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Saturday,19-June-2021

International

Rahul must open with Rohit as Kohli is back at No. 3, says V.V.S. Laxman

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After a comprehensive win over Bangladesh in the two-match Test series, the Indian players will again move back to the slam-bang T20I format as they take on West Indies at home and former batsman V.V.S. Laxman feels that it will be interesting to see how the team management fits K.L. Rahul into the team as regular skipper Virat Kohli is back in the team after skipping the T20I series against Bangladesh.

Star Sports expert Laxman talking about KL Rahul on Game Plan said: “The big question is that with Virat Kohli back and K.L. Rahul doing a good job batting at number three so then where will he fit? I believe that it is time that K.L. Rahul opens with Rohit Sharma. I would definitely have Rahul open with Rohit for the West Indies Series.”

After hitting 52 against Bangladesh in the third game of the T20I series, Rahul has now shown great form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali as well as he has scored two fifties in six games.

Laxman said he is also very impressed with the way Shreyas Iyer grabbed his opportunity in the series against Bangladesh. He feels that the way Iyer held fort in the final game of the series was impressive to say the least.

“I was very impressed with the way Shreyas Iyer has batted so far. The best part about him was when during the last T20 International in Nagpur when India lost their top 3 batsmen, he had the ability to assess the condition very well and was very versatile in his approach and when Rahul was the aggressor he played second fiddle and the moment Rahul got out and Rishabh Pant came to the crease under pressure and was not able to rotate the strike, Shreyas Iyer just registered that and changed his gear and that is what you want at a number four,” he said.

The India-West Indies T20I series will start on December 6 and will be telecast live on Star Sports network from 6 p.m.

International

WTC final: India lose openers, go to lunch at 69/2

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Rohit-Sharma

India were 69 for two at lunch on the second day of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand here at the Hampshire Bowl on Saturday.

Openers Rohit Sharma (34 off 68 balls) and Shubman Gill (28 off 64 balls) made a solid start, helping India reach 62 without loss in 20 overs as New Zealand bowlers struggled for the ideal line.

But then Kyle Jamieson provided the breakthrough on the first ball of his sixth over, having Sharma caught at third slip.

Gill followed over four overs later, nicking one from left-armer Neil Wagner to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.

The first day was washed out. New Zealand won the toss on the second day and elected to bowl.

Brief scores (at lunch): India 69/2 in 28 overs (R Sharma 34, S Gill 28, N Wagner 1/5, K Jamieson 1/10) vs New Zealand.

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International

WTC final: New Zealand win toss, elect to bowl

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New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl in the World Test Championship final against India here at the Hampshire Bowl on Saturday.

India have stuck to the playing eleven they had announced on Thursday. While India are going in with two spinners and three pace bowlers, the Kiwis have four pacers and no spinner in their attack.

The toss took place on the second day after the first day’s play was washed out due to rain. As many as 98 overs are scheduled to be bowled on Saturday. The Test will run into the reserve day on June 23.

Teams:

India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.

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Sri Lanka middle order big worry for coach Mickey Arthur

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Sri Lanka cricket coach Mickey Arthur is worried about the lack of depth in the middle order as his team gears up to take on England in six white-ball matches, beginning with a T20 International in Cardiff on June 23.

The three-match ODI series will commence on June 29 and conclude on July 4.

“In Bangladesh, we got caught a little bit through the middle overs and that’s one area where we’ve focused hard on in our practice and preparation (in England). It’s about the intensity required through that middle period. Our strike rotation and intensity at the crease are really areas that we’ve worked on in this training block,” said Arthur, who has been with the team since February 2020.

Sri Lanka had lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1 in May with all the matches being played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Arthur feels that one of the major reasons for the middle-order not clicking is shortage of players for the No. 4, 5, 6 slots, with far too many batsmen vying for top-order slots.

“We’ve reclassified guys’ roles. We’ve got a lot of players who can bat Nos. 1, 2 and 3, but we didn’t have many guys who could bat 4, 5 and 6. We’ve consolidated that here in our training session (in England). One of two players has had to change the roles that we’ve had before. We can’t be top-heavy and have no one who can bat in the middle and finish for us,” Arthur told cricinfo.com.

“We’ve knuckled down on the roles of each guy and set the scenarios up in the nets to replicate that. I’ve got a clear plan on who’s going to drop into the middle. If you look at Kusal (Perera), Avishka (Fernando) and Danushka (Gunathilaka) at 1, 2 and 3, that’s pretty good. We need to drill down and get 4, 5 and 6 batting comfortably within their roles as well, so that those middle overs — when we need to rotate strike — we’ve actually practiced it and the people we’ve sent into those positions can handle it.”

“We’ve got to settle down on a batting order as soon as we can. We can’t be jumping around having players bat in so many positions because that just creates confusion. Each position is so different.”

Sri Lanka cricket coach Mickey Arthur is worried about the lack of depth in the middle order as his team gears up to take on England in six white-ball matches, beginning with a T20 International in Cardiff on June 23.

The three-match ODI series will commence on June 29 and conclude on July 4.

“In Bangladesh, we got caught a little bit through the middle overs and that’s one area where we’ve focused hard on in our practice and preparation (in England). It’s about the intensity required through that middle period. Our strike rotation and intensity at the crease are really areas that we’ve worked on in this training block,” said Arthur, who has been with the team since February 2020.

Sri Lanka had lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1 in May with all the matches being played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Arthur feels that one of the major reasons for the middle-order not clicking is shortage of players for the No. 4, 5, 6 slots, with far too many batsmen vying for top-order slots.

“We’ve reclassified guys’ roles. We’ve got a lot of players who can bat Nos. 1, 2 and 3, but we didn’t have many guys who could bat 4, 5 and 6. We’ve consolidated that here in our training session (in England). One of two players has had to change the roles that we’ve had before. We can’t be top-heavy and have no one who can bat in the middle and finish for us,” Arthur told cricinfo.com.

“We’ve knuckled down on the roles of each guy and set the scenarios up in the nets to replicate that. I’ve got a clear plan on who’s going to drop into the middle. If you look at Kusal (Perera), Avishka (Fernando) and Danushka (Gunathilaka) at 1, 2 and 3, that’s pretty good. We need to drill down and get 4, 5 and 6 batting comfortably within their roles as well, so that those middle overs — when we need to rotate strike — we’ve actually practiced it and the people we’ve sent into those positions can handle it.”

“We’ve got to settle down on a batting order as soon as we can. We can’t be jumping around having players bat in so many positions because that just creates confusion. Each position is so different.”

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