Former Indian fast bowler Ajit Agarkar | India A | coach Rahul Dravid

Ajit Agarkar

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Image Credit: Twitter)
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IPL 2021: Top 5 Teams With The Biggest Win Margin In The League

IPL 2021 is in its 14th edition. IPL is a T20 competition that was organized by the BCCI. Notably, the tournament was first held in the year 2008 and Rajasthan Royals (RR) won the tournament. Since then every year it is held and has become a fan-favourite tournament.

People of every age group enjoy the high octane and nail-biting encounters between the franchise teams. The cash-rich Indian T20 league is regarded as the World’s best T20 league ahead of CPL, PSL, LPL and it has witnessed some of the greatest cricket games of all time.

However, sometimes fans have also witnessed the dominance of one team which resulted in one-sided games. In this article, we will have a look at the most one-sided games played in the history of the tournament. However, our main focus will be on the victories based on the biggest run margin. Because in total 15 times, a team has won the game with 10 wickets in hand.

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

Top 5 IPL Teams With The Biggest Win Margin In The Tournament

5. Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 130 runs

On April 23, 31st match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore saw the most extraordinary, explosive, exceptional, and destructive innings in the history of T20 Cricket. Pune Warriors India was facing Royal Challengers Bangalore and they won the toss and elected to field first. The Universe Boss Chris Gayle opened the innings with Tillakaratne Dilshan and he literally demolished the PWI bowling unit.

Chris Gayle slammed 175 against Pune Warrior in 2013
Chris Gayle slammed 175 against Pune Warrior in 2013 | Photo Credit: PTI.

Almost half of Chris Gayle’s inning was filled with boundaries as the West Indies opener smashed 13 fours and 17 sixers. The Universe Boss was going berserk against every bowler.

Meanwhile, in the end, he finished his knock at unbeaten 175 off 66 deliveries at a massive strike rate of 265.15. With the help of his century, RCB posted 263/5 on the board. During the chase, PWI was unable to give a tough fight to the opposition and in 20 overs they scored 133 at the loss of 9 wickets.

Meanwhile, the Virat Kohli-led RCB won the game by a humongous margin of 130 runs. Chris Gayle had scored the highest individual score and RCB’s total was the highest to date.

4. Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 138 runs

Team Royal Challengers Bangalore was in the records again when they locked horns with Kings XI Punjab ( now Punjab Kings) in the 40th match of IPL 2015 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on May 6. The George Bailey led Kings XI Punjab won the toss and elected to field first inviting RCB to bat.

Opener Chris Gayle had a sensational outing as he scored 117 runs from just 57 balls. Also, Skipper Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers scored 32 and 47 respectively. Meanwhile, RCB posted 226 runs on the board.

RCB teammates Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers (Image Credit: Twitter)
RCB teammates Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, and AB de Villiers (Image Credit: Twitter)

During the chase Kings XI, Punjab (now Punjab Kings) were bowled out at the score of 88 in the 14th over. Notably, Axar Patel made the biggest contribution from the Punjab side scoring 40 runs from 21 balls. Only Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel scored double-digit runs. Meanwhile, Sreenath Aravind and Mitchell Starc were able to bag 4 wickets each from team RCB.

3. Kolkata Knight Riders won by 140 runs

Yet another RCB involvement, in the biggest win margin columns came this time on the losing side. The match was the 1st game of the inaugural edition of IPL at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on April 18, 2008.

Brendon McCullum scored 158 runs off 73 balls in IPL 2008 opener.
Brendon McCullum scored 158 runs off 73 balls in IPL 2008 opener. | Photo Credit: BCCL

Royal Challengers Bangalore which was led by Rahul Dravid won the toss and they elected to field first. Meanwhile, KKR openers skipper Sourav Ganguly and Brendon McCullum opened for the first time in IPL. The openers had a 61 runs partnership and Sourav Ganguly was dismissed at 10.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum played a destructive knock of 158 off 73 balls to show the world what they are going to witness in the marquee Indian Premier League (IPL). His innings were filled with 10 fours and 13 maximums. Notably, he batted with a strike rate of 216.43. He helped KKR score 222/3. This was the only ton to date from a KKR batsman.

Meanwhile, during the chase RCB had a horrible run as all their main batters got out in single-digit scores. Only Praveen Kumar was able to score 18 runs and all the other players were dismissed under the score of 10 which resulted in RCB getting bowled out at 82 and losing the game by 140 runs. Ajit Agarkar-3, Ashok Dinda-2, and Sourav Ganguly-2 were amongst the wickets.

2. Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 144 runs

In the 44th match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016, Royal Challengers Bangalore faced off Gujrat Lions at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. The Virat Kohli-led side lost the toss and was invited to bat first. The start was not at all good for RCB as they lost the opener, Chris Gayle, in the 4th over and they were at 19-1 in 3.5 overs.

However, after that fans witnessed a batting master class by two of the greatest batsmen of the generation. Former Proteas batsman AB De Villiers and Indian masterclass batsman Virat Kohli. Both the batsmen brought in the storm and destroyed the opposite bowling unit.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers (Image Credit: Twitter)

AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli added 229 runs for the 2nd wicket which is the record of highest partnership in the IPL. The captain of RCB scored marvellous 109 runs off 55 deliveries including 5 fours and 8 six at a strike rate of 198.18. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli’s mate AB de Villiers scored exceptional 129 runs off 52 balls including 10 fours and 12 sixes at a strike rate of 248.07. Notably, RCB posted 248 runs on the board in that IPL game.

Meanwhile, during the chase Gujrat Lions despite having star batters were bowled out at 104 and RCB won the game by 144 runs. Notably, in that match, RCB used as many as 9 bowlers. Apart from Aaron Finch’s 37, the likes of power hitters Dwayne Smith-7, Brendon McCullum-11, Ravindra Jadeja-21, Dinesh Karthik-2, and Dwayne Bravo-1 failed with the bat.

1. Mumbai Indians won by 146 runs

Team Mumbai Indians is currently sitting at the top in terms of the biggest winning margin in the history of the tournament. The match was the 45th game of the IPL 2017 at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. The Rohit Sharma-led team was facing the team Delhi Daredevils (Capitals).

Delhi Capitals won the toss and they invited Mumbai Indians to bat first. Meanwhile, The decision turned out to be a horrible one for the Zaheer Khan-led franchise. As Mumbai batters went berserk against the DC bowling unit.

Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Instagram
Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Instagram

West Indies powerhouse Kieron Pollard & Lendl Simmons smashed 63 and 66 runs. Also Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya batted with a 207.14 strike rate and MI finished the innings at 212/3.

During the chase, Mitchell McClenaghan dismissed Sanju Samson on the very first ball. Before the power play ended Delhi Capitals were reduced at 35-5 and soon they were bowled out at the score of 66 which resulted in Delhi Capitals setting the record of the biggest loss in the history of IPL by 146 runs.

The likes of Karun Nair (21), Corey Anderson (10), and Pat Cummins (10) were the only cricketers to score double-digit runs as the likes of heavyweights Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, and Marlon Samuels failing. Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma took 3 scalps apiece.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Virat Kohli Can’t Be Written Off After Only Three Innings: Ajit Agarkar

Virat Kohli’s scores in three innings of the five-match Test series against England are 0, 42, and 20 so far. Across formats, the India skipper hasn’t scored a century since November 2019 and has also slipped to the 5th spot in the ICC Test rankings as a batsman.

As the Indian cricket team continues to scale new heights under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, the Indian skipper’s century drought continues as he is yet to score a big knock in the ongoing 5-match series against Joe Root-led England. Former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar backed the Indian captain saying he cannot be written off as a result of his scores in the last three innings.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Virat Kohli Can’t Be Written Off After Only 3 Innings: Ajit Agarkar

At a press conference, Ajit Agarkar lauded Virat Kohli as a modern-day great and said he cannot be written off based on scores in his last three innings.

“Let’s wait and see, but in three innings you do not want to write someone off who has been a modern-day great,” Agarkar said.

After witnessing a forgettable tour to England in 2014, Virat Kohli bounced back in the 2018 series against The Three Lions, something which Ajit Agarkar went on to highlight.

“Virat Kohli got runs against England in the 2018 series with all their bowlers available. He got a great ball from James Anderson in the first Test, fought hard for his 40 odd in the second Test.

“You bowl an outswinger to batsmen in the corridor, they will knick the ball. These are conditions where the ball does swing and seam around. Bowling on the fourth stump is very difficult to play for most batsmen,” he added.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

Virat Kohli was dismissed for a duck in the first innings of the first Test by James Anderson and was looking good in the second Test before he was removed on 42 by Ollie Robinson in the first innings of the Lord’s Test and on 20 by left-arm pacer Sam Curran.

Ajit Agarkar: Virat Kohli Will Like To Get Big Runs

Ajit Agarkar added that since Virat Kohli has not scored many runs lately, his dismissal against Sam Curran would be because he himself wanted to score some runs.

“When a bowler is in good spell, that Sam Curran ball in the second innings of the Lord’s Test was good deception. I am sure Kohli will like to get runs and all fans would like him to get big runs. The guy has got enough runs in international cricket, and maybe when you do not get runs, you are eager to get into the series, that might have happened,” he added.

File image of Sam Curran | Reuters
File image of Sam Curran | Reuters

Under Virat Kohli’s leadership, the visitors produced a memorable comeback in the Lord’s Test to win the contest by 151 runs. High on confidence with the comprehensive win, India would look to win the second Test beginning from August 25 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 5-match series.

Virat Kohli in the past had opened up about his struggles with form and his mental well-being during the tour of England in 2014. The Indian skipper had a horrific series where he ended up scoring only 134 runs from four Tests. He averaged only 13, with scores of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6, and 20.

Virat Kohli had contrasting tours of England in 2014 and 2018. In 2014, he managed only 134 runs in five Tests at a poor average of 13.40. Four years later, he hammered 593 runs in the five-Test series. Virat Kohli averaged 59.30 with two hundred in 2018.

Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
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Kuldeep Yadav Was Harshly Dealt With In The IPL By Kolkata Knight Riders: Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar said spinner Kuldeep Yadav was harshly dealt with by KKR in the IPL and he hopes that he gets to play all the matches on the tour of Sri Lanka.

India’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka will be a crucial do or die one for Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who hasn’t been in the best of form recently and hasn’t got many opportunities to play in the last few years. Once touted as India’s go-to bowler across formats, Kuldeep Yadav has also been short of confidence after losing his place in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) squad where he has been in and out of the team in the last few seasons.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

Ajit Agarkar Feels For Kuldeep Yadav And Says He Was Harshly Dealt With In The IPL Due To Lack Of Faith KKR Showed In Him

With most of the senior Indian players in England for the upcoming 5-match Test series, Kuldeep Yadav will look to prove a point to his critics in the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. However, he will face a stiff challenge from Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy – two bowlers who have been in fine form in the IPL.

In a press conference, former Indian cricketer Ajit Agarkar said that one has to feel for chinaman wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and that the spinner was harshly dealt with by KKR in the last few editions of the IPL by not playing him consistently.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

“You feel for him a little bit. Playing in white-ball cricket at this point is very difficult. In one-day cricket with 5 bowlers in the ring, it has become a lot harder for the bowlers to bowl with two new balls – one new ball from each end. And in T20 cricket, with the kind of firepower, there is on offer, I think he was harshly dealt with in the IPL because of the lack of faith that KKR sometimes showed in him, ” Ajit Agarkar said.

“That has affected his confidence. I hope he gets to play all the games. There is some competition with Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy, but the only way he is going to get his confidence back is by playing games and not by sitting on the bench,” Ajit Agarkar said.

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

Ajit Agarkar Hopes Kuldeep Yadav Gets His Confidence Back

Agarkar highlighted that Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t got many opportunities, even for the senior team and he can get his confidence back only by playing more matches.

“Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t got too many opportunities in recent time. In white-ball cricket, he has been a match-winner for India and I hope he gets his confidence back. He has got to trust himself, I am sure there is enough around that team.

“Whether it’s his colleagues or the team management to help him out but it’s eventually up to him to sort out the issues are – whether it’s with his bowling or his confidence, but that happens only if he plays,” Ajit Agarkar added.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav (Image Credit: Twitter)

Kuldeep Yadav once formed a formidable spin pair with Yuzvendra Chahal but hasn’t played many international matches in the last year or so. Agarkar urged for more trust to be shown in the left-arm spinner.

“I have no advice for him as I hope he gets to play all the games. If he doesn’t do well, it’s a fair call. I just hope he gets more opportunities to play. Even in the IPL, at this point, sometimes you feel guys like him might go for a few runs but will also win you games, and sometimes teams don’t seem to show enough trust in someone who has played for India for a fair time. I hope there is a bit more trust shown in him,” the former pacer concluded.

Kuldeep Yadav also didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI.

With spinners like Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh, Pawan Negi, and Varun Chakravarthy in the ranks of KKR, it remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old Chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav will get enough chances in IPL 2021 to prove his doubters wrong.

Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
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Ajit Agarkar Doubts Shikhar Dhawan’s Chances In India’s XI For 2021 T20I World Cup

Ajit Agarkar feels that despite producing consistent performances in the Indian team, Shikhar Dhawan might not be able to cement his place in India’s starting XI for the 2021 T20 World Cup.

The Indian team is split for choices at the top of the batting order especially the opening slot as the team management has a huge dilemma for the T20 World Cup. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Shikhar Dhawan have all been excellent at the top of the batting order for India but only two of them can be in the starting XI.

As far as former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar is concerned, it’s the pairing of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul that has the edge over other opening combinations.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

Ajit Agarkar: Shikhar Dhawan Has To Get Runs In Sri Lanka To Put Pressure On The Openers Ahead Of Him In Contention For Place In The T20 World Cup Squad

With the India tour of Sri Lanka being the team’s only limited-overs contest before the start of the T20 World Cup, there are a number of players who would be looking to impress. As many as six uncapped players have been selected for the series which will feature 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. Alongside those rookie players, Ajit Agarkar feels Shikhar Dhawan would also look to impress and make a stronger case for his selection in the starting XI.

“It’s a curious case. You almost felt like Rahul & Rohit have overtaken him but Shikhar keeps getting runs. So, he keeps the pressure on those two. Look, he has to get runs. I think he will have to put up scores.

“As a player, you can only do this much. I don’t know how much of a say the performance in Sri Lanka will have in team selection for T20 World Cup, all he can do is put pressure on the guys ahead of him,” Ajit Agarkar said at a virtual presser ahead of the start of the India Tour of Sri Lanka organized by official broadcaster Sony Sports.

File image of Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan [L] and Rohit Sharma | Sportzpics for BCCI
File image of Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan [L] and Rohit Sharma | Sportzpics for BCCI
Rohit Sharma is the vice-captain of the limited-overs format and he picks himself. On the other hand, KL Rahul didn’t had a great series against England but he has been performing consistently in T20 cricket.

Ajit Agarkar:KL Rahul Ahead Of Shikhar Dhawan In The Pecking Order Despite The Left-Handed Shikhar Dhawan’s Good Performances In IPL 2020 And 2021

Ajit Agarkar feels KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are both ahead of Shikhar Dhawan in the pecking order. While it is crucial for Shikhar Dhawan to perform and make a case for himself, even a solid show against Sri Lanka might not be enough for the southpaw to usurp KL Rahul in the showpiece event.

“He played the 1st match of the T20 series against England and was left out. He then came back and did exceptionally well in the ODIs. He has had two really good IPLs. He is not doing anything wrong.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t play in the England series. So, he couldn’t make a case. But I feel KL Rahul is ahead of him and Rohit being the vice-captain will pick himself. Although Rahul has had an average series, he has been excellent in white-ball cricket. That makes it difficult for Shikhar,” Agarkar said.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shikhar Dhawan has been in tremendous form during the now postponed IPL 2021, after getting dropped from the T20I side in the home England series preceding the IPL.

Opening for the Delhi Capitals, the left-hander scored 380 runs in 7 matches at 54.29, striking at 134.28, and was the leading run-scorer before the tournament got suspended. Shikhar Dhawan was the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL 2020 too with 618 runs in 17 games.

Shikhar Dhawan has six matches — 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is — to impress the team management in Sri Lanka while KL Rahul is likely to feature in at least a couple of Tests in England. Depending upon the form of the two players in these assignments as well as the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season, a final call could be made.

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Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajit Agarkar And Ajay Jadeja Will Be In Charge Of English Commentary During Sri Lanka vs India Series

Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajit Agarkar, and Ajay Jadeja, the former Indian players along with Matt Floyd will present the live studio show in English as the commentary panel for the upcoming limited-overs series between Sri Lanka and India has been announced.

The Hindi studio show will be presented by former cricketers Mohammad Kaif, Vivek Razdan, Amit Mishra, Saba Karim alongside Arjun Pandit while the Tamil commentary box will feature Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, WV Raman, Vidhyut Sivaramakrishnan, T Arasu, and S Seshadri and the Telugu commentary will be presented by Venkatapathy Raju, Gnaneshwar Rao, C Venkatesh, RJ Hemanth, Sandeep Kumar, and Vijay Mahavadi.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be In Charge Of English Commentary

Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajay Jadeja, Ajit Agarkar, and Matt Floyd will be in charge of English commentary during the six white-ball matches.

Sanjay Manjrekar with Ajit Agarkar. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Sanjay Manjrekar with Ajit Agarkar. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Sanjay Manjrekar is regarded as one of the most astute analysts of the game in India today. Since he is not afraid to speak his mind, Sanjay Manjrekar has often landed himself in trouble and got trolled on social media with some sensational observations, insights, and remarks.

Shikhar Dhawan Will Lead And Rahul Dravid Will Coach The Young Indian Side In Forthcoming Sri Lanka Series

Led by Shikhar Dhawan and coached by Rahul Dravid, the young Indian side sans the Test specialists will play three ODI and three T20Is against Sri Lanka. The series will be aired in India live in four languages: SONY TEN 1 and SONY SIX in English, SONY TEN 3 in Hindi, and on the newly launched SONY TEN 4 in Tamil and Telugu from 1.30 pm IST as well as live-streamed on its on-demand OTT platform SonyLIV.

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

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham, and Chetan Sakariya are likely to receive their maiden Indian cap in ODIs and/or T20Is and will have the experience of seasoned players like Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal to name a few.

Rahul Dravid on Sunday said he hopes the white-ball squad is able to perform up to expectations so that they are able to knock the doors of selectors for a call-up for the forthcoming T20 World Cup which is set to be played later this year in UAE.

“So like you said, rightly there are a lot of people in the squad who are pushing for places or looking to cement their places in the sort of T20 World Cup. But the key goal for everyone in the squad and in the team is to try and win the series, we have had discussions around it.”

“That is the primary objective. We are going out there to win the series, hopefully, people get the opportunity to put in good performances in the course of us trying to win the series, and knock the doors of the selectors,” said Dravid while replying to an ANI query during team’s pre-departure press conference on Sunday.

Shikhar Dhawan will lead a 20-man squad comprising of many budding 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.

India’s squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
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Of Late, Lack Of Tests May Pose Challenge To India In WTC Final, Says Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar has said that the lack of Test cricket played by India in recent times could pose a challenge for Team India in the all-important World Test Championship (WTC) final.

India last played a Test match against England in March this year winning the 4 Test series 3-1. Their last away tour was to Australia in 2020/21, where they staged a remarkable comeback to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after an embarrassing defeat in the 1st Adelaide Test.

Ajit Agarkar Image Credits: Twitter/@ICC
Ajit Agarkar Image Credits: Twitter/@ICC

Ajit Agarkar:  India Has Not Played Test Cricket Away From Home In Recent Times

Ajit Agarkar previewed the WTC final during a discussion on Star Sports. He pointed out that the lack of long-form cricket could prove to be India’s Achilles heel, especially as the match will be played with the Dukes’ ball in seamer-friendly English conditions.

“The Dukes ball does swing around, so the challenges are a lot and more so because India has not had any Test cricket in recent times, not had Test cricket away from home since that Australia tour and Australian conditions are completely different,” said Ajit Agarkar.

India Test Team
India Test Team. [photo: Twitter]
While the Indian team will be on a high after staging comeback series wins against Australia and England, the English conditions could be a different challenge altogether. They will have to get adjusted and adapt quickly to the conditions, as an indifferent start can put them behind in the much important final.

Ajit Agarkar Praised The New Zealand Pace Attack Which Has Certainly Got A Lot Of Variety

Ajit Agarkar lauded the variety in the Kiwi pace attack when asked if it is the most complete attack in helpful conditions. He highlighted that while Trent Boult and Tim Southee can move the ball in different directions, the lanky Kyle Jamieson will extract disconcerting bounce from the surface.

“It has certainly got a lot of variety. Because if you look at someone like a Jamieson, who is a tall guy, will pose a different challenge. Boult and Southee, one coming into you and the other going away from you as a right-hander,” said Agarkar.

Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult. (Pic Source: Twitter)
Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult. (Pic Source: Twitter)

The former India pacer pointed out that Neil Wagner has the tendency to pick up wickets even on flat tracks by targeting batsmen with his barrage of short-pitched bowling.

“And then Wagner, when nothing is happening and everything seems flat he comes and does something and he has been doing it on a regular basis,” added Ajit Agarkar.

Ajit Agarkar concluded by stating that the Blackcaps pacers will also feel at home in the English conditions.

“So the challenges are a bit different. Also what works in their favor is the conditions. Because you are playing in England, it is almost like what you get in New Zealand, that makes it a little easier,” signed off Agarkar.

It will be interesting to see if New Zealand opts to go for a four-pronged pace attack against India. One of the aforementioned pacers might have to sit out if they field a spinner, considering that the Southampton pitch has assisted the tweakers in the past.

The New Zealand team led by Kane Williamson thrashed India inside three days in two home Tests in early 2020, something that will give them confidence going into the final.

The New Zealand pace bowling quartet of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Kyle Jamieson was crucial in them qualifying for the final as they won all their games at home in the WTC cycle defeating India, West Indies, and Pakistan 2-0 each. They will once again pose a massive challenge to Virat Kohli and other batsmen.

Likely New Zealand XI for WTC final:- Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
India’s Predicted XI For WTC Final: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Lockie Ferguson, Eoin Morgan
Lockie Ferguson, Eoin Morgan
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Kolkata Knight Riders Should Look At Lockie Ferguson Whether It Is At The Expense Of Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins Or Even Sunil Narine, Says Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar, a former Indian pace bowler has asked the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) think-tank to fix their playing XI as quickly as possible in order to avoid another embarrassing defeat in the remaining games in the ongoing IPL 2021. The Kolkata franchise lost to Rajasthan Royals by six wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, with South African pace bowler Chris Morris destroying the middle order, taking four wickets.

Against the Rajasthan Royals (RR), KKR managed to score only 133 for nine in their 20 overs after batting first. KKR has batsmen – Karun Nair, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Ben Cutting, Sheldon Jackson, and Tim Seifert – warming the bench as the side-eye changes in the games to follow.

Ajit Agarkar Image Credits: Twitter/@ICC
Ajit Agarkar Image Credits: Twitter/@ICC

Ajit Agarkar: KKR Should Look At Lockie Ferguson Even At The Expense Of Skipper Eoin Morgan

Lockie Ferguson was drafted into the KKR setup in 2019 after representing Rising Pune Supergiants in 2017 where he picked 3 scalps in 4 outings. He now has 11 wickets in 14 IPL matches. He was drafted into the KKR set up in 2019 and played just five games. In 2020 too he played 5 games and took 6 wickets that included a 3-wicket haul.

“For a batting line-up which is full of talent, full of ability, they’re just not playing well enough. You could excuse a couple of pitches in Chennai and say ‘Oh, those were tough wickets maybe and that’s why they didn’t get their rhythm ‘, but here (in Mumbai) you’ve got no excuse,” opined Ajit Agarkar, who has 288 wickets in One-day Internationals.

“Maybe this wasn’t a 200-run pitch but sure they (KKR) have enough talent to get to 160, which then almost becomes a match-winning total,” said Ajit Agarkar.

“And if you take my opinion, they should take a look at someone like Lockie Ferguson to come into the playing XI, whether it is at the expense of an Eoin Morgan or Pat Cummins or a Sunil Narine. He’s someone who’ll win you games on these pitches.”said Ajit Agarkar.

Lockie Ferguson | BCCI/IPL
Lockie Ferguson | BCCI/IPL

Questions have been growing among KKR fans to bring in the New Zealand tearaway bowler who has 69 ODI wickets (37 matches) and 24 T20I scalps (13 matches).

“Lockie Ferguson, when he came into that team last season in the UAE, you could see he provided something different to the bowling attack. He had a lot of raw pace and wicket-taking ability. As good as their (KKR) seamers are, I can’t see them blowing teams away. Ferguson, on his day, has that ability,” opined Ajit Agarkar.

Skipper Eoin Morgan has scored only 45 runs averaging a pathetic 9 in 5 IPL games in 2021. This is in stark contrast to IPL 2020 where he amassed 418 runs in 14 games averaging 41.8. His strike rate was also much better.

So, the probability for him to skip a few matches remains on the cards as it will be interesting to see the playing XI that Kolkata fields in the next game against Punjab Kings at Ahmedabad with only a few cricketers certain to retain the place in playing XI. Ajit Agarkar had played 27 IPL games for KKR and picked 18 scalps. The pacer Ajit Agarkar also picked 11 scalps in 15 games for Delhi in IPL.

Dale Steyn: KKR’s Strategies Haven’t Worked For Them After First Game Victory Against SRH

After shifting their base to Ahmedabad, Eoin Morgan & Co. will be desperate for a win and would like to make a couple of changes to their playing XI before facing KL Rahul’s PBKS tonight.  It’s has been a difficult season for KKR as they have won just one out of five games this season and are placed at the bottom of the points table.

Asked if KKR’s decision-making was an issue and if it was affecting the players, South African fast bowler Dale Steyn said, “In the first (IPL) game they played (this season), they had some amazing strategy. Since then, some of the strategies and plans haven’t come off and now players wonder what their role is.

“With KKR, we’ve seen a lot of different kinds of strategies, a lot of different tactics and out-of-the-box thinking. And it hasn’t quite worked for them since the first game. It’s strange, some of the decisions they have been making,” said Steyn.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph: Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images

Dale Steyn was all for drastic changes in the team, like sending Sunil Narine to open the batting in place of a struggling Shubman Gill, or “adopting the bold strategy” of dropping Pat Cummins and bringing in Lockie Ferguson for a game or two “to see if there is any kind of difference he can make”.

KKR has a player like Gurkeerat Singh Mann in their arsenal who can revive the middle order. Since Shubman Gill hasn’t clicked yet, he can be replaced by Gurkeerat Singh Mann. The Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is likely to return and may replace Sunil Narine against PBKS.

KKR predicted XI vs PBKS: Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shakib Al Hasan, Andre Russell, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
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IPL 2021: MS Dhoni Looking To Play The Role Of A Mentor More Than His Batting, Says Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar believes that MS Dhoni is looking to play the role of a ‘mentor’ and wicketkeeper-captain instead of as a match-winning batsman for Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

MS Dhoni has played two innings in the ongoing IPL 2021, batting at no. 7 both times. This is contrary to his assertion last season when MS Dhoni said that he preferred to bat higher up the order to give himself more time to settle in.

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

Ajit Agarkar: MS Dhoni Batting At No. 7 Is Strange

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Ajit Agarkar said that although it’s still early days in the ongoing tournament, MS Dhoni’s batting position is a ‘bit strange’ given how well he has performed higher up the order.

“Maybe that’s the way he looks at his role: captaining the team, being the mentor and wicketkeeper, more than batting. It’s still early in the tournament; we will know for sure in the next two or three games.

“But for MS Dhoni walking out to bat at no. 7 when the situation is almost tailor-made, and he has done it so many times over his career was a bit strange for me,” said Ajit Agarkar.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

The former pacer Ajit Agarkar explained that MS Dhoni has lacked game time between seasons as he isn’t playing competitive cricket other than IPL and perhaps that’s why he has shunted himself to the lower order.

“It’s so early in the tournament, he doesn’t have any cricket between IPLs, which makes it even harder as you age, and no matter what you see, the guys who are scoring runs in the IPL have come with some sort of form. There’s no substitute for playing competitive cricket. Maybe that’s the way he is looking at it (now),” added Ajit Agarkar.

Dale Steyn: MS Dhoni Still Form A Fear Factor In Opposition’s Mind

During the same interaction, former South African fast bowler veteran Dale Steyn suggested that MS Dhoni’s batting position is his own call to take. Dale Steyn remarked that, contrary to the general perception, the former Indian captain still carries a fear factor.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn

He added that irrespective of MS Dhoni’s age, recent form, or batting position, every opposition girds for him as seriously as ever.

“Only he knows how well he’s batting and how well he feels. I know certainly that if I was playing against MS Dhoni, then a night before I will still be sitting there taking it extremely seriously that ‘I am coming up against MS Dhoni tomorrow’. So from a fear factor, he still has a massive role to play.”

“And wherever he’s going to bat in that lineup, captains are going to arrange their bowlers to use against ‘the’ MS Dhoni. They know if he’s going to come in the last three overs, they will have to change their line-up and what not. So he still has that fear factor. But it’s really up to him how he wants to go about this season,” said Steyn.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had a forgettable campaign in IPL 2020, as the franchise finished 7th in the points table and didn’t qualify for the first time for playoffs in IPL history.  MS Dhoni himself who continued to play for CSK after retirement on August 15, 2020, scored exactly 200 runs in 14 matches at a below-par average of 25 in IPL 2020.

It will be interesting to see where the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman plays in CSK’s next game against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 15.

Glenn Maxwell
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IPL 2021: Glenn Maxwell May Be Bought By Other Franchises For 10 Crore- Ajit Agarkar

Glenn Maxwell was roped in by Kings XI Punjab last year for a whopping Rs 10.75 crore but he turned out to be a huge flop and has been released ahead of IPL 2021,

However, Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell had an abysmal season failing to score a single half-century or even hit a six throughout the tournament in UAE.

Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell. Image Credit: Twitter.

Glenn Maxwell May Be Bought By Other Franchises For 10 Crores: Ajit Agarkar

KXIP had high hopes from Australian dashing batsman Glenn Maxwell and backed him in IPL 2020 but the Australian batsman failed to repay the faith shown in him by the team management. He ended IPL 2020 with only 108 runs averaging a pathetic 15.42 and three wickets from 13 games and has been subsequently released by KXIP ahead of IPL 2021 and will be available in the auction pool next month.

Despite his flop show in IPL 2020, former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar believes he will still be chased by a lot of franchises and someone might still shell out Rs 10 crores to secure his services once again this year. His ability to score runs at a brisk pace coupled with his handy spin and fielding skills can make him an asset for any team if he manages to rediscover his form in IPL 2021.

Jimmy Neesham
Jimmy Neesham. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Ajit Agarkar was asked about KXIP’s decision to release Glenn Maxwell ahead of the mini-auction.

The former India and Kolkata Knight Riders pacer had to say:

“Who knows, someone else might buy him for 10 crores. It seems to be the case with Glenn Maxwell. You can understand that kind of ability but I think a lot of things will be wiser now. A little bit surprised with some of the other overseas names they have let go, Jimmy Neesham perhaps didn’t have the greatest tournament,” Agarkar said on Star Sports.

Kings XI Punjab have released as many as nine players ahead of the new season including the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Sheldon Cottrell. They now have a staggering Rs 53.2 crore to spend at the mini-auction and build a team that can challenge for the title this year.

Ajit Agarkar: It Is A Lot Easier To Find Good Quality Overseas Players In Auction

Ajit Agarkar believes KXIP will be in a strong position to go for some big names at the auction and will be willing to shell out big amounts on the players they want as they have a huge purse.

“The one thing is, in the auction it is perhaps a lot easier to find good quality overseas players because you only need five or six good ones in your squad. It is a little bit easier to replace, Indian players obviously a lot harder, especially if it is not a big auction. So you understand that and 50-odd crores now, so if there is one or two really big names that come up, they will certainly be in the box seat to try and push for them,” Agarkar said.

Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar. Credits: Google

Steve Smith failed to live up to expectations scoring 311 runs averaging only 25.91 with 3 fifties and was released by Rajasthan Royals while Sanju Samson has been named as the new captain.  Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay, Piyush Chawla have been released from CSK.  SunRisers Hyderabad released Billy Stanlake, Fabian Allen among others.

Aaron Finch and Moeen Ali along with South Africa’s Chris Morris have been shown the door for RCB. Delhi Capitals has decided to part ways with Jason Roy, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alex Carey and Mohit Sharma.

Kolkata Knight Riders have also decided to part ways with Tom Banton. Delhi Capitals have traded pacer Daniel Sams and all-rounder, Harshal Patel, to Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mumbai Indians have released the likes of Lasith Malinga and Sherfane Rutherford besides James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell McClenaghan.

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Ajit Agarkar Surprised At Kuldeep Yadav’s Omission From India’s XI For Brisbane Test

Ajit Agarkar, former Indian pacer was very surprised to see the omission of china-man spinner Kuldeep Yadav from India’s playing XI for the Brisbane Test despite performing well in Australia in his last tour.

Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar feels left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav would be very disappointed after being omitted from India’s playing XI for the Brisbane Test despite having performed well in Australia in the previous tour.

Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar. Credits: Google

Ajit Agarkar: Kuldeep Yadav Would Be Very Disappointed

Kuldeep Yadav ended the Australia tour with just one ODI and one practice game in Sydney after being overlooked by the management for the final Test.  He picked 1 wicket conceding 57 runs in Canberra ODI and went wicketless in Tour game against Australia A.

Notably, India head coach Ravi Shastri had backed Kuldeep Yadav as the number one spinner in overseas Tests following India’s historic 2-1 series win in Australia in 2018-2019. Surprisingly, Kuldeep Yadav has not played Test cricket since then.

“He plays overseas Test cricket and he gets five wickets, so he becomes our primary overseas spinner. Going ahead, if we have to play one spinner, he is the one we will pick,” Shastri had told Cricbuzz after Kuldeep picked a five-wicket haul in Sydney.

“There is a time for everyone. But now Kuldeep is our frontline number one overseas spinner.”

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Kuldeep would be very disappointed. He should be. After the last Test of the last series, he was the no.1 spinner for India and hasn’t played a Test since I think? If you are going with five bowlers which they have obviously looked at the experience and they had thought we need a little bit more cushion,” Ajit Agarkar told Sony Sports.

Kuldeep Yadav had last played a Test way back in January 2019 where he picked 5 wickets in Australia at Sydney in India’s last tour to Australia. He has featured in 6 Tests, 61 ODIs and 21 T20Is where he picked 24, 105 and 39 wickets averaging 24.12, 26.45 and 13.76.

Ajit Agarkar: Kuldeep Yadav Provides Variety And Done Well Before In Australia

The team management decided to hand Washington Sundar and T Natarajan Test debuts after experienced bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and batsman Hanuma Vihari missed out on the final game of the series to injuries.

“Going with five bowlers, Washington Sundar playing as an all-rounder which Jadeja was. Why not have another spinner? Gives you better balance in the attack. If the pitch flattens out and there isn’t much for the quicks then suddenly it becomes a one-dimensional attack,” Ajit Agarkar pointed out.

“Even in that attack, there is no one like a Mitchell Starc who is out and out a quick bowler. Saini’s probably the only one who has got that little bit of extra pace. Kuldeep does provide the variety and he’s done well before in Australia. Very surprised that he is not playing and he must be very disappointed,” Ajit Agarkar added.

Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini. Photo by Vipin Pawar / Sportzpics for BCCI

The pacer Navdeep Saini walked off the field, having gone down holding his groin. Before walking off the field, he managed to square up Marnus Labuschagne but unfortunately for him, Ajinkya Rahane dropped a sitter at gully. After the dropped chance, the pacer was seen on the ground in some discomfort as Team India’s physio Nitin Patel came out to check on the fast-bowler before accompanying him to the pavilion.

Navdeep Saini did come back after a drinks break but left the field soon after as injury concerns grew for India. India, marred with a number of injuries, were forced to field a fairly inexperienced bowling attack.

Pacer T Natarajan and all-rounder spinner Washington Sundar were handed debuts while pacer Shardul Thakur, who had played just one Test, was also included in the XI as India made four changes for the final match of the four-game series.

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