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Sourav Ganguly (Source: File Photo)
Sourav Ganguly (Source: File Photo)
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Brad Hogg Credits Sourav Ganguly For Transforming India Australia Cricket Rivalry

Brad Hogg spoke at length on former India captain and BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly, crediting him for the entire transformation of the India-Australia cricketing rivalry.

It wasn’t that India didn’t win anything before the famous Sourav Ganguly-era. Kapil Dev-led India won the 1983 World Cup, followed by the Benson Hedges World Championship of Cricket in 1985, under Sunil Gavaskar. Even under Mohammad Azharuddin, India came close to winning the 1996 World Cup, reaching the semi-finals.

Sourav Ganguly- Twitter
Sourav Ganguly- Twitter

Brad Hogg: Sourav Ganguly Really Tested Australia And Before Him, India Was Intimated By Australia

However, Sourav Ganguly-era saw India embark upon a new journey, where they were much more competitive, expressive, and much more in-your-face with the opposition, who didn’t back out from a fight on the field. India not only started winning their home games regularly but also became competitive abroad; with some sparkling performances in England, Australia, and Pakistan.

Under Sourav Ganguly, India had a pool of youngsters, who mixed up really well with the talented senior cricketers and made India move past the shambolic match-fixing scandal of 2000. Thus, Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy era remains a talking point to date. Recently, former Aussie spinner Brad Hogg spoke highly of the former Indian captain and credited him for transforming the India-Australia rivalry.

“The one thing that Ganguly did was really test Australia. If you remember that Test match where he made Steve Waugh wait – I think he did not come with his blazer for the toss – he just knew what would rub Australia up the wrong way in that sense,” Hogg told former England, bowler, Steve Harmison on his YouTube Show ‘The Test of Time’.

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images

He further opined, “I think during that particular time, when we went over there, before that, India were intimidated by us, and it wasn’t until Ganguly came in and started to stand up and fight back and give us the verbal, sort of upset us and get under our skin that things really turned around.”

Besides the 2001 Test series win, India registered a few more emphatic performances against Australia, such as eliminating them from the 2000 Champions Trophy and drawing the 2003/04 Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under. Sourav Ganguly would not let any opportunity slip to get under Australia’s skin – the famous incident of him making Steve Waugh wait at the toss is a testament to it.

Brad Hogg: Sourav Ganguly Turned India-Australia Matches Around

Brad Hogg, who had the wood over Sourav Ganguly in India’s 2007 tour of Australia where he dismissed the former batsman four times in the Test series, pointed out how Sourav Ganguly’s arrival as captain added more excitement and competitiveness to India-Australia matches.

“The contests between India and Australia started to be like England and Australia. There was a lot of noise, passion, and Ganguly was the one who turned it around and created that atmosphere and created that strength and different brand of cricket that India are playing now,” the former spinner explained.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Many experts and former cricketers also compare Sourav Ganguly and current Indian captain Virat Kohli as leaders, who are both expressive and in-the-opposition’s-face at all times.

Virat Kohli will be eager to break India’s 8-year-long ICC drought in the next edition of the T20 World Cup, to be held in the UAE from mid-October.  Despite some major success, Sourav Ganguly-led India couldn’t win an ODI or T20I World Cup. Hence, Virat Kohli will wish to not repeat the same with his current Indian team.

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI
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There’s No Reason To Remove Ravi Shastri As Head Coach If He Continues To Do Well, Says Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev feels there is no reason to remove Ravi Shastri as India’s head coach if he continues to do a good job. 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev believes there is no reason to remove the present head coach if he continues to do a good job.

Speculations are rife that Rahul Dravid will take over as India’s head coach when Ravi Shastri’s tenure comes to an end at the end of the T20 World Cup slated in the UAE later this year.

Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)

Kapil Dev: No Reason To Remove Ravi Shastri If He Continues To Do A Good Job

Notably, Rahul Dravid is coaching a young Indian side in the absence of regular coach Ravi Shastri, who is in England presently with the Indian Test side which is being led by Virat Kohli. Veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan will lead India in Sri Lanka with pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar as his deputy.

Under Ravi Shastri, India defeated Australia in Australia twice and reached the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup and the WTC Final, but lost both the knockout games to New Zealand after starting as favourites.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“I don’t think there is any need to speak about it. Let this Sri Lanka series get over. We’ll get to know the kind of performance our team has dished out. If you’re trying to shape a new coach, there’s nothing wrong with it. Then again, if Ravi Shastri continues to do a good job, there’s no reason to remove him either. Only time will tell. Before that, I think it will put unnecessary pressure on our coaches and players,” Kapil Dev said on the Wah Cricket Show on ABP News.

The 59-year-old Ravi Shastri’s contract comes to an end after the completion of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in October-November and it will also depend on whether the former India all-rounder is in a mood to re-apply. Two Indians teams are set to play in two different countries with Virat Kohli and his men gearing up for the five-Test series in England, while a Shikhar Dhawan-led team will take on hosts Sri Lanka in a limited over series.

Kapil Dev: India Has Big Bench Strength And There Is Nothing Better If India Can Assemble Two Teams Claiming To Win Both In England And Sri Lanka

Kapil Dev is in favour of deserving youngsters getting to earn their India cap, and he is concerned about the team playing too much cricket.

“India has big bench strength. If players get the opportunity and India can assemble two teams that can claim to win in both England and Sri Lanka, there is nothing better. If the youngsters get the opportunity, there’s nothing wrong with it. But if it is up to the team management to decide whether they should apply such pressure on two teams simultaneously,” Kapil pointed out.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP

Shikhar Dhawan will lead a 20-man squad comprising of many youngsters who did well in IPL 2020 and/or IPL 2021. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan will join an array of youngsters, some of whom are expected to make their India debuts in the island nation.

There are a few posts up for grabs with the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal eyeing big returns in the island nation. Vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack with support from the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Chetan Sakariya.

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya got maiden India call-ups. Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department and will have support from the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, K Gowtham,  Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, and Varun Chakravarthy.

Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
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Kapil Dev Is Against Adding Third Opener For 5-Match England Tests Series

Kapil Dev feels that with openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul already in the 20 member squad in England, picking the third opener and adding him into the squad does not reflect nicely on the team management’s part.

Former all-rounder Kapil Dev is against the addition of any further openers in India’s Test squad for the five-match Test series against England, with the 1983 World Cup-winning captain claiming there is no need to look beyond the pool of 20 players alongside the 5 standbys who are currently in the UK.

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI

Kapil Dev Is Against Adding Third Opener Besides Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Abhimanyu Easwaran After Opener Shubman Gill’s Injury

KapilDev’s comments come after reports surfaced that the management is inclined towards calling up Prithvi Shaw from Sri Lanka for the England tour after Shubman Gill picked up an injury and is expected to miss the entire series.

Kapil Dev, however, feels that with the likes of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul already in the side, and Abhimanyu Easwaran as a reserve player, picking yet another opening batsman and adding him to the squad will act as an ‘insult’ to the players who are already in the squad.

“I don’t think there is any need for it. There should be some respect for the selectors too. They have picked a team and I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened without their (Shastri and Kohli) consultation. ‘

“I mean, you have two such big opening batsmen in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Do you really need a third option? I don’t think it’s right,” Kapil said on the ‘Wah Cricket’ show on ABP News.

Mayank Agarwal (L) or KL Rahul (R) will replace Shubman Gill (C) for England Tests (Getty Images)
Mayank Agarwal (L) or KL Rahul (R) will replace Shubman Gill (C) for England Tests (Getty Images)

“I’m not convinced with this theory. The team that they’ve picked already has openers so I think they should be the ones to play. Otherwise, it’s insulting for the players who are already in the team.”

Kapil Dev argued that it’s not possible for the selectors to have picked a team without discussing it with coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli in the first place, which is why he feels the management should respect the decision of the selectors and pick replacements from the original pool of players.

Kapil Dev: Picking A Third Opener Outside Squad For England Tests Would Harm The Confidence Of KL Rahul And Mayank Agarwal

Kapil Dev weighed in on the matter, saying that adding another name in the squad present in the UK would not do wonders to the confidence of either KL Rahul or Mayank Agarwal.

“I want that the captain and the management should have a say, but not at the expense of over-ruling the selectors and say that ‘these are the players we need’. In that case, we don’t even need selectors. I am feeling a bit odd knowing that something like this has happened because if it has, it demeans the selectors and their role,” he said.

“Only Virat and Ravi can say that. I feel that this is the wrong set-up to enter. The players you have backed, you cannot demean them. They are big players and I wouldn’t want something like this to happen. No need for any unnecessary controversy.”

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw. Photo 

Shubman Gill will be out of action for six to eight weeks. This has also given rise to a debate, as to who should open in England with Rohit Sharma. India has a few options in Mayank Agarwal, Abhimanyu Easwaran and KL Rahul. Abhimanyu Easwaran has been excellent in the domestic circuit in the last couple of years, while Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul have been out of form in the longest format.

India want in-form opener Prithvi Shaw, who is in Sri Lanka currently for the limited-overs series for the Tests in England, and the team has already submitted a formal request to the BCCI for the same. Prithvi Shaw, after an unsuccessful tour to New Zealand and Australia, was shown the door. But the youngster displayed great form in the domestic circuit and IPL.

The selectors, who are in Mumbai for administrative work, are yet to take a call regarding Prithvi Shaw. Although Abhimanyu Easwaran was named as a standby to the squad, he is yet to earn the team management’s trust due to a lack of matches.

World Test Championship, India
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
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Kapil Dev Defends Indian Team Despite WTC Final Loss Against New Zealand

Kapil Dev has defended the Indian team after their humbling eight-wicket defeat to eventual WTC winner New Zealand in the World Test Championship final in Southampton. The 1983 World Cup-winning captain said the media often goes overboard with its unfair criticism after every poor outing of India and tends to overlook the better performances in the tournament.

The WTC final loss was India’s fifth loss straight in an ICC knockout since 2013 as it brought up perceptions that Virat Kohli’s men succumb under the pressure of the big occasion. Kapil Dev, though, insisted that reaching a final or semi-final in tournaments is an achievement in itself.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Kapil Dev: One Can’t Win The Trophy Every Time

Kapil Dev added that the Indian team has won innumerable games under similar situations, so one poor outing shouldn’t define them.

“Tell me one thing: they are reaching the semi-final or final each and every time, isn’t that an achievement in itself? We criticise very quickly. You can’t win the trophy every time. Look at how well they played. If they lose one match here or the World Cup semi-final, does that mean they are succumbing to pressure? No, that’s not how it goes.”

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI

“They (the opposition) had a better day,; they played better. We see it very critically – one bad performance and the media shows it a hundred times: ‘These guys can’t take the pressure, can’t take pressure’. We have all won a lot of games under the same pressure as well,” Kapil Dev said on Sports Yaari’s YouTube channel.

India topped the points table in the inaugural WTC cycle (2019-21) with 12 wins, four losses, and a draw. New Zealand, meanwhile, reached the summit clash after playing the least number of games among the top-eight teams – 11 – winning seven of them.

Ajinkya Rahane was one of six batsmen to have registered more than 1000 runs in the current WTC cycle(1095 runs). Rohit Sharma (1030) was the other Indian batsman to be in the top six. Ravichandran Ashwin(67 scalps) was also one of five bowlers in the world to have taken more than 50 wickets in the current WTC cycle.

Virat Kohli’s Men To Face England In A 5 Match Test Series

Virat Kohli might have failed to stamp his legacy in the WTC final, but he will get an opportunity to redeem himself in just a few weeks when India faces England in a 5 match Test series. India’s last Test series win in England came in 2007. In 2018, they looked the most competitive in over a decade but lost the series 4-1.

India’s 2007 triumph in England AFP
India’s 2007 triumph in England AFP

The upcoming five Tests against Joe Root’s men will give Virat Kohli-led India arguably the best opportunity to set the record straight in England. An emphatic series win would not only heal the wounds of the past few years but also clear any doubts about the team’s future prospects. The first Test of the marquee five-match series will commence on August 4 at Trent Bridge.

England played the most Tests in the World Test Championship, with no team matching their tally of 21. India was second with 17 matches, while bottom-placed Bangladesh played just seven Tests. England won 11 Tests losing 7 while 3 were drawn. India won 12 Tests, lost 4, and drew 1. New Zealand who qualified for WTC Final won 7 Tests and lost 4. Australia won 8, lost 4, and drew 2.

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI
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Madan Lal Picks Kapil Dev’s 1983 Champions As Winners If There’s A Match Between 1983 World Cup And 2011 World Cup Winners

Madan Lal has picked Kapil Dev’s 1983 World Cup-winning side will come out on top if there is a hypothetical match between MS Dhoni’s 2011 World Cup winners and Kapil Dev’s 1983 champions.

Kapil Dev was the first captain to lead the Indian cricket team to World Cup success in 1983 while MS Dhoni repeated the feat in 2011, winning the ODI World Cup after a 28-year wait.

MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh PTI
MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh PTI

Madan Lal Had No Doubts About Winner Of A Hypothetical Match Between MS Dhoni’s 2011 WC Winning Team And Kapil Dev’s 1983 Champions

Indian cricket has been blessed with some phenomenal captains who have done the country proud with their achievements on the field. Cricket has given the nation some of its finest sporting celebrities. The Kapil Dev-led side earned India its first success with the 1983 World Cup win while MS Dhoni’s team repeated it 28 years later.

On the 38th anniversary of India’s first-ever triumph at the ODI World Cup, the Kapil Dev-led side appeared to relive some memories from the nation’s maiden World Cup triumph.  When asked to pick the winners of a match between the 1983 side and the 2011 team both of which won the World Cups, Madan Lal had no doubt that the team he played with would’ve come out on top.

“We would have won definitely. We had all the fighters in our team, they wouldn’t have let the World Cup go. Everybody will get a chance to do well, they would have definitely won the game,” Madan Lal said.

Madan Lal , DNA file photo
Madan Lal , DNA file photo

Roger Binny also sided with Kapil Dev & Co., saying the team would’ve won if the match was played at England’s iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground.

“If we were playing at Lord’s we would have definitely won,” Binny said.

The 1983 World Cup saw underdogs India defeating the mighty West Indies.

India Won 1983 World Cup Defeating West Indies At Lords And MS Dhoni Repeated The Feat 28 Years Later In The 2011 World Cup

Kapil Dev’s men had only managed to put 183 runs on the board in 54.4 overs but despite the low total, they didn’t lose hope. Mohinder Amarnath was the star with the ball for India, picking up 3 wickets for 12 runs while Madan Lal also contributed three scalps. In the end, the Windies were bundled out for 140 runs in 52 overs.

Dhoni's 2011 side vs Kapil's 1983 team: Who will win?
Dhoni’s 2011 side vs Kapil’s 1983 team: Who will win? | Photo Credit: BCCL

MS Dhoni & Co. then repeated the feat as India defeated Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium. The Jharkhand-born wicket-keeper batsman was among the top performers in the match, scoring 91 runs and sealing the fate of the title with an iconic six straight down the ground.

Gautam Gambhir, the other hero who top-scored with 97 in that final, is irked that MS Dhoni’s six became the defining moment of India’s World Cup triumph and not Yuvraj Singh’s all-around contribution in the tournament. With 362 runs at an average of 90.5 and 15 wickets at an average of 25.13, Yuvraj Singh was a key player in India’s second ODI World Cup win after a hiatus of 28 years and deservingly won the Player of the Tournament award.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Ravichandran Ashwin Might Quit Cricket If He Feels He Lost The Urge To Improve His Craft

Ravichandran Ashwin, star India off-spinner says competition always brings out the best in him, and the day he feels he has lost that urge to improve his craft, he will quit the sport.

Ravichandran Ashwin is regarded as a thinking cricketer who always strives to explore something new, something extra in his game and that attitude has paid rich dividends for him throughout his career.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Ravichandran Ashwin Might Not Play Cricket Anymore If He Feels He Lost The Urge To Improve His Craft

Ravichandran Ashwin has bagged more than 200 wickets of left-handers in Test cricket. He has 409 career wickets and is India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker currently behind Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, and Harbhajan Singh. He picked 12 wickets in 3 Tests in the Australia series and followed it up by taking 32 scalps in the following England 4 Test series where he was the leading wicket-taker.

“The beauty about Test cricket is you are always aspiring to be perfect but you can settle for excellence, so that’s pretty much I think I do,” Ashwin was quoted as saying by the ICC ahead of the ongoing World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand.

“I think whatever I have achieved so far in my career is because of that attitude, did not settle for anything, constantly looking to improve. I maintained that if I don’t like doing different things and if I lose the patience to do something new or get satisfied then I might not play the sport anymore,” he said.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The 34-year-old from Chennai, who has captured 409 Test wickets so far, said that he doesn’t enjoy controversy but if poked he doesn’t hesitate to give it back on the field with his performance.

“It’s not like that I enjoy controversy but I enjoy a fight and that pretty much sums up why I am here,” he said.

“I don’t celebrate victories as much as I ideally should because for me victory is an incident and is coincidental to planning and practice. I sit and think about what can be better,” Ashwin said.

By his own admission, Ravichandran Ashwin doesn’t like to talk much about his own performances as for him playing the sport and excelling in it is his profession.

“I don’t really read or dwell on my performances to be very honest. To be brutally honest I just hate the fact that I am who I am because of what I do. In India you get a lot of adulation but I am just another normal person who finds peace and happiness playing the sport,” he said.

“It is just absolutely wonderful that I can ply my trade and feed my family and I get paid so well. This is a sport that gives meaning for me to live. I am too excited about it. I don’t time for people rating me or not rating me, it’s just another person’s opinion and that’s just brutally how I live my life.”

Ravichandran Ashwin has last featured in an ODI and T20I in 2017 in June-July against West Indies. He has 150 ODI scalps in 111 ODIs.  Ravichandran Ashwin’s last international ODI game was on 30 June 2017 in the 3rd ODI at North Sound against the West Indies.

Ravichandran Ashwin Is One Of The Greats Of The Game: Jasprit Bumrah

India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah considers Ravichandran Ashwin as one of the greats of the game.

“I think he (Ashwin) is one of the greats of the game because if you look at his records, it speaks for itself. He has done well with the bat as well as with the ball. He has taken more than 400 Test wickets so that doesn’t come by chance,” he said.

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

India bowling coach Bharat Arun also lavished praise on Ravichandran Ashwin’s work ethic and said he is never satisfied and wants to learn new things daily.

“Ashwin is not very happy with whatever he does, he always loves to come out of his comfort zone and learn new things, develop different angles and that’s what makes him so special,” Arun said.

“He understands his bowling most often. What bowlers actually and think they are doing are two different things, so Ashwin understands his bowling to bridge this gap. So once a bowler bridges this gap he has a bigger chance to innovate and that’s makes very special,” he added.

In the ongoing WTC Final, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma were at the crease after the fall of skipper Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane, and Ravichandran Ashwin on Day 3 with India reaching 211 runs for seven wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin fell for a quick 22 to Tim Southee.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Curtly Ambrose Reacts To Sanjay Manjrekar’s Comments On Ravichandran Ashwin

Curtly, Ambrose, the former West Indies fast bowler has reacted to Sanjay Manjrekar’s comments on Ravichandran Ashwin, where the former India batsman had said that he does not consider the off-spinner to be an all-time great.

Sanjay Manjrekar’s take on Ravichandran Ashwin created an uproar on social media with many criticizing the commentator for his remarks on India’s premier spinner. Certain current and ex-cricketers had reacted to the matter, with the legendary Curtly Ambrose being the latest to give his take on it.

Curtly Ambrose weighed in on the Ashwin-Manjrekar development. (Getty Images)
Curtly Ambrose weighed in on the Ashwin-Manjrekar development. (Getty Images)

Curtly Ambrose Wonders How One Define Greatness

Sanjay Manjrekar was of the opinion that Ravichandran Ashwin’s lack of five-wicket hauls in pace-friendly conditions is the reason behind him not being an all-time legend of cricket.

“We all have our different opinions. We all look at greatness in different ways. Sanjay Manjrekar was a wonderful cricketer in his time. He has his opinion of that, we all have our views. But, how do you define greatness? That is a good question,” Ambrose told sports presenter Karishma Kotak on ‘The Curtly and Karishma Show’ on YouTube.

“Because sometimes, to be quite fair, we use the word greatness loosely. So, we have to be careful with how we define greatness. According to me, greatness is when a player can be very consistent over a period of time, for years, not one or two years.”

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Currently ranked 2nd in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin has played 78 Tests, picking up 409 wickets at an average of 24.69. He holds the record for being the fastest to breach the 250, 300, and 350 wickets and is just 26 victims short of becoming India’s 2nd most successful bowler. Ravichandran Ashwin was also the most successful spinner on the tour down under, with his 12 wickets from three games coming at just under 29 apiece.

Curtly Ambrose: One Can Be Judged Great On Basis Of Consistency Over The Years

Curtly Ambrose, who picked up 405 wickets from 98 Tests and 225 wickets from 176 ODIs for the West Indies, and was considered one of the best fast bowlers of his era, suggested that the best way to determine whether someone is a ‘great’ is to see the overall growth of a player since he first made an appearance.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

In the case of Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner is in his 11th year as an international cricketer and with 409 wickets – which makes him India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker in Tests – he surely is one of India’s best bowlers of all time. He also has the most five-wicket-hauls (30) by an Indian bowler in Test matches after the great leg spinner Anil Kumble (35).

Ravichandran Ashwin is set to play the WTC final and is four wickets away from being the leading wicket-taker in the championship. He has 409 career wickets and is India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker currently behind Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, and Harbhajan Singh.
He picked 12 wickets in 3 Tests in the Australia series and followed it up by taking 32 scalps in the following England 4 Test series where he was the leading wicket-taker.
In the Test bowling rankings, senior India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin continued to occupy second place (850 rating points), behind Australian pacer Pat Cummins (908 points). Ravichandran Ashwin is the lone Indian in the top-10.
Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
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Abhinav Mukund Disagrees With Sanjay Manjrekar, Feels Ravichandran Ashwin Is One Of The Legends

Abhinav Mukund, Tamil Nadu batsman has ‘respectfully disagreed’ with Sanjay Manjrekar’s comments about Ravichandran Ashwin not being a ‘legend of the game’.

Abhinav Mukund argued that the off-spinner is a meticulous planner, a ‘fantastic’ performer, and has enough records to back him as a legend. In a recent interaction with ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar was of the opinion that Ravichandran Ashwin’s lack of five-wicket hauls in pace-friendly conditions is the reason behind him not being an all-time legend of cricket.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics.

Abhinav Mukund Respectfully Disagree With Sanjay Manjrekar As He Has Several Impactful Performances

Abhinav Mukund refuted the claims, saying that one should look at Tamil Nadu’s spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s overall impact, including during the tour of Australia last year, and his ‘several world records’ before judging.

“I read an article today where Sanjay Manjrekar said that ‘I disagree that he is a legend of the game’. I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Manjrekar and say he is a legend of the game because he holds several world records. The accusation towards him is that he’s never performed in SENA countries.”

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“But I think he had a fantastic tour to Australia. If you look at it that way, and if you just look at the number of five-wicket-hauls he’s taken and what an impact he’s been to as a leader, he’s probably one of the legends of the game in my opinion at least,” Mukund told stand-up comedian Sorabh Pant on his YouTube channel ‘Wake Up With Sorabh’.

Currently ranked 2nd in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin has played 78 Tests, picking up 409 wickets at an average of 24.69. He holds the record for being the fastest to breach the 250, 300, and 350 wickets and is just 26 victims short of becoming India’s 2nd most successful bowler. Ravichandran Ashwin was also the most successful spinner on the tour down under, with his 12 wickets from three games coming at just under 29 apiece.

Ravichandran Ashwin is set to play the WTC final and is four wickets away from being the leading wicket-taker in the championship. He has 409 career wickets and is India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker currently behind Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, and Harbhajan Singh. He picked 12 wickets in 3 Tests in the Australia series and followed it up by taking 32 scalps in the following England 4 Test series where he was the leading wicket-taker.

Abhinav Mukund: Ravichandran Ashwin’s Been Fantastic

Abhinav Mukund also talked about Ravichandran Ashwin’s penchant for planning and preparation for every game. He said that the 34-year-old spinner ‘just loves the game’ and it shows in his execution on the field.

“He just loves the game. Ashwin is actually a guy who will research everything there is to cricket. He just needs to be one of those very well-prepared individuals who go on to a cricket field and that kind of shows in the way he has performed, especially in Test match cricket. He’s been fantastic,” Mukund, who has played 7 Tests for India, added.

Abhinav Mukund ESPNcricinfo Ltd
Abhinav Mukund ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Ravichandran Ashwin will be seen in action in the much-anticipated World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand on June 18 at Southampton.

In 2011, Abhinav Mukund made his debut in the Indian national cricket team. After playing 7 Test matches (played only in 2011 and 2017), he was dropped from the team. When he was 21, he played his first Test match for the country. Abhinav Mukund is a hard-hitting batsman who has played 145 first-class, 84 List A, and 35 T20s.

In First-Class cricket, he has scored 10258 runs at a staggering average of 47.93 in 145 games which include 31 tons. He also notched up 12 tons in List A matches averaging above 50.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sanjay Manjrekar Explain Reasons For Not Considering Ravichandran Ashwin An All Time Great

Sanjay Manjrekar, former India cricketer turned commentator explained why he doesn’t consider Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as an all-time great citing Ravindra Jadeja’s example.

Ravichandran Ashwin has impressive stats as off-spinner-409 wickets in 78 matches at an average of 24.69, including 30 five-wicket hauls in an innings and seven 10-wicket hauls in Tests. These aren’t just random numbers but the Test record of Team India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker currently.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Sanjay Manjrekar: Ravichandran Ashwin Doesn’t Have A Single 5 Wicket Haul In SENA Countries So He Can’t Be Termed One Of All-Time Greats

The senior India off-spinner is regarded as not only one of the best spinners in India but also in the world. In the list of highest wicket-takers in the history of Test cricket, Ravichandran Ashwin is the fifth most successful spinner currently. In India, he’s only behind Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, and Harbhajan Singh in terms of most wicket-takers.

Despite possessing such stellar numbers, Ravichandran Ashwin does not make the cut as an all-time great for former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar.

File image of Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
File image of Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

While speaking on a show on ESPNCricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar said that the reason behind his decision is the fact that Ravichandran Ashwin does not have the numbers in SENA countries – South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia – to show for it. The cricketer-turned-commentator also added that his colleague Ravindra Jadeja has often been at par with the Tamil Nadu off-spinner.

“When people start talking about him as being one of the all-time greats of the game then I have a few problems. One basic problem I have with Ashwin is that when you look at SENA countries, Ashwin doesn’t have a single five-wicket haul there.”

“And the other thing when you talk about him running through sides on Indian pitches that are suited to his kind of bowling is that in the last four years, Jadeja has matched him with wicket-taking abilities. Then, interestingly, in the last series against England, Axar Patel got more wickets than Ashwin on similar pitches. So that is my problem with accepting Ashwin as a real all-time great,” explained Sanjay Manjrekar.

Ravichandran Ashwin is currently world No.2 in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers. He is only nine wickets away from surpassing Harbhajan Singh, who is India’s third-highest wicket-taker currently and is only 26 wickets away from displacing the legendary Kapil Dev from the second position in the list.

Axar Patel Picked 27 Scalps In 3 Tests Against England And Finished 2nd Behind Ravichandran Ashwin (32 Scalps In 4 Tests)

Axar Patel made his Test debut in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He took 4 five-wicket hauls as England lost the series 3-1.

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

England managed to win only the first Test match which Axar Patel missed due to a knee injury. In his debut Test series, he picked 27 scalps to finish behind Ravichandran Ashwin (32) in the leading wicket-takers list.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Virat Kohli Shouldn’t Be Over Aggressive: Kapil Dev

Virat Kohli embarks upon his third tour of England, so he would be no stranger to the conditions there, but former India World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev has interesting advice for the current skipper, which will help him excel.

Virat Kohli has been on two tours of England since he made his Test debut for India. In the first tour in 2014, he was all over the place, scoring just 134 runs from 10 innings, statistically the India captain’s worst in a three-Test series or more. However, four years later, Virat Kohli turned it around in style, scoring a mammoth 593 runs from five Tests, including two centuries and three fifties.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli(Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP) / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE

Virat Kohli Expected By Kapil Dev To Excel In England Tour

Three years later, as Virat Kohli will look to lead from the front in his third tour of England, former India World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev has advised the current skipper not to be over-aggressive, which will help him excel.

“I expect him to excel. Can you really shackle him? He is a natural when it comes to adapting but I would caution him to not be over-aggressive. He will have to measure it session by session. He’ll be better off waiting for his moments of dominance,” Kapil told Mid-Day in an interview.

Virat Kohli and Kapil Dev.(AP)
Virat Kohli and Kapil Dev.(AP)

“He will get his runs with a bit of patience. Trying too hard and too early doesn’t work in England where you need to watch the movement of the ball. If you play seam and swing well, show patience, you will succeed in England.”

India is set to travel to the UK for a long tour. They first face New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship in Southampton starting June 18 before proceeding to play hosts England in a five-Test series starting August 4. India has faced defeats in their last three Test tours of England.

Kapil Dev: India Played Exceptionally Well In 1986 Tour

They last won a Test series in the UK in 2007, whereas prior to it, they had triumphed in England way back in 1986, when Kapil Dev was the captain. Under Kapil Dev, India won the series 2-0, and recalling the historic series, the former India all-rounder explained what the current team should keep in mind while playing in England.

“We played exceptionally good cricket. I want this team to remember that England in England is tough. They are a very good team when playing at home but then, it will also depend on how the Indian bowlers adapt to the conditions and pitches. The swing will be very rewarding and here I feel England is one step ahead of India,” explained Kapil Dev.

India captain Kapil Dev (left) and wicket keeper Kiran More congratulate Chetan Sharma after he dismissed Allan Lamb during the first Test at Lord’s in 1986. Photo: Popperfoto
India captain Kapil Dev (left) and wicket-keeper Kiran More congratulate Chetan Sharma after he dismissed Allan Lamb during the first Test at Lord’s in 1986. Photo: Popperfoto

India beat England 2–0 in the Test series and won the ODI Texaco Trophy that by virtue of a faster run-rate despite England having squared the series after losing the first game. India’s Dilip Vengsarkar scored a total of 360 runs in the Test series and was named player of the series alongside England’s Mike Gatting(293 runs).

In the ODI series, England’s David Gower (81 runs) was named player of the series alongside India’s Ravi Shastri. India’s Mohammed Azharuddin also scored 90 runs. The significance of the tour was considerable for Indian cricket too. India had won only four out of 52 Tests since the start of the decade. Moreover, under Kapil Dev’s leadership, the side had not won any of its 20 Test matches.

India could have gone on to win 3-0 in Birmingham but they failed to push the initiative on the final day. However, the match will be remembered for the wicket-taking abilities of Chetan Sharma. To this day, he remains the only Indian to have taken 10 wickets in a Test in England. Chetan Sharma finished with 16 scalps.