Category: _author:Cricketnext Staff

Harmanpreet Kaur Hits Maiden KSL Fifty to Keep…

India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur registered her maiden half-century of the KIA Super League, on Tuesday, as her side Lancashire Thunder beat Yorkshire Diamonds by nine runs to stay in contention for a place in the final.

The 29-year-old produced a quick-fire 44-ball 74, inclusive of four boundaries and six sixes at Stanley Park in Blackpool. Kaur was dismissed in the final over of the innings after propelling Thunder’s score to 154/9 in 20 overs.

After a relative slow start of 12 runs from 14 balls, the all-rounder smashed 62 from the next 30 deliveries to ensure the Thunder finished with a competitive score after being asked to bat first.

It wasn’t just the Diamonds who felt the wrath on Tuesday as during the course of her innings, she smashed a car windscreen and nearly hit BBC journalist and broadcaster Stuart Flinders on the sidelines.

In reply, the Diamonds managed just 145/8 in their run-chase a loss which ends their hopes of qualifying for the final stage of the competition.

Thunder are scheduled to play their final league game against Southern Vipers at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday (August 18).

Scores: Lancashire Thunder 154/9 in 20 overs (Kaur 74; Brunt 3-22) beat Yorkshire Diamonds 145/8 in 20 overs (Brunt 44*; Hartley 2-27) by 9 runs.

We Have to Remove All-rounder Tag From Hardik …

New Delhi: India spinner Harbhajan Singh has trained his guns towards Hardik Pandya by saying that he doesn’t deserve to be referred to as an all-rounder on the basis of his performance in the ongoing five-match Test series against England.

With the bat, Pandya has scored just 90 runs in four innings so far and has managed to pick just 3 wickets while bowling. This has prompted Singh to question Pandya’s abilities in the longest format and reckoned that the 24-year-old must learn from the England’s all-rounders, like Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes.

“He hasn’t got many runs as a batsman and the captain doesn’t seem to have confidence in his bowling,” Singh told AajTak. “If he doesn’t bowl in these conditions then things will only get difficult for him and the Indian team in the future.”

“We have to remove the all-rounder tag from him as an all-rounder contributes in both the departments as Stokes, Curran did in the first Test and now Woakes has done at the Lord’s. The same is expected of Hardik Pandya, he cannot become Kapil Dev overnight!,” he added.

Singh was referring to the fact that Stokes picked up six wickets in the first Test to play a more than important role in England victory, while Curran starred with both bat and ball, and was named the man of the match at Edgbaston. In the Lord’s Test, Woakes’ ton with the bat and four-wicket haul with the ball helped him win the coveted prize.

​Before boarding the flight for England, Shatsri had said:” “For us there is no away, every game is a home game because we don’t play the opponent, we play the pitch. Our job is to conquer the pitch wherever we go.” Referring to this comment, Bhajji criticised coach Ravi Shastri as well, saying that he must be answerable if India end up to be on the losing side in the series.

“The coach has to come on record, today or tomorrow he has to speak up. He is answerable to everyone. If India loses the series, then he might have to eat his words and admit that conditions do make a lot of difference,” said Singh.

“We haven’t showed any intent to fight back. The willingness to win is missing and that is most disheartening. We are losing without posing any challenge to the opponent. It is extremely disappointing.”

India Are 2-0 Down & We Are Still Sipping Coff…

Former India cricketer and chief selector Sandeep Patil has lashed out at current skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri for the team’s spineless performance so far in the ongoing five-match Test series against England.

The visitors lost the first Test by a whisker in Edgbaston but the abject performance of the batsmen once again came to the fore at Lord’s where India succumbed to a humiliating innings defeat in the second Test.

Patil, in his column for the Quint, took special note of Kohli’s ‘coffee’ comment, which the Indian skipper had made before leaving for England. During the press-conference on the eve of India’s flight to England, Kohli had said: “People have forgotten the Champions Trophy was also played in England. I was asked what I would do when I landed there, and I said I wanted to walk around the streets with a cup of coffee. My thinking is very different.”

“We all clearly remember captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri’s joint press conference before leaving for the tour of England earlier this summer. One bold statement stood out, ‘We have enough days to acclimatise in England and we are going to enjoy coffee’,” wrote Patil.

“Seeing the performance of the Indian team in the first two Tests so far, the team really seems to have taken their skipper’s statement seriously – they are truly only enjoying the coffee in English conditions,” he added.

Patil was also critical of the fact that the Indian team opted for a break before the Test series and played just one warm-up match, which too was changed from being a four-day game to just a three-day match.

“It is puzzling that when the BCCI provided the team the opportunity to play practice games, as was requested, coach Ravi Shastri and captain Kohli instead felt that rest was the best option for the team and played just a truncated three-day practice game in the 14 days between the ODI and Test series,” wrote Patil.

“Great Indian cricketing idols Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly all voiced their concerns, but the current Indian team never felt like taking their advice.”

Patil felt that the Indian cricketers have been playing in fear and their performances in England seem like that of a player who has just made his maiden senior bow at the international level.

“We are 2-0 down in the series with three more matches to go and I do feel especially bad because all these players who have extraordinary talent got themselves selected during my tenure as chief selector,” wrote Patil.

“It amazes me that these extremely-talented cricketers, in the two Tests so far, have been looking like they are playing in fear, as if they are playing their debut match! As I said earlier, cricket is a cruel game. A game of glorious uncertainties. Yesterday’s heroes have become today’s zeroes. Seventy percent of this England tour is already over and we are still sipping coffee.”

Ben Stokes – A Timeline of a Year Long Turmoil

England all-rounder Ben Stokes was found not guilty of affray by the jury of  Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday (August 14), bringing an end to a turbulent phase for the England all-rounder. The 27-year-old has been in the spotlight off the field ever since his involvement in a brawl outside a Bristol bar in September last year, and has missed out on international action – most notably Ashes 2017/18 in Australia, which England lost 4-0.

Here’s a timeline of all the events that have unfolded over the last year, starting with the ODI series against Windies in 2017.

26th September, 2017

Arrest: Two days after England’s victory over Windies in the second ODI, news of Stokes’ arrest breaks out for his alleged involvement in brawl outside a bar in Bristol. Alex Hales, who was with the all-rounder, was not arrested but returned to Bristol to help police with inquires.

27th September, 2017

Stokes in Ashes squad: ECB announces Ashes squad, with Stokes as the vice-captain. Authorities begin their investigation into the events in Bristol. Stokes suffered a ‘minor fracture’ to his hand during the incident.

Video Emerges of Bristol Brawl: Later that day, The Sun publishes a video of the incident at Bristol, in which Stokes is seen throwing multiple punches in a brawl.

Stokes, Hales removed from squad: The ECB release another statement, declaring Stokes and Hales ‘unavailable for selection until further notice’.

28th September, 2017

Police appeal for witnesses: Avon and Somerset Police appeal for two male witnesses to the events in Bristol to assist with the investigation.

12th October, 2017

Stokes’ agent issues statement: Neil Fairbrother, Stokes’ agent, issues statement saying Stokes will reveal his version of events in Bristol post completion of police investigation. There is also an acknowledgement of the impact there has been on his team-mates.

28th October, 2017

Two men claim Stokes ‘saved them’: Kai Berry and Billy O’Connell reveal to that the all-rounder stepped in to rescue them on the night in question after an alleged homophobic attack. “We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero,” O’Connell told The Sun. “Kai feared he could be attacked. If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.”

27th November, 2017

Ben Stokes (Image: AP)

Stokes heads for Canterbury: Stokes heads for New Zealand, initially to visit family and then for a stint with Canterbury. ECB provides No Objection Certificate.

29th November, 2017

Completion of investigation: Avon and Somerset police announce that they have completed their investigation and sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) “seeking charging advice”. It is also revealed that a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident.

23th December, 2017

ECB gives green light for IPL: ECB chief executive Tom Harrison conveys Stokes will be provided with NOC to appear in the IPL regardless of CPS’s decision or subsequent internal proceedings. He further adds that in the event of a charge, a resolution could take six months to a year.

15th January, 2018

Stokes charged: Stokes vows to clear his name after being charged by the CPS with affray. He will face trial at Bristol Magistrates’ Court at a later date, along with two other men, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26.

17th January, 2018

International return announced: Despite charge, Stokes is made available for an England return, and is to be part of the squad for the T20 tri-series in New Zealand. “The Board agreed that it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period,” a statement said.

Return deferred: Less than 24 hours after being cleared for selection, Stokes’ first court date is set for February 13 – the day of England’s T20 against New Zealand in Wellington which had initially been earmarked for his return.

27th January, 2018

IPL auction: Stokes attracts highest big at IPL 2018 auction, with Rajasthan Royals buying the services of the England all-rounder for Rs 11.5 crores.

13th February, 2018

Stokes pleads not guilty: During a brief appearance at Bristol Magistrates Court, Stokes enters a not guilty plea – along with his two co-defendants – and the case is moved to Crown Court with the first hearing set for March 12. However, it is confirmed Stokes does not need to attend in person and the ECB say he will fly to New Zealand to join up with the squad.

25th February, 2018

England return: Stokes makes his international return in first ODI of five-match series against New Zealand.

12th March, 2018

Trial date set: Bristol Crown Court sets affray trial date for 6th August, 2018. With the proceedings to last between five and seven days, Stokes is set to miss the second Test against India at Lord’s.

(IMAGE: BCCI)

Prior to the start of the trial, Stokes featured in the bilateral series against New Zealand. He then played the 11th edition of the Indian Premier Leauge for Rajasthan Royals, but had a poor outing with the returning franchise.

Trial Proceedings:

August 6: Trail begins: Stokes’ trial commences with prosecutor claiming the all-rounder, acting in ‘revenge, retaliation or punishment’ lost his self-control and knocked two men unconscious in a street fight last September.

August 7: Doorman testifiesStokes made ‘stupid noises’ and ‘camp gestures’ to mimic two gay men outside a nightclub.

August 8: Trial jury views security camera footage of a gay man allegedly grabbing the groin of another defendant shortly before a brawl erupted.

August 9: Stokes reveals he punched a man for abusing another individual ‘for being gay’. Ryan Hale, who was allegedly knocked out by Stokes, said the England cricketer ‘could have killed me’, as he was formally cleared of affray.

August 10: Stokes tells court that he was not an angry man who lost all control and admitted to having only faint recollections of events.

August 13: Stokes admits to throwing punches at Ryan Ali, who is also standing trial, but his barrister hint at Hales’ role in the fight. Same day, England named an unchanged 13-man squad third Test against India at Trent Bridge.

August 14: Stokes found not guilty of affray by jury in under three hours of deliberations, ending proceedings at Bristol Crown Court. After the verdict, the all-rounder was added to the England for the third Test against India at Trent Bridge.

Live Cricket Score, Sri Lanka vs South Africa,…

As South Africa and Sri Lanka lock horns in the one-off Twenty20 International in Colombo on Tuesday, August 14, both sides will be keen on finishing off the tour on a high. While Sri Lanka won the largely one-sided Test series 2-0, the visitors came back strongly in the five-match One-Day International series winning the first three games on the bounce to take an unassailable 3-0 lead. The hosts, did, however, stage a comeback winning the final two encounters. The last ODI will particularly hurt the South Africans, who were blown away by the spin of Akila Dananjaya to be bundled out for just 121 with the mystery spinner returning 6 for 29 in nine overs to help Sri Lanka win by 178 runs. It also meant that South Africa despite winning the series slipped to fourth place on the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings.

With the T20I being staged in the same venue, Sri Lanka will be hoping to ride on that momentum and sign off on a winning note. For starters, they will be bolstered with the return of Dinesh Chandimal, who comes back after serving his suspension. That means Niroshan Dickwella might have to sit out. Angelo Mathews will continue as captain of the side, though this will be his first 20-over game in over eight months. But the veteran has shown excellent form in the preceding ODI series and will be quietly confident going into the one-off T20I. Sri Lanka’s recent record in the shortest format of the game at home does not inspire too much confidence with both Bangladesh and India outsmarting them in the Nidahas trophy recently, something which South Africa will bear in mind.

There will be a change in captaincy for the visitors with JP Duminy leading the side, in place of the injured Faf du Plessis. Quinton de Kock captained the side in the final two ODIs, though that did not quite go well for South Africa.

Duminy himself is in fine form, having scored 227 runs in five outings striking at a belligerent 135.92. South Africa will hope that rubs onto the team as well.

As far as the head to head record is concerned these two sides have faced off nine times in T20Is. South Africa have won five of these encounters while Sri Lanka have been on the winning side four times.

There is rain in the air in Colombo and there are chances of a thunderstorm, but keeping in mind the drainage conditions on most Sri Lankan grounds, we should get a full game.

Squads

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dhananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha

South Africa: JP Duminy (capt), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi

Hope I Can Continue This Form at World T20, Sa…

With 387 runs in seven innings at an incredible 77.40, Smriti Mandhana has taken the Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) by storm.

Turning out for Western Storm, the Indian opener, with scores of 48, 37, 52*, 43*, 102, 56 and 49 is comfortably the leading run-scorer so far in the tournament and a key reason why Storm have qualified for the Finals day. Striking at 185.16, Mandhana leads the charts for the highest strike-rate and average and has also struck the only hundred so far in the competition, a belligerent 61-ball 102 against Lancashire Thunder.

“I didn’t expect to bat this well in this tournament. I always wanted to come to this tournament to learn a few things that would help me in the T20 World Cup. But yeah, the first T20 century is always special,” said Mandhana in an interview with bcci.tv.

“More than the scores, the way I have been timing the ball in the nets and in the matches is really pleasing. I hope I continue this form in the World Cup.”

With the ICC Women’s World T20 2018, that will be played in the West Indies, just a few months away, the WCSL presents Mandhana a golden opportunity to interact and share the same space as a lot of her contemporaries. This, she says was one of a major reason why she accepted the offer to play in the league without even giving it a second thought.

“When I got this offer from Trevor (Griffin), our coach, the only thing which I was keen was that the World Cup is coming. I didn’t take even, maybe a day to say yes to him, because I was really keen to play this league,” said Mandhana.

“I’ll be playing the same bowlers in the World Cup, and to play them beforehand would be a really big thing and I will also be able to tell all my teammates how they are bowling, and what they are strategising. That was a really big bonus for me.”

Mandhana’s teammates at Storm include the likes of Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson and Stafanie Taylor. The 22-year-old said that she is trying to learn as much as she could from her more experienced colleagues.

“Heather Knight, Shrubsole, Fran Wilson, along with the other England girls, and Stafanie Taylor as well, from the West Indies. So I have been picking her brain as well – how the wickets will be in the West Indies, what the weather will be, so that I can understand the conditions. It’s been really good interactions with them,” said Mandhana.

“I have had one or two lessons with Wilson about reverse sweep, because that’s one thing which I don’t really play, and I am really keen to learn, because you never know in T20 cricket, you have to use one someday. So really good interactions and good friends also. Maybe one day it will help me play better against some international teams.”

The WCSL also presented Mandhana an opportunity to meet her childhood hero – Kumar Sangakkara. The former Sri Lankan legend was doing commentary for one of the games Mandhana was part of, and she quickly made arrangements to meet him.

“I was a huge fan of him (Sangakkara) from when I started watching cricket on TV. Whenever I don’t feel good about my batting, I go back and watch his clips,” she said. “He was doing commentary on our game. So I asked him, ‘Did you feel anything wrong in my batting, which I can improve on?’

"He was like, ‘You are in very good touch. If you think too much about it, you won’t bat the way you are. So just go out there, the way you are batting, I don’t think there’s anything there.’

"That was something really good to know from a legend like Sangakkara sir that he likes my batting and my drives. That was a really good confidence-booster for me. Meeting your idol is always good.”

Storm, the defending champions, play Loughborough Lighting and Surrey Stars before the Finals day on August 27.

Ben Stokes Found Not Guilty of Affray as Jury …

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been found not guilty of affray as the jury announced its verdict on Tuesday. His co-defendant, Ryan Ali, was also found not guilty.

Stokes was arrested following an incident in Bristol in the early hours of September 25 and had been on trial at Bristol Crown Court from August 6.

(More to Follow)

“Sometimes We Win, Other Times We Learn” – Koh…

Following consecutive defeats in the opening two Tests against England in the ongoing five-match series, Virat Kohli has called on the fans to back India urging them to “never give up” on the side.

The Indian captain took to Facebook to convey the message after India’s innings-and-159-run defeat at Lord’s.

“Sometimes we win and other times we learn. You never give up on us and we promise to never give up on you either. Onwards and upwards,” he wrote.

The Indian side has been under the cosh after their insipid performances in England. They ran the hosts close in the first Test in Birmingham going down by 31 runs, but were completely blown away in the second Test at Lord’s being bowled out for 107 and 130 in the two innings even as England amassed 396/7.

None of the Indian batsmen barring Kohli has managed even a fifty in the two Tests so far which has led to severe criticism of the side from all quarters.

Kohli had accepted that India did not play good cricket in the Lord’s Test but their sole focus was to make it 2-1 in the series.

“We have to accept the mistakes, learn from them, put them aside, make sure we’re not thinking about the same mistakes again, rather get confident and not repeat those again,” he had stressed at the time. “We’re thinking of nothing else but to go 2-1 in the series, and from thereon build on that strongly.“

The third Test will be played at Trent Bridge in Nottingham from Saturday, August 18.

Ramesh Powar Appointed Indian Women’s Team Coa…

Ramesh Powar was named as the new head coach for the Indian Women’s Team on Tuesday.

BCCI issued a press release to confirm Powar’s appointment till the Women’s World T20 which is scheduled to be held in West Indies in November.

“The BCCI has appointed Mr. Ramesh Powar as Head Coach of the Indian Women’s Team. Mr. Powar has now been handed over full time duties till 30th November, 2018.

His term will include the tour to Sri Lanka in September, a bilateral series in West Indies in October followed by the ICC Women’s World T20 in West Indies in November.,” the press release said.

Powar was named the interim coach of the women’s team in July after Tushar Arothe was sacked from his position. He is the third coach of women’s team in the past one and a half year. Prior to Arothe, the post was held by Purnima Rau, who was removed just a few months ahead of the women’s World Cup in 2017.

Last Friday, the BCCI interviewed over 20 applicants, with former India spinner Sunil Joshi and former captain Mamatha Maben among the contenders applying for the position along with Powar.

After the initial process, according to The Hindu, six shortlisted applicants were Maben, Joshi, Powar, Atul Bedade, Sanath Kumar – the bowling coach of the India under-19 team and Rajkumar Sharma – who was also Virat Kohli’s first coach.

Powar represented India in 2 Tests and 31 ODIs, picking 40 wickets at the international level. He has been a stalwart in Mumbai cricket, picking 470 wickets in 148 first class matches.

“Naïve, Irresponsible, Stupid”— India Have Com…

Former England great Geoffrey Boycott reckons India will have to show some mental strength and discipline quickly to avoid an embarrassing 5-0 thrashing.

After a closely fought opening encounter in Birmingham that went England’s way by 31 runs, the second Test was all one-way traffic. With rain making frequent appearances at Lord’s, just 170.3 overs were bowled over the course of four days which ended with India being blown away by an inning and 159 runs.

The visitors could manage just 107 and 130 in their two innings with none of their batters managing even a half-century.

“Great teams and great players should not buckle as easily as India did at Lord’s just because the ball swings and seams,” wrote Boycott in his column in the Daily Telegraph. “The whole point of playing cricket in different countries on different pitches and in different climatic conditions is to test your technique, character and ability to adapt.

"So far, the Indian players have let themselves and their supporters down. The batting has been so naive and irresponsible, it has bordered on stupidity. Wafting drives at tempting outswingers is thoughtless.

"Test cricket is becoming a ridiculous mismatch with most teams winning at home and failing miserably abroad. India, the No 1 team in the world, have been awful in two Tests.”

The crux of the Indian batting has been found severely wanting in the two Tests so far. Barring Virat Kohli, who scored a superlative 149 and 51 in the opening game, none of the other batters have managed even a fifty so far in the series.

In comparison, the England batsmen have already scored four half-centuries and a hundred in the two games despite batting one innings lesser.

Dinesh Karthik is bowled by England’s Sam Curran for one on the second day of the second Test. (AFP)

Boycott opined that the Indian batsmen lacked the technical nuances needed to survive in English conditions, pointing out a slew of deficiencies in their game.

“Trying to work straight outswingers through midwicket and then being surprised when you get bowled or nick it to the slips is brainless. Playing the ball on the up in front of your pad is a no-no,” wrote Boycott.

“These are elementary things you do not do against any decent swing bowler in English conditions. To try to do it to James Anderson, who is one of the great master craftsmen in those conditions, tells me the Indian batsmen have not done their homework. They have not sat down, talked or practiced in the nets and got their heads around how they are going to bat differently in England.”

India have been criticized for playing just one practice game ahead of the crucial five-match Test series. That outing against Essex was initially slated to be a four-day encounter but reduced to a three-day affair on the request of the Indian management.

Boycott insisted that the visitors were rather complacent in their planning.

“These guys are used to batting on flat, dry, non-bouncing pitches in India and plundering easy runs. The new ball does not do much and the shine does not last long. Batsmen are king and can play lots of shots straight away,” he wrote. “India have come to England complacently and arrogantly thinking they can bat the same way and everything will be OK on the day.

"Well, it will not. Any time you do not plan and work at your cricket, the game will kick you up the backside, and India deserve the thrashing they are getting.”

Already 2-0 down, the third Test will be staged in Trent Bridge, Nottingham which is one of James Anderson’s happier hunting grounds. The seamer has picked up 60 wickets in just nine outings in the venue, and Boycott did not expect things to get any easier for India.

“Do not expect it to get any easier at Trent Bridge, because that is where Anderson excels. His bowling figures are exceptional in Nottingham and Stuart Broad will be up for the challenge with his home crowd behind him,” said Boycott.