Hardik Pandya Age, Biography, career, stats, networth, Ranking & News

Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan. (Photo: Twitter)
Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan. (Photo: Twitter)
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Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan And Shubman Gill Set To Be Part Of Ahmedabad Franchise In IPL 2022

Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, and Shubman Gill are set to be a part of the Ahmedabad franchise for the upcoming IPL 2022 season.
The Ahmedabad franchise, which was bought last October by CVC Capital Partners (Irelia Company Pte Ltd), has also finalized its coaching staff – they will be led by former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra, and former South Africa batter and head coach Gary Kirsten.
Former England batter Vikram Solanki, who is currently Surrey’s head coach, will be the team director. This is the second IPL franchise where the trio will work together: the previous instance was at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Hardik Pandya Image: PTI
Hardik Pandya Image: PTI

Hardik Pandya And Rashid Khan All Set To Play Together For Ahmedabad Franchise

Ahmedabad and Lucknow, the two new franchises participating in the IPL 2022, are yet to disclose the players they have bought but the deadline for doing so is fast approaching- January 22.  Both teams were given the same purse – INR 90 crore – the same as the existing eight franchises.
However, unlike the other teams, which could retain four players, the two new ones can buy a maximum of three players with the overseas slot limited to one. It has been learned that Ahmedabad has decided to pay both Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan the same amount – INR 15 crore.
It is also learned that Hardik Pandya is likely to take charge as Ahmedabad captain, a first experience for the allrounder in the IPL. The third player – Shubman Gill – will be paid INR 7 crore. This means the franchise will go into the auction in February with a purse of INR 53 crore.
Hardik Pandya’s rise, since he was bought as an uncapped player for a mere INR 10 lakh in 2015, has been exponential. By 2018, he had established himself as the best allrounder in India and Mumbai duly retained him as their second pick at the auction that year, paying INR 11 crore.
This is the first time Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan will play for the same team in the IPL, having previously represented Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Hardik Pandya is a four-time title-winner. However, Hardik Pandya struggled with fitness issues over the last two IPLs and did not bowl at all in this period. His batting, too, hasn’t been as effective as before.
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)
That forced Mumbai to look in a different direction as they retained the in-form Suryakumar Yadav, who has proven he can bat and accelerate at any position. Hardik Pandya is currently focussing on regaining complete fitness and has not been part of any of the Indian white-ball squads since the 2021 T20I World Cup.
As for Rashid Khan, the Afghanistan legspinner became a big talking point immediately after Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to retain Kane Williamson, who will be full-time captain from IPL 2022, along with the uncapped Jammu & Kashmir pairing of Abdul Samad and Umran Malik.
In 2017, Sunrisers Hyderabad bought Rashid Khan for INR 4 crore and, a year later, they retained him for INR 9 crore. Remarkably, Rashid Khan featured in all 76 matches played by Sunrisers Hyderabad since his debut, picking up 93 wickets at an economy rate of 6.33. Only Jasprit Bumrah has taken more wickets (104) than Rashid Khan in the last five IPL seasons.
Sunrisers Hyderabad wanted to keep Rashid Khan, so they told him that he would be their second pick behind Kane Williamson. The talks got derailed thereafter, which freed Rashid Khan to weigh up his options, including going into the IPL 2022 mega auction.

Shubman Gill Also Set To Be A Part Of Ahmedabad Franchise In IPL 2022

For Shubman Gill, this will be his second team in the IPL having been picked by Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2018 auction for INR 1.8 crore. The 22-year old, who has already played 10 Tests and three ODIs, has been earmarked as one of the brightest young talents of this decade, and at one point was even looked upon as a future leader by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Twitter)
However, the Kolkata Knight Riders had several other options when it came to the retention and Shubman Gill had to be left out. Shubman Gill was a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and he was let go by the franchise as the franchise retained Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine, and Andre Russell instead.
Ahmedabad’s third choice Ishan Kishan didn’t work out and they zeroed in on Shubman Gill, who could also be seen as a potential captaincy candidate.

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Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya

“Hardik Pandya Will Bring Slightly More Balance In This Team But Right Now Shardul Is Destroying Everyone”- Aakash Chopra

Former India opener believes that Hardik Pandya would still bring lots of value to the test team if he gets fully fit but right now Shardul Thakur isn’t putting a foot wrong these days.

In the last test match at Johannesburg, Shardul Thakur delivered a record-breaking spell of 7/61  as it’s the best ever figures for India against South Africa, bettering the figures of Ashwin. However, Chopra feels that Hardik would bring more balance to the team because as a 5th bowler you don’t get more chance to bowl and Hardik provides more value with the bat as compared to Shardul Thakur.

"Hardik Pandya Will Bring Slightly More Balance In This Team But Right Now Shardul Is Destroying Everyone"- Aakash Chopra 1

Hardik Pandya scored a hundred and picked a fifer in his 11-Test career

“If you need a fourth fast bowler plus a proper batter, then Hardik Pandya will bring slightly more balance in this team, that is what I believe because the fourth fast bowler you play as one of the five, then his role as a batter is slightly more as compared to him being a bowler,” Chopra said in his Youtube Channel.

However, Chopra is not sure if Pandya can make a comeback in the longest form with his struggling back. Chopra stated if Hardik gets fit, there is no one who can match his ability. But he lauded the efforts of Shardul Thakur for the past year.

“Never say never. Honestly speaking, Hardik has himself said that he doesn’t want to play, considering the state of his back. To be very honest, if Hardik’s back issue continues to ail him and he doesn’t bowl, then it is very very tough. “But if he recovers fully, he becomes bowling fit and can bowl the long spells, then Hardik is Hardik,” Chopra said.

Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.
Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.

“So in my opinion, if Hardik remains fit, bowls well and has the ability he has with the bat, he will be slightly ahead of Shardul. But till he is not fit, Shardul is destroying everyone,” he said.

In his 11-Test career, Hardik Pandya scored 532 runs in 18 innings with an average of 31.29 with a hundred and 4 fifties, and with the ball, he picked 17 wickets with an average of 31.05 which included a match-winning fifer at Nottingham in 2018. Though he hasn’t played a Test match since September 2018.

Also Read: Scott Boland Likely To Miss Pink-Ball Test At Hobart

Venkatesh Iyer
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Venkatesh Iyer Accepted That He Will Be A Finisher In Debut 3 Match ODI Series Against Proteas

Venkatesh Iyer, the opening batsman, and pacer had a sensational run in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 by amassing 370 runs in just 10 games. From taking to the IPL 2021 by storm to getting to make his T20I debut for India, things have come thick and fast for Venkatesh Iyer.

From someone who was playing for Madhya Pradesh unnoticed since 2015 to someone seen as a viable option for the seam-bowling allrounder’s slot in white-ball cricket vacated for now by Hardik Pandya, life has completely changed for the 27-year-old.

Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)

Venkatesh Iyer Reckons He Isn’t There To Fill Shoes Of Hardik Pandya

Before leaving for South Africa for the three-match ODI series, Venkatesh Iyer, also a finance expert, spoke on a variety of topics – his preparations for the tour, his late-blooming career, how academics has helped him in cricket, and his love for South megastar Rajnikanth.

“It’s been a wonderful experience. Every cricketer who starts playing the game wants to play for the country. It’s the same with me. I’m really happy that it’s happened. Everyone has welcomed me. The warmth that I’m getting in the dressing room is amazing. You didn’t get to bowl much in the T20I series against New Zealand, ” on playing for India.

“It’s not about convincing, but it’s at the back of the captain and coach’s mind to make me bowl more, and whenever I get the opportunity to bowl, I’ll definitely try to give my best. I’m still working on my bowling and that process will never end. I’m trying to work harder on accuracy and bowling in the right areas, ” on bowling.

Hardik Pandya AFP/Getty Images
Hardik Pandya AFP/Getty Images

“I think I’ve played a lot on bouncy tracks. The best thing about playing in domestic cricket is that you get to play on a variety of tracks. In India, we have a lot of tracks where there’s extra bounce. Obviously, that practice has come handy. All my practice procedures are set, and I’m keeping up with them.” on preparations for South Africa ODIs.

“I’m not here to fill anyone’s shoes. I want to contribute to the team’s victory, and that’s my mindset. I believe that I’m in the team because I can bat and bowl. You are an opener with your IPL team and in the Madhya Pradesh team, but the team requires a finisher in you,” on Hardik Pandya’s comeback hurting his chances.

All-rounder Venkatesh Iyer got his maiden ODI call for the upcoming South Africa series. Venkatesh Iyer made his international debut against New Zealand last month in T20Is.  Meanwhile, Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya will continue to work on his fitness as the 28-year-old is set to skip the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 tournament. He is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program in order to regain his bowling fitness.

Venkatesh Iyer Accepted That He’s Going To Play The Role Of A Finisher

After making his international debut against New Zealand in the T20I series, Venkatesh Iyer returned to domestic cricket and he scored 379 runs in 6 matches averaging 63.16 with a strike rate of 133.92 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He also contributed with the ball as the right arm seamer picked 9 wickets with an economy of 5.75 averaging 30.66.

“I’ve batted in the middle-order for a long time. I’ve been an opener for just the past two years. Even in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy I batted in the middle order, so it won’t be a new territory for me. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to play the role of a finisher for the team, and I’m completely ready for that. ” on accepting the role of a finisher.

“I knew that if I was given the opportunity I’ll do well. But to be very honest, I didn’t expect anything out of me. It was my first season, and I went in with the mindset to enjoy each and every moment in it, irrespective of whatever happens, the numbers, rather than put pressure on myself by expecting too much. I was happier that my team rose from No 7 to ultimately playing in the final,” on dream start while playing for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Venkatesh Iyer scored his maiden IPL fifty in the game vs MI.© Instagram
Venkatesh Iyer scored his maiden IPL fifty in the game vs MI.© Instagram

“The coming of Pandit sir has been amazing not just for me, but for entire MP cricket. The clarity of thought that I have now is something I never imagined I could have. We’ve excelled a lot as a team. Unfortunately, that couldn’t show in the form of results as we haven’t won any trophy, but as a team we’re doing really well,” on Madhya Pradesh coach Chandrakant Pandit.

“Expectations will always be there once you start playing a certain level of cricket. But I’m not thinking that way. I’m just focusing on my process. I know what to expect of myself and I understand what it takes to achieve things. Obviously, I’ll stick to my process irrespective of whatever happens. The numbers and performances are not in my hands.” on expectations after IPL 2021.

“I take things as they come, and not think about what’s going to happen in the future. Of course, there’s the ultimate objective of playing in all three formats for the country, and not just playing, but making India win. But right now, my focus is on the next series.” said Venkatesh Iyer, 27, on time running out to cement place in the Indian team.

“It’s very important for me to be fit, because I contribute in all the three departments of the game. I’ve to give a lot of credit to my trainer back home and also my nutritionist,” said Venksatesh Iyer on keeping himself fit.

Venkatesh Iyer caught everyone’s attention when he scored 370 runs in 10 games in the last IPL season as he was introduced in the UAE leg. The all-rounder played all 3 T20Is at home against 2021 T20I WC runners up New Zealand and scored 36 runs and picked a solitary scalp.

The 3 match ODI series between India and South Africa will begin on January 19 at Paarl. Venkatesh Iyer played only the UAE leg in IPL 2021 and amassed 370 runs averaging 41.11 with 4 fifties in only 10 games.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)
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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

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
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If India Can Find 2 All Rounders They Will Have A Better Chance To Win 2022 T20I And 2023 ODI World Cups: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar, who was part of India’s first-ever World Cup triumph in 1983, has pointed out a key area that promises to boost India’s chances of winning the next two World Cups. With back-to-back World Cups approaching, the Indian cricket team would be keen to end their ICC title drought and lay their hands on one, if not both – the T20 World Cup next year and the 50-over World Cup in 2023.

It has been eight long years since India last won an ICC title when they beat England to win the 2013 Champions Trophy. Ever since, despite coming close on several occasions, an ICC trophy has always eluded the Men in Blue.

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

Sunil Gavaskar: If India Can Find 2 All Rounders They Will Have A Better Chance To Win 2022 T20I And 2023 ODI World Cups

The team received a major jolt in the recently concluded 2021 T20 World Cup two months ago in the UAE when it suffered an exit before the semi-finals, and hence the upcoming two World Cups become all the more crucial.

Underlining the one key aspect which the Indian winning team of 1983, 2007, and 2011 World Cups had, Sunil Gavaskar feels Team India needs to get this one particular department of all-rounders sorted if they are to be at the top of the world again. Sunil Gavaskar reckoned India needs two good all-rounders to win the next two WC’s.

“It was a squad of 14 players and one manager and we conquered the cricketing world. There were no field restrictions then, no limitations on the number of bouncers too and the red ball in English conditions which hardly stopped moving even after the shine was gone,” Sunil Gavaskar said about India’s 1983 World Cup-winning team while writing in his column.

Hardik Pandya AFP/Getty Images
Hardik Pandya AFP/Getty Images

“That team were full of all-rounders and that is the key especially in limited overs cricket. Even the 2007 and 2011 teams had batsmen who could bowl and bowlers who were no bunnies with the bat. If India can find two all-rounders, then we will have a better chance in the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 and in the 50 overs Cup at home in India in 2023,” said Sunil Gavaskar.

When it comes to all-rounders, the current Indian team doesn’t have too many options to look up to. Their premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya is out rehabilitating at the NCA. Hardik Pandya didn’t bowl in the 2021 T20I World Cup but went on to play all the matches, scoring 11 off 8 against Pakistan, 23 off 24 against New Zealand and an unbeaten 35 off 13 against Afghanistan. Hardik Pandya amassed only 69 runs averaging 34.5.

Shardul Thakur, Venkatesh Iyer Are Pace All-Rounders While Ravindra Jadeja And Ravichandran Ashwin Are Spin All-Rounders Who Have Done Well In The Past

Shardul Thakur is slowly getting an all-rounder status but is yet to show his capabilities much with the bat in limited-overs. Youngster Venkatesh Iyer showed his capability in the IPL 2021 UAE leg for KKR but is yet to be tested at the highest level. Surely, India needs to add more depth in the all-rounders’ department with several ICC events lined up.

Venkatesh Iyer played only the UAE leg in IPL 2021 and amassed 370 runs averaging 41.11 with 4 fifties in only 10 games. The all-rounder played all 3 T20Is at home against 2021 T20I WC runners up New Zealand and scored 36 runs and picked a solitary scalp.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

While all of Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, and Venkatesh Iyer are pace all-rounders, India has a few spin all-rounders too in the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Axar Patel.

Like pacer Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Axar Patel don’t have excellent averages in the batting department but their batting can come in handy in crunch situations to bail the team out of trouble. Ravindra Jadeja has scored 13 fifties in ODIs but his T20I batting average is below par.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer are expected to feature in India squad (Photo Source - Twitter)
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer are expected to feature in India squad (Photo Source - Twitter)
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Saba Karim Hopeful To See Inclusion Of Venkatesh Iyer And Ruturaj Gaikwad In Indian ODI Side For South Africa

Saba Karim, the former India wicket-keeper batsman hopes to see the inclusion of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad in the Indian team. He believes the duo should be groomed and be provided exposure, keeping the 2023 ODI World Cup in mind.

Venkatesh Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad performed exceedingly well in the 2021 IPL, with the latter being the recipient of the Orange Cap. They have carried their form into the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy and are making a strong case for their selection with their performances.

File photo of former wicketkeeper Saba Karim. – The Hindu
File photo of former wicketkeeper Saba Karim. – The Hindu

Saba Karim Believes Venkatesh Iyer And Ruturaj Gaikwad Have Almost Entered 1st Team Squad For Limited Overs

Saba Karim notes that Venkatesh Iyer is an ideal replacement for Hardik Pandya while Ruturaj Gaikwad can compete for the opening spot.  Senior opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan is having a very poor run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

On the contrary the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer are in stellar form. Ruturaj Gaikwad has so far smashed three centuries in the domestic ODI – Vijay Hazare tournament and Venkatesh Iyer has registered two centuries in his name.

While Ruturaj Gaikwad was the orange cap winner in IPL 2021 by leading the run-scoring charts with 635 runs in 16 matches with a ton, Venkatesh Iyer played only the UAE leg in IPL 2021 and amassed 370 runs averaging 41.11 with 4 fifties in only 10 games.

“I believe that Venkatesh Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad have almost entered the first-team squad, and I’m talking about white-ball cricket. If we have to start the preparation for the 2023 World Cup, these two players should be part of the squad as soon as possible. They should be given as much exposure as possible,” Saba Karim said.

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Both these players provide a different spectrum for the team. Gaikwad can be the backup opener with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul going strong. On the other hand, Iyer has performed really well while batting at No. 5 or No. 6 in the Vijay Hazare trophy. If we are looking at the replacement for Hardik Pandya, we have already found the player,” Saba Karim reasoned.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, who is leading Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare trophy, has scored three centuries in a row. Venkatesh Iyer, playing in the middle order, has struck two tons in the tournament and has played a crucial role with the ball as well.

Ruturaj Gaikwad on the other hand had scored 3 consecutive tons- 136, an unbeaten 154, and 124 to emerge as the leading run-scorer in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored 21 in the last match against Uttarakhand. Ruturaj Gaikwad had amassed 435 runs in 4 matches so far averaging 145 with 3 tons.

Saba Karim: Venkatesh Iyer Should Definitely Be A Part Of South Africa ODI Tour

The former selector backed Venkatesh Iyer to be in the ODI squad for the South Africa tour. The all-rounder has already garnered experience in national colours in the shortest format during the home series against New Zealand. India is lacking fast-bowling all-rounders at the moment with Hardik Pandya’s persistent injury concerns.

Venkatesh Iyer is the 2nd highest scorer with 348 runs averaging 87 in 4 games. Venkatesh Iyer followed scores of 112 and 71 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season with a dazzling 151. He has scores of 14, 112, 71, and 151 besides registering figures of 1/59, 3/55, 2/58, and 2/64 in the 4 matches so far.

“Rahul Dravid has seen these players for quite a while now. The way Dravid used to prepare as a player, he must be preparing in the same way as a coach. He must have thought about a core of 23-25 players in white-ball cricket circuit,” Saba Karim added.

Rohit Sharma, Venkatesh Iyer
Rohit Sharma, Venkatesh Iyer

“He must have started the preparation for the World Cups. Venkatesh Iyer should definitely be part of the South Africa tour. He must then be tracked be in the Ranji Trophy as well because I believe he is an all-format player. It is also time that Gaikwad be in contention for the Test squad,” Saba Karim explained

The ODI squad for the South Africa tour is expected to be announced soon. It will mark Rohit Sharma’s first assignment as India’s full-time ODI captain.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
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It’s The Players Who Have Made Mumbai Indians Successful: Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper has downplayed his role in the franchise’s success in the Indian Premier League (IPL). According to Rohit Sharma, who was named India’s ODI captain on Wednesday, it is the players who have made MI what they are today.

Mumbai Indians-the most successful franchise in the history of the IPL has won five titles in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020, all under Rohit Sharma’s leadership. But they failed to make it to the playoffs in IPL 2021.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (Image Credit: Twitter)

Rohit Sharma: Mumbai Indians Team Was Fantastic And Credit Should Be Given To Management For Creating Atmosphere For Outstanding Players To Perform

Reflecting on MI’s success under his leadership, Rohit Sharma said on the show Backstage with Boria Majumdar.

“What I have done at Mumbai is brilliant because of the players I have had. Honestly speaking, I have very little role to play there. The team that I had was fantastic. I want to give credit to, firstly, the management for creating such solid gun players and then creating that atmosphere for players to go and perform.”

Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians created history as they won the IPL title for the fifth time, with Rohit winning it for the sixth time. , BCCI/IPL Twitter handle
Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians created history as they won the IPL title for the fifth time, with Rohit winning it for the sixth time. , BCCI/IPL Twitter handle

Rohit Sharma added that as a leader he does take crucial decisions with regards to batting and bowling changes. However, at the end of the day, it’s all about the players and the team as a whole.

The 34-year-old explained: “There were certain decisions that I had to make – giving the last over, the first over to X,Y,Z… All those things, yes the captain plays a big part in that. Overall, its the players’ team.”

Apart from winning five titles with MI as captain, Rohit Sharma also won an IPL as a player with now-defunct Deccan Chargers in 2009. Rohit Sharma, who was retained by the franchise ahead of the mega auction in IPL 2022, said it was “heartbreaking” not to be able to hold on to their entire core group of cricketers.

Mumbai Indians retained a maximum of four players, the first of which was skipper Rohit Sharma (Rs 16 crore). The second player on the list was pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah (Rs 12 cr) followed by dashing middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav (Rs 8 crore). Mumbai Indians made just one overseas retention in dashing West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard for Rs 6 crore.

Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Quinton de Kock, Piyush Chawla, Anukul Roy, Jimmy Neesham, Marco Jansen, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Dhawal Kulkarni, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohsin Khan, Yudhvir Singh, Arjun Tendulkar, Rahul Chahar, and Jayant Yadav were the players who were released by Mumbai Indians before IPL 2022 mega auctions.

Rohit Sharma Shared His Thoughts On Captaincy

Rohit Sharma is known as a calm and composed leader, who does not put too much pressure on players.

Asked to share his thoughts on captaincy, the Team India opener explained: “I feel the captain needs to stand at the back. He cannot be at the forefront. In terms of performance, he needs to be at the forefront, but in terms of everything else, he needs to be taking the backseat.

“A captain looks good when the team performs well and bad or horrible when the team doesn’t. I don’t think that is the right way to look at it. The captain is there to make sure that the right players are playing and there are a few tactical things to look after.”

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma | AFP

Apart from being named captain of the ODI side, Rohit Sharma has also been chosen as the vice-captain of the Test team for the tour of South Africa. Rohit Sharma has been appointed India’s ODI captain, ending Virat Kohli’s five-year-long white-ball reign.

The decision to displace Virat Kohli was taken by the Indian selectors. In a media release, without detailing the reasons, the BCCI only said the selectors had “decided” Rohit Sharma should take charge of the ODI and T20I teams “going forward”. Rohit Sharma will also take over from Ajinkya Rahane as the Test vice-captain.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
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Hardik Pandya Decides To Skip Vijay Hazare Trophy For Rehabilitation

Hardik Pandya, the out of favour India all-rounder, has decided to skip Vijay Hazare Trophy (National One Dayers) starting across the country from Wednesday as he is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program in order to regain his bowling fitness.

According to reports, Hardik Pandya is all set to announce his retirement from Test cricket due to his back injuries that have kept him out of bowling action in recent years. Recently, it was reported that Hardik Pandya had asked the selectors to not consider him for the India tour of South Africa.

Hardik Pandya last played a Test match for India in 2018| Courtesy - Twitter
Hardik Pandya last played a Test match for India in 2018| Courtesy – Twitter

Hardik Pandya Is Currently Doing Rehabilitation To Regain Bowling Fitness And Decides To Skip Vijay Hazare Trophy

The back injury also kept him away from the Test team since 2018. Hardik Pandya has scored 532 runs and has scalped 17 wickets from 11 Test matches for India. Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya will continue to work on his fitness as the 28-year-old is set to skip the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 tournament. The Indian international represents Baroda in the domestic competition.

“The Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) had sent an e-mail to Hardik enquiring about his availability for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He has rarely played for Baroda in the last three years. However he gave a one-line reply that he is currently doing rehab in Mumbai,” a senior official privy to developments in BCA said on conditions of anonymity.

Asked what is the injury he is carrying at the moment, the official said: “Even the BCA doesn’t know. It is understood that he is trying to do some strength and conditioning module for his back which is no longer in best of shape post-surgery in 2019,” the source revealed.

Hardik Pandya. Pic/AFP
Hardik Pandya. Pic/AFP

The BCCI official informed that Hardik Pandya’s elder brother Krunal Pandya had joined Baroda’s pre-Hazare camp for a week after he was instructed by the state board that attending the camp is mandatory for being part of the final squad. Baroda Cricket Association had told the senior Pandya to be a part of camp and he adhered to the rules.

“BCA told Krunal that he can’t just land up during tournaments and he has to be a part of the camp. Then he came and trained with the team for a week,” the source said.

If Hardik Pandya doesn’t play the domestic tournaments, he will not be considered for a comeback in the Indian side for the white-ball tournaments.

“The current national selection committee has told all the players that all those who are not in the India squad should go back and play domestic cricket — Hazare and Ranji Trophy,” the source added.

The junior Pandya is understandably not keen on playing Test cricket anymore in order to prolong his career and will concentrate primarily on T20s and ODIs and for that, he needs to start bowling regularly. While he is doing his rehab in Mumbai, he would ultimately need to go to the NCA and prove his fitness in front of the coaches over there before he is considered for national selection.

Venkatesh Iyer May Be Considered In ODIs In South Africa Tour

There was a time when Indian players used to procure fitness certificates from NCA but that culture was changed after the erstwhile Director of Cricket Rahul Dravid took charge.

Rahul Dravid made it mandatory for every player to come to NCA, appear for all the necessary fitness tests in front of the coaches, trainers, and physios, after which only they are given the go-ahead to play matches. Rahul Dravid is currently the Indian team’s head coach and VVS Laxman may be roped as NCA head.

 

Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)

A case in point was Shreyas Iyer, who had to be in NCA for a week to get the green light to play in the IPL 2021. India will be playing three ODIs in South Africa from January 19 and even if the team is selected at a later date (allowing the white ball specialists to enter the bubble later), Hardik Pandya will not be picked if he doesn’t bowl.

It is understood that BCCI usually for overseas tours procures visas for more than 35 to 40 players for the sake of convenience. Venkatesh Iyer, who is being seen as Hardik Pandya’s potential future replacement, could be picked for the ODIs in order to add variety and also have that sixth bowler option.

Venkatesh Iyer’s IPL salary has shot up 40 times. In the 2021 auction, Kolkata Knight Riders bought the allrounder for his base price of INR 20 lakh. On Tuesday, Venkatesh Iyer, who made his India debut in November, was retained by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 8 crore for IPL 2022. The all-rounder played all 3 T20Is at home against 2021 T20I WC runners up New Zealand and scored 36 runs and picked a solitary scalp.

Mumbai Indians' Kieron Pollard after playing a match-winning knock against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match. Sportzpics for IPL
Mumbai Indians' Kieron Pollard after playing a match-winning knock against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match. Sportzpics for IPL
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Kieron Pollard Is One Of The Strongest Finishers In The Game: Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians’ Director of Cricket Operations, has opened up about his side’s retention strategy. The five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians shocked many experts and fans of the cricket fraternity when they decided to retain 34-year-old West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard.

Zaheer Khan admitted that it was the influence of the all-rounder in the dressing room, which prompted them to retain him. The Mumbai-based side has several talented and young players in their ranks, making it even more difficult for them to choose just four men for retention.

Kieron Pollard(Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Kieron Pollard(Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Zaheer Khan: Kieron Pollard Is One Of The Strongest Finishers Of T20s

Mumbai retained a maximum of four players, the first of which was skipper Rohit Sharma (Rs 16 crore). The second player on the list was pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah (Rs 12 cr) followed by dashing middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav (Rs 8 crore). Mumbai Indians made just one overseas retention in dashing West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard for Rs 6 crore.

Zaheer Khan heaped praise on Kieron Pollard for being the leader of the pack for the longest time. He reckoned that Kieron Pollard is still among one of the best finishers in the game.

Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
“Pollard has been the leader of this group for the longest time. One of the strongest finishers in the game. His influence around the team has been great. He leads from the front with Rohit Sharma. So each guy who are retained, they are leaders in their own positions, and in their own rights,” Zaheer Khan said.
MI also picked their main all-rounder Kieron Pollard who has won them numerous matches from challenging situations and has smashed 214 sixes for the franchise. Kieron Pollard is the second-highest run-getter in T20 cricket(11326 runs in 573 T20s), The big-fellow has also picked 300 wickets with the ball in the shortest format, making him one of the perfect players in the T20s.

Kieron Pollard Has Been With Mumbai Indians Franchise Since 2010

Kieron Pollard is the longest-serving player in the Mumbai Indians squad. He has been with the team since 2010 and won five titles with them. Kieron Pollard has scored 3268 runs in 178 IPL games averaging about 30, and a phenomenal strike rate of nearly 150. He has also taken 65 scalps in IPL history with a solitary 4 wicket haul. All of his IPL matches came for Mumbai Indians.

“Lot of the players started their journey here, they’ve groomed themselves here and a lot of the players from this group have gone on to represent their respective countries. So that’s what you feel proud about. It’s not the end of the road, that’s how one should look at it. So there’s still a chance that we get a lot of them back,” Zaheer concluded.

Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Instagram
Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Instagram

Mumbai Indians were forced to release some of the core members of their watch-winning group such as all-format Hardik Pandya, keeper Ishan Kishan, Proteas keeper Quinton de Kock, spin all-rounder Krunal Pandya, and pacer Trent Boult. On the players that Mumbai couldn’t retain, Zaheer Khan expressed pride that they started their career with Mumbai Indians and went on to represent their countries in international cricket.

Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Quinton de Kock, Piyush Chawla, Anukul Roy, Jimmy Neesham, Marco Jansen, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Dhawal Kulkarni, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohsin Khan, Yudhvir Singh, Arjun Tendulkar, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, were the players who were released by Mumbai Indians before IPL 2022.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Ravichandran Ashwin Should Be Considered As One Of India’s Very Good All-Rounders, Says Craig McMillan

Ravichandran Ashwin has made tremendous growth, not only with his bowling but also with the bat in his hand. Besides being India’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has also scored 2755 runs from 80 Tests.

Now while those may not be staggering numbers, the fact that Ravichandran Ashwin has hit five Test centuries holds him in good stead. Even in the second innings of the Kanpur Test against New Zealand, it was his partnership with Shreyas Iyer, that bailed India out of a spot on Day 4, where he scored a crucial 32.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Ravichandran Ashwin Should Be Considered One Of India’s Very Good All Rounders- Craig McMillan

While the legendary Kapil Dev still stands out as India’s best all-rounder of all time, a former New Zealand all-rounder Craig McMillan feels Ravichandran Ashwin isn’t too far behind. When it comes to Indian all-rounders, not many names come to mind except probably Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja, but Craig McMillan reckons Ravichandran Ashwin will already go down as one of India’s finest in that category.

“I think perhaps that R Ashwin doesn’t get enough credit. He is not only a great spinner but an all-rounder because he has a number of Test hundreds as well.

“And most of it has come – when you think of the one against England earlier this year – came at an important time in Chennai when India was under the pump, behind in the game. Ashwin scored a hundred and turns the game and takes wickets,” Craig McMillan said.

Craig McMillan © Getty Images
Craig McMillan © Getty Images

“We always talk about the great Indian all-rounders, and Kapil Dev is right at the top of the tree, but I firmly think that after him, with the numbers he is achieving, Ravi Ashwin should be considered one of India’s very good allrounder.”

Ravichandran Ashwin, who wasn’t considered from all four Test matches in England, returned to the format grabbing six scalps in the 1st Kanpur Test against NZ where he surpassed Harbhajan Singh to be placed only next to Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev in the leading wicket-takers column.

As India heads into the second Test in Kanpur, Ravichandran Ashwin is eyeing three huge records, including achieving 50 Test wickets for the fourth time in a year and chasing Anil Kumble’s 300 wickets at home, the most by an Indian bowler.

Ravichandran Ashwin Needs 16 Scalps More To Overtake Legendary Pacer All Rounder Kapil Dev’s 434 Scalps

The legend of Ravichandran Ashwin continues to grow as India’s premier off-spinner became the country’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests surpassing the 40-year veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh when he grabbed his 418th Test scalp on Day 5 of the Kanpur Test. The 35-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin took his 419th wicket in his 80th Test to surpass Harbhajan Singh (417 in 103 Tests) at an excellent average of 24.49.

Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three wickets in both innings of the Kanpur Test and also made useful contributions of 38 and 32 with the bat. He is now next only to the legendary Anil Kumble(619 wickets in 132 Tests) and Kapil Dev and looks set to go second, needing another 16 wickets to overtake Kapil Dev (434 scalps in 131 Tests).

Ravichandran Ashwin recently made a successful comeback to India’s T20I squad after a gap of four years, during the T20I World Cup in the UAE. He has continued the good work in the home T20I series against New Zealand.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has played 5 T20Is since his comeback in the limited-overs format after a gap of 4 years. He has picked 9 scalps at an average of 11.66 and an economy rate of 5.25, and a strike rate of 13.3.

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