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Friday,14-May-2021

National

Chepauk pitch ‘not unplayable’, some people are always complaining, says Sunil Gavaskar

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Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar on Monday hit back at former cricketers, including Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh for their criticism of the MA Chidambaram pitch in the ongoing second Test between India and England, saying that “its a challenging wicket but not unplayable” and that some people are always complaining.

As many as 15 wickets fell on Day Two of the Test match, including 10 of England’s who were bowled out for 134 in reply to India’s 329.

Gavaskar feels the pitch is “not unplayable” at all, as proven by Rohit Sharma who scored a brilliant 161 in the first innings.

“We saw how Rohit Sharma getting 150, and yesterday he was getting close to ball and batting. This criticism (on pitch) is pretty unwarranted,” Gavaskar said during a conversation with former England cricketer Mark Butcher on Star Sports.

“Few people trying to make the point no matter who is on top, the ball should not be going through the top of the surface from Day 1 of a Test match. Is that what the tweets are about?” said Butcher.

“Some of them are saying that — but you have a seeming pitch in England. Australia get dismissed for 46 — the ball keeps seeming all throughout. No one talks about that. It’s always about Indian pitches, and when the ball starts to turn, people pose a problem,” added Gavaskar.

“Australians do moan about that a lot, I admit,” Butcher said.

While criticising the pitch, Vaughan had tweeted: “It’s entertaining cricket as things are happening all the time but let’s be honest this pitch is a shocker…Not making any excuses as India have been better but this isn’t a Test Match 5 day prepared pitch.”

“I’m all for a good contest between bat and ball in test match cricket but this pitch in Chennai is unacceptable at test match level. You can’t have the ball going through the top of the surface on day 1 from the main part of the pitch Ie (i.e.) not from the footmarks,” Waugh had said on the micro-blogging website.

Gavaskar said that had the pitch been unplayable, India wouldn’t have been able to post a total in excess of 300 in their first innings.

“One or two who we know who don’t like India, who don’t like England, so they always be having a go at India and England, so that’s fine. We ignore them because we know the double standards. But basically, we saw with Rohit Sharma’s innings, if pitch was impossible, nobody would have scored 330,” said the former India captain.

“It’s not unplayable. It’s a challenging pitch, and that’s what cricket should be about. In the first Test, on the first two days, when nothing was happening, people were saying ‘it’s boring, nothing is happening. It’s so easy to bat.’ So, there has to be a bit of balance between what is said. You cannot be complaining all the time,” he added.

The 71-year-old further said that the point that can be argued is the difference in quality of spinners of the two teams.

“You can argue that maybe England spinners are not as good as Ashwin. That they did not bowl the lines and length that Ashwin or Axar did. But you have to also argue that who has got the better technique when it comes to batting and who has the better skills when it comes to bowling. That really should be the debate rather than the pitch,” said Gavaskar.

National

Rishabh Pant gets first jab of Covid-19 vaccine

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Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant said that he has got his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Pant urged people to get the vaccine whenever they are eligible.

“Got my first jab today. When you are eligible, please step up and get the vaccine. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can beat this Virus,” Pant tweeted with a photo of him getting the vaccine.

Earlier Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowlers Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul also said that they had got their first jabs.

Pant was captain of Delhi Capitals for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following an impressive season with the Indian team in which he played integral roles in their Test series wins away from home against Australia and at home against England.

He was announced as DC’s captain prior to the season after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to injury.

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National

Sometimes miss Dhoni’s guidance: Kuldeep Yadav

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Kuldeep Yadav

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that he misses the guidance he used to get from MS Dhoni when the latter kept wickets. Kuldeep has seen his international appearances nosedive since the end of 2019, which was also the year that Dhoni played his last match for India.

“Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming. We miss his experience. Rishabh is there now, the more he plays, the more input he will give in the future. I always felt every bowler needs a partner who can respond from the other end,” Yadav told The Indian Express.

Yadav has played seven ODIs in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 23 in 2019 alone. Dhoni played his last game for India in their semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup on July 10 before eventually retiring from international cricket on August 15, 2020.

“When Mahibhai was there, I and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahibhai left. I must have played ten-odd games. I had even taken a hat-trick. If you look at the performance as a whole, it will look pretty decent but if one breaks it up then my performance sometimes can look not up to the mark. One has to also look at the opposition we are playing against,” said Yadav.

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India should play both Jadeja and Ashwin in WTC final: Pragyan Ojha

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Pragyan-Ojha

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should both be playing in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand for their prowess with the bat as much as their ability to take wickets, said Pragyan Ojha.

Ojha said that with India having no fast-bowling all-rounder in the squad, Jadeja in particular gives them an extra option in the batting order.

“They should play, both of them. Because both can bat, both have the experience of bowling on any track. The biggest plus point is Jadeja can bat up the order. The way he is performing. Mind you if you look at his domestic record, he’s got three triple hundreds.

I think he can bat long and Ashwin has got international hundreds also. I feel if there’s a little chance where you can play both the spinners, you should play. They have enough experience to win you games on any wicket,” Ojha told Sports Today.

“Overall, it’s a fantastic team. Even I was following Hanuma Vihari. Very thoughtful of him to go and play some county cricket. You know you get acclimatised to the conditions. That’s very important,” he added.

Jadeja will be making his comeback to the Test team after being sidelined in the second Test against Australia due to a finger injury. The injury forced him to miss the four-Test series at home against England but he hit the ground running for Chennai Super Kings in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Ashwin, on the other hand, has experienced a resurgence with the bat in recent matches, helping India to a draw in the third Test against Australia by fending off 128 balls and finishing unbeaten on 39. He then scored 106 against England in the second Test in Chennai in February.

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