Injured Bumrah ruled out of Brisbane Test, Agarwal sustains knock in nets, Ashwin has back spasms

Agencies
January 12, 2021

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Sydney, Jan 12: The injury-ravaged Indian team was dealt another telling blow on Tuesday as pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the fourth Test against Australia due to an abdominal strain.

If that wasn't enough, Mayank Agarwal -- tipped to be Hanuma Vihari's replacement in the playing XI in Brisbane -- has sustained a knock on the hands and it could be a hairline fracture.

To make matters worse, Ravichandran Ashwin's back spasms have aggravated after battling for three hours on the final day, leaving little options for India on the bench.

Bumrah, key to India's attack, sustained the strain during the drawn third Test in Sydney.

It has been learnt that Bumrah's scan reports showed a strain and the Indian team management does not want him to aggravate the injury, keeping in mind the upcoming four-Test series against England.

"Jasprit Bumrah suffered an abdominal strain while fielding in Sydney. He is going to sit out of the Brisbane Test but is expected to be available against England," a BCCI source told PTI.

While the Indian team management is heaving a sigh of relief that Bumrah hasn't sustained a tear but wants to be on the side of caution as playing in Brisbane and breaking down in the middle of the Test match could have an even more adverse effect on the team.

"If we take the risk of him playing at 50 percent, what if the injury aggravates and he breaks down in the middle of the match and then ruled out for better part of England series?

"England is the last series which will decide the qualification for World Test Championship final and we are in contention and would require a fit Bumrah," the senior BCCI source added.

It is now expected that two-Test old Mohammed Siraj will be leading the Indian attack and will be joined by Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan in the Brisbane Test, starting January 15.

Unless, Bumrah is fielded at 30 percent fitness, risking the entire England series, T Natarajan will make his debut.

The problem with Indian team is after injured KL Rahul's departure and Hanuma Vihari's grade 2 tear, there are no back-up middle-order batsman left in the reserves.

The only two available batsmen are two out of form openers in Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.

It remains to be seen if India, knowing their depleted strength and long tail, decide to take the conservative route of playing four bowlers and six batsmen with Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper.

If Agarwal's scans reveal that it's a bruise and not a fracture, then it could well be Prithvi Shaw batting at number three followed by Cheteshwar Pujara , Ajhinkya Rahane and Agarwal himself at number six.

If they go with five bowlers, then collective experience of pace attack will be three Test matches and 10 balls (Siraj-2, Saini -1, Shardul -10 balls on debut, Natarajan-yet to play).

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Agencies
January 14,2021

Muttiah Muralitharan Says Nathan Lyon 'Not Good Enough' to Reach 800 Wickets,  R Ashwin Could

Brisbane, Jan 14: Former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan believes Ravichandran Ashwin can take 800 wickets in the longest format of the game, but Nathan Lyon is not good enough to achieve the feat.

Currently, Lyon has 396 wickets in Test cricket while Ashwin has 377. Ashwin has taken his wickets at an average of 25.33 while Lyon does so at an average of 31.98.

"Ashwin has a chance because he is a great bowler. Other than that, I don't think any younger bowler coming in will go to 800. Maybe Nathan Lyon is not good enough to reach it. He is close to 400 but he has had to play many, many matches to get there," Muralitharan told Michael Vaughan for UK Telegraph, as reported by Fox Sports.

Off-spinner Lyon will play his 100th Test on Friday. Talking about Lyon, Australia skipper Tim Paine had said: "Lyon has bowled okay, I thought in Adelaide, he did create a lot of chances but they did not go to hand. Nathan Lyon has played 100 Test matches, and it is not easy."

"He will play his 100th Test tomorrow and it would be a great achievement. The ball is coming out of his hand beautifully, the Indians have played him very well," he added.

In the ongoing series between India and Australia, Ashwin has taken 12 wickets while Lyon has six.

India and Australia will now lock horns in the fourth and final Test at the Gabba, Brisbane, beginning January 15. The third Test between both these sides had ended as a draw. 

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Agencies
January 20,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 20: Chennai Super Kings has decided to retain Suresh Raina going into the mini-auction ahead of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League. But Kedar Jadhav, Piyush Chawla and Murali Vijay's fate hangs in balance. 

Foreign stars like Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis are also set to be retained while Harbhajan Singh has been released and Shane Watson has retired.

Speaking to ANI, sources in the CSK outfit said that the management will take a final call on the likes of Kedar and Chawla before submitting the final list to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at 5 pm on Wednesday.

"Raina will definitely be a part of the CSK family. He is an integral member and there was never any doubt on him being retained. It was his personal call to return from UAE and the management was clear that his space needed to be respected. We expect him to fire on all cylinders this time around.

"As for Kedar, Piyush and Vijay, we will have to see. It is a touch and go situation and a final call will be taken by the senior management before the final list is submitted to the BCCI today," the source said.

Asked about any other big name who could miss out, the source said that the core would very much remain the same. "Harbhajan has been released as you are aware and Watson has retired. Apart from that, don't see any big name missing out. Bravo and du Plessis will be with us," the source pointed.

With the mini-auction inching closer, franchises looking to retain players were asked to complete the process by Wednesday. Former India batsman Aakash Chopra feels 'Dad's Army' CSK has heavily relied on senior players in the past and the time has come to introduce young guns in the side.

Mahendra Dhoni-led CSK had a dismal outing in last year's IPL. The Chennai based franchise finished at the seventh position in the points table. Chopra said CSK need to change their strategy and must retain last year's match-winners like Shardul Thakur and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

"As the deadline for the IPL Player Retention process approaches, I feel now would be the right time for CSK to shed their 'Dad's Army' tag and introduce young talent in the team," Chopra said on Star Sports show 'IPL: Retention Special'.

"Mahendra Singh Dhoni has relied heavily on senior players who have performed in the past, but he along with the CSK think-tank need to change their strategy. They would certainly need to retain last year's match-winners like Ambati Rayudu, Shardul Thakur and Ruturaj Gaikwad," he added. 

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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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