Indian Cricket Team Announced For Australia Series

Indian Cricket Team Announced For Australia Series

Indian cricket team for the upcoming Australia series has been announced. India will play two T20Is and five ODIs against Australia, with the first T20I scheduled to be played on February 24 at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam.

Virat Kohli Back To Indian Cricket Team

Indian Cricket Team Announced For Australia Series
Indian Cricket Team Announced For Australia Series (Image- AP)

Virat Kohli is set to return after a short back. Several reports suggested that Rohit Sharma might be rested for a portion of the series. Interestingly now Rohit Sharma will act as the vice-captain for the entire series.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar will return for the final three games after resting for the first two ODIs but will return for the final three games. He will replace Kaul final three games. However, Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed has been left out of the Indian cricket team.

Vijay Shankar, after a good showcase in New Zealand, is in the squad along with the other all-rounder Hardik Pandya. The spin attack in the squad will be led by the duo, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the designated wicket-keeper in both teams. Dinesh Karthik, although was part of the team that played ODIs in Australia and New Zealand has been left out. KL Rahul has replaced Karthik in the squad.

15 Member Indian Squad For Australia Series

India’s squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul

India’s squad for the final 3 ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant

Also Read: 3 areas of concern for Team India which should solve before World Cup

India And Pakistan World Cup Face Off- Virat Kohli’s Unique record

India And Pakistan World Cup Face Off- Virat Kohli's Unique record

India and Pakistan World Cup Match, 2015 saw a unique record by Virat Kohli. 

India and Pakistan cricket matches are infrequent nowadays due to the ongoing tension and restrained political relationship.  But with the intensity of a battle, these matches live up to its billings more often than not. Nowadays, these two countries generally meet only during multi-national tournaments like the World Cup and Asia cup. Although India has the upper hand in recent times, it was not the case always and time to time, both teams deliver some memorable encounters.

Indian And Pakistan World Cup Encounters

In the first four World Cups, India and Pakistan did not get a chance of face-off. They were the joint organizers in 1987 and when they qualified for the semi-final, the fans from both the countries hoped a final showdown between them. But both India and Pakistan faltered and Australia played England in the final in the Eden Gardens.

India and Pakistan first met in a World Cup game in 1992 and since then there is an India-Pakistan clash in every World Cup except 2007 when both the teams were relegated from their respective groups. Most of the Indian fans proudly cherish the fact that in 50-over World Cup India has a 6-0 scoreline against Pakistan, which was hyped more before the 2015 World Cup with the famous ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad by the official broadcasters in India.

In 2011, they faced each other in the semi-final in Mohali which India won by 29 runs and went on to play the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

Once the grouping of the 2015 World Cup was announced cricket fans were delighted to see, India and Pakistan placed in the same group. Similarly, arch-rivals England and Australia were placed in the same group. On February 15, 2015, India started their campaign against Pakistan.

                      Virat Kohli Amazed All (Image- Getty Images)

Virat Kohli Amazed All

There were few changes in the teams especially for India but still, there were players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Misbah-ul Haq and Shahid Afridi who were part of their 2011 clash. MS Dhoni won the toss and as was the norm in such pressure matches opted to bat first.

After a solid start by Rohit and Shikhar, Kohli replaced Rohit in the 8th over. After an early chance, Kohli was set quickly and looked in sublime touches and kept rotating the strike with few exceptional shots in between. However, Kohli understood the importance of him staying in the middle and mostly played risk-free cricket. Shikhar was in good touch and the duo added 129 runs in 23 overs. Once Shikhar was gone, Suresh Raina came and helped India to get the big push around 40th over. He scored a 56-ball 74 with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes. Kohli, on the other hand, grew on his innings and reached his well-deserved hundred in the 43rd over.

Unique Record

With this Kohli became the only batsman to score centuries in his country’s opening matches in two consecutive World Cups. He also scored a 100 against Bangladesh in India’s first match during the 2011 World Cup. This also made him the only Indian to have a century on World Cup debut. The century came at Adelaide Oval, Kohli’s lucky venue. 

Pakistan tried their best but Mohammad Shami ensured that they were never in the hunt. Shami’s four wickets included Younis Khan, Misbah, Afridi and Wahab Riaz. India ended up with a comfortable 76 runs win to open their World Cup defense.

Four years have passed and the legend of Virat Kohli has grown further. Now he is the Indian captain and world’s best batsman in all formats. With another World Cup in a few months, when India will start their campaign against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, India fans all over the world will hope for an encore from him and wish him to complete his hat-trick of centuries in World Cup opening matches.

Also Read: OnThisDay – 14th Feb

Team To Be Announced For India-Australia Series on February 15


India-Australia series squad will be announced on February 15. India will be hosting Australia for a limited-overs series starting on February 24. 

India-Australia series will be a rehearsal for both teams as they are preparing for World Cup 2019 which is scheduled to begin on May 30 in England. The selection committee’s primary focus will be to take a final call on some of the posts keeping the mega event in mind.

India-Australia Series – Kohli To Return

India will play two T20 Internationals and five ODIs against the Aussies and this will be their last international assignment before the World Cup. Virat Kohli will be returning to the team along with pacer Jasprit Bumrah for the India-Australia series. Likewise, KL Rahul is back with a bang after a couple of good innings for India A against England Lions in the two unofficial Tests. The vice-captain Rohit Sharma is likely to miss the T20Is and come back fresh for the ODIs.

Virat Kohli To Return For India-Australia Series

The selection committee will have to choose between left-arm pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Khaleel Ahmed while Bumrah, Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the sure picks. Khaleel although played in Australia and New Zealand is still inexperienced for the World Cup. On the other hand, Unadkat is playing for Indian since his debut in 2010. After a good Ranji Trophy season where he led Saurashtra to the final Unadkat can be a better choice.

Furthermore, the India-Australia series squad will also indicate to the second wicketkeeper-batsman of the team. The fate of Rishab pant and Dinesh Karthik will be decided on February 15.

Quest For World Cup Begins

With the India-Australia series approaching within days, the selectors have identified most of the certain names for the series and the World Cup. Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami are the sure choices.

It will be interesting to see the final squad for the upcoming India-Australia series as this side will be in the quest for the World Cup in England.

Also Read: Areas of concern for Team India 

World Cup 2019 – 3 areas of concern for Team India

With the ICC World Cup 2019 just three and a half months away, teams have started prepping their squads in full swing. While some teams still have areas of concern, others are fairly settled, sans the odd questions that crop up when a team underperforms in a match. 

The Indian Team too look mighty strong on paper and is one of the favorites to win the World Cup 2019 but will need to sort out problem areas before the biennial event gets underway.

The inconsistent middle order

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – The Indian Express

The Indian Cricket Team has been buoyed by a top-heavy batting unit, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shikhar Dhawan rising to the occasion more often than not. However, the concerns arise once the trio is back in the pavilion, with India’s middle-order looking unsettled and inconsistent.

Nine cricketers have been tried at the number 4 spot since January 2018, with Ambati Rayudu playing the maximum games in that position – 6. However, with a high score of only 40 and with his issues against pace no secret, the unstable number 4 can often undo all the good work that the top sets.

India’s numbers 5 to 7 have fared no better, with as many as 12 cricketers being given a go in the middle order in the last 13 months. The players in these spots have managed to score runs at only a strike-rate of 81.47, which is in contrast to the strike-rate of 94.80 that the top three batters have batted within this interim. Hence, once the top-order has been dismissed, the job of the bowlers is relatively easy, and with MS Dhoni no longer in ominous form, the struggles in the death overs while batting seems to have no immediate answer.

Also Read: Dhoni should bat at no. 4

The absence of a potent third seamer

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – India TV

The performance of the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has managed to take the limelight away from the under-performance of the quicks in the ODI set-up. With no seamer except for Jasprit Bumrah putting his hand up, India remains crippled without a genuine quick who can create troubles up front.

Bumrah has managed to take the most wickets since January in 2019 – 22 wickets in 13 games – while the next best bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has picked up 26 wickets but in 22 matches. The inability of the swing bowler to maintain his line and length match-after-match too remains a worry, and with Mohammad Shami and Khaleel Ahmed going for runs too, the problem is only highlighted further.

The former had been unable to step up till the series in New Zealand, while the latter has hardly done anything noteworthy in his short international career. With Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul not in the fray, it is likely that Bumrah, Bhuvi, Shaami, and Khaleel will board the flight to England. However, they will have to raise their game, just like the bowling department had done in the World Cup in Australia four years ago.

The lack of a back-up bowler

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – Bcci

Team India have finally found a bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya, who did reasonably well in the ODIs against New Zealand. However, he is prone to inconsistency and can be dreadfully wayward on his day. This is where India will need a sixth-bowling option. Kedar Jadhav has been donning the role for a while now, but with the tracks in England hardly assisting spinners, and with Jadhav being viewed as a ‘lucky bowler who somehow gets wickets’, it will be foolish to count on him match-after-match.

So who does Team India rely on in this case? With none of the top-order batters bowling – Rohit and Kohli no longer pitch in with the cherry – the responsibility will be on the fifth and sixth bowlers to be consistent and disciplined.

Shannon Gabriel suspended for sledging Joe Root

Shannon Gabriel suspended for sledging Joe Root

West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel has been suspended for the first four One-Day Internationals after sledging England captain Joe Root during the third Test in St Lucia. 

On the third day of the third Test between England and West Indies, stump mics caught an interaction between Shannon Gabriel and two England batsmen, Root and Joe Denly; where Root ended by saying that being gay is nothing wrong and requested not to use it as an insult.

“Don’t use it as an insult. There is nothing wrong with being gay.”

For this comment, Gabriel was found guilty under article 2.13 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct; which is related to “personal abuse of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire or Match Referee during an international match”. 

For this offense, Shannon Gabriel has been fined 75% of his match fee and three demerit points. His action led him to eight demerit points within 24 months which equals to the ban from either two Tests or four ODIs or T20Is, which series he plays first. Earlier, he received five demerit points for two incidents which involved physical contact with opposing players.

Also Read: Gayle is back in Windies ODI squad

He had received three demerit points when he barged Sarfaraz Ahmed during the Jamaica Test against Pakistan in April 2017 and later received two demerit points in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh last November due to a similar incident where Imrul Kayes was involved. Because of this offense, he was suspended for the next Test in Mirpur.

Gabriel has accepted his offense as well as the charge so there was no formal hearing of this incident with the match referee, Jeff Crowe. However, Gabriel was not a part in the squad for the first two ODIs against England, he was a replacement for Keemo Paul who got injured.

While talking about Gabriel’s ban, England coach Trevor Bayliss expressed that stump mics should be off between the deliveries.

“I’ve said it once before, no I’m not in favour of it and I’m not going to change my mind,” he expressed. “If stump mics were around a few years ago there would be some blokes seen as ‘holier than thou’ who would have been in trouble as well.”

“I think [stump mics] should be down. I know there are people who think the opposite and think it is good for the game but sometimes in the heat of battle things are said, when guys given a bit of time to sit down and think about it would give themselves a bit of a kick up the backside,” he further added.

However, Root handled the situation very gracefully in the post-match press conference.

“Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field,” Root said.

“It’s Test cricket and he’s an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match. He’s a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest, he’s had a wonderful series and he should be proud.”

Though West Indies lost the Test, won the three-match series by 2-1. They will play five ODIs, which will start next Wednesday in Barbados.

Ponting To Join Australian Crikcet Team As Assistant Coach

Ponting To Join Australian Crikcet Team As Assistant Coach

Former Australia Captain Ricky Ponting will join Australia’s coaching staff for the World Cup in England this year. He will be working alongside coach Justin Langer as an assistant coach during Australia’s quest for sixth World Cup Title.

According to interim High-Performance Executive General Manager Belinda Clark,

“With two major events back to back we believe it is important to focus at the number of staff specifically on one event. The appointment of Ricky is a part of this overall strategy.” He added, “Ricky will assist Justin across a number of key areas including strategy and game-plan, but he will also work closely with and mentor the batting group as they prepare for the English conditions.”

Under Ponting, Australia won the World Cup twice in 2003 and 2007. he was also a part of the World Cup winning squad in 1999. The coach, Justin Langer believes his expertise will be helpful for Australia to defend the title.

“Ricky knows what’s required to win World Cups, and I know he will be a valuable mentor to not just the batting group, but the broader squad as we focus our attention on defending our World Cup title,” Langer said in a statement. 

Ponting previously worked short-term with Australia’s ODI and Twenty20 squads.

He said, “I’ve enjoyed my previous short-term roles with the ODI and T20 teams, but World Cups take on a whole different meaning for me.” He showed his confidence in the Aussie squad and said, “I have enormous confidence in the players available to the selectors and know we will be as tough to beat as any team.”

On the other hand, David Saker resigned as Australia’s fast-bowling coach with immediate effect. Troy Cooley will serve a temporary bowling coach on upcoming limited-overs tours of India and the UAE. According to reports, Aussie legend Jason Gillespie is the most probable name for Australia’s long-term bowling coach position. 

Regarding Ponting’s appointment, Belinda Clark mentioned,

“This appointment also provides an opportunity for Graeme Hick to focus on preparation for the Ashes.”

The 34-year old will be coaching the newly named Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League in April and May before joining Australia’s squad. Australia’s World Cup campaign will start on June 1 with their first encounter against Afghanistan in Bristol.

Also Read: Gayle is back in Windies ODI Squad

Gayle Back In Windies ODI Sqaud

Gayle Back In Gayle's belligerence made him an ODI enigmaWindies ODI Sqaud

The West Indies squad for the first two one-day internationals against England has been announced. The side has a new face in Nicholas Pooran whereas the blaster Chris Gayle has made a comeback. The series will begin on February 20. 

Gayle last played an ODI almost six months back in July 2018. The 9-year old missed the limited-overs tour against India and Bangladesh in between. The uncapped Nicholas Pooran has been added in the 14-member squad for the first two ODIs against England. The 23-year-old wicket-keeper batsman has so far played eight Twenty20 Internationals for his country. He has scored 148 runs at an average of 24.66 and has a strike-rate of 152.57. Although Shannon Gabriel will not be a part of the series due to ‘workload’ concerns, Ashley Nurse will be seen after recovering from an injury he picked up during the ODIs against India.
Courtney Browne, the West Indies Chairman of Selectors, said the upcoming five-match ODI series against England will help the side to prepare for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 starting in May. 

Browne said, “As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top-ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team,” said Browne. “This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy.”

Also Read: 6 memorable batting performances in IPL  

He added: “We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI squad for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order. 

Although Gabriel is out of the upcoming series against England, the Chairman ensured that he would be a part of the World Cup plans of the windies.

“Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series.”

Squad: Jason Holder (Captain), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.

After Smith, Mitchell Starc’s injury looms danger for Australia

After Smith, Mitchell Starc's injury looms danger for Australia


The latest injury of Mitchell Starc has ruled him out of the India tour

The left-arm fast bowler will be out from Cricket for at least two months

Australia recently faced a similar blow with Steve Smith’s prolonged injury 

India will host Australia for two T20Is and five ODIs, starting later this month 

Mitchell Starc’s recent 10-wicket haul against Sri Lanka was in the news as it was instrumental in Australia’s 2-0 series win. Soon after the series got over, Starc injury woes have returned. Reports suggest that he will miss the entire tour of India, with selectors set to name their ODI and T20 squad on Thursday. 

Australia’s tour of India will comprise two Twenty20 International and five One Day International matches. With their leading quick ruled out of the series, Australia’s clouds of worry seem to have darkened. Over two months of exile for Starc means he will miss out on other upcoming series over and beyond India’s tour alone. The left-arm fast bowler is suffering from a soft tissue injury in his upper half of the body. This places him in doubt for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE that will follow. 

Also Read: Shastri backs Dhoni for World Cup

The conundrum circling Steve Smith and David Warner’s return to Australian colours is now bigger than ever. As CA was scheming their return, Smith came out and spoke about his elbow injury. Last month he revealed that he’ll undergo surgery for the same. It came around as a huge blow for Australia as there’s a probability that he might miss out on playing the World Cup. Thinking of last year, at this time, we were sure to be named as the captain of the Australian side. But how the times have changed! Now, in addition to that, Mitchell Starc’s injury is a big scare for Australia ahead of the World Cup that starts on May 30.

Shastri Backs Dhoni for his game changing ability

Shastri Backs Dhoni for his game changing ability

MS Dhoni has recently scored three half-centuries on Australian soil to win the series for India almost single-handedly. Although he was going through a bad phase in 2018, he shut all his critics with his comeback in Australia. 

He continued his good form against the Kiwis too and scored a 48 in the second ODI. Dhoni’s batting position has also been a talk op the nation since a long. Dhoni himself cleared the air by saying he is ready to bat at any position.

The head coach of the Indian cricket team has come out in support of the former captain of Men in Blue.  He clearly mentioned in an interview with Cricbuzz, 

“Nobody is good enough to criticize MS Dhoni. If you talk about him, do you even know anything about cricket?”

Shastri added, the likes of Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Gavaskar and Dhoni cannot be criticized so easily after their immense contribution.

“Dhoni is like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, and Sunil Gavaskar. These guys come once in 30-40 years. He is an ornament to the game. He has been the captain of a number one Test team and has two World Cups to his name. In fact, tell me which trophy has he not won? Name it. There is no space in his trophy cabinet. I think people should learn a thing or two about cricket before they start talking about Dhoni. You don’t get a guy (of his experience and ability) overnight.”

Shastri praised the glovework of the Ranchi born keeper and was in awe of the runout that recently sent James Neesham back into the pavilion.

“That was Dhoni at his very best, as a con artist. He was not even looking at the ball, and the run-out was done in a flash, and it changed the course of that game.” He added, “He is superb with the gloves, and from behind the stumps he really guides the wrist spinners because he understands all the fielding angles from inside the circle much better than the others.”

The coach believes that MSD can be used as a flexible option in the upcoming World Cup and will be a key element for India’s quest World Cup.

India win 4-1 after the middle order comes to the rescue

India win 4-1 after the middle order comes to the rescue

India’s Achilles Heel, the middle order came to the side’s rescue in the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand, with Ambati Rayudu (90), Hardik Pandya (45) and Vijay Shankar (45) coming to the rescue after the top-order once again faltered. 

Opting first again on a spicy track, the Indian team were languishing at 18 for 4 at Wellington, before the visitors recovered to post 252 runs on the board. New Zealand too lost early wickets in the pursuit, but a fighting 67-run partnership between Kane Williamson and Tom Latham steadied the ship. However, some quick dismissals in the middle overs meant that they eventually fell 35 runs short, despite James Neesham unleashing himself with a fine knock of 44.

The Indian bowlers rose to the occasion perfectly to New Zealand on the mat in the challenging run-chase. Henry Nicholls was out attempting a pull off Mohammad Shami and Colin Munro, who was playing after an injury to Martin Guptill, lived dangerously before he too was sent back by Shami, who was named the Player of the Series. With two wickets in the powerplay overs, and with Ross Taylor going back LBW off Pandya, New Zealand were in a spot of bother, before Latham and Williamson stitched together some crucial runs.

They played the patient game well and survived a tight bowling spell from India’s seamers. Instead of looking to attack every ball, they focused on strike rotation and only sent the loose balls towards the boundary ropes. However, the introduction of spin in the 19th over undid all their excellent work, as the Kiwi skipper was sent back by Kedar Jadhav as he attempted a pull and Latham was out LBW by Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg-spinner soon dismissed Colin de Grandhomme to leave the home team reeling at 135 for 6 in the 31st over, but a counter-attacking knock by Neesham provided the side with some hope.

He sent the ball sailing across the ground as he smashed 44 in only 32 balls, however, a clever run-out by MS Dhoni exposed the tail.

Earlier in the day, Rohit Sharma’s decision to bat first was proved a mistake as the openers departed in quick succession, with the captain walking back after being bowled by a Matt Henry ball and Shikhar Dhawan following suit as he tried to clear an uppercut through third-man. MS Dhoni, returning to the playing 11 in place of Dinesh Karthik, and Shubman Gill were unable to seize the chances and they too departed soon to leave India in a spot of bother.

However, Shankar, who was batting for the first time in the format, showed his mettle by surviving a tough bowling spell from Boult and Henry while on the other end, Rayudu was biding his time and scoring at less than 20 off the first 35 balls he faced in his knock. After the partnership crossed 50, Rayudu tried to break the shackles and helped India get back into the game with a 98-run partnership.

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The Man of the Match, Rayudu, was given a chance after Boult was dropped off the bowling of Colin Munro and capitalized with a couple of sixes before falling prey to Henry. Pandya too let himself loose as he struck three successive sixes off the bowling of Todd Astle in the 47th over, which allowed India to reach a respectable score of 252.

Brief scores: India 252 in 49.5 overs (Ambati Rayudu 90, Hardik Pandya 45, Vijay Shankar 45; Matt Henry 4-35, Trent Boult 3-39) beat New Zealand 217 in 44.1 overs (James Neesham 44, Kane Williamson 39; Yuzvendra Chahal 3-41, Mohammed Shami 2-35) by 35 runs.