Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey believes M.S. Dhoni is a champion cricketer and the ongoing forced break would provide him with an opportunity to introspect and see whether he wants to play again for the Indian team.
“I am obviously not an Indian selector but I don’t think you can discount MSD. You should never write off champions and champion players, and he has given so much to the country as a player and leader,” Hussey said during ‘HotSpot: The Cricket Podcast’ by Chetan Narula (sports journalist and broadcaster) and Deep Dasgupta (former Indian cricketer and broadcaster).
“He (Dhoni) still keeps himself in very good shape so as long as he keeps himself fit and healthy, and maybe this break is really helpful for him to rest and get a break especially from the physical side of things…because he has so much experience.
“It will take time to get his skills to the required level but not as long as other players who don’t know their game as well. He has a great understanding of his own game and the whole game in general. I am not worried from the skill perspective,” Hussey added.
Dhoni has been on a sabbatical since the 2019 World Cup where India lost to New Zealand in the semifinals under Virat Kohli’s leadership.
There has been a lot of talk whether the wicketkeeper batsman will return to the Indian team or not with the T20 World Cup, to be held later this year in Australia, now in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The only question is it is upto MSD himself really. Whether he is willing to be physically and mentally fully engaged to play for the country at the international level, then I have no doubt he can still do it. But does he want to do it?” asked Hussey.
“Maybe this forced break for MSD will give him an opportunity to mentally refresh (in that regard) and get that hunger to want to do it again (for India). I am not writing him off no question whatsoever, but I think it is upto him, and in his mind, in his heart, whether he still wants to do it (at the international level),” he added.
He was scheduled to lead Chennai Super Kings in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League which currently stands indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joe Root now 4th highest Test run-getter for England
England skipper Joe Root has gone past Kevin Pietersen and David Gower to become the fourth-highest run-getter for his country in Test cricket.
On Sunday, Root played a 186-run knock, with the help of 18 boundaries, during England’s first innings in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium.
The right-handed batsman has amassed 8,238 Test runs in 180 innings he has played so far and is fourth on the list of leading run-getters for England.
Former captain Alastair Cook is the all-time highest run-getter for England with 12,472 Test runs in 161 matches he played. He is followed by Graham Gooch, who has 8,900 runs. Alec Stewart comes third in the list with 8,463 runs.
Root is followed by Gower (8,231) and Pietersen (8,181).
Overall, former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for being the highest run-scorer in Test cricket. Tendulkar scored 15,921 runs in 200 Test matches he played for India.
He is followed by Ricky Ponting (13,378), Jacques Kallis (13,289) and Rahul Dravid (13,288).
After the culmination of the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, the Joe Root-led side will face India in a four-match Test series beginning February 5 in Chennai.
Disrespectful to India if England don’t play their best team: Kevin Pietersen
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has criticised England’s squad selection for the first two Tests against India, saying not selecting the best players in the squad would be disrespectful for the England fans as well the hosts — Indian cricket team.
Bairstow, Mark Wood and Sam Curran have been rested for the first two Tests against India beginning February 5, while Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns — who are not part of the Sri Lanka series — have been recalled.
“Big debate on whether England have picked their best team to play India in the 1st Test. Winning in India is as good a feeling as winning in Australia. It’s disrespectful to England fans & also BCCI to not play your best team. Bairstow has to play! Broad/Anderson have to play!” Pietersen said in a tweet.
“The best England players will want to play as many games as possible against India, in India. Pick them! Then they go to IPL and earn everything they deserve. Cash is king for every sportsman. They’re a business! They can have a break after that!” he added.
Former skippers Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan have also criticised the England selectors for resting Bairstow.
“I would say it’s a concern that one of England’s best three players of spin — I would say Bairstow is alongside Joe Root and Ben Stokes in that — has been given a boarding pass home and the others are going to Chennai. I’d have to rethink,” Hussain wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
“If the next Test after this series was Brisbane in the Ashes, would we send our best side? So why when it’s the first Test against India, one of the great sides, aren’t we sending our best team? It is that balancing act of being fair to the public and winning what’s in front of you and long-term planning all year,” he added.
“The only player in England’s Top 3 that’s playing the sub continent conditions with any control or calmness is resting for the first 2 Tests against the best Team in world at home #India !!! The world is officially mad,” said Vaughan in a tweet.
The first two Tests of the four-match series are set to be played in Chennai, before the series moves to Ahmedabad. The third Test will be a day-night encounter, beginning on February 24.
England squad (for the first two Tests): Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler*, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes
Scotland’s Josh Davey extends contract with Somerset till 2023
Scotland fast bowler Josh Davey has agreed a one-year contract extension with Somerset which will see him remain at the Cooper Associates County Ground until at least the end of the 2023 campaign.
The 30-year-old first joined Somerset on a summer contract in 2014. Since joining the club, Josh has taken over 140 wickets across the three formats, and he was one of the integral elements behind Somerset’s One-Day Cup success of 2019.
“To go from signing a summer contract to winning a trophy at Lord’s has been an incredible journey and I’m delighted that it is going to continue. My time with Somerset has been incredibly special and it’s a great place to be at the moment,” Davey said in a statement.
“There is a real sense that this team could go on to big things and I can’t wait to be a part of that. The club is second to none in terms of the support we get and hopefully we can repay them for their support by bringing home some more silverware in the next few years,” he added.
Somerset Director of Cricket Andy Hurry said: “Josh has been one of our most consistent performers, playing a key part in our successes in recent years.”
“His progress and development over the last few seasons has been impressive, and we are looking forward to that continuing for at least the next few years,” he added.
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