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Monday, 2 November 2015

Ravichandran Ashwin is Our Main Threat in Tests : Faf du Plessis

Ashwin was India's best bowler in the historic Test series win in Sri Lanka and
will be key to India's chances at home against South Africa

The South African Top Order Batsman Faf du Plessis has singled out Ravichandran Ashwin, India's leading spinner, as the main threat to the touring side, who face the hosts in a four-Test series, starting on November 5. Du Plessis reckons the visitors' success will be directly proportional to how the batsmen deal with Ashwin.

Ravichandran Ashwin is Our Main Threat in Tests : Faf du Plessis 

"Ashwin is our main threat, but we will plan really well. The way we play Ashwin in this series will definitely determine our success in this series. He is an outstanding spinner but I feel we played him well (in T20s). Now, its a case of Test cricket, but with the conditions he will get a little more turn," du Plessis said.

With wins in the Twenty20 International (T20I) and the One-Day International (ODI) series, South Africa are riding the momentum wave ahead of the contest in white flannels. Du Plessis acknowledges the immense challenge of playing India in India but hopes the team can take confidence from their performances on the tour thus far.

"Obviously playing India in India in Test cricket is probably the hardest challenge. What has helped us is that we have done really well so far this tour. We have played really good cricket. So, we've got lot of confidence, but we understand that Test cricket is still going to be the hardest challenge. We've practised well, planned well and we are really hungry to play Test cricket. I suppose because we've been No. 1 for a period of time. You look forward to play Test cricket because there is a lot of pride that comes with it," Du Plessis said.

Du Plessis also expects the ball to start turning from the first day of the Tests, feels the matches won't last too long and that his team's best ploy would be to play attacking cricket.

"We are expecting the ball to spin on day one, you expect it and then you plan for it. In India I think it is a lot more aggressive now than it used to be in the past where the pitches probably spin on day three, four and five but they start doing that on day one now. So that means the Test matches won't last long. But for us if it lasts only three days, we will have our plans to try and be attacking, to make sure to wait for opportunity and put momentum in our favour,"Du Plessis said.
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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Sad that I did not get a farewell match : Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag says he will feel the sadness of not getting a farewell game.
The India Opener Virender Sehwag, who recently called time on his glorious international cricket career, said the sadness of being deprived of a farewell game will always remain in his mind. The explosive batsman, who scored 23 Test centuries and 15 tons in ODIs, said any player who has represented the country for a long period deserves a farewell.

Sad that I did not get a farewell match : Virender Sehwag

"Had the selectors told me that they were going to drop me, I could have requested them to allow me to play my last Test in Delhi and then announce my retirement, but they did not give me that opportunity. A sort of sadness shall always remain in my mind that I was not allowed to retire while playing, but anyway, it's all a part of life for a sportsman, who, while playing, never realises when he should retire, but he starts thinking about it when he is dropped," Sehwag told India TV.

On organisers planning to give him a farewell during the Test between India and South Africa in Delhi starting December 3, Sehwag said: "If that is so, it will be good. If BCCI cannot organise, at least DDCA should do. It's not a question of me alone, every player who retires should get a farewell."

The 37-year-old further said, "Had India played two more Test series against Pakistan, I could have completed 10,000 Test runs. I have made 8,586 Test runs. We stopped playing home series or away series against Pakistan since 2006. If you see my batting averages, particularly against Pakistan, you will find my batting averages between 90 and 100."

Asked why he had been prolific in his performances particularly against Pakistan, Sehwag said, "It's because of rivalry between both countries in sports. The grounds are always full, and the expectations among fans are high. This is because Pakistan was earlier a part of undivided India, that's why the rivalry is big and everybody becomes excited." The former opener said there should be fixed criteria for selection of players, whether senior or junior. "If a player fails to perform in four or five consecutive matches, he should be dropped irrespective of whether he is a senior or a junior player," he said.

Sehwag recounted an incident involving retired Australian cricketer Michael Clarke. "Sachin and I were batting in Australia. Michael Clarke had been inducted fresh. He was frequently telling Sachin 'you're too old, you can't field, you can't do this, you can't do that'. I went up to Clarke and asked his age. He said, 23. I told him 'Tendulkar has made more centuries than your age'."
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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Harbhajan Singh ties the knot with with Geeta Basra

Harbhajan Singh with actor Geeta Basra at their wedding ceremony.
Jalandhar : Team India's premier Offspinner, Harbhajan Singh tied the knot with Geeta Basra, Bollywood actress and his longtime girlfriend, at a five-star hotel in Phagwara, Kapurthala on Thursday (October 29). Bhajji, who hails from Jalandhar, went for an elaborate three-day wedding extravaganza that saw sangeet and mehendi ceremonies being held on the first two days.


Harbhajan Singh ties the knot with with Geeta Basra

The wedlock, a 16-hour long celebration of Punjabi customs, rituals, cuisine and bhangra, was attended by Sachin Tendulkar and business tycoon Mukesh Ambani's wife Nita. Birmingham-based Punjabi pop singer Jassi Sidhu and Carry on Jatta fame actor Gippy Grewal were also among the invitees, as this nondescript town on the Amritsar-Delhi national highway hosted eminent sportspersons, singers, movie stars and politicians from across the country.

Sachin was accompanied by his wife Anjali as well as Nita Ambani and her son Akash. The quartet had flown in a private charter from Mumbai to the Adampur Air Force base near Jalandhar. Other cricketers who came for the marriage were RP Singh, the former Indian pacer, wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel and some of Bhajji's Punjab Ranji teammates like Gurkeerat Singh Mann, VRV Singh and Rahul Sharma.

Harbhajan arrived at the wedding venue - a neighbouring gurudwara - in a gleaming Rolls Royce for the traditional Anand Karaj ritual rites. Sporting a red turban and cream sherwani, Harbhajan carried the customary sword throughout the day. Geeta was dressed in a red lehenga. The duo's wedding outfits were styled by fashion designer Archana Kochhar.
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Mohammed Shami not be risked for South Africa Tests: Coach

Shami picked up 17 wickets for India in the World Cup 2015 Down Under.
India's Fast Bolwer Recovering from a long injury lay-off and a knee surgery, Mohammed Shami, is slowly clawing his way back to full fitness.

Mohammed Shami not be risked for South Africa Tests: Coach

Having missed tours of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka after a successful World Cup in Australia, Shami had set his sights on the home series against South Africa for his return. Even as India will miss the services of Ishant Sharma due to a suspension, it is highly unlikely that Shami will be risked for the Tests.

The 25-year-old has instead, been asked to give priority to the limited-overs tour of Australia in January 2016 followed by the World Twenty20 at home in March, reckons Badruddin Siddique, his childhood coach. "There is a possibility that he might be match-fit by the time of the final Test against South Africa in Delhi (starting December 3). But I heard that the team management has told him that they need him for Australia tour and World T20 next year and would not like to take any risk," Siddique told PTI on Tuesday (October 27).

Shami, who finished with 17 scalps in the showpiece event in 2015, was included in India's preparatory camp ahead of the long home series against South Africa. The hardworking and resourceful seamer from Amroha, Uttar Pradesh is yet to bowl at full tilt but his coach says his ward is working towards making a comeback during the Australia tour. "I spoke to Shami sometime back and he said that he is now around 60-70 percent fit. He is still not bowling full tilt. Shami is confident that he will be hundred percent match fit by the time the limited-overs series is held in Australia in January. After that there is the big event, World T20.

"The feedback that he has got is that 'we would be happy to get you during last Test but we can't miss you for the World T20'. Shami is working towards that," Badruddin said.
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

India will Come Back Stronger in Test - Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh was the only specialist bowler apart from Amit Mishra to
complete his full quota of overs in all matches.
Harhajan Singh said that he is determined to win back his place after he was excluded from the Test series squad against South Africa.

Harbhajan Singh, ace Indian off-spinner, on Wednesday said that he relished bowling to the formidable South African line-up and said he was satisfied with his performance in the recently concluded One-Day International (ODI) series. The 35-year-old's performance was one of the few bright spots for Team India, whose bowlers were largely off colour in the five-match series that ended 3-2 in favour of the visitors.

India will Come Back Stronger in Test -  Harbhajan Singh 

"It was a series that I really enjoyed playing. It is always a challenge when you face a world class opposition and that's exactly when you would need to give more than 100 percent for the team. "I am personally very satisfied with how I bowled in the series," Harbhajan, who was the only specialist bowler apart from Amit Mishra, to complete his full quota of overs in all matches said. For Harbhajan, it was also very important that he could deliver what the limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni wanted from him. In fact Dhoni praised his performance during his interactions with the media.

"The captain always has a plan in mind and as a bowler it is my job to execute it. How I implement it is upto me but you need to put your hand up in tough situations. I would prefer bowling to AB (de Villiers), Faf (du Plessis) or Quinton (de Kock) as they are attacking players. It gives me a chance to devise various strategies," said Harbhajan.

Talking about the Mumbai match, where the Indian bowling attack was plundered, Harbhajan went for only 34 in his first 7 overs before De Villiers stuck into the Indian attack. "I have played lot of cricket in Wankhede. It has always been a very good batting track. It has good bounce and ball comes at the right pace for batsmen and they get a good value for their shots.

"It was one such day when AB was on fire. Also we dropped a few catches. Had we taken those catches and fielded well, the score would have been much lesser than 438," said the senior off-spinner.

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Monday, 26 October 2015

Indian Premier League Lauched New Logo

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur with Vivo India CEO Alex Feng at the launch of the new Indian Premier League logo in Mumbai on Monday.
Indian Premier League unveiled its new logo with the name of its new title sponsor Vivo. The Chinese smartphone makers replaced PepsiCo earlier this month. Three more companies eager to be associated with the IPL.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday unveiled its new logo for the ninth edition next year with the name of its new sponsor Vivo. The tournament will now be called 'Vivo IPL.'

Indian Premier League Lauched New Logo

Vivo, a Chinese smartphone maker, became the new title sponsor of the cash-rich tournament earlier this month, after PepsiCo pulled out due to the tarnished image of the IPL following the 2013 spot-fixing controversy. Vivo was confirmed as the IPL title sponsors for next two seasons after the company gave a bank guarantee last week. "In the coming two IPL seasons (2016 and 2017), Vivo and IPL will have extensive cooperation in terms of sports events, on-ground activations and marketing campaigns," the BCCI had said.

PepsiCo's deal with IPL was to end in 2017 but they pulled out much before that. PepsiCo became title sponsors of the IPL in 2013 after they bid a whopping Rs 396.8 crore rupees for five seasons. Prior to Pepsi, DLF had paid Rs 200 crore to become title sponsors of the tournament since its inception in 2008 till 2012.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur on Monday hinted that at least three companies, which were interested in bagging the IPL title sponsorship rights apart from eventual winners Vivo, are still keen on being associated with the cash-rich league.

"We had four interested parties for IPL title sponsorship and other three (apart from Vivo) are still interested in coming on board in other ways," Thakur dropped broad hints about the manner of possible association. Thakur also said that all the controversies associated with IPL has not been able to dent the tournament's popularity.

"Cricket is still very popular and IPL is one of the top tournaments in the world," the secretary said.
He also said that the board is awaiting recommendations from the Lodha Committee.
"We are awaiting Lodha Committee recommendations on reforms in BCCI. We have so far implemented all recommendations in toto," he said. On a different note, he was asked about the drainage system of CAB that has been problematic leading to postponement of international as well as domestic matches.

"We will ask CAB to improve the drainage at Eden Gardens before World T20 championship. I am confident we are going recover in coming months and do well before World T20 tournament."
Thakur termed the ODI series as an "interesting one" even though he admitted that Indian team didn't play well yesterday. "Yes, we lost the ODI and T20 series. Yesterday, the Mumbai game was like a final. Unfortunately, we didn't do well though the ODI series was very interesting," Thakur said.
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Sunday, 25 October 2015

South Africa All Rounder Show Help to Secure Maiden ODI Series Win in India

Dale Steyn got the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane for 87 as South Africa closed in on history.

South Africa smashed plenty of records at the Wankhede thanks to blistering centuries from AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis. The bowlers backed up the batsmen and sealed a magnificent 3-2 series win.

Earlier, South Africa won the Toss and Choose To Bat First against India As, A batting paradise with even bounce coupled with the lightning fast outfield made it a run feast. The visitors virtually have one hand on this ODI series now. No matter how good the pitch, a target of 439 needs some superhuman batting to be chased down. Can India produce something special or will the South Africans just complete the formalities. Stay tuned as the chase is not far away.

South Africa All Rounder Show Help to Secure Maiden ODI Series Win in India

 Absolute mayhem at the Wankhede. Centuries from de Kock and du Plessis set the platform for the Proteas with the latter hitting some incredible strokes towards the end despite being in cramps. Skipper AB de Villiers conjured a magical ton of his own with some vintage shots that left the Indians running for cover. Boundaries and sixes came almost at will with no respite whatsoever as the tourists racked up a massive total on the board.

Chasing, 439 India will be very bewailed with this performance, despite making a stride back in the series. They choked in the finale and that cost them. Firstly, the bowling was horrible and South African batsmen took them for the cleaners and created carnage. When they came out to bat, they lost Rohit and Kohli early but Rahane and Dhawan brought the life back in the game. They made a 112-run stand but once Dhawan got out, the batting woes in the middle order continued and they paid the price. Rahane was the only batsman who showed some intent.

A splendid performance by the Proteas to register a win as well as history. They take the ODI series 3-2 and boy, they have come out all guns blazing in the finale. They got everything right today, won the toss, got to a mammoth total and then defended superbly to defeat India by such a huge margin. To add to the plot, if it was de Kock, du Plessis and de Villiers with the bat, Rabada, Steyn and Tahir took the responsibility to run through the hosts batting line-up. South Africa now have won 10/14 times in a bilateral ODI series decider.

Man of the Match : Quinton de Kock
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