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Sunday,24-October-2021

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Would’ve played more than 100 Tests had I been consistent, says Wasim Jaffer

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Former India batsman Wasim Jaffer believes he would have played more than 100 Test matches for the country had he been more consistent with his performance.

“I wasn’t that consistent. If I was, I would have played more than 100 Test matches. I was not that consistent at the international level that is why I got dropped,” Jaffer said while speaking on Sports Tiger’s show ‘Off the Field’.

“I am famous for my first-class career more than the international cricket that I have played,” he added.

Jaffer has one of the best domestic records in Indian cricket with over 19,000 runs to his name playing in 260 first class games with an average of 50.67 and the best score of 314. However, he represented India in 31 Test matches and scored 1944 runs at an average of 34.11.

“In 2012-13, I was very close to getting selected when Shikhar Dhawan got selected. So, I came very close a couple of times but somehow I missed the bus. The selectors are the best people who can answer that but I definitely kept knocking the door,” he said.

Jaffer also spoke about his new role on being appointed as the head coach of Uttarakhand.

“It’s quite exciting, something which is very new to me. Even though, I have tried my hand in coaching, but not as a head coach. I have done some batting consultancy and I have played some part in coaching but taking up the whole team is quite exciting and challenging, so I am looking forward to it.”

He also commented about the Indian domestic cricket season and said: “Our domestic structure as compared to the other countries isn’t bad, to be honest. We just need a little bit more continuity as every year we keep on changing the structure.”

He added, “I feel the season should start in October with the Ranji Trophy. It should be ideally followed by the Irani Trophy and after that, a T20 tournament like Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy can be put in place as it is the time when the auction happens. A number of franchise people can see the tournament and scout new talent. Finally, finish the season with Vijay Hazare Trophy.”

With 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) round the corner, Jaffer believes that the tournament is very important as it provides the monetary benefit and the stage to perform.

However, he feels that though there are a lot of positives but youngsters should keep their priorities right. “To pick a player in Test cricket because of his performance in IPL is something which is wrong. I think if he performs well in IPL maybe we can look at him in the white-ball format.”

Jaffer also feels BCCI should allow non-centrally contracted players to play outside India in other leagues. “It completely makes sense to me. If you are not one of the centrally contracted players then one should be allowed. The board can minimise and reduce it to one or two leagues in which the players can participate but not letting any Indian player play anything other than IPL is a bit strict in my opinion.”

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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National

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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