'Kallis, Sachin, Kohli': Ian Gould names his three best batsmen to watch

Agencies
May 31, 2020

London, May 31: "Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli," replied umpire Ian Gould when he was asked to name the three best batsmen he loved watching when he was officiating as an umpire.

The former ICC elite umpire said that he was unlucky to not watch Ponting bat as much as he would have liked to.

"Jacques Kallis. I loved watching Jacques. He was a very, very fine player. Sachin. And probably Virat. I was unlucky in some respects. I didn't see the best of Ricky Ponting. He was an outstanding character, outstanding captain, such a proud Australian," ESPNCricinfo quoted Gould as saying.

"But his career was just starting to wane as I came on the scene. But he was incredibly helpful, so I'm disappointed I have to leave him out. Jacques Kallis, I could sit and watch all day, Virat, the same. And Sachin, if you want someone to bat for your life, he was the man," he added.

Gould had retired from the ICC's panel of elite umpires in 2019, after standing in more than 250 international matches over a 13-year career.

Over the years, comparisons between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar have been 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 has 70 centuries across all formats.

While, Kallis played 166 Tests, 328 ODIs and 25 T20Is for South Africa and he is often viewed as the greatest all-rounder the game has seen.

Many pundits of the game find it hard to pick between him and Sir Garfield Sobers.

Across his career, Kallis scored 25,534 runs in his career and he also managed to take 577 wickets.

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News Network
September 13,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 13: India pacer S Sreesanth's ban for alleged spot-fixing came to an end on Sunday, concluding a seven-year punishment that was originally meant to be for life and was aggressively contested by the flamboyant bowler.

The 37-year-old has already made it clear that he intends to resume at least his domestic career at the end of the ban and his home state Kerala has promised to consider him if he manages to prove his fitness.

"I'm completely free of any charges nd anything nd now gonna represent the sport I love the most.will give my very best to every ball I ball even (if) it's just practice," he tweeted on Friday, a couple of days before the end of his suspension.

"Just have another 5 to 7 years max to give it all I've got nd I will give the very best to any team I play," he added.

However, with the Indian domestic season postponed at present due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it remains to be seen when exactly Sreesanth is able to make a comeback if Kerala decides to give him a chance.

The Indian domestic season starts in August but the pandemic has left the scheduling in complete disarray.

"...the BCCI is making all efforts to ensure that domestic cricket resumes as and when the conditions permit," BCCI President Sourav Ganguly wrote in a recent letter to presidents and secretaries of its affiliated member associations.

Sreesanth's life ban for alleged spot-fixing in the 2013 edition of the IPL was reduced to seven years by BCCI Ombudsman DK Jain last year.

Jain had observed that the cricketer is well past his prime having already served six years.

The BCCI banned Sreesanth in August 2013 along with his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.

But on March 15 last year, the Supreme Court set aside the BCCI disciplinary committee's order and asked the Board to reconsider the quantum of punishment.

"I will never ever cheat cricket even when iam playing a friendly match..I don't ball (bowl) easy ones or try to loose...so pls get that right with everyone..." Sreesanth posted recently.

Sreesanth played 27 Tests and 53 ODIs for India, taking 87 and 75 wickets respectively. He has also taken seven wickets in 10 T20 Internationals.

The temperamental pacer was also popular for his exuberant celebrations after taking wickets but his life and career went downhill after the spot-fixing scandal.

However, he maintained his innocence throughout the damaging controversy.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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South African star AB de Villiers believes the biggest challenge for all teams in the upcoming Indian Premier League will be adjusting to the prevailing hot and humid conditions in the UAE.

Most games will be played in the night but the conditions would still be challenging.

"I am not really used to these kind of conditions to be honest. It' very hot, it reminds me of a Test match we played in July in Chennai once where Viru (Virender Sehwag) scored 300. It was one the hottest weather conditions I have experience in my life," he said in a an interview posted on RCB's twitter handle.

"The humidity is similar to that, even at 10 at night. When I arrived here I checked the weather conditions of a few months and it seems to be getting better. It is definitely going to play a part and you have to make sure you have the energy for the backend of the innings or last 5 overs of your bowling spell."

De Villiers said he would also miss playing in front of packed crowds in India with the event to be played behind closed doors in UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think obviously all are are used to playing in front of crowds in big stage, there is certainly an amount of adrenaline that pumped into you when it gets really loud, especially in Chinnaswany when the RCB crowd gets going, its difficult to stop the RCB team. So, well miss that there is no doubt about it.

"But I won't say I am not used to it, I have played a lot of cricket in empty stadiums. I grew up like that. It's only in my international career that I have played in front of crowd," he said.

The 36-year-old dashing cricketer, regarded as one of the destructive batsman of world cricket, said not just him, every player is just happy to be back on the field after international cricket came to a halt in mid-March because of the pandemic.

De Villiers' first foray into the cricket field amid the pandemic was the inaugural 3TC Solidarity Cup organised by Cricket South Africa in July.

Asked whether there will be a drop in the game's standard with players coming from a long break, he replied: "Not at all. In the 3TC I have faced some off thee best bowling in the last 3 to 5 years, the bowlers were landing yorkers, they showed some great skills with pace, variations.

"They are very hungry, the desire is there, the motivation. It's not just copy and paste, now the guys are really coming out with rediscovered energy, so I think we are going to see some fireworks."

De Villiers said young Australian wicketkeeper batsman Joshua Philippe is an exciting cricketer and he would love share his knowledge with the Australian opener in RCB dressing room.

"I have always enjoyed watching Finch play but now I know him quite well. Another guy I am excited to watch is Joshua, he is a young wicketkeeper from Australia.

"I have watched him play for Sydney Sixers in BBL. He is very exciting to watch, he takes on the new ball, a very talented player with all the shots in the book," he said.

"As a 36-year-old who have played international cricket for ages now, I am looking foward to give back if he wishes what I have learnt over the years."

Virat Kohli-led RCB will open their IPL campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on September 21.

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News Network
September 21,2020

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Dubai, Sept 21: Kagiso Rabada once again proved to be the 'King of Super Over' after Marcus Stoinis' star turn with both bat and ball ensured a thrilling Super Over win for Delhi Capitals in an IPL encounter against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

It was Stoinis whose late assault saw Delhi reach 157 for 8 in 20 overs with his 53 off 21 balls and 57 in the last three did the trick.

In reply, KXIP were looking down the barrel with half of the side back in the pavilion before Mayank Agarwal's 89 off 60 balls took them to 157 before Stoinis came back to strike a double blow in the final two balls to set up a Super Over finish.

Both the teams ended with a score of 157 for eight and when it spilled to a Super Over, South African pacer Rabada conceded only two runs and took two wickets off successive balls to tilt in the favor of Delhi Capitals.

Rabada had pulled off a stunning Super Over even the last year against Kolkata Knight Riders and like Andre Russell, this time it was Nicholas Pooran, who got a lethal yorker.

It was difficult for Shami to defend two runs.

Earlier, Shami's exceptional fast bowling spell had put the Capitals on the mat as they had not crossed the 100-run mark even after 16 overs but Stoinis' whirlwind knock lifted the Delhi side to 157 for eight.

The Capitals, sent in to bat, scored 57 runs in the last 18 balls with Stoinis punishing the bowlers with seven fours and three sixes.

Punjab badly missed a good death bowler.

Stoinis' timely and gritty batting ensured that the repair work done by skipper Shreyas Iyer (39) and Rishabh Pant (31) did not go waste.

The severe bashing demoralised Punjab batting line up, which fell apart in no time. However, Mayank Agarwal emerged an unlikely batting hero, bringing Punjab back from no where.

He, though, was dismissed when only one run was needed off the last ball of the innings but Chris Jordan could not score the final run, giving Stoinis his wicket and the match was tied.

In Punjba's chase skipper KL Rahul (21) was first to go and then India spinner R Ashwin sent back Karun Nair (1) and Nicholas Pooran (0) in space of five balls. It, though, did not end well for Ashwin, whose needless dive in the last ball to stop a single resulted in a freak shoulder injury.

Ashwin landed on his left arm. Writhing in pain, Ashwin's jersey became a temporary sling as he left the field.

True to his reputation, Agarwal held the one end but Punjab needed Glenn Maxwell to fire, which did not happen as he could add only one run to his and team's total.

Half the batsmen back in the pavilion and no big-hitting batsman left in the lineup, Agarwal's heroic batting kept the game alive. He hit seven fours and four sixes.

Earlier, the pitch had a tinge of grass, the ball was swinging and pacer Shami relished the bowling on a helpful track. His wicket-taking and run-choking act served the Punjab side well.

It was a pitch that required patience from the batsmen but reckless shots was how Delhi Capitals began after being invited to bat, with Prithvi Shaw (5) paying the price for his extravagance and Shimron Hetmyer (7) failing to check his shot.

Shikhar Dhawan (0) was run out to a horrible mix-up and the scoreboard was not a pleasant sight for the Delhi side at 13 for 3.

However, skipper Shreyas Iyer (39) and Rishabh Pant (31) respected the conditions to raise the 73-run stand for the fourth wicket while Stoinis' knock towards the end put Capitals in a psychologically advantageous position.

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