Sunil Gavaskar is miffed with Shikhar Dhawan's Test style batting in T20 internationals

Staff Writer Updated: 5 November, 2019, 2:08 PM IST


There are players who are scoring run a ball in Test cricket these days as batting has become easy. Shikhar Dhawan, the Indian opener, has slowed down a bit in the shortest format of the game. The southpaw was pretty slow in the first T20 match against Bangladesh and the former Indian skipper, Sunil Gavaskar has lambasted the left-hand batsman for his approach.

He feels run a ball is not acceptable in the slam bang version of the game and if Shikhar fails in the remaining two matches, questions will be raised on his place in the team.

"Questions will be raised on Shikhar Dhawan if he doesn't bat well in the next 2 matches. The team is not going to benefit if you're scoring 40-45 runs from the same number of balls. He will have to think about this. When players come back after the gap, it does take a lot of time to get back the rhythm," Gavaskar was quoted as saying in an interview.

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News Cricket

Shane Watson to head Australian Cricketers' Association

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 3:38 PM IST


Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will lead the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) as its new President. He is a part of extended 10-person board, which includes three new appointees: Pat Cummins, Kristen Beams and Lisa Sthalekar.

"I am truly honoured to be elected as the President of the ACA as it evolves into the future. I have big shoes to fill with the people who have gone before me and I am super excited about this opportunity to continue to give back to the game that has given me so much," Watson tweeted following his appointment.

He praised Cricket Australia for its policy on women cricketers.

"This policy, amid a host of other changes, assures Australian women that cricket is a sport which can now support you and your family. And for girls coming through who love sport, like my daughter, it says that cricket is a sport where you'll be able to have a career."

News Cricket

Manish Pandey shows why Virat Kohli should play him in every ODI and T20I game

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 3:34 PM IST


Manish Pandey was in exceptional form against Services in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The Karnataka based batsman scored a sensational hundred, which will help him in cementing his place in the national team. The right hand batsman was a part of the T20 series against Bangladesh and scored a well-made 22 runs off 13 balls in the final decider.

He hit an unbeaten 129 from just 54 balls. His innings was laced with 12 fours and 10 sixes as Karnataka scored a massive total of 250 for 3 in the allotted 20 overs. Manish Pandey shared a stand of 167 runs for the second wicket with Devdutt Padikkal.

He has been in splendid form in the ongoing season. Manish led Karnataka to the Vijay Hazare Trophy title and finished the tournament as the fifth highest run-scorer.

He accumulated 525 runs at an average of 105. The runs were scored at a strike rate of 108.02 and went on to slam 22 sixes.

News Cricket

Guru Nanak Jayanti: Virat Kohli extends wishes on the occasion of Gurpurab

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 3:02 PM IST


The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli took to twitter to extend his wishes on the auspicious occasion of Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab. He took to Twitter to post a video in which he can be seen wishing his fans on the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.

"A big hello to everyone. Want to wish everyone a very happy Gurpurab. May Wahe Guru Ji bring peace and happiness into your lives and bless all of you," Virat Kohli said in the video.

Virat Kohli was rested from the T20I series against Bangladesh and Rohit led India in his absence. The 31-year old will return to lead India in the two-match Test series against Bangladesh starting from November 14.

News Cricket

Will R Ashwin ever head back to Chennai Super Kings? Here’s what he said

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 2:42 PM IST


R Ashwin has moved to Delhi Capitals after his association with Kings XI Punjab ended on an abrupt note. He was expected to leave but Kumble's arrival as Kings' head coach somewhat stalled his move. However, the management decided to go ahead with their decision after convincing Kumble. Ashwin had the best time of his life with Chennai Super Kings, where he played a key role in title winning campaigns. The off-spinner was not retained ahead of the new season in 2018 and was allowed to go to Kings XI Punjab for 7.6 crores.

During a recent Twitter chat with fans, he was asked whether he plans to return to Chennai Super Kings. He said, “Not my choice really.”

Ashwin is looking forward to his new innings with Delhi Capitals. The 33-year old has not played limited-overs cricket since 2017 and will be eager to prove himself before the next T20 World Cup in 2020.

Meanwhile, the next IPL auction will be held in December and for the first time in Kolkata.

News Cricket

‘Bindaas daal, kuch soch mat’: Shivam Dube credits Rohit for his heroics in Nagpur

Tarun Singh Updated: 12 November, 2019, 1:56 PM IST


After failing in the first two T20I matches, the all-rounder Shivam Dube impressed everyone by snapping three crucial wickets in the series-decider against Bangladesh.

After India clinched the series 2-1 against Bangladesh, Dube was asked, what did Rohit Sharma tell him before the match?

The Mumbai all-rounder Dube, who made his debut in T20 internationals in this series said that India stand-in skipper Rohit did not put him under any pressure. Rohit told him to play his natural game without over-thinking as the skipper will back him unconditionally.

“Rohit bhai told me to be ready to bowl all four overs in one of the coming games. So mentally I was ready. Rohit bhai came and said, bindaas daal, kuchh soch mat (Don’t overthink, bowl freely), I’m there to back you. Just bowl to your strength.”

Disappointed with his batting contribution of 1 and 9, the 26-year-old is looking forward to improving the numbers as he is well-known for his blazing batting in List-A matches.

“The series has gone well, this time I did well with my bowling, and next I am hoping to do well with the bat,” said Dube.

The left-handed Dube has an impressive batting average of 73.2 with a strike rate of 137.07 in List A matches.

After his heroics in Nagpur, Dube also thanked support staff and head coach Ravi Shastri for giving him the confidence to handle the pressure of playing international matches.

Opinion Cricket

Why India need Dinesh Karthik the finisher and not MS Dhoni in T20Is

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 November, 2019, 1:46 PM IST


India registered a magnificent T20I series win over Bangladesh in Nagpur. After being 0-1 down in the series, it was a great effort from India to bounce back strongly and win the series 2-1. But, unfortunately for the team it was another series where Rishabh Pant, who is supposed to be India's next big finisher after MS Dhoni, failed to live up to the billing.

There are a lot of expectations from Rishabh Pant not only because he is replacing Dhoni but also because he a gun young player, who seems to have a big future ahead of him. But, so far, it hasn't materialized at the top-level. After 23 T20Is, the dashing southpaw has just 358 runs at a below-par average of 19.88. His strike-rate has been a disappointing 118.15. Pant has crossed the 30-run-mark on just four occasions out of 21 innings.

There were high hopes pinned on Krunal Pandya to replicate his Midas finishing touch, which he has shown for Mumbai Indians in T20Is for the Men in Blue but he has failed to unleash his potential. Shivam Dube, who has a reputation of big hitting has been picked in the side but he would also need time to get himself accustomed to the highest-level. So, it would be unfair to expect a lot from him so soon.

India's brittle middle-lower-order has given rise to demands of MS Dhoni's comeback in the side. But, everyone is overlooking a great option in Dinesh Karthik, who is a tried and tested finisher when it comes to T20I cricket. It is surprising how quickly people have forgotten Karthik, after he failed in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Notably, Dinesh Karthik averages 33.25 and has a strike-rate of 143.52 in T20 internationals, which shows how well he has performed in what little he has played in the shortest format. Be it IPL or for India, DK has nailed the finisher's role. Unlike ODIs, where Karthik struggles to build an innings, in T20Is, he just has to hit the ball all around the park, a role, which he has perfected in last two-three years.

Unlike a lot of Indian finishers at present, the 34-year old doesn't lack batting prowess against high-end pace bowling. He has a mix of orthodox and unorthodox shots in his arsenal. The right-hander knows how to use the pace of the bowlers to find gaps in the field, a skill that will be indispensable on the big Australian grounds cometh the 2020 T20 World Cup, where not just brawn but quick thinking will come to a batsman's rescue.

In the first three games of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, DK has been in great form and has scores of 61, 48, and 33. His T20I omission, on the basis of his World Cup performance, isn't justified at all.

As far as MS Dhoni is concerned, it doesn't look like he will be part of India's T20 World Cup squad. And it doesn't even make sense to go back to him given he has lost his magical touch as a finisher, of late. In any case, the veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman has never been a great performer in T20 internationals and his career strike-rate of 126.13 will bear a testimony to that.

At present time, Dinesh Karthik looks like a perfect finisher given needs and demands of the team. He can play as wicket-keeper batsman but can even walk in the team as a specialist finisher. And he is a seasoned campaigner, so it will not be any experiment and one can expect him to come out and start performing with all guns blazing in the format, we have seen the best of him.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant is like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma - Pravin Amre

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 12:39 PM IST


Rishabh Pant's fortunes have taken a big hit after another questionable performance from him in the last T20I series against Bangladesh. The left hand batsman couldn't get going as a batsman and his shabby glove work was again the talking point of cricket circles. Former Indian cricketer Pravin Amre, who has worked with Ajinkya Rahane in the past, has urged Pant to focus on his positive points.

Amre was the assistant coach of the Delhi Capitals in the last edition of the Indian Premier League and knows Pant in and out. He revealed about the ways head coach Ricky Ponting and the support staff helped Pant to come out of his poor form.

“He was coming after poor scores. It was mainly the way chief coach Ricky Ponting handled him and gave him the space to be himself,” Amre was quoted as saying. “It is also about not trying too hard; we tried to ensure he didn’t fall into the trap by coming under pressure. We tried to keep it simple, break the game into small parts.”

Amre feels Pant is like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, but needs to get his timing right to score runs.

“He is like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, a great timer of the ball. He has to focus on getting it right. He seems to be confused how he should be going about it, whether to play the waiting game or his natural attacking game,” he added.

Milestones Cricket

Will these records be broken in the India-Bangladesh Test series?

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:59 AM IST


In a closely contested T20I series, India piped Bangladesh to finish victors with a 2-1 margin. With the series locked at 1-1 going into the decider at Nagpur, India’s young blood -- Deepak Chahar, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul -- combined to thwart an inspired Bangladesh effort.

With the T20I series done, India and Bangladesh now shift focus to the Test matches beginning on November 14 in Indore. The second and final Test of the series to be played at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, starting November 22, will be a historic one as it will be the first-ever Day/Night Test in India.

The two-Test match series could also see a few records being broken. Here’s a low-down.

Highest individual score in India-Bangladesh Tests

As of now, the highest individual score in India-Bangladesh Tests is in the name of Sachin Tendulkar, who made an unbeaten 248 at Dhaka in December 2004. This is also Tendulkar’s best-ever score in Test matches. With the kind of form they are in, either skipper Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma could challenge this score, and move to the top of the table. Kohli’s current Test best in 254 not out, and Rohit’s 212, both of which came in the Test series against South Africa.

Kohli can overtake Ganguly

The Indian skipper needs another 147 runs to go past another former captain, and current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, and climb to number six among India’s all-time leading Test run-getters. Kohli has 7,066 runs from 82 Tests at an average of 54.77 while Ganguly scored 7,212 runs in 113 Tests, averaging 42.17.

Rahane just behind Vijay

Indian middle-order bat Ajinkya Rahane needs only eight runs to go past Murali Vijay and move to 16th spot on the list of all-time leading run-getters for India. Rahane has scored 3,975 in 61 Tests at an average of 43.20. Vijay, who has perhaps played his last Test for India having lost his place in the team after a long run of low scores, also played 61 Tests for 3,982 runs at an average of 38.28.

Ashwin chasing Pathan’s record

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin needs eight wickets to go past Irfan Pathan and jump to second spot among highest wicket-takers in India-Bangladesh Tests. Ashwin has 11 wickets in two Tests at an average of 24.18. Pathan, on the other hand, picked up 18 wickets in two Tests while averaging 11.88. Ishant Sharma, who has 13 wickets from five Tests, could also challenge Pathan’s record.

Most 10-wicket match hauls for India

If Ashwin picks up 10-wicket match hauls in both the Tests, he would go past legend Anil Kumble to become the Indian bowler with most 10-wicket match hauls. As of now, Ashwin has seven 10-wicket match hauls in 68 Tests. Kumble picked up eight in his 132-Test career.

Will Rahim go past Ashraful?

Bangladesh’s experienced wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim needs exactly 50 runs to overtake Mohammad Ashraful and become the leading run-scorer for his team in India-Bangladesh Tests. Till date, Rahim has played four Tests against India, and has scored 377 runs at an average of 56.16, with two hundreds and a best of 127. The now-disgraced Ashraful featured in six Tests against India, and notched up 386 runs at an average of 42.88, with one hundred -- his best of 158 not out.

Bangladesh searching for maiden Test win against India

Considering India’s sensational form at home, this will be a next to impossible task for Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh have faced each other in nine Tests so far, with India winning seven, and two games ending in a draw. Bangladesh will, however, draw confidence from the fact that they registered their maiden T20I win against India at Delhi.

Feature Cricket

Shreyas Iyer proves his versatility

Partab Ramchand Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:51 AM IST


Even though one should not read too much into the performances against Bangladesh the three- match T-20 series did help in giving some pointers as to the composition of the team in the future and which direction the Indian squad is likely to take. T-20 cricket has assumed considerable significance as the world championships are to be held in Australia in just under a year from now and every game the Indians figure in will be followed with more than usual interest. India have not won the world tournament since its surprise triumph in the inaugural edition in South Africa in 2007 and are not as proficient as they are in Tests and ODIs. Men in Blue are down at No 5 in the ICC T20I rankings.

While it was a bit disappointing that India could only win 2-1 and not make a clean sweep of the series against Bangladesh as expected there were some positives to come out from the contest. The fact remains that the series was won despite some leading stars being rested and so there was much focus on the bench strength which has been the topic of intense discussion. It is well known that the bench strength in all three formats is quite strong and against Bangladesh players like Shreyas Iyer and Shivam Dube all proved that they had it in them to come good if given the chance. There was considerable excitement around Dube’s debut and while he had little to do with the bat he performed admirably with the ball and he is obviously a utility player who deserves encouragement.

As regards Iyer there was never any doubt about his skill and class. Indeed he was initially short listed for the traditional format. Hailing from the Mumbai school of batting and boasting a first class average of 52 he seemed a natural for Test cricket and it is a tribute to his versatility that he has come good in the shorter formats too. It was not just scores of 22, 24 not out and 62 that put the focus on him but the manner in which he made the runs really caught the eye. Coming in at the much discussed No 4 slot he gave the innings the necessary impetus with some big hitting.

Deepak Chahar has made himself the man of the moment with his mesmeric figures of six for seven in the final game including a hat trick. The medium pacer deserves credit not only for the string of records his feat brought him but also for quelling the Bangladesh challenge when they seemed to be on course. However the senior pace bowlers will be back ere long and one cannot see Chahar as a long term prospect.

On the negative side there has to be questions marks over Shikhar Dhawan’s utility value at the top of the order and it appears that the career of the left hander who turns 34 next month could be heading towards its twilight period. Also there was much derisive talk about Rishabh Pant’s batting and keeping but he has the team management’s backing and even with Sanju Samson breathing down his neck it is likely that he will continue to hold on to his place.

News Tennis

Defending champ Zverev beats error-prone Nadal at ATP Finals

AP Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:30 AM IST


After being thoroughly outplayed by defending champion Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal refused to make any excuses.

The top-ranked Spaniard wouldn't blame the abdominal problem that forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters semifinals just nine days earlier, or a hand injury that kept him sidelined before that. And he bristled at the notion that his recent marriage could be a factor in a sub-par performance.

Something was clearly off for Nadal, though, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to a player he had a perfect 5-0 record against before Monday's match at the O2 Arena.

Nadal dropped his serve three straight times, didn't force a single break point, and his normally powerful forehand was responsible for more than four times as many unforced errors (13) as winners (3).

Still, Nadal insisted there was nothing wrong with him physically.

"I did not feel pain in the abdominal at all," he said. "So the physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight."

Nadal hasn't finished a tournament since winning the U.S. Open in August, also pulling out of Shanghai because of a hand injury. That lack of playing time certainly isn't helpful coming into an event featuring only the top eight players in the world, rather than lower-ranked early opponents.

He still has to face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in round-robin play, and probably has to beat both in order to reach the semifinals.

"Knowing that I would not be at my 100% in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way," Nadal said. "I need to play much better in two days."

The Spaniard then got a bit testy when a journalist asked whether his October marriage to longtime girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello has changed his outlook on the game at all.

"Honestly, are you asking me this? Is that a serious question or a joke?" Nadal bristled. "It is a big surprise for me (that) you ask me this after I have been with the same girl for 15 years and having a very stable and normal life. Doesn't matter if you put a ring on your finger or not."

For Zverev, this latest win means he has beaten each of tennis' Big Three in his last three matches at the O2.

News Football

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't dribbled past an opponent in three years - Fabio Capello

AP Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:28 AM IST


Former Juventus coach Fabio Capello said the 34-year-old Ronaldo is not the same extraordinary player.

"I didn't like it (his reaction), it wasn't nice," Capello said. "He should be a champion also when he comes off the field.

"The truth is Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't dribbled past an opponent in three years. When he played in Spain he always went past players and left them there ... at the moment he can't do the kind of moves that Dybala can."

Ronaldo finished last season — his first in Italy — as Juve's top scorer with 28 goals in all competitions. He has six so far this season, two fewer than he had after the same number of matches last year.

Ronaldo's next matches will likely be for Portugal in European Championship qualifying matches against Lithuania and Luxembourg.

News Football

Cristiano Ronaldo could be banned for two years for leaving stadium early

AP Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:26 AM IST


Cristiano Ronaldo walked off the field and glared at Maurizio Sarri, muttering something undiscernible.

He then stormed down the tunnel.

It was the 55th minute of Juventus' match against AC Milan and Ronaldo had just been substituted for the second straight match after another disappointing performance.

His replacement, Paulo Dybala, went on to score the only goal, helping Juventus to a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

Italian media reported that Ronaldo wasn't around to congratulate Dybala or his teammates, having left the stadium shortly before the final whistle.

"I don't know," Sarri said when asked if that was true. "If it's true what you say then it's a problem for him to sort out with his own teammates."

Sarri, who took over as coach at Juventus this season, insisted he was more than fine with Ronaldo's reaction toward him. In fact, he was glad about it.

"If he gets angry at being substituted after all he has won, I'm very happy about that because it means he still has his head fully in the game and he wants to help the team at all costs," Sarri said. "I like it when a player reacts a bit when he gets taken off. I would be much more worried if it was the opposite."

Sarri said Ronaldo has been bothered by a knee injury for nearly a month and is playing through the pain.

News Football

Under-pressure Emery told he's still 'right man for the job'

AP Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:24 AM IST


High-ranking officials at Arsenal have told manager Unai Emery he is still "the right man for the job" but the team's results must improve.

Emery has come under pressure with Arsenal winning just two of its last 10 English Premier League games to fall eight points off the top four.

Arsenal's head of football, Raul Sanllehi, and its managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, told club staff at a pre-planned meeting they are "as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season."

"We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect," they said in comments reported by Britain's Press Association. "Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season, and we firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job, together with the backroom team we have in place."

Arsenal heads into the two-week international break on the back of losing at Leicester 2-0 in the league, making it one win from the team's last seven matches in all competitions.

Emery, who was hired as the replacement for Arsene Wenger in May 2018, recently took the captaincy from Granit Xhaka after the midfielder swore at fans as he was jeered following his substitution in a 2-2 home draw against Crystal Palace.

News Football

Raheem Sterling suspended by England after 'disturbance'

AP Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:18 AM IST


Raheem Sterling will not be considered for England's European Championship qualifier against Montenegro after emotions ran high when the team gathered following Manchester City's loss to Liverpool.

A day after the Premier League top-of-the-table match at Anfield, where Sterling clashed with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez near the end, both players apparently became involved in another exchange when the England squad convened at the national training center at Burton upon Trent.

The English Football Association was moved to say in a statement that Sterling will not be considered for the game against Montenegro at Wembley "as a result of a disturbance in a private team area at St. George's Park today. He will remain with the squad."

England manager Gareth Southgate said it was the right call.

"One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we've been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday's game were still raw," Southgate said.

"My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken. Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it's important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night."

Sterling has been in exceptional form for England, scoring eight goals and providing five assists during Euro 2020 qualification. He will miss their last home qualifier for Euro 2020 and the chance to advance, plus the team's 1000th fixture.

News Cricket

Babar Azam can join the likes of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith in best players’ list – Mike Hussey

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 10:03 AM IST


Pakistani cricketer Babar Azam is one of the best players in international cricket. He recently led Pakistan in the T20I series against Australia and scored a total of 115 runs. The right hand batsman is in exceptional touch during the ongoing match against Australia A, where he was unbeaten on 157 at the close of first day's play. Former Aussie cricketer Mike Hussey feels Babar Azam has in him to join the likes of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.

"If Babar Azam can start hitting some big hundreds in Tests, he can be in that same conversation when we talk about the best players in the world, like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root. He's that good, he's a brilliant player," Hussey said after witnessing Babar's heroics on Day 1 of the Practice Test.

Australian cricketer Travis Head also hailed Babar. "He's an exceptionally good player. He's obviously translated that (white-ball) form nicely today," Head said at the end of day's play. "We'll think of some plans over the next couple of days and the next couple of weeks, I guess, for the guys playing the first Test against him."