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Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir Named Mentor Of Lucknow Franchise For IPL 2022

Two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir has been named mentor of team Lucknow in IPL 2022. Earlier the newly inducted IPL franchise also named Andy Flower as their head coach.

In his IPL career, Gautam Gambhir represented two franchises- Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) and Kolkata Knight Riders. In his 154-match IPL career, he scored 4218 runs with 36 fifties.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Thanks a lot to Dr Goenka and the RPSG Group for presenting me this wonderful opportunity in their setup. The fire to win a contest still burns bright inside me, the desire to leave a winner’s legacy still kicks me 24×7. I will not be contesting for a dressing room but for the spirit and soul of Uttar Pradesh,” the left-handed opener said in a statement.

 

Gambhir also played a key role in India‘s two world-cup winning campaigns. In the 2007 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan, he played a match-winning knock of 76 at Johannesburg. Four years later, he again played a crucial knock of 91 in a high-pressure chase in the final of World Cup 2011.

Also Read: KL Rahul Named As India’s Test Vice-Captain For South Africa Tour

Shakib Al Hasan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shakib Al Hasan (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Shakib Al Hasan Has Been Ruled Out From Participating In At Least 1st Test Against Pakistan

Shakib Al Hasan will not be available for the opening match of the Bangladesh vs Pakistan Test series, BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin confirmed today.

In a chat, Minhajul Abedin stated that Shakib Al Hasan had not fully recovered from his hamstring injury. As a result, he will miss at least the first Test of the upcoming series against Pakistan.

Shakib Al Hasan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shakib Al Hasan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shakib Al Hasan Ruled Out From Playing At Least 1st Test Against Pakistan

Shakib Al Hasan has played 58 Tests amassing 3933 runs averaging 39.33 runs with the bat and 215 scalps averaging 31.06 with the ball. His last Test was against Zimbabwe in July 2021. He has played only 2 Tests in 2021, none in 2020, and 1 in 2019 when he was banned for not reporting corrupt approaches.

Shakib Al Hasan played 8 matches for KKR in IPL 2021 and picked 4 scalps bowling 26 overs and managed 47 runs.

Minhajul Abedin said: “Shakib will miss the first Test, that’s for sure. He is yet to recover from injury. After assessing the physiotherapist’s report, we can say whether he will be available for the second Test.”

Shakib Al Hasan Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Shakib Al Hasan Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Shakib Al Hasan sustained a hamstring injury while playing against West Indies in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. The all-rounder missed Bangladesh’s last two matches of the Super 12 round against South Africa and Australia and was also ruled out of the home T20I series against Pakistan.

Shakib Al Hasan Played Only 1 Match During The 2019-21 WTC Cycle

Bangladesh will aim to register its first win in the ICC World Test Championship in the upcoming series against Pakistan. The Bangladeshi team failed to win a single match in the previous cycle. The team’s veteran all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan played only one match during the 2019-21 WTC cycle, scoring 68 runs. He bowled six overs but could not pick up any wickets.

Tamim Iqbal (Image Credit: Twitter)
Tamim Iqbal (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shakib Al Hasan will look forward to recovering soon and donning the whites for Bangladesh again. The Bangladesh vs Pakistan Test series will start this Friday-26th November. Dhaka will play host to both matches of the series. With Shakib Al Hasan not playing, Pakistan has a golden chance of winning an away series in the new WTC cycle 2021-23. It will be interesting to see which Asian team comes out on top.

Meanwhile, Pakistan won the T20I series against Bangladesh in a dominating manner by 3-0 and the Test series between the teams is all set to begin from Friday in Chattogram. Opener Tamim Iqbal has also opted out of the Test series against Pakistan and New Zealand due to an injury.

Bangladesh has added uncapped duo Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Rejaur Rahman Raja to the squad. Mahmudul Hasan Joy performed really well in the National Cricket League, smashing two centuries, and Rejaur Rahman Raja picked 33 wickets in 10 first-class games.

Chakravarthy and the rest of the Indian bowlers could not take a single wicket against Pakistan on Sunday. (Reuters Photo)
Chakravarthy and the rest of the Indian bowlers could not take a single wicket against Pakistan on Sunday. (Reuters Photo)
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T20 World Cup 2021: The Way Varun Chakravarthy Started Is Praiseworthy: Ashish Nehra

Ashish Nehra picked spinner Varun Chakravarthy when he was asked to identify one bowler who impressed playing for India against Pakistan despite them not getting any wickets.

It wasn’t the greatest day for the Indian bowlers as Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win in the teams’ 2021 T20 World Cup Super 12 clash. After restricting India to a below-par 151/7, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan hit unbeaten half-centuries en route to a thumping victory over their rivals.

Ashish Nehra (Source: File)
Ashish Nehra (Source: File)

Ashish Nehra On Varun Chakravarthy:

Playing his first World Cup match for the Men In Blue, Varun Chakravarthy showed some spark, but the Indian bowler went wicket-less and leaked 33 runs in the low-scoring contest. Varun Chakravarthy was named in the Indian playing XI at the expense of veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Varun Chakravarthy first came into the limelight when he picked up 17 wickets, including a devastating spell of 5-20 against the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020. In IPL 2021, appearing even more unplayable, he took 18 wickets in 17 games averaging 24.88, at an economy rate of 6.58.
His magnificent spin partnership with Sunil Narine was a major reason why the Kolkata Knight Riders reached the final. He picked 2 scalps in 4 T20Is, 3 matches of which came in the Sri Lanka tour.

Ashish Nehra said: “Yes, Pakistan won by 10 wickets, but I would pick one bowler, and this is the effect of the IPL, and that is Varun Chakravarthy. Playing his first game against Pakistan, in the World Cup, it’s not easy. But the way he started is praiseworthy. “

“The few deliveries that he got hit for sixes were some great strokes by the batters. But the bowling that we saw from him in the IPL and against Sri Lanka, he is just taking that forward,” said Ashish Nehra.

Varun Chakravarthy
Varun Chakravarthy. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Varun Chakravarthy started his spell brilliantly, giving away just two runs in his first over, which came in the Powerplay. However, he was taken for runs later in the match and ended up giving away 33 runs in his four overs. Ashish Nehra said that he did well to bowl with discipline and wasn’t affected by the pressure of the occasion.

“Sometimes you are playing against Pakistan, it is a World Cup match, so you can come under pressure and stray with your bowling, but that did not happen at all. The rest of the bowlers are experienced internationals. So I would say Varun Chakravarthy was a big plus for India, and going forward, when there isn’t too much dew, he can be India’s X-factor,” Ashish Nehra said.

Varun Chakravarthy was KKR’s highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps in IPL 2021. Still, against Pakistan, openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were able to pick him quickly, with both players hitting sixes in his final over.

Virender Sehwag Felt That As An X Factor Mystery Spinner Varun Chakravarthy Has To Take Wickets Even If He’s Expensive

However, former Indian opener Virender Sehwag disagreed with Ashish Nehra. Virender Sehwag felt that, as an X-factor bowler, Varun Chakravarthy needs to be taking wickets, even if he goes for more runs.

“The expectations I had from Varun Chakravarthy, he didn’t bowl at that level. Because as an X-factor, he has to take wickets. I don’t mind if he is expensive. Even if he gave 40 runs but took two wickets, that is more important. You become an X-factor bowler if you take wickets. Because even if you keep bowling economical spells, if you don’t take wickets, it will be difficult to beat the opposition,” Sehwag said.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaheen Shah Afridi stunned India with his three-wicket haul that saw him remove both openers in his first two overs. India never quite recovered from that double-blow, with Virat Kohli’s 57-run rescue act helping them set a target of 152 for Pakistan to chase.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan then put on a batting masterclass as they chased down the target with little hassle. Mohammad Rizwan scored 79, and Babar Azam hit 68 as Pakistan won with more than two overs to spare.

Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja Image Source : GETTY
Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja Image Source : GETTY
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Aakash Chopra Feels India’s Balance Will Be Compromised With Ravindra Jadeja-Virat Kohli Completing 5th Bowlers’ Duties

Aakash Chopra feels Team India will have an arduous task in getting Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli to complete the fifth bowlers’ duties between the duo.

The Indian team is likely to go into the T20 World Cup with only five frontline bowling options, with Hardik Pandya unlikely to roll his arm over. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Suryakumar Yadav might have to be called into action if any of the regular bowlers are unable to bowl their full quota of overs.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: If Hardik Pandya Isn’t Bowling, India Is Pegged Back Somewhat As Ravindra Jadeja Isn’t 4 Over Bowler

While reflecting on Team India’s possible bowling lineup in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that the Virat Kohli-led side might allow their opponents off the hook if both Ravindra Jadeja and the skipper bowl in the middle overs.

He explained: “When you are playing with five bowlers, Jaddu bowls in the middle overs – after the 6th and before the 14th – now if he is also going to bowl in that and you want to get an over from Kohli as well, I feel you will get stuck.”

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Hardik Pandya’s inability to bowl will compromise Team India’s balance.  Virat Kohli was expected to sit out in India’s second warm-up match against Australia, but he instead came on the field and even bowled 2 overs for the team. Virat Kohli conceded a decent 12 runs from his spell.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “Team India’s balance is slightly awry, let’s be honest. If Hardik is not bowling, the Indian team is pegged back a little. Jadeja, the 4-over bowler in T20 cricket, is still a bit of a question mark.”

Team India has the option to strengthen their bowling by batting all-rounder spinner Ravindra Jadeja at no.6 and playing Shardul Thakur as the seam-bowling all-rounder at no.7. But they are unlikely to go that route as it will weaken their batting considerably.

Aakash Chopra: Varun Chakravarthy Should Have Been Used Better

Aakash Chopra also questioned Team India’s handling of Varun Chakravarthy in their warm-up match against Australia. Varun Chakravarthy conceded 23 runs off 2 overs and went wicketless.

India went off to a flier in the opening stages of the game as the spinners headed by Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rahul Chahar took four out of the five wickets. Australia then went on to set a target of 153, thanks to the heroics of Marcus Stoinis’ quick-fire 41 and Steve Smith’s well-made 57.

“I feel Varun Chakravarthy should have been used better because if you don’t do that, you will get found out. You are thinking of hiding him and I am saying to give him some confidence because he has not played international cricket.”

Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)
Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)

The former India opener turned commentator is slightly worried about the mystery spinner having not bowled much before the crunch match against Pakistan.

Aakash Chopra said: “If someone hasn’t played international cricket and you get him to play an India-Pakistan match straightaway, he becomes nervous. I am slightly concerned about Varun Chakravarthy.”

Varun Chakravarthy played the IPL 2021 final for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on October 15. The team management might have also wanted the injury-prone bowler to get sufficient rest, apart from keeping the mystery spinner away from glaring eyes. He picked 17 wickets in the 2020 IPL season at an average of 20.94 from 13 games and also 18 scalps in 17 games in IPL 2021, averaging 24.88.

Gautam Gambhir has taken a sly dig at Eoin Morgan | Photo: IANS/ BCCI
Gautam Gambhir has taken a sly dig at Eoin Morgan | Photo: IANS/ BCCI
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Gautam Gambhir Questions Whether Eoin Morgan Or Team Analyst Captains KKR In IPL 2021

Gautam Gambhir took a sly dig at Eoin Morgan for making the most of the statistics from the team analyst while taking on-field decisions as the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). A remarkable second phase in the 2021 season of the IPL has paved the way for the Eoin Morgan-led KKR side to enter the playoffs stage of the cash-rich league.

Eoin Morgan-led KKR finished a step ahead of defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on the IPL 2021 points table to secure the fourth and final spot for the playoffs. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) won five games out of seven in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 to complete a remarkable turnaround and seal a spot in the playoffs.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir Unsure Whether Eoin Morgan Captains KKR On Field Or The Captaincy Is Done By Video Analyst Off Field

Speaking on ESPNcricinfo show ‘Runorder’, the former KKR skipper under whom KKR won twice in 2012 and 2014 expressed his reservations about Eoin Morgan leading his side as an on-field captain.

“Morgan’s point of view, I’m not sure because he doesn’t captain, so it’s the video analyst that captains the side. He only just looks at the video analyst, so I don’t know whether he’s the captain on the field or (if the) captaincy is happening off the field,” Gautam  Gambhir said. 

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan (Image Credit: Twitter)

The two-time IPL-winning captain then shared his views about Virat Kohli’s captaincy in his final season as RCB skipper. Though Gautam Gambhir has not enjoyed a lot of Virat Kohli’s captaincy in the IPL, the former DC skipper admitted that the RCB star has been outstanding for the Bangalore franchise.

“Virat has been fabulous. Honestly, I have not enjoyed a lot of his captaincy, but this time around, he’s been very, very good. Probably the reason is that he thinks this is his last time as captain in IPL, (so) he wants to enjoy it more; he’s just more relaxed. And he’s got the bowlers this time..,” Gautam Gambhir opined. 

As two-time champions, Kolkata has joined Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Delhi Capitals (DC) in the final four of the IPL 2021, former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir has rated all four leaders of the qualified IPL teams in the build-up to the business end of the competition.

Gautam Gambhir: MS Dhoni Is The No. 1 Skipper As He Can Handle Captaincy Pressure Best

Gautam Gambhir also lauded CSK skipper MS Dhoni for scripting Chennai’s comeback in the 14th edition of the T20 tournament after not qualifying for playoffs for the first time in IPL 2020. The former Indian cricketer and full-time cricket pundit feel the legendary CSK skipper is the numero uno captain of the IPL 2021.

MS Dhoni has guided CSK to the playoffs for the 11th time in the cash-rich league’s history. MS Dhoni-led CSK will play the first Qualifier against Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni
Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Purely from the captaincy point of view who can handle the pressure best, probably has to be Dhoni. Rishabh has the advantage from a point of view that he’s got a lot of experience in the playing XI. If Steve Smith plays, he’s got him alongside. He has got Ravichandran Ashwin who has captained earlier as well… so for me Dhoni is No. 1 at the moment,” Gautam Gambhir added.

Among the four teams that have reached the playoffs this year, only the Chennai Super Kings (thrice) and KKR (twice) have won an IPL title before. DC made their best-ever finish by reaching the finals in IPL 2020, and RCB has been runners-up thrice without clinching the trophy. RCB has played three finals in the IPL but lost all of them (in 2009 to the Deccan Chargers, 2011 to the Chennai Super Kings, and 2016 to Sunrisers Hyderabad).

As far as Qualifier 1 is concerned, there hasn’t been clarity on the availability of DC’s Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis as yet. Still, with Delhi seemingly grooming Ripal Patel as the fill-in, it won’t be a surprise if they go in unchanged. So the one possible change to CSK’s playing eleven could be the inclusion of Suresh Raina in place of Robin Uthappa, who hasn’t made the most of the two opportunities handed to him.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)
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It Would Be Better If A New Team Like RCB Or Delhi Capitals Lift IPL 2021 Trophy: Salman Butt

Salman Butt feels it could be a blessing in disguise if Mumbai Indians (MI) do not qualify for the playoffs in the latest edition of the Indian Premier League. Salman Butt believes in their absence, the odds of a new champion being crowned would increase.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt claimed that Mumbai Indians are a formidable team. He emphasized how they have gone on to win the tournament on several occasions, despite a rocky start.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (Image Credit: Twitter)

Salman Butt: It Would Be Better If A New Team Like RCB Or DC Win The IPL 2021

The 37-year-old former tainted batsman and Pakistan skipper pointed out that the likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals could benefit from Mumbai’s exit. RCB and DC will look to lay their hands on the coveted trophy for the very first time.

“It is good that MI are out of the playoffs because once they start winning from the bottom, then they go on to win the title more often than not. Wouldn’t it be better if a new team like RCB or DC wins the title?. MI are dangerous,” Salman Butt said.

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians currently occupy 6th place in the IPL 2021 points table. However, their underwhelming net run rate of -0.048 could limit their chances of making the cut for the all-important playoffs.

Mumbai Indians Can Still Qualify For Playoffs If They Score More Than 200 Runs Batting First And Beat SRH By At Least 171 Runs

The five-time defending champions will have to topple the 4th placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the points table to become the fourth team to qualify. However, the chances of that happening are very slim as they will have to beat SRH by a humongous margin in order to do so.

MI is slated to take on SRH on Friday (October 8) in Abu Dhabi. They will have to score more than 200 runs after batting first in the game and beat Hyderabad by at least 171 runs to surpass KKR’s net run rate. Notably, they will not stand a chance if they bat second in the fixture.

KKR’s massive win against RR made the equation extremely stiff for MI to qualify for playoffs. Prior to the KKR vs RR match, all MI needed was a win and hoped that the Knight Riders lost. But KKR’s win made it all the more tricky for MI. KKR’s NRR jumped to +0.587 win a win over RR, which means that MI now will not only have to win but do it comprehensively to make it to the Playoffs.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ran riot with the ball and beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Match 54 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in Sharjah on Thursday. Put into bat, KKR posted 171/4 and then bowled out RR for 85 to register their seventh win of the season. While youngster pacer Shivam Mavi scalped four wickets, Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson picked three wickets as KKR marched towards the victory.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 171/4 (Shubman Gill 56, Venkatesh Iyer 38; Chetan Sakariya 1/23) beat Rajasthan Royals 85 (Rahul Tewatia 44, Shivam Dube 18; Shivam Mavi 4/21) by 86 runs. 

IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
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IPL 2021: The UAE Government Would Allow 60 Percent Attendance For 2nd Phase Of IPL 2021 At UAE

IPL 2021 received a big boost when the UAE government decided to allow 60 percent attendance at the stadiums for the second phase of the IPL 2021. This decision was taken after thorough consultations with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), as per the reports in the Telegraph.

Earlier, when the BCCI hosted the IPL 2021 in India before it got indefinitely postponed due to a bio-bubble breach, where no crowds were allowed at the venues, keeping the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

The Emirates Cricket Board are closely working the UAE government to allow fans inside stadiums during IPL 2021.
The Emirates Cricket Board is closely working with the UAE government to allow fans inside stadiums during IPL 2021.

IPL 2021: The UAE Government’s Decision To Allow 60 Percent Attendance Will Come As A Massive Boost For Players Playing IPL 2021

Likewise, no spectators were allowed to watch the games live during IPL 2020, when the entire tournament was played in the UAE. With 60 percent of the audience turning up at the stadiums, it will be a massive boost for the players while playing the IPL matches.

The BCCI had announced the entire schedule of the remainder of IPL 2021 last month. According to it, in the span of over 27 days, a total of 31 matches will be played.  Amit Mishra(DC), Sandeep Warrier, Varun Chakravarthy(KKR), and Wriddhiman Saha(SRH) contracted the virus. Chennai Super Kings’ batting coach Michael Hussey and bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji had also contracted the virus in India which led to the indefinite postponement of IPL 2021.

Fans At An UAE Stadium During IPL Photo Credit: (Twitter)
Fans At An UAE Stadium During IPL Photo Credit: (Twitter)

The second phase of IPL 2021 will commence on September 19 with a game between the Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Dubai. A total of 31 games, including the playoffs, will be played in this phase of the tournament. It will come to a close with the final on October 15. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah are the three venues shortlisted to host the remaining IPL 2021 matches.

CSK and MI Are The First 2 Teams To Reach The UAE

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL
Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL

Before the IPL 2021 came to an abrupt halt due to rising COVID-19 cases within the franchises, the Delhi Capitals (DC) were at the top of the table with 12 points (six wins in eight matches). CSK and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were second and third with five wins from seven games, while MI was fourth with four wins in seven matches.

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Punjab Kings (PBKS) have won three games each out of seven and eight matches, respectively. Kolkata Knight Riders won just two games out of seven, while Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) got over the line only once in seven appearances and is at the bottom of the points table.

Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)
Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)
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Dinesh Karthik Reveals Reason for Not Playing First-Class Cricket For Tamil Nadu

Dinesh Karthik has been the cynosure lately not because of the heroics on the cricket field but in the commentary box. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has been entertaining fans with his hilarious and entrancing on-air remarks ever since making his commentary debut in the ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand in July earlier this year.

While the audience has been loving the commentator, the 36-year-old still has some plans as a player. Dinesh Karthik, on many occasions, has said that he is determined to make a comeback in the national team for the T20 World Cup. However, the dashing batter has a different perspective for the longest format of the game. In a recent interaction with Aakash Chopra, he revealed why he hasn’t been playing First-Class cricket lately.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

Dinesh Karthik Reveals Reason for Not Playing First Cass Cricket For Tamil Nadu As He Doesn’t Have Future In Red Ball Cricket

Notably, Dinesh Karthik hasn’t played a red-ball game for Tamil Nadu since February 2020. Speaking of the same, the veteran asserted that had he continued playing First-Class cricket for the state team, young wicket-keeper N Jagadeesan’s place would have been blocked. He also accepted that his days as a Test cricket are over.

“The reason I don’t play red-ball cricket for Tamil Nadu is that it will block the chances of Jagadeesan and also I don’t have a future in red-ball cricket as well,” said Karthik while speaking on Aakash Chopra’s YouTube channel.

MS Dhoni with CSK's other wicketkeeper-batsman N Jagadeesan (File Photo/CSK)
MS Dhoni with CSK’s other wicketkeeper-batsman N Jagadeesan (File Photo/CSK)

For the unversed, Dinesh Karthik made his Test debut way back in November 2004. He couldn’t do much in his initial days and MS Dhoni’s arrival made his job even more difficult.  The Tamil Nadu-born cricketer did play some matches as a pure batsman but couldn’t cement his place in the team.

N Jagadeshan, the wicket-keeper batsman made his debut in the Tamil Nadu squad in 2016 against Madhya Pradesh. N Jagadeesan has been among runs for his state-side and was picked to play for the CSK franchise in IPL which is led by MS Dhoni. He scored 33 runs in 5 games in IPL 2020.

Dinesh Karthik Failed Terribly After Being Picked In India’s Test Squad For 2018 England Tour

After MS Dhoni’s retirement from the format, Dinesh Karthik got a chance to stamp his authority as he was picked in India’s Test squad for the 2018 tour of England. He failed terribly in the first two games and got dropped subsequently. That proved to be his last assignment in Test cricket.

Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik (Image: NDTV Sports)

Dinesh Karthik is still determined to play white-ball cricket in India. This year’s T20 World Cup is just a couple of months away. Hence, if Dinesh Karthik put up a phenomenal show in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 he may forge a comeback in the national team.

Dinesh Karthik averages a below-par 25 in 26 Tests after debuting way back in November 2004 against Australia. He has scored only 1 ton and 4 fifties in the longest format. He scored only 4 runs against Afghanistan and only 21 runs in 2 Tests against England after being recalled in 2018.

Current India international and Tamil Nadu captain Dinesh Karthik’s longevity came to the fore again as he led Tamil Nadu to their second Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament title on Sunday, fourteen years after he led them to the inaugural title in 2006-07.

Dinesh Karthik was appointed captain of the KKR team prior to Eoin Morgan’s captaincy. However, midway through the 2020 season, the KKR management decided to switch roles by handing Eoin Morgan the leadership and making Dinesh Karthik his deputy. Dinesh Karthik had a poor IPL 2020 managing only 169 runs in 14 games averaging 14.08 while amassing 123 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021 averaging 30.75.

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
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India Definitely Had The Upper Hand In The 1st Test Going Into 5th Day: Dinesh Karthik

India will take a lot more than England from rain-affected first Test, says Dinesh Karthik. India might not have been able to win the series opener and go 1-0 up but Virat Kohli’s men will take a lot of confidence from the way they played, says wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik.

Television commentator Dinesh Karthik said Virat Kohli’s men would be the happier of the two sides after the first Test of a 5-match series against England ended in a draw due to constant rain in Nottingham. India headed into the fifth and final day of the Test, at 52 for 1, needing another 157 runs to win the match and go 1-0 up in the series.

India Test Team
India Test Team[photo: Twitter]

India Definitely Had The Upper Hand In the 1st Test: Dinesh Karthik

However, consistent rain on the final day made sure not even a single ball was bowled. With the game hanging in the balance after Joe Root hit a hundred to give a competitive target to chase, a cracker of a final day was denied by the wet weather in the English summer.

Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)
Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)

Dinesh Karthik said he believed that India had a good chance to gun down the target and lay down the early marker in the Test series.

“I think India definitely had the upper hand going into the final day. India will take a lot more from this game than England would – overall they played a very good brand of cricket,” Karthik told Sky Sports.

Dinesh Karthik hasn’t played for India since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand in 2019 but the Tamil Nadu veteran has not given up on another comeback. Dinesh Karthik was last seen in action in the IPL 2021, where he scored 123 runs across 7 innings at an average of 30.75. He has featured in 203 IPL games and amassed 3946 runs averaging 26.13 with 19 fifties. The KKR keeper has played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs, and 32 T20Is.

Dinesh Karthik: Jasprit Bumrah Set The Tone In the Very 1st Over Of The Test Removing Rory Burns

The Kolkata Knight Riders wicketkeeper-batsman lauded Jasprit Bumrah for setting the tone as early as Day 1. There were concerns about Jasprit Bumrah’s form after a poor showing in the World Test Championship final but the Mumbai Indians pacer stormed back, picking up 9 wickets, including a 5-wicket haul in the 2nd innings.

Jasprit Bumrah led the 4-man pace attack as India went in with only one spinner, leave out Ravichandran Ashwin. And the move worked as India was able to bundle out England for 183 after Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat on an opening day. There were contributions from all 4 bowlers, including Mohammed Siraj who was preferred over Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

On the batting front, it was KL Rahul who made the most of an opportunity to open the innings after injuries to Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. KL Rahul had top-scored for India in the 1st innings, scoring 84. KL Rahul got an opportunity to play a Test for the first time since August 2019 when he opened the innings along with Rohit Sharma in the recently-concluded first Test of a 5-match series against England in Nottingham.

KL Rahul made the most of the opportunity that came his way, top-scoring in the first innings with a solid 84. Even as India’s Big 3 – Virat Kohli (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (4), and Ajinkya Rahane (5) failed, KL Rahul kept the Indian innings afloat with a patient knock.

“Bumrah set the tone in the first over, setting up Rory Burns the way he did, the bowling unit was good and I thought the batters came in with a lot of intent,” Karthik added.

The second Test between India and England will get underway from August 12 at the iconic Lord’s in London.

India Squad For Sri Lanka Tour (Image: BCCI)
India Squad For Sri Lanka Tour (Image: BCCI)
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Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be Surprised If Sri Lanka Wins Even One Game Against India

Sanjay Manjrekar, the former Indian cricketer and cricket expert cum commentator feels the Indian team are firm favourites to win the ODI as well as the T20I series against Sri Lanka in their own den.

Although this Indian team has a number of fresh faces, Sanjay Manjrekar stressed that the presence of experienced players like Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya in their squad gives India the edge.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be Surprised If Sri Lanka Wins Even One Game

In his column for the Hindustan Times, Sanjay Manjrekar also acknowledged the fact that the selectors have given a long rope to Kuldeep Yadav and Manish Pandey. The duo is part of the squad, despite being unable to prove their mettle in the IPL 2021 phase one.

Sanjay Manjrekar feels there is enough experience in this Indian team to get the better of Sri Lanka. He further stated that he would be surprised if Sri Lanka won even a single game.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

“In Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya, India has two game-changers with experience. I like the fact that the selectors have not been completely influenced by the IPL in their selection. Kuldeep and Manish Pandey get another chance to show that they still have enough for Indian cricket to stay invested in them. I will be surprised if Sri Lanka puts one over this Indian team,” Sanjay Manjrekar wrote.

Compared to the 2018 season – where he played 16 matches for KKR, Kuldeep Yadav featured in just 9 games for the franchise in 2019 followed by 5 matches in IPL 2020. He stayed on the bench in the first phase of IPL 2021.

Kuldeep Yadav last played in the three-match ODI series against England this year, but he was not able to take any wickets. In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, Kuldeep Yadav was not given a chance in playing XI by his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Manish Pandey has played 5 games for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2021 and amassed 193 runs averaging 48.25 with a comparatively below-par strike rate of 123.71. SRH was languishing at the bottom of the points table with 2 points (only 1 win from 7 IPL games).

Sanjay Manjrekar: Indian Team Touring Sri Lanka Isn’t A Second String Team

Given the restrictions due to COVID-19, the BCCI decided to send a separate team to Sri Lanka and let the main Indian team comprising of more experienced Test specialists stay back in England to prepare for the Test series.

However, former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga stated that this was a ‘second-string’ Indian side and it was an insult to Sri Lankan cricket.  Sanjay Manjrekar rubbished the statement and explained why the Indian team sent to Sri Lanka is not a ‘second-string’ side.

“This is not a second-string Indian team. India’s Test team is in England and in Sri Lanka we have the Indian T20 team. Barring only a few players, this is India’s full-strength T20 team. A second-string team is when an entirely different squad is put up by a country in the same format. I would like to think that India’s T20 cricket is in fine shape,” Sanjay Manjrekar concluded.

Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
Shikhar Dhawan Image Source: AP

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the 20 members Indian side. Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 380 runs from 8 games averaging 54.28. Shikhar Dhawan was the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL 2020 too with 618 runs in 17 games. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the vice-captain of the team during the tour of Sri Lanka.

The announced squad included six uncapped players, five of whom received their maiden call-ups for team India. Ahead of the first match- Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Padikkal, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Chakravarthy, and Chetan Sakariya were in high spirits and looking forward to the series.

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