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Re-appointing Shastri not due to Kohli’s support, says Kapil Dev

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Kapil Dev.

Mumbai: Ravi Shastri’s reappointment as head coach of the Indian team was not influenced by captain Virat Kohli’s public backing of the incumbent, Cricket Advisory Committee(CAC) chief Kapil Dev said on Friday.

Shastri was reappointed for a two-year period by the CAC, a decision that was expected. His term will again be up for review after the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.

“Not at all, because if we take his (Kohli’s) views we would have taken the entire team’s views too. We haven’t asked anyone. There was no scope for that,” said Kapil when asked if the skipper’s preference influenced the final decision.

Among all the candidates, Shastri’s record was unmatched as the team reached the No.1 ranking in Test matches under his guidance and won a series in Australia for the first time in 71 years.

On the flip side, India twice lost in the World Cup semi-finals (2015 and 2019) with him at the helm but that didn’t seem to have had a bearing on the decision taken by the committee that also comprised Shantha Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad.

Asked about the team’s semifinal exits in ICC competitions, Kapil said, “If any manager don’t win (a World Cup) with any team, they should be sacked? No, you look at overall picture and we are not looking at that, we are looking what presentation he has given, we have gone by that.”

Since he came back in July, 2017 replacing Anil Kumble, whose differences with Kohli came out in the open, Shastri’s coaching record has been phenomenal.

India have won 13 out of 21 Tests, 43 out of 60 ODIs and 25 T20 Internationals out of 36 on his watch.

Going by what India’s first World Cup-winning skipper said, Shastri’s communication skills may have played a big part.

“All of them were excellent. Sometime I felt Shastri had more skills of communication, they may have felt differently but we didn’t discuss about that, we have given the marks after listening to their presentations.

“We all three have learnt so much, knowing how much hard work they have put in their presentation,” Kapil said.

Shastri pipped former India teammates Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput along with former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson and Australian Tom Moody to the post. Former West Indies and Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons pulled out of the race, citing personal reasons.

Asked about the advantage Shastri had over others, Gaekwad said, “Basically, being the current coach, knowing the boys well, knowing the problems well in the team and what needs to be done.

“I think he is well-versed with the entire system. If somebody knows the system, knows the players well and can communicate well, I think he has the advantage.”

Before leaving for the West Indies tour, Kohli, when asked if he would prefer Shastri at the helm again, the India captain responded in the positive.

“Well, the CAC has not contacted me on this. But all of us share a great camaraderie with Ravi bhai and would definitely be very happy (to have him around), Kohli had said.

Shastri was the team director till June 2016 until India lost in the World T20 semi-finals before being appointed as head coach in 2017.

The ad-hoc body had earlier appointed W V Raman as the women’s team coach in December.

‘CAC must have say in selection of support staff’

CAC must have a say in selecting the support staff of the Indian team as “not doing that job is not right”, Dev also said.

While Kapil’s three-member panel reappointed Ravi Shastri as the head coach of the Indian men’s team for another two years, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) had tasked the MSK Prasad-led selection committee to pick the support staff.

Asked if the CAC should also have an opinion in selecting the support staff, Kapil responded in the positive.

“Yes, our opinion should be there. If you ask me, we have (sent) a recommendation to the Board about the selection process of the support staff as well. It is not right, if we are not doing that job also,” Kapil said asked for his opinion on the matter.

It is still not clear on what basis the Prasad-chaired selection committee has been entrusted with the duty of appointing Shastri’s colleagues. There are grey areas as far as rules are concerned in the new constitution.

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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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