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Brian Lara

Brian Lara David Gray/Reuters
Brian Lara David Gray/Reuters
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Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis Pick Between Brian Lara And Sachin Tendulkar

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Pakistan’s legendary pacers, are still regarded as the most thrilling pace bowling duo of all time. They played in an era where each team had a formidable pace bowling duo such as Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh of West Indies, Glenn McGrath and Damien Fleming of Australia, Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald of South Africa, Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa of Sri Lanka among others, but Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis stand out for being the ‘King of Swings’.

During their careers, the duo would be pitted against the best of batters. Their rivalries with the likes of Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Aravinda de Silva, Steve Waugh, and many more are the stuff of legends. However, the 1990s would always be known for two batters who stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Unlike today, where the Fab 5 are dominating the batting, the 90s had two batting greats – Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis name their pick between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.(Getty Images)
Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis name their pick between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. (Getty Images)

Wasim Akram Would Want To Read Brian Lara’s Mind

The 1990s, or even today when that era is mentioned, is dominated with one question whether Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara was the best. While the two geniuses had their own aura, Sachin Tendulkar could not score a triple-century in Tests like his West Indies counterpart, or neither could Brian Lara emulate the ODI success of the Indian legend who scored the first ODI double ton.

Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
Wasim Akram–Image Credit: Supplied

Unlike other pacers of the previous generation, Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis were prompt with their replies. On being asked to select between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis replied: ‘Brian Lara’. The second-highest wicket-taker in ODIs, Wasim Akram, even revealed that the one player whose mind he would like to read is that of the former West Indies captain Brian Lara.

“Whose mind would I want to read? I suppose for me to read someone’s mind, it has to be of some greats of the game. Maybe, Brian Charles Lara because I would want to figure how can I get him out. What is going through his head,” Akram said.

Brian Lara topped the Test batting rankings on several occasions and holds several cricketing records, including the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, with an unbeaten 501 runs for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994, which is the only quintuple hundred in first-class cricket history.

Brian Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004.

Waqar Younis Said It’s Difficult To Pick One Among Brian Lara And Sachin Tendulkar, But He Would Agree With Legend Wasim Akram

Sachin Tendulkar currently holds the record for most hundreds in both Tests and ODIs. Incredibly, he retained a divine enthusiasm for the game till his last match. He also scored the first double-century in one-day cricket. In 2012, he became the first player to score 100 international centuries.

Later that year, though, he announced his retirement from ODIs. And on November 16, 2013, Sachin Tendulkar retired from Test cricket after a memorable 200th Test-the most by any player.

Meanwhile, Waqar said: “It is a difficult one. We played with a lot of legends. My friend here (Wasim) is a legend of the game. I would like to be in his mind when he used to bowl.”

Waqar Younis © Reuters
Waqar Younis © Reuters

Waqar Younis even mentioned  Brian Lara as the best batter he has ever bowled to, while Wasim Akram went with former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe.

Dwayne Bravo (FILE)
Dwayne Bravo (FILE)
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Dwayne Bravo Has No Regrets As He Retired After Representing West Indies For 18 Years At Int’l Level

Dwayne Bravo has said he is satisfied with the manner in which his career panned out at the international level. Dwayne Bravo, who made his international debut back in 2004, played his final T20I game for the West Indies against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

During an interview with the host broadcaster, the two-time T20 World Cup winner reflected on his stellar career ahead of the fixture against Australia, which West Indies lost.

Dwayne Bravo is set to quit international cricket after T20 World Cup 2021 | Photo Credit: AP
Dwayne Bravo is set to quit international cricket after T20 World Cup 2021 | Photo Credit: AP

Dwayne Bravo Has No Regrets As He Retired After Representing West Indies For 18 Years At Int’l Level

The seam-bowling all-rounder thanked the almighty for blessing him with the talent to represent his country West Indies at the elite level. He also expressed his satisfaction at the fact that he was able to follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Brian Lara, the left-handed batsman.

Dwayne Bravo said: ”Thanks, almighty God for the talent he blessed me with and also to represent the West Indies for 18 years. For me, cricket has always been my childhood dream and I wanted to represent the region, follow in the footsteps of my childhood hero Brian.”

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

Dwayne Bravo added: “It’s good I was able to have a successful career. I am happy to leave the game at this period, I have no regrets. Having said that, my last time, I want to make sure I want to finish off on a high. I want to do it for my team.”

Dwayne Bravo made his T20I debut in 2006 and went on to represent the West Indies in 91 games in the shortest format. He also featured in 40 Tests and 164 ODIs in a career that spanned nearly 18 years. He scored 1,245 runs at an average of 22.23 and a strike rate of 115.38. He also picked up 78 wickets with his medium-fast bowling and was effective with his variations in the death overs.

He has more than 500 appearances in the T20 format overall. After making his international debut in 2004, Dwayne Bravo also played in 40 Tests, scoring 2200 runs at an average of 31.42 and taking 86 wickets. He also has 2968 runs and 199 wickets to his name from 164 ODIs.

Dwayne Bravo Announced Retirement From Int’l Cricket

After the defending champions officially got knocked out of the competition, Dwayne Bravo announced his retirement from international cricket following the fixture against Sri Lanka in the ongoing T20I World Cup.

In an official statement, he said, “I think the time has come. I’ve had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs but as I look back at it, I’m very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long.”

Dwayne Bravo played his last T20I against Australia on November 6 in Abu Dhabi| Twitter ICC
Dwayne Bravo played his last T20I against Australia on November 6 in Abu Dhabi| Twitter ICC

He added: “To win three ICC trophies, two with my captain [Daren Sammy] on the left here. One thing I am proud about is that the era of cricketers we had we were able to make a name for ourselves on the global stage and not only do that but have the silverware to show for it.”

Dwayne Bravo would have loved to go out with a bang with the bat in his final international outing, but the charismatic cricketer could only manage a 12-ball 10 against Australia. The all-rounder had a poor outing in the T20 World Cup as he managed just 26 runs in five innings while claiming only two wickets.

Defending champion of the last T20I World Cup in 2016, West Indies was surprisingly eliminated from semifinal contention after losing to Sri Lanka. Their batsmen comprising of many power hitters failed when it mattered.

Bravo has played all the T20 World Cups since 2007 and has helped his side win the title in 2012 and 2016. He came out of retirement in international cricket in December 2019 to help his side retain the World T20I title.

West Indies
West Indies. Image Credits: Twitter
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T20 World Cup 2021: Brian Lara Disappointed With Reckless Batting From West Indies Who Scored Only 55 Against England

Brian Lara, the former West Indies captain, wasn’t impressed after watching his country fold for just 55 runs in the first innings of their opening match against England in Dubai in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. West Indies batting collapsed like a pack of cards as England bowlers enjoyed a field day after winning the toss.

Reacting to the reckless batting performance by the West Indies – they were bowled out for the lowest total by an ICC full-member nation in T20 World Cup – the legendary Brian Lara said he doesn’t have words to describe the batting approach. This is also the third-lowest score overall in a T20 World Cup. The overall lowest total in the T20 World Cup still stands with the Netherlands, who were bowled out for 39 in the 2014 World Cup against Sri Lanka.

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

Brian Lara Disappointed With Reckless Batting From West Indies Against England

A thumping win for England to begin their campaign in the 2021 T20I World Cup, and a bit of a damp squib as far as a repeat of last 2016 final, which was won by defending champions West Indies was concerned. England has a net run rate of 3.970 at this point, and West Indies the minus version of the same number.

West Indies lost nine of their 10 wickets, looking to hit a four or a six, while 59 of the 86 balls they faced were dots, and they did not attempt to rebuild after losing early wickets. Lendl Simmons (3), Evin Lewis (6), Shimron Hetmyer (9), Dwayne Bravo (5), Nicholas Pooran (1), Kieron Pollard (6), and Andre Russell (0) didn’t contribute much with the bat.

West Indies' Andre Russell is clean bowled by England's Adil Rashid during the T20 World Cup match. (AP Photo)
West Indies Andre Russell is clean bowled by England’s Adil Rashid during the T20 World Cup match. (AP Photo)

Losing all 10 wickets for just 55 runs, Brian Lara said during a Star Sports show covering the match, “It was disappointing, it was reckless, I don’t have words to describe this. As a West Indian, I’m very disappointed.”

Brian Lara said he doesn’t have words to describe the batting approach. Brian Lara’s 375 and 501 not out broke world records for the highest Test and first-class scores. Brian Lara is one of the few batsmen to score above 10,000 runs in both ODIs and Tests.

Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to put the West Indies batting to test at the Dubai International Stadium. Openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons initially showed signs of maturity, but that lasted for over. After that, England spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid bowled 6.2 overs for 19 runs and took six wickets between them.

Moeen Ali And Adil Rashid Stars For England

Moeen Ali bowled a superb line with clever variations in pace to dismantle the top-order. His figures of 2/17 in four overs included wickets of Lendl Simmons and Shimron Hetmyer. With pacers Tymal Mills, Chris Woakes, and Chris Jordan also pitching in with regular wickets from the other end, the West Indies backbone was jolted. West Indies did pick four wickets, three inside the powerplay, but the target of 56 was always chasable.

England leg-spinner Adil Rashid
England leg-spinner Adil Rashid- Twitter

Soon, Adil Rashid unleashed one of the best spells of T20 spin bowling to capture four wickets in his quota of 2.2 overs. He bowled 12 dot balls, conceding only two runs. Finally, Chris Gayle ended as the top scorer for West Indies with 13 runs off 13 balls.

In reply, England stumbled a bit but overhauled the target in 8.2 overs and with six wickets remaining. Adil Rashid takes 4 for 2 as England bowl West Indies out for 55 and completes the chase inside nine overs. West Indies’ lowest T20I score is 45, against England in 2019.

England 56 for 4 (Buttler 24*) beat West Indies 55 (Rashid 4-2, Moeen 2-17) by six wickets

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Brian Lara Praised ‘Orthodox’ Orange Cap Holder Ruturaj Gaikwad But His 101* Goes In Vain

Brian Lara, the former West Indies captain heaped rich praise on CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, saying the young CSK opener is a testament to the fact that big runs can be scored in T20 cricket by playing orthodox cricket.

Brian Lara, the legendary batsman and former West Indies captain said he is hugely impressed by Ruturaj Gaikwad’s batsmanship in the ongoing 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) after the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener hit a record-breaking century, albeit in a losing cause against Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

Brian Lara: Ruturaj Gaikwad Is In KL Rahul’s Category

Brian Lara said CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad proves that a batsman can score much-needed runs in T20 cricket with orthodox shots and it gives him great pleasure watching the CSK opener dominate the opposition with his silky gameplay.

Brian Lara’s comments came after Ruturaj Gaikwad took the Rajasthan bowlers to the cleaners on Saturday. The opener got off to a slow start, hitting 30 runs off his first 29 balls but he ended up with 101 not out in just 60 balls, helping CSK post a mammoth 189/4 in 20 overs after RR sent them in to bat.

Ruturaj Gaikwad showcased his class, hitting spinners inside-out and sending pacers on a leather hunt with his elegance. He needed a six off the last two balls of the CSK innings against RR to get to his maiden hundred and he missed the penultimate delivery.

However, Ruturaj Gaikwad held his stance and smashed the final delivery into the mid-wicket stands to become the youngest batsman to score a hundred for CSK in the IPL.

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Yeah, he could have been 135 if he had got more strike in the end overs. But it was a complete show of batsmanship. That’s what I like about him, seeing how he put that innings together, how he surged in the second half of the innings. He was just tremendous to watch,” Brian Lara told Star Sports.

“He shows that you can play good cricket shots and still score big runs. And that’s what I am proud of as a batsman. It was just remarkable and unbelievable. I will put him now in the KL Rahul category,” Brian Lara said. 

Ruturaj Gaikwad also bagged the Orange Cap from Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul, becoming the first batsman in IPL 2021 to get to 500 runs. Ruturaj Gaikwad now has 508 runs in 12 matches at an average of over 50 and a strike rate over 140. But Yashasvi Jaiswal’s 50 and Shivam Dube’s unbeaten 64 saw Rajasthan reach 190 in the 18th over.

Ruturaj Gaikwad Carrying CSK’s Batting At The Moment: Ajit Agarkar

The 24-year-old grabbed the limelight in IPL 2020, providing CSK fans something to cheer for with three fifties in a season where the 3-time champions failed to qualify for the play-offs. He has grown from strength to strength, leading the CSK batting unit. Lauding the young opener, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar said Ruturaj Gaikwad is carrying the CSK batting unit on his shoulders in IPL 2021.

“He took a little bit of time to get his first 30 rims and after that, he just took off. For me, he has been the find for CSK in the last season and a half. He is improving with every game. He is carrying their batting at the moment. He needed 6 off the last two balls. He misses one and hits the last one, it’s incredible,” Agarkar said.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

Ruturaj Gaikwad, promising Chennai Super Kings batsman recalled how he overcame his early struggles in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 where he scored just 5 runs in the first three games.

Gaikwad smashed a hat-trick of half-centuries in the last three games to amass 204 runs averaging 51 in 6 games after scoring 5 runs in the first 3 outings. He scored unbeaten 65, 72, and unbeaten 62 as CSK won the last 3 games but finished 7th.

He has played 12 games in IPL 2021 so far amassing 508 runs averaging 50.8 besides being the 4th batsman to score a ton in IPL 2021 after Devdutt Padikkal, Jos Buttler, and Sanju Samson.

Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Shubman Gill Is Just A Match Away From A Big Score, Says Brian Lara

Brian Lara, West Indies legendary former batsman, thinks that Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) should not consider replacing opener Shubman Gill anytime soon.

According to the iconic southpaw, Shubman Gill is just a match away from getting a big score.

Shubman Gill | Vipin Pawar / Sportzpics for BCCI
Shubman Gill | Vipin Pawar / Sportzpics for BCCI

Brian Lara: Shubman Gill Is Just A Match Away From A Big Score

Shubman Gill was acquired by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018 and turned in useful contributions for them in his debut season and 2019 season, managing above 200 runs in both editions, averaging about 33. He averaged similarly in 2020, where he managed 440 runs, but he could score only 239 runs in 12 games in IPL 2021, averaging below 20.

Talking to Star Sports’ Game Plan, Brian Lara said, “Gill is a bit unlucky and if you look at him bat, he is in some form. I believe he is just a match away from a big score. He gels really well with Iyer (Venkatesh) and I believe that both of them can take KKR to new heights. Replacing Gill now is not something that KKR should consider.”

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shubman Gill has played only 8 Tests and 3 ODIs but is touted as a future star in the making. However, he was injured after the WTC Final and didn’t play any of the 4 Tests against hosts England. In IPL 2021, his highest score is 48, as he is yet to score a fifty. Shubman Gill has scores of 48, 13, 9, 30, and 7 since the restart of IPL 2021 in the UAE.

Brian Lara: PBKS’ Batting Has Come Up Very Short

Brian Lara also discussed the Punjab Kings'(PBKS) chances of winning their matches over the weekend and their team’s potential.

“I think their team has the capability even though they are not playing great cricket at the moment. Their batting has just always been their strength and that has come up very short. Nicholas Pooran and Chris Gayle have not been playing well. Even their captain KL Rahul has not been in good form since the resumption.”

“Their batting is the one thing that they depended on in the past where they posted big totals and tried to defend it. But if they don’t post big runs on the board, they find it very difficult with the bowling attack that they have.”

KL Rahul, Chris Gayle [Credits: IPL]
KL Rahul, Chris Gayle [Credits: IPL]

“Ravi Bishnoi is performing well and Mohammed Shami as you know is a professional and they expect that from him. Their batting has to be clicking and if they do click they give themselves that slight chance. It does not mean that they can pull it off but they give themselves a better chance than they have been giving themselves in recent matches,” said Brian Lara.

Punjab Kings’ flickering playoff hopes brightened after they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in their Indian Premier League 2021 match by five wickets in the last over after a captain’s knock from KL Rahul. A day after Chris Gayle left them to be fresh for West Indies at the Twenty20 World Cup, Punjab joined Kolkata and Mumbai on 10 points on Friday as the three teams battle for the fourth and final qualifying spot.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Chennai Super Kings Has Some Weakness Despite Being IPL 2021 Table Toppers: Brian Lara

Chennai Super Kings have bounced back in IPL 2021 after disappointing last season where they finished 7th and couldn’t qualify for the playoffs for the first time in IPL history.

The three-time IPL champions and the second-most successful franchise after Mumbai Indians played incredibly well in the first half of the tournament, winning five matches out of seven and have continued the same momentum, let alone better it, by registering a hat-trick of victories in the tournament’s second phase.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter

Chennai Super Kings Has Some Weakness Despite Being Table Toppers: Brian Lara

With wins over Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, Chennai Super Kings has secured a Playoff berth in IPL 2021 UAE leg.

Currently, at the top of the points table with 16 points, Chennai Super Kings has ticked all boxes, but former West Indies captain Brian Lara feels MS Dhoni’s team is dealing with a couple of issues that opposition teams could target. Brian Lara didn’t dwell much into the details of the shortcomings, but he did offer a hint.

“I think teams have got to aim at their weaknesses, and they have got some. I’m not going to stand on air and call their names out but they do have a couple of weak areas you can try to work on as an opposition. We saw them bat in the first game since the restart against Mumbai Indians. I think MI let them get off the hook after having them four down,” Lara said on Star Sports Pre-Match Show.

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 88 to bail Chennai Super Kings out of trouble against MI while batting first. The MS Dhoni-led outfit posted 156/6 in the allotted twenty overs after being 24 for four inside the powerplay. Chennai Super Kings was 24/4 at one stage, and Ambati Rayudu was retired hard. Still, the momentum shifted after opener Ruturaj Gaikwad scored an unbeaten 88 off 58 balls, including 9 fours and 4 sixes.

Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo scored 26 and 23 before being dismissed, while Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, and MS Dhoni couldn’t contribute even 5 runs each. However, it is hard to point out CSK’s ‘weakness’ given the rollicking form they have been in, as they did well in both batting and bowling departments after recovering from the starting hiccup against Mumbai Indians.

CSK and DC have the same points-16 after winning 8 out of 10 games, but CSK has a superior run rate of +1.069.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Deepak Chahar, And Dwayne Bravo Has Been Consistent For CSK

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja, and Faf du Plessis have regularly chipped in with the bat, while Deepak Chahar and Dwayne Bravo have shone with the ball. While Faf du Plessis has scored 394 runs, Ruturaj Gaikwad had scored 362 runs so far. Ravindra Jadeja has scored 179 runs apart from taking 7 scalps. Deepak Chahar has taken 11 scalps while Dwayne Bravo picked 9 wickets.

Dwayne Bravo. (AFP)
Dwayne Bravo. (AFP)/ AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPE

Lastly, 40-year-old CSK skipper MS Dhoni, who has been at the forefront of CSK’s rise from the ashes story this year, has brought out his best game in captaincy and has proven to the world that while he may no longer be the destructive batsman he once was.

Besides, there is no one who can match the sharp captaincy acumen of the legendary former India skipper, who retired from international cricket as the only skipper to win all ICC tournaments.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Brian Lara Opens Up On Virat Kohli’s Decision To Quit As RCB Skipper After IPL 2021 Concludes

Brian Lara, one of the greatest West Indies former batsmen opened up on RCB and Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s decision to leave the captaincy of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after IPL 2021 concludes. Brian Lara said that he was proud of Virat Kohli for making such a decision at the peak of his career.

West Indies great Brian Lara has backed Virat Kohli’s decision to leave the captaincy of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after IPL 2021, saying the India skipper wants to understand his workload in the next few seasons and keep committing to the responsibility he has as a batsman for India and RCB.

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

Virat Kohli Will Give Up T20I Skipper Role After T20I World Cup And Will Also Quit As RCB Captain After IPL 2021 Concludes

Virat Kohli made it clear that he will continue playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore but won’t be captaining the team beyond the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season. Virat Kohli this week also gave up the captaincy of India’s Twenty20 side to manage his immense workload, saying he would not continue in the role after this year’s World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

“This will be my last IPL as captain of RCB. I’ll continue to be an RCB player till I play my last IPL game. I thank all the RCB fans for believing in me and supporting me,” said Virat Kohli on RCB’s Twitter handle.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in action against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. (IPL)

Virat Kohli, who took over as RCB skipper full time in 2013, has yet to lead the side to an IPL title. Virat Kohli’s eight-year tenure as the RCB skipper wasn’t as fruitful as expected despite having some of the biggest names in the shortest format like AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle. The closest he came to winning the trophy was in 2016, driven by himself with staggering 973 runs, but it eluded him.

Brian Lara: Virat Kohli’s Announcement Is Pretty Straightforward As He Wants To Understand His Workload

RCB restart this season’s campaign on Monday (September 20) against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi. Before stepping down, Virat Kohli will be hoping to lead RCB to their maiden IPL title this year. RCB is currently placed third in the league table with 10 points from seven games as they have managed to register five wins before the season was postponed midway through in May due to Covid-19 bio bubble breaches.

“I mean, it’s pretty straightforward. He has said it as clear as possible. He wants to understand his workload and keep committing to the responsibility he has. Very well put together (his statement),” Brian Lara told Star Sports.

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I totally understand. It’s 3 formats of the game. When you go back, it was just Test cricket and the 50-over format. Now he is playing every format of the time. There has come a time when he feels ‘listen, I need to take a step back and maybe the focus on Test cricket and 50-overs format of the game and allow somebody else to take the responsibility (in T20s)’. To me, it’s pretty clear. Proud of someone who is at the height of his career and makes a decision such as this,” Brian Lara added.

RCB takes on the 7th placed Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Monday in their first game since the resumption of the 2021 season at UAE. Enduring a forgettable outing in the first half of this year’s IPL, two-time former champions Kolkata Knight Riders would look for a change in fortunes when they resume their campaign against 3rd placed Royal Challengers Bangalore in the UAE leg of the extravagant T20 league on Monday.

While Virat Kohli’s RCB are third in the eight-team standings with 10 points from seven games, the 2012 and 2014 champions KKR are languishing at the seventh spot with just two wins out of seven ties.

England skipper Joe Root (Photo | PTI)
England skipper Joe Root (Photo | PTI)
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Everyone Has To Ensure Racism Doesn’t Happen Again In England Cricket, Says Joe Root

Joe Root has said that they have to make sure racism does not happen again further in England cricket. England skipper Joe Root has said everyone has to find ways of creating more opportunities to make the sport “more diverse” following Azeem Rafiq‘s allegations of racism at Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq has spoken out about racism at Yorkshire  Getty Images
Azeem Rafiq has spoken out about racism at Yorkshire  Getty Images

Joe Root: Everyone Has To Ensure Racism Doesn’t Happen Again In England Cricket

Azeem Rafiq, Joe Root’s former teammate at the club, had accused the County side of racism following which Yorkshire released a statement regarding the investigation into the matter. In September 2020, the Yorkshire County Cricket Club launched a full investigation into allegations of racism and now in a release has stated that Azeem Rafiq was the victim of inappropriate behaviour.

“As a former team-mate and friend, it’s hard to see Azeem hurting as he is. More than anything, it just shows that there is a lot of work we have to do in the game,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Root as saying.

“It’s a societal issue in my opinion. We have seen it in other sports; we have seen it in other areas. As a sport, we have got to keep trying to find ways of making sure this isn’t a conversation that keeps happening. We have got to find ways of creating more opportunities, making our game more diverse and educating better,” he added.

The England skipper said one needs to make sure that racism doesn’t happen again “further down the line”.

“I don’t think that just comes from players and administrators: it’s from everyone in the game. There has got to be a want and a will to do that. It is something we have to prioritise as a sport and make sure this isn’t something that happens again further down the line,” said Root.

Jofra Archer - GETTY IMAGES
Jofra Archer – GETTY IMAGES

Azeem Rafiq, the former England U19 and Yorkshire captain revealed the experience of racism while playing in English domestic cricket left him on the brink of suicide.

Azeem Rafiq played in 38 First class, 35 List A, and 95 T20 matches representing Yorkshire from 2008-2014 and also in 2016 and 2018 where he picked up 71, 43 and 102 wickets respectively and even scored 1 ton in First Class. He played in Derbyshire on short term loan in 2011.

Racism is not new to cricket with even the likes of Brian Lara targeted for racism. The famous incidents came when Australian Andrew Symmonds accused Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing him, Darren Sammy was insulted in IPL, spectators abusing England’s Jofra Archer, commentator Dean Jones calling South African batsman Hashim Amla terrorist in 2006 are a few to speak of.

Ollie Robinson, England pacer apologized after a series of tweets of a racist and sexist nature came to light during his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s. He apologized for a series of racial and sexist tweets he had put out as a teenager back in 2012-14. Ollie Robinson was aged 18 and 19 at that time. An initial one-game suspension was imposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board before Ollie Robinson withdrew himself from selection for his county side Sussex for the T20 games.

Joe Root: England Will Observe The Moment Of Unity Before 3rd Test Begins

Joe Root also informed that England will observe a “moment of unity” and sport anti-discrimination t-shirts ahead of the third Test against India, which gets underway on Wednesday.

“I think it is really important we have the moment of unity. We have to keep showing the sport is for everyone and that we are desperate to make everyone feel welcome to it. It’s such a brilliant sport and should be open to everyone,” said Joe Root.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

“We have to do more, I get that. But, as a team, it is a big focus for us to make the game for everyone and to make it as welcoming as we can. I know we keep talking about it but I am desperate to do something about it. Hopefully, in time, you can see that come into action,” he added.

The first Test ended in a draw but India staged an incredible comeback to take the second game by 151 runs at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. Both sides will now lock horns in the third Test, beginning Wednesday at Headingley, Leeds.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images
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Saeed Ajmal Recalls An Interaction With Sachin Tendulkar During ROW vs MCC Charity Match Held In 2014

Saeed Ajmal recalled that Sachin Tendulkar came running and told him to enjoy the game as it was a charity match and more funds will be collected the longer the match goes.

Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal recalled the interaction he had with Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar during the Rest of the World XI vs MCC in 2014.

Sachin Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Twitter
Sachin Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Twitter

Saeed Ajmal Was Told By Sachin Tendulkar To Enjoy The Charity Match Where More Funds Will Be Collected The Longer The Match Goes

It was a charity match in which some of the biggest names of the cricketing worlds were playing. While ROW XI was filled with the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh, Shahid Afridi, and Shane Warne, the likes of Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar were playing for MCC.

In the first innings, ROW XI went on to bat, and MCC bowler Saeed Ajmal picked up four wickets quickly as ROW XI went five wickets down for 68 at the end of 12 overs.

Sachin Tendulkar (L), Saeed Ajmal (R) during 2014 MCC Charity match(HT Collage)
Sachin Tendulkar (L), Saeed Ajmal (R) during 2014 MCC Charity match(HT Collage)

Saeed Ajmal, in a video interview with Cricket Pakistan, recalled that Sachin Tendulkar came running and told him to enjoy the match as it is a charity match and more funds will be collected the longer the match goes.

“It was an MCC match. It’s supposed to be a friendly match. The players are required to spend some time in the middle because the longer the game goes on, the more funds will be collected. When the match started, I picked up four wickets in four overs,” Ajmal said.

“So, Sachin Tendulkar came running to me and he said, ‘Saeed bhai, you are not supposed to play this match too seriously. This is a charity match. This is for the people who have come here to enjoy, they will have food, drinks. This match has to not get over before 6:30’,” he further added.

“So I told him I was just bowling well to play in a positive way. So he said that ‘I agree with you, but this is a charity match, so funds have to be collected. So enjoy the match, play cricket and have fun’. So that’s what happened,” he signed off.

The Bicentenary Celebration match in July 2014 at the Lord’s created a tremendous buzz in the days leading to it, and rightly so. With teams made up of contemporary players and legends of the previous generation, it gave fans an opportunity to witness some never-seen-before clashes.

Yuvraj Singh And Aaron Finch Score Tons As MCC Defeats Rest Of World

Sachin Tendulkar’s words perhaps did the trick as Yuvraj Singh smashed 132 runs to take ROW XI to 293/7 in the match. As Aaron Finch smashed 181 runs in 145 balls, MCC chased down the total in 45.5 overs with 7 wickets to spare.

Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, MCC v RoW
Batting greats, Sachin Tendulkar (L) and Brian Lara (R) at the MCC v RoW match at Lord’s

Saeed Ajmal ran through the RoW lineup, returning with four wickets from his ten overs. But it wasn’t enough to stop a rampaging Yuvraj Singh set up a counter-attacking 138 which propelled their innings to 293.

In response, Sachin Tendulkar and Aaron Finch set up an opening partnership of more than 100 in less than 16 overs. Sachin Tendulkar rolled back time by playing delightful strokes, but fell victim to another legend, Muttiah Muralitharan, before his half-century. Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul contributed their part, but the bulk of the chase was completed by Aaron Finch, who remained unbeaten on 181.

Rahul Dravid fell for a first-ball duck, Shane Warne never got to bowl (owing to an injury), and Shahid Afridi failed to trouble the scorers, yet the match managed to fill cricketing hearts with the nostalgia of seeing their favourite cricketers play one more time.

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Brian Lara Says Confident CSK Is The Team To Beat In IPL 2021

Brian Lara said Chennai Super Kings are high on confidence and would certainly be looking to finish in the top 2 spots of the points table at the end of the league phase. CSK hammered Sunrisers Hyderabad by 7 wickets on Wednesday to pick up their 5th straight win of the season.

Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Brain Lara talked about Chennai Super Kings’ chance of finishing at the top 2 spots at the end of the league stages, further saying MS Dhoni’s men is the team to beat at the moment in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter

Brian Lara: Chennai Super Kings Is The Team To Beat At The Moment

Brain Lara highlighted that Chennai Super Kings have a strong batting line-up to make good use of good batting conditions while a handy bowling unit can take advantage of bowler-friendly conditions in IPL 2021.

Notably, CSK completed their 5th straight win of the season to return to the top of the IPL 2021 points table on Wednesday. They gunned down a 172-run target against Sunrisers Hyderabad with ease in their first match of the season at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

Brian Lara David Gray/Reuters
Brian Lara David Gray/Reuters

While heaping praise on Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad for their ability to consistently provide solid foundations for the rest of the batting order, Brian Lara said CSK’s top 3 are looking settled and can dominate opposition bowling attacks. The opening duo stitched a 129-run opening stand for CSK that helped them chase 172 with ease against SRH on Wednesday.

“Yeah, beautiful. It’s unbelievable that when they started, they looked out of sorts. Especially Ruturaj, the way he started, his foot wasn’t moving properly. But MS Dhoni stuck with him, he stuck with the opening partnership which is great. And they are laying the foundation now. They did not look disturbed at all at any point of time today (Wednesday),” Brian Lara said.

“Their top 3 are important. You can’t leave out Moeen Ali as well. If they bat well, they look like they can chase any kind of target on good batting tracks. And if their bowlers are doing well on good bowling tracks, then they still have got a batting unit to survive it.”

“I think they are the team to beat at the moment. They don’t have big somebody like an Andre Russell who is going to go out there and score you a 50 in 15 balls but they have got a team which is most important,” he added.

Brian Lara, speaking to Star Sports after CSK’s 7-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Match 23 of IPL 2021 on Wednesday, said the former champions are high on confidence and are playing a “different level” of cricket. For CSK, excellent performers are Orange Cap holder Faf Du Plessis( 270 runs), Ruturaj Gaikwad (192 runs), Moeen Ali (148 runs, 4 wickets), Deepak Chahar (8 wickets), Lungi Ngidi (5 wickets), and Ravindra Jadeja (109 runs, 5 wickets).

Brian Lara: It Seems MS Dhoni Can Bat Anywhere And CSK Has Players Like Dwayne Bravo And Imran Tahir As Back-ups

Meanwhile, Brian Lara highlighted the focus has shifted from MS Dhoni’s batting position from the start of the season to CSK’s envious bench strength.

The former West Indies batsman said CSK would look to seal a play-offs berth and preferably finish in the top 2 spots to give themselves the cushion of another opportunity in the last-4 playoff stages after missing the playoff berth for the first time in last season at UAE as the team finished 7th.

“A lot of concentration and talks had been around MS Dhoni, is he going to come up the order and all that. It seems he can bat anywhere. His leadership is most important,” Brian Lara said.

Imran Tahir, MS Dhoni
Imran Tahir and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

“They have players like Bravo as back-up, Tahir as back-up. They have got players waiting in the reserves. When they do qualify, I think you would see more players getting opportunities. Of course, MS Dhoni would want to finish 1-2 because that means if they win the semi-final (qualifier 1), they go straight into the final.”

“Their confidence is high, they are playing a different type of cricket. I saw it at the end of 2020, they won their last 3 games. They played relaxed cricket. Now you have to count it like 7 out of 8 or 8 out of 9 since last IPL.”

Imran Tahir played a solitary match so far in IPL 2021 where the spinner picked 2 scalps conceding only 16 runs when Moeen Ali was injured. His economy of 4 is the best so far in IPL 2021.

On the other hand, Dwayne Bravo has played 4 IPL games scoring 20 runs and picking 3 wickets. CSK also has other players like Mitchell Santner, Robin Uthappa, Jason Behrendorff, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Krishnappa Gowtham who are yet to play a game.

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