IPL 2020

IPL 2020

IPL 2020 is all set to take place from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates. After long speculation and delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has cleared all the ways for IPL 2020. The final of the tournament will be played on November 10 this year. It will be the first final in the history of the Indian Premier League which will be played on a weekday. The complete schedule of IPL 2020 will be released shortly after the IPL Governing Council will conduct a meeting with all the IPL franchises. IPL 2020 was slated to take place from March 29 this year. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the tournament kept on being postponed. This year's IPL will now be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the boards have received government confirmation to stage IPL 2020. A total of 3 bases have been finalized for the IPL franchises where the matches of IPL 2020 will take place. These include Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.

Here's the complete list of all eight updated squads ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020).

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS SQUAD

Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Ravindra Jadeja, M Vijay, MS Dhoni, Josh Hazlewood, Kedar Jadhav, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Monu Kumar, Shane Watson, Sai Kishore.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS SQUAD

Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Praveen Tambe, Nikhil Naik.

MUMBAI INDIANS SQUAD

Rohit Sharma, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Aditya Tare.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD SQUAD

Kane Williamson, David Warner, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sanjay Yadav, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Bavanaka Sandeep, Basil Thampi.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE SQUAD

Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Gurkeerat Mann, Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Dale Steyn, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Pavan Deshpande Parthiv Patel, Joshua Philippe, Shahbaz Ahamad.

KINGS XI PUNJAB SQUAD

Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M Ashwin, J Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, KL Rahul (C), Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh.

DELHI CAPITALS SQUAD

Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Jason Roy, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Mohit Sharma, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, R Ashwin, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Rishabh Pant, Alex Carey, Shimron Hetmyer, Tushar Deshpande.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS SQUAD

Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Steve Smith, Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Ankit Rajpoot, Mayank Markande, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia, Shashank Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anirudha Joshi, Tom Curran, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Anuj Rawat.

Varun Chakravarthy ran through the RCB middle order in Match 31 of IPL 2021. [P/C: iplt20.com]
Varun Chakravarthy ran through the RCB middle order in Match 31 of IPL 2021. [P/C: iplt20.com]
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Varun Chakravarthy Can Be A Huge X-Factor In The T20I World Cup 2021: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan believes leg spinner Varun Chakravarthy could be an X-factor for the Indian cricket team at the forthcoming T20 World Cup. He reasoned that the mystery element in his bowling is likely to remain.

Varun Chakravarthy is part of India’s 15-member squad for the global event to be played just after IPL 2021 concludes. The mystery spinner showed ample proof of his credentials while registering figures of 3/13 in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) thrashing of the star-studded batting line-up of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday (September 20).

Varun Chakravarthy
Varun Chakravarthy[photo: Twitter]

Irfan Pathan: Varun Chakravarthy Can Be A Huge X Factor

During a discussion on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan opined that mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy will be the surprise element in India’s bowling attack at the forthcoming T20 World Cup.  After the match concluded, RCB captain Virat Kohli lauded the 30-year-old spinner and called him a key player for Team India. Varun Chakravarthy has also been selected for India’s T20 World Cup squad with Virat Kohli as skipper.

“He can be a huge X-factor. You have not played him in international cricket, you have definitely played him in the IPL but the dynamics are slightly different in the IPL. When you play him in the World Cup after playing him in the IPL, it will still be different, the World Cup pressure will be different and the mystery will remain,” said Irfan Pathan.

Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India pacer Irfan Pathan cited the example of his former teammate pacer Zaheer Khan’s knuckleball at the 2011 World Cup to substantiate his point.

Irfan Pathan elaborated: “If you remember the 2011 World Cup, Zaheer Khan started using the knuckle ball in the World Cup and not before that. That was a surprise delivery. So, the surprise factor is definitely beneficial when you play a new thing or bowler. Something similar can happen for Varun Chakravarthy.”

Varun Chakravarthy has represented Team India in just three T20Is to date, which came on their last visit to Sri Lanka. Although he scalped just a couple of wickets, he was extremely economical (5.3).

In KKR’s opening match in the UAE leg, Varun Chakravarthy took the crucial wickets of Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, and Wanindu Hasaranga. Meanwhile, Andre Russell also registered three dismissals including that of AB de Villiers and Lockie Ferguson bagged two wickets. He picked 17 wickets in the 2020 IPL season at an average of 20.94. and 10 scalps in 8 games in IPL 2021 averaging 23.2.

Aakash Chopra: Pitches In The UAE Helpful For Varun Chakravarthy

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the skiddy nature of the UAE pitches is an additional ally for Varun Chakravarthy.

“The pitches currently in the UAE are helpful for him because the ball is skidding after pitching and you are getting less time. If you don’t read from the hand, you try to get a clue off the pitch, which you are not going to get here.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India opener concluded by stating that Varun Chakravarthy is a potent threat in the middle overs.

“His performance in the UAE was outstanding last time as well because of which his name came in the Indian team. The same Varun Chakravarthy was a slightly easier bowler to play when you were playing in India because that much fizz was not there after pitching. So, he is a four-over bowler and is a wicket-taking option in the middle overs.”

Varun Chakravarthy will hope to continue in the same vein for the remainder of IPL 2021. A good run here would assure him a spot in India’s starting XI at the T20 World Cup.

Shubman Gill slammed 48 runs off 34 balls, packed with six fours and a maximum. Meanwhile, debutant Venkatesh Iyer remained unbeaten after scoring 41 off 27 balls, consisting of seven fours and a maximum. Andre Russell arrived to bat after the dismissal of Shubman Gill but didn’t face a single delivery, with Venkatesh Iyer wrapping up the game for Kolkata.

Ravindra Jadeja With MS Dhoni CSK Twitter Handle
Ravindra Jadeja With MS Dhoni CSK Twitter Handle
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Ravindra Jadeja Should Bat Ahead Of MS Dhoni In IPL 2021 UAE Leg: Sanjay Manjrekar

Sanjay Manjrekar, former cricketer turned commentator feels Ravindra Jadeja will bat again at the No. 6 spot for his franchise Chennai Super Kings ahead of their talismanic skipper MS Dhoni. It was followed in the first half of IPL 2021. Sanjay Manjrekar feels the batting positions of Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni won’t change in the UAE leg.

CSK had a poor outing in the previous IPL 2020 season held in the UAE as they won just six games and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in IPL history.  However, Sanjay Manjrekar is of the opinion that players like Moeen Ali and Sam Curran have changed the way CSK plays and they will fare better this time around.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar: Ravindra Jadeja Should Bat Ahead Of MS Dhoni

The all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was in clinical form in the first phase of IPL 2021 with the bat especially and he played some crucial knocks. He has the ability to turn a match on its head quickly. He has been excellent under MS Dhoni’s captaincy and he will be expecting to produce the same.

The left-handed batsman scored 131 runs in 6 innings at an average of 131. He also batted at a strike rate of 126+ and scored a half-century. He also picked 6 wickets while bowling at an economy of 6.70 and an average of 26.83.

On the other hand, MS Dhoni will lead the team in the match against Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2021 opener. In the first leg, the wicketkeeper-batsman could not come up with a big knock in any game. In 4 innings, he scored 37 runs averaging a below-par 12.33.

Sanjay Manjrekar said about CSK: “Jadeja should bat ahead of MS Dhoni. I think so (CSK will do well) because their approach has changed and Moeen Ali and Sam Curran have become impact players so they should perform better than the last time we saw them in UAE.”

Ravindra Jadeja, CSK
Ravindra Jadeja. Image Credits: Twitter

Sanjay Manjrekar and Ian Bishop picked overseas players for both the two teams CSK and MI ahead of their encounter on September 19. CSK might not have the services of Faf du Plessis due to his injury in the CPL. Both Sanjay Manjrekar and Ian Bishop want MS Dhoni to play the pace duo of Josh Hazlewood and Lungi Ngidi.

“I think Moeen Ali, they should get both their fast bowlers in Hazlewood and Lungi Ngidi. And if there is a little bit of turn, Imran Tahir,” Manjrekar said.

“For the first game because of injuries, I will go with Moeen Ali, Josh Hazlewood and Lungi Ngidi,” Bishop opined.

Lungi Ngidi might play as a pacer in the opening game against Mumbai Indians. During the first leg, the South African pacer played 3 matches. He picked 5 wickets at an average of 25, with a three-wicket haul in one match.

Josh Hazlewood played 3 games in IPL 2020 picking 1 scalp. Josh Hazelwood had cited personal reasons for pulling out of IPL 2021. In his absence, CSK roped in left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff from Australia. However, he did not play a single game for the 3-time champions in IPL 2021. But Josh Hazlewood announced his availability for the UAE leg of IPL 2021.

Sanjay Manjrekar And Ian Bishop Wants Adam Milne To Play As The 4th Overseas Option For Mumbai Indians

As far as Mumbai Indians are concerned, the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, and Trent Boult pick themselves. When it comes to the fourth overseas player, both Sanjay Manjrekar and Ian Bishop want the in-form Adam Milne to play ahead of Nathan Coulter Nile.

“Toss up between Coulter Nile and Adam Milne. There is enough batting for MI so I think Adam Milne.” Manjrekar stated.

Adam Milne- Twitter
Adam Milne- Twitter

“Adam Milne definitely should play. He is the form of his life,” Bishop concluded.

Adam Milne was the leading wicket-taker in the inaugural edition of the Hundred claiming 12 scalps bowling 135 balls for Birmingham Phoenix.

Probable XIs:-

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Moeen Ali, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Josh Hazlewood.

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Adam Milne/Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Jayant Yadav/Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (Image Credit: Twitter)
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IPL 2021: CSK vs MI – 3 Players Of Mumbai Indians Who Can Be The Man Of The Match

Mumbai Indians will have their task cut out against the formidable CSK side in the first fixture after the resumption of IPL 2021 and it will be a belter of a game. Mumbai has gone 1-0 up in the battle against CSK this year in the first half of IPL 2021 and the rivalry is expected to heat up the fans in the ground.

Rohit Sharma-led defending champions Mumbai Indians hold the 4th spot currently in IPL 2021 points table with 8 points. Chennai Super Kings hold the 2nd spot with 10 points. The Rohit Sharma-led side has already won five titles under their belt and the defending champions will be up against the three-time champions Chennai Super Kings. This will be one of the most interesting battles in IPL and here are 3 MI Players Who Can Be The Man Of The Match.

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 Sharma winning it for the sixth time.  BCCI/IPL Twitter handle

IPL 2021: CSK vs MI- 3 MI Players Who Can Be The Man Of The Match

Kieron Pollard

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

Kieron Pollard turned out to be one of the game-changers for the Mumbai Indians in the first phase of the IPL and he smacked 87 off 34 balls against the same opponent- Chennai Super Kings in India in the first half of IPL 2021. He hit eight sixes and six fours in the knock and made sure that his team got over the line in a tough chase of 219 runs.

Mumbai Indians will be happy that they have the services of the West Indies captain who is one of the fearsome strikers of the cricket ball. Kieron Pollard will be keen to get his best all-round game against CSK especially and he has been in good form in the recently concluded CPL 2021.

In the first leg of IPL 2021, the West Indies all-rounder scored 168 runs in 7 matches at an average of 56 and strike rate of 171+. Kieron Pollard formed a critical part of the victorious MI squad in the 2020 season, smashing the ball at a strike rate of 191. He is loved by the Mumbai fans and big Trinidadian will look to set things straight again in the 14th season.

Quinton de Kock

Quinton de Kock of Mumbai Indians plays a shot. (BCCI/IPL)
Quinton De Kock of Mumbai Indians plays a shot. (BCCI/IPL)

The South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock likes the ball coming onto the bat and he scored loads of runs in the UAE in the previous edition. He struggled to find his form in the spinning wickets in India in the first half of IPL 2021 but seemed to get better when the wickets changed. The left-hander will be one of the challenges for the CSK bowlers as well.

Quinton de Kock scored 155 runs in the first phase of the IPL 2021 at an average of 31 and he excelled at times but he will need to convert his starts into a big score this time and this will be the right scenario for him to show his skills.

The Proteas batsman has been a spectacular batting form, which was visible during the recent Sri Lanka vs South Africa T20I series. Quinton De Kock had a terrific 2020 season, scoring 503 runs including four half-centuries at the top in UAE, and will look to perform in a similar fashion in the UAE leg.

Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah (Image Credit: Twitter)

Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best bowlers in recent times in the world at the moment and he showed his class in the recently concluded red-ball Test series against England. He finished as the highest wicket-taker for India in the four Tests and picked up 18 wickets. In his prime form, Jasprit Bumrah has been one of the match-winners for the Mumbai Indians and has bowled splendidly in the India leg of IPL 2021 as well.

The right-arm quick was superb in the previous edition IPL 2020 in UAE too by being the 2nd highest wicket-taker and he enjoyed the conditions really well. He used the pace of the wickets to his advantage and executed the yorkers to perfection. He will be one of the candidates for the man of the match in the first game against CSK and he relishes the challenge against big teams.

In the first leg of IPL 2021, the right-arm pacer with an unorthodox action scalped 6 wickets in 7 matches at an average of 32 and an economy of 7.11. In the previous season in IPL 2020, he picked 27 scalps in 15 games averaging an awesome 14.96, and was 2nd highest wicket-taker.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter
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IPL 2021: 3 Options To Replace Sam Curran Who Is Unavailable For 1st Match Against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2021 franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been dealt two blows ahead of the first match of IPL 2021 Phase 2 against Mumbai Indians (MI) which is scheduled on September 19 at UAE. All-rounder Sam Curran is not available while opener Faf Du Plessis is also doubtful with a groin injury. It has raised questions on who will open the innings and who will come in place of Sam Curran. In fact, questions have been raised about what will be CSK’s Playing XI against MI in Dubai.

Sam Curran is guaranteed not to feature in CSK’s Playing XI in the first match. The English bowling all-rounder has arrived in Dubai only on Wednesday morning. Since all players are supposed to serve a mandatory 6-day quarantine upon arrival in UAE, Sam Curran will miss the first match as he can leave quarantine latest by September 21.

Sam Curran for CSK (Photo: Twitter/@IPL)
Sam Curran for CSK (Photo: Twitter/@IPL)

IPL 2021:- 3 Players Who Can Replace Sam Curran In CSK’s Playing 11:-

Imran Tahir

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (Image Credit: Twitter)

Imran Tahir has been playing under talismanic skipper MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings for the last three seasons in the Indian Premier League and wishes to continue doing that in the near future as well. Imran Tahir has been playing under MS Dhoni at CSK since 2018 in the Indian Premier League and wishes to continue playing for CSK in the near future as well. From 2014 to 2016, he was playing for Delhi.

Imran Tahir was bought by Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 IPL auction. The leg-spinner had finished as the highest wicket-taker in the 2019 IPL. Imran Tahir, who has been retained by the franchise, is hoping that they can turn their fortunes around in the IPL 2021 season.

Imran Tahir, who is playing in IPL since 2014 has 82 wickets in 59 games averaging 20.76. He picked 26 wickets in IPL 2019 playing 17 games averaging 16.57 and won the purple cap for being the highest wicket-taker but he played only 3 games in IPL 2020 and picked a solitary wicket and featured in 1 game in IPL 2021 before its postponement and picked 2 scalps.

Mitchell Santner

Mitchell Santner and MS Dhoni , AFP File Photo
Mitchell Santner and MS Dhoni, AFP File Photo

In the IPL history, Mitchell Santner was picked up for the first time by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 2018 IPL auction for INR 50 lakh (same as his base price). The New Zealand cricketer was very excited to participate in the IPL 2018 but he was ruled out from that edition due to a knee injury.

He finally made his IPL debut in the 2019 edition. He played only four matches in that season where the left-arm spinner bagged four wickets. Also, the left-handed batsman scored 32 runs in that season (average 32.00). In 2020, he picked 2 scalps from 2 games.

Since his debut, left-handed batsman and left arm leg spinner Mitchell Santner has been an impressive prospect although he’s had his share of ups and downs in world cricket. He is yet to feature in IPL 2021 as the likes of Moeen Ali has been preferred.

Krishnappa Gowtham

Krishnappa Gowtham
Krishnappa Gowtham (Image Credit: Twitter)

The spin-bowling all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham bagged a staggering INR 9.25 crore contract from Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021. While overseas players like Chris Morris, Kyle Jamieson, and Glenn Maxwell stole headlines bagging contracts of above INR 14 crores, Krishnappa Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped Indian player in the history of the competition.

Rajasthan Royals picked Krishnappa Gowtham for a whopping INR 6.2 crore from his base price of INR 20 lakhs in IPL 2018 auctions. The all-rounder scored 126 runs and took 11 wickets in 2018 where he played 15 games. He played only 7 games in 2019 for Rajasthan and only 2 in 2020 for Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab) and didn’t perform that well.

He is yet to play for CSK in IPL 2021 although he debuted for India in the recent white-ball series against Sri Lanka where he played 1 ODI and contracted Covid-19 after being isolated due to being in close contact with Krunal Pandya.

CSK Predicted XI against MI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c/wk), Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir

Also In Contention: Ambati Rayudu, Josh Hazlewood, Lungi Ngidi

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter
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It Can Be A Blessing In Disguise For CSK Players Are Not Tired By Playing Too Many International Matches: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir talked about the one advantage MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have over other teams in the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir believes playing less competitive cricket can be a blessing for players representing the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir Photo Credit: AFP

Gautam Gambhir: It Can Be A Blessing In Disguise For CSK Players Are Not Tired By Playing Too Many International Matches

Gautam Gambhir is an integral part of the recently announced star-studded commentary lineup for the second leg of the IPL 2021. The first half of the cash-rich league played in India was suspended after several cases of Covid-19 were reported inside IPL’s bio-bubble.

The remainder of the 14th season will be contested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19. Speaking ahead of the mouth-watering clash between CSK and Mumbai Indians (MI) which is billed as the curtain-raiser of the UAE leg, Gautam Gambhir explained how the Yellow Brigade can actually benefit from the players who are not getting a crack at international cricket.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

In the build-up to the UAE leg of IPL 14, the former Indian opener and full-time cricket pundit talked about the one advantage MS Dhoni-led CSK has over other teams in the 2021 edition of domestic cricket’s biggest extravaganza.

“Yes, they have the players who do not play much cricket, but it can be a blessing at times because you don’t have the pressure to play international cricket or making a comeback. They have put themselves in a position that even if they start slightly slowly, it will not make too much of a difference. If they start slowly in one or two matches, you will still be able to qualify for the top four and once you do that, it could be anyone’s game,” Gambhir said.

The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) can be MS Dhoni’s last one with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) if the charismatic leader of the Yellow Brigade opts to call time on an illustrious T20 career at the age of 40. Under MS Dhoni’s leadership, CSK has secured the 2nd spot in the IPL 2021 after playing seven matches. CSK is only behind table-toppers Delhi Capitals in the current IPL 2021 standings.

Gautam Gambhir: CSK Will Be Confident That They Performed Well In The Difficult Wankhede Ground During India Leg Of IPL 2021

During the India leg of the IPL 2021, MS Dhoni-led CSK capped off an impressive run at the Wankhede Stadium.

“Plus after playing at the Wankhede, if you are going to these conditions, you will be better placed because Wankhede is very difficult ground. They have done something good to be in this position despite having such a squad. They will take that confidence with them,” the former Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals skipper added. 

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

After a forgetful campaign in IPL 2020, MS Dhoni-led CSK made a spectacular comeback in the 14th season of the cash-rich league. The three-time champions are placed second on the points table with five wins and two defeats from seven matches.

The 14th season of IPL, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic across India and bio bubble breaches, will resume on September 19 in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between CSK and MI.

With the ball, Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran were the standout performers while Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaekwad formed perhaps the most consistent opening combination of the IPL. The inclusion of spin all-rounder Moeen Ali infused a new sense of edge to the side and with the bat, the left-hander was aggressive and never allowed any momentum to slip.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)
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Shikhar Dhawan’s Omission From 2021 T20I World Cup Squad Surprised And Disappointed Farokh Engineer 

Shikhar Dhawan’s exclusion left former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer disappointed, who otherwise believes India has picked a formidable squad for the 2021 T20I World Cup. Despite Ravichandran Ashwin’s comeback and the inclusion of leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, a couple of big names like Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal went missing from India’s squad of 15 for the ICC event.

The announcement of India’s T20 World Cup squad by the BCCI selectors on Wednesday packed a few surprises. Against everyone’s expectations, India recalled spinner Ravichandran Ashwin back to its limited-overs fold after four years, while former captain MS Dhoni was appointed mentor of the side.

Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
Shikhar Dhawan Image Source: AP

Shikhar Dhawan’s Omission Surprised And Disappointed Farokh Engineer

There was no place for either opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan or spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, which sparked a debate. While Shikhar Dhawan is expected to have missed out to KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal fell behind fellow leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, who bowled wonderfully in Sri Lanka and has been growing in reputation. So while both exclusions were notable, Shikhar Dhawan’s axe despite being in form disappointed Farokh Engineer.

“I haven’t exactly studied it. I only heard it once. But it seems that all the top players are there. Suryakumar Yadav is in the squad, which I am really happy to see. Chahar is a very good bowler, and there is Bumrah of course. I think with Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma, the balance of the team is good. I think we’ve got a good squad,” Engineer told Sports Tak.

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

“Shikhar Dhawan… well, I’m surprised that he has been omitted because he has come in and done fantastically well. But that is such a huge problem for the Indian selectors that players such as Dhawan are getting to be dropped, which is a huge disappointment because he would walk into any international team as a batsman. He has proved himself time and again and I don’t think a player of his caliber should be on trial.”

The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prithvi Shaw, and Yuzvendra Chahal were some notable omissions. Shikhar Dhawan has been one of India’s most consistent players in the ICC tournaments and the selectors’ decision to not name him even among the reserves left many surprised.

While it hasn’t yet been revealed as to why the southpaw didn’t make the cut for the T20 World Cup, a report has claimed that the decision was taken keeping in mind his ‘conservative approach’ while batting. Shikhar Dhawan was a part of the Indian team that toured Sri Lanka, playing all 6 matches on the tour. He registered scores of 86*, 29, 13 in the 3 ODIs and 46, 40, 0 in the 3 T20Is.

Farokh Engineer: India Can Win T20I World Cup

Having said that, Farokh Engineer reckons the strength of the Indian team is such that the selectors couldn’t have helped it. The former wicketkeeper feels India is spoilt for choices as far as the opening batsmen are concerned, provided how brilliant KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have been lately.

Farokh Engineer played 46 Tests for India between 1961 and 1975 Getty Images
Farokh Engineer played 46 Tests for India between 1961 and 1975 Getty Images

“But who do you drop? KL Rahul has done very well. He is superb; one of the best batsmen in the world, I think. Rohit Sharma is on top of his form. Still, I think it’s a very good team they have picked and I think we have every chance of winning the T20 World Cup,” Engineer added.

Ravichandran Ashwin made a comeback after playing his last T20I in 2017. Delhi Capitals’ batsman Shikhar Dhawan is currently the highest run-getter in the IPL 2021 season with 380 runs in 8 matches averaging 54.28 with 3 fifties. He was 2nd among leading run-scorers in IPL 2020 too after KL Rahul with 618 runs in 16 matches averaging 44.14 with 2 tons and 4 fifties.

Full squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami; Stand-by: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Shardul Thakur Can Solve India’s Problem Of Finding A Dependable All-rounder After Kapil Dev: Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh, former India off-spinner reckons that Shardul Thakur is capable of solving the team’s woes of finding a dependable all-rounder after Kapil Dev. Harbhajan Singh, who was Shardul Thakur’s teammate at Chennai Super Kings (CSK), however, agreed that the 29-year-old will have to develop both his batting and bowling to do so.

In a short international career, the 29-year-old has made significant contributions to India. He was one of the heroes of the team’s triumph in the Oval Test, scoring half-centuries in both innings and picking up three crucial wickets.

Harbhajan Singh in CSK's colours. (Source: IPL)
Harbhajan Singh in CSK’s colours. (Source: IPL)

Harbhajan Singh: Shardul Thakur Can Solve India’s Problem Of Finding A Dependable All Rounder After Kapil Dev

Discussing Shardul Thakur’s performance, Harbhajan Singh said that the all-rounder’s performance at The Oval will do a lot of good to his confidence.

“See, if he continues to work on his batting and continues to put the hard yards in his bowling, he can solve India’s problem of finding a dependable all-rounder after Kapil Dev. It’s so good to see the way he batted, and it will build his confidence going forward.”

Harbhajan wants Shardul Thakur to bat at no.8 in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) countries, where two spinners are not recommended due to the playing conditions. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) spinner added that the pace all-rounder is capable of doing that.

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

“I would like to see him batting at No 8 and scoring runs consistently for Team India, especially in countries like Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, where you can’t play two spinners and someone needs to bowl too as your main fast bowler and bat also as your No. 5 to 7 batsmen. Shardul is pretty capable of doing that at No 8, where he can score runs and win games for the team.”

Shardul Thakur made two aggressive half-centuries (57 of 36 and 60 of 72), repairing a collapse in the first innings and stamping India’s advantage in the second. He also picked up 3 critical wickets in the game, including that of Joe Root. Shardul Thakur has featured in only 4 Tests so far since debuting in 2018 against the West Indies where he got injured and couldn’t bowl more than 10 balls.
But the Australia tour in 2020/21 gave him another opportunity with several cricketers injured and he did well in both batting and bowling. He has so far amassed 190 runs averaging a decent 38 and picked up 14 scalps averaging an impressive 22.71 in Tests.

Harbhajan Singh: Shardul Thakur Done Well For Mumbai

“He has done well for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy for many years. He’s been a dependable player for them. It’s the right time for him to take his game to the next level, and he’s done exactly that. I don’t think CSK or any other IPL franchise has done wonders to his game. He’s matured with age and time. He’s always been a very good bowler.”

Harbhajan Singh is all smiles after his debut game for KKR BCCI/IPL
Harbhajan Singh is in all smiles after his debut game for KKR BCCI/IPL

Describing him as a fighter, the 41-year-old added that Shardul Thakur has a fighting spirit.

“Whenever I’ve seen him in the Ranji Trophy, (I’ve noted) that he likes to fight. He loves to compete, he wants to win each and every game. Whenever I’ve played with him, he wants to be the centre of attraction by doing well with the bat and/or ball. That comes naturally. You can’t inject someone with that quality.”

Harbhajan Singh picked up 417 scalps by playing 103 Tests and 269 scalps playing 236 ODIs. He also picked up 25 scalps from 28 T20Is. His last Test and ODI came in 2015 and his last T20I came in 2016.

Since 2012, Harbhajan Singh has been mostly in and out of the side with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja firming up as the lead spinners in Tests. Harbhajan Singh was restricted to the odd comeback, notably in the 2015-16 season where he played a few Tests and a handful of ODIs apart from getting a chance in the 2016 World T20 as well.

Since 2016, he hasn’t played for India in any format and it’s unlikely that he will ever again. Although yet to officially announce retirement, his career is all but over.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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Hardik Pandya Isn’t An Automatic Pick In India’s Squad For 2021 T20I World Cup: Reetinder Singh Sodhi

Reetinder Singh Sodhi believes Hardik Pandya is not an automatic pick in Team India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The T20 World Cup will be played from October 17 in the UAE and Oman. The Indian selectors are likely to choose the squad for the mega event on Wednesday.

The BCCI is all set to announce India’s squad for the T20 World Cup on Wednesday. While the selectors had already had a chat with skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri, they will have one more customary meeting on Wednesday morning to finalize the selection. Furthermore, India will also carry a few additional players as a COVID-19 contingency.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY

Reetinder Singh Sodhi: Hardik Pandya Didn’t Set The Stage On Fire In The Recent Sri Lanka Series So He Isn’t A Certainty In T20I WC Squad

During a discussion on India News, Reetinder Singh Sodhi opined that Hardik Pandya might not be a certain pick in India’s squad.

“I will stick my neck out, it is not certain that Hardik Pandya has sealed his spot. Hardik Pandya is a great potential and is called an all-rounder, but if you talk about the recent Sri Lanka series, he did not set the stage on fire.”

Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Hardik Pandya scored just 19 runs in the two innings he played in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. He picked up only two wickets in the three matches and was taken for an average of 6.92 runs per over. Even in the solitary T20I, he played on the tour, Hardik Pandya scored 10 runs at a strike rate of 83.33 and conceded 17 runs in the two overs he bowled.

After missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team Mumbai Indians and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178. But in IPL 2021, he disappointed scoring only 52 runs in 7 games averaging a pathetic 8.66. He didn’t bowl in the last two IPL editions.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi: Shardul Thakur Is Slightly Ahead Of Hardik Pandya At Present

Reetinder Singh Sodhi believes that Shardul Thakur has the edge over Hardik Pandya at the moment.

“My opinion is that if you compare Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur at this point in time, Shardul Thakur might be seen slightly ahead. I agree Shardul Thakur has done very well in Test cricket but he has the signs of showing exceptional play in T20s as well.”

The former India all-rounder added that Shardul Thakur can be extremely useful for the Virat Kohli-led side.

“The emergence of Shardul Thakur, he has come into consideration suddenly and people have started talking about him all of a sudden. He can be an asset, a player who has the ability to win the match both with bowling and batting.”

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Reetinder Singh Sodhi signed off by reiterating that Shardul Thakur could be a viable alternative for Hardik Pandya.

“So if you have an option, there is Shardul Thakur, you can take him as well. Competition is very tight, we will have to see who the selectors pick.”

Shardul Thakur has certainly staked his claim for a spot in India’s T20 World Cup squad with his excellent performances in England. While Hardik Pandya is almost a sure-shot pick, Shardul Thakur is likely to be in the selectors’ thoughts as he can provide much-needed depth in batting.

With the final date for submitting the squad list nearing, the Virat Kohli-led Indian team is expected to announce their 15-member squad soon. With Washington Sundar set to miss IPL due to an injury and World Cup in all probability, Ravichandran Ashwin may feature in the WC squad.

With wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul in the side, Ishan Kishan would have to miss out. There could be a toss-up between Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw for the 3rd opener’s slot.

MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014.© AFP
MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014.© AFP
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MS Dhoni Was Wearing His Test Match Jersey Through The Entire Night After Announcing Retirement From Tests In 2014: Ravichandran Ashwin

MS Dhoni stunned the cricketing fraternity by making shocking Test retirement in December 2014. After leading India in the 3rd Test of the series at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, the keeper made the decision to quit the longest format, handing over the charge to Virat Kohli.

The legendary cricketer didn’t drop any hint before or after the Test match and the announcement left his fans stunned. Since India was to play a tri-series and the 2015 World Cup after the Test series, the keeper stayed in Australia for the next three months.

MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014. Photo: BCCI
MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014. Photo: BCCI

MS Dhoni Was Wearing His Test Match Jersey Through The Entire Night After Announcing Retirement From Tests In 2014: Ravichandran Ashwin

Recalling the day MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket on his Youtube, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had revealed that he wore his Test jersey all night and also shed a few tears. Ravichandran Ashwin released the video on August 15, 2020 – the day when the former captain retired from international cricket.

“I remember when he retired from Test cricket in 2014, I was batting with him to save the match in Melbourne. But once we lost, he simply picked up a stump and walked off saying he’s done. It was quite an emotional moment for him. Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina, and I were sitting in his room that evening. He was still wearing his Test match jersey through the entire night and he shed a few tears as well,” Ashwin said.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

MS Dhoni retired after playing 90 Test matches. He made his debut in 2005 against Sri Lanka in Chennai. He was named Team India’s Test captain following Anil Kumble’s retirement in 2008. Once India’s most successful Test captain, MS Dhoni-led the team to 27 wins in 60 matches before current skipper Virat Kohli became India’s most successful Test skipper. The keeper also captained Team India in white-ball cricket for a decade.

MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket on this day in 2014, after representing India in 90 matches.  One of the most successful captains on the international circuit MS Dhoni-led India in 60 Test matches and recorded 27 victories while losing 18 and drawing 15. Before his retirement, he suffered from fitness concerns. He scored 4876 runs in Tests at an average of 38.09, which included six centuries and 30 half-centuries. His highest Test score of 224 runs came against Australia in Chennai.

MS Dhoni Retired From Int’l Cricket On 2020 But Will Be Seen In Action For CSK In IPL 2021

Nearly six years after quitting the longest format, MS Dhoni retired from international cricket on 15th August 2020. He continues to play and will be in action in the 2nd phase of IPL 2021, which resumes on September 19.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

The second half of the IPL 2021 will be held in UAE from September 19 after the tournament was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in bio-bubble. The BCCI decided to conduct the remaining matches in the UAE, which successfully hosted IPL 2020.

CSK resumes its IPL campaign on September 19 with a match against Mumbai Indians. The MS Dhoni-led side was in the second spot with 10 points after seven games before the league was postponed due to a bio bubble breach.

MS Dhoni though hasn’t performed to his best in the last two seasons for CSK. He scored exactly 200 runs in 14 games in IPL 2020 averaging a modest 25 but he scored only 37 runs in the first half of IPL 2021 averaging a pathetic 12.33 in 7 games.

James Neesham (AFP Photo)
James Neesham (AFP Photo)
//

IPL 2021: James Neesham: New Zealand Cricket Board Decided Not To Include 1st Choice Players For Bangladesh And Pakistan Tours

James Neesham, who isn’t a part of New Zealand’s T20I series against Bangladesh, is presently in UAE preparing for the IPL 2021 Phase-2 with Mumbai Indians. A Pakistani fan, on Twitter, levied a grave allegation on the Kiwi all-rounder saying he skipped the New Zealand national cricket team’s assignment because of money.

Since James Neesham is in UAE as part of the Mumbai Indians camp for the IPL 2021 Phase-2, he wasn’t included in the New Zealand and Bangladesh T20I series. On Wednesday, James Neesham took to Twitter to ask if the opening match of the series will be aired on TV in UAE.

James Neesham
James Neesham (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

James Neesham Plays For Mumbai Indians In IPL 2021 And Isn’t Part Of The New Zealand And Bangladesh Series

With less than a month remaining for the IPL 2021 to resume, many cricketers have started arriving in UAE, the venue for the remainder of the tournament. Among those who have arrived in the Asian nation is Kiwi all-rounder James Neesham, who plays for the defending champions Mumbai Indians. While James Neesham joins the Mumbai Paltan in UAE, New Zealand is touring Bangladesh and later Pakistan for a limited-over series scheduled for this month.

The move by James Neesham was not welcomed by many Pakistani cricket fans as they hurled abuses at the all-rounder, claiming that he chose money over national duties. Irked with the negative reactions, the Kiwi all-rounder sent out a tweet responding back to the trolls. In his tweet, he mentioned that the New Zealand Cricket board had not allowed any first-choice team members on the tour.

IPL 2021: James Neesham gave a stern response to a Pakistani fan who criticised him on Twitter
James Neesham gave a stern response to a Pakistani fan who criticized him on Twitter | BCCI Photo

“Does anyone know if the @BLACKCAPS v @BCBtigers series is on tv in the UAE? If yes, which channel? If no, how can I watch it online?”, he tweeted.

A fan responded saying: “Shame on you. Skipped national duties for Money.”

Infuriated with the fan’s comment, James Neesham responded saying: “I’m getting a lot of messages like this so I want to be crystal clear. It is an NZ Cricket player welfare policy that first-choice players aren’t on this tour. I made a request for an exemption but that request was denied.”

New Zealand is also scheduled to play Pakistan after the Bangladesh series but a number of first-team players have been rested for both series. In fact, James Neesham had asked the NZC to be a part of the tours but the board decided to rest its key players before the T20 World Cup 2021.

Jimmy Neesham Reached UAE To Participate In The IPL 2021

The Kiwi all-rounder has reached UAE to compete in IPL 2021 and after completing his quarantine period he will be joining the rest of the squad.  James Neesham became a part of the Mumbai unit after he was purchased for Rs 50 lakhs in the mini-auction held earlier this year. However, with Mumbai being a star-studded side, James Neesham has so featured in just one match out of the seven games the team played in the first phase of IPL 2021.

After the conclusion of the Bangladesh series, New Zealand is scheduled to fly to Pakistan for their first cricketing series in the country in 18 years. A number of Pakistan cricket team’s fans and former players have expressed their disappointment overseeing some top Kiwi players missing from the roster.

James Neesham. (Credits: Web)
James Neesham. (Credits: Web)

The Kiwi all-rounder made his IPL debut in 2014 where he played only 4 games for Delhi. James Neesham made his comeback to the tournament in the 2020 season, participating in 5 games for the Punjab Kings(then KXIP).

He had an ordinary season with the bat and ball considering his potential and his achievements at the International stage. With the current squad setup, James Neesham can potentially play the finisher’s role as well as bowl the crucial overs in the middle for the Mumbai Indians.

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