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Sunday,12-July-2020

International

Virat Kohli named Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world

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India captain Virat Kohli was on Wednesday named the Leading Cricketer in the World and featured in Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

It was a double delight for Kohli, who will lead India’s World Cup campaign in England later this year, as he was named the best cricketer in the world for an unprecedented third year in a row.

Kohli was also among Jos Buttler and Sam Curran to be listed in Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, a rare accolade which has been eluding him in his career until now.

The India skipper had a fantastic 2018 in which he racked up 2,735 international runs at 68.37 across all formats, more than 700 more than his nearest challenger, England’s Joe Root.

Kohli scored a remarkable 11 centuries in 37 innings, seven of which came on India’s tours of South Africa, England and Australia.

Smriti Mandhana was named the Leading Cricketer in women’s cricket, after the opening batsman amassed 1,291 runs across limited-overs formats, including 13 half-centuries.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was named the Leading Twenty20 Cricketer for the second year in a row.

Besides Buttler and Curran, who played key roles in England’s summer campaigns; Rory Burns, Surrey’s championship-winning captain, and Tammy Beaumont, the outstanding player in another successful year for England’s women, were also named among the five cricketers of the year category.

The Cricketer of the Year awards, a tradition of the Almanack first introduced in 1889, recognise excellence of players who have performed in England during the previous summer; a player can win it only once in their lifetime.

The Leading Cricketer of the Year honours are more recent, and serve as a hat tip to international performances, with no restrictions on the number of wins.

International

Was suffocated by self doubt and uncertainty: Adam Gilchrist on 2005 Ashes

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The 2005 Ashes is widely rated as one of the greatest Test series of all time but it was one to forget for the legendary Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist. England won the series 2-1 and Gilchrist managed just 181 runs at an average of 22.62. His highest score of the series was an unbeaten 49.

“There’s one time that jumps right at me, and two examples that both happened in the 2005 Ashes,” Gilchrist said on The Pitch Side Expert Podcast. “That was my one time where I was absolutely being strangled by self-doubt and fear of failing.

“Just that it felt like the England team and Vaughany [Michael Vaughan], and Freddie [Flintoff] obviously, more so with the ball but even that whole attack, the field positioning, the tactic of coming around the wicket, which I don’t think was necessarily ever a well-thought-out clever tactic, they just came about [with it] and were quick enough to realise that, and latch onto it and make adjustments, and I wasn’t able to.

“That was the first time I remember going into games, particularly by the time we got up to the third Test at Manchester. Going there where we had to try and bat out that last day to salvage a draw. Just feeling so unnatural and fighting my natural instincts, but through fear of it not working. And then trying to just occupy the crease, and that was never going to work. So that probably was the primary time in my career when I really felt suffocated by some self-doubt and uncertainty.”

Credited with changing the role of the wicketkeeper batsman, Gilchrist had a distinguished career in Test cricket, scoring 5570 runs at an average of 47.6.

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Broad should be playing every Test match, feels Dominic Cork

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Former England pacer Dominic Cork has backed Stuart Broad, saying the ace pacer has every reason to be angry as he should be playing every Test match.

Broad was left out of the playing XI for the ongoing first Test of #raisethebat series against the West Indies at Ageas Bowl.

Veteran pacer James Anderson was given the nod alongside Mark Wood and Jofra Archer as Broad had to be content with following the action from the bench.

“Absolutely I agree with him,” Cork was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “It’s a big decision to leave someone out of his quality.

“Look at what he’s done, not just over the last two years, and how well he has bowled, but throughout his career.

“He always seems to have to prove himself to people what a superb bowler he’s been. He and Jimmy Anderson are up there with the best pairings in world cricket.

“Of course he should be frustrated, of course he should be angry.

“He should be playing every Test match so, fair enough, come out and put the people who’ve made this decision under pressure and say ‘I want to be in this side, I deserve to be in this side, this is my shirt’.

“Let’s see what happens, whether he plays in the next Test match,” he added.

Earlier, former England captain Nasser Hussain said the hosts missed a trick by leaving Broad out.

“I agreed with every word Broad said, and his right to say it, which he has built up over 138 Tests for his country. And, if I’d been captain, I’d have enjoyed the fact that the decision annoyed him. I’d have liked how he sought out the national selector Ed Smith and asked for an explanation,” Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail.

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Spinners are being taught new methods to shine ball, says Mushtaq Ahmed

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Mushtaq Ahmed.

Former Pakistan tweaker and team’s current spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed on Friday stated that players have responded well to the new regulations put forward by International Cricket Council (ICC) in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

The Pakistan cricket team is currently in England, acclimatising themselves ahead of their much-anticipated series which includes three Tests and as many T20Is starting August.

The visitors are currently under a 14-day quarantine period, following which they will travel to Derbyshire on July 13. They had started their preparations for the series with a two-day inter-squad scenario-based practice match played on July 5-6 at Worcester.

“Despite the Covid-19 related challenges, the players have been exceptional so far,” Mushtaq told pcb.com.pk. “We are trying to make them familiar with the protocols and they have responded wonderfully well. Players are coping with the new regulations with regards to shining the ball as well.

“Historically, spinners have used saliva to shine the ball now they are being taught new methods in lieu of the revised ICC rules and regulations.

“What makes me really happy is that the players and support staff are working together on team goals and objectives and I am sure in due course the players will be fully aware and ready for the new challenges as we prepare for what is expected to be a tough series against a strong English team in their own backyard.

“I am confident we have the players that can not only compete but also win the series.”

Mushtaq has rich experience of bowling in English conditions and that is bound to help the young travelling side on this crucial tour. He travelled twice with Pakistan’s Test squad in 1992 and 1996 and bowled some match winning spells, especially in the three-match 1996 series that Pakistan won 2-0.

Mushtaq believes that players will need to inspire each other in the absence of spectators to bring out best results.

“This tour is being played in extraordinary circumstances,” Mushtaq said. “There are no spectators, there are hardly any journalists either to analyse the teams or the game. Players need to inspire each other, back each other and support each other to the hilt.

“I am happy with the start we have made; we are getting accustomed to the environment and conditions and still have a long time to go before the start of the series.”

The first Test will be played at Old Trafford starting August 5 followed by the last two Tests at Ageas Bowl, which start on August 13 and August 21 respectively.

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