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The Press Box will resume operations from 2nd T20I (AFP Photo)
The Press Box will resume operations from 2nd T20I (AFP Photo)
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Press Box Closed For Operations After Sri Lanka Cricket Employee Tested Covid-19 Positive

Press Box was closed for operations after a Sri Lanka Cricket employee working in the Press Box of R Premadasa Stadium – the venue of the ongoing India-Sri Lanka T20I series – tested positive for coronavirus.

After a Covid positive was detected in a Sri Lanka Cricket employee working in the press box, operations at R Premadasa Stadium (RPS) press box were closed during the first T20I between Sri Lanka and India. Though the SLC employee was detected positive before the commencement of the T20I game, the contest between India and Sri Lanka continued without any hassles.

India Tour of Sri Lanka: R Premadasa Stadium's press box closed after Covid positive case hours before IND vs SL 1st T20I
India Tour of Sri Lanka: R Premadasa Stadium’s press box closed after Covid positive case hours before IND vs SL 1st T20I

Press Box Closed For Operations After A SLC Employee Tested Covid-19 Positive

SLC announced the news via a press release late Sunday evening after the series-opening T20I between the two teams got underway in Colombo.

“The ‘Press Box’ at the RPICS was closed for operations during the 1st T20i between Sri Lanka and India, following an SLC employee working in the ‘Press Box’ was found to be Covid ‘Positive.’,” the release said.

The employee, whose name hasn’t been disclosed, was found to be Covid-19 positive during an Antigen Test carried out on Sunday evening, a few hours before the commencement of the first T20I.

“Upon identification, Sri Lanka Cricket decided to close the ‘Press Box’ operations during the 1st T20i game, as per the directions given by the Ministry of Health. The ‘Press Box’ is scheduled to resume operations from the 2nd T20i, of the India Tour of Sri Lanka, upon health clearance,” it added.

Sri Lanka Cricket(Photo credit: SLC Twitter)
Sri Lanka Cricket(Photo credit: SLC Twitter)

The employee is currently undergoing medical protocols pertaining to Covid 19. Premadasa Stadium also hosted the three ODIs for the recently concluded series between India and Sri Lanka which the former won 2-1.  The second and third T20I of the series will also be played at the same venue on July 27 and July 29 respectively.

The start of India’s ongoing tour of Sri Lanka was rearranged after a couple of members in the support staff of the home team tested positive for the deadly Covid-19 virus. The ODI series was to get underway from July 13 but was pushed forward by five days and finally started on July 18. Shikhar Dhawan is leading a young India squad that is being coached by batting legend Rahul Dravid.

Suryakumar Yadav Hits 50 While Varun Chakravarthy Impresses On Debut

Already one of India’s best batters in the ODIs, Suryakumar Yadav played the defining innings in the first T20I, producing the game’s only half-century – with 50 off 34. Sri Lanka was decent with the ball, containing India to 164 for 5, but their batting let them down once more.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Between the end of the 5th and 16th over, Sri Lanka scored only 69 runs and lost five wickets. Essentially, with the likes of debutant Varun Chakravarthy impressing, and Yuzvendra Chahal delivering another outstanding spell, Sri Lanka lacked the firepower to mount a serious challenge as they were dismissed for 126, losing the game by 38 runs.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal
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Yuzvendra Chahal Focuses On Performing Well And Isn’t Concerned About Competition Between Spinners

Yuzvendra Chahal, an Indian leg spinner, after defeating Sri Lanka in the first T20I of the three-match series, said that is not concerned about the healthy competition between the spinners in the squad as his prime focus lies is on performing well for the Men in Blue.

Man of the Match Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked four scalps while Deepak Chahar scalped two wickets as India defeated Sri Lanka by 38 runs in the first T20I on Sunday. Indian bowlers got the job done without any trouble as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. India bundled out Sri Lanka for 126 in the 19th over.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Yuzvendra Chahal Focuses On Performing Well

As has been the case right through the tour, Sri Lanka was decent with the ball, containing India to 164 for 5, but their batting let them down once more. Between the end of the 5th and 16th over, Sri Lanka scored only 69 runs and lost five wickets. Essentially, with the likes of debutant Varun Chakravarthy impressing, and Yuzvendra Chahal delivering another outstanding spell, Sri Lanka lacked the firepower to mount a serious challenge.

“Definitely, when the bench strength is so good, we have a pool of 30 players. Everyone is doing well, my focus is just on performing well. If you perform well, you stay in the team and if you aren’t, then you cannot stay in the team. I do not look at what others are doing, my focus is on giving good performances,” said Yuzvendra Chahal during the virtual post-match press conference.

India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)
India’s Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Avishka (AP Photo)

“When I was not playing, I was working with my bowling coach and I was working on my craft. Even during the lockdown, I was looking at where I should be bowling. I backed myself before coming on this tour.

“We knew we were 10-15 runs short, but that is okay. Whatever the score is, we have to defend that. My job is to control the middle overs and I was very happy that I did it. I always back myself,” he added.

Yuzvendra Chahal was pretty crucial for India in the middle-overs as he forced the pressure on the batters before Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar came up with a flurry of wickets towards the end.

During the 7th over of Sri Lanka’s chase, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal provided the crucial breakthrough for Team India as he bamboozled Dhananjaya de Silva with a classical leg-spinning delivery which turned sharply and kissed the top of the middle stump. He returned with figures of 1/19 in 4 overs.

Yuzvendra Chahal Told Varun Chakravarthy To Bowl Normally In His Debut T20I

The first T20I match saw young opener Prithvi Shaw and mystery-spinner Varun Chakravarthy making their debut for Team India. While Prithvi Shaw departed for a first-ball duck, Varun Chakravarthy picked 1 wicket of Dasun Shanaka conceding 28 runs.

When asked about his conversations with fellow spinner Varun Chakravarthy, Chahal said: “We talked before the match, I told him just to bowl how you do normally. I know the pressure can be there in the first match, it always stays there. I suggested to keep bowling the way he does, nothing changes whether you are playing international cricket or IPL.”

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Earlier, Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga picked two wickets each as Sri Lanka restricted India to 164/5. Suryakumar Yadav top-scored for the visitors as he played a knock of 50 runs.

“Talking about today’s match, the end from where I was bowling from, the boundary on the leg-side was shorter and the Sri Lanka batters were looking to hit me on the legside. So that is why I did not bowl googly much, I was just looking to bowl dot balls. The total was not that big and we could not afford conceding fours and sixes, hence I kept mixing it up,” said Chahal.

“During the lockdown, I talked to the coach, there was nothing much that I needed to change, I was just looking to think about one line that I need to be bowling more. I discussed it with bowling coach Bharat Arun. The more confident I am in my bowling ability, the better I will bowl,” he added.

Coming to bat at No.4 Suryakumar Yadav once again proved his mettle. After bagging the man of the series award in the recently concluded ODI series, the Mumbai Indians batsman began the T20I series with a fantastic half-century off just 34 balls and helped his team put a respectable total of 164 runs.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)

Suryakumar Yadav Is A Great Player And We Enjoy Watching Him Bat: Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan, the Indian skipper was extremely pleased with the effort put in by the Indian players in the first T20I as India defeated Sri Lanka by 38 runs in the first T20I at the R Premadasa Stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. India managed a total of 164 runs in 20 overs while batting in Colombo.

Then, the bowlers performed splendidly as they bowled out Sri Lanka for just 126 runs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar taking four wickets. Suryakumar Yadav scored 50 off 34 balls, his second half-century in his fourth T20 International, and was involved in a 62-run stand for the third wicket with skipper Shikhar Dhawan.

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

Shikhar Dhawan: Suryakumar Yadav Is A Great Player And It’s Enjoyable To Watch Him Batting

Shikhar Dhawan after the match lauded Suryakumar Yadav for his 360-degree batting as he said that the 30-year-old is an “amazing” player to watch.

“He(Surya) is a great player and we enjoy watching him bat. He took the pressure from me and the way he plays calculated shots was amazing to watch,” Dhawan said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

While Shikhar Dhawan admitted that he thought they were “10-15 runs short”, he also assessed that it wasn’t too bad in terms of recovery.

“I feel we played quite well after losing early wickets. It was about one or two boundaries, we knew we could get going.”

Already one of India’s best batters in the ODIs, Suryakumar Yadav played the defining innings in the first T20I, producing the game’s only half-century – with 50 off 34. Where others struggled for timing on this surface, Suryakumar Yadav’s batting was effortless.

Shikhar Dhawan Was Confident That Spinners Will Do Well As Debutant Varun Chakravarthy, Krunal Pandya, And Yuxzvendra Chahal Bowled Well

Shikhar Dhawan was confident that his spinners would do well and it was vindicated by Yuzvendra Chahal and Krunal Pandya with debutant Varun Chakravarthy doing well to make a late comeback.

“They were playing well. We knew our spinners will do the job on that wicket. Bhuvi bowled well, so was KP (Krunal). Everyone stood up and even Varun too playing his first match did well giving a few runs and got the wicket. He’s (Varun) difficult to pick, I am very happy for him.”

Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya-Instagram

Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka felt that a target of 165 was gettable.

“I think 164 was chaseable on this wicket. I think their bowlers upfront started really well. And then there were not enough middle-order batters to finish the game. I think our bowlers did an amazing job. I hope we come out and do better than this in the next game,” Shanaka commented.
As has been the case right through the tour, Sri Lanka was decent with the ball, containing India to 164 for 5, but their batting let them down once more. Between the end of the 5th and 16th over, Sri Lanka scored only 69 runs and lost five wickets. Essentially, with the likes of debutant Varun Chakravarthy impressing, and Yuzvendra Chahal delivering another outstanding spell, Sri Lanka lacked the firepower to mount a serious challenge.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with the game’s best figures of 4 for 22, having been more economical than any of his compatriots, except Yuzvendra Chahal, who took 1 for 19 from his four overs.
India 164 for 5 (Suryakumar 50, Dhawan 46, Chameera 2-24, Hasaranga 2-28) beat Sri Lanka 126 (Asalanka 44, Bhuvneshwar 4-22, Chahar 2-24) by 38 runs
IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
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IPL 2021 Will Resume With A Clash Between CSK And MI On September 19 In Dubai

Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season, which was suspended earlier this year because of the Covid-19 second wave and bio bubble breach, will resume with a clash between the 3 times IPL winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on September 19, sources have confirmed. The first match of the remainder of the season will be played in Dubai.

The 31 remaining matches of IPL 2021 will be played at three venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah — with Dubai set to host the final on October 15. While Dubai will host the first qualifier on October 10, the eliminator and second qualifier will be played in Sharjah on October 11 and 13 respectively.

Skippers of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) MS Dhoni and Mumbai Indians (MI) Rohit Sharma. Credit: PTI Photo
Skippers of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) MS Dhoni and Mumbai Indians (MI) Rohit Sharma. Credit: PTI Photo

Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 Season To Resume With CSK-MI Match

Earlier this year, BCCI had been forced to postpone the IPL 2021 after multiple players and support staff tested positive for Covid-19.

After the season was halted, the BCCI had in a press release stated, “The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting have unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.”

“The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff, and the other participants involved in organizing the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health, and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.”

Reports had emerged earlier that the BCCI stands to lose over Rs 2,000 crore of the broadcast and sponsorship money following the midway postponement of the IPL 2021 season. The decision that the pending matches would be played in the UAE had been taken earlier at a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the BCCI.

After the meeting, the BCCI in a press release said: “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced to complete the remaining matches of VIVO Indian Premier League 2021 season in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year.”

Wriddhiman Saha (Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL)
Wriddhiman Saha (Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced to complete the remaining matches of the IPL 2021 season in U.A.E considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year. But, the availability of foreign players remains a big headache for the Cricket Board.

The BCCI had to postpone the 14th edition of the lucrative tournament as the deadly second outbreak of the COVID-19 breached through the bubble. The likes of Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Tim Seifert, and Michael Hussey tested positive for COVID-19.

Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Trent Boult, And Kane Williamson May Remain Unavailable For IPL 2021 Phase 2 In The UAE

This is because a number of international players are likely to remain unavailable due to international commitments. Rajasthan Royals openers Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are unlikely to be available for the remainder of IPL 2021. Jos Buttler had scored 254 runs in the first 7 matches, including a century.

Mumbai Indians could miss the services of New Zealand pace spearhead Trent Boult. Since Eoin Morgan is the captain of the KKR team, his absence could lead to big trouble for his franchise. CSK’s new recruit Moeen Ali who was phenomenal for the MS Dhoni’s squad may also miss the remainder of IPL.

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan (Image Credit: Twitter)

SRH team management could be in a fix after removing David Warner from the captaincy role. Their newly-appointed skipper Kane Williamson might also be unavailable for IPL 2021 Phase 2.

Most Australian players, including all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, are likely to participate in the second phase of IPL 2021 when the tournament resumes in UAE. As for Pat Cummins, who had made himself unavailable for the T20 league well in advance, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would have to do without the services of their most expensive player for the remaining games of the season.

Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder Washington Sundar is likely to be ruled out of the second phase of Indian Premier League 2021. As expected, Steve Smith is all set to miss out on the 2nd phase of IPL 2021 in UAE. One of the world’s most prolific batsmen will not be available to Delhi Capitals for the 2nd leg of IPL

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

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

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

Russel Arnold | Twitter
Russel Arnold | Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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Hardik Pandya Will Be An Asset Once He Bowls, Says Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, in an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, talked about captain Shikhar Dhawan, how important Hardik Pandya is to India’s chances, and the areas Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal need to improve to regain lost glory before the upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan was excited about the Indian side in Sri Lanka that has six fresh faces and is filled with players eager to make it big.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. (File)

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan Hopes Shikhar Dhawan Will Come Good

Former Indian cricketer Laxman Sivaramakrishnan believes that Shikhar Dhawan’s presence brings a lot for the Indian side. Shikhar Dhawan will serve as India’s captain for the first time when it takes on Sri Lanka in three ODIs and three T20Is in Colombo from the 18th of July. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan underlined that the southpaw is definitely on the selectors’ minds ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Shikhar Dhawan’s spot for the T20 World Cup later this year came under doubt after his failure at the top against England at home. The 35-year old got axed after only one outing as India tried different opening combinations after that. But he stormed back into the discussion after a consistent run in the first half of IPL 2021. The Delhi Capitals’ opener ended as the highest run-getter in the 1st half of IPL 2021 by playing several match-winning knocks.

“With experience and the ability to know what shots to play on different pitches, he’s going to be very very useful always. As captain, he needs to lead from the front, nothing like a captain succeeding.

“The very fact that Shikhar has been taken to Sri Lanka, means that he is very much in the selector’s mind otherwise they would have sent somebody younger. He’s definitely there in the scheme of things,” said Laxman Sivaramakrishnan on Shikhar Dhawan.

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

” Prithvi is a very good player on the offside. If he gets through the first few overs and perhaps improves his leg side strokeplay then he will be more than a handful. He just needs to work hard on his fitness, fielding and batting.

“If he brushes up his technique a little bit with the bat coming down straight, he can do well in red-ball cricket as well. He has done well in Test matches. No reason why he can’t improve his technique, get back and be successful.” on opener Prithvi Shaw.

Prithvi Shaw has earned a call-up into the white-ball squad following his excellent form in IPL 2021 (308 runs) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (827 runs). The Delhi Capitals’ opener had scored 308 runs from 8 innings, at a staggering strike rate of 166.49 in IPL 2021.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan: Hardik Pandya Will Have An Integral Part To Play And Will Be The Key For India Once He Starts Bowling After Regaining Full Fitness

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has tipped all-rounder Hardik Pandya to emulate the likes of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in that department. Hardik Pandya is arguably one of the cleanest strikers of the ball. The 27-year old’s transition to the international arena happened through the IPL for the Mumbai Indians. He would be crucial to India’s chances in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“Rahul Dravid was technically very sound. Probably after Sunil Gavaskar, one of the most technically correct Indian batsmen. That will rub off on the players and he’s a good person to chat with. Players won’t feel apprehensive about reaching out to him,” on Rahul Dravid.

“Hardik Pandya have an integral part to play. The moment he starts bowling after regaining full fitness, I think Hardik will be the key for India. After a long time, we’ve got a seam-bowling all-rounder who balances the side. If Hardik is fully fit, he becomes a tremendous asset to the team.” on Hardik Pandya as bowler.

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

” We are still looking to find a good finisher after Dhoni. Hardik Pandya can be an extremely dangerous finisher.Hardik can contribute to all three departments of the game,” on Hardik Pandya as finisher.

“Because of the absence of the Ranji Trophy, Kuldeep has not been able to go back, play for his state and become a better bowler. Hopefully, this all ends soon. Kuldeep is still a young man, who can make a comeback,” on Kuldeep Yadav

“Chahal definitely has to have a little more in his armoury. Now batsmen are more methodical against him. They are finding shots against Chahal. Chahal needs to improve his bowling tactics and keep the batsmen guessing,” he said about Yuxzvendra Chahal.

“Most of the teams don’t have a great idea of what Varun Chakravarthy bowls. Being the mystery bowler that he is and if he has a good tour of Sri Lanka then it will be good. India should not overexpose him and play him as a mystery bowler in the World Cup and you never know, he could be very successful,” on Varun Chakravarthy.

“When you get youngsters in the squad, there is more energy, more athleticism, more positivity. For us, they are Indian cricketers, they are wearing Indian colours. We will route for them hoping they will definitely prove a point. If you are asking for a prediction then it will be 2-1 in both the series in India’s favour,” on probability of a whitewash.

The likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have struggled with the white ball in recent times. Thus their fortunes depend vastly on the upcoming Sri Lanka series and then the IPL. However, the former leg-spinner turned commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has pinned his hopes on Varun Chakravarthy ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal as the latter is stagnating.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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Ravichandran Ashwin Should Be Considered In T20I WC If He Has A Good IPL 2021: Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, former Indian leg-spinner believes veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin still has a lot to offer in white-ball cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin has not represented India in white-ball cricket since 2017, but he has proved to be more than a handful in the IPL.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan feels Ravichandran Ashwin’s experience will be very handy for the Indian team in the T20 World Cup, especially if the opposition chooses to field left-handers.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. (File)

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan: If Opposition Has Many Left-Handers, Off Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin Should Be Considered If He Has A Good IPL 2021

Speaking at a press conference arranged by Sony, the 55-year-old explained how Ravichandran Ashwin could be an asset to the Indian white-ball team. With the forthcoming T20 World Cup to be played in the UAE, the second phase of IPL 2021 (also at the UAE) could be crucial for Ravichandran Ashwin.

Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)
Delhi Capitals player Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo | IPL)

“Yes, he (Ravichandran Ashwin) is one of the outstanding bowlers we’ve had in the last few years. His experience will definitely help. He bowls very well to left handers. He’s not a slouch on the field, he can field reasonably well and is a safe catcher.

“He has worked hard on his fielding and fitness. He should be considered in my opinion. If there are a lot of left handers in the opposition, you want your best off-spinner to be bowling to them. If Ashwin has a good IPL in the UAE, he should be considered.”

Ravichandran Ashwin has last featured in an ODI and T20I in 2017 in June-July against West Indies. He has 150 ODI scalps in 111 ODIs.  Ravichandran Ashwin’s last international ODI game was on 30 June 2017 in the 3rd ODI at North Sound against the West Indies.

He conceded 29 runs in his 10 overs, taking three wickets in a match that India won by 93 runs, and has not played for India in ODIs since. He has played 46 T20Is and taken 52 scalps, the last of which came in August 2016. He has picked only 1 scalp playing 5 matches in IPL 2021 so far before pulling out due to the Second Wave of Covid-19 and to support his family during the testing times.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan: Kuldeep Yadav Has To Work Harder Both Technically And Mentally And Can Comeback To T20 World Cup If He Has A Good IPL 2021

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan feels Kuldeep Yadav has lost confidence in his bowling and will need a lot of support from the team management. The left-arm wrist-spinner has struggled to consistently feature for India in the last few years.

However, the Sri Lanka tour could be a golden opportunity for him to make a strong comeback and make his case for the T20 World Cup stronger. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan feels Kuldeep Yadav will need to work harder if he wants to make it to the showpiece event.

“Work needs to be done on Kuldeep, both technically and mentally. He is still very young, a rare kind of a bowler. He can come back and be very useful for India. It doesn’t help if your IPL team drops you. That’s where you build your confidence. If he works hard and has a good IPL, he can have a good chance of a comeback.”

Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
Compared to the 2018 season – where he played 16 matches for KKR, Kuldeep Yadav featured in just 9 games for the franchise in 2019 followed by 5 matches in IPL 2020. Kuldeep Yadav didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI.

With spinners like Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh, Pawan Negi, and Varun Chakravarthy in the ranks of KKR, it remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old Chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav will get enough chances in IPL 2021 to prove his doubters wrong.

Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
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Kuldeep Yadav Was Harshly Dealt With In The IPL By Kolkata Knight Riders: Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar said spinner Kuldeep Yadav was harshly dealt with by KKR in the IPL and he hopes that he gets to play all the matches on the tour of Sri Lanka.

India’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka will be a crucial do or die one for Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who hasn’t been in the best of form recently and hasn’t got many opportunities to play in the last few years. Once touted as India’s go-to bowler across formats, Kuldeep Yadav has also been short of confidence after losing his place in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) squad where he has been in and out of the team in the last few seasons.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

Ajit Agarkar Feels For Kuldeep Yadav And Says He Was Harshly Dealt With In The IPL Due To Lack Of Faith KKR Showed In Him

With most of the senior Indian players in England for the upcoming 5-match Test series, Kuldeep Yadav will look to prove a point to his critics in the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. However, he will face a stiff challenge from Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy – two bowlers who have been in fine form in the IPL.

In a press conference, former Indian cricketer Ajit Agarkar said that one has to feel for chinaman wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and that the spinner was harshly dealt with by KKR in the last few editions of the IPL by not playing him consistently.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

“You feel for him a little bit. Playing in white-ball cricket at this point is very difficult. In one-day cricket with 5 bowlers in the ring, it has become a lot harder for the bowlers to bowl with two new balls – one new ball from each end. And in T20 cricket, with the kind of firepower, there is on offer, I think he was harshly dealt with in the IPL because of the lack of faith that KKR sometimes showed in him, ” Ajit Agarkar said.

“That has affected his confidence. I hope he gets to play all the games. There is some competition with Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy, but the only way he is going to get his confidence back is by playing games and not by sitting on the bench,” Ajit Agarkar said.

Compared to the 2018 season – where he played 16 matches for KKR, Kuldeep Yadav featured in just 9 games for the franchise in 2019 followed by 5 matches in IPL 2020. He stayed on the bench in the first phase of IPL 2021.

Ajit Agarkar Hopes Kuldeep Yadav Gets His Confidence Back

Agarkar highlighted that Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t got many opportunities, even for the senior team and he can get his confidence back only by playing more matches.

“Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t got too many opportunities in recent time. In white-ball cricket, he has been a match-winner for India and I hope he gets his confidence back. He has got to trust himself, I am sure there is enough around that team.

“Whether it’s his colleagues or the team management to help him out but it’s eventually up to him to sort out the issues are – whether it’s with his bowling or his confidence, but that happens only if he plays,” Ajit Agarkar added.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav (Image Credit: Twitter)

Kuldeep Yadav once formed a formidable spin pair with Yuzvendra Chahal but hasn’t played many international matches in the last year or so. Agarkar urged for more trust to be shown in the left-arm spinner.

“I have no advice for him as I hope he gets to play all the games. If he doesn’t do well, it’s a fair call. I just hope he gets more opportunities to play. Even in the IPL, at this point, sometimes you feel guys like him might go for a few runs but will also win you games, and sometimes teams don’t seem to show enough trust in someone who has played for India for a fair time. I hope there is a bit more trust shown in him,” the former pacer concluded.

Kuldeep Yadav also didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI.

With spinners like Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh, Pawan Negi, and Varun Chakravarthy in the ranks of KKR, it remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old Chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav will get enough chances in IPL 2021 to prove his doubters wrong.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)
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Shikhar Dhawan’s Idea Is To Keep Every Cricketer Together And Happy After Being Assigned Captaincy

Shikhar Dhawan’s idea of leadership is all about keeping the flock together and in a good state of mind after he was handed the captaincy for the Sri Lanka tour.

The left-handed opener was given the reins of the team after Virat Kohli and other key players were sent to England for the WTC Final against New Zealand and the five-Test series against the hosts.

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

Shikhar Dhawan’s Idea Is To Keep Everyone Together And Happy

India’s Sri Lanka limited-overs tour, comprising of three ODIs and as many T20s, will begin on July 18 in Colombo. Shikhar Dhawan has had a long and glittering career for India in one-day internationals. He has represented the country in all three formats but it is the ODIs where he has stamped his authority.

Eight years after making his presence felt and cementing his place in India’s ODI set-up, Shikhar Dhawan will lead the country for the first time when his team takes on Sri Lanka in the first encounter of the three-match ODI series.

“It is a big achievement for me that I have become the captain of the Indian side. As a leader, my idea is to keep everyone together and happy – that is the most important thing,” Dhawan said on the Star Sports show ‘Follow the Blues’.

“We have got a lovely bunch of boys, great support staff, and we have worked earlier as well.”

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

Shikhar Dhawan says he shares good chemistry with legendary Rahul Dravid, who is the head coach for the series.

“I have a good relation with Rahul Bhai. When I started playing Ranji Trophy, I played against him, and I have known him since then. When I went to play India A match, I was the captain, and he was the coach, so there was interaction.

“When he became the director of NCA, we used to go there for around 20 days, so we had a lot of interaction, and now we have good chemistry. And now that we have the chance to play six matches together, so it will be great fun, and I think we all sync nicely,” he said.

Shikhar Dhawan said he is looking forward to working with Rahul Dravid, who will travel with the team as the head coach in the absence of Ravi Shastri, who is with the Test regulars in England. The opener stressed that it’s an honour for him to lead India in Sri Lanka.

Shikhar Dhawan Is Happy To See Youngsters Dreams Of Being In Indian Squad Come True

The selectors have picked several uncapped players, including the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Chetan Sakariya, and Shikhar Dhawan wants the youngsters to enjoy their journey.

“Happy to get the youngsters in the team and see their dreams come true. It’s a big thing that these youngsters have come from their respective home towns with certain dreams, and their dreams are getting fulfilled. And now, they should enjoy the journey which landed them in team India, and they should know the value of their strength and how to improve it,” he said.
Chetan Sakariya Photo Credit: (IPL)
Chetan Sakariya Photo Credit: (IPL)

Shikhar Dhawan said that both the seniors and youngsters from the squad will learn from each other.

“There are seniors in the team, so the youngsters will learn from them, and we will get to learn from the youngsters. Whenever I meet the youngsters they often have new ways of thinking, and I try to learn things which will help us,” Dhawan signed off.

Shikhar Dhawan will lead a 20-man squad comprising of many youngsters who did well in IPL 2020 and/or IPL 2021. Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya got maiden India call-ups. Varun Chakravarthy was selected earlier twice but couldn’t make it to the final squad owing to injury.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Aakash Chopra Says IPL A Reason Behind India’s Depth In Bench Strength

Aakash Chopra has credited the IPL as a reason behind the depth in Indian cricket. He cited the example of keeper Ishan Kishan overshadowing Virat Kohli on his India debut to substantiate his point.

Ishan Kishan smashed 56 runs off just 32 deliveries during his T20I debut against England earlier this year. He was the dominant partner in his 94-run association with the Indian skipper for the second wicket.

Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli added 94 runs in 9 overs for the 2nd wicket in the 2nd T20I (Reuters Photo)
Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli added 94 runs in 9 overs for the 2nd wicket in the 2nd T20I (Reuters Photo)

Aakash Chopra: IPL Allowed 1st Class Cricketers To Play In Front Of Packed Houses

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra shed some light on the secrets behind Team India’s depth. The cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted that domestic cricketers getting to contest matches in a high-pressure atmosphere during the IPL has played a significant role.

“The IPL has allowed first-class cricketers to play in front of packed houses. My debut Test was the first game I played in front of a crowd. Ishan Kishan has played so much IPL, that when he got a chance for India, his batting made Virat Kohli look pale in front of him.”

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

Aakash Chopra added that not only Ishan Kishan but plenty of Indian cricketers like Suryakumar Yadav have also benefitted from the experience they have gained through the IPL.

“Nitish Rana has not yet made his debut but there is no pressure, he consistently goes in front of the crowd and does not feel any pressure. You can see anyone – Suryakumar Yadav who scooped his first ball for a six in international cricket. Devdutt Padikkal – the same story,” Aakash Chopra said.

The IPL certainly presents a huge stage for talented youngsters to showcase their talents and helps them get rid of their nerves.

Aakash Chopra: IPL Allowed Many Cricketers To Rub Shoulders With World’s Best

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the IPL gives Indian youngsters a chance to play with and against the cream of the crop in world cricket like star overseas bowlers Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, and Rashid Khan and batsmen Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, and David Warner.

“This storm has catapulted India’s journey to the No.1 cricketing nation in the world. The IPL has empowered you, it has encouraged you to dream, it has allowed so many domestic cricketers to rub shoulders with the best in the world.”

The 43-year-old signed off by stating that the IPL forces players to raise their game to meet the required standards.

“You get to know how to handle pressure and expectations, and you are forced to improve the quality of your cricket. So I think IPL has been absolutely phenomenal. It is a terrific vehicle to make you capable of playing for India,” Aakash Chopra said.

Aakash Chopra also credited the broad base of players available, the excellent domestic structure, and BCCI’s role in expanding the game, including the ‘A’ team tours, as other contributors to India’s immense bench strength.

Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle
Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle

Devdutt Padikkal was impressive in the IPL 2020 and 2021 as he brought up his maiden IPL century in 2021. He will be eager to make his debut for India sooner or later, but he may not be the first-choice opener though. The elegant left-hander is an excellent player of pace bowling.

Varun Chakravarthy was named in the Indian squad for the last two T20I series against Australia and England but the mystery spinner was unlucky to miss out on making his international debut with fitness issues and injury problems.

The left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya has been a sensation in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals and India’s long search for a left-arm fast bowler might just be fulfilled. Nitish Rana has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket and a left-hander is a useful option in the batting order as he can play the role of a top-order batsman as well as the finisher and he is going to be very handy with his part-time off-spin.

Krishnappa Gowtham has been a name that has been going around in the Indian domestic circuit for a long time now for his big-hitting capabilities as well as his economical bowling spells with the new ball.

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