India vs South Africa: Faf du Plessis wants pitch to support spinning

Agencies
October 8,2019

Pune, Oct 8: Ahead of the second Test against India, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is hopeful that the pitch will have a more spinning condition than the first Test.

"I know Indian conditions quite well, the turf is a little bit more red here and in terms of that, it is generally more spinning condition. So, expecting the ball to spin more than the first Test," Faf du Plessis told reporters.

Proteas lost the inaugural Test of their World Test Championships (WTC) against India by 203 runs. India showcased a spirited performance in the first Test as Rohit Sharma hit centuries in both the innings while spinner Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed eight wickets. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bagged six wickets in the match.

"Extremely hot conditions, we spent a lot of time in the field. And the thinking is to be fresh as I said in a previous Test match that there is not enough time to find your answers in the nets now," Du Plessis said.

"The work has been done before the series so it's about trusting that. Today everyone got the good practice, we took a little bit longer than usual as there were only two nets available. The general feeling in the camp is to be fresh for the five days," he added.

The 35-year-old skipper wants to win the toss in the second Test so that they can put pressure on the Indian side.

"I think it is obvious in saying that in every Test match we would like to start well. Even start a Test match ahead of India that would be nice. We as a team are very resilient and we always make a comeback," Faf du Plessis said.

Talking about the WTC points distribution criteria Du Plessis said: "It is complicated. Obviously the shorter the Test series the more points you get. In two Tests you get 120 points and in the five-match series, you have to win 5-0 to get 120 points which is a bit harder. I have noticed that in this thing you always find holes and flaws in the systems, it is never gonna be a perfect system."

India and South Africa will face each other in the second Test of the three-match series at Pune from October 10.

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'Your character stood out for me': Kohli to Mayank Agarwal

Agencies
July 28,2020

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New Delhi, Jul 28: 'Your character stood out for me than the number of runs you scored," said India skipper Virat Kohli while explaining his decision to give opening Mayank Agarwal a Test debut in the 2018-19 Australia series.

Mayank Agarwal had made his Test debut against Australia in the third Test of the four-match series.

Playing the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Agarwal managed to register a half-century in his very first innings in the longest format.

"I had seen you play for RCB, even then you played international bowlers with conviction and you would take them on. You were performing in first-class matches in a dominating way. That is something always stood out with you, I would say your character stood out for me than the number of runs. I knew you would be fearless without having any baggage," Kohli told Mayank Agarwal in a video posted on the official website of BCCI.

In the longest format of the game, Agarwal has managed to score 974 runs from 11 matches at an average of 57.29 with three centuries as an opening batsman.

The Indian skipper also explained as to what makes him notice in a player and added that it is important that guys in the team look to face new challenges and emerge triumphantly.

"For me, the biggest marker is how a person approaches the game, so for example when you opened and we made Vihari open with you. The first opportunity we presented Vihari to open the batting, he said yes to it and that matters me to the most," Kohli said.

"I opened in my first series for India, I said yes to this opportunity and things worked out fine for me. So, a guy who wants to get into tough situations will come out either holding his head high or learning from his mistakes," he added.

Kohli and Mayank would soon be seen in action for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab respectively in the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting from September 19 in the UAE.

The comparisons between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar keep on growing and many have picked the current Indian skipper to break the records set by Tendulkar.

Tendulkar called time on his career after registering 100 international centuries, while Kohli currently has 70 centuries across all formats.

At present, Kohli is ranked at the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings while he is in the second place in Tests rankings. Kohli has so far played 86 Tests, scoring 7,240 runs with 27 centuries at an average of 53.62.

His knock of 254 against South Africa at Pune in 2019 remains his highest Test score to date. When it comes to ODIs, the current Indian skipper has played 248 matches and has 43 centuries.

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Chennai Super Kings expects Dhoni to play even after he's 40

News Network
August 12,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 12: Indian Premier League favourites Chennai Super Kings expect former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to keep playing past his 40th birthday until at least 2022, the team's chief executive said.

Dhoni has not played a competitive game since India's World Cup semi-final defeat last year, but is due to return to action when the delayed IPL begins in the United Arab Emirates next month.

While Dhoni is unlikely to play again for India, Chennai Super Kings chief executive Kasi Viswanathan said he was confident the legendary batsman-wicketkeeper would not retiring soon.

"We don't worry about him at all. Yes, we can expect M.S. Dhoni to be part of both (IPL seasons in 2020 and 2021) and probably for even the next year, 2022," Viswanathan told India Today television late Tuesday.

Dhoni, who has led Chennai to three IPL titles, will celebrate his 40th birthday in July next year.

He remains an influential figure in Indian cricket with any hint of retirement causing concern among fans.

Viswanathan said he had only seen media reports that Dhoni has been training in indoor nets in his home state of Jharkand.

"But we don't have to worry about the skipper," he said. "He knows his responsibilities and he will take care of himself and the team."

The CSK players are due to arrive in Chennai this week before leaving next week for Dubai where the IPL will start on September 19 after being moved because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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IPL teams taking their own net bowlers to UAE

News Network
August 13,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 13: Indian Premier League (IPL) teams are planning to take their own practice bowlers to the United Arab Emirates as the bio-secure 'bubble' surrounding the Twenty20 tournament prevents them from using local cricketers, franchise officials told Reuters.

The IPL was scheduled to begin in late March but was indefinitely postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak before being switched to the UAE earlier this month.

Strict bio-security measures are being put in place for the 53-day tournament, which begins on Sept. 19, and the IPL's eight teams will have to arrange their own net bowlers while maintaining the league's health protocols.

"We're planning to take around eight-10 net bowlers," Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Chief Executive Kasi Viswanathan said by telephone.

"We have a list of players from Tamil Nadu to pick from and most of them will be first class cricketers."

CSK would hold a training camp in Chennai from Sunday before flying to UAE on Aug. 21, he added.

Kings XI Punjab Chief Executive Satish Menon confirmed they too would fly with their own set of net bowlers.

"Around seven of them will join the players in Delhi and Bangalore before we leave on the 20th," he told Reuters.

Delhi Capitals said they were yet to finalise how many net bowlers they would take when the players fly out next week.

"We haven't made a decision on how many, but there will be net bowlers travelling with us," Chief Executive Dheeraj Malhotra told Reuters.

Kolkata and Rajasthan franchises will also follow suit, according to local media reports.

However, Rajasthan will have to fly without fielding coach Dishant Yagnik, who has tested positive for Covid-19. He must return five negative results -- two in India and three in the UAE -- before he can rejoin the side.

Punjab dismissed media reports that batsman Karun Nair had recently recovered after contracting Covid-19.

"He had some mild fever, that's all. Nothing to do with coronavirus. He's perfectly alright," franchise CEO Menon said.

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