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Wednesday,16-June-2021

International

This is the peak of my career, says Alex Hales after England snub

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Alex Hales

England opener Alex Hales, who set the Big Bash League on fire on Friday with a 56-ball 110 for Sydney Thunder against Sydney Sixers, said that the England team management hasn’t got back to him as yet.

Hales, who is the leading run-getter in the Big Bash League 2020-21, with 462 runs in 12 innings at an average of 38.5, has not played for England since March 2019.

Hales’s effort on Friday came a day after the England selector Ed Smith said that the opening batsman may not come back to the national side in near future.

“No, nothing at all – nothing from that end (English selectors). At the moment, I’m just enjoying my cricket and I’m going to keep trying to score as many runs as I can, enjoying myself, and see what happens,” Hales was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com.

“Obviously that’s the peak of cricket, playing for your country. At the moment, I’m just going to focus on the process of scoring runs and enjoying my cricket, and if that’s the end result then brilliant,” he added.

“This is definitely the best I’ve played, I feel like it’s in the peak of my career. I’m 32 now and I feel like I know my game really well, and I’m just going to keep looking to impress whenever I get a chance. Particularly in T20 cricket, the older you get the more you understand what your strengths are,” Hales said.

England selector Smith had earlier said, “At the moment, I would expect things to stay as they are there. No doors are closed in terms of there’s no final decision. It’s not that it’s going to be the same indefinitely. But at the moment, if I had to make a prediction, I would say we’d stay as we are.”

England are due to play five T20 Internationals and three ODIs against India in India in March.

International

Test rankings: Steve Smith new No.1 batsman, Virat Kohli moves up to 4th

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Steve-Smith

Ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final, India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday moved up one spot, to fourth, in the ICC Test batting rankings while New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lost his top spot to Australian Steve Smith.

With 891 points, former Australia skipper Smith is the world No.1 Test batsman while Williamson is now second with 886 points. Kohli, with 814 points displaced England captain Joe Root, who is now fifth with 797 points.

Two more Indians featuring in the top-10 – wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma with 747 points each – are joint sixth.

Williamson lost his top spot in the rankings due to his omission from the playing XI in the second Test against England, while Root slipped to fifth after a forgettable outing in the two-Test series against New Zealand, which the hosts lost 0-1.

In the Test bowling rankings, Ravichandran Ashwin is the lone Indian in the top-10 — at No.2 with 850 points. Australia’s Pat Cummins is leading the pack with 908 points.

In the Test all-rounders rankings, Ravindra Jadeja (386 points) and Ashwin (353 points) are holding on to their second and fourth positions respectively. West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder, with 412 points, is leading the rankings.

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Virat Kohli gets a taste of pace, bounce at Southampton

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Virat-Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli got a glimpse of pace and bounce, that groundsman Simon Lee wants in the World Test Championship (WTC) final pitch, during a nets session at the Hampshire Bowl here.

Kohli was felled by a fast bouncer from one of India’s throwdown specialists in a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday as he prepared for the WTC final that gets underway from June 18.

Lee was on Monday quoted as saying, “For me personally, I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch.”

The 32-year-old, who is India’s No. 4 in Test batting line-up, was also seen blocking a yorker, playing drives and reaching out for a delivery.

The video also showed India pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami as well as spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowling to other batsmen with Rishabh Pant smashing a six.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also seemed to be getting a hang of things as he played a flick shot that was acknowledged by teammates including bowler Ishant.

India had reached Southampton on June 3 and underwent quarantine for 10 days during which they also played an intra-squad simulation match.

They came out of quarantine on Monday.

The Indian Test squad is staying in United Kingdom for three-and-a-half months during which they will also play a five-Test series against England in August-September.

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Indian cricketers loving the taste of England

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Mohammed-Shami

Scrambled eggs, baked beans, brown toast, and sausages seem to be the favourite breakfast of Indian cricketers while they are in England for the World Test Championship (WTC) final and a five-match Test series against the hosts.

Pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin say their favourite English breakfast was scrambled eggs, baked beans and toast, while India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane added sausages to the menu.

In a video posted by bcci.tv on Tuesday, the fifth player, Cheteshwar Pujara, said he preferred brown toast, potato roasties and beans, as he was a vegetarian.

While fielding a ‘Rapid fire Challenge'”, all the cricketers were in agreement that Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) was one of their favourite films shot in England.

The other movies shot in England that they could immediately think of were: Namaste London, Kal Ho Na Ho, and Houseful.

All the cricketers agreed that the balmy England weather was the biggest attraction to tour the country.

Shami said he liked England because of the weather and the plenty of opportunities it provided for shopping.

Ashwin said that “the greatest blessing of coming to England is to walk on those big streets especially in the London mainstream…you can grab a coffee by the road, sit around and calmly have a chat with whoever you’re going with”.

Rahane made it clear that though he liked walking around parks and going to cafes with his family, his immediate task was to play competitive cricket against New Zealand in the WTC final in Southampton from Friday and the Test series against England in August-September.

“Playing cricket here is what I really enjoy,” said the vice-captain. And as an afterthought he said that “walking around the parks and going to cafes with your families, especially now that my daughter is here, are what I like a lot”.

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