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Saturday,12-June-2021

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Ravi Shastri hails ‘student’ Padikkal and ‘master’ Kohli

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India head coach Ravi Shastri hailed Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal’s performance in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

“The student and the master at work. Fabulous viewing. These Southpaws make it look easy – @devdpd07 @imVkohli @RCBTweets #RCBvsRR #IPL2021,” Shastri tweeted.

Padikkal, who scored his maiden IPL century, put up an unbeaten 181-run opening stand with Kohli to help RCB win the match on Wednesday with nearly four overs remaining.

Padikkal scored 101 off just 52 balls, hitting 11 fours and six sixes. Kohli played second fiddle until the 10th over, looking to rotate strike more than hitting boundaries.

He took off after the 10th over, however, and ended the match unbeaten on 72 off 47 balls.

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Ruturaj Gaikwad wants to pick Rahul Dravid’s brain in Sri Lanka

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Opening batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was a surprise selection in the 20-member India squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, has been forced to follow ‘early to bed-early to rise’ routine due to lockdown in Pune, his hometown, over the last month.

“In Pune, there has been a lockdown since May, and things have been open only from 7-11 am. So I wanted to ensure I did not spend that time sleeping,” Gaikwad said.

“I wanted to utilise more of that time for my fitness work and gym work. I did not want myself to be caught off-guard and be in a situation where I was picked but was not conditioned enough,” the right-handed batsman told espncricinco.com.

Gaikwad said he was not aware of the news of his selection initially as he was not following it. He was in his bed and had switched off mobile data to ensure repeated alerts do not disturb him.

However, once he started receiving repeated calls, he picked up the phone and learned the news of his selection.

“When I go to sleep, I generally switch off mobile data. I know if it is an emergency, someone will generally call twice. When my phones started ringing continuously, I was not first sure what it was. Then two journalists informed me of my selection,” said Gaikwad.

“I had to wake my parents up to tell them. They were quite deep in sleep, and were not fully able to process what I was telling them at first. But this morning they woke up really happy and made some pedas (sweets) at home, and I was happy to make an exception and have them to celebrate the happy news.”

Gaikwad, who endured an ordinary run in Vijay Hazare One-dayers and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s but racked up five half-centuries in 13 matches across Indian Premier League’s 2020 and 2021 editions, says he is not sure if he will get a chance to play in Sri Lanka. But he said he wants to use this opportunity to learn.

“I was not thinking much about my selection. Even now, I am not thinking on the lines of ‘will I play’. I am looking forward to learning the knack of adaptability, something that will be very important going forward.

“Dhawan and a few of the other seniors have played a lot of international cricket, so I would like to learn from them by chatting to them about how they assess conditions, how they have adapted, how they have used their experience and learnt from their failures.

“I am also really excited to train and spend a month under Rahul Dravid, who was our India A coach when I was part of the team two years ago. He was with us on three tours, and we started to get familiar with each other. So when he was appointed the National Cricket Academy chief, I was personally disappointed at not being able to pick his brains anymore. But now, getting a chance to do that will be very useful for me,” added Gaikwad.

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Indian cricket team begins England trip with intra-squad practice tie

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India cricketers, who are serving a 10-day quarantine period here ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final, began their England sojourn with a two-day intra-squad practice match here at Hampshire Bowl.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released pictures as well as a video on Saturday with the highlights of first day’s play on Friday.

India captain Virat Kohli is seen batting, defending and clipping the ball off his toes, as also Shubman Gill and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who is seen hammering a big shot.

Pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj are seen bowling. Newcomer Arzan Nagwaswalla is also seen in action. Spinner R Ashwin is also seen rolling his arm over.

Pant apparently reached a milestone as he is shown lifting his bat in celebration.

The Indian team is on a three-and-a-half month tour of England where it plays the WTC final against New Zealand from June 18 and then a five-Test series in August-September.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, India are not allowed to play any local club or county team unlike in the past.

Even New Zealand played an intra-squad warm-up game last month on arrival in Southampton.

However, unlike the Indian cricket board, New Zealand Cricket passed on the details of the match especially the outstanding performances from the day’s play.

The Indians had reached Southampton on June 3. Their workload increased gradually as directed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) which is hosting the WTC final.

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Always ensure everyone gets a chance on India A, U-19 tours: Rahul Dravid

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Rahul Dravid.

Rahul Dravid, a former India captain and director of cricket at Indian board’s National Cricket Academy (NCA), has said he gives every player an opportunity on India A tours to ensure they don’t face the frustration he had to face as a youngster.

“I tell them upfront, if you come on an A tour with me, you will not leave here without playing a game,” Dravid was quoted as saying by The Cricket Monthly.

“I’ve had that personal experience myself as a kid: going on an A tour and not getting an opportunity to play is terrible. You’ve done well, you scored 700-800 runs, you go, and you don’t get a chance to show what you’re good at. And then you’re back to square one from the selectors’ point of view, because the next season you have to score those 800 runs again,” added Dravid who is likely to accompany the India white-ball team on tour of Sri Lanka. He has travelled as coach of India A and India under-19 teams.

The 48-year-old former India No. 3, who scored 13,288 runs in Test cricket and 10,889 in ODI cricket, said he always tries to make five to six changes between games at under-19 level.

“It is not easy to do that, so there is no guarantee you’ll get a chance again. So you tell people upfront: this is the best 15 and we are playing them. This is not about the supposed best XI. At U-19, we make five-six changes between games if we can,” he adds.

Dravid has been credited with blooding youngsters and making them fit to take field at international level. The former batsman and a battery of former international cricketers are at the NCA grooming youngsters.

They pick a set of 150 players from across the domestic structure and give them real match practice and also accompany them to India A and India under-19 tours.

Dravid said that while passion in India is high, youngsters need to get facilities and training to be able to reach and perform at the highest level.

“Playing on the beach and playing on the road doesn’t make you a cricketer. It makes you someone who loves the game. That’s what we had. We had a lot of people who loved the game,” added Dravid.

“Unless you give that guy a proper matting wicket or a turf wicket, unless you give him some half-decent coaching, some half-decent fitness assistance — where was all this in the 1990s and the 2000s? There was no access to it. We were starved of knowledge. Even in terms of fitness, we used to look at the Australians and South Africans and we used to look at their fitness trainers, and what did we get? ‘Don’t do too much gym, your body will become stiff. Bowl, bowl and bowl. Run rounds and laps’,” he was quoted as saying.

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