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Thursday,17-June-2021

International

Disappointing that IPL 13 will not be held in India, says Steve Smith

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Steve-Smith

Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith has expressed his disappointment regarding this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) being played outside of India. The 13th edition of the cash-rich league, which was postponed in March due to coronavirus pandemic, will now be held in the UAE from September.

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel had last week confirmed to IANS that this year’s league will be played around the September 19 to November 8 window and the same has been communicated to the franchises.

Smith stated players will have to adapt to the conditions of the UAE but that’s not going to be a problem as according to him, everyone will be eager to just get on the field and play good quality cricket following the coronavirus stoppage.

“I think part of being a professional cricketer is to adapt to any condition you are faced with and that is going to be the clear message from the coaching staff,” Smith told reporters via videoconference after special premiere of Rajasthan Royals’ documentary ‘Inside Story’, which showcases the team’s 2019 IPL campaign.

“Conditions in Dubai can be similar to what you get in India or it can be different, it’s about adapting on the run to what the condition suits. Couple of players obviously have experience of playing there before. The IPL was there in 2014 I think, so a lot of people have played IPL there before.

“I think guys will be just jumping out of their skins to play some quality cricket. Obviously it’s disappointing that it’s not in India. We would have absolutely loved to play there,” he added.

Smith also spoke about the prospect of players coming into the tournament a bit rusty considering some of them haven’t played international cricket for a while now following the COVID-19 hiatus. The talismanic Australia batsmen said everyone would be on the same boat with this regard and thus there won’t be an added advantage for any team in particular.

“Yeah, it has been challenging. A lot of players haven’t played any cricket. From that point of view it will be an even contest,” Smith said.

“Everybody will be going in with the same sort of preparation which is nice. It has been incredibly different times and guys are trying to get their cricket back in any way possible.

“It certainly is going to be very exciting when IPL rolls around that’s for sure,” he added.

Meanwhile, Royals’ youngest star Riyan Parag also spoke about the return of the IPL. He became a household name last year following his half-century against Delhi Capitals. At 17 years and 175 days, Parag holds the record for being the youngest player to score an IPL fifty.

“Pressure is only there if you think about it. To be honest I don’t think about all these taglines, whatever the media or whatever the people say,” Parag said.

“It’s just going to be another year for me…I am going to start afresh, not thinking about anything and just doing what team wants me to do and play freely and showcase my abilities,” he added.

International

Test rankings: Steve Smith new No.1 batsman, Virat Kohli moves up to 4th

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Steve-Smith

Ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final, India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday moved up one spot, to fourth, in the ICC Test batting rankings while New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lost his top spot to Australian Steve Smith.

With 891 points, former Australia skipper Smith is the world No.1 Test batsman while Williamson is now second with 886 points. Kohli, with 814 points displaced England captain Joe Root, who is now fifth with 797 points.

Two more Indians featuring in the top-10 – wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma with 747 points each – are joint sixth.

Williamson lost his top spot in the rankings due to his omission from the playing XI in the second Test against England, while Root slipped to fifth after a forgettable outing in the two-Test series against New Zealand, which the hosts lost 0-1.

In the Test bowling rankings, Ravichandran Ashwin is the lone Indian in the top-10 — at No.2 with 850 points. Australia’s Pat Cummins is leading the pack with 908 points.

In the Test all-rounders rankings, Ravindra Jadeja (386 points) and Ashwin (353 points) are holding on to their second and fourth positions respectively. West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder, with 412 points, is leading the rankings.

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International

Virat Kohli gets a taste of pace, bounce at Southampton

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Virat-Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli got a glimpse of pace and bounce, that groundsman Simon Lee wants in the World Test Championship (WTC) final pitch, during a nets session at the Hampshire Bowl here.

Kohli was felled by a fast bouncer from one of India’s throwdown specialists in a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday as he prepared for the WTC final that gets underway from June 18.

Lee was on Monday quoted as saying, “For me personally, I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch.”

The 32-year-old, who is India’s No. 4 in Test batting line-up, was also seen blocking a yorker, playing drives and reaching out for a delivery.

The video also showed India pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami as well as spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowling to other batsmen with Rishabh Pant smashing a six.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also seemed to be getting a hang of things as he played a flick shot that was acknowledged by teammates including bowler Ishant.

India had reached Southampton on June 3 and underwent quarantine for 10 days during which they also played an intra-squad simulation match.

They came out of quarantine on Monday.

The Indian Test squad is staying in United Kingdom for three-and-a-half months during which they will also play a five-Test series against England in August-September.

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Indian cricketers loving the taste of England

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Mohammed-Shami

Scrambled eggs, baked beans, brown toast, and sausages seem to be the favourite breakfast of Indian cricketers while they are in England for the World Test Championship (WTC) final and a five-match Test series against the hosts.

Pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin say their favourite English breakfast was scrambled eggs, baked beans and toast, while India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane added sausages to the menu.

In a video posted by bcci.tv on Tuesday, the fifth player, Cheteshwar Pujara, said he preferred brown toast, potato roasties and beans, as he was a vegetarian.

While fielding a ‘Rapid fire Challenge'”, all the cricketers were in agreement that Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) was one of their favourite films shot in England.

The other movies shot in England that they could immediately think of were: Namaste London, Kal Ho Na Ho, and Houseful.

All the cricketers agreed that the balmy England weather was the biggest attraction to tour the country.

Shami said he liked England because of the weather and the plenty of opportunities it provided for shopping.

Ashwin said that “the greatest blessing of coming to England is to walk on those big streets especially in the London mainstream…you can grab a coffee by the road, sit around and calmly have a chat with whoever you’re going with”.

Rahane made it clear that though he liked walking around parks and going to cafes with his family, his immediate task was to play competitive cricket against New Zealand in the WTC final in Southampton from Friday and the Test series against England in August-September.

“Playing cricket here is what I really enjoy,” said the vice-captain. And as an afterthought he said that “walking around the parks and going to cafes with your families, especially now that my daughter is here, are what I like a lot”.

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