Some of the biggest names in international cricket ply their wares for the eight franchises in the richest cricket league in the world – the IPL. But sometimes having so much talent to choose from becomes a headache for team managements while trying to find the right balance in the playing XI.
It’s true that the team composition will vary from venue to venue, given the nature of the pitch and conditions. But I believe that when you pick players at the auction, especially the overseas cricketers, its imperative to keep in mind their role in the team and whether the player will be a certainty in the XI.
Picking players at auction is quite like effective recruiting done by an HR department of a corporate firm. In simple terms, after identifying the department you want to recruit for – be it batting or bowling or all-rounders, you define the role and KRA’s and accordingly pick the player who fits the bill in a pre-determined budget.
Some teams tend to splurge on top overseas players who are expected to adapt quickly to varying conditions, and pick themselves in the XI without the blink of an eye. Players like David Warner, Rashid Khan, Keiron Pollard, AB de Villiers, Glen Maxwell, Faf Du Plessis, Sam Curran, Steve Smith, Jos Butler, are a few names that come to mind, whom teams will pen down as a certainty unless they are injured or there is a conscious effort to manage their workload.
Then comes the part of recruiting players who give you variety to tinker the line-up in different conditions – like having a utility spinner, left-arm pace bowler, a genuine tear away right-handed fast bowler, an explosive power hitter for batting-friendly conditions.
Each team tries to cover these bases and then looks at also signing back-ups for these roles and one franchise in particular has done this to perfection–Mumbai Indians.
For the opener’s slot they have the option of Quinton De Cock & Chris Lynn, in the all-rounders slot there is Keiron Pollard and James Neesham, for the left arm quick’s there are Trent Boult and Marco Jansen and the right arm quick’s include Adam Milne and Nathan Coulter Nile. They may not have had all results go their way, but that’s not been due to team composition.
CSK seem to have the variety in the squad – from the express Lungi Ngidi, to the deceptively ageless Imran Tahir. The all-rounder or utility players department is well stocked with Moeen Ali, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran and Mitchell Santner. Dhoni with his tactical acumen, has picked the right men for the job in each match so far.
RCB relies on Maxwell, ABD and Jamieson as the 3 key players and then its Dan Christian who fills the fourth slot. But they have missed the services of Adam Zampa who has now pulled out due to personal reasons. But the spectacular performance of Indian players has ensured that Kohli hasn’t had much to worry about so far.
It’s a similar story for DC thanks to Shikhar, Shaw & Pant. They do have Steve Smith, Rabada as certainties and rotation continues between Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Tom Curran and Chris Woakes. Such is the batting prowess of Indian players that Sam Billings isn’t even getting a look-in.
SRH seem to have got three pegs in the hole with Warner, Bairstow and Rashid Khan. Now with the availability of Williamson, the fourth slot also seems a certainty. Otherwise, it was a musical chair between Nabi, Holder and Mujeeb.
Punjab Kings have the firepower with Gayle, Pooran, but need to use them in the right batting position. Dawid Malan isn’t even getting a look-in thanks to a packed top order, which makes you wonder why they signed him at all. The same is the case with Chris Jordan, who isn’t finding a place in the XI due to Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson. Fabien Allen and Moises Henriques are trading all-rounders slot.
Strapped for options now after the departure of Stokes, Archer, Andrew Tye, and Livingstone, RR only have four overseas players left – Butler, Morris, Miller and Mustafizur. So it’s about play who you have rather than choosing what you want.
A big problem that arises is when as captain, the overseas player does not pull his weight with bat or ball – as is the case with Eoin Morgan this season. Which is why I am always a supporter of having an in-form Indian player as the captain of the side, as it gives the team management the flexibility to ask the overseas player to sit out if he’s not in form. KKR seem to be struggling to get their choice of overseas players right in the XI. There still isn’t clarity over whether to play Sunil Narine or Shakib Al Hassan. Pat Cummins is leader in pace department, that looks overstocked with Lockie Ferguson, bowling all-rounder Ben Cutting and a plethora of young Indian speedsters. Most importantly for KKR, Andre Russell hasn’t done anything spectacular so far in this season to justify his reputation as top all-rounder.
(The writer is a Cricket commentator & Sports Broadcaster who has worked on assignments for leading sports networks in India & Abroad.)
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India were unfortunate not to get 3 points, says Bhaichung Bhutia
The performance of the Blue Tigresses in their opener of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 against IR Iran has left the two Padma Shris who were present at the stadium extremely impressed.
Blue Tiger legend and former captain Bhaichung Bhutia felt “women’s football has come a long way.” “I am extremely impressed by the manner the girls played. They were unfortunate not to get three points. The Iranian goalkeeper also came up with some amazing saves which further denied us,” Bhaichung smiled. “The first match is always the most difficult one, and the manner we operated tactically pleased me like anything,” Bhaichung averred. “The Blue Tigresses were so organized, and maintained their shape all throughout. They were able to open up during the attacks, and narrow it down while defending – all of which are hallmarks of a well drilled squad,” Bhaichung commented.
“Coach Thomas Dennerby needs to be complemented. He has done an awesome job,” Bhaichung, the first Indian footballer to play 100 international matches, certified. “We came across as a well-trained team. We moved back to positions fast and there was always someone to support the other.”
“Maybe, looking back, the experience of a Bala Devi upfront may have been handy. But injuries are part and parcel of football, and I am confident the others will fill in the void.” Bembem Devi, who was also present at the stadium went gaga the manner the Blue Tigresses approached the match. “The face of women’s football in India has totally changed. Everything was so well coordinated on the field. The fitness levels were exceptional. I am unable to recall as to when our women’s team was such a fit unit,” Bembem smiled. “All of these promise a bright future for us. The passing accuracy stood out.”
“Iran have always been a very physical team. But our players were fearless -the strength of our players stood out,” Bembem said. “Coach Dennerby has changed the total approach to the sport. The manner in which he approached the training sessions in the last 5 months is a lesson for me and coaches like us,” Bembem, the first woman footballer to have received the Padma Shri Award expressed.
“Just concentrate and don’t listen and think much about the last match. Keep concentrating and work harder. These are the days a player lives for. Make the most of it. One goal will change everything and it will come soon.”
NFL Playoff Betting: X Tips For Beginners
The NFL Playoffs are here! Some NFL fans may feel a little sad knowing their team’s season, and others feel excited as their favorite team is making a run at the Lombardi Trophy. Either what, whether your team is at home or making a run toward the Super Bowl, we get another few weeks to watch the greatest sport in the world as well as try to make a few extra bucks before it’s all over.
If you are new to the gambling world and looking into betting on the NFL playoffs, you have come to the right place. Below we have outlined the best ways to bet on the NFL playoffs.
Before betting on the NFL Playoffs, we need to know how they work.
14 teams will make the NFL playoffs in 2022, compared to 12 previous years. This will mark the second season of the NFL’s 14-team playoff format.
Now, seven teams from the AFC and seven from the NFC will make the postseason. Under the NFL’s new format, 43.75 percent of the league’s teams will be involved in postseason play. Division winners will still be seeded 1-4 by the record, with the final three spots being filled by Wild Card teams.
How does the NFL playoff bracket work
Teams are seeded according to the following criteria, with the higher-seeded teams always having home-field advantage:
- The champions of each division within the AFC and NFC are seeded according to the best record in positions one through four.
- Each conference has three wildcard teams (the three teams with the following best overall records), which are seeded in the five, six, and seven positions according to record.
Wild Card Round
The first round of the playoffs is called the Wild Card Round. The top-seeded division winner gets a bye from this round, and the remaining teams match up at seven vs. two, six vs. three, and five vs. four.
The second round is known as the Division Round. It features the top division winners hosting the lowest seed remaining from the Wild Card Round and two remaining seeds facing off.
The third round of the NFL playoffs is the Conference Championship Round to decide the AFC and NFC Championships. The winner of these two games will be heading to the Super Bowl.
The biggest game is the Super Bowl, where the AFC and NFC champions battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy.
Playoff Betting Tips for Beginners
- Don’t Overreact
Everyone is either watching or betting on the NFL playoffs, so overreactions can be a bit extreme week-to-week, especially after a blowout wins. Per Action Network, since 1980, teams are 6-25-1 ATS after scoring 40 more points the previous week during the playoffs.
- Analyze Matchups
This is very important come playoff time. Most of what happened on the regular season no longer matters when teams face off in the postseason. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether one team is “better” than the other. This is why matchups become even more important than usual. Compare offenses/defense, special teams, red zone offense/defense, and even coaching.
Experience should also come into play, so make sure you consider when analyzing matchups. Another trend given to us by Action Network, quarterbacks making their playoff debut against a quarterback with at least one previous postseason start under their belt has gone 14-30 straight up and 12-31-1 ATS since 2002. Guys with zero playoffs start in this year’s playoffs, including Mac Jones, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow.
- Don’t Blindly Bet Favorites.
The general public likes backing favorites in the regular season and the postseason, but that’s not always the best bet. Since 2003, regular-season underdogs have gone 2121-2086-131 ATS for a -1.4% Return on Investment (ROI), while postseason dogs have gone 95-76-4 ATS for a +8.6% ROI.
2 Rookie Mistakes To Avoid
- Don’t Bet Every Game
Just because there are fewer games weekly during the playoffs, that still doesn’t mean you need to bet every game. Continue going through each game and bet on the games that offer the best value. If you are new, maybe select one game per day throughout the weekend. With fewer games on the board, you still need to stay disciplined.
- Overvaluing Top Seeds
The top seeds from each conference are usually overvalued once seedings are set. Many people assume that they must be the best teams as they’ve got the best records. They also assume that they’ll benefit from an extra week off. That’s not always the case.
Since 2000 (20 NFL Seasons), only 8 top seeds have gone on to win the Super Bowl. And during that same timespan, 11 top-seeded teams lost in the Divisional Round.
Betting the Divisional and Conference Championship games can be misleading at first glance. This goes back to earlier in the article, where we don’t want to overreact to teams with blowout wins. Teams are just 6-25-1 ATS after scoring 40 or more points in the previous week. The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City scored over 40 points in this year’s Wild Card Round. Something to keep an eye on in their next matchup.
Heading into the Divisional Round, you want to pay attention to home-field advantage. Teams playing at home in the Divisional and Conference Championship Rounds are 48-18 SU (72.7%) combined.
Five Top NFL Sportsbooks with Bonuses
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There are sites like Safest Betting Sites that provide the most trusted online sportsbooks for the NFL Playoffs; make sure you take advantage of the bonuses and promotions that most of the sportsbooks have.
When betting on the NFL playoffs, after going through all the research and tips/trends, you cannot find an edge on a game, don’t bet it. Don’t feel like you have to bet every single playoff game. Sometimes the best bet is the bet you don’t make. Enjoy the 2022 NFL Playoffs.
Kurt Blakeway – Sporting Betting Analyst
Kurt is a Sports Betting Analyst for Safest Betting Sites. He enjoys all things MLB, NFL, CFB, and CBB. While he is a fan first, he is always trying to gain an edge on the books to make a little money.
LANNING, MCGRATH STAR AS AUSTRALIA DEFEAT ENGLAND IN 1ST T20I
Tahlia McGrath’s all-round performance and Meg Lanning’s spirited show with the bat helped Australia defeat England by nine wickets in the first T20I of the three-match series here at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
With this win, Australia has gained an early lead in the ongoing Women’s Ashes and the second T20I will now be played on Saturday at the same venue. McGrath first took three wickets with the ball and then she backed it up by playing a 91-knock. Chasing 170, Australia got off to a decent start as openers Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy put on 26 runs inside four overs, but this stand was cut short by Sophie Ecclestone as she dismissed Healy (7) and this brought Tahlia McGrath to the middle. Lanning and McGrath ensured that Australia does not lose momentum as they kept chipping away at runs, and the hosts needed 85 to win from the final ten overs with nine wickets in hand.
McGrath and Lanning kept on scoring runs, and as a result, England was not able to create any sort of pressure. In the end, the hosts registered a comfortable nine-wicket victory. In the end, McGrath and Lanning remained unbeaten on 91 and 64 respectively. Earlier, Danielle Wyatt played a knock of 70 runs as England posted 169/4 in the allotted twenty overs. Sent into bat, openers Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont got England off to a steady start as they put on 51 runs inside the first six overs.
The 82-run opening stand was finally broken in the 11th over as Alana King got the better of Beaumont (30). Natalie Sciver then joined Wyatt in the middle and the duo did not let the momentum drop for England. Both batters kept on scoring runs at a brisk pace and this ended up creating more pressure on Australia.
The duo put on 59 runs for the second wicket, and the stand was broken in the 17th over by Tahlia McGrath as she dismissed Sciver (32).
In the final three overs, England managed to add 25 more runs to the total, taking the score past the 165-run mark.
Brief Scores: England 169/4 (Danielle Wyatt 70, Natalie Sciver 32; Tahlia McGrath 3-26); Australia 170/1 (Tahlia McGrath 91*, Meg Lanning 64*; Sophie Ecclestone 1-29).
AUSTRALIAN OPEN: ANDY MURRAY KNOCKED OUT BY WORLD NO.120 QUALIFIER TARO DANIEL
World No.120 qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan stunned three time grand slam champion Andy Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the 2nd round of men’s singles here at the John Cain Arena in a match that lasted two hours and 48 minutes.
Murray was broken in the third game of the match itself by the Japanese and in no time he took a 3-1 lead. The two-time Olympic champion clawed his way back in the sixth game to break Daniel’s serve and level the match 3-3. But in the very next game the Japanese broke Murray’s service to take a 4-3 lead. He pocketed the first set 6-4. Inn the second set too the Japanese broke Murray in the third game of the match. Murray lost the second set at the same score line of 4-6.
In the third set the Scot came up with a spirited performance by holding on to his serve and breaking his opponent to take a 2-0 lead. But in the third game the Japanese broke Murray’s serve, held his and leveled the score 2-2. In the ninth game of the match Daniel once again broke Murray’s serve. In the end the third set also was won by the Japanese with the same score as first and second set. With this defeat Murray’s wait for his first Australian Open title and a grand slam title win for more than five years continues.
TEAM INDIA NEEDS MORE WICKET-TAKING BOWLERS
It will take some time for Rahul Dravid and the coaching staff to get Team India out of the current situation. In the first ODI, we should have restricted the South African batsmen within 250. The wicket was slow and the ball remained low. After that the Indian batsmen, who were looking to score well, collapsed and we lost. That is, we failed to bat well after bowling.
With this defeat it is too early to say anything about KL Rahul’s captaincy. As captain, he has captained ODIs for the first time. They should be given time. Well, he definitely needs to pay special attention to his batting. If runs are scored with his bat, then he will have confidence which will come in handy under his captaincy.
Team India needs wicket-taking bowlers at this time. South African batsmen made their job easy by playing sweep and reverse sweep against Indian spinners. Bhuvneshwar and Shardul also did not prove to be wicket-takers. Now the time has come that the bowlers who are present in the current team should be given a chance. It makes no sense to keep feeding old bowlers in the name of experience. Now it is the time to find Bumrah’s partner. In spin bowling, Ashwin and Chahal were probably playing together for the first time. It will definitely make a difference after the return of Ravindra Jadeja, who gives the team a real balance. Today, the strike rate of the bowlers should be considered more than the economy. Deepak Chahar can be given further opportunity, who can also bat well.
And there needs to be stability in the middle order. For how long the team will depend on the top order. The middle order players have to understand that they also need to fulfill their responsibility. There should be unity in the performance. The responsibility of finishing the match will also have to be taken. The truth is that the team had not yet recovered from the loss of two Tests that many problems emerged with the team in ODIs as well. I hope team India players will soon see the spirit of unity and victory.
The writer is a former wicket-keeper batsman and a selector of Team India.
Rohit, Rishabh Pant and Ashwin named in ICC Men’s Test Team of 2021
Three Indians — Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been named in ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year. Kane Williamson has been named as the leader of the ICC Test Team of 2021. Under Williamson, New Zealand had defeated India last year to win the World Test Championship.
Apart from three Indians, the side has two New Zealand players, three Pakistan players, one Australian, one Sri Lankan, and one player from England. Rohit Sharma came into his own as an opener in the longest format of the game. He cracked 906 runs in the calendar year at an average of 47.68 with two centuries. Both of the centuries were memorable knocks in contrasting conditions against England – one at home in Chennai and the other in overcast conditions away from home at the Oval. With key assignments coming up, Sharma will have a key role to play for India in 2022.
Rishabh Pant further established himself as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batter in all three formats, with his continuous development especially coming to the fore in the Test arena. He scored 748 runs in 12 matches at an average of 39.36 with one memorable ton against England at Ahmedabad. He also accounted for 39 dismissals in 23 innings, with his glovework continuing to improve.
The off-spinner Ashwin bamboozled many batters with his sheer wizardry. Ashwin scalped up 54 wickets in 9 matches at an average of 16.64 making a big impact in the home series against England and New Zealand. He also chipped in with 355 runs at an average of 25.35, which included a vital century against England in Chennai.
ICC Men’s Test Team of 2021: Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Rohit Sharma (India), Kane Williamson (c, New Zealand), Marnus Labuschagne (Australia), Joe Root (England), Fawad Alam (Pakistan), Rishabh Pant (India), Ravichandran Ashwin (India), Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan), and Hasan Ali (Pakistan).
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