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Ravi Shastri - Page 4

File picture of Russel Arnold. - THE HINDU
File picture of Russel Arnold. - THE HINDU
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Russel Arnold Envious That India Has So Many Quality Players

Russel Arnold has made heads turn with his glaring remark on Shikhar Dhawan-led India who will battle it out against Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series from July 18 (Sunday), which will be followed by three T20Is.

While a lot of talks have been made on the second-string Shikhar Dhawan-led Team India, without white-ball regulars in the likes of India captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, former Sri Lankan cricketer Russel Arnold is envious of the team having quality cricketers as the batting line-up has a lot of talented youngsters.

Russel Arnold | Twitter
Russel Arnold | Twitter

Russel Arnold Is Jealous That India Has So Many Quality Players In Their Bench

On one hand, Arjuna Ranatunga feels Sri Lanka playing a second-stringed Indian team in home conditions is an ‘insult’ to SLC, Russel Arnold has revealed that he is jealous of Shikhar Dhawan-led India as it gives an account into the Men in Blue’s rich depth and solid bench strength.

Despite no Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, India has great balance in their squad with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pandya brothers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav along with youngsters such as Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Chetan Sakariya, Varun Chakravarthy and Krishnappa Gowtham, most of whom are yet to debut for India in limited-overs.

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

Even the uncapped Indian players are big names, or known faces, due to their success in the extravagant IPL in the recent editions.

Russel Arnold told, “I just feel jealous that India has those cricketers. Even this team, we’ve seen them play. We’ve seen the quality they bring. There is a lot of experience too in Shikhar Dhawan, the Pandyas, spinners Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. There’s a lot of exciting prospects.”

“We also know about the youngsters and what they can do. The question for the India team would be, can these youngsters actually perform on their own knowing that there is no cushion of a Rohit or Virat. Can they take that next step? It will be exciting to see. As I said, I’m jealous that India is actually in this position (of having so many quality players),” Russel Arnold added.

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

Russell Arnold: There Is A Lot Of Talent In The Batting Line-up

Prithvi Shaw has earned a call-up into the white-ball squad following his excellent form in IPL 2021 (308 runs) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (827 runs). Openers Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs in IPL 2020 and 195 runs in IPL 2021) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (204 runs in IPL 2020 and 196 runs in IPL 2021) performed well in IPL.

Nitish Rana had scored above 300 runs in every edition since IPL 2017 and managed 201 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021. Chetan Sakariya who impressed everyone in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 where he picked 7 wickets in as many games for Rajasthan Royals has also earned a place in the squad.

The former Sri Lanka cricketer Russel Arnold further opined, “Of course, you will be looking at Dhawan and Pandyas to perform but I’m thinking Prithvi Shaw might get a run. Helpfully he will prove me right by entertaining everyone.”

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

“There is Padikkal, Gaikwad. When we look at the batting, there is a lot of talent. Will they look at it as an opportunity and will they push the seniors? It comes down to what you have and what you want to prove.

“You can sit back and think I’m a part of it, I’ve got my opportunity and that’s fine, this attitude will not take you far. Hunger is what will make the difference. It’s hard to give names right now because we don’t know who is going to play from the big squad of 20. But whoever plays, we know can be dangerous,” concluded Russel Arnold.

The forthcoming SL tour will also see Rahul Dravid, India’s former captain, serving as the head coach of the national side for the first time ever in Ravi Shastri’s absence, who is still in the UK for the five Tests against England. Many believe with Ravi Shastri’s tenure set to get over after the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, Rahul Dravid will be a strong contender to take over the top job.

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI
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There’s No Reason To Remove Ravi Shastri As Head Coach If He Continues To Do Well, Says Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev feels there is no reason to remove Ravi Shastri as India’s head coach if he continues to do a good job. 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev believes there is no reason to remove the present head coach if he continues to do a good job.

Speculations are rife that Rahul Dravid will take over as India’s head coach when Ravi Shastri’s tenure comes to an end at the end of the T20 World Cup slated in the UAE later this year.

Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)

Kapil Dev: No Reason To Remove Ravi Shastri If He Continues To Do A Good Job

Notably, Rahul Dravid is coaching a young Indian side in the absence of regular coach Ravi Shastri, who is in England presently with the Indian Test side which is being led by Virat Kohli. Veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan will lead India in Sri Lanka with pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar as his deputy.

Under Ravi Shastri, India defeated Australia in Australia twice and reached the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup and the WTC Final, but lost both the knockout games to New Zealand after starting as favourites.

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

“I don’t think there is any need to speak about it. Let this Sri Lanka series get over. We’ll get to know the kind of performance our team has dished out. If you’re trying to shape a new coach, there’s nothing wrong with it. Then again, if Ravi Shastri continues to do a good job, there’s no reason to remove him either. Only time will tell. Before that, I think it will put unnecessary pressure on our coaches and players,” Kapil Dev said on the Wah Cricket Show on ABP News.

The 59-year-old Ravi Shastri’s contract comes to an end after the completion of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in October-November and it will also depend on whether the former India all-rounder is in a mood to re-apply. Two Indians teams are set to play in two different countries with Virat Kohli and his men gearing up for the five-Test series in England, while a Shikhar Dhawan-led team will take on hosts Sri Lanka in a limited over series.

Kapil Dev: India Has Big Bench Strength And There Is Nothing Better If India Can Assemble Two Teams Claiming To Win Both In England And Sri Lanka

Kapil Dev is in favour of deserving youngsters getting to earn their India cap, and he is concerned about the team playing too much cricket.

“India has big bench strength. If players get the opportunity and India can assemble two teams that can claim to win in both England and Sri Lanka, there is nothing better. If the youngsters get the opportunity, there’s nothing wrong with it. But if it is up to the team management to decide whether they should apply such pressure on two teams simultaneously,” Kapil pointed out.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP

Shikhar Dhawan will lead a 20-man squad comprising of many youngsters who did well in IPL 2020 and/or IPL 2021. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan will join an array of youngsters, some of whom are expected to make their India debuts in the island nation.

There are a few posts up for grabs with the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal eyeing big returns in the island nation. Vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack with support from the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Chetan Sakariya.

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya got maiden India call-ups. Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department and will have support from the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, K Gowtham,  Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, and Varun Chakravarthy.

Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
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Kapil Dev Is Against Adding Third Opener For 5-Match England Tests Series

Kapil Dev feels that with openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul already in the 20 member squad in England, picking the third opener and adding him into the squad does not reflect nicely on the team management’s part.

Former all-rounder Kapil Dev is against the addition of any further openers in India’s Test squad for the five-match Test series against England, with the 1983 World Cup-winning captain claiming there is no need to look beyond the pool of 20 players alongside the 5 standbys who are currently in the UK.

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI

Kapil Dev Is Against Adding Third Opener Besides Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Abhimanyu Easwaran After Opener Shubman Gill’s Injury

KapilDev’s comments come after reports surfaced that the management is inclined towards calling up Prithvi Shaw from Sri Lanka for the England tour after Shubman Gill picked up an injury and is expected to miss the entire series.

Kapil Dev, however, feels that with the likes of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul already in the side, and Abhimanyu Easwaran as a reserve player, picking yet another opening batsman and adding him to the squad will act as an ‘insult’ to the players who are already in the squad.

“I don’t think there is any need for it. There should be some respect for the selectors too. They have picked a team and I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened without their (Shastri and Kohli) consultation. ‘

“I mean, you have two such big opening batsmen in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Do you really need a third option? I don’t think it’s right,” Kapil said on the ‘Wah Cricket’ show on ABP News.

Mayank Agarwal (L) or KL Rahul (R) will replace Shubman Gill (C) for England Tests (Getty Images)
Mayank Agarwal (L) or KL Rahul (R) will replace Shubman Gill (C) for England Tests (Getty Images)

“I’m not convinced with this theory. The team that they’ve picked already has openers so I think they should be the ones to play. Otherwise, it’s insulting for the players who are already in the team.”

Kapil Dev argued that it’s not possible for the selectors to have picked a team without discussing it with coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli in the first place, which is why he feels the management should respect the decision of the selectors and pick replacements from the original pool of players.

Kapil Dev: Picking A Third Opener Outside Squad For England Tests Would Harm The Confidence Of KL Rahul And Mayank Agarwal

Kapil Dev weighed in on the matter, saying that adding another name in the squad present in the UK would not do wonders to the confidence of either KL Rahul or Mayank Agarwal.

“I want that the captain and the management should have a say, but not at the expense of over-ruling the selectors and say that ‘these are the players we need’. In that case, we don’t even need selectors. I am feeling a bit odd knowing that something like this has happened because if it has, it demeans the selectors and their role,” he said.

“Only Virat and Ravi can say that. I feel that this is the wrong set-up to enter. The players you have backed, you cannot demean them. They are big players and I wouldn’t want something like this to happen. No need for any unnecessary controversy.”

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw. Photo 

Shubman Gill will be out of action for six to eight weeks. This has also given rise to a debate, as to who should open in England with Rohit Sharma. India has a few options in Mayank Agarwal, Abhimanyu Easwaran and KL Rahul. Abhimanyu Easwaran has been excellent in the domestic circuit in the last couple of years, while Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul have been out of form in the longest format.

India want in-form opener Prithvi Shaw, who is in Sri Lanka currently for the limited-overs series for the Tests in England, and the team has already submitted a formal request to the BCCI for the same. Prithvi Shaw, after an unsuccessful tour to New Zealand and Australia, was shown the door. But the youngster displayed great form in the domestic circuit and IPL.

The selectors, who are in Mumbai for administrative work, are yet to take a call regarding Prithvi Shaw. Although Abhimanyu Easwaran was named as a standby to the squad, he is yet to earn the team management’s trust due to a lack of matches.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Team Topping WTC Table Should Host The Final, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra feels the team that tops the World Test Championship (WTC) points table in the 2021-23 cycle should host the tournament final. The ICC has announced the schedule for the next WTC cycle 2021-23 along with a few changes to the points system. However, the host nation for the all-important final is yet to be decided.

The nine Test teams will play a total of six series: three home and three away just like the previous edition. Apart from the India-England series, the Ashes later this year will be the only other five-match affair in the second cycle which will end in June 2023. Australia’s tour of India next year is the only four-Test series in the upcoming cycle.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Suggested Team Topping The WTC Points Table Should Host The Final

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra suggested that the table-toppers at the end of the WTC league phase should have the privilege of hosting the final.

“There are a couple of suggestions. You will not be able to change anything else as you have already announced that there will be only six series and home and away will have the same weightage but I have a suggestion for the final. The team that tops the WTC table should host the final.”

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

The former Indian batsman added that this should be the case if it is a one-off encounter.

“You might have to move the final two-three months here or there because of that but it is fine if you are playing just one match. If you are going to have three, it is great, then you can do it anywhere.”

Several cricketers and former players, including Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, have asked for the WTC final to be a multi-match series. It will be interesting to see if the ICC can accommodate such a format, considering it would require almost a month in an already congested cricketing calendar.

The next WTC Final will now be played in 2023 and Virat Kohli like coach Ravi Shastri and former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar feels one match is not enough to determine the winners. Virat Kohli also felt that a three-match Test series will give both sides a good chance of making a comeback after losing the first game.

Aakash Chopra  Wants The Toss Be Removed In The WTC Final

Aakash Chopra also wants the visiting team to have the right to bat or field first in such a scenario. Aakash Chopra wants the toss to be done away in the all-important WTC final.

He explained: “When you are doing this, you should eliminate the toss. You should give the toss to the visitor, he can decide but it should happen where the hosts are.”

WTC Final: Kane Williamson's New Zealand wins the toss and opts to field , BCCI Twitter
WTC Final: Kane Williamson’s New Zealand wins the toss and opts to field BCCI Twitter

The 43-year-old signed off by stating that the hosts being part of the WTC final will also ensure that the stadium is filled with fans.

“When you do it in the host nation, there will be huge crowds which you are always worried about. So you will not have to think too much about that.”

While these are interesting suggestions, the ICC is likely to prefer pre-defined dates and a fixed venue for the WTC final. While fans did not get the desired start on Day 1 of the final clash between India and New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC), Day 2 saw Kane Willaimson’s side win the toss and opt to field at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton which later saw New Zealand winning the final by 8 wickets.

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
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India’s Schedule For The Next World Test Championship Cycle Announced

India’s Schedule For The Next World Test Championship Cycle Announced as the ICC World Test Championship’s 2nd edition from 2021-2023 will begin with the 5-match Test series against England and end with the tour of Bangladesh. The first cycle of the ICC World Test Championship concluded with the Indian cricket team ending second best despite dominating the league stage of the competition.

Putting behind the disappointment of the defeat in the final against New Zealand, the Virat Kohli-led side is now gearing up for the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship which begins for India with the 5-match Test series against England, starting August 04 at Trent Bridge.

 ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 Winners New Zealand
ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 Winners New Zealand Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

India Play England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, And Bangladesh In The ICC World Test Championship’s 2nd Edition

After the conclusion of the England series, Indian cricketers will keep themselves busy with the remainder of the Indian Premier League 2021 and the ICC T20 World Cup.

India’s second assignment in the Test Championship (2021-23) will be against defending champions New Zealand at home. The series is likely to take place after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup in November this year. Their third assignment will be when they lock horns with South Africa in December-January in the Rainbow nation before hosting Sri Lanka in a 3-match Test series.

Indian test team
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
After a lengthy break from the longest format of the game, the team will then battle it out against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which will take place in the second half of 2022. The team’s second WTC campaign will conclude with a 2-match Test series against Bangladesh.

India’s WTC schedule 2021-23:

– India tour of England (5 Test matches)

  1. August 4-8: England vs India, First Test, Trent Bridge
  2. August 12-16: England vs India, Second Test, Lord’s
  3. August 25-29: England vs India, Third Test, Headingley
  4. September 2-6: England vs India, Fourth Test, Kennington Oval
  5. September 10-14: England vs India, Fifth Test, Old Trafford

– New Zealand tour of India (2 Test matches)

– India tour of South Africa (3 Test matches)

– Sri Lanka tour of India (3 Test matches)

– India tour of Bangladesh (2 Test matches)

 Virat Kohli-led India’s Aim Is To Finish The League Stage Among The Top 2 Sides

Virat Kohli & Co. would look to put in a similarly dominant performance in the 2nd phase of the Test Championship as they did in the first phase. With the initial aim being to finish the league stage among the top two sides, Virat Kohli would be hopeful of a WTC final series this time rather than a one-off contest, having publicly expressed the same after his team’s defeat to the Kiwis.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

The 32-year-old spoke about the need for a minimum of three-Test series in the future to decide the potential winners of the WTC Final. The next WTC Final will now be played in 2023 and Virat Kohli like coach Ravi Shastri and former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar feels one match is not enough to determine the winners.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Virat Kohli Opens Up About The Need For A Minimum Of 3 Match Test Series To Decide WTC Final Winners

Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper spoke to the media in a post-match press conference after New Zealand beat India by eight wickets in the WTC Final. The 32-year-old spoke about the need for a minimum of three-Test series in the future to decide the potential winners of the WTC Final.

The next WTC Final will now be played in 2023 and Virat Kohli like coach Ravi Shastri and former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar feels one match is not enough to determine the winners.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Virat Kohli Not In Absolute Agreement Over Deciding The Best Test Side Over The Course Of One Game

The ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final ebbed and flowed and New Zealand finally won the match beating India by eight wickets in Southampton on June 23(the reserve 6th day). Fittingly veterans Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson were the two batters at the crease who buried the ghosts of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

The former scored an unbeaten 47, while the latter scored 52 to help the Blackcaps win an ICC trophy after 21 long years. While the marquee clash was marred by rain, it was a good battle between the two top teams.

“I am not in absolute agreement of deciding the best Test side in the world over the course of one game,” Kohli said.

New Zealand crowned World Test Champions after Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee heroics vs India©ICC-Twitter
New Zealand crowned World Test Champions after Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee heroics vs India©ICC-Twitter

“If it is a Test series, it has to be a test of character over three Tests – which team has the ability to come back in the series or totally blow away the other team. It has to be a hard grind and something that definitely needs to be worked around in the future,” Kohli added.

By tea, India had another batting disaster with only 170 runs in their second innings leaving New Zealand with a target of 139 only that they were expected to chase. It was one of the worst batting performances on a good track with the sun beating down. When India batted, it was only Rishabh Pant (41), who was ready to live and die by the sword while his seniors found it difficult to play the game of survival against the canniest of pace attacks.

The heroes of New Zealand’s victory were Kane Williamson(49 and 52*), Kyle Jamieson (5/31 in the 1st innings), and Tim Southee(4/48 in the 2nd innings).

Virat Kohli Is In Favour Of A Three Match WTC Final Series

Virat Kohli also felt that a three-match Test series will give both sides a good chance of making a comeback after losing the first game.

“At the end of three matches, where there’s effort, there’s ups and downs, there are situations changing during the course of the series, a chance to rectify the things you have done in the first game, and then really see who is the better side over the course of a three-match series or something, will be a good measure of how things really are,” Kohli went on to say.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli. PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI11_21_2014_000176B)

Earlier, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri also gave a statement of how the result of the match would not carry too much significance.

New Zealand 249 (Conway 54, Williamson 49, Shami 4-76) and 140 for 2 (Williamson 52*, Taylor 47, Ashwin 2-17) beat India 217 (Rahane 49, Kohli 44, Jamieson 5-31) and 170 (Pant 41, Southee 4-48) by eight wickets

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant
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WTC Final 2021: Handling Of Rishabh Pant Going Forward Is Crucial, Says Nasser Hussain

Rishabh Pant couldn’t do much with the bat on Day 3 of the WTC final. Following his dismissal, England’s former captain turned commentator Nasser Hussain explained how Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri & Co. need to handle Rishabh Pant in the future.

Team India had a tough day on the field on Day 3 of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, versus New Zealand at The Rose Bowl, Southampton on Sunday (June 20). Resuming the day from 146-3, India had captain Virat Kohli (44 not out) and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane (29*) in the middle as their unbeaten 58-run stand was expected to add more to the team’s tally.

WTC final: Nasser Hussain on how Rishabh Pant can be handled in future | Photo Credit: AP
WTC final: Nasser Hussain on how Rishabh Pant can be handled in future | Photo Credit: AP

Rishabh Pant’s Handling Going Forward Is Crucial: Nasser Hussain

Nonetheless, Kyle Jamieson’s swing and pace added to India’s woes as Virat Kohli departed without adding to his overnight score. In-form Rishabh Pant came out in the middle at No. 5 but couldn’t last long (4). Rishabh Pant took his time to get off the mark, with a flick to the boundary but departed soon playing a rash shot, away from his body as the edge went to Tom Latham at slips.

India's Rishabh Pant.(AP)
India’s Rishabh Pant.(AP)

Former England captain Nasser Hussain opened up on Rishabh Pant’s dismal show and made an interesting point on how a player like him will have to be ‘handled’ by Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri & Co. in the future.

Speaking to Star Sports at the lunch break on Day 3, Hussain said, “I mean he could have done something different (on Pant’s dismissal). It was a wide ball that he could have left alone. The way Jamieson was smart, from around the wicket, the angles went with Jamieson. If he swings it in, he takes the LBW out of the equation.

“So, he went over the wicket and there was a review that was just clipping. The technique is not there. He’s not moved his foot across and it’s a dangerous shot.”

Hussain explained how Pant can be managed in the future and opined, “The management and the handling of Rishabh Pant going forward is going to be crucial. Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli are the best men to handle him because they are just going to let him be.”

“You just can’t sit Rishabh Pant down and say why did he do that. He’s just not that sort of a cricketer. They have to let him go and let him express himself. He’s already won games for India. India possibly might not have been here if it wasn’t for some of the great knocks of Rishabh Pant.

“So you are not going to get the brilliance of Rishabh without the odd shot-making he’s played there. So, the management and handling of him is going to be absolutely crucial,” added the cricketer-turned-commentator Hussain.

Rishabh Pant will like to go big in the second essay as India have their task cut-out in the WTC final. Being asked to bat first, India was bundled out for 217 as Kyle Jamieson returned with an impressive five-for. In reply, Devon Conway’s fifty and Tom Latham’s sedate 30 took the Kiwis to 101/2 at stumps, being 116 behind India’s first-innings total at the end of stumps on Day 3.

Rishabh Pant Was In Excellent Form Against Australia And England

A lot was expected from Rishabh Pant in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. He had been in superb batting form for India over the past few months, emerging as the match-winner in the series in Australia, and in the home Test series against England.

Rishabh Pant scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 in five innings for India against Australia. The keeper continued his form against England where he hit 270 runs at an average of 54.00.

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

But on Day 3 of the WTC final, he was dismissed cheaply for just 4 runs after he nicked a short and wide delivery from Kiwi speedster Kyle Jamieson to Tom Latham at the slips. It was an unnecessary shot from Rishabh Pant, and he looked visibly miffed with himself after walking back to the stadium.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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WTC Final Is The Big Daddy Of All World Cups, Says Ravi Shastri

Ravi Shastri, Team India head coach on Saturday labelled the World Test Championship (WTC) as the ‘big daddy’ of all World Cups. He also said that the longest format is a real challenge for a player. Ravi Shastri’s comments came ahead of the start of the WTC final against New Zealand.

Ravi Shastri has been head coach since July 2017 and under him, India has managed back-to-back wins in the Test series in Australia and advanced to the final of the World Test Championship.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source: AP

Ravi Shastri: WTC Final Is The Big Daddy Of All World Cups

Former cricketer and the current head coach of India’s men’s team, Ravi Shastri was a member of the 1983 squad which lifted the ODI World Cup for India for the first time ever. The former all-rounder played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs between 1981 and 1992.

“It’s the ‘big daddy of all World Cups’. I’ve played the 1983 World Cup, commentated on a few of them but this one is the biggest of them all. It’s the toughest format, the biggest format, and the job satisfaction is maximum.

“There are a lot of big players who’ve not got their hands on a World Cup, so playing in a big final is always special. To keep the team at number one for five years is a massive achievement,” Shastri told host broadcaster Star Sports.

New Zealand’s Tom Latham holds the winners’ trophy. (Photo | AP)
New Zealand’s Tom Latham holds the winners’ trophy. (Photo | AP)

Ravi Shastri stands tall among all the head coaches in the longer format. Out of the 46 Tests India played under him, the team won 28. The winning percentage is 60.87.

Going into the WTC final, New Zealand holds an advantage as they have played two Tests in England this month. On the other hand, India hasn’t played a red-ball fixture since the home series against England, which took place in February-March. New Zealand holds a 2-0 lead over India in the WTC as they defeated the Virat Kohli-led side in two-match Test series in 2020.

Tom Latham led the New Zealand team to a memorable 1-0 Test series triumph in the two-match series against hosts England, in the absence of injured Kane Williamson, which is their first in the UK since 1999.

Ravi Shastri: Ravindra Jadeja And Ravichandran Ashwin Adds Variety And Bowl Well In Tandem

The confidence of playing with the two spinners in Southampton clearly comes after how well the duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have batted in recent times while also being effective with the ball even in overseas conditions. Ravi Shastri credited the spinners for adding variety, bowling well in tandem, and complimenting each other really well.

Talking about the team’s plans for the ongoing final, Ravi Shastri said: “On an occasion like this we wanted to get out as quickly as possible. Not really. Unless you would have had another washout today and the game had been reduced to a 2-3 day game, but otherwise with the kind of attack we have, we take the pitch out of the equation.

“On a day like this, it helps the fast bowlers get help, but when the sun comes out the spinners would come into play. Jadeja and Ashwin add that variety and they bowl well in tandem. They have close to 600-700 wickets and complement each other really well.”

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

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to field first in the much-awaited World Test Championship (WTC) final against India on Saturday. Incessant rain saw the opening day’s play being washed off at the Ageas Bowl on Friday while India managed to score 146/3 before bad light stopped play.

TEAMS:

India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

New Zealand (Playing XI): Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.

India 146 for 3 (Rohit 38, Gill 28, Pujara 8, Rahane 29*, Kohli 44*, Jamieson 1-14, Wagner 1-28, Boult 1-32) vs New Zealand at Stump’s on Day 2

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Successful In Ensuring Players Remain In The Right Frame Of Mind, Says Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar said that at the international level, a coach’s job is to ensure that players remain positive in crunch situations which Ravi Shastri has been able to do successfully. India head coach Ravi Shastri has been successful in ensuring that the players remain in the right frame of mind, batting great Sachin Tendulkar has said.

Ravi Shastri has been head coach since July 2017 and under him, India has managed back-to-back wins in the Test series in Australia and advanced to the final of the World Test Championship.

Ravu Shastri has been India's head coach since July 2017.
Ravi Shastri has been India’s head coach since July 2017. (Reuters Photo)

Sachin Tendulkar: Coach’s Job Is To Keep Players In The Right Frame Of Mind

Sachin Tendulkar said that at the international level, a coach’s job is to ensure that players remain positive in crunch situations. Former cricketer and the head coach of India’s men’s team, Ravi Shastri was a member of the 1983 squad which lifted the ODI World Cup for India for the first time ever. The former all-rounder played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs between 1981 and 1992.

“At this level, everyone knows how to defend or drive, bowlers know how to bowl outswingers or inswingers. But to actually keep them in the right frame of my mind is the coach’s job. There is nothing better than having a good atmosphere in the dressing room during critical moments,” Sachin Tendulkar told India Today on eSalaamCricket.

Sachin Tendulkar Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar
Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

Ravi Shastri stands tall among all the head coaches in the longer format. Out of the 46 Tests India played under him, the team won 28. The winning percentage is 60.87. In ODIs, the former right-handed batsman led India in 91 matches out of which it won 57 with a winning percentage of 62.64.

The high point in Ravi Shastri’s coaching career came when India won the first-ever Test series against Australia in Australia. India’s fightback in the 2018-19 Border Gavaskar Trophy is largely credited to Ravi Shastri for filling the young talent with a never-say-die attitude. India had won the four-match Test by 2-1.

In the next Test series in Australia-the 2020/21 series, India won by the same margin despite missing several key players due to injuries.

Sachin Tendulkar: Gary Kirsten Played An Instrumental Role In Helping India Draw With New Zealand In A Test

Sachin Tendulkar gave an example of how former head coach Gary Kirsten played an instrumental role in helping India draw a Test match in New Zealand.

“We were playing against New Zealand in Napier and they had made a big score in the first innings. We also made a big score but theirs was huge and we were made to follow on with almost two days remaining in the Test,” said Tendulkar.

The coach of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning Indian team Gary Kirsten being carried on the shoulders of the champion team after India defeated Sri Lanka in the finals to lift the World Cup. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
The coach of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning Indian team Gary Kirsten being carried on the shoulders of the champion team after India defeated Sri Lanka in the finals to lift the World Cup. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)

“Gary Kirsten did not get angry at all, he came into the dressing room and told us that this was the time to show what we were made of. Let’s go out and bat for two days. And we batted for two days and drew the Test.

“In those crunch moments, if the coach remains calm, a lot of problems go away and that is what Ravi has been able to do. I would also say you have to be stern with players when needed but how you talk to them at those moments is also very important. And he has been able to do that successfully,” said Tendulkar.

Gary Kirsten, the former South Africa cricketer, was Team India’s coach when the Men In Blue won the 2011 World Cup on April 2. Under MS Dhoni‘s captaincy, India lost just one match in the showpiece event against South Africa. India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-final to set up a blockbuster finale with Sri Lanka.

A heroic inning by Gautam Gambhir (97) along with an exceptional knock from MS Dhoni (91*) saved India the blushes and saw the Men in Blue lifted the World Cup trophy after 28 years chasing a stiff target of 275.

Tim Southee
Tim Southee
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Changes Can Be Made In WTC Final Format Instead Of It Being A One-off Match, Says Tim Southee

Tim Southee, who has scalped 309 wickets in 78 Tests, said the team has prepared well for the marquee Test against India. New Zealand pacer Tim Southee on Wednesday said changes can be made to the format of the World Test Championship final going ahead, instead of it being a one-off match.

Earlier this month, India head coach Ravi Shastri said that the WTC final should be decided in a best-of-three match series, which he feels would have been a fitting finale after two and a half years of cricket.

Tim Southee is impressed with India's strong batting line-up. (Getty Images)
Tim Southee is impressed with India’s strong batting line-up. (Getty Images)

Tim Southee: Maybe ICC Can Look At One-Off Final And Then Potentially Make Changes

Deciding the World Test Championship (WTC) in a best-of-three final is not a realistic idea in a crowded calendar, the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) said. India takes on New Zealand in the final at the Ageas Bowl after the two teams finished on the first two spots on the WTC table. During the current period of the WTC, India played 6 series and won 12 matches while New Zealand played 5 series and won 7 matches.

“At the start of the two-year cycle, we knew that it was going to be a one-off final. Maybe it’s something they can look at going forward and then potentially make changes,” Southee said during a virtual press conference.

“It was made clear two years ago at the start of the cycle, what was required to win the championship. It’s been great to put context around the Test game, to have the two-year cycle. There have already been adjustments going forward to the next cycle. So, it’ll be an evolving thing,” he added.

India vs New Zealand
India vs New Zealand
“We’ve come very close in the last couple. We know that it’s going to be a tough week. Having a number of the guys that have been very close to winning an ICC event on the side, we have the experience of playing in the finals.”
In Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, and Rohit Sharma, India possess one of the strongest batting line-ups in modern-day cricket, and New Zealand is aware of it, said fast bowler Tim Southee ahead of the World Test Championship final beginning on Friday in Southampton.

Tim Southee: New Zealand Prepared Well For The WTC Final

Tim Southee, who has scalped 309 wickets in 78 Tests, said the team has prepared well for the marquee Test against India, starting in Southampton from Friday.

“We’ve played two Tests against England, which obviously has been pretty good for us. It’s been a great preparation leading up to this Test final good number of guys that have had good performances throughout those two Test matches. A couple of good days training today and tomorrow. And as you know, we’re all looking forward to what is the ultimate goal of this tour.”

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

Aware that the Indian side has a potent batting line-up with the likes of opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli in their ranks, the pacer said Kiwi bowlers will have to be on top of their games to succeed.

“Rohit is a tremendous player in all three formats. He’s personally a guy I like watching bat. He can take the game away from the opposition. But I know as a bowling group that it’s a dangerous batting lineup throughout. For he’s only one of many, many very good batters in this lineup and we know we’re gonna have to be on top of our game.”

Tim Southee said New Zealand will be viewing footage of not just the experienced batsmen in Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane in particular but also the youngsters like flamboyant keeper Rishabh Pant and talented Shubman Gill.

“It’s an exciting batting lineup, a mix of experienced guys and a couple of young guys who are coming to play with that freedom and the excitement that they have. Nowadays, there’s plenty of footage out. So, we will discuss footage and then come up with plans which will hopefully work.”

Tim Southee, who was rested from the second Test against England after picking up a six-wicket haul in the first Test match at Lord’s, reserved high praise for India opener Rohit Sharma, whom he termed as the most watchable one in the Indian unit. New Zealand is the only team to beat India in the WTC but Tim Southee said that shouldn’t be taken into consideration for the final.

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