Sayantan Bhattacharjee, Author at Sportzwiki

Sayantan Bhattacharjee

Cricket writer. Also, led his gully cricket team to away victories.

Elgar named stand-in Protea skipper for final Test vs Pakistan

Dean Elgar Eyes South African Test Captaincy

South Africa Test opener Dean Elgar has thrown his hat in the ring to lead the team in the red-ball format. The southpaw believes that the experience under his belt will help him to make a strong contender for the role. It’s been over three months since the veteran batsman Faf de Plessis stepped down from the captaincy, and there hasn’t been any official announcement about the Test captaincy since.

Dean Elgar, Tim Paine, South Africa, Australia
Dean Elgar gestures during a fielding. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Dean Elgar throws his hat into the ring

Wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock has taken the reins of white-ball captaincy. However, South African director of cricket Graeme Smith had earlier stated that the gloveman wouldn’t be leading the Test side. Interestingly, Elgar’s opening partner Aiden Markram has also expressed his desire to lead the Proteas unit in whites.

Dean Elgar Eyes South African Test Captaincy 1
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“I have done the captaincy thing in the past and I have done it from school level and provincial level‚ and now in a few professional franchise teams‚ and I have extremely enjoyed it. If I was asked to do the captaincy‚ definitely I will think hard and long about it because it would mean a lot to me.” Elgar, who will be turning 33 next month, mentioned in an interview released by Cricket South Africa.

Dean Elgar Eyes South African Test Captaincy 2
Dean Elgar (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Since making his Test debut against Australia in 2012, the compact batter went on to earn a total of 63 Test caps. He has scored close to 4000 runs at an average of well over 38. The same can’t be said about his white-ball venture, as the cricketer has managed to play a mere eight ODIs.

Elgar has had a couple of stints as captain in the past. He has proved his mettle in domestic cricket. He feels that the exposure of playing with some of the stalwarts have helped him in an immense manner. He adds that it has been a great learning curve for him and mentions that he has been fortunate to be a part of the larger scheme of things. Elgar believes that he will continue to grow as an athlete and as well as a person. He wants to pass on his knowledge to the younger ones as that will make the transition in the South African cricket smoother and beneficial.

Ian Bell. Image Courtesy: Getty Images.

Hard To Look Past Virat Kohli’s Cover Drive, Says Ian Bell

Out of favour England cricketer, Ian Bell has heaped praise on Indian skipper Virat Kohli. At his prime, Bell was an elegant batter. According to him, Kohli possesses a scintillating cover drive. Kohli is a modern great of the game, having scored plenty of runs across formats.

Virat Kohli, cover drive
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

In a conversation with Sportskeeda, Bell expressed his opinion on a large array of subjects including the technical facet of the game. The 38-year-old has represented England in 118 Test matches and 169 white-ball matches.

Ian Bell opens up on Virat Kohli’s large array of strokes

With numerous stylish players around the cricketing circuit, Bell feels Kohli tops the chart when it comes to playing the drive through the covers. He said that the cover drive is a vital part of Kohli’s batting. Bell also considers Kohli as the best active cricketer in the world.

“I really like a technical batsman. He is probably the best at the moment. It’s hard to look past Kohli’s cover drive in world cricket.” he said.

Ian Bell- England warrior and a domestic run-machine

Bell last turned out for the Three Lions back in the year 2015. The right-handed batsman has scored bucket full of runs but somehow missed out on making a return to the national fold. In the First-Class cricket, the batter has scored over 20,200 runs and is certainly a legend in its own right.

Ian Bell
Ian Bell (Image Credit: Google)

Not too long back, Kohli himself posted a picture of him playing a cover drive on Instagram. He termed it ‘therapeutic’. Clearly, his shot-making is a treat to the eyes – the manner in which he pierces the gap and that too very often.

Virat Kohli, cover drive
Virat Kohli (Image Credits: BCCI)

Apart from the cover drive, Kohli’s arsenal is filled with hooks, pulls, square cuts, and lofted drives. Not to mention the short-arm jab which attracted the attention of cricket lovers. The 31-year-old has scored 7,240 runs in 86 Test matches. In ODIs, the skipper has amassed 11,867 runs and he has replicated similar touch in the shortest format of the game in international cricket as well, scoring 2,794 runs.

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

I Wanted Sachin Tendulkar To Hit A Century Against Pakistan: Shoaib Akhtar

Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has been in the news for his controversial comments. He recently invited more trouble by revealing that he wanted Sachin Tendulkar to score a hundred against Pakistan at the 2003 World Cup.

I Wanted Sachin Tendulkar To Hit A Century Against Pakistan: Shoaib Akhtar 3

Tendulkar played a match-winning inning of 98, guiding India to a famous win against the arch-rivals at the marquee event. Interestingly, it was Akhtar who claimed Tendulkar’s wicket with a short delivery. During a live session on Helo Live, Akhtar said he was very sad as the Indian maestro missed out on a well-deserved hundred.

Shoaib Akhtar on dismissing Tendulkar for 98:

“I was very sad because Sachin got out for 98. It was special innings, he should have touched the century mark. I wanted him to hit the century. For that bouncer, I would have loved to see a sixer, as earlier he hit.” Akhtar said.

Five Cricketers Whose Career Ended Due To Politics
Pic Credits: Getty Images

Shoaib Akhtar lauds Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliance:

India chased down a tricky target of 274 in a comprehensive manner. For Akhtar, it turned out to be an expensive affair. He was sent for a leather hunt as he conceded 72 runs in his allotted quota of overs. Akhtar heaped praises on Tendulkar.

“Tendulkar batted in the toughest era of cricket. If he had to get the chance now, he may hit more than 1.30 lakh runs. So it’s not good to make a comparison between Sachin and Kohli.” he added.

Shoaib Akhtar doesn’t encourage cricket in front of empty stands:

Competitive cricketing action is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, there have been talks of conducting games in empty stadiums. Sri Lanka is eager to host India and Bangladesh in July as they plan to resume play. Akhtar is reluctant to support the revised playing proposal. According to the 44-year-old, it would look like a marriage without the bride.

Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Google)

Ben Stokes Slams Virat Kohli For Making The ‘Bizarre Complaint’ At The 2019 World Cup

England star all-rounder Ben Stokes isn’t pleased with Virat Kohli’s statement regarding the size of the Edgbaston ground in England. The India skipper’s alleged ‘whinge’ about the size of the Edgbaston cricket ground after the men in blue’s 31-run defeat in the 2019 World Cup bothered Stokes.

Ben Stokes, Virat Kohli
Ben Stokes And Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ben Stokes on the bizarre statement:

In his book ‘Ben Stokes on Fire’, the 28-year-old covered numerous subjects and milestones. Especially, England’s journey from the disastrous 2015 World Cup to the victorious campaign in the 2019 season. India, under the captaincy of Kohli, fell short of the daunting target of 338. It was India’s only loss in the group stages of the competition.

“… it was weird to hear India captain Kohli whingeing about the size of the boundaries at the post-match presentation ceremony. I have never heard such a bizarre complaint after a match. It’s actually the worst complaint you could ever make,” Ben Stokes wrote in his book.”

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The hosts were desperate for a win, having lost to Sri Lanka and Australia. On the other hand, India were sitting comfortably on the points table. Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat straightaway. A total of 337 looked to be a tough task even against an in-from India line-up.

England push brakes on India’s chase:

Johnny Bairstow hit a sublime 109-ball 111 while Stokes played a good hand of 54-ball 79. Chasing 338, India lost KL Rahul early in the innings. Rohit Sharma and Kohli forged a 138 run-stand for the second wicket. Rohit made a watchful 102 in the company of Kohli, who chipped in with 66. However, all the effort went in vain.

Virat Kohli, Ian Chappell, Steve Smith
Virat Kohli. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“The toss was vital, especially looking at the boundaries that are this short. Bizarre that it just falls in place with the boundary limitations and with a flat pitch such as this. It’s crazy that things fall in place like that randomly. It’s the first time we are experiencing this,” Kohli had said post the defeat.

“If batsmen are able to reverse sweep, sweep you for a six on a 59-meter boundary you can’t do much as a spinner. They had to be smarter with their lines as it was difficult to contain runs with one short boundary.” he quipped.

Veteran batter MS Dhoni was criticized for his approach as he hit a 31-ball 42. Hardik Pandya tried to fasten up the chase with a quick-fire 45 but it just not enough to beat the Three Lions. Meanwhile, Stokes also mentioned in his book how he proved himself wrong when it comes to shedding tears on the field.

Kuldeep Yadav, IPL, 2019 World Cup, Harbhajan Singh
Photo Credit: BCCI/IPL.

IPL Could Be The First Tournament To Take Place Once Cricket Resumes: Kuldeep Yadav

The coronavirus pandemic has put an indefinite pause to the cricket calendar, and that includes the Indian Premier League. Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Kuldeep Yadav sees the silver lining as he says IPL could be the first tournament to happen once things get back to normalcy.

Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine (Image Credit: Google)

Kuldeep Yadav on IPL 2020:

The cash-rich tournament IPL was supposed to kickstart on March 29. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has put a halt on all cricketing activities. Kuldeep believes the popular T20 tournament could be prioritized ahead of other competitions.

“If cricket happens, I feel the first tournament that will take place is the IPL. Currently, the situation isn’t great in the country. Even the World Cup (ICC World T20) is under a cloud. In my opinion, the IPL should happen and if it happens, it will be a great start,” Kuldeep told Sportskeeda.

IPL late games hectic, must be smart before WC: Kuldeep

The chinaman also put forward his thoughts on the IPL taking place behind closed doors. Kuldeep said playing cricket with empty stands could benefit the bowlers as batters often get excited seeing jampacked crowd and therefore go after the bowlers.

There is also a debate brewing related to the shining of the cricket ball with sweat and saliva. Many feel the practice should be discouraged as it could result in contagious infections. The Internationa Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to take a call on the above subject. However, Cricket Australia has announced a ban on using saliva and sweat on the cricket ball.

It will take time to adjust: Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, India vs New Zealand 2019
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Will be tough for bowlers because of the discussions around rubbing saliva on the ball on the ball. It will take time to adjust, maybe a month for batsmen to get used to everything. We will probably get a month’s time to prepare before the next tournament, but if we have a quick start, this will be a plus point for the bowlers,” Kuldeep opined.

The 25-year-old has played 40 matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders so far. A gig in the IPL earned him a call-up into the national fold, and the spinner hasn’t looked back since. He has bagged 39 wickets in the league. Kuldeep will yet again be KKR’s go-to spinner with veteran Windies spinner Sunil Narine likely to get back into action, having nursed an injury.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon
Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mushtaq Ahmed Cites Lack Of Variations As The Reason Behind Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon’s Poor ODI Record

Former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed feels seasoned campaigners Ravi Ashwin and Nathan Lyon have failed to translate their red-ball success into limited-overs cricket. He feels a lack of variation could be one of the main reasons behind their not so impressive outings in coloured clothing.

Mushtaq Ahmed Cites Lack Of Variations As The Reason Behind Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon's Poor ODI Record 4
BCCI Twitter

Mushtaq Ahmed sheds light on Ashwin, Lyon’s shortcomings in white-ball cricket

Ashwin has bagged 365 wickets in 71 Tests, while Lyon has scalped 390 sticks in 96 Tests. Pakistan’s Yasir Shah enjoys similar success in Test cricket as he picked 213 wickets in 39 Test matches. All three of them have been a vital cog in the respective line ups.

“Look at Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. They have won so many (white ball) games for India in the last two years. Maybe the likes of Lyon, Ashwin, and Yasir don’t have enough variations to survive in one-day cricket,” Mushtaq, who has picked more than 340 international wickets, told PTI in an exclusive interview.

Mushtaq had previously coached the England national cricket team. He has worked closely with someone like Graeme Swann, who was impressive during his playing days. The 49-year-old feels spinners should be categorized based on formats.

Mushtaq Ahmed
Mushtaq Ahmed. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

He feels Test cricket is the ultimate format for spinners as it tests their skills. Mushtaq admires the likes of Yasir Shah, Moeen Ali, Nathan Lyon, and Ravi Ashwin. According to him, the contribution of these spinners has been tremendous.

“In one -day cricket, if the pitches are good and you don’t have variations or a mystery ball, you can’t survive. For example, a champion bowler like Lyon has been exposed in one day cricket. He has not been as successful as he has been in the longest format.” Mushtaq Ahmed added.

Lyon, 32, found it tough to break into the Australian limited-overs side. He has played mere 29 ODIs since making his debut in the shorter format back in 2012. Furthermore, he doesn’t have much to show in the shortest format either; having played just 2 T20Is.

Parthiv Patel, MS Dhoni.
Parthiv Patel. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

I Don’t Feel Unlucky, MS Dhoni Grabbed His Chances: Parthiv Patel

Back in 2002, the then 17-year-old Parthiv Patel made his international debut for India against England. It’s been close to 18 years since he arrived at the cricketing circuit. However, he has managed to play mere 24 more Test matches so far. Now 35, Patel is a veteran cricketer who is going strong at the domestic level.

Parthiv Patel, India, nine fingers
Parthiv Patel. Image Credit: Getty Images

The arrival of MS Dhoni in 2004 and the subsequent good show more or less closed the door for other contenders when it comes to glovework. Dhoni’s lightning-quick work and presence of mind made him a fine wicket-keeper who would double up as a clinical finisher of the game.

I had the opportunity to perform before him: Parthiv Patel

While many believe the talented southpaw from Gujarat was born in the wrong era, Parthiv himself begs to differ. Speaking on 100 Hours 100 Stars – a video campaign by Fever Network, the Ahmedabad-born cricketer said that he doesn’t consider himself ‘unlucky’.

“I don’t see myself as unlucky to be playing in the Dhoni era. I started my career before him, and I had the opportunity to perform before him,” he said.

MS Dhoni, Indian national cricket team, Sourav Ganguly, India vs Pakistan 2005
Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Dhoni came into the team because I did not have a couple of good series and I was dropped. I know people can say it just to gain sympathies that I was born in the wrong era. But I don’t believe that,” he added.

He further went on to say that Dhoni grabbed his chances well and that helped the Ranchi-born cricketer cement his place in the Indian team. The long-haired hard-hitter announced his arrival with a swashbuckling hundred against arch-rivals Pakistan in Vizag. And afterwards notched up his highest score of 183* against Sri Lanka in Jaipur back in 2005.

Parthiv Patel
Parthiv Patel (Credits – IPL)

“Whatever Dhoni has achieved was something very very special and he achieved because he made sure of the opportunities he received. I don’t feel unlucky at all,” Parthiv said.

One of the finest captains in the history of Indian cricket, under the wings of Dhoni, India clinched the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup. He led India to numerous victories during his time at the helm and made a name for himself as a finisher- who would take the game deep and blast towards the end to take his side over the line.

Kuldeep Yadav, MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni has been at the forefront to offer assistance to Kuldeep Yadav (Image Credit: Getty Images)

If MS Dhoni Plays, It Would Be Easier For Us: Kuldeep Yadav

MS Dhoni has been on a sabbatical since the 2019 World Cup. While there have been a lot of talks about his immediate future, India spinner Kuldeep Yadav feels the veteran cricketer’s presence would make the side stronger.

5 Players MS Dhoni Never Used Despite Being In The Squad
Kuldeep Yadav and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Getty Images)

On Thursday, Kuldeep Yadav took part in an Instagram Live session with Sportskeeda and expressed his opinion on Dhoni, the impactful cricketer. The sight of the former skipper instructing the bowlers ahead of delivery is quite familiar to fans. On numerous occasions, Dhoni’s street smartness has helped bowlers pick prized possessions.

Apart from contributing with the bat and steady glovework, Dhoni’s addition has helped India in a crunch situation. The left-arm spinner lauded the experience that Dhoni brings to the table. Previously, under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won multiple ICC events including the 2011 World Cup.

“I am of course missing MS Dhoni. Whenever you play with a senior player, you become fond of them and start missing them and their presence. As far as his retirement is concerned, it is MS Dhoni’s decision and it should be left to him. There is no point for us to debate on that. He is very fit and I personally feel he should play for India. As a fan, I absolutely love him. If he plays, it would be easier for us [India],” Kuldeep quipped.

Kuldeep Yadav, MS Dhoni
Kuldeep Yadav and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

Dhoni hasn’t made himself available since India’s unceremonious exit from the marquee event. He took part in Chennai Super Kings’ practice session earlier in March ahead of the start of the IPL. However, with the IPL postponed indefinitely, Dhoni’s future looks uncertain.

The cash-rich tournament would have been the ideal platform for Dhoni to audition for the World T20 which is supposed to take place later this year. India head coach Ravi Shastri had earlier stated that Dhoni’s form in the T20 competition could help the cricketer pave his way back into the limited-overs team.

Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Google)

Ashish Nehra Slams Virat Kohli For Negative Statement On This Year’s ODI Cricket

Indian skipper Virat Kohli is a modern great with the bat in hand. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen over the years, scoring runs across different venues and alien conditions. However, the same can’t be said about his leadership skills.

Virat Kohli, Most valuable athlete on Twitter
Virat Kohli. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Ever since he took over the reign of Test captaincy from MS Dhoni back in 2014-15, his poor decision making and tactical calls have been exposed. On top of that, Kohli’s attitude on the field hasn’t helped him often. chopping and changing the playing XI is a part of Kohli’s captaincy style.

Virat Kohli has been slammed for his bizarre excuse post-India’s loss to New Zealand

His comments at the conclusion of the ODI series against the hosts New Zealand early this year took many by surprise. After being whitewashed by Kane Williamson’s men in the 50-over format, Kohli cited a bizarre excuse as he said that it is the year of World T20 and hence the 50-over format is not the priority at that point.

Virat Kohli, India U19, U19 World Cup 2020
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Google)

Kohli had to face a lot of flak due to his statement. Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra echoed the public sentiment and slammed the cricketer over the remark. Nehra feels Kohli’s words would have made more sense had they won the ODI series. Nehra feels Kohli’s statement could well mean that the visitors didn’t win the series because all the emphasis is on competing in the shortest format in 2020.

Ashish Nehra Slams Virat Kohli For Negative Statement On This Year's ODI Cricket 5

“If you win and tell this it’s a different thing. It’s wrong to say that the year is for T20s and so we don’t care about 50-over matches…if it doesn’t matter then why did you even come to play. Are you trying to tell that the Indian team didn’t try to win those ODI matches against New Zealand. I don’t agree with Virat Kohli’s statement.”

Kohli’s captaincy record in the Indian Premier League (IPL) doesn’t augur well. He has led Royal Challengers Bangalore in over 100 games but the franchise is yet to win the title. Kohli as captain has won 49 games and witnessed 55 defeats.

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri. Credits: Twitter

Ravi Shastri: Indian Team Of 1985 Will Give Any Indian Side A Run For Its Money

Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri believes the Indian side that clinched the Benson and Hedges World Championship in the year 1985 is by far the best outfit he has been part of. He also went to say the 1985 side would give the current team under the captaincy of Virat Kohli “a run for their money”.

Ravi Shastri, Wellington, India, New Zealand vs India 2020
Ravi Shastri. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Ravi Shastri on the Indian team of 1985

In a Facebook live interaction session with journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, Shastri said, “Yeah, no question about that. Take any team that India puts up in white-ball cricket, the best of what it has to put out, the team of ’85 will give that team a run for the money.”

The 57-year-old had a famous on-field rivalry with Pakistan’s Javed Miandad. Shastri had won an Audi 100 sedan after the final as he was adjudged the Player of the Tournament. He admits that even Miandad had his eyes on the prized four-wheeler but Shastri was in no mood to let the opponent have an upper hand.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli.
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli. Getty Images

The flamboyant former athlete said Pakistan and New Zealand were two of the strongest sides in the competition. Shastri opined the Blackcaps were not a side with big names on paper but they would punch above their weight as a unit. He said fans and many cricket lovers didn’t expect India to win. According to him, many thought the 1983 World Cup win was a fluke but the Men in Blue proved it wrong.

Ravi Shastri
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“It was as big as it could get. We [the Indian cricket team] had won the 1983 World Cup also. People thought it was a one-off but in 1985, people expected us to win. The pressure was on the Indian cricket team and the boys rose to the challenge,” he said.

The cricketer-turned-commentator-turned-coach would pick Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Roger Binny as his quarantine roommates if given a chance. Shastri is currently residing in his Alibaug farmhouse due to the lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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