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‘If you go after one of our guys, you are going after the team’




Just after India had declared their innings post-lunch in the second Test against England at Lords, skipper Virat Kohli went into a huddle and gave a pep-talk, the details of which were not clear. Whatever he said was inspirational enough to a bunch of bowlers that was already fired up.

Opening batsman K.L. Rahul, who was the player of the match, revealed this after the match.

“We knew that after lunch, the declaration would come and bowlers were really keen and looking forward to it, to go out there and each of them knew they will have to bowl 10-12 overs,” said Rahul, who made 129 in the first innings.

The target of bowling England out in 60 overs was lip-smacking considering that Indian bowlers Mohammed Shami (56 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) had already put the hosts under the pump with the bat in the first session.

“The partnership between Shami and Bumrah first of all, to start the day… It is so good when your bowlers go out there and show so much heart. And put up a fight like that. It just pumps you up. The bowlers were waiting to have a crack at them. They were really looking forward to it,” added Rahul.

“We knew the pitch was up and down and opportunity like this to win a ‘est doesn’t always come, so we were all very, very keen and excited as a pack. So yeah to go out there and put up a performance like that is very, very special.”

Generally, England players never get worked up and quietly go about their task. However, the bouncer to James Anderson by Jasprit Bumrah at the end of the third day riled the Englishmen and who took to a war of words on the subsequent and eyed revenge with short deliveries to Bumrah on the fifth morning. It was something that eventually came to bite them back.

When Anderson and Jos Buttler had exchanges with Bumrah, the entire Indian team ganged up and got motivated further.

“We as a team are never shy of saying a word or two. Or, if someone goes at one of our guys, the rest of the 10 guys are just really pumped as well. That is the kind of team we are. That is the kind of atmosphere or the team bonding we have that if you go after one of our guys, that means you are going after the whole team,” added Rahul further.

“Like I said the bowlers wanted to go out there and have a crack and we all wanted to be in the middle and give it all in the 60 overs that we were going to bowl. So like I said it is great to see people come to watch. Speaks highly how badly each team wants to win. Really pleased to see both teams play with so much heart.”


BCCI wants Dravid to be India’s chief coach; sources say Rahul’s ‘agreed but…!’





 Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid has agreed to coach the national side after the ICC T20 World Cup but there are a couple of issues which he wants to be sorted out before joining, said a BCCI official.

Earlier, there were reports that Dravid would be the interim coach for the upcoming home series against New Zealand.

However, the BCCI official has now confirmed that “Rahul has agreed to coach the Indian team till 2023 World Cup”.

The official told IANS that BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah had a meeting with Dravid on the side-lines of the IPL final on Friday evening and they managed to convince him.

“There are a couple of issues which Dravid wants to settle with the BCCI and hopefully that will be done,” he added.

Asked what are the “issues”, the official said, “Like, Dravid wants to have new support staff… changing the entire old one. And a couple of other things. I am sure everything will be sorted out. Because BCCI wants Dravid to lead the charge.”

It is learnt that former Mumbai pacer Paras Mhambrey may take over from Bharat Arun as the bowling coach.

Sources further said that Dravid had suggested Australian Tom Moody’s name for the coach’s job, but the Board didn’t show too much interest.

The 48-year-old Dravid has been in charge of the India A and U-19 set-up for the past six years. He currently heads the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

“He will resign from there and take over the charge (of Team India),” sources added.

Dravid had recently coached a second-string Indian team to a tour of Sri Lanka even as the national senior team was playing concurrently in England.

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Dhoni is still non-committal on playing IPL next season





 Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni did not commit to playing another season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the team from Tamil Nadu though he did say that he was not done with the World’s richest T20 tournament.

Though Dhoni maintained that whether he continues to play or not depends on the decisions the BCCI takes regarding player retention when two more teams join the league next year, the 40-year-old said he has not left any legacy behind as of yet.

“Still I haven’t left behind….” he signed off during the prize distribution ceremony after CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs to lift their fourth IPL title.

“Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in. We have to decide what is good for CSK. It’s not about me being there in top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years,” said Dhoni on Friday.

CSK set up a big target and then defended it successfully, keeping their nerves even when Kolkata Knight Riders openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer and given KKR a great start by putting on 91 runs for the first wicket. There was no panic in CSK ranks and the players went about performing their roles as things just fell in place.

Dhoni said they don’t plan or strategise too much before the game and the net sessions are more of one-on-one sessions.

“Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot [meetings]. It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure. Our practice sessions hav” been good,” Dhoni said, adding that the chat sessions don’t last more than 29 minutes as that’s the attention span for a normal person.

About his team’s performance, Dhoni said that they shuffled players around after the first half and that paid for them. “Coming to CSK, we shuffled players. We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well. Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts,” Dhoni added.

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IPL 2021: Extremely grateful, feels amazing to be part of CSK, says Uthappa




Chennai Super Kings. (Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL)

After Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won their fourth IPL trophy, star batsman Robin Uthappa on Friday said that he is extremely grateful and it feels amazing to be part of MS Dhoni-led side, especially how last year went for them.

CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the IPL 2021 final and lifted their fourth IPL title. CSK had earlier won three IPL titles in 2010, 2011, and 2018.

“Extremely grateful, it feels amazing to be part of this side, especially how last year went for us. It was a very lean season for us last year and so it was important for us to come back and play as well as we could and be really grateful that we have been able to,” said Robin Uthappa after the win.

“I just want to come in and contribute to the team’s success,” he added.

Talking about the environment in the CSK group, the stylish batsman said that there is a lot of clarity.

“They create a very secure environment within the group and there’s a lot of clarity and communication within the support staff and the players and that really helps in building a secure group,” said Uthappa, who performed well with the bat for CSK in the last two matches.

“I believe it’s your players who are not playing in the eleven that really create the atmosphere within the group and they make sure that they look after the players who are not playing in the eleven and I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways of our success in IPL,” he added.

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