Former India Cricketer Aakash Chopra Predicts WTC Finalists

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Having recently beaten Sri Lanka in the Mohali Test, India saw their percentage points increase to 54.16 in the World Test Championship table. Despite the gains, they are still fifth in the WTC standings with Australia (77.77%) occupying top spot. Pakistan (66.66%) are second, followed by Sri Lanka (66.66%) and South Africa (60.00). Former cricketer Aakash Chopra analysed the Rohit Sharma-led side’s prospects of reaching the WTC final and stated that “it’s not going to be easy”. He also went on to say that there was a strong possibility for a “Pakistan vs Australia final”.

Speaking about India’s chances in his YouTube channel, he said, “You will have to get 100% points in the four-Test home series against Australia, which means you will have to win all four Tests. If you lose even one match, you will get 75% points and if another gets drawn, it will become even lesser. You cannot have a draw, it cannot rain.”

“We are 1-0 ahead in the ongoing series. We will win that 2-0, so 100% points. We have to play two Tests in Bangladesh. We have the full expectation of winning, full confidence but we are playing away from home. There is one Test remaining in England. We lost to South Africa. It’s not going to be easy.”

Also commenting on New Zealand’s chances for this year’s final, Chopra stated, “New Zealand have just two Tests left at home. You have drawn the series against Bangladesh, you have drawn the series against South Africa also. New Zealand is dead, New Zealand is stuck.”

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Also giving his prediction on the three teams who could battle it out for the berths in the final, Chopra stated, “I am not counting England, Bangladesh, West Indies, and I won’t count New Zealand as well. I don’t think Sri Lanka have a chance at qualification. I believe it will be between three teams — Australia, India, and Pakistan. If Pakistan don’t prepare such roads, there’s a strong possibility of a Pakistan-Australia final”.

India face Sri Lanka in the second Test match of their two-match series on March 12. It will be a day-night game and will be held at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Chennai.

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Pakistan’s Imam-ul-Haq Makes A Name For Himself, Relatively Speaking

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Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haqhas shed some of the burden of being the nephew of a legend with a century in each innings against Australia in the drawn first Test.  The 26-year-old’s uncle is former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, but Imam’s exploits in the drawn Rawalpindi Test have now given him recognition in his own right. The pitch may have been a batting-friendly flat track, but Imam still had to show immense concentration and discipline for knocks of 157 and 111 not out. In doing so he became the 10th Pakistan batsman to score a century in each innings of a Test, and only the fourth against Australia, behind former captains Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali.

His performance will not only cement his place in the Pakistan Test side, but will also silence a legion of critics who go after him after every failure.

The criticism usually circles back to suggestions he only has a place in the side through the family name.

“I don’t care what people say here and there and never lose heart,” Imam said after scoring his maiden Test century on Friday.

“I want to take challenges and excel.”

Despite being cricket royalty Imam’s journey hasn’t been easy.

His uncle is Pakistan’s third-highest Test run-scorer with 8,830 and most prolific in one-day internationals, 11,701.

Despite obvious natural talent Imam was labelled “parchi” — an Urdu term used for someone given undue favouritism — and not helped by the fact that he was first picked in 2018 when his uncle was the chief selector.

Imam had the game, most fans agreed, but was nepotism at play?

The bespectacled Imam was Pakistan’s highest run-getter in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup — where Pakistan lost in the final — finishing with 382 runs in six games.

He also showed form in an A Series against Bangladesh, before scoring 848 in 11 matches in the 2016-17 domestic season.

Inzamam insisted he wasn’t playing family favourites, saying his nephew was selected on the advice of coaches Mickey Arthur and Grant Flower.

“Mickey and Grant came to me and stressed that they wanted him for the team, so only after that he was selected,” he said at the time.

The youngster made an instant impact, scoring a hundred on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

His first Test, in 2018, was a match-winning 74 not out against Ireland when Pakistan were teetering at 14-3, chasing 160.

While Imam’s ODI form only improved, his Test fortunes slumped and he was dropped after failing in Australia in 2019.

But on the back of two hundreds in domestic cricket, Imam returned to the fold — and made the chance count in Rawalpindi.

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“Every time I failed they started trolling me but I have a resolve that I will answer them with my bat, with my runs,” he said.

“I want to make my own name.”

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“Sweet” Of Kapil Dev To Send Bouquet, Handwritten Note To Home, Says Ravichandran Ashwin

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Ravichandran Ashwin revealed how Kapil Dev surprised him with a “sweet” gesture.© Instagram

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin talks about the lavish praise he got after he surpassed Kapil Dev’s tally of 434 Test wickets to become India’s second-highest wicket-take for the country after Anil Kumble. Ashwin expressed how surpassing Kapil Dev’s tally was never even a part of his bucket list, he added it was sweet of Kapil dev for sending bouquets and handwritten notes to his home. “It’s like a dream. For me getting this number of wickets was never even a part of my bucket list. It was very sweet of Kapil paji, he actually sent a bouquet to my home, and also sent a handwritten note congratulating me on passing him,” said Ravichandran Ashwin in a video posted by BCCI.

“Rohit went out in the press conference and lavished praises on me and he did not know how to react until this morning at the breakfast … that was very sweet. “

“One day, he took me aside and said Ashwin you just come into the side and I appreciate you speaking in the team meetings and all that but you also need to understand why we say certain things,” he added.

“We say it with the intent to make sure that once you go to the Indian team you are not found wanting with your basics and that really opened the flood gates for me and Raman forever. Because I knew this man had the best intentions in place for anybody that walked on the ground inside this team,” he continued.

Talking about Shane Warne’s unfortunate demise, the spinner called him poster boy and symbol of spin of his time. Adding further he emphasised getting better every day with teammates.

“To me, Shane Warne was a symbol of excellence towards spin. At that particular point of time when Shane Warne was literally the poster boy of spin. I am just looking to get better every single day with utmost joy and happiness on the face, and I am enjoying the face and some of the teammates are enabling me to enjoy these moments better,” he said.

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Ashwin achieved this feat on Day 3 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali on Sunday. Charith Asalanka became Ashwin’s 435th Test scalp. Anil Kumble is India’s highest wicket-taker in Tests with 619 scalps.

India and Sri Lanka will now lock horns in a day-night Test, beginning March 12 in Bengaluru.

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Watch: Ajinkya Rahane Visits His School With Wife, Daughter

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Ajinkya Rahane with his wife and daughter

Indian cricketer Ajinkya Rahane took a nostalgic walk down to the memory lane when he visited his alma mater SV Joshi High School in Dombivli, reminiscing memories spent at the school. The 33-year-old batter, who led the Indian team to a historic Test series triumph in Australia last year, took to social media on Wednesday and posted a video of his visit to the school.

“There’s something about visiting your roots that keeps you grounded. Was at Dombivli with my family and irrespective of how the place changes, it holds the same place in my heart!,” he captioned it.

Rahane was accompanied by his wife Radhika and daughter Aarya as he also took them to the ground, located in the same city, where he learnt the cricketing basics.

He looked back at the time when he took up the sport and dreamed about representing the country at the highest level.’

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“I wanted to come here for many years and today it happened. I started cricket from this place, the school backed me. There are several changes now to the school but coming here felt special,” he said.

Rahane, who recently scored a century in a 2021-22 Ranji Trophy encounter, is now gearing up for the upcoming Indian Premier League where he will play for Kolkata Knight Riders.

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Women’s World Cup 2022, West Indies vs England: West Indies’ Deandra Dottin Takes Spectacular One-Handed Catch vs England. Watch

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WI-W vs ENG-W: Deandra Dottin took a spectacular one-handed diving catch to dismiss Lauren Winfield Hill.© Instagram

The ongoing Women’s World Cup has already witnessed some breathtaking moments in its initial phase. There have been quite a few brilliant knocks, world-class bowling and athletic fielding so far. The England-West Indies game at the University Oval in Dunedin on Wednesday witnessed a potential contender for catch of the tournament. On the first ball of the ninth over by pacer Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin produced a spectacular catch.  that good! Connell had bowled tightly in her four overs, giving away only 16 runs before starting her fifth against England batter Lauren Winfield Hill. The ball was pitched well outside the off-stump, presenting a good opportunity for the batter to hit it square towards point. Hill connected well but played the ball in the air. And as the players, fans as well as the cameras started to follow the ball, a flying Deandra Dottin made her appearance to the dismay of Hill. The fielder timed her jump to perfection and grabbed a stunner with a single hand while catching the ball in the air.

The video was shared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on their social media handles with a caption that said:

“Deandra Dottin. This absolute screamer from the West Indies star is our @ftx_official Diamond Hands moment from today’s #CWC22 encounter!.”

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Here’s a look at the catch by Deandra Dottin:

The inspired West Indian team took the game deep and defended the 225 runs they had put up on the board while batting first.

The thrilling match went down to the wire but the West Indies cricketers held their nerve to clinch a seven-run victory.

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ICC rankings – Ravindra Jadeja becomes No. 1 allrounder in Test cricket

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Displaces Jason Holder at the top after his Mohali masterclass against Sri Lanka

Ravindra Jadeja is the new No. 1 allrounder in Test cricket, following his epic show with bat and ball in Mohali. Jadeja scored 175 not out and took a match haul of nine to help India to an innings victory over Sri Lanka and displace West Indies’ Jason Holder at the top of the rankings. Holder held the No. 1 spot since February 2021.

This is the second time Jadeja has reached the summit of the Test allrounder rankings: he was No. 1 for a week in August 2017.

More to follow…

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Rohit Sharma’s “All-Time Great” Comment On Ravichandran Ashwin A “Slip Of Tongue”, Says Ex-Pakistan Captain

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Team India‘s splendid innings victory against Sri Lanka in the opening Test in Mohali was a complete team effort. On one hand, Ravindra Jadeja displayed a world-class all-round effort that included a knock of 175 not out apart from taking nine wickets in the match. Other major contributions included Rishabh Pant’s 96 with the bat. However, one name that may not have been talked about a lot was that of Ravichandran Ashwin. Along with Jadeja, Ashwin was one of the main architects of the win. Not only did he score a half-century, he also claimed six wickets in the match to help his side finish the game early.

In the process, Ashwin also went past Kapil Dev’s tally of Test wickets to go second in the all-time list of Indian Test wicket-takers.

Ashwin received immense praise from skipper Rohit, who even termed him an all-time great. After the match, Rohit had said: “He is an all-time great in my eyes. He is playing for so many years and performed for the country. So many match-winning performances, so for me, he is an all-time great. People might have different point of views but from where I see, he is an all-time great for me.”

However, former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif said he disagrees with Rohit.

According to Latif, Ashwin is a “great” bowler, but he is yet to fall in the bracket of an “all-time great” due to his performances overseas.

“Ashwin, no doubt, is a great bowler. He has brought variations to his bowling. If you look at Ashwin in home conditions with SG ball, no doubt he is the best spinner in India. However, in away conditions, I would not agree with his (Rohit’s) statement. Kumble was very good, he performed really well. Even Jadeja has performed really well. In the past, Bishan Singh Bedi was brilliant,” Latif said on the Caught Behind YouTube channel.

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“If we talk only in India, no doubt he is good. I think it (Rohit’s statement) might have been a slip of tongue. It is a way of motivating the players,” he added.

The second match is set to begin from March 12 in Bengaluru.

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New Zealand Match “Totally Different Ball Game”, Says India Pacer Jhulan Goswami

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Veteran India pacer Jhulan Goswami on Wednesday backed teen batting sensation Shafali Verma to overcome her poor form in the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup sooner than later, saying that the swashbuckler is hitting the ball quite well during net sessions. Verma was dismissed for a duck in the opening game against Pakistan that Indian won and hasn’t exactly done well for the past few games. The 18-year-old’s form is expected to be crucial to the team’s chances of landing a first ever ICC title. “Shafali has already proved herself. She is a very exciting cricketer. But these things happen with every cricketer,” Goswami said in a virtual press conference ahead of the game against New Zealand here on Thursday.

“I am sure she is working hard really well in the nets, she is batting well in the nets; she is hitting the ball really well.

“She is just one big knock away and if she gets an opportunity, I am sure she is going to do well,” she added.

Talking about the upcoming match, Goswami said it was important to bowl in the right areas against New Zealand.

“…against New Zealand, it is important to bowl in the right area. The grounds are pretty open, winds are always flowing, so how to take advantage of those things. We discussed a lot of stuff,” she said.

“I think Pooja (Vastrakar), Meghana (Singh), Renuka (Singh Thakur), Simran (Dil Bahadur), they have done a decent job always when they get an opportunity and I hope they will continue with their performance,” she added.

According to Goswami, the bowlers put up a good show in the lung-opener against Pakistan, which the Mithali Raj-led side won by 107 runs.

“I think we bowled well. I guess we hit the ball in the right areas and as a group we bowled well. The new ball bowlers restricted them very well in the first 10 overs…

“Then the spinners bowled well, they were getting a bit of turn on that wicket and I think restricting them below 150 runs is quite a good achievement as a bowling unit,” said Goswami.

She felt the plan to land early in New Zealand for a few games against the hosts has helped India during the ongoing campaign.

“…that was the plan, just before the World Cup, to acclimatise with these conditions and wickets and come back and play fresh in this World Cup.

“(But) tomorrow’s match is a totally different ball game, it is a fresh game and it is a World Cup game and definitely we are looking forward (to it),” said the speedster.

Goswami needs just two more wickets to become the highest wicket-taker in women’s World Cup.

She currently has 38 World Cup wickets to her name and is just one short of Australia’s Lyn Fullston’s tally of 39 wickets.

Asked about it, she said, “Honestly speaking, I didn’t know that…I am not aware of that. But (the) important (thing) is as a senior member of the side, (I should) go there and perform well, give early breakthroughs.

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“That is my job and I often stick to my role and that is the important thing,” she asserted.

“If you play (for) a long time, you are going to achieve a few individual milestones, yes that gives me a lot of joy. I enjoy (when) I contribute and the team wins. Personal milestones do not matter to me as I am an absolute team player.”

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Indian Premier League 2022: MS Dhoni, Others Play “Footvolley” During Chennai Super Kings Training Session. Watch

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With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 around the corner, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have started their training. In the latest video posted by the official Twitter handle of CSK, many players including captain MS Dhoni, were seen enjoying a game of “footvolley” in their yellow jerseys during training. Dhoni was seen gesticulating at one of his teammates in the game after he fluffed his lines. The video was captioned: “Namma Special Footvolley segment is BACK!.#WhistlePodu.”

Chennai Super Kings splashed the cash in the IPL mega auction held last year in Bengaluru.

They entered the auction with a purse of Rs 48 crore. They had already retained four players — Moeen Ali (Rs 8 crore), Ruturaj Gaikwad (Rs 8 crore), Ravindra Jadeja (Rs 16 crore), MS Dhoni (Rs 12 crore).

CSK then went for pacer Deepak Chahar, whom they acquired back for Rs 14 crore.

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For CSK, Chahar has played 63 matches at an economy of 7.80 and taken 59 wickets. In IPL 2021, he played 15 matches, taking 14 wickets as CSK went on to lift the title.

CSK’s final squad:Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Dwayne Bravo, Devon Conway, Subhranshu Senapati, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Prashant Solanki, C Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, Chris Jordan, K Bhagath Verma, Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh, Adam Milne.

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Pakistan Captain Bismah Maroof ‘s Cradle Gesture For Daughter After Hitting 50 Wins Hearts. Watch

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Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof and her daughter has been the apple of everyone’s eye ever since their rendezvous with the India women’s team stars post their World Cup match on March 6. Bismah’s new-born daughter Fatima was again the center of attraction as her mother dedicated her first post “motherhood” half-century to her through an adorable gesture on the field. After reaching her 50, Maroof gestured towards the pavilion forming a small cradle with her hands. The crowd and the players all stood up and applauded the gesture which was done when the world was celebrating the International Women’s Day.

A fan, who shared the small clip-on Twitter, applauded Bismah for her efforts and wrote:

“Bismah Maroof dedicating her first post motherhood half century to her daughter is the most beautiful thing you’d see today!! – more power and respect to all the women out there! #WomensDay.”

Maroof shared on Twitter her inspiration story and wrote:

“It would have been great to have a win on #WomensDay but I want to tell all the women, especially little girls around the globe today: you are powerful, amazing & can pursue any dreams, no matter what. P.S thanks for all the love & prayers for me & my Fatima.”

Despite Maroof’s 78-run unbeaten knock, Australia registered a seven-wicket win to inflict a second-straight loss on Pakistan.

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Batting first, Pakistan were restricted to 190/6 in 50 overs with Maroof being the top run-getter.

In reply, Australia rode on Alyssa Healy’s brilliant knock of 72 runs as they chased down the target in 34.4 overs to script a comfortable victory.

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