Category: _author:Cricketnext Staff

Want to Get Back to the National Team as Soon …

Hardik Pandya is all set to make a comeback to competitive cricket for the first time in three months with an eye on the ongoing Test series between India and Australia Down Under.

Pandya, who has been on the sidelines since sustaining a back injury during the Asia Cup 2018 in September will turn out for Baroda during their Ranji Trophy 2018-19 fixture against Mumbai starting Friday (December 14).

“Before I go for any major series, I wanted to see where exactly I stand,” Pandya said in an interview with Times Now. “Ranji Trophy is the best domestic tournament. I wanted to check my fitness levels there, and then take a call about how I am feeling and what should be the next step.

"Right now, I am only focusing on the Ranji Trophy and then obviously, I want to get back to the team as soon as possible, because it’s difficult to stay away for so long.”

The 25-year-old was originally slated to travel with the India A side for three one-dayers against New Zealand A but instead stayed back in order to prove his fitness in India’s domestic premier tournament.

The all-rounder has a chance of making it to the squad for the final two Tests in Australia, which will be held in Melbourne and Sydney, and said that was a major reason why he chose to stay back in India and prove his worth in Ranji Trophy rather than travelling to New Zealand for the 50-over games.

“If I am playing a Test match, I should play a four-day game (rather) than one-day, because one-day is later on,” Pandya said. “I am focusing right now that if I can make it to the team, because there is scope of me making a comeback into the Test team, if I am fit to play a Test match. That’s why I wanted to take my time and see where exactly I stand in Ranji Trophy.

"Playing a Test match is a different league. The workload goes very high, so I wanted to see if I can manage the workload. I knew I would get enough match preparation before the Australia ODIs. Therefore I focused on playing Ranji Trophy.”

Pandya’s inclusion will further boost Baroda’s chances, who are currently placed fifth on the combined Groups A and B points table with 13 points.

13th December 2014: Virat Kohli’s Test Captain…

Virat Kohli’s bow as Test captain ended in a disappointing loss when India suffered a 48-run loss at Adelaide on this day four years ago.

India were chasing 364 and looked to be on course with Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli batting well at one stage.

India were cruising but Nathan Lyon provided Australia the crucial breakthrough, dismissing Vijay for 99.

After that, the Australian off-spinner simply ripped through the Indian batting line-up, picking 7/152. From being 242/3, India were dismissed for 315.

The match was also the debut for leg-spinner Karn Sharma and remains the only Test match he played.

Kohli scored a ton in both innings, but David Warner, Michael Clarke and Steve Smith were among the runs for the Aussies.

All three of them scored centuries and this helped Australia take charge.

Lyon was named man-of-the-match for his incredible spell on the final day.

India vs Australia | Lack of Top-level Players…

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has blamed the lack of top-level players in prominent coaching roles as one of the reasons for decline of Australian cricket.

Ponting gave his complete backing to Justin Langer, calling him “best qualified” for the job but said that lack of international competitive coaching opportunities is affecting on-field opportunities.

“It’s been a topic of conversation for 20 years, about having the right people at the right places at the right times,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

“Whether that’s the cricket academy (now absorbed into the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane) or the states, or the U-19s or 17s around the state set-up, I’m just not sure enough attention is being paid to coaching around Australia.

"I think it might be the reason why we’re struggling to find those (top-level) players now.

"If you wind the clock back 20 years when some of these guys that are (now) playing international cricket or senior players in (Sheffield) Shield cricket, have a look who the coaches might have been around them at that stage and you’ll start to understand some of the reasons.” Ponting added.

Ponting, who is also the head coach of the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, further revealed that he was supposed to take over as the Australian T20I team but the ball-tampering saga derailed his plans.

“The plan was he (Lehmann) was going to continue on as Test and one-day coach, and I’d take over the entire T20 stuff,” Ponting said.

“When he resigned, I just said to Justin straight away, ‘Mate, you have to take over all of these teams right now – you need to be the consistent person around the three formats with these players (and) if I can come in and help, then I’ll help where I can.”

“Whether he (Langer) wanted it to be that way or not, that’s the way it had to be, but when I spoke to him straightaway, he didn’t want to upset me and feel like he was taking a job away.

"At the same time, I knew he had to have those three jobs and those three roles.”

He further added that T20 was a format which suited him more.

“I’m probably more tactically up to date with the trend in that game that any of the others,” he said.

“It fits into what I want to do – it’s not as a big a time commitment as it is with the other formats.

"Like I’ve said to Justin all the way through – Justin will have me (around the team) one day out of every month just to be around – but if I’m going to do it, I want to be able to commit and not just look like I’m coming in and out.

"I want to commit to the players more than anything else, I want to be a consistent person, a consistent voice around for the players.

"If I don’t think I can fully commit to doing it for doing most of the time, then I won’t do it.”

India vs Australia Live Streaming: When and Wh…

The live telecast of the match between India and Australia will start at 7:50 AM on December 14 (Friday). The match can be seen live on the Sony Network and India vs Australia live streaming will be available on SonyLiv. You can also follow our live blog for detailed updates and analysis on CricketNext.

Preview

India vs Australia Live Streaming: Most Indian teams of the past would be wary of a green top but the Virat Kohli-led side will see it as an opportunity to bulldoze the Australians when the second Test begins on a pitch offering plenty of pace and bounce at the brand new Optus Stadium on Friday.

The mood in the Indian camp was summed up best by the skipper after a green pitch was unveiled on eve of the maiden Test at the new facility.

“We get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches now,” said Kohli, who has a potent pace attack at his disposal.

Curator Brett Sipthorpe is trying to produce the ‘bounciest’ pitch he can and that could very well work in India’s favour as the visitors aim to take a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series,

India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs.

Keeping with tradition at the good old WACA, a raging quick wicket has been laid for this inaugural five-day game. It has a healthy layering of grass which could impact strategies for both sides.

The visitors will surely name a changed eleven as they have been hit by a couple more injuries. India named their 13-man squad for this second Test, with R Aswhin and Rohit Sharma the two notable absentees. Ashwin is ruled out owing to a left-abdominal strain while Rohit is laid low due to a back issue that he sustained whilst fielding in the first Test at Adelaide.

The batsman missed out on both days of practice leading to the second Test. Ashwin also skipped the optional training on Wednesday, and while he was present for warm-ups during Thursday practice, he didn’t bat or bowl in the nets. Meanwhile, Prithvi Shaw continues to be ruled out, meaning India will retain their opening combination of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay.

For the other two spots in the playing eleven, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have been included in the 13-man squad. It gives rise to different permutations and combinations, and Kohli does have prior history of picking an all-pace attack earlier in 2018.

At Johannesburg, on another raging green-top wicket, he picked a four-pacer attack with Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder.

India also have played an all-pace attack in Perth back in 2012, when MS Dhoni fielded Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and R Vinay Kumar at the WACA Ground. Virender Sehwag bowled 7.2 overs of off-spin in that Test, and it provides a template for Kohli to follow.

With Rohit out injured, Vihari is likely to play his second Test after his maiden appearance at the Oval, wherein he scored 56 runs in the fifth Test against England.

Vihari is a handy off-spinner as well, and the team management hasn’t been shy to use him as such. At the Oval, when India did play with four full-time bowlers, he bowled 10.3 overs.

In the practice game in Sydney too, Vihari bowled 12 overs against Cricket Australia XI. Along with Vijay, picking Vihari allows the Indian think-tank to go in with a four-pacer strategy, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming in for the injured Ashwin.

Even so, recent records need to be considered. In November, Western Australia hosted New South Wales for a Sheffield Shield game at this new ground as a dry-run for this maiden Test.

Out of 40 wickets to fall in that four-day game, eight went to spinners with Nathan Lyon taking seven wickets for 120 runs in two innings and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar picking the one wicket for 69 runs in two innings.

Clearly, Lyon as the off-spinner was able to exploit the bounce on offer. If Ashwin had been available, Kohli perhaps would have still been tempted to play him. With Jadeja in the squad though, there is still possibility to go in with a spinner albeit the temptation is greatly reduced.

The Indian batting line-up should otherwise be unchanged. On Thursday, the three Indian pacers, who played in Adelaide, didn’t bowl at all. They did pad up and have a hit in the nets.

Australia could make a tactical change to their batting line-up as well. Aaron Finch has come under sharp criticism for his shot selection in the first Test and there are growing concerns about him going into this match.

After Wednesday’s practice sessions, there was growing opinion that either Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh could open in his place, with Finch slotting down in the middle order.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh still only has an outside chance to play in this Test with skipper Tim Paine declaring himself fully fit after being hurt on his right hand in Adelaide. Australia are expected to field the same bowling line-up and barring any surprising injuries, Peter Siddle is not in consideration.

India squad: Virat Kohli (capt), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.

Australia squad: Tim Paine (capt & wk), Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood.

Rejuvenated Windies Eye Series Win Against Ban…

Bangladesh’s 2-0 whitewash of the West Indies at home in the two-match Test series led many to believe the limited overs series would be a foregone conclusion as well, a notion strengthened by the manner in which the visitors lost the first ODI of the three-match series.

However, a series-leveling win in the second match means both teams go into the final match at Sylhet on Friday with a chance to take home the series.

Shai Hope and Keemo Paul’s unbeaten 71-run stand helped rescue them from 185/6 and lead them to victory and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan believes the hosts must figure out how to keep Hope quiet.

“Shai Hope is playing excellent cricket and in the last game it was a chance-less effort, so we need to work on how to stop him. They won because they played well while we lacked in some areas. We just need to improve on that,” Hasan said ahead of the game.

The other major concerns for the home side will be ensuring that no catches are dropped as well as putting enough runs on the board for their bowlers to defend.

Both issues plagued the side in the previous match and the home side will be keen to ensure that at least one of the top order batsmen manages to score a hundred or even bat through the innings.

“We always had centuries or two centuries or innings of 80-90 runs. The batsmen couldn’t implement what they tried to do. We have to minimize the mistakes in the next game,” Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza had said after the previous game.

For the Windies, the focus will remain on building on what they did well in the last game. Hope will be full of confidence but so will Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo, both of whom made good starts but could not build on them.

That being said, there are headaches for them as well. The form of stand-in skipper Rovman Powell and opener Chandrapaul Hemraj remains a concern and their bowlers have had a mixed showing in the series.

The hosts boast a far superior bowling line-up, meaning the Windies batsmen will need to step their game up so as to stand a chance of emerging victorious.

In July this year, Bangladesh had won an ODI series against the Windies in the Caribbean 2-1 after being 1-0 down. The Windies will be hoping to pull off a similar feat this time around.

Allan Border Medal Night Renamed as Australian…

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association have said that their annual cricket awards event will be renamed as the Australian Cricket Awards from the 2019 edition.

Previously the awards, which celebrated the performances of Australian cricketers internationally and domestically, had the Belinda Clark Award and Allan Border Medal as the top honours and was awarded to the female and male cricketer of the year respectively.

There are several changes that are being made to the awards night as compared to previous years to reflect the change of scenario in Australian cricket and in particular the increased spotlight on women’s cricket and the popularity of the T20 format.

“This event has a rich history and updating the name to the Australian Cricket Awards is a very positive step in recognising the current state of the game,” said Australian Cricketers’ Association CEO Alistair Nicholson.

“Whether current-day players or our past legends, this event is a great opportunity to recognise some outstanding achievements, and for the players to celebrate with their peers.” Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts also lauded the move.

“We are very proud of the history of cricket’s premier awards and have taken the opportunity to change the name to reflect the evolution of the sport that has taken place in the years since the Allan Border Medal and the Belinda Clark Award, were first introduced,” said Roberts.

“The Australian Cricket Awards will be a wonderful celebration of our sport and an occasion that highlights the achievement, passion and dedication of our women’s and men’s players across all formats of the game.”

The 2019 edition of the Australian Cricket Awards is scheduled for February 11th in Melbourne.

India vs Australia: Give Finch a Few More Test…

Australia opener Aaron Finch should be given the time to establish himself as a Test opener, believes Victoria coach Andrew McDonald even as the debate continues over whether he should play at the top of the order.

Finch could only manage scores of 0 and 11 in the first Test against India in Adelaide as Australia lost by 31 runs, leading to many asking for him to be pushed into the middle order.

“We’re one Test match in and there’s a lot of noise around it, so I don’t really understand the noise around it,” McDonald told Melbourne radio station SEN on Wednesday.

“I think let him play and judge him over a period of time. We’re very quick to judge players in that environment, he would have been nervous and he’s got to settle into Test cricket in Australia.

"It wasn’t that long ago where we were talking him up how well he did in the UAE as a Test opener, so I’d like to judge him after a few more (Tests) to be honest and then make a really educated comment around that.

McDonald dubbed the outcry over Finch’s form an overreaction and said that he cannot be judged solely on the basis of two poor performances.

"At the moment it’s a little bit of an overreaction on the back of a couple of innings. Most players are flexible enough to bat in many different positions.

"Is he a Test opener? I think that will play out in time if we give him a few Test matches to settle into that position.

"Then we’ll be able to judge him on the performances on the back of that.”

The second Test between India and Australia gets underway at Perth on Friday (December 14).

India vs Australia: Jadeja Replaces Injured As…

On the eve of the second Test against Australia at the new Optus Stadium in Perth, Indian captain Virat Kohli announced their 13-man squad for the match.

Following the landmark win in Adelaide to take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test match series, Kohli has been forced into making a couple of changes to his squad.

Ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been ruled out of the second Test due to a left-sided abdominal strain, while Rohit Sharma is still undergoing treatment for the lower back injury he sustained while fielding in Adelaide.

Teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw is also out of contention as he yet to recover from his ankle ligament injury in time although his recovery is going well.

The injury to Ashwin means Ravindra Jadeja is the only spinner included in the squad, while the pace battery comprising the five fast men Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have all been called up.

Speaking to the media present, Indian captain Virat Kohli said, “We get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches now.”

India 13-man squad: Virat Kohli ©, M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav

(more to follow)

Brisbane Heat Set to Unleash Mujeeb & Pattinso…

Mujeeb Ur Rahman might be the youngest signee in the eight-year history of Big Bash League but Brisbane Heat coach Daniel Vettori believes the 17-year-old Afghanistan prodigy is way ahead of his age and is someone who understands the game. Mujeeb is set to make his BBL debut and will represent Brisbane in the forthcoming edition of the T20 league.

“The thing for him is since he’s arrived on the international scene he’s performed wherever he’s gone – and he’s gone everywhere,” Vettori told cricket.com.au. “He’s played in most competitions around the world and he’s been highly successful.”

Mujeeb has already played 46 T20s, picking up 49 wickets at an economy rate of 6.91. He has also featured in domestic T20 competitions in Bangladesh, Pakistan and most notably India, where he picked up 14 wickets in 11 matches for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018.

“He’s got so much experience in such a short period of time that I think he really understands his game,” Vettori continued.

“I think that’s true of all the Afghan players – they all feel like their self-coached, so therefore they really know what they’re doing in any situation. From what I’ve seen, he doesn’t get flustered, the pressure’s not an issue for him, and he just gets on with things, and particularly bowling at the Gabba, that’s the mentality that you need.

"He’s very tall, he bowls quick, and he bowls from a height that makes it difficult. His variations, while you won’t see them as much on a wicket like the Gabba, his control of those variations set him apart.”

Vettori also has high expectations from another new recruit James Pattinson who has really matured as an all-rounder in the last couple of years.

“He hasn’t played a heap of T20 cricket, but if you look at the last few years of his overall cricket, he’s really started to mature as an allrounder, and I think that’s where we’ll get the most benefit of him – as a strike bowler and looking to bat in that seven or eight role, which is a crucial role in the T20 game,” Vettori said.

“There’s hope that his bowling and his body stays (right), because it’s a pretty special package, but when you add the batting to it as well, he could become one of those world-class allrounders.”

Pattinson knows he will need much more than sheer speed, which is his forte, to be successful at Gabba.

“In the shorter formats of the game, my strength is probably my pace so I’ll be obviously trying to look to bowl with pace … with your change-ups,” he said. “I think the way the batters play now, they’re exceptional and they’ve got all the shots, so a lot of time fast bowling doesn’t really worry the batters too much.

"So you have to be able to be adaptable and at times look to bowl with pace and aggression on a good length but change it up as well – not being predictable is a big thing in Twenty20 cricket. Trying to think one step ahead of the batters is the way to go.”

Pattinson will share the dressing room with Brendon McCullum, with whom he shares quite a bit of history.

“I was lucky enough – or not lucky enough – to bowl to him in my first over in Test cricket,” Pattinson recalled. “He took me for (12) at the Gabba. I thought it was going to be hard work from there.

"I managed to play him in his last Test match as well, where I think he got 160 or something and smacked them all around Hagley Park in Christchurch. He’s a fantastic player to play against, and now with, and hopefully he can continue the form he’s had for a number of years. He’s a pretty exciting player to play with, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Brisbane will be under the new leadership of Chris Lynn, while Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes have appointed Glenn Maxwell and Matthew Wade respectively as their captains for this edition.

Ravindra Jadeja Unwinds by Spending Time at Ho…

Sporting a tattoo of a horse on his forearm, Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s love for the animal has been well documented in the past.

And as the Indian team wrapped up a victory in the first Test in Adelaide, Jadeja took some time out to unwind and visit the Indian team’s local liaison officer Craig Newton’s residence on the outskirts of the city. The reason? Newton breeds a number of horses, right up Jadeja’s alley.

In a video posted by the BCCI, Jadeja is seen spending time with his ‘favourite beast’, and speaking about how his love for horses developed.

“Once you start researching about horses, it’s not enough. It’s a whole different world out there,” Jadeja said. “They are extremely loyal creatures.”

With three Test matches to go, Jadeja could find himself involved in the series at some point. Spending time doing what he loves best (apart from playing cricket, of course), might just be a great way to keep himself motivated and fresh for whenever he is called in to do the job for his country!