IPL Auction 2018 – What teams have in their kitties?

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sunrisers Hyderabad has retained their captain David Warner. The team has been selected very carefully according to all possible pitches. With Sakib Al Hasan, Manish Pandey, and Hooda the team has a strong middle order. The team has spinners like Nabi and Rashid, who could possibly be put together in the playing XI in case of a turning track. They also have three fast bowlers that is Bhuvaneshwar, Kaul, and Thampi. The team has quite a few good backups such as Pathan and Williamson.

Kolkata Knight Riders

The team did not retain their captain Gautam Gambhir. And, are still to announce the new captain. The team looks decent but they hardly have a backup in case one of their star players are left injured. The batting order of the team looks nice with Narine and Lynn the probable openers like the last season. The real point of worry here will be if the middle order Uthappa, Karthik, and Russell are not able to perform. The bowling line up looks decent.

Delhi Daredevils

The team has retained Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, and Rishab Pant. DD last year had failed to reach the knockout stages and this time have seemed to have banked on the youth. The team seems to have ticked in all departments while selecting players. Gautam Gambhir, who had been leading the KKR for quite a few years now, has returned to his home team. He will lead the team and hopes to make DD a winning side, he said in his recent tweet.

Chennai Super Kings

The Chennai team after returning after two years retained MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja. They went on to exercise the right to match for Dwayne Bravo. They lost Ravichandran Ashwin but got in Harbajan singh who will bring a lot the table. More importantly Harbajan brings in the experience into the team. He has been a part of the squads whenever they have been crowned champions.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 

This time the RCB seems to have done their homework. They did not have a seamers last time. This time, they have got Chris Woakes and Tim Southee. With Virat Kohli, Brandon McCullum, AB de Villiers helming batting line up they retain their destructive batting order. Nathan Coulter-Nile and Colin de Grandhomme being the smart picks for a middle order. The side has never won a title in the history of IPL, let’s see what awaits them this season.

Kings XI Punjab

The team has since the first season has been underperforming. This time the team seems to be a good one with some big names like Yuvraj, Gayle, KL Rahul, and Ravichandran Ashwin. The team boasts of a great batting line up which has the ability to thrash the bowling of the opposition. The tough choice will be to
pick the playing XI and balance out the team. The biggest drawback with this team is that they do not have a wicket-keeper.

Mumbai Indians

The biggest strength of Mumbai Indians is the number of all-rounders they have. Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and JP Duminy. They have relied on Ishan Kisan, former under-19 captain. Overall the team looks strong.

 

Rajasthan Royals

Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat won the highest bids, among international and national players respectively. The middle order seems very strong with Stokes, Short, Binny, and Smith. The Biggest disadvantage for the Royals remains that they are depending a little too much on International players. The only Indian capped players that the team has on their side are Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Jaydev Unadkat. With a restriction on the number of international player in the playing XI, RR will have a hard time deciding their picks.

Image Source- News 18, CricBuzz.com

India beats Pakistan in the Blind Cricket Tournament final

Blind Cricket World Cup: India Beat Arch-Rivals Pakistan
Image Source: Twitter

India retained the Blind Cricket World Cup after beating rival Pakistan by two wickets in the final match played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium  in UAE on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Pakistan scored 308 runs at the loss of eight wickets in 40 overs, after they were sent to bat first by India, who won the toss.

Post the victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the team for their achievement through his twitter handle, “Congratulations to our cricket team for winning the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup! They make the nation proud and inspire every Indian with their game as well as phenomenal attitude. True champions!”

Pakistan made it to the final after defeating Sri Lanka by 156 runs while India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets to book their place in the final. India has remained unbeaten in this tournament. Deepak Malik and Rambir took two wickets for the country, while Sunil Ramesh snapped one. Pakistan reached the 200-run mark in 27 overs after losing five wickets.

ICC CEO David Richardson along with former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani had been invited by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council to witness the final.

Sources: NDTV Sports, Times of India 

Virat Kohli Cricketer of the year, Captain of Test and ODI: ICC Awards

Image Courtesy: Getty Images
Virat Kohli named ICC Test and ODI Team Captain.

Dubai, January 18: Since the past few years Virat Kohli has been the epitome of consistency in every format he engages in. Simply in 65 tests, he has amassed 5,459 runs, and 9,030 runs in ODIs. Upon assuming captaincy across all formats for the Indian cricket team, the Indian team has reached new heights.

Kohli was on Thursday, named the world cricketer of the year. In addition to that, he also bagged the top honor for ODI players in the ICC annual awards announced here.

During the qualification period -from September 21, 2016 to end 2017- Kohli scored  a total of 2,203 runs in tests at an average of 77.80, including eight centuries, whereas he scored 1,818 runs in ODI matches including seven centuries at 82.63, and 299 T20I runs at a strike rate of 153.

He also captained India, who under his leadership, climbed the ladder to the top of the ICC Test rankings.

“It means a lot to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for becoming the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2017 and also the ICC ODI Player of the Year,” Kohli was quoted as saying in an ICC statement.

“I won that back in 2012 also but it’s the first time winning the Garfield Sobers Trophy, and it’s a huge honor for me. It’s probably the biggest of all in world cricket and two Indians getting it back-to-back makes it more special,” he added.

Under Kohli, India has acquired a winning rate of 58.82%, while in ODIs it’s 78.87%. In short, he has emerged as one of the finest leaders in cricket. ICC recognised his achievements and named him as the skipper of both, Test team as well as ODI team of the year. In the recent past, Kohli won the ICC cricketer of the year, and ICC ODI player of the year awards.

Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah in the ODIs, and Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin in the Tests are other Indian players to have featured in the list.

 

Sources: ESPN Cricinfo, News18

 

Different Stories, Same Ending

Image Courtesy: AFP
South Africa beat India in Centurion to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.

It happened once again, only the margin of defeat got wider-from an achievable 72 runs to a yawning 135 runs, the twin defeats not only cost Indian Cricket team a chance to win a series abroad, but also raised questions about the team’s ability to perform outside its comfort zone of home turf. Adding trouble to the woes, it was not the expert pacers Dale Steyn or Van Philander who did the damage but relative newbies like Rbada and Ngidi who ripped apart the much famed Indian batting line up.

Now fans have always enjoyed the dominance of India over Sri Lanka in the repetitive home and away (in Sri Lanka) series, but some of them have always questioned about the ability of likes of Rohit Sharma and Ashwin to prove their mettle abroad. Their doubts just proved to be true.

The consecutive, convincing test defeats handed the second overseas series defeat to captain Kohli besides putting question marks over team selection along with individual performances. Ajinkya Rahane, who has pulled India out of unpleasant situations more than once, was dropped unceremoniously even after Rohit Sharma failed in first test. Cheteswar Pujara, normally a solid middle order player found himself struggling under new conditions, while the openers Vijay, Rahul and Dhawan never looked comfortable against the opposition attack.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took five wickets in first test and faced more balls than any other batsman was dropped for Ishant Sharma, someone who did not had a great time in recent past with the ball. Also, Saha was replaced by Parthiv Patel (due to injury) who let some chances fly past him.Hardik Pandya, dismissed by ridiculous mistake, and was left wanting with his role with bat and ball. Only Kohli managed to avoid a complete whitewash with his innings of 153.

India now have  not won against South Africa, Australia, England or New Zealand since 2014.The fact that India did not arrive early enough in South Africa to play practice matches and get acquainted with the pitches does speak of the confidence of the team, but it is now turning out to be cocky confidence instead of pragmatic confidence. Also, the ability to bowl long spells accurately by Indian seamers seems to have been paled by better performance by their counterparts.

With the troika of Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar gone India seemed to have found able replacement in likes of Kohli, Pujara and Rahane along with having a bench of good seamers and spinners-Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya along with Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav. But the best performance of these people have come at docile, friendly pitches and a big series win overseas still remains a distant dream. For Both captain Kohli and Coach Shastri the third test at Durban will be an acid test.

A win will at least validate their point regarding team selection and tactics, a defeat will once again put the tag of paper tigers abroad on the team. At the moment, the hands of these two men are full-they have to not only select the right team, but to make sure that the boys gather back their self-belief and fulfil their roles with more than expected commitment.

Will apply for Coach next year: Andrew Flintoff

Image Courtesy: Indian Express Archive
Andrew Flintoff has once again entered the ring for the position of the England Cricket team.

London, January 16:  Andrew Flintoff, Former England captain and legendary all-rounder, has tossed his hat in the ring for the position of coach for England’s team. Current coach Trevor Bayliss recently had announced that 2019 would mark his resignation from his duties. Following the former coach’s announcement, Flintoff has proclaimed that he will apply for the position next year.

Speaking on his podcast Flintoff, Savage and The Ping Pong Guy, he said, “I’m talking with my heart, yes (I’ll apply), I want to do it one day … if they want me to do it, I’ll do it.”

This is not a first time that Flintoff will be applying for this position. Earlier, in 2014, when Peter Moores was selected, Flintoff was one of the contenders. “I knew I wouldn’t be better than Peter Moores, so after a half an hour conversation I withdrew, but also said if Moores doesn’t get it, put me back in the hat. I thought you can bang on about it and put players down, or actually do something about it, so I thought that I would have a crack at this, I wrote an email, three weeks past and no reply,” Flintoff said before adding, “I found out the ECB thought it wasn’t me despite me having one email all my life.”

Flintoff also described about how he would specifically emphasize on the mental aspect of the game if given a chance to coach the team rather than laying sole focus on the skills of the game.

“A coach’s job now is to get players feeling the best they can be to perform, as a coach or mentor, that’d be my greatest asset,” he said. In conclusion, he also mentioned that in retrospect, he should have spent additional time on his mental state; he had spent all his time focusing on the physical health and he now realised the significance of focusing on mental health.

Source: The Indian Express, SportsKeeda

 

Watching Virat Kohli bat in South Africa – when TNT meets Dynamite

Image Courtesy: BCCI
After Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli first India captain to score a Test century in South Africa.

Scoring 153 runs out of team total of 307 is no mean feat, especially when you are batting in tablelands of centurion and likes of Rabada and Morkel breathing down your neck. Add on to the pressure of being the captain, wrong team selection and a hostile press back home-not to speak of the Himalayan expectations of the fans.

But, Virat Kohli is no ordinary batsman or a captain or a mortal being. His intensity during his stay at crease is akin a mixture of rage and performance. It’s like accelerating a sports car towards its peak speed, for hours. Watching a cricket test match almost after a year, partly due to predictable India- Sri Lanka Series had and partly due to absence of any good competition, it was certainly a treat to the senses. And what a sight it was to see Kohli in his elements on a sunny day in South Africa. Not only he took Indian side to a respectable total, he also stamped his authority over the African soil- thereby silencing his critics regarding his batting technique-at least for a while.

But more than his batting skills, what highlighted Kohli’s stay at field was his never ending enthusiasm. He jumped in the air as he crossed past 100 mark, only to return back for an extra run gifted by an overthrow-all in less than 10 seconds. He applauded every time his partner at other end hits a four and slapped his bat to his pad when a wicket falls. It looked that his veins would burst out when Hardik Pandya ran himself out in a stupid manner.

He played shots by dragging himself wide due to lack of movement in the pitch, almost repeating his Cape Town action, but this time he pulls them through elegance. The fact that his strike rate his over 70 and he has faced just under 45% of balls that the whole team has faced, with a contribution of over 50% to the total score speaks volumes about his skill.

It almost seems that Virat is undoing all his mistakes for himself and the others. He seems to cover up for everything by his batting – constant failures of Rohit Sharma, dropped catches by Parthiv, poor deliveries bowled by Shami and yet stay at the crease with all his grit to partner with Ashwin to hit the three figures. He might have made his mistakes of field too-poor team selection, wrong fielding placements, but today on 15th January, 2018, Kohli makes South Africa fight for every minute he stays on the field. Who says the enfant terrible of Indian Cricket can’t put up a show in Dark Continent?

P.S.- Almost an hour after the end of his innings, Kohli breached ICC Code of Conduct for fair play, by disagreeing with the umpire and stomping the ball to the ground. He was fined, yet again, 25% of his match fee for his over-aggressive behaviour.

Yusuf Pathan handed five-month suspension by BCCI on doping charges

Indian Cricket juggernaut, Yusuf Pathan, has been handed a five-month ban following a doping charge against him. The BCCI released a statement confirming the 35-year old’s ban saying “inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups.” A urine sample provided by Pathan on March 16, 2017, was tested and found to contain ‘Terbutaline’.

However, Pathan’s suspension has been backdated to 15th August 2017, meaning he will complete the five months on 18th January 2018 itself.

The BCCI claim to be satisfied with Pathan’s explanation to the cause, stating he had taken Terbutaline only to treat his Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) and not as a performance-enhancing drug.

The statement read, “On 27 October 2017, Pathan was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge. Mr Pathan responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV and asserting that it was caused by his ingestion of a medication containing Terbutaline that had been mistakenly given to him instead of the medication prescribed for him, which did not contain any prohibited substance.”

In his career between 2008 and 2012, Yusuf Pathan played 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India and was part of the T20 World Cup winning squad in 2007 and the ODI World Cup winning squad in 2011. The Baroda man has had a superb stint in the Indian Premier League as well, scoring over 2500 runs with a strike rate of 146, with Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Sources – TOI, NDTV