VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 gives fans the power to choose their players

AP Updated: 6 July, 2018, 2:53 PM IST


  • VIVO Pro Kabaddi auctions will witness a stronger fan engagement this season
  • A total of 422 players will be drafted into the auction pool
  • Out of the 12 franchises, 9 have chosen their Elite Retained Players and the remaining 3 will construct their teams from scratch

Riding on the back of 5 phenomenal seasons, VIVO Pro Kabaddi auctions, scheduled to take place on the 30th and 31st of May 2018 in Mumbai, will witness a stronger fan engagement this season. VIVO Pro Kabaddi launched a contest on their official website by giving fans a chance to don the owner’s hat this season. Fans get a chance to pick players for their favourite team, fans can select 3 players for their team – a Raider, a Defender and an All-rounder.

Fans can log onto, select their favourite team and choose players who they think will make it to their favourite team till May 30th - the first day of the auction.

VIVO PKL Season VI Player Auction from the broadcasters perspective:

Taking the player auctions a notch higher is the introduction of the Bid-o-Meter, a graphical representation, similar to a speed-o-meter with three distinct ranges (Steal| Fair| Ambitious) for television only. While a bid for a player is active, the needle of the “Bid-o-Meter” will move along the range according to the current bid price till it settles on the final bid, this is done through a backend algorithm that has been tried and tested. The Bid-o-meter uses an analytical algorithm to determine the fair price range for only “Category A Domestic Players” who will be part of the auction process.

Total Number of players:

A total of 422 players will be drafted into the auction pool of which 58 are Overseas players and 87 are players from the Future Kabaddi Heroes Programme (FKH), a nationwide talent scouting programme. The auctions will witness player representation from 14 other countries including Iran, Bangladesh, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka. The two-day auction will mark the first event for Season VI, with the franchises coming together to build their teams. Out of the 12 franchises, 9 have chosen their Elite Retained Players and the remaining 3 will construct their teams from scratch.

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News Cricket

‘He’s unreal’ – Kohli reacts to Pietersen’s post of a kid playing brilliant shots

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 10:15 PM IST


A kid, who is still in his diapers, has amazed the Indian captain Virat Kohli on social media. Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has recently shared a video of a toddler showing his wonderful batting skills on Instagram after which all the veteran cricketers left awestruck.

Wearing a diaper and a pair of gloves, the kid showed his impressive batting skills in the video. His nerve-wrecking cover drives and straight drives along with a classic footwork impressed everyone.

The video went viral on all the social media platforms.

While expressing his awe for the exceptional batting performance of a kid, Pietersen said: "WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Get him in your squad, @virat.kohli! Can you pick him?!?!".

In his reply to Pietersen, Kohli said, "Where's he from??? He's unreal."

The Indian skipper is not the only one who got awestruck with the brilliant shots of a kid as the South African skipper Faf du Plessis also commented , "No ways that’s crazy". While the former Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis said, "Serious talent that and not even outta nappies yet."

On the match front, Virat Kohli is currently gearing up for the three-match ODI series against West Indies starting from December 15. India are heading into the ODI series on the back of a 2-1 win against Kieron Pollard’s team in the 20-over format.

News Cricket

Coach Ricky Ponting comes out with winning formula for Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL auction

Tarun Singh Updated: 14 December, 2019, 10:14 PM IST


Ahead of IPL auction, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting met with the team management to discuss plans and strategies to build a stronger team.

The former Australian captain said that a lot of focus will be on “overseas fast bowlers” in next week’s IPL auctions as the franchise deliberated over the potential targets.

"We've had several discussions over the last few months, and have put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that we're well prepared.

"You can do all the planning in the world, but at the auction table, the unpredictable always happens."

"There's going to be a lot of focus and attention on fast bowlers, overseas ones in particular," said Ponting.

Ponting is leaving no stone unturned in shortlisting the best players to build a strong squad.

"Pat Cummins could go for big money, as could Chris Woakes. All-rounders are always interesting in my opinion. Players like Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme could all be big picks."

"Going into the auction you have to be very specific about the kind of players you need.

"For instance, we've got three openers, so we don't need to look for one. You need to identify the problem areas in your starting eleven, and essentially plug the gaps," he further added.

News Cricket

Mike Hesson thanks RCB fans for their inputs on team selection for IPL 2020

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 10:11 PM IST


As auction process for the Indian Premier League 2020 is on the verge of taking place, fans started debating on social media platforms that who will be opted-in by their favourite franchises or who will not.

Even the fans of one of the most followed yet under-performing franchises Royal Challengers Bangalore(RCB) gave their inputs on the team selection for the upcoming edition. At this, the current director of operations of RCB, Mike Hesson came forward to praise the great efforts of fans on social media.

Hesson also thanked the RCB fans for suggesting the potential options before the auction process.

“Enjoying the @RCBTweets fans input…some have put a lot of thought in Remember: budget is 27.9 cr, competing for the same players with 7 other teams, don’t believe what any team says publicly prior to an auction, RCB aware of every match domestic/international”.

However, Virat Kohli-led team hasn’t won any IPL season so far. But the fans have supported their beloved IPL team.

News Cricket

Windies coach instructs his players to learn from Virat Kohli

Tarun Singh Updated: 14 December, 2019, 1:25 PM IST


Disappointed with West Indies’ defeat in the T20I series against India, assistant coach Roddy Estwick asked his players to learn from India skipper Virat Kohli, who is the ‘benchmark’ of hard work.

The coach wants young West Indies players to replicate Kohli’s discipline and hard work behind the scenes.

Ahead of the first ODI against ‘Men in Blue’, the coach wanted to motivate his team by setting high standards for them, as he felt the need for it because of the inexperienced Players.

However, Estwick applauded and backed Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, and Nicholas Pooran, who put a good show against the stronger Team India in the Twenty20 series.

“It’s exciting times for us when you look at guys like Hetmyer, Pooran and Hope. We have got young batsmen who are developing. But the key thing is how you prepare to work hard. You have got a benchmark in Virat Kohli. He is somebody who will be in the gym and work very hard,” The coach said ahead of the first ODI

“A lot of players can learn from him. Then, we have got a chance. Without hard work, there is no success. Hard work is boring but it can give you great success. Once they keep working and dealing with the process, they will have a chance,” he added”

Estwick hopes that the Caribbean side will bridge the gap with India in the upcoming ODIs after losing the T20 series 1-2.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni will be there at the T20 World Cup - Dwayne Bravo

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:13 PM IST


Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo feels that former Indian skipper MS Dhoni will be a part of T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia. Amid all the speculations by cricket fans about the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman, Bravo has come forward to claim that Dhoni will perform in the upcoming T20 World Cup without any doubt .

Bravo has played under the captaincy of MS Dhoni in many IPL editions. The 36-year-old was picked by the Chennai Super Kings franchise in 2011 IPL auctions. Since then, Bravo has become a crucial part of Dhoni-led team.

“Dhoni has never retired. So I think he will be there at the World T20. MS has never let things outside cricket influence and he has taught us the same and told us to never panic and trust our abilities,” said Bravo.

On the personal front, the former Windies ODI skipper has decided to come out of T20I retirement as Bravo feels that he can still contribute in the shortest format of the game.

“I feel good physically and I still have a lot to offer. I had retired because of off-field politics. But there is a change of leadership both on and off the field. So I felt that it is a good time to come back”.

Bravo had announced his retirement from all formats of international cricket in October 2018.

Feature Cricket

India vs West Indies ODIs 2019: A statistical preview

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:05 PM IST


Having clinched the T20I series 2-1, India are now gearing up for the three-match ODI series, which will kick-off with the first game to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. Under pressure having lost the second T20I badly, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and skipper Virat Kohli combined to lead India to an impressive win in the decider at Mumbai. As such, the hosts will go into the ODIs high on confidence.

Here’s a look at all the key numbers pertaining to India vs West Indies ODIs.

Head-to-Head Record

India and West Indies have faced each other in a total of 130 matches, and share an equal win-loss record. Both teams have won 62 games and lost as many. While two matches have been tied, four games produced no result. While West Indies were dominant from the ‘70s to the early ‘90s, India have been the superior team over the last two decades.

Highest and lowest team totals

India’s 418 for 5 at Indore on December 8, 2011 is the highest team total in India vs West Indies ODIs. As for West Indies, their highest total against India in ODIs is 333 for 8 at Jamshedpur on December 7, 1983.

India’s 100 all out in the Hero Cup game at Ahmedabad on November 16, 1993 is the lowest team score in India-West Indies matches. Windies’ 104 at Thiruvananthapuram on November 1, 2018 is the lowest for them against India.

Most Runs

Not surprisingly, Kohli has scored the most number of runs in India-West Indies ODIs. In 36 matches, the Indian captain has amassed 2,146 runs at an average of 76.64. For West Indies, Desmond Haynes has the most runs. He scored 1,357 runs in 36 matches at an average of 42.40.

Highest individual scores

Virender Sehwag’s blazing 219 from 149 balls at Indore on December 8, 2011 is the highest individual score in India vs West Indies one-dayers. Sehwag smashed 25 fours and seven sixes in the memorable innings. For West Indies, Haynes’ 152 not out from 126 deliveries is the highest individual score. The Windies legend hit 12 fours and six sixes in the innings played at Georgetown on March 21, 1989.

Most Hundreds

Again, Indian captain Kohli dominates the list. He has nine hundreds to his name in 36 games. Kohli’s best of 157 not out came in the memorable tied encounter at Visakhapatnam on October 24, 2018. For the Windies, Chris Gayle has the most centuries -- four. His best score against India came at Ahmedabad on November 15, 2002, when he smashed 140 from 127 balls. Courtesy Rahul Dravid’s hundred though India won the match by five wickets.

Most Wickets

West Indies legend Courtney Walsh holds the record for most wickets in India vs Windies contests. In 38 games, he picked up 44 wickets at an average of 24.15 and a strike rate of 44.7. Walsh had an amazing economy rate of 3.24.

For India, all-rounder and former captain Kapil Dev picked up most wickets. In 42 games, Dev claimed 43 wickets while averaging 28.88 at a strike rate of 47.7. He too had an impressive economy rate of 3.62.

Best bowling figures in an innings

Anil Kumble’s sensational 6 for 12 in the Hero Cup final on November 27, 1993 at Kolkata is the best bowling performance in India-West Indies ODIs. For the Windies, former pacer Patrick Patterson registered 6 for 29 in the team’s 10-run win over India at Nagpur on December 8, 1987.

Feature Cricket

Smith’s Measured Return to SA Cricket

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:03 PM IST


While Cricket South Africa are hoping that the announcement of former South African captain, Graeme Smith, as the new Acting Director of Cricket will assuage some of the drama on the last few weeks, Smith’s conditional return is evident for all to see.

After weeks of shenanigans where a dark cloud has hovered over the proceedings of Cricket South Africa, it seemed more oil was poured on the fire when it was announced that Thabang Moroe, the CSA chief executive, was being suspended but with a catch: with pay. That raised eyebrows for all and sundry and the South Africa’s cricketers association refusing to cooperate unless the entire board was dissolved.

While CSA is appearing to superficially douse the flames, even the optics of having signed on the rather doubtful Smith as the acting director of cricket is not having the appeasing effect that was expected. It might have something to do with the fact that much time has passed between Smith throwing his hat in the ring and the eventual appointment, now barely two weeks away from the first Test against England at home on Boxing Day.

It is an uphill climb for Smith and South Africa with Smith put in charge to oversee the appointments of the coach – Enoch Nkwe might have a lease of life given how late Smith has been appointed – as well as a selection panel that will pick South Africa’s team for the four Test series. The task before South Africa is no less arduous even if Smith, the man with more than 15,000 international runs and South Africa’s most successful captain to his name, has been put in charge of trying to transform South Africa’s current status as being not short of beleaguered.

South Africa’s low points this year have been too many to enumerate. Not only was the ICC Cricket World Cup in England their worst showing yet in the history of the tournament but also, South Africa found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard, being whitewashed by India by a 3-0 margin, two of the defeats being an innings margin which is never a great sign. The captaincy issue was made complicated by various statements in front of the media and it might well decide how Faf du Plessis decides his future with South African cricket. With Faf himself talking about scars from the India tour, England may be in the reckoning.

Struck by inevitable issues of Kolpak, player quota system that has reared its head and the misgivings in the board which led to the revoking of pass to five journalists in a low blow to the game as a whole, Cricket South Africa seemed to fare no better when Smith publicly denied reports that he had been appointed in the past and even stated that the ongoing negotiations had been frustrating.

In that light, it is to be remembered that Smith holds no magic wand. The fact that his appointment is only until the Indian Premier League 2020 and his title has the additional word ‘acting’ prefixed to it suggests that this is only a temporary truce, a stop gap arrangement in which Cricket South Africa attempt to shake off the serious corruption charges against them while Smith figures out if the shoe does fit.

Feature Cricket

Should be a breeze for India against West Indies in ODIs

Partab Ramchand Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:01 PM IST


One team is No 2 and the other No 9 in the ICC rankings. One team made it to the semifinals of this year’s World Cup, the other finished among the also rans. These two facts alone are enough to indicate that it should be a breeze for India in the three-match ODI series against the West Indies starting in Chennai on Sunday. And then when one glances at the team personnel on both sides and examines the records it would only certify this feeling.

Unlike the just concluded T-20 series wherein one could reasonably predict a close contest thanks to the format and thanks also to the fact that West Indian players are natural performers when it comes to international cricket’s shortest format one can stick his neck out boldly and predict a lop sided result this time around. Why, only a few months ago India won a three match series in the Caribbean 2 - 0 with one no-result. And in the last year or so since winning the Asia Cup in Dubai India have had an excellent record in ODIs. But for a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Australia at home in March this year India have won bilateral contests against West Indies in India and have got the better of Australia and New Zealand away. Add to this the fairly impressive showing in the World Cup and it will be seen why the West Indies will have a mountain to climb. This despite a 3-0 clean sweep against Afghanistan last month but too much need not be made of this result given that the Afghans are one place below West Indies in the rankings and novices in this format.

It is not that the West Indies are a bad side. With skipper Kieron Pollard, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope and Nicholar Pooran around it is a team that can give a good account of itself against less formidable opposition but not against an Indian side that is high on confidence, are on a roll and are virtually unbeatable at home. Even a cursory glance at the squad and it can be seen that it is chock-a-block with world beaters. There is really no weakness in the batting and bowling and so long as the fielding and catching do not falter Virat Kohli and his men can steamroll even stronger opponents and this West Indies side should pose no problems. The only thing that the Indians will have to guard against is complacency.

News Cricket

Shivam Dube will become a good all-rounder - Bharat Arun

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 11:17 AM IST


The bowling coach of Indian cricket team, Bharat Arun recently showered praise on young all-rounder Shivam Dube who slammed his maiden fifty in the second T20I encounter against Windies.

The 26-year-old, who made his T20I debut in the series against Bangladesh, scored 54 runs off just 30 deliveries against Kieron Pollard’s team . Although India lost that match but Dube’s innings had a long-lasting impact on cricket fans.

Bharat Arun feels that Dube will become a good all-rounder for India as he is gaining confidence with every match.

“He is an exciting prospect and I think he is gaining in confidence from every game. Even if you look at the way he came back the way after he bowled the first over against West Indies, I think that was creditable”.

While praising Dube’s efforts for India, the bowling coach also added, “And I think he is an exciting talent for us. As he gains in confidence, he will become a good all-rounder”.

Apart from Dube, Arun also lauded Deepak Chahar’s performance in the T20Is. The 27-year-old right-arm pacer picked up six wickets against the Tigers which eventually helped the Men in Blue to win the series-decider at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.

Feature Cricket

Yearender 2019: Cricket Today's ODI XI of 2019

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:24 PM IST


The year 2019 saw England being crowned new World Cup champions, continuing the tradition of hosts winning the trophy. New Zealand finished runners-up for the second time in a row while India and defending champions Australia stumbled at the semi-final stage. Apart from England, Australia and India had a reasonable year overall while South Africa stumbled. Here’s a look at Cricket Today's ODI XI of 2019.

Openers: Jason Roy, Rohit Sharma

England’s dazzling opener Jason Roy had a fantastic year, with 845 runs in 14 games at an average of 70.41. Roy notched up three hundreds and six fifties at a strike rate of 118.18. He scored 153 in the World Cup game against Bangladesh, and went on to score hat-trick of fifties against India, New Zealand and Australia (semi-final).

Rohit Sharma joins Roy as the other opener. He amassed 1,232 runs in 25 games at an average of 53.56 and a strike rate of 88 with six centuries, five of them coming in the World Cup, three of them back-to-back. His reserved his best of 140 for mega World Cup clash against Pakistan.

Middle-order: Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Eoin Morgan (Captain)

There is no alternative to Virat Kohli at number three. The Indian captain has registered 1,288 runs to his name in 23 matches at an average of 64.40 and a strike rate of 95.90. Kohli has five ODI hundreds in the year, with his best of 123 coming against Australia at Ranchi. He registered five consecutive fifties in the World Cup, and scored back-to-back hundreds in West Indies.

New Zealand’s unlucky World Cup captain Kane Williamson also finds a place in the middle-order. In 20 matches, Williamson has 948 runs at an average of 59.25 and a strike rate of 75.35. Williamson scored consecutive hundreds in the World Cup -- 106 not out against South Africa and 148 against West Indies.

England’s World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan will captain the side. In 21 matches, the left-hander scored 791 runs at an average of 52.73 and a strike rate of 112.19. Of his two hundreds in the year, one was the smashing 148 from 71 in the World Cup clash against Afghanistan, which featured a record 17 sixes.

Wicket-keeper: Jos Buttler

England’s dashing wicket-keeper Jos Buttler takes the responsibility behind the stumps. In 20 games, he smashed 667 runs at an average of 47.64 and a strike rate of 135.56. He enthralled with 150 off 77 against West Indies at St George's, and also hit 103 from 76 against Pakistan in a losing cause in the World Cup.

All-rounder: Ben Stokes

An automatic choice following his exploits in the World Cup final. In 20 matches, Stokes accumulated 719 runs at an average of 59.91 and a strike rate of 92.53. With the ball, he chipped in with 12 wickets. In the World Cup, he made valiant 80s against Sri Lanka and Australia, and the unforgettable 84 not out in the pulsating final.

Bowlers: Chris Woakes, Trent Boult , Mohammed Shami Yuzvendra Chahal

England medium pacer emerged as an unsung hero of the team’s World Cup campaign. He claimed 29 wickets in 19 games in the year at an average of 29.79 and a strike rate of 30. His best of 5 for 54 came against Pakistan in a game at Leeds in May. Woakes claimed significant three-fors in the World Cup semi-final and final.

For the second World Cup running, Trent Boult has been among the leading wicket-takers with 17 scalps. The left-arm pacer has 38 wickets from 20 games in 2019 at an average of 23.97 and a strike rate of 30.5. His best of 5 for 21 came against India at Hamilton in January. In the World Cup, he claimed four-fors against West Indies and Australia (including a hat-trick).

Mohammed Shami has been magnificent in one-day international. Shami has dismissed 37 players in 18 matches at an average of 21.32. The Indian pacer is the second highest wicket-taker in the ongoing year. 

India’s Yuzvendra Chahal will handle the spin department. In 16 matches, he has 29 wickets to his name while averaging 28.10 at a strike rate of 29.3. Chahal’s 6 for 42 came against Australia at Melbourne at the start of the year. He had an average World Cup with 13 wickets in nine games.

12th man: Aaron Finch

Australia captain Aaron Finch narrowly missed out on the opening slot. He has 1,141 runs in 23 games at an average of 51.86 and a strike rate of 89.42.

Feature Cricket

Opposition to ICC Events is Board’s Protection

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:23 PM IST


Opposing forces are at play. On the one hand, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is open to the idea of hosting a premier ICC flagship event every year, the top cricket boards in particular are vehemently opposed to the idea, some more openly stated their own vested interests over others.

One of the ongoing backdoor conversations has been the proposal of the ICC to have one ICC World Cup level tournament every year. Having seen the appetite of the cricket fans at large, it is not hard to see why the ICC would want to capitalize on it. It would generate both, interest and revenue, for the premier governing body who only gets this kind of opportunity and interest when hosting a multi team event.

While the ICC’s intentions to host such an event every year – in whichever format of the sport – is to generate that revenue which is then distributed, albeit in staggered fashion, to the many associate and affiliate nations besides the permanent member boards. With this being the primary way for the ICC to raise its revenue quota, the ICC is willing to disband the notion of having a World Cup every four years and even reduce it to three to ensure there is a rotation between formats while maintaining the idea of hosting a World Cup style event every year.

While there is little that beats a multi team tournament in any sport, particularly one of the stature and standing of a World Cup, there is a case of overkill to consider. Too many editions of a premier tournament and the event starts to look its shine.

While some such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) are okay with the idea that fan recall might be shortlived and they are entertainment based and therefore, not expected to be etched in gold in the history books as such, a World Cup holds a loftier leverage and therefore, requires careful consideration so as not to be become roadkill in the pell-mell of revenue generation and distribution as the ICC eyes further globalization plans.

While the Olympics are on the agenda, the fact that the World Cup participation is being deliberated shrunk under the guise of quality when not enough has been done to raise the calibre of the fringe teams, is of grave concern.

However, the opposition from the cricket boards, or rather the more influential cricket boards has to do more with the fact that the rescheduling of the yearly season calendar affects their own bilateral series and interests by impinging on time and preparation at home. With some boards standing to earn more by hosting bilateral series rather than participate in multi team events.

Cricket Australia have been honest about it in their recent conversations while acknowledging that what is in their interests might not be in the larger interests of cricket boards around the world. This delicate balancing act, which some boards have conveniently disguised as being in the interest of the health of the overworked cricketer when they have no qualms subjecting their cricketers to virtual round the year cricket, has to be of consideration for the ICC even as it plans its future course of action.

Feature Cricket

3 reasons why Pant needs to go back to the drawing board and work his way out

CT Contributor Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:21 PM IST


The inconsistency surrounding India's wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has become a familiar tale and there is no hiding at the moment. With the ICC World T20 in 2020, things could get worse for Pant if he doesn't figure out how to solve the issues. At the moment there are many loopholes in his batting and one saw that in the recently-concluded T20I series against West Indies, which India won by a 2-1 margin.

Pant has somehow blocked the way for Sanju Samson, who was recently benched in both the series against Bangladesh and West Indies. The clock is ticking quickly and Pant is continuing to waste the chances presented to him. When you look at his T20I career, Pant has a dismal average of 20.45. In 26 T20Is, he has notched a poor tally of 409 runs with a poor strike-rate of 121.72. That's no where near the mark you want to be in the international level.

Pant has been lucky in terms of the management backing him and things will not be continuing in this fashion given the poor runs of games. Against West Indies, Pant was poor and here we look at three reasons why he needs to back to the drawing board and work his way back.

Pant needs to play domestic cricket

The young Pant lacks the experience and he is not learning as one would have liked. Rather than including him in every limited-overs series, the sane method would be to draft him back to domestic cricket. Let him score the runs there and work on his batting. If he gains the trust, he can be included once again.

Pant is all about the big shots

In the first T20I, he came in and scored 18 in a target of 208. With Virat Kohli batting in the other end, Pant needed to just play as per the tempo rather than forcing things. He should have respected Sheldon Cottrell, who was terrific. Yet a bad shot got him out. And then in the third T20I, he was promoted up the order at number three. With KL Rahul on song, Pant's work was mainly to rotate the strike and then set himself. Yet he lashed out and was out for a second-ball duck.

Pant is behind other Indian youngsters

When you look at the likes of Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Sanju Samson, these players are far more consistent and valuable. They are all fighting for berths across formats. Pant is behind in terms of quality and consistency. You cannot keep saying he has the talent and potential. That's disrespect to the others who deserve a chance.

Feature Cricket

Nucleus of Indian T20 World Cup squad is very much in place

Partab Ramchand Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:20 PM IST


So did the three-match series against the West Indies help the selectors and the team management in almost finalizing the Indian team that will take part in the T-20 World Cup in Australia in ten months time? On the eve of the contest Virat Kohli said that they have been experimenting in a bid to get the combination right for the mega event. Well, there are not too many T-20 matches to be played before the World Cup and it is important that the nucleus of the side that will attempt to regain the trophy India won in the inaugural event in South Africa in 2007 is already in place.

To a large extent it is. There is little to tinker with the top order with Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul and Virat Kohli easily the best trio of batsmen around. There may be a case for Shikhar Dhawan who had to withdraw from the series against the West Indies because of an injury. The left-hander has an excellent record in the format and will certainly be in serious contention once he recovers.

Shivam Dube and Shreyas Iyer have virtually clinched places in the middle order but there will be a place for Hardik Pandya once he recovers from the back surgery he underwent in October. The key utility player has targeted the tour of New Zealand early next year for his comeback whereupon he hopes to work himself into top form in time for the World Cup.

There will now have to be a serious question mark over Rishabh Pant given the fact that he has been given a lot of opportunities but has failed to make the most of them. True, he remains an exciting talent and a potential match winner but even the team management which has backed him to the hilt could well be running out of patience particularly with Sanju Samson around and performing admirably. Either way it could be a tough call.

It should be an easier decision when it comes to the bowlers though the selectors may be spoiled for choice. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal should be certainties as spinners while Ravindra Jadeja may well make it as an all rounder. Among pacemen Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be first choices as also Jasprit Bumrah whenever he is ready to return. Deepak Chahar appears to be the front runner for the reserve seam bowler’s slot though the chances of the promising Navdeep Saini cannot be ruled out. So the nucleus of the squad for the World Cup is very much there; only a little tinkering needs to be done to finalize it.

Feature Cricket

Inside Edge 2 Review: All drama no essence

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:16 PM IST


Cast: Angad Bedi, Tanuj Virwani, Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chaddha, Aamir Bashir

Creator: Karan Anshuman

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

There is nothing like the mash-up of Bollywood and cricket in India. The combination sells like anything and Indian Premier League is a living example of that. And India's first Hindi original on OTT, Inside Edge tried to cash in on the two highest selling commodities in India- Cricket and Bollywood and was even successful in doing that in season 1.

Now, Inside Edge 2 takes the drama of the Power Play League (PPL) which is a T20 tournament loosely modeled on IPL, to a notch higher with brand new cut throat rivalries, higher stakes, blood lust for power and a good development of characters from season 1 to season 2.

Inside Edge season two commences with the introduction of the much mysterious and anticipated 'bhaisaab', Yashwardhan Patil which is played by seasoned campaigner, Aamir Bashir, the big guy whose name we have heard on numerous occasions last season but didn't get a glimpse of him. But now, he comes to the fore, expresses his vision for the game and plays on the front foot unlike season 1.

Unlike the last season, where Vayu Raghavan (Tanuj Virwani) and Arvind Vashishth (Angad Bedi) were representing the same side Mumbai Mavericks, the battle lines of the PPL this time are drawn with Vayu taking over the reins of captaincy from Arvind of the Mumbai Mavericks and with Arvind making a move to the Haryana Hurricanes.

Mumbai Mavericks gets a new co-owner in Mantra Patil (Sapna Pabbi), and Zareena Malik (Richa Chadha) is much more stronger, sharper and smarter than the last season. And the baddie Vikrant Dhawan (Vivek Oberoi), who is planning yet another comeback: is seen in hoodie and a baseball cap for a good part of the season.

When the cricket themed show was first premiered in 2017, there wasn't much Hindi periodic content on OTT platforms but it has completely undergone sort of revolution with Sacred Games series, Mirzapur taking the expectations and thrill level of the public to another level. And somehow, the first season of Inside Edge captured the attention of people simply because there wasn't a lot of content on those lines, so anything decent got applauded but now that isn't the case and that leaves the expectations of people jolted from Inside Edge franchise, especially those who were eagerly awaiting the season 2 of the Amazon Premier show, which had got nominated for Best Drama series at 46th International Emmy Awards.

Take into account the fact that there is seemingly no investigation into the (attempted) murder of a cricketer Devendra Mishra (Amit Sial) that too on the night of the Power-Play League final in one of India's biggest stadiums and on PPL's biggest day possible with all the media and people's glare on PPL. Questions are bound to be asked about the CCTV footage? And why is the entire Mavericks squad not questioned like after the death of their former coach Niranjan Suri (Sanjay Suri)?.

When you are creating a thriller, you don't want loopholes in the story and the intellect level is expected to be on the higher side. But Inside Edge 2 tries to function on the contrary, which makes the story line problematic. It is overly dramatic and also unbelievable and there are certain things, where there shouldn't be any second innings, and that should have been the case with Inside Edge season 2, which stretches things too far and becomes unbearable after a certain point.

News Cricket

Dwayne Bravo comes out of retirement, makes himself available for T20Is

Staff Writer Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:07 PM IST


Dwayne Bravo, the West Indian all-rounder, has decided to come out of his international retirement after bidding adieu in 2018 due to his issues with the previous West Indies board.

"Today I confirm the announcement of my decision to return to International Cricket to all my fans and well-wishers all around the world. It's no secret that this big announcement has come as a result of the changes made at the administration level," Dwayne Bravo quoted.

"For a while now I have been contemplating my return to international cricket and my decision was solidified by these positive changes. With the current leadership of coach Phil Simmons and captain Kieron Pollard I'm really excited about this comeback and about the chance to be part of something really special," he added.

Dwayne Bravo feels that his experience will help the West Indies young bowling unit to become stronger.

"With a powerful team such as ours we can definitely rebuild the WI T20I cricket team on and off the field and improve our rankings. I will remain fully committed to WI T20 team once selected. Thank you to all my fans and supporters for your continuous support as always."

The 36-year-old all-rounder’s last international appearance for West Indies was against Pakistan in a Twenty20 match in September 2016.