Deepak Chahar | Sportzwiki

Deepak Chahar

KL Rahul, Rahul Dravid Image Credit: shortpedia
KL Rahul, Rahul Dravid Image Credit: shortpedia

Rahul Dravid Reckons KL Rahul Going To Learn As He’s Just Starting Out On His Journey As Captain After India Lost ODI Series 3-0

Rahul Dravid said that KL Rahul did a decent job as a captain in the recently-concluded ODI series against South Africa. Half-centuries by Virat Kohli (65), Shikhar Dhawan (61), and Deepak Chahar (54) went in vain as India suffered a heartbreaking four-run loss against South Africa in the third and final ODI here at Newlands, Cape Town.

With this win in the final dead rubber ODI, the Proteas won the ODI series 3-0. India played a Test and three ODIs under KL Rahul’s captaincy but failed to win any of the four contests. India lost both the Test and subsequent ODI series in what turned out to be a disastrous tour of South Africa despite a bright start in the opening Test at Centurion, which the team won comprehensively.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

Rahul Dravid: KL Rahul Did A Good Job As He Is Just Starting Out In His Journey As A Captain

Despite the lackluster performance by stand-in skipper KL Rahul, Team India head coach Rahul Dravid backed the youngster to come off as a good leader in the future. In fact, the former India cricketer pointed to a lack of proper execution as the reason behind the outcome.

“I thought KL Rahul did a good job, not easy for him. Not easy to be on the wrong end of the results. He is going to learn, he is starting out in his journey as captain, he is beginning and a large part of captaincy is the execution of the skills of your players and the quality of the side. I think we were a little bit short in the ODI side of the things,” said Rahul Dravid during a virtual press conference.

KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
KL Rahul Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

“I think he did a decent job as someone who is touring, definitely he will get better as a captain. Without signaling out the spinners, in the middle overs, we probably need to improve our wicket-taking options. Spinners do play a big role in that, with quicks coming back and the kinds of balls we bowl, that is an area of the game we have been behind in. There are many learnings from this tour. The good thing is we have some time in ODI to correct those things,” he added.

Talking about giving people a long rope in the playing XI, Dravid said: “We are trying to do that, we are trying to give them as extended run as possible. That was the whole idea of this trip, you can see we did not change the middle order that much. Suryakumar Yadav got a game in the last one, but otherwise, we did not really change the batting order at all.”

“We certainly want to give the middle-order consistency and we want to give them that security. Once you give people consistency, security, you also have to demand performances because that is an expectation when you play at this level and country. The idea is to give as much stability as we can. Rohit was not here, it gave someone else an opportunity to open,” he added.

Earlier, Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen played knocks of 124 and 52 as South Africa posted 287 runs on the board. For India, Prasidh Krishna returned with three wickets.

Rahul Dravid: India Looking For A 6th Bowling Option

Rahul Dravid answered a range of questions covering the poor show in middle-overs both in batting and bowling, KL Rahul’s nascent captaincy career, and how Venkatesh Iyer is not being thought of as a top-order batter. India’s head coach Rahul Dravid had no hesitation in admitting that the ODI squad lacked balance with the likes of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja unavailable to execute their all-around skills at numbers six and seven respectively.

When asked for clarity on the role of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Dravid said: “The idea is to develop Venkatesh Iyer as sixth bowling option or if it is Hardik when he potentially comes back. That will give us various options. When you are the sixth bowler in a team, it can happen that you are not required to bowl. It can happen, the thing is we have been clear with him that in our team, we were looking for someone at number six and who can be the sixth bowling option.”

Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)

India had lost the Test series 1-2 against South Africa as well. After that, Virat Kohli had decided to step down as the Test skipper. India will next lock horns West Indies in three ODIs and three T20Is.

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

Rishabh Pant Explains Reason To Bat At No. 4 In First 2 ODIs Against Proteas

Rishabh Pant understands the value of his wicket and the reason why the team management often asks him to use his discretion in shot selection during important phases of various matches.

Rishabh Pant was out to an atrocious shot during the second Test in Wanderers, which led to a lot of criticism from all quarters and former skipper Virat Kohli stating that they have had a word with the talented southpaw.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Rishabh Pant Explains Reason To Bat At No. 4 To Adhere To Left Right Combination

Although then-captain Virat Kohli and coach Rahul Dravid backed the southpaw over his style of cricket and his match-winning abilities, it was not the first time when questions over Rishabh Pant’s brand of cricket were raised. However, he responded sensationally in Cape Town in the third and final Test, when he scored an attacking 100 off 139 on a challenging track with seam movement and variable bounce.

Mere days after that masterclass in a losing cause, Rishabh Pant constructed another stroke-filled, aggressive 85-run knock at Paarl’s Boland Park in the 2nd ODI, which came in a losing cause.

“There are always positive talks that as an individual what I can do. All the strokes are there but how can I play with patience and according to the situation. So a lot of discussions happen,” Pant, who since then had scored a hundred in the third Test at Cape Town and followed it with career-best 85 in the second ODI, told reporters during a virtual interaction.

“And whatever we discuss, we practice and after that try to implement in the match,” he added.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

According to Rishabh Pant, who made a career-best 85, the team management has entrusted him with the responsibility of batting at four, to ensure a right-left combination.

“The reason to bat at number four was if a left-hander gets a chance to bat in the middle, then it becomes easy to rotate strike, with the left-right combination, especially in the middle overs when leg-spinners or left-arm spinners bowl.”… that is why the team management felt that a left-handed batter should bat and that is why that role was given to me,” he said.

Rishabh Pant also said that the team is learning from the mistakes in its endeavour to get better.

“I think as (from) a batting point of view, we are fine, we are going fine. We are learning from our mistakes and every day as the Indian cricket team we strive to improve our cricket and that is the only thing we are looking forward (to).”

Rishabh Pant believes that the difference between the two teams in the just lost ODI series was far better middle-overs batting by the South African side. Having lost the first ODI game by 31 runs, Indians were once again soundly thrashed by seven wickets after having put up a reasonably good 287 runs on the board. Rishabh Pant’s magnificent 71-ball 85 – his career-best score in ODIs, was the lone silver lining in the 2nd ODI.

Rishabh Pant: Shardul Thakur’s Batting Lower Down The Order Was A Positive

Rishabh Pant believes that Shardul Thakur’s batting in both the first two games (50 no and 40 no) has been one of the biggest positives in the series so far.

“One more positive was the way Shardul (Thakur) batted down the order, in both the matches, that was also a positive. The way Venky (Venkatesh Iyer) bowled, he conceded more runs in one or two overs, but still, it felt that he could bowl (at this level). So, there are a lot of positives, which we can take as a team.”

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Pant admitted that Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, and Tabraiz Shamsi bowled better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in the two games. The Indian spin duo picked only two wickets in two matches as India picked just 7 wickets in the first two ODIs.

“I think they (SA spinners) were more consistent in their lines and lengths and they are used to playing in these conditions,” he said. One of the biggest reasons for the defeat is the lack of 50-over game time for a long duration, opined Rishabh Pant.

“We are playing ODIs after a long time and lots of factors we can talk about but as a team, we are always looking to improve and hopefully, we will be able to rectify them in coming matches.”

Rishabh Pant brushed aside queries about the poor form of pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“As a team, we are always looking to improve and I don’t think there is much concern about Bhuvi bhai’s form. Obviously, we are playing an ODI after a long time so we are just getting used to the momentum, obviously disappointed after losing the series but at the same time we are looking at ways to learn from our mistakes.” 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has returns of 0/64 and 0/67 in the first 2 ODIs of the 3 match series and was dropped in the 3rd ODI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled 18 overs in two matches and conceded runs with an economy of 7.27 without taking a single wicket. In the last ODI series against Sri Lanka in July last year, he picked 3 wickets in 2 matches with an economy of 6.15.

India made four changes as Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, and Deepak Chahar replaced Venkatesh Iyer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Shardul Thakur. South Africa is 168/3 and Quinton de Kock has almost scored a ton.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul-Reuters.

KL Rahul Is Not Ready To Lead The Team: Danish Kaneria

KL Rahul, as a captain, has come under heavy scrutiny for his decision-making and team selection. Several pundits and former cricketers believe KL Rahul is not ready yet and the latest person to jump on the bandwagon is former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria.

India’s ongoing tour of South Africa has been riddled with poor performances, controversies, and a lot of tension. Hardly anything has gone right for the Rahul Dravid-coached side as the ‘Men in Blue’ have been defeated in the ODI series after conceding the Test series 2-1 to the Proteas.

KL Rahul, Rahul Dravid Image Credit: shortpedia
KL Rahul, Rahul Dravid Image Credit: shortpedia

Danish Kaneria: There’s No Intensity In KL Rahul’s Captaincy

Moreover, before the start of the white-ball series, Virat Kohli surprisingly stepped down as the nation’s Test captain. Danish Kaneria, while analyzing the performance, has stated that all is not well within the camp.

While speaking in a video on his YouTube channel, Danish Kaneria talked about Virat Kohli’s attitude and body language, and also made a comment on KL Rahul’s leadership in the ongoing India-South Africa ODI series. By winning the second ODI by seven wickets on Friday, the hosts have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. Earlier on Wednesday, they had beaten the KL Rahul-led side by 31 runs in the first game.

Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)
Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)

“There’s no intensity in KL Rahul’s captaincy. Virat looks distant, disconnected from the team. When a review is being taken, he doesn’t close in as much and he isn’t giving a lot of input to the captain. You get to know what’s going inside a cricketer’s heart by judging their body language.”

Danish Kaneria, who bagged 261 wickets in 61 Tests for Pakistan, also pondered a divide in the dressing room after Virat Kohli’s exit from the leadership role. KL Rahul, who is captaining India in the ODI series in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, has posted scores of 12 and 55 in the two ODIs against Proteas so far.

KL Rahul Not Ready To Lead Indian Team: Danish Kaneria

All the confusion, questions in regard to India’s New Test Captain can be laid to rest. The BCCI is set to name Rohit Sharma as India’s New Test Captain. The BCCI will make an official announcement before the start of the West Indies tour of India.

“There seems to be a division within the team. Team India isn’t showing the intensity and the approach that Virat used to bring to the team (when he was captain). Going by KL Rahul’s captaincy, Rohit Sharma should come back as captain. KL Rahul is not ready to lead the team,” elaborated Kaneria.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma– Twitter

After the conclusion of the ongoing tour, India will play three ODIs, followed by as many T20Is, against the West Indies between February 6-20. Rohit Sharma is likely to return to the team for the series, which will be his first as a full-time captain of the white-ball team. The third and final ODI will take place on Sunday, January 23 in Cape Town, and the visitors would look to avoid a whitewash.

Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen are on the crease for South Africa after the home team is three wickets down in the third ODI against India at the Newlands in Cape Town. Deepak Chahar has been the pick of the Indian bowlers so far with his two wickets. The pacer first removed Janneman Malan in his second over and later dismissed Aiden Markram.

India XI: KL Rahul (capt), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Jayant Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE

‘Selection Isn’t Guaranteed Now’ – Harbhajan Singh Surprised By Virat Kohli’s Shocking Decision To Relinquish Test Captaincy

Harbhajan Singh has subtly warned that Virat Kohli, after leaving or being removed from the captaincy in all three formats, will now feel a pressure he hasn’t felt in the past seven years. The former spinner remarked that with his selection no longer guaranteed, Virat Kohli will feel under the pump to perform now more than ever.

Off-spinner veteran Harbhajan Singh’s remarks came a day after Virat Kohli was out for a five-ball duck in the second ODI against South Africa in Paarl. India ended up losing the game by seven wickets.

Virat Kohli scored a half-century in the previous match but looked completely at sea in the second, chipping a full off-stump ball from spinner Keshav Maharaj to cover. Virat Kohli, playing his first game after relinquishing Test captaincy, scored 51 off 63 balls.

Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)
Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)

Harbhajan Singh Surprised By Virat Kohli Stepping Down As Captain As His Selection Isn’t Guaranteed Now

Speaking in a video on his YouTube channel, former spinner, veteran Harbhajan Singh said he too was surprised by Virat Kohli’s “hurried” decision to step down from the Test captaincy role, adding that new challenges now await him as a batter.

He remarked: “When a captain steps down after seven years, a lot of people feel surprised in and outside the team. I myself was very surprised that he perhaps made this decision in a hurry. But obviously, Virat knows what’s in his heart, what are his future plans and what he wants to do in the future. But when you are captain, things are different.

“As a batter, he’ll have a different pressure upon him. We all know he’s a big player but when you are captain you don’t have to worry about your selection. You are always selected.”

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

Harbhajan Singh hopes Virat Kohli will continue to be the match-winner he was as a captain.

He continued: “But no matter how big a player you are – whether you are Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, (Sunil) Gavaskar, or anyone – you feel the pressure when you don’t perform. He’ll feel a pressure that wasn’t there for the past 7 years.

“But I also want to say that in these seven years he’s performed the best in world cricket as a captain. I hope his performance as a batter continues to be equally good and he keeps winning Team India matches as he did as a captain.”

Following the defeat on Friday, India, led by interim captain KL Rahul in the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, conceded the three-match series, with the South Africans taking an unassailable 2-0 lead. It was the first series defeat for the Men in Blue after Virat Kohli’s stepping down and the 33-year-old remains the only captain to have won an ODI series against the Proteas in South Africa.

Harbhajan Singh Reckons India Lost Both Test And ODI Series To The Weakest South African Team

Harbhajan Singh also spoke about India’s 2-1 defeat in the Test rubber that preceded the ODI series. He remarked that despite taking an early lead, India lost against the “weakest” South African side because of batting failures.

The Proteas were without the likes of pacer Anrich Nortje for both Test and ODI series, while Quinton de Kock retired from Test after loss in the 1st Test. Besides, the likes of Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir, and AB de Villiers weren’t there. Kagiso Rabada too was withdrawn from the ODI series to manage his workload.

Harbhajan Singh said: “When India went to play the Test series, it felt like this was a quite capable and strong team which will easily defeat this South African team. But that didn’t happen.

“We did win the first Test, KL Rahul batted brilliantly, Mayank scored 60-odd and our bowlers did well throughout the Test series but just because we couldn’t score enough runs, we lost the Test series even after taking a lead. If you are 1-0 up in South Africa then you should win and against this team – I feel this was the weakest South African team that defeated India.” 

Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images
Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images

India will play for pride in the final 3rd ODI which is a dead rubber. India opted to bowl after winning the toss. South Africa is 75/3 with Quinton de Kock unbeaten on 44. Deepak Chahar picked 2 wickets. India had made 4 changes as the likes of Jayant Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Suryaumar Yadav, and Prasidh Krishna got an opportunity.

At just 29 years of age and having played 54 Tests, Quinton de Kock announced his retirement from the traditional format at the end of the opening Test against India, which the Proteas lost by 113 runs at SuperSport Park, but he remains an integral part of Proteas limited-overs sides.

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

India Missing Spark They Had Under Virat Kohli: Sarandeep Singh

Sarandeep Singh, the former Team India selector feels that the Men in Blue are missing the spark and aggression which they had under Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

Sarandeep Singh’s remarks came after South Africa defeated India by seven wickets in the second ODI to gain an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series on Friday.

Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]
Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]

Sarandeep Singh: Indian Team Missing The Spark Under KL Rahul Unlike Virat Kohli

KL Rahul, who is captaining India in the ODI series in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, has posted scores of 12 and 55 in the two ODIs against Proteas so far. Former ODI skipper Virat Kohli was dismissed without scoring in the second ODI against and in South Africa at the Boland Park in Paarl after scoring a fifty in the opening fixture. Virat Kohli, playing his first game after relinquishing Test captaincy, scored 51 off 63 balls.

“India were favourites from day one not only in Test matches but even in the ODIs. The way they lost the Test matches. In the second Test, India lost badly but the only thing is it is not about the players. It is about captaincy too the way we thought KL Rahul will be very cool and calm but if you see Virat’s captaincy then he was very energetic and pumped up.

“In the same way, the team used to play as all the players were pumped up but now what I feel sitting from outside is somehow Indian team is missing that spark. They don’t have that spark and that energy is not there,” Sarandeep Singh said.

Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP
Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP

“They scored big runs as 287 is a big total. SA team played like champions. They played disciplined cricket, they played for the win. If you talk about Venkatesh Iyer he is not that quick and he is an opener. He did well in the T20s and he is a big hitter. Now he is batting at number six. He can’t hit because the field is not open. He is struggling over there with the bat as well as failed to take wickets,” Sarandeep Singh added.

Despite making his name as an opener in IPL 2021, Venkatesh Iyer batted at no.6 in the first two ODIs, scoring 2 (7) and 22 (33). Meanwhile, one of the consistent stars of recent IPL seasons, Suryakumar Yadav made his ODI debut in July against Sri Lanka and scored 124 runs from three games at an average of 64. He was replaced by Shreyas Iyer in this series.

Sarandeep Singh Is In Favour Of Pacer Prasidh Krishna Being Given A Chance

Sarandeep Singh also said that pacer Prasidh Krishna should be included in the Playing XI and Jasprit Bumrah should not be rested, in order to avoid a 3-0 defeat. Prasidh Krishna, Deepak Chahar, and Mohammed Siraj are options to replace Jasprit Bumrah, who might need some rest after playing all five matches on the tour so far.

“Mohammed Siraj is still injured but I am in huge favour of Prasidh Krishna. The young tall fast bowler should be given a chance. Jasprit Bumrah should not be rested because you don’t want to be 3-0. So, you need one experienced bowler over there. So, Prasidh Krishna should be tried. You need someone to contribute with both bat, ball and fielding also,” said Sarandeep Singh.

Prasidh Krishna Source: Google/ Image Credit: India Today
Prasidh Krishna Source: Google/ Image Credit: India Today

“I think India’s fielding was also very poor the way we dropped catches. You can see how easily singles were given away. There was no fielding in the circles and surprisingly Virat Kohli is not seen in the field all the time as somehow he seems to be lost in the scenes. He is fielding in the boundaries and is not seen in the circles. So, there are few things which are missing,” Sarandeeep Singh added.

A bowling all-rounder like Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav made his ODI debut back in 2016. He scored a run and picked up a wicket in that match, which turned out to be his only ODI so far, but he might get a match in place of too expensive Ravichandran Ashwin. The former selector further said that Team India was doing really well under the leadership of Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli, as they brought aggression into the game.

“You see what Ravi Shastri did with the team. How Ravi Shastri pumped up the team. This team was doing so well for the last seven years under Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli and they both were aggressive and modern-day cricket needs something like that. They have to be aggressive. Look at the way SA played. They were aggressive and look at the way they have won,” said the former selector Sarandeep Singh.

Quinton de Kock (78) and Janneman Malan (91) rose to the occasion with the bat as South Africa defeated India by seven wickets in the second ODI. For South Africa, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram remained unbeaten on 37 each.

Earlier, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul played knocks of 85 and 55 respectively as India posted 287/6 in the allotted 50 overs. Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin also played handy unbeaten innings of 40 and 25 respectively. For the Proteas, Tabraiz Shamsi returned with two wickets.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul-Reuters.

Captaincy Is Putting Pressure On KL Rahul: Sarandeep Singh

Sarandeep Singh, the former Team India selector feels that batter KL Rahul’s form was affected after he became the captain of the Men in Blue.

KL Rahul, who is captaining India in the ODI series in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, has posted scores of 12 and 55 in the two ODIs against Proteas so far.

Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]
Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]

Sarandeep Singh: KL Rahul Is In Phenomenal Forn In The IPL But It Seems Captaincy Is Putting Pressure On Him In ODIs Against Proteas

India’s tame surrender to South Africa in the opening two ODIs and the failure of the middle-order in both matches have ignited a debate on whether KL Rahul should bat lower down the order instead of opening the innings.

KL Rahul was signed by Lucknow for INR 17 cr fee, making him the joint-record holder for the most-paid player in the IPL, tied with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player, Virat Kohli. Speaking about KL Rahul’s signing, Sanjiv Goenka mentioned the 29-year-old was always his choice. KL Rahul has been the best opener in IPL since 2018 and scored 659, 593, 670, and 626 runs in the past four seasons, respectively.

“He (Rahul) is in phenomenal form in the IPL. He is a great batter but somehow he is not able to do well on SA series. It seems captaincy is putting pressure on him. The way he freely played in the IPL. He is not playing it over there in SA. The question is before going to the IPL what is your form, but great players are in the form all the time,” Sarandeep Singh said.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

KL Rahul was picked by the Lucknow franchise for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League 2022. Apart from him, Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and Indian domestic spinner Ravi Bishnoi have also been picked by the same franchise.

“Definitely KL Rahul and Marcus Stoinis one of the best players Lucknow have retained. Especially Stoinis he is an all-rounder and he is a big hitter also. He can bat up the order as well as the middle order. He can bowl in slog overs. He can bowl with the new ball also. We all know what he can do in IPL matches,” Sarandeep Singh added.

Marcus Stoinis is a huge pick by the Lucknow team as he has been an integral part of the Delhi Capitals side over the past few seasons when the team qualified for their maiden IPL final (2020) and also made it to the knock-outs in the rest of the two seasons (2019 and 2021).

Impressive young spinner Ravi Bishnoi has been named as the third pick by Lucknow and the decision clearly has KL Rahul’s stamp all over it as Ravi Bishnoi had played and done well under KL Rahul’s captaincy for Punjab Kings.

Sarandeep Singh: If Hardik Pandya Bowls It Will Be Good For Him And Franchise

Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad franchise bought India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, and Indian domestic batter Shubman Gill.

“Great buys for Ahmadabad Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan. Rashid Khan we all know what he did with the also and Shubman Gill the domestic player they have bought it from such a good amount as well and he is worth all the money as we have seen when he plays for KKR he scored the fifties all the time.

“So, you know Shubman Gill can play for 10-12 overs and others will come around and play their shots,” said Sarandeep Singh.

Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan. (Photo: Twitter)
Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan. (Photo: Twitter)

“You don’t need to say anything about Hardik Pandya, we all know what he can do with the bat. The thing is whether he is bowling fit or not because there are a lot of stakes on him. If he only bats and does not bowl then it is not good for his international career also.

“I am not saying that he cannot play as a batter but as a batter he needs to bat up the order. But I hope if he starts bowling then it is better for him as well as for the franchise and we need Hardik Pandya for the Indian squad,” Sarandeep Singh added.

IPL’s two new teams — Sanjiv Goenka RPSG Group for the Lucknow franchise and CVC Capital’s Ahmedabad team had received formal clearance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The formal clearance was given after a meeting of the IPL Governing Council. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel had also confirmed that the IPL auction would be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13.

“Yes, the auction will be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13,” said Patel.

Meanwhile taking about the ODI series in South Africa, with the series already lost, India might want to test their bench strength in the dead rubber in Cape Town.

In the first two games, the bowlers managed to pick just seven wickets with experienced picks like Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar looking toothless against the opposition. The likes of bowlers Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Jayant Yadav, Navdeep Saini, and Deepak Chahar have been waiting in the wings for their first game of the series.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

“It’s Time To Look At Deepak Chahar In Place Of Bhuvneshwar Kumar”- Sunil Gavaskar

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes that India should move on from Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the pacer is struggling with his form and fitness. Gavaskar also suggested a like-for-like replacement in form of Deepak Chahar who can swing the new ball and can contribute with the bat down the order.

South Africa beat India in both matches comprehensively as Indian bowlers failed to make an impression in the series. Indian bowling picked only 6 wickets in the 2 matches in the series. Bhuvi went wicketless in both matches as he conceded the runs with an economy of more than 7. In the second match, he was taken away from the attack after just one over in the first spell.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“Intention should be to look at what is going to be your core team for the 2023 World Cup”- Sunil Gavaskar

“I think it’s time to look at Deepak Chahar now. He is younger, pretty much the same kind of bowler, and bats handily down the order,” Gavaskar spoke to India Today.

Gavaskar pointed out that Bhuvi had been struggling with his form for a while. In IPL 2021, he picked only 6 wickets in 11 games with an economy of around 8. And it’s not just numbers he couldn’t find his old swing which made him famous in the early part of his career.

“Bhuvi has been a tremendous servant of Indian cricket but in the last year or so, even in franchise level T20 cricket, he has been expensive. Not so much at the start of the innings but towards the end. He used to bowl those brilliant yorkers and slower deliveries, but those are not working anymore. That can happen, the opposition is studying you all the time and they will know how to be prepared for it. So maybe it is time to look at somebody else,” said Gavaskar.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Gavaskar opined that India should start preparing for the world cup as there isn’t much time left for the mega event. He added that India should form the core and that core should play as many matches together as possible.

“Now the intention should be to look at what is going to be your core team for the 2023 World Cup in India. We have got a good 17-18 months to do that. The core team have got to get the maximum number of ODIs. There are matches coming against West Indies, Sri Lanka and later on against England. That is where you have got to give them the maximum number of matches so they are well prepared for the World Cup,” said Gavaskar.

After this series, India will play a limited-overs series against West Indies consisting 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is at home starting on February 6. Then Sri Lanka will visit India to play a series of 2 Tests and 3 T20Is.

Also read India Need Bowlers Who Can Bowl Above 140 kmph In South Africa- Gautam Gambhir



Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)

Aakash Chopra Tweets If Bhuvneshwar Kumar Was Born In South Africa, He Would’ve Ended Up With 250-plus Test Wickets

Aakash Chopra, the former India opener made a big claim on pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is not a part of the Test team at the moment. India produced a fighting performance on Day 3 of the second Test in Johannesburg against South Africa, as the side set a 240-run target for the Proteas to win the game.

South Africa did finish the day strongly at 118/2 but the Indian bowlers will be aiming to exploit the deteriorating pitch condition when they return to the field on Day 4.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Tweets If Bhuvneshwar Kumar Was Born In South Africa, He Would’ve Ended Up With 250 Or More Test Wickets

The Indian pace attack in the second innings – comprising of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Shardul Thakur – wasn’t at its very best during the final session of the day and the absence of Mohammed Siraj, who pulled his hamstring during the first innings of the Test, seemed to make a significant impact.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar[photo: Twitter]
Bhuvneshwar Kumar[photo: Twitter]
Towards the end of the day, the former India opener made a huge claim over a particular Indian bowler who is not a part of the Test team at the moment but was an integral all-format player until early 2018.

“If Bhuvneshwar Kumar was born in South Africa, he would’ve ended up with 250+ Test wickets,”  Chopra tweeted.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has represented India in 21 Tests so far, taking 63 wickets. However, injuries at regular intervals not only plagued his Test career but also impacted his limited-overs outings for the team. The 31-year-old made a return to the Indian team last year in the white-ball series against England, having last represented the side in August 2019.

The Indian bowling attack for this particular Test series has the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and Shardul Thakur. While Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav are yet to play a Test match in this series so far, Ravichandran Ashwin is the specialist spinner in the side with Shardul Thakur playing as an all-rounder. Shardul Thakur also bagged his career-best Test figures of 7/61 in this 2nd Test match.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar Is Facing Stiff Competition From Likes Of Mohammed Siraj And Shardul Thakur

Since Bhuvneshwar Kumar last played a Test, the Indian pace quartet of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav has achieved significant success in the home and overseas Tests. Over the past year, pacers like Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur have also produced impressive performances, adding to further competition for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

However, the 31-year-old bowler is still an integral part of the Indian white-ball setup and has been selected for the upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa. The 31-year-old right-arm pacer has not played multi-day format cricket since January 2018 when he last appeared in a Test in South Africa. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj have been named in the ODI squad facing South Africa.

South Africa, chasing 240 to win is already 118/2 needing another 122 runs to win at stumps on day 3 of the 2nd Test, as the first session of the 4th day’s play was washed due to rain. India is leading 1-0 in the 3 Test match series.

The start of the fourth and penultimate day’s play in the second Test between India and South Africa was on Thursday delayed because of rain. South Africa needs 122 runs to win the match and restore parity in the three-match rubber, while the visiting Indians need eight wickets to emerge victoriously and script their maiden Test series win in the Rainbow Nation.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chetan Sharma Revealed Selectors Grooming KL Rahul For Captaincy Role In Future; Rohit Sharma Misses Out From India’s Squad For South Africa ODIs

Chairman of all India Senior-Selection Committee Chetan Sharma on Friday revealed that selectors are grooming KL Rahul for the role of captaincy.

KL Rahul who has been fulfilling the vice-captaincy duties in the ongoing three-match Test series against South Africa on Friday was handed the role of skipper for the ODI series. Rohit Sharma would have been the captain, but he was deemed unfit by the selectors and hence KL Rahul would act as a captain while Jasprit Bumrah will be deputy of the opener in the three-match ODI series.

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chetan Sharma: Definitely Selectors Are Looking At 3 Format Player KL Rahul As Skipper

The team for the ODIs against Proteas was picked on Friday by the Chetan Sharma-led selection panel. KL Rahul has been leading Punjab Kings since 2020 but has failed to inspire the side into the playoffs in his two seasons as captain. KL Rahul has been incredibly consistent with the bat but Punjab Kings have failed to fire as a unit and have finished outside the top four under his captaincy in the last two seasons.

About grooming KL Rahul for the future, Chetan Sharma in the press conference said: “Yes, definitely we are looking at KL Rahul at the present. He is a three format player and he got a good experience of captaincy and he has proved his leadership qualities, this is what all selectors think.”

Chetan Sharma, Chairman Of Selectors (Pic Source: Twitter)
Chetan Sharma, Chairman Of Selectors (Pic Source: Twitter)

Captaincy comes with a lot of responsibility and the Karnataka lad is used to it as he has already captained the Punjab Kings team in the Indian Premier League.

Chetan Sharma Revealed Selectors Have Faith In KL Rahul

From India’s last full-strength ODI squad that played England in March, the selectors omitted Kuldeep Yadav, the Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal, T Natarajan (injured), and Shubman Gill. Pacer Deepak Chahar, batsman Shikhar Dhawan and wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan found their way in besides Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar.

“Like Rohit is not fit and we thought KL will be the best who can handle the side and that’s why we have good confidence in Rahul and we are grooming him,” Chetan Sharma added.

KL Rahul has been named as captain for the ODI series as Rohit Sharma is ruled out owing to an injury. Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will be vice-captain for the series. Fast bowler Mohammed Shami has been rested while Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja remain unfit.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has roared back into the limited-overs format and has been picked in the ODI side for the first time since 2017. He last played for India in the format in June 2017 in West Indies but fell out of favour as the wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were preferred ahead of him.

Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar has been recovering from a finger injury he sustained in July last year and since then he has not played international cricket. The year 2022 will see him restart with the ODI series against the Proteas.

India and South Africa will play a three-match ODI series which will begin from January 19, 2022, at Boland Park, Paarl. The second One Day International will be played at Boland Park, Paarl on January 21, 2022, and the third and final One Day International will be played on January 23, 2022, at the Newlands, Cape Town

Indian Team For ODIs Against South Africa: KL Rahul (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Y Chahal, R Ashwin, W Sundar, J Bumrah (VC), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj

India. Image Credits: BCCI

Indian Cricket Team To Undergo 3-Day Quarantine In Mumbai Before Flying To South Africa

Indian cricket team will undergo a three-day quarantine in Mumbai before flying to Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday by charter flight. Members of the South Africa-bound squad have been asked to check into a five-star hotel near the Mumbai International Airport by Sunday evening to fulfil the biosecurity protocols, a report said.

Before entering the bio-bubble, the likes of the Indian cricket team’s Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, and Shardul Thakur took part in a mini-camp at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai under India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey. Indian cricket team will play three Tests and three ODIs but at this point, only the members of the Test squad will fly to the Rainbow Nation.

Indian Test Team
Indian Test Team[photo: Twitter]

Indian Cricket Team’s Hanuma Vihari Who Did Well For India A To Stay Back Along With Cricketers Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswallam

Meanwhile, a few members of the Indian cricket team A squad — Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswallam, Hanuma Vihari, and Vivek Ramakrishna (trainer), who were involved in a three-game series against South Africa A, have stayed back and will join the senior side after they reach there.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari- AP Photo

The rest of India A squad avoided landing in Mumbai and flew directly to Ahmedabad from Bloemfontein to avoid strict quarantine protocols in Maharashtra. Notably, there were concerns around senior teams’ travel to South Africa, which is reeling under Omicron, a new and deadlier variant of COVID-19.

Hanuma Vihari has scored 624 runs in 12 Tests averaging 32.84. He battled a hamstring injury to hit a match-saving 23 runs from 161 balls against Australia in the Sydney 3rd Test.

Rohit Sharma’s participation in the Test leg of India’s tour of South Africa has been put in doubt due to injury. While the nature of the injury is yet to be confirmed, it has been learned that Rohit Sharma, if ruled out, will be replaced by the Gujarat batter Priyank Panchal, who has been alerted by BCCI.

Indian Cricket Team A Had An Incident Free South Africa A Tour

However, the incident-free Indian cricket team A tour has emboldened the BCCI and the members for travelling to the country. The CSA has also promised to leave nothing to chance on the implementation of BSE protocols during the tour. The first of the three Tests starts in Centurion on December 26. Wanderers in Johannesburg and Newlands in Cape Town will host the other two Tests.

All of the 3 unofficial Tests between the Indian A cricket team and South Africa A were drawn. South Africa’s Sarel Erwee, Tony de Zorzi, and Pieter Malan are leading the batting charts followed by Hanuma Vihari and Abhimanyu Easwaran. Navdeep Saini, Lutho Sipamla, and Glenton Stuurman are leading the bowling charts.

India A
India A. Image Credits: Twitter

The Indian cricket team was initially scheduled to fly out on December 9, with the first Test starting at Johannesburg on December 17 but it was postponed to December 26. The team was to play 3 Tests, 3 ODIs, and 4 T20Is in South Africa, but the one-week postponement meant 4 T20Is would be added to the next tour.

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