Have India missed a trick by continuing with V…

Virat Kohli

A leader innovates, inspires and brings glory to his team. Every successful team that sport has produced has always had a good leader.

Battles are always won by a combination of strength and mind. And that little part played by the mind is exactly what the captain needs to set in motion.

Building a winning mindset, teaching the team to have faith in themselves and developing a healthy atmosphere within the dressing room are all within the ambit of what a captain needs to do. The rest of the job is to be done on the field.

India’s current captain across formats – Virat Kohli – has been exceptional in most of the points mentioned above. But what about that little part at the end? How has Kohli done when it comes to leading the team on the field?

As far as T20s are concerned, he hasn’t been that great. So have India erred by keeping Kohli as the captain for T20Is?

Workload management

Virat Kohli with Ravi Shastri

In the last few years Kohli has been on top of his game with the bat, achieving various milestones one after the other. But has playing too much cricket affected him in any way?

Kohli has a knack of taking the onus on his shoulders. Before the IPL 2019 season, there were various questions raised over his captaincy and RCB’s poor performance. And when the tournament started we could sense that Kohli’s game wasn’t as fluent as it has been all these years.

The pressure of leading RCB could well be the reason for that. He faced criticism from the fans and the media, and the captaincy did take a toll on his performance as he ended the IPL with just 464 runs in 14 matches. Those are decent numbers, but not by Kohli’s standards.

Teams like Australia and England have implemented the concept of split captaincy for years now. Currently, Tim Paine leads the Aussie Test side whereas Aaron Finch is the captain for the shorter formats. Similarly, Joe Root (Test) and Eoin Morgan (ODI) are England’s skippers for different formats. This has helped them reduce the pressure on one specific player.

Adopting a similar approach would definitely help India. If Kohli is relieved from captaincy duties in the shorter formats, it’ll reduce the mental weight that he is currently carrying. This, in turn, will help increase his international career span.

Kohli’s tactical errors

India v New Zealand – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Semi-Final

After India’s recent loss to New Zealand in the World Cup 2019 semifinal, some of Kohli’s decisions came under scrutiny. The biggest of those was the delay in MS Dhoni’s arrival at the crease.

Many believed that Dhoni’s defensive approach was the need of the hour after India lost 4 wickets with just 24 runs on the board. But captain Kohli missed a trick by not sending Dhoni upfront. That eventually cost India the match.

Another much talked about tactical blunder came in the recent IPL, when Mumbai Indians were chasing RCB’s 171 at the Wankhede and required 22 off 12 balls. Kohli had plenty of options to go to, with Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj having overs left. But Kohli decided to hand the ball to Pawan Negi, a left-arm spinner.

Negi was now up against Hardik Pandya, a batsman who feeds on spinners. It turned out to be a huge blunder as Pandya smashed Negi and won the game for MI in the 19th over itself.

Kohli’s decision to hand the ball to Negi was likely influenced by Ashish Nehra, their bowling coach. But this is turn highlights Kohli’s lack of vision in reading the game even more, along with his inability to back his decisions.

Where’s the team-building approach?

Virat Kohli at a press conference

Be it a Test or a T20I, having faith in your players is the most basic requirement of a successful team. Good teams are built from a strong core. But when it comes to T20s, Kohli has failed to retain that core group of players.

Too many changes to the side is not always the answer to poor performances, something that Kohli the captain is yet to understand.

RCB made close to 20 changes in their playing XI throughout IPL 2019. Imagine being a new player in a side that keeps changing players. It creates too much insecurity among the players, especially in T20s where the game demands quick runs and quicker thinking.

Players in such a team invariably fail to deliver to their potential, which is one of the main reasons why RCB has repeatedly failed in its bid to win the trophy.

Does Rohit Sharma have a better track record as captain?

Is Rohit now a better limited overs captain than Kohli?

The appointment of Rohit Sharma as captain in 2013 worked wonders for Mumbai Indians. Since then, they have managed to win four titles to become the most successful team in IPL history. That also makes Rohit one of the best captains in T20 franchise tournaments.

Not just the IPL, but Rohit has also been impressive as a captain at the international level. In ODIs, he has led India in 10 matches and has won eight of them. He has also led India to 12 victories in 15 T20Is as captain.

Kohli as captain has 56 wins in 77 ODIs and 12 wins from 22 T20Is, which is still a good record. But Rohit has looked like the better captain of the two in shorter formats.

Rohit is an astute leader, is blessed with an analytical mind and is known for his planning and vision. He has shown immense maturity on the field and has maneuvered his players really well.

That is why many believe he is India’s best option going ahead in the shorter formats.

Preparation for T20 World Cup 2020 has to be the focus

ICC T20 World Cup trophy

In October 2020, Australia will host the 7th edition of the T20 World Cup. With just close to one year left for the mega event, the management has to take a call on deciding the team’s future in T20Is.

The World Test Championship starts in August this year, which makes this the most opportune moment to implement split captaincy in the Indian team. While Kohli can lead the Test side, a highly successful leader in Rohit could be given the opportunity to lead the nation in the limited-overs format, especially T20Is.

With India set to play close to 20 T20Is before the World Cup, they could have given the new captain a decent amount of time to get himself in. That makes me feel India may have missed out on a good opportunity by continuing with Kohli.

Since their Champions Trophy win in 2013, India have failed to get their hands on any ICC trophy. A change in T20I captaincy could well be their key to success.

World Cup 2023: Five players from 2019 who can…

The Indian cricket team at the World Cup.

The 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup may have ended in disappointment for India, but there are lots of positives that one can take away from the long tournament.

India entered the World Cup as one of the pre-tournament favorites, and they rightly lived up to the hype for most parts of the tournament. As Virat Kohli mentioned, 45 minutes of bad cricket cost them the semi-final against New Zealand.

India played dominant cricket throughout the tourney, and even when the other side had their noses in front, the Indian bowlers brought the team back into the game. Except for a league game against England, and the knockout one against the Kiwis, India dominated their other opponents. Quite fittingly, those were the teams that made it to the finals.

The next ICC WC is set to happen in India in the year 2023. If history is to repeat itself then, as the host country, India should win it as the hosts have won the last three editions; but that is still too far into the future.

In this article, we will look at five players from the 2019 WC squad for India who might realistically still be around 2023, and potentially win it for the Men in Blue.

Honorable mentions

KL Rahul- (Age 31-2023)

KL Rahul.

KL Rahul has all the talent in the world but has so far not fulfilled his true potential. He had a decent ICC WC 2019, but we will have wait and see if he will be a regular feature in the team four years hence.

Kuldeep Yadav (Age 28-2023) and Yuzvendra Chahal (Age 33-2023)

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

Indian team had invested a lot in these two wrist-spinners and despite a mixed World Cup, the duo have been sensational. The 2023 edition is set to happen in India, and India has no dearth of talent in terms of spinners. So it will interesting to see if these two can stick around till then.

Ravindra Jadeja (Age 34 -2023)

Ravindra Jadeja.

Ravindra Jadeja was a livewire on the field in the tournament even when he was not part of the playing XI and is possibly in the best form of his life.

He almost single-handedly won India the semi-final. If he is still around in 2023, it will be interesting to see how much he has maintained his fitness and attributes that make him a top cricketer right now.

#5 Jasprit Bumrah(Age 29-2023)

Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best death bowlers in the world.

Jasprit Bumrah has quickly risen to prominence to become India’s go-to man across all formats. His unique bowling action has paid rich dividends and along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he forms one of the most dreaded opening bowling pairs in the world. His slower balls and lethal yorkers can deceive even the best batsmen. Bumrah is the pillar of the Indian bowling attack right now and can be a key in India’s quest for the title.

His arrival saw India becoming one of the best bowling attacks, and he is one of the few players who can give the Indian Premier League the credit for their successes.

India is lucky to have a player of his ability in prime form and if he is injury-free, then he is a sure-shot to play in the 2023 WC.

#4 Rishabh Pant(Age 25-2023)

Rishabh Pant has a bright future ahead.

India’s new first-choice wicket-keeper batsman across formats will most likely be around for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Rishabh Pant has enough time to fill the big void set to be left by legendary Wicket Keeper MS Dhoni.

Pant was not in the initial 15-member squad for the World Cup, but an unfortunate injury to Shikhar Dhawan meant that the left-hander had to be drafted into the squad, and he was also part of the playing eleven in the latter half of the tournament.

He had good starts whenever he got a chance with the bat, but was not able to capitalize on them and couldn’t get past fifty even once in four outings. Even in the semi-final, he was looking good but failed to get a big score.

Four years is a long time, and he will be a much better keeper-batsman than he is right now and may become a vital cog in India’s batting line-up.

#3 Hardik Pandya (Age 29-2023)

Hardik Pandya in action for India.

Hardik Pandya can change the game on its head on any given day, but he has not been able to perform consistently for India. Pandya has been given a lot of chances as evident from the fact that he has played close to 100 matches across formats for India in just three years from his debut.

Hardik is the rare all-rounder that India has been looking for over the years, and will be a much-improved player than he already is by the time 2023 ICC World Cup arrives. His returns in the 2019 edition were decent but he could not do what Ben Stokes or a James Neesham did for their respective teams. Hardik took 10 wickets and scored just over 200 runs in nine outings.

But he has improved his batting a lot and is gradually becoming a good bowler which is a good sign for India, and if needs to be around till the next WC, he needs to overcome his tendency to injure his back.

#2 Rohit Sharma(36 years-2023)

Rohit Sharma, the ‘Hitman’.

At present, it seems Rohit Sharma can do no wrong with the bat; he is scoring runs at will. His performance in the recently-concluded World Cup was so good that many are already hailing him as one of the greatest one-day batsmen of all time.

When Shikhar Dhawan got injured, he took the responsibility in his hands and made sure the left-hander was never really missed till the semi-final. He was on a record-breaking spree, scoring 100s at will, starting from South Africa where he played an uncharacteristic innings in India’s opening game on a difficult pitch.

From there on, there was no stopping the Hitman as he scored as many as five centuries from India’s nine completed games which is quite staggering. By the time 2023 comes, he will be 36 years old so there is a great chance that he will be still around. With the tournament happening in India, he might just become an unstoppable force.

#1 Virat Kohli (Age 34-2023)

Virat Kohli.

One of the greatest limited-overs batsmen of this generation is one of the players who will definitely be a part of the next edition of ICC World Cup.

Virat Kohli, as a batsman has been in phenomenal form since eternity, and has been consistently scoring runs for fun against every opposition in any given condition. He would love to continue his dream run with the bat for a few more years.

For the first time, Kohli led the side in a World Cup, and he captained a bowling attack which is formidable, a batting line-up that is as good as the world’s best on its day, a good fielding unit to support, but which ultimately fell short at the second-last hurdle just like the 2015 edition in Australia. He will have time to get over this defeat and come back stronger in four years.

Ashes 2019: England Team to Sport Jersey Numbe…

England will break years of tradition when they step out on the field during the upcoming Ashes with names and numbers on the back of their Test whites.

The England Cricket Board (ECB) tweeted a picture of Test captain Joe Root with his name and the number 66 in the back of his jersey. The official handle of International Cricket Council too shared images of Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad sporting their numbers on the back of their shirts.

While the ODI and T20I jerseys have had names and numbers on the back for a while, the Test jerseys have not seen such modernisation. But the ICC in March gave the go-ahead to the changes and the Ashes will be the first series when the altercations will come into effect. It is unclear though whether the Australian players too will follow suit.

County cricket already has seen personalisation on the back of the jerseys for a while now while Australia’s domestic first-class tournament Sheffield Shield too has players sporting numbers on the back of their shirts.

England after the high of claiming their first-ever ODI World Cup will now get into Test mode. They first face Ireland in a four-day Test at Lord’s before the highly anticipated Ashes get underway from August 1.

Virat Kohli Remains Atop ICC Test Rankings for…

India captain Virat Kohli retained his number one spot in the latest ICC Test batsmen’s rankings, a statement from the international body said on Tuesday. Kohli is on 922 points with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (913) just behind him and Cheteshwar Pujara (881) third in the rankings list.

In the Test team rankings, India remained in top position followed by New Zealand (2) and South Africa (3) with England (4) and Australia (5) the others in the top five. In the bowlers’ list, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are sixth and 10th respectively.

Meanwhile, veteran England pacer James Anderson was ruled out of the four-day Test against Ireland starting on Wednesday due to a right calf injury.

Anderson, who was overtaken by South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in November last year and subsequently by the present No. 1 Pat Cummins of Australia, is ranked second and would have had a chance to bridge the 16-point gap in the one-off Lord’s Test before featuring in a potential direct contest with Pat Cummins in the subsequent Ashes series.

Anderson’s fellow England fast bowler Stuart Broad (19th) will be looking to retain a top-20 place, which he maintained since 2009, while Moeen Ali (25th, 621 points) is only 12 points behind his best ever rating points achieved in August 2017.

Captain Joe Root is the highest-ranked batsman on either side in sixth place while Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are in 26th and 27th places, respectively.

For Ireland, Kevin O’Brien’s scores of 40 and 118 on debut against Pakistan and a subsequent half-century against Afghanistan have lifted him to 68th place while Gary Wilson is 140th in the batting table.

Stuart Thompson is their highest-ranked bowler in 64th position with Tim Murtagh just two places behind. Boyd Rankin, who played one Test for England in 2014, would be looking to improve his 106th position.

In the all-rounders’ list, the best ranked Indian is Jadeja at third spot sitting behind West Indies’ Jason Holder and Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.

Ashes 2019 | Pick Your Best Batsmen for Ashes:…

Former captain Allan Border feels Australia should pick their best six batsmen for the upcoming Ashes series against England beginning August 1 in Birmingham.

Border revealed his first-choice team to foxsports.com.au, naming southpaws David Warner, Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja as his preferred top three.

“The top three batsmen are left-handers, which is not necessarily the wrong thing,” Border said.

“A lot of people jump up and down about picking too many left-handers but if they are your best players then go with them. If they were right-handers, no one would say anything,” he added.

The former Australia skipper also stated that wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade should come into the side considering his good domestic form.

“I’d be very tempted to go with Wade. You talk about picking the guys in form, and he’s in great form. (Marnus) Labuschagne might get that guernseys in that he can bowl some pretty handy leg-spin and he’s good in the field too,” Border said.

“Wade can bowl some medium pace. He can get it through alright, you could sling him half a dozen overs if you had to here and there.”

The 63-year-old also advised the Australian team to resist from the temptation of playing an all-rounder at the number six spot and instead play a proper batsman.

“I wouldn’t go the all-rounder at No.6. I’d pick a straight out-and-out batsman. England’s conditions are a bit softer underfoot and temperature-wise. There’s not as much physicality and stress on the bowlers,” he said.

Allan Border’s XI: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade/Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Hope to Take Sri Lanka to the Next T20 World C…

Veteran Sri Lankan pace bowler Lasith Malinga confirmed he will retire from one-day international cricket after the first match against Bangladesh but hopes to play T20 cricket.

Malinga invited fans to his farewell ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday and said the cricket board agreed to his request to retire from the 50-over format of the game.

Posting a video message to his fans on his wife’s Facebook page, Malinga said he felt no ill will towards officials and players who may have tried to push him out of the team.

The 35-year-old said he was sidelined by selectors two years ago but was able to prove his value to the national team at the recent World Cup.

“Friday will be the last day you will see me playing an ODI match,” Malinga said. “If you can, please come for the match.”

During practice on Tuesday ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh, Malinga said he hoped to play T20 cricket and had his sights on the 2020 World Cup in Australia.

“I hope to be able to take Sri Lanka to the next T20 World Cup,” he said.

“I hope I will have an opportunity to play in that tournament, but if there are better players than me, I don’t mind being left out.”

Malinga’s retirement was first announced by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who on Monday told reporters the right-arm fast bowler indicated Friday’s match would be his last ODI appearance.

Malinga was named in the 22-man Sri Lanka squad for the series with matches scheduled for July 26, 28 and 31 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

He will leave as Sri Lanka’s third-highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with 335 wickets in 219 innings so far.

Only Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) have taken more wickets than Malinga in ODIs for Sri Lanka.

He was Sri Lanka’s highest wicket-taker at the World Cup, claiming 13 scalps in seven innings.

Malinga retired from Test cricket in 2011 but continued to remain available in other formats.

Malinga Retires, Here are Five Memorable ODI S…

Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga will be retiring from ODI cricket after Sri Lanka’s first ODI against Bangladesh on July 26, bringing the curtains down on an immensely successful 50-over career.

Malinga will leave as Sri Lanka’s third-highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with 335 wickets in 219 innings so far. Only Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) have taken more wickets than Malinga in ODIs for Sri Lanka.

The 35-year old has time and again proven to be a match-winner for Sri Lanka with his spells often single-handedly decimating the opposition batting. Here we look back at five of his best performances in ODI cricket.

4-54 vs South Africa, March 28 2007

This particular spell didn’t end with Sri Lanka on the winning side of the game but it very nearly saw the Proteas collapse to an almighty loss in what was a straightforward chase that would have contributed even further to their ‘Chokers’ tag.

Chasing 210 to win in a 2007 World Cup Super Eights match, South Africa were cruising but Malinga got rid of Shaun Pollock and Andrew Hall off successive deliveries in the end of the 45th over before dismissing Jacques Kallis and Mkhaya Ntini in the first two balls of the 47th over.

Malinga got both a hat-trick and accomplished the feat of taking 4 wickets in 4 balls but South Africa ended up winning the match by one wicket.

5-44 vs England, October 13 2018

Another match that saw a Malinga masterclass end in defeat for Sri Lanka, the veteran paceman rolled back the years to almost single-handedly run through one of the best ODI batting line-ups in modern limited-overs cricket.

Malinga got the dangerous Jason Roy early before removing Eoin Morgan for a well-made 91. He then got rid of Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson in quick succession to ensure England finished below the 300-run mark.

In the second innings, Sri Lanka lost early wickets and when rain ensured no further play was possible after the 29th over, England were declared winners by 31 runs (D/L method).

5-34 vs Pakistan, June 15 2010

The first match of the 2010 Asia Cup was a low-scoring thriller that saw Sri Lanka emerge victorious thanks in no small part to Malinga, whose five-wicket haul helped them defend a par total to begin their campaign with a win.

Batting first, Sri Lanka could post only 242 in their 50 overs. Pakistan started the match poorly and were reduced to 32-4 after 13 overs thanks to double strikes from Malinga and Angelo Mathews before a Shahid Afridi counter-attack rebuilt their innings.

Afridi was eventually removed by Muttiah Muralitharan after a well-made century before Malinga ran through the lower order to complete a memorable win for the home team.

5-28 vs Australia, August 16 2011

Sri Lanka were 2-0 down in the five-match series and needed a win in the third ODI to keep the series alive. A century from Upul Tharanga and another inspired spell from Lasith Malinga helped them do just that.

Batting first, Sri Lanka posted a respectable total of 286-9 thanks to Tharanga’s hundred. Malinga got things rolling in the second innings, getting Shane Watson early on before two wickets from Shaminda Eranga further dented the away team’s hopes of chasing the target.

Malinga would eventually remove both Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey before getting the last two wickets to seal a dominant 78-run win.

6-38 vs. Kenya, March 1 2011

Malinga’s best-ever figures in ODI cricket came against a weak Kenya side in the 2011 World Cup but the sheer sight of watching the man bowl yorker after yorker with unerring accuracy makes this an excellent spell no matter the opposition.

Batting first, Kenya could only put up 142 as Malinga ran through the top and lower order of a side not used to playing a bowler like him. He took another hat-trick – his second in World Cup cricket – and the fans at Colombo enjoyed every wicket.

In reply, Sri Lanka lost just one wicket in pursuit of the target, getting the required runs in 18.4 overs to notch a massive win. ​