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Thursday,24-September-2020

International

We now only have a few real fast bowlers around the world: Shoaib Akhtar

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Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar feels pacers of today do not bowl fast anymore as the laws of the game and the rigours of it don’t provide that space.

Shoaib was the first bowler to break the 100mph mark. He retired in 2011 having taken 444 international wickets across the three formats.

“Ten years ago, bowlers would bowl 155kph (96.3mph) and now they’re all of a sudden bowling 135km/h (83.9mph). We now only have a few real fast bowlers around the world. Back in the day, South Africa alone had six.

“The cricket laws don’t allow you to bowl fast now: two new balls, too much restriction, too much cricket, too many Twenty20 leagues, too much money, too many TV rights,” Shoaib told BBC’s TMS commentator Isa Guha and Aatif Nawaz on the BBC’s Doosra podcast.

“Players are now getting smarter and more focused on money; they want to save their careers and legs and play for 10 years — whereas I would fight for that specific series only, I fought for the day.

“The laws were more relaxed back then. When they banned us from bowling more than two bouncers I was gutted. I was like: “How do you trap the batsman? Where is the bodyline bowling?

“Please allow me to hit the guy and let him hit me back. This is what you want to see in international cricket. I’m sick of seeing this lame, prim and proper cricket,” said the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ who made history by becoming the first bowler to officially bowl at 100mph during the 2003 World Cup.

“Breaking the 100mph barrier wasn’t a big deal to me. It was just media hype, an international cricket gimmick. I wasn’t getting paid for this — to break my bones trying to bowl that fast,” said Shoaib.

“I just thought: “For heaven’s sake, I need to finish this and just do it.” So I planned it all out, I started training for it.

“I ran with 170kg weights on my back, taking 20kg off after every 100 metre sprint. I also used to bowl from 26 yards with something much heavier than a cricket ball. When I came back to the 22 yards, I was about 6km/h (3.7mph) quicker.

“I planned to bowl it against Nick Knight. I said to him: “I’m going to hurt you, so make sure you stay out of the way.’ I told him I’d bowl 100mph in that over, on that exact ball,” he added, throwing light to his preparation.

International

IPL: Mitchell Marsh ruled out, SRH call Jason Holder as replacement

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SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) edition following an ankle injury he sustained during their season opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He will be replaced by West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder.

“Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out due to injury. We wish him a speedy recovery. Jason Holder will replace him for #Dream11IPL 2020,” Sunrisers Hyderabad said in an official statement on Twitter.

On Monday, Marsh hurt his ankle after bowling just his second delivery of the match against RCB and managed to send down only two more balls before going off the field injured. The Australian later came out to bat at number 10 in SRH’s chase but he was dismissed for a duck after he exaggerated his injury trying to clear the ropes.

Chasing 164 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, SRH seemed to be in complete control till the time Jonny Bairstow was at the crease. However, following Bairstow’s dismissal on his individual score of 61, the team suffered a dramatic collapse and eventually fell short of the target by 10 runs.

SRH will next face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

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IPL: Shubman Gill focal point of KKR batting unit, feels Scott Styris

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Shubman Gill is a “terrific” batsman and is the focal point of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batting unit, feels former New Zealand cricketer Scott Styris.

KKR are slated to open their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday evening. Gill, 24, has played a total of 27 matches for KKR in which he has amassed 499 runs.

“I’ve been the number one cheerleader since the last 18 months. Since Shubman Gill has been around I can say I’m at the top of that fanboy list and I think Gill is a fabulous cricketer. I think he’s a terrific, talented batsman,” Styris said while speaking on Star Sports show Game Plan.

“Shubman Gill, now with the loss of Robin (Uthappa) and Gautam Gambhir at KKR, is a leader, the focal point of that batting unit. He is best batsman of KKR,” he added.

According to the former Black Caps all-rounder, Gill has a lot more responsibility on his shoulders as compared to other young batsmen like Prithvi Shaw or Devdutt Padikkal in other teams and that could be the only thing which might hold him down.

“…there’s a lot more responsibility on Gill that you don’t see with a lot of those other youngsters and that may be the only thing that holds him down. (He) Just looked great and has played great but he has got the extra responsibility that some of those other players don’t.”

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Focussing on expressing myself & having a lot of fun this IPL: Marcus Stonis

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Australia all-rounder Marcus Stonis, who played an instrumental role in Delhi Capitals’ incredible win over Kings XI Punjab in their opening IPL 2020 encounter, has said that all he wants is to express himself and have a lot of fun throughout this year’s tournament.

On Sunday, Stoinis’ quick-fire 53 off 21 balls with the bat and 2-29 with the ball took the match into an exciting Super Over, where the Delhi Capitals secured the win against Kings XI Punjab.

Having proved to be the game changer in both the innings, Stoinis has said his maturity played a role on the day. “I’ve come in with some confidence through good performances this year, but also maybe putting less responsibility on myself than some other years. Sometimes when you’re young and you’re in a rush, you want to do well and you’re trying so hard.”

“So I think this year I sort of just wanted to express myself and its only one game, so we’ll see, you can turn from a hero to a villain quickly, but yes, my focus is on just having a lot of fun and trust that I’ll be good,” he added.

The 31-year-old all-rounder also said that “going back to basics” has helped him. “I think everyone who plays cricket at this level, the main reason you play it is because you love it. You start playing when you’re a kid, and there’s so much travel, staying away from home and there’s obviously the pressures. But the main reason you do it is because you love what you do. That’s the main ingredient,” he added.

With 17 wickets and 526 runs under his belt in 30 IPL matches, things haven’t always gone according to plan for the Australian, but Stoinis said it is always a rewarding feeling to contribute to wins.

“There are a lot of games, as a professional sportsman, that you go out and you don’t perform as well as you want to. Cricket is that type of game – you sort of get used to underperforming a lot of the time. So when you do perform and you do well for the team, it’s a very rewarding feeling,” he said.

The limited-overs specialist also said that his team has a “really good vibe”. “With Ricky (Ponting) as a coach and as a leader, he sets that standard. We have a good core of young players, with lots of energy and some good experience. We’ve got some good overseas players too. So I think our balance on the whole, makes it an exciting group and we’ve got a good energy around the team,” Stoinis said.

Stoinis will look to maintain his form when Delhi Capitals take on Chennai Super Kings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.

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