Stop murdering Rishabh Pant

CT Contributor Updated: 9 November, 2019, 10:27 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

India's young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been the subject of criticism from all corners of late. He is being picked out consistently in almost every match by fans and several pundits alike. Fans, in particular, have made it a bad habit of criticizing him on social media sites. There have been constant memes, poor language used and abuses hurled at the player, who is trying to make a mark in the side.

Pant needs to be given time and it is up to the management and the selectors to decide how will the journey be paved for him. He is currently the deputy to Wriddhiman Saha, who replaced him for the Test series against South Africa in October. Saha is someone who can groom Pant and get him to a certain level in cricket. In limited-overs, Pant is still the number one and is playing almost every match for the side.

Yes, there are mistakes made by him. Things haven't been easy going for the southpaw in white-ball cricket. He has struggled with the bat and has also been making blunders behind the stumps. Against Bangladesh in the first two T20Is, he made a big DRS call that went wrong and then missed a stumping. This was enough for the fans to lash out at him and criticize him.

It's easy to be a television potato and lash out at players when things go wrong. But that is not what should govern the manner in which you pick out on certain players and go out at them. Looking at the manner in which Pant is being targeted, it is a sad state of scenes. People have made it an agenda of sort to poke fun on him. It is as if he is ruling the lives of these people, who get certain sense of thrills on social media by acting cheaply.

This needs to stop and fans should be accountable for their behaviour. However, Pant is backed solidly by current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. The management likes him and trusts his offerings. Therefore, no matter how much the fans pick him out, it ultimately boils down to him continuing to play for Team India and giving his best.

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Feature Cricket

It has been an eventful tenure for MSK Prasad

Partab Ramchand Updated: 30 November, 2019, 4:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

His tenure ends shortly and it is inevitable that MSK Prasad’s term as selection committee chairman should be an eventful one. The positives far outweigh the negatives and he can look back with satisfaction at a job well done. Yes, selectors face only criticism and hardly get any praise. They have been called a bunch of jokers and worse and the present selection committee too had their share of jibes particularly since they collectively had limited international careers. But overall taking a balanced and dispassionate view the fact remains that Prasad leaves the scene with Indian cricket in the pink of health and if a lot of the credit should go to the players the selectors deserve their share too in giving many youngsters the big break at the right time.

This is the point that Prasad has been driving home in the interviews he has given lately. The legacy of his selection committee he says is the ammunition the team has across formats so that it can stay at the top. He is of the view that the bench strength the committee has built will last six to seven years with the result that the Indian team will continue to prosper in international cricket. Right now it is No 1 in Tests and No 2 in ODIs but Prasad is confident that India will call the shots in T-20 internationals too starting with the World Cup to be held in Australia next year.

According to the 44-year-old former Indian stumper who played six Tests and 17 ODIs when he took over he wanted to build a team that could win in all formats and across the world. He pointed out that the Indian team came up with a great show in winning a Test series in Australia for the first time. It is true that the results in South Africa and England didn’t go in India’s favour but as Prasad is quick to add ``the way we fought it could have been anyone’s game.’’ He emphasized that the committee has helped build a winning culture and ``today no team be it England, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa will prepare seaming tracks when we visit. We have been able to scare the world with our pace bowling unit.’’ He is of the view that ``we now have a complete team, we have amazing talent in all departments of the game and we have all bases covered.’’

On making a few incorrect decisions Prasad pointed out that selection was all about forecasting. ``At times you might be right but on occasion you may go wrong as well. As selectors our job is to pick the best possible squad that can give you the best results.’’ Indeed Prasad’s selection committee has been lauded for defining a concrete path to India selection through domestic, age-group and A teams cricket. ``We have looked at the requirements of the senior team and groomed players based on that. Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are a few examples,’’ he said.

Terming criticism as an ``occupational hazard’’ Prasad is of the view that as long as you are honest about what you are doing and your intentions are right you don’t need to worry about criticism. In the ultimate analysis the Indian team is enjoying an unprecedented run of success and that should be the bottom line in judging this selection committee’s work.

News Cricket

Pakistan paceman Hasan Ali to miss Test series vs Sri Lanka

AP Updated: 30 November, 2019, 4:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali has been ruled out of the test series against Sri Lanka next month because of broken ribs.

Scans revealed cortical rib fractures that required up to six weeks to heal, the Pakistan Cricket Board said on Friday.

Hasan was cleared last week of a back injury that took seven weeks to heal, and played in the last two rounds of Pakistan’s premier four-day tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

But just before the start of the match last Friday, Hasan complained about pain in his left side. Scans revealed fractures of the “ninth rib on the right side and eighth and ninth ribs on the left side.”

Hasan last played an international in June against archrival India during the Cricket World Cup in England.

Pakistan is due to host Sri Lanka for a two-test series from Dec. 11. Rawalpindi stages the first test from Dec. 11 followed by the second test at Karachi from Dec. 19.

Sri Lanka will be the first team to play test matches in Pakistan in more than a decade since the team suffered a deadly ambush by gunmen in Lahore in 2009.

News Cricket

Amy Finch hilariously trolls hubby Aaron Finch on twitter

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Aaron Finch is currently away from cricket as his national team is busy in Test cricket, and the limited-overs skipper is not a part of the Test squad. He recently took to Twitter to interact with his fans. The fans asked him a lot of questions ranging from his career to hardships. But one of the questions came from his wife Amy Finch, which caught everyone's attention. He was hilariously trolled by her, leaving fans in splits. She mocked him for not washing clothes at home.

The Aussie skipper chose ignore her question, which left fans disappointed. “What are the chances of you putting the washing away?,” wrote Amy.

When he was asked to name the toughest bowler he faced during his international career so far, he came up with the names of Muttiah Muralitharan and Saeed Ajmal.

Aaron Finch has led Australia in a pretty decent way and is expected to play an important role in the upcoming edition of the T20 World Cup in 2020.

News Cricket

Sourav Ganguly to bring back Sachin and Laxman to CAC

Tarun Singh Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman are expected to return to the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC).

Sachin and Laxman had to resign from their posts in July this year from (CAC) following ‘conflict of interest’ allegations against them.

Sourav Ganguly was the third member of the CAC who also had resigned with Laxman and Sachin in July this year due to the same allegations from BCCI ethics officer DK Jain.

But things are changing in Indian cricket after Dada has become the boss of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

According to a top official of Sourav Ganguly-led BCCI, Laxman and Sachin are expected to resume their roles in CAC for a second tenure after their resignations from their posts.

“Sachin and Laxman are likely to be brought back. Since Sourav (Ganguly) is the BCCI President, he obviously cannot be there,” a BCCI source said.

Sourav Ganguly will hold BCCI’s 88th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.

And the Apex Council meeting will be held on Saturday to take decisions on the selection committee.

“The Committee will be formed at Apex Council meeting tomorrow. CAC will take a call on selection committee also.”

It is believed that Ganguly may bring changes to ‘one person one post’ rule of BCCI so that the best people can be hired by the board without an issue of ‘conflict of interest’.

News Cricket

Ricky Ponting turns photographer for a fan

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ricky Ponting was highly successful during his international career. He still holds a lot of records and is taken seriously in cricket related matters. The former Aussie skipper had to become a photographer for one of the cricket fanatics. Ahead of the first day's play between Australia and Pakistan in Adelaide, a fan asked Ricky Ponting to click his picture with Australian sports presenter Melanie McLaughlin. Channel Seven's official account posted the pictures of Ponting clicking a photo of Melanie with the fan. She also re-tweeted the post with a cheeky caption: "This version of events is... mostly... accurate..."

He is one of the commentators of Channel Seven for the ongoing two-Test series between Australia and Pakistan. The home team is way ahead of Pakistan in the ongoing second Test match.

David Warner reached a career-high 335 and shared partnerships of 361 with Marnus Labuschagne.

In two innings back on home soil, Warner has scored 154 in Australia’s innings victory in the first test and was unbeaten after facing 418 balls at the Adelaide Oval.

Australia has dominated the day-night match since winning the toss and electing to bat despite overcast conditions on Friday and rain on the forecast.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni’s future cannot be revealed on public platform - Sourav Ganguly

Tarun Singh Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni, the former India skipper, recently said that he can disclose his plans about comeback to international cricket only after January 2020.

But the BCCI president Ganguly said that there is ‘absolute clarity’ in the team management on the future of MS Dhoni, and they will reveal it at the right time.

"No no, there is clarity, but certain things cannot be said on public platform. There is absolute clarity on MS Dhoni and you'll find out in time.

"There's transparency between the Board, MS and the selectors. When you deal with such champions -- MS Dhoni is an unbelievable athlete for India -- certain things have to be kept within the closed doors. It's very transparent and everybody knows where they stand,” he said.

Sourav Ganguly had also backed MS Dhoni after becoming the BCCI boss by saying, “You know champions don't finish quickly”.

MS Dhoni has not featured in any cricket match since India's semifinal exit from the World Cup in England.

Since then, Dhoni has not revealed anything regarding his comeback to international cricket.

A source close to MS Dhoni had said that Dhoni will decide his future in international cricket after the Indian Premier League (IPL) next year.

The 38-year-old MS Dhoni will lead Chennai Super Kings in the (IPL), where he will be eyeing for the fourth title with the franchise.

News Cricket

'Asay nahi hota bhai': Shoaib blasts Pak bowlers for their below-par display against Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

David Warner surpassed one of the great Donald Bradman’s records at the Adelaide Oval with a boundary to bring up his 300 against Pakistan, then whacked a six off Mohammad Abbas to break the record for the biggest innings in a day-night cricket test.

Warner’s 37th boundary of the innings took him past Bradman’s 299 not out against South Africa in 1931-32 as the highest test score at the Adelaide Oval, which for a long time was Bradman’s home ground.

To add insult to injury for the visitors, Warner surpassed Pakistan captain Azhar Ali’s record for the biggest innings in a day-night test. He equaled Azhar’s 302, then hit his first six of the innings to move to 308.

Australia declared its innings at 589-3 with David Warner unbeaten on 335.

Pakistan bowlers were taken to the cleaners by David Warner and other batsmen. Former Pakistan player Shoaib Akhtar blasted visiting bowlers for their poor show in the ongoing second Test match at the Adelaide Oval.

He took to his Twitter handle to mock the bowlers. “Clueless how to take wickets on these tracks. Waiting for Australia to declare or just gift the wickets. Asay nahi hota bhai.”

News Cricket

Hyderabad rape case: Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman urge for severe punishment

Tarun Singh Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The whole country is boiling with anger and has demanded death penalty for the rapists, after back to back horrific and shameful crimes against women.

Former India cricketers Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman took to Twitter to express their anguish against the gang-rape and murder of a veterinary doctor Priyanka Reddy in Hyderabad.

Gautam Gambhir was in anger at the shameful crime against Priyanka and tweeted a sarcastic picture of a girl sitting with a dog. The picture reads “Hey doc can you check with God who the real animals are anyways!!! He wrote, “Shameful!!! #rapeofveterinarian #womensafety #Nirbhaya”

On the other hand, Laxman also expressed his anguish and tweeted, “ How can someone commit such a barbaric and heinous crime. Speechless and shocked to know about the incident. Deep condolences to the family of #priyanakareddy It’s time the Govt takes stringent action and punish the guilty.”

According to sources, four prime suspects have been arrested by the police, Mohammed Pasha, a lorry driver who belongs to Mahabubnagar, a cleaner, and two other persons.

News Cricket

Warner’s triple century sets records in day-night Test

AP Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:39 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

David Warner produced the biggest innings ever in the day-night test cricket format and surpassed some of Don Bradman’s records before finishing unbeaten on 335 when Australia captain Tim Paine declared at 589-3 on day two against Pakistan.

Pakistan openers Shan Masood and Imam-ul-Haq (2) both got the better of decision referrals in the first two overs before Mitch Starc got the breakthrough, getting a tick edge off ul-Haq’s bat that carried at waist-height to Warner in the gully.

At the end of the middle session, Pakistan was 3-1, with Masood on one and skipper Azhar Ali yet to get off the mark from his first three balls.

The first five sessions have been painful for Pakistan, with Shaheen Afridi’s three wickets the only highlights.

Along the way, Azhar’s record of 302 for a day-night test was lost to Warner, who whacked a six to move to 308 to underscore his dominance.

Warner, who missed the last southern summer while serving a 12-month ban and entered the series against Pakistan after a poor Ashes in England, beat Bradman’s record of 299 — set against South Africa in 1931-32 — for the highest test score at the Adelaide Oval.

Then he just kept going, and finally was called back into the pavilion with the 10th-highest score ever in a test match — Brian Lara’s 400 not out remains the record.

Warner had one reprieve at the Gabba, when he was caught on 56 off a no-ball from 16-year-old Naseem Shah. He had another reprieve on Saturday, this time on 226 and against another test rookie, when he edged 19-year-old Muhammad Musa to the slips but stayed at the crease because the young paceman had over-stepped.

“At the moment I’m getting a little bit of luck ... (but) I’ve been very disciplined my last two innings,” Warner said as he walked off the field at the end of the second session on day two. “At the moment, we’re in a good position.”

Warner’s innings lasted 418 balls and contained 39 fours and one six and, combined with his 154 in the first test against Pakistan last week, has no doubt cemented his place in the Australian team.

That came into question when he scored 95 runs in 10 innings in the Ashes in August and September, getting one half-century, making three ducks and failing to get out of single figures every other time except once — when he was out for 11.

Smith’s return to the runs ensured he became the fastest batsmen to pass 7,000 career runs in test cricket.

Smith was the highest scorer in the Ashes but was out for four in the series-opener against Pakistan at the Gabba, where Australia won by an innings and five runs.

He was more circumspect in Adelaide and more deliberate each time he set up on strike before first interval, ensuring he reached the milestone in his 126th innings and beating a record set by England’s Walter Hammond in 1946.

But he played an extravagant Twenty20-style attempted slog off Shaheen and got an inside edge to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.

That gave Shaheen his second wicket of the day after bowling Labuschagne with the new ball.

Shaheen returned figures of 3-88 from 30 overs, but the other bowlers were expensive. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah returned 0-197, test rookie Muhammad Musa went wicketless for 114 and veteran seamer Mohammad Abbas had figures of 0-100.

Opinion Cricket

Is David Warner on par with Virat Kohli and Steve Smith?

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

On 31st birth anniversary of his late teammate, Phillip Hughes, David Warner paid him a special tribute by scoring a record-breaking triple century at the Adelaide Oval. It will always be a special cricketing memory for Warner since he was also quite close to his former opening partner.

Warner, who threatened to break the world record of Brian Lara's highest individual score, could only be stopped by declaration made by Australian skipper Tim Paine. But not before he made an unbeaten 335 that included 39 fours and a six. What's more special is the fact that he scored his runs at a rapid strike-rate of 80.14.

From starting out as a T20 specialist, who hadn't even played a single first-class game at the time of his international debut, to getting a guard of honour from his teammates for scoring a triple-century in Test cricket, this pocket-dynamo has come a long way in what has been an illustrious yet controversial cricket career. Warner surpassed Don Bradman and Mark Taylor's highest score of 334* to become the second highest run-scorer for his country in a Test innings, second only to Matthew Hayden's 380.

In 149 Test innings, David Warner has scored 6,947 runs at an average of 48.58 with 23 Test centuries, which is magnificent. Warner's ability to score runs quickly and decimate bowling attacks leaves opponents in tatters. If he gets going, he has far more impact than Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. His Test strike-rate of 73.61 is much better than both Smith and Virat's scoring rate.

Warner also has a Test triple-century to his credit, unlike Smith and Kohli. Among currently active batsmen, Warner has the third highest-tally of Test centuries only behind Virat Kohli (27) and Steve Smith (26). But does that put him at par with Smith or Kohli? For that, we will need to dig deeper.

Home record

Among currently active cricketers, no one has scored more Test runs than David Warner at home. Warner has blasted 4,187 runs in 69 home innings at an average of 66.46 with a brilliant strike-rate of 77.17. The New South Wales-born batsman has hammered as many as 17 centuries, which is more than that of Kohli and Smith at home.

Virat Kohli has 3,558 runs in 60 innings at 68.42 with 13 tons while Smith has amassed 3,130 runs in 52 innings at 74.52 with 13 centuries in their respective countries. We can conclude that all three have been simply exceptional in home conditions.

Away record

A batsman's real test lies outside his home territory where he has to play on different pitches, unfamiliar conditions and with no real crowd support. When it comes to away record, Smith and Kohli leave Warner far behind in comparison.

Smith is the best among the trio in terms of away statistics. Smith averages 57.10 for his 3,883 runs with 13 centuries. Indian skipper Kohli has 3,644 runs at an average of 46.12 with 14 centuries. Aussie opener, David Warner's average falls down from 66.46 to 34.50 away from home, which is nowhere near the standards of world's no.1 and no.2 ranked Test batsmen, Smith and Kohli.

The southpaw has made 2,760 runs in 80 innings with six centuries, which is far too less from a top-tier Test batsman. As dominant as Warner has been at home, he has failed to score consistently outside Australia, which doesn't reflect too well on him.

Verdict

Both Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are playing Test cricket on a different level. The former Aussie skipper averages 63.75 while Kohli is averaging nearly 55. Both have a fairly balanced home and away records unlike David Warner, who pales when we compare him with the top two in Test cricket. He has a lot of catching up to do before he comes on par with Smith and Kohli.

** ALL STATS UPDATED TILL 30TH NOVEMBER 2019

News Cricket

West Indies concentrating hard to adapt to Indian pitches to challenge ‘Men in Blue’- Rutherford

Tarun Singh Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:36 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ahead of the three-match Twenty20 series against India, West Indies all-rounder, Sherfane Rutherford said that his team has been focusing hard to adapt to the Indian pitches to give India a tough challenge.

India and West Indies will lock horns in the T20I series starting from December 6 in Hyderabad.

The 21-year-old Rutherford said, “I am happy to get the opportunity. Preparation have been coming along well, we had a lot of time to train and to get some work done. So over the past few days we have been putting in some hard work and are looking forward to give our best against India.”

“Most of the Indian pitches are good wickets to bat on. We have been working on adapting to the pitches so we can improve our game. I don’t think players are thinking too much about the World Cup or IPL, it’s just about performance and everything else will follow from there.”

The West Indies team has spent the last whole month in Lucknow playing against Afghanistan in all three formats of the game.

The West Indies team who is lacking experience is working hard with some quality preparations to compete with ‘Men in Blue’.

Rutherford also cleared that they want to perform well against India first, and they are not thinking about the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

"T20 World Cup is a while from now but every series we look to take something out of it. We look to give our best and take it one step at a time."

News Cricket

David Warner faces criticism for surpassing Mark Taylor and Don Bradman’s highest score of 334

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 3:19 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

David Warner produced the biggest innings ever in the day-night test cricket format before finishing unbeaten on 335 when Australia captain Tim Paine declared at 589-3 on day two against Pakistan.

Warner’s score is tenth-highest ever in test cricket and second only to Matt Hayden, who scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003, among Australian batsmen.

That was a position previously shared by Bradman and Taylor, who retired on 334 against Pakistan at Peshawar in 1998 out of respect for the Australian great.

Taylor was in a broadcasting commentary box on Saturday when Warner surpassed his record. Bradman died in 2001 but his legacy lives on at his long-time home ground, with a stand named in his honor at the Adelaide Oval.

Warner’s innings lasted 418 balls and contained 39 fours and one six — which he whacked on 302 to surpass Pakistan skipper’ Azhar Ali’s record for the biggest innings in a day-night test.

He was criticized for surpassing Don Bradman and Mark Taylor.

News Cricket

‘Paine deserves to get sacked’: Fans slam Aussie skipper for not allowing Warner to score 400

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 2:44 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Paine’s decision to put the team above the individual on Saturday evening left Warner in second spot on Australia’s all-time list of biggest test scorers, behind only Matt Hayden’s 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003.

Warner had just taken a single to surpass 334, which was the great Bradman’s highest test score.

Along the way, he shared a 361-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne (162), a record for Australia against Pakistan, and had partnerships of 121 with Steve Smith (36) and 99 with Matthew Wade, who finished unbeaten on 38 from 40 balls.

Paine made the decision to declare so that his pacemen would get some overs at Pakistan’s top order before the dinner interval, the main break in the day-night format.

The declaration call did not go well with the fans who criticized Tim Paine’s decision of declaring the innings.

News Cricket

Couldn’t choose a better day, a double hundred on 'Phillip Hughes' birthday: Fans hail David Warner

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 1:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

David Warner walked off the Adelaide Oval with his bat held aloft in one hand and his helmet in the other in the formation of a big V, as Mark Taylor and tens of thousands of fans stood and applauded his unbeaten 335 against Pakistan.

Warner, who missed the last southern summer while serving a 12-month and entered the series against Pakistan after a poor Ashes return in England, beat the great Donald Bradman’s record of 299 — set against South Africa in 1931-32 — for the highest test score at the Adelaide Oval.

Then he overhauled Bradman’s highest test score of 334 with a single before Australia captain Tim Paine declared Australia’s innings at 589-3 on Saturday to give his bowlers a chance to get wickets before the main interval on day two of the match.

Warner’s score is second only to Matthew Hayden, who scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003, among Australian test batsmen.

That was a position previously shared by Bradman and Taylor, who retired on 334 against Pakistan at Peshawar in 1998 out of respect for the Australian great.

Taylor was in a broadcasting commentary box on Saturday when Warner surpassed his record. Bradman died in 2001 but his legacy lives on at his long-time home ground, with a stand named in his honor at the Adelaide Oval.

Warner walked through a guard of honor his teammates formed on the boundary as he went back to the dressing rooms for a well-deserved break.

Warner’s innings lasted 418 balls and contained 39 fours and one six — which he whacked on 302 to surpass Pakistan skipper’ Azhar Ali’s record for the biggest innings in a day-night test.

His century came on the 31st birth anniversary of his late friend Phillip Hughes, who passed away in 2014.

Fans took to Twitter to praise David Warner for his exceptional performance.

News Cricket

David Warner breaks Don Bradman’s 87-year old record

Staff Writer Updated: 30 November, 2019, 12:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

David Warner reached a career-high 335 as Australia declared its innings at 589/3 to pile on the pain for Pakistan in the day-night cricket test. He is the first player to score triple Test ton at the Adelaide Oval. The left-hand batsman surpassed Don Bradman’s score of 299, which was the previous highest score at this famous venue. The late Aussie player had scored 299 against South Africa in 1932.

In two innings back on home soil, Warner has scored 154 in Australia’s innings victory in the first test and was unbeaten after facing 418 balls at the Adelaide Oval.

“At the moment I’m getting a little bit of luck ... (but) I’ve been very disciplined my last two innings,” Warner said as he walked off the field at the end of the second session on day two. “At the moment, we’re in a good position. I’ll be putting the foot down soon.”