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Friday,22-October-2021

National

Time is ripe for Ravichandran Ashwin to make first appearance of series: Dinesh Karthik

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Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik believes that the time is ripe for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to make his first appearance of the ongoing Test series at The Oval. Ashwin’s last outing at The Oval came in July while playing for Surrey in the County Championship. He had 1/99 and 6/27 in the match against Somerset.

“I believe the time is ripe for Ravichandran Ashwin to make his first appearance of the series. Traditionally, The Oval has thrown up some of the flattest pitches in England, and it has been no different this season. Three of Surrey’s five matches at home in the County Championship have ended indecisively, and ten hundreds have been registered in those games,” wrote Karthik in his column for The Telegraph on Wednesday.

“If I was Virat Kohli, I’d like to bring a new dimension into play in this crucial Test. As Ashwin has shown in his storied career, he hasn’t necessarily relied on assistance from the surface to make an impact,” added Karthik.

The 36-year-old explained the advantage Ashwin will bring if he plays in the fourth Test on Thursday.

“England have two left-handers in their top three and three in the top seven. The off-spinner’s record against lefties is second to none, and he is more than handy against the right-handers, who he tests with the knuckle ball and the floater that he has mastered through hours of diligent practice away from the harsh spotlight of the international game.

“In Australia, Ashwin got excellent drift with the Kookaburra ball, getting it to curl away from the right-hander in the air and break back on pitching. That’s how he had Steve Smith caught at leg-slip in the second Test in Melbourne. He is equally comfortable switching to around the stumps and getting the ball to go away with the angle, a trick that netted him the prized scalps of Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, Australia’s two best batsmen.”

Karthik also talked about Ashwin’s speciality with the ball and how Kohli can use him with the new ball.

“One of Ashwin’s specialties is that he lets the ball hang in the air; because he has big fingers, he imparts a lot of revs, which makes him particularly venomous whilst bowling to the lefties.”

Karthik added that Ravindra Jadeja needs to contribute more with the ball and that Ashwin is capable of chipping in with the bat.

National

BCCI wants Dravid to be India’s chief coach; sources say Rahul’s ‘agreed but…!’

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 Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid has agreed to coach the national side after the ICC T20 World Cup but there are a couple of issues which he wants to be sorted out before joining, said a BCCI official.

Earlier, there were reports that Dravid would be the interim coach for the upcoming home series against New Zealand.

However, the BCCI official has now confirmed that “Rahul has agreed to coach the Indian team till 2023 World Cup”.

The official told IANS that BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah had a meeting with Dravid on the side-lines of the IPL final on Friday evening and they managed to convince him.

“There are a couple of issues which Dravid wants to settle with the BCCI and hopefully that will be done,” he added.

Asked what are the “issues”, the official said, “Like, Dravid wants to have new support staff… changing the entire old one. And a couple of other things. I am sure everything will be sorted out. Because BCCI wants Dravid to lead the charge.”

It is learnt that former Mumbai pacer Paras Mhambrey may take over from Bharat Arun as the bowling coach.

Sources further said that Dravid had suggested Australian Tom Moody’s name for the coach’s job, but the Board didn’t show too much interest.

The 48-year-old Dravid has been in charge of the India A and U-19 set-up for the past six years. He currently heads the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

“He will resign from there and take over the charge (of Team India),” sources added.

Dravid had recently coached a second-string Indian team to a tour of Sri Lanka even as the national senior team was playing concurrently in England.

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Dhoni is still non-committal on playing IPL next season

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 Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni did not commit to playing another season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the team from Tamil Nadu though he did say that he was not done with the World’s richest T20 tournament.

Though Dhoni maintained that whether he continues to play or not depends on the decisions the BCCI takes regarding player retention when two more teams join the league next year, the 40-year-old said he has not left any legacy behind as of yet.

“Still I haven’t left behind….” he signed off during the prize distribution ceremony after CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs to lift their fourth IPL title.

“Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in. We have to decide what is good for CSK. It’s not about me being there in top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years,” said Dhoni on Friday.

CSK set up a big target and then defended it successfully, keeping their nerves even when Kolkata Knight Riders openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer and given KKR a great start by putting on 91 runs for the first wicket. There was no panic in CSK ranks and the players went about performing their roles as things just fell in place.

Dhoni said they don’t plan or strategise too much before the game and the net sessions are more of one-on-one sessions.

“Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot [meetings]. It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure. Our practice sessions hav” been good,” Dhoni said, adding that the chat sessions don’t last more than 29 minutes as that’s the attention span for a normal person.

About his team’s performance, Dhoni said that they shuffled players around after the first half and that paid for them. “Coming to CSK, we shuffled players. We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well. Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts,” Dhoni added.

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IPL 2021: Extremely grateful, feels amazing to be part of CSK, says Uthappa

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Chennai Super Kings. (Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL)

After Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won their fourth IPL trophy, star batsman Robin Uthappa on Friday said that he is extremely grateful and it feels amazing to be part of MS Dhoni-led side, especially how last year went for them.

CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the IPL 2021 final and lifted their fourth IPL title. CSK had earlier won three IPL titles in 2010, 2011, and 2018.

“Extremely grateful, it feels amazing to be part of this side, especially how last year went for us. It was a very lean season for us last year and so it was important for us to come back and play as well as we could and be really grateful that we have been able to,” said Robin Uthappa after the win.

“I just want to come in and contribute to the team’s success,” he added.

Talking about the environment in the CSK group, the stylish batsman said that there is a lot of clarity.

“They create a very secure environment within the group and there’s a lot of clarity and communication within the support staff and the players and that really helps in building a secure group,” said Uthappa, who performed well with the bat for CSK in the last two matches.

“I believe it’s your players who are not playing in the eleven that really create the atmosphere within the group and they make sure that they look after the players who are not playing in the eleven and I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways of our success in IPL,” he added.

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