The Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai has said that his team has better spinners than India for test match cricket. While there is no doubt about the amount of talent in the Afghanistan spin department, it’s still a hugely controversial statement considering the fact that Afghanistan is yet to make its debut in the longest format of the game.
Afghanistan has only recently got test match status from ICC and will play its first test match against India in Bengaluru starting from 14th of June. The performance of Afghanistan spinners in other formats of the game has been exceptional, especially of Rashid Khan who is arguably the best spinner in the world at the moment in T20 cricket, but limited-over cricket and test cricket are two different kettle of fish.
Pakistan edged out victors in the game against West Indies at Kensington Oval.
Both sides have a volatile history in the game and it predictably ended with Pakistan winning by just six wickets.
Eighteen-year old talented Pakistani legspinnerShadab Khan was a dominant force during the duel. He forced the opponents to slump 49 for 6 with his three wickets with the first eight balls in an international match. He had such a wonderful debutuntil the duo of Kieorn Pollard and Carlos Brathwaitecame into the picture. The heavy hitters managed to get some momentum for Indies but they barely reached three figures.
Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad – who have been absent – were not able to stop the attacks but the spirited display from West Indies never rose above six.
Shoaib Malik and Babar Azamwere consistent in their game, chasing with risk-free cricket. They did the hard work, so Pakistan needed just 18 runs off five overs to seal victory.
Khan was crucial to the win. Chadwick Walton could not pick the googly while Lendl Simmons dragged a delivery onto the stumps. Kamran Akmal put down a regulation catch, letting down Khan’s match record to yet impressive 4-0-7-3.
Pakistan now have five victories in their last five T20Is with four against West Indies and one against England.
Skipper Sarfraz has not enjoyed five wins in five games.
Pakistan’s last loss was to Australia in the World T20 in 2016. Pakistan lead the series 1-0 and the series moves to Trinidad & Tobago where the rest of the matches will be played.
On the other hand, West Indies have four losses – all against the same opponent. Since their World T20 victory in India last year, they have won just a match out of six.
ViratKohli has declared that the friendship with the Australians is over after their heated series.
The star player said while they are friends when the teams enter the area of battle all friendships end. Kohli struggled to hit maximum impact before he withdrew in the final Test due to injury only for him to return strongly in his onslaught against the Aussies.
He says he is friends with the opponents off the field but added that the ill-tempered four-match series could change things.
“I’m really good friends with all these guys off the field. I know them really well, but I know where to draw the line of friendship. When you step onto the field, I could be playing against my big brother it wouldn’t matter,” he said ahead of the Pune Test.
Kohli and fellow captain had it bad when Steve Smith breached the rule of looking towards the dressing room for tips before the DRS review. Kohli accused the Australian team of systematic impropriety, citing other times as well, in their review protocols.
There were a lot of accusations during the Tests. Kohli claimed the Australians had soiled the reputation of the physiotherapist that treated him when he injured his shoulder. The commentators from the Asian side claimed Gleen Maxwell was mocking them by clutching his right shoulder and Kohli repeated the gesture during the game.
After the game, Smith apologized for letting his “emotions falter a little bit throughout the series.” Kohli is in no mood to forgive, even hitting out at the media for their criticism of his batting. He said that his bad experiences during the course of the series have made him rethink his friendships.
“No, it has changed. I thought that was the case, but it has changed for sure,” he said in response to questions if things remained cases of friendly rivalry.
“I thought that was the case, but it has changed for sure. As I said, in the heat of the battle you want to be competitive but I’ve been proven wrong. The thing I said before the first Test, that has certainly changed and you won’t hear me say that ever again,” he added.
The Super Giant skipper Steve Smith has indicated that he would like to be left alone and discharge his captaincy duties in peace rather than being approached with a lot of advices by the seniors of his team.
There are three players in the Super Giant squad who have captained in test match Cricket and one of them is the superstar MS Dhoni who has spent his entire IPL career so far as a captain only and this is only the first instance of him appearing as a mere player.
Smith is pretty young in comparison to Dhoni in age and experience. So, when he addressed his first press conference of IPL 2017 yesterday, there were questions if he would look for the Indian wicketkeeper to assist him.
The New South Welshman was pretty blunt in reply. He clearly said that while he would appreciate people coming to him once in a while and drawing his attention to something important which he might be missing, they shouldn’t be advising him all the time.
As per Smith, when everyone around you start advising you, you get a little confused in your mind and you don’t make decisions with absolute certainty. On the contrary, if you are thinking by yourself, you can be pretty certain about what you want to do and where you are going with a particular plan.
However, at the same time, it’s very much possible that in an intense atmosphere, the captain does not pay attention towards a particular area of the field which is vacant or a fielder being in the wrong position. Then obviously the seniors can step in and make him aware of what needs to be done. But, in general, it should be him doing the captaincy by himself.
Shane Jurgensen, New Zealand’s bowling coach believes that his team redeemed themselves in Melbourne, and is also of the notion that Matt Henry is one that can’t easily be wounded by his Australian struggles.
The newball spearhead for the Black Caps, during the Aussies late batting assaults in Sydney and Canberra, ended up conceding 165 runs off his 20 overs, on their way to a 3-0 Chappell-Hadlee Trophy sweep.
Before the Bangladesh Series opening holding starting on Boxing Day, the New Zealand players will return to the domestic Twenty20 competition and Jurgensen believes that his players are on track for the game.
Out of two games, games one and two, the team conceded a combined 702 runs before their improvement in execution, intensity and field settings helped them restrict Australia to 264-8 in Melbourne. The team was led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
For the third game, Matt Henry was dropped. This thus saw him slip from fifth to seventh in the world one-day international bowling rankings.
However, Jurgensen expects that he would be back in time at his rightful position in the Bangladesh ODIs.
“Matt will have a very important role for us and his record speaks for itself. He knows he didn’t bowl well, more around the second and third spells,” Jurgensen said.
“He started well and beat the bat quite often and created opportunities, and the early wicket of [Aaron] Finch in the first game. He’s got a unique ability to take wickets at any stage and he’s certainly an important bowler for us in the rest of the summer.”
Jurgensen also talked about how unpredictable it was for games to go as planned, and he believes this was the situation that affected them in the first two games they played.
Ahead of the Zimbabwe tour, Yuzvendra Chahal was not sure what kind of a person MS Dhoni is but, now being in his company for a few days and even having shared the change room with him, the leggie says that the wicketkeeper-captain is really an easy going person and playing under him, it never seems such a big personality is in charge.
According to Chahal, the simplicity of MS is what really stands out. You don’t have to think twice before going and saying anything to him. He listens to everyone, be it a debutant or a senior player.
Chahal managed to have only one scalp yesterday in Harare, but, he was on the top of the batsmen all the time. The chances went past the slip on two occasions; otherwise, he would have come up with a three-for on debut.
Chahal is someone who still does not always happen to be in the XI of his first class team. Haryana is the state he plays from and the home stadium of Haryana has quick pitches.
So, three fast bowlers pick themselves automatically on the conditions there and it leaves the space for just one spinner to play and that one spinner has to be Amit Mishra as he is the much senior fellow.
Chahal is not even the understudy to Amit Mishra at Haryana.
Jayant Yadav who also belongs to the same region and is a batsman too apart from being an off spinner has the edge over Chahal when Mishra is unavailable for the state.
However, the heroics in the Indian Premier League have got Chahal donning the blue shirt and if he makes the 6 Zimbabwe games count, it would pave the way for a longer stay for him with the Indian side.
Virat Kohli has owned the IPL 2016 with his batting prowess.
With four scores of three figures in 13 games, he has got over the mark of 850 with his runs’ tally and has left behind all the previous highest scorers of the tournament by some margin.
Virat seems to have unlocked something for himself in terms of his big hitting because he never hit the ball such far and long before. He was always the anchor of a batsman who would begin his innings with some watchfulness and would be interested in finding the gaps through the field as he went along.
But, it’s been a different avatar of him this season as apart from showing some finesse; he has also shown some muscle power and some innovation too with the shots that were not in his repertoire before, the ramp shots and reverse sweeps.
Perhaps because Royal Challengers Bangalore has added some finishing power to its ranks, the skipper has freed himself up, coming at the top of the order with the knowledge that even if his aggression doesn’t go well and he gives his wicket to the opposition, enough batting ability is in the dugout to see the team through to where it needs to be.
In the past, maybe the fact that he knew it’s only the dismissal of him and AB De Villiers is what the opposition was looking for and one of the two had to bat it out the whole innings, a lot of thoughts would come into his head before he decided to play any risky shot.
But, now the likes of Shane Watson and others down the order has made him less bothered about his wicket and that is coming off in the form of some glamorous and unbelievable batting from him.
David Warner was fuming with himself last night when he let the ball go through him to allow Delhi Daredevils those two runs needed to win them the game on the last ball.
Bhuvneshwar’s fantastic mixture of lengths on the first four deliveries of the 20th over had pushed the equation in Hyderabad’s favour. But, for some reason, he decided to go short on the next two and both turned out to be boundaries.
The last one was of course the fielding mistake of the captain as he dived around, and tried to put his body behind the ball, but, because of a bad bounce, failed to stop it.
There was another instance of Warner’s sloppiness in the field before as he could not grab an easy take at the deep mid-on boundary.
It was probably the heat of Raipur which the Australian opener was finding hard to get on with. He is not used to such temperatures and there was a lot of sweat coming out of his helmet while he was batting, so, it might have taken the energy out of him.
Also, captaining the team and standing at the fence at the same time can shake up one’s focus as you are thinking about whom you have to bowl in the next over and whom you want bowling in the death and all those things.
But, being an Aussie and also, the competitor that Warner is, the agony of losing was clear and he was almost disinterested to be interviewed by the TV presenter post match.
Accepting his errors, however, the busty left hander declared the fielding blemishes as the main cause of defeat rather than the total which he said was par for the course on a huge ground.
Sreenath Aravind says that Rahul Dravid should be given credit for the recent successes of the India ‘A’ team.
Dravid was put in charge of the ‘A’ team after the new hierarchy took over in BCCI and he seems to be doing a fine job.
Under Dravid’s guidance, India A won the triangular involving the ‘A’ teams of South Africa and Australia last month and then, yesterday, they completed a series victory against Bangladesh ‘A’.
As per Aravind, Dravid’s influence has been magical on all the players as the former Indian captain has made them believe in their abilities.
Speaking to the reporters after bowling a match winning spell in the decider of the 3-match series versus Bangladesh ‘A’, the Southpaw speedster said, “Rahul bhai is quite a positive person. He always has encouraging words to say. Having played the game himself for such a long period of time, he knows the psyche of a player and his advices are of great help for us.”
Aravind had been the pick of the bowlers for India through that whole series and that saw him getting recalled into the Indian side for the South Africa T20 games.
When asked about that, the Karnataka player who is in his early thirties said, “It has come as a little bit of a surprise to be honest. I didn’t see it coming. All my focus was on the match today. I just wanted to bowl a decent spell and help my team win the series which we thankfully managed to do.”
“I would like to make this opportunity count. Last time around when I’d got in, my preparation was probably not up to the mark. But, right now, I believe I am in good shape, bowling well and I hope I do well in the coming series.”
Virender Sehwag wants MS Dhoni to be the captain of the Indian One Day International team till the next World Cup.
Sehwag believes if Dhoni leaves the captaincy right now and decides to retire from the game; it would create a difficult situation for India as he is the only experienced player in the side.
Also, according to Sehwag, India does not seem to have anybody other than Dhoni at the moment to control the lower middle order and to bat with the tail if the wickets fall early at the top. So, for him to continue to be in the mix is very, very important.
Sehwag was the guest on a special talk show on a Hindi news channel this weekend.
When asked for his opinion on the current situation of Indian Cricket especially in limited-over format and also, on Dhoni’s performances, the dashing opener who himself called it quits from international Cricket last month, said, “We have not had a finisher like MS ever in India. He has been the best in that role, but, at different stages of your career, you have to take up different roles and I would advise him to consider moving up the order a little bit now. If he comes at 4, he will get more deliveries to play and he can win games from India on his own.”
“This is certainly not the time for him to walk away. It would of course be his personal decision when to retire, but, I believe if the team remains in his guidance for another few years, maybe till the next World, it would be good.”
Sehwag also denied that he and Dhoni did not share a good rapport while playing together.
“It’s all rubbish. We always gelled well.” Sehwag summed up.