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Steven Smith, the Saviour

2 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Brisbane: Australians pride themselves on a 'no bullshit' filter. They readily concede that without Steven Smith, the Ashes would have been relinquished. I have been inundated with comments from outraged cricket fans who realise that the final result masks a deeper, more uncomfortable truth when it comes to inconsistent selection criteria. It used to be the Asian nations that were accused of biased selections based on family ties and favours owed but recent history suggests that India at least have made it a point to select teams based on performance. What's that you say? Performance? Selected on performance? How quaint! It'll never catch on in Australia. Here are some of the more illuminating texts I received on the topic. Clearly, Warner knows where the corpses are buried in Cape Town so he can't be dropped. Worst series by an opening batsman in cricket history, but Ponting reckons he is a guaranteed pick for the home series. It doesn't matter that Mitch Marsh took five wickets. He d..
                 

Atharva Ankolekar's mother on his win against Bangladesh in under-19 Asia Cup

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
By the time India's Atharva Ankolekar arrived at Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium to take on Bangladesh in the U-19 Asia Cup final against Bangladesh on Saturday, his mother Vaidehi, a BEST bus conductor, was on Route 334 duty from Marol to Ghatkopar in Mumbai. While Vaidehi had one eye on handing out tickets to her passengers, the other was on her mobile phone, following the scores after India were put in to bat. Vaidehi raised her sons, Atharva,18 and Parth, 13 single-handedly after their father Vinod, also a BEST employee, passed away in 2010 due to malaria. India were bowled out for a paltry 106 runs in 32.4 overs. "I was totally off-mood. I almost gave up on them winning the final as the target was quite easy," she said. Her slim hopes of winning the final were pinned on Atharva's left-arm spin. After requesting her seniors to let her leave an hour early from work, Vaidehi managed to reach her Andheri home just in time for Atharva's first over [11th over of the innings]. Atharva stru..
                 

India Vs South Africa Series: Jasprit Bumrah not KG about Rabada

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Jasprit Bumrah and Kagiso Rabada are set to make it a cracker of a Diwali this year. The India vs South Africa series, which begins on October 2, will see two of the best pacers in business up against each other. Life will also come a full circle for both. While the SA pacer made his Test debut in the 2015 Test series in India, Bumrah first wore the Test jersey in Johannesburg last year. Kagiso Rabada didn't have much success in his debut series, claiming two wickets in three Tests on spin-friendly tracks. Jasprit Bumrah, meanwhile, had a dream debut series by claiming 14 wickets in three Tests. Rabada revealed recently that the likes of Bumrah and Jofra Archer doing well will force him to lift his game. But the lanky Indian pace ace tried to downplay the contest with the Proteas's tearaway pacer. "I don't look at all these things. I don't focus on individuals. For me, team's success is important. I look forward to what I can do and what contribution I can make in the team's success," ..
                 

See Photos: MS Dhoni and his 'Baby shark' Ziva's fun time in the pool with Hardik Pandya

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently not part of the Indian cricket squad and he seems to be making the most of it. MS Dhoni, who is quite an active sportsperson on social media, was recently enjoying some time in a swimming pool with his bundle of joy Ziva and Hardik Pandya. Ziva's official Instagram profile shared a couple of photos which showed her sharing a couple of laughs along with Daddy Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. The caption read 'Baby Shark'.       View this post on Instagram Baby shark !!! A post shared by ZIVA SINGH DHONI (@ziva_singh_dhoni) onSep 11, 2019 at 8:25am PDT Hardik Pandya is seen humouring Ziva and she is all smiles. Ziva Dhoni can't seem to stop laughing and also can't seem to leave her daddy's arms. The little one wore a flowery swimsuit along with a purple float. Dhoni and Ziva with Hardik Pandya Hardik Pandya meanwhile is all geared up for the upcoming Twenty20 International series against South Africa which will commence on September 15. Ha..
                 

Ashes: Justin Langer backs struggling David Warner to come good

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Australia head coach Justin Langer has backed out-of-form opener David Warner to come good in the fifth and final Ashes Test beginning Thursday at The Oval. Warner has been in awful form in the ongoing Ashes scoring just 79 runs at an average of 9.87 per innings. The left-handed opener has endured a tough series tackling the new ball, particularly against England seamer Stuart Broad, and has managed just one double-figure score (61) in eight innings with ducks from each of his last three starts. "Davey hasn't had a great series, there are no secrets about that," Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. Australia opener David Warner at The Oval nets yesterday "But he's also a word-class player and I've said throughout the whole series, if Davey has one good innings it'll help us win the Ashes. He probably hasn't been through this lean run before, so it's going to be a good test of his character. "But he's a match-winner and he's been brilliant around the group since he's been back..
                 

This is our grand final: Tim Paine

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Tim Paine described the fifth Ashes Test as Australia's "grand final" as they target their first series win in England since 2001. The tourists have already retained the urn after winning the fourth Test at Old Trafford to take a 2-1 lead but captain Paine said they were "very hungry" to complete the job at the Oval. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been recalled to the 12-man squad in place of Travis Head to ease the workload on Australia's impressive pace attack. "We've already spoken a lot about it (the final Test)," Paine said Wednesday on the eve of the match. "We came here to win the Ashes, not just to retain them. "Last week's result was brilliant and we played very well but all the guys are fully aware that this Test match is bigger than that one. Australia's star batsman Steven Smith at The Oval yesterday "This is our grand final. We want this Test just as much as any other Test that we've played in this series." Australia bounced back to win the fourth match of the series at Ol..
                 

Dilip Vengsarkar and Kiran More support decision of Rohit Sharma as Test opener

8 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
India may have beaten the West Indies comprehensively in the recent two-Test series, but the selectors are viewing a change in the opening combination for the forthcoming three-Test series v South Africa that begins on October 2. Chief selector MSK Prasad said yesterday that they could try Rohit Sharma as an opener against the Proteas, considering KL Rahul's poor form during the West Indies Test series in which Rohit sat out. "We (the selection committee) haven't met after the West Indies tour. We will definitely take this (Rohit as opener) point into consideration when we meet," Prasad told India Today.Rohit's possible new role was fully backed by ex-chief selectors Dilip Vengsarkar and Kiran More. 'World-class player' Vengsarkar had no doubts over Rohit succeeding as a Test opener. "To make him bat in the opening position or No. 3 or 4 doesn't really make much of a difference. It is just about the mental state. It is a good thing that he will be opening; he will get a dedicated slot ..
                 

Wasim Jaffer disappointed by KL Rahul's struggles

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
KL Rahul's struggling run in the opening slot has left former India opener Wasim Jaffer baffled and he feels the Karnataka player seems caught in an unsolved jigsaw puzzle despite having the ability to do well. Rahul's place in the team has been questioned due to his failure to own the opening slot despite being given a long rope by the team management. Rahul averages 36.82 in the opening slot. "I feel a little bit disappointed with KL Rahul because he has got so much ability, he is one of the guys [players] who has got 100 in all three formats [of the game]," said Jaffer during the inauguration of the Adams Wylie Physio Rehab Center instituted by the Indian Red Cross Society in Mumbai Central. "And his mode of dismissals make me a bit disappointed because he gets out very softly at times. He has got a lot of ability and that is why he is getting so many chances, because people believe that he is going to come good. KL Rahul "The way he gets out and the way he does not get that many ru..
                 

Harbhajan Singh blasts Adam Gilchrist over 2001 Test remark

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
A furious Harbhajan Singh chided Adam Gilchrist after the Australian suggested that he was perhaps not out when the Indian spinner had him LBW during his historical hat-trick way back in 2001. Gilchrist was Harabhajn's second wicket in that game-changing spell." A fan shared the video clip of Harbhajan's achievement, reacting to which Gilchrist wrote: "No DRS" on his Twitter handle. The Australian suggested that if the Decision Review System (DRS) technology was available at that time, he would have got the LBW decision overturned. Taking it personally, Harbhajan blasted Gilchrist, saying he would not have survived long during that spell. Adam Gilchrist "U think u would have survived for long if not first ball ? Stop crying over these things mate..thought u would talk sense after ur playing days.. but few things never change u r the prime example of that. Always crying," tweeted Harbhajan. The off-spinner was India's first bowler to claim a Test hat-trick in that 2001 home series. Pace..
                 

David Warner used strapping on hand to tamper ball: Alaistair Cook

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Former England captain Alastair Cook has revealed in his autobiography that Australia opening batsman David Warner once told him about using the strapping on the hand to accelerate deterioration of the ball during a first-class match. In his book 'The Autobiography' released on September 5, Cook wrote about an incident after Australia won the 2017-18 Ashes when he and England players shared a few beers with the opposition team then led by Steven Smith. "David Warner, a couple of beers into his celebration, mentioned that he used substances attached to the strapping on his hand to accelerate the deterioration of the ball during a first-class match," Cook wrote in his book, according to 'The Guardian' newspaper. "I looked at Steve Smith who shot a glance that said: 'Ooh, you shouldn't have said that'." On the Australians using sandpaper to tamper with the ball during the infamous Cape Town Test in March 2018, Cook said Smith's team had gone too far. "Stuart Broad sums it up pretty well a..
                 

Amol Muzumdar to be Ravi Shastri's rival as interim batting coach

9 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
A lot of things can change in a quarter of a century. Ask Amol Muzumdar. The batting stalwart made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai on February 12, 1994 under Ravi Shastri, who was then in his farewell first-class cricket season. Now, Muzumdar will sit in the opposition camp as South Africa's interim batting coach for the Test series against India which kicks off on October 2 in Visakhapatnam. The announcement of Muzumdar's new role was made yesterday. Until the 2015 Test series defeat in India, South Africa had the distinction of being the best touring team after winning series in West Indies (2009-10), New Zealand (2011-12), England (2012), Sri Lanka (2014-15), Zimbabwe (2014-15) and twice drawing with Pakistan in the UAE. Also Read: Akshay Wakhare's fifer helps India Red lift Duleep Trophy title However, post the crushing 0-3 loss in India, the Proteas have never been the same. The Proteas come into the India series on the backdrop of their recent loss against Sri Lanka, both ..
                 

Pragyan Ojha and wife Karabi are expecting their first child

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Mumbai: Hyderabad based cricketer Pragyan Ojha and his wife are expecting their first child this month. The overjoyed couple are preparing full throttle for their bundle of joy’s arrival. Karabi will soon complete her full term and has been in good health by God’s grace. Confirming the pregnancy, a joyous Pragyan, quipped, “I’m thrilled. I’m sure it will be a huge change for both of us, we are both excited and nervous at the same time. This is the biggest commitment in life and one of the most difficult tasks. We are praying for a smooth delivery now. Our families have been very supportive about our decision and they are leaving no stone unturned for the celebrations ahead”. Adding to Pragyan’s thoughts, his wife, Karabi stated, “I feel we are blessed and really looking forward to this new addition to our family. I have a list of names also both for boys and girls pulled out. Now we are really waiting for the surprise. I want to thank our..
                 

Need to look ahead: South Africa's Interim Director Enoch Nkwe

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
South Africa's cricket establishment acknowledges Faf du Plessis's contribution both as a player and captain but it's about time they look at the future with belief in Quinton de Kock's leadership skills, Interim Director Enoch Nkwe said yesterday. While Du Plessis, 35, is still the captain of the Test side, Nkwe gave enough indications that South Africa wants to infuse fresh blood going into next year's World T20 in Australia. "We know where Faf stands as a captain and as a player. He has done great things for SA cricket. But we also need to look at what future looks like and we strongly believe in Quinton, who is going to be leading the team going forward," Nkwe told reporters with the skipper by his side during their inaugural media interaction at the picturesque HPCA ground. "We have a good leader and it's an opportunity to start building for the future," he added. While admitting that India is a formidable team, Nkwe is confident that this upcoming three-match T20 International se..
                 

Kiwis could pose threat to World No. 1 India

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
India have started their World Test Championship campaign with a bang by beating hosts West Indies 2-0 to go atop the points table. Virat Kohli & Co lead the nine-team table with 120 points from two games. England and Australia (both teams fighting to win the Ashes) are serious threat for India, but New Zealand can never be underestimated. The Kiwis are in second position after India in the World Test Championship points table. Despite being ranked the No. 2 Test team, they are always considered as underdogs. Ever since their 0-3 loss to India in October 2016, the Kiwis have the best win-loss ratio in Test cricket since November 2016. The Kiwis have won 13, drawn four and lost only three Tests in the last 34 months. Awesome run Apart from a 0-1 home loss to South Africa in March 2017, they have remained unbeaten in all series, never mind if the majority of those contests were played out on home soil. During this period, NZ enjoyed three clean sweeps at home — against Pakistan..
                 

Roger Federer: Disappointing, but I'll be back

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ Cricket  
Roger Federer struggled to hide his disappointment after his bid for a first US Open title since 2008 ended abruptly Tuesday with a five-set loss to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. The Swiss had defeated Dimitrov in all seven previous meetings but surrendered a two sets to one lead before sliding to a 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat. Asked whether he felt he would have further chances to add to his record haul of 20 men's Grand Slam singles title, Federer replied: "I don't have the crystal ball." Grigor Dimitrov "We never know. I hope so, of course. I think still it's been a positive season. Disappointing now, but I'll get back up, I'll be all right," he added. Federer has already qualified for a record-extending 17th ATP Tour Finals appearance in London — alongside Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev — and has no immediate plans to scale back his end-of-season commitments. Federer, a five-time US Open champion, left the court for a private medical timeou..