Loss to Pak borderline embarrassing; our show in WC mediocre: Du Plessis

Agencies
June 24, 2019

London, Jun 24: Describing the loss against Pakistan as "borderline embarrassing", a furious South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said his team's performance in the World Cup has been "mediocre".

South Africa were knocked out of the World Cup with a 49-run loss to Pakistan here on Sunday.

"The results we are dishing out at the moment, it's tough. The way we played today is borderline embarrassing," Du Plessis said after the match.

Du Plessis was left red-faced as South Africa struggled to 259 for 9, chasing 309 against Pakistan. He blasted both his bowlers and the batsmen for their disappointing campaign at the 50-over showpiece.

"It started with our bowling. There were a lot of bad balls on a wicket where if you just bowled line and length it was going to be hard for them.

"It was a five out of 10 performance with the ball, then the same batting. We started nicely, got a partnership going, then wickets fall," he said.

"We are a mediocre team at the moment because we are making the same mistakes. One step forward and two steps back is not a good team," an angry Du Plessis added.

He termed Proteas humiliating exit from the ongoing World Cup as the "lowest point" of his career.

"I'm a very proud player and captain. Playing for South Africa means a lot to me. There are people rightly and fairly criticising the team because we are not playing the cricket we should.

"It's important myself, the coach and the senior players front up to this challenge," Du Plessis, who top-scored with 63 but did not get any support from the other end, said. 

Five defeats from seven matches so far, having beaten only minnows Afghanistan in the tournament, Du Plessis demanded his players take more responsibility.

"As much as I can say, or the coach can say, the responsibility lies with the player to sort it out yourself if you are low on confidence. Everyone has played the game long enough to understand you go through highs and lows." 

The captain felt his teammates were extremely low on confidence.

"The guys are playing with low confidence and making the same mistakes. It just rolls on, it's such a snowball effect. The real, honest answer is it chips away at you. You try really hard, then come back the next game and make the same mistakes. It chips away at your confidence and your ego as a player," he explained.

With two more games to go, South Africa have failed to make the knockout stages for only the second time in the World Cup and Du Plessis felt it might be a case of burnout as they have been playing a lot of cricket. 

"It's important we find space to rest our three-format players. They are playing a lot of cricket. That's the one area I would have changed but it's not in my hands," he said. 

Du Plessis insisted that he would not leave the captaincy.

"I've always said the most enjoyment I get from the game is captaining the side. The fact we are playing way below our potential is not something that sits well with me.

"I'm trying as hard as I can, but unfortunately not everything is down to me. My character is I will try to fix as many problems as I can," he said.

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January 10,2021

Sydney, Jan 10: Australia were 312/6 at tea on the fourth day of the third Test against India, extending their overall lead to 406 runs on Sunday.

Play was halted for a few minutes on the fourth day after the visiting players complained of abuse from the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Sunday.

It was a day after a drunk spectator at the SCG allegedly directed racial abuse at Indian players Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. The BCCI has lodged a complaint with the ICC.

During the second session of the fourth day on Sunday, India players huddled in the centre after Siraj, standing at the square leg boundary, complained of abuse after being hit for two consecutive sixes by Cameron Green in his over.

However, play resumed after some spectators are asked to leave following complaints of abuse.

Six people were removed from the stands after Mohammed Siraj alerted the umpires and his team-mates to further abuse from the crowd following day three's allegations of racial abuse directed at India players.

Tim Paine was batting on 39, while all-rounder Cameron Green was dismissed just before the break at 84.

Brief scores:
India 1st Innings: 244 all out
Australia: 338 and 312/6 in 87 overs 

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Agencies
January 17,2021

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Brisbane, Jan 17: Fighting back through debutant Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur, India reached 253 for six at tea on the third day of the series-deciding fourth Test against Australia here on Sunday.

Washington (38) and Thakur (33) have added 67 runs for the unbeaten seventh wicket after India lost four wickets.

Resuming at 62 for two, skipper Ajinkya Rahane (37) was watchful till he went for a flashy drive off Mitchell Starc and ended up getting caught in slips. Before his dismissal, Cheteshwar Pujara (25) fell to a peach of delivery off Josh Hazlewood in the opening session.

In the second session, India lost Mayank Agarwal (38) and young Rishabh Pant (23) and innings seemed to be falling apart but Washington and Thakur resisted the Australian attack with aplomb.

Brief Scores:

Australia 1st innings: 369 all out 115.2 overs (M Labuschagne 108; T Paine 50, M Wade 45; T Natarajan 3/78, S Thakur 3/94, W Sundar 3/89).

India 1st innings: 253 for 6 in 87 overs. (R Sharma 44, M Agarwal 38, A Rahane 37; J Hazlewood 3/43, P Cummins 1/79).

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Agencies
January 6,2021

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Sydney, Jan 6: India head coach Ravi Shastri unveiled the portrait of his former skipper Sunil Gavaskar for the Bowral Museum on the eve of the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Shastri showered praise on his former skipper and explained why he believes that Gavaskar was the best opening batsman he had seen.

"Gavaskar is easily the best opening batsman I have ever seen. I had the privilege to play under him. He was the master tactician, nothing fazed him. 13 hundred against West Indies is a tribute to the way he played the game and in his prime, he was called the Mumbai Bradman when he was getting all those hundreds. For me it's an honour to unveil this," Shastri said in a video posted by BCCI.

The coach also launched a new book 'India's 71-Year Test: The Journey to Triumph in Australia'.

According to a report in cricket.com.au, the book features more than 200 pictures, many of which were found languishing in the United States of America (USA) and purchased by former Australia Test opener Wally Edwards who donated them to the Bradman Museum collection.

"It was an honour because the history of Indian cricket and Australian cricket goes deep. I was fascinated after reading the first four or five chapters of this book," said Shastri.

"You get goosebumps in the early stages, Lala Amarnath coming here, Vinoo Mankad coming here. Bradman playing against India and India playing against New South Wales, Hazare getting 200, it's fascinating," he added.

Meanwhile, the four-match series between India and Australia currently stands level at 1-1 and the third Test is slated to be played at the SCG from Thursday.

Rohit Sharma made a return to the Indian team for the Pink Test against Australia while pacer Navdeep Saini is set to make his debut in the longest format of the game.

India on Wednesday named the playing XI for the Pink Test. Opening batsman Mayank Agarwal has been dropped from the side as Rohit replaces him. Gill will open the innings with Rohit after playing knocks of 45 and 35* in his debut Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Saini comes in for speedster Umesh Yadav. The latter sustained a strain in his left calf muscle on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and has returned to India after he was ruled out of the series.

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