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Concrened about ODI middle order, Test opening slots: Batting coach Vikram Rathour

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Vikram Rathour
Vikramm Rathour.

New Delhi:India’s newly-appointed batting coach Vikram Rathour on Friday said the opening slot and the performance of the middle-order in ODIs are his primary concerns as he prepares to begin his tenure with the series against South Africa.current sports news

Rathour replaced Sanjay Bangar when fresh appointments were made for the coaching and support staff. His tenure started on Thursday and the first big challenge awaiting him is the home Twenty20 and Test series against South Africa from September 15.

“The middle-order in one-day is not doing well and we must, of course, sort it out. The other area of concern is the opening partnership in Tests. We have options and there is healthy competition. We need to find a way for them to be more consistent,” Rathour told the BCCI’s official website.current sports news

Rathour said the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey seem to be good options for the 50-over format.

“Shreyas Iyer has done well in the last couple of games and we also have Manish Pandey. These two guys have done very well in domestic cricket and with India A. These are the batters who are capable of doing the job and I have no doubt about it in my mind.

“It is a matter of getting it right at the top level. We need to back them and provide them with the right preparations so that they can be there for a longer time. They have enough talent in them to do well,” he said.

His appointment was mired in controversies as he faced conflict of interest charges, which were later dropped.

The former right-hander, who played six Tests and seven ODIs for India, said he has a good equation with all the players in the current team.

“We have a great set of people in the coaching staff. I have the advantage of knowing them as I was a national selector. I know the players and have worked with them at some point in time,” he said.

“I have worked with Mr Ravi Shastri, Mr B. Arun and Mr R Sridhar and also Mr Virat Kohli. I know the batters personally and share a good rapport with all of them. It is now about taking it to the next level,” he added.

Asked about the pressure that comes with the job, Rathour said he is prepared for it.

“It’s a big responsibility. I will be working with the batters and I will be there to provide any technical help they might need. I think there will be a lot of discussions,” he said.

“I will be trying to understand their mindset and understand the decisions they will be making when they are batting. I will try and replicate things as close to the real scenario and get them ready,” he added.

“At this level, man-management is the key. How you support them, how you look after them in tough times has been my strength.”

Rathour said he was sure of his coaching abilities even during his playing days.

“When I captained Punjab for close to six years, I realised I had it in me to be a coach. I was a good man-manager and during the last stage of my playing career, I was doing a lot of things that coaches normally do,” he recalled.

“I retired in 2002 and moved to England for six years. I was clear I needed to take a break before taking up coaching. The break helped me come back with fresh ideas,” he said.

Rathour has been the head coach with Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and also the Director of Cricket in Himachal Pradesh.

“I want to create an environment where players aren’t scared of making mistakes, where mistakes are not looked down upon because they are learning opportunities. You can fail once in a while, but you must learn from your failures and get better,” he said.

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Ideal time for Sundar, Chahar to boost profile for World T20, says Dhawan

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India opener Shikhar Dhawan
India opener Shikhar Dhawan

Bengaluru: India opener Shikhar Dhawan on Saturday said the time is perfect for youngsters such as Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar to build their confidence in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup next year.

The senior player was speaking on the eve of the third T20 International against South Africa at the M Chaannaswamy Stadium here.

Both players have impressed in recent times with their performance and attitude.

“Washington is bowling really good, giving us the breakthroughs and also choking the batsmen. He has got very good control and variety as well.

“Even Deepak Chahar, he swings the ball both ways and at the same has pace as well. It is the perfect platform for them to perform and build the confidence for the T20 World Cup,” Dhawan told reporters.

He said senior players like him are always open to helping the youngsters in the side.

“For senior players like us, say someone like Rishabh comes in to bat or Shreyas coming in, we make sure we do the communication with them and make sure they are comfortable and not nervous. We make them think what is needed at that particular moment,” he said.

Dhawan added, That’s what we do even when I am batting with Rohit or Virat, we keep discussing and that is very important. Communication is very, very important.

“Any time any youngster wants to discuss something with us, we are always there for them.”

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Omission from T20Is opportunity to excel in Tests, says Kuldeep

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Kuldeep Yadav

Mysuru: Omission from T20 International squads for India’s last two series hasn’t bothered Kuldeep Yadav too much as the chinaman bowler feels it is an opportunity for him to do well in five-day cricket.

Kuldeep was dropped from India’s T20I squads for the West Indies tour and home series against South Africa but that hasn’t dented his confidence.

“So far, I have done a good job in limited-overs format. I feel very comfortable with the white ball,” Kuldeep told reporters here.

“I am not worried about not being picked for the last two T20I series. Maybe the selectors felt I needed a break. Maybe the team thinks some changes are required. I respect that, and I have no complaints. I see this as an opportunity to do well in Tests.”

Kuldeep was part of the India A side for the second unofficial Test against South Africa A, which ended in a draw in Mysore on Friday.

The wrist spinner had a decent outing in the game, scalping 4 for 121 in 29 overs in the only innings India bowled in the match.

In 68 T20 matches since that 2016 T20 World Cup, Kuldeep has taken 81 wickets at an average of 22.97 (ninth-best in the world, second among Indians), and an economy rate of 7.60 (fifth among Indians).

And, he feels wrist spinners are in demand currently.

“There is no doubt that wrist spinners are dominating the world,” Kuldeep said.

“But sometimes, when you try to stop runs, you actually turn out to be expensive. We need to work on our accuracy. You need to accept that you do get hit for runs and work on being economical.”

Kuldeep, however, feels it is very difficult to adjust to red-ball cricket after consistently featuring in the limited-overs formats.

“It’s hard to play red-ball cricket when you aren’t consistently playing that format,” he said.

“If you aren’t a regular in this format, it takes time to get into your rhythm. When you are consistently playing limited overs and suddenly switch to Tests without much preparation, it will be tough to excel.

“You need to bowl long spells, play practice games, to understand field placements and to know how to pick wickets. It was important for me to come here (in the India A game) and bowl as many overs as possible. There is still plenty of work to do,” Kuldeep added.

He said with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in fray for Tests, he will have to utilise the limited chances he gets.

“When three spinners like Ashwin, Jaddu and I are in the squad, it’s challenging to pick the right combination. You need to be ready to grab your chance. Of course, there is pressure because you only get a few chances, and you have to make full use of them,” Kuldeep said.

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England’s Moeen Ali takes indefinite break from Test cricket

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moeen ali
Moeen Ali.

London: All-rounder Moeen Ali will take a break from red-ball cricket and won’t be up for selection for England’s Test tours of New Zealand and South Africa.

Moeen’s decision comes after being left out of England’s list of centrally contracted Test players, announced on Friday, 20 September. He had lost his place in the Test side after the first Ashes Test, which England lost.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Moeen said he wanted a chance to “recharge his batteries” after a busy summer. “It’s just to get away from it a little bit,” he said. “I feel like I want to enjoy my batting and this will give me a bit of a break.

“I want to spend some time with the family. I’ve been playing for England for five years and it’s been quite tough. The intensity is obviously higher in Test cricket, so this is just to give me a break and then we will see what happens after that.”

Moeen didn’t rule out playing Test cricket in the future, and Ashley Giles, the ECB managing director, reiterated that the all-rounder has not retired from Test cricket. “He just wants a little bit of a break from Test cricket,” said Giles.

“He’s been a great servant to this team and that’s why I encouraged him to leave that option open for him to come back. He might just need that time away and freshen up, but he’s been a really good servant to this team and he’s relatively young.”

In the year up to losing his place in the Test side, Moeen had taken more wickets in Test cricket than anyone else. However, having been a permanent fixture in the England side in all three formats, Moeen endured a difficult 2019 summer. He was dropped from the ODI side in place of Liam Plunkett and then made two Test appearances before losing his place to Jack Leach.

Giles added: “I think for all the guys, not just talking about Moeen, it’s been a really challenging summer. A World Cup and an Ashes back-to-back has had a massive effect on many of these guys, psychologically as much as physically. Some of those guys are still carrying that. His experience in the first Test wasn’t a great one but that’s cricket.”

Moeen, however, has retained his white-ball contract, and figures to be a key figure in both the limited-overs sides.

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