2021 T20I World Cup | Sportzwiki

2021 T20I World Cup

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
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Pakistan ‘Used And Then Binned’ By England: Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman said on Tuesday he felt “used and then binned” after England followed New Zealand’s example as they cancelled a white-ball tour for both their men’s and women’s teams next month.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cited “increasing concerns about travelling to the region” just days after New Zealand also pulled out of the Pakistan tour over security concerns. However, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Christian Turner, confirmed the decision was taken by the ECB on the grounds of player welfare.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Ramiz Raja: It’s The Feeling Of Being Used And Then Binned After England Withdrew From Pakistan Tour

The first trip by the England men’s side to Pakistan since 2005 was only meant to last only four days with two Twenty20 matches in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14. Two women’s T20 matches were scheduled to be held on the same days as double-headers with three women’s one-day internationals to follow in the same city.

Public reaction to the withdrawal in Pakistan has been furious. Pakistan travelled to England last year at a time when Covid-19 infection rates in Britain were among the highest in the world for a three-match Test and T20 series that saved the ECB millions in television rights deals.

“It’s the feeling of being used and then binned. That’s the feeling I have right now,” Raja told reporters.

England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)
England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

“A little bit of hand-holding, a little bit of caring was needed after the New Zealand pull out and we didn’t get that from England which is so frustrating. We’ve been going out of our way to meet the international demands, being such a responsible member of the cricketing fraternity, and in return we get a response from ECB saying the players were spooked by New Zealand’s withdrawal. What does that mean?”

New Zealand officials refused to give details of the security threat that forced them to abruptly cancel their matches.

Christian Turner: Decision To Withdraw From Pakistan Tour Was Made By The ECB Based On Concerns For Player Welfare

A deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore saw Pakistan become a no-go destination for international teams. In between 2012 and 2015, Pakistan hosted England in the UAE, which has staged most of its “home” games since the attack. A rapid improvement in security in recent years has led to the return of international cricket, with Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh touring in the past six years.

“I share the deep sadness of cricket fans that England will not tour Pakistan in October,” Turner said in a video post on Twitter.

“This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British government, based on concerns for player welfare. The British High Commission supported the tour; did not advise against it on security grounds; and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed.”

The T20 series was supposed to be part of the preparation for England’s men ahead of the next month’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.  But many of their star players would now be free to play in the latter stages of the lucrative second half of Indian Premier League 2021, also being hosted in the UAE, should their sides reach the knockout phase.

“You are quoting fatigue and mental tension and players being spooked and a hour-and-a-half flight from here before a World Cup they are quite happy to be caged in a bubble environment and carry on with the tournament,” added Raja.

“One feels slighted, one feels humiliated because withdrawal doesn’t have an answer.”

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

Heather Knight recently spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of captaining England Women on their first visit to the country. But on Tuesday she admitted the decision to withdraw had been taken out of her hands.

“The conversation and the communication between the board and PCA is a strong one, and it was a tricky situation with what had gone on with New Zealand,” Knight said after England Women lost to New Zealand in a one-day international.

“Taking it out of our hands is probably the right thing to do. That was done with a view to try and look after the players. Hopefully, sometime in the future we’ll be able to go. I do think it is important for them, particularly in women’s cricket with what’s going on in the region.”

New Zealand pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight the next night. The Pakistan tour was Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003 and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

New Zealand was scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi starting Friday (September 17) before the series shifted to Lahore for a five-match T20I series, but the entire tour now stands unilaterally postponed following the visitors’ expression of concern.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)
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It’s The Right Time For Virat Kohli To Step Down As RCB Skipper: Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn, former Proteas pacer believes that it is probably the right time for Virat Kohli to step aside from T20 captaincy and focus purely on his batting.

Virat Kohli announced last week that he would step down as India’s T20I captain after the upcoming T20 World Cup and a few days later, he announced that he would also give up the leadership of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who is yet to win the coveted IPL trophy after the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn-RCB Twitter

Dale Steyn: Virat Kohli Is Involved In Everything And It’s The Right Time To Relinquish Captaincy

Dale Steyn had retired from Test cricket after taking 439 scalps from 93 Tests averaging 22.95. Dale Steyn also has 196 ODI scalps and 64 T20I scalps besides his name. Dale Steyn had also taken 97 scalps from 95 IPL matches playing many games for Royal Challengers Bangalore besides skipper Virat Kohli. He has played 33 matches for RCB taking 32 scalps.

“You see the way that he plays, he’s involved in everything, whether he’s in Test matches when he’s standing at first slip or even if he’s at the cover, he wants the ball immediately when it goes to the keeper, he always wants to be involved. But I think sometimes now in this COVID time maybe as Parthiv referred to bubble-life, his family that he’s got,” Dale Steyn said on Star Sports’ Live Feed of Select Dugout’.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

“It’s a lot of responsibility — and playing for RCB before — you see Virat, he’s in every advert and every meeting; he’s just so busy. So maybe it is the right time for him to just put this aside and focus purely on his batting,” Dale Steyn added.

While Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) started well in the first leg of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, they haven’t kick-started the UAE leg on an emphatic note.

Facing Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their first match after season resumption, RCB suffered a humiliating nine-wicket defeat at Abu Dhabi. It was indeed a comprehensive win for the two-time champions as RCB never really looked in the hunt and failed in both batting and bowling departments.

Parthiv Patel: It Has Been A Rollercoaster Ride For Virat Kohli And RCB

Unfortunately for RCB, none of Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Srikar Bharat, and Glenn Maxwell could play a substantial knock. Even, AB de Villiers, who has rescued RCB from numerous batting collapses, got out for a golden duck. As a result, RCB skittled out for just 92 runs. Chasing the mediocre total, KKR didn’t break a sweat.

Speaking about Virat’s decision, former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel said: “I think he looked more emotional than happy. I think when you’re playing for one franchise for so many years, you get that emotional connection which was there in RCB. I think RCB actually invested in Virat Kohli’s talent in 2008 and then showed a lot of trust in him as well because if you look at his and RCB’s journey, it has been a rollercoaster one.”

File image of Parthiv Patel | Vipin Pawar /SPORTZPICS
File image of Parthiv Patel | Vipin Pawar /SPORTZPICS

“But yeah, he might be relieved because see moving around from one bubble to another can take a load on you and he has spoken about the workload and intensity, which he plays with. I think every practice session, every match session or gym session, he does it with full intensity and that’s something I’m sure he must’ve thought about,” he added.

After stumbling to a nine-wicket loss against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Director of Cricket and head coach Mike Hesson said that skipper Virat Kohli’s announcement to step down after the ongoing season did not impact the team’s performance.  Virat Kohli became the first player to play 200 IPL matches for a franchise. Overall, he’s the fifth to get the feat.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
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Imran Khan To Meet Pakistan’s T20 World Cup Squad To Boost Players’ Morale

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister who is also the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), will meet the national T20 World Cup squad on Wednesday (tomorrow), said sources in a bid to boost the morale of the cricketers after England and New Zealand called off their Pakistan tours.

Sources privacy to the matter said that arrangements were being finalized for the meeting between the premier and Pakistan’s T20 squad, selected for the upcoming T20I World Cup. During the meeting, Imran Khan, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain, will share his experiences and give tips to the players apart from a motivational lecture as well.

Besides all the members of the T20 team, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja and other senior officials of the board will be among the attendees of the meeting.

Prime Minister Imran Khan.Photo: file
Prime Minister Imran Khan.Photo: file

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan To Meet T20I Players To Boost Morale

After New Zealand decided to abandon their tour of Pakistan right ahead of the first ODI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that its men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan would not go ahead as planned.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)

Already reeling from New Zealand’s last-minute tour abandonment, Pakistan suffered another massive jolt on Monday as ECB pulled out both its men’s and women’s teams from the tour of the country. With the likes of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka touring the country, it seemed things were starting to get back on track. But England and New Zealand withdrawing from their respective tours will be a body blow to the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Pakistan Mulling Legal Action Against England, NZC

Earlier today, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chauhdry said that Pakistan will consult legal experts to take action against the England and New Zealand cricket boards after they cancelled tours citing “security” issues that cost the Pakistan Television (PTV) millions of rupees.

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

In a tweet, he said that consultations would be held with lawyers for taking legal action against both the boards- England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the New Zealand Cricket (NZC). The minister said that an international lobby was working against Pakistan. He said those who want to force Pakistan to surrender before them never succeed and they should end their misconception as early as possible.

NZ Women Image: Twitter@WHITE_FERNS
NZ Women Image: [email protected]_FERNS
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New Zealand Cricket Boosted Security Around Women’s Team Touring UK

New Zealand Cricket on Tuesday boosted security around the women’s national team currently touring Britain as a precaution after a threatening email was received by English officials. Neither of the two teams trained at the ground on Monday, avoiding any chance of an attack.

New Zealand Cricket, which last week abruptly abandoned the Black Caps’ Pakistan tour over security fears for the men’s team, said the latest threat was ultimately deemed “not credible”. But New Zealand Cricket said the communication received by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) prompted increased security around the White Ferns women’s team, which is due to play England in Leicester on Tuesday.

New Zealand women
New Zealand women. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

New Zealand Cricket Boosted Security Around Women Team In UK

The latest development came as English cricket chiefs withdrew their men’s and women’s teams from next month’s white-ball series in Pakistan, citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”. That decision came in the wake of the Black Caps’ dramatic withdrawal from the Pakistan tour on Friday, moments before the first one-day international was due to start at Rawalpindi Stadium.

New Zealand Cricket has refused to detail what prompted the action beyond saying it had been advised of a “specific and credible threat”.

“The ECB has received a threatening email relating to New Zealand Cricket. Although this did not specifically reference the White Ferns, it was treated seriously, investigated, and deemed not credible,” the governing body said in a statement.

“The White Ferns have now arrived in Leicester and, as a precaution, security around them has been boosted.”

NZ Women vs England Women Getty Images
NZ Women vs England Women Getty Images

The third WODI of the series between England and New Zealand looks set to go ahead in Leicester after a security threat was deemed by New Zealand Cricket to be “not credible”. The 3rd England Women vs New Zealand Women match in the 5-match series will continue despite the security threat faced by the NZ team which is being probed.

The England women side led by Heather Knight is leading the five-match England Women vs New Zealand Women series 2-0 with three more matches to play.

England And New Zealand’s Pakistan Tour Cancellations Are A Huge Setback

According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Pakistan leader Imran Khan that the team feared an attack outside the stadium. The England and New Zealand cancellations are a huge setback for Pakistan, which has been trying to revive tours by foreign sides after home internationals were suspended in the aftermath of a terror attack on the Sri Lankan side in 2009.

Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

There will also be questions raised about planned tours to Pakistan by the West Indies in December and Australia in February next year. The New Zealand men’s team arrived in Dubai on Sunday on a charter flight from Pakistan’s Islamabad, with players not involved in next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE returning to New Zealand as soon as flights and quarantine facilities can be arranged.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
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Ramiz Raja Disappointed In England’s Expected Withdrawal And Said “It Was A Lesson For Pakistan”

Ramiz Raja, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman has said that both England and New Zealand’s decision to not play series in Pakistan is a lesson for them and now they will just look after their own interest.

After New Zealand decided to abandon their tour of Pakistan right ahead of the first ODI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that its men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan would not go ahead as planned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

Ramiz Raja Disappointed In England’s Expected Withdrawal After New Zealand Which Was A Lesson To Pakistan

Already reeling from New Zealand’s last-minute tour abandonment, Pakistan suffered another massive jolt on Monday as ECB pulled out both its men’s and women’s teams from the tour of the country.

“I am severely disappointed in England’s withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other. So you can take any decision on the basis of security threat and perception. There was a sense of anger because first New Zealand got away without sharing information about the threat they were facing,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ramiz Raja as saying.

“Now, this England was expected but this is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. And when we go there, we undergo strict quarantines and we tolerate their admonishments, but there is a lesson in this. That is, that from now on we will only go as far as is in our interest,”Ramiz Raja added.

England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)
England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Further talking about cricket in Pakistan, Ramiz Raja said: “Our interest is that cricket will not stop in our country and if the cricket fraternity will not take care of each other then there’s no point to it. New Zealand, then England, now we have a West Indies series that can also be hit, and Australia who is already reconsidering. This – England, Australia, New Zealand – is all one block. Who can we complain to? We thought they were our own but they haven’t accepted us as theirs.

“We have to improve and expand our cricket economy so that these countries remain interested in playing us. That is in our interests as well so that our players are paid better and we are respected more. They come to the PSL where they don’t get spooked or fatigued but collectively they have a different mindset together toward Pakistan,” Ramiz Raja added.

With the likes of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka touring the country, it seemed things were starting to get back on track. But England and New Zealand withdrawing from their respective tours will be a body blow to the Pakistan Cricket Board.  On Monday, the ECB announced that it was withdrawing both the men’s and women’s teams from next month’s white-ball series in Pakistan citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”.

New Zealand had earlier pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight on Saturday night. The Pakistan tour was Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003 and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

Ramiz Raja: Pakistan Would Develop A Mindset Not To Lose And Will Avenge The Withdrawals In The Ground In T20I WC

Rawalpindi was due to host men’s and women’s T20 double-headers on October 13 and 14 as England’s men prepare for next month’s T20 World Cup. England women’s team were then due to play one-day internationals (ODIs) on October 17, 19, and 21, also in Rawalpindi.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Ramiz Raja said that his team would now be required to channel all their frustration into showcasing good performance in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“We go in the World Cup now and where we had one team in our target – our neighbours India, they now add two more teams – New Zealand and England. So pick up the strength and develop a mindset that we are not going to lose because you didn’t do right by us with us and we will avenge that in the ground,” said Ramiz Raja.

There are a few surprises in the Pakistan squad as veteran players like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed, who captained Pakistan in 2007 and 2016 T20 WCs respectively, did not get a chance in the squad. Aggressive opener Fakhar Zaman and leg-spinner Usman Qadir were not picked in the 15-man squad but the two players along with Shahnawaz Dahani were picked as reserves.

Pakistan Squad For ICC T20 World Cup 2021

Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim,Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.

Traveling reserves – Fakhar Zaman , Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir

Pakistan’s Complete Schedule Against The Following Teams In T20I WC:-

October 24: India 7:30 pm Dubai

October 26: New Zealand 7:30 pm Sharjah

October 29: Afghanistan  – 7:30 pm Dubai

November 2: Runner Up of Group A (A2) – 7:30 pm Abu Dhabi

November 7: Winner of Group B (B1) – 7:30 pm Sharjah

Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
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Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Executive Director Hamid Shinwari Sacked By Taliban

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari was removed from the board by the Taliban. Taliban have sacked the executive director of Afghanistan’s cricket board.

Hamid Shinwari posted on his official Facebook page on Monday that he had been fired by Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s new Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani. He said he was not given any reason for his dismissal, but was told he would be replaced by Naseebullah Haqqani.

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari
Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari Credits: Twitter

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Hamid Shinwari Fired And Naseebullah Haqqani Appointed As The New Executive Director

It isn’t clear if the new ACB chief is a relative of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is sought by the FBI for questioning in connection with several high-profile attacks on Kabul during the Taliban’s 20-year old war with successive US-backed governments. The official Facebook page of the ACB has also announced the appointment of Naseebullah Haqqani (Naseeb Khan) as the new Chief Executive Director (CEO).

Naseeb Khan (Left) with ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazlik (Right)
Naseeb Khan (Left) with ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazlik (Right)

The Taliban’s order which banned women from sports – including cricket – has caused an international backlash. Cricket Australia last week threatened to cancel a match with Afghanistan’s cricket team to protest the banning of women from sports in Afghanistan. The official Facebook page of the Afghanistan Cricket Board also announced Naseebullah Haqqani as the new executive director.

Afghanistan’s Cricket Future Thrown Into Jeopardy After Taliban Takeover

Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any other sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well. Cricket Australia (CA) said that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27 in Hobart, will be scrapped due if the Taliban doesn’t allow women in sports.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side is scheduled to play Australia in a solitary Test match in November, in what could be their first Test against one of the strongest nations in the world at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The match will be played between November 27 to December 1 in Hobart.

Recently, Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan, which was due to get underway in Sri Lanka on Friday was postponed indefinitely as the war-torn country descended into chaos last month. The terror group took over Kabul on August 15 and the country’s democratically government collapsed.

The return of the militant group Taliban has sparked fear among Afghan citizens and the international community, reviving memories of the terror group’s previous stint in power. During the first rule, the Taliban imposed its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Most forms of entertainment were banned – including many sports – and stadiums posed as public execution venues. Sports the Taliban allowed were strictly controlled and were for only for men to play and watch.

Afghanistan played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats. Afghanistan’s proposed series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka was recently postponed due to travel complications, with no commercial flights currently coming in or out of Kabul’s international airport.

Afghanistan Cricket Board has made it clear that the team will be ready for action when the 2021 T20 World Cup gets underway in Dubai. With an eye on the current turmoil in the Asian country, questions have been raised on whether the team will be ready to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Royal Challengers Bangalore Might Win IPL 2021 As Everyone Wants Virat Kohli To Win IPL Title: Virender Sehwag

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has been synonymous with Virat Kohli’s IPL career as the batting legend strives to win the coveted title for the franchise at least once in his tenure as captain. Virat Kohli shocked the cricketing world by announcing his decision to quit Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) leadership at the end of the ongoing IPL 2021 in the UAE. Virat Kohli will also quit as India’s T20I captain after T20I World Cup ends.

Captain Virat Kohli’s decision has surely not gone down too well with his worldwide fans and supporters, yet they continue to root for their superstar to win the elusive missing IPL title for the Bangalore franchise, at least once before he steps down from the all-important mantle.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)

Virender Sehwag: Everyone Wants Virat Kohli To Win At Least A Trophy For Royal Challengers Bangalore

Not to forget, the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper, earlier had announced that he would discontinue as Team India’s T20I captain after the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 to be held in UAE and Oman concludes as well. As if it wasn’t hard enough digesting this piece of news, the pressure of winning IPL silverware remains another hurdle yet to be achieved for the cricketing icon’s otherwise glorious career thus far.

However, former Indian legendary dashing opener Virender Sehwag has said that Virat Kohli owes at least one IPL trophy to the RCB family since the Indian skipper enjoys such a huge fan following worldwide. Virat Kohli has not won a single IPL title despite featuring in all 13 editions of the tournament, of which 8 of them, he played as captain.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

“IPL is important for every captain but I think more so for Virat as with his huge fan base, everyone wants Virat to win a trophy for the Bangalore franchise. If not multiple times then at least once in his tenure as captain,” Sehwag told PTI. 

The 42-year-old ex-India batsman said that 2021 might just be Royal Challengers Bangalore’s year and better yet, maybe the icing on the cake in Virat Kohli’s IPL career before he departs from the franchise’s leadership.

“This has been a strange year off the field due to pandemic and who knows it might be a different year for Bangalore from previous seasons and they go on to win the trophy,” said Sehwag.

In addition, Virender Sehwag said that just like the IPL 2020 in the UAE, he again feels IPL 2020 winners Mumbai Indians (MI) and runners-up Delhi Capitals (DC) are the favourites to win the cash-rich elite T20 tournament.

“Since the second half has been shifted to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I think Delhi and Mumbai will again be favourites and the five-time champions are slightly ahead,” he added.

“Chennai’s average score in India was 201 during the first phase but I think when it comes to UAE tracks, they would be lacking a bit in batting firepower. If I have to pick one team, that will be Mumbai,” concluded Sehwag.

Virat Kohli’s association with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) goes back to the first year of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008 and even though Virat Kohli has announced he will step down from captaincy after the 2021 season, he has said he wants to finish his IPL career with the Bengaluru franchise.  RCB finished 3rd in 2015 and 2nd in 2016. The two are the only seasons apart from the 2020 season when Virat Kohli has led his team to the playoffs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Loses To Kolkata Knight Riders By 9 Wickets And 60 Balls To Spare In Their 1st Match In IPL 2021 UAE Leg

Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore need to get back to their groove and return to winning ways if at all there is any chance for Virender Sehwag’s prediction to hold any bearing as RCB started the second phase of the 14th edition of the IPL in Abu Dhabi poorly as the team got thrashed by Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders by 9 wickets and 60 balls to spare.

Varun Chakravarthy and Eoin Morgan Image Source : PTI
Varun Chakravarthy and Eoin Morgan Image Source: PTI

Going ahead, RCB is pitted against a no.1 placed side on the league table, Chennai Super Kings (CSK). MS Dhoni’s Yellow Army will face RCB on Friday (September 24) in Sharjah.

In KKR’s opening match in the UAE leg, Varun Chakravarthy took the crucial wickets of Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, and Wanindu Hasaranga. The mystery spinner showed ample proof of his credentials while registering figures of 3/13. Meanwhile, Andre Russell also registered three dismissals including that of AB de Villiers and Lockie Ferguson bagged two wickets.

Varun Chakravarthy ran through the RCB middle order in Match 31 of IPL 2021. [P/C: iplt20.com]
Varun Chakravarthy ran through the RCB middle order in Match 31 of IPL 2021. [P/C: iplt20.com]
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Varun Chakravarthy Can Be A Huge X-Factor In The T20I World Cup 2021: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan believes leg spinner Varun Chakravarthy could be an X-factor for the Indian cricket team at the forthcoming T20 World Cup. He reasoned that the mystery element in his bowling is likely to remain.

Varun Chakravarthy is part of India’s 15-member squad for the global event to be played just after IPL 2021 concludes. The mystery spinner showed ample proof of his credentials while registering figures of 3/13 in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) thrashing of the star-studded batting line-up of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday (September 20).

Varun Chakravarthy
Varun Chakravarthy[photo: Twitter]

Irfan Pathan: Varun Chakravarthy Can Be A Huge X Factor

During a discussion on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan opined that mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy will be the surprise element in India’s bowling attack at the forthcoming T20 World Cup.  After the match concluded, RCB captain Virat Kohli lauded the 30-year-old spinner and called him a key player for Team India. Varun Chakravarthy has also been selected for India’s T20 World Cup squad with Virat Kohli as skipper.

“He can be a huge X-factor. You have not played him in international cricket, you have definitely played him in the IPL but the dynamics are slightly different in the IPL. When you play him in the World Cup after playing him in the IPL, it will still be different, the World Cup pressure will be different and the mystery will remain,” said Irfan Pathan.

Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India pacer Irfan Pathan cited the example of his former teammate pacer Zaheer Khan’s knuckleball at the 2011 World Cup to substantiate his point.

Irfan Pathan elaborated: “If you remember the 2011 World Cup, Zaheer Khan started using the knuckle ball in the World Cup and not before that. That was a surprise delivery. So, the surprise factor is definitely beneficial when you play a new thing or bowler. Something similar can happen for Varun Chakravarthy.”

Varun Chakravarthy has represented Team India in just three T20Is to date, which came on their last visit to Sri Lanka. Although he scalped just a couple of wickets, he was extremely economical (5.3).

In KKR’s opening match in the UAE leg, Varun Chakravarthy took the crucial wickets of Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, and Wanindu Hasaranga. Meanwhile, Andre Russell also registered three dismissals including that of AB de Villiers and Lockie Ferguson bagged two wickets. He picked 17 wickets in the 2020 IPL season at an average of 20.94. and 10 scalps in 8 games in IPL 2021 averaging 23.2.

Aakash Chopra: Pitches In The UAE Helpful For Varun Chakravarthy

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the skiddy nature of the UAE pitches is an additional ally for Varun Chakravarthy.

“The pitches currently in the UAE are helpful for him because the ball is skidding after pitching and you are getting less time. If you don’t read from the hand, you try to get a clue off the pitch, which you are not going to get here.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India opener concluded by stating that Varun Chakravarthy is a potent threat in the middle overs.

“His performance in the UAE was outstanding last time as well because of which his name came in the Indian team. The same Varun Chakravarthy was a slightly easier bowler to play when you were playing in India because that much fizz was not there after pitching. So, he is a four-over bowler and is a wicket-taking option in the middle overs.”

Varun Chakravarthy will hope to continue in the same vein for the remainder of IPL 2021. A good run here would assure him a spot in India’s starting XI at the T20 World Cup.

Shubman Gill slammed 48 runs off 34 balls, packed with six fours and a maximum. Meanwhile, debutant Venkatesh Iyer remained unbeaten after scoring 41 off 27 balls, consisting of seven fours and a maximum. Andre Russell arrived to bat after the dismissal of Shubman Gill but didn’t face a single delivery, with Venkatesh Iyer wrapping up the game for Kolkata.

Waqar Younis. (Image Credits: Getty)
Waqar Younis. (Image Credits: Getty)
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Waqar Younis Opens Up On Reasons Behind His Resignation As Pakistan Bowling Coach Before 2021 T20I WC

Waqar Younis, former Pakistan bowling coach has elaborated on his abrupt resignation from the role. Waqar Younis and head coach Misbah-Ul-Haq stunned the global cricketing fraternity by stepping down after selectors announced Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup where experienced campaigners like Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, and Wahab Riaz were omitted.

Waqar Younis earlier revealed that it made no sense for him to stay after Misbah-Ul-Haq decided to walk away. The former Pakistan skipper opined that they quit their roles before the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fired them.

Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis- Former Pakistan Coaches (AFP)
Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis- Former Pakistan Coaches (AFP)

Waqar Younis Quit As Pakistan Bowling Coach For Spending Time With Family And Appointment Of Ramiz Raja Also Was A Part Behind The Decision

Waqar Younis stated that spending more time with family was one of the significant reasons behind his resignation. The 49-year old further claimed it was better to step down before the management under new Chairman Ramiz Raja installed a new setup.
Ramiz Raja is a former Pakistani cricketer currently serving as the 36th Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Ramiz Raja represented Pakistan during the 1980s and the 1990s. Since retiring from cricket, he has been a commentator on International cricket matches.

“There were two to three reasons behind my decision. Obviously, spending time with family was one of them which was becoming difficult due to Covid-19. Also, after the appointment of new PCB chairman [Ramiz Raja], the wise thing was to reign because it seemed as if he [Raja] wanted to bring a new setup. So, when Misbah resigned, I decided to follow suit,” Younis told Cricket Pakistan.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Waqar Younis continued by saying there could have been bigger repercussions if he hadn’t stepped down as new people tend to have a different way of doing things.

“If we would not have taken this decision, a bigger problem would have been created. There could have been a controversy. I have enough experience to understand the cricket board and its history. When a new setup takes over, they have their own way of doing things and taking all of that into account it was a sensible thing to do.”

Waqar Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq both had a year still left in their tenures, having taken charge in September 2019. However, the pressure on them was mounting after Pakistan had endured plenty of crushing overseas losses under their reign.
Pakistan has been in an excellent run of form in 2021 as they started off with two consecutive home and away series wins against South Africa. They won the next T20I series against Zimbabwe as well but couldn’t get past the line in England where they lost the series 1-2. Their previous series against West Indies ended in their favour as well with a 1-0 win in the four-match rain-hit series.

Waqar Younis Also Backed Pakistan’s Bowling Attack To Thrive In 2021 T20I WC

Waqar Younis also backed Pakistan’s bowling attack to thrive in the upcoming 2021 T20 World Cup. As for the blockbuster clash against India, the former bowler urged his countrymen cricketers to have the self-belief to have any chance of winning.

“[A] World Cup is a small tournament and if your players are in form and luck favours you, the team can go all the way. Our bowling can defend any total and, if we can fix some of the issues in our batting, this team has the potential to go all the way. If the team plays to their potential, I think they will challenge the Indian team and even beat them. They should play positive cricket and believe that they can beat India.”

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

India and Pakistan will open their World Cup campaign against each other in Dubai on the 24th of October. It’s worth noting that the Men in Green are yet to beat their arch-rivals in a World Cup game in 12 encounters across the T20I and 50-over editions.

But, rather than the record against their arch-rivals, Pakistan will be more worried about their lack of match practice ahead of the forthcoming T20 World Cup. It is to be noted that New Zealand recently called off their white-ball tour to Pakistan due to security reasons and England looks likely to follow suit. New Zealand was supposed to play 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is and England -2 T20Is in Pakistan.

On the bowling side of things, youngster Shaheen Shah Afridi will be the biggest factor. Notably, Pakistan has won 4 out of the last 5 T20I series they have played. So far Pakistan has won one T20 World Cup trophy back in 2009 by defeating Sri Lanka by 8 wickets at the Home of cricket Lord’s Cricket Ground, London. They will have an eye on winning the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)
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Virat Kohli To Step Down As RCB Skipper After IPL 2021 Concludes

Virat Kohli announced that he will step down as the captain of his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore after IPL 2021 concludes. Earlier this week, Virat Kohli had announced that he will relinquish his India T20I captaincy after the upcoming T20I World Cup to be staged in the UAE and Oman.

Appointed ahead of the 2013 season as a successor to spinner Daniel Vettori, Virat Kohli will end up with nine seasons at the helm for RCB.

Daniel Vettori, Virat Kohli (BCCI Photo)
Daniel Vettori, Virat Kohli (BCCI Photo)

Virat Kohli To Step Down As RCB Skipper After IPL 2021 Concludes At UAE

So far, the franchise has won 62 out of the 132 matches under him beside 66 losses and 4 no-results. The best season finish under the Indian skipper so far has been a runners-up spot in 2016, a final that RCB lost to SunRisers Hyderabad by 8 runs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, their home ground. Other than that, the franchise made the playoffs on only two other occasions under Virat Kohli’s leadership: in 2015 and 2020.

Virat Kohli’s eight-year tenure as the RCB skipper wasn’t as fruitful as expected despite having some of the biggest names in the shortest format like AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle. The closest he came to winning the trophy was in 2016, driven by himself with staggering 973 runs, but it eluded him.

“It has been a great and an inspiring journey, captaining a talented bunch of players in the RCB squad,” Kohli said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the RCB management, coaches, support staff, players, and the entire RCB family, who have been instrumental in the growth of the franchise over the years.”

“It wasn’t an easy decision but one that has been well thought of and in the best interest of this wonderful franchise. The RCB family remains close to my heart as we continue to strive to achieve excellence. As I have mentioned previously in many occasions, I will only play for RCB until my retirement from the game of cricket.”

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

RCB Chairman Prathmesh Mishra said, “Virat Kohli is one of the finest cricketers, and has been a true asset to RCB. His impeccable work ethics and leadership skills has been phenomenal. We respect and support this decision and would like to thank Virat for his incredible contribution to the RCB leadership group. He has left an indelible mark on the franchise and will continue to be a senior member of the team.”

With a mega auction planned ahead of the next edition which will feature 10 teams, RCB will be able to dive into their squad make-up focusing on Virat Kohli as a pure batsman. Virat Kohli, 32, got back to opening for RCB towards the end of last season and it could be a role he looks to fulfil going forward.

Virat Kohli Said Stepping Down As RCB Captain Was Something On His Mind For A While

The announcement of stepping down as RCB skipper comes a few days after Virat Kohli issued a statement to inform that he will step down as India’s T20I captain at the end of the forthcoming T20I World Cup, which will immediately follow the IPL 2021 in UAE and Oman. Virat Kohli though will continue to lead the Indian team in Tests and ODIs.

“Spoke to the management this evening. It was something on my mind for a while. As I recently announced, (I’ll be) stepping down from T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload which has been immense over the last so many years. I want to continue to remain committed to the responsibilities I am fulfilling and I felt I needed this space to refresh, regroup and be absolutely clear in how I want to move forward.”

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Image Credit: Twitter)

“And also understanding that RCB is going to go through a transitional phase with a big auction coming in next year. I made it clear to the management that (smiles) I can’t think of being in any other team than RCB and that’s been my commitment from day one,” Kohli told RCB in his announcement video.

RCB restart this season’s campaign on Monday (September 20) against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi. Before stepping down, Virat Kohli will be hoping to lead RCB to their maiden IPL title this year. RCB is currently placed third in the league table with 10 points from seven games as they have managed to register five wins before the season was postponed midway through in May due to Covid-19 bio bubble breaches.

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