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Morgan places faith in KKR’s top order to deliver against RCB



Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan cannot stop marvelling at the “fantastic turnaround” his side has made in this edition of the Indian Premier League, virtually turning their game around to emerge strong contenders for a third IPL title.

With the two-time champions set to take on the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Sharjah Cricket Ground later on Monday, captain Morgan said that the mood in the camp was “quite confident” and “we are looking forward to the game immensely”.

From sitting at the bottom half of the table after the first leg of IPL 2021, KKR have made an incredible turnaround and Morgan feels the playoffs match would serve them with “another opportunity to progress things further”.

“It’s been a fantastic turnaround. Our performances have been constantly good. The mood in the camp is quite confident and we are looking forward to Monday’s game immensely. It’s another opportunity to progress things further,” Morgan said.

Morgan placed a lot of faith in KKR’s top order and also insisted that with the likes of Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana in the middle order, KKR will adopt a positive approach in dealing with the RCB bowlers.

A significant factor in KKR’s consistent performance is Tripathi’s batting. Coming in at No. 3, the right-hander has amassed 377 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 142.80, giving the team much-needed boost in the middle overs and at the death. In the current edition of the IPL, KKR have scored 943 runs in the middle overs (7-15 overs) in 14 innings at a strike rate of 129.89, the best this season among all the other teams.

“If anybody watches the games, you see them (Tripathi and Rana) come out and play a positive role within that period. Both of them have done an incredible job so far and hopefully that will continue for us.

“Our top three batsmen have been in fine form. Given the challenges across three different venues, we have adapted really well throughout the tournament. I think that’s one thing we have to do (later on Monday) as well,” Morgan added.

The skipper also heaped praise on the bowlers, especially Lockie Ferguson and the mystery spin duo of Varun Chakaravarthy and Sunil Narine.

“I think there’s a lot of talent in the IPL in different teams but certainly when it comes to those two mystery spinners, I think they offer a lot,” he said, adding, “Lockie has been in fine form throughout the whole year, and nevermind the last three weeks, he has obviously been a big impact bowler. He takes on a lot of responsibility as an overseas player.”


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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