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Vikram Rathour

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Set To Miss 5th Manchester Test For Remaining In Isolation For 14 Days

Ravi Shastri, Team India’s head coach is set to miss the fifth and final Test against England in Manchester as he will remain in isolation for 14 days and can come out only after returning two negative results. The Manchester Test is set to be played from September 10 to 14.

Sources in the know of developments confirmed that Ravi Shastri will remain in isolation for 14 days and needs two negative tests before he can come out of isolation.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ravi Shastri Will Remain In Isolation For 14 Days And Will Have To Return Two Negative Tests

The 59-year-old Ravi Shastri returned positive in a lateral flow test (Rapid Antigen Test) on Sunday and on Monday his RT-PCR test report confirmed the infection. The fifth and final Test is scheduled to start on September 10.

“Unfortunately, Shastri will remain in isolation for 14 days and will have to return two negative tests before he can come out of isolation. He will not be a part of the Indian dressing room till then,” the source said.

File picture of Bharat Arun. - B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM
File picture of Bharat Arun. – B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Just half an hour before the start of play on Day 4, the BCCI said its medical team had isolated Ravi Shastri, head coach, Bharat Arun, bowling coach, R. Sridhar, fielding coach, and Nitin Patel, physiotherapist, as a precautionary measure after Ravi Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive on Saturday evening.

Ravi Shastri Contracted Covid-19 Possibly After Attending Launch Of His Book In The Team Hotel

Ravi Shastri is likely to have got the symptoms after attending the launch of his book in the team hotel where outside guests were also allowed. Bharat Arun, Nitin Patel, and R Sridhar attended that function in person.

The remaining members of the Team India contingent underwent two Lateral Flow Tests — one on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval against England.

“Of course, we are missing Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun, and R Sridhar who have been an extremely important part of this setup, they have done well in the past five-six years and they have played a major role in the team doing well. This is what it is, they are not here.”

“In the morning, it was a bit of a distraction, we had a word and we decided we need to focus on the cricket. We are here for this series, and I think the boys did well to not get distracted. There was a potential we could have been distracted, the credit needs to go to the boys for the way they handled themselves,” said Rathour during a virtual press conference on Sunday.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI

“Ravi Shastri felt ill on Saturday night around 8 PM. He was having a little bit of discomfort yesterday, the medical team decided to go for a lateral flow test and it came out positive and that is when we all found that he is positive. The close contacts were identified and isolated so we will wait for the medical team to tell us when they can join back,” he added. 

 

The batting coach Vikram Rathour also revealed that Ravi Shastri felt a bit of discomfort on Saturday after which the test was conducted.  In the 4th Test, England is up against a herculean task– chasing down 368 against India at the Oval to go 2-1 up in the series.

A century from Rohit Sharma and fifties from Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur, and Rishabh Pant in India’s second innings saw India post a strong total of 466, which means that England needs to pull off a record highest run chase at the venue.

In reply, Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns provided the hosts a solid start. At stumps, England’s score read 77/0, still needing 291 runs for the win with all ten wickets in hand. For the hosts, Rory Burns (31*) and Haseeb Hameed (43*) are at the crease.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane
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Vikram Rathour: Team Management Yet To Arrive At The Point Where Ajinkya Rahane’s Form Should Become A Concern

Vikram Rathour has said the stage has not come yet where the team management starts worrying about the form of the team’s vice-captain. Ajinkya Rahane has been struggling to score runs in the ongoing Test series against England. Though he got a fighting fifty at Lord’s in the second Test, after that knock, the India vice-captain is drawing flak for his lack of runs.

So far, Ajinkya Rahane has batted in seven innings and has managed to score 109 runs at an average of 15.57. On Sunday, he was dismissed for an eight-ball duck in the second innings of the Oval Test. Earlier in the first innings, he scored just 14 off 47 deliveries.

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Vikram Rathour: Team Management Hasn’t Arrived At The Point Where Ajinkya Rahane’d Form Should Become A Concern

While the dip in Ajinkya Rahane’s form has become one of the talking points of this series, India batting coach Vikram Rathour has said the stage has not come yet where the team management starts worrying about the form of the team’s vice-captain. During the post-match virtual presser, Vikram Rathour was asked if Ajinkya Rahane’s form is a concern.

In reply, he said, “Not at this point.”

“As I said earlier also when you are playing cricket for a long time, you will have phases where you will not get runs. That is the time when we need to support the player as a team. As we saw with Pujara also, he has played a couple of important innings for us. We are hoping Ajinkya will get back into form and still play a major role in the Indian team’s batting. I do not think we have arrived at that point where Rahane’s form should become a concern,” Vikram Rathour further said.

Vikram Rathour- Batting coach - PTI
Vikram Rathour- Batting coach – PTI

“When you are playing such an important series like this one, playing in the conditions which are tough for batting and we are playing against such a disciplined bowling attack, which has been bowling so well, so as a batting unit, the technique is the last thing you should be thinking about. I do not think we are looking at technique right now, there is time to look for it, I do not think mid-series or mid-game is the time for that,” Vikram Rathour added.

Earlier on Sunday, Shardul Thakur (60 of 72) struck his second fifty of the match and shared a hundred-run stand with Rishabh Pant (50 of 106) to put India in a strong position. The visitors posted a mammoth total of 446 in the second innings, setting a 368-run target for England.

Rory Burns And Haseeb Hameed Ensure England Don’t Lose Any Wicket On The Penultimate Day Of The Penultimate Test

In reply, Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns provided the hosts a solid start. At stumps, England’s score read 77/0, still needing 291 runs for the win with all ten wickets in hand. For the hosts, Rory Burns (31*) and Haseeb Hameed (43*) are at the crease.

Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed | Photo: England Cricket / ICC
Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed | Photo: England Cricket / ICC

England is up against a herculean task– chasing down 368 against India at the Oval to go 2-1 up in the series. A century from Rohit Sharma and fifties from Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur, and Rishabh Pant in India’s second innings saw India post a strong total of 466, which means that England needs to pull off a record highest run chase at the venue.

With niggles to Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, as captain Virat Kohli had pointed out at the toss, India included Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav in the XI which paid rich dividends as both of them had an impact. While Shardul Thakur scored the fifties in both innings, Umesh Yadav picked up 3 scalps in England’s 1st innings.

Suryakumar Yadav or Hanuma Vihari are waiting in the wings and may get a chance in the last Test. Although he is yet to play Tests, Suryakumar Yadav has a compelling record in first-class cricket, scoring 5326 runs in 77 first-class games at 44.01, with 14 tons.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
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Vikram Rathour: Boys Were Bit Distracted But Handled It Well After Ravi Shastri Tests Positive For COVID-19

Vikram Rathour, India batting coach on Sunday said the team was naturally a bit distracted going into day four of the fourth Test after head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for COVID-19.

The BCCI medical team had isolated Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar, and physiotherapist Nitin Patel as a precautionary measure after the head coach’s lateral flow test returned positive on Saturday evening.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Vikram Rathour: Missed Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun, And R Sridhar Massively Which Was A Bit Of Distraction But Credit Goes To The Team For Handling It Well

Ravi Shastri, fielding coach R Sridhar, bowling coach Bharat Arun and physio Nitin Patel have been isolated from the rest of the Indian team after the head coach’s Covid-19 lateral flow test returned positive.

“Of course, we are missing them massively. Ravi Bhai (Ravi Shastri), B Arun, and R Shridar, they have been an extremely important part of this setup and they have done extremely well (in) the last five-six years and played a major role in the team doing well,”  Vikram Rathour said after the end of day’s play.

Vikram-Rathour-photo
Vikram-Rathour-photo

India was in a commanding position after scoring 466 in the second essay, courtesy of a memorable hundred by Rohit Sharma and equally important knocks by Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur, and Rishabh Pant.

“But this is what it is. That’s the fact that they are not here. So, it was in the morning, I think, a bit of a distraction, we had a word, we spoke, (and) decided that we need to focus on what is in hand, which is cricket,” said Vikram Rathour.

“So, we are here for this series, it is an extremely important series that we are playing and today when we came in the morning, it was an extremely important day for us, to focus on cricket. So, I think the boys did extremely well, to not get distracted. There was a potential that we can (be) distracted from the situation that happened last night, but a lot of credit goes to the boys, the way they handled themselves and the way we played as a team,” added Vikram Rathour.

England finished Day 4 at 77-0 by battling out the entirety of the final session. The fixture is well poised at the moment with the hosts needing 291 more runs to win the match while India needs to claim all the 10 wickets to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed gave England a solid start as they ended at 77/0 at Stump’s on Day 4 of the fourth Test at The Oval.

Vikram Rathour is a former Indian cricketer & present India’s batting coach, who played in 6 Tests and 7 ODIs from 1996 to 1997. He was a right-handed opening batsman. Vikram Rathour was a prolific run-scorer at the first-class level, scoring 11473 runs at an average of 49.66 in 146 matches.

Vikram Rathour: Ravi Shastri Had A Litle Bit Of Discomfort On Saturday

The batting coach also revealed that Ravi Shastri felt a bit of discomfort on Saturday after which the test was conducted. Shardul Thakur and Rishabh Pant scored incredible individual fifties as they propelled India to 466 runs in the second innings. India started the day poorly as they lost the wickets of Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ajinkya Rahane in the morning session.

“I would not know the exact time, but it was last night around 8 in the night. He was having a little bit of discomfort yesterday, so the medical team decided to go for a lateral-pro test and it came positive and that is when we heard that he is positive and I think, the close contacts were identified and isolated, so we will wait for the medical team in when they can join back, he added.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source: AP

Shardul Thakur (60 off 72) struck his second fifty of the match and shared a hundred-run stand with Rishabh Pant (50 off 106) to put India in a strong position. India’s innings lasted 148.2 overs.

England 290 and 77 for 0 (Hameed 43*, Burns 31*) need 291 more runs to beat India 191 and 466 (Rohit 127, Pujara 61, Thakur 60, Pant 50, Woakes 3-83)

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Responds He Never Saw An Alleged Rift Between Rohit Sharma And Virat Kohli

Ravi Shastri responded to the rumours of the alleged rift between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The reports of an alleged rift between them made headlines on a few occasions in 2019/20.

The news was never confirmed and Team India continued to excel under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. He continues to lead Team India across formats and is assisted by Rohit Sharma in white-ball cricket. Rohit Sharma has also led Team India on several occasions in Virat Kohli’s absence.

Ravi Shastri responds to alleged rift rumours between Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri. Photo: AP/BCCI
Ravi Shastri responds to alleged rift rumours between Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri. Photo: AP/BCCI

Ravi Shastri Never Saw An Alleged Rift Between Rohit Sharma And Virat Kohli

In an exclusive conversation with Times Network’s Group Editor Navika Kumar, head coach Ravi Shastri addressed the rumours of the alleged rift between the two players. As per Ravi Shastri, there was never any problem between the two players and that he would have corrected it if there would have been any.

“I never saw it. So when people used to ask me like this, I say what you have seen I have not seen. The coordination has always been there. I have never seen it affecting the team. If I see an effect in the team, I will say on Virat or Rohit’s face that this is not on and you have to look at things differently. But not once have I seen it impacting the team from day 1. I am a person who says what I want,” Shastri told Times Now.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Twitter

At present, both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are in the UK along with Team India and are getting ready to face England in the fourth and penultimate Test from September 2 (Thursday), at Kennington Oval, London. The five-match Test series is currently levelled at 1-1.

Virat Kohli Too Had Denied The Rift

Following the 2019 World Cup, Virat Kohli was also asked about the alleged rift and the Indian skipper had denied such reports.

“I too have heard a lot. Dressing room atmosphere is important to succeed. If this (rumour of the rift) was true, we would not have performed well. It’s ridiculous to read such news. We are overlooking faces. We are turning blind eyes towards good things. It’s disrespectful to bring such news. You’ll come to the changing room and see how we are. We cant show you videos. It baffles you as a team member and the captain,” he had said.

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

Virat Kohli continues to lead Team India and is assisted by Rohit Sharma in white-ball format. Rohit Sharma, a five-time IPL-winning captain, has also captained the Men in Blue to victories in  Asia Cup and Nidahas Trophy(2018). Talking of Ravi Shastri, the former India all-rounder is set to move on from the head coach’s position after the conclusion of the 2021 T20 World Cup. He has been serving as Team India’s head coach since 2017.

Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and batting coach Vikram Rathour are all set to move on after the T20 World Cup to be held across October-November in the UAE.

Rory Burns Getty Images
Rory Burns Getty Images
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Rory Burns Seen Stepping Onto The Ball In The 2nd Lord’s Test

Rory Burns and pacer Mark Wood were seen passing the ball with their shoes. Rory Burns, who was wearing a shoe with spikes, was seen stepping onto the ball.  The England team caused a flutter when two of its players tried playing a bit of “football” with the red cherry during the post-lunch session on the fourth day of the second Test at Lords.

Footage from the official broadcasters emerged where one England player passed the ball to another, who used his spikes to trap it, raising a social media storm as accusations of ball-tampering flew thick and fast. England’s opener Rory Burns and speedster Mark Wood were passing the ball to each other using their shoes.

Rory Burns Stepping On Ball vs India Sparks "Ball-Tampering" Debate
Rory Burns Stepping On Ball vs India Sparks “Ball-Tampering” Debate.© Twitter

Rory Burns Seen Stepping Onto The Ball Which Ignited Ball-Tampering Controversy

Replays showed an English player stopping the ball with his spikes after the first one had kicked it with his shoe. The incident created quite an uproar among cricket fans on Twitter.  However, Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour felt it was “not deliberate”.

“We saw it much later but I don’t think it was deliberate,” Rathour said at the post-day press conference.

The Indian team hasn’t lodged an official complaint with match referee Chris Broad. The incident was recorded in the 35th over of the Indian second innings, bowled by Ollie Robinson.

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

The footage didn’t show the face of the players although some reports claim it’s none other than Mark Wood and Rory Burns. The matter did not escalate and the umpires didn’t change the ball.

In fact, when an Indian fan asked Stuart Broad on social media if it was intentional, the injured England seamer replied: “Of course, it wasn’t.”

Stuart Broad explained that if the umpires needed to check the ball after the particular incident to ensure it hasn’t been fiddled with, then every six would warrant a ball check. Former South Africa pacer Shaun Pollock, who was commenting at that time, also expressed disapproval regarding the incident after which the ‘Voice of Indian cricket’ Harsha Bhogle also condemned it.

Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Found Form  As The Duo Stitched A 100 Run Partnership For The 4th Wicket

On Day 4, India was in deep trouble after losing in-form openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in the space of two overs. Virat Kohli, India’s captain, left with only 20 runs on the board. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who has been chastised for their poor batsmanship for a long time, put on a critical century partnership to take India from 55/3 to 155.

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

However, Mark Wood struck again and dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara for 45 runs. Minutes later, Moeen Ali removed Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja to help England finish the day on top.  Earlier in the match, England pacer Mark Wood dismissed India opening batters Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul while Sam Curran sent Virat Kohli back to the pavilion as the visitors were put on the back foot in the opening session on Day 4.

Vikram-Rathour-photo
Vikram-Rathour-photo
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Vikram Rathour Advised Rohit Sharma To Be Selective With His Shots

Vikram Rathour, India’s batting coach defended the faltering Indian willow-wielders, saying lean patches are part and parcel of the game and it’s a matter of time before runs start flowing from their bats again.

Vikram Rathour said the Indian batsmen are putting in the hard yards at nets in their bid to iron out flaws and return among runs in the ongoing tour of England.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI

Vikram Rathour Hopes The Good Phases And Results Will Eventually Come As The Cricketers Are Trying Their Best At The Nets

Ajinkya Rahane(61) paired with Cheteshwar Pujara (45) to put up a solid 100-run stand for the fourth wicket to put India in a comfortable position until Moeen Ali turned the tables in the final session. He took down Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja (5) before bad light forced early stumps on Sunday.

“Not really. Not really,” Vikram Rathour said at the virtual post-day press conference after the fourth day’s play in the second Test on Sunday when specifically asked if continuous non-performance of the batters abroad puts him under pressure.

“But of course, we are working hard, it is a unique kind of situation where we are working hard with the players. As long as they are trying their best, working hard or practicing well, results will come. These phases will come,” said Rathour.

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

In their second innings, India was in a spot of bother at 181 for 6, when stumps were drawn on day four, leading by 154 runs.

“When you are playing cricket, you will have lean phases as a batsman, so you need to get through them, you need to keep working hard and keep getting your processes right, and as a support staff we are helping them to do that,” Vikram Rathour said.

“As for added pressure on us, not really, but we do feel concerned if someone is really working hard and he fails. You feel bad, you feel that you know that hard-work is not really paying off.

“But as far as we are concerned with the batters, all of them have absolute faith in them. They will come good and as I said they are having their processes right, they are working really hard in the practice and giving their best. So soon runs will follow,” he said.

An afternoon of dead-batted defiance from Cheteshwar Pujara, 45 from 206 balls, and Ajinkya Rahane, 61 from 146, was followed by a three-wicket intervention that keeps England in the hunt to reward Joe Root’s masterful 180 on the third day with a 1-0 series lead.

Vikram Rathour Advised Rohit Sharma To Be Selective While Adding Virat Kohli Lost His Wicket Due To Lapse Of Concentration

Talking about individual players, Vikram Rathour advised Rohit Sharma to be a “little more selective” with his shots after the opener fell to a pull shot for the second time in the Test series against England.

“There will be analysis, of course every-time they get out, we will be having a talk, what happened and what they were thinking while batting or while they played that shot,” he said.

“As far Rohit is concerned, I think he has made it clear that that is the shot which fetches him runs, that is the shot where he gets runs with, so he is going to play those shots and we are backing him to play those shots, only thing he needs to do is to be a little-more selective, with what to play and when to play…”

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

According to Vikram Rathour, skipper Virat Kohli, who was dismissed on 20 by Sam Curran, was undone by a lapse in concentration.

“Kohli, I don’t think there was any issue, it was just a lapse in concentration today, where his bat went to the ball, which he shouldn’t have played and nothing more, I don’t think anything old (is) coming back,” the batting coach said.

Vikram Rathour said that the team needs to set a target close to the 200-run mark.

“You are right, this will be a typical fifth day wicket of a Test match, where the ball will go up and down and is also turning, like we saw. So, again like I said earlier, if we can take the target near 200 runs, then it won’t be easy for England,” he said.

“Like (Ravindra) Jadeja bowled in the first innings, he was accurate, if he gets turn from there, he can create problems for the batsmen, and our pace attack is bowling well. If the ball stays up and down, like we are seeing, when the ball is hard, then, if we can add 30-40 runs more and take 1-2 early England wickets, then there will be pressure on them,” he added.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were both disappointing with the bat in the second innings after being dismissed for 21 and 20 respectively. While Rohit Sharma was sent back to the pavilion while playing his favoured pull shot, Virat Kohli chased a wide delivery bowled outside off.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Plans To Part Ways As Team India Coach After T20I World Cup: Report

Ravi Shastri has informed some cricket board members that he is planning to part ways with the national team after the forthcoming T20I World Cup when his contract ends, it is learnt. Some of the other support staff, meanwhile, are already in talks with IPL teams. Team India’s backroom may soon undergo a total revamp.

Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and batting coach Vikram Rathour are all set to move on after the T20 World Cup to be held across October-November in the UAE.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ravi Shastri Plans To Part Ways As Coach Of India After T20I World Cup

Ravi Shastri has informed some cricket board members that he is planning to part ways with the national team when his contract ends. Some of the other support staff, meanwhile, are already in talks with IPL teams. The cricket board also wants a new group on board, sources said.

Ravi Shastri first took over the team in 2014 as director till the T20 World Cup in 2016 after which Anil Kumble was appointed for a year. He was made the full-time coach in 2017 after India’s defeat in the Champions Trophy final. With Ravi Shastri as a coach, India won two away series in Australia before reaching the finals of the World Test Championship last month.

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

Bharat Arun was instrumental in making India’s bowling one of the most feared in the world while R Sridhar played a role in the evolution of the team as a sturdy fielding side. However, India could not land an ICC trophy during their tenure, losing in the semifinal of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and the final of the World Test Championship.

The setbacks aside, India made massive leaps in their four-year tenure, clean-sweeping Test series in West Indies and Sri Lanka, and putting on creditable shows in South Africa and England. At home, they were near-invincible, defeating Australia, England and South Africa.

During this period, India’s bench strength increased manifold — as borne out by the staggering series win in Australia in 2020/21 where key players were ruled out due to injuries— with a swelling pool of ready-for-international cricketers.

BCCI has set an upper age limit for the head coach job to 60. At 59, Ravi Shastri will only have the chance to lead the team for another year, so both BCCI & the head coach is set to explore other options. There are indications from the BCCI which suggests that the board is now looking beyond Ravi Shastri.

Rahul Dravid Is One Of The Frontrunners To Take Over As India’s Coach If He Decides To Apply

Ravi Shastri is widely credited with infusing the streak of resilience that has come to define this team. His chemistry with Virat Kohli was visible even as he groomed the youngsters in the team – the blossoming of Rishabh Pant is a case in point. But now, the cricket board has decided that a change is needed for the team to reach the next level, and emerge as world-beaters in all forms of the game.

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

According to protocol, the board will invite applications for the coaching positions after the T20 World Cup. Some officials are already pointing to Rahul Dravid, the NCA chief and coach of India ‘A’ and U-19 sides — and the second-string international side that performed impressively in Sri Lanka last month by winning the ODI series.

Rahul Dravid’s experience in working with most of the current senior team, especially those who had been India-A regulars, would make him one of the frontrunners if he decides to apply.

However, when asked about this option during the Lanka tour, he said: “I have enjoyed the experience of working with these guys, it has been great. I have not given any other thoughts to anything else. There are a lot of challenges in doing full-time roles, so I really don’t know,” he said.

Incidentally, Rahul Dravid’s contract with the NCA ends in September. Rahul Dravid has been touted as a potential head coach ever since his retirement in 2012. However, pundits and former cricketers close to him have often suggested that the 48-year-old is reluctant to put up with the immense travel and trips away from home that comes with the job.

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Cheteshwar Pujara Just Needs To Convert Those Starts, Says Vikram Rathour

Cheteshwar Pujara might have got out cheaply in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final but India batting coach Vikram Rathour isn’t really concerned about the batsman’s form.

After the opening stand of 62, India lost three wickets for 26 runs as Cheteshwar Pujara departed in the 41st over reducing India to 88/3 against New Zealand in the second session of day two of the WTC final.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli (Image: ICC)
Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli (Image: ICC)

Cheteshwar Pujara’s Form Doesn’t Concern Vikram Rathour And He Was Pleased With The Way India Batted On Day 2

Cheteshwar Pujara’s strike rate has been a constant subject of debate for some time now and the India No. 3 did his stats no good on Saturday, scoring 8 off 54 balls. He took 36 balls to get off the mark and was eventually trapped in front of the wicket by New Zealand pacer Trent Boult.

“We are not really concerned and he is a good player. I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. I don’t think that’s a problem he has. Even today, till he batted, he looked solid and he has a role to play in the team and I think he is doing well,” Rathour said during a virtual press conference after the end of the day’s play.

“Today also, Cheteshwar Pujara played 50 odd balls. Cheteshwar Pujara just needs to convert those starts. It’s going to happen very soon,” he added.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walk off the field after stumps on Day 2. (Getty Images)
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walk off the field after stumps on Day 2. (Getty Images)

After Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket, skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane stitched a second important partnership with the pair ending the day unbeaten on 44 and 29 respectively in an unbroken stand of 58.  Vikram Rathour was pleased with the way his team kept plugging away after being put in to bat in difficult conditions.

“(Kohli and Rahane) batted well, I would give a lot of credit to Rohit and Gill as well because they started off really well. They were challenging conditions when we started. It was a fresh wicket, we lost the toss and it was overcast all day, so credit to all the batters. They showed a lot of restraint and a lot of discipline. We handled it pretty well,” said Rathour while replying to a query from ANI.

“A lot of discipline was shown today but there was a lot of intent to score runs as well. So it’s a reasonable day that we had overall,” he added.

Captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane struck an unbeaten 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket to navigate the team to 146/3 at the end of the day’s play on Saturday. Virat Kohli is batting on 44 while Ajinkya Rahane remains unbeaten on 29 as India will look to continue to build on the solid foundation laid on Day 3.

Vikram Rathour: Anything More Than 250 Plus Is A Good 1st Innings Total

At stumps on Day Two on Saturday, India’s score reads 146/3 and the batting coach feels anything above 250 would be a good first innings total for India against New Zealand.

“We are looking to play sessions well and if we keep doing that anything more than 250 plus would be a reasonable score under these conditions,” said Rathour.

Talking about Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill’s opening stand, Rathour said,” If they come good, they can take an attack away when they come good. They put a lot of pressure on the bowling side.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI

Unfortunately, both of the openers got out after getting set. Both of them playing the way they play can put a lot of pressure on the bowling side. Vikram Rathour said the batsmen showed discipline but also scored runs whenever it was possible.

“I think it had both factors. Of course, countering the swing is well, but the discussion we have had as a team is that we need to be looking for runs wherever we can. If a loose ball is offered, we have to make it count,” said Rathour.

“We could see it throughout the day. Though we showed discipline, I think we looked to score runs whenever there was an opportunity and that was good to see,” he signed off.

India managed to get off to a good start courtesy of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. They put the loose balls away and were looking good as they raised a 50 plus run stand before Rohit Sharma departed. Shubman Gill fell soon after and Cheteshwar Pujara was soon dismissed after Lunch.

India is in trouble on Day 3 of the 1st Test with Virat Kohli (44) and Ajinkya Rahane (49) back in the pavilion. Rishabh Pant failed to continue his form as he fell after scoring 4 off 22 balls. India is currently placed at 182/6.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
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WTC Final 2021: 250-Plus Will Be A Reasonably Good Total, Says Vikram Rathour

Vikram Rathour on Saturday picked a total that he feels will put India in a fighting position against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final. India’s batsmen managed to fight off a damp pitch, overcast conditions, and a lethal fast bowling unit on Day 2 of the World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl against New Zealand.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill batted cautiously at the top to give India a solid start in Southampton, but they lost three quick wickets after the opening stand. However, captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane struck an unbeaten 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket to navigate the team to 146/3 at the end of the day’s play on Saturday.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walk off the field after stumps on Day 2. (Getty Images)
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walk off the field after stumps on Day 2. (Getty Images)

Vikram Rathour: 250 Plus Score Will Be A Reasonable Score In Prevailing Conditions

Virat Kohli is batting on 44 while Ajinkya Rahane remains unbeaten on 29 as India will look to continue to build on the solid foundation laid on Day 2. Vikram Rathour, batting coach on Saturday picked a total that he feels will put India in a fighting position against New Zealand in the WTC final, saying that a first innings score of 250-plus will be a good total keeping the prevailing conditions in mind.

“We would like to score as many runs as possible but 250 plus will be a reasonable score in these conditions,” Rathour said at the day-end press conference.

The batting coach Vikram Rathour lauded openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma for seeing off the new ball in an admirable manner as they played positively to add 62 runs.

Asked if taking stance outside the crease was to counter swing or play more attacking shots, Vikram Rathour said, “Batting is about scoring runs. Rohit and Gill showed a lot of intent and looked to score wherever they can. Hats off to Virat and Rahane for the manner in which they batted but a lot of credit should also be given to the openers.”

Vikram-Rathour-photo
Vikram-Rathour-photo

New Zealand started poorly as they bowled some poor deliveries and they were punished. Tim Southee had a tough day with the ball as he just could not find the lines and lengths, which he did seem to find, towards the fag end of the day. Kyle Jamieson was the star as he bowled probing lines and lengths and did not give much away. Neil Wagner was also at his best while Trent Boult came back well after Lunch.

India managed to get off to a good start courtesy of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. They put the loose balls away and were looking good as they raised a 50 plus run stand before Rohit Sharma departed. Shubman Gill fell soon after and Cheteshwar Pujara was soon dismissed after Lunch. Since then Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have looked solid and have managed to stay unbeaten till Stumps on Day 2.

Vikram Rathour: New Zealand Pacers Hit Good Areas During The 2nd Session

The former India opener feels that once the Dukes’ ball got a tad older, it started swinging more, and hence scoring runs became a bit difficult than what it was when the openers were batting.

“I think when the ball got a bit older, it started swinging more. Also, the New Zealand pacers hit good areas during the second session,” he said.

Kyle Jamieson (File Photo) | AP
Kyle Jamieson (File Photo) | AP

Vikram Rathour also brushed aside assertions that Cheteshwar Pujara is facing some technical problems as he has now been hit at least four times on the helmet in recent Test matches.

“We are not really concerned and he is a good player. I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. Till he batted, he looked solid and he has a role to play in the team. Today also, he played 50 oddballs. He just needs to convert those starts. It’s going to happen very soon,” Vikram Rathour said.

India’s drought of first wicket’s 60-plus stand in England in more than 10 years ended. India lost their first wicket for 62 runs on board in 20.1 overs as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 34 off 68. Kyle Jamieson has caused uncertainty by going wide on the crease, and the outswing takes the edge for a lovely low catch at third slip by Tim Southee.

Neil Wagner swung the first ball back into Shubman Gill, and two balls later he bowled the same length, making him push at the ball, which held its line this time and took the edge as India lost their second wicket on 63 in 24.3 overs with Shubman Gill being dismissed after scoring 28 off 64.

Vikram-Rathour-photo
Vikram-Rathour-photo
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No Team Can Have 11 Cheteshwar Pujaras And 11 Rishabh Pants, Says Vikram Rathour

Vikram Rathour, former national selector and present-day batting coach has seen his share of highs and lows with the Indian team. From having to live with a 36 all out in Adelaide to eventually winning the series, followed by a win over England at home, it’s been a rollercoaster.

Vikram Rathour spoke with TOI at length, underlining the team’s batting philosophy, individuals at the helm, and the big picture going forward.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour - PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI

Vikram Rathour: No Team Can Have 11 Cheteshwar Pujaras And 11 Rishabh Pants And It Takes A Pant And A Pujara To Make Winning Combination

Vikram Rathour, a former Indian cricketer who played in 6 Tests and 7 ODIs from 1996 to 1997 was a right-handed opening batsman. He was a prolific run-scorer at the first-class level, scoring 11473 runs at an average of 49.66 in 146 matches. This included several fluent, stroke-filled centuries. His List A career was more modest, with him scoring just over 3000 runs in 99 matches. He is currently the batting coach for the Indian cricket team.

“Learning has been a constant and that’s been the case not only in this job. Even when it was about coaching a state team or being associated with the IPL as a coach, it was constant learning,” said Vikram Rathour on learning as a coach.

” I think, as a good coach, as a good batting coach, you need to be able to deal with multiple aspects of batting. We sometimes over-emphasize the importance of technique.

“Yes, I believe the most important thing with coaching is communication.Players will have different temperaments, different ways to learn things. So, I think communication or man-management, as we say, is the key to coaching at this level,” said Vikram Rathour on aspects of coaching.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant
Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant

” Whether it’s Pujara or Pant, each of them has a different mindset, different work ethics, and listening to them is the only way for me to understand them and their thoughts. Pujara is extremely determined, very gritty and very disciplined while Pant is fearless, has a lot of fun, loves taking his chances.

“Now, no team can have eleven Pujaras and eleven Pants, right? It always takes a Pant and a Pujara together to make a winning combination,” Vikram Rathour maintained.

Against Australia, in 2020-21, Cheteshwar Pujara scored 271 runs in 4 matches at an average of 33.87. As he played at a strike rate of 29.20, his intent was under heavy scrutiny.

Rishabh Pant scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 in five innings for India against Australia. The keeper continued his form against England where he hit 270 runs at an average of 54.00. His strike rate was 69.9 against Australia and 84.11 against England.

Vikram Rathour: Virat Kohli’s Adaptability Is His Biggest Quality And His Work Ethics Are Second To None

Labelled as the run-machine of Indian cricket, the 32-year-old Virat Kohli has some of the biggest records to his name. In terms of international centuries, he is only behind Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting.

“Virat is, of course, the best there in the world. His records speak for him. The kind of talent and consistency he’s shown is there for all of us to see. His work ethics are second to none.

“But for me, the biggest quality I see in Virat, and I’ve said it before too, is his adaptability. In that aspect, he’s unique. He is someone who can effortlessly shift gears and change his game depending on the situation and that is his biggest quality,” said Vikram Rathour.

India travelled to Australia with a jumbo contingent. The team is now set to fly to England with a 25-member squad. 

People competing for slots is good. Healthy competition at any level is always good. Anybody who goes through the ranks and reaches this level to get into the Indian team has made a huge achievement, ” said Vikram Rathour.

“Rohit Sharma is a man finally in control of himself, his thoughts, what he wants to achieve and where he wants to head from here. Rohit always had the game and the talent to be successful even in Test cricket.He always had a terrific game plan and method that made him such a prolific run-getter in shorter formats. In Test cricket, he’s just starting. If he keeps going like this, we’ll be seeing a different Rohit in Test cricket. His best is still to come,” said Vikram Rathour on Rohit Sharma.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

“In my understanding, you’ve got to appreciate what the IPL has done in this space. It has given the platform where India’s new and upcoming talent is getting an opportunity to compete alongside or against the best in the world. Look at the exposure you’re getting. Suddenly, everybody is as good as the other and a huge credit for that must go to the IPL,” crediting IPL’s success.

“So, a Rishabh Pant comes in, does phenomenally well, and overshadows everything else. Yet, at the same time, there’s a Sanju Samson and an Ishan Kishan vying for that space but have to wait now,” on wicket-keepers

“I believe this generation is still very fortunate because they have alternatives. There’s so much cricket outside of what the Indian team plays. There’s the IPL. You have domestic cricket where you get to play a lot of cricket, you have India ‘A’ team tours. Look at the team India’s sending to Sri Lanka, for instance.

“Even with some of the main players busy in England series you will still have a very strong team and that’s a great sign for Indian cricket, that we have that kind of a talent pool at our disposal,” Rathour spoke on bench strength.

“To be very honest, we saw it as a freak incident. That very evening, and the following day, we were already busy moving on. A lot of credit there goes to Virat, Ravi and the rest of the team management. We spoke about what we had to do and that was it. The focus began shifting to what was coming next. If you look at that innings carefully, nobody got out to bad shots. They got out to some very good bowling,” said Vikram Rathour on 36 all-out.

“After the first Test match, many of the experts had written us off. Virat was leaving. Ajinkya was taking over as captain for the next Test. The responsibility was multi-fold. That Test match showed how good a player Ajinkya is. I understand that numbers matter, but at the same time it is the quality of the runs that you have scored and the situation you have scored them in.” on Ajinkya Rahane’s poor form after his 112 in Melbourne Test

“In Cheteshwar’s case, it is his grit and determination that drives him. He has strong routines and he always sticks to them. It shows in his batting as well,” on Pujara.

“Yes, there’s been a conscious effort to get the tail to bat more. Already, there have been some elements the team has benefited greatly from,” said Vikram Rathour on tailenders batting.

“Yes, the WTC final is a World Cup and that’s how it should be looked at. Both teams have worked hard over 24 months to get here.It’s a neutral venue for both teams, so one can look forward to a good contest,” on WTC final.

Team India managed to defeat Australia 2-1 in the four-match Test series despite missing players like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, and KL Rahul during different parts of the contest. Several young players who debuted in the series like Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Shubman Gill, and Washington Sundar stepped up to the mark and performed exceptionally for India.

In the 4th Test, Shubman Gill’s 91, Rishabh Pant’s 89*, and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 56 handed Australia their first defeat at Gabba in 32 years as India won consecutive Test series in Australia by a 2-1 margin.

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