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Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle
Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle
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Devdutt Padikkal Want To Have Same Passion And Hunger Like Virat Kohli

Devdutt Padikkal, RCB opener made quite an impact in IPL 2020. The 20-year-old who plays for Karnataka in domestic cricket signed off IPL 2020 as RCB’s highest run-getter and 8th highest run-getter with 473 runs in 15 IPL matches at an average of 31.53 in his debut season.

He was in a rich vein of form in the last domestic tournaments as well. He scored 218 runs at an average of 43.60 in six matches for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and continued with his sublime touch in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well.

Devdutt Padikkal (Screengrab: Iplt20)
Devdutt Padikkal (Screengrab: Iplt20)

Devdutt Padikkal Set Game Plans To Build An Innings And Matured With Time

The left-hander amassed 737 runs in 7 matches at an astonishing average of 147.40. His onslaught in the Vijay Hazare Trophy included four back-to-back centuries. He tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22 and is currently under home quarantine in Bengaluru and will only join the RCB bio bubble in Chennai once “his RT-PCR tests are negative”, according to a statement released by RCB.

He is likely to miss his team’s opener against Mumbai Indians on April 9 at Chennai and may miss the second match of the tournament too on April 14 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the same venue. With Virat Kohli announcing he will open for RCB this season, Devdutt Padikkal is the other first-choice opener for the team.

Virat Kohli, RCB
Virat Kohli, RCB

Ahead of the 2021 season, Timesofindia.com caught up with the very talented 20-year-old left-handed batsman for an exclusive interview, before he tested positive, mostly to talk about his impressive domestic season, playing alongside Virat Kohli, meeting batting legend Rahul Dravid and cricketing role models.

“I have matured with time and the way I have been batting. I really learned a lot in terms of building an innings and getting those big runs because I used to have problems with getting out a number of times in the 70s and 80s. In the last couple of years, I have really worked a lot on my batting to build an innings and to have a clear set of plans,”Devdutt Padikkal on dominating the domestic season and hitting back-to-back centuries.

“I had an incredible outing at RCB last year. Playing alongside Virat bhai and ABD and all other cricketers was great. It was an incredible experience. Every day I was learning something new from Virat and ABD. The way they carry themselves in the international tournaments and in IPL, which is a long tournament, is amazing,” Devdutt Padikkal on experience to play alongside players like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in RCB.

“The passion and hunger he has for the game, it’s incredible. He has that kind of drive towards the game. He doesn’t need anyone to push or motivate. He has so much fire to perform and give the best for the country or team. That is something I really want to have in myself,”Devdutt Padikkal on biggest thing learnt from Virat Kohli.

“The side is looking strong. We have star players. I had a huge learning (curve) last season and will aim to carry on the same show in the IPL too. Looking forward to scoring a good amount of runs for RCB and helping the team win the title,” Devdutt Padikkal on RCB’s chances this season.

“The ultimate goal for any cricketer is to play for the country. I also want to represent my country.I am trying to improve my game every day and take it to the next level so that whenever the opportunity arises, I can grab it with both hands,” Devdutt Padikkal on chances of playing for India some day.

RCB has retained just 12 squad members and released 10 players before IPL 2021 Auction. RCB released Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Pavan Negi, Parthiv Patel (retired), Dale Steyn (unavailable), Isuru Udana, Umesh Yadav from their IPL 2020 squad before IPL 2021.

Devdutt Padikkal Opens Up On Rahul Dravid And Gautam Gambhir

RCB has acquired the services of in-form Mohammed Azharudeen, Rajat Patidar, Daniel Sams, Sachin Baby, Daniel Christian, and Srikar Bharat.

Royal Challengers Bangalore splurged a whopping INR 29.25 crore on two overseas all-rounders in Glenn Maxwell and Kyle Jamieson during the IPL 2021 auction held in Chennai. Despite spending a maximum of INR 84.65 crore, Royal Challengers have the least number of players (22). Later, Finn Allen replaced Josh Phillipe who opted out.

“I have spoken with Rahul (Dravid) sir a few times. Whenever I have the chance, I have met him. I met him at the KCA most of the time. He is such a humble person. He is ready to give any kind of advice whenever I need it,” on learning from Rahul Dravid.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

“I started playing cricket when I was nine years old. It started off as a hobby and then my parents took me to a summer camp. I never thought I would take up cricket as a profession. But once I shifted to Bangalore for cricket, because Bangalore had a really good infrastructure for cricket and spent more time at the crease, I realised this is something I should do professionally. My parents supported me a lot,” on cricketing journey.

“For me, there is not one individual who has inspired me. Every person has a separate story and everyone really has gone through with some things to get there in their career. I take inspiration from every cricketer who has played for India because getting there is not easy at all. It takes a lot to get there. They have done a lot to reach that level and contributed to the country,” said he on inspiration.

“But my role model is Gautam Gambhir in cricket.”

RCB Probable Playing XI In Absence Of Devdutt Padikkal For MI: Virat Kohli(c), Finn Allen (wk), AB De Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Washington Sundar,  Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP
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Gautam Gambhir Was The Glue That Kept India’s Batting Line-Up Together: Paddy Upton

Paddy Upton, India’s Mental Conditioning and Strategic Leadership Coach in 2011, remembered the contribution of Gautam Gambhir in the final as he called him ‘the glue that kept the great batting line-up of that era together.’

The Indian cricket team last lifted a Cricket World Cup in 2011. There were euphoric scenes at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai as MS Dhoni-led Team India lifted the World Cup after 28 years of wait.

Rajasthan Royals coach Paddy Upton
Rajasthan Royals coach Paddy Upton Arjun Singh /SPORTZPICS

Gary Kirsten Used To Call Gautam Gambhir The Rock: Paddy Upton

India chased down Sri Lanka’s target of 274 runs in the 49th over to be crowned world champions. India stuttered at the start but managed to get to the target due to the brilliance of Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni. India lost the wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early in their run-chase and it transferred the pressure on the remaining batsmen.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir Lakruuwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

But Gautam Gambhir stuck around to deliver a career-defining knock of 97 to take India close to the target.

“There was that additional pressure and disappointment of having Sehwag and Tendulkar back in the change room. But the reality was, you had two of the best high-pressure players in the team – one of them at the crease – Gautam Gambhir. Gary Kirsten used to call him the rock. He spent most of his career as Sehwag’s sidekick,” Paddy Upton told cricket.com.

Skipper MS Dhoni promoting himself over Yuvraj Singh at a crucial stage of the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka is one of the most intriguing and talked-about subjects in Indian cricket.

Yuvraj Singh had been in great form throughout the tournament, with both bat and ball, but according to Paddy Upton the reasons were both cricketing and the captain’s determination to rise to the big occasion to leave his own indelible mark on the tournament. MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 91 off 79 balls, and the soaring six over long-on off Nuwan Kulasekara that sealed glory, is one of the most memorable images in Indian cricket.

Paddy Upton: Gautam Gambhir Was The Glue That Kept The Great Batting Line-up Of That Era Together

Over the course of the World Cup, the left-handed Yuvraj Singh contributed 362 runs, 15 wickets, four Man of the Match awards, culminating in the Player of the Tournament honour. MS Dhoni’s highest score going into the final was 34 against Ireland.

“Sehwag would be the guy who used to be on the highlights package and play the flamboyant cricket and get the crowd cheering. Gambhir would just squirt the ball with that square drive behind backward point. He wouldn’t get the crowd going and he wouldn’t make it to the highlights package, but Gambhir was the glue that kept the great batting line-up of that era together,” Paddy Upton added.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Although he had not delivered with the bat for seven games until then, MS Dhoni was at that time, probably still is, the best in the world when it comes to second innings chase in white-ball cricket. So, we really did have, in truth, our two biggest guns or two biggest bullets still in the chamber.”

The former India opener, who has scored more than 10,000 international runs in 242 games across formats, batted at No. 3 mostly in the 2011 World Cup. The 11 who featured in that final never played together again. That should definitely trigger some nostalgia. For Gautam Gambhir, however, it is more of an unanswered question.
File image of Yuvraj Singh | Oli Scarff/AFP
File image of Yuvraj Singh | Oli Scarff/AFP
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Yuvraj Singh Was An Unsung Hero In 2011 World Cup, Says Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir has praised the contribution of left-handed southpaw Yuvraj Singh, lamenting how the left-hander’s efforts were overshadowed by captain MS Dhoni’s match-winning six on the tenth anniversary of India’s 2011 World Cup triumph.

Indian cricket witnessed one of its greatest moments when the then skipper MS Dhoni launched Sri Lankan Nuwan Kulasekara over wide long-on for a six to seal the 2011 World Cup win exactly 10 years ago. However, Gautam Gambhir, the other hero who top-scored with 97 in that final, is irked that MS Dhoni’s six became the defining moment of India’s World Cup triumph and not Yuvraj Singh’s all-round contribution in the tournament.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir Lakruuwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Gautam Gambhir: Yuvraj Singh Was An Unsung Hero And Isn’t Talked About Although The Match Winning Six By MS Dhoni Is More Discussed

With 362 runs at an average of 90.5 and 15 wickets at an average of 25.13, Yuvraj Singh was a key player in India’s second ODI World Cup win after a hiatus of 28 years and deservingly won the Player of the Tournament award. Gautam Gambhir lashed out for MS Dhoni’s tournament-sealing six dominating public consciousness and not Yuvraj Singh’s efforts.

In an interview with The Times of India, Gautam Gambhir said:”There were 13 or probably 14 unsung heroes in that win! Munaf, I, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, who got a hundred in the first game, Suresh Raina, who played a crucial knock against Pakistan – all these players’ contributions were unbelievable.

“For that matter, when I look back today after ten years, I feel Yuvraj was an unsung hero as well, despite being the ‘Man of the Tournament.’ You won’t talk about him, but people do talk about that one six (MS Dhoni’s winning runs) for sure,” said Gautam Gambhir, who top-scored in the 2011 World Cup final with 97.

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Chasing 275 for victory, India was in a precarious position at 114 for 3 in the 22nd over after the fall of Virat Kohli. MS Dhoni promoted himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh and stitched together a 109-run stand with Gautam Gambhir that set up the platform for the successful chase. Gautam Gambhir fell for 97, but MS Dhoni (91*) took the team home and was awarded the Man of the Match.

Gautam Gambhir: Yuvraj Singh Was The Biggest Player In Both 2007 T20I And 2011 World Cups

Gautam Gambhir has credited Yuvraj Singh for two World Cup wins for India (T20 World Cup in 2007 and ODI World Cup in 2011). In the 2007 T20 World Cup, Yuvraj Singh scored only 148 runs in the tournament, with two fifties. But he got those runs at a strike rate close to 195.

His 12-ball half-century against England in the tournament remains the fastest fifty in international cricket as he hit 6 sixes in one over off Stuart Broad. Despite Yuvraj Singh playing a key role in the 2007 T20 World Cup triumph, MS Dhoni’s leadership was portrayed as the key reason for India’s success.

“People say that I’m the unsung hero of that victory, but for me, he’s (Yuvraj Singh) the biggest unsung hero of both the World Cup wins for India. Without his contribution, India wouldn’t have won the 2011 World Cup.

“For me, he was the biggest player in both the World Cups. I don’t like talking about individuals because in a team sport, everyone contributes – who won both the World Cups, it must be Yuvraj and no one else.”

MS Dhoni finishes off in style as Yuvraj Singh celebrates
MS Dhoni finishes off in style as Yuvraj Singh celebrates| Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Gautam Gambhir continued: “Yes, I got a 75 in the 2007 World T20 final and was the highest run-getter (for India) in the 2011 final. However, what he (Yuvraj Singh) did, I don’t think anyone else could have,” said Gautam Gambhir, who also top-scored for India in the 2007 T20 World Cup final.

Talking of World Cups, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, and Gautam Gambhir, here’s an interesting trivia. Back in 2000, both left-handed Gautam Gambhir and keeper MS Dhoni were overlooked for the Under-19 World Cup. Yuvraj Singh went on to win India their maiden Under-19 World Cup that year, bagging the Player of the Tournament award.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Gautam Gambhir Praises Yuvraj Singh For 2011 World Cup Win But Asserts That Everyone Has Contributed

Gautam Gambhir, top-scorer for India in the 2011 World Cup final with 97, hits the rewind button on the 10th anniversary of India’s landmark triumph and stresses how teamwork played a crucial role in the tournament.

Around a year back, Gautam Gambhir had lambasted a website for making it appear as if India’s 2011 World Cup win was all about the famous six that skipper MS Dhoni smashed in the final to clinch the tournament.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir Lakruuwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Gautam Gambhir: Unsung Hero Yuvraj Singh Was In Best Touch In 2011 World Cup

Exactly a decade after India famously won the 2011 World Cup, Gautam Gambhir, who cracked 97 in that final against Sri Lanka at Mumbai, tells why he thinks there were multiple heroes of that triumph, with the main man being Yuvraj Singh, who was named as the ‘Man of the Tournament’ for his all-round exploits.

“I don’t look back at things because I think it’s time to move forward. Indian cricket can’t keep thinking that we won the World Cup in 2011. We did something which we were supposed to achieve. We didn’t do something which we weren’t supposed to do,” said Gautam Gambhir on a decade since winning 2011 World Cup

“Do you think that only one individual won us the World Cup? If one individual could have won the World Cup, then India could have won all the World Cups till now. If one six can win you the World Cup, then I think Yuvraj Singh should have won six World Cups for India, because he hit six sixes in an over (against England in 2007 World T20 at Durban),” said Gautam Gambhir on triumph not being a one man’s job.

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh Adnan Abidi / Reuters

“Not the 97 I scored, but when people come up to me and ‘say thank you for the World Cup,’ that’s my biggest achievement,” said Gautam Gambhir on his 97 in the final.

“The guy in best touch was Yuvraj. When it comes to the knockouts, the crunch situation, and then you deliver, then it’s about your mental toughness.  Therefore, I always say that Yuvraj was in very good touch. I remember that in a league game, against Ireland in Bangalore, we were in a spot of bother, and he won the game,” said Gautam Gambhir on Yuvraj Singh being in best touch.

” Except in one game, I played at No 3 throughout. It’s about having the opportunity of playing in a World Cup final, which not many people have. Even if they’d have wanted me to bat at No 6 or 7, I would’ve happily done that,” on playing at No. 3, not opening.

“I can’t talk on behalf of the other individuals. All I can say is that for me, the platform never mattered. For me, all that mattered was the contest between the bat and ball,” on pressure of World Cup at home conditions.

“There were 13, or probably 14 unsung heroes of that win! Munaf, I, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, who got a hundred in the first game, Suresh Raina, who played a crucial knock against Pakistan – all these players’ contribution was unbelievable.

“For that matter, when I look back at it today after 10 years, I feel Yuvraj is an unsung hero as well, despite being the ‘Man of the Tournament.’ You won’t talk about him, but people do talk about that one six for sure,” Gautam Gambhir on unsung heroes.

“For me, he’s the biggest unsung hero of both the World Cup wins for India. Yes, I got a 75 in the 2007 World T20 final and was the highest run-getter of 2011 final. However, what he did, I don’t think anyone else can.” on Yuvraj Singh.

Yuvraj Singh was at his best in the 2011 World Cup. He finished with 362 runs, 15 wickets, 4 man-of-the-match awards, and the Player of the Tournament as Yuvraj Singh would forever be remembered for his scintillating performance in India’s second World Cup triumph at home after a hiatus of 28 years.

Gautam Gambhir: Gary Kirsten Was Hard Working Man Manager

India won the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup by beating Sri Lanka in the final of the tournament by six wickets. Yuvraj Singh was adjudged the man of the tournament as he put on an unimaginable all-around performance, keeping in mind that he had cancer at that very moment.

Gautam Gambhir was one of the key players for India who helped the team to win both the ICC World T20 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He was the highest run-scorer for India in both the finals of those tournaments.

” I don’t think that we played well, but we still managed to win that game! We were probably mediocre! We should have got more runs than the 260-odd we got. We won that much because of Suresh Raina’s innings,” on beating Pakistan.

“That question can be answered better by the coach, captain and the selectors, because I was neither. Obviously, you feel sad that you could not go on to defend the World Cup. It must’ve hurt Yuvraj, Harbhajan, and all of those who were a part of the 2011 team, to not be able to defend the World Cup, but that’s what life is!” on players not playing next 2015 World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar and Team India members after the 2011 World Cup win. (Source: Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar and Team India members after the 2011 World Cup win. (Source: Twitter)

“We were playing against the West Indies at Chennai, and we had more than 600-700 bats in our dressing room!” Gautam Gambhir opens up on a special moment.

“He had both these qualities – being a good man-manager, and was hard-working,” on Gary Kirsten as a coach.

“See, I’m not an astrologer, but I hope they do well because very few people get the opportunity to play in a World Cup for their country,” Gautam Gambhir on 2023 World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar was India’s highest run-getter with 482 runs averaging 53.56 while Gautam Gambhir (393), Virender Sehwag (380), and Yuvraj Singh (362) also contributed. Among bowlers, Indian pacer Zaheer Khan topped the bowling charts by taking 21 scalps while spinner Yuvraj Singh took 15 scalps.

Yuvraj Singh celebrates after guiding India to victory against Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2011 ODI World Cup | AFP / Manan Vatsyayana
Yuvraj Singh celebrates after guiding India to victory against Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2011 ODI World Cup | AFP / Manan Vatsyayana
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Winning Matters But Winning In Style Matters More: Yuvraj Singh On 2011 World Cup Win

Yuvraj Singh, former Indian all-rounder opened up on the then skipper MS Dhoni’s match-winning six against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup finale — a decade after India’s 2nd World Cup triumph in Mumbai.

Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh reflected on MS Dhoni’s winning six in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, saying it was indeed a job well done. MS Dhoni’s iconic six-off Nuwan Kulasekara in the 49th over to seal the victory for India is forever etched in the memory of every Indian cricket fan.

MS Dhoni finishes off in style as Yuvraj Singh celebrates
MS Dhoni finishes off in style as Yuvraj Singh celebrates| Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Gautam Gambhir Scored 97 And MS Dhoni Was Unbeaten On 91 As India Chased Down 275 In The Final

MS Dhoni came ahead of Yuvraj Singh to counter the spin of Muttiah Muralitharan and the move paid rich dividends as well. Gautam Gambhir had laid a solid foundation but missed century by a whisker before the skipper took the game away from the Lankans. Yuvraj Singh himself played a crucial role in the second innings as well, scoring 21 off 24 balls, stitching a crucial unbroken 54-run stand with skipper which eventually got India over the finish line.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir Lakruuwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 274/6 with Mahela Jayawardene scoring an unbeaten 103 off 88 balls. Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh took 2 wickets apiece. Gautam Gambhir then scored 97 off 122 balls and MS Dhoni scored an unbeaten 91 off only 79 balls to see India cross the hurdle in the 49th over winning by 6 wickets.

Yuvraj Singh, MOS Of 2011 World Cup: Winning In Style Matters More

Yuvraj Singh was at his best in the 2011 World Cup. He finished with 362 runs, 15 wickets, 4 man-of-the-match awards, and the Player of the Tournament as Yuvraj Singh would forever be remembered for his scintillating performance in India’s second World Cup triumph at home after a hiatus of 28 years.

“God has indeed been very kind to me. I’ve been part of two World Cup triumphs and each one gives me an added reason to feel good about contributing to the team,” Yuvraj told the Hindu.

“In 2007 (in the inaugural T20 World Cup), those six sixes in an over brought a different kind of joy to the people, especially the young cricket fans. I still get lots of people coming to me and recalling how it was for them to watch the ball sail over the boundary, ball after ball.”

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh Adnan Abidi / Reuters

“Again in 2011, I think I could play a hand in most of the games. When I did not contribute with the bat, like against Pakistan (in the semifinals), I took two top-order wickets (Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan) and again two against Lanka, including Sangakkara’s.”

“Winning matters but winning in style matters a little more. That’s the difference between taking a winning single and sending the ball into the stands. It was indeed a job done well!”

In the 2011 World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar was India’s highest run-getter with 482 runs averaging 53.56 finishing 2nd behind Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan(500 runs) in the leading run-scorers. Gautam Gambhir (393), Virender Sehwag(380) and Yuvraj Singh(362) also contributed. Among bowlers, Indian pacer Zaheer Khan topped the bowling charts along with Shahid Afridi by taking 21 scalps while spinner Yuvraj Singh took 15 scalps.

Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni also featured in the inaugural T20I World Cup in 2007 which India won with several youngsters in the squad.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir (L) and batsman Suryakumar Yadav (Photo| Twitter and PTI)
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir (L) and batsman Suryakumar Yadav (Photo| Twitter and PTI)
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Suryakumar Yadav And Hardik Pandya Did A Commandable Job In 5th T20I: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir was left impressed with India’s batting performance in the series decider on Saturday and feels Virat Kohli’s team put up a ‘perfect’ batting display against England in Ahmedabad in the 5th T20I. Put in to bat, India posted a mammoth score of 224/2 which was their highest total against England in T20Is with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma peeling off half-centuries.

The duo put on 94 runs for the opening wicket before Rohit Sharma played on. From there, skipper Virat Kohli who promoted himself as an opener took control of proceedings and remained not out till the end, scoring 80 off 52 balls.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma put on a 94-run opening stand on Saturday.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma put on a 94-run opening stand on Saturday. @BCCI

Gautam Gambhir  Reckons India Would Not Have Reached 224 If Suryakumar Yadav And Hardik Pandya Didn’t Contribute

However, as good a knock that was from Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir feels India wouldn’t have been able to get to the daunting total had it not been for the notable contributions from Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya.

“I’m not going to take anything away from Virat Kohli but then he had people like Suryakumar Yadav. There wasn’t a single phase in these 20 overs where England was in control,” Gautam Gambhir said in a video on ESPNCricinfo.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Mostly there have been times when a team gets off to a flier – six overs 60 runs – but there is a phase after those six overs, where the team tries to push it back, especially the bowling team. But if you see Suryakumar Yadav’s innings, if you can get that 30-odd off 17 balls and you can continue that same momentum, it’s always difficult.”

Playing his second innings in international cricket, Suryakumar Yadav raced to 32 off 17 balls with three fours and two sixes and added 49 quick runs with skipper Virat Kohli before getting out to Adil Rashid.

Then came Hardik Pandya, who smoked 39 not out off 17 balls, hitting four boundaries and two sixes, and along with Virat Kohli, allowed India to continue scoring at a healthy run-rate till the end. Gautam Gambhir gave Virat Kohli the duo credit for playing anchor, he feels Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya’s innings made a huge difference.

KL Rahul’s repeated failures at the top prompted skipper Virat Kohli to promote himself up the batting order and the decision paid rich dividends. India’s opening partnerships registered scores of 2, 0, 7, 21 in the first four T20Is before Rohit Sharma (64) and Virat Kohli (80 not out) teamed up to add 94 runs for 1st wicket in the series decider.

KL Rahul’s poor run saw him score 1, 0, 0, and 14 in the first 4 T20I matches of the 5 match series.

“It’s easy for Virat Kohli because he’s been in and he’s batted for six overs. But suddenly after coming out to bat after six overs, and playing at that tempo and Hardik Pandya coming in and playing on that tempo, it’s a different ball game,” Gambhir said.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

“Yes, Kohli batted throughout and you expect Virat to do that. If he bats through, he will get a strike rate of probably 140. But then it’s those difficult runs which I was mentioning about, how important it is after six overs. So what they – Surya and Hardik – did was commendable. Can’t be perfect that this… from start till the end.”

Apart from Rohit Sharma’s 64 and Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 80, Suryakumar Yadav scored 32 off 17 balls and Hardik Pandya played a cameo towards the end by being unbeaten on 39 off 17 balls. Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 80 was laced with 7 fours and 2 sixes and came off 52 balls. All the Indian batsmen had a strike rate of above 150.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant File Photo: PTI
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Rishabh Pant Played A ‘Courageous’ Reverse Flick Shot In 1st T20I: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir, former Indian cricketer described gloveman Rishabh Pant’s reverse-flick off pacer Jofra Archer as a “courageous shot”. After the 4th Test between India and England at Motera in Ahmedabad, a lot of the talks doing the rounds revolved around Rishabh Pant’s beautiful reverse scoop-off veteran pacer James Anderson for a six.

The stunning shot earned him a lot of praise from the cricket fraternity and he promised at the post-match presentation ceremony that he would continue to play such shots which came in the very 1st T20I.

IND vs ENG: Rishabh Pant Plays Astonishing Reverse Scoop Off Jofra Archer.
Rishabh Pant’s reverse scoop off Jofra Archer drew several reactions on social media.© BCCI

Gautam Gambhir Praises Rishabh Pant For His Amazing And Courageous Shot For Hitting A Reserve Flick

In the first T20I against England in the same stadium, Rishabh Pant once again hit a sensational reverse-flick off pacer Jofra Archer that went for a six. This one was even better as he looked completely settled while hitting his shot, and the ball travelled past the boundary ropes with ease.

Speaking on Star Sports, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir described it as a “courageous shot”.

“It was an amazing shot and a courageous shot as well. India had lost two wickets and he came to bat in the first 6 overs. It is a big chance for you and despite that, if you can play a shot like that against Jofra Archer,” Gautam Gambhir said.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
“It was a calculated shot as well because the third-man was brought up and deep square leg and fine leg were there. So, a very good shot,” Gautam Gambhir added.
Gautam Gambhir reckoned that it was an amazing and courageous shot since India had lost two wickets by the time he arrived in the first six overs. Gautam Gambhir was particularly enthralled that he did it against Jofra Archer, a bowler of the highest quality. Gautam Gambhir observed that Rishabh Pant’s shot was a calculated one too since Eoin Morgan had bought the third man up and deep square leg and fine leg was present.

Meanwhile, Indian batsmen had little to offer in the face of an outstanding English bowling effort on a two-paced track as the hosts received an eight-wicket hammering in the opening Twenty20 International here on Friday.

Shreyas Iyer Top Scores With 67 But England Overhauls The 125 Run Target Easily

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer played innings of 67 runs off just 48 balls | BCCI

Jofra Archer was one of England’s many star performers in the match and did not concede a run from 16 of his 24 deliveries and got the wickets of KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, and Shardul Thakur along the way. He returned with figures of 3/23 and was awarded Man of the Match.

Virat Kohli, who walked in to bat after KL Rahul was dismissed in the 2nd over of the 1st T20I in Ahmedabad on Friday, registered his first-ever consecutive duck in international cricket. In the preceding 4-match Test series, the 32-year-old had departed twice without opening his account. Spinner Adil Rashid, bowling with a new ball, dismissed Virat Kohli after Chris Jordan took a good catch at mid-off.

England lost 2 quick wickets of Jason Roy (49) and Jos Buttler (28) but Jonny Bairstow (26*) and Dawid Malan (24*) ensured England’s victory without further hiccups. India will face the visitors next on Sunday 14th March.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Gautam Gambhir Reacts To Yuvraj Singh’s Controversial Tweet On Ahmedabad Pitch

Gautam Gambhir, former Indian cricketer has said that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin doesn’t ask for spinning wickets and with tracks like those, the off-spinner has added pressure of delivering in the match.

Gautam Gambhir added that wickets have been the same for everyone but it’s the newly introduced DRS that may have helped former spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh get to 1,000 and 700 wickets respectively, referring to former cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s tweet.

Gautam Gambhir | Reuters
Gautam Gambhir | Reuters

Gautam Gambhir: Team Management Asks For Turning Tracks Not Ravichandran Ashwin And DRS Plays A Massive Role Nowadays

Gautam Gambhir insists that it’s the duty of the team management to ask for turning tracks besides adding on the same breadth that the Decision Review System nowadays plays a huge role, particularly in India.

“From that point of view, I do agree with Yuvraj Singh, but from the point of view that had they played on these kinds of pitches, probably not. Because see, wickets have been the same for everyone. Ashwin doesn’t ask for these kinds of wickets, it’s the team managment that asks for it. And when you prepare such wickets, Ashwin is under more pressure to deliver,” Gautam Gambhir said on the ‘Runorder’ show on ESPNCricinfo when asked if he agrees with Yuvraj’s tweet.

Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin IMAGE: AFP
Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin IMAGE: AFP

“Yes, wickets are different today but DRS today plays a huge role. Had there been DRS when Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh was bowling, Kumble would have gone to 1000 wickets and Harbhajan would have got around 700 wickets because DRS plays a massive role especially in India where there are a lot of inside edges, or bat pads and stuff,” Gautam Gambhir added.

Earlier, Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s off-spinner said he has the utmost respect for former left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh and that he did not find any issues in the former 2011 World Cup winner’s viral tweet after the 3rd pink-ball Test was over within 2 days in Ahmedabad.

Ravichandran Ashwin, while speaking to the press on Saturday, said he did not find anything wrong or any hidden agenda in former batsman Yuvraj Singh’s tweet that took a jibe at the Motera pitch.

Ravichandran Ashwin: One Needs To Get Over Complaining About The Pitch And Hope For Good Cricketing Action

As many as 30 wickets fell inside 2 days as India took a 2-1 lead in the 4-match Test series by defeating England by 10 wickets in the Ahmedabad Test at the newly built biggest cricket stadium-Narendra Modi Stadium. Very recently, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had counter-questioned an England journalist who wanted to know his views on the pitch debate.

“Who defines what a good surface is? Ashwin had asked.

In the same press conference, he had asserted that people should get over the talks about the surface and should just hope for a good cricket match.

“The bowler wins the game, the batsmen need to bat well to score runs. Who defines what a good surface is? The seam on the first day, then bat well in the next couple of days and spin on the last two days, come on, who makes these rules? We need to get over it and if you are asking whether the pitch in the third Test was a good surface, I do not see any players of England coming out and complaining. You should be hoping for a good cricket match, not the surface,” Ashwin added.

Ravichandran Ashwin hit his 5th Test hundred, his first against England during Day 3 of the Chennai Test (PTI Photo)
Ravichandran Ashwin hit his 5th Test hundred, his first against England during Day 3 of the Chennai Test (PTI Photo)

As the Ahmedabad Test match, venue of the 3rd Test, ended in 2 days, the pitch became a subject of intense scrutiny. Although Indian captain Virat Kohli and his English counterpart Joe Root refused to point fingers at the pitch for the early finish, several former cricketers, including Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook, and Andrew Strauss, have criticized the wicket on offer.

Notably, Ravichandran Ashwin led the defence of the pitch that was on offer for the 2nd Test in Chennai by hitting a ton in the second innings which saw India winning by a massive 317 run margin.

Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan
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Yusuf Pathan Retires From All Forms Of Cricket At 38

Yusuf Pathan, a former hard-hitting batsman has bid adieu to all forms of cricket. Yusuf Pathan, who featured in 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India after debuting in 2007, has not played international cricket since 2012.

The 38-year old who was a right-handed batsman and right arm-off break spinner announced his retirement on his official Twitter handles besides thanking all those who have supported him throughout.

Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan (© ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Yusuf Pathan Debuted In The Victorious 2007 ICC World T20I Final Against Pakistan

Yusuf Pathan debuted in the breathtaking tournament-decider of the 2007 ICC World T20 against Pakistan. The right-handed batsman’s stay was brief though, as he slammed a four and a six, scoring 15 runs in eight balls while opening the innings with Gautam Gambhir. He made his maiden ODI appearance the year after that against the same opposition and emerged as a powerful lower-order batsman.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir CRICKET-SRI-IND | Lakruuwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

The Baroda all-rounder featured in 57 ODIs, where he managed 810 runs at 27 alongside hitting two centuries and picking 33 scalps. He was also part of India’s team that won the 2011 World Cup squad at home and played a few fixtures before being dropped and was subsequently replaced by Suresh Raina. But a poor run of form in white-ball cricket led to his axing in 2012 and he never got the nod again.

Yusuf Pathan Was Also An Impactful Player In IPL

Yusuf Pathan was also an impactful player in the Indian Premier League, being part of multiple title victories. He played 174 IPL matches, mustering 3204 runs while maintaining a strike rate of 142.97 alongside a century as well. He secured the man of the match award during 2008 IPL final when he scored a crucial half-century for the Rajasthan Royals against the Chennai Super Kings to script a title victory.

Yusuf Pathan For KKR
Yusuf Pathan For KKR © AFP

He also went on to be a crucial member of the Kolkata Knight Riders’ two championship wins in 2012 and 2014, playing vital roles in their campaigns.

From 2018 to 2019, the 38-year old played for the SunRisers Hyderabad; however, he could not produce excellent performances to be retained. He managed 260 and 40 runs in two years before the Orange Army decided to release him. Yusuf Pathan’s 100 first-class games yielded 4825 runs at 34.46 and 201 wickets.

Irfan Pathan, his brother played 29 Test, 120 ODI, and 24 T20I. Irfan Pathan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, on 4 January 2020. The left-arm pacer played his last IPL game in 2017 and went unpicked in the three auctions that followed.

Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Gautam Gambhir Don’t See Umesh Yadav In India’s Playing XI For 3rd Test

Gautam Gambhir has opined that in form pacer Mohammed Siraj should be preferred over Umesh Yadav for the pink-ball Test against England. Umesh Yadav has been added to the Indian squad after recovering from the calf injury he sustained in the Boxing Day Test against Australia.

Shardul Thakur has been released from the Indian contingent which means he would be playing in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur
Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Gautam Gambhir Don’t See Umesh Yadav In The Playing XI As Mohammed Siraj Looks Impressive

During the latest edition of the Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Gautam Gambhir was asked for his view if he sees Umesh Yadav fitting into the scheme of things for the third Test. The former Indian opener responded that he would opt for Mohammed Siraj instead, with certainties Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah as the other two members of the three-pronged pace attack.

“I don’t see Umesh Yadav in the playing XI. If India has to go with three seamers, it has to be Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj.

“Siraj looks very impressive and the way he bowled in Australia, even the way he bowled in the second Test match, there was nothing for the fast bowlers but the way he was getting the ball to move and the kind of speeds he was clocking, he was very impressive. So, these three seamers according to me will play the pink-ball Test match,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma
Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma Image Source: Getty Images.

“The pink-ball Test match will be a completely different challenge because it is a new stadium, new wicket. India hasn’t played too much of pink-ball Test matches, neither has England, but if the ball starts moving especially under lights, England has the attack to rattle India. So India needs to play really well,” said Gautam Gambhir.

India and England have the chance besides Australia to reach the final to be held at Lord’s later this year. Meanwhile, Australian chances hinge on the result of the ongoing series between India and England.

Australia will go through if the series is drawn or England wins by 2-1 whereas India will go through if they win 2-1 or 3-1 and England will reach the finals if they are victorious by a 3-1 margin.

The four-match series between India and England currently stands level at 1-1 after England won the 1st Test by 227 runs before losing the next by 317 runs.

Gautam Gambhir: England Needs To Play Really Well Since India Can Trouble England With Fast Bowling

The cricketer-turned-commentator signed off by highlighting that the visitors won’t have it easy either with the Virat Kohli-led side also possessing a formidable bowling lineup.

“England needs to play really well because India has got the fast bowling to actually trouble England.

“With the kind of batting they [England] have, Ishant Sharma on the verge of playing 100 Test matches, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj looks in very good rhythm plus Ashwin back in form with the bat, Axar. So, India has got the bowling attack to rattle them,” signed off Gautam Gambhir.

Gautam Gambhir | Reuters
Gautam Gambhir | Reuters

India has played just two pink-ball Tests to date, annihilating Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata before suffering an embarrassing defeat against the Australians in Adelaide. England, on the other hand, has won just won one of the three day-night Tests they have played. The match holds greater significance with both teams fighting it out to qualify for the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

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