Cricket, India: A history (2019)

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Additional information may please be sent as messages to the Facebook
community, Indpaedia.com. All information used will be gratefully
acknowledged in your name.


Contents

India and the world: a summary of the year

The batsmen and the bowlers

Nov 26, 2019: The Times of India

The best batsmen and bowlers of 2019
From: Nov 26, 2019: The Times of India

Team India is scaling new heights with every Test series it plays, consolidating its position at the top of the ICC World Test Championship. India have reached a whopping 360 points after completing the 2-0 series win over Bangladesh.

India’s dominance, at least for now, is so absolute that their tally is well above the total points recorded by all other teams put together (292). The second best team – Australia -- is on 116. In fact, such has been their performance that some experts have already anointed them as one of the finalists for the title match which will be played in June 2021 in UK.

India, who have won seven out of seven since the start of the Test Championship, have had the advantage of playing five of the ties at home where they are virtually unbeatable. And their two away Tests were against a ramshackle West Indies who proved cannon fodder. At home, South Africa, looking to rebuild the side, were feeble challengers while Bangladesh were never expected to trouble India in India.

However, the low degree of difficulty should not obfuscate the ease of execution with which India steamrolled West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh. It has been a ruthless and mighty show by a team high on talent, skill, organization and ambition.

The stellar show is reflected in the Test batting and bowling numbers for 2019. While there are four Indian batsmen in the top-10, if we look at the averages, the four Indians – Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma – are in the top-5 with only Steve Smith ahead of the pack.

Among bowlers, only two Indians – Md Shami and Ishant Sharma – feature in the list but both are in the top-3 in terms of average as well as strike rate. If Jasprit Bumrah was fit – he has missed out on the five recent home Tests – he would have almost certainly featured in the list. Umesh Yadav, whose 23 wickets this year have come at only 13.65 per scalp, was unlucky to miss out.

In tougher climes, the performance graph will dip but you can be sure India will be a tough nut to crack.

Batsmen

The top run-getters

Dec 2018- Dec 2019: India’s top run-getters
From: Manuja Veerappa, January 1, 2020: The Times of India

See graphic:

Dec 2018- Dec 2019: India’s top run-getters

Bowling

ODIs: The world’s top wicket- takers

ODIs: The world’s top wicket- takers in 2019
From: Dec 23, 2019 Times of India


See graphic:

ODIs: The world’s top wicket- takers in 2019

India’s 2018-19 tour of Australia

NOTE:

For the remaining part of India’s 2018-19 tour of Australia, you may see Australia vs. India, cricket

Test matches

Sydney: Draw (rain affected)

Highlights

The Sydney test- highlights
From: January 8, 2019: The Times of India
Scoreboard- Test match- Sydney: Australia vs India, cricket
From: January 7, 2019: The Times of India


See graphics:

The Sydney test- highlights

Scoreboard- Test match- Sydney, 2018, Australia vs India, cricket


India win first-ever Test series in Australia

India vs Australia: India make history, win first-ever cricket Test series in Australia, January 7, 2019: The Times of India

India record maiden test series win in Australia- 2018-19; A timeline- 1947-48- 2018-19
From: India vs Australia: India make history, win first-ever cricket Test series in Australia, January 7, 2019: The Times of India


Indian cricket got its new seminal moment after talismanic Virat Kohli led the country to a maiden series victory on Australian soil, ending a 71-year wait to script a golden chapter in the game's history.

The fourth and final Test match at the SCG petered to a barren draw due to inclement weather but not before providing India with a 2-1 series win and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

It is a rare first Down Under for India since Lala Amarnath's side visited the country back in 1947-48 months after independence to face Sir Don Bradman's 'Invincibles'.

"Firstly, I want to say I've never been more proud of being part of a team, than this one right here. The culture we've built... our transition began right here, where I took over as captain, and I can't believe that after four years we've won here. Just one word to say, 'proud', to lead this team and it's an honour and privilege. The boys make the captain look good," an elated skipper Virat Kohli said after the mission was accomplished.

Things turned out to be a bit of anti-climactic in the end as India had a fair chance of adding insult to the injury with a 3-1 victory margin as they got the home team to follow-on in their den for the first time in 30 years after scoring 622 in their only innings.

It was a 'freeze the frame' as the Indian team took a 'Lap of Honour' of the SCG with the both Indian and Australian fans cheering them.

"This is history and a terrific moment for Indian cricket," said country's greatest opener Sunil Gavaskar.


Top-performers

Such was the fragility of the Australian batting, a full day's play possibly could have been enough to win a record three Test matches in a single series in Australia had the heavens not opened up.

While Australian batting was severely handicapped due to the suspensions of their premier batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner but it can take nothing away from the heady achievement of Kohli's men, who have conquered an unchartered frontier with a lion-hearted display.

If this victory is put into perspective with some of Indian cricket's famous away series wins, it will be right up there both in terms of novelty as well as quality.

Alongside Ajit Wadekar's side's twin triumph in the West Indies and England in 1971, Kapil's Devils or Rahul Dravid's sides' winning the 1986 or 2007 series in England, the members of the current side have now successfully etched their names in record books.

Skipper Kohli, who has always focussed on the endeavour to make his team the best travelling side, has been finally able to walk the talk after the disappointments in South Africa and England where poor batting let the team down during some of the defining sessions.

In Australia however, it was a near flawless team effort from India, especially the bowling unit which has set it up for its batsmen for the better part of last year.

While skipper Kohli hit the best hundred of the series in terms of sheer class on a difficult Perth Stadium track, the unflappable Cheteshwar Pujara (521) and the unconventional Jasprit Bumrah (21 wickets) were the heroes of the memorable 'first'.

With their full focus on how to decode Kohli's genius, Australian team led by an out of depth Tim Paine realised late that Pujara has struck from the 'blind side' with his near perfect defensive technique and three hundreds.

However it was their batting that let them down and a one piece of statistic will scare the die-hard Aussie fans.

The highest score by an Australian batsman in the just-concluded four-match series is 79 by rookie opener Marcus Harris.

Leave alone a three-figure score, none of the Australian batsman could even cross the 80-run barrier, something that legends like Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Mike Hussey, Ian Chappell found difficult to fathom.

Whether it was the awkward angles along created by Bumrah along with some incisive movements, Mohammed Shami getting it to rip on occasions, Ishant Sharma hitting the right length over after over, India never had it so good in terms of consistency in overseas conditions.

Ravichandran Ashwin before he got injured and Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav also played their part to perfection as Indian bowlers put up relentless pressure on the home team batsmen.

While young Prithvi Shaw missed out due to an ankle injury, Mayank Agarwal made most of his chances after an eternal wait for the India cap with two half centuries.

Rishabh Pant with 350 runs and a sparkling hundred at the SCG with a record number of dismissals in an away series has now established himself as India's No 1 wicketkeeper in the Test format.

For Kohli, this series was more about his leadership choices rather than his insane batting efforts which was comparatively muted by his lofty standards.

His bowling changes were spot on and while team selection in Perth came under scanner, no one can question the intent of the Indian skipper, who has shown that he only plays to win a Test match.

No other Asian captain leave alone Indian captain has won four away Test matches in South Africa, England and Australia in a single calender year.

While India now gear up to switch format, Kohli's biggest takeaway will be the confidence before they start their preparations for the ODI World Cup.

How India won a historic Test series in Australia

Amit Kumar, January 7, 2019: The Times of India

Continuous rain in Sydney denied India a 3-1 series victory, but it couldn’t stop captain Virat Kohli from becoming the first ever Indian captain to guide India to a Test series victory on Australian soil. Customary hand-shakes were followed by leaps, fist pumps, hugs and high-fives – all this was captured in one frame after the Border-Gavaskar trophy was handed to Kohli and his boys. India ending a 71-year-old wait to win their first Test series in Australia. India played their maiden Test series against Australia in 1947 and were handed a 4-0 drubbing in the five-match series. In total, India have toured Australia 12 times (including the 2018-19 tour) and finally managed to lift the Test series trophy under Kohli’s captaincy.

India were dominant in all three departments – batting, bowling and fielding. India’s slip cordon, which always becomes a hot topic of discussion after almost every overseas tour also played a pivotal role in the team’s historic win.


Kohli in England, Pujara in Australia

If Kohli was the batsman to watch out for in the England tour last year, Pujara didn’t leave a single stone unturned to send the Australians on a leather hunt. The Saurashtra batsman was the highest run-getter in the four-match series with 521 runs in 7 innings at an average of 74.42, including three centuries to his name. With a highest-score of 193, Pujara signed off the series, reclaiming the tag of ‘The Indian Wall’. Pujara was awarded the Man of the Match and Man of the Series trophies.


Fantastic Bumrah

India's bowling coach Bharat Arun said Jasprit Bumrah's unconventional bowling action makes him one of the most difficult bowlers to read in the world and the unorthodox pacer proved that with an impressive show on Australian soil. Once touted as an injury-prone bowler, due to his unorthodox bowling action, Bumrah claimed 21 wickets in the 4 Tests at an average of 17.00, including one five-wicket haul.

With his second overseas century (after his first vs England), the Delhi lad has cemented his place in the Indian side in a short period of time. After Dhoni’s sudden retirement from Tests, the Indian team experimented with many options but nothing worked in their favour. Wriddhiman Saha, Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik were tried, but they couldn’t do much for the team. When the opportunity knocked on the door of young Pant, the wicket-keeper batsman grabbed it with both hands. The 21-year-old finished the Test series as the second-highest run-getter, scoring 350 runs in 7 innings at an average of 58.33, including a brilliant unbeaten 159 in the Sydney Test.


Time for a new opener?

Mayank Agarwal’s long wait to don the Indian Test jersey finally came to end when he was called-up for the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Agarwal was thrust into the squad following the failures of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay and the youngster had an impressive maiden outing. The Karnataka batsman scored a brilliant 76 runs off 161 balls, sorting out India's opening woes to some extent and gave India a solid platform in the Melbourne Test. The 27-year-old kept his sublime touch intact in the SCG Test as well when he scored a magnificent 77 at the SCG. In two Tests, Agarwal scored 195 runs at an average of 65.00.

The Top Indian players

Pujara, Bumrah performance headline India's epic triumph in Australia, January 7, 2019: The Times of India

The Top Indian players
From: January 8, 2019: The Times of India


Cheteshwar Pujara's finest hour of glory in overseas conditions was complemented by Jasprit Bumrah's superb skill-set, the duo standing taller than the rest in India's maiden Test series win on Australian soil.

What made their performance more special was that they were able to overshadow even Virat Kohli, who has always stood head and shoulders above his peers in adverse conditions.

Pujara, who didn't have a lot of noteworthy performances outside the sub-continent, finished with 521 runs in four Tests, which included three hundreds with a top score of 193 and an average of 74.42.

No one deserved the 'Man of the Series' award more than the dependable No. 3 from Saurashtra, whose dogged hundreds at Adelaide and Melbourne made it easy for the likes of Bumrah (21 wickets) and Mohammed Shami (16 wickets) to press home the advantage against a below-par Australian batting line-up.

Such has been Pujara's dominance, that skipper Kohli's aggregate of 282 runs paled in comparison.

Top performers who led India to historic series win-Infographic-TOI

However, if a threadbare analysis is done on the quality of the five hundreds that Indian batsmen struck during the series, Kohli's century on a virgin Optus Stadium track, rated "average" by the International Cricket Council, was the best.

Rishabh Pant, with his 159 not out did his case no harm, emerging as the second highest run-getter with 350 runs to his credit.

One of the biggest takeaways from the series was rookie opener Mayank Agarwal (195 runs) holding his own at the biggest stage with half-centuries at the MCG and SCG.

On the bowling front, Bumrah's emergence as a force to reckon with in red-ball cricket has been one of the reasons that India starts on even keel in any Test series across SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries.

Bowling from a eight-step run-up with a slinging action, Bumrah was lethal as he rocked the Aussies in their own den with raw pace and incisive movement off the pitch, creating all sorts of confusion in the minds of the batsmen.

With a workhorse like Ishant Sharma (11) and Mohammed Shami, who can every now and then produce a wicket-taking delivery, the Indian pacers accounted for 50 out of the 70 Australian wickets during the series.

Ravindra Jadeja came back for the last two Test matches of the series, picking seven wickets and scoring a half-century, again giving proof of his all-round utility.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav shrugged off the disappointment of his inauspicious performance at the Lord's during the England series, with a maiden five-for outside India, prompting coach Ravi Shastri to call him a serious option for Test matches in all conditions.

Mayank and Kuldeep's emergence as potent Test weapons could certainly be ominous signs for the Tamil Nadu duo of Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin.

While skipper Kohli made it clear that Ashwin's regular fitness breakdowns in foreign conditions is a cause for concern but the burly off-spinner will still be a handful when India start playing in familiar terrains at the end of this year.

But it could well be the end of the road for Vijay, a veteran of 61 Tests and nearing 35 years of age.

After a nightmarish series in England, Australia was no better for the right-hander, who till 2017 was India's most technically accomplished opener.

With only 49 runs in four innings, Mayank playing a stellar hand and Prithvi Shaw waiting in the wings, it is bad news for Vijay.

KL Rahul, with 57 runs from five innings, has also had an extended run of bad patch but age is on his side and the talent is unquestionable.

One of the batsmen who have had modest returns is vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 217 runs in four games at an average of 31, with two half-centuries.

While his place may not be under imminent threat, Hanuma Vihari's gritty show and ability to bowl occasional off-breaks would force the Mumbaikar to keep his guard up.

What worked for India

January 8, 2019: The Times of India


1 INDIA’S SRI LANKAN IMPORT

The temporary hiring of former Sri Lankan first-class cricketer Nuwan Seneviratne as a left-arm throwdown specialist — the opposite number of right-arm throwdown specialist Raghu — proved to be a shot in the arm for the team. Initially hired to help the One-day team to counter the Pakistan attack at the Asia Cup, Seneviratne travelled to Australia with a one-point responsibility — help India prepare against Mitchell Starc who finished his series without a single fifer.

2 ‘CHE’ GETS HIS SPACE

Ahead of the series, as India prepared to get their batting order right, a team meeting was called to take stock of the options at hand. Prithvi Shaw had been ruled out and India found themselves one step forward, two steps back. Skipper Kohli and coach Shastri then handed the task of seeing off the shine to Cheteshwar Pujara. “Just go out there and meditate. You’ll have to be the last batsman getting out. Runs are secondary. Play time,” is what Shastri said and Pujara did what he does best — facing a total of 1258 deliveries for his 521 runs, a good 52.4 overs per Test.

3 MAYANK’S LONG-AWAITED DEBUT

Following India’s win, Ravi Shastri ‘thanked the media for its support’ and no one could miss the sarcasm in his tone.

But if it was not for the media questioning Mayank Agarwal’s non-inclusion at every step, it could have been a different story. Agarwal finally got his moment under the sun when India had no choice after KL Rahul and Murali Vijay kept flopping. Agarwal became the first Indian opener to get a half-century on debut in Australia.

4 BHARAT ARUN, 12TH MAN!

The bowling coach, who has worked behind the scenes for a full year now, hardly sat in the dressing room during the last two Tests. Constantly talking to the pacers fielding in the deep, Arun ensured the bowlers got enough feedback on how the spells were going. Chats to pump up the adrenaline, a ringside view of the wicket and a lowdown of the Aussie batting order came in handy as India’s pace attack — for the first time — looked more threatening than Australia’s on Australian soil.

5 JADEJA, THE ‘CAPABLE’ ALL-ROUNDER

The thinktank didn’t quite trust his services on a juicy Perth deck, on which Nathan Lyon picked a bagful of wickets. But come the next Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the ever-capable Ravindra Jadeja sprang into action, from picking up crucial wickets to scoring utility half-centuries, throwing in from the deep and bringing a great amount of positive energy to the side. A five-wicket haul in Melbourne and a half-century in Sydney – the all-rounder was back in his elements. The sword dance in Sydney after completing his half-century seemed well-deserved.

ODIs

Indian batsmen with 1,000 runs or more in ODIs in Australia- Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne: 2019
From: January 19, 2019: The Times of India
MS Dhoni's average over 2009-19; highest average in successful chases- MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers
From: January 19, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

Indian batsmen with 1,000 runs or more in ODIs in Australia- Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne: 2019

MS Dhoni's average over 2009-19; highest average in successful chases- MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers


Sydney: Australia wins

January 13, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, ODIs-Sydney, India vs Australia, 2019
From: January 13, 2019: The Times of India


ROHIT CENTURY IN VAIN AS OZ SEAMERS ENSURE 34-RUN DEFEAT FOR INDIA IN FIRST ODI

Paceman Jhye Richardson took 4/26 as Australia finally gave their fans something to smile about with a 34-run victory over India in the first ODI on Saturday despite a magnificent 133 from Rohit Sharma. It was only Australia’s fourth win in 20 ODIs going back to June 2017. The home batsmen, spearheaded by Peter Handscomb’s 73, posted a competitive 288/5 off their 50 overs and when India stumbled to 4/3 inside four overs, it looked like being a rout.

Rohit, who missed the final Test to go home for the birth of his first child, celebrated his return to the tour with a 138-run partnership with MS Dhoni (51) to get the innings back on track, however, and while he was batting, India had a chance.

Left-arm finger spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 2-54 but it was the Australian seamers who were to leave the most decisive mark on the contest. Debutant Jason Behrendorff removed Shikhar Dhawan in the first over and Richardson drove home the advantage by sending Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu back inside three balls.

Rohit, though, would not be cowed and he clubbed a huge six — one of six in his 129-ball innings — high into the member’s stand to move into the seventies before reaching the hundred mark for the 22nd time with two runs behind square. His celebration of a seventh ton against Australia was subdued as there was still plenty of work to do and once he holed out to Glenn Maxwell in the deep off Stoinis, the match was effectively over. Richardson also removed Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik for his best bowling figures in ODIs and the tourists finished on 254-9.

“I’m very pleased,” said Finch. “The youngster Jhye is full of confidence and he’s got some pace.”

“We’re not very pleased with the way we played,” said Kohli. “That wicket was about 300-plus par. Rohit played outstandingly well and MS supported him but I thought we could have done better with the tempo of the game and we fell short.” The series resumes in Adelaide.

Adelaide: India won

January 16, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, ODIs- Adelaide, India vs Australia, 2019
From: January 16, 2019: The Times of India

Just like old times, MS Dhoni pulled off a tight finish for India to silence his critics after captain Virat Kohli laid the foundation for a series-levelling six-wicket win against Australia with his 39th ODI hundred here on Tuesday. Chase master Kohli could not take his team to the finishing line this time but Dhoni (55 off 54) and Dinesh Karthik (25 off 14) rose to the occasion with an unbeaten 57-run stand off 34 balls, taking India home with four balls to spare. Australia scored 298-8 after opting to bat.

Man of the match Kohli was dismissed in the 44th over after making 104 off 112 balls with five fours and two sixes. Dhoni, who has been coping a lot of criticism for his waning finishing skills, turned back the clock and took India past the finish line with a final over six.

The third and final ODI will be played in Melbourne.

India got off to a frenetic start with Shikhar Dhawan hitting five boundaries in his 28-ball 32. He put on 47 runs for the opening wicket with Rohit Sharma (43). The latter had another strong outing, adding 54 runs with Kohli for the second wicket as India crossed 100 in the 18th over. But just when things were going smoothly, he mishit a pull off Marcus Stoinis (1-46) to be caught in the deep.

Ambati Rayudu (24) then came to the crease, and while he added 59 runs with Kohli for the third wicket, it was obvious that the number four batsman struggled for timing.

Kohli, meanwhile, was in cruise mode, rotating strike and picking the odd boundary with ease as he reached fifty in 66 balls. The star batsman stayed in the same mode as the asking rate climbed. But it was Rayudu who tried attacking the bowling and perished instead, caught in the deep off Glenn Maxwell (1-16) in the 31st over.

Dhoni then joined Kohli, and the duo put on 82 runs for the fourth wicket, with clever rotation of strike as India crossed 200 in the 37th over to keep pace with the asking rate. Kohli changed gears as he hit two immaculate sixes through pure timing, and reached his hundred off 108 balls. It was his sixth ODI hundred against Australia.

The turning point came in the 44th over though, when Australia masterminded Kohli’s dismissal through some clever field placement in the deep. He holed out to Maxwell off Jhye Richardson (1-59).

Dhoni then took over and put on a match-winning partnership with Karthik. In doing so, he turned back the clock to lead India to a tense finish, and completed his second consecutive halfcentury in as many matches, 69th overall, off 53 balls.

The veteran’s running between the wickets, laced with two sixes as the only boundaries, finished things off in style for India. Earlier, Shaun Marsh scored his seventh ODI hundred to take Australia to a challenging total. Marsh arrived at the crease at 26-2 and scored 131 runs and added 94 runs off 65 balls with Glenn Maxwell (48 off 37 balls).

India brought in debutant Mohammed Siraj in place of Khaleel Ahmed. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-45) and Mohammed Shami (3-58) exerted themselves on proceedings with the new ball, and didn’t let the Australian openers get away quickly.

299/4

India’s total is the second highest successful ODI chase by a team in Adelaide, behind the 303/9 by Sri Lanka vs England on Jan 23, 1999.

4/45

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s figures, his best ODI bowling performance vs Australia. This is his first four-wicket haul in SENA countries (SA, Eng, NZ and Aus) in ODIs.

Melbourne: India wins ODI and ODI series

Melbourne: India won the ODI (and ODI series) against Australia
From: January 19, 2019: The Times of India


See graphic:

Melbourne- India won the ODI (and ODI series) against Australia

Australia tour

Commentaries

Kohli's on-field antics angered Langer

When Virat Kohli's aggressive celebrations during 2018-19 tour made Justin Langer feel like a punching bag, March 18, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Australian coach Justin Langer has revealed that he felt like a "punching bag" after Virat Kohli's aggressive celebrations during India's 2018-19 tour while also calling out the "double standards" when it comes to sledging in cricket.

India, led by Kohli, enjoyed an unprecedented summer Down Under, winning the Border Gavaskar Trophy 3-1, their first-ever Test series win on the Australian soil. It was followed by a 2-1 victory in the ODIs, while the T20 series ended in a 1-1 draw.

During the series, Australia, who were determined to patch up their severely dented image in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, had decided to not engage with the Indian captain verbally during the series.

However, Kohli's on-field antics angered Langer but he could not be expressive about it.

"I remember that afternoon (feeling) like a punching bag. We can't fight back because it felt like we had our hands behind our backs and we just had to take it," Langer said in Amazon's recently released docu-series titled 'The Test'.

"You must be feeling the double standards the way their captain is carrying on and we sort of have to be careful. Imagine if we behaved two out of ten (of) that," he said.

Langer asked his players to take on Kohli but warned the hosts not to cross the line between banter and abuse.

"There is a difference between abuse and banter. There is no room for abuse. We don't need to abuse him but there is banter where you stick up for your mate."

On day four of the second Test at Perth, Kohli and his Australian counterpart Tim Paine were involved in a verbal spat. That was time Paine thought he had enough.

"I sort of just had enough and thought you also have to stand up for yourself and your teammates and that was one of the reasons I thought, 'no, I'm the captain, it's my turn, I have to stand up and show him we're here for the fight'," Paine said.

Paine was at the receiving end just after he had gone out to bat. "If he messes it up, it's 2-0. Who's gonna talk then?" Kohli was caught saying by the stump microphones.

Paine did not hold himself back and replied "You've got to bat first, big head”.

Bangladesh series

Delhi T20I: Bangladesh beat India

Partha Bhaduri , Nov 4, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, T20Is- New Delhi, India vs Bangladesh, 2019
From: Partha Bhaduri , Nov 4, 2019: The Times of India

Eventually, this battle of two young teams was always going to be decided by the experienced hands. Bangladesh’s senior batsmen stood up to be counted, India’s did not. As if to slam home the point, captain Mahmudullah slammed a six off debutant Shivam Dube in the last over to give Bangladesh a very impressive seven-wicket win.

India got the situations they had been craving for but they did not have the personnel for it. Bangladesh bowled better, planned better and executed better and now have a 1-0 lead in the series. Comments from their skipper and batting coach in the days leading up to this game suggested India were waiting for just the sort of T20 trial that they got at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

First, be forced to bat first on a slowish pitch on which you would rather set a target. India have, after all, been better at chasing targets then setting them. And secondly, see if your inexperienced bowling lineup, hopefully aided by a bit of canny captaincy, could successfully defend, in the dew, a fair-to-middling total against a Bangladesh team in flux.

Unfortunately, India failed to add the X-factor on both counts, ensuring the first win for Bangladesh in nine T20Is against India. In the largely young team missing two senior players in Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim (60 not out of 43) and Soumya Sarkar (39 off 35) knew their presence would be of vital importance in the chase of 149, and their 60-run partnership off 55 balls gave Bangladesh a glimpse of the possibilities.

In the last five overs, with Bangladesh needing 50 with these two at the crease, it was poised either way. The lofted strokes were unfurled in a bit to get a move on. Then, with 35 needed off 19, Khaleel produced a dream slower delivery, clattering Sarkar’s stumps as the batsman attempted in vain to work it to the point region. Suddenly, it seemed India were still in the game, but Mushfiqur would have none of it, and India’s nerves would fail.

First, Krunal Pandya, hero with the bat in the dying moments when Indian batted, had an ordinary time in the field, dropping Mushfiqur in the 18th over at the deep midwicket boundary, just after the batsman had clattered Chahal for four. That over yielded 13, and then Mushfiqur sealed the deal, improvising four consecutive boundaries off Khaleel – off a short cutter, a fuller ball, a low full toss and one outside off. Mushfiqur stayed back and pulled, he scooped one fine, he drove and he even managed to edge one to the backward point fence. Bangladesh needed just four off the last over, and they got it with three balls to spare.

Before the washed-out first T20I against South Africa in Dharamshala, regular skipper Virat Kohli had harped on the importance of clipping India’s long tail. Enter Krunal and Washington Sundar, who gave India’s batting some impetus in the dying overs, pulverizing 30 runs off the last two, including 16 off the last, to boost the total to 148 after a sluggish start.

The Bangladesh off-spinners kept a lid on things in the middle, and the early fall of Rohit Sharma set the tone for India’s innings. Shikhar Dhawan had the right ideas, bat long on this pitch, but he let the innings sag a bit with his 42-ball 41. Neither Shreyas nor Pant could carry on till the end to give the bowlers more of a defendable total, and the spin lineup lacked the killer punch.

As it stands, India’s combination for next year’s T20 World Cup remains at an embryonic stage.


ICC rankings

Tests

Virat on top; Rahane no. 7

Dec 25, 2019 The Times of India

Indian skipper Virat Kohli will end the year as the top-ranked batsman while Ajinkya Rahane slipped a rung to be seventh in the latest ICC Test rankings issued on Tuesday.

Kohli (928) remained 17 points ahead of Australia’s Steve Smith who occupied the second spot while New Zealand skipper Kane Willamson (864) ends the year at number three. Cheteshwar Pujara (791) retained his fourth place but Rahane, who slipped to seventh, was replaced by Pakistan’s Babar Azam.

Azam scored an unbeaten hundred and 60 in the second Test in Karachi against Sri Lanka to move three spots to sixth and achieve his career-best ranking of sixth.

Mayank Agarwal and India’s limited overs vice captain Rohit Sharma wrapped up the top 20 for India, occupying the 12th and 15th spots respectively.

Among the bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah, who has been out since the start of the home series against South Africa due to a stress fracture, retained his sixth spot in the list headed by Australia’s Pat Cummins.

India’s Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, remained at number 2 behind Jason Holder of the West Indies among Test all-rounders.

In the ICC World Test Championship, India stand on top with 360 points, way ahead of Australia (216), Pakistan (80), Sri Lanka (80), New Zealand (60) and England (56). PTI

India’s 2019 tour of the West Indies

T20Is

Lauderhill: India beat the West Indies

August 4, 2019: The Times of India


India made heavy weather of a modest run chase after debutant pacer Navdeep Saini led an impressive bowling display but still managed to beat West Indies by four wickets in their first T20 International match here on Saturday. Chasing 96 for a win, India huffed and puffed before reaching the target with 2.4 overs to spare. None of the batsmen contributed big with opener Rohit Sharma top-scoring with 24 while captain Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey making 19 each.

Man of the Match Saini claimed three wickets for 17 while Bhuvneshwar Kumar took two wickets to restrict West Indies to 95 for 9 after they were put in to bat.

India struggled in their run chase too, and they were reduced to 32 for 2 in the seventh over with opener Shikhar Dhawan (1) and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant (0) dismissed cheaply. Rohit’s 24 came from 25 deliveries with the help of two fours and two sixes on a pitch which was not easy to bat on.

Veteran off-spinner Sunil Narine (2/14) did not allow India to get off to a good start by removing Rohit and Pant in consecutive deliveries in the seventh over. Pant was out the first ball he faced while playing an irresponsible shot.

Manish Pandey was out in the 12th over and Kohli followed him two overs later as India found themselves in a spot of bother at 69 for 5 in the 14th over with 27 runs still needed.

Krunal Pandya (12) added 19 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (10 not out) before he was out in the 16th over. But the target proved too small in the end as Washington Sundar (8 not out) hit a six to take India to 98 for 6 to wrap it up the match in 17.2 overs.

Earlier, Saini claimed three wickets in an impressive spell as India restricted a reckless West Indies to a paltry 95 for 9. PTI

India beat the West Indies again

August 5, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, West Indies vs India, Lauderhill (Florida), 2019- II T20I match
From: August 5, 2019: The Times of India

India beat West Indies by 22 runs under the DLS method in the second T20 International to seal the threematch series here on Sunday.

Batting first, India scored 167 for five and then had West Indies struggling at 98 for four in 15.3 overs when thundershowers struck. The DLS par score was 120. Earlier, batting first, Rohit Sharma topscored with 67 off runs off 51balls, setting India up for a challenging total before Krunal Pandya (20 off 13 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja propped up the innings by smashing 20 runs in the final over, which was bowled by Keemo Paul.

In the process, Rohit became T20 internationals' most prolific six-hitter, going past Chris Gayle with 106 maximums. He struck six fours and three sixes in the match.

Sent into bat, India were off to a quick start as they reached 50-run mark in the seventh over, with Rohit doing the bulk of scoring. Rohit found the gaps with ease, clipping Paul off his pads for a six over deep midwicket. The World Cup highest scorer then swept him for a four as the Indians upped the tempo.

Keemo Paul gave West Indies their first breakthrough when he bowled Shikhar Dhawan with the Indian scorecard reading 67 for one in the eighth over.

Two quite overs followed as Indian captain Virat Kohli joined Rohit, who broke the shackles with a six over deep midwicket, Sunil Narine being the bowler, and then brought up his 17th half-century in this format with a single to long-off.

Nicely getting underneath the flight of left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, Kohli got going with a neat six.

Well settled at the other end, Kohli's deputy Rohit then smashed Carlos Brathwaite for a six and four as India's hundred came up in the 13th over. PTI

India win match; bag T20I series 3-0

August 7, 2019: The Times of India


Rishabh Pant silenced his critics by scoring a 42-ball 65 which helped India thrash West Indies by 7 wickets in the final T20 International here. He was ably-supported by skipper Virat Kohli, who hit an authoritative 59 off 45 balls. With the win, India clean swept the T20I series 3-0. Earlier, Deepak Chahar’s incisive swing bowling was countered by Kieron Pollard’ attacking half-century and Rovman Powell’s cameo as West Indies put up a fighting 146/6 against India in the third T20 International here on Tuesday. Rajasthan seamer Deepak (3-1-4-3) made full use of his only opportunity on this tour, taking three wickets his first two overs to leaving West Indies tottering at 14/3. He got the ball to swing both ways as he removed pinchhitter Sunil Narine (2), Evin Lewis (10) and Shimron Hetmyer (1).

However, Pollard counterattacked with great gusto, hitting as many as half-a-dozen sixes in his 45-ball-58, his first half-century for the West Indies in seven years. Along with Nicholas Pooran (17), who played the second fiddle, Pollard added 67 for the fourth wicket as the Caribbeans looked to have recovered from their initial slump.

However, Navdeep Saini came back for his second spell to first dismiss left-hander Pooran with an off-cutter (legcutter for the batsman) which was edged to Rishabh Pant behind the stumps. Saini (2/34 in 4 overs), who had trapped Pollard leg-before with a dipping full-toss in the first game, then bowled a slower delivery that pegged back the middle stump, breaching through his bat and pad.

However Powell smashed his way to an unbeaten 32 off 20 balls to prop up the Windies total. PTI


Hyderabad: India win

JAC Gladson, Dec 7, 2019 The Times of India

In seven T20Is played between India and Windies in three different countries over a span of 13 months, there has been only winner — India. But the manner in which the Caribbean Islanders turned on the heat in the first half of their latest encounter against the hosts suggested there could be a change in script on Friday.

The idea was quickly nipped in the bud as skipper Virat Kohli assumed charge with an unbeaten 94 (50b; 4x6, 6x6) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium to fashion a six-wicket win with eight deliveries to spare. Windies too had enthralled with the bat after being put in, posting 207/5, the second-highest total against India at home, as Kohli and Co. played generous hosts by dropping five chances.

Rahul was the initial aggressor, but Kohli exploded after an initial struggle to time the ball. Dew played a part but the duo was in control of the chase with their calculated risks. At the halfway stage, India were 89/1 as against 101/2 posted by the visitors, who were all biff and bluster as batsman after batsman rained sixes.

The hosts were not found wanting when it came to the chase, however. The 100-run second-wicket partnership between Rahul and Kohli in 62 deliveries gave India the momentum to swing another successful chase, with the hosts slamming 55 runs off the last 22 deliveries. Three front foot no-balls – by Kesrick Williams (2) and Jason Holder – went into the record books, to be called for the first time by third umpire Anil Chaudhary. They all helped India’s cause.

Rahul’s dismissal for 62 (40b, 5x4, 6x6) was of no respite to Windies. Williams conceded 23 runs in the 16th over as India pared down the chase to 26 runs from the last three overs and Kohli gave the finishing touch with two exquisite sixes off Williams in the penultimate over.

The 48-run stand in 19 deliveries between Kohli and Rishabh Pant played its part too in running Windies ragged in the field and despite Pollard’s stunning catch on his follow through to get rid of Shreyas Iyer, the visiting side will return to the park on Sunday wondering how to stop this Indian juggernaut.

DECODING A VIRAT SPECIAL

94* Virat Kohli’s careerbest in T20Is, bettering the 90 not out vs Australia at Adelaide on January 26, 2016. His knock is the highest by a Test captain in a successful chase in Twenty20 Internationals.

23 Virat Kohli has set a world record for most fifties in Twenty20 Internationals, overtaking Rohit Sharma’s tally of 22 fifty-plus knocks (four hundreds and 18 fifties).

29 Number of innings taken by KL Rahul to complete his 1,000 runs in T20Is – the joint-third quickest in this format. The record is held by Pakistan’s Babar Azam –26 innings. Virat Kohli is second with 27 innings while Australia’s Aaron Finch is joint third with Rahul.

Thiruvananthapuram: West Indies win

Narayanan S, Dec 9, 2019 The Times of India

West Indies gave a glimpse of what makes them a dangerous T20 side, regardless of their current ranking of 10th in the world. They hit sixes and they make up for all the dot balls they play with these massive hits. India hit five, while West Indies clobbered 12. The big-hitters powered the Caribbeans to a eightwicket win against the hosts in the second T20I at Sports Hub here on Sunday. With this win, they levelled the series 1-1 with one match to go.

Lendl Simmons (67 off 45 balls not out; 4x4, 4x6), the architect of the World T20 semifinal win in 2016, was the key man on Sunday also as West Indies chased down the target of 171 with nine balls to spare. Evin Lewis (40 off 35 balls; 3x4, 3x6) and Nicholas Pooran (38 off 18 not out; 4x4, 2x6), who came in for Denesh Ramdin, also starred with the bat. In what seemed like a slow wicket, the West Indies batsmen used the long handle better than the Indians to prevail. India were guilty of dropping a few catches, a worrying trend in this series. The spectacular take by Virat Kohli to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer (23) would not paper over what was another below-par show on the field. Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer dropped one each.

Earlier, Shivam Dube hit his maiden half-century for India as all other batsmen struggled on a wicket that appeared to be slow after being put into bat. Dube top-scored with 54 off 30 balls (3x4, 4x6) and Rishabh Pant scored 33 (22 balls; 3x4, 1x6) to provide the late momentum.

West Indies bowlers Sheldon Cottrell (1/27), Hayden Walsh Jr (2/28) and Kesrick Williams (2/ 30) exploited the slowness of the surface and kept India in check and it was only thanks to Dube, who was promoted to No. 3, that India managed to put up what seemed like a fighting total.

India got off to a flyer with 12 runs in the first over. West Indies pulled things back after that. Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre shared the new-ball with Cottrell and there was evidence from the beginning that the pitch was gripping and turning. Pierre tied up Rahul (11) and did not allow him to free his arms and finally had him caught at deep square-leg.

India changed their plans and sent in Dube at No. 3 to tackle the left-arm spinner and also to counterattack on a slow pitch. This was the first time in the 10 matches this year that Kohli did not come one-down. Dube got going with a six and four off Holder. Rohit (11), who was finding it difficult to time the ball, attempted a ramp shot off Holder unsuccessfully and was castled the same over.

Captain Kohli joined Dube and focussed on giving the lefthander most of the strike. In the Kohli-Dube partnership, Kohli faced only five balls for five runs as he let Dube take on the mantle of attacking as the latter scored 31 off 13 balls in that partnership. He brought up his half-century in quicktime and was dismissed soon after. Hayden Walsh Jr deceived him with a wrong one which he skied to cover, a relief for skipper Pollard who had misjudged an easy catching opportunity to dismiss Dube earlier at long-on.

Mumbai: India wins match; series 2-1

K Shriniwas, Dec 12, 2019 The Times of India

For the first time in recent times, the Indian top-order showed what it was really capable of in the all-consuming T20 setup at the international level.

Up against the ever-threatening West Indians, in the decider of a tightly-contested threematch series, India put on an emphatic display of ‘power-hitting’ on Wednesday evening – an effort that will put the focus right back on them as one of the most dangerous teams in this format.


Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli did to the West Indies what the West Indies are known to do to other teams more often than not. The three top-order batsmen cracked very aggressive half-centuries to post a total that, even on a good day, would be a notch unfeasible for any opposition to get.

Put in to bat first after losing the toss, India posted 240-3 from 120 deliveries. Eight runs came from extras. A total of 232 got divided between Sharma’s 71 off 34 deliveries, Rahul’s 91 off 56 and Kohli’s 70 of just 29 in that order.

It was the kind of score a team would need if the Caribbean belligerence had to be restrained. Between Simmons, King, Hetmyer, Pollard and Pooran, no target has been a safe one for the format’s favourite men. In fact, Hetmyer and Pollard gave glimpses of it during the chase, taking their team past 90 in just 9 overs despite West Indies losing the first three wickets in just under 20 runs by the fourth over of the chase.

The target, nevertheless, remained way too high.

India made two changes to the side – bringing in Mohammed Shami for Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav for Chahal. There wasn’t much for spinners here and paceman Shami did make his four overs count the best among the lot.

Coming back to India’s innings, the mere sight of 240 runs on the board to chase was enough to put any opposition under pressure, apropos of how teams have preferred batting second in the format. Five runs came off the first over and eight in the second as India got off to what appeared an encouraging start. But on the first ball of the third over came that big Rohit Sharma six – his 400th in the format – that signaled the fireworks.

Sharma looked in fine but what the West Indies perhaps didn’t bargain for was the kind of touch Rahul was in at the other end. The Bangalore batsman missed his century by nine runs but by the time he was done, so was the better part of the game.

It was a ‘jugalbandi’ of sorts between the openers, both taking turns to pile on the misery. When overpitched, they punched; bowled fuller, they drove; short ones got treated with uppercuts and pulls; loose ones got dispatched to the farthest corners. It was a treat for the packed house.

Kohli hadn’t even walked in yet. His eventual seven sixes and four boundaries would make for a power-packed 29-ball 70 at a strike rate of 240, making one wonder why you don’t get to see this version of his game more consistently in this format. An icing on the cake, he gave more than a brutal finishing touch to set up the daunting target.

As much as to get past the West Indians, the target was also a reminder to the T20 fraternity in general – here’s what India’s top-order is potentially capable of on a given day.

ODIs

First ODI rain- hit; India wins the second

August 13, 2019: The Times of India

Wickets a byproduct of tight bowling, says Bhuvi

Port of Spain:

India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said dot balls, and not wickets, were on his mind in the second ODI against the West Indies as he believes that an economical spell never goes unrewarded. Bhuvneshwar scalped four wickets for 31 runs in India’s 59-run win over the Caribbeans, which gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after a washed-out opener.

“When I came to bowl I was just thinking I have to bowl economically, get more dot balls. I feel getting wickets is a byproduct of bowling tightly. I wasn’t thinking much about the result because we knew if we get one or two wickets we will be back in the game,” Bhuvneshwar said of the rain-curtailed match.

‘Virat badly wanted the hundred’

India skipper Virat Kohli laid the foundation of the triumph with his 42nd ODI hundred. Kohli ended his 11-innings century drought with a 120-run knock off 125 balls to help India to 279 for 7. Shreyas Iyer also chipped in with a fine knock of 71.

“From Virat’s expression you could see that he badly wanted to score a hundred not because he was out form but because he was getting out in the 70s and 80s and he’s always known for scoring big runs,” Bhuvneshwar said. Kohli’s last hundred was against Australia in March. Since then the Indian skipper was among the runs, notching up five half centuries in the World Cup, but failed to reach a ton. “The wicket wasn’t easy, when Virat came back to the dressing room he said after the ball gets old it’s not easy to score runs,” Bhuvneshwar added.

West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals but looked well within sight of the target with Nicholas Pooran (42) and Rostan Chase (18) in the middle. However, Bhuvneshwar changed the complexion of the game in just one over.

In the 35th over, he first dismissed Pooran and then leapt to pull off a stunning catch to send Chase back. “I just caught it. I wasn’t expecting it. Pooran’s wicket was the main wicket for us because we all know he can change the game.” PTI

Brief scores: India 279/7 in 50 overs: (V Kohli 120, S Iyer 71; Brathwaite 3/53) beat West Indies 210 in 42 overs (revised target 270 in 46 overs): (E Lewis 65, N Pooran 42; Kumar 4/31).

Result: India won by 59 runs on DL method

Third ODI also hit by the rains

August 15, 2019: The Times of India

Chris Gayle may have played his last international game given the theatrics by cricket's showman and the send-off accorded by the Indian players at the end of a typically thunderous innings here on Wednesday. Playing the way he always does, Gayle smashed 72 runs off 41 balls, punishing the Indian bowlers with five sixes and four boundaries in the third ODI.

After hitting one off Khaleel Ahmed straight to visiting skipper Virat Kohli, Gayle smiled as Indian players shook hands with him, even doing his typical jig with him. Gayle threw his bat in the air, put his helmet on top of it and walked off the field. He then hurled the helmet up in the air and caught it while approaching the boundary ropes.

West Indies reached 158 for two off 22 overs before rain brought the match at the Queen's Park Oval to a halt. Gayle, 39, went into the match having become the West Indies leading scorer in One-dayers in the second game at the weekend. He and fellow opener Evin Lewis (43) put on 115 for the first wicket.

India hold an unassailable 1-0 lead following the 59-run win via the DLS method in the second ODI at the same venue on Sunday. Rain forced the abandonment of the first match in Guyana as a no-result last week.

The 114 West Indies scored in the first ten overs is a record for them in the first powerplay in ODIs. It's also a record by any team in the first powerplay against India. AGENCIES

Chennai: West Indies win

Vivek Krishnan, Dec 16, 2019 The Times of India

Shimron Hetmyer couldn’t have timed it any better. Four days away from the IPL auctions, Hetmyer produced an impeccable batting display as he smashed 139 off 106 balls (11x4s, 7x6s) to hand India a humbling eight-wicket defeat in the first ODI at Chepauk on Sunday. Chasing 288, Hetmyer and Shai Hope (102 not out, 151 balls) stitched together a match-winning 218-run partnership in 208 balls for the second wicket as the Caribbean side gunned down the target with 13 balls to spare. Incidentally, Hetmyer had been released by Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the 2020 season, but there is sure to be plenty of interest around the 22-year-old.

The Indian bowlers simply did not have a response to the brute power of Hetmyer. By virtue of the victory, the West Indians also overshadowed the efforts of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, who had made half-centuries to help the hosts recover from a top-order wobble.

As the floodlights took effect and the evening progressed, the pitch did seem to quicken up and enable the batsmen to play through the line a bit more than the first half of the match. But to take anything away from the West Indian batting effort would be disingenuous. There wasn’t much dew either for the Indian spinners to be severely hampered.

Hetmyer was equally destructive against both pace and spin – sparing none when it came to clearing the boundary. The start was slow for the West Indies after the fall of opener Sunil Ambris to Deepak Chahar in the fifth over, the side moving along to just 36 for 1 in 10 overs. But the Guyanese left-hander quickly found another gear. Possessing an uncomplicated technique, Hetmyer’s onslaught began against left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, slog sweeping him to deep midwicket for his first six of the innings. The deep midwicket region went on to be bombarded quite a few times by Hetmyer during the evening, even sending the ball sailing out of the stadium once.

Hope, at the other end, simply had to support his belligerent partner and not do anything daft. He played his role to perfection as the West Indies racked up 113 runs from the overs 10-26. By then, Hetmyer was already on 90 from 70 balls and swiftly approaching a century. While the Indian bowlers could not slow Hetmyer down, the humidity seemed to get to him as he took another 15 balls to reach his fifth ODI hundred. Once he was past his landmark, though, he was back taking on the Indian bowlers. The Indian fielding was a tad sloppy. Rohit Sharma dropped a tough chance of Hope when on 10 while Iyer gave Hetmyer a reprieve at long-on when the left-hander was on 106. Hetmyer went on to inflict further damage, before being caught by Iyer himself at deep midwicket off Shami’s bowling.

West Indies needed only 59 runs from 68 balls at that stage, and they had no problem getting to the target.

While India will be hurting from the defeat, there were positives for them too. Iyer and Pant allayed some of the doubts about the middle-order with their contributions. Both came together at 80 for 3 in the 19th over, having lost the wickets of Rohit, KL Rahul and Kohli for low scores, and ensured they played sensibly to give India a competitive score.

Visakhapatnam: India wins, levels series

Solomon Kumar, Dec 19, 2019 The Times of India

India skipper Virat Kohli, when faced with a challenge, loves to keep it simple. “I think we should be brave and show it in our body language and look them in the eye and take them on,” he had remarked after losing the toss in the crucial second One-Day International against the West Indies here on Wednesday.

Though the skipper fell for a rare firstball duck, his batsmen dared to look their rivals in the eye and took them on as they levelled the three-match series with a resounding 107–run victory.

After piling up a mammoth 387, the Indian bowlers came to the party. Buried under the avalanche of runs, the West Indies batsmen were unable to salvage the situation. The West Indies, after a decent start, lost their way in the 11-20 over period. The visitors lost three wickets in that period and that stifled their progress. Though Shai Hope (78; 85b, 7x4, 3x6) and Nicholas Pooran (75; 45b, 6x4, 6x6) strung a 104-run partnership for the fourth wicket, the task was just beyond them. Mohammed Shami’s double strike in the 30th over settled the issue.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav then hit the final nail in the coffin with a hat-trick in the 33rd over as the West Indies limped to 280 in 43.3 overs.

Earlier, openers Rohit Sharma (159; 138b, 17x4, 5x6) and KL Rahul (102; 104b, 8x4, 3x6) strung a double-century firstwicket stand and then Shreyas Iyer (53; 32b, 3x4, 4x6) and Rishabh Pant (39; 16b, 3x4, 4x6) decimated the demoralized rival bowling in the slog overs to help India post 387 for five — a record total at this ground. The earlier one was 356/9 scored by India against Pakistan in the first ODI at this venue in 2005. Rohit’s 159 too bettered the unbeaten 157 scored by Kohli against the West Indies last year.

This is India’s sixth double-century partnership for the first wicket and they have equalled Australia on that count. Only Sri Lanka have more, with 11 such partnerships.

Asked to bat first, the Ro-Ra saga lasted for 37 overs and produced 227 runs, with both the openers hitting centuries. Rohit, as usual, took time to settle down and with the ball not coming on to the bat as quickly as expected in the first few overs, the Mumbaikar bid his time. But there was no slowing down things as Rahul got into a nice rhythm from the word go.

The only real chance the West Indians had was in the 28th over. Rohit tried to hit Roston Chase out of the ground but the ball spooned up in the air but Shimron Hetmyer, who sprinted a long way in from long off, couldn’t quite latch on to it despite a desperate dive. Rohit was on 70 and India were 156. Rohit looked drained out by the time he reached his century but still produced a couple of blinders – the most significant was the six he struck over the cover fence off Holder.

Kohli, who was padded up for 37 overs, lasted only a ball. He was foxed by Kieron Pollard’s slower ball and the resultant top edge was pouched by Rolton Chase. But there was no stopping Rohit as he attacked the rivals with renewed gusto after Kohli’s departure. Rohit, who took 107 balls to reach his century, needed more 25 balls to notch up 150. Iyer and Pant then took the bowlers to the cleaners as it rained sixes and fours. The duo hit eight sixes and six fours to add spice to the run-riot.

Test series

North Sound, Antigua: India won

August 26, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard- West Indies vs India, Test series, North Sound, Antigua- India won, 2019
From: August 26, 2019: The Times of India

Bumrah scalps five as India romp to easy victory

North Sound, Antigua:

A devastating burst of precision pace bowling by Jasprit Bumrah fast-tracked India to a ridiculously easy win over West Indies in the first Test. Needing to score an improbable 419 for victory, the hosts folded for a paltry 100 runs to lose by 318 uns. Bumrah proved umplayable for the technically inept West Indies batsmen and retunred figures of 8-4-7-5 to lead the rout.

Supporting him well were Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami who grabbed three and two wickets respectively as the match finished with more than a day to spare.

The capitulation by the Caribbeans was shocking and left their supporters at the North Sound stadium embarrassed. The highest score in the innings was scored by number nine Kemar Roach who managed 32. In fact, his last-wicket stand with Miguel Cummins produced 50 runs, by far the biggest of the innings.

Earlier, Ajinkya Rahane scored his first Test century in two years while Hanuma Vihari hit a fluent 93 as India tightened their grip over the series opener.

Vihari and Rahane (102) raised a 135-run partnership for the fifth wicket after India lost skipper Virat Kohli. India declared on 343/7, an hour after lunch on Day Four, setting the hosts a stiff target.

Rahane, who scored 81 in the first innings, had not scored a Test hundred since his 132 against Sri Lanka in August 2017. The relief on his face was obvious when he brought up his century. He fell soon after completing his hundred, trying to accelrate the scoring. Rishabh Pant too fell to a sweep shot off Roston Chase for seven. Vihari, in pursuit of quick runs, was caught behind off Jason Holder.

Resuming at 185 for three, India lost Kohli (51) when his leading edge off Roston Chase flew to John Campbell, who took the catch on second attempt. That ended the fourth-wicket partnership between Kohli and Rahane that yielded 106 runs for India.

The other overnight batsman Rahane was joined by Vihari, who easily worked the ball around in gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Holder now made it all-spin attack by introducing John Campbell from the other end.

As soon as the new ball was available, pacers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel operated in tandem but before that West Indies parttimers had bowled 41 overs in this innings alone. While Roach and Gabriel bowled a few testing deliveries, it largely remained an untroubled stay for both Rahane and Vihari. AGENCIES

India wins Kingston test, and the series

September 1, 2019: The Times of India


As expected, India raced to a thumping win in the second Test against West Indies here on Monday to win the two-Test series 2-0. Set to score an improbable 468 for victory, West Indies managed only 210 in the second innings in 59.5 overs to lose by a whopping 257 runs.

With this victory, India extended their lead on the World Test Championship’s points table with 120 points from two Tests. It was their eighth straight Test series win over West Indies. It was captain Virat Kohli’s 28th victory which took him past MS Dhoni (27) to become India’s most successful Test captain ever.

It was a team effort by the Indian bowlers but it was Mohammed Shami who was the pick of the bowlers. He bowled with pace and precise movement to trouble batsmen throughout the day. He returned with figures of three for 65 while Ravindra Jadeja got three for 58. Ishant Sharma (2/28) and Jasprit Bumrah (1/31) also kept the pressure on.

Starting the day at 45 for 2, the hosts were left unsettled when Darren Bravo (23 batting), who was hit on the helmet by Jasprit Bumrah in the last over of the day on Sunday, added only five runs to his overnight score before complaining of uneasiness, leaving the ground.

Soon afterwards, Jermaine Blackwood was named as a concussion substitute and went out to bat following the fall of the fourth wicket. Blackwood, a Jamaican who was not in the original squad, made 38.

Blackwood became the second Test concussion substitute after Marnus Labuschagne, who replaced Steve Smith in the Australian team during the second Ashes Test against England less than a month ago. In that situation, Smith retired hurt after being felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer during Australia’s first innings. Though Smith returned to the crease 40 minutes later and was dismissed before stumps, he was ruled out of the remainder of the Test the following morning after experiencing the effects of delayed concussion.

Because Smith was already out in the first innings, Labuschagne batted only in the second innings. In the case of West Indies, however, 12 batsmen took the crease in a single innings. Shamarh Brooks topscored for the hosts with 50 but the writing was on the wall all through the day. AGENCIES

Performance of Indian players in 1st two tests

The performance of Indian players in the 1st two tests against the West Indies
From: April 4, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic :

The performance of Indian players in the 1st two tests against the West Indies '


India wins match and series

India's West Indies tour 2019: performance in brief
From: Dec 23, 2019 The Times of India

See graphic:

' India's West Indies tour 2019: performance in brief

India’s home series against South Africa

T20Is

1st match

The 1st match was rained off

Bengaluru: SAfrica win, level series

Manuja Veerappa , Sep 23, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard- T20s- India vs South Africa, Bengaluru, 2019
From: Manuja Veerappa , Sep 23, 2019: The Times of India

Traditionally, at the compact M Chinnaswamy Stadium, skippers prefer to chase. Virat Kohli thought differently, with the T20 World Cup in mind. But his experiment clearly did not work on a tricky surface.

On Sunday, in a match in which rain was predicted to play spoilsport, the visiting South Africans, marshalled by skipper Quinton de Kock’s unconquered half-century (79 n.o, 52, 6x4, 5x6), played party poopers as they romped home to a nine-wicket win to level the series 1-all. India had won in Mohali by seven wickets last Wednesday.

Chasing a below-par 134 for 9, the South Africans, much like the Indians in the previous match, chased down the target without much ado in 16.5 overs.

De Kock, who was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore until last season, made ample use of his familiarity of the conditions to stay untroubled by the Indian bowling attack. There was no extravagance or needless aggression in his batting. He shared a 76-run opening stand with Reeza Hendricks (28) before finishing with finesse with Temba Bavuma (27 n.o) for company. Earlier, with an eye on a series win, the home side began well but it didn’t take them long to lose fizz and the plot to end their quota of overs with 134, of which the bowling side contributed 15 extras.

South Africa, decided to open the attack with left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin (2-19), who made his T20 debut in Mohali three nights back. Shikhar Dhawan (36, 25b, 4x4, 2x6) pulled the first ball to the fence to set the tone, but the 24-year-old kept it tight thereafter. India’s big over was to follow with Kagiso Rabada (3-39) spraying the ball all over the pitch and conceding 17 runs including seven wides.

Beuran Hendricks (2-14), who has had a start-stop-start T20 career, made his 11th T20 international appearance in five years count as an unsure Rohit Sharma edged him to Reeza Hendricks at first slip.

The partnership between Dhawan and Kohli came with a lot of promises, especially with Dhawan in an entertaining mood. He danced down the wicket twice in a row to send spinner Tabraiz Shamsi’s deliveries beyond the ropes. The 41-run second wicket stand with his captain ended when he mistimed a turning ball from Shamsi, lofted it and Bavuma came in from extra cover to hold on to the catch. Thereafter, a parade of the Indian players to the pavilion began with the hosts losing five wickets for the addition of a mere 35 runs. The runs, boundaries in particular, dried up and the fact that they went from 63 for 2 in the eighth over to end with 134 painted a grim picture of poor shot selection and lack of application which was compounded by some disciplined bowling from the opposition.

On a wicket which had slowed down, a sluggish Kohli, who was dropped by Fortuin off his own bowling on three, made little use of the lifeline and instead was first of Rabada’s three wickets. Much was expected from the under-fire Rishbah Pant and the talented Shreyas Iyer but both made a mess of the opportunity they were presented with to showcase their wares. Both the batsmen were sent back by a disciplined Fortuin. There was hope from the Pandya brothers — Hardik and Krunal but that too did not materialise.

India had started the season in the hope of finding a suitable combination for the T20 World Cup, but they still seem to be some distance away from doing it.

Tests

1st test, Visakhapatnam: India won

Oct 7, 2019: The Times of India


Scoreboard, Test- Visakhapatnam, India vs South Africa, 2019
From: Oct 7, 2019: The Times of India

There was no disputing the fact that India was the better team going into the series, and validation of that came on a festive Sunday made more special by the 203-run win against South Africa.

ACA-VDCA Stadium was witness to India’s first home win in the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle — boosting their total tally to 160 points — and the 1-0 lead in the three-match series augurs well for the World No. 1 team that was stretched in parts by a South African team lacking in experience, but making up for it with pluck aplenty. The final day was no cakewalk for the hosts and any hope of an early finish after pacer Mohammed Shami made capital of the conditions on offer was nipped in the bud by an obdurate partnership by the South African late order.

That South Africa — needing 395 to win and resuming at 11 for one — could muster 191 was in the main due to Senuran Muthusamy (49; 108b, 5x4) and his 91-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Dane Piedt (56; 107b, 9x4, 6x1) after Shami, who had excellent returns of five for 35, and Ravindra Jadeja struck at various times to reduce the Proteas to 70 for eight before lunch.

The hosts tasted success with the 11th delivery of the day when Theunis de Bruyn shaped to cut but ended up giving offie R Ashwin his 350th Test wicket — the joint quickest to the milestone in 66 Tests. If the early loss rattled the South Africans, more was in store and in quick time too, as Shami hit the right areas.

The quick from Amroha, who was slightly off-colour in SA’s first innings with his pace wavering, struck it rich by cleaning up Temba Bavuma with a delivery that kept low and knocked back Faf du Plessis’s off stump with an incoming delivery that the South African skipper shouldered arms to. Probably the heat had something to do with the quicks operating in short bursts, but Shami’s two spells in the morning session — 3-1-12-1 and 3-1-8-2 — were enough to set South Africa back considerably.

If the ball that castled du Plessis was a peach, the delivery that pegged back Quinton de Kock’s off stump was no less as the South African looked all at sea with Shami reversing it to telling effect. The conditions suited the seamers more than the spinners and having put SA on the mat, the hosts looked well placed to quickly mop up the rest of the South African batting when Ravindra Jadeja got into the act. Aiden Markram (39; 74b, 5x4, 6x1), who was a mute spectator as wickets fell in a heap at the other end, fell to a brilliant return catch by Jadeja.

The left-arm spinner then successfully reviewed a LBW verdict against Vernon Pilander and Keshav Maharaj lost the LBW review the very next delivery, but Piedt denied Jadeja the hat-trick. It was all over bar the shouting but Piedt joined Muthusamy, who too had other ideas. The duo safely negotiated the period when lunch was extended by 15 minutes and frustrated the Indians for 32.2 overs.

The South Africans should take heart from the remarkable poise of debutant Muthusamy and Piedt, playing only his ninth Test. Like the left-handed duo of Dean Elgar and de Kock showed in the first innings, Muthusamy and Piedt left the Indians frustrated at various stages of the game till the hosts found their man of the hour in Shami.

2nd test, Pune: India Won by Innings & 137 Runs

Amit Karmarkar, June 13, 2019:: The Times of India


A wicket-keeper is a wicket-taker too. Fielders are wicket-takers too. They are bowlers’ performance-enhancing substances. India, though not entirely flawless on the field, hit home this point in an emphatic fashion when they enforced the follow-on and dismissed South Africa for 189 inside 70 overs to win the second Test by an innings and 137 runs with a day to spare at Gahunje stadium.

The hosts have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The third Test starts in Ranchi on Saturday. Virat Kohli’s men have also boosted their points tally in the World Test championship after this result.

The Sunday crowd, in excess of 15,000, probably got their time and money’s worth. Those who had got tickets for just the fifth day, will get a refund.Except off-spinner R Ashwin and pacer Mohd Shami in patches, no Indian bowler looked that threatening on a pitch that was losing its zip and freshness with every passing over. However, soft dismissals after being put under pressure and smart fielding were the patterns for the day. Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha led from behind the wicket with two of the three dismissals inside the first 24 overs.First, he dived to his left like a goalkeeper to remove Thenunis De Bruyn. Pacer Umesh Yadav gave a flying kiss to the sky, thanking the heavens for giving him a wicket despite straying down the leg side. It was his luck and Saha’s pluck that did it.

Saha then swallowed Faf Du Plessis on the fourth attempt off Ashwin, lunging down till silly point. Though he fumbled in the first attempt, his juggling act was as precise as a magician. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma joined him in the fielding act. Rahane took a sharp, reflex catch at first slip to send back the settled Temba Bavuma (38) off Ravindra Jadeja. A ball before he had survived a leg-before appeal.

Shami bowled some darts creating a beautiful angle. He showed left-handed Senuran Muthusamy his place with a short probing missile. The prod landed in Rohit Sharma’s palms in the second slip. The batsman also took a good catch in the slips to dismiss Kagiso Rabada.

Standing close to the stumps and sometimes leaning on his knees at short gully, Rohit also took blows on his body. So did Saha, who again justified his selection ahead of Rishabh Pant. But South Africa’s mainstay, Dean Elgar, took a chance like Pant and the visitors paid heavily for that. Du Plessis had got out 10 balls before and Bavuma was yet to open his account at 71-3 in the 24th over. Still, Elgar went for the expansive lofted drive off R Ashwin but mistimed it. Umesh Yadav positioned himself well for the skier, running from mid-off and caught the ball on the third attempt.

Jadeja got rid of Quinton De Kock when the wicket-keeper tried a hoick, but missed it and was castled. Though Jadeja (3) got more wickets than Ashwin (2) in this innings, the latter gave ample demonstration of his greatness with subtle variations and the ability to play on the batsman’s mind.

Not that the South African batsmen didn’t have their moments. Bavuma appeared to have settled down when he square drove Jadeja and lofted him over widish long-on for fours and Elgar was mixing things up nicely before the brain fade. Philander, who scored an unbeaten 44 in the first-innings, started with entertaining boundaries.

Earlier, Ishant Sharma gave India a breakthrough off the second ball of the day, trapping Aiden Markram in front for a pair. Though first-innings batting heroes Philander (37) and Maharaj (22) added 56 runs for the eighth wicket, India’s victory march was never in doubt once lunch was taken at 74-4 and tea at 172-7.

3rd test, Ranchi: India won the test, and series 3:0

Pratik Bandyopadhyay, Oct 22, 2019: The Times of India


Record stand- Rohit Sharma- Ajinkya Rahane - South Africa series, 2019
From: Oct 21, 2019: The Times of India
Scoreboard, Test- Ranchi, India vs South Africa, 2019
From: Pratik Bandyopadhyay, Oct 22, 2019: The Times of India

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India won the South Africa series 3:0

If you are are from India’s T20 generation and find Test cricket too slow, it’s high time you watched this Indian Test team. Even if you are much older, from the generation which was once traumatised by Caribbean or Australian pacers, it’s time to heal your wounds. When Team India plays Test cricket these days, things move really fast. Runs are scored at a fair clip, the pacers men can bowl really fast and opposition batsmen generally tend to come and go quickly.

It all happened so fast on Monday that one couldn’t really blame Faf du Plessis’ young South African team for capitulating like they did at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium. At the end of the day, they were just two wickets away from another defeat, being 132/8 after following on, still 203 runs in arrears. As if things were not bad enough for the visitors, opener Dean Elgar got hit on the helmet just before tea and had to retire hurt, paving the way for Theunis de Bruyn to become the third concussion substitute in the history of Tests.

Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami were in peak form, sharing five wickets between them in the visitors’ first innings and taking five of the eight to fall in their second. All this on a typical Indian wicket where the ball tended to turn.

It all started with a unplayable delivery Yadav bowled to Du Plessis in the first over of the day. The ball swung in, landed on full length and evaded the South Africa skipper’s defence by slightly moving away off the seam — a seemingly once-in-a-blue-moon delivery, until Shami got Zubayr Hamza with the same delivery in the afternoon while South Africa followed on. The pace at which the duo bowled had the batsmen hurrying all the time. Anrich Nortje got hit a couple of times in the first innings and it was Elgar’s turn in the second. It did not help that the wicket had variable bounce, which landed wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha in trouble a number of times. Eventually, he picked up a injury on the ring finger of his right hand while collecting a ball off Ravichandran Ashwin, and Rishabh Pant took his place. Teamsources maintained Saha was “fine” and recovering.

Shami and Yadav were simply outstanding. All of their wickets came by beating the batsman with either pace or swing, sometimes both. Not one of the deliveries kept low. Umesh, in particular, had a field day. The crowd cheered when he bowled and he paid back not just with wickets but also a direct hit, running out Rabada.

Another to impress was local boy Shahbaz Nadeem, with his two wickets in the first innings and the direct hit at the non-striker’s end from square leg to dismiss George Linde towards the end of the day.

Unfortunately, Ravindra Jadeja’s three-wicket haul and Zubayr Hamza’s resistance in the first innings have to become footnotes on a day like this.

U-19 South Africa tour

ODIs

East London: India wins

India U-19 beat SA by 9 wickets in first youth ODI: India under-19 team produced an impressive performance to begin its tour of South Africa with a ninewicket win in the first Youth ODI at the Buffalo Park in East London. Batting first, South Africa U-19 team folded for 187 in 48.3 overs. In reply, India overhauled the target, scoring 190 for 1 in 42.3 overs on Thursday to take 1-0 lead in the series. For India U-19 team, Ravi Bishnoi scalped three wickets. Chasing the target, openers Divyaansh Saxena (86 not out) and N Tilak Varma (59) shared a 127-run stand. Brief Scores: India U-19: 190/1 (Divyaansh Saxena 86, N Tilak Varma 59; Achille Cloete 1/42) beat South Africa U-19: 187 all out (Luke Beaufort 64, Jack Lees 27; Ravi Bishnoi 3/36) by nine wickets.


Buffalo Park: India win match, series

Jaiswal’s all-round show helps India colts clinch series in SA: Yashasvi Jaiswal grabbed four wickets before making an unbeaten 89 off 56 balls to star in India Under-19 team's series-clinching eight wicket win over South Africa in the second Youth ODI at the Buffalo Park here on Saturday. Jaiswal, who turned 18 on Saturday and is in India's U-19 World Cup squad, gave himself a birthday gift by polishing off the South African tail with a four-wicket burst with his spin bowling to bundle out the home side for just 119 from 29.5 overs. Akash Singh, AV Ankolekar and Ravi Bishnoi also chipped in with two wickets each. AGENCIES

West Indies T20I series

Hyderabad: India win

JAC Gladson, Dec 7, 2019 The Times of India

In seven T20Is played between India and Windies in three different countries over a span of 13 months, there has been only winner — India. But the manner in which the Caribbean Islanders turned on the heat in the first half of their latest encounter against the hosts suggested there could be a change in script on Friday.

The idea was quickly nipped in the bud as skipper Virat Kohli assumed charge with an unbeaten 94 (50b; 4x6, 6x6) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium to fashion a six-wicket win with eight deliveries to spare. Windies too had enthralled with the bat after being put in, posting 207/5, the second-highest total against India at home, as Kohli and Co. played generous hosts by dropping five chances.

Rahul was the initial aggressor, but Kohli exploded after an initial struggle to time the ball. Dew played a part but the duo was in control of the chase with their calculated risks. At the halfway stage, India were 89/1 as against 101/2 posted by the visitors, who were all biff and bluster as batsman after batsman rained sixes.

The hosts were not found wanting when it came to the chase, however. The 100-run second-wicket partnership between Rahul and Kohli in 62 deliveries gave India the momentum to swing another successful chase, with the hosts slamming 55 runs off the last 22 deliveries. Three front foot no-balls – by Kesrick Williams (2) and Jason Holder – went into the record books, to be called for the first time by third umpire Anil Chaudhary. They all helped India’s cause.

Rahul’s dismissal for 62 (40b, 5x4, 6x6) was of no respite to Windies. Williams conceded 23 runs in the 16th over as India pared down the chase to 26 runs from the last three overs and Kohli gave the finishing touch with two exquisite sixes off Williams in the penultimate over.

The 48-run stand in 19 deliveries between Kohli and Rishabh Pant played its part too in running Windies ragged in the field and despite Pollard’s stunning catch on his follow through to get rid of Shreyas Iyer, the visiting side will return to the park on Sunday wondering how to stop this Indian juggernaut.

DECODING A VIRAT SPECIAL

94* Virat Kohli’s careerbest in T20Is, bettering the 90 not out vs Australia at Adelaide on January 26, 2016. His knock is the highest by a Test captain in a successful chase in Twenty20 Internationals.

23 Virat Kohli has set a world record for most fifties in Twenty20 Internationals, overtaking Rohit Sharma’s tally of 22 fifty-plus knocks (four hundreds and 18 fifties).

29 Number of innings taken by KL Rahul to complete his 1,000 runs in T20Is – the joint-third quickest in this format. The record is held by Pakistan’s Babar Azam –26 innings. Virat Kohli is second with 27 innings while Australia’s Aaron Finch is joint third with Rahul.

Thiruvananthapuram: West Indies win

Narayanan S, Dec 9, 2019 The Times of India

West Indies gave a glimpse of what makes them a dangerous T20 side, regardless of their current ranking of 10th in the world. They hit sixes and they make up for all the dot balls they play with these massive hits. India hit five, while West Indies clobbered 12. The big-hitters powered the Caribbeans to a eightwicket win against the hosts in the second T20I at Sports Hub here on Sunday. With this win, they levelled the series 1-1 with one match to go.

Lendl Simmons (67 off 45 balls not out; 4x4, 4x6), the architect of the World T20 semifinal win in 2016, was the key man on Sunday also as West Indies chased down the target of 171 with nine balls to spare. Evin Lewis (40 off 35 balls; 3x4, 3x6) and Nicholas Pooran (38 off 18 not out; 4x4, 2x6), who came in for Denesh Ramdin, also starred with the bat. In what seemed like a slow wicket, the West Indies batsmen used the long handle better than the Indians to prevail. India were guilty of dropping a few catches, a worrying trend in this series. The spectacular take by Virat Kohli to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer (23) would not paper over what was another below-par show on the field. Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer dropped one each.

Earlier, Shivam Dube hit his maiden half-century for India as all other batsmen struggled on a wicket that appeared to be slow after being put into bat. Dube top-scored with 54 off 30 balls (3x4, 4x6) and Rishabh Pant scored 33 (22 balls; 3x4, 1x6) to provide the late momentum.

West Indies bowlers Sheldon Cottrell (1/27), Hayden Walsh Jr (2/28) and Kesrick Williams (2/ 30) exploited the slowness of the surface and kept India in check and it was only thanks to Dube, who was promoted to No. 3, that India managed to put up what seemed like a fighting total.

India got off to a flyer with 12 runs in the first over. West Indies pulled things back after that. Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre shared the new-ball with Cottrell and there was evidence from the beginning that the pitch was gripping and turning. Pierre tied up Rahul (11) and did not allow him to free his arms and finally had him caught at deep square-leg.

India changed their plans and sent in Dube at No. 3 to tackle the left-arm spinner and also to counterattack on a slow pitch. This was the first time in the 10 matches this year that Kohli did not come one-down. Dube got going with a six and four off Holder. Rohit (11), who was finding it difficult to time the ball, attempted a ramp shot off Holder unsuccessfully and was castled the same over.

Captain Kohli joined Dube and focussed on giving the lefthander most of the strike. In the Kohli-Dube partnership, Kohli faced only five balls for five runs as he let Dube take on the mantle of attacking as the latter scored 31 off 13 balls in that partnership. He brought up his half-century in quicktime and was dismissed soon after. Hayden Walsh Jr deceived him with a wrong one which he skied to cover, a relief for skipper Pollard who had misjudged an easy catching opportunity to dismiss Dube earlier at long-on.

Mumbai: India wins match; series 2-1

K Shriniwas, Dec 12, 2019 The Times of India

For the first time in recent times, the Indian top-order showed what it was really capable of in the all-consuming T20 setup at the international level.

Up against the ever-threatening West Indians, in the decider of a tightly-contested threematch series, India put on an emphatic display of ‘power-hitting’ on Wednesday evening – an effort that will put the focus right back on them as one of the most dangerous teams in this format.


Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli did to the West Indies what the West Indies are known to do to other teams more often than not. The three top-order batsmen cracked very aggressive half-centuries to post a total that, even on a good day, would be a notch unfeasible for any opposition to get.

Put in to bat first after losing the toss, India posted 240-3 from 120 deliveries. Eight runs came from extras. A total of 232 got divided between Sharma’s 71 off 34 deliveries, Rahul’s 91 off 56 and Kohli’s 70 of just 29 in that order.

It was the kind of score a team would need if the Caribbean belligerence had to be restrained. Between Simmons, King, Hetmyer, Pollard and Pooran, no target has been a safe one for the format’s favourite men. In fact, Hetmyer and Pollard gave glimpses of it during the chase, taking their team past 90 in just 9 overs despite West Indies losing the first three wickets in just under 20 runs by the fourth over of the chase.

The target, nevertheless, remained way too high.

India made two changes to the side – bringing in Mohammed Shami for Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav for Chahal. There wasn’t much for spinners here and paceman Shami did make his four overs count the best among the lot.

Coming back to India’s innings, the mere sight of 240 runs on the board to chase was enough to put any opposition under pressure, apropos of how teams have preferred batting second in the format. Five runs came off the first over and eight in the second as India got off to what appeared an encouraging start. But on the first ball of the third over came that big Rohit Sharma six – his 400th in the format – that signaled the fireworks.

Sharma looked in fine for m but what the West Indies perhaps didn’t bargain for was the kind of touch Rahul was in at the other end. The Bangalore batsman missed his century by nine runs but by the time he was done, so was the better part of the game.

It was a ‘jugalbandi’ of sorts between the openers, both taking turns to pile on the misery. When overpitched, they punched; bowled fuller, they drove; short ones got treated with uppercuts and pulls; loose ones got dispatched to the farthest corners. It was a treat for the packed house.

Kohli hadn’t even walked in yet. His eventual seven sixes and four boundaries would make for a power-packed 29-ball 70 at a strike rate of 240, making one wonder why you don’t get to see this version of his game more consistently in this format. An icing on the cake, he gave more than a brutal finishing touch to set up the daunting target.

As much as to get past the West Indians, the target was also a reminder to the T20 fraternity in general – here’s what India’s top-order is potentially capable of on a given day.

ODIs

Chennai: West Indies win

Vivek Krishnan, Dec 16, 2019 The Times of India

Shimron Hetmyer couldn’t have timed it any better. Four days away from the IPL auctions, Hetmyer produced an impeccable batting display as he smashed 139 off 106 balls (11x4s, 7x6s) to hand India a humbling eight-wicket defeat in the first ODI at Chepauk on Sunday. Chasing 288, Hetmyer and Shai Hope (102 not out, 151 balls) stitched together a match-winning 218-run partnership in 208 balls for the second wicket as the Caribbean side gunned down the target with 13 balls to spare. Incidentally, Hetmyer had been released by Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the 2020 season, but there is sure to be plenty of interest around the 22-year-old.

The Indian bowlers simply did not have a response to the brute power of Hetmyer. By virtue of the victory, the West Indians also overshadowed the efforts of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, who had made half-centuries to help the hosts recover from a top-order wobble.

As the floodlights took effect and the evening progressed, the pitch did seem to quicken up and enable the batsmen to play through the line a bit more than the first half of the match. But to take anything away from the West Indian batting effort would be disingenuous. There wasn’t much dew either for the Indian spinners to be severely hampered.

Hetmyer was equally destructive against both pace and spin – sparing none when it came to clearing the boundary. The start was slow for the West Indies after the fall of opener Sunil Ambris to Deepak Chahar in the fifth over, the side moving along to just 36 for 1 in 10 overs. But the Guyanese left-hander quickly found another gear. Possessing an uncomplicated technique, Hetmyer’s onslaught began against left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, slog sweeping him to deep midwicket for his first six of the innings. The deep midwicket region went on to be bombarded quite a few times by Hetmyer during the evening, even sending the ball sailing out of the stadium once.

Hope, at the other end, simply had to support his belligerent partner and not do anything daft. He played his role to perfection as the West Indies racked up 113 runs from the overs 10-26. By then, Hetmyer was already on 90 from 70 balls and swiftly approaching a century. While the Indian bowlers could not slow Hetmyer down, the humidity seemed to get to him as he took another 15 balls to reach his fifth ODI hundred. Once he was past his landmark, though, he was back taking on the Indian bowlers.

The Indian fielding was a tad sloppy. Rohit Sharma dropped a tough chance of Hope when on 10 while Iyer gave Hetmyer a reprieve at long-on when the left-hander was on 106. Hetmyer went on to inflict further damage, before being caught by Iyer himself at deep midwicket off Shami’s bowling.

West Indies needed only 59 runs from 68 balls at that stage, and they had no problem getting to the target.

While India will be hurting from the defeat, there were positives for them too. Iyer and Pant allayed some of the doubts about the middle-order with their contributions. Both came together at 80 for 3 in the 19th over, having lost the wickets of Rohit, KL Rahul and Kohli for low scores, and ensured they played sensibly to give India a competitive score.


Visakhapatnam: India wins, levels series

Solomon Kumar, Dec 19, 2019 The Times of India

India skipper Virat Kohli, when faced with a challenge, loves to keep it simple. “I think we should be brave and show it in our body language and look them in the eye and take them on,” he had remarked after losing the toss in the crucial second One-Day International against the West Indies here on Wednesday.

Though the skipper fell for a rare firstball duck, his batsmen dared to look their rivals in the eye and took them on as they levelled the three-match series with a resounding 107–run victory.

After piling up a mammoth 387, the Indian bowlers came to the party. Buried under the avalanche of runs, the West Indies batsmen were unable to salvage the situation. The West Indies, after a decent start, lost their way in the 11-20 over period. The visitors lost three wickets in that period and that stifled their progress. Though Shai Hope (78; 85b, 7x4, 3x6) and Nicholas Pooran (75; 45b, 6x4, 6x6) strung a 104-run partnership for the fourth wicket, the task was just beyond them. Mohammed Shami’s double strike in the 30th over settled the issue.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav then hit the final nail in the coffin with a hat-trick in the 33rd over as the West Indies limped to 280 in 43.3 overs.

Earlier, openers Rohit Sharma (159; 138b, 17x4, 5x6) and KL Rahul (102; 104b, 8x4, 3x6) strung a double-century firstwicket stand and then Shreyas Iyer (53; 32b, 3x4, 4x6) and Rishabh Pant (39; 16b, 3x4, 4x6) decimated the demoralized rival bowling in the slog overs to help India post 387 for five — a record total at this ground. The earlier one was 356/9 scored by India against Pakistan in the first ODI at this venue in 2005. Rohit’s 159 too bettered the unbeaten 157 scored by Kohli against the West Indies last year.

This is India’s sixth double-century partnership for the first wicket and they have equalled Australia on that count. Only Sri Lanka have more, with 11 such partnerships.

Asked to bat first, the Ro-Ra saga lasted for 37 overs and produced 227 runs, with both the openers hitting centuries. Rohit, as usual, took time to settle down and with the ball not coming on to the bat as quickly as expected in the first few overs, the Mumbaikar bid his time. But there was no slowing down things as Rahul got into a nice rhythm from the word go.

The only real chance the West Indians had was in the 28th over. Rohit tried to hit Roston Chase out of the ground but the ball spooned up in the air but Shimron Hetmyer, who sprinted a long way in from long off, couldn’t quite latch on to it despite a desperate dive. Rohit was on 70 and India were 156. Rohit looked drained out by the time he reached his century but still produced a couple of blinders – the most significant was the six he struck over the cover fence off Holder.

Kohli, who was padded up for 37 overs, lasted only a ball. He was foxed by Kieron Pollard’s slower ball and the resultant top edge was pouched by Rolton Chase. But there was no stopping Rohit as he attacked the rivals with renewed gusto after Kohli’s departure. Rohit, who took 107 balls to reach his century, needed more 25 balls to notch up 150. Iyer and Pant then took the bowlers to the cleaners as it rained sixes and fours. The duo hit eight sixes and six fours to add spice to the run-riot.

India wins match and series

India's West Indies tour 2019: performance in brief
From: Dec 23, 2019 The Times of India

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' India's West Indies tour 2019: performance in brief

The best batsmen, bowlers, as in Feb

Top five Indian batsmen in T20Is

Top 5 Indian batsmen in T20Is, 2018-19
From: February 6, 2019: The Times of India

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Top 5 Indian batsmen in T20Is, 2018-19


Top five Indian bowlers in T20Is

Top five Indian bowlers in T20Is, 2019
From: February 6, 2019: The Times of India

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Top five Indian bowlers in T20Is, 2019

Indian bowlers vs Australia and New Zealand in 2018-19 ODIs

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Indian bowlers vs Australia and New Zealand in 2018-19 ODIs

Select batsmen at no. 6 after 2015 WC in ODIs

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Select batsmen at no. 6 after 2015 WC in ODIs

Select batsmen at no. 5 after 2015 WC in ODIs

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Select batsmen at no. 5 after 2015 WC in ODIs

Controversies

Bumrah’s use of private doctors disapproved of by NCA

K Shriniwas Rao, Dec 20, 2019 Times Of India

The BCCI’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore has refused to conduct pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness test. The fast bowler was in Bangalore this week — after hitting the nets with the Indian team in Visakhapatnam on December 16 — to undergo the mandatory fitness test ahead of a comeback.

The concerned team at the NCA — led by director Rahul Dravid and physiotherapist Ashish Kaushik — “politely” told Bumrah they would not be conducting the test. After a net session in Visakhapatnam, Bumrah had flown to Bangalore to be at the NCA where his fitness test was scheduled. Dravid is learnt to have met him on Wednesday.

TOI understands that the Dravid-led NCA is “offended” at Bumrah consulting his own set of specialists during his recovery, after he was diagnosed with mild back stress in September this year. He had also flown to the United Kingdom to consult doctors. This happened after when Bumrah is learnt to have conveyed to the team management that he was “not keen” on going to the NCA.

TOI tried reaching Dravid and Kaushik, but the duo did not respond. Bumrah too remained unavailable for comment. There were media reports in November about how Bumrah had been consulting private specialists. Those who saw him at the nets in Visakhapatnam a few days ago say “he’s worked his way back to supreme fitness and is looking very good”.

The NCA’s earlier decision was to invite Team India trainer Nick Webb to Bangalore to conduct the test for Bumrah. However, Dravid is learnt to have later conveyed to Team India’s assistant trainer Yogesh Parmar that Bumrah’s fitness test would not be conducted at the NCA. “They have told him, ‘You’re fine. So there’s no need of a fitness test. You should go and seek it from the specialists you’ve been working with’,” sources in the know said.

Those who have the bowler’s ear say he has been left distressed after the development. A large section of the cricket fraternity, in fact, is mighty worried about the growing differences between those running the affairs at NCA and some senior India cricketers.

Bumrah’s fears and apprehensions about the NCA grew after some players shared their respective experiences about the academy — some had turned out to be “scary”. “Most senior players don’t want to go to the NCA. Instead of addressing that concern and understanding why players don’t want to come there, the NCA is turning him away. That’s not how we need to deal with a cricketer who’s changed the face of Indian fast bowling over the last two years,” sources said.

Sources at NCA said: “Rahul (Dravid) is still very new to the NCA. It’s been just a few months since he has taken over. He’s still trying to comprehend how things have been functioning at the academy. To be fair to the NCA, more than 200 cricketers from across the country come there to train and learn. It’s not just about one or two individuals. Rahul is trying to put better systems in place.”

Right now, the bowler can’t understand how exactly is he supposed to clear the mandatory fitness test.

Bumrah’s IPL franchise Mumbai Indians too have always ensured that the bowler is adequately taken care of. “All the little details of how the bowler is at any given moment in time have been so important that even the owners at Mumbai Indians have minutely followed every development,” said those in the know.

The notable players

As in October

Pratik Bandyopadhyay, Oct 17, 2019: The Times of India

RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN

Tests: 42; Wkts: 233; Best bowling: 7/59; Bowling ave: 23.42; 5 wkts: 18; 10-wkt match: 5

Eleven consecutive home series wins would not have been possible without this soft-spoken off-spinner. The only time he lost his cool was in 2016 when James Anderson suggested Kohli was a flat-track bully. The offie often warms the bench on foreign tours but has been unplayable in India. A keen follower of other sports and interested in saving rivers, this intellectual cricketer has taken 233 of his 356 Test wickets under Virat’s captaincy. Even men like Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have found the going tough against him on Indian wickets.

CHETESHWAR PUJARA

Tests: 44; Runs: 3560; Batting ave: 52.35; 100s: 12; Highest score: 202

Style is the man, they say. In Pujara’s case it is the batting style. He bats like a monk who is not tempted by anything, not even his teammates’ strike rate. Perhaps that is the reason he is often accused of playing too slow like Geoffrey Boycott. But he has given Kohli’s bowlers crucial runs for memorable wins. The historic series win Down Under earlier this year would not have been possible without Pujara’s stellar show.

AJINKYA RAHANE

Tests: 46; Runs: 2802; Batting ave: 41.20; 100s: 7; Highest score: 188

It would be difficult to make a Martian believe that this diminutive man with the eyes of a struggling poet can take on someone like Mitchell Johnson and hit his 140kmph-plus bouncer to long-on like a forehand. Rahane’s show at home has been moderate but he has been a different batsman in difficult terrains like like Australia, England and South Africa. The vice-captain also stands quietly at slip beside Saha, making many a difficult nick off Ashwin and Jadeja look like an easy take.

MAYANK AGARWAL

Tests: 6; Runs: 605; Batting ave: 60.50; 100s: 2; Highest score: 215

Averaging close to 50 in first-class cricket with a triple century against his name, Mayank could have made his Test debut earlier. But it served him well that he did it when Virat and his men were making history in Australia. The 28-year-old missed out on a century on debut. However, his consistency in Australia was an important factor in India’s triumph. His ever-improving catching ability at bat pad is also an asset.

JASPRIT BUMRAH

Tests: 12; Wkts: 62; Best bowling: 6/27; Bowling ave: 19.24; 5 wkts: 5

Bumrah has picked up five or more wickets in an innings five times already, playing only 12 Tests, all away from home. He has become the fastest Indian to 50 Test wickets. A fast bowler with a disarming smile is hard to come by but then Bumrah is one of his kind.

WRIDDHIMAN SAHA

Tests: 31; Runs: 1080; Batting ave: 31.76; 100s: 3; Highest score: 117; Catches: 77; Stumpings: 10

A wicketkeeper’s contribution is easily forgotten, and his Supermanesque catches in Pune will fade from memory sooner than later. But coming off a long injury layoff which at one point must have made him wonder whether his international career was over, Saha has showed why Kohli thinks he is the best wicketkeeper in the world. Saha is not one of those chirpy stumpers who keeps giving pep talks from behind the stumps. He lets his gloves do the talking. His batting average may not make everyone happy but his impeccable keeping to the spinners on turners at home and to pacers abroad have been very impressive.

Pace bowlers

Currently best in Test cricket: Steyn

Indian pace attack currently best in Test cricket, reckons Steyn

New Delhi: Veteran South Africa pacer Dale Steyn believes the current Indian pace attack is the best Test fast bowling unit. Steyn, who was recently bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore at the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction which took place on Thursday in Kolkata, answered a variety of questions ranging from his favourite batsmen to his best bowling spell on the international arena. A Twitter user asked him about which bowling line-up he feels is currently the best in the world and Steyn gave his vote to the Indian team.

The Pink Ball Test/ Nov

—Saibal Bose, Nov 23, 2019: The Times of India

AFTERNOON

The first 15 overs, when the ball was still relatively new, it swung quite a lot, but only after the first 20-odd minutes. Initially, the Indian bowlers were making it seam. In fact, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma were making the ball dart in, in the early overs and that seemed to trouble the Bangladesh batsmen more. The bounce was quite good and the generous sprinkling of grass on the pitch probably had more to do with it than the ball itself. As the shine wore off a bit, the pacers started getting big swing. It tested the reflexes and keeping skills of stumper Wriddhiman Saha too, a test he came out passing with flying colours. TWILIGHT ZONE

The first signs that fielding could be a problem during the twilight minutes were seen when the last Bangladesh wicket fell. It was just after 4.30 pm and the floodlights had started to marry the slanting rays of the sun. Abu Jayed edged Mohammed Shami to Rohit Sharma at slip, but the opener failed to pick it. It could have travelled faster than anticipated as it bounced off his palm and luckily for India, Cheteshwar Pujara held on to it. However, Sharma was left searching for the ball. Virat Kohli had spoken of the hardness of the ball and Sharma seemed to agree as he kept shaking his hand.

The Indian batsmen, however, seemed to be hardly troubled by the tricky twilight period as they went after the Bangladesh bowling. One chance that Al-Amin Hossain got off a Rohit Sharma skier was grassed in the deep. Was it the deceptive dip perception that Kohli had talked about?

EVENING

At the second interval, the ground staff combed the ground with thick ropes to mop up the dew. The curator was taking no chances. Sharma shouldered arms to a delivery that came in indicating that he wasn’t sure of his off-stump, another point that Kohli had alluded to. As the evening wore on, the ball as well as the Bangladesh bowlers seemed to lose bite as Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara started to make batting look easy.

A success

A marketing masterstroke

Saibal Bose, Nov 23, 2019: The Times of India


Jagmohan Dalmiya was known to have used his marketing acumen to promote cricket in a way no one had done before. Sourav Ganguly may have gone one better in a bid to draw the crowd back to Test cricket by presenting it in a manner that makes it extremely appealing visually.

The first pink-ball Test match on Indian soil, which got under way at the Eden Gardens, is not just a game, but a marketing masterstroke. “Fans love it, so do the sponsors,” a marketing expert said while analysing the effects of the pink-ball Test. “Not just fans, but corporate bodies too were losing interest in Test cricket,” he said. “Particularly against a weak opponent (Bangladesh), getting the corporate bodies and the public interested would have been a herculean task.”

An injection of a shock-and-awe element was the need of the hour. That came wrapped in pink, and immediately, curiosity peaked. This curiosity is what drives the markets, the expert said. “Look at the interest the first edition of Pro Kabaddi League generated,” he said. “Who would have thought a sport like kabaddi would get so much viewership. It was the curiosity factor that drew so many eyeballs to the league. Once again, it is this curiosity that has shifted the cricket world’s focus to Eden Gardens.”

In a refreshing and rare sight, the stadium was packed to capacity on the first day of a Test match — that, too, on a week day. The opposition, weak or strong, doesn’t matter here. The pink ball is the trump card and everything was woven around it. Had Australia been the opponents, the demand for tickets would most likely have been for all five days. In this case, tickets for first three days are most sought after.

Syed Mushtaq Ali T20

Karnataka wins

Dec 2, 2019 The Times of India


In a contest that went down to the wire, Karnataka edged past Tamil Nadu by one run to win the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 final at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium here on Sunday evening. After skipper Manish Pandey (60 n.o., 4x4, 2x6) had played a big hand in taking the team to a total of 180, K Gowtham held his nerve in the final over to defend 13 runs as Karnataka clinched their second title of the season. Karnataka had beaten Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final in October.

Chasing a stiff target of 181, TN needed a strong start. But their openers – C Hari Nishanth (14, 3x4) and Shahrukh Khan (16, 3x4) managed 26 in the first three overs. Washington Sundar (24, 2x4) and Dinesh Karthik (20, 3x4) were both back in the dugout as TN reached 80 for 4 after 10 overs. The pair of Vijay Shankar (44, 5x4) and B Aparajith (40, 1x4, 3x6) kept their side in the chase with a crisp 71-run stand which arrived in 7 overs. TN lost Aparajith in the first ball of the 18th over with the side’s total reading 151-5.

Needing 30 runs off the last 17 deliveries, Vijay Shankar and the experienced R Ashwin kept TN in the chase with some sensible batting. In the final over, TN needed 13 and Ashwin got two crucial boundaries and the equation soon read 4 off the last two. However, Vijay Shankar’s run out meant TN had to score three in the final delivery. M Ashwin failed to get the big shot going, and TN fell short once again.

Earlier, Karnataka’s batting revolved around their skipper. The spotlight may have been on their openers Devdutt Padikkal (32, 3x4, 2x6) and KL Rahul (2x4, 1x6), but it was Pandey who held the innings together. Pandey arrived in the 5th over when R Ashwin (2-34) had his tail up after having dismissed Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (0) off successive deliveries. Pandey survived the hat-trick ball by driving it towards long-on for s single. He may have started off on a cautious note, scoring just 6 off the first 10 deliveries he faced. Pandey’s first big shot was a six hit straight over the sightscreen in the 9th over bowled by leggie M Ashwin (2-33). He followed that six with a four in the long-on region.

Brief scores: Karnataka 180-5 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 60 n.o., Rohan Kadam 35; R Ashwin 2-34, M Ashwin 2-33). Tamil Nadu 179-6 in 20 overs (Vijay Shankar 44, B Aparajith 40; More 2-32). Karnataka won by 1 run.

The KPL scandal

The first information

Kiran Parashar, Nov 8, 2019: The Times of India

Bengaluru police arrested wicketkeeperbatsman C M Gautam and leftarm spinner Abrar Kazi, for alleged spot-fixing during the final of the 2019 Karnataka Premier League (KPL). Kazi is also accused of taking Rs 7.5 lakh to leak runs in a league-stage match against another KPL team, Bengaluru Blasters.

Investigators claimed Gautam had confessed. Patil told TOI that apart from his statement, investigators had sufficient evidence to prove Gautam’s involvement in match-fixing and spot-fixing. “Inquiries are still under way, and more information cannot be divulged at this juncture. But we suspect some more people may be involved in the case,” he said.

The arrests are a major twist in the growing scandal, which has also ensnared the owner of a different team, Belagavi Panthers. In all, seven people have been arrested.

Gautam previously captained the Karnataka Ranji team. He shifted to Goa this season. He also represented India A and was a member of at least three Indian Premier League (IPL) teams. Royal Challenges Bangalore never picked him in the playing 11, but he made the cut for Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils.

Police sources said investigators were reviewing the events of the KPL final on August 31 and trying to determine if Gautam’s slow batting alone contributed to the loss.

They said the central crime branch picked up Gautam in Bengaluru on Thursday morning and he was aware that he was a target of the police inquiry. Some of his associates had already been quizzed.

Gautam and Kazi’s WhatsApp messages and calls have been reviewed, and the agency had also verified the places where they allegedly met those looking for players’ cooperation to fix spots or matches, according to the sources.

One officer said dishonest players and bookies had various codes of communication and therefore establishing evidence in court would be a challenge. “We are gathering all possible circumstantial evidence to support the case,” the officer said.

Another source claimed Belagavi Panthers owner Ali Asfak Thara paid Gautam Rs 20 lakh for slow batting. In Ballari Tuskers’ match against Bengaluru Blasters, Kazi was allegedly asked to concede more than 10 runs in the fifth over, which he did. It was Gautam’s call to give him that over. The successful arrangement led to a windfall for bookies associated with Thara, the source claimed.

What happened on August 31?

Nov 8, 2019: The Times of India


• The teams: Bellari Tuskers and Hubli Tigers. The game was played at Mysuru’s Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadiyar Ground.

• Hubli Tigers set a target of 152. Bellary Tuskers, led by wicketkeeper CM Gautam, fell short by 8 runs.

• Gautam opened for his team, scoring 29 of 37 balls, which included two boundaries. He kept at it till the 14th over, when Bellary Tuskers’ score was 100/3. He was caught off the bowling of Hubli Tigers allrounder Shreyas Gopal.

• Gautam’s teammate, Abrar Kazi, who came in to bat much later, was run out after scoring 13 of six balls, which included one maximum.

• Central Crime Branch alleged on Thursday that Gautam and Kazi deliberately batted slow to wreck their team’s chances.

• Under Gautam’s captaincy, Bellary Tuskers had entered the knockouts after topping the table, winning four out of six matches.

Logos, insignias on sportswear

ICC on Dhoni’s military insignia

K ShriniwasRao, June 8, 2019: The Times of India

ICC’s clothing and equipments
From: K ShriniwasRao, June 8, 2019: The Times of India

MS CANNOT WEAR LOGO, SAYS ICC

Rules Do Not Permit It; Dhoni Had Agreed To Change Gloves If Norms Were Flouted

Mumbai:

Cricket’s world governing body (ICC) put a lid on the raging controversy over the logo on MS Dhoni’s gloves at the World Cup by saying regulations do not permit the India wicketkeeper to sport such insignia.“ICC has responded to the BCCI to confirm the logo displayed by MS Dhoni in the previous match is not permitted to be worn on his wicketkeeping gloves at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

“The regulations for ICC events do not permit any individual message or logo to be displayed on any items of clothing or equipment. In addition to this, the logo also breaches the regulations in relation to what is permitted on wicketkeeper gloves,” ICC said in a release sent to the media.

Earlier in the day, Dhoni had conveyed to the BCCI that should the insignia of the regimental dagger on his wicketkeeping gloves be perceived as breach of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) rulebook, he would “happily” take them off in the matches to follow. The ICC had earlier “requested” the BCCI to look into the matter after television cameras captured the insignia on Dhoni’s gloves in the match against South Africa on Wednesday. The governing body’s underlined rule on the matter states that players cannot wear any logo or a written word on their accessories that carries a personal message.

While Dhoni certainly deserves to wear the ‘Balidaan’ logo with pride, considering he went through a rigorous training with the elite para regiment four years ago to earn it, the wicketkeeper-batsman cannot wear it in a tournament such as the World Cup.

Soon after the controversy broke, Dhoni remained in touch with officials at the BCCI who alerted him about what the rules say. In line with it, Dhoni told the board that he “does not want any further stress” on the matter in the middle of such an important tournament and will therefore follow the written word.

If not for the personal message that the ‘Balidaan’ logo carries, the BCCI has found no other violation on Dhoni’s part because the insignia – that means ‘sacrifice’ – is neither commercial, religious or military in nature.

However, the ICC thinks otherwise.

Sources in the Indian team said they stand behind Dhoni’s decision to wear the emblem considering how closely they’ve seen their former captain involved with the elite para regiment after he was conferred the title of lieutenant colonel. However, the same team members added that ‘Mahi bhai will be the first to understand and not wear it, should it not be under the rules of the tournament”.

In an interview to a news agency on Friday, BCCI’s court-appointed administrator Vinod Rai said that “BCCI stands behind Dhoni in the matter” and added that the insigna was neither religious nor commercial in nature.

“It is not the paramilitary regimental dagger that is embossed in his gloves. So, Dhoni is not in breach of ICC regulations,” Rai was quoted as saying. However, the BCCI officials left the chief of COA misinformed about all rules that surround this subject.

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