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Friday,14-May-2021

International

Crowd gave me a hero’s feeling every time I bowled: Ravichandran Ashwin

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Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday dedicated his Man-of-the-Match-winning all-round performance in the second Test against England to the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium ‘Chepauk’ crowd in his home city. He captured eight wickets in the match and scored a century to propel India to a 317-run win.

“I watched cricket from these very stands here in ‘Chepauk’ when I was eight or nine years old. My father would bring me here for any Test match and I would dream about getting a chance to walk on this ground or at least play one game,” said Ashwin in Tamil in the post-match presentation ceremony.

“I have played four Test matches here and easily this is the most special. What can I say…I get a hero’s feeling every time I bowled. In Covid times there was no cricket, so a knowledgable Chennai crowd came in numbers. This match I dedicate to the Chennai crowd. We were 1-0 down without crowd and with the crowd we made it 1-1. There will be crowd in Ahmedabad, so hopefully we can take it forward,” he said in Tamil.

Besides his five wickets in the first innings, Ashwin took three more in the scored. In the first innings, he scored his fifth Test century.

While the pitch for the second Test drawing polarised reactions from former players and commentators for the amount of turn it offered for spinners from the first day, Ashwin said that it takes skill to take wickets in such conditions.

“Those balls that were doing so much weren’t getting the wickets; it was the mind getting the wickets. It’s not easy as it looks. I have been bowling for years and it takes a certain amount of pace and guile to do it,” he said.

Ashwin said that batsmen Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane and batting coach Vikram Rathour spoke to him while he was batting on the third day.

“I think keeping the intent was very, very important. I was having a chat with Rohit and the batting coach about the options to put pressure on the bowler than waiting for the loose balls. The first couple of sweeps I connected, I got a hang of the wicket,” he said.

“I’m someone who tries hard, and when it doesn’t go my way, I try harder. It’s not just Vikram alone; it was more about hands and getting through the ball, think tactically and not technically. Anjinkya told me I was overthinking, and that innings in Sydney set the tone for me.”

International

Pollard was stunned by 1st contract offered by MI: Dwayne Bravo

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Kieron-Pollard

Dwayne Bravo revealed the role he played in Mumbai Indians (MI) signing Kieron Pollard in 2010. Bravo played for MI between 2008 and 2010 and the team was searching for a replacement after the Trinidadian left for Chennai Super Kings.

“When Mumbai Indians needed a replacement for me, I gave them Kieron Pollard’s name. When they tried contacting him, he was playing for a club, so I recommended Dwayne Smith and he became my replacement,” Bravo told Cricbuzz.

“The following year, when it was the Champions League, I called Rahul (Sanghvi) and said, ‘Pollard, he’s here. Come and sign him now before the tournament starts.’ Rahul and Robin Singh left Mumbai and came to Hyderabad, I’ll never forget they came with a contract which at that time was 200,000 USD. I called Pollard, who came downstairs and met them both in the lobby. He saw the contract. Now for someone coming from Trinidad, as a 19-year-old, that was wow. He said, ‘Dwayne are you serious?” said Bravo.

Pollard has turned out to be one of the most important signings in MI’s history, playing an integral role in the team’s five Indian Premier League (IPL) victories. He has scored 3,191 runs for MI at a strike rate of 150.87 and taken 63 wickets as well.

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India retain top spot in ICC Test rankings

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India have retained the top spot in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual update of the Test rankings. India are on 121 rating points while second-placed New Zealand are on 120.

England overtook Australia to take third place with 109 rating points. Australia currently have 108. The West Indies, who beat Bangladesh 2-0 and drew 0-0 with Sri Lanka in series played this year, have moved from eighth to sixth with 84 points, their best position since 2013.

The ICC said that the latest update eliminates the results of 2017/18. It rates all matches played since May 2020 at 100 per cent and those of the previous two years at 50 per cent

“India’s 2-1 win over Australia and 3-1 win over England over the past year and New Zealand’s 2-0 series wins over the West Indies and Pakistan have helped them keep ahead of the pack,” said the ICC.

Pakistan have gained three points but remain in fifth position.

South Africa are in seventh position, equaling their lowest in Test ranking history, while Sri Lanka are next on the list. Bangladesh have lost five points but remain in ninth position while Zimbabwe have gained eight points but are still nine points behind Bangladesh.

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Warner took news of being axed as SRH captain with class: Brad Haddin

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SunRisers-Hyderabad

Batsman David Warner took the news of him being axed as SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) “with class”, said the team’s assistant coach Brad Haddin.

“He took it with class. It was a bit of a shock to everyone when the management decided to go in a different direction to try and spark something in the team. We weren’t playing at the standard we needed to but with Davey, the way he handled it, it was all class. He just got back on with the job,” Haddin said on Fox Cricket.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson replaced Warner as captain. SRH ended up playing only one match under Williamson as the season got postponed after that due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Warner was dropped in that game.

Haddin, the former Australia wicketkeeper who was also Warner’s team mate in the Australian team, said that the latter just got on with his job and had no qualms in bringing out drinks for the players.

“I dare say he would come back in the contention in the next few games. He’s one of the best in the world in that form of the game. You had to look at the way he reacted when he came on to the bench. He was around everyone; he was running the drinks out. He was really focussed on the meetings so he handled it with a lot of class in a difficult situation,” Haddin said.

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