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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Selectors should be ready to ruffle feathers, drop under-performers after World Cup heartbreak

Makarand Waingankar

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Now that India have lost in the World Cup semifinals, post-mortem of the team’s performance would be a national pastime and criticism would be rampant.

Whether you are an expert or not, you will have an opinion. Some want coach Ravi Shastri out and others want MS Dhoni to retire, forgetting that in their professions they have been carrying on despite failures.

India were unlucky at the toss, which was always going to be a crucial factor because of the weather conditions the match was played in.

Indian bowlers on the first day (when New Zealand won the toss and batted till rain pushed the match to the reserve day) bowled a tight length till the 30th over. They bowled on one side of the stumps and showed exemplary discipline.

The ball swung but more than that the line and length that they bowled, the batsman could not take advantage of. Later on, Yuzvendra Chahal went for runs but he kept it tight in his first six overs.

While NZ struggled at around 200/5, someone had to take chances for them. The vastly experienced Ross Taylor did the job.

But it was after his innings that the match took another course. Steady rain for four-five hours pushed the match onto the reserve day.

As per the rule, the match continues from the point it stops. But this is where the problem lies and the ICC should take a fresh look at it.

The match was stopped in the 46th over. Next day the match should have started from the time the match got stopped. After the heavy spell of rain, moisture crept into the pitch and the ball started to swing. In such favourable overcast conditions, Trent Boult and Matt Henry were always going to be handful.

They exploited the moisture by bowling a very good line. Our top three batsman had no clue.

For the past eight matches of the tournament, India’s No. 1 to 3 batsmen had contributed 69% of the team’s runs. Batsmen from 4 to 7 contributed only 30% of the runs. But against NZ, they failed collectively.

Most cricket experts, from Sachin Tendulkar to Sunil Gavaskar kept saying India shouldn’t rely only on their top order for runs all the time. The others have to chip in. Several experiments were conducted in the middle-order but with little luck.

There was utter confusion about Dhoni’s number. It’s easy to comment on hindsight but the team management has to take a call after considering all options.

There has been too much talk about M.S. Dhoni’s retirement after India’s exit.

India were technically exposed by NZ because they play most of their domestic matches on covered pitches, where there is no moisture, including the Under-16 level too. Only local cricket matches are played on uncovered pitches.

Covered pitches give a free reign to the batsman to plant their front foot forward and hit the ball through the line. It gives Indian batsmen a sense of false confidence.

The earlier the BCCI changes this rule and ensures that matches are played on uncovered pitches, the better. Else, our batsmen’s technical deficiencies will be exposed whenever they go abroad to play.

A lot was expected of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya. But these two greenhorns are absolutely immature. Things were going so nicely for them in the match. But both got out to irresponsible lofted shots.

Kapil Dev and Sandip Patil played similar horrendous shots against David Gower’s England in 1984. India lost the match. Kapil was dropped from the next Test on disciplinary grounds. Patil never played for India again.

But nowadays, the players’ lobby is so strong that selectors don’t have the guts to drop any of these players.

There was a lot of hue and cry about Sanjay Manjrekar’s “bits and pieces” tweet about Ravindra Jadeja.

Sanjay Manjrekar’s “bits and pieces” comment spurred on Ravindra Jadeja, who brought India within touching distance of victory.

Manjrekar is not the first to say that. It is a prevalent cricket parlance for 50-60 years. India and England have, over the years, had lots of such cricketers.

Manjrekar’s comment stemmed out of Jadeja’s modest ODI statistics. But cricket is not a game of mere statistics. Had that been the case, a committee of statisticians would have been asked to select teams.

Manjrekar though had the guts to speak his mind but many didn’t have the courage to ask Kohli and the team management why Jadeja was benched for the first eight matches at the World Cup.

His exclusion from the first eight matches means the team management had more confidence in Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal.

They didn’t do that well to warrant that kind of confidence. Manjrekar’s comments surely provoked the under-utilised talent of Jadeja.

Sunil Gavaskar once utilised this tactic successfully to spur on Kapil Dev after the latter had thrown away his wicket in the first two matches against Pakistan in 1979.

Just before the third Test at Bombay, the shrewd Gavaskar wrote an article in a magazine, chiding Kapil, saying he won’t call him an all-rounder anymore after his callous strokes.

Kapil was livid after reading the article and said “Main Dikhaunga” (I will show him).

India struggled against the spin of Iqbal Qasim and Tausif Ahmed. Kapil played a brilliant knock of 69 in the first innings, paving the way for India’s 131-run victory.

If that was Manjrekar’s scheme then it worked, for the left-hander was in his elements. He fielded like a panther.

India might have lost in the semis, but they fought valiantly. From 92/6 India staged a comeback and were on the cusp of victory.

One can’t always win in cricket but it’s the intent that matters. India showed that in plenty.

 

Cricket News

Skipper Kohli within his rights to voice his choice as coach: Ganguly

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Virat Kohli has backed Ravi Shastri to continue as the India coach.

Kolkata: Virat Kohli has the right to say who he wants as the head coach, feels former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

“He is the captain so, he has got the right to say,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of the prize distribution ceremony for Zee Bangla Football League. national news

In his pre-departure press conference, India skipper Kohli had said the team would be very happy if Ravi Shastri continues as the head coach. national news

“The CAC hasn’t contacted me yet. If they want my opinion, I’ll go and speak to them. With Ravi Bhai, we share a great camaraderie, and will definitely be very happy if he continues. But I haven’t been contacted so far,” Kohli had said in Mumbai. national news

The newly formed Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) co-member Anshuman Gaekwad saidZee Bangla Football League that that they will go in with an open mind when they sit down to interview the short-listed candidates.

The CAC — comprising India’s first World Cup winning captain and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, former batsman and coach Gaekwad and former women’s captain Shanta Rangaswamy — have been entrusted with the job of selecting a new head coach. national news

The current coaching staff were handed an extension till the tour of West Indies as their contract expired after the World Cup. India will play three Twenty20 internationals, three ODIs and two Tests in USA and the the Caribbean.

“We have to go with an open mind. There are interviews to be conducted. Lot of people from India and abroad have applied. We have to go there and assess things,” Gaekwad said.

Asked if the committee would keep Kohli in the loop before picking the next coach, Gaekwad said it was not mandatory.

“The captain can say anything. It doesn’t bother us. We are a committee. That’s his opinion and the BCCI takes a note of it, not us. cricket news

“It all depends on BCCI. BCCI has to give us guideline and then we will go accordingly. He has already said yesterday (what he wants). When we chose the women’s coach, we did not contact anybody. We did it on our own,” Gaekwad further said. cricket news

Asked about Gaekwad’s comments, Ganguly said: “Every individual is different so I cannot comment.” Ganguly also refused to comment on India and Mumbai opener Prithvi Shaw being banned by the BCCI for a doping violation.

“I am not sure what exactly is the truth. It won’t be right for me to comment,” he said. cricket news

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Cricket News

Ashes series kicks off World Test Championship

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Australia and England go into the Test series high on confidence. Text & Images: ICC

Birmingham: The first Ashes Test marks the start of the ICC World Test Championship, so there will be more than the urn at stake.      sports articles  

Both teams go into the Test high on confidence: England, the ODI champions, bounced back strongly after an opening day set-back in the one-off Test against Ireland. Australia are full strength, hungry and well prepared.      sports articles  

Given England’s top-order woes, Joe Root, the captain, is likely to move up a spot to bat at No.3, with Joe Denly set to come in at No.4. The availability of Jofra Archer, who could get his maiden Test cap, is the one fitness concern for the hosts.

Australia opener David Warner was hit in the nets but is expected to be fit for the match. Justin Langer, the coach, has indicated that Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson will be in the XI.

Australia will have to choose between the returning Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris as Warner’s opening partner. current sports news cricket news 

Remember the last time

Australia hold the Ashes, having handed England a 4-0 drubbing at home in early 2018. But they have not won the series in England since 2001, when Steve Waugh’s side razed all in their path.

In 2015, they lost the series 3-2, with Stuart Broad setting up an unassailable lead in the fourth Test by bowling out Australia for 60 in the first innings at Trent Bridge.    sports articles           current sports news

The last meeting between the sides was in the World Cup semi-final, when England bowled Australia out for 223 and eased to an emphatic eight-wicket win.      cricket news 

England all-rounder Ben Stokes said: “Both teams are desperate to win, both sets of players are desperate to perform because Ashes series are where you get scrutinised and criticised more, or praised if you do well.”

Australia coach Justin Langer said: “I honestly think, it’s not about this Edgbaston Test match, it’s about how we endure right through a five-Test match series. It’s going to be a tough series no doubt, but how we endure that will probably be the team who wins the Ashes.”  cricket news 

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Never asked umpires to cancel four overthrows: Stokes

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Ben Stokes plyed a piovotal role in England's World Cup triumph.

London: All-rounder Ben Stokes has cleared the air regarding the controversial ‘six’ which was awarded to England during the World Cup final against New Zealand.

“I saw all of that. I was thinking to myself, did I say that? But hand on heart, I did not go up to the umpires and say something like that to the umpires,” he said in the latest episode of BBC podcast.

“I went straight to Tom Latham and said ‘Mate, I am so sorry’, looked over to Kane (Williamson) and said ‘I’m sorry’,” he added.

During the final over in England’s chase of 241 on July 14 at Lord’s, Stokes accidentally knocked the ball coming in from deep midwicket fielder and deflected it off to the third man boundary, while attempting to dive for his crease with an outstretched bat in a bid to complete his second run.

After consultation with Marais Erasmus and the rest of his umpiring colleagues, Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs for the incident, meaning that England — who by then seemed to be drifting out of contention needing nine runs from three balls — were suddenly right back in the hunt for their World Cup glory needing three more from two.

England were adjudged winners of the World Cup on the basis of their superior boundary count — 22 fours and two sixes — to New Zealand’s 17 after the the match ended in a tie after regulation play and Super Over.

Earlier, Stokes’ teammate James Anderson had claimed that the all-rounder, who was hugely apologetic the moment the incident happened, had appealed to the umpires to overturn their decision.

“I think, talking to Michael Vaughan who saw him after the game, Ben Stokes actually went to the umpires and said, ‘Can you take that four runs off. We don’t want it’,” Anderson had told BBC’s Tailenders podcast.

Dharmasena, who was targeted for his controversial overthrow call, had accepted his mistake, but said he didn’t regret the decision. ICC had also backed the Sri Lankan umpire over the issue. [hide] cricket news [/hide]

Former India skipper Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee will also be discussing issues relating to the World Cup final, including the controversial boundary count back rule, in their next meeting in first quarter of 2020.

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