Virat Kohli: IPL Captaincy's Anomaly

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 1 September, 2020, 3:38 PM IST

The IPL has been something of a bugbear for Virat Kohli. The otherwise prolific batsman and captain become the target of critics when the Indian Premier League comes around. While it might be the case at the IPL 2020, the Indian captain is still edging towards special milestones that make him exceptional for his era.

An average of nearly 38 and 5000 runs across twelve IPL seasons might not scream particularly extraordinary. But the owner of five IPL centuries might be overshadowed by the fact that his team – the team he recently said he would be bound to – has failed to really rattle the IPL trophy cage.

The Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings might be the envy of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in terms of the number of IPL titles they have lifted. But the RCB still possess the most potent weapon of the modern era. Nothing is more dangerous than a dangerous Kohli chasing glory.

With the IPL moving out of India, it might turn out to the boon for the Indian captain who has been on the radar for the lack of trophies under his captaincy, even taking heat from Gautam Gambhir with whom he famously clashed on the field in the IPL.

However, irrespective of whether the IPL 2020 will turn out to be Kohli’s and RCB’s year, the dynamic batsman is chasing history in Indian cricket that far encompasses the IPL. Although Kohli would like to correct the IPL blip, having come close in 2016 in the IPL final for the RCB, Kohli is one of a kind of his generation. What seemed unthinkable as Sachin Tendulkar was bidding his adieu is now close to realization.

In the past Virat Kohli has talked about workload and managing expectations, even throwing concern last year when he talked about weighing options of which formats to play as far as extending international cricket is concerned. It is a telling statement from a player who prides himself on fitness, and his records speak for himself. Eyes will definitely be on him as he tries to navigate RCB’s tricky history.

With 70 international centuries, Kohli is approaching Sachin Tendulkar’s feat of 100 centuries in a hurry. At thirty-one years of age, Kohli is on 43 centuries from one-day internationals compared to Tendulkar’s 49. Where Kohli has some catching up to do if one were to put him under the microscope is that he has only 23 centuries from 86 Tests compared to Tendulkar who had a near equal record with 51 Test centuries.

With loftier goals, it would be unfair to argue that Kohli is less committed to his IPL team, an allegation he battled even last year. However, knowing that Kohli is in the highly extraordinary position of recreating the unthinkable – certainly despite his prodigious talent, no one expected Kohli to get as close to Tendulkar as fast as he did - perhaps there is a case for the image, expectations as well as workload management, something more apparent than ever in the age of the coronavirus pandemic as cricket gets underway once more albeit more cautiously.

Get Daily Updates From CricToday

Subscribe and get the latest Sports News delivered to your inbox.

IPL 2020: I started crying after Brendon McCullum announced that I’ll be playing for KKR, says Ali Khan

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 8:29 PM IST

Days before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Ali Khan's dream of playing in the cash-lucrative league got fulfilled.

The American pace sensation was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders as the direct replacement of bowler Harry Gurney.

Ali's surprise selection came after impressing during the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, where he plied his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders. He picked up eight wickets from eight matches with and an economy of 7.43.

Ali has won two of the last three CPL editions and he will be the first player to play in the IPL.

Acording to reports, Ali was also in KKR's radar, last year, after his solid performances in the 2018 Global T20 Canada with the Winnipeg Hawks. He was initially scouted by Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Just before their semi-final game against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the TKR squad had gathered for a team dinner when Khan came to know about the start of his journey with the Kolkata franchise.

“As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, ‘A man from the USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…’,” said Khan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Ali said that he started crying when Brendon made the announcement. He also revealed that the KKR coach gave him a big hug and said: "You deserve it".

IPL 2020: RR skipper Steve Smith available for selection after clearing concussion tests

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 7:44 PM IST

Ahead of their opening fixture against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Steve Smith has been declared fit to play, having passed his concussion tests.

Smith has missed three ODIs against England in the UK due to a concussion issue, and there were doubts whether he will be fit to feature in Royals’ season opener.

Andrew McDonald, RR's head coach, confirmed that Smith is available for selection against CSK.

“Fantastic news that Steve is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It’s obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game as I’ve said before we are in really good hands. In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn’t be happier with their preparation. We have got what we needed, having been here nice and early to get our preparation going on the back of the long lay-off,” McDonald said in a RR's virtual press release

“We have got the bases covered and have some really good depth in the squad and really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a real competitive match against CSK. They had a fantastic first game, they’re one game into the tournament which is a slight advantage when you come out against the team that’s already played and performed. So, we’ll definitely have our work cut out and really looking forward to what our guys can bring to the table and we’re really excited about what the journey presents,” he added.

Smith, meanwhile, revealed that he is eager to get back to action, having missed the ODI series against England.

The 31-year-old, Smith, is one of the four main overseas players in the team alongside English trio of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

Jofra is expected to be in the playing XI while both are Buttler and Stokes will play no part in the game. Buttler is serving a 6-day quarantine period with his family while Stokes has not yet arrived in UAE.

IPL 2020: Jimmy Neesham reacts hilariously after losing yet another super-over

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 7:10 PM IST

The Indian Premier League 2020 campaign finally went up and running after Delhi Capitals won a thrilling Super over against the KXIP on Sunday.

After being put out to bat first, DC suffered a massive top-order collapse, only for Marcus Stoinis to save the blushes with a match-deciding half-century.

In their reply, KXIP's openers couldn't better their counterparts but Mayank Agarwal's knock of 89 turned the game in their favour. However, the match forced to Super over after KXIP failed to score 12 runs in the final over.

In the super-over, DC's Kagiso Rabada showcased his class and restricted KXIP to a meagre 3-run target. DC achieved the target with four balls to spare.

However, KXIP's Kiwi all-rounder, Jimmy Neesham, couldn't believe that his team lost the Super over and posted a funny reaction on Twitter. Neesham is very famous for his social media banter.

Interestingly, Neesham was part of New Zealand's team which lost the 2019 World Cup final to England, which went all the way through to the Super over.

The BlackCaps haven’t been lucky, especially in Super Overs. They had also lost two back-to-back T20I's against India in the tie-breaker earlier in 2020.

Neesham posted a gif of famous American comedian/actor, Jim Carey, to express his feelings after losing the Super over. “Oh come on!” said Carey in the gif.

In their second match, Punjab will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 24.

IPL 2020: A loss for India for not selecting Ambati Rayudu for World Cup, says Shane Watson

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 6:17 PM IST

Ambati Rayudu was at his ruthless best as Chennai Super Kings outclassed Mumbai Indians on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

He smashed 71 runs off just 48 balls, which proved substantial to guide his team to a famous win over their eternal rivals.

Rayudu knock was heavily appreciated by fans, who flooded the social media with memes targeting former BCCI selector MSK Prasad, who ignored the former during last year's World Cup squad selection.

Former Australian cricketer and Rayudu's current CSK teammate, Shane Watson, believes that Indian selection panel made a big mistake by not picking Rayudu in the World Cup held last year.

“He an incredibly talented batsman and I think so it was a loss for the Indian ODI team for not picking him in the World Cup squad,” Watson said in a YouTube show named The Debrief.

“He batted incredibly well with scoring options all over the ground,” the Aussie veteran added.

Rayudu was expected to take the crucial number 4 spot, but MSK Prasad decided to pick all-rounder Vijay Shankar, describing the latter as a 'three-dimensional player'.

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra posted a cryptic tweet to MSK Prasad, following Rayudu's match-winning knock on Saturday.

"Might not be a 3D player but still fairly efficient at the one dimension he has....top knock Ambati Rayudu," Chopra tweeted.

Kane Williamson should sit out in SRH’s IPL 2020 opener against RCB - Scott Styris

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 September, 2020, 6:13 PM IST

As the Sunrisers Hyderabad are ready to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the third match of the Indian Premier League 2020 in Dubai, fans are curious to know what will be the team combination of the David Warner-led side. SRH have plenty of quality batsmen in their ranks.

While David Warner and Rashid Khan will definitely be seen in action against RCB, the choice becomes difficult when it comes to in-form Jonny Bairstow and experienced player Kane Williamson or Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.

Shedding light of SRH’s best possible team combination, former New Zealand all-rounder, Scott Styris said that the former SRH skipper, Williamson should warm the bench in the upcoming clash against Virat Kohli-led side. Explaining the reason behind his bold statement, the Kiwi great highlighted that Bairstow was in a blistering touch in the 2019 IPL and his opening partnerships with 33-year-old Australian stalwart gave SRH flying starts in several matches.

Afghanistan duo Rashid and Nabi will add more balance to the side

Speaking on Star Sports’ show Game Plan, Styris said, “Kane Williamson sits out, I know he is the orange cap holder. But I just think with the balance of that side, they have got a proven match-winner, David Warner. Bairstow’s performance last year and the relationship he has with Warner at the top. They just seem to gel and sink nicely.”

"Nabi is certainly in my eyes and so is Rashid. So, out of that group, unfortunately, Kane Williamson sits out,” the 45-year-old added.