Salman Butt | Sportzwiki

Salman Butt

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

Axar Patel Is Talented But Isn’t In The League Of Ravindra Jadeja: Salman Butt

Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, while analyzing the spin department of the Indian cricket team, admitted that Axar Patel is one for the future but also quipped that he is not in “the same league” as the senior spinner Ravindra Jadeja just yet.

Team India’s spin department has been a topic of hot discussion among fans, cricketers, and experts among the cricket fraternity. After all, the country continuously produces a talented crop, and the fight for a spot in the team is always a tense one. The latest to present his views on the same is former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, who has drawn a comparison between senior spinner Ravindra Jadeja and future star Axar Patel.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt: Ravindra Jadeja Is A Complete Player, While Axar Patel Is Talented

While addressing the topic in a video on his YouTube channel, left-hander batsman Salman Butt quipped that while left-arm spinner Axar Patel is talented, his teammate Ravindra Jadeja is a complete player.

“Axar Patel is extremely talented, but Ravindra Jadeja is a complete player. Be it batting, bowling or fielding, he is an outstanding team man. So definitely when one player goes, his replacement comes,” said Salman Butt.

Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)

He then added that the two aren’t in the same league and said Ravindra Jadeja is the “better option” currently.

“If you don’t have Jadeja, then you have Axar Patel, but at the moment, I don’t think Axar and Jadeja are in the same league. Axar is very talented and can take that place in the future, but Jadeja is the better option right now,” elaborated Salman Butt.

Axar Patel made his Test debut in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He took 4 five-wicket hauls as England lost the series 3-1.

England managed to win only the first Test match, which Axar Patel missed due to a knee injury. In his debut Test series, he finished behind Ravichandran Ashwin (32) in the leading wicket-takers list. On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja has amassed 2145 runs besides picking up 227 scalps in 56 Tests. He averages 34 with the bat in Tests and 24.97 with the ball in the longest format.

Salman Butt Praised Rahul Dravid For Winning First T20I Series As Full Time Coach But Stressed 2022 T20I World Cup Is The Target

Meanwhile, Salman Butt recently praised India’s new head coach Rahul Dravid and his approach following India’s 3-0 clean sweep against New Zealand in the T20I series.

“It only reflects utmost clarity and humility. And very realistic and professional talk because India did win but the other team just came from a World Cup final and hence it is not easy to mentally prepare for another international series so fast. They (New Zealand) also lost the toss. When you play so much international cricket, there is a difference in intensity as well. So he did take all these factors into account when making that statement,” said Salman Butt.
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

” Yes India tested their bench strength, there was a new captain, new coach and they managed to win. But he is keeping them in line for the hunt. The actual target is the next target which will be in the next 10 months. So this is absolutely the correct and needed approach,” Butt said on his YouTube channel.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has played 5 T20Is since his comeback in the limited-overs format after a gap of 4 years. He has picked 9 scalps at an average of 5.25 and an economy rate of 5.25, and a strike rate of 13.3. The 35-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.

He was left out from all 4 Tests that India played on the England tour, despite being the leading wicket-taker in the squad by picking up 413 wickets in the 79 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.56. India registered a whitewash against 2021 T20 World Cup finalists New Zealand, winning the bilateral T20I series 3-0 in a convincing fashion.

Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC
Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC

Salman Butt Thinks Inaugural WTC 2019-21 Winning Skipper Kane Williamson Is The Best Skipper

Salman Butt, the former Pakistan-tainted skipper picked the best captain out of the modern-day greats Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root. The trio has achieved a lot of success as captains in the last decade as India, New Zealand, and England have stood out as the dominant sides in world cricket.

Out of the three, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson is the only player, who currently leads his team in all three formats. Virat Kohli relinquished his T20I captaincy after 2021 T20 WC concluded and now he only leads India in Tests and ODIs. While Joe Root is the captain of the Test side with England working well with the split captaincy as Eoin Morgan is the limited-overs skipper under whom England won the 2019 World Cup.

Virat Kohli, Joe Root
Virat Kohli, Joe Root

Salman Butt Thinks Kane Williamson Is The Best Skipper But Praised Joe Root And Virat Kohli As Well

A fan on his Youtube channel asked Salman Butt to name his pick out of the three modern-day greats, the former Pakistan skipper chose Kane Williamson as the best among the famous trio.

“I think Kane Williamson is the best captain. Yes, Joe Root and Virat Kohli are brilliant as well, and they have led their sides superbly, but overall, generically, Williamson is the man when you consider all leaders across formats,” Butt said on his YouTube channel.

Kane Williamson (AP)
Kane Williamson (AP)

New Zealand has played dominant cricket in the past few years under Kane Williamson’s leadership, as they also reached the finals of the last three ICC marque tournaments – the 2019 ODI World Cup, the 2021 World Test Championship, and the 2021 T20 World Cup. Out of which, New Zealand clinched the inaugural WTC title by beating India in the summit clash.

Meanwhile, the Indian team has also reached heights under Virat Kohli’s leadership in Test cricket with Test series win over Australia Down Under and victories on England and South Africa soil. Meanwhile, Joe Root has led England in 56 Tests and won 27 besides losing 21 but averaged around 48 as Test skipper. Virat Kohli has captained India in 65 Tests and India won 38 and lost 16.

Salman Butt: Both Rohit Sharma And Babar Azam Are Elegant

Kane Williamson will lead New Zealand in the upcoming two-match Test series against India. Virat Kohli will miss the first Test as his deputy Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in his absence. The Asian giants will look to take revenge for the WTC final defeat. Salman Butt was also asked to choose between Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and India’s swashbuckling opener Rohit Sharma, but he said both are elegant in their own batting prowess.

“You have asked me which suit is better – Armani or BOSS. Both Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam play elegant shots. Both are elegant in a different way,” Butt added.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

The Kiwis will feel buoyed by the return of their regular captain Kane Williamson, who missed the three-match T20I series, which New Zealand lost 3-0. Kane Williamson scored 7230 runs in 85 Tests averaging 53.95 with 24 tons. He has led New Zealand in 37 Tests in which Kiwis won 22 Tests,  lost 8 Tests, and the remaining 7 were drawn.

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Salman Butt Hails Rahul Dravid’s Approach As Team India’s Head Coach

Salman Butt, the former tainted ex-skipper of Pakistan, was absolutely impressed with Rahul Dravid’s approach in his maiden stint as India’s head coach, saying that it only highlights his humility.

India registered a whitewash against 2021 T20 World Cup finalists New Zealand, winning the series 3-0 in convincing fashion, but newly-appointed head coach Rahul Dravid cautioned the team, advising them to be more “realistic” with India eyeing the big prize a year from now – the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

India Won Bilateral T20I Series 3-0 Against NZ (TWITTER/BCCI)
India Won Bilateral T20I Series 3-0 Against NZ (TWITTER/BCCI)

Rahul Dravid: Indian Cricketers Have To Keep Feet Grounded And Be Realistic Keeping In Mind 2022 T20I World Cup

Rohit Sharma and Axar Patel shone for the hosts in the inconsequential 3rd T20I as India thrashed New Zealand in 3rd T20I to sweep the series. India beat New Zealand by 73 runs in the final T20I to win the three-match series 3-0. Skipper Rohit Sharma produced sublime knocks scoring 56 off 31 balls in India’s 184/7.
His imperious form was on full display as he led the way with five fours and three sixes while the likes of Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, and Venkatesh Iyer all got starts but couldn’t quite capitalize.
Rohit Sharma smashed 159 runs at an excellent strike rate of 154.36 in the three T20Is against New Zealand. He was duly chosen as the Player of the Series for his exploits with the bat. Rohit Sharma’s sequence of scores in the last six T20 Internationals is 74, 30, 56, 48, 55, and 56, and captaincy hasn’t changed his style of play one bit.

“We have to keep our feet on the ground and be realistic, especially with bigger things down the line in the next 12 months,” Dravid told host broadcaster Star Sports after the third T20I in Kolkata.

“It’s not easy for New Zealand to play a World Cup final, turn up three days later, and play three games in six days. We knew it was never going to be easy on them.”

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

New Zealand began the series three nights after their World Cup final loss to Australia in Dubai and played the three matches in the space of five days in the absence of Kane Williamson, and Kyle Jamieson, while a few others were rotated to keep the workload in balance with the two-Test series coming up.

India, too missed the services of Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja for the T20I series and rather focussed on testing their bench strength to keep options in hand for the Australia T20 World Cup. Salman Butt admitted these points but pointed out that it was a lot to ask from New Zealand to mentally prepare for an international series in such a short space.

Salman Butt: The Actual Target Is The Next 10 Months Is Winning The 2022 T20I World Cup In Australia

The veteran cricketer Salman Butt hence felt that Rahul Dravid kept these points in mind while making that statement, saying that ultimately it is the world title that matters.

“It only reflects utmost clarity and humility. And very realistic and professional talk because India did win but the other team just came from a World Cup final and hence it is not easy to mentally prepare for another international series so fast. They (New Zealand) also lost the toss. When you play so much international cricket, there is a difference in intensity as well.

“So he did take all these factors into account when making that statement. India tested their bench strength, there was a new captain, new coach and they managed to win. But he is keeping them in line for the hunt.

“The actual target is the next target which will be in the next 10 months. So this is absolutely the correct and needed approach,” Salman Butt said on his YouTube channel.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Rahul Dravid praised the newest acquisitions who got the opportunity to play in the bilateral series. Harshal Patel, who made his debut in the second game, was adjudged the Man of the Match in the same game for picking 2 vital scalps.

Axar Patel was the Player of the Match with his economical three-wicket haul in the final tie. Venkatesh Iyer, too finally got his opportunity to bowl in the series and even picked his maiden international wicket.

“It’s been great to see the younger guys come through, we’ve given the opportunity to some of the guys who haven’t played too much cricket in the last few months with the seniors taking rest.

“The greatest takeaway for us is to see the skills available to us. We need to continue developing those skills,” Dravid further said.

Analyzing Rahul Dravid’s first assignment as the head coach of Team India, ex-Pakistan captain Salman Butt showered praise on the batting great, saying he has nailed his approach so far.

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

India vs New Zealand 2021: Salman Butt Doesn’t Think Hardik Pandya Is Out Of The Scheme Of Things After He Was Dropped For T20Is

Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, reckons all-rounder Hardik Pandya will remain in Team India’s scheme of things even though he has been dropped for the home series against New Zealand, consisting of 3 T20Is and 2 Tests.

Hardik Pandya had a forgettable T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, barring one innings against Afghanistan, where smashed an unbeaten 35 off 13 balls. More than his performances, it was the confusion over his bowling status that hurt India and also put them in an embarrassing situation during the ICC event.

Hardik Pandya AFP/Getty Images
Hardik Pandya AFP/Getty Images

Salman Butt Doesn’t Think Hardik Pandya Is Out Of The Scheme Of Things

Asked if Hardik Pandya’s future in international cricket is in trouble, Salman Butt responded that it is too early to say so. Salman Butt pointed out that India backed the all-rounder at the T20 World Cup despite him being unfit, which proves how highly he is rated.

Ex-Pakistan opener Salman Butt had reckoned that Hardik Pandya should be dropped for the fixture against New Zealand in T20I World Cup as he has ‘mental barriers’ due to his fitness. But he went on to play all the matches, scoring 11 off 8 against Pakistan, 23 off 24 against New Zealand, and an unbeaten 35 off 13 against Afghanistan.

“Don’t think Hardik Pandya is out of the scheme of things. It is not a case of him having to go back and do the grind of domestic cricket all over again. We saw that, in spite of him not being fit, he was carried along (during the T20 World Cup). But yes, he will have to work on his fitness and his body,” Salman Butt said.

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

The 28-year-old bowled in only two of India’s five T20 World Cup 2021 matches in the UAE. He looked completely ineffective and was wicketless. Apart from being dropped from the national team, Hardik Pandya has been at the centre of controversy away from the cricket field as well.

A few days ago, reports started doing the rounds on social media, claiming an FIR had been registered against Hardik Pandya, Munaf Patel, and former IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla over rape-molestation charges.

Hardik Pandya Opens Up On His Wristwatch Seizure By Customs

Just a couple of days ago, media reports claimed that two wristwatches worth INR 5 crore were seized from Hardik Pandya at the Mumbai airport on his return from Dubai. The reports stated that Hardik Pandya allegedly did not have a bill for the watches.

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

The Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder dismissed the claims and issued a clarification over the issue. He stated that only one watch worth INR 1.5 crore had been taken and that too for “proper valuation”.

Releasing a statement on Twitter, Hardik Pandya said: “I had voluntarily declared all the items that I’d lawfully purchased from Dubai and was ready to pay whatever duties that needed to be paid. As a matter of fact, the customs department had asked for all purchase documents which were submitted; however customs is doing proper valuation for duty which I’ve already confirmed to pay.”

Meanwhile, India’s T20I vice-captain KL Rahul recently opened up about Hardik Pandya’s axing from the Indian team. He described Hardik Pandya as a “smart cricketer” who knows how to make a comeback.

Hardik Pandya amassed only 69 runs averaging 34.5, with the highest score of unbeaten 35. However, Hardik Pandya’s highest in T20Is is only unbeaten 42 as he has scored 553 runs in 54 matches, averaging a mere below par 20.48 in T20Is.

Mohammad Amir
Mohammad Amir Photograph: K.M. Chaudary/AP

Harbhajan Singh Requests Pakistan PM Imran Khan To Open A School For Likes Of Mohammad Amir To Learn Good Manners

Harbhajan Singh, the veteran Indian spinner, recently got into a Twitter spat with Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir and slammed him by calling him a “fixer” for his involvement in spot-fixing in 2010. Harbhajan Singh has issued a message for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Social media has been flooded with plenty of reactions from the Twitter spat between veteran Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh and Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir in the last few days.

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh (Photo Credits: Twitter)
Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh (Photo Credits: Twitter)

Harbhajan Singh Requests Imran Khan To Open A School For Mohammad Amir To Learn How To Speak To Senior Cricketers

Mohammad Amir tried to provoke Harbhajan Singh following Babar Azam-led Pakistan’s 10-wicket win over India in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The banter turned into a spat where Harbhajan Singh called the Pakistan pacer a “fixer”.  In a conversation, Harbhajan Singh urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to open a school for people like Mohammad Amir to learn how to talk to senior players.

“I would request Imran Khan to open a school for such children where they can learn how to speak to senior cricketers. In our country, we are taught manners. Even today, we talk with cricketers like Wasim Akram with a lot of respect. And people like him (Amir) don’t know what to talk with whom. I should not have reacted to the comments of a person who sold his country,” Harbhajan said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)

The pacer played 36 Tests, 61 ODIs, and 50 T20Is before announcing retirement. Mohammad Amir has represented the Pakistan cricket team in 50 T20I matches, scalping 59 wickets at an economy rate of 7.02. His last appearance for the Pakistan cricket team came during the side’s England tour last year.

He was a part of the playing XI that played in the second T20I of the series in Manchester on August 30, 2020. He represented Pakistan in 36 Tests and took 119 wickets at an average of 30.47. He also featured in 61 ODIs and claimed 81 wickets at an average of 29.62.

Harbhajan Singh Says Banter Between Him, And Shoaib Akhtar Is Different While Mohammad Air Betrayed His Country As He Was Involved In Spot Fixing

Harbhajan Singh has also had plenty of banter with former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar – but he said the banter between them was different as they have an understanding after having known each other for a very long time.

“The banter between me and Shoaib is different as we know each other for a very long time having played plenty of cricket together. We have also done many shows together. We have an understanding. Who is Mohammad Amir? Is he the same guy who was guilty of match-fixing at Lord’s? What is his credibility? He would have barely played 10 matches for his country and he betrayed his country as well by accepting money to fix a match,” Harbhajan added.

Mohammad Amir and and Shoaib Akhtar in 2010. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Akhtar in 2010. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Mohammad Amir and two other Pakistani cricketers, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, were involved in a spot-fixing scandal during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010. All three cricketers were handed bans, but Pakistan decided to bring back Mohammad Amir in international cricket in 2016. However, after playing for a few years, Mohammad Amir announced retirement from international cricket in December 2020, citing “mental torture”.

Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls, and they were banned from the sport for some time. While the former was given another opportunity, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt did not play for Pakistan again.

Mohammad Amir has been amid controversies throughout his career. Having made a comeback in 2016 after a lengthy ban for spot-fixing, Mohammad Amir called time on his career prematurely in December 2020. He cited differences with the Board and support staff as the reason for his decision.

After Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down from their posts, 29-year-old pacer Mohammad Amir decided to make himself available for his country once again.

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul Will Open, Ishan Kishan Can Bat Anywhere In 2021 T20I World Cup: Salman Butt

Salman Butt, the former Pakistan skipper, reckons Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will open the batting for India despite Ishan Kishan’s brilliant knock as an opener against England in a T20 World Cup 2021 warm-up game in Dubai on Monday. Ishan Kishan opened the batting with KL Rahul in India’s first warm-up clash ahead of the T20 World Cup.

While Ishan Kishan smashed 70 off 46 balls, KL Rahul made a blazing 51 off 24. The duo featured in an opening stand of 82 in 8.2 overs as India chased down a target of 189 with ease, winning the clash by seven wickets.

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

Salman Butt: Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul Will Open

On Monday, despite Ishan Kishan’s brilliant innings against England, Salman Butt opined that India will stick to the Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul opening pair.

Discussing India’s batting order for the T20 World Cup 2021, the former cricketer stated: “Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will open, I don’t think that will change. Ishan Kishan can bat one down or in the middle-order or after Virat Kohli. He is in amazing form and can bat anywhere in the batting order.”

Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)

Speaking about youngster Ishan Kishan, Salman Butt added that he looked equally good against pace and spin. His 70 off 46 balls was studded with 7 fours and 3 sixes, and his strike rate was 152.17.

The 37-year-old elaborated: “I haven’t seen him in any kind of trouble either against the new ball or against the spinners. These are very good signs because he played Moeen Ali very well. Adil Rashid is a very good leg-spinner and he attacked him in rather impressive fashion. As an opener, he was confident against the fast bowlers as well.”

Ishan Kishan retired on 70, after which Rishabh Pant (29 not out) and Hardik Pandya (12 not out) took India past the finish line in 19 overs.

Salman Butt: It Looked Like KL Rahul Was Batting Against A Bowling Machine

While Ishan Kishan top-scored for India in the warm-up encounter against England on Monday, KL Rahul was equally impressive, smashing six fours and three sixes. His strike rate was a monumental 212.5-the best of the Indian innings as it came off only 24 balls.

Analyzing KL Rahul’s batting, Salman Butt said: “The highlight of India’s batting, according to me, was KL Rahul’s knock. If anyone wants to watch beautiful batting, they must watch KL Rahul bat. The way he took on England’s bowlers, it seemed like he was batting against a bowling machine. “

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

“He was able to hit the ball anywhere at his will. The standout aspect of his innings was that most of the shots he played were correct strokes. The kind of shots he played demonstrated the dangerous form that he is currently in.”

KL Rahul has an amazing T20 record. He has smashed 1557 runs in 49 T20Is at a strike rate of 142.19. In IPL 2021, he amassed 626 runs in 13 games and was the third-leading run-getter in the edition.
Earlier, England managed to score 188/5 after Jonny Bairstow’s 49 off 36 balls and Moeen Ali’s cameo of unbeaten 43 off 20 balls as Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar(4 overs, 54 runs, 0 wickets) was taken to the cleaners. Mohammed Shami conceded 40 runs, too, despite picking 3 scalps. For England, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Chris Jordan, Moeen Ali, and Adil Rashid were too expensive as all of them conceded 10 runs per over or more.
Rishabh Pant. - SANDEEP SAXENA
Rishabh Pant. - SANDEEP SAXENA

Delhi Capitals Skipper Rishabh Pant Has Become A Little Predictable: Salman Butt

Salman Butt, former Pakistan captain feels the India team’s dashing wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant has become a bit predictable with his moves at the crease. Salman Butt pointed out that opponents have realized it’s only a matter of time before Rishabh Pant dances down the track during his innings.

Rishabh Pant had a poor Test series in England, where his footwork against the moving ball was exposed. Even in the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, he did not look in a great rhythm. Although he scored a decent number of runs while leading Delhi Capitals (DC), he wasn’t his usual aggressive self.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt: Rishabh Pant Has Become A Little Predictable

In an interaction on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt was asked if Rishabh Pant could be a force for India at the T20 World Cup 2021. The former cricketer Salman Butt stated that the southpaw needed to build on his talent.

Explaining what, he felt, the 24-year-old was doing wrong, Salman Butt opined: “He is very moody. Out of nowhere, he steps down and tries to hit out. And, he does this so frequently that other teams have started anticipating his moves. I think Rishabh Pant has become a little predictable. He will need to bat with a more mature mindset. He is so talented and has such a high range of strokes. But teams are aware that he will charge down the track either first ball or after 2-3 deliveries. So he needs to work on that.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Twitter)

Rishabh Pant ended IPL 2021 with 419 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 128.52 with three half-centuries. Rishabh Pant-led DC topped the points table after the completion of the IPL 2021 league stage. However, they failed to make the final, going down to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Qualifier 1 and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Qualifier 2.

Rishabh Pant: Delhi Capitals Alway give 100%

Reacting after DC’s ouster from IPL 2021, new skipper Rishabh Pant tweeted that IPL 2021 ended in heartbreak for the franchise but lauded the team and described them as exceptional warriors. Rishabh Pant has 1 hundred and 15 IPL fifties to his name.

He wrote: “It ended in heartbreak last night, but I could not be more proud of leading this team of exceptional warriors. We battled hard through the season, and while we may have fallen short on some days, we always gave 100 per cent.”

Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals in action during an IPL match for Delhi ©BCCI
Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals in action during an IPL match for Delhi ©BCCI

Rishabh Pant was named DC captain after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to a shoulder injury ahead of the first half of IPL 2021. The Delhi management retained Rishabh Pant as skipper even after Shreyas Iyer was fit for the second half of the tournament in the UAE.

Among Delhi Capitals’ performers, Indian pacer Avesh Khan was in scintillating form. He was the team’s leading wicket-taker this season, with 24 wickets in 16 games. The South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada(15) and Anrich Norje (12) have combined to pick 27 wickets. Axar Patel has been excellent with his spinning deliveries and has picked 15 wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan was the team’s highest run-getter with 587 runs in 16 games, while Prithvi Shaw managed 479 in 15 games. Steve Smith(152 runs) and Shreyas Iyer (175 runs) played 8 matches each. The failures for Delhi Capitals were Ishant Sharma (1 scalp in 3 outings) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7 wickets in 13 games).

Rishabh Pant(419 runs) led from the front. Marcus Stoinis couldn’t deliver the success of the previous edition of IPL 2020. He played 10 IPL 2021 games, managing only 89 runs and picking 2 scalps. Amit Mishra, despite picking 6 scalps in 4 games, wasn’t given many chances to play. Shimron Hetmyer had the best strike rate of the season- a whopping 168.05.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

It Would Be Better If A New Team Like RCB Or Delhi Capitals Lift IPL 2021 Trophy: Salman Butt

Salman Butt feels it could be a blessing in disguise if Mumbai Indians (MI) do not qualify for the playoffs in the latest edition of the Indian Premier League. Salman Butt believes in their absence, the odds of a new champion being crowned would increase.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt claimed that Mumbai Indians are a formidable team. He emphasized how they have gone on to win the tournament on several occasions, despite a rocky start.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (Image Credit: Twitter)

Salman Butt: It Would Be Better If A New Team Like RCB Or DC Win The IPL 2021

The 37-year-old former tainted batsman and Pakistan skipper pointed out that the likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals could benefit from Mumbai’s exit. RCB and DC will look to lay their hands on the coveted trophy for the very first time.

“It is good that MI are out of the playoffs because once they start winning from the bottom, then they go on to win the title more often than not. Wouldn’t it be better if a new team like RCB or DC wins the title?. MI are dangerous,” Salman Butt said.

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians currently occupy 6th place in the IPL 2021 points table. However, their underwhelming net run rate of -0.048 could limit their chances of making the cut for the all-important playoffs.

Mumbai Indians Can Still Qualify For Playoffs If They Score More Than 200 Runs Batting First And Beat SRH By At Least 171 Runs

The five-time defending champions will have to topple the 4th placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the points table to become the fourth team to qualify. However, the chances of that happening are very slim as they will have to beat SRH by a humongous margin in order to do so.

MI is slated to take on SRH on Friday (October 8) in Abu Dhabi. They will have to score more than 200 runs after batting first in the game and beat Hyderabad by at least 171 runs to surpass KKR’s net run rate. Notably, they will not stand a chance if they bat second in the fixture.

KKR’s massive win against RR made the equation extremely stiff for MI to qualify for playoffs. Prior to the KKR vs RR match, all MI needed was a win and hoped that the Knight Riders lost. But KKR’s win made it all the more tricky for MI. KKR’s NRR jumped to +0.587 win a win over RR, which means that MI now will not only have to win but do it comprehensively to make it to the Playoffs.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ran riot with the ball and beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Match 54 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in Sharjah on Thursday. Put into bat, KKR posted 171/4 and then bowled out RR for 85 to register their seventh win of the season. While youngster pacer Shivam Mavi scalped four wickets, Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson picked three wickets as KKR marched towards the victory.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 171/4 (Shubman Gill 56, Venkatesh Iyer 38; Chetan Sakariya 1/23) beat Rajasthan Royals 85 (Rahul Tewatia 44, Shivam Dube 18; Shivam Mavi 4/21) by 86 runs. 

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

IPL 2021: Salman Butt Impressed By Centurion Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Game Awareness

Salman Butt, the former tainted Pakistan opener, was in awe of Chennai Super Kings sensation opener Ruturaj Gaikwad following his maiden T20 hundred. Ruturaj Gaikwad lit up Abu Dhabi on Saturday by scoring a scintillating ton against the Rajasthan Royals, but his unbeaten 101 went in vain.

Ruturaj Gaikwad reached his century on the last ball of the innings by smacking his fifth six and finishing with an unbeaten 101. The right-handed batsman’s 60-ball ton propelled the Chennai Super Kings to 189/4 in stipulated 20 overs and earned him the orange cap.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt: Ruturaj Gaikwad Is A Natural Talent, And His Game Awareness Is Outstanding

Salman Butt hailed Ruturaj Gaikwad’s game awareness and his ability to combat pressure. Salman Butt feels the youngster’s game is simple and risk-free as he avoids reckless shots and sets himself up before unleashing carnage.

“Ruturaj Gaikwad is a natural talent. But the mental and technical development and the game awareness is outstanding as he absorbs the pressure during difficult phases. There are players if they don’t hit boundaries for 3-4 deliveries, they begin taking a risk or play reckless shots.

“But Ruturaj Gaikwad is different as he puts away the bad balls and doesn’t come under pressure if otherwise. When set, he starts converting the aerial shots from grounded ones,” said Salman Butt.

Shivam Dube. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)
Shivam Dube. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The 24-year old’s knock contained five sixes and seven fours; however, it went in vain. The Rajasthan Royals chased down 190 with more than two overs and seven wickets to spare. Shivam Dube top-scored with 64*.   Rajasthan Royals chased down a mammoth target of 190 runs against Chennai Super Kings as youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Shivam Dube took the 2008 Champions home with 15 balls to spare.

Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed a maiden IPL ton in the first innings but still, it wasn’t enough for the 3-time champions to get them over the finishing line. 19-year old Yashasvi Jaiswal scored his maiden 50 in the run chase and played a brilliant inning under pressure.  Chennai and Delhi have already qualified for the playoffs, while Rajasthan is at the 6th spot with 10 points. 3rd placed RCB has 14 points while 4 teams- KKR, PBKS, RR, and MI have 10 points each.

Salman Butt: Ruturaj Gaikwad Plays Risk-Free Cricket

Salman Butt further claimed Ruturaj Gaikwad is amazing to watch and maintains a healthy strike rate despite playing risk-free cricket. The former Pakistan captain Salman Butt lauded the youngster for adapting well to the format and not playing slam-bang cricket.

“He is also beautiful to watch and is old school as compared to most modern-day players. Gaikwad struck at 160 to 170, but he plays risk-free cricket. Hence, it’s a great quality for a batsman to have the temperament in a T20 game by respecting the good balls and playing your shots when set.

“His adaptability in this format with a proper technique is outstanding and unlike most new players, Gaikwad plays proper cricketing shots,” said Salman Butt.

Ruturaj Gaikwad raises his bat. (Image Credits: Twitter)
Ruturaj Gaikwad raises his bat. (Image Credits: Twitter)

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s 508 runs in IPL 2021 at 50.80 have enabled him to top the run-scoring charts. But despite losing, the Chennai Super Kings maintained their first position in the points table and also became the first team to qualify for the playoffs.

Ruturaj Gaikwad also bagged the Orange Cap from Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul, becoming the first batsman in IPL 2021 to get to 500 runs. Ruturaj Gaikwad now has 508 runs in 12 matches at an average of over 50 and a strike rate over 140. But Yashasvi Jaiswal’s 50 and Shivam Dube’s unbeaten 64 saw Rajasthan reach 190 in the 18th over.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt Feels It’s Not The Proper Time To Rake Up The Captaincy Debate Between Virat Kohli And Rohit Sharma

Salman Butt said with a successful Test series in England and a crucial T20 World Cup looming, this is not the time to rake up the captaincy debate.

Following reports that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was unhappy with some of Virat Kohli’s decisions during the World Test Championship (WTC) final, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt said that the Indian skipper is being made a target of a “dirty game”.

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

Salman Butt Feels It’s Not The Proper Time To Discuss Captaincy

Salman Butt was responding to a recent news report that also claimed that Virat Kohli could be asked to make way for Rohit Sharma as captain if India fails to perform well in the ICC World T20 competition. The former Pakistan captain further said with a successful Test series in England and a crucial T20 World Cup looming, this is not the time to rake up the captaincy debate.

“Do you see the timing of this news? I don’t have a problem with what the board thinks, it’s about their own evaluation of who can take their cricket forward… but is this the time to discuss these things? Now there’s talk of Virat Kohli’s captaincy being on the danger line,” Butt said in a video on his YouTube channel.

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

“He’s (Virat) recently played a series in England, led his team really well, he was being criticized for his team selections but he’s constantly backing his team and in turn, the team is responding to him and playing good cricket… the team is at the top in every format and the World Cup is right up front, so such news surfacing in the media is nothing but a dirty game.”

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.

Salman Butt: Virat Kohli Has Done A Lot Of Good As Captain In Indian Cricket

Asked about comparing the white-ball trophies won by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Salman Butt said the latter is a very good captain but the former, too, has a decent win percentage across formats.

“I have said this before, Rohit Sharma is a very good captain, very successful, but this is not the time to talk about these things… Trophies matter, I agree but see the percentage of the games he has won and how successful he has been around the world. I think this is not the time and the guy has done a lot of good to Indian cricket. This news resurfacing is nothing but bad intent which shouldn’t happen.”

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Rohit Sharma has also inspired the team in Virat Kohli’s absence to memorable triumphs in Asia Cup 2018 and Nidahas Trophy 2018, besides leading Mumbai Indians to an unprecedented five IPL titles. 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 has proven his mettle as the most successful captain in the Indian Premier League. The hitman Rohit Sharma has led the Mumbai Indians (MI) to victory in the seasons 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020.

One of the biggest criticisms of Virat Kohli’s captaincy is his failure to land a major ICC trophy since taking over the charge of the team. Recently, in June, India lost in the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand in Southampton. India’s all-format captain Virat Kohli will soon quit ODI and T20 captaincy.

Virat Kohli will quit as India’s white-ball captain right after the T20 World Cup and IPL’s most successful skipper Rohit Sharma will take over the mantle. However, on Monday, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal rubbished the reports.

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