Focus on KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant as India hold auditions for next year's T20 WC

News Network
December 5,2019

Hyderabad, Dec 5: The likes of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant will be aiming to cement their places in the squad as India continue auditions for next year's T20 World Cup when they take on the West Indies in a three-match T20 series, starting here on Friday.

India will continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup in Australia and many players, whose places are not yet secure, will try to impress the team management and selectors with their performances against the West Indies.

One such name is Rahul.

In the absence of injured opener Shikhar Dhawan, the series will provide the stylish right-handed batsman, who holds a good record in T20s, a very good opportunity to secure his place as Rohit Sharma's partner up the order.

In 31 T20 Internationals, Rahul has amassed 974 runs at an average of 42.74 with 110 not out being his highest score. He is also a prolific scorer in the IPL.

Besides Rahul, another individual who would like to answer his critics with solid performances is Pant.

Pant has, of late, come under the scanner for his inconsistent form with the bat and poor glove work.

He has been seen as the successor to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but after the conclusion of the ICC ODI World Cup earlier this year, Pant has endured a slump in form and was heavily criticised for throwing his wicket away on multiple occasions.

Even his glove-work came under heavy scrutiny and the left-hander was dropped in the longest format of the game and Wriddhiman Saha regained his place in the playing XI.

With the selectors bringing in talented Sanju Samson in the squad and talks of Dhoni coming out of his sabbatical soon, it's high time for Pant to either perform or lose his place in the squad.

The series is also huge for Samson.

Although he was named in the T20 squad against Bangladesh, the Kerala 'keeper-batsman didn't get a single opportunity in the series and was only picked for this rubber after Dhawan sustained a knee injury while playing for Delhi in the Syed Mushtaq Ali National T20 Championship.

It is certain that Pant will be the first choice wicketkeeper but in case he fails again, it remains to be seen whether the team management gives Samson an opportunity, which he certainly deserves.

The good news for India is that Virat Kohli will return to lead the side after taking a break in the T20 series against Bangladesh.

On the bowling front, there are several notable comebacks with the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar returning to the side's T20 setup.

The duo of Kuldeep and Chahal, also known as 'Kulcha', will reunite after a long time. Kuldeep last featured in the shortest format in February 2019 against New Zealand.

The Indian pace attack looks menacing with the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.

Shami last appeared in a T20I in 2017, while Bhuvneshwar returns to the squad after recovering from a muscle problem. Bhuvneshwar's last T20 was against the West Indies in the Caribbean in August this year.

The find of the Bangladesh series, Deepak Chahar, is also expected to play a big role alongside Shami and Bhuvneshwar in the past attack.

West Indies, on the other hand, would be looking for revenge after being dismantled by India 3-0 in their own backyard in August.

West Indies are considered a very good T20 side and what would act in their favour is that they have already acclimatised to the conditions, having played Afghanistan in a full series in Lucknow.

Having been entrusted with the captaincy responsibility, Kieron Pollard will look to lead from the front.

With Nicholas Pooran ruled out of the first T20 because of a four-match ban for ball-tampering, the onus would be on Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer to guide West Indies batting line-up.

Besides, the Indians would also be wary of Roston Chase, who can make useful contributions with both bat and ball.

Keeping in mind the T20 World Cup, the West Indies are also trying out various combinations and have drafted in quite a few new faces in the team.

The visitors have opted for young Brandon King, Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford, Keserick Williams and Hayden Walsh Jr over experienced players like Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo.

Teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.

West Indies: Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Brandon King, Denesh Ramdin, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Sherfane Rutherford, Shimron Hetmyer, Khary Pierre, Lendl Simmons, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr, Keemo Paul, Kesrick Williams.

Match starts 7pm IST.

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ICC postpones Men’s T20 World Cup 2020

News Network
July 20,2020

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia 2020 has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

At today’s meeting of the IBC Board (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC), windows for the next three ICC men’s events were also agreed to bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity over the next three years to recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The windows for the Men’s events are:

1. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be held October – November 2021 with the final on 14 November 2021

2. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 will be held October – November 2022 with the final on 13 November 2022

3. ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 will be held in India October – November 2023 with the final on 26 November 2023

The IBC Board agreed to continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and assess all the information available in order to make a considered decision on future hosts to ensure the sport is able to stage safe and successful global events in 2021 and 2022.

The IBC Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand in February next year. In the meantime, planning for this event continues as scheduled.

The Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We have undertaken a comprehensive and complex contingency planning exercise and through this process, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport.

“The decision to postpone the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world.

“Our Members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket. Moving the Men’s Cricket World Cup to a later window is a critical element of this and gives us a better chance of maintaining the integrity of the qualification process. This additional time will be used to reschedule games that might be lost because of the pandemic ensuring qualification can be decided on the field of play.

“Throughout this process we have worked closely with our key stakeholders including governments, Members, broadcasters, partners and medical experts to enable us to reach a collective decision for the good of the game and our fans. I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to a safe return to cricket.”

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CSK's success due to Dhoni's instincts, behind-the-scenes work, feel Dravid and Srinivasan

Agencies
August 2,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 2: Batting great Rahul Dravid has attributed Chennai Super Kings' consistent run in the IPL to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's instincts, game-smarts and the incredible amount of work that goes behind the scenes.

N Srinivasan, the former BCCI president and head of India Cements, which owns the CSK franchise, agreed that Dhoni is a man of instinct who doesn't believe in attending team meetings and going over data.

Both were speaking at a webinar organised by the Great Lakes Institute of Management.

"If you look at the success CSK has had, they've got really good access to data and they've got really good access to people behind the scenes and they've run cricket teams at the junior level," Dravid said at the webinar according to ESPNcricinfo.

The former India captain added, "They understand talent and they've obviously got a good scouting process in place. But, what they also have is a captain who really understands instincts.

"So, I mean, look, I know Dhoni quite well and I hope he hasn't changed, but I know Dhoni is probably not one to look at reams of data and statistics."

The Super Kings have won the lucrative tournament three times -- one less than Mumbai Indians -- and reached the knockouts in each of the 10 seasons they have been a part of.

Srinivasan also spoke about how Dhoni's instinct and judgement contributed to his team's success at a time when a lot of emphases is placed on data.

"We're awash with data just now. To give you an example, there are bowling coaches and in a T20 game, they play videos of every batsman whom they're going to come against and they see how he got out, what's his strength, what's his weakness etc.

"So, MS Dhoni doesn't attend this, he's a pure instinct man. The bowling coach, (head coach Stephen) Fleming will be there and everybody will be there, everyone is giving opinions, (but) he'll get up and go.

"In the context of instinct, he feels that okay he can assess a batsman or player on the field, that's his judgement. On the other hand, there is so much of data that is available to help a person also analyse. It's a very difficult line to draw (between data and instinct)."

Srinivasan also recalled how Dhoni once refused to take "one outstanding player" suggested by the franchise boss as that could have broken the team's cohesion.

"There was one outstanding player that we suggested to MS, he said: 'no sir, he will spoil the team'. The cohesion within the team is important and see in America, franchise-based sport has been there for such a long time," he said.

"In India, we're just starting and we're new to it. But we at India Cements have had a lot of experience running teams at junior levels."

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I see Ben Stokes becoming one of England's greatest cricketers, says Dominic Cork

July 19,2020

Manchester, Jul 19: Former England pacer Dominic Cork reckons star all-rounder Ben Stokes will go on to become one of his country's greatest cricketers ever.

Stokes, the hero of England's World Cup triumph last year, sparkled with a fine 176 and powered his side to a strong first-inning total of 469/9 declared in the ongoing second Test against the West Indies here.

"I genuinely think he can get better because of his work ethic. He wants to bat, he wants to bowl, he wants to work on his game, wants to get better," Cork said on Sky Sports show The Cricket Debate.

"I know he works a hell of a lot on his bowling as well. I just see this man not becoming only the best in the world but one of the best we have had ever. That's how highly I rate him."

The former seamer thought things changed for better for the World Cup hero after the Bristol bar brawl three years ago.

Last year, Stokes himself had said that the unsavoury incident and the ensuing chain of events, which dogged his career for 15 months, may be the best thing that could have happened to him.

Following the incident in September 2017, Stokes was acquitted of affray by a Bristol court in August 2018, before the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ended his 15-month exile after a hearing in December 2018.

Former England batsman Ravi Bopara also spoke about the remarkable change in Stokes' approach.

"I think there has definitely been a change with Ben. He has made his mistakes and learnt from them. He looks a formidable cricketer," he said.

"He is a fiery character and always has been - even if you are playing PlayStation in hotel rooms.

"But as he has had a more important role in the side as an all-rounder, making an impact with bat and ball, winning games for England, and since England have started looking at him as the main guy, his attitude has changed with it."

West Indies lead the three-match series 1-0 after their win in the opener at Southamton.

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