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Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

Positive COVID-19 Cases Not A Joke Anymore: Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina was part of the CSK setup which saw as many three positive cases of Coronavirus. Batting coach Michael Hussey was the third person from CSK to be tested positive.

Chennai Super Kings Suresh Raina has shared his feelings on the state of affairs as far as the Covid-19 is concerned especially as it led to the eventual cancellation of IPL after KKR’s Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier, Delhi’s Amit Mishra, and Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha tested positive. Suresh Raina said ‘this is not a joke anymore’ and despite this, the country will overcome the situation together.

CSK batting coach Mike Hussey(Twitter)
CSK batting coach Mike Hussey(Twitter)

Suresh Raina Said Positive Covid-19 Cases Are Not A Joke Anymore As Michael Hussey Tests Positive

Suresh Raina had left the CSK bubble last year when the IPL was shifted to UAE. But this year he chose to play and accounted for 123 runs in seven games. He was himself very vocal and came out in aid of people affected by Covid-19.

“This isn’t a joke anymore! So many lives at stake & never felt so helpless in life. No matter how much we want to help, but we are literally running out of resources. Every single person of this country deserves a salute right for standing by each other to save lives!” he tweeted. 

His once colleague and now batting coach Michael Hussey has tested positive as well. Michael Hussey was part of the CSK set up and he became the latest person of the IPL ecosystem to get infected.

Suresh Raina (CSK)
Suresh Raina (CSK) (Image Credit: IPL)

CSK bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji had earlier tested positive for the virus, along with a member of the travel staff. The CSK team is currently in Delhi. The IPL was on Monday was suspended after multiple cases within the bubble. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan had returned a positive test on Sunday morning. However, he returned negative tests by evening, confirming that the earlier test was a false positive.

Suresh Raina Withdrew From IPL 2020 For Spending Time With Family

Suresh Raina made his debut back in 2008 and have scored 5491 runs in 200 matches averaging 33.07. On his decision to withdraw his name for the cash-rich IPL 2020 held in UAE, the left-handed southpaw stated that he needed adequate time with his loved ones.

Suresh Raina with his wife and daughter
Suresh Raina with his wife and daughter (Image Credit: Twitter)

He cherished the moments with his family. Moreover, the Uttar Pradesh-born cricketer talked about the gruesome incident where a few of his relatives lost their lives in Pathankot during a robbery attempt which was another reason for his withdrawal.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy, Image Credits: Twitter

IPL 2021 Suspended Indefinitely: Players Might Have Contracted COVID-19 At Airport

IPL 2021 stands suspended indefinitely, and the reason behind this a possible breach of bio-bubble. However, the question arises where did the breach actually take place or where the players contracted the virus despite a watertight bio-bubble and strict protocols in place. A possible answer is the airport terminals.

Unlike IPL 2020 at UAE where the players travelled by bus, this time around several teams had to fly out to different places by air. In that case, they had to check-in at the airport terminals and possibly got infected there, a report from NDTV concludes. The report claims that the teams have demanded tarmac access but it was denied by the state governments. Amit Mishra, Sandeep Warrier, Varun Chakravarthy, and Wriddhiman Saha contracted the virus.

Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)
Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)

IPL 2021 Is Suspended Indefinitely And Reports Claim The Players Might Have Contracted The Virus At Airport Terminals And Tracking Devices Were Faulty

Last year when the tournament happened, players were given a tracking device. This year the tracking devices were faulty and never lived up to their standards. In such a case BCCI was left assuming about the whereabouts of a particular player.

Also, the food delivery was allowed till the last week despite the Covid situation getting worse by the day. Also, there was no SOP for a number of people like DJ, hotel staff, caterers, and net bowlers. These people kept changing as teams kept changing cities.

“NDTV has learned two players and one team coach contracted COVID-19 while traveling through the airport terminus. Teams had demanded tarmac access from state governments, which was denied, thus risking the players. In UAE, there was no air travel,” it says.

The dreaded Covid-19 virus slithered from one camp into another as BCCI’s protocols on social distancing saw small but negligent breaches last week. With the GPS tracking device (FOB) being labelled ‘faulty’ by the franchises, the teams and the board worked on manual contact tracing to understand how Covid breached the bio-bubble.

Varun Chakravarthy was taken to the hospital last week. While official reports say it was for a shoulder scan, those in the know say the bowler had abdomen inflammation, following which he returned to the team hotel in Ahmedabad and sat for a meal with Sandeep Warrier on May 1.

IPL 2021: Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier test positive for COVID-19
IPL 2021: Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier test Covid-19 positive. Photo Credit: BCCI.

Later, both players travelled with the rest of the team for practice, where Varun Chakravarthy complained about not feeling well. The player was isolated in the masseur’s room while Sandeep Warrier headed for practice, where Delhi Capitals’ net session was also going on. Here’s where BCCI believes the breach occurred, as practice sessions – of KKR and Delhi Capitals – ended up being scheduled at the same time.

Sandeep Warrier met leg-spinner, Amit Mishra, during the nets and the two cricketers chatted for a while before parting ways. Amit Mishra returned to the team hotel after practice and complained about not feeling well. That is when the spinner too was put under isolation and further tests were carried out.

IPL 2021 Has Not Been Canceled: Rajiv Shukla

BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla has clarified that the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League has not been cancelled, it has only been suspended indefinitely owing to a COVID-19 outbreak in BCCI’s bio-secure bubble. Rajiv Shukla, speaking to Star Sports said that the decision on the completion of the tournament will be taken in due course of time.

“I want to make it clear that IPL 2021 has been not canceled. It has been suspended, it has been postponed, it has been deferred, so it will happen. The remaining part of this year’s IPL will happen. But in due course, when the covid situation improves, a decision will be taken about it,” said Shukla.

Rajiv Shukla- File photo | Twitter
Rajiv Shukla- File photo | Twitter

The IPL 2021 season had to be suspended after 29 games in the campaign. Indian Premier League Governing Council chairman, Brijesh Patel, has confirmed that the BCCI is looking at pre and post-T20 World Cup windows to organize the remaining IPL 2021 games. When asked about the plans in store for the league to return, Brijesh Patel said that the remaining 31 games of IPL 2021 are likely to either be held before this year’s T20 World Cup or after it.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

IPL 2021 Cancellation Fallout: T20I World Cup Could Be Held In The UAE

IPL 2021 was suspended indefinitely following a rise in cases of COVID-19 within the bio bubble. Brijesh Patel, IPL chairman on Tuesday said the BCCI will “find a way” to arrange for the return of foreign players participating in IPL 2021.

IPL 2021 Cancelled As Chairman Brijesh Patel Says BCCI Will Find A Way To Send Overseas Cricketers Home

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel (in pic) said the BCCI will "find a way" to arrange for the return of foreign players. (TOI Photo)
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel (in pic) said the BCCI will “find a way” to arrange for the return of foreign players. (TOI Photo)

The suspension of IPL 2021 was announced after SRH’s wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha tested positive for COVID-19 along with Delhi’s spinner Amit Mishra. On Monday, CSK bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji along with KKR bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy had also returned positive results.

“We need to send them home and we will find a way to do that,” Brijesh Patel told PTI when asked how will the foreigners return home but did not elaborate beyond that.

The foreigners involved in IPL 2021 are concerned about returning to their respective countries due to travel restrictions imposed in the aftermath of the rising Covid-19 cases in India. BCCI had assured foreign players of IPL 2021 a safe return earlier as well.

File photos of Delhi Capitals' Amit Mishra (left) with SRH's Wriddhiman Saha. Image Source : IPLT20.COM
File photos of Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra (left) with SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha. Image Source: IPLT20.COM

Michael Slater, who was doing commentary in the IPL 2021, escaped to the Maldives and blamed his country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not allowing Australian citizens to return from India, calling the travel ban, till May 15, a “disgrace”. Australia has shut its borders and not allowing any commercial flights from India which has led to all the Australians who might have wanted to leave the IPL 2021 midway in a fix.

“If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect,” Slater tweeted.

Glenn Maxwell said that the cricketers from his country wouldn’t mind travelling in the same chartered flight that would take India, New Zealand, and England players to the UK after the IPL. 2021. India and New Zealand are set to play the final of the World Test Championship from June 18 and will fly to England after IPL 2021.

T20I World Cup May Move From India To UAE As BCCI Unsure Of Holding 16 Team Tournament In October-November

Meanwhile, T20I World Cup is set to be moved from India to the UAE with the BCCI acknowledging that none of the teams would be “comfortable” because “a third wave” of COVID-19 cases is expected at the time of the event. It is understood that even BCCI is jittery about holding the 16-team tournament in October-November after the ongoing IPL 2021 was suspended.

PTI learned BCCI officials had recent discussions with some of the top decision-makers in the central government and a shift to the UAE has been more or less agreed upon. The dates of the marquee competition, which was planned across nine venues, have not yet been finalized.

“The suspension of IPL within four weeks is an indicator that it’s not really safe to host a global event of that magnitude at a time when the country is fighting its worst health crisis in last 70 years,” a senior BCCI source privy to development said on conditions of anonymity.

Sourav Ganguly, Manu Sawhney and Jay Shah pose with the T20 World Cup
Sourav Ganguly, Manu Sawhney, and Jay Shah pose with the T20 World Cup -ICC

“There is a chance of a third wave hitting the Indian shores in November. So while BCCI will remain the hosts, the tournament will probably shift to the UAE,” he added.

Health experts have warned of a third wave in India in September and a daily addition of over 3 lakh new cases has continued for the past few days which has shaken most of the member boards and the ICC is unlikely to take a risk with the safety of international cricket teams.

“You can rest assured that most of the top nations wouldn’t like to tour India within the next six months unless the situation comes to normalcy. The players and their families would be very wary to travel if they are in the middle of another surge. So expect BCCI to agree with a shift of tournament to UAE,” another source also chipped in.

He said IPL’s suspension has made the concerned officials very jittery of taking any more risks.

“The IPL in India was a platform to prove to the world as well as participating nations that it is safe to host a tournament even when the second wave is hitting its peak. It was going well but the bio bubble has now become porous. What’s the guarantee it won’t happen again in October-November. Nations like Australia, England and New Zealand are almost certain to have travel advisories in place,” he argued.

One of the biggest reasons for conducting the T20I World Cup in the UAE is that it can be kept to three venues — Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi — and there is no air travel.

“Look six venues for IPL was always a dangerous proposition when they successfully managed with three during the last edition. In UAE, all of them were in one bubble from start to finish while here each team was travelling to three bubbles. Therefore even if you reduce the number of venues from 9 to 5 in October, still there will be air travel unlike UAE. Also for players, they would not be mentally in a space to play in India unless the situation drastically improves,” the source added.

The final decision will be taken in the ICC meeting in June but retaining the tournament in India seems far-fetched at this point.

IPL 2021
IPL 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

IPL 2021 Suspended Indefinitely Following Surge In Covid-19 Cases

IPL 2021 has been suspended indefinitely following a rise in cases of COVID-19 within the bio bubble.

The latest development to trigger a total rethink on the IPL 2021 tournament is the positive COVID-19 test result of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra.

File photos of Delhi Capitals' Amit Mishra (left) with SRH's Wriddhiman Saha. Image Source : IPLT20.COM
File photos of Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra (left) with SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha. Image Source: IPLT20.COM


IPL 2021 Suspended Indefinitely After Two More Covid-19 Test Results

Around 12 noon, the top brass of the BCCI was to meet to take a final call on the fate of IPL 2021 with rescheduling the entire tournament being one of the agenda points. The BCCI had contemplated moving the whole bandwagon to one city but new positive cases in the IPL bubble did not leave them with much of a choice.

Cricbuzz understands that before going into the huddle, some IPL officials dialled a few franchises to know their views on the tournament’s future. A few of them are learned to have suggested to call it off totally. This was followed by a statement on the decision from BCCI which assured the participants of safe travel back home.

Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)
Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)

“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.”

“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times. The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021,” read a statement from BCCI.

This comes after Wednesday’s IPL 2021 game between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals was postponed after CSK bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji tested positive for the virus. On Monday, the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore was also postponed after KKR bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy tested positive for the infection.

IPL 2021 Postponed After Amit Mishra And Wriddhiman Saha Tested Positive As BCCI Will Ensure Players Safe Travel

According to IPL Governing Council members, the decision was taken after Amit Mishra and Wriddhiman Saha too tested positive on Tuesday. Multiple BCCI officials and the franchises too confirmed the development.

On Monday, two members of the Chennai Super Kings’ IPL contingent too – bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji, and a bus cleaner – had tested positive for Covid-19. CEO Kasi Viswanathan’s second report came negative in the evening. However, Laxmipathy Balaji and the team driver continued to be positive.

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

Many Australian players left the IPL early as the coronavirus crisis worsened, with Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson choosing to follow Andrew Tye home.

Rajasthan Royals batsman Liam Livingstone opted to return to England citing “bubble fatigue” after spending much of the last 10 months moving in and out of biosecure environments.

Meanwhile, India and Delhi Capitals spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin cut short his IPL season on April 25 to be with family who was affected by the dreaded virus. The BCCI now is in conversation with the authorities to ensure safe travel for the overseas players.

Deep Dasgupta
Deep Dasgupta. (Photo Source: Instagram)

Wicket-Keepers Are Natural Leaders, Says Deep Dasgupta

Deep Dasgupta, former Indian wicket-keeper has seen the connection between wicket-keeping and leadership. If Dinesh Karthik had stayed on as Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain, five out of eight teams would have had wicket-keepers as leaders of their respective teams this year.

Deep Dasgupta
Deep Dasgupta

Deep Dasgupta: Wicket Keepers Are Natural Leaders

With the likes of MS Dhoni (CSK), Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals), KL Rahul (Punjab Kings), and Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals) at the helm of affairs, there is certainly a big connection here.

“Without the badge of being the captain also, wicket-keepers are fielding captains. They are natural leaders,” Deep Dasgupta, who has led his stateside Bengal to two Ranji Trophy finals, told Sportskeeda hours before IPL’s first game between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai on Friday.


“You have to understand the role of the captain in a team and it is to get the squad together. I don’t think there is a better choice than a wicket-keeper doing that. While batting, captain doesn’t have much of a role but while fielding you have to lead the side on your own. At that hour, who is the most active guy on the field?” Deep Dasgupta asked.

KL Rahul won the Orange Cap award in the 2020 edition of the IPL. The right-hander plundered 670 runs last year and scored them at an average of 55.83. Rishabh Pant, the left-hander has scored 2079 runs in the IPL and has scored them at a whopping strike rate of 151.97.

AB De Villiers has done the keeping duties in 44 of the 169 matches that he has played in the IPL. The South African batting legend has scored a staggering 4849 runs in IPL cricket and has scored them at an average in excess of 40. Jos Buttler, the right-hander has scored 1714 runs at an average of 34.98. Dinesh Karthik of KKR has kept wickets in a colossal 180 innings and has dismissed 140 batsmen with his gloves behind the stumps.

Wriddhiman Saha, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicketkeeper has 77 dismissals against his name as a keeper.  Quinton De Kock has kept in 59 innings in the IPL and has dismissed 58 batsmen. MS Dhoni has played as a keeper 197 times in the IPL and has dismissed 148 batsmen.

Deep Dasgupta: It’s A Part Of The Job To Lead For Keepers Behind The Stumps Irrespective Of Being A Captain

Of course, it’s the wicket-keeper, who is constantly watching from behind the stumps and that makes a lot of difference in terms of viewing the game also.

“If you are behind the stumps, it is a part of the job to lead the side whether you are a captain or not,” Deep Dasgupta suggested.

The acumen of the wicket-keepers is so good that some of the best batsmen in Indian cricket are all wicket-keepers. Rishabh Pant is the latest on the list as he was appointed the captain for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 after Shreyas Iyer had a shoulder dislocation and underwent successful surgery.

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

The surge of batting talent through IPL has also seen the birth of Ishan Kishan and gone are the days when the critics questioned the presence of four wicket-keepers in the playing XI as it happened in the 2019 World Cup semi-final game against New Zealand. In that match, India had four wicket-keepers in MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and Dinesh Karthik.

For CSK, MS Dhoni will be the keeper although the team has other options like N Jagadeesan and Robin Uthappa while for MI, Ishan Kishan will play as a specialist batsman at No. 4, and Quinton De Kock will open the batting with Rohit Sharma. Aditya Tare will remain on the bench.

Skipper Rishabh Pant, Sam Billings, Vishnu Vinod are options for Delhi while Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Anuj Rawat are wicket-keeping options for Rajasthan. For KXIP, now PBKS, KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh are the options as keepers. Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami are there in the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad as keepers. Dinesh Karthik, Tim Seifert, Sheldon Jackson are keeping options for KKR while RCB has 4 options in AB de Villiers, Finn Allen, Mohammed Azharuddeen, KS Bharat.

India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)
India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)

Virat Kohli Is Easily Approachable And Keeps Stardom Aside: Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha, India wicketkeeper-batsman has commended India captain Virat Kohli for being approachable in a recent interview. He also revealed that while Virat Kohli is approachable, some of the stalwarts of the game weren’t when he first joined the Indian team.

Wriddhiman Saha opened up about Virat Kohli’s dressing room behavior when he was asked about his India seniors and teammates.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

Wriddhiman Saha: Virat Kohli Is Easily Approachable

36-year-old Wriddhiman Saha was the first cricketer to score a century in an Indian Premier League final. He currently plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League since 2018 after representing KKR, CSK, and KXIP. He debuted in 2010 and played 38 Tests and 9 ODIs for India. He was effusive in his praise for Virat Kohli.

“In the dressing room, he is one of us. When I joined the team years ago, I saw all the stalwarts. I was a junior then and it wasn’t always easy to approach them. It is very easy to access Kohli. He keeps his stardom aside when he is with his fellow teammates,” Wriddhiman Saha told the Times of India.

Wriddhiman Saha also recollected the time he was given his India cap by Sachin Tendulkar.

“When I debuted, there were Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and many other legends in the team, along with Sachin. It was Sachin who gave me his cap – the debut cap. That way, he will always remain very special to me.”

Indian cricketer Wriddhiman Saha
Indian cricketer Wriddhiman Saha | Sportzpics for BCCI / Deepak Malik

After staying on the sidelines during the MS Dhoni revolution, he was called up to the national side in 2010, when he was surprisingly picked as reserve wicket-keeper for the home series against the Proteas. He impressed after MS Dhoni’s retirement from Test cricket in December 2014, more so as a keeper than as a batsman.

Impressing with his quick reflexes and acrobatic wicket-keeping skills he has now become the regular keeper in Tests but is facing stiff competition from Rishabh Pant who is improving both as batsman and keeper.

Wriddhiman Saha Hasn’t Been Regularly Playing For SRH In IPL 2019-2020

In IPL 2021, Wriddhiman Saha will be plying his trade for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). The wicketkeeper-batsman has joined their camp in Chennai and is expected to resume training after serving his quarantine period.

During the interview, Wriddhiman Saha also shared insights into traveling and playing during these tough times, saying : “It’s not easy. Now that I will join my team, I will have to stay isolated for a week. There will be three COVID-19 tests conducted back-to-back on the second, fifth and seventh day. Once we clear that, we will be able to meet, greet and start our practice together.”

Wriddhiman Saha For SRH
Wriddhiman Saha For SRH Sportzpics/BCCI

In the last two years, Wriddhiman Saha hasn’t been a regular feature in the SRH playing XI. He featured in five games in 2019 and another four in 2020. Even though he performed decently in the opportunities that he got, accommodating him in the team has been tough given the extreme competition for places.

He has played 124 IPL games since debuting in IPL’s inaugural year 2008 and is nearing 2000 runs averaging around 25. He hit a ton which went in vain in IPL 2014 final.

Sunrisers Hyderabad will start their Indian Premier League 2021 campaign against fellow former champions Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai on 11 April, in what will be the third match of the season. Sunrisers Hyderabad, which released the least number-5 players ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, also bought the least number-3 players during the mini-auction. With Rs. 10.75 salary cap available for them, Sunrisers Hyderabad had the minimum budget.

With most of their earlier players retained, SRH went ahead to buy Kedar Jadhav for Rs. 2 crores. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman was Sunriser Hyderabad’s second purchase, whom they bought for Rs. 1.5 crore. The David Warner-led team had only one spot available for an overseas player, and they went ahead with buying the Afghanistan spinner. Jagadeesha Suchith was the third cricketer on which Hyderabad invested their money, buying the Indian bowler for Rs. 30 lakh.

File image of Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan [L] and Rohit Sharma | Sportzpics for BCCI
File image of Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan [L] and Rohit Sharma | Sportzpics for BCCI

Openers Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan Best Option In T20I World Cup: Sarandeep Singh

Sarandeep Singh, the former selector, called the experienced opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan the “best option” despite skipper Virat Kohli’s recent interest in the opening slot as he suggests who India should stick to as openers in the T20 World Cup.

Sarandeep Singh, whose term as selector ended with India’s historic win in Australia earlier this year, also gave his take on split captaincy, asserting the issue was never even discussed in his time as Virat Kohli performed in all three formats and the issue doesn’t arise irrespective of him not leading his IPL franchise RCB to a title win.

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli - Agencies
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli – Agencies

Sarandeep Singh: India May Try Out Options But Left Hand And Right Hand Combination Of Shikhar Dhawan And Rohit Sharma Is The Best Option

After the T20 series win against England, Virat Kohli had said he will open in the IPL raising the possibility of him opening with Rohit Sharma in the World Cup. Shikhar Dhawan was dropped after the opening game of the series and Ishan Kishan was picked ahead of him in one of the games. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma opened in the final T20 after KL Rahul’s failure as an opener in the first 4 T20Is.

“It was surprising. He (Dhawan) did well in the IPL, he did well in Australia. Whenever he plays he performs. He is mentally very strong. May be they want to try out options but in my view the left-hand right-hand combination of Rohit and Dhawan is the best option for the India at World Cup,” Sarandeep Singh told PTI.

KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
KL Rahul Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

“You can’t judge him on basis of one match. He did well in ODIs after that. The IPL will decide a lot of the team. There are no easy places in the team. Ishan Kishan too will need to do exceptionally well to make the team,” he added.

He also said that KL Rahul should continue keeping in the ODIs and the in-form Rishabh Pant will have to wait for his turn when Shreyas Iyer returns.

Sarandeep Singh Opens Up On Spin Trio And Split Captaincy

The IPL beginning April 9 will decide the bulk of the spots for the World Cup squad and Sarandeep Singh feels Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who became India’s go-to pair in the middle overs after the 2017 Champions Trophy, are no more sure starters in the T20 or ODI format. Kuldeep Yadav has also lost his place in the T20 squad.

“The two spinners can still do the job. They are proper spinners. Once Ravindra Jadeja is back from injury, the trio remains the best option in limited overs format,” Sarandeep said.

“Kuldeep, for example, has not got a lot of opportunities and seems down on confidence. Chahal was also replaced in the recent T20s against England by Rahul Chahar and did not play the following ODIs. Though there is a lot of competition, Chahal and Kuldeep should play together. They have still have a lot of potential,” said Sarandeep, who played three Tests and five ODIs for India.

Rishabh Pant has surpassed Wriddhiman Saha as the number one keeper in Tests by excellent performances with the bat and has also become the preferred option in T20s following his stellar success in all three formats in the last four months.

“No praise will be enough for Pant. He had some fitness issues, worked on that and worked on his shot selection. He was out of the team which was good for him. There is a right time and right ball to hit. The way he played in Australia, it shows he has gained a lot of experience. He is picking and choosing.”

Sarandeep Singh (TOI Photo)
Sarandeep Singh (TOI Photo)

“He can give you 10 years in Test cricket, Saha cannot and has become the number one choice. In ODIs, Shreyas got injured so Rishabh played. When he is back, KL should be the wicketkeeper because he has been keeping wickets for a long time and is doing a fine job.”

Sarandeep Singh also believes there is no place for Krunal Pandya in the ODI team if Hardik Pandya is not bowling.

“If we talk about ODIs, if Hardik is not bowling, Krunal can’t be your fifth bowler. He batted beautifully but Krunal can’t give you 10 overs.. So, if Krunal plays, Hardik needs to bowl. If one bowler is hit or injured there is no extra option if Hardik doesn’t bowl. His workload has to be managed too but you have to play proper bowlers,” the 41-year-old former off-spinner added.

On the issue of split captaincy, Sarandeep Singh said it was not even discussed in his tenure.

“Spilt captaincy is needed when your captain is not performing but he (Kohli) is the only player to average more than 50 in all formats. If he isn’t performing in one format you can take the leadership pressure off him and give it to someone else. Just because he has not won an IPL you can’t remove him from India captaincy. “

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are placed 3rd as leading run-getters in ODIs with 4978 runs only behind Sachin Tendulkar- Sourav Ganguly (6609 runs) and Adam Gilchrist- Matthew Hayden (5310 runs).

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Should Be Allowed To Play Natural Game: Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane talked about how the dressing room allows someone like a dashing left-handed batsman and keeper Rishabh Pant to play his natural game as giving him too much advice could hamper his playing style.

Ajinkya Rahane said they often leave Rishabh Pant alone and back his abilities to come good. He was highest run-getter for India and 3rd overall with 274 runs averaging 68.5 in 3-Tests in recently concluded Test series against full-strength Australia.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Image Credit: Getty Images).

Ajinkya Rahane: Team Doesn’t Need To Give Rishabh Pant Advice As He Should Be Left Alone, Backed And Asked To Play His Normal Game

Rishabh Pant finished the Border Gavaskar Trophy as India’s top run-getter even though he didn’t play the first Test. His second innings knock of 89* at Brisbane in 4th Test is now an integral part of Indian cricket history, while he also scored a crucial 97 in drawn 3rd Test at Sydney. Speaking to the Indian Express, Ajinkya Rahane said the team doesn’t need to give him much advice as he knows his game well.

“For a player like Rishabh, you don’t want him to think too much, or tell him too much… He knows his game really well, he plays in a certain fashion, and you don’t want to disturb that. Because of his innings, we were in a situation to win the Test match in Sydney… So for a player like him, you just want to leave him alone, back him and just ask him to play his normal game,” said Ajinkya Rahane.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

Rishabh Pant scored an attacking 97 in the third Test in Sydney. His innings had kept India’s hopes alive of a miracle win but unfortunately, it was not possible after he got out and Hanuma Vihari suffered a hamstring injury. India had to be content with a draw. Rishabh Pant finished the job in the fourth Test in Brisbane by remaining unbeaten on 89 as India chased down a record 328 to become the first side to beat Australia in Brisbane in 32 years.

Rishabh Pant Finished With 274 Runs In 3 Tests In Recent Tour And 350 Runs In 4 Tests In 2018-19

India went in with Wriddhiman Saha for the first Test, but they soon realized their mistake and went back to Rishabh Pant especially after Adelaide debacle where they registered lowest ever Test score of 36.
Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

It was a bit surprising that the southpaw didn’t start the series as he had a decent outing in Australia last time. The left-handed batsman scored 350 runs at an average of 58.33, including a career-best of 159* in the 2018-19 series.

In the recently concluded series, he finished with 274 runs in three Tests. His incredible record against and in Australia indicate how Team India should allow Rishabh Pant’s natural game to flourish. In 7 Tests against Australia, he has 624 runs averaging 62.4.

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Is One Of The Exceptional Players: Vikram Rathour

Rishabh Pant’s batting performance in the recently concluded Tests series in Australia has impressed India batting coach Vikram Rathour. The former India opener said Rishabh Pant will play an ‘extremely important role’ going ahead for India in future.

From not being India’s first-choice keeper as Wriddhiman Saha played ahead of him when the Test series began to one of the heroes of India’s 2-1 series win, Rishabh Pant has come a long way in a matter of three Tests and about four weeks.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant’s Role Will Be Extremely Important Going Ahead As He Is An Exceptional Player: Vikram Rathour

The 23-year-old wicket-keeper batsman has perhaps seen more highs and lows in his short career so far than most other established international cricketers. He was highest run-getter for India and 3rd overall with 274 runs averaging 68.5 in 3 Tests in recently concluded Test series Down Under.

Vikram Rathour
Vikram Rathour. Twitter

Vikram Rathour said Rishabh Pant is one of the exceptional players.

“His role will be extremely important going ahead. We have always believed that he is one of the exceptional players,” Rathour said in an interview with Hindustan Times.

After the successful 2018-19 tour to Australia, where he amassed 350 runs averaging 58.33 in 4 Tests,  he flopped against West Indies and New Zealand where he averaged less than 20 in 2 Tests in away series. But he returned to form in Australia series in 2020-21. In 7 Tests against Australia, he has 624 runs averaging 62.4.

Vikram Rathour: Rishabh Pant Had A Tough Time Last Year Or So But He Worked And Trained Hard

Vikram Rathour acknowledged that Rishabh Pant had a ‘tough time’ last year with very little opportunity to showcase his skills at the international level. The India batting coach, however, said that the left-hander from Delhi has worked really hard and now turned himself into a match-winner for India.

“He had a tough time last year or so. But he has been working hard, training hard. We all believed (that) on his day, he is a match-winner. In the last two games he proved that. Being a left-hander is definitely an advantage (for the team). As far as his entering the XI (purely) as a batsman, the decision will be taken on that particular day when the question arises,” Rathour added.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant scored an attacking 97 in the third Test in Sydney. His innings had kept India’s hopes alive of a miracle win but unfortunately, it was not possible after he got out and Hanuma Vihari suffered a hamstring injury. India had to be content with a draw. Rishabh Pant finished the job in the fourth Test in Brisbane by remaining unbeaten on 89 as India chased down a record 328 to become the first side to beat Australia in Brisbane in 32 years.

Rishabh Pant’s ODI average is only 26.71 and in T20I, his average is only 20.5, which is below par as he is often criticized for throwing his wicket away.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

As An Individual Needed To Believe In Myself: Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant, India’s wicket-keeper has become the darling of the nation after his heroics in the Australia Tests at Sydney and Brisbane, but life wasn’t always as good for him as he struggled with form and fitness during the IPL 2020. Rishabh Pant became the subject of all jokes on social media due to his wicketkeeping and weight issues just before he departed for the Border-Gavaskar series.

Rishabh Pant emerged highest run-getter for India and 3rd highest run-scorer in series with 274 runs in 3 Tests averaging 68.5.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Had A Decent Moderate IPL 2020 With Bat But Wasn’t Picked In Limited Overs Series

He had a decent moderate IPL 2020 with the bat, scoring 343 runs from 14 games averaging 31.18 with only 1 fifty but his glovework remained unimpressive which is why he was ignored by the selectors in the limited-overs series in Australia. India then decided to pick Wriddhiman Saha over Rishabh Pant for the series-opener, despite his swashbuckling hundred in the 2nd practice game before the Adelaide Test last month.

But the 23-year-old didn’t lose hope and kept working on his batting and keeping. He finally got his chance in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and he did not look back after that.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha. (Image Credit: Google)

Talking about his struggles before the Test series, Rishabh Pant said he tried to block out all the outside noise by focusing solely on his game and the process that he followed while preparing for the Australia tour.

“I was feeling the heat each and every day, it’s part and parcel of the game. But as an individual you need to believe in yourself. I was lucky that I had a few people around me who told me to keep believing in myself and just keep working hard,” Pant told Boria Majumdar on Sports Today.

Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked for the first two Tests in the home series against England next month and it remains to be seen whether the team think tank will play the veteran as a specialist wicketkeeper or include dashing keeper Rishabh Pant after his heroics in Sydney(97) and Brisbane(89*).

Rishabh Pant: Part And Parcel Of Cricketer’s Life Nowadays To Be Criticized For Non-performance

Rishabh Pant’s hard work paid off as he finished the 4-Test series as the 3rd-highest scorer with 274 runs from 3 matches, including the valiant 97 in Sydney and the match-winning 89 not out in Brisbane.

“If you’re moving forward then you’re improving, this is what I’ve learnt during the tough phase. Focus so much on your game that you don’t notice anything else. It’s difficult also to block the outside noise because of social media but I have segregated myself from it.

“When you’re doing well people will write good but when you’re not they will criticize you. Its part and parcel of a cricketer’s life nowadays. So if you don’t focus on the criticism and instead focus on your cricket then that’s much better I guess,” he added.

Marnus Labuschagne.
Marnus Labuschagne. Credits: ICC

Rishabh Pant had the highest average of 68.5 among all the batsmen who played at least 3 Tests in the series. Marnus Labuschagne (426) and Steve Smith (313) scored more runs than him but had lower averages since they played a Test more than him.

Captain Virat Kohli had left after the first Test on paternity leave while likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin were injured at various stages of the Test series which made the task of India winning the Test series even more difficult. But Rishabh Pant’s heroics at Sydney and Brisbane changed the circumstances.

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