Cricket Sport

Team India’s ODI Blues continue as players retain ‘T20 Mode’

Lack of bowling options to back up the regular bowlers and inability to switch to the ODI format quickly enough has already plunged India to a series defeat against Australia with one match still left to be played.

India, trailing 0-2 after conceding record totals to Australia in both the ODIs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, have now lost five ODIs in a row. Prior to this they had lost three in New Zealand in February before Covid-19 pandemic halted international cricket.

The two losses in Sydney have, however, have revealed the massive difference between the Australians and Indians when it comes to adapting to the 50-over format from T20 cricket they have played over the last two months.

Skipper Virat Kohli said after the loss in the first ODI that the players hadn’t got out of the T20 mode yet.

“We have been playing T20 cricket. Probably that’s something that can have an effect. Body language wasn’t great after around 25 overs,” he had said. His obvious reference was to the fielding lapses his teammates made, dropping catches and leaking runs in the first game.

But another example of their inability to adapt came during Sunday’s game when team vice-captain KL Rahul, who made 76, failed to rotate the strike regularly. During his 66-ball stay, the wicketkeeper-batsman played 44 per cent of the deliveries as dots i.e. without scoring even a single run off them.

In the Indian Premier League, the focus had been on hitting fours and sixes, and on that count he excelled on Sunday, hitting 46 off nine deliveries with the help of four 4s and five 6s. But his remaining 30 runs took 57 balls and that was caused mainly because of the 29 dot deliveries he faced.

Though David Warner, who too played the full IPL season for SunRisers Hyderabad, also played out well over 45 per cent of his deliveries as dots but as against Rahul who had come in the middle-overs with a target in sight, the Australian had walked in as an opener and was responsible for providing a platform to other batters.

A better comparison would be with Steve Smith, who too batted in the middle overs for Australia but played only 23 per cent of his deliveries as dots in comparison to Rahul’s 44 per cent. He made a 64-ball 104 in the second ODI which Australia won by 51 runs.

India’s other problem had been their inability to take wickets early on, especially in the power-play as Australians managed to get off to a good start on both occasions.

Jasprit Bumrah, who was phenomenal in IPL 2020, conceded runs at 7.3 and 7.9 in the two matches. He also failed to get early wickets finishing with just one each in the two games.

India’s biggest concern, however, has been the lack of an all-round option that could act as back-up to regular bowlers. The visitors tried a semi-fit Hardik Pandya for four overs on Sunday and he did well but if they have to come back to win in Wednesday’s match, they may have to make him bowl more overs. Since he is not game-ready to bowl, it may be hard and risky for him.

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was India’s match-winning spinner in ODIs till recently, conceded 160 runs in 20 overs he has bowled, picking just one wicket. They may now have to turn to Kuldeep Yadav, who hasn’t played too many games in recent times.

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Cricket Sport

Ind, Aus players take part in ‘barefoot circle’ against racism

Players of both Australia and India cricket teams on Friday paid tribute to Australia’s indigenous people by taking part in a ‘barefoot circle’ ceremony before the start of the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

“Players from both teams paid tribute to Australia’s indigenous people in a Barefoot Circle ceremony before the start of play,” ICC tweeted along with the pictures of the ceremony.

While many teams across the globe have taken a knee before games in their fight against racism, the Australian cricket team will participate in barefoot circle ceremonies before all international matches this summer.

“The barefoot circle is a cricket centric way for players and teams to take a moment prior to matches to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, connect to each other as opponents and pay respect to the country,” Cricket Australia says.

“This is done barefoot as a way to connect to country, but also a moment to reflect that we are all common ground, we are all human beings and we need to stand strong with each other, for each other,” it adds.

This series is the first time India are competing for points in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, which will determine qualification for the 2023 World Cup.

Ten points are awarded for a win and Australia already has 20 points from their 2-1 series win over England.

Friday’s match is taking place on the anniversary of the death of former Australia cricketer Phillip Hughes. Hughes was fatally struck by a bouncer during the Sheffield Shield at the same ground six years ago.

Also Read: Dhoni, Kohli, Mithali among ICC Player of the Decade nominees

Cricket Sport

New Zealand’s Greg Barclay is the new ICC Chairman

Greg Barclay, an Auckland-based commercial lawyer and director of New Zealand Cricket (NZC) since 2012, has been elected as the new chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“It is an honour to be elected as the chair of the International Cricket Council and I would like to thank my fellow ICC Directors for their support. I hope we can come together to lead the sport and emerge from the global pandemic in a strong position and poised for growth,” said Barclay as per an ICC media release.

Barclay, who is currently NZC’s representative on the board of the ICC, succeeds Shashank Manohar who stepped down earlier this year. He will step down from his position at NZC to replace Imran Khawaja at the helm, who had stepped in as the interim chairman when Manohar’s two-year term ended in July this year.

Barclay was a director of 2015 World Cup and is a former board member and chairman of the Northern Districts Cricket Association. He is also an experienced company director holding board positions with various New Zealand and Australian companies.

“I look forward to working in partnership with our Members to strengthen the game in our core markets as well as grow it beyond that ensuring more of the world can enjoy cricket. I take my position as a custodian of the game very seriously and am committed to working on behalf of all 104 ICC Members to create a sustainable future for our sport,” said Barclay.

“I’d like to thank Imran Khwaja for his leadership as acting ICC Chair during a difficult period for the game and I look forward to continuing a close working relationship with him in the future,” he added.

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Cricket Sport

Dhoni, Kohli, Mithali among ICC Player of the Decade nominees

India skipper Virat Kohli, former captain MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and ace off-spinner R Ashwin were on Tuesday nominated for the International Cricket Councils (ICC) Mens Player of the Decade award. Indian women nominees include skipper Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami.

Apart from Kohli and Ashwin, Joe Root (of England), Steve Smith (Australia), AB de Villiers (South Africa), Kane Williamson (New Zealand) and Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) were also nominated for this accolade.

Virat Kohli

Among other awards, the following are the nominees:

Men’s Test Player of the Decade
Kohli, Root, Williamson, Smith, James Anderson (England), Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) and Yasir Shah (Pakistan).

Men’s ODI Player of the Decade
Kohli, Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Mitchell Starc (Australia), de Villiers, Rohit Sharma (India), MS Dhoni (India) and Sangakkara.

Men’s T20I Player of the Decade
Kohli, Rohit, Malinga, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Imran Tahir (South Africa), Aaron Finch (Australia), and Chris Gayle (West Indies).

Women’s Player of the Decade
Ellyse Perry (Australia), Meg Lanning (Australia), Suzie Bates (New Zealand), Stafanie Taylor (West Indies), Mithali Raj (India) and Sarah Taylor (England).

Women’s ODI Player of the Decade
Raj, Lanning, Perry, Raj, Bates, Stafanie Taylor, and Jhulan Goswami.

Women’s T20I Player of the Decade
Lanning, Perry, Sophie Devine, Deandra Dottin, Alyssa Healy and Anya Shrubsole.

Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade
Kohli, Dhoni, Williamson, Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan), Anya Shrubsole (England), Katherine Brunt (England), Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) and Daniel Vettori (New Zealand).

The full list of nominations was announced on Tuesday on the official website of ICC and the winners will be decided on the basis of the number of votes a player receives.

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Cricket Sport

Ishant, Rohit to miss first two tests: Report

Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma have been reportedly ruled out of the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia slated to begin from December 17 in Adelaide.

ESPNcricinfo confirmed the development and stated the hopes of both the players to take part in the last two Tests hinges on “swift and decisive action” from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

To be in contention for the third Test which begins January 7 next year in Sydney, Ishant, who has regained bowling fitness, will have to board a plane almost immediately, the report further said.

“If there is a T20 game and he needs to just bowl four overs, Ishant is good to go immediately, but for him to get back to Test-match fitness, he needs four weeks of proper bowling still,” a BCCI source was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Rohit, on the other hand, is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) recovering a hamstring injury he suffered during the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

However, according to the report, the batsman is understood to be a while away from full fitness. He can be cleared travel only in the second week of December and will need two weeks of further rehabilitation after which a final assessment can be made.

According to a BCCI functionary, the 32-year-old would have had a better chance of featuring in the Test series had he flown directly to Australia with the other squad members after taking part in the IPL in the United Arab Emirates, the report further stated.

Indian cricketers Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma during a practice session (File Photo)

Even if Rohit flies out on the earliest possible date, which is December 8, he would have to undergo a two-week quarantine, which will keep him out of training until at least December 22, the report said.

Earlier, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri had on Sunday said that Rohit and Ishant will have to be on the flight to Australia in the “next four or five days” if they are to take part in the Test series.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nick Hockley confirmed on Tuesday said that the Adelaide Test between Australia and India will go on as per schedule.

“You are aware that there was a small, contained cluster of Covid cases last week. We have been working very closely with the South Australian government and at this stage we have been given assurances that it has been contained,” Hockley said in response to a question by IANS during an interaction with Indian media.

“The lockdown that they were under finished last Saturday. So at this stage all assistance go for the Adelaide Test. We are confident that it will go ahead as scheduled,” he added.

There had been doubts over the first Test — a pink-ball fixture — as coronavirus outbreak in South Australia led to suggestions that the December 17-21 match at the Adelaide Oval, the only Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which Virat Kohli will play before returning to India for the birth of his child, be shifted to the latter half of the series.

Before the Test series, Australia and India are scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is beginning Friday.

Also Read: Kohli’s absence an opportunity for youngsters: Ravi Shastri

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Cricket Sport

Kohli’s absence an opportunity for youngsters: Ravi Shastri

Captain Virat Kohli will be missed after India’s first Test against Australia in their upcoming tour Down Under but it is also an opportunity for younger players in the team, according to head coach Ravi Shastri.

Kohli will be playing in the series-opening pink ball Test at the Adelaide Oval starting December 17 but will return to India after that for the birth of his first child.

“I think it’s the right decision he’s taking,” Shastri said on ABC Sport. “These moments don’t come time and time again. He has the opportunity, he’s going back, and I think he’ll be happier for that.”

“If you see where India have gone in the last five-six years, there’s no doubt in absolutely anyone’s mind that he’s the driving force and the man behind it (India’s success). So he obviously would be missed. But like I say, in adversity comes opportunity. There are lot of young guys in the side and it’s an opportunity for them.”

Shastri also said that Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma will have to be on the flight to Australia in the “next four or five days” if they are to take part in the Test series against Australia.

Rohit is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) recovering a hamstring injury and will be missing the limited overs leg of India’s tour of Australia which begins on November 27.

“He’s (Rohit) going through some tests at the NCA and they’re obviously going to decide [for] how long he needs to take a break,” Shastri said, speaking to ABC Sport.

“But things could get difficult if he’s asked to wait for too long, [because] then you’re talking of the quarantine again, which might make it really tough for even him to come just in time for the Test series.”

Shastri said that Rohit was never considered for the limited overs leg, which includes three ODIs and three T20Is before the first Test which will start on December 17 in Adelaide. A 14-day quarantine is the current norm in Australia amid Covid-19 and India are also expected to play a three-day warm-up match on December 11.

“He was never going to play the white-ball series, they were just looking to see how long he needed the rest, because you can’t afford to be resting for too long,” Shastri said. “If you need to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket, you’ve got to be on the flight in the next three or four days. If you aren’t, then it’s going to be tough.”

“It’s a similar case to Rohit,” Shastri said of Ishant. “You don’t really know how quickly he’ll be available to fly out. Like I said, if anyone has to play in the Test series, he has to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Otherwise, it’s very difficult.”

Also Read: Kohli’s absence will create a big hole: Ian Chappel

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Cricket Sport

Kohli’s absence will create a big hole: Ian Chappel

Virat Kohli’s absence for the final three Test of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy will “create a big hole” in the Indian batting order, believes former Australia captain Ian Chappell.

Kohli will be returning to India after the first Test against Australia — a day-night fixture currently slated to be played at the Adelaide Oval from December 17 — to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the delivery of their first child. However, he will be part of the limited-overs leg of the tour — three ODIs and three T20Is — beginning November 27.

“India also face a selection dilemma when skipper Virat Kohli departs for home for the birth of his first child following the opening Test. This creates both a big hole in the Indian batting order and an opportunity for one of their talented young players to make a name for himself,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Chappell as saying.

“What was already shaping up as an exciting tussle now has the added stimulus of crucial selection decisions. The result could well come down to who is the bravest set of selectors,” he added.

Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, however, believes missing the last three Tests will not take motivation away from Kohli.

“Don’t worry about Virat. He is up for every single game he is playing. Maybe, there will be extra motivation. I am sure he will be ready to go. As I said he is getting home for the birth of his child which is the right decision, so I am sure he will be extra motivated,” Stoinis said on Saturday.

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Cricket Sport

Tendulkar’s 98 against Pak one of the best: Inzamam

Inzamam-ul-Haq believes Sachin Tendulkar’s 98-run knock against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup was one of the “best innings” played by the former Indian batsman during his stellar career.

In the group-stage match played on March 1, 2003 at Centurion in South Africa, the Pakistan team failed to defend a target of 274. India rode on Tendulkar’s 98 to chase down the target with more than four overs to spare.

“I have seen Sachin play a lot but the way he batted in that match; I have never seen him play like that before. The way he played against our fast bowlers in those conditions was superb. I think he scored 98 before getting out to Shoaib Akhtar,” Inzamam told India offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube show ‘DRS with Ash’.

Former Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq

“I feel that innings of Sachin was one of his best. He broke all the pressure that existed. He played a top-quality innings against genuine quality fast bowlers like ours. The way he hit those boundaries, the pressure got released on the batsmen who came after him. If someone were to ask Sachin, he too would absolutely love that innings of his,” he added.

Inzamam also said Pakistan were confident about winning that game after scoring 273 as they had a very good bowling line-up consisting of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Akhtar.

“Our bowling line-up consisted of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar and the conditions were favouring the fast bowlers. The match was being played at Centurion in South Africa. So we felt that we had put up a pretty good score,” said Inzamam.

Earlier, Akhtar had said that the 2003 World Cup loss against India was the “most disappointing match” of his entire career.

“The most disappointing match for me in my entire career was the 2003 World Cup match against India at Centurion. We had failed to defend a target of 274 despite having a very good bowling line-up,” Akhtar had earlier said.

In his stellar career that spanned over two decades, Tendulkar scored 100 centuries across Tests and ODIs — a record that still stands. In 463 ODIs, Tendulkar scored 18,426 runs, including 49 tons, and in Tests, he tallied 15,921, including 51 centuries. In his lone T20I appearance which came against South Africa in 2006, he scored 10 runs.

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Cricket Sport

Pacer Mohammed Siraj sticks to duty even at father’s demise

India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj’s father passed away on Friday as the player is currently on tour of Australia with the Indian team. However, the pacer has decided to stay with the team though the BCCI gave him an option of flying back home.

“India fast bowler lost his father on Friday after a brief illness. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had a discussion with Siraj and he was offered the option of flying back and be with his family in this hour of grief,” the Board said in a statement.

“The fast bowler has decided to stay with the Indian contingent and continue performing his national duties. The BCCI shares his grief and will be supportive of Siraj in this extremely challenging phase,” the statement added.

Earlier, BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly offered condolences on Twitter.

“May Mohammed Siraj have a lot of strength to overcome this loss..lots of good wishes for his success in this trip.. tremendous character @bcci,” he tweeted on Saturday.

His Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) too offered condolences.

“Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to Mohammed Siraj and his family, on the loss of his father. The entire RCB family is with you during this difficult time. Stay strong, Miyan,” tweeted the official handle of RCB.

Mohammed Siraj with his father.

Siraj is part of India’s Test squad and is in the Sydney quarantine hub.

Although the 26-year-old has played in ODIs (1) and T20Is (3), this has been his maiden entry into the Test squad.

Siraj had been among the wickets in first-class cricket at home, leading his team Hyderabad’s pace attack in Ranji Trophy and also featuring with wickets for India A.

He took an eight-wicket haul against Australia A in Bengaluru in 2018 to come into national contention. The haul, a record for India A, followed a few fifers and four-wicket hauls against South Africa A and West Indies A that year. He also performed against England Lions.

His bowling spell against Kolkata Knight Riders last month, when he bowled two maiden overs, and picked three wickets in the powerplay got him further accolades.

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Cricket Sport

‘Kohli’s Absence Will Put Pressure On Other Players’

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes India’s best side for the first Test of the upcoming four-match series is far from settled and skipper Virat Kohli’s departure during the series will add further uncertainty around the make-up of their side.

India, who are the current holders of Border-Gavaskar Trophy, will be without Kohli for the final three Tests as he will return to India to be with his wife Anushka Sharma who is expecting their first child.

Ponting says that with the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, who were not part of the 2018-19 series, the hosts will be a tougher nut to crack this time around for the Indian team.

“The one thing we haven’t spoken enough about is yes India were really good here last time, but with those guys (Smith and Warner) missing at the top of the order, that leaves a big gap in any team,” Ponting told

“India will feel that without Kohli there (for three Tests), for his batting and leadership, that will put all sorts of pressure on different players. You’d think (Ajinkya) Rahane will take over the captaincy, which will put extra pressure on him, and they’ve got to find someone to bat at that really important No.4 spot,” he added.

Virat Kohli

According to the former Australia skipper, once Kohli goes, India will not be “clear in their own mind” with their batting order even for the first Test – a day-night fixture slated to be played at the Adelaide Oval from December 17.

“I don’t think they’ll be clear in their own mind, even now, what their batting order will look like for the first Test. Who’s going to open, who’ll bat at four when Kohli goes?” said Ponting.

“(Fast bowlers Mohammad) Shami, Jasprit Bumrah – will it be Ishant (Sharma), with it be Umesh Yadav, will it be a young guy like (Navdeep) Saini or (Mohammad) Siraj? The questions that are being asked around Australia with (Will) Pucovski and (Cameron) Green, I think India have got a few more questions to answer,” he added.

Meanwhile, he believes the Australian team management should stick with Joe Burns as David Warner’s opener for the Adelaide Test.

Ponting has also warned against making changes to a Test side that’s riding a five-match winning streak and is currently placed at the number one spot, despite not having played since early January.

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