one would think professional athletes and sportspersons would be treated better, keeping in mind the physical toll that traveling and playing round the clock takes on the body and also, keeping in mind the mental aspect where cricketers have increasingly spoken about mental fatigue, nervous breakdown, meltdown and issues such as depression. Winning will matter little in the end if they don't have the time to process it and appreciate it.

Cricketers are sometimes called workhorses and scheduling like this always brings back those references. If the board is not willing to come on board and take cognizance of the players, they cannot also pass the buck if the team fails to live up to expectations.

News Cricket

India vs New Zealand: KL Rahul on the verge of surpassing MS Dhoni’s record in Hamilton

Garima Kotroo Updated: 28 January, 2020, 5:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

KL Rahul is on the cusp of breaking MS Dhoni’s record of most fifties for India in the T20I format as a wicketkeeper-batsman. The 25-year-old right-hander has raised his level of performance in the past few months. Ever since he replaced the young player Rishabh Pant as the first-choice wicket-keeper in the limited-overs format, he has performed exceptionally well for Team India.

In-form Rahul is keeping wickets for Virat Kohli and team for the first time in the T20Is in the ongoing series against New Zealand. He played an important knock of 56 runs in the series-opener at the Eden Park and slammed an unbeaten 57 runs off 50 balls in a second game at the same ground. With two half-centuries, Rahul has equaled MS Dhoni’s record.

If Rahul scores his third half-century in a row in the third T20I against Kiwis, he will surpass MS Dhoni’s record and will become the first Indian player to achieve this milestone.

News Cricket

Dhoni, Virat, Rohit & ABD to play for one team in IPL

Abhishek Singh Updated: 28 January, 2020, 4:51 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

This year’s Indian Premier League will for the first time witness a one-off all-star fixture, comprising players from all the eight franchises. This would take place before the opening ceremony and would be held ahead of the start of the tournament.

It is learned that the match will be played three days before the tournament's opening match, which will be played on March 29. Both the opening match and the IPL final will be played in Mumbai, the base of defending champions Mumbai Indians.

As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the two teams for the all-star match would be formed with players from the four franchises in the north and east of India - Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders - and the four teams in the south and west - Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Mumbai Indians. No venue has been finalized for the match yet.

If such a situation does arrive we can see Rohit, Virat and MS Dhoni playing alongside AB de Villiers for the first time. It is going to be a bonanza for the spectators, as it would be the first occasion when all the stars of the IPL would be featured in a single game.

News Cricket

No chance for Gautam Gambhir to become a part of all important CAC – Sourav Ganguly

Abhishek Singh Updated: 28 January, 2020, 4:33 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former India batsman and two-time world cup winner, Gautam Gambhir has been rejected by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from being part of the newly-formed Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC). On the other hand, former Indian all-rounder and member of the 1983 World Cup winning team, Madan Lal has been made part of the CAC. He will be joined by former women's team cricketer Sulakshana Naik.

While Madan Lal, played 39 Tests and 67 ODIs between 1974 and 1987, Sulakshana Naik, who hails from Mumbai, had played 2 Tests, 46 ODIs and 31 T20Is for Indian women’s team between 2002 and 2013.

"CAC has been finalized and the secretary will release it officially. Madan Lal is there, Sulakshana Naik is there, Gautam is not there," BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told reporters.

The team of Madan Lal and Sulakshna Naik would replace Kapil Dev, Shantha Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad who were picked for selecting the senior men's team coach after the World Cup in 2019.

This committee selected both senior men’s and women’s cricket team coaches but quit their roles as CAC members after Conflict of Interest claims were raised against them.

Ganguly also said that former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir will not be a part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) as he is a Member of Parliament and hence cannot hold any position in the BCCI. “We have decided on Gautam’s replacement and the announcement will be made soon. Madan Lal and Sulakshana are there,” he added.

The new CAC will appoint replacements for chief selector MSK Prasad and Ghagan Khoda in the selection committee. Ajit Agarkar and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan are among notable former cricketers who have applied for the selectors' roles.

News Cricket

Aap mere saath kabhi dinner par kyu ni jaate - Chahal stumps Bumrah with a hilarious question

Garima Kotroo Updated: 28 January, 2020, 4:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has made himself popular among fans with his entertaining sessions on Chahal TV. In his latest episode, ahead of the third T20I in Hamilton, Chahal asked the likes of Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul, and Mohammed Shami to share their traveling experiences in New Zealand. But when he proceeded to have a chat with world-class pacer Jasprit Bumrah, Chahal changed the question and hilariously asked why he doesn’t go for dinner with him. “Aap mere sath kabhi dinner par kyu ni jaate”

At this Bumrah cheekily replied, “Aap jab bulaoge hum tab available rahenge.”

Both Bumrah and Chahal have played a great role in India’s success in recent times. The Men in Blue are currently gearing up for the third T20I against Kiwis at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on January 29.

Chahal ended up his latest video on an emotional note as he told the audience about the memories related to former Indian skipper MS Dhoni. He also showed the last corner seat where Dhoni used to sit and said that nobody sits on that seat in the absence of legendary wicketkeeper-batsman.

“Yeh woh seat hai jaha ek legend baithte they, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). Abhi bhi yaha koi nahi baithta. Hum unhe bohot miss karte hai (This is the seat where one legend used to sit. No one sits here now. We all miss him a lot).”

News Cricket

My teammates used to call me Panda, now they call me Macho Man - Sarfaraz Khan

Abhishek Singh Updated: 28 January, 2020, 4:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sarfaraz Khan’s story has been no less than that of redemption. The gritty Mumbai batsman scored a triple century in the last round of the Ranji trophy when he faced UP. But he came back even stronger and scored another double century with a strike rate of more than 100. These back to back strong performances have turned the limelight on him. It is at this moment that he told the world about how hard he worked on his fitness and why he is now called “Macho Man!” of the Mumbai team.

“I felt good not just about my improved fitness but because it helped me score runs and get a lead. At one point, all my team-mates used to call me ‘panda’ because I used to eat a lot. Now, they’ve started calling me ‘macho’. Actually, very few people know it’s my nickname now,” said Sarfaraz

Sarfaraz also thanked the Indian captain Virat Kohli for his invaluable advice where he had asked the Mumbai batsman to work on his physique.

“I was dropped at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2016 because of my fitness. Virat Kohli told me straightaway while there were no doubts over my skills, my fitness was not letting me get to the next level. He was very honest with me about where I was,” Sarfaraz had told ESPN Cricinfo.

News Cricket

Tim Southee is confident of beating India in the third T20I, says change of venue should help NZ

Garima Kotroo Updated: 28 January, 2020, 3:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli and his team kicked-off the five-match T20I series against New Zealand in style as they won both the matches at the Eden Park in Auckland. Even the experienced Kiwi pacer Tim Southee believes that the Men in Blue are becoming ‘better and better’ away from home.

“India have played well. The first game is the one that slightly got away on us but we were certainly outplayed in the second game. We know it’s always tough when you play against India and they’re becoming a better and better side away from home as well.”

Speaking about his team’s strategy for the next T20Is in Hamilton, Southee said, “We know we need to be on top of our game if we need to beat India. Change of venue should help us. We need to win this game but I think it goes back to what we need to do as a group. Focus on how we prepare today and if we play the way that we know this team can play then I’m sure the result will take care of itself.”

News Cricket

World Record: This bowler is the first player in the world to take hat-trick in 1st over of first-class career

Abhishek Singh Updated: 28 January, 2020, 3:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ravi Yadav, the left-arm seamer of Madhya Pradesh's Ranji Trophy team, has earned a distinct record by becoming the first cricketer in the world to claim a hat-trick in the very first over of his first-class career.

The 28-year-old is a native of Uttar Pradesh, and it was quite a celebration after the player achieved the feat against his own state playing for the rival Madhya Pradesh team at Holkar Stadium, Indore.

Yadav came to bowl as a first-change bowler and dismissed Aryan Juyal, Ankit Rajpoot and Sameer Rizvi off successive deliveries to complete his dream debut.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tweeted the video of Yadav's dashing debut. While Juyal was caught behind the wickets, Yadav removed both the UP skipper Rajpoot and Rizvi by castling their middle stumps to complete his hat-trick. Both the batsmen failed to read the seam movement and played in the wrong line which sent their stumps flying in the air.

Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh had bowled Madhya Pradesh for 230, but Ravi Yadav's hat-trick helped the hosts fight back. Yadav went on to claim a fifer in his first innings itself and reduced UP to 216, giving his team a crucial 14 runs lead. Yadav returned with figures of 5/61. As of the current updates, Madhya Pradesh were 23/1 in their second innings.

News Cricket

I hope Haris Rauf represents Pakistan in 100 Tests, 400 T20Is and 150 ODIs - David Hussey

Staff Writer Updated: 28 January, 2020, 2:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Haris Rauf has made a name for himself after his impressive performance in the ongoing Big Bash League. The pacer, who is a part of Melbourne Stars, had to leave them in between after his selection in the Pakistan squad for the T20I series against Bangladesh. His absence was felt by the team as they lost many matches in the last stage of the competition. However, Stars' power-packed display in the first half of the league ensured their safe passage to the knockout stage of the Big Bash League.

Haris Rauf is available for the selection after returning back from Pakistan.

“Haris Rauf will be returning to Melbourne on January 28 to feature in the remaining BBL matches for his side,” the spokesperson said to cricket.com.au.

His inclusion has made coach David Hussey excited. He even has a wish for his star bowler.

“Whatever he does, I hope he actually represents Pakistan for 100 Tests and 400 T20Is and 150 one day internationals. He’s brought a different dynamic to our group, he’s tried every game he’s played, he fields his butt off and he’s just fitted in the group perfectly,” he added.

News Cricket

Shreyas Iyer is a match-winner and he is here to stay - Team India's batting coach

Staff Writer Updated: 28 January, 2020, 2:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Team India batting Coach Vikram Rathour was all praise for Shreyas Iyer because of his impressive form in international cricket. He believes that the right-handed batsman is aware of his game and is here to stay. Vikram further added that the management was planning to give the young guns a longer rope so that they can perform better.

“The more opportunities that these guys get, they are showing that they are capable. They are showing that they are match-winners on their day. That will help the team, of course, but it will also help their confidence,” Rathour said speaking to reporters on the eve of the third T20I.

“Having seen KL (Rahul) and Shreyas as young cricketers coming through, in my mind, I have absolutely no doubt that they are match-winners. They are getting their opportunities now and they are showing the world what they are capable of, that is great to see,” he further added.

“Apart from having those (batting) skills, I think the mindset is amazing. He (Iyer) believes he is a big player, and he is, without any doubt. He genuinely believes that he is a match-winner and he is here to stay. And that mindset I think helps him, that is the biggest advantage he has,” he said.

Opinion Cricket

Why Ravindra Jadeja will be crucial to India’s chances at the World T20

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 28 January, 2020, 1:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

KL Rahul may have walked away with the man of the match award for his unbeaten half-century as India took a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series against New Zealand at Auckland. However, the win was set up by a brilliant bowling display led by Ravindra Jadeja and well backed up by death overs specialists Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. It was Jadeja’s splendid effort of 2 for 18 that stifled the hosts and never allowed them to dominate despite a reasonably good start by the openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, who added 48 in the powerplay overs.

Jadeja sent back the dangerous Colin de Grandhomme with a good length delivery that stopped a bit on the pitch. The all-rounder was too early into his stroke and presented the simplest of return catches. He then frustrated New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, not allowing him any room to free his arms, thus forcing the captain to try and take him on. Williamson went for the big shot, but with the lack of elevation owing to Jadeja’s tight line, all the batsman managed to do was hit one straight down the throat of the fielder at deep square leg.

The above two dismissals represent the strength of Jadeja the left-arm spinner in the T20I format. Consistency is his hallmark, as he rarely lets the batsman get after him even in the shortest version of the game. He is mostly at the batsmen, not giving them much room, which means, more often than not, it is the batsman who has to make all the moves. On paper, the approach may sound a bit defensive as it is often said that, in cricket, picking wickets is the best way to stop the opposition from scoring. However, the method in the picture seems to work well for Jadeja. And, as the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

While Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are being considered as India’s key bowlers for the upcoming World T20 in Australia, Jadeja could also have a crucial role to play as seem in the game at Auckland. The left-arm spinner’s ability to pick up important wickets at significant moments of a match is a priceless gift. This talent of Jadeja has been evident a number of times in the 50-over format, and now that he is back as a permanent member of the T20I outfit, the same skills are on show in the shortest format as well.

Having Jadeja in the team also gives some breathing space to the likes of Bumrah and Shami. At Auckland, although they bowled tight lines, neither could get the initial breakthrough. However, Jadeja ensured that New Zealand did not build on a reasonable start with a nagging spell while also claiming crucial wickets. His performance aided both Bumrah and Shami in the death overs, as New Zealand had no momentum going into the last five overs and thus fell well short of a decent score.

What makes Jadeja an even greater asset to the T20I outfit is obviously the additional skills that he possesses. There are few better fielders in world cricket today than Jadeja. On his day, he can turn games around with his spectacular fielding itself. And, we haven’t even spoken about his aggressive batting, which is improving by the day. At present, the left-handed batsman doesn’t have a great record in T20Is, with only 163 runs in 48 games at an average of 11.64. However, that is because he hardly gets to bat in the format. Given a few chances, he can definitely make a difference in this aspect as well.

Considering his all-round ability coupled with his current form and confidence, Jadeja can be a major asset to India at the World T20, provided he maintains his good run.

Feature Cricket

Not a pleasant sight to see South Africa go down over and over again

Partab Ramchand Updated: 28 January, 2020, 1:56 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

It is not a pleasant experience for any genuine cricket lover to see South Africa go down to defeat over and over again. Yes, they have not been able to shrug off the ``choker’s’’ tag and have this tendency to self destruct in all formats of the game. But they have always been an attractive side to watch, have provided some of the great cricketing moments in recent times and over the years have produced some of the greatest players in the contemporary game.

These days, however, there is something very disheartening about South African cricket. Watching the team perform one can almost sense a strong undercurrent of uneasiness and discomfort. The lack of confidence is appalling. This is not the team of old, a team that was briefly No 1 in more than one format, a team good enough to win almost anywhere,

In ODIs their most dismal showing was their early exit in the 2019 World Cup in England. But they haven’t fared well in Tests too stumbling from one disaster to another. Since their victory over Australia at home in 2018, all they have to show on the profit side of the balance sheet is a victory over Pakistan at home. The biggest shock was going down to a none too strong Sri Lankan side despite playing in their own backyard but they have also lost to India and Sri Lanka away and now comes the latest setback going down to England. Currently, they are languishing in the seventh spot in the ICC Test Championship table.

The quota system has obviously led to South Africa being a weakened side with some of the leading talents making an exodus to the English county circuit. Interestingly enough most of them are bowlers and bowling has always been South Africa’s strongest aspect. But even in the absence of players like Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier and Simon Harmer who have all signed Kolpak deals and have in fact been excelling for their respective counties the South African bowling has lived up to its reputation. Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj have tried their best to be a striking force and have frequently delivered. Of course, it goes without saying that the attack would be stronger if the Kolpak players were around.

The chief problem with South Africa has been their batting. They have just not been able to find adequate replacements for the likes of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers. With the runs have dried up for Faf du Plessis, it has been left to Quinton de Kock to hold the batting together with the newcomers not up to the mark. The leadership qualities of du Plessis too has come under the scanner and surely it is only a matter of time before de Kock who is in charge of the limited-overs squad takes over the captaincy in Tests too.

News Cricket

Team India misses MS Dhoni a lot, nobody sits on his corner seat in the bus: Yuzvendra Chahal

Garima Kotroo Updated: 28 January, 2020, 1:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni hasn’t been seen in the Indian colors since the World Cup semifinals last year and his retirement plans have become the biggest talking point in the cricket fraternity all around the globe. The 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who lost his place in the BCCI contracts for season 2019-20, is currently gearing up for the upcoming edition of IPL. With Ravi Shastri claimed that Dhoni’s international comeback is still possible if he performs well in the next season of the cash-rich league, everyone is waiting for the performance of CSK captain.

In the latest episode of Chahal TV, Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal admitted the fact that the Indian cricket team still misses the presence of the MS Dhoni. During the bus journey of Team India from Auckland to Hamilton, Chahal showed the seat where Dhoni used to sit and revealed that nobody occupies it in the absence of the legendary player.

“Yeh woh seat hai jaha ek legend baithte they, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). Abhi bhi yaha koi nahi baithta. Hum unhe bohot miss karte hai (This is the seat where one legend used to sit. No one sits here now. We all miss him a lot).”

India will play the third T20I against New Zealand at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on January 29.

News Cricket

Concussion substitutes a latest inclusion in the Indian Premier League

Abhishek Singh Updated: 28 January, 2020, 1:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that there will be concussion substitutes from the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Under the new ICC rule, a player who has been concussed either while batting, bowling or on the field, can be withdrawn from the game and be replaced subject to approval by the match referee.

Apart from this, IPL’s governing council also decided to schedule an All-Stars game. This game would be played for a charitable cause, although the name of the NGO or charitable to whom the proceeds would be donated has still not been confirmed. The game would be played between top international players before the start of IPL.

"We are doing the concussion substitute, the All-Star Game and the final is in Mumbai," Ganguly told reporters in New Delhi.

The doubleheaders of the Indian premier league have been reduced this time around, as only five days have been scheduled as doubleheader days. The timing, which the franchises wanted to be 7.30 pm for the evening matches, will, however, remain 8 pm as confirmed by the BCCI president.