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England vs India 2018: VVS Laxman Lists the Difference in Virat Kohli & Others
VVS Laxman. Credits: Twitter.

Shami, Saha are doing really well for India: Laxman

Kolkata Sep 21 (IANS) Indian batting great V.V.S Laxman, consultant to Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) ambitious “Vision 2020” programme, congratulated local boys — wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and pacer Mohammed Shami — for their impressive performances in national colours.

Talking to journalists on the final day of the camp in Jadavpur University ground in Salt Lake before the Ranji Trophy season gets underway, the stylish right-hander said: “I think both Shami and Saha are doing really well for Indian cricket and we should be really proud of that.”

While Saha will play his 16th Test on Thursday against New Zealand in Kanpur, it will be Shami’s 17th outing in the five-day format.

Mohammed Shami (left) and Wriddhiman Saha (right)
Mohammed Shami (left) and Wriddhiman Saha (right)

On Bengal’s chances in the Ranji this season, where they are in a tough group comprising Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Mumbai, among others, the batting legend said: “I am very happy with the way the camp has been conducted and organised despite rain. I compliment the ground staff on the good work they have done with the wickets here.”

“Overall the batsmen have shown great work ethic. We have had long nets in the morning, then indoor sessions in the evening and also a lot of other drills. The kind of commitment shown by every one of them is commendable. Now they have to convert potential into performance.”

Laxman refused to pick anyone particular as the stand-out player of the Bengal team. In-form Bengal top-order batsman Sudip Chatterjee has been among runs, scoring a century in the recently-held Duleep Trophy.

“I won’t pick out one player. I think Bengal batsmen did really well last season also, except that quarterfinal match against Madhya Pradesh, in the first innings.”

“The emphasis in the camp was to work on their skill, technique and the mindset. To play at the highest level, assessing opposition bowlers is very important. Talent only is not enough.”

“It is more about understanding their game. Once that is done then it’s very easy. We have had some very good discussions. As a coach I feel it’s about interaction rather than telling players what to do,” the Hyderabadi added.

Laxman lauded the pace battery of Bengal. “The team has got amazing bowlers, both fast and spin. I would love to see the batsmen score more centuries and double centuries for the state which will help win matches. For Bengal cricketers to shine, they need to win the Ranji Trophy.”


Hope my understanding with Ashwin helps the team: Wriddhiman Saha

Kolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha is buoyant over his understanding with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and hopes it would augur well for the team as it readies to host New Zealand in a three-Test series, with the first match in Kanpur next week.

Saha notched up his maiden ton in the longest format of the game with a patient 104 in the third Test against the West Indies at St. Lucia’s picturesque Gross Islet, cobbling up in the process a risk-free 213-run sixth wicket stand with Ashwin (118) that helped India recover from a precarious position to a thumping 237-run win last month.

“Ashwin has been playing for a longer time than me. But yes, in the last three to four series that I have been consistently part of, our understanding has improved. I hope that will help the team’s cause,” Saha told IANS in an interview.

“I tell him which line to bowl at times, which position is better and the length to bowl to a particular batsman. In the batting department, I can talk about that innings where he told me to wait for the loose ball and take my time. We were doing that. My understanding with Ashwin while keeping to him has helped better our running between the wickets,” said the Bengal boy.

According to Saha, Ashwin is the hardest to keep wickets to among the trio that also included Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja.

“On turning tracks, he gets sharp turn and bounce since he is tall. Jadeja is not always a huge turner of the ball, and Amit is slow with not as much bounce. So, yes, Ashwin is the toughest.”

Of the pacers, it is Umesh Yadav who hits Saha’s gloves the hardest. “Consistently, Umesh is the fastest. It varies from spell to spell though. At times, due to the bounce he generates, Ishant is quite fast.”

Saha’s maiden Test hundred came after 22 innings. His two fifties in Sri Lanka came last year, before which the diminutive right-hander failed to convert the starts. In the first two Tests in the West Indies, he had scores of 40 and 47.

Today, when a keeper is judged not just by his performance behind the stumps but also in front, is Saha walking that extra yard on his batting?

“I do concentrate on my batting though I haven’t had many big scores. I like to contribute to the team’s cause and the hundred against West Indies surely boosted my morale. I know batting is important, but first I consider myself as a wicketkeeper as I am in the team because of that.”

Coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli, he says, made the job easier for him. “They always told me a hundred is just around the corner. The entire team was so happy when I reached the milestone.

“Anil bhai knows how to bond with players. He always tells us how to approach a match. He doesn’t try to change much. He believes we all should play our natural game.”

An Indian coach, Saha believes, is always better than a foreign counterpart. “Someone like Anil bhai has seen us play from a very young age. That is not possible for a foreign coach. Indian coaches get to see us in the IPL and the domestic circuit. So it is definitely better to have an Indian coach than a foreign coach.”

Saha did not get much time to assess the New Zealand team when the Kiwis were in South Africa, but he feels the battle won’t be easy though India will have home advantage.

“We need also to play well on turning pitches. They will probably play two spinners and one all-rounder that could add up to three spinners. We will hold the advantage as the hosts. They will need to acclimatise.”

Saha signed off by picking England’s in-form wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow and Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal as the two best stumpers.


It would be unfair to compare Ravi Shastri and Anil Kumble, says Wriddhiman Saha

While his work behind the stumps was never in doubt, Wriddhiman Saha was always criticised for his failures to contribute big with the bat. But his performance in the recently concluded four-match Test series against West Indies has shut the mouth of the critics at least for the time being. Saha made useful 40s in the first two Tests and a maiden Test hundred after coming in to bat at 126 for 5 in the third Test in St Lucia. His performance even made his captain Virat Kohli admit that Saha was one of the biggest positives from the Caribbean tour.

The responisibilty of replacing India’s greatest wicketkeeper, MS Dhoni, was no mean task but so far the Bengal wicketkeeper  has done a commendable job.

“I won’t say the West Indies tour was the turning point of my career, but looking back, I must admit it helped clear some self-doubts. I didn’t go there with the apprehension of walking a tightrope. But at the back of my mind I had a feeling that if I don’t get a big score, a new player might come in. It was sort of looking over your shoulder. So, from that point of view, it was a satisfying knock. More so because it contributed to the team’s cause,” Saha said in an interview with The Indian Express.

He has always faced the problem of converting good starts into big scores. The shot he played in the second innings at the Adelaide Oval in 2014 was perhaps the lowest point of his career so far.
Chasing 364 for victory, India was agonisingly close of pulling off a memorable win. Virat Kohli was batting brilliantly and just needed a good support from the other end. But then an ambitious shot from Saha ended India’s hopes and they eventually fell short by 48 runs.
“I didn’t mind the criticism. I played a bad shot. I learnt from my mistake. As for not converting the starts, I should blame myself. It was about not playing to 100 per cent of my potential. It was poor shot selection. I wasn’t availing the loose balls properly, putting pressure on myself in the process. Cricket is a one-ball game and you can get a good delivery anytime. Sometimes, under pressure you err on your shot selections. No, I didn’t make any technical adjustments in the third Test. Just that I was availing the loose balls well,” Saha said.
When asked about whether he was hurt on the team’s decision of promoting Ashwin ahead of him in the batting order, he said: “No. It was a team decision, taken on the first morning of the first Test. I was pretty okay with that. In a team sport you always think about the unit and we have an excellent group, where players help each other even off the field. I was never put under pressure by the team management about getting big runs. Both Virat and Anil Kumble told me that a big score was just around the corner. And the whole team was very happy after my hundred. I was happy but it would be foolish to get carried away after a century.”

On his experience of working with Kumble, Saha said: “He had been such a great performer for India. He carries the experience. He understands our psyche. Communication sometimes had been an issue with foreign coaches. Kumble is very hands-on. He creates a comfort zone for the players.”

When the wicketkeeper was asked to compare between Kumble and former team director Ravi Shastri, he said:”That would be unfair. Shastri was the team director. His role was different from a coach.”


5 key contributors for India in the 3rd Test match against West Indies

The Indian Cricket team defeated West Indies by 237 runs in the 3rd test match at ST Lucia. By the virtue of this win, India took a 2-0 lead in the series with 1 match to spare. Despite the 3rd day washed out due to rain, the Indian team played positive cricket winning the test match and also series. Here we look at the 5 key contributors for India in the 3rd test match against West Indies.

  1. R Ashwin

R Ashwin played a key role for India in the 3rd test match. He came to the crease at 126 for 5. Ashwin showed class with solid technique and recovered from early losses of the wicket. In the first test match also he scored a century which helped India to register a win. At the end of the first day, he remained not out on 75. On the second day, Ashwin completed his second century of the series. He was dismissed for 118 runs. Because of his contributions, India was able to post a competitive total of 353. Along with this he picked 3 wickets in the match and was named the man of the match for his efforts.

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Virat Kohli is happy as changes that he made worked well

Indian Test captain Virat Kohli is happy that his team made a few corrections that went wrong in Jamaica during the second Test that saw them failing to get even six wickets on the final day.

India won the series 2-0 by winning the third Test by 237 runs despite losing an entire day’s play due to poor weather conditions.

No doubt Kohli was happy when told about Indian team’s feat of winning two Test matches in a single series since they started coming to West Indies in the early 1950’s.

“We have done quite a few firsts in the last year. In Jamaica, we understood the things that went wrong. We corrected those things here on the fourth day. We got seven wickets for 31 runs (on the 4th day) and that was the game-changer. We have always aimed to win series’ away from India. This is a good start,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Kohli also happy that his all three changes worked well and made it clear that it will be him and not anyone else who will be batting at No 3 from now on with Rohit Sharma getting an extended run at No 5.

“We made three changes and we understood Rohit needs to be backed at a particular position. I batted at No 3, Jinks (Rahane) at No 4. Rohit is dangerous at No 5 and takes the game away in a session. That means I take up the extra responsibility at No 3. I don’t mind that and someone like Ashwin is batting well.

“And we can play five bowlers. It was wonderful, commendable from Bhuvneshwar. He showed the bowlers how to bowl inconsistent areas. We lost early wickets here, that’s the way Test cricket goes. I am being too critical but we will look for a complete performance in Trinidad,” said Kohli.

Kohli also praised wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha who scored hundred in the first innings of India

“We all know Ash can beat but you particularly feel happy when a teammate like Saha does well. Such a nice person, never cribs about anything, does not have a bad word to say about anybody, ready to bat at Nos 8,9, or 10.”

The man of the match award given to Ravichandran Ashwin  who scored a hundred  and gave India  a late surge in the first innings.

“We thought 234 on the first day was a par score, and we wanted to extend it. From the outside, it looked like a slow wicket. We were bowling good lines and conservative lengths and Bhuvi bowled that wonderful spell on the fourth day.”


West Indies v India 3rd Test, Day 2: Top five moments


Watch : Ashwin troll all West Indies fielders with his Brilliance at 99. LOL, Kohli’s Reaction


At the end of day 2, the West Indies team made an excellent comeback into the match by bowling out India for 353. In their first innings, the West Indies have made 107 for the loss of 1 wicket trailing by 246 runs with 9 wickets in hand.

  1. Ashwin and Saha’s partnership frustrates West Indies

Starting the day on 234 for 5, the overnight Indian batsmen Ashwin and Saha continued to frustrate the West Indies bowlers. Saha and Ashwin looked confident with their stroke play and made sure that the partnership went along. Saha completed his half century and after that played attacking strokes. Saha played some wonderful pull and flick strokes off the fast bowlers making sure India end the first session in a commanding position. Ashwin remained not out on 99 and Saha on the verge of a hundred. Ashwin completed his century after lunch and so too Saha. Both of them put on 213 runs stand before Saha was dismissed for 104.

  1. Indian tail could not contribute too much

After Saha’s wicket, the Indian tail could not contribute too much. Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, well settled Ashwin and Ishant Sharma went in quick succession. The last five Indian wickets fell in the space of 14 runs. Jadeja scored 6, Kumar 0, Ashwin played a marathon knock of 118 and Ishant Sharma went for 0. From 339 for 6, the Indian team were bundled out for 353.

  1. Solid opening partnership

The West Indies innings got off to a good start as Johnson and Braithwaite gave the team a good solid start. Both of them played positive strokes off the spinners as well pacers. West Indies went into tea break at the score of 16 for 0. After the tea break, both openers looked good. Braithwaite and Johnson put on 59 for the first wicket. Johnson was brilliantly run out by KL Rahul for 23.

  1. Braithwaite holding the fort for West Indies

West Indies opener Kraigg Braithwaite who failed in the first two test matches looked solid on the 2nd day. He mixed caution with aggression and made sure that West Indies do not lose too many wickets Braithwaite played some wonderful pull strokes off the pace bowlers and sometimes came down the track and attacked him. He completed his half-century off 141 balls. Braithwaite remained not out on 53.

  1. Second wicket partnership between Bravo and Braithwaite

After the wicket of Johnson, the second wicket partnership between Braithwaite and Bravo made sure that West Indies came back strongly. Both of them have put on 48 runs for the second wicket. Despite some plays and misses, both batsmen looked comfortable. West Indies are trailing by 246 runs with 9 wickets in hand and are hoping that these two batsmen can start fresh on day 3. Darren Bravo remained not out on 18 while Braithwaite remained not out on 53.


Highlights of Day 2: West Indies fight back after Saha-Ashwin show

A great first session – The first session of day 2 started quite well as everything went according to the plan. Ashwin and Saha played cautiously and slowly in the first ten overs of the second day so as to set their eyes on the ball and soon after the drinks break both of them changed batting gears and scored 66 runs in the next hour of the session. Both of them added crucial runs in the first session of the day and ensured that team does not lose any wicket in the early overs. Both completed the partnership of 200 runs early morning which helped team India to get into a safe position. Both the batsmen were near to their centuries at the stroke of lunch as Saha was on 93 and Ashwin was just a run away from his fourth Test century.

Wait for a century – R. Ashwin reached the score of 99 when there were still 28 balls to go for lunch and he had enough time and balls to score that one run but this did not happen as he could just play 7 balls after that in which he didn’t score any run. It was Saha who played 21 balls out of those 28 deliveries and went on to jump from 77 to a score of 93 during that. There was a time when Saha was playing 5 deliveries of an over and Ashwin was left with just one which he used to block so as not to take any risk. Ashwin went for lunch on a score of 99; Saha too was in nervous nineties as he was on a score of 93 when lunch was taken. It was an epic last 5 overs where the viewers waited eagerly for Ashwin’s century but they did not get to see that as Saha played the majority of deliveries.

A century to remember – After a delay of one hour finally Ashwin completed his century after the lunch break. Ashwin played the first over after lunch and it was seen that he was quite nervous and the tension of scoring the ton was easily visible on his face. Finally, he managed to get off that and in the next over he completed his century with a six of Roston Chase. It was the best to way to bring about a century with a six as Ashwin was under immense pressure of scoring a century as he had already consumed one hour for that last one run. With that six Ashwin scored the fourth century of his Test career, all against this team.

Saha too completed his century after few overs scoring his first century in this format. He and Ashwin were the main force behind India’s batting success till now. Both of them shared a partnership worth 213 runs to rescue team India from a difficult situation and helped team India to post a total of 353 on the board.

Epic Pack up – Soon after Saha’s dismissal there was a race between the rest of the batsmen to go back to the pavilion as soon as they can. There were a lot of hopes from Ravindra Jadeja and Bhvneshwar Kumar but neither of the two could live up to the expectations. Jadeja scored just 6 runs whereas Bhuvneshwar Kumar scored a duck. Last 4 batsmen could just add 14 runs to the team’s total. It is a big matter of concern for team India as batsmen like Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has a responsibility to add as many runs as they can whenever they come to bat but this did not happen. Surely captain would be pretty upset with this as everyone was expecting a score around 400 on the board but no contribution lower down the order shattered this dreams.

A strong reply – Unlike we have seen in past two matches of the series, the West Indies batsmen went on to post a god total on the board with a loss of just one wicket till now. After sharing a partnership of 59 runs for the first wicket, the batsmen went on to share another good partnership to end the day without any fear. It was the first time after a matter of 26 innings that West Indies shared a partnership of 50 runs or more. It was s a big achievement for Windies team. Surely this shows that they have done their homework well and this showed us that the show in the last game was not at all a fluke. Tomorrow will be a crucial day as if they are able to bat whole day tomorrow, then the Test match will be diverted towards a draw as West Indies team still needs to bat 180 overs i.e two days to post a good lead over Indian team.


Highlights Day 3: India dominates on Day 3 as West Indies follows on

The Indian team have tightened up their control over the match on the third day of the game as the bowlers followed the footsteps of the batters and went on to perform to best of their level. They went on to dismiss the Windies team on a total of 243 runs thus gaining a big lead of 323 runs. The Indian team had a good start in the second innings as well as the experienced bowler Ishant Sharma provided the first breakthrough in the first over of the second innings itself. Now Indian team just have to wrap the West Indies innings in remaining two days to win the first of the four Test matches. One can surely expect this match getting over tomorrow itself.

For those who missed the live action, here are few highlights from today’s play that will give you clear idea that how the game went today –

Electric Saha – While Indian team was still in the hunt for the first wicket for the day, Saha came up with an electric act which reminded us a bit of the M.S. Dhoni. Saha converted the half chance into a classic wicket as the moment the ball passed the Devendra Bishoo who was batting at the crease; Saha swayed his electric hands and took no time to dislodge the stumps. As a result of this act, the Indian team was able to get the first wicket of the day which followed another one in the same session. Amit Mishra was the bowler who drew the first wicket of the day and he should be thankful to Saha for his electric act. If Saha continues to show us some more acts like this, then surely he will be able to cement his place as a permanent keeper in the team.

Kraigg Brathwaite “The Wall” – Kraigg Brathwaite was the lone West Indian batsman who played Indian bowlers perfectly with courage. He was also the one of two half-centurion for his team. He stood at the one end of the crease like a Wall and saw new faces on the batting crease after every few overs. He took his time and went on to play 218 balls during his innings. Indian bowlers had to struggle a lot and had to put in a lot of effort to get him out. His main characteristic was that he was not tempted with the one outside off stump. He easily left one outside off, dodged the bouncers and played the ball on its merit. He was playing quite comfortably before been shown the doors by Umesh Yadav as he played one towards the wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha. After his dismissal, Jason Holder and Dowrich pushed the West Indies team total to 243 runs.

Second session collapse – The West Indies team was able to control the flow of wickets in the first session but there was a cluster of wickets in the second session of the game. Many expected West Indies team to show some fight against Indian bowlers but only 3 batsmen could resist the Indian bowling attack. The second session was a big success for the Indian team as a total number of 4 batsmen were dismissed in this session. The double blow from Umesh Yadav in the closing over of the second session was a big boost for the Indian team which laid the base for upcoming Windies batting collapse.

A ‘Tail’ pain for India – In past, we have always seen the Indian team getting early wickets but it is that tailenders who always frustrate the Indian team the most. Same were the scenes in Antigua as even after taking seven wickets on 144 runs; the Indian team could only dismiss the West Indies team on a total of 243 runs. This means that their last three batsmen went on to add 99 runs to the teams total. The Indian captain and bowlers were disappointed as even after making efforts they were not able to get the tail dismissed. The tailenders played a crucial role in reducing the margin of lead. Though Windies team was no close to saving follow on but still the difference of the lead was a factor that was increasing tension in the Indian camp.

Test win imminent – The West Indies team is in imminent danger of losing the game tomorrow i.e. the fourth day of the game. The quality shown by their batsmen was quite poor as the batsmen could not even bat the one whole day. Tomorrow, the Indian bowlers will step into the ground with a sole purpose of sweeping up the remaining batsmen as soon as possible.

India – 566/8

West Indies 243/10 & 21/1 (f/o)


Predicted playing XI of the Indian cricket team for the First Test match

Both West Indies and Indian team are all set for the five-day clash that begins tomorrow. It will be a big test for both the teams and both the captains as it is the first time that both these captains are facing each other in this format. West Indies team will have a pressure to prove the critics wrong and the only way they can do this is by defeating team India which seems quite tough for them. On the other hand, Indian team is also going through mental pressure as this is a young team and has a difficult task in front of them.

It is the first time that Virat Kohli will be leading the team as a permanent captain in this format outside Asia. It will be a hard challenge for him as the memories of his last Test tour to this country still, haunts him. Virat Kohli made his Test debut here and could just score 76 runs in three Test matches he played. Surely skipper Kohli might be feeling some pressure here but still it is a fact that Indian team is much strong than the West Indies team which is a big relief for the Indian team.

It will be an interesting contest where the team who will perform well will emerge as the winner in the end.

Before the start of the tomorrow’s clash, let’s have a look at the predicted Indian line-up for tomorrow’s game:

  1. Murali Vijay
  1. Shikhar Dhawan
  1. Cheteshwar Pujara
  1. Virat Kohli (C)
  1. Ajinkya Rahane
  1. Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
  1. Stuart Binny
  1. Ravindra Jadeja
  1. R. Ashwin
  1. Ishant Sharma
  1. Mohammad Shami

‘Standards is not about No. 1 in Tests, it’s all about winning matches’ : Virat

Indian Test team captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble is hosting their final press conference before leaving for West Indies.  The coach and captain duo talked about how the days ahead for Indian Test team is going to be. They also revealed their philosophy on Test cricket.

Captain Virat Kohli said wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha will be his first preference as the Bengal gloveman “has shown a lot of improvement”.

“We will give first preference to Wriddhiman on WestIndiess tour,” captain Virat says. Coach Anil Kumble, who is going to his first overseas tour after being appointed as coach said, “West Indies are a tough side at home”.

Asked about how the practice session at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, Virat said, “The camp has been very productive.”

Kohli also said as a captain he also has to back the batsmen. “As a batting group, we need to back each other.”

Kohli also talked about the mantra of winning a Test match, “We need to be stronger during crucial sessions in Test matches.”

When asked about ranking Indian batting star said, “high standards is not to become No. 1 in Tests, it’s all about winning matches.” “Rankings are just an incentive. If we win the series and go to no. 1, it’s good,” Virat further added.

Meanwhile, coach Kumble cleared that he will not go with predecided XI as India will get a few match practice in West Indies  so that will help the coach to make the first XI for the first Test will start on July 21. “We have a couple of practice games ahead of the first Test. We will try the combinations.”

Kumble also expressed his affection for Virat Kohli as he said, “I Love Virat Kohli’s aggression. Even, I was aggressive at my time.”  The 45-year-old coach also said, “The expectations to win in West Indies will always be there.”

The coach also said he will help to build most formidable XI for the first Test. He said,  “as a coach I want a team to win and I want to prepare them.” Kumble also said as India  will many Test matches  this year  so that will help him to improve the shortcoming. “We’ll be playing a lot of Test cricket, we’ll be able to analyse the shortcomings if any.”

Kumble also wants to ensure that India would become a consistent team in Test cricket. “We will ensure that we should be consistent in future Test series.”