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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

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Bharat Arun’s 10-day Isolation Rules Make Ravi Shastri Unhappy But He Trusts 2 Jabs Of Vaccine

Bharat Arun, along with senior wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, had to remain in isolation for 10 days as per the UK Health protocols as they had been in contact with Dayanand Garani.

In the past few weeks, a few Indian team players and coaches including Bharat Arun had to isolate as they were in contact with throwdown specialist-cum-masseur Dayanand Garani, who had tested positive for Covid-19. Rishabh Pant had also tested positive on July 8 and had to isolate for 10 days as per UK Health protocols. India bowling coach Bharat Arun also had to isolate for 10 days as he had come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

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

Bharat Arun’s 10 Day Isolation Rules Make Ravi Shastri Unhappy

However, India head coach Ravi Shastri is not happy with the isolation rules in place for vaccinated people. Ravi Shastri expressed his disappointment at the 10-day isolation rules imposed on Bharat Arun, who had already completed his vaccination course.

Senior wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran had to remain in isolation as they had been in contact with Dayanand Garani. The trio was back in the team bubble on Saturday after completing their mandatory isolation period of one and half weeks. This was despite all of them testing negative during RT-PCR tests.

“My right hand back in the house. Looking fitter and stronger after being in isolation for 10 days even though testing negative all the way. Bloody frustrating these isolation rules. 2 jabs of the vaccine have to be trusted,” Shastri tweeted along with a selfie with his close friend and bowling coach Bharat Arun.

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

For the record, Wriddhiman Saha had already recovered from COVID in May after contracting the virus while playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League 2021 which was postponed due to multiple cases inside the bubble.

Rishabh Pant Contracted Covid-19 After Visiting Dentist And Was Also Spotted Without A Mask At Webley Stadium In An Euro 2020 Match

Rishabh Pant was also kept in isolation for 10 days as per United Kingdom guidelines after testing positive for the novel coronavirus on July 8. He had to miss Team India’s warm-up match against County Select XI in Durham. However, now he is fully recovered and has joined back the team. Rishabh Pant received a grand welcome as he joined the team after recovering from COVID-19.

Rishabh Pant gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Rishabh Pant gets the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine Pic credit: Rishabh Pant Twitter handle

Rishabh Pant had gone to a dentist on July 5th and 6th before getting fully vaccinated on July 7th. On July 08, the wicket-keeper batsman had tested positive for Covid-19. The 3-week break in England for Indian cricketers came at the cost of Rishabh Pant and throw-down specialist Dayanand Garani contracting the novel coronavirus.

Rishabh Pant had also gone to the Wembley Stadium on June 29 when England took on Germany in a Euro 2020 match. Questions have been raised over this visit of Rishabh Pant too.

Umesh Yadav. (AP Photo)
Umesh Yadav. (AP Photo)
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Umesh Yadav Working On His Batting Ahead Of England Test Series

Umesh Yadav is working on his batting ahead of the much-awaited five-match Test series against England, which starts on August 4 (Wednesday) in Nottingham.

The fast bowler from Vidarbha took to Twitter to share a couple of pictures from the training session where he can be seen working hard to improve his batting.

Umesh Yadav (Credit: Twitter)
Umesh Yadav (Credit: Twitter)

Umesh Yadav Has 148 Test Wickets To His Name

The right-arm pacer, who last played Test cricket in December 2020, against Australia, before injuring himself said he is keeping himself motivated in training. Umesh Yadav, 33, who was a part of the Delhi Capitals Squad for IPL 2021 but didn’t play a single game, has 148 Test wickets to his name in 48 matches at an average of 30.54.

Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI
Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav. Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI

Umesh Yadav captioned the post as: “Every chance you wake is a chance to get better.”

Meanwhile, Umesh Yadav will have to fight out with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Siraj for a place in the playing XI for the first Test. The 48 Tests veteran last donned the whites against Australia last year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The pacer has the first-class ton to his name but is yet to score even a single fifty in international cricket.

Umesh Yadav Was The Pick Of The Bowlers In The Practice Game Against County Select XI By Picking 3 Scalps

The 33-year-old fast bowler was the pick of the bowlers in the first practice game against County Select XI at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. Umesh Yadav returned with three wickets, including centurion Haseeb Hameed, who earned a call back to the England squad after four years. Along with Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj also picked up two wickets to impress the team management in the absence of veteran pacers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

On the batting front, KL Rahul pushed his case with a timely century in the absence of Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha while Ravindra Jadeja knocked two fifties in both innings. Rishabh Pant missed the tie after contracting COVID-19 while Wriddhiman Saha was asked to isolate himself after coming in contact with throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani, who also contracted the virus.

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

However, Rishabh Pant has already joined the squad in Durham and Wriddhiman Saha has been cleared to join the team. Both will be available for the second warm-up fixture, starting July 28.

The Rohit Sharma-led Indian team declared their second innings at 192 for 3 with Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Hanuma Vihari spending some quality time in the middle along with the in-form Ravindra Jadeja, who followed up his first-innings 75 with 51 before retiring out.

Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara opened the second innings for India and added 87 with the former scoring 47 while the latter made 38. Hanuma Vihari followed in at No. 3 and remained unbeaten on 43 after his 84-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja.

India had posted 311 in their first innings thanks to KL Rahul’s (101) 15th first-class hundred and then bowled County XI out for 220 with Umesh Yadav (3 for 22) and Mohammed Siraj (2 for 32) playing the starring roles with the ball.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
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Rishabh Pant At 6 In England Is One Place Too High, Says Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain reckons keeper Rishabh Pant batting at no.6 for India in the upcoming five-match Test series against England will be one place too high for the 23-year-old in English conditions.

Rishabh Pant is seen as a sure-shot starter as India’s wicketkeeper-batsman, given his recent exploits with the bat in the Australian tour and against England at home in Tests. However, former England skipper Nasser Hussain suggested that Rishabh Pant’s game might not be suited if he bats at no.6 in English conditions.

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain: Rishabh Pant At 6 In England Is One Place Too High

In an interaction, Nasser Hussain also questioned whether India could afford to play two spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja if the pitches are not flat.

“Of what I have seen of India, if England can get a par score in the first innings, with the seam-bowling resources they have, then they should be confident.

“Rishabh Pant at six in England is one place too high. India will have to find a new opener as Shubman Gill has been ruled out and can they afford to pick Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin if the ball is moving around? If they play on flat, belting pitches they can.”

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

Rishabh Pant is expected to join the Indian team soon in Durham after he tested COVID-19 positive around a week back. The wicketkeeper-batter had been staying in home isolation at an acquaintance’s place in the UK.

Rishabh Pant, who had not stayed in the team hotel during the 20-day break period, tested positive on July 8. He was asymptomatic and was in isolation. Rishabh Pant fully recovered after completing a 10-day quarantine and a string of negative Covid-19 tests.

The wicket-keeper batsman, however, still needs a few sessions to hit peak physical fitness that is required before he starts participating in practice games with the rest of the members of the team.

The BCCI Medical Team had also identified bowling coach Bharat Arun, keeper Wriddhiman Saha, and reserve opener Abhimanyu Easwaran as close contacts of Dayanand Garani (throwdown specialist cum masseur), who was in the team hotel when he tested positive following RT-PCR tests on July 14. The four personnel are undergoing 10-day isolation and will remain in their respective rooms in the team hotel in London.

Nasser Hussain Would Like A Countdown Clock On The Ground To Quicken T20 Cricket

Nasser Hussain also talked about the need to quicken the shortest format- T20 cricket and stop unnecessary breaks. The former England skipper suggested that officials could have a countdown clock on the ground, with the fielding team having to bowl in that time frame.

“T20 games are supposed to be short, sharp fun but I have watched games in India where they’re still broadcasting games at half past midnight. Taking your kid to a game in the evening, you’re worried about the journey home; the commute, trains, buses.”

Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The 53-year-old added that T20 must be a quick-paced game as there are too many stoppages at present.

“We are getting to a stage where we are considering this delay, that delay, a DRS, a Covid break, a Covid sanitisation, and providing 10 minutes leeway. No, it must be a quick-paced game. There are too many stoppages. Yes, you do have to have tactics and at times the captain has to change the field. But if you tinker too much you must be penalised. I would like a countdown clock on the ground.”

Tennis is one such sport where a countdown clock runs, and the players have to serve within the designated time frame. It remains to be seen whether the decision-makers will pay heed to Nasser Hussain’s advice.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
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Rishabh Pant May Have Picked Up The Virus At The Dentist’s Clinic Which He Visited On July 5 And 6

Rishabh Pant had gone to a dentist on July 5th and 6th before getting fully vaccinated on July 7th. On July 08, the wicket-keeper batsman had tested positive for Covid-19. The 3-week break in England for Indian cricketers came at the cost of Rishabh Pant and throw-down specialist Dayanand Garani contracting the novel coronavirus.

While the exact source of infection isn’t known, Rishabh Pant’s recent dentist visit has been identified as a potential point from where the wicket-keeper might have contracted the dreaded virus.

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

Rishabh Pant May Have Picked Up The Virus At The Dentist’s Clinic Which He Visited On July 5 And 6

The wicket-keeper batsman has been in quarantine for the past 8 days, having tested positive for the virus on July 8. As per a report, Rishabh Pant had paid a visit to a dentist in London on July 5 and 6 and might have picked up the virus there.

Rishabh Pant gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Rishabh Pant gets the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine Pic credit: Rishabh Pant Twitter handle

On July 07, Rishabh Pant as well as the other members of the Indian team along with their family members were given the second dose of vaccination in London. Just a day later, on July 8, Rishabh Pant tested positive for the virus.

“Pant had gone to a dentist on July 5 and 6, and could have picked the virus from the clinic. On July 7, he had been vaccinated,” a source told.

Rishabh Pant is home quarantined and is staying at his relatives’ place at present and is likely to join the tour party in Durham later. Sources said the player experienced a sore throat, which led to a Covid test and it returned positive. His teammates and support staff, who came in contact with the player, were kept in isolation for three days and they have completed their isolation period.

Rishabh Pant Also Had Visited The Webley Stadium To Witness An Euro 2020 Match

Rishabh Pant had also gone to the Wembley Stadium on June 29 when England took on Germany in a Euro 2020 match. Questions have been raised over this visit of Rishabh Pant too.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah said put light on the topic as he said, “Pant, who had not stayed in the team hotel during the break period, tested positive on July 8. He is asymptomatic and currently undergoing self-isolation at the place where he reported positive. He is being closely monitored by the BCCI medical team and is on his way to recovery. He will be able to join the squad in Durham after returning two negative RT-PCR tests.”

Rishabh Pant enjoying an Euro 2020 knock-out match
Rishabh Pant enjoying a Euro 2020 knock-out match Image Source: TWITTER

The current situation puts both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha — as a close-contact of Dayanand Garani and has been put into quarantine — unavailable for India’s first 3-days practice Test against Select County XI in Durham from July 20. In such a situation, other option KL Rahul is all but set to take up the job behind the stumps for Team India in the whites for the first time.

“Both Pant and Saha will be unavailable for the team’s practice game against Combined County XI at Chester-le-Street at Durham from July 20, which means KL Rahul should be going the glovework in that game. However, Pant should be able to make it to the team’s second practice match – an intra-squad game from July 28,” a source told TOI.

Jay Shah also revealed that the entire contingent which has been fully vaccinated is also taking the Lateral Flow Test (LFT) on a daily basis to further reduce the risk of the dreaded virus causing any serious trouble.

“The entire Indian contingent including traveling family members and caretakers were administered with the second dose of Covid vaccine earlier this month in London. To mitigate any further risks, the Indian contingent is taking the Lateral Flow Test on a daily basis,” the BCCI secretary said in his statement.

While England is doing away with almost all Covid-19 restrictions, Jay Shah has advised each member of the contingent to personally take precautions and avoid going to crowded places.

Sourav Ganguly and Rishabh Pant were together for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2019 (IANS Photo)
Sourav Ganguly and Rishabh Pant were together for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2019 (IANS Photo)
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Sourav Ganguly Defends Rishabh Pant Saying It’s Physically Impossible To Wear Masks All The Time

Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian cricketer, has defended Rishabh Pant, who has tested positive for COVID-19. Virat Kohli’s men are currently on a break and the left-handed Rishabh Pant was seen enjoying and going to watch Euro 2020 matches. The southpaw won’t be travelling with the team to Durham for preparation ahead of the five-match Test series against England.

The series gets underway on August 4 at the Trent Bridge in Nottingham with the other games to be played at the Lord’s, Headingley, Kennington Oval, and Old Trafford.

Sourav Ganguly- Twitter
Sourav Ganguly- Twitter

Sourav Ganguly Defends Rishabh Pant Saying It’s Physically Impossible To Wear Masks All The Time

Sourav Ganguly, also the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), backed Rishabh Pant, saying that it’s not possible to wear masks everywhere.

“We have seen Euro Championship and Wimbledon in England. Rules have changed (with the crowd being allowed inside venues). They were on leave and it’s physically impossible to wear masks all the time,” Sourav Ganguly was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with News18.

Rishabh Pant was spotted with a friend at a packed Wembley Stadium enjoying the Euro 2020 knock-out match between England and Germany. Image Source : TWITTER
Rishabh Pant. Image Source: TWITTER

Earlier, a BCCI source stated that Rishabh Pant contracted COVID-19 and had been isolating for the past eight days.

Sourav Ganguly, president of the BCCI, defended Rishabh Pant after the wicketkeeper-batsman contracted the coronavirus in England. On Thursday, the BCCI revealed that Rishabh Pant and the team’s training assistant cum net bowler Dayanand Garani tested positive for COVID-19 and will not travel with the rest of the squad to Durham where Team India are scheduled to play a practice match ahead of their five-match Test series against England.

Rishabh Pant Affected By The Delta Variant Of The Covid-19 Virus

As per reports, Rishabh Pant has been affected by the Delta variant, which has resulted in the surge of COVID-19 cases in England.

“He is in quarantine at an acquaintance’s place and won’t be traveling with the team to Durham on Thursday,” the source was quoted as saying, ESPNcricinfo reported.

“Yes, one player has tested positive but he has been in isolation for the last eight days. He was not staying in any hotel with the team, so no other player has been affected. As of now, no other player has tested positive. Also, you must be aware our secretary Jay Shah has written a letter to all players to maintain protocol,” BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla told.

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

The Indian team is set to play a practice match, starting July 20 to prepare for the high-voltage series. The Test series also marks the start of the 2021-23 cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC). Back in June, India played the final of the previous cycle against New Zealand at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. However, they went on to lose the match and the inaugural WTC title by eight wickets.

Bowling coach Bharat Arun, Wriddhiman Saha, and Abhimanyu Easwaran were identified as close contacts and were isolated from the rest of the squad. The trio along with Rishabh Pant and the training assistant did not travel with the team to Durham.  Team India traveled to Durham and is set to play a three-day practice match starting July 20 to gear up for the upcoming Test series.

Yuvraj Singh. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
Yuvraj Singh. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
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Rishabh Pant Has Proven That He Is A Match-Winner, Says Yuvraj Singh

Rishabh Pant has managed to cement his place in the national team as a playing XI regular. He was criticized in the initial part of his career, especially for his wicket-keeping skills, which needed improvement, but he got support from the team management and managed to turn himself into a match-winner.

Early on in his career, Rishabh Pant was also criticized for throwing away his wicket by going for rash shots, after getting in. He has worked on that too. It’s in fact Rishabh Pant’s exploits with the bat which have made it impossible to keep him out of the team. He has become the first choice keeper in the Test team, both in foreign conditions and at home.
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Rishabh Pant Has Proven That He Is A Match Winner: Yuvraj Singh

Former India all-rounder and the 2011 World Cup player of the tournament, Yuvraj Singh feels Rishabh Pant has proved himself as a match-winner and agrees that he has matured with age.

“He is very mature and is a find for India because I felt he got a lot of criticism after the ways (in which) he got out. So, it is good to listen to some positive words for him. Rishabh has proven that he is a match-winner.

“In tough conditions like Australia, the way he batted and the way he got a brilliant hundred against England as well. He is probably a key (player) in the middle order,” Yuvraj told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.

The biggest turning point of Rishabh Pant’s career so far was India’s 2018 tour of Australia. He scored 350 runs in 4 matches at an average of 58.33. In the crucial Sydney Test, with India leading 2-1 and needing a win or a draw to win the series, Rishabh Pant once again accelerated India’s run rate as he scored an unbeaten 159 off 189 balls. India drew the match and clinched their maiden series win on Australian soil.

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

Rishabh Pant continued his love affair with Australia on India’s last tour in 2020-21. With the team battling multiple adversities and injuries, he scored 97 runs off 118 balls in the third Test and an unbeaten 89 in the fourth Test in Brisbane and was adjudged Man of the match, as India won the match and series.

Rishabh Pant was picked in the playing XI again ahead of Wriddhiman Saha for the home Test series against England. In the four Tests, he scored 270 runs at an average of 54.00, including one century and two fifties. He batted at a strike rate of 84.11 in the four-match series, which India won comprehensively 3-1.

Yuvraj Singh, who played a vital role in India’s two World Cup triumphs (2007 and 2011), sees a glimpse of Australia’s legendary wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist in Rishabh Pant.

“I see someone, Rishabh Pant, like Adam Gilchrist who can change the course of the game. Gilchrist changed the course of the game in Test cricket when he came onto the scene. And I feel Rishabh can do the same,” Yuvraj told TimesofIndia.com.

“I also see Rishabh as a potential Indian captain in the future. Because he is jumpy, chirpy, and talks around. But I feel he surely has a smart brain as well because I saw him when he was captaining in the IPL for Delhi Capitals.

“He did an incredible job. So, people should look at him as the next captain of the Indian team in the coming years,” Yuvraj, who played 40 Tests, 304 ODIs, and 58 T20Is for India further said.

Named skipper for the IPL 2021 following an injury to Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, who has 1 hundred and 14 IPL fifties to his name, led Delhi Capitals to the top spot in the points table before IPL 2021 was suspended.

Yuvraj Singh: Current Left-Handers Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, And Ravindra Jadeja Can Change The Course Of The Game Anytime

Over the years, Yuvraj Singh became one of India’s biggest match-winners. He reckons the left-handers Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja can change the course of the game anytime.

Responding to this Yuvraj said: “I probably don’t see any left-hander right now in the middle. Overall, we have got some good hitters in the middle. We have got Rishabh. We have got Hardik.

“I think Rishabh and Hardik together as they play more one-day and T20 together, they both will be quite a dynamic duo, batting together. You have Ravindra Jadeja coming in. So, these three guys can change the course of the game anytime. Jadeja has improved by leaps and bounds in one-day cricket and T20 cricket.”

“The left-right combination is always dangerous, as I and MS Dhoni were. So, I am looking forward to seeing Rishabh, Hardik, and Jadeja bat at the 5,6, and 7 slots,” he stated.

File image of Yuvraj Singh | Oli Scarff/AFP
File image of Yuvraj Singh | Oli Scarff/AFP

Like many other retired cricketers, Yuvraj Singh has also taken to golf in a big way.

“I am playing Golf. In these COVID times, it is quite important to keep a positive attitude,” he asserted.

A recent development for Yuvraj Singh was him being named as the face of Puma Motorsport in India, which saw him join the likes of Thierry Henry, Boris Becker, and Usain Bolt as part of the brand’s global list of legends.

“My association with Puma has been about 10 years now. If you see internationally, their association is with legends. The great thing about Puma is that they don’t let go of their legends, internationally or across.

“But the great thing about Puma is that they still stick to their old legends. Because they feel that the old legends and the new generation are both responsible for making the brand popular.”

Yuvraj was recently spotted playing golf with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar, and Ashish Nehra.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant
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Rishabh Pant Has Made Us Love Test Cricket, Says Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan has said that current dashing keeper Rishabh Pant’s belligerent batting has made everyone fall in love with the longest format of the game. Rishabh Pant played a few match-defining knocks in critical junctures to help Team India qualify for the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final.

The swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman will hope to continue in the same vein in the title decider as well.

Irfan Pathan claimed a hat-trick against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006(ICC/Twitter)
Irfan Pathan claimed a hat-trick against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006(ICC/Twitter)

Irfan Pathan: Rishabh Pant Has Made Valuable Runs And Helped India Win

During a discussion on Star Sports, former pacer Irfan Pathan lauded keeper Rishabh Pant for drawing everyone’s attention towards Test cricket.

“Rishabh Pant has made us love Test cricket. If we say that, not many people will deny it. Because he has played in a fearless fashion. He does the work that Gilchrist used to do, coming in at no. 7 and changing the course of the game,” said Irfan Pathan.

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

The former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan highlighted that Rishabh Pant has gone through the grind before securing his place in the Indian team as he displaced Wriddhiman Saha as the No. 1 keeper.

“He has made valuable runs and made the team win. This has not happened easily; the performance was not happening, the captain backed him. Wriddhiman Saha used to be the no. 1 wicketkeeper of the team, and to replace him and make his place, centuries in England and Australia. Outstanding cricketer,” observed Irfan Pathan.

Rishabh Pant is the only Indian wicketkeeper to score a Test century in both England and Australia.

Aakash Chopra: Rishabh Pant Has Bounced Back Very Strongly From Indifferent IPL 2020 At UAE And White Ball Team Axe

Aakash Chopra pointed out that Rishabh Pant was sidelined for the initial part of India’s tour of Australia after an indifferent IPL 2020 campaign. Rishabh Pant was not in the Indian team’s scheme of things for a considerable while as he was dropped from the white-ball Australia tour too.

“He had a middling IPL in the UAE and was not in the white-ball team. He was not in the first Test as well because it was the pink ball that moves more, so it was important to play Wriddhiman Saha.”

The former India opener observed that Rishabh Pant’s short but sweet knock in the Boxing Day Test started tilting the balance in his favour as Wriddhiman Saha was dropped after the Adelaide Test debacle.

“After that, when the team folds for 36, and Kohli and Shami have left, then Rishabh Pant is played to strengthen the batting a little, with Jadeja also playing. There he scored twenty-odd runs in the first innings, but it was crucial as it started to change the momentum.”

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

While reflecting on Rishabh Pant’s scintillating knocks in Sydney and Brisbane, Aakash Chopra lauded the 23-year-old for staging a fabulous comeback to the team.

“After that knock in Sydney and what he did at the Gabba, you have confidence in your abilities, but you have self-doubt also at times because of which you have seen the change in his game as well. If you are a 22-24 year-old kid, you will have ups and downs in life, and he has seen a lot at a young age. He has bounced back very strongly from it.”

Rishabh Pant’s 97-run knock in the Sydney Test raised the prospect of an unlikely India to win before they had to settle for a draw. However, the left-hander was not to be denied in Brisbane, as he took India to a series-clinching win by scoring an attacking unbeaten innings of 89. The wicketkeeper-batsman has amassed 662 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 41.37 in the WTC cycle.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
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Sourav Ganguly Wants Rishabh Pant To Be Allowed To Play His Natural Game

Sourav Ganguly, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, has branded dashing keeper Rishabh Pant an “unbelievable talent” and asserted that the 23-year-old should be allowed to play his natural game. Team India announced their playing XI for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, and as expected, Rishabh Pant is set to feature for the Asian giants as he was preferred over Wriddhiman Saha in the final XI.

Rishabh Pant has established himself as a vital cog in the Indian team across all three formats since his heroics in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.

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

Sourav Ganguly: Rishabh Pant Should Be Allowed To Play His Natural Game

In an interview with Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika, Sourav Ganguly was asked whether Rishabh Pant should continue playing his free-flowing game.

“Pant is an unbelievable talent. He’s one of those players who can single-handedly change the course of a game. Pant is that kind of a game changer. He should be allowed to play his natural game. It is better to let such players play like themselves,” replied Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian skipper, a veteran of 113 Tests and 311 ODIs.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant | Twitter

The southpaw’s form with the bat has been one of the major reasons behind India reaching the WTC final. The wicketkeeper-batsman has amassed 662 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 41.37 in the WTC cycle.

Rishabh Pant’s favourite tour is obviously the Australian tour for he has amassed a staggering 624 runs in only 7 games averaging 62.4 with 1 hundred in 2018-19-his career-best of unbeaten 159 and 2 fifties which both came in the recent 2020-21 tour- scores of 97 which helped India draw the 3rd Sydney Test and 89* which helped India to win the 4th Brisbane Test and claim their second successive series win Down Under.

Sourav Ganguly Firmly Believes India Will Be Successful In England

Following the one-off Test against New Zealand namely the WTC Final, India will play a grueling five-Test series against England. India lost the five-Test series by a 4-1 margin the last time they toured England. However, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly is confident Virat Kohli will lead the team successfully in England this time around.

“In England the ball swings more and that’s why there have been some issues. You have to play a bit late. But let’s just forget what has happened in the past. This Indian team have performed brilliantly everywhere. Everyone is a top cricketer. I firmly believe this team will be successful in England,” said Sourav Ganguly.

Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India has lost their last two Tests against New Zealand in 2020, which was their only series defeat in the WTC cycle. Since then, Team India has been in terrific form, beating Australia away from home against all odds with several key players injured before scripting a comfortable home series win over England, despite both times losing the opening Test by a heavy margin.

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Ravindra Jadeja Has Bowled Exceptionally Well Against Left Handers, Says David Warner

David Warner, Australian opener wants all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in the team as far as he is concerned. With less than a week to go for the WTC final between India and New Zealand, everyone is thinking about the various combinations that the teams can go with. India will have an uphill task picking their final XI from the 20 squad members, who are currently playing an intra-squad match.

David Warner
David Warner (Image Credit: Twitter)

David Warner Wants Both Spinners To Play The WTC Final

While the conditions are expected to favour the fast bowlers, India has two spinning options in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. The big question that arises is whether India should go in with three pacers and two spinners, or four pacers and one spinner. David Warner feels that both the spinners should be playing the final.

David Warner has weighed in on the debate and he believes that both spinners should play in the match. David Warner further praised Ravindra Jadeja and said that he deserves to be in India XI for the WTC final.

“Over time Jadeja has bowled exceptionally well against left-handers. There only has to be one little footmark that could be the size of roti and he will hit that consistently. They are going to be troubled with those two spinners I feel,” David Warner told Sports Today.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

India has not preferred playing Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja together in an overseas Test. In England, they have done it only once in 2014 at Manchester without much success. But this time, things might be different.  Ravichandran Ashwin has 409 scalps in 78 Tests and Ravindra Jadeja has 220 scalps in 51 Tests.

Ravichandran Ashwin Explained The Importance Of The WTC Final While Rishabh Pant And Shubman Gill Stars In Intra Squad Match

Ravichandran Ashwin is eagerly waiting for the title clash and explained the importance of the match.

“It is really exciting, in all these years we have never played a team at a neutral venue in Test cricket. Test cricket is the ultimate format of the sport that we have. It is the greatest test of a cricketer’s ability, mental strength, and everything. For a long time, cricketers wanted this kind of space, with some context to Test cricket. Looking forward to the final,” Ashwin said.

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

Meanwhile, the flamboyant Rishabh Pant took his senior bowling colleagues to the cleaners with an unbeaten century while opener Shubman Gill also warmed up with a polished 85 during the Indian team’s intra-squad match simulation over the last two days.

Rishabh Pant, who has been in the form of his life after a successful Australia tour and England Tests at home, hammered every bowler including the spinners in his unbeaten 121 off 94 balls. Virat Kohli’s team was only troubled by veteran pacer Ishant Sharma who returned the best figures of 3 for 36.

The two teams are being led by Virat Kohli and KL Rahul with all the first team batsmen packed in one side and the regular bowlers on the other, with reserves like Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, and Hanuma Vihari. For Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul and Shubman Gill, it will be an opportunity to prove their form and make a case for their inclusion in the Playing XI.

While Shubman Gill hit a rough patch after doing well in Australia, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have returned to form in IPL 2021. The other player to undergo further assessment is Ravindra Jadeja, who has been out since India’s Australia series due to a thumb injury. He although returned to IPL 2021 and starred for Chennai Super Kings.