Manish Pandey | Sportzwiki

Manish Pandey

Suryakumar Yadav plays a shot during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 18 (Photo | AP)
Suryakumar Yadav plays a shot during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 18 (Photo | AP)
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Prithvi Shaw Is A Showstopper – Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav has praised opening batsman, Prithvi Shaw, calling him a ‘showstopper’ and he even said that the right-handed young batsman has worked really hard on his fitness.

Avishka Fernando (76) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (65) smashed their respective fifties to ensure Sri Lanka did not lose the final ODI despite a late wobble. However, despite this loss, India won the series 2-1 and Suryakumar Yadav was adjudged as Player of the Series.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Suryakumar Yadav Calls Prithvi Shaw Showstopper And Wants Him To Retain The Tag Adding He Has Worked Hard On His Fitness

After a memorable T20I debut, versus England early this year, Suryakumar Yadav has once again proved his potential in the ongoing India tour of Sri Lanka. In the three ODIs, he returned with scores of unbeaten 31, 53, and 40 to be adjudged the Player-of-the-Series for his consistency. Apart from Suryakumar Yadav, another player who made a mark in the three ODIs with the bat in hand was Prithvi Shaw.

“I only have one word for Prithvi Shaw, I call him showstopper. Whenever he bats, everyone’s eyes are on him. I want him to remain the same, he is batting really well and his attitude is pretty nice as well. He has worked really hard on his fitness and it is very good to see him doing so well,” said Suryakumar during a virtual post-match press conference.

Prithvi Shaw (Photo/ ICC Twitter)
Prithvi Shaw (Photo/ ICC Twitter)

The Indian opener Prithvi Shaw has made the most of his form, since being dropped following the first Test in the Australia tour, and was in blazing touch versus the Lankans. His 24-ball 43 in the series-opening ODI and a run-a-ball 49 in the third and final ODI were a treat to watch for all. While Prithvi Shaw didn’t get to score a hundred in the ODIs, he played some cracking shots to win everyone’s hearts till the time he was out in the middle.

Suryakumar Yadav Disappointed With Not Carrying On And Play Till The End In The 2nd And 3rd ODIs

Suryakumar Yadav has admitted that his fortunes have taken a turn for the good ever since he started representing Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL.

When asked about his performance and the road ahead for him, Suryakumar said: “Obviously, everyone dreams of playing for India. It has taken a lot of effort, grind, and patience to achieve this feat. It has been worth the wait and I am really happy about it. From here on, how I build on is in my hands. I am really excited about what lies ahead.”

“I am disappointed with not carrying on, I got a good start in the first game, and in the second game, it was a perfect opportunity to win a game for the team. I got out then and I was disappointed to not play till the end. In the third ODI, I was also not able to play till the end, but that is how we learn and move forward.”

“I have always been batting the same way like I am batting right now. When I came to Mumbai Indians in 2018, it started to change for me. I got to know my responsibilities and how I can take it one step ahead and that is when I started practicing more.”

“I am really happy with the way things are going. I have been a Mumbai boy, when you grow up there, the wickets you play on, are challenging. I will be doing the same thing and keep things simple and follow my routines. I just want to keep it simple,” he added.

When asked why Manish Pandey was persisted with, in the final ODI, Suryakumar Yadav said: “That was completely team management’s decision, I did not get involved in that. Manish Pandey has been batting really well as we saw in the practice games.

“We played intra-squad matches as well. In the last game, he was batting really well, but he got dismissed in an unfortunate way. This is not my call so I really do not know about it.”

In the three ODIs, Manish Pandey scored 26, 37, and 11 runs respectively. India was all out for 225, with Prithvi Shaw and Sanju Samson scoring 49 and 46 runs respectively and Sri Lanka chased down the target in the 39th over after the match was reduced to 47 overs per side due to rain.

Opting to bat first, India got off to a bad start as the side lost skipper Shikhar Dhawan in the third over. Prithvi Shaw then stitched a 74-run stand for the second wicket with Sanju Samson.

Sanju Samson (File photo)
Sanju Samson (File photo)

The opening batsman fell just one run short of what would have been his maiden ODI fifty in the 16th over. Sanju Samson also departed a few overs later after scoring 46 before rain halted the play. After the game resumed, India suffered a collapse as the visitors kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were finally folded for 225/10.

Manish Pandey is likely to be given another opportunity in the second ODI against Sri Lanka | Photo Credit: AP
Manish Pandey is likely to be given another opportunity in the second ODI against Sri Lanka | Photo Credit: AP
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Suryakumar Yadav Defends Manish Pandey Despite His Poor Form

Suryakumar Yadav defended fellow middle-order batsman Manish Pandey over the latter’s dismal return in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Suryakumar Yadav said Manish Pandey had batted ‘really well’ in the tour before pointing to his unlucky run-out in the previous ODI.

The 31-year-old batsman has been in and out of the limited-overs team for a few years. There is no doubt about the talent but Manish Pandey has been inconsistent with his displays with the bat.

Suryakumar Yadav plays a shot during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 18 (Photo | AP)
Suryakumar Yadav plays a shot during the first one-day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 18 (Photo | AP)

Suryakmar Yadav: Manish Pandey Was Batting Really Well And Not Dropping Him For The 3rd ODI Due To Poor Form Was Team Management’s Call

India lost the final ODI by three wickets. Before the game they had handed over five debut caps and made a total of six changes, raising questions on why Manish Pandey wasn’t one of the players to sit out despite his form. In the three-match ODI series also, Manish Pandey showed promise but wasn’t able to fire on and score big in all the matches. In the three ODIs, Manish Pandey scored 26, 37, and 11 runs respectively.

Manish Pandey during the India-Sri Lanka series. (PC: ICC)
Manish Pandey during the India-Sri Lanka series. (PC: ICC)

“That was completely the team management’s call, I can’t get into that decision. But yes, he’s been batting really well as we saw in the practice games, we played intra-squad games also.

“And last game, you all must have seen it it was an unfortunate dismissal, he was batting really well at that time as well. So that must have been the reason but as I said, this isn’t my call,” Suryakumar Yadav said in the post-match press conference.

Although Manish Pandey has been a victim of some haphazard selection choices in the past, he’ll only have himself to blame for not getting any more opportunities soon. Apart from the runout, the 31-year-old had two brilliant chances to score runs but couldn’t convert his starts and ended the series with just 74 runs at an average of 24.67.

After opting to bat first, India managed to score only 225. Prithvi Shaw and Sanju Samson scored 49 and 46 runs respectively at the top of the order while Suryakumar Yadav hit 40 off 37 balls. Sri Lanka did not face a lot of trouble as they chased down the target in the 39th over after the match was reduced to 47 overs per side due to rain.

Manish Pandey Unlikely To Feature In The Upcoming T20I Series

Although a Rahul Dravid reprieve is possible, it looks unlikely that Manish Pandey will get any more game time on this tour. Youngsters like Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, Nitish Rana, Devdutt Padikkal, and Ruturaj Gaikwad are waiting in the wings to capture top-order spots and Manish Pandey hasn’t been that good in T20Is of late either.

Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle
Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle

It will take some injury concerns or last-minute changes for the Karnataka batsman to get a look in for the series. The first T20I will be played on Sunday, July 25.

Manish Pandey will always be remembered as the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. Despite his average of 33.29 in 29 ODIs and 44.31 in 39 T20Is, his form hasn’t been consistent. His average in T20Is is high because he has been unbeaten 17 times in 33 innings. He has only 3 fifties in 39 T20Is and 1 ton and 2 fifties in 29 ODIs which is below expectations.

The 30-year-old Suryakumar Yadav made his ODI debut in the first one-dayer against Sri Lanka and was named man of the series for registering scores of 31 not out, 53, and 40 in the three-match series. Suryakumar Yadav’s sensational run for Mumbai Indians in the IPL earned him a spot in the England T20I series at home.

Manish Pandey is likely to be given another opportunity in the second ODI against Sri Lanka | Photo Credit: AP
Manish Pandey is likely to be given another opportunity in the second ODI against Sri Lanka | Photo Credit: AP
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Sri Lanka vs India 2021: Manish Pandey Could Have Finished The Game Off, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has weighed in on Manish Pandey’s selection debate ahead of 2nd ODI between Shikhar Dhawan-led Team India side and hosts Sri Lanka.

Premier batsman Manish Pandey didn’t have the best of the starts in the series opener of the ongoing One Day Internationals (ODI) between India and Sri Lanka at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Manish Pandey Could Have Finished The 1st ODI Off But Instead He Threw It Away In The End

Manish Pandey, who has been a seasoned campaigner for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has failed to cement his place in the white-ball squad of Team India. In the Sri Lanka series, India is fielding a young promising squad, many expected Manish Pandey to showcase his talent in the absence of regular starters.

Manish Pandey made a cautious start in the 1st ODI of the three-match series against Sri Lanka but the premier batsman failed to accelerate his innings during India’s comfortable chase of 263 at the R.Premadasa Stadium. While Pandey’s critics have cast a doubt over his selection in the upcoming games, former cricketer Aakash Chopra has opted to throw his weight behind the Indian batsman.

Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey BCCI / Sportzpics

The former Team India opener and full-time cricket pundit Aakash Chopra presented his analysis on ESPNCricinfo’s Match Day show in the build-up to the 2nd ODI. Discussing India’s possible playing combination for the series decider, Aakash Chopra highlighted the fact that Manish Pandey should have finished the run chase with Shikhar Dhawan in the 1st ODI on Sunday.

“Manish Pandey could have finished the game off. He just threw it away in the end. But you can’t penalize him for just one bad shot in a game that got over with 15 overs to spare. So, no changes for Team India,” Aakash Chopra said.

Manish Pandey struck a four and six in his sedate knock of 26 against Sri Lanka. Manish Pandey’s 40-ball 26 knock ended in the 31st over as the premier batsman was removed by Dhananjaya de Silva.

Shikhar Dhawan Hits Unbeaten 86 As India Wins The 1st ODI, While India Remain Unchanged In The 2nd ODI

Middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav then joined forces with Shikhar Dhawan to help India thrash Sri Lanka by 7 wickets. Shikhar Dhawan (86) and Suryakumar Yadav (31) remained unbeaten to make sure India enter the 2nd ODI with a 1-0 lead on Tuesday at the same venue.

Shikhar Dhawan will lead India in the Sri Lanka tour. (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)
Shikhar Dhawan will lead India in the Sri Lanka tour. (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)

A near-flawless performance in the first ODI saw the Indian cricket team kick off the tour of Sri Lanka with a 7-wicket win in the first ODI. Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav shone with the bat while Kuldeep Yadav looked in fine touch with the ball. Middle-order batsman Manish Pandey, however, couldn’t seize the opportunity.

Shikhar Dhawan scored a half-century (86 off 95) in the first ODI while Prithvi Shaw (43 off 24) gave India a blazing start at the top and earned himself the Man of the Match title. Ishan Kishan, coming in to bat at No. 3, started off his innings with a six and scored 59 off 42 before being dismissed by Lakshan Sandakan. Manish Pandey, however, left plenty to desire as he only scored 26 off 40 balls in what was otherwise a free-flowing contest.

Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and elected to bat against India in the second ODI. India is fielding an unchanged playing XI, while pacer Kasun Rajitha comes in for fast bowler Isuru Udana in the Sri Lankan XI.

India Squad For Sri Lanka Tour (Image: BCCI)
India Squad For Sri Lanka Tour (Image: BCCI)
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Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be Surprised If Sri Lanka Wins Even One Game Against India

Sanjay Manjrekar, the former Indian cricketer and cricket expert cum commentator feels the Indian team are firm favourites to win the ODI as well as the T20I series against Sri Lanka in their own den.

Although this Indian team has a number of fresh faces, Sanjay Manjrekar stressed that the presence of experienced players like Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya in their squad gives India the edge.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be Surprised If Sri Lanka Wins Even One Game

In his column for the Hindustan Times, Sanjay Manjrekar also acknowledged the fact that the selectors have given a long rope to Kuldeep Yadav and Manish Pandey. The duo is part of the squad, despite being unable to prove their mettle in the IPL 2021 phase one.

Sanjay Manjrekar feels there is enough experience in this Indian team to get the better of Sri Lanka. He further stated that he would be surprised if Sri Lanka won even a single game.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

“In Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya, India has two game-changers with experience. I like the fact that the selectors have not been completely influenced by the IPL in their selection. Kuldeep and Manish Pandey get another chance to show that they still have enough for Indian cricket to stay invested in them. I will be surprised if Sri Lanka puts one over this Indian team,” Sanjay Manjrekar wrote.

Compared to the 2018 season – where he played 16 matches for KKR, Kuldeep Yadav featured in just 9 games for the franchise in 2019 followed by 5 matches in IPL 2020. He stayed on the bench in the first phase of IPL 2021.

Kuldeep Yadav last played in the three-match ODI series against England this year, but he was not able to take any wickets. In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, Kuldeep Yadav was not given a chance in playing XI by his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Manish Pandey has played 5 games for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2021 and amassed 193 runs averaging 48.25 with a comparatively below-par strike rate of 123.71. SRH was languishing at the bottom of the points table with 2 points (only 1 win from 7 IPL games).

Sanjay Manjrekar: Indian Team Touring Sri Lanka Isn’t A Second String Team

Given the restrictions due to COVID-19, the BCCI decided to send a separate team to Sri Lanka and let the main Indian team comprising of more experienced Test specialists stay back in England to prepare for the Test series.

However, former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga stated that this was a ‘second-string’ Indian side and it was an insult to Sri Lankan cricket.  Sanjay Manjrekar rubbished the statement and explained why the Indian team sent to Sri Lanka is not a ‘second-string’ side.

“This is not a second-string Indian team. India’s Test team is in England and in Sri Lanka we have the Indian T20 team. Barring only a few players, this is India’s full-strength T20 team. A second-string team is when an entirely different squad is put up by a country in the same format. I would like to think that India’s T20 cricket is in fine shape,” Sanjay Manjrekar concluded.

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

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the 20 members Indian side. Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 380 runs from 8 games averaging 54.28. Shikhar Dhawan was the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL 2020 too with 618 runs in 17 games. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the vice-captain of the team during the tour of Sri Lanka.

The announced squad included six uncapped players, five of whom received their maiden call-ups for team India. Ahead of the first match- Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Padikkal, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Chakravarthy, and Chetan Sakariya were in high spirits and looking forward to the series.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
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Shikhar Dhawan To Lead, Bhuvneshwar Kumar His Deputy As India Announce 20-member Limited-Overs Squad For Sri Lanka Tour

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the young Indian side in the 3-match ODI series and the 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka scheduled in the month of July.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee picked the Indian squad for the 3-match ODI series and the 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka scheduled in the month of July. All matches will be played at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo. They have picked 20 players in the squad with five net bowlers.

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

Shikhar Dhawan To Lead, Bhuvneshwar Kumar To Be His Deputy In Sri Lanka Tour

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the 20 members Indian side. Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 380 runs from 8 games averaging 54.28. Shikhar Dhawan was the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL 2020 too with 618 runs in 17 games. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the vice-captain of the team during the tour of Sri Lanka.

Prithvi Shaw has earned a call-up into the white-ball squad following his excellent form in IPL 2021 (308 runs) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (827 runs).

Opening batsmen Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad have also been named to the squad for the first time. Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs in IPL 2020 and 195 runs in IPL 2021) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (204 runs in IPL 2020 and 196 runs in IPL 2021) have been consistent since they debuted in IPL 2020 at UAE.

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan - SPORTZPICS
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – SPORTZPICS

Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana have also found a place for themselves in the squad. Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are the two wicket keepers who have been included in the squad. Nitish Rana had scored above 300 runs in every edition since IPL 2017 and managed 201 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021.

Chetan Sakariya Included For First Time In 20 Man Squad

Varun Chakravarthy, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham have been chosen as the spinners while the young speedster, Chetan Sakariya who impressed everyone in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 where he picked 7 wickets in as many games for Rajasthan Royals has also earned a place in the squad.

Chetan Sakariya Photo Credit: (IPL)
Chetan Sakariya Photo Credit: (IPL)

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya got maiden India call-ups. Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department and will have support from the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, and Varun Chakravarthy. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack with support from the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Chetan Sakariya.

The schedule for the three-match ODI series and three-match T20I series between India and Sri Lanka was confirmed earlier this week. The three ODIs will be played on July 13, 16, and 18. While the T20I series will commence on July 21, and the next two matches will be played on July 23 and 25.

None of India’s players who are a part of the travelling group for the World Test Championship final and the England Test series will be part of the Sri Lanka series. Former India skipper and current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head Rahul Dravid is set to coach the Indian limited-overs team that will play the six-game series against Sri Lanka in July.

India’s squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net Bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Gautam Gambhir Praised By Manvinder Bisla And KC Cariappa For Good Captaincy For KKR

Gautam Gambhir was one of the most successful captains in Indian Premier League history.  Gautam Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in his career while playing an important part in their batting department.

Several KKR players have talked about the leadership skills of Gautam Gambhir, who is the only KKR skipper to win IPL, and that too, twice, and how he led from the front to guide youngsters in the team.

Gautam Gambhir has led KKR to two IPL titles
Gautam Gambhir has led KKR to two IPL title

Gautam Gambhir Was Fiercely Protective Of His Players: Manvinder Bisla

One of the players, Manvinder Bisla was an integral part of KKR’s batting department during Gautam Gambhir’s reign as captain. He even top-scored in the final of IPL 2012. Manvinder Bisla hit 89 runs off just 48 balls to help KKR chase down Chennai Super Kings’ total of 190 runs in the final.

Manvinder Bisla played 39 matches in the IPL and hit 798 runs at an average of 21. He narrated how Gautam Gambhir was as a captain and said that the former India opener was fiercely protective of his players.

Manvinder Bisla during his match-winning knock of 89 runs in IPL 2012 final against CSK.
Manvinder Bisla during his match-winning knock of 89 runs in the IPL 2012 final against CSK. (Photo: Twitter/@KKRiders)

“As a captain, Gautam was fiercely protective of his players. He was like an older brother. Win or lose, he needed to just see focus and intensity. Even when I wasn’t converting starts, he was never short of encouraging words if he saw the effort.

“So chats with him at different times during the competition gave me the reinforcement that I was very much valued. Vijay Dahiya, our assistant coach, was also a great motivator. These two made it easy for me to deal with both success and failure,” Bisla said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

Gautam Gambhir is a captain who is known to take bold decisions and the fact that Manvinder Bisla was chosen ahead of Brendon McCullum in the IPL 2012 final, is a living testament. Manvinder Bisla was made to open the innings along with skipper Gautam Gambhir.

However, KKR was dealt with a big blow as their marquee batsman Gautam Gambhir departed in the first over itself after a peach of a delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus. Gautam Gambhir was KKR’s leading run-scorer in that tournament and had amassed 590 runs.

Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis steadied KKR’s ship and steered them close to the target. The duo was on song and stitched a magnificent partnership of 136 runs before Manvinder Bisla got dismissed for 89. His power-packed innings was the cornerstone of KKR’s victory as he emerged as the ultimate game-changer. His inning was packed with 8 fours and 5 sixes. Jacques Kallis too scored 69 before departing.

Two Bengali boys in the form of Shakib-Al-Hasan and Manoj Tiwary orchestrated the victory from thereon as KKR successfully chased the target of 191 put up by CSK. In IPL 2014 final, Manish Pandey scored 94 as KKR chased down KXIP’s mammoth total of 199 made possible after KXIP’s Wriddhiman Saha had scored a ton.

Gautam Gambhir Was Strict In Bowling Discipline And Didn’t Compromise Poor Effort On The Field: KC Cariappa

Another find of Gambhir was spinner KC Cariappa who spent two seasons for the franchise – in 2015 and in 2019. In a recent interview, KC Cariappa recalled his experiences of playing under the two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir in the IPL 2015 season, and described him as a “very good captain”.

“Gambhir was a very good captain. He was a little strict in terms of bowling discipline, and effort on the field was something he wouldn’t compromise,” Cariappa told Sportskeeda.

KC Cariappa. (Photo Source: Twitter)
KC Cariappa. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“Outside the field, he didn’t bother you. On the field, you had to give your 100% and that’s what I loved,” he added.

KC Cariappa has played 11 matches, the last of which came in 2019 and picked 8 scalps. He made his debut with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2015, and later was a part of the Kings XI Punjab setup where he did not have the best of IPLs picking up just 8 wickets in 10 matches across three seasons(2015-17).

He was roped in as one of the replacements for injured KKR pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti & Shivam Mavi in 2019 and played a solitary game where he went wicketless.

Wriddhiman Saha (Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL)
Wriddhiman Saha (Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL)
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Rishabh Pant Has Done Well And Should Be India’s First-Choice Keeper, Says Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha was India’s best Test wicketkeeper and hence would be their first-choice on raging turners at home. 23-year-old Rishabh Pant used to keep in overseas conditions, where the ball doesn’t move much off the pitch.

In addition to his exquisite glovework, Wriddhiman Saha had vast experience. So, Indian management opted to field him in Adelaide as the Bengal boy played in foreign conditions for the first time in almost three years. India was bundled out for 36 in the second innings and eventually lost by eight wickets. Wriddhiman Saha scored 13 runs across both innings, but the manner in which he seemed to gift his wicket hurt.

India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)
India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)

Wriddhiman Saha: Rishabh Pant Done Well And Should Be India’s First Choice Keeper In 6 Tests In England Including WTC Final

Wriddhiman Saha was then dropped. After seven Tests and two landmark series wins against Australia and England, the Adelaide debacle back in December remains his last outing for India. Rishabh Pant has earned widespread accolades for leaving an indelible mark on home conditions as well, with both the bat and the gloves.

Virat Kohli’s men will now travel to the UK for the WTC final against New Zealand and a five-Test series against England. Rishabh Pant, quite naturally, is touted to keep wickets unless some extraordinary circumstances arise. Wriddhiman Saha has accepted it. In fact, the 36-year-old was magnanimous enough to concede that his almost-certain successor merits the place.

“Rishabh Pant played the last few matches of the World Test Championship, he’s done well and he should be our first-choice keeper inEngland. I would just wait, and if any opportunity arises, I will give my best. I will keep practising for that one chance,” Wriddhiman Saha said in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.

Wriddhiman Saha was down with COVID-19 for more than a fortnight, thus casting doubts on his UK sojourn. However, he has recovered and is back with his family, all set to enter the pre-departure bio-bubble in Mumbai next week. BCCI on Thursday (May 20) announced Andhra wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat as the 25th member – supposedly a cover for Wriddhiman Saha.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Wriddhiman Saha, though, has attributed the late addition to the cushion of having three keeper-batsmen in the ranks, particularly in times hostile enough.

“I didn’t have COVID-19 during the last series but KS Bharat was still with the team. Now that I contracted the infection, people are labelling him as my ‘cover’. But I feel they have picked a third keeper bearing in mind the risk outside.” Wriddhiman Saha explained.

Wriddhiman Saha’s recent exploits have been nothing to write home about or maybe draw a conclusion regarding his current fitness level. However, he cleared the air and emphatically said he has been picked for a reason.

“If the team management didn’t have faith in me, then they wouldn’t have selected me only. But that I am on that plane is because they have some faith,” Wriddhiman Saha exclaimed.

Wriddhiman Saha would have to leave his wife and two daughters behind. He has also made peace with the fact that sport cannot take place in this pandemic-strewn world without quarantine periods. Wriddhiman Saha divides his time in quarantine between catching up on web series and working on his fitness.

Wriddhiman Saha Was Among 6 Cricketers Who Contracted Covid-19 Leading To IPL’s Indefinite Postponement

But in all fairness, the forthcoming self-isolation days won’t hold any comparison to the 15 days of uncertainty and trauma he went through at a Delhi hotel earlier this month. Wriddhiman Saha was among the six positive COVID-19 cases that led to the indefinite suspension of the 14th edition of IPL 2021 on May 4. For the record, numerous ground staff was also reported to have been infected.

KKR bowlers Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive on the morning of May 3, while CSK support staff duo of Michael Hussey and Lakshmipathy Balaji was confirmed to have contracted the deadly virus that evening. DC spinner Amit Mishra and SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha’s reports came out the next morning.

But Wriddhiman Saha started feeling the tremors on May 1 and wasn’t taken to the ground for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) match on May 2 afternoon. The SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicketkeeper-batsman confirmed the developments while divulging further details.

“We had one practice session before playing CSK on April 28. Then before the Rajasthan game on May 2, we had two training sessions. I attended both practices and on the night of the RR game, I suddenly started feeling cold for about 20-25 minutes.

“The Rajasthan match was over by then and I didn’t travel to the ground. It was on the third day on May 3 that I reported positive,” Wriddhiman Saha, who has scored 1,987 runs at a strike rate of 131.24 in 126 IPL games, elaborated.

But the idea that a microscopic element could derail the extravagant league didn’t even cross the virus-infected players’ minds.

“Before me, two players each from KKR and CSK, and Amit Mishra had tested positive. But none of us anticipated the postponement of IPL 2021.” Wriddhiman Saha stated.

Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor V.V.S. Laxman said his side needs characters like Wriddhiman Saha, who is making a comeback following an injury lay-off. - FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR
Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor V.V.S. Laxman said his side needs characters like Wriddhiman Saha, who is making a comeback following an injury lay-off. – FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR

There could have been possible breaches of the KKR and DC bio-bubbles. Varun Chakravarthy visited a hospital for a shoulder scan before having a meal with Sandeep Warrier, who then interacted with Amit Mishra during a training session involving players from both sides.

Confirming none of the SRH players breached the bio-secure protocols, Wriddhiman Saha speculated he caught the virus from a third-party source. He also opened up on the different situations in the UAE, which seamlessly hosted IPL 2020 in September-November last year across three venues.

“We used the airport, landed in Delhi and even played the CSK game there. So if I had contracted the virus at the airport, the symptoms could’ve shown up before or during the CSK game itself. I had interacted with a few CSK guys during practice, so I feel that could have been the source.”

“When we played in the UAE last year, there used to be no one around us even during practice sessions. But here, we are sharing the space with groundsmen, people outside the ground are also peeping through the gates or over the wall.” Wriddhiman Saha told Sportskeeda.

Should the remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 not take place, the BCCI will lose revenue worth almost INR 2,500 crore. Wriddhiman Saha doesn’t see the season resuming, especially without the big names.

“Majority of the foreigners are from Australia, England and the West Indies. So I personally feel the resumption of the league this year is doubtful. Without the overseas players, IPL will just be a enhanced version of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy,” Wriddhiman Saha opined.

BCCI is scampering to find a small window to stage the second half of IPL 2021 before the T20 World Cup in October-November. While playing in England after the Test series remains the most viable option, sources tracking developments are keeping a close eye on the UAE too.

SRH is at the bottom of the points table with one win from seven games played. They also were criticized for frequent chopping and changing – they made 10 changes to their line-up across four matches after losing their opening game to KKR by 10 runs.

Wriddhiman Saha played the first two encounters, which eventually turned out to be the only two he would play in the curtailed tournament.

“Any player can flop in a couple of matches. But if the line-up is being continuously changed, no team would be able to settle down. I would suggest, not only for SRH, but any side to pen down their best XI and play that line-up for four-five matches straight. But then, it was the management’s decision, we can’t do much about it.” Wriddhiman Saha reasoned.

The think tank comprising of Trevor Bayliss, Tom Moody, and VVS Laxman made the headlines when they relieved talisman David Warner of captaincy duties, all of a sudden, after the sixth match. David Warner expressed disapproval over dropping Manish Pandey after the first three games. Wriddhiman Saha, though, didn’t delve deeper into the speculation.

“It is completely up to the team management – a player can warm the bench after performing well and can even play all the games despite not performing at all.” Wriddhiman Saha said.

Wriddhiman Saha has scored 8 runs off 15 deliveries so far in IPL 2021. He smashed 184 runs off just 122 balls across the final three league games of IPL 2020, before being ruled out with a hamstring tear ahead of the playoffs. Then came the Adelaide humiliation. He was only given two chances as an opener for SRH before a virus confined him to a room for more than two weeks.

When asked about the misfortune he has experienced late, Wriddhiman Saha said he tries not to get affected by his performances on the field. He added that he never compromises on practice and always strives for improvement.

“I try to be the same irrespective of the situation. Practice remains the same, irrespective of whether I am playing or not.” Wriddhiman Saha added in this regard.

He has spoken fondly of his time with CSK when he got some invaluable advice from the great MS Dhoni.

“Virat is in my team, so yeah I discuss cricket with him at times.” Wriddhiman Saha, who has amassed 1,251 runs from 38 Tests, mentioned.

Making India’s limited-overs sides now look like a distant dream for Wriddhiman Saha who is championing a bigger and noble cause. He once again insisted that postponing IPL 2021 was the correct decision.

“Before that, I want India and the rest of the world to recover from this pandemic. After that, if any opportunity comes, I would definitely want to play but before that I pray for the well-being of everybody,” he concluded.

Wriddhiman Saha might have his eye on the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament in September, and if time permits the Ranji Trophy, which is slated to begin in December.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn
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IPL 2021: Dale Steyn Finds It Strange On Seeing David Warner Not Part Of The Playing XI

Dale Steyn, the South Africa fast bowler pointed out that he finds the decision to drop David Warner ‘strange’ given his track record in the IPL. South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn feels the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League could be David Warner’s final season with the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Dale Steyn’s reaction comes after Australian David Warner, a day after being removed as captain of the side, missed out on being part of the team’s Playing XI against Rajasthan Royals.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph: Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images

Dale Steyn Finds It Strange David Warner Isn’t Part Of The Playing 11 As He Hints IPL 2021 Might Be The Last Season He Will Be Seen In SRH Colours

Dale Steyn feels that it would have been alright to appoint Kane Williamson as captain and still give David Warner a game. But the South Africa fast bowler pointed out that he finds the decision to drop David Warner ‘strange’ given his track record in the IPL and added that if given a chance he would always have the Australia batsman in his team.

David Warner is the fifth on the list of IPL’s highest run-getters, and the only batsmen to score fifty half-centuries in the tournament, besides being a three-time Orange Cap winner, the most by any player.

Kane Williamson SPORTZPICS/Instagram
Kane Williamson SPORTZPICS/Instagram

“It’s strange that he isn’t a part of the playing eleven. It’s understandable if they want to change ownership of captaincy for the next season, and keep Kane there. But David is still a phenomenal batter and I would still keep him in the eleven. But this might be the last time we see Warner in the Orange Army,” Steyn told ESPNCricinfo.

With 5447 runs, David Warner is fifth on the list of the leading run-getters in the IPL but first overall in terms of overseas players. A day after being removed as captain of the team, David Warner was axed from the team as well, with the fourth overseas player’s spot going to Mohammad Nabi. With 50 half-centuries, he has the maximum fifties in IPL and he is the only player to have won the Orange Cap a record three times – in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

David Warner is not only the top scorer in SRH’s history, the 34-year-old has also led the team to their maiden IPL title (2016) and multiple qualifier finishes. Kane Williamson, on the other hand, marshaled SRH to a runner-up finish in David Warner’s absence in 2018.

Dale Steyn Feels There’s Definitely Something Happening Behind SRH’s Closed Doors

Even though SRH’s director of operations Tom Moody hinted that opener David Warner’s axing was purely based on the team composition, Dale Steyn feels there is more to it, believing that there may have been some sort of falling out following David Warner’s comment on Manish Pandey getting dropped after the first match.

“I don’t know if David may have questioned some of the decisions, maybe when Manish Pandey was left out. Sometimes, the management doesn’t appreciate that, I guess. The captain of the team also needs to take ownership of his squad and who’s going out on the field. Seems like there’s definitely happening something behind closed doors, the public is not aware of,” mentioned Steyn.

David Warner
David Warner (Courtesy by BCCI)

Hyderabad brought in Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi instead as the fourth overseas player in the playing XI, which also includes Englishman Jonny Bairstow and Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.

However, in Kane Williamson’s first IPL 2021 match as skipper, Rajasthan Royals were back to winning ways after registering a victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). The franchise is languishing at the bottom of the points table after just one win in their first 7 matches and is almost surely out of the play-offs race.

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Simon Doull Questions David Warner’s Sacking As The Latter Was Even Dropped From Playing XI

Simon Doull has questioned David Warner’s out-of-the-blue sacking of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) captaincy on Saturday. Simon Doull speculated that the Aussie had a fall out with the team’s management and his recent comments on Manish Pandey became the final spark in the rift.

SRH announced early on Saturday that Kane Williamson will take over the saddle from David Warner. Experts initially speculated that the decision was rooted in the team’s last-place standing in the points table after almost half of the IPL 2021 season.

Kane Williamson SPORTZPICS/Instagram
Kane Williamson SPORTZPICS/Instagram

Simon Doull: David Warner Paid The Price For Publicly Criticizing SRH Management For Dropping Manish Pandey

However, there is another opinion doing the rounds that David Warner’s statement after the match against Delhi Capitals, where he labeled the ‘selectors’ call to drop Manish Pandey ‘harsh’, could also be the source of his captaincy axe. Speaking to Cricbuzz, Simon Doull’s opinion tilted towards the latter. He believes David Warner wasn’t in favor of dropping Manish Pandey and that the Aussie opener ‘paid the price’ for bringing the matter out in public.

“I think there must have been a falling out somewhere along the lines and not with the team, there has to be a falling out with the coaching structure. After what he said in that game about leaving Manish Pandey out, it was not his decision at all, he didn’t want to do it clearly. And basically, you passed the buck, you blamed it on someone else and I think he has paid the price for that,” said Simon Doull.

Simon Doull and David Warner
Simon Doull and David Warner. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former New Zealand all-rounder also took SRH’s changing coaching dynamic by observing that the relationship between head coach Trevor Bayliss and director of cricket Tom Moody is an unusual one.

“That dynamic… you sack a coach, Tom Moody, you employ Trevor Bayliss and then you bring Tom Moody back to oversee your cricket. I don’t know how that relationship can possibly work. And I wonder whether one [win] in 5 (6) is the direct result of that relationship not working… And the press release suggests that he [David Warner] won’t even play now that’s even more strange!” Doull added.

Simon Doull: David Warner Was A Tactically Superb Skipper

On Kane Williamson’s elevation to the helm, Simon Doull remarked that he never considered David Warner as tactically shrewd as Williamson. He argued that David Warner was always more of a ‘leader’ than a captain.

“It’s a funny one for me. I never thought David Warner was a tactically superb captain. David Warner was a leader. He was a guy who would be first across the line out there, take the fight to any team, score runs and leads from the front – [something like] ‘follow me and we will be okay.’ And what you saw with David Warner in most years was he would field at long-on and long-off and Kane Williamson would be standing there [near the bowlers]. And Kane would be exchanging advice, talking about the tactics with him. So, David Warner, as a captain, I don’t think was great but he’s an absolute leader,” concluded Doull.

The cloud of uncertainty will perhaps clear out when SRH goes head-to-head against the Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, May 2. A day after stripping David Warner of the captaincy role, Sunrisers Hyderabad dropped the opener from the team to play against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday as they seek to revive their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign under Kane Williamson.

Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler in action in IPL 2019. - AFP
Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler in action in IPL 2019. – AFP

The franchise is languishing at the bottom of the points table after just one win in their first six matches. Hyderabad brought in Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi instead as the fourth overseas player in the playing XI, which also includes Englishman Jonny Bairstow and Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.

In the match, Jos Buttler scored 124- the highest score so far in IPL 2021 and his maiden IPL ton. Rajasthan Royals scored 220/3 in the stipulated 20 overs. Sanju Samson scored 48. Jos Buttler’s innings included 11 fours and 8 sixes and came off only 64 balls.

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Virender Sehwag Criticised David Warner’s Slow Approach, Don’t Rate Him Highly As Skipper

Virender Sehwag, former Indian swashbuckling opener wasn’t impressed with David Warner’s approach on the Kotla track. Sunrisers Hyderabad David Warner may have reached a couple of unique milestones while batting against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday in Delhi, but his slow batting became the biggest talking point doing the rounds after the match. The SRH skipper struggled throughout his stint at the crease and his frustration was clearly visible.

After scoring a run-a-ball half-century, David Warner ended up scoring 57 off 55 balls which is one of his slowest innings in the Indian Premier League. Kane Williamson’s fiery 10-ball 24 and Manish Pandey’s 61 off 46 balls ensured that the Sunrisers managed to post a challenging 171 for 3 in 20 overs. But the score wasn’t enough to challenge an in-form CSK.

Manish Pandey AFP
Manish Pandey AFP

Virender Sehwag Unimpressed By David Warner’s Approach As A Slow Innings Can’t Be Expected From Him

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag wasn’t impressed with Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper opener David Warner’s approach on the Kotla track. Speaking to Cricbuzz, the former said that the SRH skipper batted with a poor thought process and his slowness at the crease resulted in a low total.

“Had the game been played in Chennai, it would have been a great partnership, at a scoring rate of 8 runs per over. But it was Delhi and not Chepauk. 171 has to be a low total because it was a perfect batting track. Kane Williamson had no problems in getting runs which means the wicket was good.”

David Warner blamed his slow batting for Hyderabad's 7-wicket defeat on Wednesday. (Courtesy by BCCI)
David Warner blamed his slow batting for Hyderabad’s 7-wicket defeat on Wednesday. (Courtesy by BCCI)

“The thought process of David Warner was extremely poor. You cannot expect a slow innings from him. The approach wasn’t up to the mark. He should have batted without any hesitation. The wicket was good and the ball was coming to the bat.

“If Manish Pandey can score a half-century off 36 balls and Warner gets a run-a-ball fifty. More runs could have been scored,” he said.

David Warner scored 57 off 55 balls with only 3 fours and 2 sixes at a strike rate of 103.64 but all other SRH batsmen had strike rate in excess of 132 which meant that the pitch is conducive to batting prowess. The CSK opening duo of Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad stitched a 129-run opening stand as the three-time champions won the contest by 7 wickets.

Virender Sehwag Feels David Warner Should Have Played An Attacking Game As The Next Batsmen Can Hit Big Shots

Virender Sehwag further mentioned that David Warner should have taken a chance, knowing that the other batters in the SRH line-up have capabilities to hit big shots.

“Warner could have taken a chance if he was set after playing 30-40 balls. He should have scored at least 30 runs in the next 50 balls. He knew that the likes of Williamson, Jadhav and Shankar would come next and they can hit big shots. So, he could have played an attacking game,” said Virender Sehwag.

David Warner (left) and Virender Sehwag played together at Delhi Daredevils © AFP
David Warner (left) and Virender Sehwag played together at Delhi Daredevils © AFP

“Well, I don’t rate him highly as a skipper. But he used to do a few good things earlier which he couldn’t against CSK. If Williamson had been the captain, we could have seen him doing something different. Because he knows the fact if you don’t go for wickets, you won’t win the game,” Virender Sehwag said.

David Warner’s strike rate of 110.28 this season is poor considering his IPL average of 140.13. He has managed 193 runs in 6 games averaging 32.16 which is much lower than his IPL average of 42.22.

He had scored above 500 runs in every edition since 2014 except in 2018 when he was banned for the ball-tampering offence. SRH is languishing at the bottom of the points table with only 2 points from 6 games winning only 1 game and losing as many as 5 games.

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