India tour of South Africa 2021/22

Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant | Source: Twitter
Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant | Source: Twitter

Even After Playing That Knock Against New Zealand, I Knew Rishabh Pant Will Be Playing In South Africa, Says Wriddhiman Saha

India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha revealed that he was told ahead of the South Africa tour that Rishabh Pant would be preferred. Notable that reported Saha has been told that his days in India’s colours have been over.

Saha played his last test against New Zealand last year in Mumbai as Rishabh Pant was rested for the 2-match series to manage his workload. Saha scored a crucial fifty in the first test match in Kanpur when India were in deep trouble at 103/6.

Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Twitter)
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Twitter)

Wriddhiman Saha played 40 Tests for India

Talking about his ambitions to play for India again, Saha said that even before the New Zealand series many critics thought he is finished but he proved them wrong.

I think even before the Kanpur Test, a lot of people tried to prove that I was finished. After I underwent the surgery in 2018, I was the second wicketkeeper, so I think since then, a lot of people were indicating that my time is up.

“Even though nobody said anything openly, there were enough indications that maybe, they are planning something different,” Saha spoke to Sportstar.

In his 40 test career, Saha scored 1353 runs with an average of 29.41 which included 3 hundreds and 6 fifties. As a wicketkeeper, he also played a part in 104 dismissals.

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

“Even after playing that knock that in Kanpur, I knew Rishabh Pant will be playing in South Africa because it was clearly announced that I was drafted into the final eleven since Rishabh was on a break. So, it was obvious that he would be the regular wicketkeeper when available. I always knew that,” he added.

He stated that no one spoke to him clearly but there are enough indications to think that his time is up.

“I have played under several head coaches – Gary Kirsten, Duncan Fletcher, Ravi Shastri – but no one ever asked me about any long-term plan. There were no such questions or discussions.

“During the home series against England last year, Kona (K.S. Bharath) was brought in as the reserve. So, does not that indicate that he is in the reckoning? It was obvious that they were bringing him into the squad with a (long-term) plan and allowing him to get used to the set-up,” Saha said.

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Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)

I Think He Can Only Bowl 2-3 Overs At Maximum – Madan Lal’s Assessment On All-rounder Venkatesh Iyer

Former India all-rounder Madan Lal isn’t impressed with Venkatesh Iyer’s bowling abilities as he doesn’t see him as a 10-over bowler. Madan Lal gave quite a brutal assessment of his all-round abilities as he doesn’t see him fitting in the role as a finisher in the team.

Venkatesh Iyer made his T20I debut against New Zealand in the home series right after the T20 World Cup. He was slotted as a replacement for Hardik Pandya as the 28-year old struggled with his form and fitness in the World Cup. In his debut series, he got limited opportunities to bat down the order, and also he was given the ball the first time in the third match of the series.

I Think He Can Only Bowl 2-3 Overs At Maximum - Madan Lal's Assessment On All-rounder Venkatesh Iyer 1
Venkatesh Iyer

Venkatesh Iyer made his ODI debut in the series against South Africa

Though on the back of a brilliant performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he got a ticket to South Africa where he was handed an ODI debut. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy Iyer scored 379 runs in 6 matches with a strike rate of 133.92 and he also picked 9 wickets with an economy of 5.75. But the emerging all-rounder couldn’t repeat the same heroics in the ODI series as he returned with scores of 2 and 22.

In the first match, the captain didn’t even trust him to bowl a few overs despite South Africa posting a huge total however he bowled 5 overs in the second match.

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

Speaking about his future as an all-rounder, Madan Lal isn’t convinced with his bowling performance as he sees him as a 2-3 overs per match bowler. Lal believes that the opening position is the best slot for him to bat.

“If batting at No. 5 or 6, I don’t think he will be too successful. I saw his bowling too. Even that wasn’t impressive. I think he can only bowl 2-3 overs at maximum. He hasn’t even worked on his bowling. If you think that he can fit into the team is an all-rounder then it is very difficult to him. The only position you can try him at is the opening position,” Madan Lal spoke to Aaj Tak.

Iyer was dropped from the ODI squad for the series against West Indies, however, he retained his place for the T20I series. The T20I series will begin on February 16 in Kolkata.

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Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo
Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo

You’re Only Successful As Successful Your Team – Ajit Agarkar Believes That Virat Kohli’s Form Is A Concern

Former India all-rounder Ajit Agarkar believes that Virat Kohli’s lack of form has reached the stage where it might become a cause of concern for the selectors. He further added that since India is not getting the desired results, his form would be scrutinized further.

Speaking to Star Sports on the show ‘Game Plan’ ahead of the West Indies series, Ajit Agarkar pointed out that Virat Kohli’s form is far from his peak. Notable that India lost the ODI series against South Africa by 0-3.

WTC final: Pleasing to dismiss Virat Kohli, he's 'world-class' batter, says Kyle Jamieson | Photo Credit: AP
WTC final: Pleasing to dismiss Virat Kohli, he’s ‘world-class’ batter, says Kyle Jamieson | Photo Credit: AP

At the end of the day you’re only successful as successful your team is and if you don’t win, it eventually doesn’t matter how great a player you are out on the field, it’s not enjoyable playing in the team.” Ajit Agarkar said.

Though Kohli hasn’t scored a hundred in any form of the game since November 2019, his ODI numbers ain’t that bad. He scored 6 fifties in the last 10 ODI innings. However, India struggled in the limited-overs, of late. In the last 3 ODI series outside Asia, India lost all 3 of them against New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa respectively. Also, they were knocked from the group stage of the T20 World Cup held in UAE last year.

“We talk about different combinations before – Virat Kohli would be a key factor because of the kind of the player that he is but at the moment he isn’t at his best, which is a fact and the quicker he discovers his form it’s going to be that much easier for Rohit Sharma to then manage that thing because of what he can do on his own, Virat Kohli.

“Virat Kohli’s form is a concern, but we all know what a player he is. So, hopefully, he discovers his form sooner rather than later,” Agarkar further added.

Raj Kumar Sharma
Virat Kohli with his childhood coach Raj Kumar Sharma (file photo)

Virat Kohli never runs after records- Rajkumar Sharma

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma stated that Kohli never chases the milestones as he set high standards for himself.

“I have always said that he does not run after records. He does not know most times what record he has created, and I tell him what record he has created. So he has a fight with himself only, that is what he probably means that he wants to improve his performance because lately, it has not been up to the benchmark he has set,” Virat Kohli spoke to India News.

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Virat Kohli (pictured left) surpassed Ricky Ponting (pictured right) as the fastest player to score 10,000 runs on home soil.(Getty Images)
Virat Kohli (pictured left) surpassed Ricky Ponting (pictured right) as the fastest player to score 10,000 runs on home soil.(Getty Images)
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Ricky Ponting Effusive In His Praise For Virat Kohli Who Won The Most 40 Tests As Indian Skipper

Ricky Ponting, former Australian skipper on Sunday was effusive in his praise for former India captain Virat Kohli, saying that the 33-year-old’s achievements as the leader of the Test team was even more “staggering” than what Australia had achieved under his captaincy.

Virat Kohli, who stepped down from Test captaincy earlier this month, ended his tenure in the format as the fourth-most successful captain, with a win percentage of 58.82 – only behind Steve Waugh, Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting himself.

Ricky Ponting. Image- Twitter
Ricky Ponting. Image- Twitter

Ricky Ponting Admits India’s Efforts Under Virat Kohli Were More Staggering Than What The Australians Pulled Off Under His Leadership

No other Indian captain has led the side more number if times than Virat Kohli (68), and won more matches than him (40). At home, India remained an invincible force under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, with the team losing only two out of 31 matches. Away from home, India won 16 of 36 Tests under his leadership, implying a win percentage of 44.44, the most by any Asian captain who has led their team in at least 10 matches.

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

Speaking to former cricketer Isa Guha on the first episode of The ICC Review, Ricky Ponting explained that India’s efforts under Virat Kohli were more “staggering” than what the Aussies pulled off under his leadership because while India managed to win a lot of Tests under Virat Kohli’s predecessors, they continued to struggle overseas.

“It was more of a staggering achievement for India than it was for us,” said Ponting. “When I took over, I took over a side that had dominated world cricket for a long time.”

“If you think about India before Virat, it was about winning a lot of games at home and not winning quite as many overseas. The thing that improved the most was India winning a few more games overseas, and that’s something that he and all of the Indian cricket have to be really proud of.”

Earlier this month, Virat Kohli stood down as India’s Test skipper a day after the country suffered a 1-2 series defeat against South Africa in the three-match series. The tourists slumped from taking a 1-0 lead to lose the series 2-1. Last year, the 33-year-old had also stepped down as T20I captain and then he was removed as the ODI leader after the selectors wanted one leader for white-ball formats.

Ricky Ponting: Virat Kohli Can Walk Away From The Test Captaincy Role Very Proud Of What He Achieved

With 40 wins in 68 Test matches, Virat Kohli was India’s most successful captain in the longest format, also leading the team to the top of the ICC rankings, a spot which the team held for 42 consecutive months between October 2016 to March 2020.

“The other thing is there was really was a real focus placed on Test cricket by the BCCI when Virat took over, and I think a lot of it has come from him as well – to focus more on Test cricket and winning more games home and away. Given his Test record as captain, he can walk away from the role very, very proud of what he has achieved.”

MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli & Sourav Ganguly File image (Source: Twitter)
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli & Sourav Ganguly File image (Source: Twitter)

His win percentage as Test skipper stands at a very healthy 58.82%. In 2019, he went past MS Dhoni as the most successful Indian Test skipper. MS Dhoni had earlier surpassed Sourav Ganguly on the same list.

When Virat Kohli took full-time charge of the Test team, in Australia in 2014-15 after MS Dhoni’s shock decision to retire mid-series, India was languishing as low as seventh in the ICC rankings. From there to taking the team to No. 1 in the world rankings and staying there for five years had been a spectacular turnaround.

Overall, Virat Kohli is the third most successful captain in the history of Test cricket after Australia’s Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
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Indian Team Should Start Looking For Other Options Than Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara: Manoj Tiwary

Manoj Tiwary believes that the Indian selectors need to start looking at other options after the consistently poor performances from senior batters, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Manoj Tiwary who also played 12 ODIs and 3 T20Is for India, made his first-class debut for Bengal in 2004.

India faced a seven-wicket defeat in the third and final Test of the series against South Africa, conceding a 2-1 series defeat. The red-ball assignment was seen as India’s best chance to end a winless Test series streak in the rainbow nation, and the Virat Kohli-led side would rue the missed opportunity.

Questions were also raised on the role of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the team composition, given the fact that the senior pair has looked like a pale shadow of its former self. In the final Test of the series, Cheteshwar Pujara (43 & 9) and Ajinkya Rahane (9 & 1) failed to make a mark, further adding to the speculations over their future.

Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: Twitter
Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: Twitter

Manoj Tiwary: Indian Team Should Start Looking For Other Options

Many pundits and fans have weighed in on the experienced duo’s position in the team, and Indian cricketer Manoj Tiwary spoke in detail about Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara being given a long rope.

“I think so. Some tough decisions need to be taken because it’s the Indian team after all. If someone is not performing, you cannot pick him for a game because his confidence would be low. I think the Indian team should start looking for other options now,” Tiwary said.

Manoj Tiwary
Manoj Tiwary

India’s expedition in South Africa ended with a 0-3 series loss against South Africa in the ODI series but a rejigged camp, led by Rohit Sharma, will look to shrug off the defeat and fare well in the upcoming limited-overs series against the West Indies.

Scoring at an average of just above 20, Ajinkya Rahane managed to fetch just 136 runs from the three Tests in South Africa. Cheteshwar Pujara’s performance was no different. The Saurashtra batter scored only 124 in the rubber that India lost 1-2, failing to win their maiden Test series in the rainbow nation.

Cheteshwar Pujara hasn’t scored a Test hundred since January 2019. In fact, the duo’s numbers are very poor in the last year or so. Since January 2021, Ajinkya Rahane scored 547 runs in 27 innings with an average of 20.25 which included 3 fifties. Cheteshwar Pujara scored 810 runs in 30 innings with an average of 27.93 which included 7 fifties.

Manoj Tiwary: Rohit Sharma Should Open The Batting And KL Rahul Should Bat In The Middle Order

Manoj Tiwary also spoke about India’s batting order for the home assignment, where Rohit Sharma’s presence is expected to bolster the team. He feels Rohit Sharma should partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top and KL Rahul should bat in the middle order. Post the 2019 World Cup, KL Rahul has scored 446 runs in nine innings including a ton at the No. 5 position.

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

“Rohit is obviously India’s first-choice opener. If Shikhar continues to score runs, I think he and Rohit should open the batting and Rahul should bat in the middle order. Rahul has the ability to bat at different positions. His game looks sorted at the moment and he has shown a good temperament as well,” Tiwary further said.

India are scheduled to play three ODIs against West Indies at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from February 6 followed by the T20I series at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata from February 16.

Jasprit Bumrah AP Photo/Rui Vieira
Jasprit Bumrah AP Photo/Rui Vieira

He Needs To Be Given Sufficient Breaks To Stay Fresh – Bharat Arun Is Not Sure About Jasprit Bumrah For Test Captaincy Role

Former India bowling coach Bharat Arun believes that Jasprit Bumrah might not be the best candidate to lead India in the longest format. As a fast bowler, he would keep taking breaks to manage his workload, Arun suggests.

Notable that Virat Kohli stepped down from the Test captaincy after the series loss against South Africa. Since then, speculations have been floating around about the possible candidates to take over the job.

Rohit Sharma, who has already been appointed the white-ball captain for India, is the frontrunner to take the role however KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, and Jasprit Bumrah are also other candidates if the selectors go with the split captaincy.

Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)
Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Jasprit Bumrah was named vice-captain in the ODI series against South Africa

KL Rahul made his Test captaincy debut in the South Africa tour when Kohli missed the second test match at Johannesburg due to an upper back spasm. Rahul also captained in the ODI series and Bumrah was named his deputy of the series.

However former bowling coach is not sure if giving the captaincy responsibility would work well for Bumrah.

“Bumrah is somebody who has got a mind to do it (captaincy). But giving a captaincy to Bumrah.. would he be able to sustain all three formats all the time? That’s the question you would have because Bumrah is a bowler who we need to take care of,” Arun spoke to News9.

He Needs To Be Given Sufficient Breaks To Stay Fresh - Bharat Arun Is Not Sure About Jasprit Bumrah For Test Captaincy Role 3
Bharat Arun (file photo)

“He needs to be given sufficient breaks between matches and between series to stay fresh. Taking that into account, I’m not too sure if he can be the captain,” he added.

Comparing the captaincy options, Arun believes that it will depend on the individual’s performance but he would prefer a batter for the role as he would be available for more matches than a fast bowler would.

“If you look at KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer. Between the three of them, any one of them has got the quality to lead the side. It depends on how they are faring at a particular point of time. I would rather prefer a batsman because he can play in all three formats without being rested for any series to take the mantle of captaincy,” said Arun.

India’s next assignment in Tests will be a series against Sri Lanka starting on February 25.

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BCCI headquarters in Mumbai | Getty
BCCI headquarters in Mumbai | Getty
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Clearly Performances Haven’t Been Good Last Year: Saba Karim On Demotion Of Senior Players Owing To BCCI Central Contracts

Saba Karim has highlighted that some of the senior Indian players’ likely demotion in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) annual contract — is a reflection of their indifferent performances over the last year or so.

Certain reports suggest that the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar may be demoted in the central contracts for the October 2021-September 2022 period.

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

Saba Karim: Demotion Comes Only If Selectors Feel The Players Performances Haven’t Been Good Last Year

Saba Karim was about the likely demotion of these five established players. The BCCI has four categories — A+, A, B and C — which carry annual retainership of Rs 7 crore, Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively. As of now, there won’t be massive changes to the 28 names that featured in the last list but there could be some serious discussions about the composition of the current groups which were in place last year.

He responded: “This [Contract system] does two things from the BCCI’s side. You are promoted as an appreciation if you have done well last year or you are demoted if the selectors feel you have not performed. If we keep these criteria, it’s clear their performance has not been good last year.”

Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: Twitter
Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: Twitter

However, the former India selector added that the five veterans still have something to be happy about.

Saba Karim explained: “The expectations from them have gone down slightly and that is why we are talking about this demotion. But I feel this is also a silver lining for these players. If they are in Grade C, it means the selectors might still think about them in the coming year. It’s not that they have been totally sidelined.”

Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were found wanting during the recent Indian tour of South Africa as well. Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha, on the other hand, did not get a game in the series, but are reaching the fag ends of their careers and age is not on their side.

Scoring at an average of just above 20, Ajinkya Rahane managed to fetch just 136 runs from the three Tests in South Africa. Cheteshwar Pujara’s performance was no different. The Saurashtra batter scored only 124 in the rubber that India lost 1-2, failing to win their maiden Test series in the rainbow nation.

With youngsters like Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari waiting in the wings, the senior duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane could also be dropped from the final XI against Sri Lanka. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav could also be dropped in the contract list.

Saba Karim Feels Grade A+ Is A Very Executive Club And Wants Ravindra Jadeja To Be Promoted There

Saba Karim was also asked about Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul’s likely promotion to the A+ grade.

He replied: “I feel A+ is a very exclusive club. Here I feel we are missing one player, that is Jadeja. He is a player who plays all three formats, he gives match-winning contributions and he has huge importance.”

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja / AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA

While observing that Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul might not be promoted to the highest grade this year, the former India wicket-keeper named a few other players who deserve the promotion.

Saba Karim said: “Along with him, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul are also there. But maybe this year only Jadeja might get an entry in A+ and Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul might be in Grade A. Other than that, I feel players like Mohammed Siraj, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Deepak Chahar should be given a promotion.”

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are the three players who currently enjoy Grade A+ status in the BCCI’s annual contracts. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, who along with Ravindra Jadeja are also all-format players and are even considered captaincy candidates, could be elevated to the highest grade.

Shardul Thakur, who has had some impactful performances in Test matches, can be hopeful of promotion to group A. In current group C, Mohammed Siraj is one man who has shown tremendous improvement while Shubman Gill is one for the future along with Hanuma Vihari, who would also be expecting an upgrade.

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
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One Of Virat Kohli’s Great Achievements Was Instilling In His Team A Craving For Test Cricket, Says Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell, former Australian skipper feels that one of Virat Kohli’s great achievements was to instil a craving for Test cricket in the Indian team. Virat Kohli stepped down as Team India Test captain, earlier this month following the Test series defeat to South Africa.

The 33-year-old finished as India’s most successful Test captain with a historic Test series win over Australia in 2018-19 and a power pack show on England tour last year. Australian great Ian Chappell has found Virat Kohli to be an exceptional captain who has carried the Indian team to a higher level and considered England’s Joe Root a “fine batter but poor captain”.

Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ian Chappell: Virat Kohli Was Exceptional As Captain And India Tasted Overseas Success Like No Other Previous Indian Skippers

Ian Chappell heaped praises on Virat Kohli’s leadership and claims that no Indian captain tasted success like him in overseas conditions. He also was India’s most successful captain in the format, winning more Tests in SENA and overseas nations than any other skippers.

“There’s no doubt Kohli was an exception as captain; he didn’t curb his enthusiasm but he was still able to lead the Indian team to a higher level. With the capable assistance of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, he lifted India to overseas success like no other captain had done,” Ian Chappell wrote in his column.

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

Virat Kohli took over the captaincy charge from MS Dhoni when India was ranked 7th in ICC Test Rankings while he left with the Asian giants leading the charts. Ian Chapell said that the former India skipper led India passionately as he instilled a craving for red-ball cricket in the team.

“One of Kohli’s great achievements was instilling in his team a craving for Test cricket. Despite his all-encompassing success, Kohli’s major aim was to achieve victory in the Test arena and this is where his passion really shone,” Ian Chappell wrote.

Virat Kohli’s decision to quit Test captaincy helped raise quite a few eyebrows as he evolved into India’s most successful Test captain, winning 40 Tests in 68 matches.

Ian Chappell: Rishabh Pant’s Support By Virat Kohli Was A Master Stroke

The legendary Australia cricketer further hailed Virat Kohli for the development of Rishabh Pant and his support for the wicketkeeper batter was a masterstroke.

“There is no doubt that Kohli drove his men hard but it’s also apparent they enjoyed competing and wanted success. Kohli has a number of individual achievements in his resumé, none bigger than the development of Rishabh Pant as a wicketkeeper and batter.

“Kohli tended to get his way when it came to selection and some of his decisions in this area were a little questionable but there’s no doubting his support of Pant was a master stroke,” Ian Chappell added.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant | Twitter

Rishabh Pant has played a significant role in some of Team India’s most memorable wins in the last year or so. Rishabh Pant had scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 in five innings for India against Australia in 2020/21 Down Under. The keeper continued his form against England at home where he hit 270 runs at an average of 54.00 as he was the second-highest run-getter for India in the series.

Rishabh Pant was handed his Test debut in 2018, during the series in England. Under Virat Kohli’s leadership, he scored 1444 runs in 24 matches at 38 with four centuries. Three of his hundreds came away from home – against England in 2018, Australia in 2019 and South Africa in 2022.

Rishabh Pant also played one of the pivotal roles in India’s comeback victory in the 2020/21 series against Australia with back-to-back spectacular knocks in the fourth innings of a Test. His 97 off 118 in Sydney helped India salvage a draw in the third Test while his unbeaten 89 off 138 helped the visitors script a historic Gabba win.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

“Both Virat Kohli And Rohit Sharma Need To Look At The Big Picture”- Saba Karim

Former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim urged Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to leave all matters aside and work together for the betterment of Indian cricket. Also, Karim expected that things would improve as time progresses even if there are some regrets on Kohli’s side.

Notable that when Kohli resigned from the T20I captaincy after the T20 World Cup, he clearly mentioned that he would like to continue as captain in ODIs and Tests but first he was sacked as the ODI captain right before the South Africa tour then after the test series loss against South Africa, he decided to step down from the captaincy in the longest format as well.

India-West Indies, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma © BCCI
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma © BCCI

Rohit Sharma has been appointed the white-ball captain for India

Former BCCI selector Saba Karim believes that Virat needs to leave the captaincy behind and should look forward to contributing to the team’s success.

“Virat Kohli will need to make extra efforts. He must be having some regrets, I am sure, but time heals wounds. I think Virat is experienced enough and mature to deal with it. We should see it on the ground soon,” Saba Karim spoke on the Khelneeti podcast.

Rahul Dravid

He also suggested that Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid should regularly take the inputs from Virat Kohli so that he would feel that he still belongs in the leadership group. He also opined that both Kohli and Rohit must see the larger picture irrespective of their differences.

“Being captain, Rohit Sharma will need to take that extra step. He and Rahul Dravid will need to explain to Kohli the thought process and culture they want to bring in. They can seek inputs from Kohli over the same. At the end of the day, both Kohli and Rohit need to look at the big picture and think about the ultimate team goals.” he said.

“If both players are on the same page, things will become very easy. If issues crop up between them, the dressing room environment will go down quickly. So it is very important for both of them to work together,” Karim added.

Rohit Sharma missed the South Africa tour due to a hamstring injury but now he will be back leading the side in the series against West Indies starting on February 6.

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

You Don’t Have A Life As A Fast Bowler With A Speed Of 125-130 Kph – Salman Butt Warns Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt opined that India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs to up his pace to survive in international cricket. Notable that Bhuvneshwar Kumar was dropped from India’s ODI squad for the series against West Indies however he got a lifeline as he retained his place in the T20I squad.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar didn’t have a great time on the South Africa tour as he remained wicketless in both ODIs and also conceded the runs with an economy of more than 7. India faced a thrashing 0-3 defeat against the proteas. And as a result of that, the selectors made wholesale changes in the bowling line-up as they inducted some genuine pace bowlers in form of Avesh Khan.

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

Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained wicketless in the ODI series against South Africa

Assessing his performance on his Youtube channel, Salman Butt suggested that Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs to add a yard or two in his pace if he wants to remain effective in international cricket. He opined that a pacer can’t survive with a speed of 125-130 kph unless he has the skillset of former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs to seriously bring his pace back. With a speed of 125-130, if you don’t have something ‘extra-special’ like Mohammad Asif, or if you don’t get the conditions that assist spin, you don’t have a life as a fast bowler,” Salman Butt spoke on his Youtube channel.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Butt further pointed out that the wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant was standing up to the stumps against Bhuvneshwar. He suggested India to go for the bowlers who can pick wickets for them as containing runs won’t solve the problem.

If the keeper is standing up for you in South Africa, what are you doing there as a fast bowler? Definitely, they need to move in a direction where they have wicket-taking options, where batsmen have a fear in mind that the bowler is fast and that they can be hit. If you don’t have speed, the batsman doesn’t have a second thought. He will attack you with confidence,” said Butt.

Bhuvneshwar will be part of the T20I series against the West Indies which will start on February 16 in Kolkata.

Also read Shaheen Afridi Names Three Indian Batters For His Dream Hat-Trick

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