K.L. RAHUL RULED OUT OF TESTS VS KIWIS DUE TO MUSCLE STRAIN - The Daily Guardian
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K.L. RAHUL RULED OUT OF TESTS VS KIWIS DUE TO MUSCLE STRAIN

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Team India batsman KL Rahul has sustained a muscle strain on his left thigh and has been ruled out of the upcoming 2-match Test series against New Zealand.

He will now undergo rehabilitation at NCA in preparation for the series against South Africa scheduled next month. The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Suryakumar Yadav as KL Rahul’s replacement.

The first Test between India and New Zealand begins on November 25, 2021, in Kanpur.

‘DRAVID’S EXPERIENCE WILL HELP’

India batter Cheteshwar Pujara feels new head coach Rahul Dravid’s rich experience in the longer format will definitely help the Test side grow as a team.

After securing a thumping T20I series win over New Zealand, India under the coaching of Dravid will face New Zealand in the two-match Test series which gets underway from Thursday. Dravid, who has played 164 Tests for India, will offer a great amount of guidance to the young guns, according to Pujara.

“After the WTC we all were hurt but we came back strongly in England and we played very good cricket. Now the team is back together, confident and new coach Rahul bhai is there,” said Pujara in the virtual press conference.

“That will help most of the players, especially the young players, who have worked with Rahul bhai during the Under-19 and India A series.

“And even someone like us, who are experienced players. I have played with Rahul bhai and worked with Rahul bhai during the A series. All of us are looking for his guidance. The amount of experience he has as a player and coach that will help the team,” he added.

Pujara isn’t concerned about the New Zealand pace attack having already weathered the storm in 2017.

“We have our strategies prepared against Neil Wagner and we have also played him in 2017, so we know how he bowls in Indian conditions so we will plan accordingly,” said Pujara.

The India batter is a key cog in the batting wheel of the Indian team but has failed to score a Test ton in recent times.

‘RAHANE JUST ONE INNINGS AWAY FROM RETURNING TO FORM’

Pujara backed stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane to get back among the runs in the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.

India and New Zealand will lock horns in the two-match Test series which gets underway from Thursday. Pujara said Rahane is just one hundred away from roaring back to form as the batter has been working hard in the nets ahead of the series.

“He (Rahane) is a great player, there are times when a player goes through a tough time and that’s a part of this game. There can be ups and downs but I feel he is a confident player. He is someone who works hard on his game and I am sure he is just one innings away from gaining back the form,” said Pujara in the virtual press conference.

“Once he gets back to scoring runs, he will be back in form. He has been working hard in the nets. So he is a good touch, hoping that he scores big runs in this series,” he added.

Neil Wagner, Ross Taylor and New Zealand head coach Gary Stead have admitted that spin will be a major threat to the Kiwis but Pujara said India will not take the visitors lightly going into the Test.

“We have that advantage but we can’t take the New Zealand team lightly at all. They have played excellent cricket and they are a good side in all formats, so we will stick to our game plans.

“There will be strategies but overall, we will focus on our game plans, New Zealand is a competitive team and we won’t take them lightly at all,” Pujara said while replying to a query from ANI.

Earlier in the day, Stead informed that all New Zealand players are available for selection for the first Test which gets underway from Thursday. The first Test between India and New Zealand begins on Thursday in Kanpur.

India’s Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Md. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.

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‘KEEP YOUR BAT A BIT LOW INITIALLY’: MAYANK AGARWAL REVEALS GAVASKAR’S ADVICE

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Indian opener Mayank Agarwal on Friday explained how he acted on the advice of former skipper Sunil Gavaskar to improve his side-on stance during the second Test against New Zealand.

Mayank scored his fourth Test ton as India ended day one of the second and final Test at 221/4 on Friday. The opening batter scored an unbeaten 120 while Wriddhiman Saha hit 25 before the close of play. “Sunny sir (Gavaskar ) told me that I should keep my bat a bit low initially in my innings. I couldn’t make that adjustment in this short period of time but definitely, when he was saying that, I looked at his shoulder position and basically picked up that I need to be more side-on,” said Mayank during the press conference after the end of the day’s play.

Mayank also revealed that head coach Rahul Dravid had asked the batter to give his best on the field.

“When I was picked here, Rahul bhai came and spoke to me. He asked me to control what is in my hands and said, ‘go out there and give it your best and that’s all we ask from you’. ‘When you get set, make it big’. I am happy to have capitalised on the start but that was very clear from Rahul bhai,” said Mayank.

Resuming from 111/3 after tea, Mayank and Shreyas Iyer steadily carried on from where they had left after the fall of three quick wickets. Ajaz Patel once again put break as he dismissed the middle order batter in the 48th over.

Despite losing partners at the other end Mayank looked solid and kept the scoreboard moving and capitalized on the poor deliveries that came his way as India scored 221/4 on day one of the second Test

Mayank said India’s focus will be on batting well in the first session on Saturday to pile further misery on New Zealand in the second Test.

“It’s gonna be very important how we start tomorrow morning, the first session will be crucial. And the focus is on batting well in the first session and then we can pile as many runs as we want. The wicket is going to get harder and harder to bat on,” said Mayank while replying to a query from ANI.

The opening batter said he work hard when he was ruled out of the Test series against England.

“It was unfortunate for me to not have played in England, I got hit and there’s nothing much I could do about that. I accepted it and continued to work hard and work on my process and my game,” Mayank signed off.

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AGARWAL’S TON PUTS HOSTS IN CONTROL AFTER AJAZ’S 4-FER

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Mayank Agarwal scored his 4th Test ton as India ended day-1 of the 2nd and final Test at 221/4. Agarwal scored an unbeaten 120 while Wriddhiman Saha was not out on 25.

Resuming at 111/3 after tea opener Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer steadily carried on from where they had left after the fall of three quick wickets. Ajaz Patel once again jolted India dismissing Kanpur Test centurion Shreyas for just 18 breaking the 80-run partnership between him and Agarwal.

Despite losing partners at the other end Mayank Agarwal looked solid and kept the scoreboard moving and capitalized on the poor deliveries that came his way. Making a comeback in Kanpur Mayank Agarwal failed to deliver with the bat but in the second Test he ensured that one more opportunity does not go begging. Wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha joined him at the other end and the duo struck a fifty partnership to take India’s total beyond the 200-run mark.

Earlier in the day, Ajaz Patel wreaked havoc with the ball as Virat Kohli opted to bat first after the delayed start due to wet outfield, the openers justified the captain’s decision as Shubman Gill continued with his decent run of form with the bat scoring 44 of 71 balls. . Gill once again failed to capitalize after getting a good start as Ajaz Patel got him caught in the first slip to Ross Taylor. The opening pair put on 80-runs and in the same score 3 wickets fell in quick succession, leaving India reeling at 80/3.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s poor run of form continued as the Saurashtra lad struggled with the bat falling victim to Patel who cleaned him up for a 5-ball duck. Virat Kohli too was dismissed by Ajaz Patel without troubling the scorers. Kohli was out leg before, a decision which could have gone the other way. The Skipper survived just 4 balls and even took DRS but the third umpire Virender Sharma still ruled him out. Undoubtedly Ajaz Patel was New Zealand’s star performer with the ball picking up all the wickets that fell on the day. Brief Scores: India 221/4 (Mayank Agarwal 120* Shubman Gill 44; Ajaz Patel 4-73) vs New Zealand.

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Dhananjaya de Silva’s ton helps hosts extend lead to 279

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Dhananjaya de Silva starred with the bat scoring an unbeaten 153 as Sri Lanka took the driver’s seat on Day Four of the ongoing second Test against West Indies on Thursday.De Silva led Sri Lanka’s charge on Day Four as the hosts got a significant lead of 279 runs before the close of play on Thursday. Sri Lanka had ended day three on 46/2, trailing by 3 runs but De Silva made sure the hosts walk away with a big lead on Thursday.

On Wednesday, West Indies started the day at 69-1 and progressed to 145-2 at lunch. They batted well to add 76 runs in the morning session, losing only one wicket against Sri Lanka’s spin bowlers on a turning pitch.

Brathwaite was 62 at the interval, after positing his 23rd Test half-century. He added 10 more after the interval when he was bowled by Lasith Embuldeniya on Day Three.Brathwaite faced 185 balls and batted for close to 4 1/2 hours but his dismissal with the score at 166-3 led to a collapse as West Indies were folded for 253 in the first innings.Sri Lanka then on Thursday made sure to have a significant lead over the visitors as De Silva batted 259 balls to take hosts to 328/8.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 204/10 and 328/8 (Dhananjaya de Silva 153*, Pathum Nissanka 66; Veerasammy Permaul 3-100) vs West Indies 253/10 (K Brathwaite 72; Mendis 6-72)

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P.V. Sindhu sails into semis with straight sets win

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Two-time Olympic medallist and star Indian shuttler PV Sindhu marched into the semi-finals of the ongoing BWF World Tour Finals on Thursday. Sindhu defeated German badminton player Yvonne Li in straight sets 21-10, 21-13 to seal the game in just 31 minutes. The Indian shuttler won her second group stage clash with a thumping victory on Thursday. Sindhu had defeated Denmark’s Line Christophersen 21-14, 21-16 in a match that lasted for 38 minutes on Wednesday to begin her campaign on a high.

However, Srikanth lost his second Group B game in the men’s singles event of the ongoing tournament. Also, India men’s doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy on Thursday pulled out of the ongoing tournament.

The BWF World Tour Finals is the season-ending tournament of the BWF World Tour, where the top-eight players/pairs in the season’s rankings are granted entry.

The players/pairs are divided into two groups of four each. Each player/pair will play every other player/pair in their group in a round-robin format, with the top-two in each group progressing to the semi-finals.

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WRIDDHIMAN SAHA IS FIT AND HAS RECOVERED FROM NECK NIGGLE, CONFIRMS KOHLI

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India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday informed that wicket-keeper batter Wriddhiman Saha has recovered from his neck niggle. During the fifth day of the first Test against New Zealand, in Saha’s absence, Srikar Bharat donned the wicket-keeping gloves. “Wriddhiman Saha is now fit and he has recovered from his neck niggle. We will discuss the combination in a bit based on weather and pitch conditions,” said Kohli on the eve of the second Test.Kohli also explained why he started to practice at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai for the Test series against New Zealand even when he had taken some time off from the game after spending six months in bio-bubbles.

The second Test between India and New Zealand will begin on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai with the series being locked at 0-0. “It was just to stay in the rhythm of playing red-ball cricket. The idea was to get repetition and volume which is important in Test cricket, so it is just about getting into the mould of switching between formats. This is something I have always tried to do. Whenever I get the opportunity to work on setting up for different formats, it is more so mentally than anything related to technique,” said Kohli while replying to an query during a virtual press conference.

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Middle-order’s form not a ‘concern’ for Southee ahead of 2nd Test

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New Zealand pacer Tim Southee has backed the Kiwis middle order to come good in the second Test against India despite a poor show in the opening game. Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, and Tom Blundell all failed to leave a mark before Rachin Ravindra’s gutsy innings helped New Zealand earn a draw in the first Test on Monday. “No, I don’t think so (middle-order concern). There were periods for both sides where one was able to take wickets at a time, so it’s not easy to start in these conditions,” said Southee while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference.

“Ross Taylor is experienced and knows this part of the world as well and then you have a couple of guys who have played here. “So I don’t think the form of middle order is a concern for us. They are all quality players and I’m sure they can perform at this level,” he added.

The second Test between India and New Zealand will begin on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Talking about the inclement weather in Mumbai, Southee said: “I guess the wickets have been under the covers, hopefully, Gary and Kane can have a look at this wicket this afternoon. We were not expecting rain but this is something we need to adapt to it.”

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Will Young.

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