Rohit Sharma declares, "I walk out for my country, not just the team"

Harshit Anand Updated: 1 August, 2019, 11:12 AM IST


Amid rift rumors between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, the Indian team departed for West Indies where the team plays 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs, and 2 Tests respectively. Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be part of the team across formats for India. Hours after the team left for the US, Rohit Sharma declared on Twitter, "I don't just walk out for my Team. I walk out for my country."

Several reports of a rift between captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma have been doing the rounds ever since India lost against the Kiwis in the semi-final game of the World Cup. India were knocked out of the World Cup post the defeat and all was not hunky-dory as it seemed also came to the fore after India's exit.

Before leaving for the West Indies tour, Kohli had blasted all the reports and said, "In my opinion it's baffling to be honest. It's absolutely ridiculous to read such stuff that comes out. I have been to a few public events and the sentiment is "aap log kya khele (you guys played so well).

"We are feeding off lies. We are overlooking facts. We are turning a blind eye to all the good things that has happened. We are creating fantasies and scenarios in our head and want to accept that this is the truth."

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News Cricket

India have underachieved in the last two World Cups - Michael Vaughan

Garima Kotroo Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:28 PM IST


Former England skipper Michael Vaughan came up with another bold statement on Team India as he claimed that the Men in Blue have underachieved in the last two World Cups. Vaughan believes that India lack power in the middle-order and they have not been able to do justice with their performance in the ODI format.

The 45-year-old veteran batsman recently took to his official Twitter handle and wrote, "If they are honest they will accept the last 2 World Cups they have underachieved!! They lack power for me in the engine room, the middle order, they have 3 yrs to make sure they can keep up the tradition of the hosts winning!”

India faced a crushing 10-wicket defeat against Australia in the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium. However, they bounced back and the won the second game in Rajkot. Virat Kohli-led team was superb in the batting department and vital contribution from the top order led them to a big total. Aussies tried their best but were undone by some exceptional bowling in the end. Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah were superb in their bowling spells.

News Cricket

Author’s derogatory comment on Virat-Anushka invites the wrath of fans

Abhishek Singh Updated: 18 January, 2020, 12:27 PM IST


An Indian author Bhawna Arora wrote a cheap comment on the personal equation of Indian captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood diva Anushka Sharma. In a derogatory tweet, Bhawna tried a ‘tongue in cheek’ joke about Virat Kohli changing his batting position in the ongoing India-Australia ODI series. She tried to link the batting position with sexual positions, which was taken in a bad taste by the Twitterati.

“Anushka Sharma is angry as Virat Kohli is trying new positions with Australians but not with her #INDvAUS,” her tweet read. The twitter community got enraged with such clumsy and audacious tweet seeking cheap limelight for the sake of discussing the Indian captain’s personal life.

A twitter user replied to Bhawna’s comment saying, “It isn’t funny”, while another one called it purely “shameless”. Bhawna was made to realize her grave mistake after getting humiliating replies.

Virat Kohli didn’t look fussed about anything at all and went about his business scoring 78 runs off just 76 balls. At one stage, he looked well settled to score yet another century but was dismissed by Adam Zampa. However, India went on to win the second ODI by 36 runs and leveled the series, setting up a thrilling decider in Bengaluru, which will take place tomorrow.

News Cricket

Boucher: ICC must find balance but Rabada went 'bit too far' 

AP Updated: 18 January, 2020, 11:05 AM IST


Like any fan of the game, Mark Boucher wants the International Cricket Council to find a balance when regulating how players - and especially aggressive fast bowlers like Kagiso Rabada - display their emotions on the field so as not to over-sanitize the sport.

“Don’t take the emotion out of the game because I still think there is a very big part for that in the game of cricket,” South Africa's head coach said.

There should be little argument over that. But while making that point, Boucher also conceded that Rabada maybe went too far when he celebrated, screaming and with fists pumping, right in front of Joe Root after bowling the England captain in the ongoing third test in Port Elizabeth.

The incident has put reasonably new ICC regulations guiding how and where players vent their emotions on the cricket field back under scrutiny.

The 24-year-old Rabada, a star of the sport, received a demerit or disciplinary point for his over-zealous celebration. An accumulation of those points led to him being banned for what will be the series-deciding fourth and final test next week. That robs the finale to a hotly contested fight between two old cricketing foes of one of the world's best bowlers.

There's been criticism of the rules and the suspension of Rabada. He was charged and punished by cricket's ruling body for “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter."

Some question if the ICC is going too far and trying to restrict players showing their feelings.

But Rabada wouldn't have been disciplined if he celebrated in the same way a meter or two to the left or right of Root. His venting right in front of Root — “yes, he was in his space,” Boucher admitted — was the problem because it was deemed provocative. Rabada appeared to intentionally head straight for Root.

And this is where the criticism that the ICC is removing emotion from cricket might be misplaced.

Because Rabada, young, energetic and fiercely competitive, has celebrated plenty of wickets this series with equal zealousness, just not right in the face of an opposing player. And the ICC hasn't had any issue with it.

That's surely the balance Boucher and other coaches and players are calling for.

Another incident from this series saw England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler fined for his expletive-laden taunting of South Africa's Vernon Philander in the second test in Cape Town. On-field sledging between players is far from new in cricket, but Buttler's swearing was caught on a stump microphone and broadcast fairly clearly to a live TV audience of all ages.

Buttler was fined, a move also criticized by some commentators and former players, though the ICC does not appear unreasonable in its concerns over swear words ringing out on live TV during a game.

There's evidence of some balance from cricket officials in this regard, too. When Buttler walked out to bat on Friday, the South Africans greeted him with some words of their own - there may or may not have been expletives — but nothing was caught on any microphone.

Most cricketers see sledging, within reason, as a part of the game and the ICC isn't going to be taking any action against anyone for Buttler's fiery welcome because it all stayed on the field among the players. Their business.

As Ollie Pope, the other England batter out there when Buttler arrived, said: "What’s said on the pitch stays on the pitch, unless the stump mics pick up on it.

"Obviously there would have been a bit of a hostile environment but that’s only natural, that’s cricket. Two countries are battling it out. It was all good.”

It was all good for the ICC also, which seems to have found some balance between those two sledging incidents.

Boucher made clear he had issues with some of the finer points of the regulations, including being unable to appeal low-level offenses like Rabada's that resulted in him being banned only because he has committed similar offenses three times previously in the last two years.

But Boucher also conceded: “KG (Rabada) knows what he can and cannot do and he maybe just pushed a little bit too far.”

News Cricket

Each day I have been thrown different roles and responsibilities, and I am enjoying it - KL Rahul

AP Updated: 18 January, 2020, 9:52 AM IST


India leveled the series with a match to go after beating Australia by 36 runs in the second one-day international on Friday.

Made to bat first, India totaled 340-6 with half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (96), Lokesh Rahul (80), and captain Virat Kohli (78).

Australia was well short long before the chase sputtered out with five balls left, on 304 all out. Steve Smith-led with 98 and Marnus Labuschagne added 46. They shared 96 runs for the third wicket but were gone by the 38th over.

Mohammed Shami finished with 3-77, while Navdeep Saini and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each.

The series decider is on Sunday at Bengaluru.

Dhawan and Rohit Sharma shared an 81-run opening stand, as India looked to rebound from the rare 10-wicket loss on Tuesday.

Sharma was out lbw on 42 to Adam Zampa (3-50) in the 14th over, which brought Kohli to the crease.

Dhawan and Kohli put on 103 runs, rotating the strike with ease and setting up a big score. India crossed 150 in the 25th over as Dhawan brought up his second consecutive half-century off 60 balls. He fell four short of a deserved hundred, dismissed by Kane Richardson.

Meanwhile, Kohli countered Zampa's leg spin with aplomb and reached his half-century off 50 deliveries.

However, Zampa bowled Shreyas Iyer (7) and got Kohli’s prized wicket for the fifth time in ODI cricket. The India skipper was caught at the boundary with Ashton Agar aiding Mitchell Starc in the catch relay.

Rahul took charge in the death overs and smashed six fours and three sixes, bringing up his half-century off 38 balls to push India past 300 and earn man of the match. He helped India score 89 runs in the last 10 overs.

“Each day I have been thrown different roles and responsibilities, and I am enjoying it," Rahul said. "I got a good start today and the ball was coming on nicely. I was happy with the wicketkeeping duties as well.” He wore the gloves instead of Rishabh Pant, who was ruled out of the game owing to a concussion.

Australia's chase lost David Warner (15) early thanks to a stunning one-handed leaping catch by Manish Pandey.

Smith and Aaron Finch (33) rebuilt the innings. Despite Finch being stumped off Ravindra Jadeja, Smith kept Australia abreast of the asking rate.

He found an able partner in Labuschagne, and Australia crossed 150 in the 25th over. When Labuschagne tried to push the scoring rate, he was out caught in the deep off Jadeja.

Alex Carey added 18 off 17 balls, but Kuldeep Yadav delivered the double blow in the 38th over that changed the game.

First, Carey was out caught at mid-off and Smith played on, falling two short of a hundred.

Australia's lower middle order didn’t have enough firepower to push for victory.

"We were always just one more wicket down than what we'd have liked at any stage of the chase,” Finch said.

Dhawan didn’t field after being hit in the ribs while batting. But he is expected to be fit for the series finale on Sunday at Bengaluru.start today and the ball was coming on nicely. I was happy with the wicketkeeping duties as well.” He wore the gloves instead of Rishabh Pant, who was ruled out of the game owing to a concussion.

Feature Cricket

SA Players Must Make AB’s Return Harder

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 17 January, 2020, 5:29 PM IST


Recently Peter Siddle announced his retirement from Test cricket. Although in the squad for the Test series against New Zealand, the performances of players such as Pat Cummins and James Pattinson perhaps made it clear to the veteran fast bowler that his services were only a backup and not part of the mainstream plan. Similarly, the onus should be on South Africa’s players to not necessitate AB de Villiers’ predicted return to the team.

South Africa could well not take a chance after their doleful performances at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and include AB de Villiers if the talks mutually favor his return from retirement. Although even that return is expected to brief with an intent to feature in the ICC Twenty20 World in Australia later this year, it would mean that South Africa would need to decide quickly if they do want de Villiers and whether he is willing to be a part of the team set up once more after retiring by his choice with late pangs in the course of the World Cup.

That said, while South Africa will not want world-class talent to sit idle if it is the intention of the player to return to the game, they must, also, look ahead. With Graeme Smith as the director of cricket and Mark Boucher in charge of the team as head coach with Jacques Kallis and Charle Langeveldt to back them up in the support staff, South Africa’s cricket needs to look for successors rather than take only regressive decisions in the immediate interests of the team.

Much has been written about the Kolpak deals that have seen player drains, the financial conundrums that have forced players to retire and play in overseas domestic cricket and also, of player migrations for perceived lack of opportunities at home. The number of South Africa born players playing for other teams – including Marnus Labuschagne and Neil Wagner – is endless.

South Africa will have to find a better way for the remaining players who have decided to throw their weight behind the cause of playing for South Africa to rise to the occasion, put up their hand and be counted rather than simply make up the bleak numbers. It will mean a lot of work to unearth unpolished diamonds from the support staff and bridging the gap between domestic cricket and international level. But it will, also, mean that the players making the team know that this is an opportunity to entrench themselves.

From feeling desperate enough to controversially call up Siddle, the Australian selectors would have silently heaved a sigh of relief not at Siddle’s retirement but rather watching Australia’s bowlers do the job well enough on the field against Pakistan and again against New Zealand not to warrant Siddle’s induction into the playing eleven at any point.

Although it might seem farfetched, given South Africa’s performances in the past year, it is not beyond them to find players who can commit themselves to the point where AB de Villiers and others like him could be a problem of riches rather than the dearth forcing desperate measures. It will be up to the players to make a player, who has chosen to step out of the game, work harder to get back into the team. It is a tall order, not only because of AB’s versatility as a batsman but also, because of the many problems that virtually derailed South Africa last year.

News Cricket

AB de Villiers eyeing ODI comeback

Abhishek Singh Updated: 17 January, 2020, 5:03 PM IST


AB de Villiers has said that he would like to make a comeback to ODIs as well. Playing his first season of the Australian domestic T20 league, the Big Bash, de Villiers has fueled expectations of him making a comeback to the international cricket in its white ball avatar. The protean has already retired from all forms of international cricket.

In a post-match discussion with former Australian wicketkeeper and BBL commentator, Adam Gilchrist, Mr. 360 degree revealed that an ODI comeback is on the cards. “ODIs I wouldn’t take completely out of the equation, but for Test matches, it’s pretty much done,” Deccan Chronicle quoted de Villiers as saying.

Earlier, before making an appearance in his first-ever BBL match for Brisbane Heat, the swashbuckling batsman, in an interview to had said, that he was planning to throw in his name for selection in the South African squad for World T20, which would take place in Australia, later this year.

“It’s a long way away still, and plenty can happen, there’s the IPL coming up, I’ve still got to be in form at that time. So I’m thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out,” de Villiers had said about his chances of getting into the Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup.

News Cricket

Hurt & heartbroken for not being considered in T20I squad - Kamran Akmal

Garima Kotroo Updated: 17 January, 2020, 4:58 PM IST


The Men in Green are all set to host the Bangladeshi tigers for a three-match T20I series starting from January 24. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming series at home. While the veteran all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez have been recalled by the national team selectors, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail and Wahab Riaz were left out from the T20I squad.

Surprisingly, Mohammad Rizwan regained his place in the Pakistan squad even after an underwhelming performance against Australia. Kamran Akmal, the veteran, was not happy after being ignored once again.

“Hurt and heartbroken for not being considered in the team. I have really worked hard. Anyways I won’t give up I will work harder and would like to thank everyone who supported me jazak Allah thank you.”

Apart from Akmal, former Pakistani skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was also not considered. However, the head coach and the chief selector of the team Misbah-ul-Haq claimed that he could make an international comeback if he performs in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this year. Pakistan will play the first T20I against Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni not given central contract because of BJP - Congress digital head

Staff Writer Updated: 17 January, 2020, 4:38 PM IST


MS Dhoni is one of the most famous Indian cricketers and his absence from the recently released was enough to cause an uproar on social media. The decision was slammed by cricket fanatics, who wanted to see Dhoni among the contracted players. He last played for India in the last edition of the World Cup and in England and Wales. Meanwhile, one person, who has an association with the Indian National Congress (INC), has claimed that MS Dhoni was excluded from the list on the behest of the Bhartiya Janta Party.

Gaurav Pandhi, whose Twitter profile shows that he is the National Coordinator, Digital Communications & Social Media at INC, stated that BJP had asked Dhoni to join the party and contest polls in Jharkhand but he refused to follow the instructions. He also said no to campaign for the party in the state.

He tweeted, “So, apparently the BJP reached out to MS Dhoni during Jharkhand elections wanting him to join & contest but he refused since he wants to continue with cricket. He was then asked to campaign, which he denied. Result? His contract isn't renewed this year by BCCI. INSANE! ????”

He further blasted BJP for the politicization of cricket. "Those concerned about 'Politicization of Cricket' by the BJP must know 1) they did tell you who is the boss at BCCI 2) please go check how, when & why MS was forced to retire from Test Cricket. The man who led & won us World Cup is being treated so unfairly!"

Feature Cricket

5 wicketkeepers who can replace Rishabh Pant

Garima Kotroo Updated: 17 January, 2020, 3:58 PM IST


The young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is facing scrutiny for his performance in limited-overs cricket. Despite getting a lot of chances, the left-hand batsman has failed to meet the expectations. The calls to drop him from the team are growing louder and if he continues to fail, the wise men of the selection committee might drop him from the squad. There are many contenders, who can replace him if he is shown the door. Let’s take a look at the five possible contenders.

Dinesh Karthik

He is one of the best finishers in the slam-bang version of the game. Dinesh Karthik led India to Nidahas Trophy title in Sri Lanka after playing a blistering knock in the finale of the event against Bangladesh. He has all the shots in his batting arsenal to win close games and his wicket-keeping skills are impressive. The 34-year old has accumulated 399 runs from 32 T20Is. His strike rate of 143.52 is enough to prove his credentials in this format of the game. With Rishabh Pant’s failures, Dinesh Karthik is the safest player to replace the young gloveman.

Sanju Samson

The 24-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson has got limited chances in the international arena but he is a force to reckon with in the Indian Premier League. Samson scored 342 runs from 12 matches at a strike rate of 148.69 in the last edition of one of the best T20 leagues in the world. Not only this, but the Kerala batsman also impressed everyone with his record-breaking double century against Goa in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. With the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played this year, Team India needs a strong set of wicket-keepers. If Rishabh Pant continues to falter, the selectors have Samson to count upon.

Ishan Kishan

Ishan Kishan, who was the captain of the Under-19 World Cup squad in 2016, is one of the prime contenders for the wicket-keeping spot in the Indian squad. He has been seen in great form with both bat and gloves in the domestic cricket. He has an impressive batting record in the T20 format with 1714 runs under his belt. However, Kishan hasn’t made his international debut for India but he could receive his maiden call to play for India ahead of the T20 World Cup this year.

KS Bharat

Srikar Bharat has gained a lot of popularity in the domestic cricket with his flabbergasting innings for Andhra Pradesh and India A. He came into the limelight after scoring an incredible triple century in the Ranji Trophy match in February 2015. Bharat has played 43 T20 games in his career so far and is one of the players to watch out for in this format of the game.

MS Dhoni

There is no doubt in saying that MS Dhoni has lost his charm after his flop show in 2019. He hasn’t played any international game after India’s exit from 2019 World Cup semifinals and his future in international cricket has been under the scanner. However, the head coach of Team India, Ravi Shastri still believes that he could return to the squad if he is able to perform in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. His record is impressive in the shortest format and plays a vital role for India in the T20 World Cup.

Opinion Cricket

BCCI Contracts: Is the end of the road for MS Dhoni in Team India colors?

CT Contributor Updated: 17 January, 2020, 3:56 PM IST


Veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni has been omitted by the BCCI from a 27-member list of central contract awardees for the 2019-20 season. This was a move that came as a surprise, however, going by what has folded since the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup. The decision by BCCI makes sense. The 38-year-old former India captain hasn't played competitively since India's World Cup exit to New Zealand at Old Trafford. Dhoni is still in a sabbatical and there has been continuous speculation regarding his retirement.

Now with him being omitted from the contract list, the near of Dhoni's end to a prolific international career is on the cards. Interestingly, the champion cricketer had held an 'A' category contract in the previous cycle viz. 2018-19. Dhoni has been tight-lipped about his future. He is set to feature in the IPL 2020 though for Chennai Super Kings.

Recently, Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri claimed Dhoni could retire from ODIs, however, a decision on the T20 cricket could come only after the IPL 2020 season. Shastri told CNN News18, “At his age, probably the only format he’ll want to play is T20 cricket which means he’ll have to start playing again, get back into the groove because he’s going to play in the IPL and see how his body reacts.”

On asked about the IPL, Shastri claimed “So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL. One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then..."

A lot hinges on how Dhoni gets going in the IPL. In the last two seasons, he was terrific for CSK and batted well. The upcoming season will be important if he is thinking of being in the reckoning for the World T20.

However, it is highly likely that Dhoni has played his final match for India. If he was interested in featuring in the T20Is, then he would have kept himself in the fray and played for India of late. However, he decided not to do that and hasn't even played any sort of cricket. Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also voiced the same to India Today and said it is probably the end of the road for MSD.

Feature Cricket

Women empowerment and the hypocrisy of Sourav-led BCCI

Abhishek Singh Updated: 17 January, 2020, 3:51 PM IST


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has once again proved that it does not walk the talk when it comes to women empowerment in terms of pay parity. The latest player retainer-ship contracts, released by the cricket board, reveals the humungous and shameful disparity in the wages of male and female professional cricketers in the country.

While the male cricketers have been provided an additional slab of A+ with rupees seven crores of pay value, the female cricketers have been given a total of only five crores, distributed among the 22 of them, with the highest slab being 50 lakh. In a country where one male cricketer earns more than the entire 22 centrally contracted female cricketers, the hypocrisy of its cricket board is nakedly visible through its action or rather inaction on the growing demands of equity and equality.

India want to achieve everything in women cricket, ranging from World Cup victories like Australia or Test victories like England, but when it comes to providing them ample support, we have lacked at all levels. Australian women cricketers get equal pay as received by their male counterparts in terms of the revenue sharing model. Cricket Australia gives contracted women the same base hourly pay rate as men in the five-year collective bargaining agreement struck in 2017. England have also announced a plan which will have 40 women contracted centrally on a pay level matching to that of male cricketers, with certain terms and conditions, as the plan is huge and includes revamping of domestic structure for women cricketers as well.

Apart from this, all three major teams, Australia, England and New Zealand have leagues for women cricket on par with their male extravagant T20 leagues. Be it WBBL in Australia, Women Super Smash in New Zealand, Kia Super League in England, all of them are broadcast live and have representation from all parts of the country, on par with the male leagues. In India though, we do not even have a proper league like IPL, forget about pay parity or broadcast parity. We Indians believe in symbolism and we brought symbolism in cricket league as well, giving the women cricketers a token three-team league and the media a bogus talking point shamelessly claiming to be working in favor of women empowerment.

While three players have been given contracts of 50 lakh under slab-A, eight women cricketers have been given a contract of rupees 30 lakh under slab-B, while remaining 11 have been put in slab C and would draw only rupees 10 lakh which is 10 times less than their male counterparts of slab-C.

The latest contracts run from October 2019 to September 2020.

Grade A (Rs 50 lakh)

Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav

Grade B (Rs 30 lakh)

Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma.

Grade C (Rs 10 lakh)

Veda Krishnamurthy, Punam Raut, Anuja Patil, Mansi Joshi, D Hemlatha, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol, Priya Punia, Shafali Verma.

Feature Cricket

Give credit to the Aussies

Partab Ramchand Updated: 17 January, 2020, 3:00 PM IST


While the post-mortem on India’s humiliating loss in the first ODI against Australia is still on and every one of them centers around where India went wrong and what they have to do to correct their mistakes one clear fact has been lost amidst all the discussions. Australia is a very strong team, they won purely on merit and due credit has not been given to them.

Let’s face facts. It isn’t every time that India has lost an ODI by ten wickets. In fact, it was only their fifth such defeat in almost 1000 matches. And not many teams have lost by such a lopsided margin after scoring 255. It was the second-highest total chased down without the loss of a wicket in ODIs. Also, the fact that Australia won with 12.2 overs to spare underlines their supremacy and their brilliance with both bat and ball.

The visitors gave enough indication of their fighting qualities when they overturned a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 triumph in the last ODI series played in this country last year. And it should not be forgotten that the Aussies are going through a purple patch right now with successive victories in all formats of the game – T-20 wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan, five successive Test triumphs against Pakistan and New Zealand and now they have shown their prowess in no uncertain terms in ODIs. In fact, they have risen in the ICC rankings across the board and are now No 2 in Tests, No 4 in ODIs and No 2 in T-20 internationals. And by the time the ongoing series ends they could well rise further in ODIs.

So brilliantly did David Warner and Aaron Finch perform that Marnus Labuschagne whose ODI debut was eagerly looked forward to didn’t even come out to bat. And neither was Steve Smith required. And to think that Australia won the last ODI series a year ago without the services of either Warner or Smith who were serving out their one-year bans. And while it is right to praise the batting, one should not forget the role played by the bowlers too for causing the middle order slump from where the problems for India surfaced. And to think that Josh Hazlewood was not even part of the attack!

The Aussies are masters at mind games and before departing for India, Finch said that the subcontinent can make visiting players doubt their abilities. ``What can happen when you play in the subcontinent is that you start to doubt your game plan because they are so dominant when they get on top.’’ In short, the skipper said that the Aussies were the underdogs and with his remark put the onus on India. Now the pressure is squarely on the home team.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni to make himself available for ICC T20 World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 17 January, 2020, 2:52 PM IST


According to reports, MS Dhoni, the former skipper, will make himself available for the upcoming T20 World Cup. He hasn't played a single match since the last edition of the World Cup. Dhoni was not included in the central contracts for the 2019-20 season.

“But that doesn’t mean he won’t be considered for any selection in the future,” said a TOI source.

The report also confirmed that he will not retire till the Indian Premier League and is expected to make himself available for the national selection.

“Then it is up to the selectors and it is up to individual performances. What if he single-handedly takes CSK to victory in IPL? Won’t that matter? People should stop jumping the gun. His absence from the annual retainership doesn’t mean a thing,” the source revealed.

Even Harbhajan has not announced his retirement. “Harbhajan Singh hasn’t played since 2015-16. He hasn’t announced his retirement either. Nobody wants to ask him why he hasn’t done it. Maybe Dhoni makes a bigger headline and people love headlines,” said an official while talking to the newspaper.

“Retirement, be it Dhoni or Harbhajan or any other cricketer, is a very personal decision. Selecting or dropping a player is the selection committee’s decision. Dhoni will not play in the ODIs again. So how can he be part of the central contracts?”, he added.

Opinion Cricket

Have the selectors been unfair to Sanju Samson?

Abhishek Singh Updated: 17 January, 2020, 1:30 PM IST


Sanju Samson played just two balls in the last T20I against Sri Lanka. He started with a six and was dismissed on the next delivery. The right-handed batsman got two deliveries to prove himself. Sanju Samson was dropped from the Indian team for the tour of New Zealand after just one international appearance in the last 5 years. Is it his fault? Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant has failed despite getting enough chances.

In his 28 matches, Pant has scored only 410 runs with a dismal average of 20.50. Time and again, he has failed to deliver in crunch situations. With two fifties and no hundreds, he is fast running out of time. If a selection panel backs a player for 28 matches despite him failing badly in batting or behind the wicket skills, should he be given more chances or should other players with a similar set of skills be tried?

Sanju Samson, on the other hand, has played only two T20Is and no other game in any other format between his debut against Zimbabwe in 2015 to the last T20I vs. Sri Lanka recently. Throughout this time, Samson has played 55 IPL matches, scoring almost 1500 runs with an average of 30, which is considered above par in terms of T20. While scoring those runs, he has had a terrific strike rate of 135. During this time his wicket-keeping skills were satisfactory as well.

There is no denying the fact that Rishabh Pant has played equally good if not better in the cash-rich league. But the point of contention is the number of chances Pant has got compared to Sanju Samson. Pant has not only played T20Is but has also featured in a lot number of ODIs. However, the story has remained the same. The wicket-keeping skills of Pant have been ordinary.

Sanju Samson’s hard work and efforts deserve more chances than he has got till date. He is a match-winner and has shown this time and again in both domestic and IPL innings. India are looking for the right fit who can match-up the quality of MS Dhoni in the finishers’ role and wicket-keeping department. Rishabh Pant has had a dismal record trying to replace the former skipper. If makes all the more important for the selection committee to give more chances to Sanju Samson to prove himself in national colors.

Virat Kohli wants to win the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia but his persistence with Rishabh Pant could hamper India’s chances, considering his repeated failures with the bat and behind the stumps. A lot has been said about the talent Pant possesses but his performance sheet is still missing any noteworthy performance.

Sanju Samson has shown his worth in the Indian Premier League, and he could be India’s next match-winner if he is given more opportunities by the wise men of the selection committee and Team India’s management. Time has come to move away from Pant and trust Samson to deliver goods for his team in the slam-bang version of the game.

News Cricket

Jab Tak Dhakke Markar Nahi Nikaloge, Tab Tak Nahi Nikloonga: KRK on MS Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 17 January, 2020, 11:34 AM IST


MS Dhoni has been excluded from the national contract which could end his career. The former Indian skipper, who hasn't played for India since the last edition of the World Cup in 2019, is keeping quiet on the future course of action. Bollywood actor and critics Kamaal Rashid Khan has blasted the Indian cricket board for dropping Dhoni from the central contract list.

“The national selectors only put up the proposal for the central contract list and as far as MSD was concerned, there was no clarity on whether he would like to continue or not,” an official in the know of things was quoted as saying by the Sportstar.

KRK took to Twitter to vent his anger and even took a dig at the former India skipper. “Today #BCCI threw out @msdhoni like many other players in the past. I strongly believed that #MSDhoni will retire with dignity and respect, unlike all other players. But he followed other players only “Ki Jab Tak Dhakke Markar Nahi Nikaloge, Tab Tak Nahi Nikloonga”! #VerySad!”