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Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mark Boucher Doesn’t Think The Door Is Closed For Any Cricketer Hinting At Faf du Plessis’ Axe In 2021 T20I World Cup

Mark Boucher, South Africa head coach, has declared that no player is off the selection radar for any format in the near future. Mark Boucher spoke in the context of Faf Du Plessis, who didn’t earn selection in the 2021 T20 World Cup squad despite performing well before that. However, former Proteas white-ball captain Faf Du Plessis performed outstandingly in the CPL and IPL 2021.

Faf Du Plessis accumulated 277 runs in the Caribbean, followed by smashing 633 for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in a title-winning campaign. However, it wasn’t good enough to get him a spot for the World T20. Mark Boucher, the South Africa head coach, said missing out on the semi-finals of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 due to an inferior net run rate was a bitter pill to swallow.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mark Boucher: Scheduling Plans Didn’t Work With Faf du Plessis

Mark Boucher revealed that scheduling plans didn’t work out well regarding Faf Du Plessis’ inclusion in the World T20 squad. However, the former keeper-batsman said he hasn’t played his last game for South Africa yet.

“I certainly don’t think the door is closed for anyone. The Faf conversation was had, and unfortunately, it just didn’t work out with the scheduling and all that stuff. It’s been tough during Covid times and bubble life, I understand from his perspective with family, has been very tough.

“Going forward, hopefully we can get out of bubble life as soon as possible and get back to some sort of normality with regards to touring,” the 44-year old said. 

Mark Boucher. Twitter/@SuperSportTV
Mark Boucher.— Twitter/@SuperSportTV

Faf Du Plessis retired from Test cricket in February this year; however, he intends to represent the Proteas in limited-overs cricket. Although he is 37, the right-handed batsman could be key to their hopes in the 2022 T20 World Cup and the 50-over tournament in 2023. But he hasn’t played international cricket since February 2021.

South Africa went into the 2021 T20I World Cup without experienced T20I specialists batsman Faf Du Plessis and all-rounder Chris Morris besides spinner Imran Tahir. As a result, the Proteas bowed out of the T20 World Cup in style as they handed England their first defeat of the competition, thus ending the tournament having won 4 out of their 5 matches but failed to progress for inferior Net Run Rate.

Mark Boucher: Kolpak Guys Can Comeback In South Africa System But Have To Prove Themselves

Mark Boucher also revealed that players who opted for Kolpak deals earlier could return; however, they need to prove themselves to earn a recall.

Wayne Parnell of South Africa
Wayne Parnell of the Proteas. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

“I haven’t sat down with the selectors and spoken about the future of Faf yet, but we will definitely have that conversation with regards to Faf and other players as well. With the Kolpak guys, we’ve always said that the guys need to come back into our system and do really well, and we’ll judge them on how we’re going to play in our franchise system.”

Rilee Rossouw, who signed a Kolpak deal in 2017, is currently playing for the Knights in South Africa and could be available for the national team soon. Earlier, seamer Duanne Olivier also hinted at returning to play for his home country. The door remains ‘open’ for veterans such as Rilee Rossouw and Wayne Parnell to force their way back into the Proteas team.

Wayne Parnell last played for South Africa in the 2017 Champions Trophy. All-rounder Wayne Parnell has earned a South Africa call-up after more than four years. Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed the same by naming him in the 16-man squad for the three-match ODI series against the Netherlands.

Keshav Maharaj will lead the 16-man team with many prominent players, including regular skipper Temba Bavuma resting for the series. Khaya Zondo, Zubayr Hamza, and Ryan Rickelton are the other notable inclusions in the national team.

South Africa’s squad for the home ODI series against the Netherlands: Keshav Maharaj (captain), Daryn Dupavillon, Zubayr Hamza, Reeza Hendricks, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wayne Parnell, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo

Gautam Gambhir has taken a sly dig at Eoin Morgan | Photo: IANS/ BCCI
Gautam Gambhir has taken a sly dig at Eoin Morgan | Photo: IANS/ BCCI

Gautam Gambhir Questions Whether Eoin Morgan Or Team Analyst Captains KKR In IPL 2021

Gautam Gambhir took a sly dig at Eoin Morgan for making the most of the statistics from the team analyst while taking on-field decisions as the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). A remarkable second phase in the 2021 season of the IPL has paved the way for the Eoin Morgan-led KKR side to enter the playoffs stage of the cash-rich league.

Eoin Morgan-led KKR finished a step ahead of defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on the IPL 2021 points table to secure the fourth and final spot for the playoffs. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) won five games out of seven in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 to complete a remarkable turnaround and seal a spot in the playoffs.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir Unsure Whether Eoin Morgan Captains KKR On Field Or The Captaincy Is Done By Video Analyst Off Field

Speaking on ESPNcricinfo show ‘Runorder’, the former KKR skipper under whom KKR won twice in 2012 and 2014 expressed his reservations about Eoin Morgan leading his side as an on-field captain.

“Morgan’s point of view, I’m not sure because he doesn’t captain, so it’s the video analyst that captains the side. He only just looks at the video analyst, so I don’t know whether he’s the captain on the field or (if the) captaincy is happening off the field,” Gautam  Gambhir said. 

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan (Image Credit: Twitter)

The two-time IPL-winning captain then shared his views about Virat Kohli’s captaincy in his final season as RCB skipper. Though Gautam Gambhir has not enjoyed a lot of Virat Kohli’s captaincy in the IPL, the former DC skipper admitted that the RCB star has been outstanding for the Bangalore franchise.

“Virat has been fabulous. Honestly, I have not enjoyed a lot of his captaincy, but this time around, he’s been very, very good. Probably the reason is that he thinks this is his last time as captain in IPL, (so) he wants to enjoy it more; he’s just more relaxed. And he’s got the bowlers this time..,” Gautam Gambhir opined. 

As two-time champions, Kolkata has joined Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Delhi Capitals (DC) in the final four of the IPL 2021, former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir has rated all four leaders of the qualified IPL teams in the build-up to the business end of the competition.

Gautam Gambhir: MS Dhoni Is The No. 1 Skipper As He Can Handle Captaincy Pressure Best

Gautam Gambhir also lauded CSK skipper MS Dhoni for scripting Chennai’s comeback in the 14th edition of the T20 tournament after not qualifying for playoffs for the first time in IPL 2020. The former Indian cricketer and full-time cricket pundit feel the legendary CSK skipper is the numero uno captain of the IPL 2021.

MS Dhoni has guided CSK to the playoffs for the 11th time in the cash-rich league’s history. MS Dhoni-led CSK will play the first Qualifier against Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni
Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Purely from the captaincy point of view who can handle the pressure best, probably has to be Dhoni. Rishabh has the advantage from a point of view that he’s got a lot of experience in the playing XI. If Steve Smith plays, he’s got him alongside. He has got Ravichandran Ashwin who has captained earlier as well… so for me Dhoni is No. 1 at the moment,” Gautam Gambhir added.

Among the four teams that have reached the playoffs this year, only the Chennai Super Kings (thrice) and KKR (twice) have won an IPL title before. DC made their best-ever finish by reaching the finals in IPL 2020, and RCB has been runners-up thrice without clinching the trophy. RCB has played three finals in the IPL but lost all of them (in 2009 to the Deccan Chargers, 2011 to the Chennai Super Kings, and 2016 to Sunrisers Hyderabad).

As far as Qualifier 1 is concerned, there hasn’t been clarity on the availability of DC’s Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis as yet. Still, with Delhi seemingly grooming Ripal Patel as the fill-in, it won’t be a surprise if they go in unchanged. So the one possible change to CSK’s playing eleven could be the inclusion of Suresh Raina in place of Robin Uthappa, who hasn’t made the most of the two opportunities handed to him.

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

IPL 2021: The UAE Government Would Allow 60 Percent Attendance For 2nd Phase Of IPL 2021 At UAE

IPL 2021 received a big boost when the UAE government decided to allow 60 percent attendance at the stadiums for the second phase of the IPL 2021. This decision was taken after thorough consultations with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), as per the reports in the Telegraph.

Earlier, when the BCCI hosted the IPL 2021 in India before it got indefinitely postponed due to a bio-bubble breach, where no crowds were allowed at the venues, keeping the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

The Emirates Cricket Board are closely working the UAE government to allow fans inside stadiums during IPL 2021.
The Emirates Cricket Board is closely working with the UAE government to allow fans inside stadiums during IPL 2021.

IPL 2021: The UAE Government’s Decision To Allow 60 Percent Attendance Will Come As A Massive Boost For Players Playing IPL 2021

Likewise, no spectators were allowed to watch the games live during IPL 2020, when the entire tournament was played in the UAE. With 60 percent of the audience turning up at the stadiums, it will be a massive boost for the players while playing the IPL matches.

The BCCI had announced the entire schedule of the remainder of IPL 2021 last month. According to it, in the span of over 27 days, a total of 31 matches will be played.  Amit Mishra(DC), Sandeep Warrier, Varun Chakravarthy(KKR), and Wriddhiman Saha(SRH) contracted the virus. Chennai Super Kings’ batting coach Michael Hussey and bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji had also contracted the virus in India which led to the indefinite postponement of IPL 2021.

Fans At An UAE Stadium During IPL Photo Credit: (Twitter)
Fans At An UAE Stadium During IPL Photo Credit: (Twitter)

The second phase of IPL 2021 will commence on September 19 with a game between the Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Dubai. A total of 31 games, including the playoffs, will be played in this phase of the tournament. It will come to a close with the final on October 15. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah are the three venues shortlisted to host the remaining IPL 2021 matches.

CSK and MI Are The First 2 Teams To Reach The UAE

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL
Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL

Before the IPL 2021 came to an abrupt halt due to rising COVID-19 cases within the franchises, the Delhi Capitals (DC) were at the top of the table with 12 points (six wins in eight matches). CSK and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were second and third with five wins from seven games, while MI was fourth with four wins in seven matches.

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Punjab Kings (PBKS) have won three games each out of seven and eight matches, respectively. Kolkata Knight Riders won just two games out of seven, while Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) got over the line only once in seven appearances and is at the bottom of the points table.

Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)
Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)

Dinesh Karthik Reveals Reason for Not Playing First-Class Cricket For Tamil Nadu

Dinesh Karthik has been the cynosure lately not because of the heroics on the cricket field but in the commentary box. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has been entertaining fans with his hilarious and entrancing on-air remarks ever since making his commentary debut in the ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand in July earlier this year.

While the audience has been loving the commentator, the 36-year-old still has some plans as a player. Dinesh Karthik, on many occasions, has said that he is determined to make a comeback in the national team for the T20 World Cup. However, the dashing batter has a different perspective for the longest format of the game. In a recent interaction with Aakash Chopra, he revealed why he hasn’t been playing First-Class cricket lately.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

Dinesh Karthik Reveals Reason for Not Playing First Cass Cricket For Tamil Nadu As He Doesn’t Have Future In Red Ball Cricket

Notably, Dinesh Karthik hasn’t played a red-ball game for Tamil Nadu since February 2020. Speaking of the same, the veteran asserted that had he continued playing First-Class cricket for the state team, young wicket-keeper N Jagadeesan’s place would have been blocked. He also accepted that his days as a Test cricket are over.

“The reason I don’t play red-ball cricket for Tamil Nadu is that it will block the chances of Jagadeesan and also I don’t have a future in red-ball cricket as well,” said Karthik while speaking on Aakash Chopra’s YouTube channel.

MS Dhoni with CSK's other wicketkeeper-batsman N Jagadeesan (File Photo/CSK)
MS Dhoni with CSK’s other wicketkeeper-batsman N Jagadeesan (File Photo/CSK)

For the unversed, Dinesh Karthik made his Test debut way back in November 2004. He couldn’t do much in his initial days and MS Dhoni’s arrival made his job even more difficult.  The Tamil Nadu-born cricketer did play some matches as a pure batsman but couldn’t cement his place in the team.

N Jagadeshan, the wicket-keeper batsman made his debut in the Tamil Nadu squad in 2016 against Madhya Pradesh. N Jagadeesan has been among runs for his state-side and was picked to play for the CSK franchise in IPL which is led by MS Dhoni. He scored 33 runs in 5 games in IPL 2020.

Dinesh Karthik Failed Terribly After Being Picked In India’s Test Squad For 2018 England Tour

After MS Dhoni’s retirement from the format, Dinesh Karthik got a chance to stamp his authority as he was picked in India’s Test squad for the 2018 tour of England. He failed terribly in the first two games and got dropped subsequently. That proved to be his last assignment in Test cricket.

Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik (Image: NDTV Sports)

Dinesh Karthik is still determined to play white-ball cricket in India. This year’s T20 World Cup is just a couple of months away. Hence, if Dinesh Karthik put up a phenomenal show in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 he may forge a comeback in the national team.

Dinesh Karthik averages a below-par 25 in 26 Tests after debuting way back in November 2004 against Australia. He has scored only 1 ton and 4 fifties in the longest format. He scored only 4 runs against Afghanistan and only 21 runs in 2 Tests against England after being recalled in 2018.

Current India international and Tamil Nadu captain Dinesh Karthik’s longevity came to the fore again as he led Tamil Nadu to their second Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament title on Sunday, fourteen years after he led them to the inaugural title in 2006-07.

Dinesh Karthik was appointed captain of the KKR team prior to Eoin Morgan’s captaincy. However, midway through the 2020 season, the KKR management decided to switch roles by handing Eoin Morgan the leadership and making Dinesh Karthik his deputy. Dinesh Karthik had a poor IPL 2020 managing only 169 runs in 14 games averaging 14.08 while amassing 123 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021 averaging 30.75.

Danish Kaneria (Getty Images)
Danish Kaneria (Getty Images)

Danish Kaneria Picks Ravindra Jadeja As Most Valuable Player In WTC Final

Danish Kaneria predicted India’s top performer in the much-awaited WTC summit clash. India and New Zealand are set to lock horns in the WTC final in Southampton on June 18.

Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah remain the most important performers for Team India across formats. While India had many performers in the recent past, especially in the longest format of the game, it is tough to predict who will be that one stand-out player for the Indian team when they lock horns with New Zealand in the much-awaited ICC World Test Championship final (WTC).

Danish Kaneria
Danish Kaneria © AFP

Danish Kaneria: Ravindra Jadeja Will Give Key Wickets In Regular Intervals And Score Runs Lower Down The Order Besides Fielding So He Is Going To Be The MVP

India and New Zealand are set to lock horns in the summit clash of the inaugural WTC at The Rose Bowl, Southampton from June 18-22. Ahead of the marquee encounter, several former cricketers, experts, and pundits of the game have come forward and made glaring predictions with regard to the finale.

Pakistan’s tainted former spinner Danish Kaneria, too, joined the bandwagon and predicted India’s top performer in the WTC final. To pick one from the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Virat Kohli is surely tough, but Danish Kaneria named all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

“Because I think that bowlers play a very important role, irrespective of what format you’re playing. If they’re taking wickets, they’ll win the match. If we talk about Ravindra Jadeja, he is a triple-dimensional player. He is such a player that you just can’t keep him out, he simply has to play,” Danish Kaneria was quoted as saying on his YouTube channel.

Ravindra Jadeja @Getty
Ravindra Jadeja @Getty Images.

“He will give you key wickets in key intervals. He will give your runs lower down the order, stitch partnerships, and will even affect a couple of brilliant run-outs while fielding. So, he is going to be the most valuable player in the final,” said Danish Kaneria.

Ravindra Jadeja has been India’s go-to man across formats since 2016-17. The 32-year-old’s numbers speak for themselves, in whites, since 2017.

Ravindra Jadeja Missed England Test Series After Injuring Himself In Preceding Australian Tour

Ravindra Jadeja made a sensational return to professional cricket after recovering from his thumb injury which he incurred during the third Test in Australia and came up with some sensational batting, bowling, and fielding efforts in the now-postponed IPL 2021.

He scored 131 runs at a strike rate of 161.72 and an average of 131. He picked 6 wickets in 7 matches at a bowling average of 26.83 and grabbed 8 catches for the 3-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who was placed second on the points table at the time of suspension after 29 league matches.

Ravindra Jadeja suffered a dislocated thumb during India's 2020-21 Test series in Australia.© Indian Cricket Team/Instagram
Ravindra Jadeja suffered a dislocated thumb during India’s 2020-21 Test series in Australia.© Indian Cricket Team/Instagram

Ravindra Jadeja could not play against England in the home Test series due to a fractured thumb but is gearing up to play against the Three Lions in a 5-Test series following the clash against the Kiwis. Ravindra Jadeja had a batting average of 85 and a bowling average of 15 which is remarkable in the India vs Australia Test series playing 2 Tests.

Thus, it will be interesting to see if Ravindra Jadeja retains his form in the gruelling English conditions and guides India to the coveted WTC title. Virat Kohli-led India has already arrived in the United Kingdom for the WTC final, later this month, whereas they will also stay in England and Wales for a long period post the summit clash. India will then lock horns with Joe Root-led England for five Tests in the English summer, from August-September.

Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics

There Isn’t A Good English Left-arm Spin Bowler Who Bats Like Ravindra Jadeja, Says Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen, former England cricketer, and commentator has urged budding English cricketers to learn from Ravindra Jadeja to have a long Test career not mentioning sporting icons like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team has been blessed with immense talent all across the playing positions available. While the likes of Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have set the benchmarks in their respective roles, a number of other players like Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Rohit Sharma are in the ‘superstars’ category.
Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

Kevin Pietersen: England Don’t Have A Quality Left Arm Spinner Who Can Bat Unlike India’s Ravindra Jadeja

Many former cricketers feel that the depth of India’s talent is unparalleled when compared to any other team in the world as India is set to field a limited-overs team in Sri Lanka at the same time when a Test specialist team is in England competing in the WTC Final and 5 England Tests.

Kevin Pietersen, who has been a huge admirer of Indian cricket over the years, has urged budding English cricketers to follow one particular Indian player namely Ravindra Jadeja. England hasn’t produced quality spin bowlers of late, especially left-arm spinners. Kevin Pietersen, who has praised Ravindra Jadeja on a number of occasions for his all-around skills, feels the England cricket team needs a player like the Indian southpaw.

“It frustrates me that there still isn’t an international-standard English left-arm spin bowler who bats. Look at what Ravindra Jadeja has done for India in Test match cricket, one-day cricket, and T20 cricket,” Kevin Pietersen wrote in his blog for Betway Insider.

Ravindra Jadeja

Lending advice to aspiring cricketers, the former England skipper asked those learning the trade to copy Ravindra Jadeja as there are high chances that they would go on to have a prolonged Test career in England team.

“It’s the one position that the ECB must be prioritizing. They need to invest in somebody because someone of that ilk is priceless across all three formats,” the former England captain added.

“If you’re a kid, an emerging player, or a county cricketer, copy Jadeja. Copy what Jadeja does because he’s an absolute superstar. You’ll have a long career as a Test match cricketer for England.

There were doubts over Ravindra Jadeja’s form at the start of IPL 2021, considering he was out of competitive action for more than 2 months after suffering a finger injury during the Australia tour. The all-rounder has been in fine form for CSK in IPL 2021. The India all-rounder has hit 131 runs in 7 matches, averaging a staggering 131 and striking at close to 160.

With the ball, he has picked up 6 wickets and has conceded at less than 7 runs per over before IPL was suspended. Ravindra Jadeja, 32, is one of the best fielders in the world at present and, along with his left-arm spin, besides batting, provides flexibility to the Indian team. He has so far played 51 Tests, 168 ODIs, and 50 T20 Internationals.

Kevin Pietersen: Jack Leach And Dom Bess Are Not Test Match Spinners

England had arrived in India with Jack Leach and Dom Bess as the specialist spinners during the recent Test series. Neither, however, managed to leave the sort of impact that their Indian counterparts did. Kevin Pietersen, quite explicitly, wrote in his column that he doesn’t feel the duo deserve to be called Test match spinners.

“Leach is not a Test match spinner and Bess is not a Test match spinner. I wrote nearly two years ago that I hope Leach doesn’t get remembered for Specsavers adverts because it’s about winning Test matches,” Pietersen pointed out.

Jack Leach and Dom Bess
Jack Leach and Dom Bess Getty Images

“Unfortunately, I was right, because he’s not good enough. He hasn’t bowled any teams out, he hasn’t bowled England to glory in Tests like Panesar and Swann used to do.”

In the ongoing first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s, the hosts didn’t field a single specialist spinner. Skipper Joe Root himself bowled 12 overs of off-spin in the first innings.

Gautam Gambhir Reckons MS Dhoni Is Not Planning To Release A Lot Of Players Ahead Of IPL 2021
MS Dhoni. Image Credit: Twitter.

Gautam Gambhir Reckons MS Dhoni Is Not Planning To Release A Lot Of Players Ahead Of IPL 2021

After the disappointing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) needs a makeover to succeed in the upcoming 14th edition of the league. The major reason behind their failure was sticking with the senior players even though they were having a poor outing match after match.

But to buy new players in the auction, CSK captain MS Dhoni will have to release a lot of players to increase their purse value. However, former Indian cricketer, Gautam Gambhir doesn’t reckon that the CSK skipper will look to let go of many players.

MS Dhoni has made CSK such a successful side in the IPL: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir Reckons MS Dhoni Is Not Planning To Release A Lot Of Players Ahead Of IPL 2021 1
CSK. Image Credit: MS Dhoni.

Former KKR captain admits that CSK has an ageing squad with Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni himself. But Gautam Gambhir believes that the wicketkeeper-batsman will only focus to buy players according to the coming season rather than planning for coming years.

“If you release a lot of players, you also need to see what is available in the auction. I agree we have been talking for the last two or three years that CSK has an ageing squad, no doubt it was an ageing squad as well with the likes of Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.

“But the way they performed and I have been saying for a number of years that MS Dhoni has this quality, people talk how MS Dhoni has made CSK such a successful side in the IPL, that he only concentrates on that year,” said  Gautam Gambhir.

Gautam Gambhir Reckons MS Dhoni Is Not Planning To Release A Lot Of Players Ahead Of IPL 2021 2
CSK. Image Credit: IPL.

Observing the previous year’s strategies of Dhoni, the cricketer-turned-politician explains that CSK’s team management will only plan for the IPL 2021.

“He will not concentrate to make the squad for the next three years, not at all. So MS Dhoni’s quality is going to remain same this year as well, what best squad and best opportunity can win them the title this year, he will do that only.

“So, I don’t feel they are going to release too many players unless and until a lot of players are coming in the auction whom they are targeting,” Gautam Gambhir explained.

Meanwhile, according to reports, IPL 2021 auction is likely to be organised on February 11.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: IPL.

IPL 2020: Rishabh Pant Can Never Be MS Dhoni – Gautam Gambhir

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has opined that Rishabh Pant should not try to become MS Dhoni, but the youngster needs to be the best version of himself. He has also urged the media to stop drawing comparisons between the two wicketkeeper-batsman.

The youngster was seen as the successor of MS Dhoni in Team India but his sub-standard performance since the last year has even put his position in doubt. And now having a below-par Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Rishabh Pant is under the scanner. In 12 matches, he has only scored 285 runs, with 38 runs being his highest score. The Delhi Capitals youngster has managed only the strike rate of 109.61.

MS Dhoni and Rishabh Pant
MS Dhoni and Rishabh Pant. Reuters.

Gautam Gambhir stated that one of the reasons for Pant’s downfall was the comparison of him with the veteran MS Dhoni. He said that DC player had to stop thinking of being the next Dhoni, but he had to create his own name.

Cricketer-turned-politician said that Pant could not become Dhoni just because he has the ability to hit sixes like the latter.

“You have to stop comparing Rishabh Pant that he is an alternative to MS Dhoni. That is one thing which the first media needs to do it. Because the more media talks about it, the more he starts thinking on that front. He can never be MS Dhoni. He has to be Rishabh Pant. And, at the same time, MS Dhoni had so much of range when he came on the scene. And, Rishabh Pant, just because he can hit sixes, people started comparing him with MS Dhoni,” Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo.

Gautam Gambhir suggests Rishabh Pant improve in all areas:

Rishabh Pant,
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Apart from improving his batting, Gautam Gambhir advised Pant also to polish his wicketkeeping skills. But he reiterated that foremost, the media should put a halt on drawing a comparison with the two.

”Rishabh Pant has a lot to improve, especially from the keeping point of view, but from the batting point as well. But then if I see, the bowlers have got smarter, they have started bowling wider outside the off-stump and he has struggled. That’s the reason, first and foremost, people around him and in the media need to stop comparing him with MS Dhoni, ” Gautam Gambhir added.

Rishabh Pant has the last chance to turn the table when Delhi Capitals play their second qualifier match on November 8.

Ruturaj Gaikwad. Image Credit: IPL.

Ruturaj Gaikwad Recalls MS Dhoni’s Word Which Supported Him Mentally

Ruturaj Gaikwad, who shined for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the end of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, had a tough start of this season after being tested positive for the coronavirus. But his captain MS Dhoni’s advice kept him motivated even though the campaign was not going on CSK’s way.

As other quarantined for seven days, the 23-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad along with his CSK teammates have to go under an extended isolation period. Soon after recovering from the disease, he was included in the playing XI set up although he had not many practice sessions.

He, however, could not make an immediate impact, scoring  0, 5 and 0 in his first three games. As a result, he was dropped from the setup. But when the Yellow Army was knocked out of the playoff race, Gaikwad was given another opportunity, and this time, he didn’t miss to impress.

In the last three matches, he returned with the figures – 65* against RCB, 72 against KKR and 62* against KXIP and guided them to comfortably victories. Because of his outstanding performance, CSK ended the tournament on a winning note and would take some good winning memories with them.

MS Dhoni’s advice to Ruturaj Gaikwad

Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad
Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Image Credit: IPL.

In an interview with the Indian Express, the young right-hander revealed how he overcame that tough initial phase upon his arrival in UAE. He stated that he binged watch on Netflix during the quarantine period.

“I have lost track of the number of shows I have watched on Netflix. Narcos is my favourite. I think I might have watched it at least 3 times,” Ruturaj Gaikwad said. 

On a video call during the quarantine period, Ruturaj was given a piece of simple yet effective advice from Dhoni. CSK captain suggested him to endure the phase with a smile.

“Face it with a smile, it will be over in 14 days”, the Super Kings captain told the batsman.

After living for an extended period in a hotel, Gaikwad didn’t get a lot of practice sessions but was swoop in playing XI. However, it was a miserable start for him.

“I was really excited to get the call-up. But I was still tentative and not 100% physically and mentally,” Ruturaj said on the early days in the playing XI. 

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. Image Credit: IPL.

As CSK’s chances got blurred for qualifying rounds, Ruturaj Gaikwad recalled that MS Dhoni aksed everyone to enjoy the journey and play good matches for the fans.

“We still have three matches to go. Let’s forget about the results and enjoy ourselves. Let’s play for this jersey and our fans,” Ruturaj said recalling Dhoni’s words.

Ruturaj Gaikwad is the new find for CSK, who is an ageing team. He is undoubtedly going to play many seasons for them.


‘Challenging’ IPL 2020 Helped Lungi Ngidi To Learn More Than Past Season

Chennai Super Kings pacer Lungi Ngidi, who starred in the last match against Kings XI Punjab, stated that the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was challenging and it helped him to evolve more than the last season.

This is the first season that the Yellow Army has failed to reach the playoffs. Their batting performance has been most disappointing this season although, in the last three matches, CSK has been prolific in all departments.

Lungi Ngidi was included in the first few matches but went expensive and was dropped. But after the team’s chances for the qualification for playoffs blurred, he was given one more chance. The pacer returned with an extraordinary game and breakthroughs to take the game home. However, it was too late for CSK to bounce back in the league.

Lungi Ngidi
Lungi Ngidi. Credit: BCCI

But the Windies find this season as a learning platform because the team has to face several challenges. He is delighted that he was again given an opportunity to prove his mettle.

“I learn a lot more this year than I did last year. This year was a bit more challenging. Few games at the start didn’t go the way I wanted to but I was able to work and finally got the opportunity again at the back end. So, yeah a lot of learning this year,” Lungi Ngidi told teammate Faf du Plessis during a chat for IPLT20.com. 

Lungi Ngidi’s roller-coaster ride in IPL 2020:

Lungi Ngidi
Lungi Ngidi (Credits: BCCI)

Lungi Ngidi was dropped from the playing XI after he conceded 56 runs in his four overs quota against Rajasthan Royals in their first meeting. Most importantly, in his last over, he bowled consecutive no-balls which frustrated MS Dhoni.

And after that match, he was benched. He returned to the team in their second last league match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) where he picked to wickets to dent the two-time IPL winner’s opportunity to qualify for playoffs smoothly.

In the last match against Rajasthan Royals, he gave a stunning performance, picking three wickets and giving away 39 runs in four overs. Albeit the season’s start didn’t go in his favour, he will have happy to end it on a high note.

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