India In New Zealand – Areas of Concern

India In New Zealand - Areas of Concern

After the successful triumph down under Team India are set to take on the Kiwis in New Zealand. India will be facing New Zealand in five One Day Internationals starting on and from 23rd January 2019. 

With the current form, it is expected from Indians to conclude another successful series in New Zealand. There are still a few areas that India have to work on in the series, especially keeping the bigger stage in mind.

Rohit Sharma Against New Zealand

Rohit Sharma had an outstanding ODI series against Australia with a score of 185 runs in just three ODI. He is in good form and provided a strong start to the Indian innings. But individually his stints with New Zealand have not been very good till now. Since 2009 Rohit has faced New Zealand five times and scored 533 runs in 16 innings at an average of 35.53 which is his second-lowest average against a team in ODIs after South Africa.

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His two previous tours to New Zealand do not have fond memories either. This time individually he will face a challenge to change this record against New Zealand. Moreover, with World Cup knocking at the door, it will be important to perform really well in this series to make the team more settled. Facing new ball against Tim Southee will make his job tougher and watching Rohit Sharma dealing with the whole situation will be interesting.

Also Read: 5 lesser known facts about Rohit Sharma

India’s Middle Order Perforate

Although India’s top order with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli looks solid, the middle order is still not very stable. To find a balanced set for the middle order India tried with different combinations in the recently concluded Australia series. They trusted Ambati Rayadu for the number four spot based on his good performance in last IPL and home series against West Indies.

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Unfortunately, he couldn’t produce any decent showing and had to be replaced by Kedar Yadav. Yadav made the most of the opportunity and seemed promising enough to seal a spot in the middle order. At least for the New Zealand series, Yadav can be tried more to solve the issue before World Cup 2019. As a finisher, Dinesh Karthik did well in the limited chances he got. With some good knocks in the New Zealand series, he can be another answer to the worry. MS Dhoni is back in form and hopefully, he will be able to continue this even in the upcoming counter with New Zealand. Indian team should put an end to Dhoni’s batting position. The team should at least find an answer to this. With Ambati Nayadu as a backup option, Dhoni-Kedar-DK can be India’s 4-5-6 in the batting line up. Indian team management have to solve this riddle soon and utilize New Zealand series as a preparation stage for World Cup and should try to fix everything during this tournament.

Bowling Combination

With around 10 world class bowlers with everyone offering something different, Indian bowling department looks solid like never before. For New Zealand series since Jasprit Bumrah is not available Khaleel Ahmed and Vijay Shankar will be tested and will get ample chances to prove themselves. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are the easy choices and have fixed their spots in the playing eleven now.

Image Source – The Pioneer

Bhuvi’s form in ODI series against Australia will be a relief for India whereas Shami will be there to provide support. It will be really tough to choose between Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep showed his worth in the first two ODIs against Australia and Chahal made the most of the third ODI after getting chance. Both are wrist spinners, attacking and powerful. This will be a nice headache for the team management to choose the right option. But again, men in blue have to finalize on any one of them to seal their preferred playing eleven for the mega tournament in the United Kingdom.

The 6th Bowler

During early 2000, Indian squad used to have part-timers like Sehwag, Ganguly, Tendulkar, and Yuvraj who could ball decently in case a primary bowler having a bad day. But in the current team, this part is lacking. None of the top orders like Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, DK works as a part-time bowler regularly.

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Among the current squad, only Kedar Jadhav has bowled regularly in ODIs and hence for India it is important that all 5 bowlers deliver in every match which is an absurd imagination. It is important to find out minimum one part-time bowler for the Indian team for a balanced team. A team cannot survive long without part-time bowlers and Indian team should work on this issue seriously for the series and definitely for the big tournament approaching.

Probable Playing XI For India In First ODI Against New Zealand

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Vijay Shankar/ Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal / Kuldeep Yadav

Australia vs India: Five Talking Points from the Sydney Test

Australia vs India: Five Talking Points from the Sydney Test

Team India paved their way into the history books by recording a monumental victory in Australia. Never had any Asian team won a Test series in Australia, until now. 

But Virat Kohli‘s Indian team finally made it possible with the win at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A collective effort by the batsmen, mostly Cheteshwar Pujara and the bowlers made it possible. Jasprit Bumrah swung the victory’s way with a bowling average of 17 in the series. His tally of 21 wickets is also the second-most by an India fast bowler in a series in the SENA countries. 


The Australian batsmen were in terrible, and the bowlers couldn’t do much to stop the Indian batsmen either. India toured Australia for the first time in 1947/48, and 71 years later this Indian team brings back home the glory of an overseas win in Australia.

Cheteshwar Pujara, leading with the willow

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In the 2-1 series win against Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara leads the charts in the most number of runs scored. Not only did he win the Man of the match award for his 193 in the Sydney Test, but he was also adjudged as the Man of the series. “During IPL, I might be playing county cricket. Next Test series is 6-7 months away. Will give me enough time to prepare. I’ll work hard on my game to play white-ball cricket. But Test cricket is my priority, it’ll always remain my priority,” Pujara said in the post-match presentation. 

Also Read: All the Records made in the series

India enforced the follow-on on Australian for only the second time in history

Australia’s embarrassing performance against India at the SCG is made worse when you consider the history behind India enforcing the follow-on on day four. It marks the first time in almost 31 years since Australia has been sent back in by the opposition to bat again immediately after being dismissed in the first innings, on home soil. The last time it happened was against England in Sydney in January 1988, in a one-off Test match.

Virat Kohli’s men need to step up more like this time

Image Source – Sportskeeda

Despite Kohli not being in his prime, he was the third among all batsmen in the series. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant finished ahead of him with 521 and 350 runs respectively. In comparison to the 2014-15 tour, where he scored 692 runs, Kohli’s tally of 282 seemed faint, but his century in Perth on a fiery track – although in a losing cause – was commendable. This series was a proof that Kohli can sometimes step back as a match winner and concentrate more on his captaincy. 

Rishabh Pant, the newest Indian prodigy

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Pant’s unbeaten 159 at the SCG is the fifth occurrence of an Indian wicketkeeper scoring a hundred outside the sub-continent. Also, the first to do so in Australia. Pant went past Farokh Engineer’s 89 at the Adelaide Oval in 1967 for the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper in Australia. He also holds the record for the highest individual score by an Indian wicketkeeper in England. Pant’s unbeaten 159 in the Sydney Test is the highest by a wicketkeeper from an Asian side outside the sub-continent. 

The brilliance of the Indian spinners

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Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav shared five wickets between them and were at their tenacious best across the two and more sessions that were bowled before bad light set in. Virat Kohli couldn’t take the second new ball, but to be fair, he didn’t need to. The Indian spinners were bowling brilliantly and it was more than evident. Even though rain marred the last day and made the play impossible at the SCG, Australia couldn’t make anything out of their first innings which led to the follow-on. It’s fair to say, the home team were just relieved of a 3-1 defeat.

Khaleel Ahmed’s rapid rise in Indian cricket

Khaleel Ahmed’s rapid rise in Indian cricket

Last year at this time, Khaleel Ahmed didn’t even make his First-Class debut. In fact, his first ever List A match was against Andhra, in February this year. So, what is so special about this 20-year old kid from Tonk, a small town in Rajasthan, which forced the selectors to fast track him to the senior team?

At the senior level, so far in his career, Khaleel has featured in two First-Class, 17 List A and 12
domestic T20 matches. He is just one season old but has shown enough potential to bag an IPL
contract from the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Though he got only one game in the last season. Before this season, Khaleel was part of the Delhi Daredevils squad as well.

However, these days in the Indian cricket circuit, there is a scarcity of quality left-arm seam bowlers.
Perhaps that’s why and keeping his record in the age group cricket in mind, Khaleel has been fast-
tracked to the India A level. Over there under the watchful eyes of Rahul Dravid, he has made a
significant improvement.

Meanwhile, this was not the first time Khaleel had worked under Dravid. Back in 2016, the youngster was part of the Indian team in Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. At that time, Dravid spoke highly about him.

Nevertheless, at the India A level Khaleel has recently toured England and played in the just-
concluded quadrangular series at home. And primarily thanks to his performance over there, he got
selected in the Asia Cup squad. His performance in this year’s Vijay Hazare (domestic 50-over
the tournament in which got 10 wickets in six matches at 23.40.) and Deodhar Trophy earned him a lot of praise and eyeballs.

Khaleel is renowned as a dead pitch bowler. Since childhood, he has played a lot of Tennis ball
cricket. So, on docile surfaces, he can extract bounce and trouble the batsmen. Also, he has the pace, which is required for an international level bowler.

Khaleel’s career is also highly influenced by Zaheer Khan. During his days in the Delhi Daredevils, he got close to Zaheer, who worked with him relentlessly. In a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo, the pacer revealed that how Zaheer worked his non-bowling arm and wrist position. He has also taught him how to bring the ball back into the right-handers.

Thus far, it has been a dream run for Khaleel. But now, the most important challenge for him will be
sustaining at this level.

Can he do it? Well, he certainly has the potential.

Virat Kohli – Madamme Tussaud’s new addition

Virat Kohli Madamme Tussaud

Another wax statue was added in the Indian branch of Madame Tussauds. Madame Tussauds is a museum in London, displaying waxworks of famous and historical people along with popular film characters. The museum has branched out to many countries, India being one of them. It opened in Connaught Place in Central Delhi in December of last year and features wax statues of famous personalities from Bollywood, Hollywood, musicians and even politicians. And recently, none other than our favorite Indian captain, Virat Kohli got the honor of having his wax statue made and put up there.

He is the latest sports celebrity to have this honor, along with Lionel Messi, Kapil Dev, and Usain Bolt. When asked about it, Kohli said, “I sincerely appreciate the efforts and incredible work undergone in making my figure. Thanks to Madame Tussauds for choosing me for this lifetime experience. I am grateful to my fans for their love and support. This experience is going to be stored in the fond memories of my life…Now waiting to see the fan reactions,”

Kohli’s statue was crafted from over 200 measurements and photographs taken. The skipper is seen in his dynamic pose donning the Indian cricket team jersey, with a ready to strike stance, symbolizing his achievements as an international cricket icon.

From his debut in 2006 to becoming the captain of the Indian cricket team and winning the Under-19 World Cup on the route, Kohli’s journey has been a great one. He, with his unbeatable performance, has won many awards like the Arjuna award, ICC World Cricketer of the year and three BCCI international cricketer of the year awards.

People have nothing but praise for the cricketer. Anshul Jain, General Manager, and Director, Merlin Entertainments India Pvt. Ltd., said, “Virat is today’s cricket star and has a huge fan following across the globe. The growing love for him amongst his fans made him an obvious choice for Madame Tussauds, Delhi. We are certain that this figure will add a new charm to the sports zone.”

Having a waxwork of yourself put up in a museum such as Madame Tussauds is one of the greatest things that can happen to you and Kohli has achieved that honor. It’s a big moment for the star, one which is sure to make all his fans very happy. People have been seen taking selfies with it and are super excited that a statue of Virat Kohli exists.