India opening batter KL Rahul figures on top in Kevin Pietersen’s list of players who will excel in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, with the former England cricketer predicting the 30-year-old will score tons of runs, though he doesn’t think India will win the global event.
Rahul has been in sublime form, with the batter making 62 against Afghanistan in India’s last Super Four match of Asia Cup 2022. He has smashed three fifties in five bilateral matches against Australia and South Africa at home.
Rahul has continued his good showing since India landed in Australia in early October, making a patient 74 in the second practice match against Western Australia XI in Perth and followed it up with 57 in a warm-up match against Australia at The Gabba, Brisbane.
In his column for betway.com, Pietersen expressed confidence Rahul will be a class apart with the bat. “I love him. I think he is the No. 1 batter in the world at the moment. He is absolutely fantastic. With the ball bouncing, swinging and seaming, I think he plays in a very authentic way and is correct enough to rack up the runs,” opined Pietersen.
Pietersen though predicted England will win the title after their title run in the 2021 edition was cut short in the semifinal by New Zealand.
“This England white-ball team is absolutely spectacular. They really are. They’re fabulous to watch, they’ve got all bases covered, and I think they go in as favourites. It was a great victory in Pakistan (seven-match T20I series), a huge victory. And they’ve been very confident in the way they’ve played the warm-up games in Australia. It’s been the perfect build-up,” said Pietersen.
He also predicted England opener batter Alex Hales could emerge as the match winner.
“It’s a dust-off between (Phil) Salt and Hales for that top (opener’s) spot, and it’s going be interesting to see who they pick. It’ll be good if Hales does get the gig, purely based on the fact that he wins games. At the end of the day, it’s up to the players to agree on what the process is and whether a guy fits in. The most important point around all of this nonsense with Hales is the fact that he wins games of cricket for England,” said Pietersen.
Pietersen added that the “Stokes factor” would be huge in England’s title bid.
“It’s irrelevant when Ben Stokes last played this form of the game. He brings experience, aura, and a fear factor to this England side. When the opposition are doing all their matchday preparation, the man that will get talked about most is Stokes, because of what he can do, and what he has done in his career. He just brings that fear factor and that aura to the team.
“England are the favourites for me. They have strength in depth in all departments. They’ve got quality fast bowlers, a fantastic spinner in Adil Rashid, and their batting needs no introduction.”
He added that South Africa are the dark horses in the tournament.
“The reason why I say South Africa could be the dark horse is because, with the weather conditions that are knocking around, that South African bowling attack — Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada — could do some real damage. I’ve seen what Rabada and Nortje have done in the IPL when they played together for a season, and you can be 20 for five or 30 for six very quickly. Their batters won’t need to score that many runs to knock off those kind of totals.”
PM Narendra Modi Lays Foundation Stone For Rs.451 Crore International Cricket Stadium In Varanasi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi on September 23rd (Saturday). The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Sunil Gavaskar were also present for the ceremony. The Prime Minister also went on to present an Indian team jersey to Tendulkar.
The state government, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has remitted a whopping ₹121 crore for the purpose of land acquisition, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shall put in ₹330 crore from their side for the iconic stadium’s construction. Some of the notable features that the stadium would have are trishul-shaped floodlights, drum-shaped media center, and crescent moon-shaped roof.
Meanwhile, the stone-laying ceremony witnessed some of the most top figures from the BCCI, including President Roger Binny, Vice-President Rajiv Shukla, and Secretary Jay Shah. This will also be the third international stadium in Uttar Pradesh, with Kanpur and Lucknow already having one.
“The sportspersons here will benefit from the construction of an international stadium” – Narendra Modi
Speaking at the ceremony, Modi stated that sports are no longer prohibited by the elders, unlike before, as it acts as an incentive in several ways. He said, as quoted by The Indian Express:
“This stadium in the city of ‘Mahadev’ will be dedicated to ‘Mahadev’ himself. The sportspersons here will benefit from the construction of an international stadium in Kashi. There was a time when parents used to scold their children for playing sports, but that is no longer true. When sports infrastructure is built in an area, it acts as an incentive not just for young sporting talent but also spurs the local economy.”
The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 30000 and the construction of the same is likely to finish by December 2025.
Legends Including Sachin Tendulkar And Ravi Shastri Leave For Varanasi For Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony For New International Stadium In UP
Legendary Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, and Dilip Vengsarkar on Saturday headed for Varanasi for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the international cricket stadium in Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the International Cricket Stadium in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Saturday afternoon.
The Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has spent Rs 121 crores on land acquisition for the construction of the International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi. Moreover, the BCCI will spend Rs 330 crores on the stadium’s construction.
The former India head coach Shashti on Saturday took to social media ‘X’, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote in a post, “Varanasi bound. Great to be amongst Greats and colleagues for Mumbai and India. Just a few international runs and wickets there. Pic of a lifetime. Gr8 memories.”
The thematic architecture of this stadium draws inspiration from Lord Shiva, with designs developed for crescent-shaped roof covers, trident-shaped floodlights, ghat steps-based seating, and Bilvipatra-shaped metallic sheets on the facade. The stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators.
Veteran players like Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Shastri, Vengsarkar will be present at the foundation stone laying ceremony.
Uttar Pradesh to have its 3rd international stadium:
The event will also have the presence of key figures from the BCCI, including President Roger Binny, Vice President Rajiv Shukla, and Secretary Jay Shah, the release stated. Furthermore, many veteran players are expected to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony. After Kanpur and Lucknow, this will be Uttar Pradesh’s third international cricket stadium.
IND vs AUS: ‘Always Well Looked After And Well Protected’ As David Warner Feeling ‘Great’ To Be Back In India
The Australian cricket team has landed in India ahead of what will be their final dress rehearsal for the 2023 World Cup. Veteran Australian opener David Warner took to his official Instagram handle and expressed their gratefulness at landing in India. He also thanked GMR Aerocity for making their transit easy.
Warner will be one of the few players most in focus ahead of the ODI series, especially due to his inconsistency in the preceding rubber against South Africa. The left-hander made only two fifty-plus scores in five innings and threw away starts consistently.
The five-time World Champions will be keen to get back in the groove after missing an opportunity to win the series in South Africa despite a 2-0 lead. The middle-order batters, including Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis will be under pressure for consistently failing against the Proteas. With Steve Smith back in the side and Australia set to field a full-strength attack, they should be in a good stead.
The 36-year-old took to his Instagram handle and wrote:
“Always great to be welcomed back to india. We are always well looked after and well protected. Thanks so much. @gmraerocity always makes our transits so easy.”
Australia won the three-game ODI series in India earlier this year:
Pat Cummins and co. should draw confidence from their success against the Men in Blue in their backyard earlier this year under the captaincy of Steve Smith. Nevertheless, India are an in-form team, having won the Asia Cup 2023.
However, the men’s team’s chief selector Chief selector Ajit Agarkar has announced resting Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for the first two ODIs. KL Rahul will captain India in Mohali and Indore,
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