Venkatesh Iyer | Sportzwiki

Venkatesh Iyer

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)
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KL Rahul Could Be Made Skipper Of New Lucknow Franchise And Rashid Khan May Be Included But The Duo Can Be Banned For 1 Year

KL Rahul has been in ominous form with the bat, especially in the T20 format. Now, with KL Rahul parting ways with Punjab Kings, as per a report, new franchise Lucknow is set to lap him up. Reports claim Lucknow has offered him Rs 20 Cr. If that happens, he would become the most expensive player in the history of the league.

Even otherwise, KL Rahul at Rs 17 Cr (2018-2021) is still the most expensive player. If Lucknow ropes him in, then he could very well be made the captain of the side. Thus far, KL Rahul has played 94 matches in IPL and has amassed 3273 runs at an average of over 41.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

KL Rahul Could Be Made Skipper Of New Lucknow Franchise Which Reportedly Has Offered INR 20 Crores Making Him The Most Expensive Player In IPL History

In the 2021 IPL, KL Rahul smashed 626 runs in 13 matches and was the third-highest run-getter in IPL 2021, but unfortunately, failed to inspire the side to a title. KL Rahul has been the best opener in IPL since 2018 and scored 659, 593, 670, and 626 runs in the past four seasons, respectively.

The Lucknow franchise has zeroed in on KL Rahul to be their next captain, and negotiations are learnt to be on with the opening batsman. If it goes ahead, the development will leave seven franchises – including SRH, if they want an Indian to replace Kane Williamson as captain and the new Ahmedabad franchise – looking for a new skipper. The BCCI will come out with its new media-rights tender after the mega-auction gets over.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. Image Credits: Twitter

Some reports also suggest that the new franchise is in talks with Rashid Khan. Lucknow is interested in getting the services of the Afghan star. Rashid Khan is apparently not happy with Hyderabad’s offer. He wants to be the first-choice at the Retention, but the franchise reckons Kane Williamson is the one for that.

The existing eight franchises of the Indian Premier League (IPL) have reached the deadline to submit their respective lists for player retention. The BCCI will make the names of retained players public on Tuesday afternoon and pave the way for the two new teams to start signing players ahead of the mega-auction.

The retention rules are as follows: A franchise can retain a maximum of a) three Indians and one overseas player; b) two Indians and two overseas players.

It has been learnt that RPSG owned Lucknow based new IPL franchise is willing to offer INR 20 Crores salary to KL Rahul to leave PBKS while Rashid Khan will be getting INR 16 Crores for his services in the coming season.

Chennai Super Kings Have Retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali, While Mumbai Indians Have Retained Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard

Bearing these set of rules in mind, IPL 2021 defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali.

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians are holding back captain Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard. However, it is learnt that MI have, until the last moment, been deliberating over all-rounder Hardik Pandya who played as a specialist batter in the last 2 IPLs but whether the Baroda cricketer will be fit to bowl or not starting next season remains the key.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

Here are the details from the remaining franchises:

Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Axar Patel, Anrich Nortje. The franchise has decided to let go of former skipper Shreyas Iyer and their leading batsman Shikhar Dhawan.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell. Late until Monday evening, there was no confirmation if Shubhman Gill would remain part of the Knight Riders’ plans.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Mohammed Siraj and Glenn Maxwell. The franchise wanted to retain Yuzuvendra Chahal, but it is learnt that both sides couldn’t reach an understanding.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: The beleaguered franchise may just retain New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Afghanistan leg spinner Rashid Khan is learnt to be negotiating with one of the new franchises.

Punjab Kings: Mayank Agarwal and two uncapped players Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh, are what Punjab is looking to retain.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson, Jos Butler and Yashasvi Jaiswal.

This list of retention is based on sources in the IPL, but final confirmation of the same can only be expected on Tuesday. Once the BCCI ratifies these retentions, the two new franchises – Lucknow and Ahmedabad – will be asked to identify players – a maximum of three Indians and one overseas player or two Indians and two overseas players – by mid-December and the remaining players will go into the mega-auction being planned either towards the end of December or January first week.

Last mega auction

This will be the last mega-auction that the IPL intends to hold and most stakeholders in the league, including the majority of franchises, are in line with the proposal.

“We genuinely hope this is the last mega-auction because the trend has clearly gone past its sell-by date. This, in turn, will also put pressure on franchisees to pick well at this mega-auction because they’ll be building their future teams around these set of players,” said sources privy to developments.

Amidst all the retention process going on with the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could hand-over one year ban to Indian star batsman KL Rahul and Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan for breaching the IPL code of conduct.

A verbal complaint has been raised by Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) against Lucknow based new IPL franchise for ‘pursuing & poaching’ Rashid Khan and KL Rahul to leave their respective franchise in the coming season.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
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Chennai Super Kings Likely To Retain MS Dhoni For Next 3 IPL Seasons As Franchises Decide On Player Retentions For IPL 2022

Chennai Super Kings are likely to retain their longstanding captain MS Dhoni for the next three Indian Premier League seasons. Apart from MS Dhoni, the franchise Chennai Super Kings is set to retain all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad-the top run-getter in IPL 2021, who played crucial roles as Chennai Super Kings won the 2021 IPL title.

As per BCCI rules, each team is allowed to retain a maximum of four players. Chennai Super Kings is also in talks with England all-rounder Moeen Ali to come on board. As BCCI secretary Jay Shah had stated that the next season of IPL 2022 will be played in India, CSK feels Moeen Ali could be a handy player on the slow, turning Chennai wicket.

Chennai Super Kings' Ravindra Jadeja With MS Dhoni CSK Twitter Handle
Chennai Super Kings’ Ravindra Jadeja With MS Dhoni CSK Twitter Handle

Chennai Super Kings Likely To Retain MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad And Moeen Ali Or Sam Curran

If Moeen Ali doesn’t agree to stay, Chennai Super Kings will have left-arm medium-pacer Sam Curran as their fourth retained player. The franchises have to submit their lists of retained players by November 30 and the IPL 2022 will have its mega auction next month.

Chennai Super Kings retaining MS Dhoni wouldn’t come as a surprise, especially with the brand value he brings to the team. At a recent Chennai Super Kings event, MS Dhoni had confirmed that his last T20 game will be in Chennai, putting his IPL retirement speculations to bed.

“I have always planned my cricket. My last ODI in India was in Ranchi. Hopefully, my last T20 will be in Chennai. Whether it’s next year or in five years’ time, I don’t know,” Dhoni had said.

Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant | BCCI/IPL
Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant | BCCI/IPL

Chennai Super Kings are also likely not to retain Suresh Raina for the first time. The former India batsman has been out of touch and didn’t play crucial knockout IPL games. Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals are set to retain wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, all-rounder Axar Patel, Prithvi Shaw and pacer Anrich Nortje. Shreyas Iyer was released since he wanted to lead Delhi Capitals, but the franchise was keen to have Rishabh Pant as their leader going ahead.

However, most franchises will be following the tactic of not retaining four players as this could lead to stress on their purse during the auction. It is understood that Mumbai Indians will retain Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. While negotiations with their West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard are still on, the franchise wants to buy Suryakumar Yadav from the auction pool and chances of Ishan Kishan being retained are also bright.

KL Rahul Has Parted Ways With Punjab Kings And Will Likely Lead Lucknow Franchise

Two new teams Sanjiv Goenka’s RPSG group and CVC Capitals (though they haven’t been given the green signal yet from the board), have begun approaching a few top Indian players. India opener KL Rahul is likely to lead Sanjeev Goenka’s new Lucknow team. KL Rahul, who was signed by PBKS for Rs 11 crore at the IPL 2018 auction, will reportedly spearhead the new Lucknow franchise in the IPL 2022.

It is learnt KL Rahul has parted ways with Punjab Kings and has accepted Sanjeev Goenka’s offer. It is also learnt that Suryakumar Yadav was approached by the new franchise, but the batsman hasn’t responded yet.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders are likely to retain their two all-rounders, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, while they want to keep Varun Chakravarty too. However, it is learnt that KKR is still deciding on whether to retain Shubman Gill or Venkatesh Iyer.

Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra opined that RCB will retain Virat Kohli, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, and Devdutt Padikkal. However, he excluded pacer Harshal Patel, who was the Purple Cap winner in IPL 2021 and inconsistent big-hitting batsman Glenn Maxwell.

Players Likely To Be Retained:

CSK: MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali/ Sam Curran , Ruturaj Gaikwad

KKR: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill/Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy

RCB: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Yuzvendra Chahal

DC: Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan/Axar Patel

RR: Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler

SRH: Rashid Khan, Jonny Bairstow/Kane Williamson

MI: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard

PBKS: KL Rahul (if he agrees to stay), Mayank Agarwal, Ravi Bishnoi

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
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Salman Butt Hails Rahul Dravid’s Approach As Team India’s Head Coach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rohit Sharma, Venkatesh Iyer
Rohit Sharma, Venkatesh Iyer
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The Way All-Rounder Venkatesh Iyer Bowled Will Give Rohit Sharma Lot More Confidence: Robin Uthappa

Robin Uthappa has expressed satisfaction with the bowling performance of India’s latest T20I recruit Venkatesh Iyer. He has stated that that skipper Rohit Sharma will be more confident to throw the ball to him in the future. Following India’s 73-run victory against New Zealand in the 3rd T20I, cricketer Robin Uthappa stated that India’s youngster had won captain Rohit Sharma’s confidence in the bowling department.

Swashbuckling left-hander Venkatesh Iyer was handed his T20I debut in the first game of the three-match T20I series, which India swept, in Jaipur. At the toss, Rohit Sharma had mentioned that Venkatesh Iyer was brought into the side as an all-rounder.

Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa (Image Credit: Twitter)

Robin Uthappa: Venkatesh Iyer Earned Skipper Rohit Sharma’s Respect

However, lanky pacer Venkatesh Iyer did not bowl a single delivery in the first two games. He finally got a chance in the third, and he made it count by returning with figures of 1/12 in 4 overs. While batting, Venkatesh Iyer was dismissed for 4 on his T20I debut. Promoted to No. 3 in the 2nd T20I, he returned unbeaten on 12 from 11 balls. He managed 20 off 15 balls in his 3rd T20I but was dismissed while trying to hit a maximum.

“The way Venkatesh Iyer bowled will give Rohit a lot more confidence to throw the ball to him in different situations in the future. I think it was a matter of Venkatesh Iyer earning Rohit’s respect as far as his bowling was concerned. With the way he bowled today, he actually did that,” said Robin Uthappa.

Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)

Venkatesh Iyer was under the microscope after the sectors decided to turn their attention to probable seam-bowling all-rounders who can fill the void left by an unfit and out-of-form Hardik Pandya. However, Venkatesh Iyer played all three matches and could not make an immediate impact with the bat.

On Sunday, in the 3rd T20I, he got off to a good start with 20 off 15 balls but couldn’t capitalize on the good start. With the ball, though, he made a good start. In three overs, he gave away just 12 runs in exchange for a wicket. However, it wasn’t the right situation to assess him as an all-rounder.

A fatigued New Zealand was below-par in both batting and bowling departments and was struggling at the Eden Gardens besides being without regular skipper Kane Williamson and pacer Kyle Jamieson.

Robin Uthappa: Whether Venkatesh Iyer’s Bowling Is Good Enough In Australia In 2022 T20I World Cup Has To Be Reevaluated

He added that it remains to be seen whether he would play a similar role in the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as there is a doubt on whether his bowling is good enough for Australian pitches.

“They have to reevaluate and (find out) if Venkatesh Iyer’s bowling is good enough in a place like Australia. They started that path today by actually giving him a bowl to see what he can do. Whether his all-round prowess can fit into the team moving forward towards that World Cup (remains to be seen),” added Robin Uthappa. 

India's Venkatesh Iyer celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand's Adam Milne during the Third T20 International match between India and New Zealand, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.(ANI)
India’s Venkatesh Iyer celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand’s Adam Milne during the Third T20 International match between India and New Zealand, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI)

India beat the Black Caps by 5 wickets in the first game before sealing the series with a seven-wicket win in Ranchi. The two teams will now lock horns in a two-match Test series, which begins in Kanpur on November 25.

Venkatesh Iyer, a sensation in the second leg of the IPL 2021 in the UAE, earned his maiden India call-up. Venkatesh Iyer scored 370 runs in 10 games at an average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47, including four half-centuries. He finished as KKR’s fourth-highest run-scorer.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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India’s Middle-Lower Order Woes Not Addressed In Three-Match New Zealand T20I Series, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has highlighted that Team India’s lower-middle order concerns were not addressed in the T20I series against New Zealand. He pointed out that none of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, and Venkatesh Iyer covered themselves in glory.

None of the Indian middle-order batters played a substantial knock in the three T20Is against the Black Caps. While they did not have too much of an opportunity in the first two matches, they threw away their wickets in last night’s encounter.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Unhappy With India’s Middle Order

While reflecting on the India-New Zealand series in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra wasn’t too happy with the hosts’ middle order.

He elaborated: “The middle-lower order is still a concern because Rishabh Pant hasn’t really batted the way we wanted him to bat. He hasn’t batted the way he can bat, you expect more from him.”

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

The former India cricketer added that Rishabh Pant hadn’t enjoyed the same success in the shortest format of the game as he has done in Tests.

Aakash Chopra explained: “The runs come from his bat, he hits sixes as well but I feel he hasn’t yet fully cracked the T20 code, which is a bit of a disappointment. He is absolutely sensational in Tests, it is the format he has cracked easily but he is still figuring out his ways in the other formats.”

Although Rishabh Pant gave the finishing touches to Team India’s run chases in the first two T20Is, he didn’t look too convincing in the middle. The dashing wicket-keeper batter was dismissed for just four runs in last night’s encounter as he holed out in the deep while going for a big shot.

Before the bilateral T20I series against New Zealand, Rishabh Pant registered scores of 39, 12, and 27* during India’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, where they were ousted from the group stage itself after heavy defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand.

Rishabh Pant wasn’t able to set the recent T20I series on fire with the bat, as he scored 33 runs (4, 12*, 17*) in the three matches against New Zealand while batting at No. 4 and 5. Rishabh Pant is sometimes accused of throwing his wicket away despite being set often. He has amassed 623 runs in 41 T20Is averaging 23.07 with only 2 fifties with a highest score of 65*.

Aakash Chopra: Shreyas Iyer Played A Bad Shot To Be Dismissed

Aakash Chopra was also critical of Shreyas Iyer’s shot selection in last night’s encounter. Shreyas Iyer didn’t bat at his ideal position throughout the series and managed to score only 30 runs in 2 innings averaging 15.

Suryakumar Yadav scored 63 runs averaging 21 in 3 games. Rishabh Pant also failed to deliver on a couple of occasions scoring 33 runs averaging 33 in 3 games. Venkatesh Iyer was tested as the finisher, but he failed to live up to the hype on his debut series, managing 36 runs averaging 18 in 3 games.

“The number at which Shreyas Iyer was made to bat, the attempt was to get him to do something different at No. 5. He had an opportunity as well in the last match, played a bad shot to get out.”

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer – Getty Images

The reputed commentator concluded by stating that it is too early to pass a judgment on Venkatesh Iyer, who was playing his debut T20I series as well.

Aakash Chopra said: “There were so many overs left, Venkatesh Iyer had got out in the previous over. He [Shreyas] is also not your finisher. Venkatesh Iyer has played, hit one or two sixes as well, but it is too soon to form an opinion on him being your long-term solution.”

Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer got off to starts in yesterday’s match but got out in the twenties. However, Harshal Patel and Deepak Chahar played some enterprising shots thereafter to help India go past the 180-run mark, resulting in a convincing win for India.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
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Aakash Chopra Believes India Should Open With Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul In T20Is

Aakash Chopra believes Team India should always use Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul at the top of the order in the shortest format of the game.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul gave blazing starts to the Indian innings in the first two T20Is against New Zealand. With the latter being rested for the final T20I, Ishan Kishan opened the batting with the Indian skipper.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra In Favour Of KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma Opening

While reviewing the India-New Zealand bilateral T20I series in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that the opening combination of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul should never be split. The other opening options include Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Venkatesh Iyer, Devdutt Padikkal, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

He observed: “Rohit and Rahul should always open. These players have shown that one should forget Pakistan and New Zealand. There is both quality and quantity of runs here. Rohit Sharma is a beast when it comes to T20 cricket.”

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

While lauding Rohit Sharma’s destructive abilities, the cricketer-turned-commentator was particularly in awe of his majestic pull shot.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “If he [Rohit] bats with an open mind and with freedom, no one can stop him. He hits the short balls in the stands and does that regularly. This series was in his name only, he came and destroyed the bowlers in every match.”

Rohit Sharma smashed 159 runs at an excellent strike rate of 154.36 in the three T20Is against New Zealand. He was duly chosen as the Player of the Series for his exploits with the bat. Rohit Sharma’s sequence of scores in the last six T20 Internationals is 74, 30, 56, 48, 55, and 56, and captaincy hasn’t changed his style of play one bit.

Aakash Chopra: KL Rahul Is India’s Best Batsman

Aakash Chopra also placed KL Rahul on a high pedestal. KL averages a high of 40.69, having played 56 T20Is. He has amassed 1831 runs with 2 tons and 16 fifties.

He pointed out: “Rahul with him, once again I will just reiterate, in my opinion he is India’s best T20 batter. You should keep him up the order. Don’t change that at all – whether it is left-right, matchups or anything.”

KL Rahul
KL Rahul-Reuters.

The 44-year-old concluded by stating that the Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul combination will enable Team India to play an aggressive brand of cricket.

Aakash Chopra said: “If India has to look ahead, they have to go with Rohit and Rahul, Rohit-Rahul Dravid and Rohit-KL Rahul. I am completely convinced. If you want to play a different brand of cricket, they could be your flagbearers.”

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul stitched together a 117-run partnership for the opening wicket in the second T20I against New Zealand. It was their fifth-century partnership as a pair, including one for the second wicket against England at Manchester in 2018.

The 117-run stand in the 2nd T20I was their fifth-century partnership as a pair in T20Is, the joint-most for any pair, equaling the feat of Pakistan’s Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. It was also their fourth as an opening pair, equaling the feat of the Pakistani pair and India’s Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: AFP)
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: AFP)
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Irfan Pathan Pointed Out Middle Order Batting An Area Of Concern Despite T20I Series Win Over New Zealand

Irfan Pathan, despite India’s 3-0 clean sweep in the recently-concluded India-New Zealand T20I series, pointed out one area of concern.

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan feels that the team’s middle-order needs to take more responsibility despite the top-order’s impressive returns with the bat, pointing it out as an area of concern India needs to look at. Despite the issue, India went on to beat New Zealand by a margin of 73 runs, after batting first, to register a 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.

Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

 

Irfan Pathan: Rishabh Pant Has To Keep Working On His Batting, Especially Against Spinners

After India’s blistering powerplay show where the openers Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma stitched a 69-run stand in 38 deliveries, the middle order batsmen(No.4 to 7) scored only 51 runs off 45 balls, laced with three boundaries and one six.

In conversation with Star Sports at the end of India’s innings, Irfan Pathan felt that Rishabh Pant, who scored 4 off 6, should have taken more time to settle in and advised him to get better at playing spin. Irfan Pathan also did not read much into Suryakumar Yadav’s four-ball duck, explaining that he is a “high-risk, high reward player”.

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

“Look in terms of Rishabh’s batting, the kind of shot he played, he needs to keep working on his batting specially against spinners. Since maybe 2020, he has gone out to spinners playing the slog sweep about six or seven times which is quite high. He needs to just get better at it. He could have taken a bit more time as well. And look when I talk about Suryakumar Yadav, I always believe he’s a fantastic player, but he’s a high risk, high reward kind of player, ” said Irfan Pathan.

Despite a poor show from the middle order, two breathtaking and unlikely cameos powered India to a challenging 184 for seven in 20 overs. Coming in at No. 8, Harshal Patel smashed two boundaries and a six to score 18 off 11, while No.9 Deepak Chahar, reminded fans of his Sri Lanka heroics, hit eight-ball 21, comprising as many boundaries and sixes, as India hit 44 runs in the final four overs.

Axar Patel And Rohit Sharma’s Heroics Saw India Win Inconsequential T20I By 73 Runs And Series 3-0

A dominant bowling performance helped India restrict New Zealand to just 111 runs as the hosts registered a massive 73-run win to register a 3-0 whitewash. The Indian skipper Rohit Sharma first made a statement scoring 56 off 31 balls in India’s 184 for 7 and then made some immaculate captaincy calls which witnessed New Zealand’s surrender for a paltry 111 runs in 17.2 overs.

India's Axar Patel and Rohit Sharma celebrates the dismissal during the Third T20 International match between India and New Zealand, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI)
India’s Axar Patel and Rohit Sharma celebrate the dismissal during the Third T20 International match between India and New Zealand, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI)

It was a second back-to-back bilateral T20I series triumph with a clean sweep for India after beating the Black Caps 5-0 in their own den in 2020. Axar Patel (3/9) bowled accurately and also got one to turn as his three wickets in Powerplay literally ended New Zealand’s resistance, and the rest was a mere formality.

Opener Ishan Kishan (29 off 21 balls), middle-order batsmen Shreyas Iyer (25 off 20 balls), and Venkatesh Iyer (20 off 15 balls) all got starts but couldn’t convert it into a big score. Rohit Sharma’s sequence of scores in the last six T20 Internationals is 74, 30, 56, 48, 55, and 56, and captaincy hasn’t changed his style of play one bit.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Aakash Chopra Picked 3 Major Takeaways From India-New Zealand Bilateral T20I Series

Aakash Chopra picked three major takeaways from the recently-concluded three-match T20I series between India and New Zealand, where the Rohit Sharma-led home side registered a 3-0 whitewash with a 73-run win at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Rohit Sharma and his Team India side may have thumped New Zealand 3-0 to register yet another T20I series whitewash. However, they still have a couple of areas to sort, according to former cricketer Aakash Chopra.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul Must Always Open And Finger Spin Can Work In T20s

His first major takeaway was that India should retain their opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who scored a half-century stand in the opener in Jaipur before smashing a record 117-run stand in the second game. India, however, rested KL Rahul for the final inconsequential tie in Kolkata, picking Ishan Kishan as the opener, but Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan once again added a 69 run stand for the first wicket.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma—Image: Twitter

Aakash Chopra advised India to neither think of left-right combinations nor think about match-ups, as they did in the game against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup final, which they lost.

Aakash Chopra opined, “Rohit-Rahul must always open. Don’t think of left-right or match-ups.”

 

Aakash Chopra then opined, “Finger spin can work in T20s. Ashwin-Axar-Santner. And it’s okay for LAS to bowl to LHB.”

Axar Patel picked four wickets in three games at an economy rate of just 6, while Ravichandran Ashwin, who was rested for the final game, picked three wickets in two matches at an economy rate of just 5.25. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner, picked as many wickets as Axar Patel, conceding at 6.58 runs per over. However, Aakash Chopra said that it’s completely fine for a left-arm spinner to bowl to the left-handed batsman.

Aakash Chopra: India’s Middle Order Far From Being Sorted

In his final takeaway, the veteran former cricketer admitted that India still needs to work on their middle-order (No.4 to 7), who scored only 51 runs off 45 balls, laced with three boundaries and one six, in the third T20I with Rishabh Pant scoring a mere 4 off 6.

Aakash Chopra said,” India’s Middle Order far from sorted. Will take time.” 

Aakash Chopra feels that it will take time for India to sort it out. India will still have a lot of T20I series to work out their best XI, with star players like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah yet to join.

In Virat Kohli’s absence, Suryakumar Yadav batted at number 3 on a couple of occasions and shared success and failure on respective occasions(63 runs average 21 in 3 games). Rishabh Pant also failed to deliver on a couple of occasions(33 runs average 33 in 3 games).

Venkatesh Iyer was tested as the finisher, but he failed to live up to the hype on his debut series( 36 runs average 18 in 3 games). Moreover, Shreyas Iyer didn’t bat at his ideal position throughout the series(30 runs in 2 innings average 15). Aakash Chopra said fixing the middle-order will take time.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer – Getty Images

On his first assignment as Team India’s permanent head coach, Rahul Dravid guided his team to a 3-0 clean sweep over the 2021 T20 World Cup finalist. India played dominant cricket throughout the series as Kane Williamson-less New Zealand failed to give a tough challenge to the hosts.

India beat New Zealand by 73 runs in the 3rd inconsequential T20I to complete the whitewash in a comprehensive fashion. The team management gave a chance to a couple of young players in the series as the seniors like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja were rested to manage their workload.

India 184 for 7 (Rohit 56, Kishan 29, Chahar 21*, Santner 3-27) beat New Zealand 111 (Guptill 51, Axar 3-9, Harshal 2-23) by 73 runs

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul Are Undoubtedly First Choice Openers: Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik, wicket-keeper batsman has complete faith in KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma as the go-to opening pair for Team India. He believes this should be the opening pair heading into the T20 World Cup next year.

The pair once again stitched a vital stand at the top of the order against New Zealand on Friday. They built a solid platform to secure a series win for India over New Zealand with one match remaining.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma—Image: Twitter

Dinesh Karthik: Rohit Sharma And KL Rahul Are Undoubtedly First Choice Openers But India Need To Find A 3rd Opener

Dinesh Karthik feels India should focus on finding their third and final opener in the squad. He will need to bat at the top in case an injury rules out either Rohit Sharma or KL Rahul from playing. He also noted that there is no need for more than three openers in the squad.

The 117-run stand in the 2nd T20I was their fifth-century partnership as a pair in T20Is, the joint-most for any pair, equaling the feat of Pakistan’s Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. It was also their fourth as an opening pair, equaling the feat of the Pakistani pair and India’s Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

Rohit Sharma now holds the record of being part of most century stands in T20I cricket, surpassing Pakistan’s Babar Azam and Martin Guptill from New Zealand.

“In my mind there is no doubt that Rohit and Rahul are the first choice openers. What they need to find out is, if one of them is injured for the World Cup, then who is going to be their third opener who can fill in. I don’t think we need more than 3 openers in the squad.”

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

Dinesh Karthik also put up some good options for the spot. Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the other options to open in the squad while Shikhar Dhawan, who isn’t in the squad is another option for his excellent run in the last two IPL seasons.

He added: “Are you going to look towards a left-hander like Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, or Shikhar Dhawan or someone like Ruturaj Gaikwad. One of them should definitely be given a break in the next game and the team should look into their third opener.”

Dinesh Karthik termed India’s performance in the second T20I as clinical as the team romped their way to victory without any prominent hiccups. He also lauded coach Rahul Dravid for sending Venkatesh Iyer in at No.3.

“The word here is clinical. Just going ahead with things smooth and calm manner. Good to see Iyer getting a hit. Good on Rahul Dravid to promote him up the order. Straightforward finish for India very good batting upfront by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, let’s not forget about the quality of the knocks they both played.” Karthik explained.

The KKR all-rounder came into bat in the previous contest in a pressure situation and perished in just two deliveries. This time around, he was able to settle in and assess the conditions. The team was already in a comfortable position by the time he arrived at the crease. He remained unbeaten on 12 off 11 deliveries as Rishabh Pant finished the innings from the other end with his pyrotechnics.

Dinesh Karthik: India Must Continue In The Same Vein While New Zealand Would Be Disappointed To Lose The T20I Series Despite Coming As T20I WC Runners Up

Dinesh Karthik noted India’s dominance in bilateral series, especially at home. He feels that the process under coach Rahul Dravid is in place for the team to succeed at big tournaments in a similar fashion.

“Disappointing from New Zealand’s perspective, coming in as runner-ups in a World Cup final and pretty much getting thrashed in both matches by India here. This also goes on to show India’s ability to do so well in bilateral series and if they continue in the same way, form, and confidence like this into multi-nation tournaments, we will be unstoppable in many ways, the process is already out in place, we have a good coach and a steady captain. Interesting times ahead for Team India.” Karthik elaborated.

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

India has already secured the series following wins in Jaipur and Ranchi. The focus is expected to be on bench strength as the teams move to Kolkata to play the third and final T20I of the series.

Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
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Decision To Promote Venkatesh Iyer To No. 3 A Positive Move Keeping 2022 T20I WC In Mind: Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan described the decision to promote Venkatesh Iyer to No. 3 as a positive move that was made keeping the next T20 World Cup in mind. Venkatesh Iyer walked into bat at the fall’s KL Rahul’s wicket in the second T20I of the series against New Zealand in Ranchi on Friday.

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma featured in an opening stand of 117 as India chased down 154 with ease. In his 2nd T20I, Venkatesh Iyer helped himself to an unbeaten 12 from 11. In his debut T20I, Venkatesh Iyer hit a boundary off his first ball and lost his wicket on the next ball.

Venkatesh Iyer scored 4 off 2 balls during a short stay at the crease on debut. (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer. (Getty)

Zaheer Khan: Move To Promote Venkatesh Iyer At No. 3 Proves India Thinking Of Next T20I World Cup 2022

Speaking after India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Zaheer Khan pointed out that the Men in Blue acted proactively in sending Venkatesh Iyer to bat ahead of Suryakumar Yadav.

The former left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan said:  “The move to promote Venkatesh Iyer to No.3 when the opportunity arose proves that India are already thinking about the next T20 World Cup. Had they not done something like that, then you could have said that they missed an opportunity. It was definitely a proactive move by the management keeping the future in mind.”

Zaheer Khan (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
Zaheer Khan (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

Former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha chipped in and pointed out that the team needs to sort out its middle-order woes ahead of the next T20 World Cup.

He opined: “We need to sort out our middle order. That is what is hurting us in ICC tournaments. If we get that in place, rest all seems fine. Our top-order batting and bowling are excellent. But this is one box we still need to tick.”

India’s middle-order failed to deliver after Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul perished cheaply in the first two games of the T20 World Cup 2021 against Pakistan and New Zealand respectively. The below-par efforts ended up costing India a place in the semis.

Pragyan Ojha Wants Avesh Khan To Play If Mohammed Siraj Isn’t Fit

Although India has clinched the T20I series with a match to go, Pragyan Ojha doesn’t see the hosts making too many changes. He wants Avesh Khan to play if Mohammed Siraj is not fit.

Explaining his choice, the former cricketer said: “If Siraj is not fit, Avesh Khan might get a chance in the final T20I. Bhuvneshwar, Deepak Chahar and Harshal Patel are very similar in style. India need some pace in their attack. Don’t see any other changes since India need to maintain the momentum. The middle-order still needs some time because the top-order has done 90 percent work.”

Harshal Patel was the top wicket-taker in the IPL 2021 – claiming the joint-most 32 wickets in a season for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Delhi Capital’s Avesh Khan was right behind him with 24 wickets from 16 matches. While Harshal Patel debuted in the 2nd T20I and won Man of the Match for his 2/25, Avesh Khan is yet to debut.

Avesh Khan has been instrumental in Delhi Capitals’ early success in IPL 2021. Image: BCCI
Avesh Khan has been instrumental in Delhi Capitals’ early success in IPL 2021. Image: BCCI

The third and final T20I of the three-match series will be played at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday, November 21.

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