"What a comeback": Sachin is in awe of Steve Smith

Harshit Anand Updated: 6 August, 2019, 11:00 PM IST


Steven Smith, who had a good but not an excellent 2019 World Cup made a blistering comeback to the format he loves the most that is Test cricket. He is the king in red-ball cricket and made 144 and 142 in the Edgbaston Test in some trying conditions against England, which Australia won after struggling greatly on day one of the Ashes series opener.

Former Indian cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar has hailed Smith's comeback to Tests and congratulated him on his wonderful innings.

Sachin tweeted, "Well played Smith. What a way to make a comeback to Test cricket. Terrific bowling by @NathLyon421. Congratulations to Australia for winning the first Test match.#Ashes

Steven Smith has a stellar record in Tests. The former Australian captain has so far played 65 Tests and scored 6,485 runs at an average of 62.96 and has 25 Test centuries. He is the second-fastest batsman to 25 Test centuries in terms of innings after Sir Don Bradman.

Australia have got off to a great start in the five-Test Ashes series. They have got a lead of 1-0 and winning against England at Edgbaston is nothing less than phenomenal.

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News Tennis

Thiem beats Djokovic in 3-set epic to advance at ATP Finals

AP Updated: 13 November, 2019, 10:46 AM IST


Dominic Thiem landed one too many punches even for Novak Djokovic to handle.

In a seesawing crowd pleaser that lasted nearly three hours and featured a handful of momentum shifts in the third set, Thiem outlasted Djokovic 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5) to become the first player to advance from the group stage at the ATP Finals.

"It was maybe the best match I ever played," said Thiem, a two-time French Open runner-up. "It was a real classic and epic match which will happen from time to time at these big tournaments. It had everything — He was up; I was up. He was playing amazing points. Me, I was playing amazing points."

Djokovic twice rallied from a break down in the third set and led 4-1 in the tiebreaker, but Thiem then won five straight points — taking his total number of winners to 50 for the match — before converting his second match point.

"I don't think I have experienced too many matches like this where my opponent just goes for every single shot," Djokovic said. "I mean, he was unbelievable."

The result leaves Djokovic facing a winner-takes-all match against Roger Federer - in a highly anticipated rematch of this year's Wimbledon final - to decide who will join Thiem in the semifinals.

Federer beat Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (2), 6-3, which means he and Djokovic both have 1-1 records before meeting in their last round-robin match.

Thiem is 2-0 after wins over Federer and Djokovic, and Berrettini is out of contention at 0-2.

News Football

Salah to miss two Cup of Nations qualifiers

AP Updated: 13 November, 2019, 10:45 AM IST


Egypt's soccer federation says Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will miss two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Salah has an ankle injury and was ruled out of the Egyptian squad for games against Kenya on Thursday and Comoros on Monday.

The federation's statement says Egypt coach Hossam el-Badry met with Salah, who stressed his commitment to play for the Pharaohs. That's despite occasionally strained relations with the federation that go back to the World Cup in Russia last year.

Salah watched his teammates train near Alexandria on Tuesday with the federation tweeting a photo of Salah wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

The 27-year-old Salah has struggled with a nagging ankle injury the last month. He started and scored in Premier League leader Liverpool's 3-1 win over defending champion Manchester City on Sunday, coming off in the 87th minute.

Egypt is in Group G, which also includes Togo.

News Cricket

Katy Perry to perform at World T20 final on Women's Day

AP Updated: 13 November, 2019, 10:26 AM IST


Katy Perry will perform before and after the Women's Twenty20 World Cup cricket final on International Women's Day as organizers bid to set a world record for attendance.

Perry will perform March 8 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in what is tipped to be the biggest women's cricket match ever.

The tournament starts Feb. 21 in Sydney with defending champion Australia against India and will conclude under lights at the historic MCG

The International Cricket Council says local organizers are aiming to break the world record of 90,185 for a crowd at a women's sports event, set during the 1999 FIFA World Cup final at Pasadena, Calif.

"The final ... presents a ground breaking opportunity to set a world record for attendance at a women's sporting fixture on the day when equality and women's achievements are celebrated globally," the ICC said in a statement Wednesday.

Perry, who is India this week, said in a statement: "I'm all about celebrating equality and the achievements of women, which naturally happens on a global scale on International Women's Day. It's no coincidence that I said yes to performing live at the women's final on this day."

News Cricket

Watch - Virat Kohli plays gully cricket with kids ahead of first Test against Bangladesh

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 9:40 PM IST


The first Test match of the series between India and Bangladesh will be played in Indore. Ahead of the main action on the field, Virat Kohli, who is returning after a much needed break in Bhutan, played gully cricket with kids at the Shreeji Valley Bicholi.

The first Test match of the series between India and Bangladesh will be played in Indore. Ahead of the main action on the field, Virat Kohli, who is returning after a much needed break in Bhutan, played gully cricket with kids at the Shreeji Valley Bicholi.

The team arrived in Indore on Monday and the skipper was the first batsman to face the pink ball. While he miss a couple of deliveries, it didn't impact his trademark cover drive.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane also batted against the pink ball. They applied a cautious approach and defended most of the balls. The number one Test team has won five consecutive Test matches in the ongoing World Test Championship.

Virat Kohli-led team is leading the points table in the championship. New Zealand and Sri Lanka are second and third in the points tally.

News Cricket

Naseem Shah’s mother passes away but he will not return home from Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 9:37 PM IST


Pakistan's young pace sensation Naseem Shah, who is a part of touring team to Australia, was given a big blow when he was informed about the demise of his mother on Monday night.

According to sources quoted by GEO News, the 16-year old player has decided to stay with the national team in Australia due to various factors.

Naseem took the decision after speaking to his family, who urged him to remain with his national team considering long distance and time constraints.

To mourn the passing away of Shah's mother, players from both sides donned black armbands on day two of their tour match. The young lad is part of the playing XI against Australia A, but didn't bat in Pakistan's first innings. He also didn't came out to field when the Australia started its innings.

News Cricket

Deepak Chahar takes second hat-trick in three days

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 5:19 PM IST


Deepak Chahar, who was phenomenal in the last T20 against Bangladesh, has claimed his second hat-trick in three days. After dismissing three Bangladeshi batters on three consecutive deliveries, he delivered once again. The Indian pacer dismissed four Vidarbha batsmen in his final over with three of them losing their wickets on the last three deliveries. He first dismissed Rushabh Rathod and then got the better of Darshan Nalkande, Shrikant Wagh and Akshay Wadkar.

He finished with figures of 3/18 in 3 overs. Aniket Choudhary, Khaleel Ahmed, Chandrapal Singh and Mahipal Lomror took one wicket each for Rajasthan.

Earlier, Deepak Chahar took six wickets for seven runs on Sunday to record the best-ever bowling figures in a Twenty20 international cricket match as India won a closely fought series against Bangladesh 2-1.

Chahar's figures overtook Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis' 6-8 against Zimbabwe in 2012. Chahar also overtook teammate Yuzvendra Chahal's 6-25 as the best T20I performance by an Indian bowler.

News Cricket

Shoaib Akhtar compares current Indian team with Pakistan of 90s

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 4:27 PM IST


The conditions in the third T20I between India and Bangladesh were not in favour of the hosts because of dew in the second innings. After picking up two early wickets, the home bowlers were blasted by the rival batters. However, timely introduction of Deepak Chahar and crucial breakthroughs provided by Shivam Dube turned the tide in India's favour. The gutsy performance by India has impressed Shoaib Akhtar, who has compared the current lot with Pakistan's team of 90s. The former pacer was impressed with the way Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar performed in crucial time.

"India proved who is the boss in the match, they lost the first match against Bangladesh, but then when Rohit Sharma returned in second T20I to play a long innings, he's a great talent, can score any time," Shoaib Akhtar said on his latest YouTube video.

"In the third T20I we expected it to be a good contest, though it was one, India came out as a much better side and hat's off to Bangladesh

"Bangladesh is a team to beat by the way, they are no ordinary side, this is not the same Bangladesh side which played 20 years ago. This is a side who will be challenging to you," Akhtar added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli-led team to go through special session to counter pink ball threat

Tarun Singh Updated: 12 November, 2019, 4:11 PM IST


Finally, after the advocacy of BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly, Virat Kohli-led Team India will play their maiden day-night Test against Bangladesh at the historic Eden Gardens from November 22.

As India have never played Test with a pink ball under the lights, it will be challenging for the players to keep eyes focused on the pink ball.

To ensure that the players are trained enough to play the day-night Test, the team management has asked the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) to organize the training for the ‘Men in Blue’.

The Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane was excited to face the new challenge, but also feels the need to train before facing the day-night Test against Bangladesh.

The right-hand batsman said, “I am very excited personally. It is a new challenge. I don't know how it will turn out but we will get an idea when we have a couple of practice sessions. Only then we will get an idea of how much the pink ball swings and how it works session wise. Fans perspective wise also it will be interesting. I think as a batsman lateral movement will be there and it will be best if you play late, that is my personal idea. Adapting shouldn't be a problem.”

Meanwhile, the former MPCA secretary Milind Kanmadikar has given the thumbs up to facilitate the training in Indore for Virat Kohli and boys to adapt to the pink ball under the lights.

Milind said, "We got a request from the Indian team that they want to train under lights with an eye on the pink ball Test, so we are going to arrange for the same.”

News Cricket

Shane Watson to head Australian Cricketers' Association

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 3:38 PM IST


Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will lead the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) as its new President. He is a part of extended 10-person board, which includes three new appointees: Pat Cummins, Kristen Beams and Lisa Sthalekar.

"I am truly honoured to be elected as the President of the ACA as it evolves into the future. I have big shoes to fill with the people who have gone before me and I am super excited about this opportunity to continue to give back to the game that has given me so much," Watson tweeted following his appointment.

He praised Cricket Australia for its policy on women cricketers.

"This policy, amid a host of other changes, assures Australian women that cricket is a sport which can now support you and your family. And for girls coming through who love sport, like my daughter, it says that cricket is a sport where you'll be able to have a career."

News Cricket

Manish Pandey shows why Virat Kohli should play him in every ODI and T20I game

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 3:34 PM IST


Manish Pandey was in exceptional form against Services in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The Karnataka based batsman scored a sensational hundred, which will help him in cementing his place in the national team. The right hand batsman was a part of the T20 series against Bangladesh and scored a well-made 22 runs off 13 balls in the final decider.

He hit an unbeaten 129 from just 54 balls. His innings was laced with 12 fours and 10 sixes as Karnataka scored a massive total of 250 for 3 in the allotted 20 overs. Manish Pandey shared a stand of 167 runs for the second wicket with Devdutt Padikkal.

He has been in splendid form in the ongoing season. Manish led Karnataka to the Vijay Hazare Trophy title and finished the tournament as the fifth highest run-scorer.

He accumulated 525 runs at an average of 105. The runs were scored at a strike rate of 108.02 and went on to slam 22 sixes.

News Cricket

Guru Nanak Jayanti: Virat Kohli extends wishes on the occasion of Gurpurab

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 3:02 PM IST


The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli took to twitter to extend his wishes on the auspicious occasion of Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab. He took to Twitter to post a video in which he can be seen wishing his fans on the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.

"A big hello to everyone. Want to wish everyone a very happy Gurpurab. May Wahe Guru Ji bring peace and happiness into your lives and bless all of you," Virat Kohli said in the video.

Virat Kohli was rested from the T20I series against Bangladesh and Rohit led India in his absence. The 31-year old will return to lead India in the two-match Test series against Bangladesh starting from November 14.

News Cricket

Will R Ashwin ever head back to Chennai Super Kings? Here’s what he said

Staff Writer Updated: 12 November, 2019, 2:42 PM IST


R Ashwin has moved to Delhi Capitals after his association with Kings XI Punjab ended on an abrupt note. He was expected to leave but Kumble's arrival as Kings' head coach somewhat stalled his move. However, the management decided to go ahead with their decision after convincing Kumble. Ashwin had the best time of his life with Chennai Super Kings, where he played a key role in title winning campaigns. The off-spinner was not retained ahead of the new season in 2018 and was allowed to go to Kings XI Punjab for 7.6 crores.

During a recent Twitter chat with fans, he was asked whether he plans to return to Chennai Super Kings. He said, “Not my choice really.”

Ashwin is looking forward to his new innings with Delhi Capitals. The 33-year old has not played limited-overs cricket since 2017 and will be eager to prove himself before the next T20 World Cup in 2020.

Meanwhile, the next IPL auction will be held in December and for the first time in Kolkata.

News Cricket

‘Bindaas daal, kuch soch mat’: Shivam Dube credits Rohit for his heroics in Nagpur

Tarun Singh Updated: 12 November, 2019, 1:56 PM IST


After failing in the first two T20I matches, the all-rounder Shivam Dube impressed everyone by snapping three crucial wickets in the series-decider against Bangladesh.

After India clinched the series 2-1 against Bangladesh, Dube was asked, what did Rohit Sharma tell him before the match?

The Mumbai all-rounder Dube, who made his debut in T20 internationals in this series said that India stand-in skipper Rohit did not put him under any pressure. Rohit told him to play his natural game without over-thinking as the skipper will back him unconditionally.

“Rohit bhai told me to be ready to bowl all four overs in one of the coming games. So mentally I was ready. Rohit bhai came and said, bindaas daal, kuchh soch mat (Don’t overthink, bowl freely), I’m there to back you. Just bowl to your strength.”

Disappointed with his batting contribution of 1 and 9, the 26-year-old is looking forward to improving the numbers as he is well-known for his blazing batting in List-A matches.

“The series has gone well, this time I did well with my bowling, and next I am hoping to do well with the bat,” said Dube.

The left-handed Dube has an impressive batting average of 73.2 with a strike rate of 137.07 in List A matches.

After his heroics in Nagpur, Dube also thanked support staff and head coach Ravi Shastri for giving him the confidence to handle the pressure of playing international matches.

Opinion Cricket

Why India need Dinesh Karthik the finisher and not MS Dhoni in T20Is

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 November, 2019, 1:46 PM IST


India registered a magnificent T20I series win over Bangladesh in Nagpur. After being 0-1 down in the series, it was a great effort from India to bounce back strongly and win the series 2-1. But, unfortunately for the team it was another series where Rishabh Pant, who is supposed to be India's next big finisher after MS Dhoni, failed to live up to the billing.

There are a lot of expectations from Rishabh Pant not only because he is replacing Dhoni but also because he a gun young player, who seems to have a big future ahead of him. But, so far, it hasn't materialized at the top-level. After 23 T20Is, the dashing southpaw has just 358 runs at a below-par average of 19.88. His strike-rate has been a disappointing 118.15. Pant has crossed the 30-run-mark on just four occasions out of 21 innings.

There were high hopes pinned on Krunal Pandya to replicate his Midas finishing touch, which he has shown for Mumbai Indians in T20Is for the Men in Blue but he has failed to unleash his potential. Shivam Dube, who has a reputation of big hitting has been picked in the side but he would also need time to get himself accustomed to the highest-level. So, it would be unfair to expect a lot from him so soon.

India's brittle middle-lower-order has given rise to demands of MS Dhoni's comeback in the side. But, everyone is overlooking a great option in Dinesh Karthik, who is a tried and tested finisher when it comes to T20I cricket. It is surprising how quickly people have forgotten Karthik, after he failed in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Notably, Dinesh Karthik averages 33.25 and has a strike-rate of 143.52 in T20 internationals, which shows how well he has performed in what little he has played in the shortest format. Be it IPL or for India, DK has nailed the finisher's role. Unlike ODIs, where Karthik struggles to build an innings, in T20Is, he just has to hit the ball all around the park, a role, which he has perfected in last two-three years.

Unlike a lot of Indian finishers at present, the 34-year old doesn't lack batting prowess against high-end pace bowling. He has a mix of orthodox and unorthodox shots in his arsenal. The right-hander knows how to use the pace of the bowlers to find gaps in the field, a skill that will be indispensable on the big Australian grounds cometh the 2020 T20 World Cup, where not just brawn but quick thinking will come to a batsman's rescue.

In the first three games of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, DK has been in great form and has scores of 61, 48, and 33. His T20I omission, on the basis of his World Cup performance, isn't justified at all.

As far as MS Dhoni is concerned, it doesn't look like he will be part of India's T20 World Cup squad. And it doesn't even make sense to go back to him given he has lost his magical touch as a finisher, of late. In any case, the veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman has never been a great performer in T20 internationals and his career strike-rate of 126.13 will bear a testimony to that.

At present time, Dinesh Karthik looks like a perfect finisher given needs and demands of the team. He can play as wicket-keeper batsman but can even walk in the team as a specialist finisher. And he is a seasoned campaigner, so it will not be any experiment and one can expect him to come out and start performing with all guns blazing in the format, we have seen the best of him.