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Kohli often reminds of Ganguly’s aggression

Virat Kohli’s captaincy reflects the attitude of Sourav Ganguly, who earned respect for supporting promising talents in the team.

Raj Kumar Sharma

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It’s joyful to see Virat Kohli being praised all around the world. While former England captain Nasir Hussain calls him a very compact player, Australia’s ODI captain Aaron Finch ranks him among the four most consistent players in the world — the other players in his list being Steve Smith, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar.

Nasir Hussain has a good grasp of cricket. I often tell children in my academy that if you get to hear Nasir Hussain, Sunil Gavaskar and Ian Chappell’s commentary, you will get to learn something. Finch is a brilliant player as well.

 Six years ago, the Adelaide Test changed the picture and mindset of Indian cricket when the team had to chase a score of over 400 runs; everyone at that time in the dressing room was waiting for their instructions as to whether the captain would go for the draw. However, Virat went for a win. The approach with which he batted was amazing. In both the innings, he scored a century. This was one of his best performances ever. If India had won, it would have been a new chapter in Indian cricket. Nevertheless, Virat even today gets very emotional remembering that Test match. I remember that when Virat took over as the captain of Team India, he told me that he wanted to change the scenario of Indian cricket. He also said that we could have won many matches abroad but could not.

When Australian or England players used to sledge, India’s players would tacitly let it go; however, Virat ended that practice. He even used to defend our bowlers at the time of sledging them. He adopted a very aggressive attitude. He gave a message to the country that with his team’s great performance they could win the matches abroad and play with aggression. His captaincy reflects the attitude of former Indian legend Sourav Ganguly, who earned truckloads of respect for supporting players like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. His decisions proved to be very effective.

Finch rightly said that Virat, Smith, Ponting and Sachin did not fail in two consecutive series. In fact, only the Australian manual is followed at the National Cricket Academy which says that the batsman’s job is to be consistent in his performance. I have emphasised the same thing with Virat and advised him that he should build his innings.

 Ben Stokes is an excellent performer and holds the number one position in the global rankings as an allrounder. He can make good calculations in his game, but to lead the team is a different thing in which there is a lot of thought that needs to be processed so that the team manoeuvres effective strategies in unison. Nonetheless, how successful he will be in this role only time will tell.

Virat’s fans are in large numbers in Australia. He believes in an aggressive strategy and knows how to play up front and answer sledging. I am confident that Team India will be able to replicate the success of the previous Australian tour. If the series is played against Australia in December, then I would expect a similarly aggressive game from Virat, because playing defensively against a team like Australia will hardly reap any positive results.

The author is a coach of Virat Kohli and a Dronacharya Awardee.

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57 players released by IPL franchises ahead of auction

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Fifty-seven players have been released by eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises ahead of the 2021 auction, to be held next month. They include Mumbai Indians’ fast bowling great Lasith Malinga, former Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, and Kings XI Punjab all-rounder Glenn Maxwell. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have released the most number of players, 10, though it is noteworthy that among them are wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel, who announced his retirement from all cricket recently, and veteran South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn, who had opted out of the IPL in the first week of this month.

Delhi Capitals said in a statement that they have traded all-rounders Harshal Patel and Daniel Sams to RCB. They are, however, yet to name the players that would possibly come from RCB as part of the trading window, which is open until about a week before the auction.

The Indian cricket board is yet to announce the auction date. Some of the important trade-offs are mentioned as follows:

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

 SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) have reposed faith in all-rounders Jason Holder and Mitchell Marsh and retained them, along with their core group of players, ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction expected to be held in mid-February.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Chennai Super Kings have released Harbhajan Singh and Kedar Jadhav, along with four other players, for the Indian Premier League 2021 season. KINGS XI PUNJAB Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is among nine players released by Kings XI Punjab ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, the franchise said on Wednesday.

MUMBAI INDIANS

 Veteran Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga, the all-time top wickettaker in the Indian Premier League (IPL), is among the seven players who Mumbai Indians (MI) have released ahead of the 2021 edition.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Wednesday announced Sanju Samson as the new skipper for the Indian Premier League 2021 season. Australia batsman Steve Smith, who failed to make an impact with bat and captaincy, has been released. RR, who finished last in the 2020 edition released eight players.

KOLKATTA KNIGHT RIDERS

 Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have retained Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav and Dinesh Karthik among others ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction, which is expected to be held next month.

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PRANEETH TESTS COVID-19 POSITIVE, SRIKANTH WITHDRAWS

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Indian shuttler B. Sai Praneeth has been withdrawn from the Thailand Open after testing positive for the Coronavirus, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has informed.

Praneeth’s result came on Monday and he will now be in the hospital for at least 10 days.

“BWF can confirm India player Sai Praneeth B. has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been withdrawn from the TOYOTA Thailand Open,” the BWF statement on Tuesday evening said.

The world number 14 thereby missed his first-round match against Daren Liew from Malaysia who has now been given a walkover.

The badminton body further informed that Kidambi Srikanth has also been withdrawn from the tournament and is in quarantine due to his close contact with Praneeth.

“In line with BWF protocols, Kidambi has been withdrawn from the TOYOTA Thailand Open and is in strict self-quarantine. However, Kidambi tested negative on Monday’s test and has returned negative results since arriving in Thailand. Kidambi tested negative for Monday’s test and has returned negative results since arriving in Thailand,” BWF informed.

Srikanth on Tuesday had entered the second round of the tournament after defeating Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin 21-11, 21-11 in just 38 minutes.

The former world number one was slated to take on third-seed Anders Antonsen who has now been given a walkover.

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MANCHESTER UNITED NEED TO BE FOCUSED AGAINST FULHAM: CAVANI

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Ahead of their Premier League clash against Fulham, Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani said that the side needs to give their 100 per cent in order to retain their top spot in the tournament.

United are at second place with 37 points while Leicester City moved to the summit with their convincing 2-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday night. Fulham have shown their capabilities in holding Liverpool and Tottenham, and beating Leicester City this term, and were unluckily shaded 1-0 with 10 men against Chelsea last time out, so Wednesday’s game at the Craven Cottage is almost certainly going to be a difficult one for the Red Devils.

“As I was saying before, Fulham will know very well that they have Manchester United coming up next, and they’ll be going all out to try and beat us, like they have done in the past and just like what we’ve seen with other teams like Burnley, who always give their utmost,” the Uruguayan forward told United’s official website.

“So we need to be aware that it’s going to be a tough game and that we have to be 100 per cent focused, in order to take care of all the details so we can try to win the game in order to remain in the league position that we currently occupy,” he added.

The striker further added that the players need to remember that they are Manchester United and their opponents will try hard to beat them.

“I believe that one of the most important things that we need to be aware of, whenever we go into any game, is that we are Manchester United, and, irrespective of whether we are top of the league or in any other position, every other team that plays against Manchester United try to do their absolute best to try and beat them,” Cavani said.

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KLAASEN TO LEAD PROTEAS IN T20I SERIES AGAINST PAK

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Right-handed batsman Heinrich Klaasen will captain South Africa in the upcoming three-match T20I series against Pakistan beginning February 11 in Lahore. He will lead the national team for the first time.

Klaasen has so far played one Test, 17 ODIs and 13 T20Is for the Proteas.

A clean-hitting, wicketkeeper batsman, Heinrich Klaasen emerged on the scene at the same time that Quinton de Kock nailed down a place in the South African team, across all formats. As someone who had always combined the disciplines of batting and glovework, Klaasen hoped to make it in either skill and establish himself as all-round option, if required.

The strategy forms part of the measures put in place by CSA to ensure that the Test squad, captained by Quinton de Kock, can return to South Africa and satisfy the overseas travel Covid-19 quarantine protocol ahead of that team’s three-match, Betway Test Series against Australia, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a statement.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled sporting bodies to find innovative ways of ensuring tours and sporting events take place as planned or with as little disruption to revised plans as possible. We are not exempt from that, and have had to do a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking to ensure that we are fully prepared for a home Test tour against Australia, while having an exciting T20 series to compete in, in Pakistan,” CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said.

“The circumstances we find ourselves in allow the National Selection Panel to cast a wide net and give some of the young and exciting talent that has been in their sights the opportunity of a lifetime in a T20 World Cup year,” he added.

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FIVE OCCASIONS WHEN INDIA STUNNED THE WORLD WITH WIN

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Is the Gabba Test victory India`s biggest ever triumph in the history of their cricket? Let us have a look at some mesmerising Indian performances that have stunned the cricketing fans from time to time.

1983 WORLD CUP

Kapil Dev lifting the World Cup trophy at the Lord`s balcony is an unforgettable picture. The team that won only one match in the first two World Cups, achieved a miraculous feat by defeating the two-time champion West Indies in the third World Cup final.

2007 T20I WORLD CUP

Similarly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the 2007 T20I World Cup trophy without the services of Sachin, Sourav, Dravid, and Laxman. The young brigade then did what no one would have expected. Of course, the six of Dhoni`s bat at the Wankhede Stadium will always linger colorfully in the eyes of cricket lovers.

THE 1976 PORT OF SPAIN

The 1976 Port of Spain event can never be forgotten. The Indian team achieved a historic victory against the West Indies by crossing the 403-run target. Gavaskar and Vishwanath scored a century each, and Mohinder Amarnath scored a vital knock of 85. This record was to keep India`s name for 27 years. Bhagwat Chandrasekhar was not included in this tour but the following year when he was included in the tour of England, he took six wickets and India clinched a historic victory against England. With this result, the Indian team defeated England by 1-0 in the three-Test series.

LAXMAN’S GOLDEN UNBEATEN 281

Even though India got a threatening follow-on, India won this historic match with the help of the knocks of Laxman, Dravid, and the magical spin of Harbhajan. With this, India stopped the menacing Australia who had bagged 15 consecutive wins before this match.

CONQUERING PERTH

In 2008, under the captaincy of Anil Kumble, India became the first Asian team to win the Perth Test. The wicket of Perth was the fastest pitch in the world. In this test, Dravid, Laxman, R.P Singh, and Irfan Pathan proved heroic.

Although in the previous tour of Australia, Team India had the distinction of being the first Asian team to win the series in Australia, the experts and former players credited the victory to India by arguing that neither Steve Smith nor David Warner was present in the Australian team. However, this time both Warner and Smith were playing, and Australia was decimated at their infamous Brisbane ground by the injury-stricken second-rank squad. The heroics of Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, and Mohammed Siraj made it possible with the help of experienced Pujara to convert impossible into possible. This is supposed to be the second biggest event after the 1983 world Cup.

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Australian media drools over India’s triumph

The Sydney Morning Herald posts a big image of Mohammed Siraj hugging Rishabh Pant from behind after the wicketkeeper-batsman guided India to a memorable win on Tuesday.

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The Australian media on Wednesday hailed India’s historic Test win at the Gabba here, terming the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar series win as one “for the ages”.

India became the first team to beat Australia at the Gabba in a Test match in 32 years and thus recorded a second consecutive series win Down Under. It was also India’s first ever win at this venue.

Front page of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) posted a big image of Mohammed Siraj hugging Rishabh Pant from behind after the wicketkeeper-batsman guided India to a memorable win on Tuesday.

“India takes a series for the ages,” read the front page headline of SMH. “A staggering innings from Rishabh Pant steered India to an unlikely series win over Australia at the Gabba yesterday,” it wrote.

“India’s Gabba Miracle: Aussies Get Pantsed!” read the front-page headline of Herald Sun with two pictures: one of Siraj hugging Pant and other of Nathan Lyon where the Australia off-spinner seemed frustrated after he failed to deliver on the fifth day of the Test match.

“The day when Fortress Gabba was stormed by a group of cavalier raiders who kicked down the drawbridge, stole the crown jewels and raced off into the late afternoon sunshine towards hysterical fans who will cherish this memory forever. Take it all India.

You deserve it…Australia are no longer bully boys of the game. They have been stared down by the impeccable forces of an Indian team,” said the Herald Sun in a report.

“And Australia may have secretly drooled watching young opener Shubman Gill, the gifted rookie who moves with the grace of a ball room dancer and the panache of a soldier with a bayonet.

India have raised the bar in cricket. The scary thing is it is likely to keep going up,” said the Daily Telegraph.

Wrote the Australian: “Battered. Bruised. Thrice struck on the helmet. Blows to the ribs. The fingers. The back. The shoulder. The elbow. The bicep. The hip. The thigh. Courageous? Outrageous. Cheteshwar Pujara was the upstanding epitome of the bravest touring squad to have visited these shores.”

“Take it all India. You deserve it. Its not simply what you did – but how you do it, with a boldness that will inspire the entire cricket world.

Australia included. Extraordinary. Amazing. Stunning. The Gabba could host another 90 years of Tests and see nothing like it,” said The West Australian.

The Mercury said: “When all the world thought India was terrified about visiting Fortress Gabba it hatched a cunning plan…. to storm it!”

Shubman Gill (91), Pant (89 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (56) all played brilliant innings as India chased down the mammoth 328-run target on the final day of the Test match, thus breaching Australia’s fortress in Brisbane.

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