Paine plays down the Archer factor, says we've been brought up facing guys of his pace

Harshit Anand Updated: 22 August, 2019, 4:10 PM IST


Barbados-born cricketer, Jofra Archer had a sensational Test debut at the home fo cricket, Lord's. Archer's bumpers proved too hot to handle for Australian batsmen. His bouncer to Steve Smith is the reason why the former Australia captain won't be able to participate in the third Ashes Test at Headingley starting from August 22. Smith suffered concussion after the dangerous blow to his neck.

Paine wrote in a column for the Australian newspaper that, "Jofra is fast for sure, but in Australia we've been brought up facing guys of his pace.

"Every time we have a net (session) we have Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson coming at us like we are the opposition."

Paine also had praise for Archer as he wrote, "It's fantastic to see a young cricketer with so much talent come onto the scene and it was a bit of a buzz to face him at Lord's."

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Feature Cricket

5 benefits if Supreme Court allows Sourav Ganguly to continue for long

CT Contributor Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:52 AM IST


Last month, former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly was formally elected unopposed as the new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president. Ganguly formally took over as the new boss at the apex body's Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Ganguly is in line to serve as president for 9 months as the "Cooling Off" period clause in the new BCCI constitution makes it mandatory for board officials to step down after 6 years in office. That was on the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee.

There have been calls from many corners including former cricketer Gautam Gambhir of wanting the officials to make a change in order to extend Ganguly's stay.

Here are five benefits Indian cricket will have if Ganguly's tenure is increased.

Dada can bring inclusive growth

Like Gambhir said, Ganguly can contribute in this aspect. Ganguly is one of the rare personalities who is a true leader and he excels at helping things grow around him. He has a clear mind and a vision to help Indian cricket for the long run.

Domestic cricketers could benefit

Another strong factor is that the domestic cricketers will benefit at large. He has already planned in introducing a contract system for First-Class cricketers. Also, this will help the cricketers at large as they will get a secured payment structure. Going forward, more facilities could be brought to players by Dada.

Better vision for Test cricket

Ganguly can bring the zeal and interest of fans back to Test cricket. With the ICC Test Championship on, Dada can better the India's Test cricket sphere. He has already introduced the Day-Night Test for Team India and this could just be the start.

Experience factor immense

Dada is highly experienced and has been associated with CAB earlier. He knows the demands of the job and he will continue to bring in a strong culture. Under his leadership, Indian cricket will move along well.

Getting foreigners to play Ranji

When you look at other nations especially County Cricket in England, one gets to see foreign players be involved in domestic cricket. With Dada, one might see several foreign players feature in India's domestic cricket to bring in more competition. It will also benefit one and all.

News Cricket

Good news for Virat ahead of the first day-night Test against Bangladesh

Staff Writer Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:43 AM IST


Virat Kohli enjoys playing Test cricket as it is close to his heart. He feels this format of the game should be promoted in order to keep it alive. Time and again, Virat has shared his views on Test cricket and has revealed ways to make Test matches more interesting for the viewers. His team will play its first ever day-night Test match against Bangladesh on Friday at the famous Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Ahead of this historical moment, Sourav Ganguly and his team in the BCCI is working day and night to make the first pink ball Test in India a memorable one.

According to Ganguly, Virat Kohli will witness a full house for day-night Test at the Eden Gardens.

"He is a great player and he should be playing in front of a packed house. He will be happy to see it full house when he walks out to bat on day one. You will love the atmosphere at the Eden so come and watch," Ganguly said. "You can't have greats of the Indian cricket play in front of empty stands. And here you will have full house for the first three days," he added.

Ganguly also spoke about the rejuvenation.

"It happens all around the world. Somewhere it had to start. India is the biggest country in terms of cricket. I think that rejuvenation was important," the BCCI president said.

"The challenge was to get people back into the ground. An India-Pakistan match would anyways get filled anywhere in the world. You just announce it and the crowd will be filled," the former India skipper said. "This was much more difficult and we managed to fill 65,000 on each of the first three days. It feels more satisfying," he added.

Feature Cricket

Test Incentive for Overseas, Series and Underdog Wins

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:39 AM IST


As teams such as Bangladesh continue to source their competitive spirit for reasons other than qualifying at the end stages of the first ICC World Test Championship, a points revision could well bring about a more equitable distribution of points on the basis of merit.

At the end of the home series against South Africa, Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, touched upon the fact that he would have liked to have seen overseas Test wins awarded greater points. It is not hard to see the Indian skipper’s motivations given that less than a year ago, India pulled off their first major Test series win in Australia in seven decades. With the goal of changing India’s otherwise abysmal away series records, naturally Kohli would see a greater impetus to push his team on foreign tours with the added points on offer.

However, Kohli is not alone in stating that angst. In fact it was one of the issues raised when the points system was revealed to the public. With each Test win garnering points but no additional bonus points for a series win, it seemed that the ICC World Test championship had missed a beat. With every team continuing to favour its own home advantage matches, the need for self-preservation becomes predominant instead of daring to win abroad.

With more and more Tests increasingly becoming a case of players playing well in home conditions but not putting in the yards necessarily when it comes to playing abroad – overloaded schedule being one of the factors to blame, overlooking the idea of rewarding teams for winning away from home is an obvious miss.

The early days of the inaugural ICC World Test championship have revealed yet another loophole. With the Future Tours Programme (FTP) being unequal between teams in the sense that the decisions of the individual cricket boards had approved each team’s itinerary in the cycle, there were going to be some teams being tested to the mettle with stiffer challenges whereas some teams the beneficiary of unevenly matches contests as the one between India and Bangladesh is expected to be.

In such a situation, the ICC World Test championship points system could have been a more complicated but fairer system if it acknowledged and rewarded lower ranked teams for beating a top ranked team. With the system currently rewarding every team for a Test win, there is little differentiation between the quality of the opposition or the venue of the competition which are factors that determine the outcome of a Test match contest.

In the absence of such crucial demarcation, there is a sense of a flat rate for all teams but also, a lack of depth and substance to the nature of the contests being waged.

Feature Cricket

The Indian juggernaut just rolls on and on

Partab Ramchand Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:36 AM IST


The Indian juggernaut just rolls on and on, seemingly unstoppable and in fact going from strength to strength setting up records and landmarks along the way. Three successive innings victories, six wins in a row and so on. The ruthlessness is symbolized by victories inside three days and that is the hallmark of a No 1 side – to win by the biggest possible margin in the shortest possible time. All the really great teams in the history of the game – recent examples being the West Indian sides of 80s and early 90s and the Australian team of the late 90s and the early years of the new millennium – have brushed aside the opposition in a similar emphatic fashion.

So it is perhaps not a surprise that a debate has started as to whether this Indian team is on its way to becoming one of the greatest of all time. On results and in the manner in which they have taken a runaway lead in the ICC Test Championship table there is little doubt that the Indian squad is an awesome one, clearly the finest in Indian cricket history. The batting is formidable, the fast men constitute the best Indian pace attack of all time by a distance, the rich spin bowling tradition remains strong and they are led by a charismatic captain who inspires his teammates to perform above their potential. Plainly put Indian cricket has never had it so good.

But does it really compare favorably with the greatest squads of all time? Generally in this category we have the two examples listed above as well as Don Bradman’s Invincibles of the late forties. Indeed the Australians laid the first benchmark of the really formidable squads by remaining unbeaten in 25 Tests between 1946 and 1951. This stood as the record till England surpassed it by remaining unconquered in 26 Tests between 1968 and 1971. The present record however is held by the West Indies who were unbeaten in 27 Tests from 1981 to 1984.

While this is an important stat in determining the really great sides another yardstick is the number of successive victories. The West Indians of the 80s set the ball rolling by winning eleven consecutive Tests in 1984 which was a remarkable feat cementing their position as an all- conquering side. But then Australia stretched the record to 16 wins on the trot from 1999 to 2001 and what’s more they repeated the feat in the period 2005 – 2008. Interestingly it was India who on both occasions ended their run, the first in the famous Kolkata Test and the second time around in Perth.

However outstanding the current Indian side is to join the ranks of the truly great one reckons it has to match at least one, if not both feats to really take their place among the greatest of all time even as they continue with their fabulous run of successes.

News F1

Verstappen wins Brazilian GP, Ferraris self-destruct

AP Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:33 AM IST


Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix for his eighth career victory in a race which ended badly for both Ferrari drivers.

It also finished poorly for six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin near the end and deprived him of his first podium. A post-race five-second punishment for Hamilton demoted the Mercedes driver from third to seventh place.

Brazil marked Verstappen’s third win this season, after victories in Austria and Germany. He started from pole position in Sao Paulo — the second pole of his career.

The result moved the 22-year-old Verstappen to third place in the driver’s championship, already won by Hamilton. Verstappen is 11 points ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with only the Abu Dhabi GP on Dec. 1 to go.

The victory in Brazil gives some relief to Verstappen, who in 2018 led here for much of the race but finished second after touching backmarker Esteban Ocon’s car. The Dutch driver had an angry altercation with Ocon afterward, and the race was won by Hamilton.

This year was different, with Verstappen appearing mostly unstoppable all weekend long.

Unlike the Ferraris. A dramatic late collision on the 66th lap at Interlagos between four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc happened when they were fighting for fourth position. Both failed to finish.

On team radio, Vettel blamed Leclerc for a puncture that caused him to stop. Leclerc was forced out shortly after. The light contact gave Vettel a right-rear puncture, while Leclerc had a broken suspension.

After the race, both drivers said they were “disappointed,” but refused to expand on what had happened between them.

News Tennis

Nadal ready to lead Spain at new-look Davis Cup

AP Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:32 AM IST


Top-ranked Rafael Nadal has arrived in Madrid to lead Spain in the new-look Davis Cup Finals.

“It’s a new competition and we must be focused,” Nadal said Sunday. “The first thing is to get familiar with it and to know that each match is vital.”

Spain opens against Russia before facing defending champion Croatia in the men’s international team tournament.

The matches will be played on hard courts — not Nadal’s preferred clay — at the “Caja Mágica” (Magic Box) tennis complex.

“We have been put in a tough group and the surface is obviously not our favorite, but I believe that we are all motivated to be as well prepared as possible,” Nadal said.

“Today was my first day of training and I have been told that the team has been training well, so we hope that we are all in good shape and we can compete well.”

Nadal was eliminated in the group stage of the ATP Finals on Friday in London.

The 19-time Grand Slam winner will be joined by Feliciano López, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Marcel Granollers.

Spain have won the Davis Cup five times, but its last title came in 2011.

News Tennis

Tsitsipas beats Thiem in 3 sets to win ATP Finals title

AP Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:29 AM IST


Three years after coming to the ATP Finals as a hitting partner to the top pros, Stefanos Tsitsipas is leaving the tournament as champion.

Tsitsipas rallied to beat Dominic Thiem 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4) for the biggest title of his career, becoming the youngest champion at the season-ending event in 18 years.

“I remember myself watching this event on TV and thinking, ‘Oh, these guys have done an insane year to be playing here,’” said the 21-year-old Tsitsipas, who was making his first appearance at the tournament. ”And now I'm in the position to be champion, so it feels awesome.”

It’s been quite a journey for Tsitsipas, who first met Thiem at the O2 Arena in 2016 when he was the world’s top-ranked junior and was invited to be a hitting partner for the ATP Finals participants.

”That is unbelievable," Tsitsipas said when reminded of that day. "I just remembered (that), first time I met Dominic was I came here as a sparring partner. I think my first hit was with Dominic. It's unbelievable, isn't it? We are now facing each other in the final.”

It was quite a final, too.

The 21-year-old Greek bounced back from dropping a tight first set by racing out to a 4-0 lead in the second, and then held off the Austrian’s comeback in the third.

Tsitsipas couldn’t capitalize on another early break and a 3-1 lead in the deciding set but won the last three points of the tiebreaker, clinching the win when Thiem sent a return wide.

News Football

Ronaldo stuck on 99 goals but Portugal through to Euro 2020

AP Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:26 AM IST


Cristiano Ronaldo will have to wait a little longer for his 100th international goal, scoring only once as defending champion Portugal secured its place at next year’s European Championship with a 2-0 win at Luxembourg.

The Juventus star needed two goals for a century, but could only bundle the ball in from inches out near the end of a closely-contested match on a bumpy and muddy field far removed from the pristine surfaces Ronaldo usually plays on.

It moved Ronaldo 10 goals behind former Iran striker Ali Daei, who with 109 goals is the only player in world football to have outscored him on the international stage.

Portugal qualified automatically along with Group B winner Ukraine, which was already through and twice rallied to draw 2-2 at Serbia.

Serbia needed to win and hope Portugal failed to beat Luxembourg, but must now instead go through the playoffs to try and reach Euro 2020.

There was a century elsewhere, as France coach Didier Deschamps celebrated his 100th game in charge with a 2-0 win at Albania. It ensured France finished top of Group H ahead of Turkey, which won 2-0 at Andorra.

Group A winner England had already sealed its place and took its whopping goal tally to 37 in eight games with a 4-0 win at Kosovo thanks to a late flurry of goals after Harry Winks’ first-half opener.

News Football

Brazil beat Mexico to win U17 World Cup at home

AP Updated: 18 November, 2019, 10:19 AM IST


Brazil rallied to beat Mexico 2-1 to win its fourth under-17 World Cup title.

Bryan González opened the scoring for Mexico in the 66th minute at the Bezerrão stadium in Brasilia, but the hosts turned their fortunes with Kaio Jorge converting from the spot in the 84th and substitute Lázaro scoring in added time.

Brazil reached the final after overcoming a two-goal deficit to beat tournament favorite France 3-2, and had to come back again to capture the under-17 title for the first time since 2003.

The Brazilians didn’t initially qualify for the tournament after a poor performance in the South American qualifiers, but problems in the organization in Peru led soccer’s international governing body to move it to Brazil, allowing the team a spot as hosts.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni’s words distracted me from scoring a sure shot hundred in World Cup finale – Gambhir

Staff Writer Updated: 17 November, 2019, 9:49 PM IST


Gautam Gambhir has a habit of targeting former and current cricketers. Be it MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, the former Indian cricketer has lambasted both of them for their decisions. While Gambhir feels Dhoni was not true to him, Virat bear the brunt of his anger for his captaincy track record in the Indian Premier League. In one of the recent interviews, he stated that listening to MS Dhoni cost him a well-deserved hundred in the finale of the World Cup in 2011. The left-handed batsman was dismissed after scoring 97 against Sri Lanka.

"I have been asked this question many times, on what happened when I was on 97. I tell every youngster and every person that before getting to 97, I never thought about my own individual score but looked at the target set by Sri Lanka. I remember that when an over was completed, I and Dhoni were at the crease. He told me that 'these three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed'. Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka's target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred," Gambhir said.

He was dismissed by seamer Thisara Perera.

"That's why... till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred (took over). That's why it's so important to remain in the present... when I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn't get those three runs," he added.

News Cricket

Gambhir goes missing after ‘Jalebi’ episode in Indore, missing posters surface in Delhi

Staff Writer Updated: 17 November, 2019, 6:51 PM IST


It seems rivals and media have decided to teach Gautam Gambhir a lesson for skipping a crucial meeting of pollution control board in Delhi. The missing posters of the former cricketer and current Member of Parliament from East Delhi constituency surfaced at ITO on Sunday.

"Lost. Have you seen this person? He was last seen eating jalebis in Indore. The entire Delhi is looking for him," the message read.

He was in Indore on the day of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Urban Development meeting which was cancelled after no show of MPs and bureaucrats.

Gambhir was part of the commentary panel for the first Test between India and Bangladesh and was seen relishing Jalebis with VVS Laxman and Jatin Sapru.

He was lambasted for his careless attitude and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party was furious with his absence.

However, he went for damage control and even issued a statement.

"They will judge me by my work and not by the propaganda and false narrative spread by the minions of the 'honest CM' of Delhi," he had said.

His party members refused to comment on his whereabouts.

News Cricket

Mr. Nice of world cricket Virat wins hearts with heartwarming gesture towards his special fan

Staff Writer Updated: 17 November, 2019, 6:48 PM IST


Virat Kohli and Co won the first Test match against Bangladesh in Indore. The home team crushed the visitors by an innings and 130 runs. While Virat and his players were praised for their clinical display in Whites, the gesture of India's skipper off the field touched many hearts. A video has gone viral where he can be seen talking to a special fan after the match. The physically challenged fan was waiting to see Indian cricketers and it was Virat's gesture that made her day. He went to meet her and even gave an autograph.

Earlier, Bangladesh, which was dismissed for 150 in its first innings, was bowled out after tea for 213 in its second.

Mushfiqur Rahim top-scored with a gritty 64 before he fell to off-spinner Ashwin.

India declared on its overnight score of 493-6 and Bangladesh was quickly in trouble as it slumped to 72-5 before Mushfiqur and wicketkeeper Liton Das staged a mini recovery by sharing a stand of 63 for the sixth wicket.

Das hit six fours in a lively 39-ball 35 before Ashwin removed him with a sharp return catch.

Mushfiqur then put on 59 for the seventh wicket with Mehedi Hasan but their partnership was broken when Hasan was bowled by paceman Umesh Yadav for 38.

Bangladesh’s last hope disappeared when Mushfiqur was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara off Ashwin.

Fourteen of the 20 Bangladesh wickets to fall in the match were taking by quick bowlers.

News Cricket

Pink ball Test is going to be a landmark event for Indian cricket – Virat Kohli

Staff Writer Updated: 17 November, 2019, 6:45 PM IST


Mohammed Shami and Ravi Ashwin led the way as India crushed Bangladesh by an innings and 130 runs on the third day of the first test on Saturday.

Paceman Shami took 4-31 while Ashwin picked up 3-42.

“It was a really clinical performance,” India captain Virat Kohli said after his team chalked up a sixth consecutive Test win.

“Our fast bowlers are on top of their game. It looks a different pitch when they are bowling. It’s a dream bowling combination for any skipper.”

India now tops the world test championship standings with 300 points from six matches.

The second and final game in the series against Bangladesh will be in Kolkata starting on November 22 and will be a first day-night test for both sides, with a pink ball rather than a red one being used.

“The pink ball does a lot more early on,” said Kohli. “The pink ball test is going to be exciting. It is going to be a landmark event for Indian test cricket.”

News Cricket

Steve Smith apologies to Australian teammates for showing dissent towards umpires

Staff Writer Updated: 17 November, 2019, 6:41 PM IST


Pattinson's offense is the second in a week involving a member of the Australia test squad. Former captain Steve Smith was fined 25 percent of his match fee for showing dissent towards umpires during a Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Western Australia played last week.

Smith said Sunday he had apologized to his Australian teammates over the incident.

"Sometimes your emotions can get the better of you out on the field," Smith said. "We're playing a game, everyone is trying to do their best and sometimes that happens.

"I came in yesterday and apologized to the group for getting a code of conduct.

"I don't think there was a great deal in it but I've copped it and I have to look at when I get out and the way I sort of conduct myself. I know a lot of kids watch me play and watch all of us play and the way we conduct ourselves when we get out as well as when we're batting."

Paine said the Australian team held a "values meeting" Saturday night to discuss issues of on-field behavior.

"Both of those guys (Smith and Pattinson) apologized last night," Paine said. "They know that they fell a bit short of what we set ourselves as a test team.

"They're disappointed with that but we are going to keep on top of it and maintain the level that we've set so far in the last couple of years."

News Cricket

James Pattinson banned from 1st Test against Pakistan for abusing rival player

Staff Writer Updated: 17 November, 2019, 6:38 PM IST


Fast bowler James Pattinson will miss the first test against Pakistan from Thursday after choosing not to contest a charge of breaching Cricket Australia's code of conduct during a domestic Sheffield Shield match.

Pattinson faced a Level 2 charge of using obscene or abusive language over an incident in a four-day match last week between Victoria and Queensland at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

News Corp. reported Pattinson abused Queensland batsman Cameron Gannon on the second day of the match but immediately apologized to the player and match officials.

The code of conduct bans the use of "language or gesture(s) that is seriously obscene, seriously offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another player or player support personnel or any other third person during a match."

"I made a mistake in the heat of the moment," Pattinson said. "Straight away I realized I was in the wrong and I apologized immediately, both to the opponent and to the umpires.

"I have done the wrong thing and accept the penalty.

"I'm gutted to miss a test match but the standards are there for a reason and the fault is mine."

In deciding not to contest the charge, Pattinson effectively pleaded guilty and faced a ban of one test match or two Sheffield Shield matches. He decided to serve the suspension in the upcoming test match at Brisbane in which he was competing with Mitchell Starc for a place in the Australia team.

Pattinson faced two Level 1 charges in March which resulted in a warning and a fine of 100 percent of his match fee. Under the code of conduct three offences within an 18 month period can result in a one-year ban.

Australia captain Tim Paine indicated earlier Sunday he did not expect Pattinson to be cleared in any judicial hearing.

"I don't think he is going to be there," Paine said. "It's unfortunate, doesn't sit with our values and he knows and understands that.

"Missing a test match potentially is a hard thing to deal with but he'll learn from it and come back from it.

"James understands he's let himself down, let the group down and we expect him to bounce back."