Australia head coach Justin Langer has said that the likely absence of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma from the first two Tests of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy will have no bearing on the hosts’ psyche and the frequent limited-overs match-ups between the two sides in recent times will eventually help them in facing the Indian challenge.
“Not our business, we have got our challenges. We will come together as a group for the first time on the morning of the game. It is up to India what they do and who they choose as we have zero control over things. One thing I have learnt through Covid-19 is that if you get caught up with things you can’t control, you literally go crazy. They can pick whoever they want but we have our own challenges so who they pick (as replacements), we’ll go ahead and face them,” said Langer while responding to a question from IANS on whether the absence of Ishant and Rohit from the first two Tests will affect the Australians.
Both Rohit and Ishant are undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy and there have been reports that the duo might miss the first half of the Test series as they will recover late and will have to undergo hard quarantine upon arrival in Australia which will make it impossible for them to play the first two matches to be played at the Adelaide Oval (December 17-21) and Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26-30).
Langer added that since both the sides have played each other frequently in limited-overs cricket in recent times, it has helped Australia batsmen have a measure of the Indian bowling. This is apart from the IPL experience, he says.
“We know that (Jasprit) Bumrah is world-class, with (Mohammed) Shami (that is a) really good opening combination. Our guys have seen fair bit of them through the IPL, through the last couple of summers, we’ve played 14 ODIs and it is seven-all. Our guys have seen a lot of each other. That is what I love about the contests. How teams are growing, we have played a bit against each other. We have great respect for their spinners, for Bumrah, Shami, their other bowlers, like (Navdeep) Saini. Our guys know they will be on their toes against the Indian bowling attack. They are working hard, they’ve seen a bit and they’ll be ready for it,” said Langer.
Before the Test series, Australia and India will compete in three ODIs and as many T20Is starting Friday. The matches will be broadcast live on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.
This is the peak of my career, says Alex Hales after England snub
England opener Alex Hales, who set the Big Bash League on fire on Friday with a 56-ball 110 for Sydney Thunder against Sydney Sixers, said that the England team management hasn’t got back to him as yet.
Hales, who is the leading run-getter in the Big Bash League 2020-21, with 462 runs in 12 innings at an average of 38.5, has not played for England since March 2019.
Hales’s effort on Friday came a day after the England selector Ed Smith said that the opening batsman may not come back to the national side in near future.
“No, nothing at all – nothing from that end (English selectors). At the moment, I’m just enjoying my cricket and I’m going to keep trying to score as many runs as I can, enjoying myself, and see what happens,” Hales was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com.
“Obviously that’s the peak of cricket, playing for your country. At the moment, I’m just going to focus on the process of scoring runs and enjoying my cricket, and if that’s the end result then brilliant,” he added.
“This is definitely the best I’ve played, I feel like it’s in the peak of my career. I’m 32 now and I feel like I know my game really well, and I’m just going to keep looking to impress whenever I get a chance. Particularly in T20 cricket, the older you get the more you understand what your strengths are,” Hales said.
England selector Smith had earlier said, “At the moment, I would expect things to stay as they are there. No doors are closed in terms of there’s no final decision. It’s not that it’s going to be the same indefinitely. But at the moment, if I had to make a prediction, I would say we’d stay as we are.”
England are due to play five T20 Internationals and three ODIs against India in India in March.
Rishabh Pant should replace Iyer or Samson in India ODI, T20I squads: Brad Hogg
Former Australia all-rounder Brad Hogg has called on the Indian selectors to include Rishabh Pant in India’s limited-overs squads saying that the batsman’s ability to play unconventional shots makes him difficult to bowl to.
“I would be putting him there right now because he has got the confidence and the belief. He has proven himself with two match-winning knocks in this Test series. You can’t get better than that playing for India on Australian soil. I would put him in place of Iyer. Keep your all-round options there for batting and bowling depth. He will be there for either Iyer or Sanju Samson,” said Hogg on his Youtube channel.
“He is hard to bowl to because he plays a variety of shots that are different to any other batsman. Get him in there,” added Hogg.
Pant scored 97 on the fifth day of the Sydney Test, helping India escape with a draw. He then made an unbeaten 89 on the fifth day of the Brisbane Test to help India win the match by three wickets and seal the series.
The former Chinaman bowler and left-handed batsman, however, backed Virat Kohli to continue as India skipper saying that any change in captaincy at the moment can affect India’s balance.
He said that removing Kohli from captaincy can affect his batting.
“He (Virat Kohli) bats better when he is the captain. I think if you change it, it would destroy the culture of that Indian team. It might affect Kohli’s batting. He wouldn’t want it to happen, but it will happen,” Hogg said.
“Yes, Ajinkya Rahane has done a fantastic job in the last three Tests in Australia. He is cool, calm and collected. He is quite decisive, and he doesn’t get agitated. He is a fantastic leader. But I will leave him as vice-captain because I think Virat Kohli leads from the front,” added Hogg.
James Anderson picks 30th five-wicket haul, goes clear of McGrath
James Anderson picked his 30th five-wicket haul in Test cricket as he moved to sole sixth position among cricketers with most five-wicket hauls.
The right-arm England pace bowler, who was tied with Glenn McGrath in joint sixth position with 29 five-wicket hauls before this Test, removed Niroshan Dickwella for his fifth wicket in the Sri Lankan first innings during the second Test between the two teams at the Galle International Stadium.
He then got rid of Suranga Lakmal to get his sixth wicket of the innings.
Anderson had taken three of the four Sri Lankan wickets to fall on the first day.
He removed centurion Angelo Mathews early on second day, in just his first over of the morning. The former Sri Lanka captain edged one behind to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.
Anderson is the fourth highest wicket-taker in Test cricket and the best among pace bowlers with 606 scalps. The 38-year-old pace bowler needs 14 more to get past leg-spinner Anil Kumble as the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.
Among pace bowlers, only Richard Hadlee has more five-wicket hauls (36) than Anderson in Test cricket.
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