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Axar Patel

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Shardul Thakur’s Fortunes Have Changed Ever Since He Has Joined CSK In 2018: Virender Sehwag

Shardul Thakur, the fast bowling all-rounder, picked up 21 wickets from 15 matches to emerge as the highest wicket-taker of the season for IPL 2021 winners CSK, ensuring that his career graph maintained its upward curve.

Impressed with Shardul Thakur’s progress, former India dashing batsman Virender Sehwag lauded the 30-year-old and credited his association with CSK and its captain MS Dhoni for the terrific turnaround in his career. Virender Sehwag feels Shardul Thakur has turned over a new leaf since joining CSK, which has seen him grab 55 wickets for the four-time IPL champions.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur[photo: Twitter]

Shardul Thakur’s Fortunes Have Changed After He Joined CSK: Virender Sehwag

Chennai Super Kings proved yet again why they are the most consistent IPL team of all time. Over the IPL, only once did CSK fail to reach the Playoffs, which was last year (IPL 2020). Still, as the team is renowned always to stage a fabulous comeback, CSK did exactly that in IPL 2021, winning the title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final in Dubai.

While most of CSK’s triumph focused on Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, and Deepak Chahar, one person who went under the radar is Shardul Thakur.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

“He is CSK’s highest wicket-taker this season. He came to bowl the 11th over where he took two wickets and the game changed from there. His fortunes have changed ever since he has joined Chennai Super Kings. He’s played most of his cricket for India after playing for CSK,” Virender Sehwag said.

CSK acquired Shardul Thakur in 2018, and although he had represented the national team in ODIs and T0Is earlier, the same year, he went on to make his Test debut later in November. Shardul Thakur, who has been consistently among wickets for the Mumbai Ranji team, was inducted into the Indian squad for the Test tour of the West Indies(2018). Although, his big moment came in Sri Lanka when he made his ODI debut for India (2017).

Shardul Thakur Has Performed Well For CSK, Which Has Reflected In Int’l Cricket Success: Virender Sehwag

Although it took Shardul Thakur to cement his place in the team, he has produced a good case for himself with both bat and ball, scoring three half-centuries and picking 14 wickets from four Tests.

“Before joining CSK, he used to be in and out of the team, but having played for Chennai, he entered the Indian Test team, the one-day side, and the T20 unit as well. As I said, his fortunes have changed, not only because he has played for CSK but also because he has picked up wickets and performed well,” added Virender Sehwag.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

In his brief international career, pace all-rounder Shardul Thakur has played 4 Tests picking 14 scalps averaging 22.71 besides amassing 190 runs with 3 fifties averaging 38. He has also played 15 ODIs and 22 T20Is, picking up 22 and 31 wickets, respectively.

Fast bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur who was named in the reserves, replaced Axar Patel in India’s main squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17. The selectors wanted a cover for pace bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who plays for Mumbai Indians, not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who conceded 54 runs in four overs in India’s first warm-up clash against England before the T20I World Cup, may not be picked for the mega clash against Pakistan as Shardul Thakur’s chances to play against Pakistan have increased.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Hardik Pandya Will Definitely Bowl 2 Overs In The Warm-Up Fixture Against England: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has predicted that Hardik Pandya will be seen in action with the ball during Team India’s T20 World Cup warm-up encounter against England.

Hardik Pandya has been laid low by multiple injuries of late. He did not bowl a single over for the Mumbai Indians in the recently concluded IPL 2021, and there have been doubts expressed about his ability to bowl even in the T20 World Cup.

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

Aakash Chopra: Hardik Pandya Will Definitely Bowl At Least A Couple Of Overs In The Warm-Up Fixture Against England

While making his predictions for the India-England warm-up encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that Hardik Pandya would bowl at least a couple of overs.

He elaborated: “Hardik Pandya will definitely bowl two overs. He can bowl more than that as well but two for sure and it will soothe your and my heart if Hardik bowls because if he doesn’t bowl, the story will look very different.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India cricketer also feels the bowlers will strike a few blows in the powerplay overs.

Aakash Chopra predicted: “In the powerplay overs, the two teams will lose three wickets. There is a high probability of three or more wickets falling, that’s what I feel.”

It will be interesting to see if Team India uses just their seamers or try Varun Chakravarthy as well with the new ball. They might also not want to reveal their plans before the main event begins.
Hardik Pandya has played 49 T20Is and has averaged below 20 with the bat despite a strike rate of 145, amassing 484 runs in 49 matches. He has also taken 42 scalps averaging 26.45. As a finisher in the 2021 T20I World Cup, he would certainly look forward to amending his batting average and bowl a few overs, trying to pick crucial wickets.

Aakash ChopExpects Trio Of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, And Rohit Sharma To Contribute In Warm-Up Fixture Against England

Aakash Chopra predicted that the trio of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Rohit Sharma will make a substantial contribution as Aakash Chopra expects Team India’s top order to be amongst the runs.

He said: “Kohli, Rahul and Rohit will together score more than 100 runs. I am expecting the Indian batting engine room to score a lot of runs.”

The reputed commentator concluded by stating that India will put it across England in tonight’s match in Dubai, but even if they lose, they shouldn’t be concerned much as it’s only a warm-up fixture.

Aakash Chopra observed: “I am saying India will win this match. Even if they don’t win, who cares. This is just a warm-up game.”

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma- Twitter

Apart from winning the encounter, India will hope to find answers to some of the open questions regarding their ideal team composition. While most of their issues will be resolved if Hardik Pandya can bowl at his best, the team management will also want to figure out their best bowling combination.

Fast bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur replaced Axar Patel in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17. The selectors wanted a cover for him with pace all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who plays for Mumbai Indians, not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya Admits Responsibility Is On His Shoulders In MS Dhoni’s Absence

Hardik Pandya was all praise for MS Dhoni and stated there will be a big responsibility on his shoulders like a lead finisher of the team in absence of the former India captain in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

With the Indian team management assessing all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s back over the last week, it was decided that he will primarily be a finisher in the World Cup in UAE.

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

Hardik Pandya loves challenges thrown in his way:

Sources in the team management had said Hardik Pandya is still not 100 percent fit when it comes to bowling, but his experience when it comes to absorbing pressure and finishing games with the bat cannot be overlooked.

“The biggest so far, I will say, because this time I don’t have Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Everything is on my shoulders — I like to think that way because it gives me an added challenge. It is going to be exciting, a cracker of a tournament,” Hardik told ESPNcricinfo when asked about how big a responsibility it will be to be a lead finisher of the Indian team going into the T20 WC.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Hardik Pandya also threw light on how MS Dhoni was one of the people who helped him during the difficult time when the all-rounder was suspended by the BCCI for comments made on a TV talk show.

“MS was someone who understood me from the start: how I function, what kind of a person I am, what are the things I don’t like, everything. When I was picked for the New Zealand series [in January 2019, after the suspension was revoked], initially there were no hotel rooms [for Pandya in New Zealand]. “

“But then I get a call, saying, “You just come. MS has told us, ‘I don’t sleep on the bed [in any case]. He will sleep on my bed and I will sleep on the floor.'” He [Dhoni] was the first person who has been always there. He called me around the same time I had the conversation with Akash [Ambani].”

“He knows what kind of an individual I am. He knows me quite deep. I am very close to him. He is the only person who can make me calm. When all this happened, he knew that I needed support. I just needed a shoulder, which he provided multiple times in my cricketing career. I never saw him as MS Dhoni the greatest. For me, Mahi is my brother. I respect and admire the fact that he was there when I needed him the most,” he added.

Hardik Pandya was initially chosen as a batting all-rounder in India’s main 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. However, with uncertainties about his ability to roll his arm over, the Indian selectors even had to bring in pacer all-rounder Shardul Thakur from the reserve list to the main squad at the expense of spinner Axar Patel to beef up the seam-bowling department.

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya: MS Dhoni Is A Life Coach In Many Ways

The all-rounder also stated that MS Dhoni is a life coach for him.

“In a certain way, yes. We have lovely conversations. As I said, only Mahi can make me understand certain things. Sometimes if I get strong-headed and I go into that zone and I believe some things, I have to call him and say, This is on my mind. What do you think? Then he will explain. So, yes, in a lot of ways he is a life coach,” he said.

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

“Staying with him, obviously, you learn to be mature, you learn to become humble. I have learned a lot by watching him. He never loses his cool.”

Notably, MS Dhoni is currently with Virat Kohli and boys as the mentor for the team in the World Cup in UAE. India will open its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai. After the upcoming T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli will be stepping down as the side’s captain in the shortest format.

Rishabh Pant. - SANDEEP SAXENA
Rishabh Pant. - SANDEEP SAXENA
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Delhi Capitals Skipper Rishabh Pant Has Become A Little Predictable: Salman Butt

Salman Butt, former Pakistan captain feels the India team’s dashing wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant has become a bit predictable with his moves at the crease. Salman Butt pointed out that opponents have realized it’s only a matter of time before Rishabh Pant dances down the track during his innings.

Rishabh Pant had a poor Test series in England, where his footwork against the moving ball was exposed. Even in the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, he did not look in a great rhythm. Although he scored a decent number of runs while leading Delhi Capitals (DC), he wasn’t his usual aggressive self.

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

Salman Butt: Rishabh Pant Has Become A Little Predictable

In an interaction on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt was asked if Rishabh Pant could be a force for India at the T20 World Cup 2021. The former cricketer Salman Butt stated that the southpaw needed to build on his talent.

Explaining what, he felt, the 24-year-old was doing wrong, Salman Butt opined: “He is very moody. Out of nowhere, he steps down and tries to hit out. And, he does this so frequently that other teams have started anticipating his moves. I think Rishabh Pant has become a little predictable. He will need to bat with a more mature mindset. He is so talented and has such a high range of strokes. But teams are aware that he will charge down the track either first ball or after 2-3 deliveries. So he needs to work on that.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Twitter)

Rishabh Pant ended IPL 2021 with 419 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 128.52 with three half-centuries. Rishabh Pant-led DC topped the points table after the completion of the IPL 2021 league stage. However, they failed to make the final, going down to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Qualifier 1 and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Qualifier 2.

Rishabh Pant: Delhi Capitals Alway give 100%

Reacting after DC’s ouster from IPL 2021, new skipper Rishabh Pant tweeted that IPL 2021 ended in heartbreak for the franchise but lauded the team and described them as exceptional warriors. Rishabh Pant has 1 hundred and 15 IPL fifties to his name.

He wrote: “It ended in heartbreak last night, but I could not be more proud of leading this team of exceptional warriors. We battled hard through the season, and while we may have fallen short on some days, we always gave 100 per cent.”

Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals in action during an IPL match for Delhi ©BCCI
Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals in action during an IPL match for Delhi ©BCCI

Rishabh Pant was named DC captain after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to a shoulder injury ahead of the first half of IPL 2021. The Delhi management retained Rishabh Pant as skipper even after Shreyas Iyer was fit for the second half of the tournament in the UAE.

Among Delhi Capitals’ performers, Indian pacer Avesh Khan was in scintillating form. He was the team’s leading wicket-taker this season, with 24 wickets in 16 games. The South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada(15) and Anrich Norje (12) have combined to pick 27 wickets. Axar Patel has been excellent with his spinning deliveries and has picked 15 wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan was the team’s highest run-getter with 587 runs in 16 games, while Prithvi Shaw managed 479 in 15 games. Steve Smith(152 runs) and Shreyas Iyer (175 runs) played 8 matches each. The failures for Delhi Capitals were Ishant Sharma (1 scalp in 3 outings) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7 wickets in 13 games).

Rishabh Pant(419 runs) led from the front. Marcus Stoinis couldn’t deliver the success of the previous edition of IPL 2020. He played 10 IPL 2021 games, managing only 89 runs and picking 2 scalps. Amit Mishra, despite picking 6 scalps in 4 games, wasn’t given many chances to play. Shimron Hetmyer had the best strike rate of the season- a whopping 168.05.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
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Hardik Pandya Part Of India’s Playing XI In 2021 T20I World Cup If He Bowls In Warm-Up Games: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir believes Hardik Pandya can only be a part of Team India’s playing XI at the forthcoming 2021 T20 World Cup if the all-rounder is at the top of his game as a bowler.

Hardik Pandya was initially chosen as a batting all-rounder in India’s main 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. However, with uncertainties about his ability to roll his arm over, the Indian selectors even had to bring in pacer all-rounder Shardul Thakur from the reserve list at the expense of spinner Axar Patel to beef up the seam-bowling department.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir: Hardik Pandya Gets Into India’s Playing XI If He Bowls In Warm-Up Games

Gautam Gambhir has highlighted that Hardik Pandya needs to prove his bowling fitness in the two warmup encounters against England and Australia to make Team India’s starting XI. He made the following observations while previewing the upcoming T20 World Cup during a discussion on the Star Sports show – Game Plan.

The former Indian opener said: “For me, Hardik Pandya gets into India’s playing XI only if he does proper bowling in both warmup games, not only in the nets. There is a huge difference between bowling in the nets and against quality batsmen like Babar Azam and that too in the World Cup.”

Hardik Pandya Bowling (Getty Images)
Hardik Pandya Bowling (Getty Images)

The former India opener added that Hardik Pandya should not just be rolling his arm over but needs to be bowling at his best.

Gautam Gambhir said: “He has to bowl in the practice matches and the nets, and he has to bowl 100 percent. If you are thinking that you will come and bowl just at 115-120 kph, I will not take that risk.”

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during both legs of IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues. Moreover, Hardik Pandya-the younger Pandya brother, largely failed to hit a big knock in the first leg of IPL 2021.
In 12 IPL 2021 matches so far, he scored 127 runs averaging a pathetic 14.11. However, after missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178, unlike this season, where his strike rate was below 115.

Gautam Gambhir Would Opt To Play Ishan Kishan Ahead Of Hardik Pandya On Current Form

Gautam Gambhir added that he would opt to play Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya if the latter is playing only as a specialist batsman. Ishan Kishan was the top run-getter for Mumbai Indians in the 2020 season, scoring 516 runs at an average of 57.33, and later went on to make his International T20 debut, where he scored a fearless fifty.

He amassed 241 runs in 10 IPL 2021 games averaging 26.77. After a slow start, he scored two fifties in the last 2 games. He scored an unbeaten 50 against Rajasthan and followed it up with 84 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Gautam Gambhir reasoned: “If I have to go with just five bowlers, then I will pick Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya on current form. If you are going with five proper bowlers and six batsmen, Hardik’s form is probably a massive concern. Forget about the bowling, with the bat as well.”

Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)

Hardik Pandya had a dismal IPL 2021 with the bat for the Mumbai Indians. The big-hitter scored just 127 runs in the tournament at an underwhelming average of 14.11, along with a below-par strike rate of 113.39.

In T20Is, Hardik Pandya bowled 2 overs against Sri Lanka and picked up a wicket in July 2021. He also bowled 17 overs against England in 5 games in March 2021 and picked up 3 wickets.

Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Delhi Capitals Showed Panic In Qualifier 1 Against CSK: Brad Hogg

Brad Hogg opined that the Delhi Capitals (DC) showed signs of panic going into Qualifier 1 against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Dubai. Brad Hogg felt the change in the team combination was a huge call for the playoff stages and could have been prompted by panic.

The Delhi Capitals went into the match with six specialist bowling options and five batters in the line-up. However, they ended up promoting all-rounder Axar Patel to no.4 in a bid to lengthen their batting line-up. Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Shimron Hetmyer were the specialist batsmen, while Tom Curran, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Avesh Khan were bowlers.

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

Brad Hogg: Delhi Capitals Panicked Going In With 6 Frontline Bowlers Rather Than The Extra Batsmen

Brad Hogg stated that the decision not to include the extra batsman in the side was a “big change-up”. The Delhi Capitals had failed to defend a target of 165 runs in the last league match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a last-over thriller earlier this week.

The result of the match might have had a bearing on the Delhi Capitals going in with an extra bowler against the Super Kings. However, the Chennai Super Kings outfit proved to be the better side on the night, edging past the table-toppers with two balls to spare.

“Delhi Capitals going in with 6 front line bowlers rather than the extra specialist batter was a big change up for the finals. Signs of panic,” Hogg wrote on Twitter.

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw (Image Credit: Twitter)

Delhi Capitals was four-down just past the halfway stage but had a lot to thank Prithvi Shaw for his 60 off 34 had ensured they weren’t behind the rate.

That allowed skipper Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer – the Delhi Capitals’ last specialist batting pair – to play risk-free cricket as they tried to stretch the innings as deep as possible. Their 83-run stand for the fifth wicket came off 50 balls and gave Delhi Capitals a bigger total than had seemed possible after Prithvi Shaw’s departure.

Brad Hogg: Josh Hazlewood’s Spell Against Shreyas Iyer The Turning Point In Qualifier 1 Between CSK And DC

Brad Hogg felt that the mini-battle between Shreyas Iyer and Josh Hazlewood at the start of the first innings was the turning point in Qualifier 1. Brad Hogg reckons Josh Hazlewood’s spell against Shreyas Iyer was the turning point. Delhi Capitals began with a flier, scoring 32 runs without losing a wicket in the first three overs. Then, Shreyas Iyer came into the middle, replacing Shikhar Dhawan, who fell to Josh Hazlewood in the fourth over.

Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood. Credit: iplt20.com/Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics for BCCI
Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood. Credit: iplt20.com/Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics for BCCI

The right-hander only managed a single run of the first 7 balls he played on the night. After that, Shreyas Iyer faced six balls from the Aussie pacer without scoring a run and top-edged the seventh delivery-his 8th, holing out to cover point. Brad Hogg pointed out that dot balls in the powerplay are crucial on the UAE tracks.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Robin Uthappa put on 110 for the second wicket. MS Dhoni rolled back the clock with a finishing act as Chennai Super Kings qualified for their ninth IPL final, beating league-stage toppers Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1.

“Iyer v Hazlewood was the turning point in the match. & balls no run in a PP is crucial in the UAE,” Hogg tweeted.

Delhi Capitals have one more shot at booking a place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 final. They will face the winners of the Eliminator in Qualifier 2 on October 13 at Sharjah.

Chennai Super Kings 173 for 6 (Gaikwad 70, Uthappa 63*, T Curran 3-29) beat Delhi Capitals 172 for 5 (Shaw 60, Pant 51*, Hazlewood 2-29) by four wickets

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal
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Saba Karim Thinks It’s Too Late To Include Yuzvendra Chahal In T20I World Cup Squad

Saba Karim, a former Indian selector has opined that it’s too late for RCB leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to be included in the marquee T20 World Cup squad. Yuzvendra Chahal was dropped from the squad for the ICC event which raised a few eyebrows.

Yuzvendra Chahal seemed to be an automatic selection in Team India’s T20 World Cup squad but the leg-spinner was shockingly omitted. Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been India’s frontline spinner in white-ball cricket since 2017, was pipped by mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy and leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. Image Credits: Twitter

Saba Karim Thinks It’s Too Late To Include Yuzvendra Chahal And He Can Only Be Included If Someone Gets Injured

Ravichandran Ashwin, who made his comeback to the T20 side after 4 years, replaced Washington Sundar, who is injured and out of action. Yuzvendra Chahal though has been doing well in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and can still make it to the WC squad. It is to be noted that cricketing boards can alter their squads till October 10.

While Yuzvendra Chahal continues to present his case for selection in the WC squad, former selector Saba Karim has opined that it’s too late for him now.

Saba Karim
Saba Karim (Source: Twitter)

“I think it’s too late now. People have been talking about making changes in the squad, but that can only happen if someone gets injured. You also have to see Rahul Chahar was performing very well when he got selected. We saw both of them (Chahal and Chahar) in Sri Lanka, and his performances there were definitely noteworthy, which is why he was picked by selectors, ” Saba Karim said on Youtube channel Khelneeti.

“Now, in the second half of the IPL, Chahal has shown great improvement in his performances, which is very good. But he will have to wait a little. The players who have been selected, their form and performances will be seen before Chahal is given a chance again,” said Saba Karim.

Saba Karim reckons that he will have to wait for a little as selectors will be watching the performance of the players picked for the 2021 T20I World Cup squad. Yuzvendra Chahal has scalped 9 wickets in 4 matches in the UAE leg of the season. The likes of spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Varun Chakravarthy were preferred over Yuzvendra Chahal who wasn’t selected even among the standby players.

From having made his debut for RCB in 2014 to earning a national call-up in 2016 and taking 100 wickets in the IPL, Yuzvendra Chahal has had an impressive career so far. In his international career thus far, the 30-year old has bagged 97 and 63 wickets in 56 ODIs and 49 T20Is respectively apart from 135 scalps in 111 IPL games.

Rahul Chahar Picked Up Only 2 Scalps In UAE Leg Of IPL 2021

Talking of other spinners, Varun Chakravarthy has 8 wickets in UAE while Ravichandran Ashwin has dismissed 4 batsmen in the 2nd leg. Rahul Chahar and Axar Patel have 2 and 6 wickets respectively in the 2nd half of IPL 2021.

Rahul Chahar
Rahul Chahar. Image Credits: Twitter

It remains to be seen if Yuzvendra Chahal replaces any one of these spinners in the coming days or not. India kick off their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24.

In India, Rahul Chahar had picked up 11 wickets from just seven matches and did well in India’s tour of Sri Lanka as well. The young leg-spinner picked up 7 wickets in 3 T20Is, following which he earned a place in the T20 World Cup squad. Rahul Chahar has picked up only 2 wickets in the franchises’ first 4 matches of the UAE league of IPL 2021 following which he was axed.

Ambati Rayudu is a key player in the CSK middle order [P/C: iplt20.com]
Ambati Rayudu is a key player in the CSK middle order [P/C: iplt20.com]
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Gautam Gambhir Believes Ambati Rayudu Has Been CSK’s Standout Player

Gautam Gambhir believes CSK’s middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu has been the Chennai Super Kings‘ (CSK) standout player ever since he joined the franchise.

Ambati Rayudu scored an unbeaten 55 off 43 deliveries in last night’s IPL 2021 encounter between the two top teams in IPL 2021, CSK, and the Delhi Capitals (DC). However, the knock went in vain as the Rishabh Pant-led side chased down the 137-run target to go atop the Indian Premier League points table.

Ambati Rayudu smashed a half-century for CSK against DC [P/C: iplt20.com]
Ambati Rayudu smashed a half-century for CSK against DC [P/C: iplt20.com]

Gautam Gambhir Believes Ambati Rayudu Has Been The Player Of The Franchise Since Joining CSK

Gautam Gambhir was effusive in his praise for Ambati Rayudu for delivering the best at any position in the CSK’s batting order.

“I believe Ambati Rayudu has been the player of the franchise since he joined CSK. He scored runs when he opened or played at No.3 or No.4, he has delivered in whichever position he has played. It is very difficult when your batting order is being shuffled but despite that the way he bats,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

The former India opener Gautam Gambhir highlighted that Ambati Rayudu has been CSK’s unsung hero.

“He had an impact when he used to open with Watson, today he is playing at No.4 and he has a similar impact. We might talk about Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and the others, but he has probably been the player of the franchise in the last three-four years,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Ambati Rayudu has scored 1495 runs at an impressive average of 35.59 and an equally good strike of 130.11 in the 58 matches he has played for CSK. But, more than the numbers, the 36-year-old has made telling contributions in crunch situations and was one of the star performers in the franchise’s title-winning run in 2018. He has scored 3911 runs in 172 matches averaging 29.85, and has one century and 21 fifties beside his name.

Ajit Agarkar: Ambati Rayudu’s Form Is Necessary As There’s A Lot Of Dependency On Faf du Plessis And Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ajit Agarkar pointed out that Ambati Rayudu being in form is crucial for CSK as the team is over dependant on Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad. While Ruturaj Gaikwad has amassed 521 runs and is 2nd highest run-getter so far, Faf du Plessis is the 5th highest run-scorer with 470 runs. Ambati Rayudu has managed 252 runs averaging 36.

“His form is extremely necessary because there is a lot of dependency on Faf du Plessis and Gaikwad at the moment. When they don’t score runs, they don’t post a big total. So this innings will certainly help,” said Ajit Agarkar.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

While acknowledging that Ravindra Jadeja is the in-form player down the order, the former India pacer signed off by stating that Ambati Rayudu needs to carry the middle order in the fag end of the IPL 2021.

“He also struggled in the beginning but the acceleration he gave helped them get a good finish. Jadeja is definitely scoring runs but he comes down the order. The players who come at No.3, 4 and 5, their role becomes huge when your openers get out, so the middle order being in form at the business end of the tournament is necessary,” said Ajit Agarkar.

CSK will be slightly concerned due to the lack of runs from middle-order batsman Suresh Raina and skipper MS Dhoni’s willows. Ambati Rayudu being amongst the runs should hold them in good stead.

In the CSK-DC match, CSK could score only 136/5 after being 62/4 in the 9th over. Ambati Rayudu scored 55 off 43 and remained unbeaten. His knock was studded with 5 fours and 2 sixes. Axar Patel took 2 wickets, conceding only 18 runs. DC eventually won by 3 wickets in a tense finish despite losing regular wickets.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal
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Yuzvendra Chahal Can Ask RCB And India Skipper Virat Kohli About T20I World Cup Axe: Ajay Jadeja

Ajay Jadeja believes Yuzvendra Chahal can now perhaps ask captain Virat Kohli about his non-selection in the T20 World Cup squad. The statement from Ajay Jadeja has come following leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s brilliant run in the UAE leg of the current IPL season.

Ajay Jadeja made his comments after the Haryana leg-spinner pulled off yet another brilliant performance (3/29 in four overs) on Sunday afternoon. This one came against the Punjab Kings to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore into the playoffs.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal[photo: Twitter]

Ajay Jadeja:  Yuzvendra Chahal’s Skills And Sharpness Came To The fore During Tense Run Chases

Ajay Jadeja reckoned that Yuzvendra Chahal thrives in pressured crunch situations. The former Indian cricketer believes Yuzvendra Chahal’s street-smartness comes to the fore massively in tough game-changing tough situations.

“Chahal’s skills and mental sharpness come to the fore during high-pressure run-chases. He scripted a turnaround in just one over. After he dismissed Mayank Agarwal, he was mentally all over the rest of the batsmen. Perhaps, now he can ask captain Kohli about his snub from the T20 World Cup squad which he couldn’t have done before because his performance wasn’t great,” said Ajay Jadeja.

Ajay Jadeja
Ajay Jadeja (Photo- Twitter)

Yuzvendra Chahal claimed his first wicket in the form of Nicholas Pooran. He followed it up with the dismissals of a dangerous-looking Mayank Agarwal and Sarfaraz Khan in one over as RCB beat Punjab Kings by six runs.

Yuzvendra Chahal Has Been Sensational In The IPL 2021 UAE Leg So Far

Yuzvendra Chahal’s omission from India’s T20 World Cup squad was one of the biggest talking points in Indian cricket. Fans and pundits have questioned the selector’s call. The likes of spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Varun Chakravarthy were preferred over Yuzvendra Chahal who wasn’t selected even among the standby players.

But to put things in perspective, his performance had taken a massive dip in the past 15 months leading into the UAE leg of the IPL. Since the start of 2020, the right-arm leggie has managed just 11 wickets in 13 T20Is at an average of 41.36 and a highly expensive economy rate of 8.92.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. Image Credits: Twitter

Yuzvendra Chahal was dropped from playing XI midway through the T20I series against England at India earlier this year. His performance during the Indian leg of the IPL wasn’t great either. In 7 games, he managed just 4 wickets at an average of 47.5 and an economy rate of 8.26.

But, the 30-year-old has stormed back in the UAE leg and has regularly come up with consistent match-winning performances. His numbers in the second phase read: 1/23 (2), 1/26 (4), 3/11 (4), 2/18 (4), 3/29 (4), which sumps up to 10 wickets in 5 matches.

If he continues in the same vein in the remaining games of the team’s season, he may just sneak his way into the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup as the deadline for changing the team for T20I World Cup 2021 is October 10.

From having made his debut for RCB in 2014 to earning a national call-up in 2016 and taking 100 wickets in the IPL, Yuzvendra Chahal has had an impressive career so far. In his international career thus far, the 30-year old has bagged 97 and 63 wickets in 56 ODIs and 49 T20Is respectively apart from 135 scalps in 111 IPL games.

The RCB spinner has taken 10 wickets in five matches in the UAE this season while Rahul Chahar has only managed to get two wickets and proved a tad bit too expensive for the defending champions Mumbai Indians. All the teams can make changes to their provisional squad by October 10.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 164 for 7 (Maxwell 57, Padikkal 40, Henriques 3-12) beat Punjab Kings 158 for 6 (Agarwal 57, Rahul 39, Chahal 3-29) by six runs

R Ashwin
R Ashwin. Image Credits: Twitter
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Ravichandran Ashwin Said ‘All These Things Don’t Matter’ After Spat With Eoin Morgan In IPL 2021

Ravichandran Ashwin ran an extra run when the ball hit Rishabh Pant after a throw. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) fast bowler Tim Southee exchanged words with Ravichandran Ashwin first and then KKR skipper Eoin Morgan. The spin all-rounder then celebrated animatedly when he dismissed Eoin Morgan during the KKR innings, but KKR won the contest.

In the IPL 2021 match between the Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders at UAE, the “spirit of cricket” controversy arose involving Ravichandran Ashwin. The Delhi spinner took a run while batting after the ball had ricocheted off his Delhi Capitals skipper after a KKR throw. After Tim Southee dismissed the former, that resulted in some words being exchanged between Ravichandran Ashwin and Eoin Morgan.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Eoin Morgan had a heated exchange during KKR vs DC match.© IPL
Ravichandran Ashwin and Eoin Morgan had a heated exchange during KKR vs DC match.© IPL

Ravichandran Ashwin Doesn’t Pay Heed To Such Incidents

The spinner recently admitted to being upset over KKR skipper Eoin Morgan’s comments during the particular fixture. In a video shared by the Delhi-based franchise on their social media handles, the veteran bowler expressed astonishment with what had transpired on the field in the match.

The crafty spinner opined he has been at the top of his game in recent years. Furthermore, he also suggested that he does not pay heed to such incidents and that he regained his composure soon after the encounter.

KKR captain Eoin Morgan Twitter/@KKRiders
KKR captain Eoin Morgan- Twitter/@KKRiders

“Look, I think when there’s a lot being spoken for me, I’m the sort of person who needs to get it out of my system, and I believe it is very important. It just wipes out of my head. Like I’ve said all along for the past couple of years, I feel like I’m enjoying my game and I’m at the top of my game. And all these things don’t matter”

After Ravichandran Ashwin’s dismissal, KKR bowler Tim Southee and skipper Eoin Morgan got involved in a heated argument with the Indian spinner over the extra run taken. While Ravichandran Ashwin ended up with the last laugh by scalping Eoin Morgan for a duck, KKR won the contest by three wickets with ten balls to spare and delayed DC’s qualification for the playoffs.

Ravichandran Ashwin Scored 20 Crucial Runs As Delhi Beat Mumbai

Ravichandran Ashwin contributed with 20 crucial unbeaten runs lower down the order to help his side clinch a low-scoring thriller against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday. The 35-year-old in the video mentioned that he felt he was in good form with the bat after the England tour.

Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)
Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)

He also pointed out how he was striking the ball nicely while batting in practice games ahead of the UAE leg of this year’s cash-rich league. Ravichandran Ashwin’s cameo towards the end was key in Delhi’s win over Mumbai Indians. They chased down a target of 130 on a sluggish wicket at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The right-hander stated it was essential for him to take some time before attempting aggressive strokes, considering the slow nature of the surface. He also received appreciation from all quarters for finishing the game in the final over with a stunning six against Krunal Pandya.

Delhi Capitals qualified for the playoffs again as former skipper Shreyas Iyer dented Mumbai Indians’ playoff chances and strengthened Delhi Capitals’ own chances of a top-two finish with smart innings in the company of Ravichandran Ashwin. While Avesh Khan and Anrich Nortje defied the slowness of the pitch with an outstanding display of pace and guile, left-arm finger spinner Axar Patel thrived with his more subtle variations.

Delhi Capitals 132 for 6 (Iyer 33*, Ashwin 20*, Coulter-Nile 1-19) beat Mumbai Indians 129 for 8 (Suryakumar 33, Avesh 3-15, Axar 3-21) by four wickets

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