Mohammed Shami | Sportzwiki

Mohammed Shami

Sanju Samson Deepak Malik/SPORTZPICS
Sanju Samson Deepak Malik/SPORTZPICS
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Sanju Samson Fined INR 12 Lakh For Maintaining Slow Over-Rate Against PBKS

Sanju Samson, Rajasthan Royals skipper has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during an Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) match against Punjab Kings on Tuesday (September 21). Sanju Samson was fined Rs 12 lakh for maintaining a slow over-rate in their opening IPL 2021 match in UAE leg against Punjab Kings.

After being sent in to bat by Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul, Rajasthan Royals got off to a flying start with openers Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal going all guns blazing in the powerplay. Evin Lewis departed after scoring 36 while Yashasvi Jaiswal missed his half-century by a run. Mahipal Lomror made a handy contribution of 43 runs off just 17 deliveries to help Rajasthan post a total of 185 in their allotted 20 overs.

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson (Image Credit: Twitter)

Sanju Samson Fined INR 12 Lakh For Slow Over Rate

The two sides were playing their first match after the resumption of the IPL on September 19. In a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 match last night, Rajasthan Royals (RR) made an epic comeback, beating Punjab Kings (PBKS) by just two runs.

Punjab needed just four runs in the final over to win the game but was stopped from their march towards victory by RR bowler pacer Kartik Tyagi. Kartik Tyagi, the MOM, managed to take two crucial wickets and give away just one run in his final over spell.

“As it was his team’s first offence of the season under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to a minimum over-rate offences, Sanju Samson was fined Rs 12 lakh,” read an official statement.

Rajasthan Royals registered a thrilling two-run victory over Punjab Kings at the Dubai International Stadium. Chasing 186, Punjab Kings got off to an excellent start as openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal put on 120 runs for the opening wicket.

Kartik Tyagi defended four runs off the final over to hand RR a 2-run win | Photo: BCCI / IPL
Kartik Tyagi defended four runs off the final over to hand RR a 2-run win | Photo: BCCI / IPL

However, after this, Rajasthan was able to make a comeback and the side registered a thrilling victory. Kartik Tyagi returned with two wickets and he was adjudged as Man of the Match. With this win, Rajasthan Royals has moved to the fifth spot in the points table with 8 points from as many games.

Arshdeep Singh’s Five Wicket Haul In Vein As Royals Win

Earlier, Arshdeep Singh took a five-wicket haul for Punjab Kings as Rajasthan Royals was bundled out for 185. For the Sanju Samson-led side, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Mahipal Lamror scored 49 and 43 respectively. For Punjab, Mohammed Shami also scalped three wickets. Rajasthan Royals will next lock horns against Delhi Capitals on Saturday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Arshdeep Singh (Photo| ANI)
Arshdeep Singh (Photo| ANI)

Punjab Kings cruised for the better part of their stiff chase of 186 runs, with opener Mayank Agarwal scoring 67 off 43 deliveries and skipper KL Rahul, 49 off 33 balls. All that changed when the next two batsmen, Nicholas Pooran (32 off 22) and Aiden Markram (26* off 20), failed to rotate the strike in the last two overs and let the team fall short by just two runs.

Rajasthan Royals 185 (Jaiswal 49, Lomror 43, Arshdeep 5-32, Shami 3-21) beat Punjab Kings 183 for 4 (Agarwal 67, Rahul 49, Tyagi 2-29, Tewatia 1-23)

Riyan Parag
Riyan Parag. Image Credits: Twitter
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Defending Eight Runs Off Last Two Overs Was Incredible: Riyan Parag

Riyan Parag has said that it was an incredible job done by his side’s bowlers to defend eight runs in the final two overs against Punjab Kings.

Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Riyan Parag hailed his side’s bowlers for putting an incredible show in the final two overs to defend eight runs against Punjab Kings to kickstart RR’s UAE campaign on a high.

Riyan Parag, PTI
Riyan Parag, PTI

Riyan Parag: Defending Eight Runs Off Last Two Overs Was Incredible

Punjab was poised for an easy win as they needed just four runs from the last over but the 20-year-old from Uttar Pradesh changed the game with his accurate bowling. Kartik Tyagi emerged as the unlikely hero as he defended 4 runs in the final over to help Rajasthan Royals snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Punjab Kings.

“The mood is really nice, cricket is a really funny game. We were in the driving seat after the first innings but we were poor in the field, the game was slipping away.

“In the 19th over, I was at mid-off, I told Mustafizur Rahman that do not to let it finish in this over and we can have a chance in the final two overs. Defending eight runs of last two overs was incredible,” Riyan Parag said during a virtual press conference.

PBKS bowler Arshdeep Singh (Photo| ANI)
PBKS bowler Arshdeep Singh (Photo| ANI)

“This is the number one spell I have seen in all my career, but I hope Kartik does it for us in the rest of the matches as well. We had a bad day in the field, I rate myself as one of the best fielders, but in the end, I am human and I can drop a catch too,” he added.

Earlier, the 22-year-old Arshdeep Singh (5/32) complemented his senior pro-Mohammed Shami (3/21) well as the duo shared eight wickets to help Punjab bowl out Rajasthan for 185 in exactly 20 overs after they were going strong at 169 for 5 in 17 overs.

Riyan Parag: Bowlers Have Perfected The Yorker

Punjab needed just four runs in the final over to win the game but was stopped from their march towards victory by RR bowler Kartik Tyagi. Kartik Tyagi, the MoM, managed to take two crucial wickets and give away just one run in his final over spell.

“Bowlers have perfected the yorker, so the helicopter shot is a way of adding another thing in my armoury. It did not pay off well today but then I am confident, in the next match, if I get the same ball, I’ll try the same thing,” said Parag.

Kartik Tyagi defended four runs off the final over to hand RR a 2-run win | Photo: BCCI / IPL
Kartik Tyagi defended four runs off the final over to hand RR a 2-run win | Photo: BCCI / IPL

Rajasthan Royals will take on Delhi Capitals on Saturday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Rajasthan Royals 185 (Jaiswal 49, Lomror 43, Arshdeep 5-32, Shami 3-21) beat Punjab Kings 183 for 4 (Agarwal 67, Rahul 49, Tyagi 2-29, Tewatia 1-23) by two runs

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Defends Book Launch Event

Ravi Shastri has defended his book launch event, saying that anything could have happened from the opening Test match of the series. The Indian cricket team’s camp was hit by COVID-19 last week when Ravi Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive after day 3 of the 4th Test match. Following him, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar contracted the infection.

On the eve of the 4th Test, junior physio Yogesh Parmar also tested positive for COVID-19, which led to the cancellation of the 5th Test match, which was to start on September 10. While the source of COVID-19 isn’t known, some are criticizing Shastri for his book launch event as it took place with over 100 people in attendance.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri's book launch event in London | Twitter
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri’s book launch event in London | Twitter

Ravi Shastri: The UK Is Open As Anything Could Have Happened From 1st Test

Indian skipper Virat Kohli and other members of Team India were also present at the event. Ravi Shastri, who is in isolation in the UK, has responded to the criticism and defended the book launch event.

“The whole country [United Kingdom] is open. Anything could have happened from Test One,” Shastri was quoted as saying by mid-day.

“It’s been the best summer of cricket England has seen in a long time certainly from an Indian cricket team. It’s Covid times, awesome summer though. The boys were fantastic either side of the Thames.”

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The cancelled 5th Test match is likely to take place at a rescheduled date as the BCCI said that the two boards will look to find a window for the fixture. Team India is scheduled to play a white-ball series against England next year and the one-off fixture could take place then.

Indian Players Who Feature In IPL Too Joined Their Respective Franchises And serving 6 Day Mandatory Quarantine Period

Meanwhile, the majority of Indian players have joined their IPL franchises in UAE. They are now serving the six-day mandatory isolation period. The 2nd phase of IPL 2021 kicks off on September 19. Ravi Shastri and other COVID-19 positive coaches will land in India after completing their isolation period. They will likely reach UAE for T20 World Cup next month.

The players started departing in clusters — some in charter flights arranged by their franchises like Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad while Chennai Super Kings cricketers took commercial flights. RCB captain Virat Kohli and his premier pacer Mohammed Siraj also took a charter flight from Manchester.

The three Punjab Kings players in the Indian Test side – KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Mohammed Shami – are also taking commercial flights out of England. England players in the franchise, none from the Test side, will travel later. As many as six Indian Test players – Rishabh Pant, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Umesh Yadav, and Axar Patel – play for Delhi Capitals. They will join their IPL bubble on Sunday.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

The six-day quarantine rule led to some pull-outs. England trio Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals), and Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings) decided to give the IPL second phase a miss. It isn’t known if the three opted out after consulting the English Cricket Board to manage workload. All three are expected to feature in the Ashes series at the year-end.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
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Sunil Gavaskar Picks His 15-Man India Squad For 2021 T20I World Cup

Sunil Gavaskar has named his 15-man roster for the showpiece event ahead of the official announcement of India’s squad for the T20 World Cup 2021.

Indian cricket lovers are holding on to their nerves, awaiting the selection committee’s announcement of the 15-man squad for the forthcoming T20 World Cup 2021. While fans have had their discussions over who deserves a spot in the team and who doesn’t, the experts are also weighing in. India legend Sunil Gavaskar also picked his 15-man squad for the showpiece event ahead of the official announcement.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar Picks Krunal Pandya And Injured Washington Sundar In His 15 Man Squad For The Upcoming 2021 T20I World cup

Sunil Gavaskar surprisingly left out two stalwarts of Indian cricket in the form of Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer. While Shikhar Dhawan has been one of India’s most important batsmen in ICC events, Shreyas Iyer made the No. 4 position in white-ball cricket his own with some really responsible outings in the last couple of years.

Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)
Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)

Instead, Sunil Gavaskar put his confidence in spin-bowling all-rounder Krunal Pandya.

“He’s an all-rounder, a very experienced player, has performed very well in the IPL for the past many years so he surely deserves a place. He’s left-handed, which is an advantage as well,” he said over the selection of the elder of the Pandya brothers.

Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar — two spin bowling all-rounders — made the cut in Sunil Gavaskar’s team though there isn’t much clarity on the selection of Washington Sundar because of his injury.

Washington Sundar, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL, had traveled to England with the Indian Test squad but returned to the country after injuring his finger while playing in a County game that served as a practice game for the visitors. He was ruled out from the Test series against England and the UAE leg of IPL 2021.

The T20I World cup 2021 is slated to begin immediately after the conclusion of the IPL and it remains to be seen if Washington Sundar is picked in the Indian squad without playing a single IPL game.

Sunil Gavaskar Picks Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, And Bhuvneshwar Kumar Alongside Deepak Chahar And Shardul Thakur As Pacers

In terms of pacers, the original Little Master went with the experienced trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar while Chennai Super Kings duo of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur also received his nod. Yuzvendra Chahal was the only specialist spinner selected in the 15-man team by Sunil Gavaskar.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Sunil Gavaskar’s India squad for T20 World Cup 2021: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar (subject to fitness), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, and Yuzvendra Chahal.

It also has to be noted that a total of 18 players will be picked for the showpiece event, including three reserves. The official announcement of the squad is expected to be made on Wednesday (September 08).

STANDBYS

Rahul Chahar/ Varun Chakravarthy: It could be a toss-up between the Mumbai Indians’ leg-spinner and Varun Chakravarthy, KKR’s mystery spinner.

Prithvi Shaw/Shikhar Dhawan: The choice could be between Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. The flamboyant Mumbai opener has shown he could get into the fifth gear quicker than Shikhar Dhawan as he scored the most runs ever in the 50 overs domestic tournament Vijay Hazare Trophy. But Shikhar Dhawan, his DC teammate posted the most runs in IPL 2021 so far.

Mohammed Siraj/Mohammed Shami: While Mohammed Siraj is in red-hot form, he is yet to establish himself as a T20 bowler. Mohammed Shami’s experience and wicket-taking ability could give him an edge.

Axar Patel: Like-for-like backup for spinner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

Washington Sundar: His selection is subject to recovery from a finger injury.

Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton
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Michael Atherton Weighs In On England’s Chances Of Chasing Down 368

Michael Atherton weighed in on England’s chances of going 2-1 up and whether the pitch will turn up to assist Indian bowlers on the final day.

England is up against a herculean task– chasing down 368 against India at the Oval to go 2-1 up in the series. A century from Rohit Sharma and fifties from Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur, and Rishabh Pant in India’s second innings saw India post a strong total of 466, which means that England needs to pull off a record highest run chase at the venue.

Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Michael Atherton: India’s Attack Is Without Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, And Ravichandran Ashwin On A Flat Batting Track Which May Give England Advantage

Out of those 368, openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed have knocked off 77 runs, and with another 291 left to achieve in three sessions, Day 5 shapes up to be a fascinating contest between the two teams on Monday. India posted their highest total of the series, but England delivered a strong opening partnership themselves in response.

Former England captain Michael Atherton weighed in on England’s chances of going 2-1 up and whether the pitch will turn up to assist Indian bowlers on the final day.

Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin, center, and Mohammed Shami
Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin, center, and Mohammed Shami

“It’s pretty flat, there’s not much happening, and then you look at the shape of India’s attack. No Shami, no Ishant, no Ashwin, they seemed very reliant in that first innings on Bumrah especially. How much will Jadeja have an influence? He may have an impact, (but) it’s a good pitch,” Michael Atherton said while commentating on Sky Sports.

The veteran also said that in the absence of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Ravichandran Ashwin, Team India has been a bit too reliant on Jasprit Bumrah in the bowling department.

Former England captain Michael Atherton reckoned that the pitch at the Kennington Oval for the fourth Test against India hasn’t deteriorated much. Going on the fifth day, the Brits need 291 runs to win with all their 10 wickets in hand. Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns have already taken the Three Lions off to a decent start with an unbeaten 77-run partnership for the opening wicket.

Michael Holding Would Have Preferred Ravichandran Ashwin As The Pitch Isn’t Playing Too Many Tricks

Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding agrees with Michael Atherton’s views, stating that pace doesn’t promise to cause England as much trouble as spinners, which is why India might miss the services of Ravichandran Ashwin on a Day 5 pitch.

“I don’t really see this pitch playing too many tricks. I didn’t see the England seamers create too many problems… and the India seamers I don’t expect to do much better. And Jadeja, I don’t know. I would have preferred Ashwin if you’re talking about just the bowling,” Holding said on Sky Sports.

Michael Holding
Michael Holding

India is missing the services of senior bowler Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami with their ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin once again was ignored ahead of Ravindra Jadeja. Umesh Yadav, who came in place of Ishant Sharma, led India’s bowling charts with 3/67 and Ravindra Jadeja too chipped in with two wickets.

Michael Holding feels that he would have preferred Ravichandran Ashwin and noted how the England bowlers performed on the Oval pitch. The series is tied at 1-1 as India won by 151 runs at Lord’s only for England to hit back with an innings and 76 runs triumph at Headingley.

With niggles to Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, as captain Virat Kohli had pointed out at the toss, India included  Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav in the XI which paid rich dividends as both of them had an impact.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter
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Shardul Thakur Wasn’t Aware Of Scoring The Fastest Test 50 In England Breaking Sir Ian Botham’s Record

Shardul Thakur scored a sensational 57 off just 36 deliveries as Joe Root and his men were rendered clueless.

Shardul Thakur turned out to be the saving grace for the Indian cricket team on Day 1 of the 4th Test match between England and India at the Kennington Oval. The right-handed batsman scored a sensational 57 off just 36 deliveries and was the top scorer. Virat Kohli also scored a fifty but was dismissed soon after.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Shardul Thakur Scored The Fastest Test Half-Century In England Breaking Ian Botham’s Record But He Wasn’t Aware Of It

Shardul Thakur achieved a special milestone as well during the course of his knock, and scored the fastest Test half-century on England soil, reaching his fifty off just 31 deliveries. And, he broke the record of the great Sir Ian Botham of England, who had reached his half-century off 32 deliveries.

Sir Ian Botham(Getty Images)
Sir Ian Botham(Getty Images)

And now, pace all-rounder Shardul Thakur has opened up on breaking Sir Ian Botham’s record. Stating that he was not aware of it initially, the 29-year-old added that it is a good feeling to score runs for India. Adding that his teammates were teasing him with Sir Ian Botham’s name, the right-hander said that it is nice to be compared to the greats of the game.

“I was not aware of it (breaking Ian Botham’s record). But it’s always good to score important runs for the team. Yes, these guys are teasing me with his name. But I think it’s good to be compared with the greats of the game,” said Shardul Thakur at the end of Day 1.

Shardul Thakur has played only 4 Tests in his career so far after debuting in 2018 against West Indies where he got injured after bowling only 10 balls. He managed 130 runs averaging 32.5 besides picking up 11 scalps averaging 23.

Shardul Thakur Said It Was Important To Play A Quick Innings And So He Kept Going For The Runs

Shardul Thakur added that it was important for him to play such innings, especially after the wicket of dashing keeper Rishabh Pant. Adding that there is no right way to score runs, Shardul Thakur opined that he could connect properly on Day 1, and so he kept going for his shots, instead of defending.

“When Rishabh got out, it was important for me to play such an innings. There are two ways, either you can be patient and bank on the partner to score runs or go and hit it. But at the end of the day, you have to score the runs. I think there is no right way of scoring runs. Runs are runs. Today was a day where I could connect properly. So I kept going for the runs,” added Shardul Thakur.

Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Shardul Thakur is confident that India’s total of 191 in the first innings is a score that will surely matter, and concluded by stating that the pitch is a good one for both batsmen as well as bowlers.

“Definitely, at one stage, we felt 150 or 170 as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. But 190 is a score, in the first innings, is going to count. Runs in the first innings are important and I think we have a chance. I think this pitch is good for both batsmen and bowlers. If you keep pitching in the right areas, something is there in the pitch. But at the same time, the margin of error is less as the batsman can score runs,” concluded Shardul Thakur.

There were only 2 changes in the Indian side that lost the previous Test by an innings. Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur came in as Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma had niggles.

Both justified their inclusion as Shardul Thakur top-scored with 57 and Umesh Yadav picked the crucial scalp of Joe Root before 1st day’s play came to an end.  Umesh Yadav clean bowled Joe Root (21) while Jasprit Bumrah dismissed both the openers as England ended on 53/3 trailing India by 138 runs.

 

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Ishant Sharma Set To Be Dropped And Ravichandran Ashwin Won’t Be Benched Again In The 4th Test

India’s senior-most pacer Ishant Sharma may not find a place in the playing XI in the remaining two Tests against England after an indifferent show in the third match, which the visitors lost by an innings and 76 runs.

Ishant Sharma’s figures of 22-0-92-0 were the worst among the Indian pacers as England scored 432 runs but more importantly, the veteran looked jaded. The gingerly run-up never transformed into the bustling Ishant Sharma that the fans are accustomed to watching. He bowled primarily in the late 120kmph and early 130kmph but was hardly penetrative, effectively turning India’s attack into a three-pronged pace unit.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma[Image-Twitter]

Ishant Sharma Set To Be Dropped In The 4th Oval Test

There has been no confirmation whether Ishant Sharma, who has had a history of ankle injuries as well as side strain issues, was fully fit during the third Test match. Skipper Virat Kohli refused to speak about the pacer’s performance after the match but did indicate that there will be changes keeping in mind the workload of the pace bowlers.

Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah (Photo-Getty)
Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah (Photo-Getty)

However, Ishant Sharma, who didn’t play the first Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham has bowled 56 overs across three innings with five wickets to show for his efforts. It’s clear that during this English summer since the World Test Championship final Ishant Sharma does not seem to have the sting when he bowls third or fourth spell. In the case of Ishant Sharma going out, the choice would again be between Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur.

Shardul Thakur with his better batting abilities is ahead in the pecking order but Umesh Yadav is certainly a better red ball bowler than the Mumbaikar. But with Virat Kohli clearly pointing out that workload will be monitored, it remains to be seen whether the seasoned Mohammed Shami with 11 wickets from 96.5 overs is rested to keep him fresh for the final Test or Jasprit Bumrah.

Jasprit Bumrah has bowled the maximum overs among Indian pacers (108 overs) taking 14 wickets in the series. The pacer is expected to play most games for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and is a very important member of the T20 World Cup team. The other pacer Mohammed Siraj, who is only a couple of months junior to Jasprit Bumrah, has bowled 100.5 overs in the series.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence from India’s playing XI in the third Test against England was once again a subject of debate as the team went in with 4 pacers and Ravindra Jadeja as the sole spinner. Pacer Ishant Sharma picked 5 scalps bowling 56 overs across 2 Tests averaging 34.8 in the England tour and may not play the last 2 Tests.

Ravindra Jadeja’s Knee Scan Hasn’t revealed Any Damage But Surely Ravichandran Ashwin Won’t Be Benched Again

Meanwhile, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s knee scan report hasn’t revealed any significant damage but off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin looks favourite to start in the fourth Test at The Oval from September 2. It is still not clear whether India will plan to go in with two specialist spinners but Ravichandran Ashwin, who had a great county game for Surrey at the same venue won’t be benched at least in this game.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Ravichandran Ashwin has scalped 413 wickets in the 79 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.56. The off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker for India and fourth overall, in the four-match Test series in Australia in 2020/21. Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests, including one four-wicket haul.

In the four-match home series against England 2021, he was the highest wicket-taker. He signed off the series with 32 scalps in 4 Tests, including 3 five-wicket hauls. He played the WTC Final which India lost but didn’t feature in any of the first 3 Tests against hosts England.

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Not Easy For Virat Kohli Whether To Play Or Leave The Balls During High-Class Bowling From England: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain, the former England captain and broadcaster opined that the Indian skipper Virat Kohli seemed unsure against the moving ball and it will only get tougher for him as the series progresses. He pointed out how Virat Kohli was playing at deliveries in the corridor and kept nicking the ball behind.

Virat Kohli was caught behind in all five innings that he batted in the series so far. He got out twice each to pacers James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, and once to pace all-rounder Sam Curran.

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain: Virat Kohli Is Unsure Whether To Play Or Leave The Balls

Nasser Hussain zoomed in on a technical issue that was making it hard for Virat Kohli to pick the line of the ball.

“Kohli has played at balls he could be leaving, he seems to have that slight technical issue I highlighted in these pages with the positioning of his back foot and he is not picking up the line of Anderson and Robinson.

“Kohli is not sure whether to play or leave and whether to set himself for the inswinger or not. He doesn’t know what to do. It’s high class bowling and it’s not going to get any easier for him,” Nasser Hussain wrote.

A dejected Virat Kohli walks off after losing his wicket against England in the third Test.
A dejected Virat Kohli walks off after losing his wicket against England in the third Test. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

The former England batter added that Virat Kohli batted well on Day 3 of the Headingley Test on his way to a half-century, but the old ball made it easier for him.

“He did go through a spell on the third day, admittedly against an older ball, where he was leaving it well. But it’s harder to leave the new ball because it swings later, and he was out again on Saturday in a familiar manner.”

Across formats, the India skipper hasn’t scored a century since November 2019 and has also slipped to the 5th spot in the ICC Test rankings as a batsman. Virat Kohli has scored just 124 runs at a below-par average of 24.80 in the three Tests against England so far. His compatriot Joe Root, on the other hand, has amassed 507 runs at a Bradmanesque average of 126.75.

Nasser Hussain Warns England Of Complacency Pointing Out To India’s Stunning Win In Australia With Injured Players Unavailable And Being 1-0 Down

Nasser Hussain warned England not to write India off after their emphatic victory at Headingley in the third Test. Nasser Hussain lauded the character India has shown in recent matches and reminded the home side of the way India came back after the Adelaide debacle.

“But the last thing England must do now is think they have done the hard work and write India off ahead of Thursday’s fourth Test in south London and the final match at Old Trafford — grounds which should suit their attack better.

“Remember, they were bowled out for 36 by Australia in Adelaide late last year but came back to pull off a famous series win. And after Kohli had gone home, too. India do have a lot of strength of character and fight, and central to that is their captain.”

Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source: AP IMAGE

Nasser Hussain reminded England that India has shown a lot of character under Virat Kohli. Both sides have little turnaround time after the third Test as the action moves to the Oval. The fourth Test of the series will commence on September 2, Thursday.

Being 1-0 down, losing the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli due to his paternity leave, having lost several key players like Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul, and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries at various stages of 4 match Test series, a second-string Ajinkya Rahane-led India staged a comeback as they won their second straight Test series on Australian soil.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
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Ravichandran Ashwin’s Exclusion Is Up To Team Management: Mohammed Shami Says ‘We Need To Back And Trust The XI’

Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence from India’s playing XI in the third Test against England was once again a subject of debate as the team went in with 4 pacers and Ravindra Jadeja as the sole spinner.

Seeing Indian pacers struggle for wickets in Headingley, many questioned if the decision to exclude Ravichandran Ashwin was the right one. Even pacer Mohammed Shami was asked about this at the press conference after stumps on Day 2. Joe Root ran riot at Headingley, scoring 121 off 165 while the top three England batters — Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, and Dawid Malan — all of whom scored a half-century each to take England into a strong position.

Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin, center, and Mohammed Shami
Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami

Ravichandran Ashwin’s Exclusion Is Upto Team Management: Mohammed Shami

The situation, hence, saw many questions raised if Ravichandran Ashwin should’ve been a part of the match. As far as Mohammed Shami is concerned, however, the decision remains the team management’s and it is the players’ responsibility to back whatever XI is picked.

Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma
Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma

“I wouldn’t like to comment on the selection. That’s a team management decision. The XI that’s there on the field will have to do the job. We need to back and trust the XI that the team management has picked. You can’t think of it [selection] too much.”

Indian pacers, who were on the money in the 2nd Lord’s Test, struggled to extract any help from the pitch. Of the 8 wickets that fell on Day 2, Mohammed Shami bagged three while Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj claimed two each. Jasprit Bumrah also bagged a wicket but Ishant Sharma remained wicket-less.

Mohammed Shami: As The Pitch Slows Down, Picking Up Wickets Become Difficult With Less Bounce And Carry

Contrary to Indian batters, the Englishmen did incredibly well with the bat, triggering a plethora of questions over India skipper Virat Kohli’s decision to bat first. Mohammed Shami, however, stressed that the pitch became a lot more conducive to the batters after the Indian innings.

“As the pitch slows down, it gets difficult with less bounce and less carry. As you saw, we also got the edges. When the wicket slows down, it stops swinging and seaming. The chances of getting reverse swing reduce in such conditions where the wicket is green. The pitch was very slow today.

“The key is not to overthink and understand how the wicket is behaving and adapt accordingly. If it’s slow, then the key is to bowl good line and length,” Shami explained.

Virat Kohli, Joe Root
Virat Kohli, Joe Root

With England’s lead already 345, India has an uphill task to make a comeback in the match.  Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah got the remaining two wickets early on Day 3 as England got all out for 432 in their first innings. Riding on a scintillating Joe Root ton on Day 2, England took a massive lead of 354 runs.

Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma will have a tough task at hand against the swing bowling of the likes of James Anderson in overcast conditions. India is batting currently and is 16/0 as KL Rahul survives after taking an LBW review.

Ravichandran Ashwin has scalped 413 wickets in the 79 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.56. The off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker for India and fourth overall, in the four-match Test series in Australia in 2020/21. Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests, including one four-wicket haul.

In the four-match home series against England 2021, he was the highest wicket-taker. He signed off the series with 32 scalps in 4 Tests, including 3 five-wicket hauls. He played the WTC Final which India lost but didn’t feature in any of the first 3 Tests against hosts England.

Dawid Malan stroked his way to an efficiency-saving 70 on the second day of the third Test. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Dawid Malan stroked his way to an efficiency-saving 70 on the second day of the third Test. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
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The Wicket Changed Massively From The 1st Day As Indian Bowlers Didn’t Get Much Help: Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan, playing his first Test in three years, hit a splendid 70 and added 139 runs for the third wicket with skipper Joe Root as England reached 423 for 8 at stumps on day two to take a massive lead of 345.

Dawid Malan played the last of his 15 Tests back in 2018, against the same opponents. Rory Burns (61), Haseeb Hameed (68), Dawid Malan (70), and Joe Root (121) ensured England take a huge first-innings lead over a hapless India, who won the 2nd Test and is leading 1-0 in the 5 match series.

Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan of England. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Dawid Malan: The Wicket Changed Massively From The 1st Day

Indian was blown away for a paltry 78 in their first innings on the 1st day but it looked like a different pitch when England came out to bat as they piled the misery on the opposition bowlers. Indian bowlers worked really hard and asked a lot of questions but didn’t get much help from the wicket, which has changed massively since the opening day of the third Test, said England batsman Dawid Malan on Thursday.

“The wicket changed massively from the first day the first hour when they were batting,” the 33-year-old Malan said in a virtual press conference after the end of the second day’s play.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma[Image-Twitter]

“I would not say they were flat with their bowling. They absolutely ran in and tried their socks off. They asked a lot of questions probably didn’t get that much help from the wicket,” the left-hander said.

Senior-most Indian pacer Ishant Sharma looked lacklustre and returned wicketless after bowling 22 overs as the four-pronged pace attack struggled to make early inroads. Mohammed Shami picked 3 scalps, while Mohammed Siraj and Ravindra Jadeja picked 2 apiece and Jasprit Bumrah picked a solitary wicket-that of Joe Root.

Dawid Malan: It Was Great To Watch Joe Root Batting From The Other End

India failed to trouble Joe Root, who led from the front with a hat-trick of centuries in three Tests to put England in total control of the third Test. Playing in front of his family at home, Joe Root played an effortless inning of 121 — his sixth century of the calendar year.

“He scores runs all the time, and with the ease and the speed with which he does, it is quite fantastic. He has led from the front again as he has done in the Test series so far, all credit goes to him,” Malan said showering praise on his skipper.
Joe Root. [Image-Twitter]
Joe Root. [Image-Twitter]

“He moves his feet so well, the ball position where he hits the ball is so good. He hits the ball so much late than most people, he always looks to score.”

Calling him one of the greats of the game, Malan said: “If you bowl a bad ball, he just puts you away. If you look at all the greats who played if you miss your length they hurt you and Joe is one of those. It’s great to watch from the other end.”

With this century, England skipper Joe Root now equals Kevin Pietersen for the second-most Test hundreds for an England batsman – 23, while Alastair Cook has 10 more. After carrying the batting of his side on his shoulders, for once, the top three gave their skipper a decent amount of time of rest in the dressing room, as he arrived at the score of 159/2 in the 63rd over.

Joe Root then, along with fellow Yorkshiremate Dawid Malan, batted throughout the second session with the left-hander getting out on the last ball before tea. He took on India’s lone spinner, Ravindra Jadeja, with cuts and sweeps, which had been the highlight of his tour to Asia earlier in the year. He raced away to his fifty in 57 balls, before taking on the Indian pacers.

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