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Test cricket always my priority, says India pacer Bumrah

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Mumbai: Branded a limited-overs specialist at the beginning of his career, Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah on Friday said it was nothing short of a dream come true when he made the Test side as success in the longest format is what he has always craved for.

Bumrah is just 12 Tests old and already has 62 wickets to his credit.

“For me, Test cricket was very important and I always wanted to play Test cricket and didn’t want to be a cricketer who has played (only) T20s and ODIs. I gave a lot of importance to Test cricket. I always wanted to make a mark in Test cricket,” Bumrah said at a promotional event here.

“I had the belief that I have done well in first-class cricket, then I could replicate that in Test matches. The journey has just started, just played 12 Tests when I made my Test debut in South Africa after playing two years of international cricket, it was a dream come true (moment).

“Being there playing in the white jersey was a great feeling and then slowly contributing to team success gave me satisfaction,” the pacer, who became the third Indian to pick a hat-trick in Test cricket, said.

Bumrah, who has picked up 62 wickets from 12 Tests so far, was speaking after being signed as the brand ambassador of ‘Royal Stag’.

Asked to pick his ‘making it large’ moment, Bumrah singled out his first Test five-wicket haul, that he took against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2018.

“For me, Test matches was a big thing, so getting my first Test fifer (five-wicket haul), which I got in Johannesburg playing in my first series… so I was happy and then the moment I got my fifth wicket (I was like), now I have got a Test fifer and no one can take it away from me and that was ‘making it large’ moment.”

While Bumrah has been rested for the T20 series against South Africa, he will return for the three-Test series against the Proteas beginning with the opening match at Visakhapatnam on October 2.

“Each and every experience is important to me. I have played all my life in Ranji Trophy cricket in India so it is not that it is alien conditions for me. I have played in India before with the red-ball, so it is another challenge and looking forward to it,” he said.

“Playing international cricket in India in Test matches will be a different challenge and hopefully the preparations we put in will give (desired) results.”

The pacer uses the out-swinger very well and according to him playing in England gave him the confidence to execute the skill.

Asked about his away going ball, Bumrah said, “Not mastering it but I always had the out-swinger and not used it, but playing in England gave me a lot of confidence, the duke ball swings for a long time and that gave me a lot of confidence.

“I became more and more confident as I played more and more Test matches and because of that I was able to execute in Test matches.”

Quizzed whether he would want to play County cricket, Bumrah said, “Maybe in the future, but I don’t know as of now because you are playing throughout the year, so there is a little period of time where you get time off and when you get time off that is the time you want to work on your body.

“So you can’t be playing 12 months a year (and) you have to take care of your body as well. Maybe in the future if I get an opportunity (to play in the County).”

Bumrah also spoke on his equation with bowling coach Bharat Arun, who has got an extension till 2021 T20 World Cup to be held in India.

“He (Arun) has seen my progress as a child. So he knows what are my strengths and weaknesses and slowly I made progress into international cricket, so he has seen that (journey of mine), he has given his inputs.

“We do a lot of hard work, and you have seen the results that have come. He has obviously played a role and we are happy that he is there (for another two years) and hopefully from now onwards, we will try and contribute more (to the team’s success),” said Bumrah, who has also played 58 ODIs and 42 T20s.

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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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