KKR’s batting needs to be top class: Gambhir

IPL 2017

KKR’s batting needs to be top class: Gambhir

Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Sun, 02 Apr, 2017, 09:08 PM

Gautam Gambhir came to the defense of Sunil Narine, who seems to have lost a bit of zing since remodelling his bowling action © BCCI

With the changing nature of the Eden Gardens surface, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir reckons his team’s batting has to be top class in the upcoming season of the IPL.

“From a track that used to favour spinners, it now has good deal of pace and bounce in it. With that as a background, batting has to be top-class,” Gambhir told PTI on Sunday (April 2). “The rival team fast bowlers will come hard at us and we have to be ready for that.”

The core of the batting includes him, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan. KKR even added domestic performer Ishank Jaggi to the side, but the likes of Uthappa and Suryakumar haven’t been in the best of touch. However, the biggest problem that KKR face this season is the absence of their lynchpin – Andre Russell, who has been ruled out of the season after being handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations.

To fill the void, KKR paid a hefty sum to procure the services of Chris Woakes as a like-for-like replacement, but the English all-rounder is yet to prove his destructive prowess in Indian conditions. Gambhir believes while Russell’s absence is a big blow to the side’s balance, it is also an ideal opportunity for someone else to stand up and be counted.

“There are two ways to look at such situations in life,” Gambhir said. “Either we can see Russell’s absence as a challenge or look at it as an opportunity in bold letters. I as an individual, and KKR as a group, are looking it as an opportunity. Maybe a combination of Manish Pandey’s batting and Ankit Rajpoot’s bowling can get us what Russell did. Not only Woakes but the entire team can try to fill-in for Russell and for that you don’t necessarily need an all-rounder. May be some other pair can do this.”

KKR have depended heavily on their spin bowling in the recent seasons, but have opted to assemble one of their strongest fast-bowling attacks for the upcoming season.

“We had left-arm pacemen in Jaydev Unadkat and Pradeep Sangwan in the past and understand the value of this skill that Boult brings in. Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot and Woakes. We have all bases covered when it comes to fast bowling.”

The left-handed opener also said that Sunil Narine, who has lost a bit of his magic touch after remodelling his bowling action, could be a threat again.

“I think we start judging people a little too soon. You can’t expect a golfer, who has changed his swing to be the same force from day one on the greens. I have changed my stance (to open chested) and it’s been close to two years now and I am still settling with it. Give Sunil some time and some space and he will show you his wares again,” Gambhir said.

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Everyone needs to fill in for Andre Russell’s absence: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir leads KKR in IPL. (Source: Express Photo) Gautam Gambhir leads KKR in IPL. (Source: Express Photo)

Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be missing their key all-rounder Andre Russell but skipper Gautam Gambhir wants his team to treat the Jamaican’s absence as an “opportunity in bold letters” during the upcoming Indian Premier League.

The flamboyant Russell has been handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations and KKR now have England’s Chris Woakes as a like-for-like replacement picked from the auctions.

“There are two ways to look at such situations in life. Either we can see Russell’s absence as a challenge or look at it as an opportunity in bold letters. I as an individual, and KKR as a group, are looking it as an opportunity,” Gambhir told PTI during an interview.

Asked if Woakes could fill in for Russell as a batsman, Gambhir gave an interesting answer.

“Maybe a combination of Manish Pandey’s batting and Ankit Rajput’s bowling can get us what Russell did. Not only Woakes but the entire team can try to fill-in for Russell and for that you don’t necessarily need an all-rounder. May be some other pair can do this,” said Gambhir.

The seasoned opener doesn’t believe that it helps brooding when one is a leader.

“I better be looking at glass half full,” he said.

Gambhir reckons that the core Indian group of batsmen like Manish Pandey, Surya Kumar Yadav and Robin Uthappa will have to take more responsibility on a relaid Eden track where pacers will have more advantage.

“From a track that used to favour spinners, it now has good deal of pace and bounce in it. With that as a background, batting has to be top-class. The rival team fast bowlers will come hard at us and we have to be ready for that.”

Talking about pace on Eden Gardens track, New Zealander Trent Boult’s presence would certainly add variety to KKR’s bowling season.

“We had left-arm pacemen in Jaydev Unadkat and Pradeep Sangwan in the past and understand the value of this skill that Boult brings in. Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajput and Woakes. We have all bases covered when it comes to fast bowling.”

Sunil Narine used to be a mystery spinner and strike bowler for KKR before he had to remodel his bowling action due to allegations of chucking.

But the former India ODI captain insists that Narine is still a force to reckon with despite adjusting to his new action.

“I think we start judging people a little too soon. You can’t expect a golfer, who has changed his swing to be the same force from day one on the greens. I have changed my stance (to open chested) and it’s been close to two years now and I am still settling with it. Give Sunil some time and some space and he will show you his wares again.”

On the personal front, the milestone of becoming the first franchise captain to win a hat-trick of IPL titles beckons Gambhir.

“The pressure is normal. We have to win and if we do we will create history by being the first franchisee to win IPL three times. In that sense you can say there is pressure,” he said.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/everyone-needs-to-fill-in-for-andre-russells-absence-gautam-gambhir-4596610/

GST will make India single largest market: Top urbanist

Showing confidence in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), global expert on sustainable development Aromar Revi, who is Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) director, recently told the students of Ahmedabad’s CEPT University that GST would make India the single largest market in the world.

The leading urbanist was speaking on topic ‘Can India’s urbanisation impact its development trajectory?’ on Friday.

Replying to a student’s query on artificial intelligence vis-a-vis Make in India and job threats in the country, he said, “If and when GST is rolled out, we will become the single largest market in the world, which is why everybody wants to come here. That’s why focus on smaller towns and villages is important, which is all about dealing with domestic demand. Our challenge is to be able to Make in India for India. To make it for export is what China did. So, we will have to decentralise manufacturing and we have a huge opportunity here to do that,” said Revi.

Batting for decentralisation of manufacturing and digital infrastructure in the country for economic growth, he said increasing productivity in the sector would expand employment considerably. “We have a fiber optic connectivity now and one can produce anything locally with a globally competitive design and technology.”

He also emphasised on the need for a shift in the governance system, allowing greater partnerships between the central and local governments.

“Such governance systems will allow the cities to become more autonomous for them to grow,” he said.

Casting aside fears of artificial intelligence as a threat to jobs, Revi said,”The opportunity to produce and consume in a decentralised manner is the essence of what the 21st century is all about. Resource constraints imply that you have to deal with water, soil and environment in a decentralised manner and we have the digital connectivity to enable that to happen. But you need to make sure the other infrastructure is there and digital ecosystems are built to enable that. It is the creativity of people that actually adds to the value, not the instrumental character, which a machine can pull.”

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/gst-will-make-india-single-largest-market-top-urbanist/

Proposed FA reforms are missed opportunity, says David Bernstein

David Bernstein, 73, was one of five former executives who last year signed a letter that described the world’s oldest soccer federation as an outdated institution. (Source: Reuters) David Bernstein, 73, was one of five former executives who last year signed a letter that described the world’s oldest soccer federation as an outdated institution. (Source: Reuters)

Proposed reforms of the English FA are a missed opportunity that will make no real change and could end up as a “fudged compromise”, former chairman David Bernstein said on Wednesday.

Bernstein, 73, was one of five former executives who last year signed a letter that described the world’s oldest soccer federation as an outdated institution held back by “elderly white men”.

British Sports Minister Tracey Crouch warned in February that the FA was in danger of losing 30 million pounds ($37.29 million) of public funding and that legislation could be brought in to force change.

The FA subsequently proposed reducing its board from 12 to 10 members and increasing the number of women on it to three by 2018.

Nobody will be allowed to serve more than three terms of three years and 11 new members will be added to the 120-strong FA Council “to ensure it better reflects the inclusive and diverse nature of English football”.

“I don’t think they have done enough,” Bernstein, who was FA chairman between 2011 to 2013, told Reuters at a Cogress Investor Club event.

“I think there’ll be enough to get the government to go along with it because they want an easy time, want to get it settled, but it won’t be enough to make a real change,” he added.

“The board needs to be independent, not controlled by vested interests…and the FA council needs an axe taking to it, frankly.”

Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has described the proposed reforms as “a sham” that still failed to give sufficient representation to minority groups.

The FA has scheduled a formal vote for April 3. If majority approved, the reforms will be voted on by shareholders at an annual general meeting on May 1.

“The danger is that the work that has been done will get accepted just to get rid of the issue because the government’s got enough on its plate with Brexit and so on,” said Bernstein.

“And then we’ll be in a very poor period for the next 20 years. I think we’ll have missed a real opportunity.

“Given the fact that we’ve had a select committee report, a parliamentary debate and a vote of no confidence in the FA and a minister who says she wants to see real action, we’ll never get this opportunity again.

“If it ends up with a fudged compromise, then it’s a missed opportunity.”

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/proposed-fa-reforms-are-missed-opportunity-says-david-bernstein-4591512/

Aaron Cresswell backs Slaven Bilic to revive West Ham’s fortunes

Slaven Bilic’s men have an opportunity to end their five-game winless run against Hull City. (Source: AP) Slaven Bilic’s men have an opportunity to end their five-game winless run against Hull City. (Source: AP)

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic retains the full support of his players despite their worrying dip in form in recent weeks, defender Aaron Cresswell has said.

Bilic has come under pressure after West Ham lost three consecutive Premier League games for the second time this season, sliding to 12th in the table and nine points above the relegation zone.

The club’s poor form has led to media reports suggesting West Ham are looking to change managers at the end of the season, with Reading boss Jaap Stam touted as Bilic’s successor.

“If you ask any of the players, they would say the same, we are fully behind him and fully supportive of him. Hopefully we can turn it around and take that pressure off everyone,” Cresswell told Sky Sports.

“He is positive and passionate about his job. He is bubbly around the place and wants to stay in a positive mood and, as players, that’s what we want.”

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan publicly apologised to the club’s supporters following this month’s 3-2 home defeat to Leicester City.

Bilic’s men have an opportunity to end their five-game winless run and return to winning ways when they travel to face third from bottom Hull City on Saturday.

“It is not going right at the minute, we want to put that right on Saturday. We know we haven’t been good enough, especially of late, and certainly we look forward to the Hull game,” the 27-year-old Cresswell added.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/aaron-cresswell-backs-slaven-bilic-to-revive-west-hams-fortunes-4589577/