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Ravichandran Ashwin

India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
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ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India Squad, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

ICC T20 World Cup 2021 will start from 17th October immediately after the conclusion of IPL’s UAE leg. Cricket experts and fans got filled with excitement after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the schedule for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 to be staged in the UAE.

Notably, the marquee tournament is scheduled to begin on 17th October and the finals of the event will take place on 14th November in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Meanwhile, Team India will be entering the tournament as one of the favourites to win the Cup having won it only once previously in the inaugural 2007 edition.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021:- Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
ICC T20 World Cup 2021:- Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India Squad, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India Placed In Group B Alongside Pakistan, New Zealand, And Afghanistan

India is placed in the Group B of the tournament alongside arch-rivals Pakistan, nemesis New Zealand, and rising team Afghanistan. Virat Kohli will be leading India in the marquee event and they will be starting their campaign with the high-profile battle against arch-rivals Pakistan.

Pakistan has always struggled against India in the World Cups. Whether it is T20 World Cup or 50-over World Cup, India has remained victorious in all the games. Meanwhile, after facing arch-rivals, India will lock horns with New Zealand, and so far New Zealand has been the dominant side in the ICC events against India. New Zealand defeated India in the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2016 T20 World Cup, 2019 ODI World Cup, and 2021 WTC final.

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

Meanwhile, Team India is one of the strongest sides in the upcoming T20 World Cup event. As they have covered each and every aspect of the team. From top-order batters to middle-order batters and from batting all-rounders to bowling all-rounders India has figured everything out.

The strong bench strength that India has is one of the biggest positives for India heading into the tournament. Also with the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League ( IPL) 2021 taking place just before the World Cup, the big names like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Jasprit Bumrah are expected to take a good form in their bag. Meanwhile, legendary Indian captain MS Dhoni will be the mentor of the Indian team, he will provide much-needed experience to the team in the T20 World Cup 2021.

So far, India has won one T20 World Cup trophy, back in the inaugural edition of the World Cup in 2007 under MS Dhoni. Also, they were runner-ups in 2014, Moreover, they reached in semi-finals of the 2016 World Cup.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India’s Squad

Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami.

Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.

Coming back to the squad, in a surprise move, Ravichandran Ashwin has been included in the team which will begin its campaign in the showpiece event against arch-rivals Pakistan. He had last played a T20I against West Indies in July 2017. Veteran former skipper MS Dhoni will be the mentor of the team. The likes of Krunal Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal didn’t find a place in the squad.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India’s Complete Schedule

24th October 2021: India vs Pakistan, 7:30 PM, Dubai

31st October 2021 India vs New Zealand, 7:30 PM, Dubai

3rd November 2021 India vs Afghanistan, 7:30 PM, Abu Dhabi

5th November 2021 India vs B1, 7:30 PM, Dubai

8th November 2021 India vs A2, 7:30 PM Dubai

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VVS Laxman Hopes ICC Will Award The Series 2-1 In Favour Of India As He Refused To Blame IPL 2021 For Manchester Test Cancellation

VVS Laxman, the former Indian batsman expressed his disappointment at the abrupt end of the Test series between India and England but refused to blame the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the cancellation of the 5th Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

While the Covid-19 scare is certainly one of the factors affecting the cancellation of the Manchester Test with India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar testing positive for the virus, there could be more factors that led to the calling off of the Manchester Test.

VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)
VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)

VVS Laxman Says It’s Unfair To Play The Blame Game And Hopes ICC Will Award The Series 2-1 In Favour Of India

Some reports claim that Indian players, despite testing negative on the eve of the match, were reluctant to take the field, while some others are blaming the IPL, believing that players prioritized the IPL since the tournament was to resume from September 19, a few days after the conclusion of the 5th Test.

In his column, VVS Laxman wrote, “It was an abrupt, somewhat disappointing end to what had been a cracking series but given the circumstances in which the final Test at Old Trafford was cancelled, it’s unfair to point fingers or play the blame game.”

IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)

The fifth and deciding Test was dramatically cancelled on Friday just over two hours before the scheduled start because of Covid-19 concerns in the Indian camp. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said fears over the coronavirus, related to an outbreak among backroom staff, had left India unable to field a team at Old Trafford.

“To take the field in that mental state is far from ideal. So is the potential risk of endangering others on the park, be it your teammates, the officials or the opponents. Against that backdrop, I think the cancellation of the Test was the right call, though I feel deeply for the fans who had invested so much time, money and emotion in the contest. I hope the ICC sees the situation for what it is and awards the series 2-1 to India, particularly with the BCCI having offered to play a Test during their white ball tour of England next year,” VVS Laxman added.

India was 2-1 up in the five-match contest after a 157-run win in the fourth Test at the Oval and was bidding to complete a notable double just months after winning a series in Australia. India cancelled their final training session and mandatory pre-match press conference on Thursday after reports that a physiotherapist who had been in close contact with the players had tested positive for Covid.

“What this episode reiterates is that we must not let our guard down. If that means having to stay in bubbles, even if the host country doesn’t demand it, so be it. It might be tough on players, agreed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I understand bubble fatigue can become a factor, but there can’t be any compromise on safety,” VVS Laxman opined.

Cancellation would give India a 2-1 series victory, and a forfeiture led to a 2-2 draw. Currently, India has pocketed 26 WTC points from the series while England has 14 out of the available 48 points.

VVS Laxman: Biggest Takeaway From India Was The Quality And Belief Of Their Pace Attack

In the fourth Test at the Oval, where 50 years earlier India won their first Test on English soil, Rohit Sharma scored his first overseas Test century and Shardul Thakur starred with both bat and ball. Jasprit Bumrah’s devastating spell of reverse swing — 2-6 in six overs — was key to England losing their last eight wickets for 69 runs.

“It might be stating the obvious, but the biggest takeaway for the visitors was the quality and belief of their pace attack. The fast bowlers are the reason India are winning Tests and series overseas with regularity, and once again, they stood up and asked to be counted,” VVS Laxman observed.

Virat Kohli backs Ajinkya Rahane Image Source : GETTY IMAGE
Virat Kohli backs Ajinkya Rahane Image Source: GETTY IMAGE

The Indian team management preferred the left-spinner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja over off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the Test matches in England.

“If there is one thing the attack can get better at, it is in staying patient and stringing maidens together when the pitch flattens out like it did on Day Three at Lord’s and Day Two in Leeds. I know I have been insistent on R Ashwin’s inclusion in these columns; that being said, Ravindra Jadeja was more than effective throughout the series, especially on the final day at The Oval, both in a containing and wicket-taking role,” VVS Laxman wrote.

Rohit Sharma’s 127 was the cornerstone of India’s second innings at Oval in the 4th Test. It was the opener’s eighth hundred in 43 Tests but first outside of India in 24 matches at this level.

“India’s largest plus was the unearthing of a fabulous opening pair. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are not just skilled but also experienced. They brought those traits into play to make handsome, significant runs. They trusted their game plans and backed their defense; I would go so far as to say that they are the best opening pair in Test cricket currently, shading Tom Latham and Devon Conway,” VVS Laxman added.

Ajinkya Rahane, who led India to a series victory in Australia earlier this year when regular captain Virat Kohli was on paternity leave, has now gone 20 innings without a Test hundred.

“The one obvious concern India must address is the inability of the experienced middle-order to capitalize on the great starts. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli showed signs of returning to form, but Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant were out of touch. A few technical issues have crept into the middle-order batting, and with more challenging assignments in store, it’s imperative that those are ironed out at the earliest,” VVS Laxman signed off.

Ajinkya Rahane has batted in seven innings and has managed to score only 109 runs at a pathetic average of 15.57. He was dismissed for an eight-ball duck in the second innings of the Oval Test. Earlier in the first innings, he scored just 14 off 47 deliveries.

File photo | Twitter/Rajeev Shukla
File photo | Twitter/Rajeev Shukla
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The Rumour Of Virat Kohli Stepping Down After T20I World Cup Isn’t True, Says Rajeev Shukla

Rajeev Shukla, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Vice-President is not impressed by the latest rumours of Team India looking at a change of captain in the limited-overs format after the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman. Rajeev Shukla is unimpressed by the latest rumours that regular skipper Virat Kohli will step down from limited-overs format after the T20I World Cup.

Reports have been doing the rounds that Rohit Sharma could take over at the end of the showpiece event and Virat Kohli could continue as the Test captain and focus on his batting.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma- Twitter

Rajeev Shukla Urges Indian Team To Focus On The 2021 T20I World Cup

Rajeev Shukla said while there is no truth to this rumour, it is important the team focuses on the showpiece’s event rather than getting distracted by such news.

“There is nothing to this rumour. Also, let’s focus on the T20 World Cup rather than playing soothsayer and predicting the future, ” Rajeev Shukla said.

“There have been no talks on split captaincy,” Rajeev Shukla said.

Rajeev Shukla Ron Gaunt/SPORTZPICS
Rajeev Shukla Ron Gaunt/SPORTZPICS

The Indian national selectors last Wednesday picked the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. There were inputs from Rohit Sharma as well as the deputy of the limited-overs team and that seems to have led to talks of split captaincy post the World Cup.

One of India’s most successful captains, Virat Kohli led India in 95 ODIs, and with 65 wins and 27 defeats. In 45 T20Is so far where he has been the captain, India has won 27 times while losing 14 times. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, 34, has led India 10 times in ODIs and led them to victories on eight occasions. In T20Is, he has captained them 19 times of which they have won 15 and lost four.

Rohit Sharma is in the form of his life across formats and enjoys the status of a senior member of the squad. His T20 captaincy records are second to none, having won five IPL titles for the Mumbai Indians apart from Asia Cup and Nidhas Trophy 2018 wins in Virat Kohli’s absence.

Ravichandran Ashwin Stages A Comeback Into World Cup Squad After Playing His Last T20I In 2017

Coming back to the squad, in a surprise move, Ravichandran Ashwin has been included in the team which will begin its campaign in the showpiece event against arch-rivals Pakistan. He had last played a T20I against West Indies in July 2017. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal missed out as veteran former skipper MS Dhoni will be the mentor of the team.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has the hosting rights, the tournament has been moved out of the country with an eye on the COVID-19 pandemic. India will start its campaign against Pakistan. India and Pakistan will be locking horns on October 24 in a group-stage encounter. The tournament will get underway from October 17, with the final to be played in Dubai on November 14.

The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prithvi Shaw, and Yuzvendra Chahal were some notable omissions from the World Cup squad. India is placed in the Group B of the tournament alongside Pakistan, New Zealand, and Afghanistan.

Full squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami; Stand-by: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)
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Shikhar Dhawan’s Omission From 2021 T20I World Cup Squad Surprised And Disappointed Farokh Engineer 

Shikhar Dhawan’s exclusion left former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer disappointed, who otherwise believes India has picked a formidable squad for the 2021 T20I World Cup. Despite Ravichandran Ashwin’s comeback and the inclusion of leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, a couple of big names like Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal went missing from India’s squad of 15 for the ICC event.

The announcement of India’s T20 World Cup squad by the BCCI selectors on Wednesday packed a few surprises. Against everyone’s expectations, India recalled spinner Ravichandran Ashwin back to its limited-overs fold after four years, while former captain MS Dhoni was appointed mentor of the side.

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

Shikhar Dhawan’s Omission Surprised And Disappointed Farokh Engineer

There was no place for either opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan or spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, which sparked a debate. While Shikhar Dhawan is expected to have missed out to KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal fell behind fellow leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, who bowled wonderfully in Sri Lanka and has been growing in reputation. So while both exclusions were notable, Shikhar Dhawan’s axe despite being in form disappointed Farokh Engineer.

“I haven’t exactly studied it. I only heard it once. But it seems that all the top players are there. Suryakumar Yadav is in the squad, which I am really happy to see. Chahar is a very good bowler, and there is Bumrah of course. I think with Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma, the balance of the team is good. I think we’ve got a good squad,” Engineer told Sports Tak.

Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“Shikhar Dhawan… well, I’m surprised that he has been omitted because he has come in and done fantastically well. But that is such a huge problem for the Indian selectors that players such as Dhawan are getting to be dropped, which is a huge disappointment because he would walk into any international team as a batsman. He has proved himself time and again and I don’t think a player of his caliber should be on trial.”

The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prithvi Shaw, and Yuzvendra Chahal were some notable omissions. Shikhar Dhawan has been one of India’s most consistent players in the ICC tournaments and the selectors’ decision to not name him even among the reserves left many surprised.

While it hasn’t yet been revealed as to why the southpaw didn’t make the cut for the T20 World Cup, a report has claimed that the decision was taken keeping in mind his ‘conservative approach’ while batting. Shikhar Dhawan was a part of the Indian team that toured Sri Lanka, playing all 6 matches on the tour. He registered scores of 86*, 29, 13 in the 3 ODIs and 46, 40, 0 in the 3 T20Is.

Farokh Engineer: India Can Win T20I World Cup

Having said that, Farokh Engineer reckons the strength of the Indian team is such that the selectors couldn’t have helped it. The former wicketkeeper feels India is spoilt for choices as far as the opening batsmen are concerned, provided how brilliant KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have been lately.

Farokh Engineer played 46 Tests for India between 1961 and 1975 Getty Images
Farokh Engineer played 46 Tests for India between 1961 and 1975 Getty Images

“But who do you drop? KL Rahul has done very well. He is superb; one of the best batsmen in the world, I think. Rohit Sharma is on top of his form. Still, I think it’s a very good team they have picked and I think we have every chance of winning the T20 World Cup,” Engineer added.

Ravichandran Ashwin made a comeback after playing his last T20I in 2017. Delhi Capitals’ batsman Shikhar Dhawan is currently the highest run-getter in the IPL 2021 season with 380 runs in 8 matches averaging 54.28 with 3 fifties. He was 2nd among leading run-scorers in IPL 2020 too after KL Rahul with 618 runs in 16 matches averaging 44.14 with 2 tons and 4 fifties.

Full squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami; Stand-by: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
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Ian Chappell Backs Rohit Sharma To Take Up Vice-Captain’s Role

Ian Chappell heaped praise on Virat Kohli’s Indian Test side and also backed Rohit Sharma to take up the vice-captain’s role from Ajinkya Rahane, who didn’t find a place in the Australian’s suggested XI.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell hailed the Indian Test side for their all-around capabilities and “substantial depth” after they put up yet another outstanding show on an overseas tour under Virat Kohli.

Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ian Chappell: Undoubtedly India Is A Very Good Team Which Was Proved In Australia And England Tours

The England-India Test series saw the visitors outplay the hosts at Lord’s and The Oval to take an unbeatable 2-1 lead before the fifth and final match was called off in Manchester due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the visiting camp. India was clearly the superior side in the series despite England playing in their home conditions.

Each and every player who got a chance to play for India stood up for the team on one or more occasions to help them take the upper hand which is why the visitors were the favourites to win the series instead of hosts England. Ian Chappell, who has been vocal in his admiration for this Indian team, heaped praise on Virat Kohli’s side once again and also gave his opinion on what could be their best combination, according to him.

“There’s no doubt that India are a very good all-round team. They have conclusively proved it by winning consecutive series in Australia and now having had success in England, albeit Covid-affected, while they are virtually unbeatable at home.

“However, that isn’t to say they can’t improve. That’s how good teams remain at or near the top – by constantly searching for ways to be better,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Ian Chappell also urged the Indian selectors to fit in Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya in the Test team’s middle order to further improve the balance.

“India’s best combination includes R Ashwin. He is a fine bowler under all conditions, as he proved in Australia, so India needs to find a way to fit him into the XI. In trying to find a balance between the right- and left-hand batters in the middle order at The Oval, they may have inadvertently stumbled on the solution – Ravindra Jadeja at No. 5. “

“The ideal player would be a fully fit Hardik Pandya, but they do have a second choice in Shardul Thakur. That is the great strength of this Indian side. They have substantial depth. Tweaking the Indian middle order to accommodate the skills of Ashwin should be a priority for the selectors. It’s a scary thought for the other Test sides that Virat Kohli’s highly successful team can be improved.”

Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence from the playing XI for the fourth Test was criticized by several experts. Cricket experts and fans were calling for Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in the XI after India lost the third Test by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley but he was ignored for the fourth time on the ongoing tour.

Ian Chappell Backs Rohit Sharma To Take Up Vice Captain’s Role

Ian Chappell also backed Rohit Sharma to take up the vice-captain’s role from Ajinkya Rahane, who didn’t find a place in his suggested XI. Ajinkya Rahane has batted in seven innings in the 4 Tests and managed to score 109 runs at an average of 15.57. He was dismissed for an eight-ball duck in the second innings of the Oval Test. Earlier in the first innings, he scored just 14 off 47 deliveries.
“The only downside (of adding Ashwin and Pandya) would be the loss of Ajinkya Rahane’s tactical input and his slip fielding to the spinners. Nevertheless, Rohit Sharma is now an acclaimed captain and he’s capable of handling the vice-captaincy role,” Chappell said.
Rohit Sharma celebrates his century during the fourth Test against England. (Twitter/BCCI)
Rohit Sharma celebrates his century during the fourth Test against England. (Twitter/BCCI)

The Virat Kohli-led side marched to an emphatic 157-run win over England in the 4th Test to take a 2-1 lead in the ongoing five-match series. This was also India’s first win in Oval in 50 years. Rohit Sharma was the highest scorer of the match, amassing an outstanding 127 in the second innings.

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
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India Need To Find A Way To Tweak And Fit Ravichandran Ashwin Into The Playing XI: Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell, the legendary Australian cricketer feels the Indian selectors must prioritise finding a way to “tweak” the team’s middle order to accommodate the proven Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI. The former Australian captain contends that the veteran off-spinning all-rounder has proved himself as a “fine bowler in all conditions” and deserves a place in the team.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence from the playing XI for the fourth Test was criticized by several experts. Cricket experts and fans were calling for Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in the XI after India lost the third Test by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley but he was ignored for the fourth time on the ongoing tour.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Ian Chappell: India’s Best Combination Includes Ravichandran Ashwin As India Need A Way To Fit Him Into The Playing XI

Ravichandran Ashwin’s non-selection raised a few eyebrows but the visitors managed to pull off a memorable win. Virat Kohli made the best use of Ravindra Jadeja in the 4th Test as he picked up 2 scalps each in both innings.

“India’s best combination includes R Ashwin. He is a fine bowler under all conditions, as he proved in Australia, so India need to find a way to fit him into the XI,” Ian Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

“Tweaking the Indian middle order to accommodate the skills of Ashwin should be a priority for the selectors,” he added.

Ian Chappell said the Indian team has got “substantial depth”, something that makes them the formidable outfit that they are at the moment, adding that the thought that they can still improve is scary.

“There’s no doubt that India are a very good all-round team. They have conclusively proved it by winning consecutive series in Australia and now having had success in England, albeit Covid-affected, while they are virtually unbeatable at home. It’s a scary thought for the other Test sides that Virat Kohli’s highly successful team can be improved.”

Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Indian team management preferred the left-arm spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja over Ravichandran Ashwin in the Test matches in England.

Ian Chappell: The Ideal Seam Bowling All Rounder Is Hardik Pandya And Shardul Thakur Is The 2nd Choice

The presence of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, and Rishabh Pant together will make for a very strong lower middle order, the Australian great said.

“In trying to find a balance between the right- and left-hand batters in the middle order at The Oval, they may have inadvertently stumbled on the solution — Ravindra Jadeja at No. 5. If Jadeja proves good enough to hold down that spot in the order, the other piece required to complete the puzzle is a seam-bowling all-rounder. The ideal player would be a fully fit Hardik Pandya, but they do have a second choice in Shardul Thakur.”

“A middle-order that reads Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, Pandya, and Ashwin should provide the runs expected of that section. With three fast bowlers to follow, the batting is then supported by a versatile attack. That’s the advantage of having a strong, well-balanced attack — you don’t need huge scores to chase victory.”

Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.
Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.

That places could be interchanged is another advantage India enjoys in the middle order, Ian Chappell believed.

“The other good point about that middle order is that it’s interchangeable. Skill-wise, Pant is the best batter of that lot. He’s capable of restraint when the situation demands, so he could easily handle No. 5, especially when India bat first. However, if he’s had a long stint in the field, he could slide down the order to allow Jadeja to come in at five. Pandya also has the potential to handle No. 5, and given encouragement, he could fulfill the role,” said Ian Chappell.

Ian Chappell feels “another attribute of that trio is their powerful strokeplay.”

“The ability to accelerate the scoring rate is essential in Test cricket and those three are an ideal combination to take advantage of a good start to the innings. They are also a perfect fit for situations where the team is either chasing or setting a target,” said Ian Chappell.

Shardul Thakur has made an impressive start to his international career. In the Oval Test, he scored two vital fifties and also got the wickets of Joe Root and Rory Burns on the final day.

Hardik Pandya has decent returns in Test cricket – he has scored 532 runs in 11 Tests (18 innings) at an average of 31.29 at a strike rate of 73.88 with one hundred and four fifties and also picked 17 wickets at a bowling average of 31.05. But, Hardik Pandya has not played another Test for India since Southampton, 2018 after suffering lower back injuries which saw his bowling being restricted.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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Rohit Sharma ‘Backed’ Ravichandran Ashwin’s Selection In T20I World Cup Squad

Rohit Sharma, it is understood, has played a major part in the selection of the team for the T20 World Cup. The board and selectors had sought Rohit Sharma’s opinion before the selection meeting and he was insistent on bringing Ravichandran Ashwin back into the scheme of things.

Captain Virat Kohli too was on the same page when the idea was floated during the meeting. The 34-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin last played white-ball cricket for India in 2017 before being sidelined from one-day cricket following the Champions Trophy debacle.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma
Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma Played A Role To Bring Back Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravindra Jadeja made a comeback into the Indian white-ball team under stand-in captain Rohit Sharma midway through the Asia Cup in UAE in 2018. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were deemed ineffective in white-ball cricket after India lost the Champions Trophy final to Pakistan in June 2017.

It has taken four and a half years for Ravichandran Ashwin to rejoin Ravindra Jadeja in the limited-overs setup. The off-spinner will also play in the UAE, at the 2021 T20I World Cup. This time too, it is Rohit Sharma who has had a role to play.

“It has been 480 days since I played, so I will always remember this,” Jadeja had announced after the match.

Washington Sundar
Washington Sundar

Virat Kohli had earlier suggested that doors would open for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin only if Washington Sundar’s performances dipped drastically. Now that Washington Sundar has been ruled out of at least IPL 2021 with a finger injury, there was a slot up for grabs.

RCB will be without their allrounder Washington Sundar for the UAE leg of IPL 2021 after he failed to fully recover from a finger injury. Washington Sundar had sustained the injury in the UK last month which ruled him out of the ongoing Test series between India and England as well.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli both highlighted how Ravichandran Ashwin has been one of the toughest spinners to hit in the IPL over the last two years. The slow pitches in the UAE also played a major part in the decision.

Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians Saw More Cricketers In 2021 T20I World Cup Squad Than Any Other Franchise

There’s a theory within the Indian cricket board (BCCI) that Rohit Sharma, who captains Mumbai Indians in the IPL, needs to be given a larger role when it comes to the leadership group in white-ball cricket. There seems to be a growing imprint of the Mumbai Indians brand of cricket in Team India, just like there was a Chennai Super Kings imprint a few years ago.

The selectors went in favour of Mumbai Indians players while deciding between two players for one spot. Ishan Kishan was up against the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Sanju Samson. Even Rahul Chahar won the battle of leg-spinners as the seasoned Yuzvendra Chahal fell behind.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians. Image Credits: Twitter

Ishan Kishan’s ability to float around the batting order and his wicketkeeping skills were highlighted by chief selector Chetan Sharma on Wednesday. What he didn’t mention is that these fresh faces from the Mumbai Indians stable are more used to winning the big moments that help a team prevail in a tournament.

After dominating IPL, Mumbai Indians have now started to dominate international cricket. As many as six players have made it to India’s T20 World Cup squad. Besides Rohit Sharma, Rahul Chahar, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Jasprit Bumrah have made it to the 15-man squad.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)
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‘Unorthodox’ Suryakumar Yadav Is A Completely Different Class As Compared To Shreyas Iyer, Says Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir believes Suryakumar Yadav is in a different league as a T20 batsman compared to Shreyas Iyer. Suryakumar Yadav is part of India’s 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Another middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer, on the other hand, is part of the three standbys named in India’s squad for T20I WC alongside pacers Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.

Following a long wait, Suryakumar Yadav made an excellent start to his international career. He was the Player of the Series in the ODIs against Sri Lanka and scored a half-century in India’s win in the first T20I as well. In his brief international career, the 30-year-old middle-order batsman has played 3 ODIs where he amassed 124 runs averaging 62 and 4 T20Is where he amassed 139 runs averaging 46.33.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir: ‘UnOrthodox’ Suryakumar Yadav Is A Completely Different Class As Compared To Shreyas Iyer

During a discussion on the Star Sports show Follow the Blues, Gautam Gambhir was asked about the two batsmen. The question posed was whether it was Shreyas Iyer’s injury or the range and temperament that Suryakumar Yadav has shown that has helped the latter pip the former to the post.

“Suryakumar Yadav is a completely different class as compared to Shreyas Iyer. He is much more versatile. He is much more unorthodox as well and in T20 cricket you want people who are unorthodox.”

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

The former India opener added that the middle-order batsman 30-year-old Suryakumar Yadav has a full array of shots at his disposal.

“You want people who can hit that ball in different areas. He can lap you, he can late cut you, he can hit you over extra cover, he has got all the shots, especially at No.4.”

Suryakumar Yadav has set the stage alight in the four T20Is he has played for Team India. He has smashed 139 runs at a strike rate of 169.51 and has hit two fifties in three innings.

Gautam Gambhir: No. 4 Is The Most Tricky Position To Bat In T20Is

Gautam Gambhir highlighted that Suryakumar Yadav can adjust his game to the demands of the situation.

“Sometimes, No.4 is the most tricky position to bat in T20 cricket. Probably the easiest is the top three but No.4, sometimes you might be in when you have lost two early wickets and sometimes you come into the middle when you are 120/2 and then you have got to continue with that momentum. So, Surya has got both kinds of game which probably Shreyas Iyer doesn’t have,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer- Getty Images

The 39-year-old acknowledged that Shreyas Iyer having recovered recently from a serious injury, could also have played a role in his omission from the 15 member squad.

Gautam Gambhir said: “You have also got to be mindful that he is coming off a serious injury and you never know what kind of a form he would be in the second leg of the IPL as well. So, they have gone with someone who has done really well since he has got into international cricket.”

The Indian selectors could have opted to keep both Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer in the 15-man member squad, with the latter coming in at the expense of probably Ishan Kishan or a spinner. However, they may have refrained from going that route due to question marks over Shreyas Iyer’s fitness.

Shreyas Iyer has played 29 T20Is where he amassed 550 runs averaging a modest 28.94 with 3 fifties apart from 22 ODIs where he managed 813 runs averaging 42.78. His last T20I and ODI appearance came against England at home in March 2021 where he injured himself.

Ravichandran Ashwin made a comeback after playing his last T20I in 2017 while the likes of Krunal Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal didn’t find a place in the squad.

Full squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami; Stand-by: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur

Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
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Virat Kohli Said Ravichandran Ashwin ‘Won’t Be Missed’ In The 4th Test As He Backed His Seamers To Do The Job: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain, the former England captain stated that Virat Kohli has passed his captaincy test with ‘flying colours’ as he led his side to a historic Test win. From conceding a 99-run lead to coming back in style and thumping the hosts by 157 runs to go up 2-1 in the series, Team India showcased a great example of teamwork required to win a Test match.
Virat Kohli’s batting may not have earned much praise but his captaincy earned praise from experts. Things started falling in place for India in the second innings which was powered by the determination of every player to win.
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain Predicted 5th Day Was Going To Be A Test Of Virat Kohli’s captaincy And He Passed The Test With Flying Colours

India’s triumph at The Oval on Sunday left many experts of the game spellbound. Meanwhile, former England captain Nasser Hussain, in his latest column wrote highly of Virat Kohli’s captaincy. The cricketer-turned-commentator stated that Virar Kohli has passed his captaincy test with ‘flying colours’ as he led his side to a historic Test win.

“I said at the start of the fifth day that it was going to be a big test of Virat Kohli’s captaincy and he passed that test with flying colours,” Hussain wrote in his column in the DailyMail.

“That Oval pitch offered very little for the seamers and only a bit of rough for Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin. But somehow, he manufactured 10 English wickets on the last day. Every bowling change worked, and so did every tweak to the field. And when he took the second new ball after tea, it produced a wicket straightaway, with Umesh Yadav getting Craig Overton,” he added.

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

Nasser Hussain claimed that Virat Kohli passed his captaincy test with flying colours as all three results were possible on the final day. Given the affinity of the Oval pitch towards the batsman in the latter days of a Test, doubts were raised about whether the Indian bowling unit could claim 10 wickets, especially when they returned empty-handed at the end of Day 4.

Nasser Hussain: Virat Kohli Said Ravichandran Ashwin Won’t Be Missed As He Backed His Seamers To Do The Job

Former England skipper Nasser Hussain said that the Oval win was Virat Kohli’s Midas touch and the India captain passed the captaincy test with flying colours on Day 5. Set a record 368 to win, England collapsed from 100 for no loss midway through the first session to getting bowled out for 210 – 40 minutes after tea, sparking wild celebrations among India’s players — particularly Virat Kohli — and fans inside the south London venue.

“One way or another, this was Kohli’s Midas Test everything he touched turned to gold, and India are now one game away from a famous series victory, not long after beating Australia in their own backyard Even the non-selection of Ravichandran Ashwin, the top-ranked spinner in Test cricket, became irrelevant. People said India would miss him. Kohli said: ‘No, we won’t. I’m backing our seamers to do the job.’ And he was right,” he further wrote.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s non-selection raised a few eyebrows but the visitors managed to pull off a memorable win. Nasser Hussain mentioned that Virat Kohli made the best use of Ravindra Jadeja, something which Joe Root failed to do with Moeen Ali.

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

“Kohli also used Jadeja cleverly – in a way that Root failed to do with Moeen Ali on the fourth day. By keeping his spinner on at one end, India’s captain could rotate the quicks at the other, using them in short, sharp bursts and keeping them fresh. By ignoring Moeen, Root ended up bowling his seamers into the ground, with possible consequences for the fifth Test at Old Trafford,” Hussain stated.

While Ravindra Jadeja got the crucial wickets of Haseeb Hameed and Moeen Ali, Nasser Hussain reckons the southpaw played another important role by consistently bowling into the rough, allowing the ball to reverse, something the Indian pacers took full advantage of on Day 5.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers (Image Credit: Twitter)
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AB de Villiers Urged Critics And Indian Fans To Stop Worrying About Selection

AB de Villiers, the former South African skipper urged Indian cricket followers and critics to stop worrying about issues related to team selection and other such trivial concerns. Instead, he suggests, they should look to enjoy the game in its purest form. He added that fans should celebrate Team India’s two emphatic victories in the current series on English soil.

Team India picked up a comprehensive win in the fourth Test on Monday at the Oval. Courtesy of the win, India went 2-1 up in the five-match series with one match to go.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. Image Credits: Twitter

On this occasion, AB de Villiers took to his official Twitter account and appreciated both teams for playing a wonderful Test match. He also gave a piece of advice to all the people who have been ranting about Team India’s selection calls since the start of the fourth test.

AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli
AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli

AB de Villiers arrived in Dubai on Monday to join the RCB camp ahead of IPL 2021. Fans will soon see him in action in company with Virat Kohli in RCB colours during the second phase of the IPL. Despite international retirement, AB de Villiers has been in great form in T20 leagues.

He played seven matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2021 and smashed 207 runs at a strike rate of 164.28 averaging 51.75. AB de Villiers is 6th on the list of maximum run-getters in the history of IPL and has amassed 5056 runs in 176 games averaging 40.77 with 3 tons and 40 fifties.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s Axe For 4th Consecutive Tests Was The Talking Point

A lot was said after Indian skipper Virat Kohli announced the team changes at the toss for the fourth Test at Oval against England. The visitors had benched the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the fourth consecutive Test of the series and at the venue where had picked 6/27 in the second innings playing for Surrey in July. A lot was said about his exclusion over the last five days and many even though India will miss him on the final day.

Well, Kohli won the battle in the end as his changes turned out to be perfect in the end. Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur who came into this Test delivered excellent performances while Ravindra Jadeja was enough on the final day to pluck a couple of wickets and trigger a collapse. After the match too, Virat Kohli cleared that any decision the team makes is a collective one and they don’t pay heed to the ‘outside noise’ at all.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Former South Africa cricketer and Virat Kohli’s RCB teammate AB de Villiers has also shut the people down who criticized India’s team selection repeatedly throughout this series and especially during the Oval Test. He felt that as the spectators of the longest Test format, the critics should not worry about unnecessary things and just enjoy the beautiful game.

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