Monthly Archives: December 2020

Ramiz Raza holds New Zealand Cricket responsible for Babar Azam’s injury

He was also critical about the fact that the venue may not have been of the required standards due to the lack of regular cricketing activities.

Pakistan cricket team had received a massive blow when their skipper and key batsman Babar Azam had suffered a thumb injury during a practice session ahead of the New Zealand vs Pakistan series. Azam has been ruled out of the three-match T20I series against the Black Caps, starting from December 18 in Auckland. Also, his presence in the two Test matches between the two cricketing nations is doubtful.

In the meantime, Pakistan’s former cricketer Ramiz Raza blamed the New Zealand authorities for not providing proper training centres to the Men in Green. He also blamed the poor condition of the practice grounds in New Zealand for the injury sustained by Babar Azam. The prolific batsman had injured his right thumb during the throw-down session and the X-Rays in a local hospital had confirmed a fracture.

In a video uploaded on his YouTube channel, Ramiz claimed that the place offered to the Pakistan team for training, Queenstown, isn’t appropriate and is definitely not suitable for cricket. The 58-year-old was rather surprised when he learned about Queenstown getting allocated to the visiting nation.

Ramiz Raza questions the condition of pitch in the training centre

Further in the video, the former cricketer pointed out that there is a possibility of an uneven bounce on the pitch of the training centre which resulted in Babar sustaining a thumb injury.

He was also critical about the fact that the venue may not have been of the required standards due to the lack of regular cricketing activities at the place. Moreover, he reckoned that it should be mandatory to give attention to the practice centres while planning for an overseas tour.

The Pakistan team had to survive a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in New Zealand before beginning their training as various members of their squad had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Ramiz Raja believes that spending time in isolation without any physical activity might have contributed to the skipper’s injury as after coming out of quarantine the cricketer’s reflexes would have been slow.

This would have been Babar Azam’s first tour as Pakistan’s captain across all the formats. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had recently appointed Babar as the leader in the purest format of the game.

CSA announce South Africa squad for Sri Lanka Tests; Kagiso Rabada not cleared medically to play

The first of the two-match Test series between Sri Lanka and South Africa will commence on December 26.

South Africa will lock horns against Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series, starting from December 26 in Centurion. As the two mainstays of Proteas pace attack Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius are doubtful for the Test series as they haven’t regained their full fitness, the pacer Migael Pretorius got his maiden call-up to the South Africa Test squad.

Migael is 34 first-class games old and is having a good run while representing VKB Knights in the ongoing edition of the South Africa’s 4-day Domestic Cup. He is currently the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 19 scalps in 5 matches and registered best bowling figures of 7 for 102 against the Dolphins last month.

Overall, he has 121 first-class wickets, as well as an average of 25.44 with the bat. Apart from Migael Pretorius, Sarel Erwee, Kyle Verreynne and Glenton Stuurman have also received maiden Test calls from Cricket South Africa (CSA) for the home Test series against Sri Lanka.

CSA gives an update on Kagiso Rabada

Speaking about the inclusion of Migael in the South Africa Test squad, CSA Convenor of Selectors, Victor Mpitsang said as quoted by Cricbuzz, “We’re pleased to include Migael in the Proteas Test squad for the Sri Lanka series. We’re big on rewarding consistently good work and the player has done a lot to make a case for himself,”.

“We hope that this experience will be a great learning one for him and that this can serve as encouragement for players across the country, showing them that their chances may not be as far off as they think,” Mpitsang added.

CSA also gave an update on the pacers Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius in the South Africa Test squad by saying that they “have not yet been medically cleared to participate in the tour.”

The South Africa Test squad will assemble in Pretoria on December 19, Saturday to begin their preparation and training ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka from December 26.

South Africa Test squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Sarel Erwee, Anrich Nortje, Glenton Stuurman, Wiaan Mulder, Keegan Petersen, Kyle Verreynne, Migael Pretorius

S Sreesanth named among Kerala probables for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Sreesanth is now set to take part in a preparatory camp to be held from December 20 to 30.

S Sreesanth named among Kerala probables for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Indian speedster S Sreesanth is moving closer to competitive cricket after being named among the 26 probables Kerala players for the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. The fast bowler’s ban, meted out to him by the BCCI after the IPL 2013 alleged spot-fixing scandal, ended in September and he has already shown keenness to return to the cricket field after seven tough and hectic years.

In the domestic T20 Trophy, scheduled to get underway on January 10, 2021, Sreesanth might get to play alongside the likes of Sanju Samson, Sachin Baby and Basil Thampi. Sreesanth last played for Team India way back in 2011 and he last played a competitive match in the 2013 IPL. As per sources, Sreesanth is now set to take part in a preparatory camp to be held from December 20 to 30.

List of Kerala probables: 

Robin Uthappa, Jalaj Saxena, Sanju Samson, Vishnu Vinod, Rahul P, Mohammed Azarudeen, Rohan Kunnumel, Sachin Baby, Salman Nizar, Basil Thampi, S Sreesanth, M D Nideesh, KM Asif, Basil NP, Akshay Chandran, Sijomon Joseph, Midhun S, Abhishek Mohan, Vatsal Govind, Anand Joseph, Vinoop Manoharan, Midhun PK, Sreeroop, Akshay KC, Rojith, Arun M.

BCCI trying its heart out

The COVID-19 pandemic, earlier, made sure that cricket of all forms came to a halt. However, after the 2020 IPL took place in the UAE, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is also busy chalking out a plan for the resumption of domestic cricket in the country.

For the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, teams will join their bio-security bubbles on January 2. BCCI secretary Jay Shah mentioned that the tournament will end on January 31. The details of the venues aren’t yet known though.

“The BCCI will subsequently seek further feedback from the members on organising further domestic tournament/tournaments and a decision will be taken after the group stage of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The members are requested to factor a subsequent tournament in their planning and make arrangements accordingly,” Shah wrote in a letter to the state bodies.

“We are waiting for details from the Board as to what’s to be done next. We are awaiting clarity on the bio-bubbles and how they want us to go about it,” one of the state unit officials stated.

Aaron Finch reveals how Virat Kohli surprised him at RCB

Having spent a considerable amount of time with Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch had a word of advice for his teammates ahead of the Test series between India and Australia.

Aaron Finch reveals how Virat Kohli surprised him at RCB

Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch finally shared the dressing room with Virat Kohli in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) when he plied his trade for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The batting star has been playing in IPL since 2010 and had represented as many as seven teams before joining RCB.

And Finch has revealed how Virat Kohli surprised him with his attitude as a captain. The Australia star opened up on Kohli’s tactics as a captain and revealed how the India skipper focused just on RCB and not on the opposition. Finch stated how Kohli had immense faith in his players and how he backed them to win.

“What really surprised me was how, he obviously does a lot of planning and preparation himself, and into the opposition, but he never focused more on the opposition than his own team. At Bangalore, he was always confident in the XI players that were picked and knew that if you played well, you had every chance of winning,” Aaron Finch was quoted as saying by ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.

“I was really surprised by how confident he was in everyone, he had a lot of time for everyone. He was great around the group, a lot more relaxed. I had never played with him, I had only played against him,” he added

Kohli’s faith in his players nearly paid off as RCB made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The three-time finalists had started the tournament on a stunning note by winning seven of their first ten games. However, they lost form in the second half of the competition and bowed out with a defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator.

Virat Kohli can be ruthless on an opposition: Aaron Finch

Having spent a considerable amount of time with Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch had a word of advice for his teammates ahead of the Test series between India and Australia. Finch has urged his compatriots to strike a “fine balance” when they confront Virat Kohli in the opening Test of the much-anticipated four-match series. Finch pointed out that Kohli could be ruthless if provoked too much.

“I think there will be times when things boil over and when you have got strong characters on either team that’s going to come to a head at some point. (But) there is a fine balance there, isn’t there? You don’t want him (Kohli) to get up and about in the contest. When he does, he can be ruthless on an opposition,” said Aaron Finch.

The first Test is scheduled to start on December 17 at the Adelaide Oval. It will be a day-night affair. Kohli will be playing the game before returning home to attend the birth of his first child. In his absence, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side.

Sanjay Manjrekar reveals how MS Dhoni backed young Virat Kohli back in 2011-12 Australia series

MS Dhoni has been known for shaping careers of various cricketers during his captaincy.

MS Dhoni developed himself as a great wicketkeeper-batsman, finisher, and on top of all, a legendary skipper. He has each and every ICC trophy under his bag that a skipper can boast of. Also, he has played an instrumental role in shaping the career of certain cricketers like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, and many more. Virat Kohli was up with India for the Australia tour back in 2011-12.

The Indian side has a horrible outing as they were whitewashed 0-4 in the Tests. However, there were few shining aspects of the game, and it was in the form of developing talent Virat Kohli. Kohli had impressed with his bat in the limited over series but he was yet to make a mark in the longest format of the game. Despite Kohli’s 11,0,23,9, MS Dhoni backed him for the remaining two Tests as he was just about to be dropped.

Talking of the same incident, former cricketer and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar stated that it was Dhoni’s great mind that saw potential in Kohli and hence, backed him. Kohli ended the series with 44, 75, and his maiden Test century in Adelaide on the same tour.

He was a young man who was about to get dropped after Sydney but MS Dhoni backed him: Manjrekar

“Virat Kohli is Virat Kohli. He always finds ways to score runs. The hundred that he scored in the 2011/12 series, India lost it 0-4. They’d lost to England 0-4. And I think that was the only century scored by an Indian in that series. He was a young man who actually was on the verge of getting dropped after Sydney. Dhoni backed him; he played in Perth scored a 70, and then he got that hundred,” said Manjrekar while speaking on Sony Sports Network.

“Now at Adelaide, a lot of Indian batsmen have got runs. It’s a pitch closer to home. It’s got pace, but the bouncer comes around this high (pointing to his chest). It’s like an Indian pitch, but because it’s day/night and there’s going to be the pink ball, that changes things completely. The thing with Virat Kohli is that later, in 2014/15, he hit four hundreds,” Manjrekar concluded.

Pakistan Cricket Board excludes India from Future Tour Programme

About not playing against India, PCB chief Ehsan Mani accepted that PCB might endure a huge amount of loss.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has started to chalk out some plans for the 2023-207 Future Tour Programme cycle and isn’t looking for a series against India. The PCB has decided not to include any series with India and are also planning to exclude them from owning any media rights.

Since the last eight years, the neighbouring countries haven’t taken part in a bilateral series. For the time being, the two Asian teams only take part in tournaments organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).

Earlier, in previous FTP cycles, Pakistan would have left a window open for a series. However, as per reports in Geo Tv, since the PCB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are at loggerheads, the PCB has taken the call and give opportunities to other teams.

Issues between India and Pakistan continue

Back in 2012-13, Pakistan toured India for a bilateral ODI and T20I series. It was the same tour when Bhuvneshwar Kumar made his debut at the highest level. From there on, India and Pakistan have played only in the World Cup, T20 World Cup, Champions Trophy and Asia Cup.

The last time when the two teams faced each other was in the 2019 World Cup game at the Old Trafford in Manchester. The Men in Blue came out trumps in the rain-curtailed contest. India haven’t played in Pakistan since the 2007 Asia Cup.

Their last Test match also took place back in 2007. In the next three years, India are set to host a T20 World Cup and an ODI World Cup. For the multi-nation tournament, India have given written assurances to the ICC to issue visas to the Pakistan cricketers and media personnel.

About not playing against India, PCB chief Ehsan Mani accepted that PCB might endure a huge amount of loss, but the board isn’t quite concerned about the same for the time being. As per the chairman, Pakistan are set to play a series of at least three Tests in the new FTP.

Pakistan are currently in New Zealand where they will be playing three T20Is and two Tests. The tour starts on Friday, December 18 with the opening game at the Eden Park in Auckland.

INDIA Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy to be played from January 10 to 31, decision on other tournaments to be taken later: BCCI

All the players of the participating teams are told to report to the bio-secure hubs by January 2.

BCCI has finally charted out a plan its much delayed 2020-21 domestic season. It will start with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy which will be played from January 10 to 31. The tournament will be played in six different states where the board will create bio-secure hubs. The BCCI had given various options to the State Units to pick from different competitions and T20 trophy remained the favourite of all the associations.

The action in the shortest format also paves the way for the cricketers to stake their claim ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. It has been learnt that the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has written an E-Mail to State Associations about the domestic cricket for 2020-21 season getting underway.

Also, all the players of the participating teams have been told to report to the bio-secure hubs by January 2, 2021. “After having gone through your responses and in accordance with the feedback received, I am pleased to inform you that BCCI is planning to start the domestic season 2020-21 with the scheduling of the T20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

“By Saturday, January 2, 2021, teams will have to assemble in their respective hub. From Sunday, January 10, 2021, tournament will start and the final will be played on January 21, 2021,” the email read according to India TV.

No decision on Ranji or Vijay Hazare Trophy yet

Meanwhile, Jay Shah also stated in his email that the decision on having either Ranji or Vijay Hazare Trophy will only be taken after the group stage of said T20 tournament is over. Feedbacks from all the state units will be factored in to take the decision.

“BCCI will subsequently seek feedback from the members on organising any other domestic tournament after the group stage of Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. The members are requested to factor a subsequent tournament in their planning and make arrangements accordingly,” Shah further added. It is also reported that BCCI is organising the T20 tournament first keeping in mind the possibility of having the mega auction for the IPL 2021. The upcoming IPL season may have nine or ten teams.

Tim Paine doesn’t play IPL, so he can confront Indians in the Test series: Mohammad Kaif

Further in the interaction, the former Indian batsman made a big statement by saying that if Paine doesn’t score runs against India, then he can be dropped from the Playing XI.

Tim Paine is an excellent man behind the stumps and has done a decent job for Australia as a captain in the purest format of the game. However, the right-hander is not at his fluent best with the willow and is struggling to score runs for his side from the past many games. In his last ten innings, the right-hander has managed just two fifty-plus scores (0, 58, 23*, 1, 21, 13, 39, 0, 79, 35).

Cricket Australia had handed over the Test captaincy to Paine under dire circumstances as both their main players Steve Smith and David Warner were banned from the game after they were found guilty in the infamous ball-tampering scandal of 2018. Therefore, with both Warner and Smith back in the team, it would be difficult for Paine to get going without adding runs to the scoreboard.

Ahead of the highly-anticipated four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia, former Indian cricketer, Mohammad Kaif pointed out that the Indian players can be involved in a heated interaction with Australia’s Test skipper during the Test games.

Tim Paine can confront the Indians: Mohammad Kaif

Kaif believes that all the players including Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Pat Cummins play in the Indian Premier League, thus they won’t like to have any unpleasant experience with the Men in Blue. But the same cannot be said for Tim who doesn’t play in IPL and can confront the Indians.

“All the players who play in the IPL, whether it is (Aaron) Finch, (David) Warner or (Pat) Cummins, none of them are going to fight now. Tim Paine does not play, he knows that he is not going to come to India, he does not have anything to do with the IPL, so he can confront the Indians,” the 40-year-old said on the Sony Sports network.

Further in the interaction, the former Indian batsman made a big statement by saying that if Paine doesn’t score runs against India, then he can be dropped from the Playing XI. Thus Kaif advised the Australian skipper to focus only on his batting and keeping rather than captaincy.

“I feel by the time the Test series is over, Tim Paine would have been dropped. He is not able to score runs with the bat. He just got the captaincy because Smith and Warner had the problem at the time. They were banned, so he was made the captain in compulsion. Now that they have come back, if he doesn’t score, then his spot in the XI will also be difficult. So it will be better if he concentrates on batting and keeping only this time,” Kaif concluded.

It looks like Prithvi Shaw will be Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner in the first Test, reckons Aakash Chopra

As per Chopra, KL Rahul may have to warm the bench for the opening Test.

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra feels that Prithvi Shaw is the most likely candidate to open alongside Mayank Agarwal in the opening Test against Australia, starting December 17 at the Adelaide Oval. KL Rahul wasn’t included for the Day-Night warm game at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Chopra reckons that he might not make the cut for the Adelaide Test.

In the pink-ball practice game, Shaw was Agarwal’s opening partner with Shubman Gill, batting in the middle order. In the first innings. Shaw managed a 29-ball 40 before he perished cheaply in the second. As per Chopra, one of Shaw and Gill should be picked as Agarwal’s partner and he backed the former for the same.

It’s a two-horse race between Shaw and Gill, feels Aakash Chopra

“KL Rahul was not played which means that he is probably not in the Indian team’s thinking at the moment,” Chopra was quoted as saying on his official YouTube channel.

“Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill both got a chance to play. This means that it is now a two-horse race between them on who will open with Mayank Agarwal. Both scored almost the same number of runs but then there is another innings coming,” he stated.

“It looks like Prithvi Shaw will be Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner in the first Test match because he is sent ahead while Shubman Gill is at No.3,” Chopra quipped.

“Since Mayank Agarwal got out early, Shubman Gill came almost at the start. So, it seemed like he is playing as an opener itself. So, it became an almost even playing field for both the batsmen,” Chopra added. In the first innings, Gill also got a handy 58-ball 43.

As far as the warm-up game is concerned, The Indians managed 194 in their first innings, mostly due to Jasprit Bumrah’s 57-ball 55. Thereafter, the visitors bowled the hosts out for 108 in a mere 32.2 overs.

India only used their four fast bowlers, namely Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and Bumrah. While writing the report, India had lost Gill, who notched 65 off 78 balls and had Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari in the middle.

Mitchell Starc set to join Australia squad ahead of Adelaide Test against India

Starc missed the last two T20Is after he learned about a family illness.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc is set to join the Australian squad ahead of the Day-Night Test against India, starting December 17 at the Adelaide Oval. The speedster took some time out of the game and opted out of the last two T20Is due to an illness in the family.

He also missed the final ODI in Canberra after he sustained an injury. Cricket Australia, in a statement, on Sunday, December 13, stated that Starc confirmed about joining the national team going into the much-awaited pink-ball Test.

“Starc has advised Australian team management he is ready to re-enter the hub in Adelaide and will fly from Sydney on Monday with fellow Test squad members in the Australia A team,” the statement mentioned.

Hazlewood lauds Mitchell Starc

Ahead of the contest, Josh Hazlewood, Starc’s pace-bowling partner, was happy to have the pacer back in the scheme of things. Josh reckons that Starc is professional enough and should be able to get himself up and running for the Adelaide Test.

“It’s obviously great news for us to have Starcy come in tomorrow. He’s a huge part of our team and a huge part of our attack. Everyone knows his numbers with the pink ball are pretty special so we welcome him with open arms,” Hazlewood told.

“If we’ve learned anything from this series it’s that nothing goes to plan. We’re always struggling with the schedules and travel and different things. I’m sure this hiccup will be no different for Starcy. He’s a professional and he would have been doing everything he could over the last week and obviously, once he comes into camp he’ll jump straight in and be ready to go,” he stated.

Starc didn’t have the best of outings in the two ODIs he played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He only picked up one wicket and leaked over 80 runs in the second match. But to his relief, the Aussies ended up winning both the matches.

In the first T20I in Canberra, he picked up a couple of wickets, conceding 34 runs in his four overs. In the upcoming Test series, Starc is expected to pair up with Hazlewood and Pat Cummins and ruffle a few feathers.

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