Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzwiki

Sanjay Manjrekar

World Test Championship, India
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Virat Kohli Wants To Make Himself Unsackable As Captain – Sanjay Manjrekar

Former India cricket Sanjay Manjrekar opined that Virat Kohli wanted to make himself unsackable as captain. That’s the reason why the Indian test captain made a surprising decision to step down from Test captaincy.

On Friday Virat Kohli made an announcement that he stepped down from Test captaincy with an immediate effect. The decision came after India lost a test series against South Africa by 1-2 as the hosts beat India by 7 wickets in the Cape Town Test.

Virat Kohli Wants To Make Himself Unsackable As Captain - Sanjay Manjrekar 1
Virat Kohli

Kohli led India in 68 Test matches

Reflecting on his captaincy tenure, Sanjay Manjrekar pointed that Kohli made quite a few decisions in the last few months. At the conclusion of the IPL season in October, he stepped down from RCB’s captaincy. A few days later, he also stated that he would step away from the responsibility of T20I captaincy to manage his workload. Then in December, he was sacked from the ODI captaincy as well.

“It’s come one after the other in a very short span of time – giving up the white-ball captaincy and IPL captaincy as well. This also was unexpected, but it is interesting that all these three resignations of important positions have come so quickly one after the other,” Manjrekar spoke to ESPNCricinfo.

He also added that Kohli wouldn’t want to take his captaincy to the point where he would be sacked from the position.

I think, in some way, he wants to make himself unsackable as captain. When he gets that vibe that his captaincy is under threat, he tends to quit,” he said.

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

Manjrekar also pointed that there might be a chance that Virat hadn’t felt at home with the current coaching set-up. Notable that after T20 World Cup, Ravi Shastri and Bharat Arun decided to step down from their coaching positions, citing the bio-bubble fatigue. And Rahul Dravid and Paras Mhambrey replaced them since the series against New Zealand.

“The landscape is changing, the scenario around Virat Kohli that allowed him to be himself and flourish. Ravi Shastri coming in. He was uncomfortable when Anil Kumble was the coach and once Shastri and the support staff came in, he felt comfortable. The new coach (Rahul Dravid) is no Ravi Shastri. He would have got some inkling of the kind of support he was going to get,” Manjrekar further said.

“The regime change in the BCCI also has something to do with all these important announcements that Virat has made. Clearly, a guy who finds himself outside his comfort zone. Individually, his batting is not at its best. All that has just added up. He is not in a great space at the moment. These are all emotional decisions that one can understand.” he added.

Kohli captained India in 68 matches with 40 wins and 17 losses. He took over the job in January 2015 when MS Dhoni decided to call of his test career midway in the series against Australia.

Also read Virat Kohli Informed That He Was Stepping Down As Test Skipper In Dressing Room 24 Hours Before His Tweet

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

Daryll Cullinan Lashes Out At Virat Kohli For His Stump Mic Outburst

Daryll Cullinan, the former South African batsman has lashed out at Virat Kohli for his outburst after an lbw decision against Dean Elgar was overturned courtesy of the DRS. According to Daryll Cullinan, for way too long Virat Kohli has got away with unacceptable behaviour on the cricket field.

There was a massive DRS controversy on Day 3 of the Cape Town Test after the South African captain was given not out by the TV umpire when he was on 22. Ravichandran Ashwin struck Dean Elgar in front of the stumps and was given out lbw by on-field umpire Marais Erasmus before the batsman asked to review it.

Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande
Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande

Daryll Cullinan: For Too Long Virat Kohli Got Away With Unacceptable Behaviour

To the naked eye, it looked like a straightforward leg before but to the horror of the Indians, ball-tracking showed the delivery missing the stumps. Virat Kohli spoke on the stump microphone after the decision went against India to focus both on team and opposition.

Among the many rants from the fielding side, captain Virat Kohli was heard on the stump mic saying: “Focus on your team as well and not just the opposition.”

Daryll Cullinan was least impressed with Virat Kohli’s behavior on the field. Daryll Cullinan lamented that the Indian captain can get away with it since his team is the powerhouse of cricket.

“This is the typical Virat’s untouchable, he behaves the way he wants to behave. The rest of the cricket world just bows down to Virat. The powerhouse is India. I hate to say this but it’s been going on for years. It’s just the big suck up towards India and anybody who plays for India. They are untouchable, so everyone will laugh it off, ” said Daryll Cullinan.

Virat Kohli kicked the ground in disgust and then spoke to the stump microphone. Another Indian player was heard saying, “Whole country is against eleven players.” and another cricketer added, “broadcasters are here to make money boys”. Before Virat Kohli, a frustrated Ravichandran Ashwin was also seen speaking to the stump mic.

Virat Kohli's stump-mic comments have attracted plenty of criticism
Virat Kohli’s stump-mic comments have attracted plenty of criticism | Screengrab

The former South African batter Daryll Cullinan added that the Indian skipper and his team went too far with their allegations over the DRS decision. According to him, Virat Kohli in particular must be reprimanded.

Mincing no words, the 54-year-old Daryll Cullinan commented: “I love Virat Kohli, I love his cricket, I love the way he plays. But there has to be a line drawn somewhere to say ‘hang on, you must be severely punished’. If anything, it was a mistake. I just cannot believe that they could think along those sort of lines. For too long Virat has got away with behavior which is unacceptable on a cricket field. But he’s Kohli and I don’t like it, quite frankly.”

India lost their focus after the lbw controversy, allowing Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen to score some easy runs. There was some respite for India before Stumps on the 3rd day as the South African captain was out caught behind off Jasprit Bumrah for 30. This time, India successfully used the DRS to overturn a ‘not out’ decision.

Sanjay Manjrekar: Virat Kohli Going Through A Difficult Phase

Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar shared similar views to Daryll Cullinan over the DRS controversy.

Conceding that the visitors’ allegations were extremely serious in nature, he said: “There was an insinuation from the Indian camp that the host broadcasters were up to some mischief to make sure they were putting their own team at an advantage. That is a serious kind of insinuation. I have a problem with that.”

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

While Dean Elgar was dismissed off what ended up being the last ball of the day, Keegan Petersen returned unbeaten on a fluent 48. During the discussion, Sanjay Manjrekar also pointed out that the Indian Test captain has been going through a pretty rough time both on and off the field lately.

The Test captain has been stripped of his role as ODI captain after he himself relinquished his job as T20I skipper after the 2021 T20I World Cup concluded. Besides, he hasn’t scored a ton in any format since 2019.

He elaborated: “Virat Kohli is going through one of the most difficult phases of his career. He lost his ODI captaincy, there has been some controversy over that. This is the first time that I am seeing self-doubts have started creeping in. We saw it during the IPL as well. Never thought this guy would be under-confident.”

Meanwhile, South Africa ended Day 3 of the Cape Town Test at 101 for 2. They need a further 111 runs to win the Test and the series on Day 4. Chasing the target of 212 against India in the third Test, South Africa is in full control at the Newlands in Cape Town as they have eight wickets in hand with No. 3 batter Keegan Petersen going steady. He was finally dismissed by Shardul Thakur after scoring 82. South Africa is 155/3.

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

Sanjay Manjrekar Praised Rishabh Pant For Playing An Unselfish Knock Of 100* On Day 3 Of The Cape Town Test

Sanjay Manjrekar has praised Rishabh Pant for playing an unselfish knock on Day 3 of the 3rd and final Cape Town Test against South Africa. While the batter eventually got to three figures, according to Sanjay Manjrekar, his sole focus was on extending the Indian second innings as much as possible.

The 24-year-old batter scored an unbeaten 100 off 139 balls on Thursday (13 January). However, India was all out for only 198 in 67.3 overs as the remaining batters put up an insipid display.

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Sanjay Manjrekar: Rishabh Pant Only Focused On Prolonging The Innings As He Played An Unselfish Innings Himself

Praising the youngster, Sanjay Manjrekar said during a discussion that the keeper-batter proved he is a complete team man. Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 100-run knock came off 139 deliveries and was studded with six fours and four sixes. This was Rishabh Pant’s 4th Test ton. He now has Test tons in England, Australia, and South Africa.

The former cricketer stated: “How unselfish was that innings. He was only focused on prolonging that innings, not worried about getting that hundred. He has got out in the 90s a couple of times. This is a guy who plays for his team and that was amply evident.”

Sanjay Manjrekar added: “Lot of big-name batters would have quickly got a hundred and then decided ‘let me see what I can do’. He was constantly thinking of just one goal – to extend the innings.”

Sanjay Manjrekar went back to the backlash the left-hander had received in the previous Test for playing a ‘reckless’ shot. He pointed out that the southpaw played a similar stroke on Thursday but this time the ball went to the boundary as he scored more than half the runs for India.

The 56-year-old added: “There is something unique about this guy. A lot of criticism for the shot he played and got out to Rabada in the last Test match. He played the same shot against Olivier when he was 14 or 18, smacked him four. Virender Sehwag was different, this is a guy who is even more different. Look at the exploits. He scored more than half the runs for the side.”

Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande
Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande

Former South African batter Daryll Cullinan described Rishabh Pant’s performance in India’s second innings on Thursday as the knock of the series.

He said in praise of the young dasher: “He (Pant) took on the short ball and actually made it look fairly comfortable. He then got the bowlers to pitch it up and try something else. I have seen highlights of his batting in the past, but this is the first time I have sat down and actually watched the guy play. He is a serious talent. Putting everything else aside, it has been the knock of the series so far.”

Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli (29) featured in a fifth-wicket stand of 94. However, the visitors faltered and ended up losing their last six wickets for 46 runs.

The keeper-batsman had a lean patch in Test cricket since his last hundred at Ahmedabad against England sat home. In 4-match series in England, he scored just 146 runs in 7 innings while in this ongoing series he scored just 86 runs in 5 innings averaging 17.2 before his unbeaten hundred in the last innings of the ongoing series.

Sanjay Manjrekar Criticized Indian Lower Order Batsmen For Throwing Wickets While Playing Unnecessary Lavish Shots

Sanjay Manjrekar criticized India’s lower-order batsmen especially Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah for throwing their wickets away while attempting lavish shots instead of looking to support Rishabh Pant.

He commented: “I have a problem with Mohammed Shami’s shot, especially with Pant at the other end. That was somebody trying to show some bravado. All he had to do was hang in there. With the kind of ability Pant has, who knows, he could have taken 30-40 runs more.”

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

The cricketer-turned-commentator was disappointed with Jasprit Bumrah’s dismissal as well.

He added: “Bumrah too has got caught in this thing with (Marco) Jansen. He wants to show that ‘I am not someone who is scared of fast bowling’. Those shots were like two tailenders trying to set a target with shortage of time. That has to be looked at.”

Chasing a target of 212 to win the Test and the series, South Africa ended Day 3 on a healthy 101/2. Keegan Petersen was unbeaten on 48 while Dean Elgar was dismissed for 30 of what ended up being the last ball of the day. The Proteas is 101/2 at Stump’s needing a further 111 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand and 2 days left.

South Africa 210 and 101 for 2 (Petersen 48*, Elgar 30, Shami 1-22) need another 111 runs to beat India 223 and 198 (Pant 100*, Jansen 4-36, Rabada 3-53, Ngidi 3-21)

Mayank Agarwal. (Photo | PTI)
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo | PTI)

Sanjay Manjrekar Worried About Opener Mayank Agarwal’s Dismissals In His Last Few Innings

Sanjay Manjrekar is worried about Mayank Agarwal’s mode of dismissals in his last few innings. He observed that the opening batter is poking at deliveries outside the off-stump with hard hands, which is a problem that needs to be worked upon soon.

Mayank Agarwal started the three-Test series against South Africa on a promising note, scoring a 123-ball 60 in difficult conditions in Centurion. But his form tapered off after that, with scores of 4, 26, 23, 15, and 7 in the next five innings. He was caught at slips while trying to drive good length deliveries outside the off-stump in both innings of the ongoing Test.

Mayank Agarwal. (Photo: BCCI)
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo: BCCI)

Sanjay Manjrekar Is Worried By The Way Mayank Agarwal Was Dismissed In The Last Few Test Innings

Mayank Agarwal has played 19 Tests so far amassing 1429 runs at an impressive average of 43.3. He didn’t do well in Australia recently and played the two Tests against New Zealand only because opener KL Rahul got injured and another opener Rohit Sharma was rested.

The Karnataka star followed up his 150 in the first innings with 62 runs in the second innings in the 2nd Test against New Zealand. After scoring 60 in the 1st innings of the 1st Test in the next Test series against Proteas, the opener failed to cross 30 even once in the next 5 innings, amassing only 135 runs averaging 22.5 against South Africa.

Speaking in this regard on an interaction, Sanjay Manjrekar said: “How you get out is very important for a coach or a selector to decide the future of a player and the way Mayank Agarwal has got out in the last few innings worries me. Until this Test match, I thought he was shaping well and he might [have found] a way to come with softer hands on the ball, leave balls outside the off-stump.”

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

“Outside the off-stump, that channel is tricky to handle. Different batters handle it differently. Virat Kohli these days leaves everything outside the off-stump, some people play and are very confident. Mayank Agarwal needs to find a way to tackle that line.”

Sanjay Manjrekar added: “At the moment, he’s coming with two hard [hands], with a high backlift and the bat is coming hard on the ball. The slip catches [off his bat] are also going so quickly to the catchers to suggest it’s coming very hard. So Mayank Agarwal has a problem and that’s I guess work for the batting coach and Rahul Dravid.”

Mayank Agarwal was equally bullish on his off-side strokeplay in that first innings of the series. But he got away with a few close calls and made the South African pacers pay for their inconsistent lengths. The Proteas bowlers have since been on the money, exposing the right-hander’s weaknesses on quicker pitches.

The series was a crucial opportunity for Mayank Agarwal to perform in the absence of other openers injured Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. He would not be happy with just 135 runs from six innings.

Sanjay Manjrekar: Series A Show Of 2 Quality Bowling Attacks Against 2 Weak Batting Lineups

Looking at the bigger picture, Sanjay Manjrekar also noted that the series has been a show of two quality bowling attacks against two ‘weak’ batting lineups so far.

Sanjay Manjrekar explained: “We are looking at two quality bowling lineups, but the fact also remains that we are seeing two not-so-great batting lineups. One is South Africa that’s weak on ability, to begin with; India of course [is] not weak in ability but on form – a lot of them are off the boil a little bit. So it’s the story of two teams with weakness in the batting lineup.”

Dean Elgar punches the air after hitting the winning four AFP via Getty Images
Dean Elgar punches the air after hitting the winning four AFP via Getty Images

Despite Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul’s early dismissals, India raced to a 70-run lead at the end of Day 2. Sanjay Manjrekar insisted that, barring Dean Elgar, he has “no faith” in the hosts’ batting lineup, adding that a 200-run target should be enough for Team India.

Sanjay Manjrekar said: “I just have no faith in this South African batting lineup. If Dean Elgar plays well, there’s some hope. But when you have a batting lineup of the kind where Marco Jansen is coming so up the order, I think 200 should be enough for India’s bowling attack. The kind of attack they have, with Bumrah now finding a way to bowl outside the off-stump so runs should be hard to come by. The last time they chased 240 was a combination of Elgar playing one of his best innings and India bowling poorly. That’s unlikely to happen everytime.”

Dean Elgar played an unbeaten 96-run knock in South Africa’s second innings in the previous 2nd Test to take his team across the finish line. The gritty opener took numerous blows to his body but kept the Indian attack at bay during his more than five-hour vigil at the crease.

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

Virat Kohli Of Old Would Have Got A 130 In The Same Number Of Balls – Sanjay Manjrekar

Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Virat Kohli needs to reassess his batting method as the batter is playing everything on the front foot which cuts down his scoring shots. Virat Kohli played a gritty knock of 79 in 201 deliveries.

He missed out on the second test as he suffered an upper back spasm. But on the first day, he showed immense grit and perseverance to stand tall against challenging conditions. However, he didn’t get much support from the other end as India bowled out for 223. The cricketing fraternity is in awe of Virat Kohli for his patience throughout the innings as he scored his second slowest fifty of his Test career. In his knock, he scored 12 boundaries.

WTC final: Pleasing to dismiss Virat Kohli, he's 'world-class' batter, says Kyle Jamieson | Photo Credit: AP
WTC final: Pleasing to dismiss Virat Kohli, he’s ‘world-class’ batter, says Kyle Jamieson | Photo Credit: AP

Kohli hasn’t scored a century since November 2019

Speaking of ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar didn’t look convinced with his methods as he believes it’s making life difficult for him.

“I think he has got to look at this method of scoring runs. I don’t believe in this thing of ‘who tells Virat Kohli anything about how he should bat. He is one of the all-time greats’. Roger Federer has a coach who travels with him, keeps telling him about things he needs to improve on. Every sportsman needs some kind of guide. And I think this method is making life a little more difficult for Kohli,” Manjrekar said.

Virat Kohli Of Old Would Have Got A 130 In The Same Number Of Balls - Sanjay Manjrekar 2
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara

Manjrekar pointed out that Kohli is playing everything on the front foot which forced him to be more circumspect when he can score freely. Manjekar doesn’t believe that running out of partners was the reason if he missed out on the century. He urged Dravid to show him some of his old innings when Kohli used to use depth of the crease to play more horizontal bat shots.

“Kohli has other shots as well. We are saying he ran out of partners and hence missed a hundred. But the Virat Kohli of old, with all the shots that he used to play, would have got a 130 in the same number of balls.

“Who better than Rahul David to quietly start suggesting to Virat Kohli whether he would want to look at some of his earlier tapes? How he used to score more freely and whether he wants to have a relook at this front foot commitment no matter what,” he added.

Though he applauded the effort of the Indian captain as he single-handedly took India to a respectable total.

“Hats off to Virat Kohli. He is coming out of a lean patch. Wickets getting lost at the other end. The innings that you saw was all about mental toughness. It was just him grinding runs away. Had he not run out of partners, we would have seen Virat Kohli grind a hundred. And that is the sign of a class player,” he stated.

At the close of Day-1, South Africa also lost one wicket in form of Dean Elgar as they finished the day with 17/1.

Also read I Think Joe Root Is The Man To Captain The Side – Shane Warne

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

The Ball Was Coming Onto The Stumps, All They Had To Do Was Put Bat To Ball – Sanjay Manjrekar Criticises India’s Bowling Strategy

Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar believes that India’s pace bowling unit let them down in the fourth innings as Bumrah & Co. made a tactical error to bowl too straight which played to the hands of Dean Elgar & Co.

South Africa chased down the target of 240 with a loss of only 3 wickets as Dean Elgar led from the front with an unbeaten 96 as the hosts levelled the series by 1-1 with one test to go.

The Ball Was Coming Onto The Stumps, All They Had To Do Was Put Bat To Ball - Sanjay Manjrekar Criticises India's Bowling Strategy 3

“Challenge was taken away” – Sanjay Manjrekar

Manjrekar believes that Indian pacers were not patient enough to bowl consistently outside off. As they started chasing wickets with bowling straight lines which made life easier for South African batters as all they had to do, was to put on the ball.

“If you noticed today, every ball was on the stumps. There’s a line that you can bowl on South African pitches, especially when you’ve got only 240 runs to defend which is outside the off-stump. That creates a different challenge to the batter because he’s then thinking, ‘Should I play this one or leave that one?’ Now that challenge was taken away because everything was coming into the stumps, and if the ball didn’t do much, there were runs to be had,” Manjrekar spoke to ESPNcricinfo.

He further pointed out that barring Shardul Thakur Indian seamers didn’t get any movement whether it’s in the air or off the surface which made things easier for Dean Elgar & Co.

The Ball Was Coming Onto The Stumps, All They Had To Do Was Put Bat To Ball - Sanjay Manjrekar Criticises India's Bowling Strategy 4
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Look at the economy rates of all the seam bowlers. So when the ball didn’t kick or jag around – Bumrah’s ball didn’t jag around at all in this Test match, Shami not as much only, Shardul was getting the ball to deviate off the pitch – so that meant. the ball was coming onto the stumps, all they had to do was put bat to ball,” he added.

However, Manjrekar is quite satisfied with KL Rahul’s first audition as test captain. Manjrejar believes that he did things that most new captains would do and didn’t make any outrageous calls. Notable that KL Rahul captained India in this test as Virat Kohli was ruled out due to an upper back spasm.

“Tactically, I think, Rahul did what most new captains would do. He would go with bowlers who have the pedigree, so there was a lot of Bumrah, Shami; there was a bit of Shardul. The big story as well (is) about what this team thinks of Ravichandran Ashwin, the way he was used. So tactically, with bowling changes, I don’t have any issues,” Manjrekar stated.

The third and final test will begin on January 11 at Cape Town, Virat Kohli will likely be available for this test.

Also read Rahul Dravid Hopeful To See Virat Kohli Return For 3rd And Final Test

Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Owed India Bigger Scores Than Mere Fifties, Feels Sanjay Manjrekar

Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar believes that the contributions from Pujara and Rahane in the second innings in Johannesburg Test should be relooked closely as he said the fifties from the duo weren’t enough as they owed bigger scores for the backing they got. So the scores like the 80s or 90s would have made the difference.

He gave an example of Dean Elgar who held the fort against Indian bowling and scored an unbeaten 96 to take his team home in the second Test match. South Africa leveled the series by 1-1 with one Test to go.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

“Batting became a little easier because of the rain”- Sanjay Manjrekar

Analyzing the match with ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Pujara and Rahane still hadn’t done enough to put faith back in them. Pujara and Rahane put on a 111-run stand on the third day of the second test as Pujara scored 53 while Rahane played a fluent knock of 78-ball 58 runs but Manjrekar opined that India expected more from them.

“You have to look at the innings of Pujara and Rahane slightly differently because these are guys who owed runs and they got the fifties which is great, back in form, good enough to keep places in the side. But guys with that kind of experience, just like Dean Elgar, could they not have gone on to get a bigger score? An 80 or a 90 or a 100 because that’s what they owed the Indian team and then the target would have been beyond the reach of the South Africans.” Manjrekar spoke to ESPNcricinfo.

However, he admitted that South African batters got slightly easier conditions to bat as the cracks were softened due to moisture as South Africa chased down the target in 67.4 overs.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

“That’s one way to look at it but yes the pitch played a little better in the sense that because of the rain, every time the ball didn’t kick, it was coming onto the bat nicely and going off the bat nicely as well. So batting became a little easier because of the rain.” he further added.

Manjrekar lauded the efforts of South Africa’s inexperienced line-up as he felt that India was favourites to win with the target of 240. He also pointed out that South Africa’s batting resources ain’t that great as Dean Elgar is their most accomplished batter but his batting average is a mere 40.

“Considering the batting lineup of South Africa batting last in this Test match, you would have thought that India should have won in the last innings because of the quality and experience they have in their bowling attack. But I think the first reaction has to be a well done to South Africa, well done to South African batters,” he said.

“Because these are the guys, when you look at their batting record, last time I looked Dean Elgar was with the highest batting average of 39, some are averaging 30, some are finding their feet at the Test level. And for them to chase down this kind of a target… I just hope it gives them the optimism to stand behind the young talent they are looking to back and let’s just hope we see the rise of South African batting after this kind of performance.” he added further.

The third and final test will begin on January 11 in Cape Town.

Also read Team Management Backed Pujara And Rahane For Their Experience And They Repaid The Faith, Feels Sunil Gavaskar

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

Sanjay Manjrekar Defends Rishabh Pant Despite His Cheap Dismissal Again In South Africa

Sanjay Manjrekar has jumped to Rishabh Pant’s defense as he faces constant criticism from fans and experts over the poor shot selections, leading to his quick dismissals in South Africa. Sanjay Manjrekar feels this is the sort of game Rishabh Pant plays, and people have got to accept that.

Rishabh Pant has found himself in the firing line once again after another cheap dismissal on the tour of South Africa on Wednesday. As the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Gautam Gambhir have hit out at the wicket-keeper batsman for his poor shot selection in the second innings of the second Test against South Africa, Sanjay Manjrekar has jumped to his defense.

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Sanjay Manjrekar Defends Rishabh Pant After His Cheap Dismissal Saying He Plays Such Aggressive Brand Of Cricket And Won Matches In England And Australia

Rishabh Pant has had a habit of playing aggressive shots even during nervy phases in the game. It was this approach of his that saw him play some match-winning knocks in England and Australia. However, the southpaw hasn’t quite been able to replicate the same in the Rainbow Nation.

Though there are those who didn’t quite like the way Rishabh Pant threw his wicket on Wednesday, Sanjay Manjrekar feels the wicket-keeper batsman shouldn’t be criticized as he always plays in this manner. While this time, the approach didn’t pay off, it was the same style of play that saw Rishabh Pant win matches for India in Australia and England.

“This is a guy who, in a short career, has played two great Test innings – one against England, one against Australia. During the start of those innings, we have seen this kind of shots being played by Rishabh Pant. This is how Rishabh Pant plays. This is not him being rash or carefree.”

Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant | Source: Twitter
Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant | Source: Twitter

“I am starting to understand that this guy is pretty sharp here (pointing to the brain). People thought the short ball rattled him. He was thinking the next ball is going to be right up. That’s the one that he wanted to take on and I have seen him do that in the past. If he connects that ball and if it goes for a four or a six, then he sorts of settles down for the next 30-40 minutes. This is a guy who can also defend well. He doesn’t have a problem with the short ball,” Sanjay Manjrekar said.

Rishabh Pant had won praise all over the globe from his counter-attacking style of play during the Border-Gavaskar trophy last year. It was that approach itself that saw him usurp Wriddhiman Saha as the team’s No. 1 choice behind the stumps.

Rishabh Pant came to bat at a crucial moment on Day 3. The southpaw was convincingly beaten on the first two balls. Then, in an apparent attempt to put the pressure back on pacer Kagiso Rabada, he charged down the track and went cross-batted against a short ball. But Rishabh Pant only got a thick outside edge to the wicketkeeper.

Sanjay Manjrekar: One Has To Accept That Rishabh Pant’s High Risk Of Playing Cricket Is Playing With An Aggressive Instinct

Though players usually opt for a risk-averse strategy in Test cricket, Rishabh Pant likes to take the challenge head-on and get quick runs. Sanjay Manjrekar, hence, feels people have got to accept the way Rishabh Pant plays despite knowing that sometimes this approach will not give the desired results.

“This is Pant’s high-risk way of playing cricket. When you get those exciting results from him, and if you accept that, then you have got to accept this as well. This is one of the occupational hazards of his batting approach. Pant will get that leeway as long as he is playing those match-winning innings. But if those start to dry up, his time won’t be long. Then they will really start criticizing him and say – look, take into consideration the situation. All that sort of stuff we all know about,” he opined.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

As things stand at the moment, India is on brink of defeat in the second Test against South Africa at Johannesburg. Dean Elgar’s men need 122 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand, and two days of play to go.

Apart from his quick-fire 34 runs in the first Test, Rishabh Pant hasn’t contributed much with his bat for India in the ongoing series. Rishabh Pant had scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 in five innings for India against Australia in 2020/21 Down Under.

The keeper continued his form against England at home where he hit 270 runs at an average of 54.00 as he was the second-highest run-getter for India in the series. But since the end of the home Test series against England, Rishabh Pant has played seven Tests, all away from home, and has averaged a mere 19.23.

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

Sanjay Manjrekar Doesn’t Like This Angry Side Of Jasprit Bumrah After He Was Involved In A Heated Exchange

Sanjay Manjrekar, the former Indian batsman turned commentator has stated that he doesn’t like the angry version of pacer Jasprit Bumrah which was on display during Day 3 of the Johannesburg Test against South Africa.

Jasprit Bumrah and South African pacer Marco Jansen were involved in a heated exchange on Wednesday after the latter peppered the Indian tailender with bouncers. The altercation reminded fans and experts of the Jasprit Bumrah-James Anderson verbal duel during the Lord’s Test last year.

Jasprit Bumrah and Marco Jansen have a go at each other. Pic: Getty Images
Jasprit Bumrah and Marco Jansen have a go at each other. Pic: Getty Images

Sanjay Manjrekar Doesn’t Like This Angry Side Of Jasprit Bumrah

Asked for his views on ‘angry’ Jasprit Bumrah, Sanjay Manjrekar candidly admitted that it is a side of the pace bowler he would prefer not to see too often.

The former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said during a discussion: “This anger thing is interesting. It happened in England as well. I don’t like this side of Bumrah. It’s a side of Bumrah I don’t want to see too much of. I like it when things get really hot, he has a smile on his face, like he usually does. ”

Sanjay Manjrekar also spoke about Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling effort on the 3rd day and opined that he wasn’t getting enough purchase out of a responsive surface.

The 56-year-old added: “There’s never a problem with Bumrah not having any control. He will always pitch the ball where he wants to. I am a little concerned that nothing much is happening after the ball is pitching where he wants to. I’d like to see the ball rear in, jagging back off the seam or leaving the right-hander.”

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Comparing Bumrah’s spell with that of Shardul Thakur, Manjrekar pointed out: “The amount of times Shardul Thakur beat the bat tells you that Bumrah is just not getting enough reaction from the pitch for some reason.”

Former South African batsman Daryll Cullinan was also disappointed with Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah’s effort on the 3rd day’s play.

Sharing his views, he commented: “One would have expected him to cause the batters a lot more trouble. Perhaps he’s trying too hard or maybe it’s not leaving the hand properly. He bowled two three good balls and then he tried something straight or went too short or offered something.”

Jasprit Bumrah went for 42 runs in his 10 overs on Wednesday without claiming a wicket.

Sanjay Manjrekar Expects India’s Quality Line Up Including The Wicketless Duo Of Jasprit Bumrah And Mohammed Shami To Bowl Better On Day 4

According to Sanjay Manjrekar, not only Jasprit Bumrah but even Mohammed Shami looked out of rhythm on Day 3, which allowed South Africa to get off to a solid start.

Analyzing India’s overall bowling effort on Wednesday, the former middle-order batter admitted: “India did not have a great bowling time, especially with their two spearheads. Mohammed Shami was slightly off line and Bumrah was not getting enough out of the pitch. Nothing much is happening after the ball pitches.”

Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)
Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)

Terming Thakur the pick of the bowlers, Manjrekar concluded: “There is something there for Ashwin. I expect this quality bowling line-up to bowl better on Day 4. That’s why I think India are still very much in the game to win it.”

While Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami went wicketless on Wednesday, Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin impressed, claiming one wicket each. Shardul Thakur had earlier claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in the 1st innings in Test to push South Africa on the back foot in the second Test at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg while leading India’s remarkable turnaround after being bowled out for 202.

When Shardul Thakur led his teammates off the field, he had 7 for 61 next to his name, and India had limited South Africa’s lead to 27.  India then scored 266 to set up a target of 240 for South Africa to win and square series.

The hosts, chasing a target of 240, went to stumps at 118-2, with Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen amidst a 25-run partnership. Skipper Dean Elgar (46), who took many a blow on his body, and Rassie van der Dussen (11) will resume the home chase on Thursday morning. They need 122 more runs to level the series. As it is still drizzling in Johannesburg, there’s is likely that the first session of Day 4 will be completely washed out due to rain.

Brief Scores:

India: 202 and 266 in 60.1 overs (A Rahane 58, C Pujara 53; K Rabada 3/73, M Jansen 3/67, L Ngidi 3/43).

South Africa: 202 and 118 for 2 in 40 overs. (D Elgar 46 batting, A Markram 34, R Ashwin 1/14, S Thakur 1/24).

Keshav Maharaj prepares to send one down AFP
Keshav Maharaj prepares to send one down AFP

Sanjay Manjrekar: It Was Ridiculous To See South Africa’s Left Arm Spinner Keshav Maharaj Bowling The Last Over Of Day 2

Sanjay Manjrekar has come down harshly on South Africa for their decision-making on Day 2 of the second Test against India. He criticized the Proteas for giving left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj the last over of Day 2 in lieu of a seamer, with the pitch aiding the fast bowlers. The 56-year-old questioned the hosts’ tactics and said they did a ‘formality’ by throwing the ball to a spinner.

The erratic nature of the pitch has helped the pacers so far, who took all 11 wickets on Day 2. First, South Africa was all out for 229, courtesy of Shardul Thakur’s exceptional bowling performance (7/61). Then, with a trail of 27 runs, India started their second innings in the third session. The hosts bowled 20 overs by Stumps, dismissing two in-form batters in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal in the process.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar: It Was Ridiculous To See Keshav Maharaj Bowling The Last Over Of Day 2

Due to the uneven bounce of the Wanderers’ pitch, batting wasn’t a facile task. South African bowlers troubled the Indian batters. However, to finish the day instantaneously, skipper Dean Elgar handed the ball to Keshav Maharaj to bowl the last over. Former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar criticized South Africa’s ‘ridiculous’ tactics. He divulged that both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane would’ve been delighted to see a spinner bowling the last over.

While reviewing Day 2, Sanjay Manjrekar said: “Today, just watching that last session, it was just ridiculous. And It was topped up with Keshav Maharaj bowling the last over. Just as a formality. It’s like that old-fashioned thing that we do with one over to go. Let’s bowl a left-arm spinner.”

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

He added: “How does that make any sense on a pitch that has so much for seamers? Why not one more over from Lungi Ngidi? Just imagine how delighted Pujara and Rahane would’ve been to see Maharaj bowling the last over.”

Incidentally, Cheteshwar Pujara scored a couple of boundaries in Keshav Maharaj’s over to extend India’s lead to 58 runs. Shardul Thakur’s seven-wicket haul however couldn’t stop South Africa from taking a 27-run first-innings lead but India started their second innings positively and was 85 for 2 – ahead by 58 – at stumps on day two of the second Test in Johannesburg.

Sanjay Manjrekar Was Frustrated To See Kagiso Rabada Bowling Driving Balls

The former cricketer-turned-expert also lambasted South African pacer Kagiso Rabada for his mediocre showing against India. Sanjay Manjrekar pointed out that the 26-year-old gave too many driving balls, which were ‘ridiculous’ to say the least. Kagiso Rabada picked 3/64 in the 1st innings, the same figures Duanne Olivier registered. But in the 2nd innings, he has conceded 26 runs and is wicketless after bowling 6 overs.

While giving away that he was left ‘baffled’ with South Africa’s method of tossing the ball up to the Indian batters, Sanjay Manjrekar opined: “What has happened to Rabada? It’s so frustrating watching him as well. That suddenly he wants to be the Jimmy Anderson kind of a bowler. The amount of driving balls that he has given to the Indian batters in both innings, it’s been ridiculous to say the least.”

“Although Dean Elgar didn’t give Rabada and (Duanne) Olivier too much overs with the new ball, the amount of driving balls given in the Test match by South Africa when the pitch is your greatest ally. It just baffles me.”

Kagiso Rabada (file photo)
Kagiso Rabada (file photo)

He added: “When I was there in 90’s, driving balls, you’d get rarely. Two or three per session. But here you are getting three or four per over. And every ball has been driven for four. Such ridiculous tactics from South Africa.”

The duo of out-of-form middle-order batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara (35*) and Ajinkya Rahane (11*) did pretty well to remain unbeaten by Stumps on Day 2, despite being under tremendous pressure prior to the innings. India ended Day 2 of the Wanderers Test at 85 for two wickets, asserting a lead of 58 runs. With the game perfectly poised in balance, Day 3 becomes extremely crucial and could decide the fortunes of the whole series.

India 202 and 85 for 2 (Pujara 35*, Rahane 11*, Jansen 1-18) lead South Africa 229 (Petersen 62, Bavuma 51, Thakur 7-61) by 58 runs

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