Opinion: Picking Wriddhiman Saha again is the …

Saha

India’s wicketkeeper in Tests until the beginning of 2018, Wriddhiman Saha found himself in a quandary after a host of injuries- to his hamstring, thumb and shoulder, which ruled him out of international cricket for the best part of a year and a half. In the meantime, Delhi youngster Rishabh Pant was given an opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands after scoring hundreds in England and Australia. He is now the incumbent in this role.

Chief selector MSK Prasad said that Saha was recalled since the team management had an unwritten rule saying that senior players who had missed out due to injuries would be given another opportunity to make a comeback. However, Prasad also made it clear that Pant is India’s number one wicketkeeper, and Saha will come into the picture only if the former gets injured or needs to be rested.

While Saha’s record in Test cricket wasn’t enough to guarantee a recall into the side, his superior wicket-keeping skills can surely allow him to stand head and shoulders above his peers. A veteran of 32 Tests, the Bengal gloveman has 1164 runs at an average of around 30 but his wicket-keeping skills are unmatched. Pant may be the better batsman, but there is no beating Saha the ‘keeper.

The Indian team management may find it difficult to have Saha around for much longer given that he is already 34 years old, and Andhra stumper KS Bharat is breathing down his neck, but for the time being, the former has deserved another crack at Test cricket. He will play understudy to Rishabh Pant in the Caribbean, thirteen years his junior, and it remains to be seen if he takes that well. However, little has been made in the media of Saha’s ego and one can be sure that the affable, down-to-earth man from Shaktigarh will take on his new role with fresh enthusiasm.

This isn’t the first time that India have decided to recall a senior player after an injury. Karun Nair had to make way for Ajinkya Rahane straight after scoring a triple century against England in the playing eleven in a one-off Test match against Bangladesh. Saha, however, has not come into the side at anyone’s expense, and it is highly unlikely that he will make the playing eleven in the West Indies. However, the fact that the selectors stuck by their word and displayed morality in times of decadency must be appreciated.


Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Sportskeeda.

World Cup 2019, Semi-final 1: India vs New Zea…

India & New Zealand Net Sessions

India takes on New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup at Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday. Virat Kohli’s men come into this game on the back of a win over Sri Lanka at Headingley on Saturday while Kane Williamson’s New Zealand were beaten soundly by hosts England at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham.

India appears to be the favourites on paper but there is no telling how the Kiwis will fare in the semifinal. The pitch at Old Trafford will be conducive to batting and both sides are heavily loaded with specialists.

We pick out three key players who can win the game for India.


#1 Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma celebrates his century against Sri Lanka

It goes without saying that India’s opener Rohit Sharma should be the first person on this list. He is the tournament’s leading run scorer with five centuries and one half-century to his name in the eight innings he has played. The man from Mumbai is the biggest threat to New Zealand on Tuesday and if he gets going, Kane Williamson’s men will be out of the contest very early.

Sharma has the peculiar ability to score runs very quickly and once he gets the hang of the pitch and weather conditions, he can be a tough nut to crack. New Zealand should try to go at him when he is new to the crease because his feet do not move as well then as they do later on.

#2 Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli lifts his bat as England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler looks on

The world’s number one ODI batsman and India’s captain Virat Kohli is another danger man who can take the game away from the Kiwis in a matter of minutes at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Kohli has not notched up a century in this World Cup yet and perhaps he could make up for it against New Zealand in the first semi-final.

The Delhi batsman, who comes in at number three for India, will be key to holding the innings together for India. Kohli loves big games and the one against New Zealand will be one of the biggest of his career.

#3 Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah in action

The world’s number one ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah is a nightmare for opposition batsmen. The man from Ahmedabad can bowl inswinging yorkers at a deadly pace and that is what makes him such a dangerous bowler. Bumrah is equally threatening with both the new and old ball.

Captain Virat Kohli will rely on Bumrah for regular wickets. His action and run-up can be a bit deceiving but one believes that the Kiwis, led by Kane Williamson, will come well prepared on Tuesday at Old Trafford in Manchester. Still, India has the upper hand.

Also see – India vs New Zealand head to head stats

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Opinion: Mayank Agarwal is not an ideal replac…

England Lions v India A – Tri-Series International

Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar was sent home from England after being part of the Indian team for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup after sustaining an injury to his toe. Karnataka opener Mayank Agarwal was named his replacement and made to fly out to England. Shankar has faced the wrath of the entire nation after scoring just 15* (Pakistan), 29 (Afghanistan) and 14 (West Indies) in the three matches he got the opportunity to be in the playing 11.

He was left out of the starting 11 against England due to a toe niggle and Rishabh Pant was called in to take his place. Now that Shankar has boarded the flight back home, India have decided to call up Karnataka’s Mayank Agarwal in his place following a request from the Indian team management for a suitable top-order batsman.

However, millions of Indian fans had expected Ambati Rayudu to be named as the replacement and they have all been left disappointed. The problem this equation brings up is that India already have KL Rahul as an opener making up for the loss of Shikhar Dhawan and they have also named wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant in the squad, who is a fine batsman in his own right. Where exactly does the team management expect Agarwal to fit into this scenario?

With Rahul comfortable with opening the innings and India currently going through a rut in the middle order with veteran warhorse Mahendra Singh Dhoni looking out of touch and the others not being able to take up responsibility, wouldn’t it have made more sense to pick Rayudu as Shankar’s replacement? The 33-year-old is vastly experienced and has an average of 47.05 in One Day Internationals. Indian fans would like to believe that he would have been just perfect to solve the team’s middle-order woes.

What India should also do again, as they did against Bangladesh at Edgbaston, is pick Dinesh Karthik over Kedar Jadhav. The latter has not really got an opportunity to bat at this tournament but Karthik seems to be the better finisher and all-round player. In this scenario, it is difficult to see how Mayank Agarwal was chosen ahead of Ambati Rayudu and why the Indian team management requested for a top-order batsman for Vijay Shankar’s replacement. One cannot help but feel sorry for Rayudu.

World Cup 2019, Bangladesh vs India – 3 reason…

Bangladesh’s players celebrating against Afghanistan at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Bangladesh take on India in the 40th game of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Tuesday. This match comes in the backdrop of India succumbing to a shock defeat against hosts England at the same venue on Sunday.

Bangladesh, who come into this game on the back of a win over Afghanistan, will be backing themselves to go for a victory.

Virat Kohli’s men, however, will be tough nuts to crack and Bangladesh have their task cut out. However, we list three reasons why the Bangla Tigers can actually defeat India on Tuesday.

Shakib Al Hasan is in ominous form

Shakib Al Hasan in action

Bangladesh’s stalwart Shakib Al Hasan has been in fantastic form in this tournament and he will hope to come good against India at Edgbaston on Tuesday. Shakib, who plies his trade for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, is well acquainted with the Indian bowlers and he will be licking his lips at having a go against them.

Shakib has also been fantastic with the ball in his hand, having taken a five-wicket haul in Bangladesh’s previous game against Afghanistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. He can spin a web within India’s batting unit and can also exploit them.

They have nothing to lose

Bangladesh can play fearless cricket

Bangladesh stand sixth in the points table of the ICC Cricket World Cup having won three games and lost three. They have practically nothing to lose or fear. When a team has this kind of mindset, then there is no saying how dangerous they can become. They can fight like the tigers that they are and give India a run for their money.

The battle at Edgbaston on Tuesday will be an interesting one between two subcontinental neighbouring sides and Bangladesh, who have always wanted to get one over India, will get no better chance to do so.

India look shaken

India lost their last game against England at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

India, who had been the best side in this World Cup until recently, succumbed to a shocking defeat against England at Edgbaston on Sunday. They look shaken and this is the best time for Bangladesh to hit them hard.

India have also taken a call by sending injured all-rounder Vijay Shankar back home and replacing him with KMayank Agarwal. This may restore some balance to the side but Bangladesh will believe that they can get a win over their neighbours.

World Cup 2019, Sri Lanka v West Indies: 3 key…

West Indies’ Sheldon Cottrell celebrating with a teammate

Sri Lanka take on the West Indies at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham in the 39th game of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup on Monday. The subcontinental side stand seventh in the points table, whereas the men from the Caribbean are on a disappointing ninth place.

This is expected to be a good contest between two sides who have struggled to stay afloat in the tournament.

Both these outfits have been eliminated from the competition, meaning pride is the only thing left to play for. It’s just a matter of who turns out to be the more expressive one on the day.

On that note, we list three key players who can win the game for West Indies on Monday.


#1 Carlos Brathwaite

Carlos Brathwaite struck a hundred against New Zealand

West Indies will be heavily relying on all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite to provide them with industry, with both bat and ball in hand. Brathwaite almost took the West Indies home against New Zealand and therefore, form and touch are certainly on his side. He claimed two scalps in six overs, and then later returned with a heroic 101 off 82 balls.

Due to his ability to break partnerships, hit a long ball and take the game away from the opposition, Carlos Brathwaite will surely be one to watch out for.


#2 Chris Gayle

The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’

Does this man need any introduction? The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ can light up any match he is playing in, and against a bowling attack that has sporadically performed to its potential, the same could happen.

Gayle has had a quiet World Cup by his own standards, having amassed only two half-centuries so far. (against Pakistan and New Zealand)

He is a senior player in the West Indies side, which only implies that the veteran will have to play with responsibility. It’s better if he bides his time and nullifies the threat that is caused by the movement off the pitch. Should he get his eye in, it could well be game over for the Sri Lankans.


#3 Sheldon Cottrell

Sheldon Cottrell celebrates a wicket against New Zealand

Sheldon Cottrell, the left arm fast bowler from Jamaica, is the West Indies’ leading wicket taker in this World Cup with 11 scalps. Cottrell is a fine left-armer who can attack good areas of the wicket, while at the same time prevent the opposition from getting away with easy runs.

Captain Jason Holder will surely turn to the 29-year-old whenever the team is in dire need of a wicket.

World Cup 2019: England vs India – 3 key battl…

India at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Hosts England take on India in the thirty-eighth match of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup at Edgbaston in Birmingham, Warwickshire on Sunday. The men from the subcontinent look overwhelming favorites due to their superior form and better combinations.

The hosts look a bit jaded and lost after the defeat they incurred against Australia in their previous game at Lord’s and captain Eoin Morgan will be looking to get the morale of his troops high and inspire them to victory on Sunday.

The game will be an exciting one and we pick out three key battles which will hold the key and which you just cannot afford to miss.

1) Jason Roy vs Mohammed Shami

Jason Roy

The battle between England’s opener Jason Roy and India’s fast bowler Mohammed Shami will be one worth watching. Roy is likely to come back into the side against India and he has consistently given England good starts in this tournament and he will be key to them garnering a good total. Along with Jonny Bairstow, the Surrey batsman can wreak havoc at the top of the order.

India’s Mohammed Shami has quietly made Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s spot his own in the latter’s absence. He can swing the ball both ways and can also get it to seam off the wicket. If the pitch at Edgbaston is of any help on Sunday, one can expect some brilliant bowling from him.

2) Virat Kohli vs Jofra Archer

Virat Kohli

India’s captain and star batsman Virat Kohli will be up against Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer at Edgbaston on Sunday. Kohli has been in ominous form this World Cup and it will be exciting to see how he counters the extra pace and bounce Archer extracts. He scaled another peak in India’s previous game against the West Indies at Old Trafford, when he reached twenty thousand runs in international cricket.

Archer poses a valid threat to India’s top order as he is quicker than the other English bowlers and Kohli will have to negate him with care. Fans from both countries will be licking their lips in anticipation of this contest.

3) Rohit Sharma vs Chris Woakes

Rohit Sharma

India’s opener Rohit Sharma will face off against England’s medium pacer Chris Woakes when the two countries clash on Sunday at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Woakes comes into this game at his home ground on the back of a two-wicket haul against Australia and he will be fairly confident of taking the Indians on. He is a consistent bowler.

Sharma has often got India off to good starts in this tournament and Indian fans will be hoping for more of the same on Sunday. He is an extremely destructive player who can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of minutes.

World Cup 2019: 3 reasons why India are the te…

India are the only unbeaten team in this tournament

India sealed their fifth win of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 by defeating the West Indies by 125 runs at Old Trafford in Manchester on Thursday which saw them remain the only unbeaten side in the tournament.

Virat Kohli’s men have been ruthless and shown the world why they are world number one at the moment. They have excelled in all three departments and put to rest all the questions asked of them by pundits before the competition began.

A lot of factors have played a part in India being the best side in the World Cup so far. We pick out three of them which show why they are the team to beat in this World Cup.


#1 Best fielding side in the tournament

KL Rahul is one of the best fielders in the team

India are, by far, the best fielding side in the tournament. Players like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja are some of the best fielders in the world at the moment and that has certainly rubbed off on the others in the team. Credit must be given to fielding coach R.Sridhar too, who has brought in new drills and techniques to help the team prepare for the challenges they face on the ground.

India seldom drop catches these days and they are very sharp when it comes to run out opportunities. This is one of the main reasons why they have been so successful in the limited-overs format and more so, in the World Cup.


#2 Captain leading from the front

Virat Kohli has been in top form this World Cup

Captain Virat Kohli scaled another peak when he reached twenty thousand international runs in his career during his 82-ball 72 against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday. Kohli is a run machine who is high on unstoppable in limited overs cricket.

The Indian skipper has scores of 18, 82, 77, 67 and 72 in this tournament thus far and his golden run has infused confidence into the team as a whole.

A captain who can lead from the front with his own performances will always command respect in the dressing room and this is exactly what has happened with Kohli and India. India are a much more confident side with Kohli at the helm.


#3 Fantastic bowling unit

India are perhaps the best bowling side in the World Cup too

Another reason why India are the best team in this World Cup is because of their superior bowling resources. Even though Bhuvneshwar Kumar has missed games due to injury, his replacement Mohammed Shami has dazzled with eight wickets from two games. The two wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been very good in the middle overs too.

Then comes the leader of the bowling unit. What is there to say about Jasprit Bumrah? The best One-Day bowler in the world at the moment is threatening both during the initial overs and later on at the death. The Gujarat fast bowler has matured tremendously and his efficiency will be key to India’s campaign.