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Wasim Jaffer. Image Credits: Twitter
Wasim Jaffer. Image Credits: Twitter
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Wasim Jaffer Suggests Wriddhiman Saha To Open In Place Of Mayank Agarwal In The 2nd Test

Wasim Jaffer, the former Indian cricketer, came up with an unusual and temporary fix for the playing XI for the second Test against New Zealand.

He admitted the playing XI dilemma to be a “tough call” for the team management amid poor returns from senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane and two impressive knocks from debutant Shreyas Iyer, but Wasim Jaffer offered a solution for India’s opening problem.

Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)

Wasim Jaffer:  It’s A Toss-up Between Mayank Agarwal And Ajinkya Rahane To Drop In The 2nd Test And Suggests Wriddhiman Saha To Open

While Shubman Gill scored a 93-ball 52 in the first innings before being dismissed for just 1 in the second, Mayank managed scores of 13 and 17 in the Kanpur Test. On other hand, Ajunkya Rahane scored 35 and 4 in the game, following which his career batting average has fallen to 39.3, his lowest since February 2014.

Wasim Jaffer feels that it will be a toss-up between Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane, as either of the two will be dropped for the 2nd Test to include Virat Kohli.

“It’s a toss-up between Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane. I would think on those two. That’s the toss-up that Virat Kohli has to make. Whether he wants to go with Mayank Agarwal and give him another go or whether [he thinks] Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t got enough runs in the last 10-12 Test matches after that Melbourne Test so he goes out. It’s a tough call, definitely a tough call. It depends on whom the sword falls on,” he said.

India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)
India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)

Wasim Jaffer then suggested that if India drops Mayank Agarwal for the Mumbai Test, then they can go with Wriddhiman Saha as one of the openers. However, the veteran wicketkeeper, who scored a gutsy 61 not out in the second innings, has never batted above No.6 in Tests, let alone open the innings. Besides, he has a sore neck and was substituted by KS Bharat when New Zealand batted, which may mean that he may miss the 2nd Test.

“I think I will open with Saha if at all Mayank Agarwal goes out because then everybody bats out of their position. Pujara will open and then Ajinkya Rahane will bat at some other position… If Saha opens then everyone bats at the same position. And you can do that in Indian conditions with Saha. Is it a long-term call? Definitely not because India will go to South Africa. So they’ll have to reconsider their top-six for Mumbai,” he explained.

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 19.57 in 12 Tests in 2021, his lowest average in a year since debuting in 2013. Cheteshwar Pujara has done slightly better at 30.43 from the same number of games in 2021 but had a horrid time in 2020, averaging only 20.38 in 4 Tests.

Daniel Vettori: Stop Gap Scenario To Open With Wriddhiman Saha As It Is An Easy Decision To Leave Mayank Agarwal

Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori agreed with Wasim Jaffer, saying that it could be “a stop-gap scenario” given that Virat Kohli will be back for the next Test while KL Rahul will be fit again for South Africa Tests. The rested trio of Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, and Mohammed Shami are also expected to return for South Africa Tests.

“I think most selection panels take the easy decisions and I don’t blame them for that. The easy decision is to leave Mayank out and open with Saha which I think is fair enough on a stop-gap scenario because Rohit will come back and KL Rahul will be fit again and they’ll look at those guys for South Africa.”

Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal[photo: Twitter]

“So for a one-off Test match, to keep the balance, to keep the feeling off the order that they want I don’t see any issues with that. Whether it’s the right call to leave Mayank out is debatable but I think it’s the easier decision to make so they’ll go with that,” he said.

With Mayank Agarwal in focus, former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori agreed with Wasim Jaffer, saying that it could be “a stop-gap scenario” Mayank Agarwal scored 1082 runs in 15 Tests with an average of 43.28. The right-handed opening batsman hit 4 half-centuries besides 3 tons in this period, including the best knock of 243 runs.

The 37-year-old Wriddhiman Saha has amassed 1313 runs in 39 Tests averaging 29.84. He has 3 tons and 6 fifties.

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI
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Ravindra Jadeja Has Improved As A Batsman Not As A Bowler, Says Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev was in Kolkata to talk about golf and support the ICC RCGC Open as a board member of the Indian professional tour. But though golf is a “new passion”, lack of domain knowledge made it “impractical” for him to talk about it, he said. So, the conversation with the media on Friday was largely on cricket, even though the sport has been only “five percent” of his 62-year life.

To most questions, Kapil Dev offered no shot. He was no one to comment on whether India should play Pakistan in a bilateral series, he said. Asked whether Rohit Sharma should be made the ODI captain as well, Kapil Dev deadpanned, “he and Virat Kohli should play golf” before saying it didn’t really matter who led the team because “I believe in teamwork.”
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)

Kapil Dev: Ravindra Jadeja Is A Fabulous Cricketer And Has Improved As Batsman Not As Bowler

Rahul Dravid should be judged only after three years, and Kapil Dev said he is keeping his fingers crossed that “he will do better as a coach than as cricketer.” And when someone tried tempting Kapil Dev by paraphrasing Ravi Shastri’s comment that the team he coached was the best, it was met with: “Do you doubt him?” Kapil Dev did take the poser on India’s inability to win an ICC tournament since 2013.

“Jinx? There is no jinx. I don’t mind if they come to the final if they are among the top two-three teams. Australia has so much passion for cricket and it took them almost 15 years (14) to win the T20 World Cup. Wins will come if you keep trying harder and harder,” said the former India captain.

Asked on contemporary all-rounders, Kapil Dev said he follows cricket for fun now and so would restrict his answer to Indian players.

“Ravindra Jadeja is a fabulous cricketer. Unfortunately, he has improved as a batsman but has come down as a bowler. When he started out, he was a far better bowler but now he is a far better batsman, and every time India needs him, he will get runs but he is not performing as a bowler as he used.”

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

Hardik Pandya, Kapil Dev said, cannot be counted as an all-rounder because he has “to do both jobs to be considered” one.

“Let him bowl. He has come out of an injury and is an extremely important batsman for the country but he has to perform as a bowler before he can be judged as an allrounder.”

Too much should not be read into Hanuma Vihari touring South Africa with India A, he said. “At least he has got a chance to play in South Africa. He will come back. I don’t think it will affect his zest to play. In our time, Mohinder Amarnath and Anshuman Gaekwad would make 20 comebacks.”

Ravindra Jadeja has amassed 2195 runs besides picking up 227 scalps in 57  Tests. He averages 34.3 with the bat in Tests and 25.09 with the ball in the longest format. Ravindra Jadeja scored 50 and picked a wicket only despite bowling 33 overs.

Kapil Dev Hopes Shreyas Iyer Will Do Justice In Tests

Shreyas Iyer has come out with “flying colours”, scoring 105 on Test debut after waiting “four-five years to play”.

“Hopefully, he will do justice to the position.”

Shreyas Iyer at the Green Park Stadium Photo: BCCI
Shreyas Iyer at the Green Park Stadium Photo: BCCI

Kapil Dev, who had a heart attack in October 2020, said, “life is beautiful” now.

“Never expected after retirement from cricket that I would have a life like this. I can actually say, my life is now one step better after I stopped playing cricket. Playing for the country is not everything. Cricket is five per cent (of my life). 95% of life is beautiful though it is that five per cent that led to this 95%.”

Shreyas Iyer has featured in 22 ODIs and 32 T20Is and averaged 42.78 and 27.61 in the two formats, respectively, before making his Test debut, 4 years after his limited-overs debut in 2017.  Shreyas Iyer scored 105 before being dismissed by Tim Southee.

His runs came off 171 balls after smashing 2 sixes and 13 boundaries. Shreyas Iyer on Friday became the 16th Indian batter to score a century on Test debut. Shreyas Iyer was presented his maiden Test cap by Sunil Gavaskar on Day 1 of the Kanpur Test against New Zealand.

India reached 14/1 at Stump’s on the 3rd day to lead by 63 runs. After posting 345 in the first innings, the hosts bundled New Zealand out for 296. Axar Patel bagged a five-wicket haul.

Shreyas Iyer revealed how MS Dhoni and Bollywood stars helped him in recovery from injury |Courtesy BCCI/Instagram @Shreyas41
Shreyas Iyer revealed how MS Dhoni and Bollywood stars helped him in recovery from injury |Courtesy BCCI/Instagram @Shreyas41
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Shreyas Iyer Had Fun Chat With MS Dhoni And Played Football With Hindi Filmstars Which Helped Him To Recover

Shreyas Iyer revealed MS Dhoni played a major role in helping him recover from injury and return to his best. He also disclosed playing football with friends from the film industry helped him in his comeback.

In March this year, Shreyas Iyer’s world was thrown upside down as he suffered a devastating shoulder injury during the first ODI between India and England in Pune. Shreyas Iyer was forced to undergo surgery which meant he had to be out of action for almost six months.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer – Getty Images

Shreyas Iyer Missed IPL 2021’s First Indian Leg But Returned In UAE Leg And Was Part Of The Reserves In 2021 T20I WC Squad

In the meantime, he was forced to miss the first leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) and eventually lost his Delhi Capitals (DC) captaincy to Rishabh Pant. As a result, from being a leading contender to being part of India’s 2021 T20 World Cup squad, Shreyas Iyer could only make the reserves as the injury starved him of valuable game-time before the selection for the marquee event.

Shreyas Iyer dislocated his shoulder while fielding against England in the first ODI in Pune on March 24. He had to leave the field right away and later underwent surgery that kept him away from the first session of the 14th edition of IPL before the tournament was suspended midway due to the breakout of Covid-19 inside the bio-bubble.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Twitter)

However, Shreyas Iyer has shown his character by making his Test debut in the same year and beginning his international career in the longest format of the game by scoring a century. On Friday, Shreyas Iyer became just the 16th Indian ever to score a century on Test debut.

Shreyas Iyer Credited Mentor For T20I WC MS Dhoni For Helping Him By Having ‘Fun Chats’ With Him

Shreyas Iyer credited former Indian captain MS Dhoni for helping him through the recovery period. During rehab, the former DC skipper revealed he had some ‘fun chats’ with the 2011 World Cup-winning captain.

Talking in a press conference, Iyer said, “Mahi Bhai was there and we spoke a little bit about IPL at that point of time, never discussed winning the IPL (chuckles). You know he is really calm and composed, whenever you for a chat, he’s got so much so experience in the IPL and different forms of the game, so it’s always fun to chat with him.”

The 26-year-old also revealed that playing football with friends from the Indian film industry (Bollywood) helped him maintain his competitive spirit and maintain his fitness levels.

“It didn’t switch me off completely because my focus was more on cricket rather than playing football. But I really love going out there and trying different sports – whether it be table tennis or badminton, but football is something I’ve been playing since my school days. And when I went and played with my Bollywood friends over there, they were very competitive and they were friendly at the same time,” said Iyer. 

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

He added, “So it was a good mixture, and also I wanted to get into that competitive zone and see it to that my fitness level was pretty intact. Because you keep running 90 minutes and it’s about how your stamina pans out throughout the game.”

After a long hiatus, Shreyas Iyer made his comeback during the second leg of IPL 2021 in the UAE (scoring 175 runs in 8 games averaging 35). After missing out on India’s main 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup (he was named in the reserves), Shreyas Iyer returned to play for India in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand he played all three games.

With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli resting and KL Rahul suffering from an injury, Shreyas Iyer got a chance to make his debut in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. He took the opportunity with both hands by scoring a brilliant knock of 105 under pressure.

Shreyas Iyer, on his debut, scored a century for India against the defending World Test Champions New Zealand, batting at No.5. He scored 105 before being dismissed by Tim Southee. His runs came off 171 balls after smashing 2 sixes and 13 boundaries. 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.

Shreyas Iyer has featured in 22 ODIs and 32 T20Is and averaged 42.78 and 27.61 in the two formats, respectively, before making his Test debut, 4 years after his limited-overs debut in 2017.

Shreyas Iyer at the Green Park Stadium Photo: BCCI
Shreyas Iyer at the Green Park Stadium Photo: BCCI
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Shreyas Iyer, Debut Test Centurion May Have To Make Way For Rested Virat Kohli In The 2nd Test: VVS Laxman

Shreyas Iyer, on his debut, scored a century for India against the defending World Test Champions New Zealand, batting at No.5, when both the senior batters were sent back to the dug-out.

There shouldn’t be a shred of doubt, but Shreyas Iyer was never among the first XI preferences, hadn’t it been for KL Rahul’s injury. But, he made the most of the opportunity count. Hence, whether he retains his spot for the second Test next week when captain Virat Kohli returns to the team.

Shreyas Iyer plays a defensive shot during the day one of their first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur.(AP)
Shreyas Iyer plays a defensive shot during day one of their first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. (AP)

Shreyas Iyer May Have To Make Way For Rested Virat Kohli In The 2nd Test: VVS Laxman

Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman answered it, recalling the Karun Nair incident, admitting it to be an unwritten rule in this Indian side. Back in 2016, during a home series against England, Karun Nair had scored a phenomenal 303 but was rested for the next game to make way to Ajinkya Rahane, who had missed out that Test match.

VVS Laxman, in conversation with Star Sports during the lunch break on day 2 of the first Test in Kanpur, said that Shreyas Iyer will have to make way for Virat Kohli, who was not part of the Indian squad for the first Test, although he added that the youngster’s century will add pressure on struggling Ajinkya Rahane.

“Yes very very interesting but there is an unwritten rule in this Indian team which we had seen even when Karun Nair got a triple hundred and Ajinkya Rahane came back and unfortunately Nair had to miss out and Rahane got back to his original position. So that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

VVS Laxman (Image Credit: Twitter)
VVS Laxman (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Iyer played because Kohli was not available for this Test match. But having said that there will be a lot of pressure on Ajinkya Rahane. The last couple of years hasn’t been great and he hasn’t been performing to his potential and the caliber he has got. But in the next game, Iyer will have to make way for Virat Kohli,” he said.

Shreyas Iyer scored 105 before being dismissed by Tim Southee. His runs came off 171 balls after smashing 2 sixes and 13 boundaries. 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.

Simon Doull Agreed With VVS Laxman And Doesn’t Think India Will Leave Either  Cheteshwar Pujatra Or Ajinkya Rahane

Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull too agreed with the veteran Indian saying that the management is now aware of his capabilities, although he still needs to work on a few things.

Simon Doull
Simon Doull. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“I agree with VVS. You get an opportunity when someone misses out or is unavailable but they are still the incumbent. Your time will come and they have got options if they wanted to leave Pujara out and bat Shubman at No.3 if they want Rahane to lead. But don’t see that happening at this point in time. They know Iyer can play Test cricket and his capabilities. There are a couple of things to work on,” he added. 

Shreyas Iyer has featured in 22 ODIs and 32 T20Is and averaged 42.78 and 27.61 in the two formats respectively before making his Test debut, 4 years after his limited-overs debut in 2017. The second Test begins on December 3 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

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. 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.

Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)
Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)
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Krunal Pandya Decides To Step Down As Baroda Skipper After Team Won Only 1 Match In SMAT

Krunal Pandya has decided to step down as Baroda team captain from the forthcoming domestic season.

The 30-year-old spin all-rounder informed the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) president Pranav Amin through email on Friday evening. Under the senior Pandya’s captaincy, the team had an underwhelming run in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where they finished last in Group B.

Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya (Instagram)

Krunal Pandya Steps Down As Skipper Of Baroda After Poor Run In Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Where They Finished Last

The team managed to win just one game in five matches and failed to qualify for the knock-outs for the domestic T20 tournament. Under Krunal Pandya’s captaincy, the team had an underwhelming run in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where they finished last in Group B.

In his email, Krunal Pandya wrote, “This is to put on record that I will be unavailable to lead Baroda in the current domestic season. However, I will be available for selection to play for the team. I will offer my best as a team member and player to Baroda cricket. My support and contribution will always be in the best interest of the team.”

Krunal Pandya Of Mumbai Indians- [File photo]
Krunal Pandya Of Mumbai Indians- [File photo]
In the five games, Krunal Pandya scored 87 runs with one half-century and took five wickets at an economy rate of 5.94. This came under the charge of new Baroda coach Dav Whatmore, whose tenure at the team got off to a disappointing start.

It is understood that BCA will now appoint veteran Kedar Devdhar as captain while left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt is likely to be appointed vice-captain of the team for the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy, which is scheduled to be played next month. Kedar Devdhar had previously captained the team to the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last year.

Krunal Pandya Was Accused Of Using Abusive Language Towards Deepak Hooda

Krunal Pandya took over as skipper two seasons ago, but his time as captain was marred by a few controversies. Last year, Deepak Hooda, who later moved to Rajasthan, had written an email to BCA where he had made a series of allegations about the skipper, the senior Pandya after he had spat with the Mumbai Indians player.

“At this moment, I am demoralized, depressed, and under pressure. For the past few days, my team captain Mr. Krunal Pandya is using abusive language towards me in front of my teammates and also other state teams who have come for participation at Reliance Stadium Vadodara,” Hooda, who represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, wrote.

Deepak Hooda screengrab
Deepak Hooda screengrab

Deepak Hooda later decided to move on from BCA and represented Rajasthan this season.

Krunal Pandya has so far scored 1143 runs in 84 matches where he also picked 51 wickets averaging 34.76 whereas his batting average is 22.86. His best bowling figure is 3/14 in 2017. His highest score is 86 in 2016, and it is his only half-century in IPL.

Krunal Pandya has played 19 T20Is where he picked 15 wickets averaging 36.93 and scored 124 runs averaging 24.8. He debuted against West Indies in 2018 and played his last T20I against Sri Lanka in 2021 after which he was hit with Covid-19. He has picked up 1 four-wicket haul in T20I as his career-best bowling figure is 4/36.  He has also played 5 ODIs amassing 130 runs averaging 65 and taken 2 scalps, playing all his matches in 2021.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians are all but set to part ways with Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya as none of them is on the five-time champions’ retention list. The reports have suggested that Mumbai Indians will go with Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, and Ishan Kishan as their four retentions for IPL 2022 in all likeliness.

Hardik Pandya played 12 games in the 2021 season but scored just 127 runs at an average of 14.11 and hasn’t bowled a single ball in the last two seasons. Krunal Pandya too struggled, scoring just 143 runs in 13 matches at an average of 14.3 while taking just five wickets in the 2021 season.

India National Cricket Team.
India National Cricket Team. Image Credits: BCCI
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Hints That Problems Between BCCI, Ravi Shastri And Virat Kohli Led To India’s Early Exit From T20I World Cup

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, feels that the relations between Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri may have turned frosty ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021, which resulted in India’s early exit from the ICC tournament.

The legendary former Pakistan batter reckons the announcement of Virat Kohli stepping down as India’s T20 captain after the World Cup was something the BCCI and the team could have done without.

Inzamam-ul-Haq addresses a press conference in Lahore. — AP/File
Inzamam-ul-Haq addresses a press conference in Lahore. — AP/File

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Virat Kohli’s Statement Of Leaving Captaincy After T20I WC Not Good And All Knew Ravi Shastri Was To Be Replaced By Rahul Dravid

Inzamam-ul-Haq has made a bold statement about the Indian cricket team and their performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021, which saw the Men in Blue lose to their arch-rivals for the first time ever in World Cups. The former Pakistan captain commented about India’s performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021.

“I said this even before the match, that this statement of leaving captaincy after the tournament… it is not good. You have to play a big event and this shows that there is pressure on you and you are not comfortable. They all knew that after this tournament, Shastri was to get replaced by Dravid,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

India's Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo
India’s Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo

Inzamam-ul-Haq weighed in further on the matter, pointing out that the news of Ravi Shastri’s impending departure and Virat Kohli stepping down as the team’s T20I captain indicated that not all was right within the Indian camp, including relations between the captain-coach duo and the BCCI.

“This should not happen before a big event. Your authority gets challenged. And this means that relations between Kohli, Shastri, and the board were not great. If India were to win the T20 World Cup, would they have removed the captain and coach? There was some problem between them,” said the former Pakistan batter Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Pakistan hammered India by 10 wickets as the opening pair of Babar Azam, and Mohammad Rizwan chased down 152 to break the team’s almost three-decade-long jinx in World Cups.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Pakistan Always Have A Good Pace Attack And Every Team Is A Little Apprehensive Facing Pakistan

Inzamam-ul-Haq spoke about Shaheen Shah Afridi’s destructive spell against India, which saw him return 3/31, including the wickets of openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma and later captain Virat Kohli. Lauding Pakistan’s pace battery comprising of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, and Haris Rauf in T20I WC 2021, Inzamam-ul-Haq said the country’s pacers are of the quality that they can dismantle any batting unit in the world.

“Our fast bowlers always stamp their authority on India. We have always had a good pace battery. Every team is a little apprehensive about facing Pakistan’s bowling,” said Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Virat Kohli played a 57-run knock while Shaheen Afridi celebrating one of his three wickets | Photo: ICC
Virat Kohli played a 57-run knock while Shaheen Afridi celebrated one of his three wickets | Photo: ICC

Shaheen Shah Afridi ran through Team India’s top-order after he got rid of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his opening spell. Then he came back to dismiss Virat Kohli, who scored a half-century. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

But in the end, the target of 152 was not enough as Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scored 79*, and 68*, respectively, to win the match for their team by 10 wickets with 13 balls to spare.

In the next match, India managed only 110 for seven batting first against New Zealand. They lost the game by eight wickets, which pretty much sealed their fate in the T20 World Cup 2021.

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Feels Indian Team Was Scared Even Before The India-Pakistan 2021 T20I World Cup Match Started

Inzamam-Ul-Haq has made a bold statement about the Indian cricket team and their performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021, which saw the Men in Blue lose to their arch-rivals for the first time ever in World Cups. The former Pakistan captain commented about India’s performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021.

Pakistan hammered India by 10 wickets as the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down 152 to break the team’s almost three-decade-long jinx in World Cups.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq Feels Indian Team Was Scared Even Before The Match Started

Plenty has been said and written about India’s indifferent outing at the Dubai international stadium, with Inzamam-ul-Haq claiming that Virat Kohli’s unit was scared to fight even before the World Cup match even began.

Shaheen Shah Afridi ran through Team India’s top-order after he got rid of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his opening spell. Then he came back to dismiss Virat Kohli, who scored a half-century. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

But in the end, the target of 152 was not enough as Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scored 79*, and 68*, respectively, to win the match for their team by 10 wickets with 13 balls to spare.

“I feel the Indians were scared even before the match started. Their body language, if you see Virat Kohli and Babar Azam’s interview at the toss, you could sense who was under pressure. Our team’s body language was much better than theirs. It wasn’t that India were under pressure after Rohit Sharma’s dismissal. Sharma himself was under pressure. It was evident that they all were under pressure,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).

India had an off-colour T20 World Cup, getting eliminated before making it to the semi-finals, making it the first time in eight years, and events that the team failed to make it to the knockouts of an ICC event. Following defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand, India was always under the pump and even though they did manage to beat Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia in their last three games, it was not enough to see them through to the final four.

Inzamam-ul-Haq Feels India Was Surmounted On A Lot Of Pressure After Losing To Pakistan So That They Lost To New Zealand Too

Inzamam-ul-Haq feels the pressure coped by the Indian team after the Pakistan defeat was so much that the team failed to recover from the beating, in turn affecting their T20 World Cup campaign.

“Indian team never plays the way they did. They are a good T20 team, there is no doubt about it. If you look at their performance in the last 2-3 years, they were the favourites. But that India-Pakistan match put so much pressure on them that there was no looking back,” added Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli failed against New Zealand (Reuters Photo)
Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli failed against New Zealand (Reuters Photo)

“Their feet weren’t moving at all. After losing to Pakistan, they were handed so much criticism and there was a 3-4 day break. The poor guys couldn’t even play Santner and Sodhi. They are such good players of spin. That pressure mounted on them,” added Inzamam-ul-Haq.

India managed only 110 for 7 batting first against New Zealand. They lost the game by eight wickets, which pretty much sealed their fate in the T20 World Cup 2021. The make-shift opening pair of KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan managed to add only 11 runs, with Ishan Kishan scoring four off eight balls. New Zealand chased down the score in just 14.3 overs, handing India a massive defeat.

The Indian batsmen Ishan Kishan (4 off 8 balls), Rohit Sharma (14 off 14 balls), KL Rahul (18 off 16), Virat Kohli (9 off 17), Rishabh Pant (12 off 19) failed when it mattered most against New Zealand, losing the second successive match after the one against Pakistan where Rohit Sharma (0) and KL Rahul (3) failed as openers.

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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.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer
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Shreyas Iyer’s Father Reasons Having Display Picture Of Him Holding Border Gavaskar Trophy In 2017

Shreyas Iyer’s father Santosh Iyer has a unique WhatsApp Display Picture- his son donning the whites and holding the 2017 Border Gavaskar Trophy. The reason is that he always wanted to see his son play the traditional format of the game, and when he eventually did for the first time on Thursday, Shreyas Iyer father’s joy knew no bounds.

The 26-year-old made his Test debut memorable with an unbeaten half-century on the first day of the 1st Test between India and New Zealand to rescue India from a precarious position on the first day of the first match against New Zealand at the Green Park in Kanpur.

Shreyas Iyer at the Green Park Stadium Photo: BCCI
Shreyas Iyer at the Green Park Stadium Photo: BCCI

Shreyas Iyer Scores Ton On Test Debut; Father Reasons Having Display Picture Of Him Holding Border Gavaskar Trophy In 2017

On the next day, Shreyas Iyer became the 16th Indian batter to score a century on Test debut, when he got to the three-figure mark against New Zealand in the first Test match at Kanpur. Shreyas Iyer scored 105 before being dismissed by Tim Southee. Shreyas Iyer scored 105 runs off 171 balls after smashing 2 sixes and 13 boundaries and was dismissed by Tim Southee.

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.

“Yeah, this DP (of Shreyas holding Border Gavaskar Trophy) was always close to my heart because when he was playing against Australia, he was a stand-by in place of Virat Kohli, in Dharamshala,” Santosh said hours after his son dominated a strong Kiwi attack.

“So that time after winning the match, they (team-mates) handed over the trophy to him (Shreyas), just to hold it, so that moment was very prestigious for me.” Shreyas, who comes from Mumbai’s Worli area, showed a lot of composure and class during his stay in the middle as India ended the first day on 258 for four.

Shreyas Iyer and Santosh Iyer. (Image Source: Cricbuzz)
Shreyas Iyer and Santosh Iyer. (Image Source: Cricbuzz)

Santhosh Iyer’s WhatsApp display picture shows Shreyas Iyer catching the trophy after India beat Australia 2-1 in a tightly contested Test series in the year 2017 in Dharamshala. Shreyas Iyer has featured in 22 ODIs and 32 T20Is and averaged 42.78 and 27.61 in the two formats respectively before making his Test debut, 4 years after his limited-overs debut in 2017.

“Shreyas holding the (BG) trophy and I literally wanted him to play for India at that moment. And I was thinking on those lines, like when will he get an opportunity to really be in the team and perform in the Test match.”

“So, when Ajinkya Rahane declared that Shreyas is going to play, that was the happiest moment in my life, more than getting selected for any other (format) IPL or one-day, this was very prestigious for me (as) this is a real form of cricket. Sometimes when I spoke to him, I told him you should play a Test and he (had) said it will happen very soon and it happened and I was on top of the world,” said Santosh.

A scintillating debut ton from Shreyas Iyer (105) was followed by a fifer from Tim Southee (5/69) as India got bundled out for 345 in the first innings against New Zealand after Lunch on Day 2 of the Kanpur Test.

Shreyas Iyer Was Handed His Test Cap By Sunil Gavaskar And His Father Termed The Moment As A Proud One

Santosh Iyer recalled that Shreyas Iyer used to go for his matches and his son was an “aggressive” batter. The elegant right-handed batter, who played for the prestigious Shivaji Park Gymkhana, was handed his cap by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar and his father termed the moment as a proud one.

“Sunil Gavaskar is one of my favourite cricketers and it was absolutely a proud moment. It is a great moment. I don’t have words to express (the joy),” Iyer senior signed off.

Shreyas Iyer On Getting Test Cap (Photo Source: BCCI)
Shreyas Iyer On Getting Test Cap (Photo Source: BCCI)

Shreyas Iyer was a little nervous at the start, played some streaky shots but stayed on before opening up to score his maiden Test fifty on the first day before reaching his ton on the 2nd day.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
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Chennai Super Kings Likely To Retain MS Dhoni For Next 3 IPL Seasons As Franchises Decide On Player Retentions For IPL 2022

Chennai Super Kings are likely to retain their longstanding captain MS Dhoni for the next three Indian Premier League seasons. Apart from MS Dhoni, the franchise Chennai Super Kings is set to retain all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad-the top run-getter in IPL 2021, who played crucial roles as Chennai Super Kings won the 2021 IPL title.

As per BCCI rules, each team is allowed to retain a maximum of four players. Chennai Super Kings is also in talks with England all-rounder Moeen Ali to come on board. As BCCI secretary Jay Shah had stated that the next season of IPL 2022 will be played in India, CSK feels Moeen Ali could be a handy player on the slow, turning Chennai wicket.

Chennai Super Kings' Ravindra Jadeja With MS Dhoni CSK Twitter Handle
Chennai Super Kings’ Ravindra Jadeja With MS Dhoni CSK Twitter Handle

Chennai Super Kings Likely To Retain MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad And Moeen Ali Or Sam Curran

If Moeen Ali doesn’t agree to stay, Chennai Super Kings will have left-arm medium-pacer Sam Curran as their fourth retained player. The franchises have to submit their lists of retained players by November 30 and the IPL 2022 will have its mega auction next month.

Chennai Super Kings retaining MS Dhoni wouldn’t come as a surprise, especially with the brand value he brings to the team. At a recent Chennai Super Kings event, MS Dhoni had confirmed that his last T20 game will be in Chennai, putting his IPL retirement speculations to bed.

“I have always planned my cricket. My last ODI in India was in Ranchi. Hopefully, my last T20 will be in Chennai. Whether it’s next year or in five years’ time, I don’t know,” Dhoni had said.

Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant | BCCI/IPL
Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant | BCCI/IPL

Chennai Super Kings are also likely not to retain Suresh Raina for the first time. The former India batsman has been out of touch and didn’t play crucial knockout IPL games. Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals are set to retain wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, all-rounder Axar Patel, Prithvi Shaw and pacer Anrich Nortje. Shreyas Iyer was released since he wanted to lead Delhi Capitals, but the franchise was keen to have Rishabh Pant as their leader going ahead.

However, most franchises will be following the tactic of not retaining four players as this could lead to stress on their purse during the auction. It is understood that Mumbai Indians will retain Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. While negotiations with their West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard are still on, the franchise wants to buy Suryakumar Yadav from the auction pool and chances of Ishan Kishan being retained are also bright.

KL Rahul Has Parted Ways With Punjab Kings And Will Likely Lead Lucknow Franchise

Two new teams Sanjiv Goenka’s RPSG group and CVC Capitals (though they haven’t been given the green signal yet from the board), have begun approaching a few top Indian players. India opener KL Rahul is likely to lead Sanjeev Goenka’s new Lucknow team. KL Rahul, who was signed by PBKS for Rs 11 crore at the IPL 2018 auction, will reportedly spearhead the new Lucknow franchise in the IPL 2022.

It is learnt KL Rahul has parted ways with Punjab Kings and has accepted Sanjeev Goenka’s offer. It is also learnt that Suryakumar Yadav was approached by the new franchise, but the batsman hasn’t responded yet.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders are likely to retain their two all-rounders, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, while they want to keep Varun Chakravarty too. However, it is learnt that KKR is still deciding on whether to retain Shubman Gill or Venkatesh Iyer.

Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra opined that RCB will retain Virat Kohli, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, and Devdutt Padikkal. However, he excluded pacer Harshal Patel, who was the Purple Cap winner in IPL 2021 and inconsistent big-hitting batsman Glenn Maxwell.

Players Likely To Be Retained:

CSK: MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali/ Sam Curran , Ruturaj Gaikwad

KKR: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill/Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy

RCB: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Yuzvendra Chahal

DC: Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan/Axar Patel

RR: Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler

SRH: Rashid Khan, Jonny Bairstow/Kane Williamson

MI: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard

PBKS: KL Rahul (if he agrees to stay), Mayank Agarwal, Ravi Bishnoi

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