Riya Chandani, Author at Sportzwiki

Riya Chandani

I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut

Shubman Gill has won the heart of millions of fans in India after his impressive debut Test series against Australia, which concluded earlier this month. Playing as an opener, he was confident and played fearlessly against the strong Australian attack. But the youngster has revealed that he had a nervous breakdown.

Speaking to Forbes India, Shubman Gill shared his feeling when India was all for 36 in the second innings of the first Test, which became the lowest total of India in Tests. This was a shocker for both the Indian players and the fans and things changed pretty quickly in the favour of the hosts in the third innings.

I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut 1
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Twitter.

Shubman Gill recalled that it was a shocking event for the whole Indian team. They could not take it down their neck that the team has been bowled out for just 36 runs after having two best days.

“When the 36-all-out happened in Adelaide, it was really shocking for us. We didn’t know how to react because everything happened so quickly. We didn’t get the time to absorb it. We were in a comfortable position in the match, and in an hour everything changed, Shubman Gill told Forbes India.

However, Gill was confident about contributing positively towards the Indian team as he didn’t want the series to be remembered as “the great Adelaide collapse”.

What really triggered me was that the day after this incident there was a news item that said “the great Adelaide collapse”. I was reading it and all I could think at that time was that I don’t want the series to be remembered in terms of the collapse,” he added.

I couldn’t sleep and had to take a sleeping pill: Shubman Gill

I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut 2
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Opening about his condition before making his Test debut, Gill revealed that due to nervousness and anxiety he couldn’t sleep the whole night and had to take sleeping pills.

“Before our first match [in Adelaide], I knew I’ll get to debut in the MCG match. I couldn’t sleep and had to take a sleeping pill. Next morning, on the first day of the Test, we were fielding first. It didn’t hit me then that I was making my debut since the entire team was on the field.

Gill had a memorable debut as he scored 45 and 35 not out across the two innings in Melbourne and helped India in winning the game by 8 wickets and levelling the series by 1-1. He played another outstanding knock in the fourth Test although he missed his century. He scored 91 runs in The Gabba to give a solid foundation after which Rishabh Pant scored an explosive 83 runs to guide India to retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21.

Indian Fans
Indian Fans. Image Credits: Twitter
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BCCI Keen On Allowing Spectators At Motera, Pune Stadiums: Reports

As the England tour will mark the return of cricket in India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is keen to bring back the crowd during this series. The England team has already arrived in India and they will be quarantined for six days before starting a full practice session.

With some amount of spectators being allowed to watch the matches from the stadium, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also looking forward to allowing fans at the stadiums in Ahmedabad and Pune for the upcoming series.

As reported by The Times of India, the Indian board is confident of getting fans in for the last two Tests and five T20Is at the revamped Motera stadium in Ahmedabad and the three ODIs in Pune.

“The board has been in talks with the two concerned associations. It is very likely that these venues will see cricket being played with fans in the stands once all the clearances from the health authorities are attained,” a senior BCCI official said.

BCCI planning to bring spectators in Motera Stadium:

BCCI Keen On Allowing Spectators At Motera, Pune Stadiums: Reports
Motera Stadium is the largest stadium in the world. Image Credit: Twitter.

The report added that the Motera Stadium – which can accommodate over a lakh spectator, is likely to see the return of international cricket in India with some fanfare as the board is pretty keen on doing so. Around 25, 000 to 30, 000 spectators can be seen on the ground soon – which is still 50 per cent less than the venue’s overall capacity.

BCCI Keen On Allowing Spectators At Motera, Pune Stadiums: Reports 3
Image Credit: Getty Images.

Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has already informed that no tickets will be put on sale for the first two Tests because of the prevailing pandemic.

“In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the BCCI has decided not to take any kind of risk to the safety of the players during the forthcoming India-England Test series. The players, officials will be undergoing strict quarantine and several rounds of COVID-19 tests before entering the bio-bubble.

“As per the BCCI directive, the first two Tests between February 5-17 being held at MA Chidambaram Stadium will take place be behind closed doors,” he wrote. “TNCA will not be issuing tickets or sub-committee badges.”

Indian team have also reached in Chennai to start the quarantine and practice for the Test series starting from February 5.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan. Image Credit: Twitter.
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Michael Vaughan Slams ‘Ridiculous Suggestion’ Of Banning Bouncers

As cases of concussion are increasing, the debates on whether bouncers should be bowled or not are also going on. Some have viewed that bouncers should be banned in under-18 cricket to limit long-term complications. However, former England captain Michael Vaughan has brushed off any of these suggestions.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the game’s laws, has started a consultation process regarding bouncers. MCC are hearing arguments on if bowlers should continue to be allowed to use bouncers.

The media director of the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation, Michael Turner commented recently that authorities should look to ban short-pitched deliveries against players below the age of 18 to limit long-term complications. But Michael Vaughan has said that it is a ridiculous suggestion.

Youngster should learn to play short ball: Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan Slams 'Ridiculous Suggestion' Of Banning Bouncers 4
Steve Smith concussed while facing Jofra Archer’s fast bowl. Image Credit: Twitter.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan says it would be potentially more dangerous if youngsters are exposed to a short-pitched delivery straightaway in men’s cricket.

“It is a ridiculous suggestion and yet another example of the world we live in these days where anything risky is deemed too dangerous,” Michael Vaughan wrote in ‘The Telegraph’.

“It would be much more dangerous for young kids to only be exposed to the short ball for the first time when they play men’s cricket at a high level. They just would not be equipped to face it,” he added.

Michael Vaughan said that the young guns should learn to play the short-pitched balls to decrease the risk of concussion. He said that banning bouncers at the junior level will lead to banning at the upper level as well.

“I see kids coached at junior level and watch my son play. There is very little short-pitched bowling. The bowlers do not have the physical strength as kids to bowl bouncers and the pitches are too slow anyway.”

“It is in the nets where young batsmen can be pinned but they have to learn to play the short ball. If we ban it at junior level then we have to ban it at elite level too,” he maintained.

Michael Vaughan Slams 'Ridiculous Suggestion' Of Banning Bouncers 5
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 08: Will Pucovski of Australia A  (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

However, Michael Vaughan recommends improving the quality of helmets and other equipment to decrease the danger of concussion.

“Protective equipment is very good these days. We had one tragic incident involving Phil Hughes but it is very rare there is a serious injury caused by a bouncer.

“It does happen, but batsmen do not suffer the same repeated blows to the head as contact sports. The danger is bowling in T20. I reckon one day there will be a serious injury suffered by a bowler having the ball hit back at him,” Michael Vaughan wrote.

There was no rule of concussion substitute until the tragic death of young Australian batsman Phillip Huges after being hit by a Sean Abbott bouncer during a domestic match in November 2014. This incident increased the talk of players safety and concussion rules were introduced in cricket.

Bharat Arun Awaits For The Challenge Against In-form Joe Root During Four-Match Test Series
Bharat Arun. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Bharat Arun Awaits For The Challenge Against In-form Joe Root During The Four-Match Test Series

After successfully getting better off Steve Smith with his plans during the Test series, India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun is ready for the next challenge against England captain Joe Root in the coming four-match Test series.

Joe Root and co. have already landed in India after clean sweeping Sri Lanka in two-match Test series against Australia. The Test captain was the main architect of England’s win. He scored a double century and a century in that Test series which helped England to put a challenging total against the host. For his outstanding performance, he was adjudged with the man of the series. As he is in good form, he will be a threat to the Indian team in the four-match Test series.

Bharat Arun Awaits For The Challenge Against In-form Joe Root During The Four-Match Test Series 6
(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

However, Bharat Arun feels that it is a good opportunity for Indian bowlers to showcase their talent against the best player. He stated that they are planning how to tackle him during the important series.

“They couldn’t have asked for a better time for Root to be in this kind of touch. We are going to work on him,” the Chennai-based Bharat Arun told TOI. 

Bharat Arun reveals Ravi Shastri’s plan for Australia:

Bharat Arun Awaits For The Challenge Against In-form Joe Root During The Four-Match Test Series 7
Image Credit: Getty Images.

Team India is coming off a historic triumph against Australia at their home. The credit has been given to coaches for the excellent planning and plotting for the Aussies. Bharat Arun had revealed that Indian head coach Ravi Shastri had told him to eliminate the off-side for Steve Smith and Marnus Labushagne as it was the major area where the two scored a large chunk of runs.

The plan worked for India as Ravichandran Ashwin suffocated Steve Smith to score runs against him freely. As a result, he gave up his wicket cheaply. He was two times trapped on the leg side. Although in the last two matches Smith returned in the groove, India had until then gain enormous confidence with MCG win.

Eventually, India won the four-match Test series after registering a tremendous win in the last match at Australia’s fortress Gabba

Centurion Fawad Alam Don't Want To Blame Selectors For Not Playing International Cricket For 10 Years
Image Credit: Twitter.
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Centurion Fawad Alam Don’t Want To Blame Selectors For Not Playing International Cricket For 10 Years

Pakistan Test cricketer Fawad Alam, who scored a gritty century against South Africa during the first innings of the first Test at Karachi, is thankful for playing for Pakistan at the home ground. Although fans and experts are questioning selectors for delaying his return to the Pakistan team, Alam wants to remain optimistic. He doesn’t want to blame anyone for not playing international cricket for 10 years rather wants to focus on the coming opportunities.

Fawad Alam made the debut for Pakistan in Test cricket in 2009 but after playing only two-Test series, he was dropped. After the gap of ten years in 2020, he returned to the Test side and played the first Test series against England. That tour was not a remarkable one for him.

However, the Pakistan team backed him and he travelled to New Zealand, the last tour of Pakistan. He scored an amazing hundred when all the players struggled to face Kiwi pacers.

Fawad Alam continued his exploits in the home ground, Karachi. After the early fall of Babar Azam and top-orders, he rescued Pakistan and made amends. He stitched a 94 runs partnership and scored his fourth Test century.

I am focussed on what my destiny has in store for me: Fawad Alam

Centurion Fawad Alam Don't Want To Blame Selectors For Not Playing International Cricket For 10 Years 8
Fawad Alam. Image Credit: Twitter.

Speaking at the end of Day two of the first Test, Fawad stated that he doesn’t want to blame anyone for missing 10 years in Test cricket. However, he has accepted that it was his destiny.

“Whenever I spoke to the media, I have never blamed anyone for not playing international cricket for 10 years. If it was in my destiny, then nobody could have taken it away from me. I am not thinking about the 10 years that have gone by, I am focussed on what my destiny has in store for me,” Fawad Alam said.

Centurion Fawad Alam Don't Want To Blame Selectors For Not Playing International Cricket For 10 Years 9
Image Credit: Twitter.

Fawad Alam opined that he wanted to capitalise on every opportunity given to him even in domestic cricket. He doesn’t think that the last 10 years were a waste for him as he worked hard on domestic cricket.

“I am looking to perform in whatever chances I get, even in domestic cricket as it’s my bread and butter. I am not thinking on the lines that I have lost 10 years. I don’t think about the 10 years going to waste. How can I say all the runs and records made in domestic cricket went in vain? I thank the almighty for whatever I have achieved and the respect that I have earned.”

“I had my heart set on playing a Test match at my home ground in Karachi. This was also my Test debut in Pakistan and I had asked the Almighty to give me respect at my home venue and he did that,” Fawad Alam added.

After his century, Pakistan propelled to 378 runs with the support of Azhar Ali and Faheem Ashraf half-centuries in the first innings.

Australia vs India 2020-21: Shoaib Akhtar Rubs Salt On Wounds Of Indian Fans After India Registers Lowest Test Total
Shoaib Akhtar. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Shoaib Akhtar Takes Dig At Pakistani Selectors As Fawad Alam Scores Match-Saving Hundred Against South Africa

After Fawad Alam scored a match-saving hundred against South Africa in the first Test match, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has raised fingers on why selectors made delay in handing him in the Test cap.

Shoaib Akhtar doesn’t leave any opportunity to take on Pakistan national selector and team management. He openly keeps his view irrespective of it might backfire him.

Alam, who made his Test debut against Sri Lanka at the Sara Oval in 2009, has only played seven red-ball international games for the Asian giants. The Pakistani southpaw made a sensational return to the national side during New Zealand and followed in the South Africa Test series.

Shoaib Akhtar Takes Dig At Pakistani Selectors As Fawad Alam Scores Match-Saving Hundred Against South Africa 10
Image Credit: Twitter.

Shoaib Akhtar Lauds Fawad Ahmed

Shoaib Akhtar not only praised the veteran batsman but the Rawalpindi Express lashed out at the Pakistani national selectors for not keeping the 35-year-old in the fray. “Another 100 by @iamfawadalam25. So I’d like to know who will be answerable for not selecting him all these years? Great determination!” Akhtar said in his tweet.

“Another 100 by @iamfawadalam25. So I’d like to know who will be answerable for not selecting him all these years? Great determination!,” Akhtar said in his tweet. 

 

Shoaib Akhtar Takes Dig At Pakistani Selectors As Fawad Alam Scores Match-Saving Hundred Against South Africa 11
Fawad Alam. Image Credit: Twitter.

After the early fall of top-order in the first innings of Pakistan, Fawad Alam punished the potent bowling attack of the Proteas with a gritty century. He rescued the side to score 109 and also joined forces with Azhar Ali for a crucial 94-run stand on Day 2 at Karachi. Besides Alam, star batsman Ali (51) and Faheem Ashraf (64) played crucial cameos to help Pakistan bounce back on Day 2 of the Karachi Test. In first innings, Pakistan were bundled out for 378 runs.

Meanwhile, Shoaib Akhtar is a constant critic of Pakistan. Earlier, when Mohammed Amir announced his retirement, he blamed the team management for wasting talents.

Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Twitter.
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He Is An Unreal Man: Ravichandran Ashwin Lavishes Praise On Shubman Gill

Ravichandran Ashwin has been earning praise from Indian fans not only because of his impressive performance in a historic triumph against Australians but also because of revealing the behind the scenes of that tour. In the series released on his YouTube Channel, Ashwin revealed another interesting story about Shubman Gill. He also opened up that he is a big fan of the youngster’s batting.

In the fourth episode of the series Let me tell a Kutti Story, Ravichandran Ashwin had a conversation with India batting coach Vikram Rathour. He recalled an incident involving Gill from the Melbourne Test which left him impressed. In his debut Test match in Melbourne, Shubman Gill missed a half-century in the first innings but he showed the class with his bat.

“I am a big fan of Shubman Gill’s batting. Even in the Melbourne Test, this is an incident I wanted to share. We were bowling and the wicket got flat. We were bowling to Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and they were showing resistance,” Ashwin recalled.

This is unreal man: Ravichandran Ashwin on Shubman Gill 

He Is An Unreal Man: Ravichandran Ashwin Lavishes Praise On Shubman Gill 12
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.

India had pretty much the upper hand against Australia in the second innings in Melbourne. Ashwin recalled how Gill came up to him to tell him to bowl out Australia quickly so that he can score the winning runs in 5 overs.

“And Cameron Green was caught at square leg off a pull and Shubman came running to me and said, “Ash bhai, Jaldi khatam kar do yaar! 40-50 runs hoga toh mein paanch over mein khatam karoonga! (Please wrap up quickly. If it’s 40-50 runs to chase, I will do it in five overs!),” Ashwin further said.

“I was like, ‘wow, this is unreal man’. We have a debutant who is walking up to say ‘khatam karo, finish it’ and I will finish in five overs and that too in a Test match,” Ravichandran Ashwin said laughing.

He Is An Unreal Man: Ravichandran Ashwin Lavishes Praise On Shubman Gill 13
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Twitter.

Vikram Rathour had also praised Gill describing him as a special player. The India batting coach further recalled that the youngster had started preparing for the Australia tour even during the lockdown.

In three Test matches played, Shubman scored 259 runs at an average of 51.80 and his highest score was 91 runs.

T Natarajan
T Natarajan
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Irfan Pathan Reckons T Natarajan Has To Do A Lot To Become Better Bowler In Test Cricket

Former Indian pacer Irfan Pathan has stated that T Natarajan is still the bowler who needs more grooming to be best in the longest format. T Natarajan has earned the mammoth praise from the experts for his bowling performance in the white-ball against Australia. It was his debut tour and he ended up being the highest wicket-taker in the three-match T20I series.

The injury woes in the Indian camp during the Australia tour gave T Natarajan one by one an opportunity to play the ODI, T20I and even Test series. The Tamil Nadu pacer had toured Australia as the net bowler but ended up making his debut across the format. He created history and became the first Indian player to make his debut in all three formats on the same tour.

However, Irfan Pathan observes that T Natarajan has some important areas to improve in his bowling to become a better Test bowler.

“He (T Natarajan) has to do a lot in Tests, work on his angle and rhythm. The good thing about him is that he has got repetitive action. But he will need to bring his body more behind his delivery at the time of release, as that will help him bring the ball into a batsman,” Irfan Pathan said.

I am sure the team management will also work with T Natarajan: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan Reckons T Natarajan Has To Do A Lot In Test To Become Better Bowler In Tests
T Natarajan. Image Credit: Twitter.

A left-arm himself, Irfan Pathan knows that the angle of a left-armer’s delivery can be disconcerting for the right-hand batsman. So, he believes his addition to the Indian squad will make their bowling attack a lot stronger.

“I always say that left is right. A left-arm bowler is an added advantage for any team, as he brings variation in your attack creating a different angle for the batsmen.”

Irfan Pathan Reckons T Natarajan Has To Do A Lot To Become Better Bowler In Test Cricket 14
T Natarajan. Image Credit: BCCI.

The 36-year-old feels T Natarajan should stick to his basics but should also be open to learning variations and adding new tricks up his sleeve. Irfan Pathan is hopeful that the team management would help T Natarajan become a better bowler in international cricket.

“His (T Natarajan’s) initial aim should now be on playing for the country for the next five-seven years, and for that he must focus on his fitness. He should continue doing what he has in his armour and slowly learn more while playing. I am sure the team management will also work with him to make him a better product,” Irfan Pathan said. 

Although T Natarajan has not been named in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England, the 29-year-old could have a role to play in the limited-overs leg.

Indian Allrounder Vijay Shankar Marries Vaishali Visweswaran
Image Credit: Twitter.
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Indian All-rounder Vijay Shankar Marries Vaishali Visweswaran

The all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who has so far represented India in 12 ODIs and 9 T20Is, married Vaishali Visweswaran in Chennai on January 28 (Thursday). He had made himself unavailable from the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 to attend his marriage.

On the occasion, Shankar’s current Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) wished him a “happy and blessed married life.” SRH also shared a picture in which the cricketer and his wife can be seen taking part in a traditional ceremony in the presence of close family members and relatives.

Indian Allrounder Vijay Shankar Marries Vaishali Visweswaran:

vijay shankar, Vaishali Visweswaran
Vijay Shankar. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Last year in August, Vijay Shankar had shared the photos of his engagement with Vaishali.

Meanwhile, Vijay Shankar played only one league stage match for Tamil Nady in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy that too against Jharkhand. Tamil Nadu has entered the semi-final which will be played against Rajasthan at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar. Image Credit: IPL.

The fast bowling allrounder is now likely to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 for SunRisers Hyderabad. In the last edition, he played seven matches in which he scored 97 runs at an average of 101.04 while also picked four wickets in the tournament. His best in that season came against Rajasthan Royals.

Shankar came up with a superb bowling performance as he dismissed Rajasthan Royals star Jos Buttler (9) and conceded just 15 runs from three overs. Talking about his batting, he was promoted to number four and reposed the team management’s faith in him with his first half-century since 2018.

Vijay Shankar got sidelined from Team India’s squad after he surfaced injury during the World Cup 2019. He was called as the replacement in the tournament. Unfortunately, he was replaced because of an injury.

Image Credit: Getty Images.
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World Test Championship 2020-21 Final Postponed: Reports

The grand finale of the ICC World Test Championship 2020-21 is likely to be played from June 18 to 22 with June 23 acting as a reserve day. Initially, it was scheduled to be held from June 10 to 14 at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.

According to ANI, the reason for the postponement of the original schedule has been done keeping in mind the proximity between the WTC final and the final of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League although the dates have not been yet officially announced. Also, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, players have to quarantine. Thus, ICC has pushed dates for the smooth running of the schedule.

India and New Zealand are the top two in the current World Test Championship table:

India Wins Against Australia
India Wins Against Australia. Image Credit: Twitter.

Currently, India and New Zealand are placed at the top two spots in the World Test Championship standings. Virat Kohli’s side has 430 points after playing five series, while New Zealand has 420 points after playing five series.

India is coming off a historic win against Australia in the Test series after which they propelled to number one position in the points table. They will take on against England as part of WTC and Australia, which is placed at the third spot, will be taking on South Africa. Australia would be required to win against South Africa if Tim Paine and the boys wish to make it to the finals of WTC.

World Test Championship 2020-21 Final Postponed: Reports 15
Team India. Image Credit: BCCI.

After the pandemic as teams could not play all the Test series, ICC brought a new system for ranking the team in the World Test Championship points table. The WTC table has now been revised to rank teams based on the percentage of points earned from the series played, meaning teams are ranked in order of percentage of points earned

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