Javagal Srinath

Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)
Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)
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Aakash Chopra Terms Mohammed Shami As India’s No. 1 Pacer And Jasprit Bumrah A National Asset

Aakash Chopra, the ex-Indian opener has lauded speedster Mohammed Shami, calling him “India’s No. 1 Test pacer” at this point in time. Mohammed Shami was perhaps India’s most consistent bowler on show during his side’s historic triumph against South Africa in Centurion. With his fiery, long spells, the Bengal-born pacer managed to pick up his sixth five-wicket haul in South Africa’s 1st innings.

He was instrumental in bowling the hosts out for 197 in the first innings. During the process, he reached a personal milestone of 200 Test wickets becoming only the fifth Indian pacer to achieve the milestone and third fastest after legendary former pacers Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath. He then followed it up with a three-for in the second innings, helping India take a 1-0 lead in the Freedom Trophy series.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. Image Credits: Twitter

Aakash Chopra Terms Sensational Mohammed Shami As India’s No. 1 Test Pacer

Former Indian batsman turned commentator Aakash Chopra reviewed the 1st Centurion Test on his YouTube channel and heaped praise on Indian pacers. Aakash Chopra believes Mohammed Shami asks difficult questions from the opposition batsmen with every delivery he bowls.

While naming him as India’s best red-ball bowler, Aakash Chopra said: “You look at Bumrah because he’s special. But if we equalize every condition, India’s number one Test pacer is Mohammad Shami, especially at this point in time. He asks questions with the delivery of his. He took five wickets against this team in Vishakhapatnam as well and now he took a fifer at Centurion.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The 44-year-old Aakash Chopra also revealed what makes Mohammed Shami so unique and special. He acknowledged Mohammed Shami’s ability to bowl consistently in dangerous areas.

Aakash Chopra lauded the quick bowler and mentioned: “We saw sideways movement from Ngidi, Rabada’s pace and saw Bumrah’s magic. But what about Shami? Shami doesn’t bowl a magic delivery like Bumrah does. But he bowls on dangerous areas consistently and releases the ball with so close to the stumps. Who bowled the most deliveries on fourth stump? Who bowled the maximum deliveries that were hitting on top of off? – It was sensational Shami.”

Aakash Chopra had earlier lavished praise on Indian pacer Mohammed Shami for his five-wicket haul and also compared him to veteran pacers South Africa’s Dale Steyn and England’s James Anderson.

Aakash Chopra: Jasprit Bumrah Is A National Asset And A Treasure

Labelling him as India’s ‘national asset’, Aakash Chopra was all in praise of Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. With two peaches of deliveries at the fag end of Day 4, Jasprit Bumrah took a total of five wickets in the Test match. His relentless approach and intensity in bowling proved a bit too much for the Proteas batters.

While praising the Gujarat-born pacer, Aakash Chopra mentioned that Jasprit Bumrah takes crucial dismissals at impossible phases of time. The 28-year-old speedster is a treasure, according to Aakash Chopra.

The former cricketer-turned-expert said: “Jasprit Bumrah is a national asset. He’s a treasure. We are so fortunate that our fast bowling unit has matured together. Bumrah took important wickets at important phases of the game. He set the tone by dismissing Dean Elgar in the very first over (first innings). Then, on Day 4 when there was a partnership building up for South Africa, he bowled a magical ball to van der Dussen. Then Keshav Maharaj came to the crease, and mind you, he bats well.”

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

He added: “Bumrah wonderfully bowled a yorker to dismiss him. He then took Elgar out again but with a different kind of a delivery. I mean he (Bumrah) is brilliant, man.”

Mohammed Shami picked the first wicket after Lunch and Ravichandran Ashwin scalped the final two wickets in consecutive deliveries to help India win their first Test in Centurion. Temba Bavuma remained unbeaten on 35. The Proteas started the day on a strong note, scoring runs at a brisk pace before Jasprit Bumrah removed captain Dean Elgar on 77. Mohammed Siraj then joined the act and cleaned up Quinton de Kock on 21.

With their first-ever Test win at Centurion, India will be eyeing their first Test series win in South Africa. The next match will be played in Johannesburg, where India won on their last tour in 2018.

India 327 (Rahul 123, Agarwal 60, Ngidi 6-71) and 174 (Pant 34, Rabada 4-42, Jansen 4-55) beat South Africa 197 (Bavuma 52, Shami 5-44) and 191 (Elgar 77, Bumrah 3-50, Shami 3-63) by 113 runs

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. Image Credits: Twitter
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Mohammad Shami Credits Late Father Who Passed Away In 2017 After Reaching 200 Wickets Mark

Mohammad Shami has said that the entire credit for his success goes to his late father, who had passed away in 2017.

Mohammad Shami’s remarks came as he took a five-wicket haul in the ongoing first Test against South Africa at the SuperSport Park, Centurion. Along the way, the pacer also completed 200 wickets in the longest format of the game.

Mohammad Shami / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Mohammad Shami / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Mohammad Shami: Celebration After Reaching 200 Wickets Mark Was For Late Father Who Passed Away In 2017

Mohammad Shami bagged a five-wicket haul, the sixth in his career, helping India bundle out the hosts for 197. Mohammad Shami is now the 11th Indian bowler to pick up 200 or more wickets and only the fifth fast bowler to reach the milestone. He is only behind Kapil Dev (434), Ishant Sharma (311), Zaheer Khan (311), and Javagal Srinath (236), at the moment.

“The celebration after reaching the 200 wickets mark was for my father, he had passed away in 2017. The entire credit for my success goes to him, I had a very good upbringing. I just wanted to credit my father as he was there for me throughout,” Mohammad Shami told bowling coach Paras Mhambrey.

Mayank Agarwal. (Photo: BCCI)
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo: BCCI)

“I was just thinking about how good the effort has been, I felt it would be nice if I can get a five-wicket haul. I also reached the 200 wickets landmark in Test cricket, it is a nice and proud feeling. When I took 100 wickets in Tests, I thought I have achieved something, after 200, I am feeling very good and I just hope to keep on performing for the side. The more you enjoy your cricket, performances keep on coming,” he added.

India might have lost Mayank Agarwal’s at the cusp of the stumps but the visitors still ended Day Three of the first Test against South Africa in the driver’s seat on Tuesday. India had bundled out South Africa for 197 in the third session before the hosts lost Mayank Agarwal’s wicket minutes before the end of the play. Shardul Thakur, KL Rahul then took India to 16/1 at stumps with a lead of 146 runs.

Jasprit Bumrah Twisted His Ankle In A Nasty Manner And Walked Off Field Before Resuming Bowling Later

Mohammad Shami (16-5-44-5) and his pace bowling colleagues Jasprit Bumrah (7.2-2-16-2), Mohammed Siraj (15.1-3-45-1), and Shardul Thakur (11-1-51-2) further enhanced their reputation as world-beaters by dismissing the Proteas for mere 197.

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

Jasprit Bumrah, in his follow-through, twisted his ankle in a nasty manner and walked off the field to receive medical treatment. After delivering the fifth ball of his 6th over, Jasprit Bumrah twisted his ankle and immediately went down on the ground in immense pain. He later joined the action towards the closing stages of the 2nd session.

Mohammad Shami / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Mohammad Shami / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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Mohammad Shami Becomes 5th Indian Pacer To Scalp 200 Test Wickets Bagging 6th 5 Wicket Haul

Mohammad Shami on Tuesday became the fifth Indian fast bowler to scalp 200 wickets in Test cricket. The right-arm reached this feat during the third day of the ongoing Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion. He bagged a five-wicket haul, the sixth in his career, helping India bundle out the hosts for 197.

Mohammad Shami garnered massive praise for his heroics in Centurion. Former South Africa batsman Daryll Cullinan was so impressed with the pacer’s performance that he compared Mohammad Shami to the likes of Shaun Pollock and James Anderson.

Mohammad Shami
Mohammad Shami—-Image Credits: Twitter

Mohammad Shami Reminds Daryll Cullinan Of The Likes Of Shaun Pollock And James Anderson

Daryll Cullinan lauded the experienced pacer for his seam position and control.

“His seam position is perfectly up there. Just watching him bowl today reminded me of the likes of (Shaun) Pollock, (James) Anderson. They don’t seem to waste a ball. If you’re on strike, there’s constantly that subtle variation and good seam positions. It is not as if you anticipate the line and length,” Daryll Cullinan said.

Daryll Cullinan played 70 Tests and 138 ODIs for South Africa cricket team.(Getty Images)
Daryll Cullinan played 70 Tests and 138 ODIs for the South Africa cricket team. (Getty Images)

“It’s that control which may vary, sort of a foot wide in the crease. It may be a foot fuller or shorter. He finds that in-between lengths where you never know whether you should be forward or back. He’s constantly asking you questions. You can see there’s a thought process behind everything that he is doing,” he added.

As many as 18 wickets fell across three innings, the most in a day at this ground as it was Indian pacer Mohammad Shami (5/44 off 16 overs) who shone brightest. India was at 16/1 with a lead of 146 runs over South Africa at the stumps on Day 3 of the ongoing first Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.

The visiting side is in full control in the game but has lost its opener, Mayank Agarwal, early in the second innings. Marco Jensen was the only wicket-taker for South Africa in the second innings of Indian batting.

Mohammad Shami Is Only The 5th Indian Pacer To Reach The Milestone Of 200 Test Wickets

Mohammad Shami is now the 11th Indian bowler to pick up 200 or more wickets and only the fifth fast bowler to reach the milestone. He is only behind Kapil Dev (434), Ishant Sharma (311), Zaheer Khan (311), and Javagal Srinath (236), at the moment.

“Indian pace bowling is a formidable one because each and every member has worked hard and achieved it all with their sheer hard work. They have created their own little niche for themselves and yes they are the ones who have put in an immense amount of hard work in the last 6-7 years. They are here on their own,” said Mohammad Shami at the post-match presentation.

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

Mohammad Shami (16-5-44-5) and his pace bowling colleagues Jasprit Bumrah (7.2-2-16-2), Mohammed Siraj (15.1-3-45-1), and Shardul Thakur (11-1-51-2) further enhanced their reputation as world-beaters by dismissing the Proteas for mere 197. Temba Bavuma top-scored for South Africa with his 52-run knock.

The pace quartet neutralized Lungi Ngidi’s lion-hearted morning spell which saw him finish on 6 for 71 from 24 overs as India lost seven wickets from 55 runs to be all-out on 327. With a first-innings lead of 130, India at stumps reached 16 for 1 losing Mayank Agarwal’s wicket.

Jasprit Bumrah, in his follow-through, twisted his ankle in a nasty manner and walked off the field to receive medical treatment. After delivering the fifth ball of his 6th over, Jasprit Bumrah twisted his ankle and immediately went down on the ground in immense pain. He later joined the action towards the closing stages of the 2nd session.

MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014.© AFP
MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014.© AFP
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Shashi Tharoor Reveals His India’s All-Time Test 11 Captained By MS Dhoni

Shashi Tharoor feels picking an all-time India eleven is hard to resist for any fan. Shashi Tharoor picked his Test eleven, which is fit to carry the nation’s banners onto the field in the highest form of the game, not the limited-overs format. Shashi Tharoor limited himself to players from a little more than the past half-century as he watched his first Test match at the age of seven, in 1963, as he felt that it would be appropriate not to include cricketers who had retired before.

The likes of Vinoo Mankad, who could win (or save) matches for India with both the bat and his wily left-arm spin, was surely an immortal, but he didn’t find a place since Shashi Tharoor had never seen him ply his craft, even though he knows that he attained the ‘double’ of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in only his 23rd Test. Similarly, the likes of Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, and Vijay Manjrekar, the redoubtable Polly Umrigar or the mercurial Dattu Phadkar on the basis of their averages alone didn’t find a place in Shashi Tharoor’s XI.

Shashi Tharoor (PTI)
Shashi Tharoor (PTI)

Shashi Tharoor Picks Sunil Gavaskar And Virender Sehwag As Openers In His Test XI

Shashi Tharoor has watched the prodigiously talented Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, whose accomplishments might have been far greater had he not been deprived of an eye in a car crash at the age of twenty and the moody Salim Durani who famously specialised in hitting sixes into precisely that corner of the stands which was chanting for it the loudest apart from the lithe Mohammed Azharuddin, whose debut century against England was followed up by two more in his next two Test matches. Still, they weren’t in his chosen XI.

Shashi Tharoor feels one must pick a side to play the Rest of the World at Lord’s, which means to pick an eleven for English conditions, who are able to cope with grassy pitches and overcast skies, capable of exploiting (and countering) pace, swing, and seam. Although if the match were to be in Eden Gardens instead, or at Chepauk, some changes would be unavoidable.

Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. (Getty Images)
Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. (Getty Images)

So, reviewing all the players Shashi Tharoor has seen since 1963, he picked Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag as openers. Ever since his astonishing debut in the West Indies in 1971, Sunil Gavaskar has had no peer as an opening batsman: Correct in technique, immaculate in defence, incisive in strokeplay, extremely difficult to dismiss, the side is unthinkable without him.

To open with him, Virender Sehwag, who was the first Indian to score a Test triple century, then to repeat the feat and to come within 7 runs of doing so a third time, comes to mind. Some fans would make a case for Rohit Sharma, and he should’ve walked into the ODI team — but Virender Sehwag’s Test record is inescapably vastly superior. The other contender might be the doughty Gautam Gambhir, a left-handed version of Sunil Gavaskar, but without the world-beating figures to match either Sunil Gavaskar or Virender Sehwag.

Shashi Tharoor Feels MS Dhoni Must Lead The Indian XI

At number three, there really is no debate: as Rahul Dravid is the only one to think of, steely, unflappable, determined, ‘The Wall’ the enemy had to breach before conquering the Indian fort. Cheteshwar Pujara is a worthy successor to his slot, but cannot displace the original.

Partnering Rahul Dravid, at four, one has Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps the greatest-ever Indian batsman in terms both of talent and its fulfilment. Blooded — and bloodied — at sixteen on a tough tour of Pakistan, Sachin Tendulkar had a long and distinguished career, played more Test matches than anyone else, and broke every record available to him in the process.

Virat Kohli comes in next, pushed a slot lower than he might like by his senior, Sachin Tendulkar. Unlike the first four in this team, he is still an active player, and he might yet eclipse the unchallengeable Sachin Tendulkar, but his credentials as an Immortal are already beyond question, as is his ability to face whatever an opponent might throw at him, and his fierce will to win.

Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni Aijaz Rahi / AP
Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni Aijaz Rahi / AP

Shashi Tharoor feels there is no need for a sixth specialist batsman, so the claims of VVS Laxman, Mohammed Azharuddin, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sourav Ganguly, Mohinder Amarnath, Rohit Sharma, and Ajinkya Rahane, all major contributors to Indian totals around the world over the years, are kept aside.

Any of them would be ready to come on as a ‘concussion substitute’, but this team needs all-rounders at six and seven rather than another specialist batsman. Mohinder Amarnath’s medium-paced inswingers could be useful in English conditions, but a specialist bowler would do that job better.

Instead, at six, a wicketkeeper who usually batted a notch lower, ‘Captain Cool’ himself, MS Dhoni comes next. A superb ‘keeper’ (Wriddhiman Saha comes close purely in wicketkeeping skills), MS Dhoni was also a superb batsman, with a Test double century to his name, and a cool, calculating cricketing brain to go with it. Next to him, at number 7, the unrivalled all-around talents of Kapil Dev, prodigious hitter, and swinger of the ball at pace, who would bring a zest to the line-up that would infuse energy and zip into the side.

Four more bowlers are now required, of whom, at Lord’s, only one need be a spinner. Anil Kumble, with his 619 Test wickets, won through grit as well as a craft is the only leg spinner. Anil Kumble- India’s highest wicket-taker, took 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan, bowled against the West Indies with a broken jaw and captained the Test side with rare courage is an automatic choice.

Zaheer Khan, with his left-arm pace, swing, and guile; the whippy Javagal Srinath; and the still-unplayable Jasprit Bumrah are the 3 pacers. In Indian conditions, Javagal Srinath would have to make way for the spinning wiles of Bishen Bedi or Ravichandran Ashwin, but at Lord’s, they might have to carry the drinks.

Still, if the weather forecast is good, one of them could still come into the side to give India two spinners to go with three pacemen; but otherwise, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar have both taken Test wickets with their occasional spin, and could relieve Anil Kumble whenever needed.

Finally, on the captaincy front, Shashi Tharoor feels MS Dhoni, who for a generation of Indian cricket fans has epitomised the confidence and calm of captaincy, should lead as poised behind the stumps, surveying all around him with the gimlet eye of the general, as he has proven that he can marshal his troops, react to circumstances around him, and lead the charge when needed.

Indian Immortals XI of Shashi Tharoor’s Time: Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (captain & wk), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath (weather permitting), Jasprit Bumrah.

“Reserves: Md. Azharuddin, VVS Laxman, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Bishan Singh Bedi (one of the last two to swap with Javagal Srinath depending on pitch and climate conditions). The twelfth man just for his brilliantly agile substitute fielding: Ravindra Jadeja.

Shashi Tharoor, who has picked so many 21st century players, doesn’t surprise since out of India’s 162 wins since it obtained Test status as a cricketing nation in 1932, 101 have come since 2000. Out of 220 Tests India has played since 2000, it has won an impressive 45.9 per cent — against an overall success rate of just 29.45 per cent from the total of 550 Tests.

Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin, center, and Mohammed Shami
Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin, center, and Mohammed Shami
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WTC Final: We’ve Got Everything Covered, It Should Be India All The Way, Says Venkatesh Prasad

Venkatesh Prasad opined that India now has a third or a fourth seamer who can maintain pressure built by the new ball bowlers. Former Indian bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad feels that Virat Kohli’s team India has all bases covered to take on Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in the upcoming World Test Championship Final on Friday.

A lot has been talked about the advantage Kane Williamson-led New Zealand would have after playing two Tests against England, ahead of the WTC final.

Venkatesh Prasad
Venkatesh Prasad (Image Credit: PTI)

Venkatesh Prasad: India Has Got A Lot Of Options In Both Batting And Bowling As Their Bench Is Also Very Strong

However, Venkatesh Prasad believes there is enough firepower in Team India’s arsenal to win the inaugural title. While speaking in an interview with news agency PTI, Venkatesh Prasad opined that India now has a third or a fourth seamer who can maintain pressure built by the new ball bowlers. At the same time, he feels the team has the batting to put 350 runs on the board irrespective of the conditions.

“Two best teams are playing the final. India has got a lot of options as their bench is also very strong. Be it a batting or seaming track, India has got the upper hand for the simple reason: In the early 90s and later 2000s, there will be two good seamers but the team did have not a third or fourth option.

“Now the squad has got the strength of that and a couple of very good all-rounders. We always had world-class spinners but now we also have a world-class pace attack,” Prasad told PTI.

Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI
Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav. Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI

“And we also have the batting to 350 runs on the board. Now we have got everything covered. It doesn’t matter what sort of a pitch it would be. It should be India all the way,” he added.

Four days ahead of the ICC World Test Championship Final against New Zealand in Southampton, Virat Kohli & Coach Ravi Shastri has almost settled their bowling combination. The talks about India playing 4 pacers in Southampton can be put to rest. It is learned that instead team India will play 3 pacers & 2 spin bowler combinations against New Zealand.

Though the team management agrees that pitch and the English conditions will suit seamers more, India wants to play on their strength and will draft 2 spinners in form of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in the XI.

As for pacers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will become an automatic choice in English conditions with Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur fighting for the third pacer slot. Umesh Yadav remains out of contention as of now.

Venkatesh Prasad Hopes The WTC Final Goes To The 5th Day

The former Indian pacer, who formed the new ball pairing alongside the great Javagal Srinath in his heydays, expects India to dominate the WTC Final from June 18 onwards. Venkatesh Prasad said he rather not pay too much attention to the opposition’s strengths.

“I hope to see the game go to the fifth day. Especially in India, we didn’t see it go beyond the third or fourth day. It should reach day five but in English conditions, the Dukes ball does something more often than not. The batsmen will have to adapt quickly and the bowlers will need to figure out the end which is more suited to them,” Venkatesh Prasad said.

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj

While having Ishant Sharma is a must in Australia for his height and the bounce he generates, in England, Virat Kohli may opt for a little more variety and bring in Mohammed Siraj.

The Hyderabad-based pacer has done wonders in the last few months. He has troubled England batsmen on lifeless Indian pitches while bowling match-winning figures in Australia as he spearheaded the pace attack and was India’s highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps.

However, the fact that Ishant Sharma has a lot of experience in bowling in England and that he was the last tour’s top wicket-taker 18 scalps could get him the nod.

Mohammad Azharuddin played 99 Tests for India. Twitter
Mohammad Azharuddin played 99 Tests for India.--Twitter
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Venkatesh Prasad Was Comfortable Playing Under Mohammed Azharuddin

Venkatesh Prasad was asked to name the best captain he played under, and the former India fast bowler was forthright in his answer.

Former fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad may have represented India in not more than 33 Tests, but he holds the record for being India’s fifth-highest ODI wicket-taker by a fast bowler. The fast-bowling pair of Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath was India’s most fabled pace duo in the 1990s, achieving great success together.

Venkatesh PrasadVenkatesh Prasad (Image Credit: PTI)

Venkatesh Prasad Was Comfortable When Mohammed Azharuddin Was Captain

From his debut in 1994 to his last match for India in 2001, Venkatesh Prasad wasn’t exactly in the game for the long haul but remained an important member of the Indian team. He wasn’t express pace but he was able to do what not many India fast bowlers could back in the day – move the ball both ways along with having a tremendous slower ball.

He started his career under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin and finished under Sourav Ganguly while playing under Sachin Tendulkar as well during his two stints as captain of the Indian team. In a chat with The Grade Cricketer Podcast, Venkatesh Prasad was asked to name the best captain he played under, and the former India fast bowler was forthright in his answer.

Venkatesh Prasad played under Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (Getty Images)
Venkatesh Prasad played under Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (Getty Images)

“I can be very diplomatic here. I can easily say that ‘look, everybody is different in their own way’. But I was always comfortable when Azhar was the captain because he used to just throw the ball at you and would ask what field do you want. And when I set a field, I own the responsibility to bowl to that field, isn’t it? So that’s how it was,” Prasad said on The Grade Cricketer Podcast.

The pacer played under Mohammed Azharuddin from 1994 to 1996, before Sachin Tendulkar was named captain for the first time. The captaincy shifted between Mohammed Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar once more, before finally, in the year 2000, Sourav Ganguly was named the new India skipper.

Venkatesh Prasad Knew Mohammed Azharuddin Well As His Best Performances Came When The Hyderabad Man Was Skipper

The pacer clarified that while he did not face any issues under either Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly, the rapport with Mohammed Azharuddin was just better due to the history between the two players.

“It wasn’t as if I was not comfortable with Sachin or Ganguly either but I guess my best performances came when Azhar was the captain and that’s how it was. Also, Azhar happens to come from Hyderabad, and Karnataka and Hyderabad aren’t very far so we knew each other very well. We used to play against each other, also together when there were zonal teams. So that’s how the rapport and understanding were much better,” Prasad added.

Indian cricket legends Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (PTI Image)
Indian cricket legends Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (PTI Image)

Venkatesh Prasad was part of the Mohammed Azharuddin-led side from 1994 to 1996. Mohammed Azharuddin captained India in overall 174 ODI matches and under his leadership, the Asian giants managed to win 90 games.

The pacer recorded 96 dismissals in Test cricket playing 33 Tests while he scalped 196 ODI wickets in his international career playing 161 ODIs. He debuted in 1994 and was dropped from the Indian team after the 2001 test series in Sri Lanka as he struggled with injuries and dipping form towards the end of his career.

Mohammed Azharuddin’s international playing career came to an end when he was found to be involved in a match-fixing scandal in 2000 and subsequently banned by the BCCI for life. In 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court declared the life ban illegal.

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan
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England Fined 20% Of Match Fees For Slow-Over Rate In The 4th T20I

England has been fined 20 per cent of their match fees for maintaining a slow over-rate against India in the fourth T20I against India in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Javagal Srinath of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the sanction after Eoin Morgan’s side was ruled to be one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

Javagal Srinath Courtesy: BCCI
Javagal Srinath Courtesy: BCCI

England Fined 20% Of Match Fees As Eoin Morgan Pleads Guilty

In accordance with Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.

England Players were fined 20 percent of their match fees
England Players were fined 20 per cent of their match fees AP Photo

Eoin Morgan pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing. On-field umpires KN Ananthapadmanabhan, Nitin Menon, and third umpire Virendra Sharma levelled the charges. England took two hours to finish their 20 overs in the previous game.

Suryakumar Yadav Adjudged Man Of The Match For Scoring 57

India won the match by eight runs on Thursday night to level the five-match series at 2-2, paving the way for a winners-take-it-all final game at the same venue on Saturday. India’s Suryakumar Yadav was adjudged Man of the Match for his knock of 57 runs in 31 deliveries.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Suryakumar Yadav’s 57 runs came off just 31 deliveries and were studded with six fours and three sixes as he looked comfortable against both pace and spin. He was, however, unlucky to be given out, as there was no conclusive evidence against Dawid Malan taking a clean catch, which could have overturned the on-field decision of ‘out.’

Suryakumar Yadav hit a first-ball six against England pacer Jofra Archer off the first ball he faced in international cricket, on Thursday evening, and left everyone amazed during the penultimate T20I. He hit his maiden fifty in international cricket in only his 2nd match in Indian Blues. The 30-year-old, on his debut in the 2nd T20I, did not get a chance to bat but made it count off the first opportunity he was bestowed with.

Suryakumar Yadav has been handed a maiden ODI call-up after an impressive show in the ongoing T20Is while fast bowler Prasidh Krishna and spinner Krunal Pandya has been added to the 18 member squad which will be led by Virat Kohli.

India vs England 3rd Test, Ahmedabad: Motera Stadium pitch and weather report , England Cricket Twitter
India vs England 3rd Test, Ahmedabad: Motera Stadium pitch and weather report , England Cricket Twitter
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Ahmedabad Pitch Used For 3rd Day-Night Test Rated ‘Average’

Ahmedabad pitch, the much-debated one used for the third India-England Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium has been awarded a rating of ‘average’ which isn’t too bad according to standards, considering the negative hype it received from several England players which save the newly refurbished stadium from serious sanctions.

Ahmedabad pitch will now escape any sort of punishment, which could not have been avoided if the rating were found to be below average or worse. The rating for the fourth Test pitch, which was also played on the same ground, is ‘Good’. That Test lasted three days with India inflicting an innings defeat on England.

The world's largest cricket stadium at Ahmedabad-Motera Stadium
The world’s largest cricket stadium at Ahmedabad-Motera Stadium (Image Courtesy: Twitter)

3rd Test At Ahmedabad Ended Within 2 Days And Attracted Severe Criticism From Former England Players

The third Test, which was a day-nighter, ended within two days and had a dubious distinction of being one of the shortest games in Test history, leading to negative criticisms from former English players like David Lloyd, Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook, and Andrew Strauss. The England team management left it to the apex board ICC to decide on the quality of the Ahmedabad pitch while India skipper Virat Kohli blamed it on the failure of the batsmen.

Under the new ICC rules, that came into effect in January 2018, an ‘average’ rating of a certain pitch entails no punishment, and in that sense, the Motera pitch will not be affected by any means. A rating of poor or unfit would have resulted in serious consequences. A below-average rating would have led to one Demerit Point.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The pitch rating is given by the match referee in consultation with match officials, who used to be always from neutral countries. In the aftermath of Covid-19, the ICC was forced to oversee the games through home umpires, the process of grading also got ICC involved with the operations team of the world body working in co-ordination with the match officials. That way the verdict cannot be accused of being a ‘biased’ conclusion. Javagal Srinath was the match referee.

While debating on the Ahmedabad pitch, the match and ICC officials have viewed the footage and concluded that the third Ahmedabad pitch Test surface had the much-required carry, a key ingredient, the absence of which would have led to a lower rating. Further, the colour of the ball was also factored in and it was believed that the extra layer of pink coating facilitated the ball’s skiddy behaviour.

The statistics that were also taken into consideration were most Pink Ball Tests have not lasted the course. Of the 16 Pink Ball Tests so far, only five have gone to the fifth day, with two of them ending inside two days and five inside three days. Four pink-ball Tests ended on Day Four.

Meanwhile, the surfaces for the first two Tests, which were both played at Chepauk in Chennai, received the ratings of Very Good and Average respectively. After losing the first Test, which went to the fifth day, India won the series 3-1 after winning the last 3 Tests.

Ahmedabad Pitch Rated Average Not Substandard Which Would Have Seen One Demerit Point

In the revised ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, if a pitch or outfield is rated as being substandard, that venue will be allocated a number of demerit points. One demerit point will be awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as below average, while three and five demerit points will be awarded to venues whose pitches are marked as poor and unfit, respectively.  Demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period.

Ahmedabad pitch for the Day-Night Test. Pic: Twitter
Ahmedabad pitch for the Day-Night Test. Pic: Twitter

When a venue accumulates five demerit points or more, it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 1 year, while it will be suspended for 2 years when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points. A limited amount of seam movement is acceptable early in the match and that a pitch may develop some unevenness of bounce for pacers as the match progresses.

It is acceptable for a pitch to offer some turn on the first day of a match, particularly in the sub-continent conditions, though anything more than occasional unevenness of bounce at this stage of the match is not acceptable.

It is impossible to quantify the amount that a ball is “allowed” to turn as bowlers will turn the ball in differing amounts. The type and identity of the bowler shall be taken into account when assessing this factor.  Ahmedabad pitch should have been allotted demerit points if the pitch was termed below average.

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Joe Root Disappointed And Questions 3rd Umpire’s Consistency

Joe Root, England skipper was extremely displeased with a couple of decisions from the third umpire on Day 1 of the third Test against England which didn’t go in England’s favour.

The 1st day of the third Test between India and England at the newly built revamped Narendra Modi stadium became the center of some debatable umpiring decisions.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Ross Setford/Reuters

Joe Root And Chris Silverwood Spoke To ICC Match Referee Javagal Srinath After The End Of 1st Day’s Play

After all-rounder Ben Stokes’ dropped catch involving Shubman Gill stirred a controversy, England skipper Joe Root was left infuriated with the third umpire’s decision to not check a stumping incident involving an Indian batsman Rohit Sharma from multiple angles.

Joe Root as well as England head coach Chris Silverwood spoke to the ICC match referee, Javagal Srinath, after the end of the first day’s play after seeing two questionable decisions going India’s way without the third umpire giving enough time and attention.

Chris Silverwood, England head coach
Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Images

The third umpire on duty was Chettithody Shamshuddin who appeared to have reached his conclusions into the two debatable matters quite quickly without spending much time in assessing all angles involved. A frustrated Joe Root could also be heard asking for more consistency from the umpires on the stump microphone as only one camera angle was used to make up the decision despite the availability of more.

“The England captain and head coach spoke with the match referee after play,” an England team spokesperson told ESPNCricinfo.

“The captain and head coach acknowledged the challenges the umpires faced and asked respectfully that in making any decisions there was consistency in the process. The match referee said the captain was asking the right questions of the umpires.”

Third umpire Chettithody Shamsuddin decided Ben Stokes had grounded a catch at slip after Shubman Gill edged Stuart Broad, while he also determined that Rohit Sharma had grounded his foot as Ben Foakes aimed to complete a stumping off Jack Leach.

Zak Crawley: Frustrations Lie With Not Checking More Thoroughly

Zak Crawley, England’s best batsman in the first innings with a half-century to his name, cited the example of lower-order tailender batsman Jack Leach where a low catch was checked by 5 to 6 different angles by the third umpire but there was no such case in the incidents involving Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.

“When we batted, Jack Leach had a similar sort of one [low catch, similar to the Stokes dismissal] where it didn’t quite carry and it seemed like they looked at it from five or six different angles,” Crawley said. “When we were fielding it seemed like they looked at it from one angle.

England's Zak Crawley. Credit: AFP
England’s Zak Crawley. Credit: AFP

“That’s where the frustrations lie. I can’t say whether they were out or not out, but I think the frustrations lie with not checking more thoroughly.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the unavailability of neutral umpires for bilateral contests has become a much-talked-about issue. The apex board, hence, decided to give teams an extra review per innings but certain issues like the ones in Ahmedabad in the pink-ball Test continue to arise.

Apart from Zak Crawley’s 53, the other batsmen didn’t contribute much with Joe Root’s 17 next best. For India, Rohit Sharma is unbeaten on 57 while Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli were men to be dismissed.

India ended Day 1 at 99 for 3, training England’s total by only 13 runs as opener Rohit Sharma is batting on 57 not out. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel picked up a 6-wicket haul while Ravichandran Ashwin picked up 3 wickets as the Indian spin duo ran through the England batting unit.

Umpire Anil Chaudhary, right, signals a no-ball by India's Jasprit Bumrah, left, during the first one-day international cricket match between India and Sri Lanka in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
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India vs England 2021: ICC Names Anil Chaudhary, Virender Sharma, Nitin Menon As Umpires For The First 2 Tests

ICC (International Cricket Council) has appointed the pair of Anil Chaudhary and Virender Sharma as umpires to stand alongside another umpire Nitin Menon for the first two Tests between India and England.

The trio of umpires will officiate in the first two Tests of the upcoming f0ur-Test series between India and England, thus continuing the trend of home umpires officiating in Tests ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Anil Chaudhary
Anil Chaudhary (Image Credit: Twitter)

ICC Names Anil Chaudhary As On Field Umpire For 1st Test And Virender Sharma As Umpire For 2nd Test

According to a report in ESPN, Anil Chaudhary will be the on-field umpire for the first Test beginning February 5 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, with Virender Sharma replacing him in the second beginning February 13 at the same venue.

C Shamshuddin, also part of the international panel, will be the third umpire for the first Test, and will be replaced by Anil Chaudhary for the following match. Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath will be the match referee for England’s entire tour, which also comprises five T20Is and three ODIs, the report further stated.

ICC Match Referee Javagal Srinath
ICC Match Referee Javagal Srinath (Photo by Chirag Wakaskar-IPL 2010/IPL via Getty Images)

Anil Menon, the only Indian official on the ICC’s Elite Panel, will be standing in his fourth Test, while for both Anil Chaudhary and Virender Sharma, it will be the maiden Test appearance.

The final two Tests will be played in Ahmedabad, including a day-night Test starting February 24 followed by the fourth and final Test from March 4.

ICC Temporarily Removed Neutral Umpires From All Formats After Covid-19 Outbreak

ICC had temporarily removed neutral umpires for all international formats owing to the “logistical challenges with international travel”, when in June last year international cricket resumed after the global lockdown because of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard Illingworth.
Richard Illingworth. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

However, recently, England’s Richard Illingworth was announced as a neutral on-field umpire for the two-match Test series between Bangladesh and West Indies. That too was necessitated as Bangladesh don’t have an umpire in the ICC’s Elite Panel and for the same reason the ICC appointed Richard Illingworth as the umpire for the match beginning February 3 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

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