Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma: Opposite ends of stardom

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 27 April, 2020, 3:03 PM IST

Indian captain Virat Kohli and his limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma are undoubtedly the two best batsmen in the country at present. While Kohli has proved himself across formats and in all kinds of challenging conditions, Rohit is a limited-overs legend who is beginning to make his mark in the Test format as well, in his newfound role as an opener. India are lucky to have two such greats playing in the same eleven, and too at the peak of their game. At the same time, it cannot be denied that two superstar players rarely get along as good friends. The same is likely to be the case with Kohli and Rohit.

Different nature and constant comparisons

One of the key reasons why Kohli and Rohit shouldn’t be expected to be the best of buddies is because they are completely opposite in nature and the way they play their game. While Kohli's attitude is brash, and his aggression over the top, Rohit is more calm and composed. It cannot be denied though that both methods have produced results. At the same time, the constant comparisons between the two with relation to their batting feats and captaincy will continue, and this is where their camaraderie could be tested.

While Kohli is likely to remain Test captain for a while, the calls are growing for Rohit to take over as skipper in the shorter formats considering Kohli has failed to deliver the goods in ICC tournaments, both with the bat and as a leader in the knockout games. Following India's exit from the 2019 World Cup, numerous media reports emerged that the Indian team was split into two camps -- one close to Kohli and the other to Rohit. It was also stated that the Rohit camp wasn't happy with unilateral decisions being made by Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.

Everyone at the centre of the controversy - Kohli, Rohit, and Shastri -- slammed reports of the alleged rift. But, clearly, the Indian team looked like a disjointed outfit in a few games, and the lack of planning came to the fore in the semis. While players might be silent now as they are at the top of their game, expect some skeletons to tumble out when these cricketers retire and come out with their memoirs.

Putting team above self

That players need to get along very well with each other for the sake of the team is an overrated myth. The simple fact is that when there are two superstar players in the team, there are bound to be some trust issues and ego clashes. That is human nature. We can see how former players like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, and Yuvraj Singh have taken digs at MS Dhoni's captaincy recently. These were the same men who combined to bring India glory and two World Cups, but never spoke anything against the skipper when they were part of the team, and carried on as if everything was hunky-dory.

Indian cricket is in fact replete with examples of star players not being best of friends. Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar presently praise each other on most platforms, but with the captaincy see-saw between them, it was not easy for the two to always be on the same page. Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin too are said to have had an uneasy time when one played under the other during the fag end of the latter's career.

Not only India, international cricket too has numerous instances of best players not being best buddies. The greatest example is of the Pakistan pace duo -- Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. In Australia, former captain Steve Waugh and spin wizard Shane Warne often did not see eye to eye. There is one more common factor in all the above instances though. These great players never let their personal equation come in between the team's cause. This is exactly what Rohit and Kohli are doing too. As long as they are putting in their best for the team, it shouldn't matter how good they are as pals. Also, the façade of fake bonhomie doesn't need to be presented to paint a rosy picture. If all is not well, so be it. Why not just admit it and move on, instead of waiting for another Anil Kumble-Kohli type controversy?

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Danielle Wyatt reacts to Arjun Tendulkar's senior debut for Mumbai

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 5:20 PM IST

Arjun Tendulkar, the son of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, finally made his senior debut as he donned the Mumbai jersey during an Elite Group E fixture of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020/21.

After missing the first two games, Arjun played his first game during Mumbai's third game of the tournament. However, the pacer didn't have the best of outings as he finished his spell at 3-0-34-1.

Arjun had conceded 15 runs in his first over before returning to take the wicket of Haryana opener, Chaitanya Bishnoi. However, Mumbai ended up losing the game by 8 wickets, and thus, crashed out of the tournament with two games still to play.

The 21-year-old is expected to be retained in the line-up for the remaining games. After the all-rounder bagged his first wicket, he became one of the top trends on social media. England women's team batter Danielle Wyatt also reacted to the southpaw's debut.

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Wyatt, who is known to be a close friend of Arjun, lauded and congratulated the youngster for bagging a wicket on his debut. "Congratulations Arjun! Great start," the World Cup winner wrote on Twitter.

During an interaction with Cricket.com, Wyatt, who has after faced Arjun in the nets, said the youngster is getting quicker.

“Since then whenever I bump into Sachin or Arjun or whenever they come to Lord’s to train, I go to the nets and ask him (Arjun) to bowl with the new ball to me. But he is getting very quick now. He always says I will bounce you and knock your head off so I don’t like him bowling to me anymore. He is getting too dangerous to face,” Wyatt had said in June 2020.

Having finally made his senior debut, Arjun could be in action in IPL 2021 as he is now eligible to register for the auction. As per the norms, unless a franchise recommends someone, a player has to play at least one domestic game to enter the IPL auction.

He laughed about it: Shane Warne clears air with Marnus Labuschagne

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 4:45 PM IST

Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne cleared up the comments he made about Marnus Labuschagne that earned him a fair bit of flak from the Australian fans. However, Warne on Saturday cleared up the comments he made about Labuschagne.

Warne was blasted by the Australian cricket fraternity after Labuschagne scored a ton on Day 1 of the fourth Test against India at Gabba. During the third Test, Warne, alongside former teammate and all-rounder Andrew Symonds, was reportedly heard using an 'expletive' while commentating on Marnus' batting.

"Jeez it's annoying. 'No!!!' Just f---ing bat properly," he had said according to World Wide of Sports.

Warne said he's a huge fan of Labuschagne's batting and added that the had already cleared the air with 26-year-old. The 51-year-old instead revealed that Marnus was 'ok' with it and the pair had a laugh regarding the same.

“I just want to clear something up,” Warne said on Fox Cricket.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Marnus. I’ve read a few reports saying ‘cop that Shane!’ about what you said about [him]. What I said about Marnus Labuschagne was ‘bat properly’. And what that means is none of that silly stuff of ‘wait on!’ and all of that carry on," he added

“Just bat, because you’re such a good player and yesterday I thought he didn’t do any of that stuff and he made a brilliant hundred.

It is something I won't regret: Rohit Sharma on first innings dismissal

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 3:54 PM IST

Indian team vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been facing a lot of criticism for playing an aerial shot off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, which led to his dismissal on Day 2 of the ongoing fourth Test in Brisbane.

However, Rohit, who played a knock of 44, said he does not regret playing the aerial shot, despite gifting his wicket to Lyon, who is making his 100th Test appearance for Australia. Instead, Rohit said that he didn't connect his shot properly.

"I reached where I wanted to reach, just that I did not connect with where I wanted to hit the ball. I was trying to pierce that long-on and deep square-leg fielder, I just did not connect with the way I would have loved to," Rohit said during a virtual press conference

"I actually liked what I did today, before coming here, we knew it would be a good pitch to bat, of course, there would be bounce and carry to the keeper, but this is what I enjoy," the 33-year-old added.

"Once I was in and I had played a few overs, I realised there was not much swing so I did little adjustment there, after that, it was an unfortunate dismissal, it is something I won't regret. I like to put pressure on the bowler once I am in," he further stated.

"That is my role in this team to keep putting pressure on the bowlers. The run-scoring has been slightly difficult for both the teams so someone needs to put their hand up and think about how to put pressure on the bowlers," he concluded.

India will resume day 3 at 62/2 after rain forced early stumps on day 2 at the Gabba. The visitors are trailing the hosts by 307 runs. The series is currently tied at 1-1 after the Sydney Test ended in a stalemate.

I was not allowed to carry anti-racism banners inside SCG: Indian Fan

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 3:03 PM IST

Amidst all the chaos regarding Indian players facing racism at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) during the third Test in Sydney, An Indian-Australian fan from Sydney has made shocking revelations regarding the same.

Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were allegedly abused by a section of the crowd at the SCG on Day 3 of the third Test before Team India had lodged a formal complaint with the officials.

Now, a fan has revealed that he was left feeling 'stripped and naked' after encountering racism at the venue. An Indian fan from Sydney -- Krishna Kumar -- has revealed he was stopped from entering the stadium with anti-racism banners on Day 5 of the Sydney Test.

Kumar said he was stopped by the security guards at the SCG and one of them even asked him 'to go back to where he belongs' for carrying the banners. He also revealed the Indian players on the ground were being continuously addressed as 'curry munchers'.

"Rivalry is good, racism is not", "No racism mate", "Brown inclusion matters" and "Cricket Australia - more diversity please" - were the four banners he was stopped from taking inside the stadium.

"He (security guard) told me, 'If you need to address this matter, go back to where you belong,' " Kumar was quoted as saying the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It was a very small banner. I made it out of my kids' paper roll. I want justice. I want accountability. I was feeling stripped, feeling watched and I went there to fight racism," he added.

"Why should I be stopped from addressing racism, especially at a ground where it was debatable whether it was happening or not? " he further stated.

"There were chants of 'curry munchers'. I was called a 'curry muncher'. The Indian team were called 'curry munchers'. That was going on loud and repeatedly," he concluded.

Kumar on Thursday filed an official complaint in the matter after meeting the NSW legal personnel. Meanwhile, ICC and Cricket Australia are also running a separate investigation on the same.

At least you’ll play one game: Nathan Lyon recalls his father’s funny reaction on his Test debut

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 2:26 PM IST

Nathan Lyon on Friday became the 13th Australian player to play 100 Tests in the 'baggy green' as he lined-up on Day 1 of the ongoing fourth and final Test in Brisbane. He marked his debut with the wicket of Rohit Sharma.

It has been some journey for Nathan Lyon, having made his Test debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka at Galle. As called by his teammates, 'Garry' has enjoyed a decade of success and will now unarguably qualify as one of the greatest bowlers to have ever graced the game.

Lyon is already the third-highest wicket-taker for the Aussies with 397 wickets to his name. And, considering the fact that he started his journey as a pitch curator at the Adelaide Oval, Lyon's story is nothing short of a fairytale.

In the same light, Lyon has now recalled the humorous interaction that he had with his father before putting on the Australian Baggy Green Cap for the first time. Lyon revealed that his father was happy that he would at least play a single Test match for Australia.

“I called Mum and Dad, I think Dad was out the back of Temora (NSW town) somewhere working. I said, ‘Dad, you won’t believe this,’ and he said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I’m making my debut.’ He goes, ‘That’s all right, at least you’ll play one game,’ and he hung up,” said Lyon in a chat with Mark Howard on Fox Cricket.

Lyon said that his father got too emotional and hung up early to avoid a conversation. He also recalled that both his mother as well as his grandmother were crying and also added that his brother was totally speechless.

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“I’ve since found out that he was probably too emotional to talk. Then I called my brother, and he was speechless. Mum started crying… I called my grandmother and she started crying,” the off-spinner added.

Lyon would savour every moment he is spending at The Gabba as the match will determine the outcome of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is currently tied at 1-1- after India salvaged a draw in Sydney.