Rahul Dravid | Sportzwiki

Rahul Dravid

MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Rahul Dravid Once Scolded MS Dhoni For Being Dismissed After Playing A Bad Shot Which Changed MS Dhoni: Virender Sehwag

Rahul Dravid, the new head coach had captained MS Dhoni for a brief period of time in international cricket. In 2006-07, Rahul Dravid had reportedly scolded MS Dhoni for playing a rash shot. According to Virender Sehwag, the incident changed the former keeper MS Dhoni, who remains the only skipper to win all 3 ICC titles-the T20I World Cup (2007), the ODI World cup (2011), and the Champions Trophy (2013).

From being a flamboyant wicket-keeper batsman who liked to play aggressive shots to becoming one of the finest finishers the game has ever produced, MS Dhoni went through a big transformation in his career. While it was the current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly who gave him his first break into the national team, according to Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni’s big transformation happened under Rahul Dravid.

Rahul Dravid had reportedly scolded MS Dhoni in 2006-07 after the latter played an irresponsible shot  |  Photo Credit: BCCL
Rahul Dravid had reportedly scolded MS Dhoni in 2006-07 after the latter played an irresponsible shot  |  Photo Credit: BCCL

Rahul Dravid Once Scolded MS Dhoni For Being Dismissed After Playing A Bad Shot And The Incident Changed MS Dhoni: Virender Sehwag

MS Dhoni didn’t take long in becoming a household name in the Indian cricketing spectrum. After making his debut in 2005, he first became the Indian cricket team’s skipper in 2007 and lifted the inaugural T20I World Cup with some exciting youngsters and veterans playing under him.

With every passing year, however, the Jharkhand-born cricketer became more and more responsible as a batsman.  Speaking of the way MS Dhoni brought about a change in his batting, Virender Sehwag revealed that it was all down to an incident where the wicket-keeper batsman was scolded by Rahul Dravid for playing an irresponsible shot in 2006-07.

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

“He was given the finisher’s role under Rahul Dravid, who once scolded him for getting out after playing a bad shot. I think that incident changed him. So around 2006-07, he transformed and started taking responsibility of finishing matches,” Sehwag was quoted as saying.

Rahul Dravid is generally very calm and collected as a person. Both Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni have immense respect for each other and they have often spoken about it in public forums as well.  Over the years, MS Dhoni has been at the centre of many match-winning finishes for the Indian team. More often than not, it was left-handed southpaw Yuvraj Singh who used to accompany him in those run chases.

“He (Dhoni) formed an unbelievable partnership with Yuvraj when we registered that record of 16 successive chases,” Sehwag added.

When MS Dhoni stepped aside as the captain from all formats, in early 2017, Virat Kohli stepped up and took over the reins from his senior cricketer. MS Dhoni, however, remained a vital cog of Virat Kohli-led India’s limited-overs side, having retired from Tests in late 2014, till he played his last match in the 2019 ODI World Cup and decided to hang up his boots the following year on Independence day.

Virender Sehwag Recollects Sourav Ganguly Demoted Himself In The Batting Order Sacrificing His Spot To Virender Sehwag And Then MS Dhoni

Virender Sehwag also lauded Sourav Ganguly for sacrificing his spot in the team for MS Dhoni. Sourav Ganguly had earlier done the same for Virender Sehwag by giving his opening spot to the Nawab of Najafgarh. On seeing MS Dhoni’s potential to deliver higher in the batting order, Sourav Ganguly further demoted himself in order to make way for the lad from Jharkhand.

“Those days (2005) we were experimenting with pinch-hitters. Dada (Ganguly) had planned that Dhoni would get 3-4 chances at No. 3. If it works then fine, otherwise they would try someone else. Very few captains do it. He first sacrificed his (opening) spot for me and then he gave his slot to Dhoni. If Dada had not done that, Dhoni might not have become such a big player,” Sehwag highlighted.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

MS Dhoni did win hearts with a little gesture of his during Sourav Ganguly’s retirement game in 2008 when he voluntarily left the field, allowing the Prince of Kolkata to lead the Indian team for one last time during a Test match against Australia in Nagpur.

It was under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy that MS Dhoni made his international debut in 2005. He has also been promoted up the batting order very early in his career where he played knocks like 183 against Sri Lanka and 148 against Pakistan.

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Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara’s Constant Failure Could See Rahul Dravid Act As Catalyst – Dinesh Karthik

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are under pressure which is only going to increase every time they don’t make a big score in the forthcoming months with India set to play more red-ball cricket, as a veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has said. The duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara failed to go past 50 on Day 1 of India’s first Test against New Zealand.

Ajinkya Rahane has had a horror run with the bat over the last year, which has seen his average dip to under 40. In fact, he averages a mere 20.35 in 12 Tests in 2021, his lowest average in a year since debuting in 2013.
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara both failed to score half centuries on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand. (AFP Photo)
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara both failed to score half-centuries on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand. (AFP Photo)

Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara Would Be Undoubtedly Disappointed: Dinesh Karthik

While Ajinkya Rahane has not scored a century since December 2020- a memorable 112 against Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara hasn’t scored a ton since he made 193 against Australia in January 2019. Ajinkya Rahane is averaging just 20.35 this year from 12 Tests while Cheteshwar Pujara has done slightly better at 30.85 from the same number of games in 2021 but had a horrid time in 2020, averaging only 20.38 in 4 Tests.

“They would be disappointed, no doubt. There has been this word out that they need to score hundreds because they haven’t in some time and with every match that pressure seems to increase,” Karthik said.

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

“Since Test matches were played sporadically, they have not been in the spotlight as often in the recent past. There has been a lot of white-ball cricket recently so it has kind of gone under the radar but once Test cricket starts in full tilt again, they will come under the spotlight every time they don’t score runs. With every game the voices from outside will seem to get louder,” said Karthik.

Ajinkya Rahane, who is India’s captain for the first Test, fell after scoring 35 off 63 balls while Cheteshwar Pujara, the vice-captain of the team in Kanpur, scored 26 in 88 balls. Ajinkya Rahane came in at No.4, which is usually the spot that Virat Kohli bats in but the latter has been rested for the first Test.

Dinesh Karthik: Shreyas Iyer’s Ton Might Put Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane’s Position In Jeopardy But Rahul Dravid May Help The Pair

Debutant Shreyas Iyer, who came in his place at No.5, ended up batting through the rest of the day and scoring 75 off 136 balls on the 1st day. India was in a shaky spot after the dismissals of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane but Shreyas Iyer’s 113-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja, who was not out on 50 off 100 balls at the end of the day, put India in a commanding position.

Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Image Source: Twitter)
Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Image Source: Twitter)

Dinesh Karthik said that Shreyas Iyer’s performance might put Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s position in the team under question but head coach Rahul Dravid could help the pair.

“Now, Shreyas Iyer walks in at No.5 and scores a fifty. If he goes on to make a hundred and then does well in the next game, what are they going to do when they go to South Africa (for their upcoming tour starting December). Are they going to hold on to him or one of these two? These are the big questions that Rahul Dravid has to answer.”

“Having said that, Rahul Dravid knows the value of someone like Pujara or Rahane. I think somewhere, the quality of Rahul Dravid will come out through these two batters because they have very similar methods and styles of play. So maybe, he feels that he can get the best out of them and he might act as the catalyst to get their Test careers propelling forward,” said Karthik.

Shreyas Iyer on Friday became the 16th Indian batter to score a century on Test debut. Shreyas Iyer, who was presented his maiden Test cap by Sunil Gavaskar on Day 1 of the Kanpur Test against New Zealand, started off his Test career in style, finishing the day on 75 not out. And early morning on Day 2, the 26-year-old batter knocked off 25 runs to join an elite list of Indian batters.

Among those to score a century on Test debut for India are the likes of Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Prithvi Shaw. Before Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw was the last India batter to register a three-digit score in 2018, scoring 134 against West Indies.

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid - K. MURALI KUMAR
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Irfan Pathan Hopes There Will Be Great Understanding And Communication Between Rahul Dravid And Test Skipper Virat Kohli 

Irfan Pathan, the former all-rounder pace bowler, believes the change in management will not be a major issue, especially for Test skipper Virat Kohli. Indian cricket is going through a transition phase, with ex-captain Rahul Dravid now stepping into the head coach role following Ravi Shastri’s exit post the disappointing 2021 T20 World Cup where India was ousted from the group stage itself.

The cricketer-turner-commentator Irfan Pathan made the remarks on Star Sports’ show Follow the Blues ahead of India’s Test series opener against New Zealand. Irfan Pathan highlighted how Rahul Dravid’s approach of flowing into the system, rather than changing it, is likely to make the transition easier.

Irfan Pathan and Rahul Dravid. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Irfan Pathan and Rahul Dravid. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Irfan Pathan: New Coach Rahul Dravid Likes To Come Into The System And Doesn’t Change It Much

While Irfan Pathan admits that Rahul Dravid is expected to chip in with his tactical ploys, his interruption will not cause a disturbance. Having played under the 48-year-old’s captaincy, the left-hander Irfan Pathan pointed out how he never used to be disruptive while at the helm of the team.

Irfan Pathan predicts that the partnership between Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid will thrive on communication. He also noted that youngsters will also be given significant roles alongside senior campaigners on the side.

Irfan Pathan said: “This will be a new partnership between Rahul Dravid as well as Virat Kohli, the captain. Especially in the longer format, I don’t see any problem because Rahul Dravid is a kind of guy who likes to come into the system, he doesn’t change the system much.”

“One thing is for sure, there will be a great understanding and communication in this partnership, along with this youth players will be given as much importance as a senior player gets in the team.”

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

The upcoming two-Test series between India and New Zealand will be Rahul Dravid’s first red-ball assignment as head coach. While Virat Kohli will not feature in the opening contest, he is scheduled to return for the subsequent Test in Mumbai.

Ajinkya Rahane Leading Team India In The Kanpur Test Versus New Zealand

After their one-sided white-ball series, the two cricketing nations will lock horns in the longer format. New Zealand, which is the top-ranked team in the ICC rankings in Test matches, will face an imposing challenge in the Indian conditions. The highly anticipated first Test will begin on Thursday, November 25. The Green Park in Kanpur will host the exciting fixture.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane--- Image Source: GETTY IMAGE
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane— Image Source: GETTY IMAGE

On Thursday, India reached 154/4 at the end of the second session on the first day of the first Test of the two-match series against New Zealand at Green Park, Kanpur. After opting to bat first, India lost opener Mayank Agarwal (13) before the hosts reached 82/1 at lunch, courtesy of a 61-run stand between Cheteshwar Pujara (26) and Shubman Gill (52).

In the second session, India lost Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (35). Shreyas Iyer (17*) and Ravindra Jadeja (6*) were holding the fort for the home side at the break. On the other hand, New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson (3/38) once again troubled the Indian batters with his pace.

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
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Axar Patel Is Talented But Isn’t In The League Of Ravindra Jadeja: Salman Butt

Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, while analyzing the spin department of the Indian cricket team, admitted that Axar Patel is one for the future but also quipped that he is not in “the same league” as the senior spinner Ravindra Jadeja just yet.

Team India’s spin department has been a topic of hot discussion among fans, cricketers, and experts among the cricket fraternity. After all, the country continuously produces a talented crop, and the fight for a spot in the team is always a tense one. The latest to present his views on the same is former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, who has drawn a comparison between senior spinner Ravindra Jadeja and future star Axar Patel.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt: Ravindra Jadeja Is A Complete Player, While Axar Patel Is Talented

While addressing the topic in a video on his YouTube channel, left-hander batsman Salman Butt quipped that while left-arm spinner Axar Patel is talented, his teammate Ravindra Jadeja is a complete player.

“Axar Patel is extremely talented, but Ravindra Jadeja is a complete player. Be it batting, bowling or fielding, he is an outstanding team man. So definitely when one player goes, his replacement comes,” said Salman Butt.

Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)

He then added that the two aren’t in the same league and said Ravindra Jadeja is the “better option” currently.

“If you don’t have Jadeja, then you have Axar Patel, but at the moment, I don’t think Axar and Jadeja are in the same league. Axar is very talented and can take that place in the future, but Jadeja is the better option right now,” elaborated Salman Butt.

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.

England managed to win only the first Test match, which Axar Patel missed due to a knee injury. In his debut Test series, he finished behind Ravichandran Ashwin (32) in the leading wicket-takers list. On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja has amassed 2145 runs besides picking up 227 scalps in 56 Tests. He averages 34 with the bat in Tests and 24.97 with the ball in the longest format.

Salman Butt Praised Rahul Dravid For Winning First T20I Series As Full Time Coach But Stressed 2022 T20I World Cup Is The Target

Meanwhile, Salman Butt recently praised India’s new head coach Rahul Dravid and his approach following India’s 3-0 clean sweep against New Zealand in the T20I series.

“It only reflects utmost clarity and humility. And very realistic and professional talk because India did win but the other team just came from a World Cup final and hence it is not easy to mentally prepare for another international series so fast. They (New Zealand) also lost the toss. When you play so much international cricket, there is a difference in intensity as well. So he did take all these factors into account when making that statement,” said Salman Butt.
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

” Yes India tested their bench strength, there was a new captain, new coach and they managed to win. But he is keeping them in line for the hunt. The actual target is the next target which will be in the next 10 months. So this is absolutely the correct and needed approach,” Butt said on his YouTube channel.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has played 5 T20Is since his comeback in the limited-overs format after a gap of 4 years. He has picked 9 scalps at an average of 5.25 and an economy rate of 5.25, and a strike rate of 13.3. The 35-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin last played white-ball cricket for India in 2017 before being sidelined from one-day cricket following the Champions Trophy debacle.

He was left out from all 4 Tests that India played on the England tour, despite being the leading wicket-taker in the squad by picking up 413 wickets in the 79 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.56. India registered a whitewash against 2021 T20 World Cup finalists New Zealand, winning the bilateral T20I series 3-0 in a convincing fashion.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane
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Harbhajan Singh Hopes Ajinkya Rahane Score Some Runs By Leading From The Front In The 1st Test

Harbhajan Singh believes that senior India batter Ajinkya Rahane may find himself in further trouble if he doesn’t score runs in the upcoming India vs New Zealand Test series.

While previewing the 1st Test, Harbhajan Singh stated that the senior India batter needs to find form and lead as skipper from the front against New Zealand.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh: Skipper Ajinkya Rahane Should Score Runs And If He Doesn’t Score Runs There Is A Queue Of Players Waiting

Harbhajan Singh, while reviewing the first Test in a video, said while it is good to see the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Rahul Dravid back him, he continues to remain on thin ice there are numerous middle-order batsmen in the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, who are waiting in line for their turn.

“There’s no Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma has opted to rest himself. Then there’s Ajinkya Rahane; we were wondering whether he’ll be in the team or not. But he has been handed the captaincy (for the first Test). His last 11 matches haven’t gone too well as he is averaging just 19 (19.58). He is a brilliant cricketer but his performance hasn’t quite backed him. But it’s also good to see the thinking of Rohit, Virat, and Rahul Dravid as they believe that Rahane should be in the team.”

“Not that he has been given the captaincy, I hope he takes the team forward and also scores runs with the bat so we can see him playing for a little more. If he doesn’t score runs, the queue (of players waiting in the ranks) behind him is very long. There’s Suryakumar Yadav among others waiting in line,” explained Harbhajan. 

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

33-year-old Ajinkya Rahane will be leading India in the first Test against New Zealand. However, he has had a horror run with the bat over the last year, which has seen his average dip to under 40. In fact, he averages a mere 19.58 in 11 Tests in 2021, his lowest average in a year since debuting in 2013.

With Virat Kohli being rested for the 1st Kanpur Test, Ajinkya Rahane will lead India in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, which starts on November 25.  He will be looking to regain his touch before leading out the Indian team in the series-opening Test against the inaugural World Test Champions New Zealand.

Harbhajan Singh: The Upcoming 2 Tests vs NZ Is A Kind Of New Season As It’s the First Test At Home After 8-9 Months

India and New Zealand will meet for the first time since the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June 2021,  which the Black Caps won. Moreover, this will be India’s first Test series at home in about 8-9 months. Harbhajan Singh quipped that India must start well and move forward by playing good cricket.

“The England Tour went very well for the team and then the final Test match did not happen. After that, a lot of T20 cricket was played, be it IPL [2021] or the T20 World Cup. So, this is kind of a new season because this is the first Test match we are playing at home (after a long time).”

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

“It will be important how India start against New Zealand because they are a strong side in India as well. I hope to see good cricket pitches in India and the Indian team move forward by playing good cricket,” concluded Harbhajan Singh.

India last played against England at home in February-March 2021 and won the Test series 3-1 despite losing the 1st Test. Spinners Axar Patel (27 scalps in his debut Test series) and Ravichandran Ashwin (32 scalps) shone for India.

Probable XI

India: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Cheteshwar Pujara (Vice-captain), Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson(Captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (WK), Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
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Salman Butt Hails Rahul Dravid’s Approach As Team India’s Head Coach

Salman Butt, the former tainted ex-skipper of Pakistan, was absolutely impressed with Rahul Dravid’s approach in his maiden stint as India’s head coach, saying that it only highlights his humility.

India registered a whitewash against 2021 T20 World Cup finalists New Zealand, winning the series 3-0 in convincing fashion, but newly-appointed head coach Rahul Dravid cautioned the team, advising them to be more “realistic” with India eyeing the big prize a year from now – the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

India Won Bilateral T20I Series 3-0 Against NZ (TWITTER/BCCI)
India Won Bilateral T20I Series 3-0 Against NZ (TWITTER/BCCI)

Rahul Dravid: Indian Cricketers Have To Keep Feet Grounded And Be Realistic Keeping In Mind 2022 T20I World Cup

Rohit Sharma and Axar Patel shone for the hosts in the inconsequential 3rd T20I as India thrashed New Zealand in 3rd T20I to sweep the series. India beat New Zealand by 73 runs in the final T20I to win the three-match series 3-0. Skipper Rohit Sharma produced sublime knocks scoring 56 off 31 balls in India’s 184/7.
His imperious form was on full display as he led the way with five fours and three sixes while the likes of Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, and Venkatesh Iyer all got starts but couldn’t quite capitalize.
Rohit Sharma smashed 159 runs at an excellent strike rate of 154.36 in the three T20Is against New Zealand. He was duly chosen as the Player of the Series for his exploits with the bat. Rohit Sharma’s sequence of scores in the last six T20 Internationals is 74, 30, 56, 48, 55, and 56, and captaincy hasn’t changed his style of play one bit.

“We have to keep our feet on the ground and be realistic, especially with bigger things down the line in the next 12 months,” Dravid told host broadcaster Star Sports after the third T20I in Kolkata.

“It’s not easy for New Zealand to play a World Cup final, turn up three days later, and play three games in six days. We knew it was never going to be easy on them.”

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

New Zealand began the series three nights after their World Cup final loss to Australia in Dubai and played the three matches in the space of five days in the absence of Kane Williamson, and Kyle Jamieson, while a few others were rotated to keep the workload in balance with the two-Test series coming up.

India, too missed the services of Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja for the T20I series and rather focussed on testing their bench strength to keep options in hand for the Australia T20 World Cup. Salman Butt admitted these points but pointed out that it was a lot to ask from New Zealand to mentally prepare for an international series in such a short space.

Salman Butt: The Actual Target Is The Next 10 Months Is Winning The 2022 T20I World Cup In Australia

The veteran cricketer Salman Butt hence felt that Rahul Dravid kept these points in mind while making that statement, saying that ultimately it is the world title that matters.

“It only reflects utmost clarity and humility. And very realistic and professional talk because India did win but the other team just came from a World Cup final and hence it is not easy to mentally prepare for another international series so fast. They (New Zealand) also lost the toss. When you play so much international cricket, there is a difference in intensity as well.

“So he did take all these factors into account when making that statement. India tested their bench strength, there was a new captain, new coach and they managed to win. But he is keeping them in line for the hunt.

“The actual target is the next target which will be in the next 10 months. So this is absolutely the correct and needed approach,” Salman Butt said on his YouTube channel.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Rahul Dravid praised the newest acquisitions who got the opportunity to play in the bilateral series. Harshal Patel, who made his debut in the second game, was adjudged the Man of the Match in the same game for picking 2 vital scalps.

Axar Patel was the Player of the Match with his economical three-wicket haul in the final tie. Venkatesh Iyer, too finally got his opportunity to bowl in the series and even picked his maiden international wicket.

“It’s been great to see the younger guys come through, we’ve given the opportunity to some of the guys who haven’t played too much cricket in the last few months with the seniors taking rest.

“The greatest takeaway for us is to see the skills available to us. We need to continue developing those skills,” Dravid further said.

Analyzing Rahul Dravid’s first assignment as the head coach of Team India, ex-Pakistan captain Salman Butt showered praise on the batting great, saying he has nailed his approach so far.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter
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Shardul Thakur Added To Play Only 3rd India A-South Africa A Unofficial 4-Day Test In Bloemfontein

Shardul Thakur will play only the third India A vs South Africa A game in Bloemfontein. However, head coach Rahul Dravid wants every player to be match-ready with some games under their belt before they enter an international game.

India pacer Shardul Thakur has been asked to travel to South Africa to be part of the India A squad while batsman Suryakumar Yadav has been asked to stay with the Indian Test team, which will play two Tests against New Zealand at home.

Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.
Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.

Shardul Thakur Was Added To India A Squad As Rahul Dravid Wants Every Player To Be Match Ready

Shardul Thakur wasn’t part of the T20I or Test squads against New Zealand as the national selection committee had decided to give the Mumbai pacer a break after being away from home for six months at a stretch playing cricket.

Shardul Thakur will play only the 3rd India A vs South Africa A game in Bloemfontein. Rahul Dravid wants every player to be match-ready with some games under their belt before they enter an international game. If picked for the South Africa series next month, Shardul Thakur wouldn’t have had any games behind him, if not for the A match.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

It was for the same reason that the Indian team sent Hanuma Vihari with India A side as the selection committee felt he might not have got any Tests against the Kiwis. They thought it would be better if he got a few games in India A series. Shardul Thakur played vital roles in Tests in Australia and later in England. It’s his batting that hogged the limelight when he slammed two half-centuries in the fourth Test against England.

Shardul Thakur has played only 4 Tests in his career so far after debuting in 2018 against West Indies, where he got injured after bowling only 10 balls. He managed 190 runs averaging 38, besides picking up 14 scalps averaging 22.71.

Shardul Thakur Is Coming Along Superbly, And Each Match There Is Tremendous Improvement In Both Batting And Bowling: Bharat Arun

The former bowling coach Bharat Arun had raved about the importance of Shardul Thakur.

“Shardul Thakur is coming along superbly. Just imagine the pressure and how well he has coped and grabbed them. Each match, I see tremendous improvement – bowling and batting. Knocks in Brisbane and Leeds were amazing, no?

“And he is a pretty intelligent bowler – a lovely outswinger at close to 140 kmphs and a well-directed bouncer. He is a good thinker, not afraid to speak his mind, fearless and you need players like him in a team environment,” Arun said.

The BCCI is likely to pick the squad for the South Africa tour after the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur starting on Thursday.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Meanwhile, there is no official communication on why middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav was asked to stay with the Indian Test squad. The squad already includes Shreyas Iyer as a middle-order batsman, and chances of him making a Test debut are looking promising enough. It seems the selection committee and BCCI don’t want to take a chance with the players’ health, especially during COVID-19 times.

The BCCI doesn’t want to be in a situation where a player gets infected, and they don’t have a replacement in the squad. Suryakumar Yadav was sent as a backup player for the England tour, too, along with Prithvi Shaw, but they didn’t get to play a game.

In the ongoing 1st unofficial Test, South Africa A is batting first, and the score reads 98/2 in 27 overs, with Navdeep Saini and Arzan Nagwaswalla picking 1 wicket each. Priyank Panchal, Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Rahul Chahar, Hanuma Vihari, Rahul Chahar, and Umran Malik are playing.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Indian opener KL Rahul has been reportedly ruled out of the 1st Test against New Zealand.

Virat Kohli took over captaincy from MS Dhoni in all forms in 2017 | Photo Credit: AP, File Image
Virat Kohli took over captaincy from MS Dhoni in all forms in 2017 | Photo Credit: AP, File Image
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Bharat Arun Opens Up On Captaincy Transition Between The Two Of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni

Bharat Arun, former India bowling coach, has now revealed that Virat Kohli would even let MS Dhoni handle small details of the game. MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli haven’t just been formidable on the field but have also grabbed attention for their mutual understanding of each other and chemistry off the field.

When Virat Kohli took over the captaincy of the Indian cricket team from MS Dhoni, the transition seemed seamless, all because of the respect the duo carried for each other. Virat Kohli had taken limited-overs captaincy from MS Dhoni in 2017 and Tests in 2014.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

Bharat Arun: Virat Kohli Would Often Let MS Dhoni Handle Little Details As There Was Mutual Trust And Respect Between The Duo

Even though MS Dhoni was in the team when Virat Kohli took the captaincy baton in his hands, the two stalwarts worked in tandem for the benefit of Team India. Under MS Dhoni, India achieved wholesome success as the former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman still remains the only international captain to lead his national side to all three major ICC titles (2007 T20I WC, 2011 ODI WC, and 2013 Champions Trophy) during his captaincy tenure.

When MS Dhoni stepped aside as the captain from all formats, in early 2017, Virat Kohli stepped up and took over the reins from his senior cricketer. MS Dhoni, however, remained a vital cog of Virat Kohli-led India’s limited-overs side, having retired from Tests in late 2014, till he played his last match in the 2019 ODI World Cup and decided to hang up his boots the following year.

“Ravi told the importance of having a senior member like Dhoni in the team. It was about giving a lot of respect and he would definitely help him. Kohli understood that of course and it was a seamless transition.

“You could see the respect in the way Kohli would often let Dhoni handle little details and prowl on the boundary in ODIs. That kind of stuff can’t have happened without trust and respect. And Dhoni also saw he was given the space and responded so well,” Bharat Arun said in an interview.

File picture of Bharat Arun. - B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM
File picture of Bharat Arun. – B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

MS Dhoni was even added to the Indian team as a mentor for the T20I World Cup 2021. Although the team didn’t get the desired result as they were ousted from the group stage itself, the idea was to have an influential member in the support staff that all of the players respect.

Bharat Arun: During Ravi Shastri’s Tenure, There Was Absolutely No Agenda

Speaking of Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun said that the former India head coach’s tenure was purely based on cricketing values.  Even when the team would not get the results they desired, Ravi Shastri would insist on learning from the mistakes and moving on.

“Fearlessness and honesty. During his tenure, there was absolutely no agenda. The decisions might have been right or wrong, that is irrelevant, but they came from the right place, purely thinking about team values and what we stood for as a team. Honesty encompasses criticism, self-introspection. It was in telling the team that ‘accept that we messed up’. It helped us evolve the team,”Bharat Arun said.

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

With Ravi Shastri gone, Rahul Dravid has taken over his role in the team as head coach. As for captaincy, Virat Kohli has been replaced by Rohit Sharma in the shortest T20I format.

Ravi Shastri, the outgoing India coach, hoped India would make a strong comeback under Rahul Dravid in the next ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in October. However, India failed to reach the semifinals of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 after suffering defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand in the Super 12 matches.

Skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri had worked together as captain and coach since 2017 for four years, during which Indian cricket achieved phenomenal success. However, their stint ended on a disappointing note, with India getting knocked out of the 2021 T20I World Cup, failing to qualify for the semifinals for the first time in eight ICC events.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Ravi Shastri Won’t Say No If Asked To Coach An IPL Franchise In 2022

Ravi Shastri, the former India head coach, has expressed his readiness to become a part of the IPL. The 59-year-old left the position of India’s head coach after the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 concluded.

In an interview, Ravi Shastri was asked about his future. The former Indian all-rounder clarified that he would take a break first and then think about his next direction.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source: AP

Ravi Shastri Said It’s Time To Take A Break

Ravi Shastri mentioned how cricket is constantly evolving and how he can become a part of the media and digital space. Ravi Shastri, whose tenure as head coach ended with the recently concluded T20 World Cup, is one of India’s most successful coaches.

“Next, there is plenty. I will take a break and there is plenty in the sporting space that can be done. It is a great game, it is evolving, the space around the game — the media and digital space are evolving. At this moment, my fingers are pointing in five different directions,” said Shastri.

Virat Kohli in action during the third day of the WTC final against New Zealand. (File)
Virat Kohli was in action during the third day of the WTC final against New Zealand. (File)

Skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri had worked together as captain and coach since 2017 for four years, during which Indian cricket achieved phenomenal success. However, their stint ended on a disappointing note, with India getting knocked out of the 2021 T20I World Cup, failing to qualify for the semifinals for the first time in eight ICC events.

Ravi Shastri had initially become the director of the Indian cricket team in 2014 for a period of eight months from India’s tour of England till the 2015 World Cup, alongside Duncan Fletcher. He then had sole responsibility till 2016, and the 2016 World T20 saw India reach the semifinals again.

Ravi Shastri was removed in 2016 when Anil Kumble took over, but on July 13, 2017, he was appointed the head coach of the Indian team officially, reuniting with Virat Kohli to forge a vibrant partnership.

Ravi Shastri (as head coach since July 2017):

Tests: 43 matches, 25 wins
ODIs: 76 matches, 51 wins
T20Is: 65 matches, 42 wins

Ravi Shastri Hinted He Could Be A Part Of IPL As Coach

According to reports, the Ahmedabad IPL franchise has already approached Ravi Shastri to join them as the team’s head coach for IPL 2022. While the former India coach did not confirm the reports, he hinted that he could become a part of the IPL as a coach.

“I would definitely be part of coaching, at grassroots levels and there is no question about it. Who knows if you get an opportunity in the IPL in the future, then I would definitely not say no to that. Of course, television will always be there. For the moment, it is time to take a break, relax, reflect and enjoy the free time,” Shastri concluded.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The Indian cricket team achieved a lot of success under Ravi Shastri. They registered overseas Test series wins and dominated every opponent at home. Unfortunately, the Indian squad failed to win a single ICC trophy during that time. However, Ravi Shastri was satisfied with the team’s performance under him. The former Indian head coach is now looking forward to an exciting future.

Ravi Shastri, the outgoing India coach, hoped India would make a strong comeback under Rahul Dravid in the next ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in October. However, India failed to reach the semifinals of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 after suffering defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand in the Super 12 matches.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Aakash Chopra Picked 3 Major Takeaways From India-New Zealand Bilateral T20I Series

Aakash Chopra picked three major takeaways from the recently-concluded three-match T20I series between India and New Zealand, where the Rohit Sharma-led home side registered a 3-0 whitewash with a 73-run win at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Rohit Sharma and his Team India side may have thumped New Zealand 3-0 to register yet another T20I series whitewash. However, they still have a couple of areas to sort, according to former cricketer Aakash Chopra.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul Must Always Open And Finger Spin Can Work In T20s

His first major takeaway was that India should retain their opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who scored a half-century stand in the opener in Jaipur before smashing a record 117-run stand in the second game. India, however, rested KL Rahul for the final inconsequential tie in Kolkata, picking Ishan Kishan as the opener, but Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan once again added a 69 run stand for the first wicket.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma—Image: Twitter

Aakash Chopra advised India to neither think of left-right combinations nor think about match-ups, as they did in the game against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup final, which they lost.

Aakash Chopra opined, “Rohit-Rahul must always open. Don’t think of left-right or match-ups.”

 

Aakash Chopra then opined, “Finger spin can work in T20s. Ashwin-Axar-Santner. And it’s okay for LAS to bowl to LHB.”

Axar Patel picked four wickets in three games at an economy rate of just 6, while Ravichandran Ashwin, who was rested for the final game, picked three wickets in two matches at an economy rate of just 5.25. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner, picked as many wickets as Axar Patel, conceding at 6.58 runs per over. However, Aakash Chopra said that it’s completely fine for a left-arm spinner to bowl to the left-handed batsman.

Aakash Chopra: India’s Middle Order Far From Being Sorted

In his final takeaway, the veteran former cricketer admitted that India still needs to work on their middle-order (No.4 to 7), who scored only 51 runs off 45 balls, laced with three boundaries and one six, in the third T20I with Rishabh Pant scoring a mere 4 off 6.

Aakash Chopra said,” India’s Middle Order far from sorted. Will take time.” 

Aakash Chopra feels that it will take time for India to sort it out. India will still have a lot of T20I series to work out their best XI, with star players like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah yet to join.

In Virat Kohli’s absence, Suryakumar Yadav batted at number 3 on a couple of occasions and shared success and failure on respective occasions(63 runs average 21 in 3 games). Rishabh Pant also failed to deliver on a couple of occasions(33 runs average 33 in 3 games).

Venkatesh Iyer was tested as the finisher, but he failed to live up to the hype on his debut series( 36 runs average 18 in 3 games). Moreover, Shreyas Iyer didn’t bat at his ideal position throughout the series(30 runs in 2 innings average 15). Aakash Chopra said fixing the middle-order will take time.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer – Getty Images

On his first assignment as Team India’s permanent head coach, Rahul Dravid guided his team to a 3-0 clean sweep over the 2021 T20 World Cup finalist. India played dominant cricket throughout the series as Kane Williamson-less New Zealand failed to give a tough challenge to the hosts.

India beat New Zealand by 73 runs in the 3rd inconsequential T20I to complete the whitewash in a comprehensive fashion. The team management gave a chance to a couple of young players in the series as the seniors like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja were rested to manage their workload.

India 184 for 7 (Rohit 56, Kishan 29, Chahar 21*, Santner 3-27) beat New Zealand 111 (Guptill 51, Axar 3-9, Harshal 2-23) by 73 runs

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