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Friday,22-January-2021

International

SRH leg-spinner Rashid Khan picked wickets at less than run a ball

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Delhi Capitals’ (DC) batsmen may have blunted SunRisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) Rashid Khan on Sunday night but the leg-spinner has managed to join a select band of bowlers who have picked 15 or more wickets in a single edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and conceded less than run-a-ball.

The Afghanistan bowler finished with 20 wickets and had the season’s best economy rate (overall) at 5.37 runs per over.

In fact, Rashid is the first bowler since 2013 IPL to manage an economy rate of under six runs/over and pick 15 or more wickets.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ spinner Sunil Narine picked 22 wickets in 2013 and conceded 5.46 runs an over whereas Dale Steyn conceded 5.66 in the same season while picking 19 wickets.

A year before that, in the 2012 season, Narine had taken 24 wickets and conceded just 5.47 runs an over.

Among the others to do this were leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who picked 16 wickets at an economy rate of 5.46 and pacer Lasith Malinga who bagged 28 wickets at an economy rate of 5.95. Both did it in 2011.

Former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble, now the Kings XI Punjab coach, took 21 wickets at an economy rate of 5.86 in 2009.

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Quit Aus obsession, beating India in India more important: Graeme Swann to England

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Australia are no more the best team in the world and what England should be focusing at is to beat India in India as they have been “virtually unbeatable” at home since 2012, feels former England off-spinner Graeme Swann.

England will be taking on India in a four-Test series beginning February 5, followed by five T20Is and three ODIs. The Virat Kohli-led side would be high on confidence following their recent memorable Test series win over Australia in their own backyard.

According to Swann, beating India in India would now be a higher achievement than winning Ashes series away considering the performances of Team India in recent times.

“England always saying ‘well the Ashes are coming up’. B***ocks to that. If you want to be the best team in the world, let’s be the best team all over the planet, not just trying to beat Australia away. We have to move away from looking forward to the Ashes series. It’s a mentality ingrained in this country. Australia are not the best team in the world anymore. They used to be, by miles, and they were the benchmark to strive for,” Swann told The Sun.

“They’re not now, but we’re obsessed with this. I think beating India in India is a far higher thing to strive for right now. They’re virtually unbeatable in India since we beat them in 2012. Why isn’t that the whole thing? Why aren’t people saying ‘right, this is a chance to get this team with good players of spin, use their feet, change the whole way we face spin bowling, and then we can beat India’,” he added.

Swann, who was one of the key performers in England’s series win in India in 2012, believes the Joe Root-led side needs to have the right setup to overcome the spin challenge.

In 2012, Swann picked up 20 wickets while Monty Panesar bagged 17. Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook scored 562 and 338 runs as England registered a 2-1 series win.

“We’re not going to beat India unless spinners are taking wickets, and then we’ve got someone batting like we had with Kevin Pietersen. He changed the way England had ever played against spin. He was ultra-aggressive. Let’s face it KP was a brilliant player and he batted unbelievably well there,” said Swann.

“We haven’t done it since, we haven’t learnt from how Kev batted on that trip and haven’t gone on and used that as the blueprint,” he added.

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T10 format is thrilling & exciting, suits me: Kieron Pollard

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West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who has scored over 10,000 runs in the T20 format, has expressed that the T10 format suits his style of cricket.

“The thrill and excitement of T10 is limitless. But it’s actually not too dissimilar to the kind of cricket I grew up playing. It’s not about see ball hit ball. You need to be able to think on your feet, anticipate and execute plans without pausing too much. It suits me to be honest and my experience stands me in good stead when reading the opposition,” Pollard said ahead of the Abu Dhabi T10 beginning January 28 where he will be leading Deccan Gladiators.

The 33-year-old said that he is very excited to play with the likes of Sunil Narine and Imran Tahir in the upcoming season of the T10 tournament.

“I’m most excited about playing with the group that we have assembled at Deccan Gladiators. I can’t wait to go out there with match-winners like Narine, Tahir, Shahzad, Ingram, local UAE star Zahoor and others. We also have a few surprises up our sleeves for our opponents,” he said.

Gladiators team owner Gaurav Grover said his side has enough firepower to win the competition.

“The target of Deccan Gladiators this time would definitely be to win the trophy. With the changes in the helm this year, there are high expectations from the Gladiators. We have taken care of every flaw we had, which might have been the reason for last year’s defeat (in the final),” said Grover.

“We have West Indian powerhouse as our captain – Keiron Pollard and our Icon Player himself is fearless and unbounded spinner – Sunil Narine. Also, our team is packed with threatening bowlers such as fast bowler Aaron Summers and (leg-spinner) Imran Tahir. Talking about batsmen, we have Mohammad Shahzad, who is also a wicketkeeper,” he added.

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Mohammed Siraj find of Australia tour, says Ravi Shastri

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India head coach Ravi Shastri on Friday heaped praise on fast bowler Mohammed Siraj who played a crucial role in the team’s remarkable win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar series.

“Find of the tour for shoring up the bowling attack the way he did – Mohd Siraj. He fought through personal loss, racial remarks and channelised them to find home in the team huddle,” Shastri said in a tweet.

Siraj picked 13 wickets in the three Tests he played, the first of which was his debut, through the course of the series which India won 2-1. During the tour, Siraj lost his father and even faced racial abuse from a section of a crowd during the third Test in Sydney. However, he didn’t let these obstacles affect his performance as played a key role in India’s memorable Test series win over the Tim Paine-led side.

On his return to India on Thursday, the 26-year-old fast bowler said he had no time to relax and would like to focus on the game without thinking too much.

“Whenever I performed I missed my father. In fact, I was thinking of calling him after every good performance but later realised that he was no more. I miss him a lot. May Allah grant him place in paradise,” Siraj said.

The Hyderabad-based bowler said it was an emotional moment for him when he drove straight from the airport to the graveyard and offered flowers on his father’s grave.

On being abused racially by spectators during the third and fourth Tests, in Sydney and Brisbane respectively, Siraj said it made him mentally strong and he did not allow that to impact his game.

“The case (on racial abuse) is going on. Let us see if we get justice or not. I told my captain that some audience is abusing me. The umpire said you can leave the ground but the captain said we will not go as we respect the game of cricket and you may send them out,” he said.

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