Virender Sehwag backs MS Dhoni after CSK's horror show against MI

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 October, 2020, 9:35 PM IST

Chennai Super Kings' (CSK) suffered a humiliating defeat at the expense of a Rohit Sharma-less Mumbai Indians in Sharjah on Friday in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

England all-rounder Sam Curran played a fighting 52-run knock, but it was not enough for CSK to put on a challenging total. The three-time champions could only post a target of 115 runs in front of MI, who won the game without breaking a sweat.

In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan opened the innings and smashed an unbeaten 68 from 37 balls, and his opening partner Quinton de Kock scoring an unbeaten 47 off 37 balls, MI chased down the total with ten wickets to spare.

In the meantime, former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag reckons that the youngsters have let Dhoni down. The likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Narayan Jagadeesan made their return to the playing XI, but couldn’t even open their accounts.

“This loss against MI will hurt for a very long time. This hurts even more as MS Dhoni might feel that I have tried my youngsters today and they have disappointed me yet again. They should have at least scored some runs for themselves and should have taken some time to have a taste of the tournament,” Sehwag was quoted as saying on Cricbuzz.

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“If the youngsters could have carried the team to a respectable total of 140-150 runs, MS Dhoni would have been delighted with that performance. Dhoni would be a lot more hurt as the youngsters have let him down once again. It will be interesting to see how they make a comeback after this,” the former batsman added.

CSK, for the first time, are on the verge of getting eliminated from the tournament without making it to the playoffs. This was also their first 10-wicket defeat in the tournament's history.

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Netizens react as Shikhar Dhawan gives a sneak-peek into new 'retro' jersey for Australia series

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 4:24 PM IST

Team India has always sported jerseys which have become a huge hit among their ardent fans and followers. Among them, the jersey sported by players during 1992 has a great recall value among fans even in the modern era.

Earlier, it was reported that Team India is set to turn the clock back and go retro against Australia, by wearing a jersey similar to the one sported during the 1992 WC. Ahead of the three-match ODI series Down Under, veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan gave a sneak-peek of the jersey.

Dhawan on Tuesday took to Twitter and posted a photo and captioned it: "New jersey, renewed motivation. Ready to go."

After Dhawan gave a sneak-peek of the jersey, a plethora of Twitter users flooded the micro-blogging site with mixed reactions. Here are some of the reactions:

Earlier, the BCCI had announced Mobile Premier League (MPL) Sports as the team's official apparel sponsor after the deal with Nike ended earlier this year.

MS Dhoni's mentor Deobrat 'Deval' Sahay passes away in Ranchi after prolonged illness

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 3:18 PM IST

Deval Sahay, mentor of former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, passed away due to multi-organ failure in the early hours of Tuesday in a hospital in the Jharkhand capital. He was 73 and is survived by his wife, a daughter, and a son.

Sahay, who is also credited with preparing the first turf pitches in Ranchi, was admitted to a hospital due to breathing problems and was laid low by a coronavirus. He was discharged from the hospital on October 9.

"After spending about 10 days at home, he was again admitted to a hospital when he developed complications. And today at around 3 a.m. he passed away," Sahay's son Abhinav Akash was quoted as saying by IANS.

Sahay's funeral will take place at around 1 pm in Ranchi. His daughter Meenakshi, who lives in the USA, is in Ranchi these days.

Sahay, an electrical engineer, was instrumental in preparing first turf pitches in Ranchi, first at MECON, where he was the Chief Engineer, and then at Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), from where he retired as Director (Personnel). MS Dhoni's father, Pan Singh Dhoni, also worked at MECON.

While Sahay was at CCL, hired a young Dhoni on stipend and provided him the first opportunity to play on turf pitches. His role has been portrayed by actor Kumud Mishra in Dhoni's biopic, 'M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story'.

Sachin Tendulkar comes up with a piece of advice for Indian pacers to tackle Steve Smith

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 2:39 PM IST

Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has urged the Indian bowlers to target "fifth stump" against Steve Smith as his unconventional batting style will warrant a slightly wider line. He had missed the last India-Australia series Down Under due to a ball-tampering ban and will be eager to make his presence felt.

Smith has always performed against India and has six hundreds and a 92, a statistic that cannot be taken lightly.

"(Steve) Smith's technique is unconventional...Normally, we tell a bowler in Test matches to bowl on and around off-stump or maybe fourth stump line. But for Smith, because he shuffles a lot, maybe that line (of delivery) moves further away by four to five inches," Tendulkar was quoted as saying by PTI.

"One has to aim between (imaginary) fourth and fifth stump for Steve to nick one. It's just a mental adjustment of line, more than anything else," the former captain said.

"Smith, I read, said he's ready for the short-pitched stuff...probably he is expecting bowlers to be aggressive up front with him. But I think he needs to be tested on and around that off-stump channel. Keep him on the back-foot and induce that early mistake," he added.

One being asked whether the in-swinging yorkers won't do the trick against Smith, Tendulkar said that depends on whether the ball swings much or not.

"For that to happen, you have to see how much the ball is swinging. All those things matter. You can't use saliva, so it's a different case if wickets have a lot more life. In England during the Test matches, on occasions, the Dukes wouldn't be swinging much," he replied

"I don't know if they will have greenish wickets for the ball to do a little bit. If the ball doesn't swing. That swinging yorker, you might not even see."

Sachin, while praising India's potent bowling line-up, advised the management to look for a defensive bowler.

"As I have always said, we have one of the best and most balanced bowling attacks India has ever had. Eventually, you have to pick 20 wickets to win Test matches. But 20 wickets shouldn't be too expensive either," he further added.

"...along with our attacking bowlers, we should also identify bowlers who can hold one end up on unresponsive pitches, bowl those continuous maiden overs to build the pressure."

Ravi Shastri backs pacers to overcome Day/Night Test Inexperience

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 1:52 PM IST

Team India head coach Ravi Shastri acknowledged his team lack Australia’s Day/Night experience but is convinced their “fabulous five” pacemen can overcome the experienced 'Baggy Greens', on their way towards a second-successive Test series triumph Down Under.

Tim Paine-led side have played seven pink-ball tests, the most by any country, since 2015 and won each of them. Virat Kohli's side, on the other hand, was late to embrace the innovation and played their only Test under the lights, against Bangladesh in Kolkata, last year.

“We begin with pink-ball cricket where we lack experience,” Ravi Shastri told the Sportstar magazine.

“We have played just one pink-ball test, but there is a qualitative difference between them (Bangladesh) and Australia. It is like cheese and chalk. Our boys have not played much of pink-ball in domestic cricket, but I just want them to go and enjoy their game.”

A mouth-watering four-match Test series between the top two teams in the ICC Test Championship standings starts will get underway at the Adelaide Oval, under the lights, from December 17.

India's all-format captain Virat Kohli will return home after the pink-ball Test as he's about to experience parenthood for the first time. He will miss the final three Tests, including the traditional Boxing-Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

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With Virat set to return, and Rohit Sharma still not cleared to feature in the purest format, Shastri has backed India's “fabulous five” pacemen to get the job down. The former all-rounder also added that the players will play fearless cricket as there's no pressure on the team.

“We have a fabulous five ... You put up runs on the board and watch these fast bowlers hunt the opposition. They can beat Australia in their own backyard,” he explained.

“Ask any international player and he will tell you that it is different. It is challenging. Toughest used to be the West Indies in the ‘80s and post that it has been Australia,” he concluded

Run-machine Steve Smith opines on absence of Rohit Sharma in ODIs & T20Is and Virat Kohli in Tests

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 1:24 PM IST

Australian batsman Steve Smith reckons absence of Rohit Sharma in ODIs & T20Is, and Virat Kohli for the final three Tests will surely hamper the team combination of the Men in Blue during the upcoming tour Down Under.

To make things even worse, it has been reported that Rohit and pacer Ishant Sharma are unlikely to feature in the Tests as well. Though India will miss the presence of two of their best players during the tour, Smith feels that team India has players who can replace the dominant-duo.

“Look, Rohit (Sharma) is obviously a tremendous white-ball player, he has proven that for a number of years now at the top of the order, so obviously, it leaves a bit of a hole. But I guess the beauty with the Indian team is there are so many top-quality batsmen coming through," Smith said in a press conference facilitated by Sony Pictures Sports Network.

The former Australia skipper cited the examples of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who were in excellent form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) playing for the Kings XI Punjab.

“You can look at someone like Mayank Agarwal in the IPL, just smashed, KL Rahul in the top order as well. There are plenty of options there for them so, look you leave a hole no doubt, but quality players there to back him up,” he added.

Virat Kohli will miss the final three Test of the four-match series as he'll be returning home on paternity leave. He and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting the birth of their first child.

Though Steve Smith believes that his Indian counterpart not playing a huge advantage for the hosts, he refused to count team India out of the series straightaway. He believes there's still a lot of quality and the visitors will be a tough nut to crack.

“The same (like Rohit) I think with Virat in the Test squad. You know there are a number of players who can come in and do a good job. Virat is obviously of high quality, and we know how good he has been in all forms for a long period of times, so it is certainly going to leave a hole but I still do believe that they have got some quality batters waiting in the wings to fill that void,” Smith signed off.