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Jos Buttler was furious with the umpire's decision after being Mankaded by R Ashwin (BCCI Photo)
Jos Buttler was furious with the umpire's decision after being Mankaded by R Ashwin (BCCI Photo)
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Tabraiz Shamsi Backs Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin Saying Bowlers Should Mankad Without Fear

Tabraiz Shamsi, South African cricketer has backed spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, saying that bowlers should Mankad without any fear.

Ravichandran Ashwin received severe criticism for Mankading Rajasthan Royals’ batsman, Jos Buttler, during an IPL game between Punjab Kings (then known as Kings XI Punjab) and Rajasthan Royals in 2019.

Tabraiz Shamsi (Credit: Getty Images)
Tabraiz Shamsi (Credit: Getty Images)

Tabraiz Shamsi Supports Ravichandran Ashwin On Mankading And Thinks All Bowlers Should Do It Without Any Fear

However, the senior cricketer stood his ground and backed his decision. He also received praise from several sections. Tabraiz Shamsi has now come out in support of Ravichandran Ashwin, saying that it is the batters who are cheating. Tabraiz Shamsi agrees with the Tamil Nadu-born off-spinner, saying the bowlers must do it as it is within the rules of the game.

The left-arm wrist-spinner also thinks that why the bowlers should receive criticism for abusing the spirit of cricket when it’s the batsmen stealing a few extra yards.

“@ashwinravi99 I think all bowlers should do it without any fear.. it’s within the rules of the game,” tweeted Tabraiz Shamsi.

Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)
Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)

“Why must the bowlers get abused about the “spirit of cricket” when it’s actually the batsmen that are stealing yards and THAT is against the spirit of cricket. That’s the real truth,” added Tabraiz Shamsi.

Ravichandran Ashwin while playing for Kings XI Punjab had dismissed non-striker Jos Buttler of Rajasthan Royals when he had left the batting crease before the ball was bowled. The incident which happened in 2019 was not repeated in 2020 when Ravichandran Ashwin while playing for Delhi Capitals warned Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Aaron Finch when he left the crease at the non-striker’s end.

Tabraiz Shamsi’s comments came after former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar and Ravichandran Ashwin had a constructive debate on Twitter on how to even out the contest between batsman and bowlers in the modern game.

Ravichandran Ashwin Suggested A New Rule-Free Ball For Bowlers Every Time Batsman Leaves Non-Strikers End Early

In his column for the Hindustan Times, Sanjay Manjrekar stated that the free-hit rule was introduced by a ‘sadist’ who hated bowlers.

“Free hit is a thing I want gone, again terribly unfair on the bowlers. Today with the TV umpire monitoring no balls, a bowler has to be a centimetre over, and immediately, a string of punishments are meted out,” wrote Sanjay Manjrekar.

“The bowler has to bowl an extra ball, the batter cannot be out to that no ball already bowled and there is also a penalty of one run. To add to that, there is a free hit offered to the batter in which he cannot be out. The penalty is just not commensurate to the ‘wrongful’ act. It’s as if the rule was introduced by a sadist who hated bowlers,” added Manjrekar.

File image of Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
File image of Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

In his response, Ravichandran Ashwin suggested a new rule – ‘free ball’. According to the bowler, ten runs should be docked from the bowlers’ figures and also from the overall total every time a non-striker leaves the crease early.

“Come on @sanjaymanjrekar, free hit is a great marketing tool and has captured the imagination of all the fans. Let’s add a free ball for the bowlers every time a batter leaves the non-strikers’ end early, a wicket of that ball will reduce 10 runs of the bowlers’ analysis and total,” tweeted Ravichandran Ashwin.

“Remember: “you are supposed to leave the crease only after the ball leaves the hand,” added Ravichandran Ashwin.

Sanjay Manjrekar, a cricketer-turned-commentator, also called for the removal of the leg-bye rule.

“We see a bowler has bowled a great delivery and the batter is deceived, he can’t put the bat to ball. But the ball brushes to the fine leg boundary. The umpire signals a four in favour of the batting team! The batter is rewarded, the bowler penalized. How does that make sense from any angle?” asserted Sanjay Manjrekar.

Mankading has happened only 4 times in Tests,5 times in ODIs, 1 time in T20Is, and only once in IPL. The last one happened during 2019 IPL in March. The former Kings XI Punjab spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s Mankad act divided the sporting fraternity into two halves- some criticized him for his action terming it as illegal while quite a few backed the off-spinner, saying Mankading is within the rules and spirit of the game.

Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell
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Glenn Maxwell Believes He Has Been A ‘Massive Beneficiary’ Of IPL

Glenn Maxwell, the 32-year-old acknowledged that he has been a huge beneficiary of the IPL which has been life-changing for him in a recent interview.

Glenn Maxwell made his debut in both limited-overs formats for Australia in 2012, followed by a Test debut in 2013. However, only after the 2014 edition of the IPL did he become a regular in the Australian team.

Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell Has Been A Beneficiary Of IPL Which Fas Tracked His International T20 Career

The batting all-rounder mentioned that his breakout 2014 season, where he scored 552 runs in 16 matches, earned him a sub-continent specialist tag, thereby making it to the Australian squads for all three formats.

“I have been a massive beneficiary of the IPL. It has certainly fast-tracked my international T20 career, I have been able to experience the Indian conditions, we had an IPL in Dubai in 2014 and I was able to perform really well over there.”

Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli. Twitter
Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli.- Twitter

“After that, I got a bit pigeon-holed in Australia over being a sub-continent specialist. It got me a few ODIs and Test tours which I probably would not have been able to do if not for the IPL,” Glenn Maxwell said in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of RCB.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has said that the 2014 IPL performance made the Australian cricket fraternity believe that he was a subcontinent specialist. Glenn Maxwell played for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in IPL 2014.

The first leg of that tournament was played in the UAE, and Maxwell was able to light up the tournament and that edition saw the best of the right-handed batsman. The Australian batsman amassed 300 runs in 5 matches at UAE in 2014 and came close to scoring a hundred thrice.

Glenn Maxwell Recalls Chatting With Legendary Sachin Tendulkar

Before he was picked by the Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in 2014, the Australian represented the Mumbai Indians (MI) in 2013. The Aussie explained how the interactions with Sachin Tendulkar while playing for MI were a huge learning experience.

“I still remember chatting with Sachin Tendulkar in my first year at the IPL, the fact the I was an Aussie, I joked with him, I think he liked that. He was brilliant in the sort of way he opened up his world. Every year you come to the IPL, it is a massive learning experience,” Maxwell added.

Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Tendulkar
Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Tendulkar

He is playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) this season. In the team’s opening game against the Mumbai Indians, he displayed his class with a timely 28-ball 39 that helped his team chase a target of 160 runs.

There was considerable pressure on Glenn Maxwell as he had a poor IPL outing in 2020 (for KXIP at UAE), managing just 108 runs in 13 matches averaging a pathetic 15.42. However, the big-hitting all-rounder was at his dangerous best in 1st match in IPL 2021, hitting 2 sixes and 3 boundaries.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 160/8 (AB de Villiers 48, Maxwell 39, Bumrah 2/26) beat Mumbai Indians 159/9 (Chris Lynn 49, Suryakumar Yadav 31, Harshal Patel 5/27) by 2 wickets

Mayank Agarwal (Image Source: Twitter)
Mayank Agarwal (Image Source: Twitter)
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Mayank Agarwal Hopeful To Put A Good Show In IPL 2021

Mayank Agarwal looks at the season ahead as IPL returns to India with fierce competition for the opening slots across formats for India, as the 30-year-old Karnataka batsman will need to make it count in the IPL 2021 season to stage an India comeback.

Mayank Agarwal’s last edition in the UAE was his best IPL season. The Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) opener hit his first IPL century, returned the best tally (424 runs), and average (38.54) in his 10 seasons. His form though dipped for India on the Australia tour. After two subdued ODIs, he failed in the first two Tests to be dropped and didn’t fare better on being recalled to bat in the middle-order in the final game in Brisbane.

Mayank Agarwal
File image of Mayank Agarwal | BCCI/Sportzpics

Mayank Agarwal Will Look To Make The Best Use Of Opportunities In IPL And Isn’t Thinking About T20I World Cup

Mayank Agarwal debuted in Tests in 2018 and debuted in ODIs in 2020. To date, he has featured in 14 Tests and 5 ODIs. While his Test average is around 45, his ODI average is a mere 17.2. His IPL average of a modest 21.18 is also not up to the mark.

A 20-year-old Mayank Agarwal slog-swept his first ball for a six on IPL debut playing for his home franchise – Royal Challengers Bangalore – in 2011. He notched up his maiden fifty (at a strike-rate above 200) against a strong Mumbai Indians’ bowling attack led by Lasith Malinga. Despite possessing most of the attacking shots, one thing that’s been missing from him is consistency. It took him close to three years to register his second IPL half-century.

“It is wonderful IPL is back in India. Although we will miss the crowd, playing in India will be thrilling. I have been working hard on my fitness and skills in Bengaluru. The T20 format demands top fitness and sharp skills. Once we hit the nets, we will be in the groove. In the last IPL, I did well. I hope to make the most of the chance this season too,” said Mayank Agarwal.

Mayank Agarwal Deepak Malik / IPL/ SPORTZPICS
Mayank Agarwal Deepak Malik / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

“IPL is a long tournament with so many matches. I will look to make the best use of opportunities and let my performances help my team win the title. A good show in IPL always works wonders. As far as the T20 World Cup goes, I am not thinking about it. It is still quite far. But yes, I would like to make an impression,” said Mayank Agarwal.

“It is fantastic to see the team doing so well in all formats. Actually, I like the competition. It pumps me up, I’m more focused, raring to take up the challenges and better my performances. In the last two-three years, Indian cricket has gone upwards and I think it is in the most exciting phase at the moment,” Mayank added.

Mayank Agarwal represented Delhi Daredevils from 2014-2016. Ahead of the 2017 season, he was traded to Rising Pune Supergiant, but he took part in just three matches and was dropped from the playing XI on the back of poor outings. Following his incredible domestic season, Kings XI Punjab roped him during the 2018 IPL Auction. However, he couldn’t translate that success in the cash-rich league as he amassed just 120 runs in 11 matches.

Mayank Agarwal On Incredible KL Rahul: Enjoyed With Him As Partner

Another opener, skipper KL Rahul was the Orange Cap winner by virtue of being the highest run-getter in the IPL 2020 at UAE, where he amassed 670 runs at an average of 55.83. KL Rahul scored 659, 593, and 670 runs averaging above 50 in the last three IPL seasons, and Mayank Agarwal praised his skipper and opening partner.

“He(Anil Kumble) has a sharp cricket brain and knows exactly what he wants from me. I will be spending time with him in the nets ahead of matches. It becomes a bit easy when you have a coach like him, who knows your game well and also your potential. His inputs helped me do well last season,” said Mayank Agarwal on coach Kumble.

KL Rahul is the captain of King XI Punjab
KL Rahul is the captain of King XI Punjab KINGS XI PUNJAB/ TWITTER

“Rahul is an incredible cricketer. His game makes scoring look very easy. It would be amazing to go out there and play together in Bengaluru. I have always enjoyed with him as partner at the other end. This is the fourth year we will be playing for Punjab,” said Mayank on KL Rahul.

“We missed qualifying for the playoffs last season by one victory. Punjab Kings need to be consistent and display a good brand of cricket to taste success. The team has been successful in clusters in the past, but we have lacked consistency,” Mayank opens up on Punjab Kings.

Punjab Kings did not reach the play-offs in IPL 2020 despite staging a stunning comeback, winning 5 games on the trot after a poor start. The Punjab-based franchise has only reached the play-offs twice so far in the IPL. The Punjab franchise has never won IPL but was semi-finalists in 2008 and runners-up in 2014. They were 6th in IPL 2020.

Punjab Kings Probable XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Dawid Malan/ Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Moises Henriques/ Deepak Hooda, Jhye Richardson, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh/Riley Meredith, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara
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Cheteshwar Pujara Bats With A Higher Backlift At CSK Nets Preparing For IPL 2021

Cheteshwar Pujara’s preparation for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) season is in full swing. It looks like Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is adapting supremely well to the demands of T20 cricket. Ahead of the new Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) season, a video of him taking apart the bowlers for sixes in the CSK nets has gone viral.

In a video posted on Twitter by a user, the 33-year-old Test specialist is seen taking his fellow teammates to the cleaners. He first hits pacer Deepak Chahar over deep mid-wicket. Next ball, he slog-sweeps spinner Karn Sharma through the onside.

CSK's Cheteshwar Pujara reacts during training in Mumbai.(Twitter)
CSK’s Cheteshwar Pujara reacts during training in Mumbai.(Twitter)

Cheteshwar Pujara Batted With A Higher Backlift Unlike Tests At Nets

Cheteshwar Pujara is also seen charging down the track to lift the ball over the long-on boundary and flicking one off his pads off another pacer. In his final shot of the video, he takes the aerial route over the extra-cover region.

Apart from big-hitting, which is the polar opposite to his natural game, there was one more major difference that was very apparent. He was seen batting with a higher backlift. Conventionally, India’s Test batting mainstay’s backlift is very low.

Just as the bowler is about to deliver the ball, his hands are at knee length as he likes playing the ball close to his body. In this video, however, he is using a much higher backlift to generate enough bat speed and power to muscle the ball over the ropes.

IPL 2021: Cheteshwar Pujara adjusted his batting style for T20
IPL 2021: Cheteshwar Pujara adjusted his batting style for T20 Photo Credit: Cheteshwar Pujara Twitter

Three-time champions CSK would hope Cheteshwar Pujara takes this form into the tournament and delivers for the previous season’s 7th placed CSK by garnering quick runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara Last Played In IPL 2014

The right-hander last batted in the IPL in 2014 and was bought by CSK at the 2021 IPL auction. A regular in IPL from 2008 to 2014, he has been away from IPL since 2014 when he represented KXIP. He had started his IPL career with Kolkata Knight Riders and stayed with them till 2010.

He moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2011 to 2013 before being picked up by KXIP in 2014. While he is an automatic selection when it comes to Tests, he has been away from the white-ball limited-overs team since 2014. He has played only 5 ODIs.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara Last Played For KXIP(Now Punjab Kings)| Photo: BCCI

Cheteshwar Pujara has played 30 matches in the cash-rich league, scoring 390 runs in 22 innings. He has one fifty to his name in the format. The Chennai-based side is currently training in Mumbai where they play their initial first five matches. The side trained in Chennai from March 8 before checking in to their hotel for the mandatory seven-day quarantine ahead of the season. They begin their campaign against Delhi Capitals on April 10 in Mumbai.

Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
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Anil Kumble Provides Fitness Update On Mohammed Shami

Anil Kumble, head coach of Punjab Kings, the IPL franchise pacer Mohammed Shami is part of, has finally provided an update as to how the fast bowler is faring.

Ever since Mohammed Shami fractured his arm during the first Test against Australia in December of last year, there is yet to be an official confirmation about his recovery or fitness. It’s been over three months that Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the Indian team but so far nothing was announced as far as his recovery is concerned.

Anil Kumble And Mohammed Shami Twitter
Anil Kumble And Mohammed Shami Twitter

Anil Kumble: Mohammed Shami Is Fine And Will Play A Few Practice Games

However, Anil Kumble, head coach of Punjab Kings, the IPL franchise Mohammed Shami is a part of, has finally provided an update as to how the fast bowler is faring. Anil Kumble informed that Mohammed Shami is ‘good to go’ and that everyone in the franchise is looking forward to him playing the 14th edition of the IPL starting April 9.

“He is fine as far as I know. He is coming to the bio-bubble for the quarantine and he will be out in a few days. I know he hasn’t played any matches since his injury but he is good to go. We are really looking forward to him playing a few practice games and then getting ready for the first game,” Anil Kumble told Sportstar.

Mohammad Shami
Mohammed Shami. Photo Credit: BCCI

Mohammed Shami has revived his limited-overs career in recent months and was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for a hefty price tag of INR 4.8 crore. He has the skills to be effective both at the start of the innings and also in the death overs. He had a fine run in 2019 and finished the season as KXIP’s highest wicket-taker with 19 wickets from 14 games. He also picked 20 scalps in IPL 2020 held at UAE averaging 23 playing 14 games.

Anil Kumble: Punjab Kings Have A Squad Giving Options In Case Need Arises To Rotate Pacers

Having finished the previous season at 12 points from 14 matches, Punjab Kings went into the IPL 2021 auction with the fattest purse among all eight franchises, with a whopping 53.2 crore to spent. They ended up spending 14 crores on Australian pacer Jhye Richardson, while also acquiring the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, and Saurabh Kumar.

“I think in the smaller auctions, people tend to forget that the options are minimal. Every team wants to reinforce and fill the gaps and since the options are lesser, you tend to spend a lot more on the players. We wanted to have a squad that gives us options in case we want to rotate a few of our fast bowlers. Even our young Indian pacers are exciting. It is a fairly long tournament and the conditions will be pretty hot,” Anil Kumble added.

Jhye Richardson
Jhye Richardson Source: AAP

The former finalists of IPL 2014 have rebranded themselves as Punjab Kings as they are hopeful of a change in fortunes in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

Punjab Kings(formerly KXIP) did not reach the play-offs in IPL 2020 despite staging a stunning comeback, winning 5 games on the trot after a poor start. The Punjab-based franchise has only reached the play-offs twice so far in the IPL. The Punjab franchise has never won IPL but was semi-finalists in 2008 and runners-up in 2014. Apart from the two occasions, they couldn’t reach playoffs in other editions. They were 6th in IPL 2020.

The Kings XI Punjab released as many as nine players as part of their retention exercise ahead of the auction. Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Krishnappa Gowtham, and Karun Nair are some of the cricketers they decided against retaining while they retained the likes of KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Ravi Bishnoi, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Jordan, and Mohammed Shami.

Virender Sehwag and KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Virender Sehwag and KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
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KL Rahul’s Mentality And Mindset Changed As He Batted In Middle Order: Virender Sehwag

KL Rahul’s form became a hot topic of discussion during the recently-concluded T20I series against England, although for the wrong reasons. He had a poor run with the bat, scoring figures of 1, 0, 0 and, 14 in the first four matches, before being rested for the final one.

But KL Rahul has shown time and time again that he knows how to bounce back and that is exactly what he did in the 50-overs format. He smashed a brisk fifty in the first ODI, helping India to a solid total of 317. The Karnataka batsman followed it up with a century in the 2nd ODI against England on Friday. Even though India lost the match, his batting received widespread praise.

KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
KL Rahul Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

KL Rahul Had To Change Mindset For Playing In The Gaps As He Batted In The Middle Order: Virender Sehwag

Speaking on Cricbuzz, Virender Sehwag explained how KL Rahul’s mentality has shifted in the ODIs because of him batting in the middle-order, instead of opening the innings.

“When the openers come out to bat, the thought process is to cash in the first 10 overs. So, you get less time for yourself. Whenever I use to open the innings, I always use to think about whether I can make an impact in the first 10 overs, and cash in during the powerplay,” Sehwag said.

“So, maybe that is the mentality of the openers. But when you bat in the middle overs, the thought is that I cannot forcefully hit boundaries because the field is open. So, I have to play in the gaps and score ones and twos hit loose balls, and build a partnership. So that is different thinking. It is a difference in mindset,” Sehwag explained.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India opener further credited India captain Virat Kohli for trying out KL Rahul at various positions, which helped him in becoming the batsman he is today.

“KL Rahul has played at almost every slot. He might be one of the favourites batsmen of captain, hence he has tried to adjust him in every batting position. That is necessary, when a new player comes in, to make him a part of the playing XI,” Sehwag said.

After a string of poor performances in the T20Is where he managed to score 15 runs in 4 games with two ducks, KL Rahul roared back to form during the first ODI between India and England. Batting at No. 5 in the match, he scored an unbeaten 62 off 43 balls, helping India post a huge total to win the game.

KL Rahul Was Dropped In 5th T20I

India had been struggling at the top of the order with KL Rahul scoring 1,0,0, 14 in the first four T20Is, Virat Kohli had backed KL Rahul to come well up until the final match as his patience finally ran out with the Karnataka batsman as the captain successfully promoted himself as an opener in the series-deciding final T20I.
KL Rahul receives strong backing from Virat Kohli, Vikram Rathour after a run of low scores| Reuters.
KL Rahul receives strong backing from Virat Kohli, Vikram Rathour after a run of low scores| Reuters.
He was also the Orange Cap winner by virtue of being the highest run-getter captaining Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 2020 at UAE, where he amassed 670 runs at an average of 55.83. He scored 659, 593, and 670 runs averaging above 50 in the last three IPL seasons.
He may have registered consecutive ducks in the last two matches, but he received the backing of India captain Virat Kohli, who feels the batsman is a ‘champion player’ in T20 cricket. KL Rahul averages 40.61 in T20Is despite having scores of 0,1,0 and 0 in the last 4 T20Is.
KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
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I Have Always Been Calm And Always Tried To Stay Balanced: KL Rahul

KL Rahul tried to clear up a misconception about him during a press conference before the second ODI against England in Pune. The 28-year-old said that he didn’t want people to think he’s not passionate about his game just because he’s not expressive enough on the field.

After a string of poor performances in the T20Is where he managed to score 15 runs in 4 games with two ducks, KL Rahul roared back to form during the first ODI between India and England. Batting at No. 5 in this match, he scored an unbeaten 62 off 43 balls, helping India post a huge total to win the game.

India captain Virat Kohli has also thrown his weight behind struggling opener KL Rahul, calling him 'a champion player.' AP Photo
India captain Virat Kohli has also thrown his weight behind struggling opener, KL Rahul, calling him a champion player. AP Photo

KL Rahul Have Always Been Calm And Tried To Stay Balanced

KL Rahul mentioned it was a quality that he always tried to imbibe into his personality, regardless of his performances when questioned if his calmness helped him overcome the rough patch in the T20Is.

He said: “I have always been calm, I’ve always tried to stay balanced. I have always told myself that I love this game, this game has been everything for me. Whoever I’m today is because of the game. But it is also important that you realise that you should have to treat a game as a game. That is one thing that I believe keeps you a lot calmer, it keeps you in a good frame of mind. Only if you are in a good frame of mind, you can be more consistent for the team and churn out good performances.”

KL Rahul also credited senior cricketers for providing him with some valuable life lessons in his early days.

“In my growing years, I kept talking to myself (about staying calm and balanced). The more I have seen the game, with more experience, I learnt better. Whenever you talk to the senior players in the team, they always tell you to remain balanced in your good days and in your bad days,” KL Rahul added.

Ind v Eng: KL Rahul receives strong backing from Virat Kohli, Vikram Rathour after run of low scores

India had been struggling at the top of the order with KL Rahul scoring 1,0,0, 14 in the first four T20Is, Virat Kohli had backed KL Rahul to come well up until the final match as his patience finally ran out with the Karnataka batsman as the captain successfully promoted himself as an opener in the series-deciding final T20I.

KL Rahul Is Quiet And Is Less Expressive And Will Remain The Same

KL Rahul remarked that he doesn’t need to change his personality due to outside chatter. He wants to continue being who he is and remain composed on the field.

Speaking about his personality, KL Rahul said: “I’m not a person who shows it, I’m not very expressive. People think, just because I’m quiet and don’t have too many expressions, that ‘may be he’s not passionate, may be he’s not aggressive’. Everybody is different. Everybody’s personality is different. Everyone has a different way of expressing themselves. This is who I’m, that is what I’ve always been and this is what I’ll continue to be.”

KL Rahul is the captain of King XI Punjab
KL Rahul is the captain of King XI Punjab KINGS XI PUNJAB/ TWITTER

KL Rahul was also the Orange Cap winner by virtue of being the highest run-getter captaining Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 2020 at UAE, where he amassed 670 runs at an average of 55.83. KL Rahul scored 659, 593, and 670 runs averaging above 50 in the last three IPL seasons.

India is set to take on England in the second ODI in Pune on March 26 and will look to clinch the series with a victory. India’s Shreyas Iyer is ruled out after suffering a shoulder injury while Rohit Sharma is doubtful for the next ODI. England skipper Eoin Morgan and Sam Billings are also doubtful.

KL Rahul, Chris Gayle
KL Rahul, Chris Gayle
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Chris Gayle And KL Rahul Love Kings XI Punjab’s New Name Punjab Kings

Chris Gayle said he loves Kings XI Punjab’s new name ‘Punjab Kings’, adding he believes a team is more than just 11 players echoing skipper KL Rahul’s statement. Punjab will head into the IPL auction on Thursday 18th February with the biggest purse among all franchises of Rs 53.4 crore.

The former finalists of IPL 2014 have rebranded themselves as Punjab Kings as they are hopeful of a change in fortunes in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. The Punjab-based franchise made the official announcement on Wednesday, a day ahead of the mini-auction in Chennai on 18th February.

Chris Gayle (Photo: PTI)
Chris Gayle (Photo: PTI)

Chris Gayle And KL Rahul Love Kings XI Punjab’s New Name Punjab Kings

Captain KL Rahul and star batsman Chris Gayle, it seems, are in love with the new name as Punjab Kings are looking at branding makeover. While speaking to Star Sports on Thursday, captain KL Rahul who was the highest run-scorer and Orange Cap winner in IPL 2020 said Punjab Kings reflects the pulse of the team and that they realized an IPL franchise is just more than 11 players, adding it’s a cumulative effort of quite a few stakeholders.

“I liked the name Kings XI but the team is a lot more than just 11 players. We are supposed to be like a family, supposed to feel like a family, supposed to feel like a whole unit. I am quite confident that the change in name will bring us good fortune this year,” KL Rahul said.

KL Rahul With Preity Zinta (Instagram)
KL Rahul With Preity Zinta (Instagram)

Chris Gayle, who has been a key part of the Punjab Kings over the last few seasons, backed KL Rahul, saying: “Absolutely, I love it. Sometimes, it’s good to have a change as well. I like what KL said. It’s not about the 11 players. It’s going to get everyone more involved. Punjab Kings is the way to go.”

Co-owner Priety Zinta announced the change in name during the show and jokingly said that KL Rahul and Chris Gayle refused to play for them until they changed the name of the franchise to Punjab Kings.

Punjab Kings Didn’t Reach Playoffs In IPL 2020 Despite Winning 5 Matches On Trot

Punjab Kings did not reach the play-offs in IPL 2020 despite staging a stunning comeback, winning 5 games on the trot after a poor start. The Punjab-based franchise has only reached the play-offs twice so far in the IPL.

The Punjab franchise has never won IPL but was semi-finalists in 2008 and runners-up in 2014. Apart from the two occasions, they couldn’t reach playoffs in other editions. They were 6th in IPL 2020.

Glenn Maxwell. Image Credits: Twitter
Glenn Maxwell. Image Credits: Twitter

Glenn Maxwell was a total failure in IPL 2020 amassing only 108 runs in 13 games while another released player Karun Nair managed only 16 runs in 4 games. James Neesham picked only 2 scalps in 5 games besides scoring 19 runs and was subsequently released.

Ahead of the IPL 2021 Auction, Punjab Kings released as many as 9 players, including the likes of Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The Punjab-based side will have the biggest purse at the IPL 2021 auction — Rs 53.20 crore.

Retained players: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Prabhsimran Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel.

Released players: Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sheldon Cottrell, Jimmy Neesham, Krishnappa Gowtham, Tajinder Singh.

Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan. Photo Credit: BCCI/IPL.
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Ashish Nehra Feels Shakib Al Hasan Will Be The Costliest Pick In IPL 2021 Auction

Ashish Nehra, former Indian pacer picked a player who he thinks will emerge as the most expensive player in the event ahead of the IPL 2021 mini-auction to be held in Chennai,  The eight franchises participating in IPL would be having sleepless nights thinking about the players they would want to add to their squads in the mini-auction.

Despite being a mini-auction, several world-class players will be up for grabs in the much-awaited event which will be held in Chennai on 18th February.  The demand for overseas players is huge and creates buzz during an IPL auction and all eight franchises do plenty of homework on all foreign players who are up for grabs in an IPL auction.

Ashish Nehra. (Getty Images)
Ashish Nehra. (Getty Images)

Ashish Nehra Reckons Shakib Al Hasan As Most Expensive Buy Since He Provides Much Needed Balance

Despite Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris expected to be on the radar of most of the franchises, according to Ashish Nehra, it’s Bangladesh superstar Shakib Al Hasan who will emerge as the costliest player in IPL 2021 mini-auction.

“Again, one more IPL auction and plenty of big names, but one name, which according to me is right on top – can be the most expensive player of this IPL auction – is Bangladesh all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan (former captain). He can give balance to any IPL team in any T20,” Ashish Nehra said on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected – Auction Special.

Shakib Al Hasan - Vipin Pawar/SPORTZPICS
Shakib Al Hasan – Vipin Pawar/SPORTZPICS

The all-rounder, who was released by SRH in 2019 after being banned by the ICC for failing to report the corrupt offence, will be looking to make his comeback in the Indian Premier League this year as Ashish Nehra believes he will be the most expensive buy.

One of the best all-rounders in the world at present, he can be a reliable middle-order batsman and can easily bowl 3-4 overs every game in the IPL. The Bangladesh veteran might fetch a decent bid at the auction in 2021 with several teams likely to be interested in his services.

Shakib Al Hasan played 63 matches scoring 746 runs at an average of 21.31 with two 50s and a high score of unbeaten 66 and taken 59 wickets averaging 28. He was released by KKR and was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2018 season after representing Kolkata Knight Riders from 2011 to 2017.

Ashish Nehra believes that former Bangladesh captain and superstar all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan will be the most expensive buy of the IPL 2021 Auction as he provides balance to any team with his binary skills.

Aakash Chopra Feels Though That Glenn Maxwell Will Be Most Expensive Buy Once Again In Mini Auction

On the other hand, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra fears that it’s Glenn Maxwell who will emerge as the most expensive player in Chennai.

“I feel that Glenn Maxwell, yes, Glenn Maxwell, once again, will be the most expensive buy in this mini-auction. It might be mini for a lot of people, but it will be maxed for Maxwell,” Aakash Chopra said.  

One of the most explosive batsmen in white-ball cricket, Glenn Maxwell hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations in the last few seasons of IPL. He had a memorable season for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2014 where he amassed 552 runs and set the tournament on fire with several memorable knocks.

However, in the last two seasons, he has scored 108 and 169 runs respectively while playing for Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Capitals.

Glenn Maxwell. Image Credits: Twitter
Glenn Maxwell. Image Credits: Twitter

In IPL 2020 which was played in UAE, he was bought back by the KXIP squad for a whopping sum of Rs 10.75 crore during the IPL 2020 auction, but he failed to hit a solitary six and didn’t hit any fifty. After being released by the KL Rahul-led side, it remains to be seen whether he once again shatters the record to emerge as the costliest player.

He has scored only 1505 runs averaging 22.13 in 82 IPL games with only 6 fifties.

Maxwell, Gambhir
Maxwell, Gambhir
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Gautam Gambhir Feels Glenn Maxwell Will Go To RCB In IPL 2021

Gautam Gambhir, former IPL winning skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders believes Glenn Maxwell will be one of the costliest buys despite his indifferent returns in the IPL so far and RCB will look to get the Australian all-rounder in IPL 2021 mini-auction.

Glenn Maxwell has listed his base price at INR 2 crore for the IPL 2021 auction after being released by Kings XI Punjab as he failed to live up to expectations scoring only 108 runs at a strike-rate of 101.88 from 13 matches in the previous edition at a pathetic average of 15.42.

Gautam Gambhir (BCCI Photo)
Gautam Gambhir (BCCI Photo)

Gautam Gambhir: RCB Will Be Looking For Players Like Glenn Maxwell

Gautam Gambhir while speaking to Star Sports pointed out that teams like KXIP and RCB will be looking for a proper balance in their squad. Gautam Gambhir reckoned that KXIP and RCB need some players to balance the team as the franchises have released lots of cricketers.

“There will be a couple of teams who will be eager to go into the auctions and buy the players they want. There is Kings XI Punjab, there is RCB, who will be looking to get some players to get their balance right. These sides will be very, very active in the auctions,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports during the Lunch break on Day 1 of the 2nd Test between India and England.

Glenn Maxwell. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Glenn Maxwell. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“There are teams who will be looking at someone like Maxwell. Surely, RCB will be looking at him. That is my personal opinion. Anything can happen at the auctions. But I feel Maxwell will go to RCB,” Gambhir added.

Kings XI Punjab released as many as nine players ahead of the upcoming auction. Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Krishnappa Gowtham, and Karun Nair were some of the cricketers they decided against retaining. Like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab has never won IPL, but the franchise were semi-finalists in 2008 and were runners up in 2014.

They now have a staggering Rs 53.2 crore to spend at the mini-auction and build a team that can challenge for the title this year.

Gautam Gambhir: Glenn Maxwell Has Done Very Well In Bengaluru

RCB has retained just 12 squad members before the IPL 2021 auction and released 10 players which include recently-retired Parthiv Patel and Dale Steyn, who opted out of the upcoming edition of the cash-rich league. RCB released Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Pavan Negi, Parthiv Patel (retired), Dale Steyn (unavailable), Isuru Udana, Umesh Yadav from their IPL 2020 squad before IPL 2021.

“Because if I look at their entire batting line-up they have got, Virat Kohli will definitely be looking to open the batting, because that is where he has been most successful. Padikkal has done very, very well for them in the previous season. Then they have got AB, and then they can have someone like Maxwell – the X factor,” he explained.

File photo of Parthiv Patel(Getty Images)
File photo of Parthiv Patel(Getty Images)

“And at Chinnaswamy, where he has done very well. Whenever he has played at Chinnaswamy, he has won games for Australia. So, I think, Maxwell will go to RCB. Depending on how much RCB will give for him, but I feel he would go for a lot of money,” Gautam Gambhir concluded.

A brilliant fielder, who can contribute with his off-spin, the Australian Glenn Maxwell can play the role of a floater in a line-up. His one of the best seasons was in 2014 in UAE when he teamed up with David Miller for Kings XI Punjab in clobbering the opposition but apart from that and except 2014 and 2017, his average in IPL has been below 20 in all the other seasons.

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