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VVS Laxman And Irfan Pathan Hopeful To See Kuldeep Yadav And Yuzvendra Chahal Bowl In Tandem

VVS Laxman has opined that wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal should play in tandem for Team India in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.

A 20-member Indian team will play six limited-overs internationals in Sri Lanka, with the first ODI scheduled for July 13. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are among six spinners who are part of the squad.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

VVS Laxman: Kuldeep Yadav Requires To Get His Confidence Back By Playing More Games

VVS Laxman cast his vote for wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to play together in the three-match ODI series, during a discussion on Star Sports,

VVS Laxman said: “I definitely would like to see them play in the three ODIs. There are six spinners. In ODIs, each bowler will get to bowl ten overs. The more overs they bowl, the more success they have, they will get back their confidence, especially Kuldeep.”

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman

The former India batsman VVS Laxman highlighted that the tour is particularly important for chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav to regain his lost confidence.

VVS Laxman elaborated: “We know Chahal is a very successful and experienced bowler. He is high in confidence and a very important member keeping in mind the T20 World Cup. But Kuldeep requires to get his confidence back.”

Kuldeep Yadav has got sporadic opportunities in the Indian team over the last couple of years. He has even been benched by the Kolkata Knight Riders, who have not played the left-arm wrist-spinner even a single match in IPL 2021 thus far before the league’s postponement.

Irfan Pathan: If Hardik Pandya Can Bowl, Chances Of Yuzvendra Chahal And Kuldeep Yadav Playing Together Will Increase

Irfan Pathan added that Kuldeep Yadav, who had a terrific start to his international career, can only gain confidence by playing more matches.

“The only way he can get confidence is by playing matches, by bowling more and more overs. He has been a very very successful bowler in a short span of time for Indian cricket. He is one of the quickest to take 100 wickets and he is a wicket-taker.”

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

The former India all-rounder signed off by stating that the chances of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal playing in tandem will increase if all-rounder Hardik Pandya can roll his arm over.

“I am looking forward to seeing not only Kuldeep and Chahal bowling together but I am hoping that Hardik Pandya starts bowling. If he starts bowling, it makes it easier to play both of them.”

Kuldeep Yadav breached the 100-wicket mark in ODI cricket in just 58 matches. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, who achieved the distinction in 56 and 57 matches respectively, are the only Indian bowlers to reach the milestone quicker.

He played only 14 games in 2019 and 2020 for KKR and his average was above 70 in both editions which is extremely poor by standards unlike his average in IPL 2016-2018 which was less than 30. In ODIs, he averaged 17.78 with the ball in 2018 picking as many as 45 wickets in 19 games but has picked only 6 scalps in 7 ODIs in 2020-21. In T20Is his overall bowling average is an extraordinary 13.77 but he has got limited opportunities.

Kuldeep Yadav played 9 T20Is in 2018 and featured in just 4 T20Is in the last two years (2 T20Is in 2019 and 2 T20Is in 2020). The spinner’s last international appearance was against England where Kuldeep Yadav struggled in the first two ODIs against England and was replaced by pacer T Natarajan for the final 3rd ODI.

The left-arm spinner went wicketless in the two games. In the first ODI, he was hit for 68 runs in 9 overs. In the 2nd ODI, Kuldeep Yadav was hammered for 84 runs in 10 overs.

Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
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Mohammed Shami Not An Automatic Choice As Pacer For T20 World Cup, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes pacer Mohammed Shami is not a sure-shot pick as a Team India seamer for the upcoming T20 World Cup slated later this year.

Mohammed Shami was the standout Indian bowler in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. His four-wicket haul in New Zealand’s first innings helped India stage a late comeback in the summit clash but India’s defeat and lacklustre performance by other pacers raise questions on whom to pick as pacers for the T20 World Cup in a packed international schedule.

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra On Mohammed Shami

Aakash Chopra was asked in a video shared on his YouTube channel, whether pacer Mohammed Shami could replicate his performance in the WTC final at the T20 World Cup. The cricketer-turned-commentator responded that the right-arm seamer is not a certainty in the Indian T20I team.

“Shami is not an automatic choice. You want him to be there. He did well for Kings XI Punjab in Dubai but he was just about okay for Punjab Kings here. He was coming back from injury and did not have the rhythm.”

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami (Image Credit: Twitter)

However, Aakash Chopra added Mohammed Shami could be in the Indian team’s scheme of things for the T20 World Cup if he performs up to expectations in the five-Test series against England and the remainder of IPL 2021 for Punjab Kings to be held at UAE. He picked 8 scalps in as many matches in IPL 2021 and did well last season too where he picked 20 scalps averaging 23 in 14 games in the UAE.

“If you talk about T20, it is the one format where Shami doesn’t walk into the team straightaway. But if the player keeps on doing well, he will play the five Tests and then the IPL, if he is carrying forward that form, of course, why not.”

Mohammed Shami has scalped 12 wickets in as many T20Is he has played for Team India. He has proved to be quite expensive as well, having conceded an average of 9.80 runs per over averaging a high 35.67.

Aakash Chopra: Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar Are Ahead Of Mohammed Shami In Pecking Order For T20 World Cup

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Mohammed Shami does not have great numbers in the shortest format of the game as he feels pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar should play ahead of Mohammed Shami.

“Shami’s T20 numbers are alright. They haven’t been extraordinary ever. And because of that, he is not part of every T20 team as well. Especially if you see this team, you will put Bumrah in this T20 Team without any hesitation. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar are ahead of him on this list or standing at par. Then there will be T Natarajan. You will want to consider him as soon as he is fit and available.”

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The 43-year-old signed off by picking Mohammed Shami at the fourth spot in his pecking order of Indian seamers for the T20 World Cup.

“If I have to give my first three choices – Bumrah is No.1, Bhuvi is No.2, I am going with Deepak Chahar as No.3 and then I have got Shami at four. I have got Natarajan at five. But then Shardul Thakur is also there, there is actually a crowd – Siraj and Umesh are also there. But this will be my pecking order.

“Shami is there in my top four but he is not there in my first two. My first two will be Bumrah and Bhuvi and I will want to start with them only, ” said Aakash Chopra.

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are likely to be India’s first-choice seamers if they are fit and available. India though may not field Bhuvneshwar and Deepak Chahar together in the playing XI, whereas the newest acquisition T Natarajan could steal a march over Mohammed Shami for the left-arm variety and his ability to bowl yorkers at the death.

Mohammed Shami picked up 4/76 and Ishant Sharma claimed 3/48, which restricted New Zealand’s first-innings lead to 32, whereas Jasprit Bumrah went wicketless in the WTC final.

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Mohammad Shami To Dedicate Win To Frontline Workers, Doctors If India Wins In England

Mohammad Shami said if the Indian team returns victorious then he would like to dedicate the win to the frontline workers and doctors who have served selflessly in India’s battle against Covid-19 in recent times.

The Indian cricket team is gearing up for the upcoming tour of England which comprises the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, which starts on June 18, followed by a 5-match Test series against the host country England in August 2021. The players are out of the quarantine in Mumbai and will board the flight to the United Kingdom on June 2.

Mohammad Shami
Mohammad Shami / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Mohammad Shami To Dedicate Win To Soldiers, Police Officials And Doctors If India Returns Victorious From England Tour

Before leaving for the much-awaited tour, seasoned India pacer Mohammad Shami spoke about the upcoming challenge in English conditions. The right-arm quick also said if the Indian team return victorious then he will dedicate the win to the frontline workers and doctors who have served selflessly in India’s battle against Covid-19 in recent times.

“When we play for the country, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is but we try to give our hundred percent. We put country first. Be it the batsmen or bowlers, we have been working as a unit over the last years. And I hope, we can continue the same work and the winning spree in the WTC final,” Shami told India News.

“As far as the England series is concerned, may we return victorious and I’ll dedicate the win to our soldiers, police officials and doctors who have served selflessly during the pandemic,” he added.

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

India pacer Mohammad Shami is one of the key players for India in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand starting on June 18. In the past few years, Mohammad Shami has redefined himself as a bowler and has formed a lethal combination with Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.

Men in Blue now boast one of the most lethal fast-bowling units in world cricket. Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have taken the Indian pace battery to the next level.

Mohammad Shami: New Zealand Will Have Advantage Playing Tests Versus England Before WTC Final But None Of The Two Teams Will Have Home Advantage

The senior Indian pacer further said that there will be no home advantage for either India or New Zealand as both teams will square off against each other at a neutral venue.

“Definitely they will have the advantage as they have arrived early and will play a couple of Test matches against the hosts. But I feel, when two teams enter finals, they reach that point after showcasing their abilities. None of the teams will have the home advantage and I hope our playing XI must commit the least errors. Both India and New Zealand are top-class teams and neither of them would let go any chance. So, it’s important to utilise your time and skills precisely.”

“Hope, the bowling unit performs well. We have beaten Australia in Australia and then England at home. The boys are high on confidence and I hope, they continue the same in England,” said Shami.

Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan
Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Mohammad Shami picked 5 wickets in the Test tour to New Zealand in 2020 which was lost by India by a 2-0 margin. He was expected to do well in Australia but he got injured while batting suffering a hand fracture. He could bowl only 17 overs in the 1st innings and didn’t bowl in the 2nd innings. He went wicketless and missed the subsequent home series against England in 2021 too.

Despite the absence of Mohammad Shami and other key players due to injury, India bounced back in Australia winning Tests at Melbourne and Brisbane, eventually winning by a 2-1 margin. The rise of pacers Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, and T Natarajan were key to India’s success as India fielded a team without any frontline bowlers in the 4th Test at Brisbane and won.

Monty Panesar
Monty Panesar
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Monty Panesar Feels Both India And New Zealand Have A Chance To Win WTC Final

Monty Panesar feels both India and New Zealand stand a good chance of winning the WTC final. The excitement to ICC World Test Championship final (WTC) has hit sky-high with former cricketers and experts choosing their favourites among India and New Zealand.

While some feel India is slight favourites, others feel the Kiwis stand a good chance due to their pace bowling attack. England spinner Monty Panesar has a rather interesting take on the battle.

Monty Panesar Twitter
Monty Panesar Twitter

Monty Panesar: Ravi Shastri Has Installed Self Belief In Indian Team

Known for his straight comments off the field, cricketer-turned commenter Monty Panesar has lavished praise on Team India’s head coach Ravi Shastri who, he feels, has played a big part in taking India to the finals of WTC. The former England spinner also stated that although Virat Kohli is the leader on the field, it is charismatic Ravi Shastri needs to be lauded for instilling a ruthless mentality within the team.

“It is Ravi Shastri who has built a self-belief in this Indian cricket team. What they achieved in Australia after the infamous ’36’ in Adelaide is quite a miracle. They won the series even though their charismatic captain Virat Kohli didn’t play the rest of the series, and India kept losing players to injury,” Panesar added, As reported in NDTV Sports.

Director cricket Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli
Director cricket Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli PTI Photo by Shashank Parade

Monty Panesar also stated that India’s historic triumph Down Under earlier this year, was due to the 59-year-old’s handling of the team when regular skipper Virat Kohli left midway through the series for personal reasons. Monty Panesar also believes that Ravi Shastri has managed his young troops well by being a father figure and a motivator.

“It was Shastri who got the job done for India against Australia that too in their backyard”, said the former cricketer.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari don’t get many chances in IPL which is a T20 tournament for they are Test specialists. Players like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, and T Natarajan played in the Test series after their excellent and consistent performances in IPL.

Pacer Mohammed Siraj excelled in IPL 2020 in limited opportunities by picking 11 wickets in 9 games averaging 21.45. He picked 6 scalps in 7 games in IPL 2021. He was a surprise inclusion in the Test squad but he justified selectors’ faith as he emerged as the 3rd highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps in 3 Tests averaging 29.54 and he even spearheaded Test bowling attack in 4th Test.

Opener Shubman Gill plays for Kolkata Knight Riders since debuting in 2018 and has scored 1071 runs in 48 matches averaging 30.6. He scored 440 runs in 14 IPL games in 2020 and 132 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021. He scored 259 runs in 3 Tests averaging 51.8 debuting against Australia at Melbourne.

Several Indian players were out with injury especially during the 4th Test but the bench showed their strength by delivering their best helping India breach Gabba fortress after 32 years and win the second successive series in Australia.

Monty Panesar Feels Both Teams Stand A Good Chance To Win The WTC Final

India now will battle out against New Zealand in the finale of the WTC which is set to begin on June 18 at Southampton. The former England spinner stated that both teams have a chance to win the title.

“If there will be an overcast condition then Kane Williamson-led New Zealand will have an upper edge, but at the same time the Ageas Bowl has a great drainage system, and if weather permits and the game went on to Day four or five, India would have a great chance to win the championship”, he said.

Kane Williamson in action during the first Test vs West Indies. (AP)
Kane Williamson in action during the first Test vs West Indies. (AP)

Kane Williamson has scored 7,115 runs from 83 Tests with the best score of 251. In fact, Kane Williamson has a better Test average than Indian counterpart skipper Virat Kohli (54.31). He owns 24 tons and four double-centuries.

Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Australian Pacers Worn Out, Indian Pacers Were Fresh Despite Injury Setbacks In India-Australia Test Series 2020/21: Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell, former Australian skipper believes that the life of a modern cricketer is becoming increasingly harder with the creation of bio-bubbles due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ian Chappell also cited the India-Australia Test series on how the hosts got worn out in the bowling department while India somehow managed to stay fresh even when they were being hampered by injuries.

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

Ian Chappell: In The Last India-Australia Test Series, Australia Fielded Same Pace Trio Who Wore Down In The Later Stages

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has opined that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the skillset and mental health of cricketers as they are forced to spend ‘extended periods’ in the bio-secure bubbles. He also mentioned that the pandemic has impacted the scheduling of Test matches as well, which has been a grind for the fast bowlers.

“The modern cricketer is substantially better rewarded than players of the previous century. However, like with all such things in life, there is a downside involved. This comes in the form of the numerous adjustments to be made because of the extra formats that are now played and the resultant crowding of the schedule,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

“This was highlighted in the last Australia-India series, where the home side used the same fast-bowling trio in all four Tests. As the Australian pace bowlers wore down in the final stages of the series, their Indian counterparts may have caught a break as injuries meant they had to constantly change personnel.

“India is one of the few teams who have enough skilled quick bowlers in reserve to meet the challenges of the schedule and still remain competitive,” he added.

Talking about the effect Covid-19 has had on players and international cricket, Ian Chappell said: “The Covid-ravaged world has meant cricketers spend extended periods in bubbles, which challenges their skills and their mental health.

“It has also resulted in scheduling that has Test matches crammed together, which is physically and mentally demanding, especially for the fast bowlers.”

India debutant all-rounder Washington Sundar celebrates his half century vs Australia
Washington Sundar celebrates his half-century vs Australia (Photo by Albert Perez – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

“Modern fast bowlers do a lot of varied training in order to prepare for the demands of constant cricket, but still the injuries continue to pile up. Fast bowlers in the past concentrated more on running and bowling a lot in the nets to gain their match fitness,” Ian Chappell added.

The COVID-19 restrictions and regulations have allowed touring teams to name larger contingents than before. Bizarre as it may seem, this unexpectedly worked in India’s favour when it came to finding emergency replacements during the injury crisis through the series.

The selectors wisely sent net bowlers to travel with the team. Reserve players like T. Natarajan and Washington Sundar were handed unexpected Test debuts and both made important contributions in the decisive Brisbane Test. Mohammed Siraj ended the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy as India’s highest wicket-taker, with 13 wickets in three Tests. The Indian bowler took a five-wicket haul in the final innings of the Brisbane Test, claiming the first fifer of his Test career.

With regular captain Virat Kohli leaving the tour midway – due to paternity leave – after the first Test in Adelaide, the onus rested on the shoulders of other senior stars in the Indian camp. But, destiny had some other plans as the likes of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and KL Rahul – all suffered various injuries and failed to play all the matches. The scale of injuries can be gauged from the fact that India has played with 20 members of the squad in the ongoing series, something which has never happened before.

Ian Chappell: Interesting To Discover If Retired Cricketers Envied Rewards Paid To Modern Cricketers

The former Australia skipper also wondered whether retired players would want to earn the same rewards as the current crop of cricketers does or whether it is now the current players missing being part of a different era.

“It would be interesting to discover if retired cricketers envied the rewards paid their modern counterparts or whether current players would swap today’s whirling merry-go-round for the casual approach of the past. I suspect most international cricketers are just happy to have played,” said Ian Chappell.

Josh Hazlewood (L), Nathan Lyon (2/L), Mitchell Starc (2/R) and Pat Cummins (R)
Josh Hazlewood (L), Nathan Lyon (2/L), Mitchell Starc (2/R), and Pat Cummins (R) (AFP)

Australia’s injury worries were no match to India’s, yet their frontline attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon was unable to blow a depleted Indian XI away after the Adelaide Test. While Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood combined to take 38 wickets in the series, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc managed only 20 wickets in total.

Mitchell Starc failed to deliver his famed yorkers and at times lacked control, allowing India easy boundaries to release the pressure. Nathan Lyon was cleverly negated by the Indian batsmen and wasn’t a big threat on wearing fifth-day pitches. Australia ended up relying on two bowlers primarily and the fifth bowler was under-utilized.

Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
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Mohammed Shami Credits India’s Pace Bowling Success To Atmosphere

Mohammed Shami, while speaking to Cricbuzz, revealed that that the special camaraderie is the reason behind the pacers’ recent success. Mohammed Shami added that every one of the pacers enjoys each other’s success.

After a long phase of subdued pace bowling– when selectors were seeking raw pace–Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah came to the side’s rescue.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Mohammed Shami: Indian Pacers Enjoy Each Other’s Success A Lot

Team India’s fast bowlers, over the last few years, have risen rapidly to the top to earn the reputation of being one of the world’s most lethal pace attacks. This bowling unit comprising of the likes of Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma breathed new life into the bowling department and from there on, the country has gone on to produce more quality speedsters.

“Our fast bowling unit is a great package where everyone works really hard while also understanding the other counterparts really well. The bonding and the fun you saw that day was because we enjoy each other’s success a lot. We are happy when the other one is happy,” said Shami.

Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav
Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav
(This test match is the first Day / Night Test match that India have taken part in)
Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI

The 30-year-old also stated that the special camaraderie brings unity on the field because the ultimate aim, for anyone featuring in the XI, is to do well for the country. Hence, when the chips are down, they lift each other’s spirits up in unison.

“Even if someone’s down and out, we make sure that we lift his spirits. We try to make them forget all the stresses and try to lighten the mood. I think all bonds should be like that because to play for your country is indeed a matter of pride. but this unit that we have built since 2013-14, you’ll find that the guys enjoy each other’s success a lot,” added Shami.

Earlier in the previous decade, the onus was on the trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav before Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s arrival. In Australia, however, Mohammed Siraj led the Indian pace attack which included Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, and debutant T Natarajan in absence of Test regular pacers who were injured and ruled out in various stages of the Test series.

Mohammed Shami Credits Unbelievable Healthy Atmosphere

However, over the last 3 years, it’s all been the trio’s performances in Tests. The trio has bagged 149 wickets in the 11 matches they have played together. Mohammed Shami credits the success to the atmosphere and the harmony within the team.

He said: “We’ve curated such a healthy atmosphere within the last 5-6 years that you’ll find it hard to believe.”

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar[photo: Twitter]
Every senior pro in this unit missed out on a few games during the Australian due to injury. However, they are now fit and will resume duties on the England Tour. India will first play New Zealand in the World Test Championship final (in June), followed by a five-match Test series against the hosts beginning in July.

Ishant Sharma has already taken 36 wickets in 11 tests for India in the world test championship with an excellent average of 17.36. Mohammed Shami is one of the best exponents of reverse swing bowling and has taken 36 wickets in 10 tests for India in the world test championship at an average of 19.77. Jasprit Bumrah has taken 34 wickets in 9 tests in the world test championship cycle.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t played any form of competitive red-ball cricket in the last three years, a period where India’s fast-bowling stocks have gone through the roof. So, this does seem like the end of his Test career. He took 63 scalps in 21 Tests averaging 26.1.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2021
David Warner[photo: Twitter]
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Irfan Pathan Asserts David Warner’s Uninspiring Captaincy Main Reason For SRH’s Poor Run In IPL 2021

Irfan Pathan has said that David Warner’s uninspiring captaincy was one of the main reasons for the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) poor run in IPL 2021.

SRH handed over the reins to Kane Williamson after suffering defeats in five of their six matches under David Warner’s leadership. However, the move did not yield immediate dividends as the Orange Army was handed a 55-run drubbing by the Rajasthan Royals.

David Warner
David Warner (Image Credit: Twitter)

Irfan Pathan: SRH’s Biggest Problem Was David Warner’s Captaincy Particularly Batting Cautiously

During a discussion on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan expressed surprise at SRH’s insipid displays in IPL 2021 and pointed out that David Warner’s captaincy and batting are to be blamed to a large extent.

“They surprised us. They were a top-four team for me. SRH’s biggest problem was David Warner’s captaincy, the way he was managing the team and the way he was batting. He was batting very cautiously,” said Pathan.

Irfan Pathan (AFP Photo)
Irfan Pathan (AFP Photo)

The former India all-rounder highlighted that SRH replacing their skipper implies they were dissatisfied with his decision-making.

“When Kane Williamson was made the captain later, it means franchise was not happy with him, the way he was making the decisions,” added Irfan Pathan.

The SRH management stated they relieved David Warner of his duties as they wanted to go with an overseas all-rounder. With Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson in good form, they did not have any other option but to leave David Warner out of their playing XI and thereby change the captain as well.

With 5447 runs, David Warner is fifth on the list of the leading run-getters in the IPL and the highest run-getter among overseas players. With 50 half-centuries, he has the maximum fifties in the IPL history and he is the only player to have won the Orange Cap a record three times – in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Irfan Pathan: SRH Didn’t Have Any Experienced Middle Order Batsman As Kedar Jadhav Was Ignored

While highlighting the lack of experience in the SRH middle order, Irfan Pathan questioned the decision of not playing Kedar Jadhav in the initial stages of the tournament.

“We always talk about SRH that they don’t have any experienced players in the middle. Kedar Jadhav did not play at the start although he is an experienced player. They played Suchith for a couple of matches and then again dropped him,” said Pathan.

Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

The 36-year-old concluded by stating that the absence of an express pace bowler is also a concern for SRH.

“They will have to improve their combination and they do not have an out-and-out quick bowler, who can consistently bowl around 140 kph and keep performing on flat pitches,” signed off Irfan Pathan.

SRH was also hit hard by injuries to two of their most accomplished seamers. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar missed a couple of matches due to a thigh injury, T Natarajan was ruled out of IPL 2021 after playing just two encounters.

David Warner is not only the top scorer in SRH’s history, the 34-year-old has also led the team to their maiden IPL title (2016). The Australian himself has been in the indifferent form of late and a far cry from the destructive batsman as he had a strike rate of just 110.28 in the IPL 2021 managing 193 runs averaging 32.16 in 6 games.

Kedar Jadhav had scored only 62 runs in 8 games for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2020 at a modest average of 20.66 and a strike rate of 93.93 which is poor by T20 standards and he was released by CSK. He managed 40 runs in 4 games averaging 20 in IPL 2021 at a comparatively better strike rate of 125.

The franchise had a disastrous start to their campaign in 2021 losing 6 of their first 7 matches as the Orange Army is languishing at the bottom of the points table when the IPL was suspended indefinitely.

Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (Photo | PTI)
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Indian Bowling Unit Had Given Major Headaches To Oppositions, Says Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami has stated that opposition teams have got confused and are having major headaches due to the quality bowling unit of the current Indian cricket team. Mohammed Shami said oppositions are confused about whether to prepare spinning or seaming tracks for India.

Mohammed Shami has stated that opposition teams are confused over the type of wickets they should prepare for the current Indian cricket team.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Mohammed Shami: Opposition Dread India’s Bowling Attack Too

Mohammed Shami, who has made a comeback to the India Test squad for England tour after recovering from an injury which he incurred during the Australia series last year, has said that the quality of the Indian bowling unit has given headaches to the opposition teams lately.

The 30-year-old, who has 180 wickets from 50 Test matches, added that oppositions have always been aware of the mighty Indian batting line-up, but now they dread the bowling unit too.

“I have always felt this way. Be it our spinners or our pacers our unit is such that it confuses those foreign teams as to the kind of wicket they should prepare for us. If they give us a spinning track they know that Indians are famous for their spinners.

“But today, even if they give us a seaming track they are aware that Indian pacers are not going to let them breathe. The unit has created major headaches to oppositions.”

India's Ishant Sharma
India’s Ishant Sharma (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP) / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE

“They know our batting might but now they are troubled by the bowlers too, unable to understand how they should manage our bowlers. ‘Should we give a spinning track or seaming track, they are confused.’ We accept that we have 3-4 quality spinners and 3-4 quality pacers, now you give us whatever you want to,” Shami told Cricbuzz.

Not long ago, a depleted Indian team defeated Australia in Australia with a 2-1 margin. Apart from pacer Ishant Sharma who was not there due to injury concerns and regular skipper Virat Kohli who played the 1st Test only and was granted paternity leave, the likes of Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, and KL Rahul got injured at different junctures of the tournament.

Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane marshalled a very young and experienced side to hand Australia their first Test defeat in Gabba since 1988. Mohammed Siraj led the Indian pace attack which included Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, and debutant T Natarajan.

India Lost The Test Series Against New Zealand And Will Try To Make Amends In The WTC Final Against The Kiwis

Notably, India has lost only 1 out of their 8 Test series since October 2018. The period includes a back-to-back series win against Australia in Australia. Virat Kohli’s team lost their only series in New Zealand. They have the opportunity to avenge the loss by winning the final of the inaugural World Test championship which will be played in Southampton from June 18. The summit clash will be followed by a 5-match Test series against England.

ICC World Test Championship mace
File photo of ICC World Test Championship mace. Image Source ICC

In case India wins the WTC final and then seals a Test series win against hosts England, the team’s stature in world cricket will grow with more authenticity. Fans and experts are already excited to see the Indian bowlers with the Dukes in their hands. India last won a Test series in England in 2007.

Squad For WTC Final And England Test Series: Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav

KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha subject to fitness

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla

Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Michael Vaughan Looks Back At India’s Historic Test Series Win In 2020/21 Against Australia

Michael Vaughan looked back at India’s historic Test series win in Australia in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, calling it a ‘brilliant series to watch’.

After losing the first Test in Adelaide by eight wickets, India roared back to take the series 2-1, winning the second and fourth Tests in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively, while the third Test match in Sydney ended in a magnificent draw.

Michael Vaughan (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Michael Vaughan. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Michael Vaughan: India And Australia Series 2020/21 Was A Brilliant Series To Watch

With regular skipper Virat Kohli returning home after the first Test, the odds were stacked against India and their stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. Despite losing several key players to injury as the series progressed, India fought back to register one of their greatest Test series wins of all time.

“It was a brilliant series to watch. The Aussies pummeling them at the Adelaide Oval – 26 all out. Then Virat going back home to be next to his wife giving birth. No one gave India a chance, I don’t care who you are,” Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, said while talking on Fox Cricket.

“The way that they bounced back and Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy was spectacular. And then to get to Sydney and the Aussies just pummel them for a few days. There’s nothing like the last day battling out for a draw, ” Michael Vaughan said.

If winning the second Test was remarkable in its own sense, what followed in Sydney and Gabba were on epic proportions. With their back against the wall, India produced a memorable draw in Sydney.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. AP Photo

Starting the final day at 98/2 and needing 309 to win, India battled throughout the day with Rishabh Pant scoring a magnificent 97, along with Cheteshwar Pujara’s knock of 77. They added 148 runs and even though the partnership was broken, Ravichandran Ashwin and an injured Hanuma Vihari produced a marathon match-saving effort.

Michael Vaughan: Very Special Rishabh Pant Enlighted Last 2 Tests

As the action moved to Gabba for the final game of the series – a venue where Australia had not lost a Test match since 1988, no one gave India a chance, and yet, the visitors proved everyone wrong, winning the match by three wickets, with Rishabh Pant once again leading India’s charge with an unbeaten 89, along with half-centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara (56) and young Shubman Gill (91).

“It’s a great spectacle when a team just trying to hang in there. A little bit of banter – Ashwin taking a little bit of talking from behind the stumps. And then the Aussies arriving at the Gabba thinking that’s all. They just can’t get beaten at the Gabba… they’ll steamroll them,” Michael Vaughan added.

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

“Throughout the whole tour, we knew Rishabh Pant was a player. We all know that he’s got something very special, but I thought particularly those last two Test matches, Pant came to light. It was a brilliant series. I can only imagine how much red wine Ravi Shastri must have had,” Michael Vaughan concluded.

India was bundled out for just 36 runs in their second innings in the first Test against Australia in Adelaide, losing the day/night Test by 8 wickets. India bounced back to win the second Test in Melbourne, showed remarkable resilience to draw the third Test in Sydney, and won the fourth Test in Brisbane for their second successive Test series triumph on Australian soil.

Rishabh Pant’s 97 nearly turned the Sydney Test in India’s favour which India managed to draw while his 89 not out at Brisbane won them the series Down Under.

Ajinkya Rahane set the tone for a dramatic turnaround for the visitors with a match-winning ton in the 2nd Test at Melbourne. He was the guiding light for the youngsters like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and T Natarajan who stepped up in the absence of senior players and gave their best to outclass the Aussies in their own backyard.

Being 1-0 down, losing the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli due to his paternity leave, having lost several key players like Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries at various stages of 4 match Test series, a second-string Ajinkya Rahane-led India staged a comeback as they won their second straight Test series on Australian soil. The win at Brisbane was more creditable as they even struggled to field an XI and eventually fielded a team without any frontline bowler.

Abhinav Bindra (Getty Images)
Abhinav Bindra (Getty Images)
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Abhinav Bindra Questions Staging Of IPL 2021 Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

Abhinav Bindra, Olympic Gold Medallist has questioned the staging of IPL amid the record COVID-19 cases in the country. IPL 2021 is being played across 6 venues in India and is in its early stage.

The COVID-19 situation has worsened in India and the country is recording over 3 lakh cases on a daily basis now. The situation had come under control in the past few months. But the numbers went up once again in March-April. The single-day tally of COVID-19 cases touched the 1 lakh mark and quickly breached the 2 lakh mark as well.

Abhinav Bindra questions staging IPL amid COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: PTI/BCCI
Abhinav Bindra questions staging IPL amid COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: PTI/BCCI

Abhinav Bindra: Cricketers And Officials Can’t Just Live In Their Own Bubble

Now, the country is recording over 3 lakh cases regularly and the death toll has also been much higher. The ongoing situation has seen few state governments imposing lockdowns in their respective states. Delhi, the country’s capital, is also under lockdown till May 3.

The restrictions have seen many businesses being closed for the time being as the non-essential services remain closed during lockdowns. Amidst this crisis, the BCCI has been staging IPL.

The apex board has already staged 19 matches successfully and a large part of the tournament is still left to be played. Since the country is going through the worst phase of the pandemic, many are also criticizing the board for staging the tournament.

IPL 2021
IPL 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra is also among those critics questioning IPL. In his column for The Indian Express, Abhinav Bindra wrote that the cricketers and officials can’t be deaf or blind to whatever is going outside, thus questioning staging IPL amid the pandemic.

“Cricketers and officials can’t just live in their own bubble, and be totally deaf or blind to whatever is going outside. I can only imagine that while you’re having these IPL games, outside the stadium you have ambulances going to hospitals.

“I don’t know how the coverage on TV is but I would really appreciate if it’s a little bit muted in nature. I think celebration and everything around it should be at a minimum because you have to show a little bit of respect to society,” Abhinav Bindra wrote for The Indian Express.

“If we show some kindness, it’ll help us heal as individuals and as a nation. That process is not going to be easy. We know the pandemic isn’t ending tomorrow, but we don’t know what the endgame is. So many people are going to lose their lives, so many families are going to be affected… it’s going to be so tough,” Abhinav Bindra said.

The IPL will soon move to Delhi, a state where the lockdown was extended on Sunday. As of now, there is no clear word as the tournament looks set to be played in the capital state without any red signal from the government. The IPL 2021’s league stage finishes on May 23. The playoff matches will be played in Ahmedabad’s newly built stadium from May 25 to 30.

BCCI Said IPL 2021 Will Go On As Per Schedule Despite Players Pulling Out

Anxiety pierced through Indian Premier League’s (IPL) bio-secure bubble on Monday with leading Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and some Australian players withdrawing from the league amid the escalating Covid-19 crisis in India even as the BCCI insisted that the glitzy league will go on.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. Image Credits: Twitter

Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) and the duo of Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa (both Royal Challengers Bangalore) withdrew as apprehension set in after a couple of weeks went by smoothly for the league being held in front of empty stands across nine venues.

Earlier, CSK’s Josh Hazlewood and Rajasthan’s Liam Livingstone withdrew from IPL 2021, citing bubble fatigue. The likes of Ben Stokes, T Natarajan, Shreyas Iyer, and Jofra Archer are missing the IPL 2021 due to injuries during or just before the commencement of IPL 2021.

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