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India vs Australia 2020/21 - Page 3

Rahane Ojha
Rahane Ojha

Pragyan Ojha Surprised Over Ajinkya Rahane’s Inconsistency, Wants Him To Sort It Out At The Earliest

Pragyan Ojha has expressed his surprise at Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s inconsistent displays with the bat. Ajinkya Rahane scored a solitary run across the two innings in the first Test against England in Chennai.

The Indian vice-captain hasn’t breached the half-century mark in his last seven Test innings after scoring 112 runs in the 2nd Melbourne Test win in Australia.

Pragyan Ojha (AFP PHOTO)
Pragyan Ojha (AFP PHOTO)

Pragyan Ojha: After Ajinkya Rahane Scored A Ton In Melbourne, He Is Finding His Form Which Is Surprising

While answering fan questions on Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha was asked about the reason behind Ajinkya Rahane’s inconsistency. The former Indian spinner responded that he cannot find the reason and logic behind the Mumbaikar’s inability to string together a run of good scores in the longest format.

“That is something which really surprises me. I have played a lot of cricket with him, right from our younger days. Someone of his stature gets a brilliant hundred at the MCG and after that, it looks as if he is finding his form. It is something that even I was taken aback,” said Pragyan Ojha.

Ajinkya Rahane (AP Photo)
Ajinkya Rahane Photo Credit: AP Photo.

Pragyan Ojha hopes Ajinkya Rahane must address the issue at the earliest as the Indian team requires greater consistency from him.

“I believe he needs to sort this out because a man of his stature who has done so much for the country, the vice-captain of the Indian team, he has to be consistent. When he plays, it looks like he is a brilliant batsman but at times when he starts getting out, then you feel like he is out of form. So, this is something he needs to address,” added the 34-year-old.

The 32-year-old middle-order batsman flopped against New Zealand where he averaged only 22.75 in 2 Tests and apart from his 112, he couldn’t score another half-century in other matches.

His inconsistency is portrayed by the fact that he failed in the 2018 England series overseas averaging 25.7 and in the Sri Lanka series in 2017 where he averaged only 3.4 in 3 Tests. But he did well in West Indies in 2019 averaging 90.33 and the South Africa series in 2019 averaging 72.

Pragyan Ojha: Nobody Criticising Ajinkya Rahane’s Position

Pragyan Ojha was further asked for his views if Ajinkya Rahane is being unfairly criticized as he is currently the leading run-scorer for India in the ICC World Test Championship. He responded that the 32-year-old’s place in the Indian team is not being questioned.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant (AFP)
Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant (AFP)

“Nobody is criticising his position in the team or questioning him being the vice-captain or what he has done. But everybody is surprised, the whole Indian team was unsettled after the loss at Adelaide and he goes to MCG as a captain and plays a brilliant knock,” said Pargyan Ojha.

Pragyan Ojha also spoke about Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara’s defensive batting approach in India’s first innings of the Sydney Test. He believes the duo’s timid approach probably put India at a disadvantage in that match as India drew the Test despite Rishabh Pant’s counter-attacking 97 in 2nd innings.

“He is absolutely someone the Indian team needs, him and Pujara. I will just extend my conversation to Pujara. When India was playing in Sydney, on the Day 2 evening, we played that session very slow. The next morning when we came into bat, the Australians had a plan and they got us out.

“Had we used those overs, we could have got those runs because when the new ball comes in, we were losing those wickets. That was my criticism, I never doubted Pujara or Rahane, they are the pillars of our batting,” concluded Pragyan Ojha.

Ajinkya Rahane is one of those rare players whose home average (37.35) is inferior to his overseas average (44.44). He has a dismal home record against England, having scored 64 runs in four matches at an average of just 9.14. The stylish batsman would like to set the record straight in the upcoming matches and help India qualify for the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

Kuldeep Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem
Kuldeep Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem

MSK Prasad Defends India Picking Shahbaz Nadeem Over Kuldeep Yadav

MSK Prasad opened up on the regular snub of Kuldeep Yadav across formats as he went on to defend the Indian team management. Kuldeep Yadav has been enduring a tough period of late.

Despite being regarded as a first-choice Test spinner overseas by head coach Ravi Shastri, during the 2018-19 Australia tour, he quickly saw being thrashed by Moeen Ali in IPL 2019 with visuals of him being teary-eyed going viral. After superb IPL 2018, where he picked 17 scalps averaging 24.59, he performed poorly in the last two editions.

Kuldeep Yadav (Image Source : TWITTER/KKRIDERS)
Kuldeep Yadav (Image Source : TWITTER/KKRIDERS)

Kuldeep Yadav Performed Poorly In IPL 2019 And IPL 2020

Although Kuldeep Yadav was a part of the 2019 ODI World Cup squad, he had an ordinary run overall. Since then, he was often found himself warming the bench across formats rather than taking the field at regular intervals for Team India. In addition, he seemed to have lost the trust of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team management with only a handful of games in IPL 2019 and 2020 edition combined.

Kuldeep Yadav With Former Skipper Dinesh Karthik Of KKR (Photo: IANS)
Kuldeep Yadav With Former Skipper Dinesh Karthik Of KKR (Photo: IANS)

He averaged above 71.5 and 92 with the ball in the last two editions, which is rather poor and pathetic, to say the least. He picked 4 scalps in limited appearances in IPL 2019 and a solitary scalp in IPL 2020.

Kuldeep Yadav has last played a Test match for India in January 2019. Kuldeep Yadav’s omission becomes all the more surprising given he picked up a five-wicket haul in his last Test appearance in Sydney against Australia in the 2018/19 tour. He debuted in Tests way back in 2017 but has featured in only 6 Tests where he picked 24 scalps averaging 24.12, which isn’t poor by any standards.

MSK Prasad: India Must Have Thought Of Having An Extra Batsman Who Can Bowl And Shahbaz Nadeem Was Selected For He Is A Left Arm Spinner

After he was left out of the playing XI for India’s first Test versus England in Chennai, his fans are sympathizing with him since they feel he might still not be given the nod for the second Test, starting from February 13. Fans and experts are questioning the move not to play him and many are claiming favouritism as a reason behind his snub, but former chief selector MSK Prasad has backed the current team management’s decision.

MSK Prasad. (Photo Source: Twitter)
MSK Prasad. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“Personal issues definitely won’t matter. I don’t think Virat will be thinking on those lines. Virat or team management would have had different plans about the selection. Washington Sundar did extremely well in his last Test match. They must have thought of having an extra batsman who can bowl,” MSK Prasad was quoted saying by Sportskeeda. 

He further opined, “With regard to Nadeem, the stats show that England had a little tough time against left-arm spinners in Sri Lanka. Though they won the two Test matches, the left-arm spinners got a lot of wickets. So that’s the reason why they would have preferred Nadeem. My personal choice would have definitely been Kuldeep but the reason for Nadeem’s inclusion might be this”, added MSK Prasad.

Kuldeep Yadav returned from the Australia tour where he played only one game which was the 3rd ODI at Canberra. It looks unlikely that he will get a chance in the playing XI for the second Test as India is expected to swap Axar Patel in place of Shahbaz Nadeem, and retain Washington Sundar along with the spin department’s spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin. England won the first Test versus India by 227 runs in Chennai.

MSK Prasad’s personal choice for the Test series especially in Chennai though is definitely Kuldeep Yadav, who has been battling inconsistent form, which has been the reason behind his limited appearances for India lately.


Impossible To Avoid Indian Test Captaincy Debate: Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen, former England captain said the debate around whether India should stick with Virat Kohli as Test captain will continue because the team has lost its last four Tests under him and due to the presence of Ajinkya Rahane who excelled in Australia.

Under Virat Kohli, India lost two Tests in New Zealand early last year, the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in December and their first Test against England in Chennai this week.

Kevin Pietersen, Virat Kohli (Credit :- Instagram)
Kevin Pietersen, Virat Kohli (Credit :- Instagram)

Kevin Pietersen: Impossible To Avoid Debate Around Test Match Captaincy

On the other hand, Ajinkya Rahane led the team to a remarkable 2-1 win in Australia after their heavy defeat in Adelaide where the team registered lowest Test score of 36. He is yet to lose a Test match as India captain and has won 4 Tests in 5 matches led while one-the Sydney Test was drawn.

“I absolutely don’t expect things to change, but it is impossible to avoid the continuing debate around the Indian Test match captaincy. Virat Kohli has now lost four consecutive Test matches as skipper and has Ajinkya Rahane, who just led India to a famous series win in Australia, in his side,” Kevin Pietersen wrote in his blog for Betway.

Ajinkya Rahane (PTI File Photo)
Ajinkya Rahane (PTI File Photo)

“On social media, every radio station, every television channel and every news channel, there are very deep discussions around what should happen. Captaining your country is very difficult and unfortunately this is the nature of the beast,” said Pietersen.

“It’s one more distraction that Kohli doesn’t need but he is, of course, capable of leading his side to a victory in the second Test to quieten things down a bit,” he further said.

Ajinkya Rahane was the guiding light for the youngsters like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and T Natarajan who stepped up in the absence of senior players like Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja all of whom were injured at various stages of Test series and gave their best to outclass the Aussies in their own backyard.

Kevin Pietersen: Stuart Broad Actually Under Lot Of Pressure To Perform In 2nd Test As His Record Isn’t Spectacular In India

Kevin Pietersen also feels England fast bowler Stuart Broad is under pressure to deliver in this series. Stuart Broad was benched in favour of pacers James Anderson and Jofra Archer. With Jofra Archer ruled out due to an elbow injury, Stuart Broad could be selected for the second Test that starts on Saturday in Chennai.

“Whereas Anderson has now conquered each country he has played in, the one thing that Stuart Broad hasn’t done is performin India. His record — 10 wickets in six matches at an average of nearly 54 — isn’t spectacular at all,” Kevin Pietesen said.

Stuart Broad (Getty Images)
Stuart Broad (Getty Images)

“Anderson and Broad are hailed as an incredible partnership, and of course they have been, but this is the difference between the two. If Broad wants to be globally recognised as a bowler that delivers in all conditions, he’s actually under quite a lot of pressure to perform in the second Test,” the former batsman Kevin Pietersen said.

As per the latest reports, spinner Dom Bess and pacer James Anderson have been rested as per England’s rotation policy as the spinner will make way for Moeen Ali while Jofra Archer is out with an elbow niggle. Ben Foakes will come in place of Jos Buttler who returned to England. Any two pacers from Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, and Stuart Broad will get a chance to play in starting XI for the 2nd Test starting February 13.

Anjum Chopra
Anjum Chopra

Anjum Chopra Reckons It’s Unfair To Talk About Change In Captaincy

Anjum Chopra, former India captain said it’s unfair to talk about change in captaincy and that Virat Kohli should continue to lead the Test team with Ajinkya Rahane being his deputy.

Former India women’s captain Anjum Chopra said murmurs of change in captaincy in the Indian Test team will not eventually lead to a healthy dressing room environment but rather create conflicts as she backed India’s most successful Test skipper Virat Kohli to continue leading the side in the longest format of the game.

Former India cricketer Anjum Chopra. DC File Photo
Former India cricketer Anjum Chopra. DC File Photo

Anjum Chopra: Don’t Make Anything Of Argument Of Change In Captaincy Calls

Anjum Chopra, speaking to India Today, said Ajinkya Rahane’s performance as stand-in captain in recently concluded Australia Tests was excellent but it’s unfair to disturb the combination of the senior national Test side.

Quite a few, including former cricketers, have stressed there is pressure on regular skipper Virat Kohli after the way Ajinkya Rahane led India to a come-back-from-behind victory in a 4-Test series in Australia in January. India were down and out after losing the series opener in Adelaide wherein they were bowled out for their lowest-Test score of 36 under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. Many experts opined that Australia will win 4-0 whitewashing India but they were proved wrong.

“Nothing. I don’t make anything of that argument (change in captaincy calls). Ajinkya Rahane scored a hundred, we won the Test match in Melbourne, brilliant! We drew the Test match in Sydney, we won the Test match in Brisbane, excellent performance. Every player has to go out there and perform. It’s not Ajinkya vs Virat or Virat vs Rohit.

It’s about whoever is given an opportunity to go out there and perform, they are doing it to the best of their abilities and getting victories for the Indian team,” Anjum Chopra said.

“To say Virat should make way for Ajinkya just because Ajinkya’s team won in Australia Instead of creating a nice environment, it’s creating a conflict in the dressing room. Why go that way?”

The visitors were under considerable pressure as Virat Kohli had left on paternity leave and senior bowler Mohammed Shami was ruled out with a fracture in the lead up to the 2nd Test.

However, Ajinkya Rahane stepped with the bat scoring a marvellous ton and showcased tactical acumen as India outclassed Australia in the 2nd Test in Melbourne before drawing 3rd and winning 4th with inexperienced cricketers as the team was plagued down by injuries to key players.

Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami (AFP)
Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami (AFP)

The visitors then drew the 3rd Test in Sydney before creating history in Brisbane in 4th Test despite having an injury-ravaged squad, breaching Australia’s Gabba fortress where the hosts were invincible having not lost a Test since 1988. To add to the murmurs, India lost the 1st Test of a 4-match series to England in Chennai as Virat Kohli returned to lead the side.

Anjum Chopra: Camaraderie Between Virat Kohli And Ajinkya Rahane Been Excellent And Both Are Focussed On Helping India Win

Anjum Chopra also pointed out that the camaraderie between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane has been excellent and both of them are keen and focussed on helping the team win, regardless of their designations.

Ajinkya Rahane made it clear in the lead up to the England Test series, saying Virat Kohli would continue to remain as the Test captain. The Mumbai batsman also highlighted that both the players have shared a good bond over the years and pushed each other to perform better.

Ajinkya Rahane is back acting as Virat Kohli's deputy. (Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane is back acting as Virat Kohli’s deputy. (Getty Images)

“Ajinkya and Virat have been excellent friends. Designations don’t matter. Both of them played to help the team win. Only one of them can go out and toss the coin.

“As far as the d ressing room camaraderie is fine, if people are thinking on the same lines, then I don’t think at the present moment the combination of Virat leading the side and Ajinkya as his deputy should be disturbed. You never know what the future holds but at the moment it shouldn’t be disturbed,” Anjum Chopra added.

Having conceded an early lead in the series, Virat Kohli-led India will be keen on bouncing back when they take on England in the 2nd Test, starting February 13 in Chennai.


Sunil Gavaskar Believes India Won’t Drop Washington Sundar For 2nd Test

Sunil Gavaskar believes that the team will not drop Washington Sundar from the playing XI despite the all-rounder’s modest returns with the ball in the 1st Test’s loss to Joe Root-led England.

India’s comprehensive loss in the first Test of a four-match series against England at home meant that not only did the series start off in the worst way possible for Virat Kohli-led India but also means they have a lot of work left to do in the forthcoming days.Sunil Gavaskar Believes India Won't Drop Washington Sundar For 2nd Test 1

Sunil Gavaskar Can’t See Too Many Changes Happening Since There Isn’t Need To Panic Despite Loss

India needs a 2-1 series win in order to secure their place in the World Test Championship final at Lords against New Zealand and the gap between the first and second Test isn’t a lot as the next Test in Chennai begins on Saturday. However, former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar is of the opinion that the team doesn’t need to panic just yet.

“What we heard at the press conference, there could be possible just one change. I can’t see too many changes happening because ‘too many changes’ is a sign of panic. And there is no need to panic,” Sunil Gavaskar told Star Sports.

England bowled out India for 192 in the final innings on Day 5 to successfully defend the target of 420 which they had set on Day 4. England had scored 178 runs in their second innings and 578 runs in the first innings mainly due to Joe Root’s 218, while India made 337 in the first innings.

Sunil Gavaskar Believes India Won't Drop Washington Sundar For 2nd Test 2

Sunil Gavaskar: Washington Sundar Batted Well And Shouldn’t Be Replaced In 2nd Test, He Should Give Ball Much Air While Bowling

England grabbed the top spot on the WTC table after their famous win at Chepauk while India slipped below New Zealand and Australia for the first time in the competition. Sunil Gavaskar reckons India shouldn’t replace Washington Sundar who showed promise with the bat scoring an unbeaten 85 in 1st innings in only his 2nd Test. But he didn’t pick any wickets despite bowling 27 overs.

“This is a very good team. This team was outplayed and it can happen. Yes, we talked about how the toss was important because you get to bat on good pitches which are much better than on the fourth and the fifth day. So, there could be just one change but Washington Sundar is not going to be that change. Because of the way he has batted.”

Sunil Gavaskar Believes India Won't Drop Washington Sundar For 2nd Test 3Sunil Gavaskar, however, added that the Chennai lad needs to work out how best to bowl in the longest format of the game and not bowl flat as that tactic works only in the shorter formats.

“Maybe, he might get to bowl a little bit more. He is more a T20 type of a bowler because he bowls flat, flat, flat and doesn’t really give the ball much air as Ashwin does,” Sunil Gavaskar added.

“But it’s something that he can always, in the company of Ashwin sitting and talking to him more -both are Chennai boys – learn and can get better at. So, he definitely will be there. Who goes out that, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Washington Sundar, who made an unlikely debut in India’s memorable win at the Gabba against Australia, had shown grit and determination in helping the team recover from 186 for 6 by stitching a 124-run stand with Shardul Thakur. He hit a crucial 62 and followed up with a quickfire 22 in the historic 336-run chase in Brisbane.

India and England will play the second Test in Chennai from Saturday onwards before moving on to Ahmedabad for the final two matches of the series.


Wasim Jaffer Sympathize With Kuldeep Yadav After The Spinner Was Axed For 1st Test

Wasim Jaffer, former Indian cricketer has sympathized with Kuldeep Yadav for not getting a chance to showcase his talent in the Test matches for India.

Wasim Jaffer, in a tweet on Sunday, said that the china-man spinner has been traveling from one bio-bubble to another without getting any game time.

Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer

Wasim Jaffer Feels Sad For Kuldeep Yadav’s Omission For 1st Test

Kuldeep Yadav, who has been with the squad since the tour of Australia, last played a Test match for India in January 2019. It’s been over two years since Kuldeep Yadav last played a Test for India.

The 26-year-old spinner hasn’t played a single Test match since the one against Australia in January 2019. He debuted in Tests way back in 2017 but has featured in only 6 Tests where he picked 24 scalps averaging 24.12, which isn’t poor by any standard besides he is a left-arm spinner and India doesn’t boast of many spinners in that category.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

Kuldeep Yadav has been battling inconsistent form, which has been the primary reason behind his limited appearances for India lately. The left-arm spinner picked up a five-wicket haul in his maiden Test tour of Australia in 2018-19, did not play a single Test in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite being part of the squad. He played only the third inconsequential ODI where he picked a solitary wicket.

Kuldeep Yadav Axed In Australian Tour Too As He Didn’t Play Any Of 4 Tests

Kuldeep Yadav was expected to feature in the 1st Pink-ball Test match against Australia in Adelaide but the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja got the nod ahead of him. Later, the 26-year-old was expected to feature in at least the 4th Test after Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out with a broken thumb. However, Washington Sundar, who traveled Down Under as a net bowler, got inducted in the playing XI for the Gabba Test.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

A similar incident happened ahead of the 1st Test against England in Chennai. Shahbaz Nadeem, who was not named in India’s initial squad for the first two Tests, was included in the playing XI on the morning of the Test after Axar Patel got ruled out with a knee injury. Along with experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and Shahbaz Nadeem, Washington Sundar was selected as the third spinner for the match.

Wasim Jaffer a veteran of 32 Tests from 2000 to 2008 is currently the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy cricket, surpassing Amol Muzumdar.

Sunil Gavaskar, India, 2019 World Cup
Photo Credit: Getty Images,

Australian Players Should Blame Themselves For 2-1 Loss To India: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar, Indian cricket legend reckons Australian players have themselves to blame for loss to India and not the coach Justin Langer.

Sunil Gavaskar has lambasted the Australian team after stories emerged that some players were not happy with the coach’s style of functioning in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which the hosts lost 1-2.

Sunil Gavaskar,
Sunil Gavaskar. Credits: DNA

Sunil Gavaskar: Coach Can Do Nothing Once Players Are Out On Field

In the recently concluded Test series, India won 2-1 after the Adelaide debacle in 1st Test where the team scored only 36 in 2nd innings and lost as the likes of Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj and Rishabh Pant rose to the occasion.

Australians Marnus Labuschagne (426 runs) and Pat Cummins (21 scalps) were leading run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively but the likes of Nathan Lyon (9 wickets in 4 Tests averaging 55.11), Matthew Wade (173 runs averaging 21.62), Travis Head(62 runs averaging 20.66), David Warner (67 runs averaging 16.75) and Joe Burns (63 runs averaging 21) failed miserably for Australia.

“The leaks to the media about Langer actually reflects badly on the Australian team as it portrays them as brats who can’t accept they were outplayed and so need to shift the blame elsewhere,” wrote Gavaskar in a column which appeared in Sunday Mid-day.

Joe Burns and David Warner
Joe Burns and David Warner. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Stories planted in the media by the players or their agents or managers are making out that it was Langer’s intensity and passion that had the players under pressure and so affected their game. This is utter rubbish as once the players are out on the field, the coach can do nothing and the players themselves have to find the answers to the questions asked by the opposition,” Gavaskar stressed.

Under Tim Paine’s leadership, Australia have retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches, but have now lost two successive home series to India.

Sunil Gavaskar Though Questions Logic To Bat First In Melbourne Test

However, the former opener and commentator questioned the logic of Australia deciding to bat first in the Melbourne Test match.

“The one thing that they could possibly pin on the coach and the advisory group is the decision to bat first in the Melbourne Test match. Whether that was only the captain and senior players’ decision to bat first  or whether it was one that the coach Langer encouraged Tim Paine to take is not known but apart from that possibility, the Australians have nobody else to blame than themselves,” wrote Sunil Gavaskar.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Image Credit: Getty Images).

Australia began the series on a strong note winning the day-night Test in Adelaide inside three days and handing India one of their worst Test defeats in the recent history as the team registered lowest ever Test score of 36.

Ajinkya Rahane set the tone for a dramatic turnaround for the visitors with a match-winning ton in the 2nd Test at Melbourne. He was the guiding light for the youngsters like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and T Natarajan who stepped up in the absence of senior players like Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and gave their best to outclass the Aussies in their own backyard.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. Credits: BCCI

Ravichandran Ashwin Is One Of The Most Vital Parts Of This Team: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli revealed he had sent Ravichandran Ashwin a text message after the Melbourne Test while lauding the all-rounder’s contributions in India’s Test series win Down Under.

India captain Virat Kohli who was on a paternity leave after playing 1st Test against Australia only lauded Ravichandran Ashwin for his all-round effort in India’s 2-1 Test series victory in Australia, saying the off-spinner is one of the most vital parts of the Test team.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Virat Kohli.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Virat Kohli. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Virat Kohli : Ravichandran Ashwin Is One Of The Most Vital Parts Of India

Ravichandran Ashwin played a crucial role in helping India come back from behind and clinch a heroic series win last month Down Under. Virat Kohli, speaking to Star Sports, revealed he had sent Ravichandran Ashwin a text message after India’s heroic comeback in the 2nd Test in Melbourne lauding his efforts in the Test. India were handed an 8-wicket defeat as they were bundled out for their lowest Test score in 1st Test.

Ravichandran Ashwin set the tone early for India in Melbourne after Australia won the toss and opted to bat. He removed Steve Smith without scoring and got opener Matthew Wade early to jolt the hosts. An Ajinkya Rahane hundred made sure India sealed an 8-wicket win in the 2nd Test.

Ravichandran Ashwin,
Ravichandran Ashwin. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Well, he is one of the most vital parts of this team. After Melbourne, I sent him a text that this is the best I have seen you bowl overseas ever. I remember we had a conversation in Adelaide as well, I said not people remember these small moments, in the first innings where Saha and Ash came out not out, Ash’s intent was something that stood out for me,” Virat Kohli said.

In Australia, he picked wickets of Steve Smith thrice in each of 3 Tests he played at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney and Marnus Labuschagne in first 2 Tests besides Matthew Wade, David Warner, Cameron Green and Travis Head among others. In Melbourne Test, he picked 5 wickets besides picking 5 scalps in Adelaide and 2 in Sydney. He didn’t play 4th Test due to injury.

The off spinner picked 3 wickets conceding 146 runs in 55.1 overs against England in 1st Test at Chennai.

Virat Kohli: Ravichandran Ashwin Will Score Crucial 70-80 Runs If He Gets Going

Revealing a chat Ravichandran Ashwin and him had before the Test series in Australia, Virat Kohli said both of them discussed that Ravichandran Ashwin had a lot to offer with the bat as well. The off-spinner, who has 4 Test hundreds, had struggled with the bat over the last 3 years but he showcased his class in the Australia tour.

“He had a conversation with us in the nets about his batting. We both said ‘you have so much more to provide for this team with the bat. That was one of your strengths. When we looked at you, we always felt like 30-35 guaranteed every innings'”.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“If he gets going, he will score a crucial 70-80′. So, suddenly you saw his body language. It was like ‘Hold on, this is my time, my tour now with the bat and with the ball,'” Virat Kohli stated.

Ravichandran Ashwin picked up 12 wickets in 3 Tests and came up with a stunning effort with Hanuma Vihari on Day 5 of the 3rd Test in Sydney to help India seal a draw. The off-spinner was ruled out of the 4th and final Test along with pacer Jasprit Bumrah with injury concerns but India managed to breach Australia’s Gabba fortress and win the series.

Mohammed Shami,
Mohammed Shami. Image Credit: AFP

Mohammed Shami Begins Low Intensity Training At NCA

Mohammed Shami, senior Indian pacer has begun low-intensity training at the National Cricket Academy after having recovered from a fractured wrist that kept him away from the first 2 Tests against England and saw him miss last 3 Tests against Australia.

Mohammed Shami resumed training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru as he has recovered ‘significantly’ from a wrist fracture that ruled him out of the first 2 Tests of the ongoing 4-match series against England. Mohammed Shami will continue to train at around 50 per cent intensity for the next few days.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. Image Credit: Twitter.

Mohammed Shami’s Forearm Is Fine Right Now And He Will Have Some Low-Intensity Net Sessions: Source

Mohammed Shami took a hit to his wrist when he tried to sway away from a bouncer from Australian pacer Pat Cummins during India’s 8-wicket defeat against Australia in the first Test of a 4-match series in Adelaide. Scans confirmed a fractured wrist and he was ruled out from the remainder of the series. The senior India paceman also had to miss the two Chennai Tests against England.

T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini
T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini

Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane was the guiding light for the youngsters like Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and T Natarajan who stepped up in the absence of senior players like Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and gave their best to outclass the Aussies in their own backyard.

Mohammed Shami Bowled At NCA Along With Navdeep Saini Both Of Whom Were Ruled Out Of First 2 Tests Against England

Mohammed Shami had been through an ‘extensive rehabilitation program’ at the NCA. The India pacer took to social media to share a clip of him bowling at the NCA along with Navdeep Saini who too was ruled out of the first 2 England Tests due to a groin injury.

“Shami’s forearm is fine right now. He will have some low intensity net sessions for the next few days. He has been advised to bowl around 18 deliveries a day at 50 to 60 percent effort,” a source in the know of things told the Press Trust of India.

“Since has been out for more than month and half, that is how the workload will be built,” the source added.

Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“He is bowling from a shorter run-up, working to get some feel back. By the next week, the training will be of medium intensity and a final call can then be taken if he will be available for selection for the final two Tests in Ahmedabad. The pink ball Test is still two and half weeks away (February 24). There is a very good chance that Shami will be fit and available for selection.”

“That he has started bowling means that his forearm is fine. He doesn’t have any other niggles as of now so by the end of next week, a more clearer picture will emerge,” said the source.

Chennai will also host the 2nd Test too from February 13 while the 3rd Test and the 4th Test will be held in Ahmedabad. The squad for the last two Tests is likely to be announced during the 2nd Test.


Harbhajan Singh Baffled By Kuldeep Yadav’s Omission In 1st Test

Harbhajan Singh, veteran off-spinner is surprised with India’s decision to leave out wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav from their Playing XI for the first Test against England in Chennai.

Kuldeep Yadav, who has been with the squad since the tour of Australia, last played a Test match for India in January 2019.

Harbhajan Singh Baffled By Kuldeep Yadav's Omission In 1st Test 4

Harbhajan Singh Astonished To See Kuldeep Yadav Not Get A Chance Despite Being In Squad As It Doesn’t Make Sense To Play 2 Off Spinners

With Ravindra Jadeja injured and Washington Sundar only one Test match old, Kuldeep Yadav was expected to be one of three spinners to play for India, but the team selection pretty much came as surprise for all, especially Harbhajan Singh, as back up left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem got the nod ahead of Kuldeep Yadav.

“It was astonishing for me to see Kuldeep Yadav not get a chance in Team India’s playing XI despite him being in the squad. I can understand that since Axar Patel is injured, Shahbaz Nadeem came in as a like-for-like replacement. But it doesn’t make sense to play two off-spinners in Chennai,” Harbhajan Singh told Sports Talk.

Harbhajan Singh Baffled By Kuldeep Yadav's Omission In 1st Test 5Kuldeep Yadav has been warming the bench for a while. His appearance in limited-overs cricket for India have been limited and it has been over two years since the china-man bowler featured in a Test match. Kuldeep Yadav’s omission becomes all the more surprising given he picked up a five-wicket haul in his last Test appearance in Sydney against Australia in 2018/19 tour.

Harbhajan Singh: Kuldeep Yadav’s Presence Would Have Added Variety To India’s Spin Attack

“Kuldeep Yadav’s presence would have added a bit of variety to this Indian bowling attack. In the last two Tests that Kuldeep Yadav played, he had picked up five-wicket hauls. So I am completely baffled by his exclusion,” Harbhajan Singh asserted.

Harbhajan Singh Baffled By Kuldeep Yadav's Omission In 1st Test 6“This is also not a great sign for his confidence because it demoralizes you even further when you are a part of the squad but still can’t make it to the playing XI.”

It’s been over two years since Kuldeep Yadav last played a Test for India and a year since he last played for India in a T20I match.

Despite senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin injured and Ravindra Jadeja already ruled out, the management decided to hand a debut to back up net spinner Washington Sundar instead of Kuldeep Yadav who was in the squad in the 4th Test at Brisbane as the left-arm spinner did not feature in any of 4 Tests in recently concluded Test tour to Australia.

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