MS Dhoni is one of the greatest ODI players to have played the game. He has played 349 ODIs scoring 10,723* runs at an average of 50.58. His strike-rate is close to 90. The Indian wicket-keeper batsman has 10 centuries and 72 half-centuries. And yes, he remains the only captain in the world to have led his side to ICC Champions Trophy, ICC Cricket World Cup and World T20 titles respectively. And not to forget, he has also led India to no.1 rankings in both ODI and Test cricket.
But, the 37 years old is likely to retire at the culmination of the ongoing Cricket World Cup. He has been criticized for his slow-batting in the 2019 Cricket World. He had made 28 runs off 52 deliveries against Afghanistan and 42 runs off 31 balls against England and these are the two knocks that got him plenty of criticism.
But there are high chances that Dhoni will retire after the World Cup, which means if India reaches the finals, he has two more games. And that might well have resulted in the latest video released by ICC, where Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah are seen giving tribute to India's veteran stumper.
Security concerns stopped foreign cricketers from touring Pakistan four years ago when the country's premier domestic Twenty20 tournament was launched, forcing organizers to stage the event on neutral turf in the United Arab Emirates.
When the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League starts in Karachi on Thursday, Darren Sammy of the West Indies and Shane Watson of Australia will be among 36 foreign cricketers involved in the six franchises.
“The foreign players coming is a huge bonus for us,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan told the Associated Press. “It’s a massive step forward because they (foreign players) clearly believe that it’s safe to be here for 4-5 weeks.”
The return of international cricket has been a slow process in Pakistan following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team's bus in Lahore during a test series in 2009.
For this T20 event, the PCB has worked with the Federation of International Cricketers Association and also shared its security plans with foreign stars to make them feel safe in Pakistan.
“We firmly believe now that we are in a good position," Wasim said. “We're delighted there are so many players coming here and it’s a great endorsement for us as a country.”
Pakistan cricket went into isolation for more than six years after the attack near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in 2009.
There was a ray of hope in 2015 when Zimbabwe toured for limited-overs series but it wasn’t enough for the Pakistan to host its first PSL tournament the following year, forcing organizers to stage it in the UAE.
In 2017, the PSL final was played at a packed Gaddafi Stadium, in stark contrast to the group-stage matches that were contested in mostly empty venues in the UAE.
Over the next two years, a World XI, Sri Lanka and the West Indies also played limited-overs matches in Pakistan, and more PSL games were staged in Lahore and Karachi.
The PCB overcame another barrier when it hosted test matches last year in Pakistan for the first time in a decade. Pakistan successfully hosted two tests against Sri Lanka in December and, after a lot of negotiations, last month managed to convince Bangladesh to play a test in Rawalpindi.
All the ‘cricket comes home’ activities, of course, require heavy security surrounding the foreign teams, with the kind of armed security and road closures usually reserved for visiting heads of state . Visiting players have had virtually no movement outside the team hotels or match venues — although a few Sri Lanka players went to a shopping mall while they stayed in the federal capital.
But Wasim believes that over time, the blanket security can be eased and players will feel more relaxed.
“Certainly it’s something that we are looking at,” he said. “The more we play at home, the more confidence people have, the better it will become. We certainly can’t sustain state-level security."
More freedom of movement for visiting players and ensuring costs for security don't overburden federal and local governments has to be balanced, Wasim said, with “making sure we never become complacent and we provide the right level of security.”
In a bid to reassure cricket officials from countries such as Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa about the security situation, Pakistan invited the Marylebone Cricket Club — the guardians of the laws of cricket — for limited-overs matches in Lahore.
Led by ex-Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, who is also MCC president, the players have had VIP-level security, which is a slightly lower level than that provided to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka squads for recent series.
“MCC have played golf ... so we’ve given them level of freedom which under VIP status you can afford. Certainly that’s something that we wish to moving forward as well,” Wasim said.
Sangakkara has also backed Pakistan’s efforts to resume international cricket in Pakistan.
“Security is always a major concern everywhere is the world,” Sangakkara said. “In Pakistan I think the steps that have been taken over the past few years have instilled great amounts of confidence in the cricketing nations beyond the shores of Pakistan and slowly but surely that confidence is building up.
“The more times international sides tour that message becomes stronger and becomes harder to ignore.”
And Wasim believes the need for Pakistan to ‘host’ international cricket series in neutral countries is closer to ending.
“There’s no reason for us to play anywhere else now,” Wasim said. “Cricket has firmly resumed within the country and we fully expect this to be the way moving forward.”
The grand finale of ICC Under-19 World Cup between India and Bangladesh turned out to be a heated affair as both the sides were involved in a scuffle after the conclusion of the game. The International Cricket Council (ICC) even levied sanctions on 5 cricketers for their offensive behavior on the field.
Amid all the aggression between both the teams, Yashasvi Jaiswal looked calm and didn’t respond to any of the sledge. The young opener played an impressive knock of 88 runs on the tricky pitch of Senwes Park in South Africa.
In his recent interview with Times of India, Jaiswal revealed the reason behind his smiling face during the heated finale.
He said, “That was because of Dravid sir (Rahul Dravid) and Sachin sir (Sachin Tendulkar). They always told me one thing - ‘talk with your bat, not with your mouth’. So, I always keep that advice on top of my list. And that’s why I stayed calm and didn’t respond to any of the sledge (in the final against Bangladesh). That’s why I was smiling. I wanted to bat for long and put as many runs on the board. This was the only thing going in my mind at that point of time.”
Former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar recently came forward to take a stand for the resumption of the bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan. Both countries have not played any bilateral series since 2012. The last time when these two nations played a Test match was back in 2007.
In his latest YouTube video, Akhtar said cricket should not get impacted by the current political tension between the two countries and they should play a bilateral series in the future.
“We can play Davis Cup, we can play Kabaddi with each other then what’s wrong with cricket? I understand India can’t come to Pakistan, Pakistan can’t go to India but we play Asia Cup, Champions Trophy on neutral venues, can’t we do the same for bilateral series?”
“We are one of the best hospitable nations in the world and India have seen it first hands. Ask the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar we love them like anything. Cricket should not get affected by the differences between us. Hopefully, India and Pakistan can play a bilateral series soon and it’s important for both countries to have a tough competition between them.”
Akhtar also went on to say that all ties should be cut off between both the countries if India and Pakistan cannot play cricket.
“If you want to cut the ties then stop the trade, stop playing Kabaddi. Why only cricket? We eat onions and tomatoes, we exchange pleasantries then why can’t we play cricket?”
Apart from the Rawalpindi Express, former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and former Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi have also thrown their weight behind India-Pakistan bilateral series.
To have a world-class all-rounder in your midst is the desire of every international team. The Indian team is doubly fortunate that it has not just one but two such cricketers in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Both playing in the Test eleven not only makes the spin attack competitive but also bolsters the late order batting.
However it appears that a stage has been reached when both players cannot figure in the playing eleven – at least not when the team is playing abroad. At home, two pacemen and two spinners is the norm but in away games more often than not the strategy is to field three pacers and only one spinner which is why either Ashwin or Jadeja has had to make way.
There was a time when Ashwin was a regular in all three formats his more than useful batting and the immense variety in his bowling making him an invaluable member of the team. Then he went off the radar as far as the selectors were concerned in the two shorter formats. Ashwin hasn’t played an ODI or a T-20 international since mid-2017. He, of course, continues to be a must in the Test side though here again Jadeja has often been preferred when it comes to playing alone spinner abroad. In the last few Tests in the West Indies and Australia Jadeja has got the nod over Ashwin though prior to that a couple of seasons ago in South Africa it was the latter who played as the lone spinner.
Jadeja continues to be a regular member of the side in the two shorter formats thanks to his belligerent batting, accurate bowling and electrifying fielding – the one department that Ashwin sadly does not measure up. Despite the arrival on the scene of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav Jadeja has managed to keep his place because of his ubiquitous qualities. Ashwin has probably lost out on his place in the shorter formats due to the arrival of ``Kulcha’’ while there is this perceived notion that Jadeja is the more gutsy cricketer, particularly with the bat.
At 31 Jadeja is two years younger but it too early to write off Ashwin yet. He still is an effective utility cricketer and if one goes by the stats across all three formats there is very little to choose between them. One must not forget that Ashwin is the only Indian cricketer to hit a century and take five wickets in an innings in a Test twice. The two have quite often bowled India to victory performing in tandem but the way things stand the sight of both bowling together in a Test abroad could well be a thing of the past.
After registering a whitewash each in the T20Is and ODIs respectively, India and New Zealand now head into the two-match Test series. The first match of the series will be held at Wellington from February 21 while the second would be played in Christchurch starting February 29. India last faced New Zealand in Tests at home in 2016-17 and won the three-match series 3-0. India’s last Test series in New Zealand was way back in 2013/14. The Kiwis won the two-match series 1-0. As the teams prepare for the latest challenge, we take a look at some key numbers pertaining to India-New Zealand Tests.
India and New Zealand have faced each other in a total of 57 Tests. Of them, India have won 21 matches while the Kiwis have been victorious in 10. Twenty-six of the games between the teams have ended in a stalemate. In New Zealand, however, the Kiwis have a superior record. The teams have played 23 matches in New Zealand of which the Kiwis have won eight and lost five. Ten of the contests between the teams have ended in a draw.
Highest and lowest totals
New Zealand’s 680 for 6 declared at Wellington in February 2014 is the highest total in Tests between the two countries. The highest total for India is 583/7 declared at Ahmedabad in October 1999. India’s 81 at Wellington in February 1976 is the lowest total in India-Kiwi Tests. For New Zealand, their lowest total is 94 they registered at Hamilton in December 2002.
Former India captain Rahul Dravid holds the record for having scored the most runs in India-New Zealand Tests. In 15 matches against the Kiwis, Rahul Dravid amassed 1,659 runs at an average of 63.80. For New Zealand, their ex-skipper Brendon McCullum has scored the most runs against India. In 10 matches, he totaled 1,224 at an average of 68.00.
Highest individual scores
McCullum’s brilliant 302 at Wellington in February 2014 is the highest individual score in India-New Zealand Tests. McCullum smashed 32 fours and four sixes in the drawn encounter. For India, Vinoo Mankad registered 231 opening the innings at Chennai in January 1956. Mankad hit 21 fours in the 525-minute knock as India won the contest by an innings and 109 runs.
Renowned as ‘The Wall’ of Indian cricket, Dravid has scored the most hundreds when it comes to India vs New Zealand Test matches. In 15 Tests, Dravid notched up six hundreds with the best of 222. Apart from six hundreds, he also scored an equal number of the fifties. McCullum holds the record for having scored the most centuries for New Zealand against India. In 10 Tests, he notched up four hundreds and two fifties with a personal best of 302.
The legendary Sir Richard Hadlee has claimed the most scalps in India versus New Zealand Test matches. In 14 Tests, Hadlee picked up 65 wickets at an average of 22.96. Hadlee had four five-wicket hauls and picked up ten wickets in a match twice against the Indians. For India, the record for most wickets in Tests against the Kiwis stands in the name of Bishen Bedi. In 12 matches, the former left-arm spinner picked up 57 wickets at an excellent average of 19.14. Bedi had four five-wicket hauls to show for his efforts.
Best bowling figures
Srinivas Venkataraghavan’s 8 for 72 at Delhi in March 1965 are the best bowling figures in an innings in India-New Zealand Tests. For New Zealand, the best is 7 for 23 by Sir Hadlee at Wellington in 1976. Speaking about best bowling figures in a match, Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 13 for 140 at Indore in October 2016. For the Kiwis, Sir Hadlee registered figures of 11 for 58 at Wellington in February 1976.
Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar recently attended the prestigious ceremony of Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday. During his visit to Berlin, the batting maestro even shared a picture of himself on social media. He took to his official Instagram account and wrote, “Happy to be in Berlin for the @laureussport World Sports Awards 2020!.”
At this, the BCCI president and Tendulkar’s long-time opening partner, Sourav Ganguly came forward to troll him once again. He said, “Tendulkar. I was not wrong.”
A few days ago, Tendulkar shared another picture of himself from Australia and captioned, “Soaking up the Sun”. While the cricket fans appreciated the post wholeheartedly, Ganguly came up with a hilarious reaction. He commented, “Kisi Kisi ka kismat acha hai .. chuttii manate raho (some people have great luck, keep enjoying your holidays).”
The 46-year-old batting icon recently won the Laureus Sporting Moment of the last 2 decades for his World Cup-winning moment in 2011.
While receiving the award, Sachin said, “It’s incredible. The feeling of winning the world cup was beyond what words can express. How many times you get an event happening where there are no mixed opinions. Very rarely the entire country celebrates. And this is a reminder of how powerful a sport is and what magic it does to our lives.”
An unhappy player makes for unprofitable business. One could consider Parth Jindal’s social media statement on Rishabh Pant as a way of protecting his assets. While the Delhi Capitals are baffled by team India’s under-utilization of Pant, they are throwing their weight behind the player and the issue and rightfully so.
There has been disgruntlement in some quarters that Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners should not have a say in what goes on with the selectors and the Indian cricket team management. For a while, there has been a scenario wherein the issue has been one of hierarchy wherein the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) holds the ultimate power and therefore, can dictate written and unwritten rules for players and franchisees.
Jindal’s statement on social media, therefore, appears to break the norm.
Like the rest of India, the owner of the Delhi Capitals team was puzzled by Pant having to warm the bench in the first leg of India’s tour of New Zealand. The twenty-two-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman had no role to play as he was left out of the playing eleven in the Twenty20 international series as well as the one-day internationals.
It left many to question whether Pant features in the Indian set up and whether he has now lost his spot to KL Rahul for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup later this year. Furthermore, it has raised issues of what this kind of treatment would be doing to the young player who has received harsh flak from the Indian cricket fans who turned up at the stadium only to chant cries of ‘Dhoni, Dhoni’ while Pant is still on a learning curve. It only adds more fuel to the perception that he was at the raw end of receiving unfair criticism for the way he batted in the semifinal of last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in England while not being given enough vindication or exposure in keeping with the statements of the selectors and the coach and captain.
While Pant was finally given an opportunity in the warm-up match ahead of the first Test, it did not take long to highlight his debacle in particular against that of the team’s in the first innings. To that end, it seems quite natural that with the IPL now less than two months away, owners and team management of the franchisee would be concerned about the state of mind of one of their prized assets.
Apart from recruiting Pant as part of the Delhi Capitals team, the company has also made a personal sponsorship tie-up with the player, reposing faith in him despite the near yearlong scanner that he has been under.
Besides, Jindal was not wrong in pointing out that Pant was better off either playing or being allowed the opportunity to go back to domestic cricket. It does seem that for someone who was labeled India’s future waiting in the wings for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s official retirement, he has not been given enough opportunity or a chance to rebuild himself.
With the franchisees putting huge money behind the tournament and teams, it speaks to their investment to want to raise their voice when inquiring about the health of the investment in question. Expressing their opinion is then par for the course.
A suicide blast in Pakistan’s Quetta has rocked the tension marred nation once again, that too just ahead of the start of Pakistan’s prestigious cricket league, Pakistan Super League (PSL). Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has geared up to host the entire PSL at home.
Al Jazeera reported the blast. As of now, there is still no official confirmation on the number of casualties.
The recent turn of events will be a huge blow for Pakistan who is desperately trying for the resumption of international cricket at home in full flow. While the first edition of the PSL in 2016 was staged in the United Arab Emirates, PCB held the 2017 finale at Lahore. In 2018 though, four matches were organized at Lahore and Karachi – with the rest in the UAE and last year, Karachi hosted eight matches.
A total of 36 overseas players are currently in Pakistan for the tournament, however, this blast might just force the players to take drastic steps which could include leaving the PSL as well. Although Quetta is not a host for any of the matches.
All six-teams of the tournament will play their matches in only four cities – Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan. These four cities will host all the 34 PSL games this season, starting on February 20. Lahore will host 14 matches, including the final on March 22.
West Indian fast bowler, Oshane Thomas has been admitted to a hospital in Jamaica, after suffering lethal injuries during a car crash. Jamaica Observer has reported that Thomas’ car overturned during a collision. Oshane was conscious when he was being taken to the hospital but the extent of the injuries is not known.
Oshane is the second bowler from the Rajasthan Royals team in IPL, who has been injured just before the start of the league. Earlier, Jofra Archer made himself unavailable for this season as the English bowler was hit by a stress fracture.
The West Indies Players' Association wished a speedy recovery to Oshane who last played for the West Indies in January this year.
"The West Indies Players' Association extends best wishes to West Indies and Jamaica fast-bowler Oshane Thomas who was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Sunday, February 16 in Jamaica," WIPA said in a press release.
"WIPA's executive and staff would like to extend our sympathies to Oshane. We wish for him a speedy and full recovery," it added.
Thomas made his international debut in 2018 against India in Guwahati and picked up three wickets in his last international outing -- ODI vs Ireland at St George's Park. He has played 20 ODIs and 10 T20Is for the West Indies, picking up a total of 36 international wickets.
One of the best batsmen across the globe in the current generation, Virat Kohli has become the first Indian to reach the milestone of 50 million followers on Instagram. The star skipper of the Indian cricket team has surpassed the leading Bollywood actresses Priyanka Chopra Jonas (49.88 million followers) and Deepika Padukone (44 million followers).
Kohli has 930 posts on the picture-sharing platform so far and is currently following 480 people. According to a study by a global advisory firm, Duff and Phelps, the 31-year-old right-hander even led the brand valuation list for the third consecutive year as his brand value rose to $237.5 million last year.
The top-ranked batsman in ODIs and Test cricket format recently shared a funny picture on social media with his teammates Mohammed Shami and Prithvi Shaw. In his latest picture, Kohli can be seen making weird faces along with the right-arm pacer and young opener.
Virat Kohli is currently gearing up for the two-match test series against New Zealand starting from February 21. The first test is scheduled to take place at the Basin Reserve cricket ground in Wellington.
Here’s see the list of most followed Indians on Instagram:
Virat Kohli - 50 M
Priyanka Chopra Jonas - 49.88 M
Deepika Padukone - 44.0 M
Alia Bhatt - 43 M
Shraddha Kapoor - 40.3 M
Jacqueline Fernandez - 37 M
Akshay Kumar - 36.4 M
Narendra Modi - 34.4 M
Neha Kakkar - 32.6 M
Anushka Sharma - 32.5 M
Team India is ready to take on the Kiwis in Whites at their own home-ground. Ahead of the Test opener at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, legendary batsman VVS Laxman revealed the challenges for young Indian openers. The former Indian cricketer has said that a lot will depend on the young openers if India have to put pressure on the home team. He also added that India’s success will depend on how the young players will perform against the new ball.
Speaking to Star Sports, Laxman stated, “The biggest challenge will be for the young openers. Mayank Agarwal did not have a great ODI series, he also bagged a pair with India A. And then, whether it is Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill, they are inexperienced. If we have to put pressure on the home team in their own conditions, you have to score big in the first innings. A lot will depend on how they counter the new ball attack of New Zealand.”
With the explosive opener Rohit Sharma being ruled out of the two-match series, either Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill will get a chance to fill the void. Both the players were unable to open their accounts on the first day of the warm-up game.
Ross Taylor was in exceptional form in the series against India. He is carrying this form from the past three years and Taylor has now fixed his eyes upon the 2023 cricket World Cup.
Although he has said that his form, fitness and motivation level at the end of next year will decide whether he actually manages a place in the squad.
The 35-year-old will become the first cricketer in the world to complete 100 games across three international formats when he steps out for the first Test against India at Basin Reserve on February 21.
"I haven't ruled it (2023 World Cup) out but I still think it's a long way away. First and foremost I want to get to next year - the Twenty20 World Cup and then the home summer - and then I'll have a good idea on how I'm placed at the end of next summer," Taylor was quoted as saying by 'stuff.co.nz'.
"Whether there is still a drive, whether I'm good enough, whether I'm fit enough, and whether I deserve my spot in the side. If I can tick all those, then definitely 2023 is an option," Taylor added.
Taylor will be joining Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, and Brendon McCullum in the New Zealand Test 100-club and he credited his mentor the late Martin Crowe for motivating him.
Pakistan Super League (PSL) is all set to begin from 20th February 2020. People are all excited about the tournament as it would be for the first time, since its inception in 2020, that the premier cricket tournament would be held entirely in the tension marred nation.
It has been revealed that this edition of the PSL will carry total prize money of $1 million. The champions of the tournament will collect a cheque of $500K, while the losing finalist will receive a cheque of $200K.
The prize money ($500,000) of the champion side is almost six times less than the Indian Premier League (IPL)’s 2019 winning side prize money of $2.8 million.
In addition to the above, there will be a number of other cash awards, including $4,500 each to all the 34 players of the matches. Furthermore, $80K will be equally distributed to players of the tournament, best batsman, best bowler and spirit of the cricket award winner.
The remaining amount will be distributed for other match-related awards like best catch, best run-out, and most sixes.
The six-team tournament will be held across four venues with Karachi staging nine, Lahore 14, Rawalpindi eight and Multan three games.
Former India cricketer, Rahul Dravid’s son Samit Dravid has hit yet another double century in an age-group Zonal tournament in Karnataka. Samit, who is just 14-year old, has smashed the second double-century in less than two months.
Samit scored the latest double century batting for Mallya Aditi International School in the BTR Shield Under-14 Group I, Division II. The young batsman played an innings of 211* runs with the help of 27 boundaries. Riding on Samit’s fine double century, Mallya Aditi International School put on a big total of 386/3. The opposition could only score 254/3 and in turn, Samit’s team won the game by 132 runs.
Earlier, Samit had scored a fine double ton in December while playing for Vice-President’s XI against Dharwad Zone in an Under-14 inter-zonal tournament. His 201-run knock came off 256 balls and was studded with 22 boundaries.
Soon after retiring, he took up coaching. Dravid was appointed as the coach of India A and U19 team’s head coach in 2015. Under him, India U19 made it to the final of the ICC U19 World Cup in 2016. In 2018, he led the U19 team to the World Cup trophy. After the end of his contract, Dravid took over as Director (Cricket) of the National Cricket Academy.
New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult is fit and raring to get going for the Blackcaps in the first Test against India. Boult has said that he takes pride in picking up wickets of batsmen like Virat Kohli.
“That’s personally why I play the game, to get guys like that (Kohli) out and test myself against them, so I can’t wait to get stuck in. But he’s an exceptional player. Everyone knows how great he is,” Boult said ahead of the red-ball fixture.
The left-arm pacer also said that he is excited to hit the pitch, which he reckons is going to be a good one and would have something for both bowlers and batsmen as well.
“I’m preparing for a solid wicket. It generally is very good here and goes the full distance (five days). I do enjoy playing here, the history that’s involved, and it’s going to be an exciting week building up. I can’t wait to get out there,” the southpaw said.
Boult’s last international appearance was against Australia in the Boxing Day Test last year. The injury forced the 30-year-old to miss the limited-overs series against Kohli’s side.
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