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Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (File photo| PTI)
Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (File photo| PTI)
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Aaron Finch Surprised To See Some Of His Teammates Withdraw From Upcoming White-Ball Tours

Aaron Finch, limited-overs skipper feels Australian players will have a hard time justifying their participation in the second half of the postponed IPL 2021, given the hectic national schedule, as he was “surprised” to see some of his teammates withdraw from the country’s upcoming white-ball tours.

The country’s seven top cricketers including the likes of David Warner, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, and Daniel Sams have pulled out from the upcoming West Indies series for varied reasons and also said that they won’t be visiting Bangladesh if that tour is confirmed.

Australia's Aaron Finch ©Reuters
Australia’s Aaron Finch. Photo Credit: Reuters.

Aaron Finch Is A Little Bit Surprised But Understandable At Australia’s Key Players Missing The Tours Of The West Indies And Bangladesh

While it had been a “long-term plan” for David Warner and Pat Cummins to miss the winter tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh (if confirmed), Aaron Finch said he understands his teammates’ decision.

“The other guys – I was a little bit surprised,” Aaron Finch was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on SEN Radio.

“I’ve chatted to them all – a little bit surprised but it’s also understandable … but I wish that they were there,” said Aaron Finch.

File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Asked about his teammates who requested not to be considered for the tours, Aaron Finch said: “I think they would find it hard to justify going back and playing that second half of the IPL. Just purely based on the workload coming up with a T20 World Cup and a huge home summer.

“It’s really tough. It’s a tough situation that everyone has been put in, but personally, I would find it hard to do that knowing how difficult it is and how challenging it is mentally, and on your family as well. That’s what I would think.”

Australia will take a depleted squad to the West Indies and Bangladesh after several big names, including David Warner, Pat Cummins, and Glenn Maxwell opted out of the upcoming white-ball tours.

Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, and Marcus Stoinis also requested not to be considered for the tour, with the rigours of international travel, quarantine, and bubble life over the past year behind their decisions.

Aaron Finch: Australia Will Have To Wait And See What The Team Looks Like When The T20I World Cup Is Around

Star batsman Steve Smith was also not included in the squad as he is yet to fully recover from an elbow injury that flared up during the IPL. Earlier this week, Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns made it clear that he expects the country’s IPL players to forgo the high-profile T20 league starting mid-September if a tri-series involving West Indies and Afghanistan is scheduled at the same time.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

“The guys who aren’t there have probably left the door slightly ajar. What that looks like when the T20 World Cup comes around, we’ll have to wait and see,” Finch said. “But if you can get on the international stage against a very good West Indies side and Bangladesh team (and perform well), it carries a lot of weight.”

The absence of the top players means veteran Dan Christian, Big Bash League stars Ben McDermott, Wes Agar, and Riley Meredith will get an opportunity to prove themselves at the international level.

Not all Australians who played in the IPL opted out, and Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Dan Christian and Jason Behrendorff have been included. Adam Zampa and Andrew Tye, who both played but escaped India before the competition was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are also on the list.

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty
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Australia’s Top Cricketers Might Pull Out Of Upcoming West Indies, Bangladesh Tours

Australia has a packed calendar ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in 2021. The Men in Yellow are set to tour West Indies and Bangladesh for the limited-over matches. With two away tours coming up and considering the bio-bubble environment and quarantine rules, many of the top players might pull out of the tour.

Apparently, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, and Riley Meredith are the ones who are likely to miss the series. While there is no conclusive news as to why the above players might pull out, but mental health is one of the primary reasons apart from the physical issues.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

Australian Top Order Players Like Steve Smith And David Warner Among Others May Opt Out Of Forthcoming West Indies And Bangladesh Tours

After the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) got suspended on May 4, the Australian bound players faced a lot of difficulties as they had to take a halt in the Maldives before jetting off to Australia due to the ban of direct flights from India.

David Warner
David Warner. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Three weeks ago, Cricket Australia (CA) had released a list of 23 players (to be whittled down nearer to the dates of departure) that will tour the West Indies and Bangladesh.  According to the latest development, CA has added six more players to the preliminary Australia squad for the West Indies series and Bangladesh tour, thus taking the number of players to 29.

However, missing in action at the top will be Marnus Labuschagne, who is currently playing for Glamorgan County at the ongoing English County Championships. Logistical issues are said to be the reason by CA for excluding him. A report in ”Nine Media” said Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, and Jhye Richardson could pull out of the tour.

Australia’s Dan Christian And Cameron Green Among 6 Players Added As Backup Options For The 8 Players Who Are Likely To Opt-out

It certainly took a toll on players who missed their loved ones a lot during these tough times. According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Cricket Australia (CA) selection chief Trevor Hohns recently spoke to all the 23 players in the preliminary squad announced for the West Indies tour about the bio-bubble fatigue and mental wellbeing.

“During the course of those discussions, it has become clear that recent experiences abroad, including but not limited to extended periods in bio-secure hubs and hard quarantine, have had an impact on the health and wellbeing of some players and their families.

“CA has maintained that the wellbeing of players, staff, and officials is a top priority, and never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic given the extraordinary challenges it has placed upon international athletes and sporting teams,” Trevor Hohns said.

Australia's Cameron Green Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Australia’s Cameron Green Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

Now Australia has added six new players to the preliminary squad with Dan Christian, Cameron Green, Ashton Turner, Wes Agar, Nathan Ellis, and Ben McDermott – as the backup options for the eight players who are likely to opt-out. Australia will play five T20Is and three ODIs against West Indies starting from July 10 and then they travel to Bangladesh to play five more T20I games in August.

Australia preliminary squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Australian fast bowler Jason Behrendorff. (Reuters)
Australian fast bowler Jason Behrendorff. (Reuters)
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Jason Behrendorff Named In Australia’s 23 Member Preliminary Squad For West Indies ODI, T20 Tour

Jason Behrendorff and Tanveer Sangha on Monday were named in Australia’s 23-member preliminary squad for the upcoming limited-overs tour of West Indies.

Australia and West Indies are set to lock horns in five T20Is and three ODIs in July this year. The likes of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Alex Carey, and Pat Cummins return to the squad after missing the recent white-ball tour of New Zealand.

Australia pacer Jason Behrendorff (file image)
Australia pacer Jason Behrendorff (file image)

Jason Behrendorff Named In Australia’s 23 Member Preliminary Squad For 5 T20Is And 3 ODIs Against And In West Indies

Hard-hitting middle-order batsmen Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, and Mitchell Marsh join opener D’Arcy Short in the mix for the final batting places. They all add the flexibility of being able to play in the top or middle-order. Highly rated batsman Josh Phillipe adds another top-order option with captain Aaron Finch and David Warner and as an additional backup wicketkeeper-batsman to Alex Carey and Matthew Wade.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Experienced all-rounders Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques, and Mitchell Marsh are joined by the in-form hard-hitting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in the preliminary squad. Daniel Sams advised the NSP he was unavailable for selection for the tour of the West Indies on health and wellbeing grounds. CA supports Daniel Sams’s decision.

Jason Behrendorff made his T20I debut for Australia against India on 7 October 2017. On 12 January 2019, he made his One Day International (ODI) debut against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, taking 2 wickets. In April 2019, Jason Behrendorff was named to Australia’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 25 June 2019 in the match against England, Jason Behrendorff took his first five-wicket haul in ODIs. He has played 11 ODIs and 7 T20Is picking up 16 and 7 scalps respectively.

Marnus Labuschagne Not Named For Remaining In The UK For Logistical Complexities

Pacers Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, and Andrew Tye join Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc as the primary pace strike weapons. They are joined by pacer Riley Meredith and left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: “This preliminary list gives selectors a solid base from which to choose a final touring party in the coming weeks while allowing players to prepare.”

“The Australian men’s T20 squad has the ability to match it with any team in the world and the competition for places will be fierce, which is exactly what we are looking for. The West Indies men’s team has won two of the six ICC T20 World Cups played, including the most recent tournament in India and 2016, and this series will provide us with excellent preparation ahead of the 2021 edition in October and November,” he added.

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ben Oliver, CA’s EGM of National Teams said: “It was great to see our Olympians receiving their vaccination shots ahead of the Tokyo Games and we are working through logistics for the Australian men’s team with the relevant agencies. We will comply with all government directives in relation to vaccinations and international travel.”

Marnus Labuschagne, however, will remain in Wales with county side Glamorgan because of “the logistical complexities of joining the squad from the UK and associated quarantines”, Cricket Australia (CA) said in a news release. Australia will play three one-dayers in Barbados and five 20-over internationals in St Lucia as they continue their preparations for the World Twenty20 in India later this year.

Australia’s 23-member preliminary squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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IPL 2021: Delhi Capitals’ Australian And Other Foreign Players Not Thinking About Travel Ban, Says Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting has said that Australian and foreign players of the Delhi Capitals were not thinking much about the travel ban and instead of talking about the sufferings of the people outside the bio-bubble.

Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting has talked about the hardship India is facing due to the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the country. In the post-match press conference after the team’s 1-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Tuesday, the legendary Australian expressed his solidarity with millions in India fighting against the deadly virus.

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting (Photo | IPL Twitter)
Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting (Photo | IPL Twitter)

Ricky Ponting: On A Daily Basis One Is Thinking About Outside Happennings Understanding How Playing In IPL Is A Blessing

Due to the rapid increase in the number of positive cases in India, Australia suspended all direct flights from India till May 15. The decision can affect the Australian players, commentators, and coaching staff in the IPL 2021 but Ricky Ponting said that overseas players in his team were not thinking much about it and rather worried about what was going outside in the “struggling” Indian society.

Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)
Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)

Ricky Ponting also hoped that the IPL matches are providing people outside the team bio-bubble reprieve in these tough times. Notably, Australians Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis among many other star overseas players feature in the Delhi Capitals team.

“It’s really a strange feeling among our team right now. We are very much aware of what is happening outside. In fact, throughout India at the moment. Our heart goes out to every single person who is struggling with COVID-19 in Indian society.

It’s affecting us, and we saw one of our players Ravichandran Ashwin leave the side to be with his family. We are talking more about it maybe more than most team are.”

“There were other revelations last night and today about what decisions the Australian government has made regarding Australian players in India.

“There’s no doubt that there have been a few distractions along the way. The travel side for us Australians and foreign players that are here are only a very small part of what we are thinking about, what we are talking about.

“On a daily basis, we are thinking about what’s going on outside and understand how blessed we are to turn out (and play the IPL). Hopefully, there are several people around India that enjoyed a great game of IPL tonight,” Ricky Ponting said.

Delhi Capitals have won 4 out of their 6 matches in the season and are placed third on the points table. The Rishabh Pant-led team will face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Thursday.

Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, And Andrew Tye Withdrew Midway In IPL 2021

On Monday, Royal Challengers Bangalore announced that their two Australian recruits Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have decided to withdraw midway through the season due to personal reasons. Their withdrawal came after Rajasthan Royals fast bowler Andrew Tye too left IPL 2021 midway for fear of being locked out which has left Rajasthan Royals with 4 overseas players instead of the original 8.

Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson pulled out of IPL 14 while Andrew Tye decided to leave midway | Twitter
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson pulled out of IPL 14 while Andrew Tye decided to leave midway | Twitter

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that all direct passenger flights from India will be suspended until May 15. Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals spinner Ravichandran Ashwin announced that he would be taking a break from the ongoing IPL season as he wants to extend support to his family who is currently battling Covid-19.

Ravichandran Ashwin played the match against SunRisers Hyderabad in the IPL on Sunday and after the game, he took to Twitter to announce that he would be taking a break from the ongoing IPL.

Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)
Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)
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Marcus Stoinis Bowling Last Over Was A Huge Miscalculation, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes that the Delhi Capitals (DC) giving the last over of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) innings to Marcus Stonis was a huge miscalculation.

Amit Mishra had bowled three overs of his spell by the 11th over of the RCB innings. But the Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant didn’t bring the leg-spinner back for his fourth over and had to give Marcus Stoinis the last over to complete his quota.

Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)
Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)

Aakash Chopra: Amit Mishra Should Have Bowled Earlier And Avesh Khan, Kagiso Rabada, Or Ishant Sharma Should Have Bowled Last Over

While reviewing Delhi Capitals’ loss to RCB in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that it was a grave error for the Australian all-rounder to bowl the final over-his first over in the match.

“171 was a huge score but there was also a huge miscalculation. Amit Mishra was bowling well, he had dismissed Maxwell and you didn’t give him the fourth over. You held him back and couldn’t bowl him later. Stoinis bowled the 20th over and it went for 23 runs,” said Aakash Chopra.

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that leg spinner Amit Mishra should have completed his quota earlier and one of the Delhi Capitals’ specialist seamers should have bowled the last over.

“Game, set and match – that was the difference in the end because you lost the match by just one run. Mishra should have bowled earlier and you could have kept an over of Avesh, Rabada or Ishant for the end. It was Stoinis’ first over of the match and AB was there at the other end, absolutely not right,” added Aakash Chopra.

AB de Villiers had reached his fifty by then and was ready to deliver an assault in the last over – he clattered 3 sixes off Marcus Stoinis taking RCB’s total to 171, which proved just enough for them to take the two points and climb to the top of the points table.

Aakash Chopra: Delhi Might Have Achieved The Target Had Shimron Hetmyer Faced More Balls In Final Over

While talking about the Delhi Capitals run-chase, Aakash Chopra reckoned they might have achieved the target had Shimron Hetmyer played a majority of the deliveries in the last over.

“It was one of those rare days where Rishabh Pant couldn’t strike the ball. Hetmyer at the other end was absolutely smashing it. I am probably saying this for the first and last time – it would have better for the Delhi Capitals if Hetmyer had played the last six balls,” said Aakash Chopra.

Shimron Hetmyer (Photo: BCCI/IPL/ANI)
Shimron Hetmyer (Photo: BCCI/IPL/ANI)

The 43-year-old reasoned that while Rishabh Pant is known to be a destructive batsman, Shimron Hetmyer was striking the ball better on the night.

“Pant was there and you won’t get a better hitter than him but this was Hetmyer’s night. There were 10 runs required off the last two balls. There were two full tosses and at least one of them should have been struck for a six,” concluded Aakash Chopra.

The Delhi Capitals needed 14 runs off the last over bowled by pacer Mohammed Siraj. Rishabh Pant faced all but one delivery in the over and although he struck boundaries off the last two balls, the IPL 2020 finalists fell short of the target by one run.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 171/5 (AB de Villiers 75*, Rajat Patidar 31; Avesh Khan 1/24 ) beat Delhi Capitals 170-4 (Rishabh Pant 58*, Shimron Hetmyer 53*; Harshal Patel 2/37) by 1 run.

Heartbroken Rishabh Pant after he hit a four off the last ball when DC needed 6 runs | Photo: BCCI / IPL
Heartbroken Rishabh Pant after he hit a four off the last ball when DC needed 6 runs | Photo: BCCI / IPL
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Delhi Capitals Skipper Rishabh Pant Rued 23 Runs Conceded By Marcus Stoinis In RCB’s Last Over

Delhi Capitals (DC) skipper Rishabh Pant rued the 23 runs conceded in the last over to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by Australian pace bowling all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.

Even with leg-spinner Amit Mishra having one over left in the bank, DC skipper Rishabh Pant gave the final over to Stoinis who conceded three sixes and a four in the last over.

Delhi Capitals Skipper Rishabh Pant Photo: BCCI
Delhi Capitals Skipper Rishabh Pant Photo: BCCI

Delhi Capitals’ Rishabh Pant Felt Disappointed For Losing And Reasoned He Bowled Marcus Stoinis In Last Over For Spinners Not Getting Help

Rishabh Pant, the Delhi Capitals captain would be rueing his decision to bowl Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis in the last over of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s innings, even when leg spinner Amit Mishra had an over left, as AB de Villiers carted the Aussie pacer for 22 runs off the bat after Marcus Stoinis bowled a wide at the start.

“Obviously feeling disappointed, especially when you are on the losing side. They got 10-15 runs extra on this wicket,” said Rishabh Pant after the match before adding that he had to go for Stoinis in the last over since the spinners weren’t getting much help.

Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)
Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)

“We counted the overs really well but in the end, the spinners didn’t get the help we thought they would, that’s why I went with Stoinis for the last over,” added Pant.

RCB was 148/5 at the end of the 19th over, but Rishabh Pant had bowled out his three first-choice pacers – Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, and Avesh Khan – by then and had an over left of Amit Mishra – but instead, he went for the medium pace of Marcus Stonis.

AB de Villiers had reached his fifty by then and was ready to deliver an assault in the last over – he clattered 3 sixes off Marcus Stoinis taking RCB’s total to 171, which proved just enough for them to take the two points and climb to the top of the points table.

Rishabh Pant revealed that it wasn’t a calculation mistake to not complete Amit Mishra’s overs. But he thought the spinners were not getting much help from the conditions in Ahmedabad, and hence he turned to Marcus Stoinis over the experienced leg-spinner.

Delhi Capitals’ Skipper Rishabh Pant Praised Shimron Hetmyer Who Scored 53 Off 25 Balls For Taking Game To Last Over

DC batsman Shimron Hetmyer brought the team close to victory, scoring an unbeaten 53 off 25 balls (4 sixes and two fours). The 23-year-old skipper Rishabh Pant, however, is counting positives from their loss to RCB.

He praised Shimron Hetmyer, who returned to form as he smashed 53 off 25 balls, for keeping the chase alive till the last over, and bringing the Delhi Capitals back in the game when Rishabh Pant struggled to get going. The return of pacer Ishant Sharma from injury would be another major positive Rishabh Pant will take from the game.

“Hetty (Hetmyer) played brilliant innings. Because of him we got close to the target. In the last over, we were thinking whoever gets the ball has to finish the job for the team. In the end we were one run short.”

Shimron Hetmyer (Photo: BCCI/IPL/ANI)
Shimron Hetmyer (Photo: BCCI/IPL/ANI)

While Rishabh Pant smashed two fours off the final two deliveries and got to his fifty, DC fell short of a victory by 1 run, requiring 6 off the final delivery.

The left-handed Shimron Hetmyer reached his half-century off only 23 deliveries but Rishabh Pant and his unbeaten partnership of 78 runs for the 5th wicket went in vain. Delhi Capitals will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday at the same venue.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 171/5 (AB de Villiers 75*, Rajat Patidar 31; Avesh Khan 1/24 ) beat Delhi Capitals 170-4 (Rishabh Pant 58*, Shimron Hetmyer 53*; Harshal Patel 2/37) by 1 run.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. Image Credits: Twitter
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IPL 2021: RCB Should Consider AB de Villiers Opening The Batting, Says Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar said AB de Villiers’ ‘audacious’ shots are ‘jaw dropping’ and he brings so much joy to the viewers that his franchise RCB should consider sending him to open the batting, which will allow him to bat 20 overs.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar described AB de Villiers’ unbeaten 75-run innings against Delhi Capitals in an IPL 2021 in Ahmedabad on Tuesday as ‘amazing’ and ‘magical’.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

Sunil Gavaskar: AB de Villiers Makes One’s Jaw Drop With The Kind Of Audacity With Which He Plays Some Shots

AB de Villiers, who became the sixth batsman to score 5000 IPL runs and the only one at a strike rate of more than 150, hit an unbeaten 75 off 42 balls with five sixes and three fours to help RCB post 171 for 5, which turned out to be just enough as DC scored 170 for 4 and lost the match by 1 run. Sunil Gavaskar said AB de Villiers’ ‘audacious’ shots are ‘jaw dropping’ and he brings so much joy to the viewers.

“It’s amazing. It’s just magical. You can walk around the earth, just to see this man-bat because he brings in so much. He gives you so much joy, he makes your jaw drop with the kind of audacity with which he plays some shots,” said Gavaskar on Star Sports after RCB reclaimed the top spot in IPL 2021 points table.

DC vs RCB: AB de Villiers hits a shot during Match 22 of IPL 2021.© Twitter
DC vs RCB: AB de Villiers hits a shot during Match 22 of IPL 2021.© Twitter

Put in to bat, Royal Challengers Bangalore had seemed destined for a moderate score until AB de Villiers came in with the score of 60 for three. Helped partly by Rajat Patidar, who made 31, AB de Villiers produced final over fireworks that changed the game. Virat Kohli said that the South African went “berserk” with his man of the match performance. RCB were 114/4 in the 15th over and were 139/5 in the 18th over but the last two overs saw 32 runs.

Sunil Gavaskar: AB de Villiers Should Be Sent To Open The Batting

AB de Villiers, who had not played competitive cricket in the five months before the IPL, hit 23 runs off the only over that Marcus Stoinis bowled, with three of his five sixes. AB de Villiers said he spends much of the time in the team’s pandemic bio bubble working out in his hotel room.

“You have to stay fresh,” said the 37-year-old.

Calling AB de Villiers a ‘genius’, Sunil Gavaskar said he would love to see AB de Villiers open for RCB as that would allow him to play 20 overs.

“When you see a genius like that, you want to go and just watch him carry on. You want to say to the opposition – ‘Listen, why don’t you send him to open the batting because we can get to see more of him rather than him coming in the 10th or the 11th over. Let’s see 20 overs of ABD’, that’s what I, as a former batsman, always say when I see AB de Villiers in this kind of form,” he said.

Talking about the massive sixes that former Protea batsman AB de Villiers hit, Sunil Gavaskar said the ramp shot over the third man was his favourite.

“We talk about the big sixes. There was one shot where he just opened the face of the bat and ramped the ball down to the third man. That was an incredible shot because it was hit literally at the last second when he opened the face of the bat,” he added.

Heartbroken Rishabh Pant after he hit a four off the last ball when DC needed 6 runs | Photo: BCCI / IPL
Heartbroken Rishabh Pant after he hit a four off the last ball when DC needed 6 runs | Photo: BCCI / IPL

The fifty was up for AB de Villiers in the penultimate over as he reached his half-century with a four. AB de Villiers finished the innings in style, scoring 23 runs off the last over bowled by Marcus Stonis as he clobbered 3 sixes in 3 separate parts of the ground guiding RCB to a commanding total of 171-5 after 20 overs.

His match-winning 75* powered RCB to a competitive total before the bowlers defended the target in a final-over thriller.

DC scored 11 in the penultimate over after Rishabh Pant got a timely four and DC required 14 off the final over. Mohammad Siraj bowled the final over and conceded only 4 runs off his first four deliveries.

While Rishabh Pant smashed two fours off the final two deliveries and got to his fifty, DC fell short of a victory by 1 run, requiring 6 off the final delivery. The left-handed Shimron Hetmyer reached his half-century off only 23 deliveries but Rishabh Pant and his unbeaten partnership of 78 runs for the 5th wicket went in vain.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 171/5 (AB de Villiers 75*, Rajat Patidar 31; Avesh Khan 1/24 ) beat Delhi Capitals 170-4 (Rishabh Pant 58*, Shimron Hetmyer 53*; Harshal Patel 2/37) by 1 run.

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty
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Cricket Australia Hands Contract To Cameron Green Among 17 Cricketers

Cricket Australia hasn’t handed contracts to Travis Head and Matthew Wade while allrounder Cameron Green has earned his first deal and youngster Will Pucovski has not been included.

Joe Burns, who lost his place during the Test series against India, and injury-prone Mitchell Marsh have also been omitted from last year’s original list with just 17 deals handed out by Cricket Australia for the 2021-22 season.

Cameron Green
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Cameron Green of Australia poses before an Australian Nets Session at Adelaide Oval on December 15, 2020, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia Want To Create An Environment Where Players Strive For National Selection Through Consistent International Performances

Cameron Green is the only new name in Cricket Australia’s contract list pruned to 17 instead of the maximum 20. However, players who make enough appearances during the period are elevated as Marcus Stoinis was last season but he too doesn’t make this selection.

The contracts include just three specialist Test batsmen in veteran David Warner, Steven Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne with Cricket Australia’s national selector Trevor Hohns saying he wants competition from outside those contracted.

“There are two main reasons behind the size of the contract list,” he said. “Firstly, we have seen format specialisation become increasingly prevalent in recent seasons which, accordingly, has resulted in a broader group of players representing Australia, often beyond the initial list of contracted players at the start of each year. Secondly, we want to create an environment where players strive for national selection through consistent domestic performances and earn national contracts through consistent international performances.”

Cricket Australia Haven't Handed Contract To Matthew Wade
Cricket Australia Haven’t Handed Contract To Matthew Wade (PA AAP)

The axing of Matthew Wade suggests he will struggle to resume his Test career as he was also dropped from the squad for the postponed tour of South Africa in February. However, he may still feature in the T20 World Cup as he featured on the recent limited-overs tour of New Zealand and captained Australia, as a stand-in for Aaron Finch, against India in December.

Travis Head was dropped after two Tests against India when the selectors opted to stick with Matthew Wade amid a batting reshuffle when Will Pucovski and David Warner both returned from injury at the SCG.

However, he was part of the squad for the then scheduled South Africa tour and had a prolific Sheffield Shield season, having finished as the second-leading run-scorer behind Cameron Green and is likely to be a strong candidate for a middle-order spot in the Ashes.

“There is a considerable amount of international cricket to be played across all formats in the next 12 months and the door to national selection is never closed to players outside this list,” Cricket Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said.

Both Cameron Green and Will Pucovski made their debuts last summer, but it’s only the all-rounder who makes the list. Cameron Green played all four Tests against India while Will Pucovski, who earlier in the season hit back-to-back double centuries in the Sheffield Shield before suffering another concussion, made his debut in Sydney where he scored a half-century but was then sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Will Pucovski is expected to recover in time for the start of next season and is the favorite to open the batting alongside David Warner in the Test side for the Ashes and the one-off match against Afghanistan penciled in beforehand.

Cameron Green had a magnificent season with the bat for Western Australia where he was the leading Sheffield Shield run-scorer with 922 at 76.83. In four Tests, he made 236 runs including a maiden half-century at the SCG. However, he went wicketless in the series – and only collected three in the Shield – as he worked his back from a stress fracture.

“Cameron is a player we believe will play an important role for Australian cricket after his impressive breakout summer,” Hohns said. “His 84 in the second innings against India at the SCG demonstrated excellent technique and resolve and we are confident his bowling will be impactful at the international level. His domestic form was also outstanding, and we expect he will only get better with more international exposure.”

While much of Australia’s schedule over the next 12 months remains to be confirmed, they are due to return to action in July with ODIs and T20Is in West Indies before potentially heading straight to Bangladesh for a T20I series.

Cricket Australia will send its team to be in Sri Lanka ahead of the T20 World Cup – currently scheduled for India in October – before returning home for a season that is expected to include a one-off Test against Afghanistan ahead of the Ashes that will run from early December to mid-January.

Australia
Australia. Image Credits: Twitter

According to the FTP, South Africa is due to tour early next year for white-ball matches before Australia has a full tour scheduled against Pakistan from late February. Australia has not played an overseas Test since the 2019 Ashes with tours of Bangladesh and South Africa postponed due to Covid-19.

Cricket Australia Contracts list: Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)
Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)
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IPL 2021: Ashish Nehra Shocked At Ravichandran Ashwin Not Completing His Quota Of Four Overs

Ashish Nehra questioned Delhi Capitals’ captain Rishabh Pant’s tactics and said the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin should have completed his 4 overs against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on Thursday.

Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra questioned Rishabh Pant’s decision of not letting off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin complete his quota of four overs in their IPL 2021 match against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday in Mumbai, which Delhi Capitals lost by three wickets.

Ashish Nehra © BCCI
Ashish Nehra © BCCI

Ashish Nehra: DC Should Have Won The Game If Ravichandran Ashwin Bowled An Over More

Ravichandran Ashwin was brilliant with the ball as he conceded just 14 runs in his first three overs at an economy of 4.7. He couldn’t complete his spell of four overs as skipper Rishabh Pant preferred to go with Marcus Stoinis instead which turned out to be an expensive move.

Marcus Stonis bowled just one over (13th) and gave away 15 runs as David Miller smashed him for a hat-trick of boundaries. That particular over provided the much-needed push to RR who won the game despite losing half of their batters in the first 10 overs.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin Image Credits: Twitter

After the match, Ashish Nehra was of the opinion that there were more reasons than one for Ravichandran Ashwin to complete his four overs before Marcus Stoinis came on to bowl.

“Ravichandran Ashwin bowled just three overs. In the chase of 148-run target, there was a phase when Rajasthan Royals had lost 5 top-order batters and two left-handers – David Miller and Rahul Tewatia – were at the crease.

“You could have used Ashwin then. When Tewatia got out and Miller and Morris paired up, then you had the choice to deploy Ashwin. Royals were six down then and had Ashwin taken another on at that point of time, DC would have won the game there itself,” Nehra told Cricbuzz.

Ricky Ponting, the head coach also admitted that spinner Ravichandran Ashwin not completing his four overs is a ‘mistake on their behalf’ despite just giving 14 runs in his three overs.

Ashish Nehra: Before Handing An Over To Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin Should Have Completed His Spell

Ashish Nehra said he wouldn’t have minded had Rishabh Pant thrown the ball had there been right-handers like Sanju Samson or Riyan Parag at the crease but it was two left-handers David Miller and Rahul Tewatia batting.

David Miller's (62 off 43) and Chris Morris' cameo (36 off 18) lifted Rajasthan Royals to a last-over win over Delhi Capitals on Thursday. - BCCI/IPL
David Miller’s (62 off 43) and Chris Morris’ cameo (36 off 18) lifted Rajasthan Royals to a last-over win over Delhi Capitals on Thursday. – BCCI/IPL

“So Rather than handing one over to Marcus Stoinis, under such circumstances, I would have preferred to go with Ashwin. If it was Riyan Parag or Sanju Samson at the crease with an asking rate was 9-10 runs per over and you didn’t give an over to Ravi Ashwin thinking that he might get hit for 2-3 sixes, that’s a completely different thing.

“Before handing an over to Stoinis, Ashwin should have completed his 4-over spell,” he added.

Back in the team, left-handed batsman David Miller produced a 62-run knock and it was followed by Chris Morris’ cameo of 36 runs off just 18 balls as Royals defeated Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede Stadium. Earlier, MOM RR pacer Jaydev Unadkat returned with figures of 3/15 in 4 overs which included wickets of openers Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ajinkya Rahane.

RR required 27 off the last 2 over. The 19th over then swung the momentum in RR’s favour as Chris Morris clubbed two sixes off Kagiso Rabada to bring down the target to 12 runs off the final over. DC opted to give Tom Curran the responsibility to defend those 12 runs. But Chris Morris, as calm as ever, hit two sixes off the England pacer and got RR over the line.

Brief Scores:  Rajasthan Royals 150/7 (David Miller 62, Chris Morris 36*; Avesh Khan 3/32) beat Delhi Capitals 147/8 (Rishabh Pant 51, Tom Curran 21; Jaydev Unadkat 3/15) by 3 wickets. 

Rishabh Pant Photo: BCCI
Rishabh Pant Photo: BCCI
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IPL 2021: Ajay Jadeja Reckons Rishabh Pant Should Have Given Frontline Bowlers Of Delhi Capitals Some More Overs

Ajay Jadeja feels that Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant’s ‘defensive’ move to bowl Marcus Stoinis in the 13th over enabled the Rajasthan Royals to win the IPL 2021 clash on Thursday.

Batting first, DC scored 147-8 in their 20 overs. In response, RR lost five wickets for just 42 runs on board. But David Miller (62 off 43) and Chris Morris (36* off 18) had other plans as the duo enabled Rajasthan to revive the chase and clinch the game by three wickets with two balls remaining.

Ajay Jadeja
Ajay Jadeja (Photo- Twitter)

Ajay Jadeja Criticizes Rishabh Pant Who Switched To Defensive Style From Attacking As Move To Bowl With Marcus Stoinis In The 13th Over Backfired

The Rajasthan Royals changed gears in the 13th over, with Marcus Stoinis conceding 15 runs. Tom Curran then went for 12 in the next. Even after David Miller’s dismissal in the 15th over, a well-set Chris Morris managed to take the game away from the grasp of the Delhi Capitals.

Speaking to Cricbuzz after the match, Ajay Jadeja stated it wasn’t the right move on Rishabh Pant‘s part to hand the ball to Marcus Stoinis in the 13th over. The former India batsman suggested the DC skipper should have looked to wrap up the game by bowling his best bowlers at that stage. The last 2 overs saw 29 runs while the 13th over, 14th over and 16th over saw 12-15 runs which cost DC the match.

David Miller’s (62 off 43) and Chris Morris’ cameo (36 off 18) lifted Rajasthan Royals to a last-over win over Delhi Capitals on Thursday. – BCCI/IPL
David Miller’s (62 off 43) and Chris Morris’ cameo (36 off 18) lifted Rajasthan Royals to a last-over win over Delhi Capitals on Thursday. – BCCI/IPL

“That over [13th, by Marcus Stoinis] kickstarted the chase for Rajasthan Royals. Before it, the scoreboard read 55-5. [Kagiso] Rabada, Avesh Khan, Chris Woakes and R Ashwin, all main bowlers had bowled their 3 overs. When they were bowling, the game was different. I believe you should have bowled your main bowlers some more.”

“The game began to tilt in that over. Unlike CSK, Rajasthan Royals can score quick runs in the end. It’s a game, someone will falter. The mistake was that he [Rishabh Pant] switched to defensive style from attacking and what was done and dusted, he let it revive again,” said Ajay Jadeja.

Chris Morris, the most expensive buy-in IPL 2021 showed his class as he hit his compatriot Kagiso Rabada for 15 runs in the penultimate over and followed it up with two sixes against Tom Curran in the last over to help RR seal the deal. The South African all-rounder’s cameo handed the Rajasthan Royals their first win in IPL 2021 after a loss by 4 runs to Punjab Kings in their opening encounter.

Ajay Jadeja Criticized Rishabh Pant’s Decision To Hold Back Ravichandran Ashwin’s 4th Over

Ajay Jadeja also criticized keeper and new DC skipper Rishabh Pant’s decision to hold back off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s final over. Although the experienced off-spinner remained wicketless in his three overs, he was DC’s most economical bowler (4.7).

Ajay Jadeja explained that Rishabh Pant should have bowled his best bowlers in the first 16 overs to take the game completely away from the RR.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (Image Credit: Twitter)

“It’s not weird (preserving one over of Ashwin) but it’s a big error. You allowed them to come back into the game. There wasn’t much spin but the batsmen weren’t looking to dominate either. I believe if you bowl your main bowlers in the first 16 overs then you have the best chance.”

“It was a small total and, you know, batsmen don’t find it a lot more difficult to chase in the final few overs here in Mumbai. You want to use Tom Curran and Marcus Stoinis for a total of four overs.

If you had bowled them in the death, they could have got some 70 runs to defend. You allowed them to come back into the game by bowling Stoinis and Tom Curran in the middle overs,” concluded Ajay Jadeja.

Rishabh Pant’s Delhi Daredevils will be looking to return to winning ways when they take on Punjab Kings on Sunday. For Rajasthan, Jaydev Unadkat won the Man of the Match award for returning with figures of 3/15 in 4 overs.

Brief Scores:  Rajasthan Royals 150/7 (David Miller 62, Chris Morris 36*; Avesh Khan 3/32) beat Delhi Capitals 147/8 (Rishabh Pant 51, Tom Curran 21; Jaydev Unadkat 3/15) by 3 wickets.