Stokes’ innings is most extraordinary test innings ever played by an England batsman – Cook

Stokes’ innings is most extraordinary test innings ever played by an England batsman – Cook

AP Updated: 27 August, 2019, 10:11 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Ben Stokes leant back on aching legs and thrust his clenched right fist into the air, letting out a guttural roar as thousands rose inside Headingley to acclaim one of English sport's greatest individual performances.

It was an image that adorned the front or back of nearly every British newspaper on Monday, keeping cricket atop the agenda in a summer like no other for a sport often mocked for being quaint and dull but which has suddenly become gripping viewing.

Stokes' once-in-a-lifetime innings supposedly came in last month's Cricket World Cup final at Lord's, when his pressure-filled and incident-packed knock of 84 steered England into a rare Super Over eliminator against New Zealand and, ultimately, to becoming world champion for the first time.

Six weeks after what was widely labeled the greatest cricket match ever, and about 170 miles (274 kilometers) north in Leeds, Stokes produced an almost-superhuman innings that might have been even better, keeping England alive in an Ashes series when all hope appeared to be lost.

"The most extraordinary test innings ever played by an England batsman," purred former England skipper Alastair Cook in his role as a radio commentator.

That is some praise coming from Cook — England's highest ever test run-scorer with 12,472, including 33 centuries — who struck two of his five double hundreds in Australia, both unbeaten, like Stokes was.

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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.

News Cricket

VVS Laxman credits this Indian coach for making bowlers useful contributors with the bat

Abhishek Singh Updated: 28 January, 2020, 1:52 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The very very special player of India, VVS Laxman is disclosing some unique facts about his life and cricket career. In one such revelation, during a talk with India Today, Laxman credited former India coach John Wright for making bowlers a belief that they too can contribute to the batting unit by making handy runs at the end of an innings or for saving the match occupying the crease.

“I think I should give credit to John Wright for this where I convinced John Wright that it is very important that we got bowlers who take pride in their batting whether Anil, Harbhajan, Zaheer, whoever. We were very fortunate to have those bowlers who took a lot of pride in their batting and bowling,” said Laxman.

“John made it a point that each batsman in the team would become a batting coach and a batting partner to one bowler. For me, it was Zaheer Khan. We had to make sure that after each net session we gave a throw down to the bowlers so they can improve on their skills. Working as a family is very important. And then I also used to have a chat with them saying they were very good. So when the challenges started coming by especially against good bowling attacks, I used to give them strike to show my belief and trust their ability. And I used to tell them you are capable of scoring runs. Communication is very important,” Laxman added.

It was under John Wright’s coaching and Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy that India started to dominate games, even in overseas conditions. According to Laxman, communication and bonding among players played a huge role in making team India a competitive side.

News Cricket

India have almost finalized T20 World Cup squad, says Vikram Rathour

Garima Kotroo Updated: 28 January, 2020, 1:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The batting coach of Team India, Vikram Rathour has said that the new generation of cricketers is 'incredible' as they can perform anywhere in any condition. The 50-year-old veteran also claimed that the Indian team management is ready with the core players for the T20 World Cup starting from this October.

“Adjustments will keep going on till the last minute. But as far as I am concerned and the team management is concerned, we have the core. We know what our team is going to be. Unless there is a case of injury or really bad loss in form, I don’t see many changes happening. This new generation of cricketers is incredible. I find it amazing actually that they turn up and they are at their best straight away across the different formats, different grounds, and different countries actually. The amount of time they took to get settled (in NZ) was outstanding actually.”

With one eye on the grand tournament in Australia, India are currently experimenting. The national selectors are giving chances to many young players like Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube, and Shreyas Iyer to shine in the international arena. In the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand, youngsters showcased their talent in all three departments and contributed well to their side’s success.

News Cricket

I really enjoy the competition that South Africa always brings - Ben Stokes

AP Updated: 28 January, 2020, 10:13 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Stokes made 318 runs in the four tests, with one century and a half-century, and took 10 wickets and collected plenty of sharp catches at second slip. Another high-quality showing earned him the man of the series, during which he was crowned international cricketer of the year.

“It's always such a competitive series,” Stokes said. “I just think I really enjoy the competition that South Africa always brings.”

Van der Dussen's exit was the beginning of the end but Stuart Broad produced the ball of the day, a fierce, rising delivery in the direction of Temba Bavuma's throat that Bavuma gloved behind. De Kock went down swinging, hitting six fours and a six before Wood forced him to mistime one.

There was a nice moment when South Africa seam bowler Vernon Philander was out. It was Philander's final test before retiring from international cricket and he'd been struck down by a right hamstring tear the day before. He still came out to bat and England players lined up to shake his hand as he walked off.

The series also had fiery moments; Four players, including Philander and Stokes, were fined for swearing at opponents — or in Stokes' case a fan — or for provocative wicket celebrations. Du Plessis and Broad had a verbal confrontation on the last day.

“We all obviously fight hard on the park but at the end of the day we remain, gentlemen,” Philander said, appreciating England players' efforts to congratulate him on his career.

This tour was dubbed England's ‘Tour of Hell’ at the beginning because of the illness and injury woes but it's turned out to be heavenly, with triumph and the emergence of a new breed of youngsters that contributed heavily to the success.

“The sky’s the limit right now,” Root said. “I do think we are very much at the start of something and we’ve got to look to keep learning to keep getting better.”

News Cricket

'Very special win': Joe Root on England's Test series victory in South Africa

AP Updated: 28 January, 2020, 10:12 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

England blew through South Africa's resistance quickly, in the end, to win the fourth and final test by 191 runs on Monday for a convincing 3-1 series victory and its best performance in the country in more than 100 years.

South Africa was all out for 274 on the fourth day at the Wanderers, way off the huge target of 466.

The home team didn't come close as England took two wickets in the first session, two right at the end of the second, and then ran through the rest of South Africa in dominant fashion to win with a day to spare.

Joe Root said through the series that victory would be the most significant in his three-year reign as England captain. He has what he wanted.

Yet a month ago, England was 1-0 down in the series, struggling to recover from a flu-like virus that swept through the squad, and rocked by series-ending injuries to opening batsman Rory Burns and fast bowlers James Anderson and Jofra Archer.

The turnaround was incredible. England won three tests in a row, all by big margins.

“Very special indeed,” Root said. “It’s taken a lot. Obviously you look at the first game and where we were there, and to pick ourselves up and play the way we have done in the last three games is extremely pleasing. It’s taken a big effort from everyone.”

The margin of victory in the series was also significant. It's the most convincing performance by an England team in South Africa since England won a five-test series 4-0 in 1914, six months before the outbreak of World War I.

Mark Wood was England's bowling star with 4-54 in the second innings and nine wickets in the match, his second test of an impressive return after being out of the team with injury for nearly a year.

Bowling fast, Wood clinched it with the wicket of Anrich Nortje, caught behind by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. The decision didn't immediately go England's way but the tourists reviewed and TV replays confirmed their triumph.

The England players were already celebrating in the Johannesburg sunshine anyway.

Wood wasn't even meant to play but Archer pulled up with a recurrence of his elbow injury in the warmup at the Wanderers and Wood was called back in.

"Boy am I glad I played now,” Wood said. “I’m over the moon.”

Star all-rounder Ben Stokes proved his worth on the final day, as he's done all series, with crucial breakthroughs to get rid of stubborn South Africa opener Dean Elgar (24) and captain Faf du Plessis (35). The wicket of du Plessis broke South Africa's most meaningful partnership.

Du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen put on 92 in a period of fight from the home team after lunch but England removed both in the space of an over on the brink of tea and surged to victory from there.

Stokes roared in and his delivery kept low to bowl du Plessis.

Van der Dussen was out for 98 to Wood to miss his chance of a maiden test century in his debut series.

That double blow knocked the resistance out of South Africa. England finished it off effectively, taking the last seven wickets for just 87 runs.

News Cricket

Pakistan retain top T20 ranking

AP Updated: 28 January, 2020, 10:09 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan retained its No. 1 ranking in the Twenty20 format after rain washed out the third and final match of the series against Bangladesh.

Rain arrived an hour before the scheduled toss at 1.30 p.m. local time (0830 GMT) before umpires called off the play at 3.55 p.m. local time, to the disappointment of around 5,000 fans at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Pakistan clinched the series 2-0 after beating world No. 9 ranked Bangladesh by five wickets and nine wickets, respectively.

Bangladesh's batsmen struggled in the absence of banned Shakib Al Hasan as well as wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who opted out of the tour because of security concerns.

“Result-wise, we are probably disappointed,” Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah said.

“As a captain, I wanted to give a better performance, a better show which we didn’t do. The talent was there, the skill was there, but I think we didn’t execute our skills good enough and they were better than us, obviously.”

The No. 1 ranking, which Pakistan earned in January 2018, was under threat after the team lost eight of its nine T20s in 2019, but the recall of veteran batsmen Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez strengthened the batting line-up. Malik scored an unbeaten 58 in the first match, while Hafeez remained not out on 67 in the second game in two easy run-chases.

A 3-0 loss at home and a 2-0 defeat in Australia forced Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq to recall aging Hafeez and Malik after Pakistan batsmen struggled in the shortest format.

“We checked the resources against Sri Lanka and Australia, but after that, we realized we needed experience in the team,” Misbah said. “The experience (of Malik and Hafeez) came to our use and I believe the doors are not closed for any player. Form and fitness are important, and they both are in good form and are also fit.”

Bangladesh will return to Pakistan next month for the first test, as part of the ICC World Test Championship, after agreeing to split the T20 series and two test matches into three phases.

The officials of both the national cricket boards reached consensus in Dubai this month during a meeting facilitated by International Cricket Council chairman Shashank Manohar.

The first test will be played in Rawalpindi from Feb. 7-11. After a break of almost two months, Bangladesh will play an ODI and the second test in Karachi from April 3-9.

Late last year, Sri Lanka also split its tour to Pakistan into two phases when it played a T20 series in Lahore then returned in December for two test matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi, staying in Pakistan for 16 days.

News Cricket

Triple centurion Sarfaraz Khan is indebted to Virat Kohli for his invaluable advice

Abhishek Singh Updated: 27 January, 2020, 5:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mumbai batsman Sarfaraz Khan, who recently notched up his maiden triple ton and gave Mumbai vital 3 points in the Ranji Trophy match against Uttar Pradesh, feels that Virat Kohli’s invaluable, honest advice has been instrumental in his comeback.

“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,” he revealed.

Sarfaraz Khan, who was given a chance due to the absence of regular Mumbai players Surya Kumar Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane has made full use of it. After scoring a triple ton his last innings, he has again scored a double century, playing against Himachal Pradesh. AT stumps on the first day of their Ranaji match, Mumbai are at 372 at the loss of five wickets. Out of those 372, Sarfaraz alone has scored 226 runs and is not out.

The Mumbaikar was elated with his triple century and even more by becoming a member of the elite club which has huge names like Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma. “It’s a proud feeling to return and also join Mumbai’s triple-century club, alongside great players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Wasim Jaffer, and Rohit Sharma,” Sarfaraz was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

News Cricket

India is killing competition in world cricket: Shoaib Akhtar

Abhishek Singh Updated: 27 January, 2020, 4:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar feels that there seems to be no one even close to India as far as international cricket is concerned. He reckons that Virat Kohli-led India is swiftly becoming a “ruthless” team that has no mercy for others.

Akhtar, on his YouTube channel, said “India is becoming a ruthless team as they once again proved it against New Zealand in the second T20I. If you (Kiwis) are being bowled out for such a modest total, how will you compete against a side like India which possesses a long batting line-up.”

He even lauded Indian fast bowlers saying that they are terrorizing the opposition. “Have seen new confidence from Bumrah and Shami as they have now started to create fear in the opposition batsmen,” said the Rawalpindi express.

World’s fastest, Akhtar is also of the opinion that the Indian team is touching the zenith of its potential and is dominating the world cricket one-sided. “At present India is dominating the world one-sided. But what will happen to other teams? What will happen to world cricket?” he asked.

“When Australia dominated world cricket, at least India and Pakistan showed fight and tried to compete. However, what we are seeing in New Zealand is that the hosts have completely surrendered before India in the first t20 T20Is,” he added.

India will now aim to seal what would be their first T20I series win over New Zealand when they meet the hosts in the third match in Hamilton on Wednesday.

News Cricket

God of Cricket sledged me, claims this Australia bowler

Abhishek Singh Updated: 27 January, 2020, 4:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

It’s hard to believe that Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar even sledged someone. But if you were to believe Australian bowling legend McGrath, Sachin did sledge him. It was during the ICC Champions Trophy match in 1999 in Kenya, remembers McGrath vividly.

"I bowled to him, he pulled it and it went straight up in the air. I thought I had got him out and the wicketkeeper would get an easy catch. But there was a breeze there and the ball kept drifting further and further away from the wicketkeeper and then I thought the third-man is going to take it who was ready to catch it and then he started going back and back and the ball finally fell out of the fence for a six,” McGrath was quoted as saying by PTI.

"I was not very impressed and then I could hear someone saying a few words to me and I turned around and it was Sachin sledging me. That was very unusual and had not happened before," McGrath added.

From West Indies batting maestro Brian Lara to Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, McGrath had troubled the best in the business with his pinpoint accuracy on the 22-yards during his prime. McGrath took a total of 949 wickets in his international career encompassing Tests, ODIs and two T20Is.

News Cricket

Ricky Ponting names top three fielders of all time

Garima Kotroo Updated: 27 January, 2020, 4:42 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting recently conducted a question and answer session on his official Twitter handle and the fans took the full advantage of the situation. While some people asked about his memorable innings, others asked about his favorite players in the cricket fraternity. Amidst all these queries, a fan came up with a unique question. He asked Ponting to pick the top three fielders in the world.

In his reply to the user, Ponting named his former team-mate Andrew Symonds, along with two South African batsmen, AB de Villiers and Jonty Rhodes as the three best fielders. Ponting, who is the head coach of Delhi Capitals franchise and worked with many Indian cricketers, didn’t pick any Indian name which came as a big surprise.

The 45-year-old legendary cricketer was then asked about Rishabh Pant’s future in Team India as the young player has lost his place to KL Rahul in all three formats.

“You didn't answer my question last time. Please answer this time. Where do you see Rishabh Pant going from here? He has lost his place in all three formats. Your thoughts?”

At this, Ponting replied, “Rishabh Pant is a young man with a huge amount of talent. I am looking forward to working with him again during the IPL and I am sure he will be back in the Indian team sooner rather than later.”

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Akram to participate in the Bushfire Relief Match

Abhishek Singh Updated: 27 January, 2020, 3:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Yuvraj Singh and Wasim Akram have joined the bandwagon that will either play or take part as Coach in the Bushfire Relief match being organized by Cricket Australia. The match will see legends Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne captain two teams in a friendly match.

West Indies’ legend Courtney Walsh and Indian great Sachin Tendulkar have already announced their presence for the game. While Walsh would coach Shane Warne’s team, Tendulkar would be the Coach of Ponting’s XI. Apart from these international stars, Australian cricketers such as Steve Waugh would also form part of this momentous occasion.

Apart from the Relief match and the Big Bash finale, a women’s T20 international between Australia and India at Junction Oval in Melbourne will also take place. Proceeds from the match would be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

Yuvraj has scored 12,384 runs and taken 148 wickets in his international career while Wasim has taken 916 wickets. While Yuvraj Singh has not played a competitive match since the Abu Dhabi T10 league, Wasim Akram has been an active member of the commentary teams all around the world.

News Cricket

Harsha comes down hard on NZ grounds, says they are unfit to host international matches

Garima Kotroo Updated: 27 January, 2020, 3:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Famous Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle believes that the international matches should be played on the large cricket grounds and not on the small grounds like Eden Park. The 58-year-old recently claimed that the introduction of new technologies in the bats have offered liberty to young and experienced batsmen to smash big shots. The games can’t be played on the ‘tiny little' grounds.

During his most recent interview with Cricbuzz, Bhogle said, “I can understand that it is a heritage ground (Eden Park) and it’s been like this for many years. They have changed the angles and shape of the ground. But with the new game, with the power, the batsmen are physically much stronger than they have ever been and the bats are so much better. You got to have bigger grounds than this. You cannot have this type of tiny little grounds. If that is the case then the teams can come and play on TV sets.”

After winning both the T20I games against New Zealand in Auckland, the Men in Blue will play their third T20I against the Black Caps at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on January 29. The visitors have taken the 2-0 lead in the ongoing T20I series.