MS Dhoni Profile, ICC Ranking, Biography, Records, Career info & Stats

MS Dhoni

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
/

T20 World Cup 2021: India-Pakistan Match Against Rashtradharma – Baba Ramdev

On Saturday, Baba Ramdev, Yoga guru, said the India-Pakistan T20 World Cup match 2021 scheduled for Sunday is against the national interest and ‘Rashtradharma’ as the ‘game of cricket, and the game of terror cannot be played at the same time.’ Ahead of the game, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has made a hugely controversial statement which only fires the fuel between the rivalry of both the teams.

Former champions India and Pakistan will face off on Sunday in a T20 World Cup blockbuster in Dubai, and the buzz around the game underlines the enduring appeal of the matchup between the subcontinent’s feuding neighbours. India captain Virat Kohli and Pakistan counterpart Babar Azam have called it just another game, but that is clearly not the case.

Baba Ramdev - GETTY IMAGES
Baba Ramdev – GETTY IMAGES

Baba Ramdev: Cricket Match Between India-Pakistan Against Rashtradharma And Not In The Interest Of The Nation

Speaking to reporters at the Nagpur airport, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Saturday said the India-Pakistan T20 World Cup match scheduled for Sunday is against the national interest and ‘Rashtradharma’ as the ‘game of cricket, and the game of terror cannot be played at the same time.’

When asked about Sunday’s India-Pakistan cricket tie amid tensions on the LOC, Baba Ramdev said, “I feel that the cricket match under such a situation is against ‘Rashtradharma ‘ and not in the interest of the nation. The game of cricket and the game of terror cannot be played at the same time.”

India vs Pakistan game (Reuters Photo)
India vs Pakistan game (Reuters Photo)

The nuclear-armed neighbours have gone to war three times since gaining independence from British colonial rule in the mid-20th century and remain at loggerheads over Kashmir. India and Pakistan have not played the Test series for more than 14 years.

As far as bilateral series in ODIs and T20Is are concerned, it has been over eight years. India-Pakistan only faces each other during ICC events like ODI, T20I World Cups, Champions Trophy, and Asia Cup. The political tension between the two neighbouring countries escalated after the terror attack in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel in 2008.

Baba Ramdev’s remarks came amid the ongoing anti-terror operation in Jammu and Kashmir in which several Army personnel have died, and at least 11 civilians have been killed in the valley over the past two weeks.

India Has An Unbeaten 12-0 Record Against Pakistan In World Cups

India last hosted Pakistan in a bilateral series in 2013, and the teams now meet only in global tournaments, the last being the 2019 ODI World Cup in England. India has a 12-0 record against Pakistan in T20 and 50-overs World Cups, and they will hope to extend that streak in their tournament opener against their arch-rivals. The match is a repeat of the 2007 final when India pipped Pakistan to the inaugural title after a heart-stopping match.

The Indian team for T20I World Cup 2007 was fairly young, captained by a 26-year-old MS Dhoni. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, and Zaheer Khan had opted out of the tournament. MS Dhoni, who was on the rise, was given the reins of the team, and he created history with a bunch of youngsters. India defeated Pakistan in the final, played in Johannesburg, to claim the inaugural T20 World title.

2007 World T20 winning Indian team. Credits: Getty Images
2007 World T20 winning Indian team. Credits: Getty Images

India has won seven of their eight T20Is against Pakistan, with five of those coming at the World Cup. However, Pakistan is yet to beat their arch-rivals India in a World Cup game in 12 encounters across the T20I and 50-over editions. Both India (2007) and Pakistan (2009) are former champions in the World T20 and have played plenty of cricket in UAE thanks to IPL and PSL.

Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar (Photo: @shoaib100mph)
Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar (Photo: @shoaib100mph)
/

Shoaib Akhtar Offers Hilarious Advice To Pakistan To “Give Sleeping Pills To India”

Shoaib Akhtar has offered hilarious advice to Pakistan about defeating India in Sunday’s bumper T20 World Cup match in Dubai-the T20I World Cup 2021 opening game for both teams.

Speaking exclusively, the former Pakistani pacer jokingly remarked that Babar Azam and co. should give sleeping pills to Indian players before the match. He also asked them to stop Virat Kohli from using his Instagram and even requested team mentor, MS Dhoni, not to come and bat himself.

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)
Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

Shoaib Akhtar Hilariously Advices Pakistan To Give Sleeping Pills To India But Adds Seriously That Pakistan Should Start Well Giving A Defendable Total

Virat Kohli has scored 169 runs from three innings against arch-rivals. In all those three innings, he remained unbeaten. 78* off 61 balls (2012), 36* off 32 balls (2014), and 55* off 37 balls (2016) were his scores against Pakistan in the T20I World Cups. Virat Kohli has been India’s highest run-getter against Pakistan in T20Is. He has scored 254 runs from six innings at 84.66 with two fifty-plus scores and a strike rate of 118.6.

The 40-year-old MS Dhoni’s new role as a mentor of Team India is limited to the T20I World Cup.  MS Dhoni is the most successful captain in white-ball cricket with all 3 ICC titles – 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy- in his cabinet. In addition, he’s led IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings to victory in the IPL in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

Shoaib Akhtar said: “Give sleeping pills to India first. Second, stop Virat Kohli from using Instagram for two days (chuckles). And third, ask MS Dhoni to not come to bat himself, I am telling you he’s still the most in-form batter.”

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

Shoaib Akhtar then spoke on a serious note, offering his actual advice to Pakistan. He asked the Pakistan openers to provide a good start, avoid dot balls and pace their innings. He also asked the bowling attack to be aggressive while defending a good total.

Shoaib Akhtar added: “Pakistan needs to open in a manner where you can get a good start. Then, Pakistan will have to avoid dot balls, play run-a-ball for 5-6 overs then take the strike rate up. And when it comes to bowling, if you have a good total, then make sure you are out there and take wickets.”

India has won seven of their eight T20Is against Pakistan, with five of those coming at the World Cup. However, the Men in Green are yet to win a World Cup game, be it T20Is or ODIs, against their arch-rivals.  It’s worth noting that Pakistan is yet to beat their arch-rivals India in a World Cup game in 12 encounters across the T20I and 50-over editions.

Shoaib Akhtar Picks The Player To Watch Out For In The India-Pakistan Match

When asked to pick Pakistan’s trump card for the match, Shoaib Akhtar chose Asif Ali. The 30-year-old right-handed batter has played 29 T20Is for Pakistan, scoring 344 runs at an average of 16.38 and a strike rate of 123.74.

The former pacer said: “Asif Ali strikes well in the lower order. I think he can be a player to look out for.”

Pakistan batsman Asif Ali (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistan batsman Asif Ali (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The much-anticipated match will kickstart at 7:30 PM IST in Dubai. Pakistan announced their 12-man squad for the India clash in Dubai. The Pakistan team management decided to include senior and experienced cricketers in the XI for blockbuster India vs Pakistan clash scheduled to take place on October 24 (Sunday).

From the 15-man complete squad, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Mohammad Nawaz, and Sarfaraz Ahmed did not make the cut. Therefore, the 12 men who remain in contention are Babar Azam,  Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf.

MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
/

MS Dhoni’s Presence As A Mentor Has Seen The Whole Dressing Room Wear A Calm Look : Source

MS Dhoni, the Captain Cool led a group of youngsters to the title in the inaugural 2007 T20I World Cup. Interestingly, India’s campaign had started with a game against arch-rivals Pakistan. The script wears a slight similarity in the 2021 T20I World Cup staged after 5 years. India will once again open the campaign against Pakistan. Only this time, MS Dhoni is a retired international legend and has been appointed mentor for the tournament by BCCI.

An India-Pakistan game in a cricket World Cup isn’t just about playing to the best of one’s ability, it is also about keeping a calm head and not letting the occasion get to the youngsters present in the team. And this is exactly where MS Dhoni’s presence has helped Virat Kohli’s boys.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

MS Dhoni’s Presence Has Seen The Whole Dressing Room Wear A Calm Look

A source in the know of developments in the team management said MS Dhoni’s addition as a mentor for the T20 World Cup has been a huge positive with the former skipper’s room being the go-to place for everyone, be it for serious talks or banter to help relax the mind before the first game of the tournament.

“We start with the game against Pakistan and Dhoni’s presence has seen the whole dressing room wear a calm look. His room is obviously the bonding zone for the players and you can always expect him to come up with the answers to the queries of the youngsters and it hasn’t been any different this time going into the T20 World Cup.”

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

“This team has some of the most talented players in the country, but the big-match experience is something that can only come with time and there isn’t much of that in this team apart from the likes of Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami, and a couple of others. The youngsters need that big brother figure in the team to give them a calming influence when they walk out to the middle,” the source explained.

The Indian players have been training smart for the opening game against Pakistan and even won both their warm-up games — against England and Australia. Having played the IPL in the UAE has seen them adapt well to the conditions on offer.

The 40-year-old MS Dhoni’s new role as a mentor of Team India is limited to the T20I World Cup.  MS Dhoni is the most successful captain in white-ball cricket with all 3 ICC titles – 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy- in his cabinet. He’s led IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings to victory in the IPL in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

Matthew Hayden: Nothing Matches Rivalry Of India And Pakistan

But the Pakistan team is also familiar with UAE conditions and that is why batting consultant Matthew Hayden on Thursday said that the T20 World Cup clash between the arch-rivals India and Pakistan will be a ‘dogfight’, and one team would not run away with the game.

Talking about the rivalry between India and Pakistan, Hayden said: “Nothing that I have ever seen through the various elements of our game ever matches the rivalry of India and Pakistan. There is an obvious pressure much like the pressure that’s there when you play against England for Australia. But the pressure is only as much as you allow it to be. Your preparation is there, your experience is there, your opportunity now becomes a history-making opportunity.”

Matthew Hayden
Matthew Hayden (Image Credit: Twitter)

“We can present all the stats, do all our homework and research, but nothing can replace all the stuff that we all dream about, or coach about and commentate on which will be the game itself. I can sense that the players are waiting for that opportunity. I can sense that there is a sense of calm about that. It’s now the opportunity of playing the game,” he added.

India has looked in fine form in the run-up to the tournament, having defeated heavyweights England and Australia in the two warm-up games prior to the group games in the 2021 T20I World Cup against Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia. Their players also have the required match practise under their belts, thanks to the recently concluded IPL 2021.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma | AFP
/

Rohit Sharma Opens Up On Unfolded Events During 20th Over Of India’s Win Vs Pakistan In 2007 T20I WC

Rohit Sharma recounted the events that unfolded during the last over of India’s victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. He recollected how teammate Yuvraj Singh turned the other way, afraid to look up as he expected S Sreesanth might drop the catch.

Six runs were required off the final four deliveries when Pakistan batsman Misbah-ul-Haq attempted to scoop the ball over the short fine leg off the bowling of Joginder Sharma. S Sreesanth completed the catch on the edge of the circle to clinch the inaugural T20 World Cup title for India.

S Sreesanth Taking A Catch As India Won 2007 T20I WC Pic Source: T20 World Cup
S Sreesanth Taking A Catch As India Won 2007 T20I WC Pic Source: T20 World Cup

Rohit Sharma: The Moment Misbah-ul-Haq Played The Shot, Yuvraj Singh Turned Around To Not Watch Fearing S Sreesanth May Drop It

Rohit Sharma narrated the events to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup website. He was fielding at the cover at the time and saw Yuvraj Singh turn around at point as the ball went up.

“I was standing at covers that particular ball. Yuvi was at point. The moment Misbah played that shot, I saw Yuvi turning around. He was not watching because he thought he was going to drop it,” Rohit Sharma said.

Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni celebrate the 2007 T20 World Cup win © Getty Images
Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, and MS Dhoni celebrate the 2007 T20 World Cup win © Getty Images.

The Indian team for T20I World Cup 2007 was fairly young, captained by a 26-year-old MS Dhoni. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, and Zaheer Khan had opted out of the tournament. MS Dhoni, who was on the rise, was given the reins of the team, and he created history with a bunch of youngsters. India defeated Pakistan in the final, played in Johannesburg, to claim the inaugural T20 World title.

Rohit Sharma Felt Surreal To Be Part Of India-Pakistan Final Match At 2007 T20I WC

The current Indian vice-captain reckons that S Sreesanth wouldn’t have experienced as much pressure in his life as he would have when the ball came at him.

“I was praying that just catch it. He didn’t have to move much. It was just there. He just moved two, three steps back and took it. It was the most pressure catch that he must have taken in his life.”

“At the stadium, you could only see India and Pakistan fans. I think more was India. Now, it feels surreal. It’s just unbelievable what we did on that day.”

2007 World T20 winning Indian team. Credits: Getty Images
2007 World T20 winning Indian team. Credits: Getty Images

The 34-year-old added that performing for India in the World Cup final at that point felt like a dream.

“I was 20 years old at that point and for me, to be in the final of the World Cup, of an inaugural T20 World Cup, was itself a great deal. And then to be playing the finals, and just going out there, scoring runs and taking catches and taking wickets, and seeing all the magic happen on the field was like a dream.”

India and Pakistan will once again face each other in a T20I World Cup when they play their opening match of the Super 12 stage on Sunday in the 2021 edition.

Yuvraj Singh featured in two World Cup wins for India (T20 World Cup in 2007 and ODI World Cup in 2011). In the 2007 T20 World Cup, Yuvraj Singh scored only 148 runs in the tournament, with two fifties. But he got those runs at a strike rate close to 195. In the tournament, his 12-ball half-century against England remains the fastest fifty in international cricket as he hit 6 sixes in one over off Stuart Broad.

With 362 runs at an average of 90.5 and 15 wickets at an average of 25.13, he was a key player in India’s second ODI World Cup Win after a hiatus of 28 years, and deservingly won the Player of the Tournament award.

India squad for T20 World Cup 2007: MS Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Ajit Agarkar, Piyush Chawla, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Joginder Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, S. Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa

India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
/

Any Side Could Upset India In Any Knockout Game As India Lacks Plan B And T20I Is Unpredictable: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain, the former England skipper, feels that “any side can defeat” India in the knockout stage of the ICC T20 World Cup, owing to their lack of plan B and the uncertain nature of the shortest format of the game.

India has looked in fine form in the run-up to the tournament, having defeated heavyweights England and Australia in the two warm-up games prior to the group games in the 2021 T20I World Cup against Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia. Their players also have the required match practice under their belts, thanks to the recently concluded IPL 2021.

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

Nasser Hussain: Anyone Could Upset India In Any Knockout Game Due To The T20I Format Being Unpredictable

Against England in their first warm-up game, chasing a target of 189, India reached 192 for three in 19 overs. Openers KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan were in brilliant form. KL Rahul smashed 51 off 24 deliveries, and Ishan Kishan retired after playing a knock of 70 runs off 46 balls.

In their second warm-up game, India thumped Australia by nine wickets with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Suryakumar Yadav (38), all getting some runs under their belts. Australia’s bowlers captured only one wicket, with spinner Ashton Agar removing opener KL Rahul. Rohit Sharma (60 retired off 41) showed sublime touch alongside opening partner KL Rahul (39 off 31) as India chased down Australia’s 152 for five in 17.5 overs.

“They are favourites. I wouldn’t say clear favourites simply because of the format. The shorter the game, things can happen,” Nasser Hussain said.

“… an individual brilliance of 70 or 80 or three deliveries suddenly changes the other away around. So anyone could upset India in any knockout game,” Nasser Hussain said.

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

Nasser Hussain also highlighted India’s poor track record in the knockout stages of recent ICC events. India’s last ICC title came under the leadership of M.S. Dhoni in 2013 when they defeated England to lift the Champions Trophy.

Since then, India has been knocked out of the semifinals in the 2015 World Cup, 2016 T20 World Cup, and the 2019 World Cup while finishing runner-up at the 2017 Champions Trophy and the inaugural World Test Championship earlier this year.

“Their record of late in the ICC tournaments is not good and that’s something they are going to have to deal with — with the weight of expectations of the Indian audience and fans heavy on their shoulders — when they get to a knockout game, all of a sudden you cannot afford a mistake and that’s going to be a thing for them.”

Nasser Hussain feels that India doesn’t have a plan B when their top-order fails in a knock-out match.

“When they get to a stage — you look at the last World Cup against New Zealand — and suddenly it’s a low-scoring game and they don’t have a Plan B. They got rolled over a very good New Zealand side. So that’s going to be an issue for them,” Nasser Hussain said.

“The other problem with India is that they are so good at the top with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul boss games and the middle order hasn’t had much of a hit. You get to a knockout or final and suddenly they are at 30 for 3 because the standard has gone up and the middle order hasn’t had a hit and you go now you need to do it,” Nasser Hussain added.

The India squad for the T20 World Cup remains top-heavy, with Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, and Ravindra Jadeja likely to make up the lower middle-order and unable to inspire a great deal of confidence. Hardik Pandya averages less than 20 despite playing 49 T20Is and managed only 127 runs averaging a pathetic 14.11 at a strike rate of less than 115 in IPL 2021, and hasn’t bowled in IPL 2020 and 2021.

Hardik Pandya is in indifferent form, while Rishabh Pant has not been able to translate his Test success into T20Is, averaging just 21.33 after 33 matches. Ravindra Jadeja has batted only six times in T20Is since the start of 2019, but India was forced to go ahead with the experienced trio due to the lack of expertise of other players vying for selection.

Ravindra Jadeja’s last T20I was in 2020 against Australia, where he scored an unbeaten 44 before being concussed and missed the next few T20Is.

Nasser Hussain: India Has Some Of The Greatest White Ball Batsmen As On Paper They Have Every Base Covered

The former England cricketer said Virat Kohli-led India also needs to deal with the burden of expectation on its shoulders which arises because of the tremendous talent in the side.

“When they get into a knockout game all of a sudden they can’t afford any mistake and that’s because on paper they have everything. They have some of the greatest white-ball batters. Depth in the batting got the fast bowlers and the mystery spin and a mentor on the sidelines in M.S. Dhoni.”

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

“These are the areas India have to focus on. On paper, they have pretty much every base covered,” he added.

The 40-year-old MS Dhoni’s new role as a mentor of Team India is limited to the T20I World Cup.  MS Dhoni is the most successful captain in white-ball cricket with all 3 ICC titles – 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy- in his cabinet. He’s led IPL franchise CSK to victory in the IPL in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

While captain Virat Kohli has lauded the appointment of ‘mentor’ MS Dhoni, opening batsman KL Rahul said he is looking forward to learning from the World Cup 2007 (T20I) and 2011 (ODI) winning former captain once again.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
/

Sunil Gavaskar Welcomes Move To Bring Mentor MS Dhoni On Board In 2021 T20I WC

Sunil Gavaskar said MS Dhoni working as a mentor of the Indian cricket team will benefit them a great deal at the T20 World Cup in the UAE.

Legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar welcomed the inclusion of keeper MS Dhoni as India’s mentor at the T20 World Cup, saying off-field tactics might help influence the outcome of games in fast-paced T20 cricket.

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

Sunil Gavaskar Welcomes Move To Bring MS Dhoni As A Mentor For 2021 T20I WC

Speaking at Salaam Cricket 2021, Sunil Gavaskar said MS Dhoni’s work as a mentor will definitely benefit Virat Kohli’s team in the showpiece event but said a lot will depend on how India players execute their plans in crunch situations. MS Dhoni was appointed as India’s mentor for the T20 World Cup and the former captain is not getting any monetary benefit for the honorary role.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah had thanked MS Dhoni for the gesture as India look to end their 8-year drought for an ICC trophy. After leading Chennai Super Kings to their 4th Indian Premier League title in Dubai last week, MS Dhoni joined the Team India bio-bubble as their mentor. He was spotted having conversations with the players and the support staff during their first training session in Dubai.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

MS Dhoni was seen with Rishabh Pant during India’s warm-up match win over Australia in Dubai as the two wicketkeepers were working on training drills. While captain Virat Kohli has lauded the appointment of MS Dhoni, opening batsman KL Rahul said he is looking forward to learning from the World Cup 2007 (T20I) and 2011 (ODI) winning former captain once again.

“Mentor won’t do much on the field. But in the change room, he is needed. T20 is such a fast-paced game that the right tactics can change the proceedings. When you have a time-out, you need to know what you have to tell your batters or fielders. To understand this, bringing MS Dhoni as mentor is a very good move. It will definitely benefit the team,” Gavaskar said.

“But he will remain in the change room. But the work on the field needs to be done by the players. So learning how to handle that pressure and then respond to that pressure will influence the result.”

KL Rahul has been one of the most consistent T20 performers for India, with astounding returns of 659, 593, 670, and 626 runs in the last four editions of IPL.

The 40-year-old MS Dhoni’s new role as a mentor of Team India is limited to the T20I World Cup.  MS Dhoni is the most successful captain in white-ball cricket with all 3 ICC titles – 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy- in his cabinet. He’s led IPL franchise CSK to victory in the IPL in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

Sunil Gavaskar: India Should Sort Final XI Right In Major Knock Out Games

Sunil Gavaskar highlighted that India has not been able to get past the knockout hurdles at ICC tournaments in the recent past and said team selection is something that the Asian giants should get right at these crucial matches.

“From whatever I have seen, India has lacked in major knock-out games and that lacking has been in team selection. The selection of the final XI. If you are able to sort out that final XI problem, then you might not face the hiccup,” Gavaskar said.
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI

India was knocked out in the semi-final of the 2015 World Cup and the T20 World Cup in 2016. In 2017, India lost to Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy followed by a semi-final exit at the 2019 World Cup

KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: Twitter)
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: Twitter)
/

KL Rahul And Rishabh Pant A Major Threat To Pakistan: Matthew Hayden

Matthew Hayden, the former Australia opener and newly appointed Pakistan batting consultant, said leadership will be key in the much anticipated India-Pakistan T20 World Cup clash in “dogfight conditions” in Dubai on Sunday.

Terming the match a real dogfight, Matthew Hayden, who is working with the Pakistan team as a batting consultant, said the margin for error will be very little in the big match, so leadership will be the key to the outcome.

Matthew Hayden
Matthew Hayden (Image Credit: Twitter)

Matthew Hayden: Leadership Will Be The Key

Matthew Hayden cited examples of MS Dhoni and Eoin Morgan, who led their respective IPL franchises CSK and KKR to the IPL 2021 with success when their own individual performances with the bat were not at expected levels.

“Their individual performances were not as good as they have previously done as per their statistical records but the way they led their troops and conducted themselves played an important part in their teams reaching the IPL final in UAE conditions,” Hayden said in a media interaction.

“I feel leadership will be key in the coming match as conditions in UAE leave very little margin for error and there are dogfight conditions out there.”

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

Matthew Hayden said Pakistan captain Babar Azam had a role to play in the match as a leader and a premium batter.

“There will be additional pressure on him as captain and batsman because he will be targeted and everyone will be wanting to like they say, put him in their pocket. Babar has command and presence and he needs to fulfill that role in a batting sense and captain.”

India and Pakistan will face off in their Super 12s opener on Sunday, October 24 as fireworks are expected in the game between the two arch-rivals. Pakistan’s next game will see them take on New Zealand just two days later. Defeats in those two games would probably spell curtains on their campaign.

Babar Azam has scored 2,204 runs in international T20I cricket in 61 matches at an average of 46.89 with one century and 20 half-centuries. He has scored 7055 runs in 196 T20s averaging 46.11 with 6 tons and 59 fifties.

Matthew Hayden: KL Rahul Possesses A Major Threat To Pakistan

Matthew Hayden also observed that having followed Indian cricket very closely over the years, he believed that dashing batsmen KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant pose the biggest threat to Pakistan in the match.

“More or less I have watched KL Rahul grow and he is a major threat to Pakistan. I have watched him grow up as a boy. I have seen his struggles and his dominance in shorter formats.

“I have seen someone like Rishab Pant, his brash nature and beautiful vision for the game, how he has destroyed bowling attacks because he has got the opportunity because he sees it that way.”

KL Rahul, one of the top run-getters in the IPL 2021, smashed a sparkling fifty against England in India’s first warm-up match and also looked in great touch against Australia in the second warm-up match. On the other hand, Rishabh Pant had a pretty good IPL 2021 himself and hit some lusty blows against England in the 1st warm-up game.

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

The Australian opener also said, having watched the game’s various elements and been part of it. He can say that nothing matches the rivalry between Pakistan and India, with the Ashes between England and Australia coming a close second to the arch-rivals games.

“For an Australian obviously the Ashes and matches against England are tops but nothing matches the rivalry of these two teams.”

Matthew Hayden said Pakistan has some wonderful assets that will perform on the given day. He termed Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Fakhar Zaman as key players for Pakistan.

“I have learned for whatever reason you are always under pressure, you don’t need to create additional pressure to what the game demands.”

Asked about his short-term role as a batting consultant with the Pakistan team, Matthew Hayden said his main purpose was to bring calmness and control among cricketers and tell the players to remain focused because T20I World Cups are quite challenging.

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
//

Shardul Thakur’s Fortunes Have Changed Ever Since He Has Joined CSK In 2018: Virender Sehwag

Shardul Thakur, the fast bowling all-rounder, picked up 21 wickets from 15 matches to emerge as the highest wicket-taker of the season for IPL 2021 winners CSK, ensuring that his career graph maintained its upward curve.

Impressed with Shardul Thakur’s progress, former India dashing batsman Virender Sehwag lauded the 30-year-old and credited his association with CSK and its captain MS Dhoni for the terrific turnaround in his career. Virender Sehwag feels Shardul Thakur has turned over a new leaf since joining CSK, which has seen him grab 55 wickets for the four-time IPL champions.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur[photo: Twitter]

Shardul Thakur’s Fortunes Have Changed After He Joined CSK: Virender Sehwag

Chennai Super Kings proved yet again why they are the most consistent IPL team of all time. Over the IPL, only once did CSK fail to reach the Playoffs, which was last year (IPL 2020). Still, as the team is renowned always to stage a fabulous comeback, CSK did exactly that in IPL 2021, winning the title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final in Dubai.

While most of CSK’s triumph focused on Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, and Deepak Chahar, one person who went under the radar is Shardul Thakur.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

“He is CSK’s highest wicket-taker this season. He came to bowl the 11th over where he took two wickets and the game changed from there. His fortunes have changed ever since he has joined Chennai Super Kings. He’s played most of his cricket for India after playing for CSK,” Virender Sehwag said.

CSK acquired Shardul Thakur in 2018, and although he had represented the national team in ODIs and T0Is earlier, the same year, he went on to make his Test debut later in November. Shardul Thakur, who has been consistently among wickets for the Mumbai Ranji team, was inducted into the Indian squad for the Test tour of the West Indies(2018). Although, his big moment came in Sri Lanka when he made his ODI debut for India (2017).

Shardul Thakur Has Performed Well For CSK, Which Has Reflected In Int’l Cricket Success: Virender Sehwag

Although it took Shardul Thakur to cement his place in the team, he has produced a good case for himself with both bat and ball, scoring three half-centuries and picking 14 wickets from four Tests.

“Before joining CSK, he used to be in and out of the team, but having played for Chennai, he entered the Indian Test team, the one-day side, and the T20 unit as well. As I said, his fortunes have changed, not only because he has played for CSK but also because he has picked up wickets and performed well,” added Virender Sehwag.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

In his brief international career, pace all-rounder Shardul Thakur has played 4 Tests picking 14 scalps averaging 22.71 besides amassing 190 runs with 3 fifties averaging 38. He has also played 15 ODIs and 22 T20Is, picking up 22 and 31 wickets, respectively.

Fast bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur who was named in the reserves, replaced Axar Patel in India’s main squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17. The selectors wanted a cover for pace bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who plays for Mumbai Indians, not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who conceded 54 runs in four overs in India’s first warm-up clash against England before the T20I World Cup, may not be picked for the mega clash against Pakistan as Shardul Thakur’s chances to play against Pakistan have increased.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
/

T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya Admits Responsibility Is On His Shoulders In MS Dhoni’s Absence

Hardik Pandya was all praise for MS Dhoni and stated there will be a big responsibility on his shoulders like a lead finisher of the team in absence of the former India captain in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

With the Indian team management assessing all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s back over the last week, it was decided that he will primarily be a finisher in the World Cup in UAE.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY.

Hardik Pandya loves challenges thrown in his way:

Sources in the team management had said Hardik Pandya is still not 100 percent fit when it comes to bowling, but his experience when it comes to absorbing pressure and finishing games with the bat cannot be overlooked.

“The biggest so far, I will say, because this time I don’t have Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Everything is on my shoulders — I like to think that way because it gives me an added challenge. It is going to be exciting, a cracker of a tournament,” Hardik told ESPNcricinfo when asked about how big a responsibility it will be to be a lead finisher of the Indian team going into the T20 WC.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Hardik Pandya also threw light on how MS Dhoni was one of the people who helped him during the difficult time when the all-rounder was suspended by the BCCI for comments made on a TV talk show.

“MS was someone who understood me from the start: how I function, what kind of a person I am, what are the things I don’t like, everything. When I was picked for the New Zealand series [in January 2019, after the suspension was revoked], initially there were no hotel rooms [for Pandya in New Zealand]. “

“But then I get a call, saying, “You just come. MS has told us, ‘I don’t sleep on the bed [in any case]. He will sleep on my bed and I will sleep on the floor.'” He [Dhoni] was the first person who has been always there. He called me around the same time I had the conversation with Akash [Ambani].”

“He knows what kind of an individual I am. He knows me quite deep. I am very close to him. He is the only person who can make me calm. When all this happened, he knew that I needed support. I just needed a shoulder, which he provided multiple times in my cricketing career. I never saw him as MS Dhoni the greatest. For me, Mahi is my brother. I respect and admire the fact that he was there when I needed him the most,” he added.

Hardik Pandya was initially chosen as a batting all-rounder in India’s main 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. However, with uncertainties about his ability to roll his arm over, the Indian selectors even had to bring in pacer all-rounder Shardul Thakur from the reserve list to the main squad at the expense of spinner Axar Patel to beef up the seam-bowling department.

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya: MS Dhoni Is A Life Coach In Many Ways

The all-rounder also stated that MS Dhoni is a life coach for him.

“In a certain way, yes. We have lovely conversations. As I said, only Mahi can make me understand certain things. Sometimes if I get strong-headed and I go into that zone and I believe some things, I have to call him and say, This is on my mind. What do you think? Then he will explain. So, yes, in a lot of ways he is a life coach,” he said.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

“Staying with him, obviously, you learn to be mature, you learn to become humble. I have learned a lot by watching him. He never loses his cool.”

Notably, MS Dhoni is currently with Virat Kohli and boys as the mentor for the team in the World Cup in UAE. India will open its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai. After the upcoming T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli will be stepping down as the side’s captain in the shortest format.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
//

Chennai Super Kings Will Use First Retention Card For ‘Skipper’ MS Dhoni In IPL 2022

Chennai Super Kings fans were elated when skipper MS Dhoni after lifting the IPL trophy, told Harsha Bhogle at the post-match presentation on Friday that he hadn’t yet left behind a legacy. However, while it was seen as a sign that fans might still get to see the legend on the cricket pitch, the CSK management has now confirmed the same.

A CSK official said the first retention card at the auction will be used to retain the captain of the ship.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings Will Use First Retention Card For MS Dhoni In IPL 2022

MS Dhoni had said he hadn’t left behind with a wide grin when the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain was asked if the talismanic batsman is proud to have left a legacy behind in 12 seasons for the newly crowned Indian Premier League (IPL) champions. However, one of the most successful captains in the shortest format of cricket, MS Dhoni, had earlier admitted to the ‘uncertainties’ surrounding the 2022 edition of the cash-rich league.

“There will be retention and that is a fact. The number of retentions isn’t something we are aware of yet. But honestly, that is secondary in MS’ case because the first card will be used for him. The ship needs its captain and rest assured he will be back next year,” the official said.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

MS Dhoni, on his part, played it like he always has as he said CSK will try to make a strong core that can contribute for the next few years.

Asked about the road ahead after registering his fourth title win in the IPL, Dhoni said: “Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in, we have to decide what is good for CSK. It’s not about me being there in top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years.”

In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.

MS Dhoni Credits KKR For Comeback After Covid-19 Induced Break

He even made it a point to first congratulate Kolkata Knight Riders for this season’s tremendous display before talking about his own team’s display.

“Before I start talking about CSK, need to talk about KKR. Difficult to come back and do what they have, if any team deserved to win the IPL, it’s KKR. Huge credit to the coaches, team, and support staff. The break really helped them. Coming to CSK, we shuffled players. We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well,” said Dhoni.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts. Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot [meetings]. It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure,” he added.

Dhoni didn’t forget the all-important CSK fans and said: “I would love to thank the fans, wherever we’ve played, even when we were in South Africa, we’ve always had a good number of CSK fans. That is what you crave. Thanks to all of them, it feels like we’re playing in Chennai. Hopefully, we’ll be back in Chennai for the fans.”

The Covid-19 induced break in the season came at the right time for KKR as they could regroup from the dismal start they had to the season. Unfortunately, the likes of KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pacer Sandeep Warrier and SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha and DC’s Amit Mishra were contracted with the Covid-19 virus, which eventually led to the postponement of IPL 2021 in India and the remainder of the league was moved to UAE.

The virus had wreaked havoc in India at that time, claiming thousands of lives. Prasidh Krishna, who has been picked as a standby player for England tour, became the fourth Kolkata Knight Riders player to test positive for Covid-19. KKR wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 earlier.

1 2 3 287