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International

Smith’s return ‘big headache’ for India: Glenn Maxwell

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Australia's-Glenn-Maxwell

Steve Smith’s return is a big plus for Australia and a “big headache” for Team India, feels Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell ahead of the blockbuster clash which begins next week.

Smith, along with Warner, was not part of the 2018-19 series against India when Virat Kohli’s men won the Test and the ODI series Down Under. The three-match T20I series was tied 1-1 as one of the matches was washed out.

However, both Smith and Warner are part of all the three squads which will take on India in the much-anticipated fixtures beginning November 27. Smith was not part of Australia’s last ODI series in England because of the concussion he suffered during a net session.

“To have someone like Steve Smith coming back to our side, it is going to be a big plus for us, a big headache for India. Smith has always scored runs against them,” Maxwell said during a select media interaction organised by series official broadcasters Sony.

While Australia are slated to have both their star performers for all 10 matches against India, the visitors will be without their star opener Rohit Sharma in the limited-overs leg of the tour.

Rohit is recuperating from a hamstring injury sustained during the Indian Premier League and is slated to join the Indian team for the Test series. In his absence, KL Rahul will serve as Virat Kohli’s deputy in the three ODIs and three T20Is.

Maxwell feels Rohit’s absence is a big “positive” for the hosts. “He (Rohit) is a class performer, so consistent as an opening batsman with a couple of (three) double hundreds. So anytime he is not in the line-up against you, it is a positive,” Maxwell said.

However, he also says that Rahul is as good a back-up as any team can wish for.

“But in saying that, India have still got back-ups, more than capable of playing that role. We saw KL Rahul, the performance that he put on during the last IPL was extraordinary. Whether he opens the batting or not, I am sure he will be just as good a player,” he said.

In Rohit’s absence, it is likely that Mayank Agarwal will open the innings alongside Shikhar Dhawan while Rahul, who will also be performing the wicket-keeping duties, is expected to bat middle-order.

“Well, I would say they (Mayank-Rahul) are the two lovely guys I have ever met. It was a pleasure to spend the change room (with them), two very good players, they score all-round the wicket and have got very limited weaknesses,” Maxwell, who spent time with Mayank and Rahul at the Kings XI Punjab, said.

“I suppose ODI cricket might be a bit different (compared T20). Hopefully, with our bowling attack, we can put some pressure on them and with bounce in the pitches and bigger grounds as well, they play into our hands. They are good performers, and good players,” he added.

Maxwell believes Mohammed Shami’s skills as both a “new ball and old ball” bowler will be a key for India. “A guy like Mohammed Shami, whom I have played with in the recent IPL and played with him in Delhi, as well. (I) saw the skill that he has.

“He has got good skills at the end (death overs) as well as with the new ball. His ability to get moving on pitches will be a key to them,” said Maxwell.

International

KKR skipper Morgan fined Rs 24 lakh; others fined Rs 6 lakh each

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Eoin-Morgan

 Indian Premier League (IPL) side Kolkata Knight Riders have been fined after they maintained a slow over rate during their match against Mumbai Indians at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on September 23 (Thursday).

“As it was the team’s second offence of the season under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over rate offences, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan was fined Rs 24 lakhs,” an IPL statement said.

“The rest of the members of the playing XI were each fined lesser of either Rs 6 lakhs or 25 per cent of their individual match fee,” the statement added.

In the match against the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians, Rahul Tripathi and Venkatesh Iyer dazzled with the bat as the Kolkata franchise won by seven wickets.

While Iyer scored his maiden IPL fifty, Tripathi slammed an unbeaten 74 off 42 balls as KKR chased down the target with 4.5 overs to spare.

Needing 156 runs to win, KKR made a scintillating start, courtesy Shubman Gill and Iyer, and moved to 40 in 17 balls. However, the partnership was broken as Jasprit Bumrah disturbed the timber to send Gill packing.

Tripathi, who joined Iyer in the middle, made sure that KKR did not lose the momentum. The right-hander and Iyer added 23 runs in the final three overs of the powerplay as KKR moved to 63/1.

The big-hitting did not stop as Iyer and Tripathi continued to go after the MI bowlers, scoring 48 runs in the next four overs to take KKR to 111/1 after 10 overs. In the next over, the left-hander notched up a fine fifty – his first in the IPL – in 25 balls.

Tripathi then completed his half-century – seventh in the IPL – in the 12th over as KKR continued to make merry with the bat.

Morgan said later during the post-match press conference that, “It’s been a long time since we’ve played like this. Baz (coach Brendon McCullum) has taken over for almost two seasons, so the way we are playing is now getting into his style. To hold such a strong Mumbai team, and chase it down in the manner we did gives us confidence. We were trying to fit Iyer into the XI with a lot of talented guys, and its fantastic with the manner he has scored runs. We never put a number on him, on how many games he will get.”

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Coach Shastri hints that he might step down after T20 World Cup

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Ravi-Shastri

 Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri has given a big hint that he is likely to step down from the hot seat after the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman when he said that “I believe one thing — never overstay your welcome.”

Shastri, who was squarely criticised for launching his new book in London and spreading the Covid-19 virus among the support staff two days before the fourth Test at The Oval, said on Saturday, “I believe so because I’ve achieved all I wanted,” when asked whether the ICC T20 World Cup would be his last outing with Team India as chief coach.

“Five years as No 1 (in Test cricket), to win in Australia twice, to win in England. I spoke to Michael Atherton earlier this summer and said: ‘For me, this is the ultimate — to beat Australia in Australia and win in England in Covid times.’ We lead England 2-1 and the way we played at Lord’s and the Oval was special,” Shastri told The Guardian.

“We’ve also beaten every country in the world in their own backyard in white-ball cricket. If we win the (T20) World Cup that will be the icing on the cake. There is nothing more. I believe one thing –never overstay your welcome. And I would say that, in terms of what I wanted to get out of the side, I’ve over-achieved. To beat Australia away and to lead the series in England in a Covid year? It is the most satisfying moment of my four decades in cricket,” said Shastri.

Within days of the book-launch function, where no masks were worn, Shastri had tested Covid-positive and went into isolation along with four members of his support staff. And when assistant physio Yogesh Parmar too tested positive, the players became anxious and finally the fifth and final Test in Manchester had to be called off.

“It was funny because in my 10 days I didn’t have a single symptom barring a little sore throat. I never had any temperature and my oxygen level was 99% all the time. I didn’t take any medication through 10 days of my isolation, not a single paracetamol. I tell the guys: ‘Once you’re double jabbed, it’s a bloody 10-day flu. That’s it,'” said Shastri.

On whether he discussed the emerging situation with players, Shastri replied, “No. I didn’t know who had got it (Covid-19). I didn’t know (the physio) got it suddenly and tested positive. He physically treated five or six players. I think that’s where the issue started. We were aware that the incubation period meant that someone might get it in the middle (of the Test). A lot of players had their families there. So it became a situation where you don’t know what that player is thinking. He’s got a young kid, you know, he’s got to think of them. It was a little, I would say, touchy.”

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Coach Shastri hints that he might step down after T20 World Cup

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Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri has given a big hint that he is likely to step down from the hot seat after the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman when he said that “I believe one thing — never overstay your welcome.”

Shastri, who was squarely criticised for launching his new book in London and spreading the Covid-19 virus among the support staff two days before the fourth Test at The Oval, said on Saturday, “I believe so because I’ve achieved all I wanted,” when asked whether the ICC T20 World Cup would be his last outing with Team India as chief coach.

“Five years as No 1 (in Test cricket), to win in Australia twice, to win in England. I spoke to Michael Atherton earlier this summer and said: ‘For me, this is the ultimate — to beat Australia in Australia and win in England in Covid times.’ We lead England 2-1 and the way we played at Lord’s and the Oval was special,” Shastri told The Guardian.

“We’ve also beaten every country in the world in their own backyard in white-ball cricket. If we win the (T20) World Cup that will be the icing on the cake. There is nothing more. I believe one thing –never overstay your welcome. And I would say that, in terms of what I wanted to get out of the side, I’ve over-achieved. To beat Australia away and to lead the series in England in a Covid year? It is the most satisfying moment of my four decades in cricket,” said Shastri.

Within days of the book-launch function, where no masks were worn, Shastri had tested Covid-positive and went into isolation along with four members of his support staff. And when assistant physio Yogesh Parmar too tested positive, the players became anxious and finally the fifth and final Test in Manchester had to be called off.

“It was funny because in my 10 days I didn’t have a single symptom barring a little sore throat. I never had any temperature and my oxygen level was 99% all the time. I didn’t take any medication through 10 days of my isolation, not a single paracetamol. I tell the guys: ‘Once you’re double jabbed, it’s a bloody 10-day flu. That’s it,'” said Shastri.

On whether he discussed the emerging situation with players, Shastri replied, “No. I didn’t know who had got it (Covid-19). I didn’t know (the physio) got it suddenly and tested positive. He physically treated five or six players. I think that’s where the issue started. We were aware that the incubation period meant that someone might get it in the middle (of the Test). A lot of players had their families there. So it became a situation where you don’t know what that player is thinking. He’s got a young kid, you know, he’s got to think of them. It was a little, I would say, touchy.”

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