N Jagadeesan, Vishnu Vinod lead race to replace KL Rahul at RCB

IPL 2017

N Jagadeesan, Vishnu Vinod lead race to replace KL Rahul at RCB

Manuja Veerappa • Last updated on Mon, 03 Apr, 2017, 06:56 AM

Jagadeesan has been making giant strides. © Cricbuzz

On their day off, Royal Challengers Bangalore overseas bowlers turned out in good numbers during the trials to find a replacement for injured top-order batsman KL Rahul.

With the 24-year-old local boy, who kept wickets as well in the previous season, unavailable for the entire duration of the Indian Premier League, RCB are looking for an uncapped Indian player.

Four domestic players – Karnataka batsman Pavan Deshpande, N Jagadeesan of Tamil Nadu, Kerala’s Vishnu Vinod and Prashant Chopra from Himachal Pradesh attended the trials under the watchful eyes of coach Daniel Vettori. While Jagadeesan and Vinod are regular wicketkeepers who can bat too, Prashant is an occasional ‘keeper. Deshpande has had a good run this season and is a proven hard-hitting left-hand batsman and a handy off-spinner. He showcased glimpses of his power-hitting against English bowler Tymal Mills.

With AB de Villiers pulling out of the final of the Momentum One-Day Cup – South Africa’s domestic 50-over competition with a back injury, RCB have the option of having Kedar Jadhav or Australia’s Travis Head to keep wickets. The 32-year-old Indian , however, hasn’t kept wickets for a while but has called on to bowl his offbreaks occasionally.

In such a scenario, Jagadeesan and Vinod may fancy their chances of making the cut. Both are proven talents on the domestic circuit both with the bat and behind the stumps. The RCB think-tank probably wanted to test the four youngsters’ ability to handle international bowlers and had Shane Watson, Tymal Mills and Adam Milne bowl to them apart from the regular net bowlers.

Meanwhile, skipper Virat Kohli, who has been ruled out of RCB’s first few games owing to a shoulder injury, joined his teammates in Bengaluru on Sunday (April 2) evening. South African AB de Villiers, who is likely to lead in Kohli’s absence, was expected to arrive late on Sunday night.

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Pakistan beat West Indies by seven wickets to take series 3-1

Pakistan reached 127-3 in 19 overs in reply to West Indies’ 124-8. (Source: Twitter) Pakistan reached 127-3 in 19 overs in reply to West Indies’ 124-8. (Source: Twitter)

Ahmed Shehzad scored 53 in 45 balls as Pakistan beat West Indies by seven wickets in the fourth and final Twenty20 match on Sunday to take the series 3-1.

Pakistan reached 127-3 in 19 overs in reply to West Indies’ 124-8.

The tourists won the toss at Queen’s Park Oval and put West Indies into bat with Chadwick Walton top-scoring on 40 with four sixes and two boundaries.

From 52-1, West Indies slumped to 83-7 as Hasan Ali (2-12) and Shadab Khan (2-16) performed economical spells.

Some late hitting from Carlos Brathwaite, who made an undefeated 37 from 24 balls, gave West Indies something to bowl at but it looked unlikely to be enough.

Pakistan opener Kamran Akmal fell to Samuels for 20 but Shehzad pressed on in partnership with Babar Azam (38) to take his team to the brink of victory. With the target down to 15, both were dismissed in quick succession by Kesrick Williams, who bowled Shehzad with the last ball of one over and had Azam caught by substitute Rovman Powell with the first ball of his next.

Sarfraz Ahmed survived the hat-trick ball and Shoaib Malik was dropped before the pair saw Pakistan across the line with an over to spare.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/pakistan-beat-west-indies-by-seven-wickets-to-take-series-3-1-4597047/

Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan is pure gold, says Dean Jones

Shadab Khan made his T20I debut for Pakistan against West Indies. Shadab Khan made his T20I debut for Pakistan against West Indies.

No player has made his T20I debut with so much success as Shadab Khan of Pakistan. The leg-spinner has picked up seven wickets in his first two T20 internationals and led Pakistan to victory in both matches against West Indies. He was handed his debut in March in the first T20 international in which he picked up three wickets for seven runs. He picked two wickets in his first over itself. The debut performance was no fluke as he led Pakistan to second straight win in the second match, picking up four wickets.

The 18-year-old had impressed one and all with his performance and before this the spinner had impressed coaches in the Pakistan Super League. Dean Jones and Wasim Akram, coaches of the Islamabad United, for which Shadab played, were impressed by him.

“The very first time Akram and I saw Shadab in the nets, we looked at each other and said, ‘this boy is pure gold’,” Jones told PakPassion. “He is an interesting player to coach and I have said this before as well, that for an 18-year-old-kid he has the head of a 30-year-old on him. He has pretty much hit the ground running and yes, he will get whacked a few times in his career but Pakistan have something special there.”

“He did come in with a few technical difficulties with his action and run-up, and we helped him with it during the PSL. We spoke with him about, and gave examples of Shane Warne, whom he admires a lot. We also mentioned the technique of Mushtaq Ahmed to him as well. Then we also brought up the name of Stuart MacGill to show him how all of these spinners got close to the crease,” he said.

Shadab’s success has been mainly because of his wrong’un which troubled the batsmen in West Indies and also in the PSL. Most batsmen failed to pick it up and were either bowled or struck on the pads.

Shadab Khan’s 7 wickets so far in the T20I series against West Indies #Cricket #WIvPAK pic.twitter.com/cLhO8zOb2y — Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) April 1, 2017

“We had to get him to straighten his run-up a bit to achieve this, we had to get him to train on special ‘dance’ steps to accustom himself to a straightened run-up. These were dance steps marked on the carpet of his hotel room so that he could practice before going to sleep and within a week or so, he was all set with this revised run-up and ready to go. He went from an Abdul Qadir type approach to the crease to a much straighter one now,” Jones added.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/shadab-khan-is-pure-gold-says-dean-jones-4596368/

AB de Villiers or Kedar jadhav might keep wickets for us, says Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Daniel Vettori

AB de Villiers is a part of RCB franchise in the IPL. (Source: Express Photo) AB de Villiers is a part of RCB franchise in the IPL. (Source: Express Photo)

The tenth edition of the Indian Premier League has been hit with a massive number of injuries even before the first ball is bowled. Or well, the first sound of the opening ceremony is made. From Virat Kohli to R Ashwin, the franchises have experienced setbacks with some big guns out of either the start of the league or for its entirety.

Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a blow when it was learnt that skipper Virat Kohli will be not be available for at least the first two weeks while opener KL Rahul is also out of reckoning for the entire IPL after picking up a shoulder injury during the first Test against Australia in Pune.

With Rahul’s absence from the team, the slot for the wicket-keeper is left wide opened and coach Daniel Vettori has said that either right-hander Kedar Jadhav would be handed over the duties behind the stumps or it would be South Africa’s mainstay AB de Villiers who will do the proceedings in the role for the franchise.

“Owing to a shoulder injury, KL Rahul will be travelling for his treatment and thus will be unavailable to play as a part of the RCB squad this IPL”, he said.

De Villiers has previously kept wickets for the Proteas and has been a fine customer in that position while Jadhav too has had wicket-keeping experience earlier in the Indian Premier League.

While Kohli and Rahul are both nursing injuries, the situation has created another void in the batting line up and that is of the opener. Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson though has hinted at opening the innings for RCB with Chris Gayle.

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Umesh Yadav could play in KKR’s first home game

Umesh Yadav took 17 wickets in four Tests against Australia, which India won 2-1. (Source: BCCI) Umesh Yadav took 17 wickets in four Tests against Australia, which India won 2-1. (Source: BCCI)

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav could play in Kolkata Knight Riders’ first home game against Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League 10, according to CEO Venky Mysore.

KKR take on Kings XI Punjab on April 13 here after playing Gujarat Lions (April 7) and Mumbai Indians (April 9) away.

There were reports that Umesh might skip the first phase of the cash-rich league.

Mysore had tweeted, “Hearty congrats @y_umesh. Exceptional perf 4 #TeamIndia. Enjoy the well deserved break. C u in Kol fresh & recharged on April 10! @KKRiders.”

Hearty congrats @y_umesh. Exceptional perf 4 #TeamIndia. Enjoy the well deserved break. C u in Kol fresh & recharged on April 10! @KKRiders — Venky Mysore (@VenkyMysore) 1 April 2017

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When asked about the pacer’s availability in the first home game, Mysore responded in the positive.

Umesh took 17 wickets in four Tests against Australia, which India won 2-1.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/umesh-yadav-could-play-in-kkrs-first-home-game-4596090/

R Ashwin set to miss IPL 2017

INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE, 2017

R Ashwin set to miss IPL 2017

Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Fri, 31 Mar, 2017, 07:03 PM

R Ashwin is expected to be fit for the Champions Trophy in June © BCCI

Ravichandran Ashwin, the Rising Pune Supergiant offspinner, is set to miss the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League after being ruled out for six to eight weeks with a sports hernia injury, it was reported on Friday(March 31).

Ashwin, who had the most number of overs in a Test season, having had played non-stop cricket since July, is set to start with rehabilitation soon and regain full fitness in time for India’s title defence at the Champions Trophy in June.

Ashwin’s exclusion doesn’t come as a complete surprise, given that he had first picked up the injury right after the England Tests in December. As a result, he also withdrew from the Tamil Nadu squad for the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Karnataka.

Across Test series’ against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia at home, the offspinner bowled 738.2 overs in 13 Tests and returned a record 82 wickets. Bowling in tandem with Ravindra Jadeja, they finished as the most successful bowling pair in a season with 153 scalps, averaging 24.14.

Ashwin’s absence will come as a mighty blow for RPS, whose tryst with injuries continue, having already lost Mitchell Marsh due to a shoulder injury. In the 2016 season, the offspinner picked up 10 wickets in 14 games for the Pune-based franchise.

Meanwhile, Murali Vijay is likely to join his Tamil Nadu and India teammate on the sidelines with shoulder and wrist concerns.

India physio Patrick Farhaart is expected to send across a report to the concerned franchises.

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Emerging out of the shadows – The Ravindra Jadeja story

His 25 wickets at 18.56 against Australia took him outside Ashwin’s giant shadow and delivered promise of much more © AFP

There is a reason Ravindra Jadeja is my player of the season. It might raise eyebrows given that Ravichandran Ashwin took a scarcely believable 82 wickets, and added 464 runs to go with it, or that Virat Kohli scored 1252 runs with double centuries popping out of his back pockets, not to speak of his high intensity captaincy style. But while those were outstanding numbers you expected those two to dominate a home season. Don’t get me wrong, to dominate when you are expected to is a skill that few possess but from not being in the side in the West Indies nine months ago to get to where he has is enormously praise-worthy for Jadeja.

I particularly liked the way he grew as the season progressed. To be completely honest, when the season began, Jadeja was still seen as a good bad-wicket bowler and good-wicket batsman. That is not a crime, merely a limitation and it is one that Jadeja carried with him everywhere. And because of the eccentricities of social media identities, and the expectations that arise from high IPL price tags, Jadeja had become an easy target for snipers.

He began the season as a support bowler and Ashwin gave him credit when he said that Jadeja’s miserliness at the other end, allowed him to experiment and have a few runs at his disposal. Then as the season wore on, he began taking wickets on good pitches and his 26 wickets against England was proof of that. It was a series played on wickets that had good intent if not good looks and as the Australians arrived, it was a mistake in judgement they were to make too, post Pune! His 25 wickets at 18.56 against Australia took him outside Ashwin’s giant shadow and delivered promise of much more.

I liked the fact too that he got 556 runs out of himself and going ahead, as India plays a lot more overseas, he will have to ask himself, not for the first time in his career, how important his batting is to his overall identity. He started off, in his own eyes, as a batsman first but that evolution hasn’t always been easy. But now that he has scored runs at 42.76 over a season he must ask himself if he wants to be a lower order free hitter or someone who aspires to bat up the order, a place his natural progression might have taken him towards.

It won’t be an easy decision because genuine all-rounders are rare breeds and having to focus on two skills, using different mindsets and muscles can be taxing. He could choose to continue batting at No. 8 where his original mentor Shane Warne did, occasionally producing crucial innings but really remaining a bowler who batted enough to score 12 half centuries. That would be an easier decision. Or he could seek to move up to No. 7, even in overseas conditions, for that would allow India to play five bowlers. It won’t be an easy move but I believe it must lie within his ambition.

Playing in South Africa towards the end of the year, or maybe the start of the new one, will be his next major examination in Test cricket. He has enough time to think it through. Indeed, India’s overseas successes could well emerge, in significant measure, from Saha, Ashwin and Jadeja, and maybe even Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, taking a step up with the bat.

For now though, Jadeja can bask in the satisfaction of a season very well played, one that he must look back in the years to come, as his breakout season in Test cricket.

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India wrap up marathon home season with sensational win

END OF A SUPERB SEASON

India wrap up marathon home season with sensational win

• Last updated on Tue, 28 Mar, 2017, 11:25 AM Vishaal Loganathan in Dharamsala

Rahul gave India their victory and brought up his sixth fifty of the series. © BCCI

India wrapped up the four-match series against Australia and their marathon Test season of 17 Tests in fine fashion, as their batsmen chased down the target of 106 with eight wickets to spare on the fourth day in Dharamsala on Tuesday (March 28). KL Rahul laid the base for the win with a finely-crafted fifty while Ajinkya Rahane, in his first Test as captain, gave India a finishing touch that they would’ve have wanted with a brutal 28-ball 37, completing a fine turnaround after their crushing loss in Pune in the first Test.

As a result, India won the series 2-1, regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and ending the season as the top-ranked Test team in the world in a season that ended with 12 wins, four draws and a solitary defeat – an amazing phase that they will look back with immense pride.

India had put in a splendid bowling effort on the third day to dismiss Australia for 137. Needing 106 to complete a series victory, Murali Vijay and Rahul held on to their wickets for more than 30 minues. Runs didn’t really flow during a tough initial phase, but India made decent progress with Rahul looking to press on.

Australia needed a barrage of wickets and quickly if they were to put India under pressure. Pat Cummins gave them an opening when he had Vijay feather an edge behind while on 8. Vijay should have been dismissed in Cummins’s previous over, his first of the day, but the Australians didn’t choose to review a caught behind appeal that had gone off the gloves.

In the next over from Cummins, Vijay’s defence took the edge through to the keeper and the umpire made the right decision. Cheteshwar Pujara’s knock lasted just five deliveries, ending in a comical run-out after a huge mix up. Glenn Maxwell hit the stumps direct from covers and India suddenly found themselves two down.

The captain, Rahane came out looking to score quick and put the pressure back on Australia. He opened his account with a solid straight drive for four, and followed that up with an equally impressive pull off Cummins. After the drinks break, Rahane stepped into Twenty20 mode. He slammed a brutal pull over midwicket for six, and then followed it up by stepping away from the stumps and whacking another one over covers. Any hopes the Australians had of a miraculous comeback when up in smoke with those shots.

Rahul gave India their victory and brought up his sixth fifty of the series with a flick for three off Steve O’Keefe and let out a huge roar, while Rahane calmly went up to the Australians to shake hands.

India will look back at the series with tremendous pride. For the first time this season, they found themselves playing catch up, and they responded in style. They did not really find themselves in the dominant scenarios that had come to define them, but yet, chasing the eight ball, they showed they are still close to impossible to beat.

For Australia, they will go back with their head held high. They were expected to have their socks knocked off, but competed in every single game and took the contest until the end. They had their chances in the final game too, but couldn’t find the killer instinct to put India to the sword. A fascinating series, full of controversy and outstanding cricket comes to an end. Perhaps, this is one during which cricket was truly the winner.

Brief scores: Australia 300 & 137 (Glenn Maxwell 45; Ravindra Jadeja 3-24, Umesh Yadav 3-29, R Ashwin 3-29) lost to India 332 & 106/2 (KL Rahul 51*) by eight wickets.

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The hosts were pummeled by 10 wickets in Mumbai in 2001, by an Aussie team that was near invincible. In Pune in 2017, Steve O’Keefe’s 12-wicket match-haul confined India to a 333-run defeat

Photos: 8 startling similarities between 2001 and 2017 India-Australia series’

The recently ended Border-Gavaskar Trophy was astonishingly similar to the manner in which the famous 2001 series panned out. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this comparison. All pics/AFP
Courtesy: http://www.mid-day.com/

Source: http://www.mid-day.com/photos/photos-8-startling-similarities-between-2001-and-2017-india-australia-series/12874

Hamilton indication of South Africa finding their level

CRACKS IN ARMOUR

Hamilton indication of South Africa finding their level

Tristan Holme • Last updated on Tue, 28 Mar, 2017, 02:43 PM

Tuesday was the third time in four innings that South Africa have lost their first five wickets with less than 150. © AFP

It was around 6.30am on Tuesday (March 28) that South African cricket fans started doing the rain dance. The moves of this dance have become familiar to them over the past two years as the country has grappled with a debilitating drought, but this time motives are a little different. The Proteas, going into the last day of their Test series against New Zealand, could do with a few downpours in Hamilton to stave off a late-summer wilt.

The forecast for the fifth day of the third Test suggests that they may indeed receive some help from mother nature, but then weather predictions in New Zealand should not be taken as gospel. “The iPhone app had 100% thunderstorms all afternoon and we didn’t get any,” Jeetan Patel noted after day four.

Regardless of what happens on Wednesday, the events of the past few days in Hamilton should be taken to heart by South Africa, given the extent to which they have been outplayed by an opponent with some striking limitations. Granted New Zealand have been lifted by the magnificence of Kane Williamson, but the fact that he has proven himself to be the best player on either side at the moment confirms that this is a South African team lacking its usual star quality.

Since the two teams met in South Africa last August, the Proteas have had an excellent summer in both Tests and One-Day Internationals, with the Test series win in Australia the obvious highlight. But their overall performance in New Zealand is now beginning to show some cracks in their amour, and suggest that their previous opponents might have flattered them a little.

Tuesday was the third time in four innings that South Africa have lost their first five wickets with less than 150 on the board, and on two of those occasions their score was less than 80. All of that despite the absence of Trent Boult in both Tests, and Tim Southee in this one.

“We haven’t had good starts,” admitted assistant coach Adrian Birrell. “In New Zealand it has shown that the new ball is quite tricky. Once the ball gets old, it gets easier to bat. We haven’t had good starts and on the back of that we have struggled. But we also take great heart that we’ve been able to get decent totals by guys in the middle order really putting fantastic performances together.”

Quinton de Kock has come to the rescue twice, but it remains to be seen whether this second-innings collapse in Hamilton is one firefight too far for an overworked wicketkeeper-batsman with dodgy fingers who is understandably looking a little ragged. He has now been intricately involved in 214 of the 290 overs of this match, which has come at the end of a long summer in which he has played 28 international matches – 11 of them Tests.

Birrell’s observations about New Zealand conditions will also apply in England, leaving South Africa with some difficult questions to face ahead of that tour in July. The only defence the selectors might be able to offer for dropping Stephen Cook in Hamilton and replacing him with a debutant who is not an opening batsman could be that it is a one-off call for the final Test of the summer. Theunis de Bruyn is too promising a talent to waste by pushing him into uncomfortable positions – as was done with Stiaan van Zyl.

De Bruyn’s future also relates to JP Duminy, who has not turned a corner after all. On the back of his 155 against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers, Duminy made the case that his poor career average, which has forever been stuck in the low 30s, was due to “opportunities”, and that batting at No. 4 was allowing him to show his true colours. The 32-year-old has had some good moments this summer – his 141 at Perth the most notable – but an average of 36.80 from 11 Tests since August shows his inconsistency.

Notably, that is not the record of a No. 4 batsman in a team with ambitions of challenging for the No. 1 Test ranking. And that is really the point here – that while South Africa have shown an impressive group collective under Faf du Plessis’s leadership, without the star quality of AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn they are likely to find that step up to the highest level is beyond them.

De Villiers will not return to the Test side at least until the end of the year, while the days of Steyn producing lightning-quick spells to knock sides over on flat wickets are sadly over, given his age and the extent of his recent injuries. It was that sort of spell that South Africa were lacking as New Zealand batted for 162 overs in Hamilton over the past two days.

Meanwhile, Hashim Amla undoubtedly still has some big innings left in him, but his record suggests that his days of uber-consistency may be over as well. His average over the last two years is 36, while this summer he averaged 33 from 11 Tests with just one century.

That is not to say that this is a side in crisis. Kagiso Rabada is already an outstanding fast bowler and will only get better, Dean Elgar has bedded in, du Plessis looks like a captain who should have been appointed three years ago, and de Kock will surely be the finest wicketkeeper-batsman of his generation. South Africa started the summer in seventh place, and have reassembled their team even as they have returned to the top three.

But their performance in Hamilton suggests that they might just be finding their level.

© Cricbuzz

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