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25 February, 2021

Should England's Batsmen & Batting Coaches Have Consulted Gavaskar How To Play Spin?



England's batsmen, including their impressive-against-spin captain Joe Root succumbed to a common theme - caught at the crease - while playing spin during their first innings batting in this pink-ball Test.

They chose to bat and crumbled to 112 all out to the guile of local hero Axar Patel and now spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin.

It's not clear how many batsmen from this English side paid heed to "How Do You Play Spin Bowling?", a video released on March 13, 2019 by the England & Wales Cricket Board. 

This video shows England's current assistant batting coach Graham Thorpe, who's touring with this team and is in Ahmedabad, sharing his "Batting Masterclass" captioned "Graham Thorpe's Batting Tips".
See video here:

ECB's teaser also asks: "Ready to be the next superstar batsman? Watch Graham Thorpe's tips to improve your game.

What this video does not specify is how to smother spin on a pitch such as the red-soiled one at Motera, Ahmedabad for the 3rd Test, where the deliveries from Axar and Ashwin didn't keep low, had bounce and were bowled straighter more than spin.

The last one, straighter deliveries on a turning track, are a result of  creativity and smartness on the part of Axar and Ashwin and the homework they have put in with their bowling coach Bharati Arun.

India's batting legend Sunil Gavaskar was quick to point out the lacunae in how England's batsmen approached and reacted to Axar and Ashwin. 

Gavaskar said most English batsmen believed that staying back in their crease and playing Axar and Ashwin was the right way. Perhaps, this was the lesson they derived from their debacle in the second Test at the Chepauk to this Indian spin duo. 

On this Motera pitch all the English batsmen had to do is play forward, reach to the pitch of the ball and smother the spin, Gavaskar advised.

England seemed to have recovered some lost advantage by reducing India to 99 for 3, including the wicket of two of India's big hopes, skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, by the end of the first day's play.

However, India still have their second Test hero and Hitman, Rohit Sharma at the crease, apart from the strong depth in their batting lineup awaiting their turn.

England would do well to focus on how to play smarter and restrict India to below 150 to remain buoyant in this match.

On the first day, England spent considerable time arguing on umpiring decisions after the poor batting display ended.

Their antics, led by Root, haven't gone unnoticed by the English media. Here are links to how the English press has reacted:

England produce their worst day of the winter as India dominate day one of crunch Test match 

BCCI Beware: India's cricket administrative body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India may need to be wary of any further or next grievance coming from the England camp.

England's head coach Chris Silverwood and captain Root have already raised a formal complaint about inconsistency in umpiring decisions with Match Referee Javagal Srinath.

The next complaint could be the divots caused by the pace bowlers' landing foot at the crease before releasing the delivery. 

These divots are now described by Scyld Berry in The Telegraph UK as "a crater bigger than anything made by the spacecraft that landed on Mars". 

There's genuine cause to worry in this matter as former India pacer, Ajit Agarkar, now commentating too felt that these holes could affect a pace bowler's foothold, causing not only a wayward line and length but also physical harm.

These footholds are likely to be the talking point as the match progresses.

Tags: Pink Ball Test, Virat Kohli, IndvEng, EngvInd, Motera, Ahmedabad, Narendra Modi Stadium, Sardar Patel Stadium, Gujarat, Paytm Test Series, Joe Root, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel, Ashwin


24 February, 2021

India Lose Toss Yet Going For A Win Facing 5 Concerns In Pink-Ball Test; Sundar 11th In, Eng Lose 3rd Wicket



India have lost the crucial toss in the 3rd Test, their second pink-ball match at home, but turned it into a huge advantage when Ishant Sharma, playing his 100th Test and the other Sharma, Rohit combined to send back England opening bat Dom Sibley.

Local boy Axar Patel, intelligently brought into the attack by captain Virat Kohli in the 7th over, struck with his opening delivery, removing England's reliable Jonny Bairstow. 

Ravichandran Ashwin increased the pain for England when he sent back their skipper Joe Root, leaving the visitors on 74 for 3.

"We are gonna bat first. Hopefully, we will get a big score like the first Test. Hoping the wicket will dry out as the game goes along. It is certainly harder and seems to swing more compared to the red ball. We are very excited to be here 1-1 and are looking to do well," CricBuzz quoted England captain Joe Root saying.

Team India skipper Virat Kohli sounded optimistic despite revealing few concerns. "We would have batted first as well. We would look to get into the game early on. The practice wickets have been quite spicy. Something that we have enjoyed as a team. It is such an exciting atmosphere here at the largest cricket stadium. I am a bit worried about the lights. We have played in a similar stadium in Dubai. You need to adapt pretty quickly," Kohli said.

"Bumrah comes in for Siraj and Washington Sundar comes in for Kuldeep Yadav. We wanted to have a spinning option and Washi provides a lot with the bat as well. And having cushion with the bat helps especially in this situation when we bat second as the game could be evened out after the first innings," Kohli added.

England though have opted for an additional seam bowler. They have Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer, Jimmy Anderson coming into the side.

Both teams were greeted and wished well by the Honourable President of India, Ramnath Kovind and Home Minister Amit Shah.

It was good to see Root and his men do the "Namaste" greeting. 

A couple of days ago Cheteshwar Pujara, in his interview confirmed that Team India are thinking seriously about qualifying for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in June in England.

His skipper Virat Kohli says "one day at a time is that's what we've followed for years."

Kohli believes that each of his teammates is geared up to "win both Tests. What it [the wins] does afterwards is a conversation for later."

This gentle mis-match in thought between the captain and a senior team member can be ignored as an individual's personal thought that he is entitled to. 

However, as a collective unit, Team India has FIVE top concerns or uncertainties going into the 3rd Test at the newly-refurbished world's largest stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad.

1. The Pink Ball by SG: Rohit Sharma, India's Hitman on whose 161-run knock the team progressed on to winning the second Test and leveling this 4-Test series 1-all, said in an interview that the pitch for the third Test would be similar to the second Test and will turn.

Rohit said he wasn't assured how the pink ball will play at different stages of the game, especially the now famous "twilight period" that according to him is at about 5pm, when the sun is setting and the floodlights are turned on for this day-night experiment. 

Kohli seemed more certain. "The pink ball does tend to swing a lot more than the normal red ball that we play with. We experienced it in the one match we played against Bangladesh in 2019," he said.

"It's much more challenging to play with the pink ball regardless of what pitch you are playing on, especially in the evening, when as a batting team you are starting your innings under lights, then that one, one and half hour is very challenging," Kohli said.

Representative of the manufacturer of the pink ball used in India, Sanspareil Greenlands (SG), compared to the Kookaburra in Australia and Dukes in England, had a surprising request. "Turning track is fine, but for the pink ball to last 80 overs and retain its color requires some amount of grass on the wicket," the Times of India quoted Paras Anand, Marketing Director at SG saying.

"We've seen that world over, curators tend to leave 6-7mm grass on the pitch for day/night Tests to enable the pink ball to retain its shine," Anand added.

With several uncertainties Team India and Virat Kohli will have to be on guard all the time during this Test to watch how this ball behaves.

2. The Pitch from 11 options: The pitch prepared for this 3rd Test is of red soil compared to the others that have black soil. 

Team India, despite being sure that the curator will shave off all the thick grass on the pitch by match day, are unsure how this pitch will play out as the math progresses.

The curator has assured that the pitch won't deteriorate as feared by few experts and critics after watching England lose the second Test on a turning Chennai pitch.

3. The Twilight period: The twilight period, that's the cusp between day and onset of night is being discussed, analyzed closely by both teams.

"Last time we experienced that the first session is probably the nicest to bat when the sun's out and the ball doesn't do as much, but when it starts to get dark, specially during the twilight period, it gets very tricky, the light changes and it is difficult to sight the ball, and under lights is like playing the first session in the morning in a normal Test match," Kohli said.   

4. Weather changes suddenly: India's man in batting form, Rohit Sharma is concerned about the sudden change in weather during the day, again as this day-night match progresses daily from day to night.

Although these professional cricket players are accustomed to playing day-night matches, they have been one day internationals.

Playing five days at a stretch and withstanding the changing patterns of weather while you are on the field can be daunting for cricketers and their health.

They also have to stay focused if, as Rohit is concerned about, they get their turn to bat after spending the day part on the ground fielding.

It's a bit of a hot-cold situation that your body needs to get adjusted to. You can't even wear a sweater in Indian conditions. 

5. The dew factor: According to Pujara, the  , as a collective unit, Team India there'll be considerable dew during the final sessions of play.

If the ball soaks up dew, it is likely to lose shape or become difficult to grip. 

Luckily, India have spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar and Washington Sundar who are tall and have large fingers on their hands to grip the ball well. 

Despite this, there's concern on the bowler's ability to maintain a good line and length to keep the opposition subdued.

"There has been a trend of collapses in pink-ball Test matches. One thing that stands out is those vital first 20 balls, making sure you get used to tracking the ball, get used to the conditions and being very aware of how things can change throughout the day," Root said on the eve of this Test.

"It's not necessarily just that one moment under lights or that twilight period. Sometimes it's been right at the start of the game in the morning session, or late on day four, that these strange passages of play have happened. When you get that opportunity, and you're on the right side of it in the field, you have to take every opportunity and really make that count in your favor," he added.

His team lost two wickets during this first session Root was referring to. 

On his part, Kohli continues to dismiss the dismal 36 in Adelaide batting with the pink ball as part of "bizarre experiences" in his cricketing career. 

For him, they were "45 minutes of bad cricket" that you need to move on from. 

Going by the way India are progressing in this match, Kohli's words ring out loud. The Indian juggernaut is rolling on.

19 February, 2021

Naomi Osaka Is Setting An Example For Peers With These 5 Traits


Three-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka, 23, could have been representing the United States. 

Instead she's now recognized as the first Asian to hold the world No 1 ranking in women's singles owing to her Japanese citizenship.

Two major developments during early stages of her life decided her citizenship. Firstly, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) showed little interest in helping nurture her talent. When they eventually did, Naomi had turned 16 and declined their offer. 

According to their parents -- mother Tamaki from Hakkaido and father Leonard François, an American of Haitian origin -- Naomi and her older sister Mari, also a professional tennis player, always felt Japanese. 

The fact is, both were given their mother's maiden family name Osaka, that's the name of the large Japanese port city and commercial center on the island of Honshu.

This move was done so that their mother's marriage and the tennis players' births could be legally recorded in the family register in Japan, called the Koseki.

Koseki requires infants born to one foreign parent must have the last name of their Japanese parent in order for their parents' marriage, adoption if any and acknowledgments of paternity to be legally effective in Japan.

Naomi was taken to the United States when she was three and has lived, learned her tennis there.

As she prepares to take on first time Slam finalist American Jennifer Brady on Saturday, Naomi is setting an example for her peers with five top traits that are defining her: 

1. Powerful, aggressive when playing; soft, supportive off it: 
Naomi has established a reputation as a player who is beginning to shed her shyness when not playing.

However, when she's facing off on the court, she turns into a formidable player who is aggressive and powerful and capable of bouncing back even when she's down by a set or more.

She did receive flak when her boyfriend, rapper Cordae, flipped his middle finger at the camera posing with Naomi and her second US Open trophy. 

U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Lauren Perdue Britt were among other notable personalities who took to Twitter to make their disappointment known.

All I can say about this photo is sweetie, you can do better in the boyfriend department. 🤦🏽‍♀️ #smh #naomiosaka #usopen @usopen

However, Naomi had already begun her response to such criticism with her strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement. She wore a mask representing and honoring seven different Black Americans during each of her seven rounds of the U.S. Open.

She also posted a tweet with a bold message:

Cut to her third round match few days ago at the Australian Open.  A butterfly lands on her arm, flutters onto her nose, then to her leg.

Naomi does not summon help. Neither does she lose her patience. She very gently guides the butterfly to the sideline, goes ahead and wins her match. See this tweet with her video with the butterfly:

Her natural reactions to life's encounters such as these are making her endearing to her fans, who are on the rise as she continues to win more majors.

2. Mastering pressure situations calmly and bouncing back: During her rise to the top 5 in women's singles in the world, Naomi has shown, on multiple occasions, that she's mastering the art of handling pressure situations.

She's bounced back in matches that great champions watching her game would have said was tough to recover.

Such gritty recovery has enabled her to enter the final on Saturday with a 20-match winning streak.

Her charm off the court blended with a fierce display of high-powered tennis saw her become the highest-earning female athlete of all time by annual income in 2020. 

She earned $37.4 million in Covid-19 hit 2020, including $34 million in endorsements. 

3. Bringing out the X-Factor into play when needed: Naomi is not one her best strategy for a bigger occasion or opponent.

However, from the time she began her attempt to get into the women's singles Top 100 ranking, Naomi has shocked higher ranked opponents as if at will.

She did it again on Friday when she brushed aside Serena Williams's surge for her 24th Grand Slam with a swift 6-3, 6-4 semi-final victory in 75 minutes.

"I honestly haven't felt panicked until I played [Garbine] Muguruza, so I think that match really helped me," Naomi informed

4. Boosting mental strength: Naomi says she spent the time during lockdown working on her mental strength apart from practice. 

She believes she's mentally stronger now in fighting for every point in a game she's ahead or behind.

“I feel like the older you get, the more mentally strong you are,” Reuters quoted Naomi saying during her U.S. Open stint. “I think that’s something that you learn from being on the tour for such a long time, playing so many matches." 

5. Placing happiness over stressing for success: Naomi famously changed her coach as she did not want to put "success over her happiness." 

She had hired Sascha Bajin as her coach and during his mentorship, won the Australian Open in 2019. 

With each year's passing, Naomi has displayed her more mature self. “When I was younger, I felt like my goal was to make history. I used to weigh my entire existence on if I won or lost a tennis match. Not now," She told AusOpen.

"Of course, it's nice to see your name on a trophy or your name on a wall. But I think bigger than that, I feel like I'm playing with a different purpose for this trip. I think I'm just so happy with my team and we've been through this entire quarantine and we've been stuck together. I just want to do really well as a vessel for everyone's hard work."

On Saturday, you can bet Naomi will enter the court happy and with her now famous shy, infectious smile.

She'll also be a bit at ease going into the final as she has defeated Jennifer Brady, her rival in the Aus Open 2021 final, few months ago in the U.S. Open semi-final on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Saturday's matches:
Women's Singles • Final
J. Brady 22 v N. Osaka 3

Mixed Doubles • Final
S. Stosur WC | M. Ebden WC v B. Krejcikova 6 | R. Ram 6

18 February, 2021

Contrasting Win-Loss Fate For Longtime Friends Maxwell, Finch At IPL 2021 Auction With RCB


They have been flatmates in Melbourne, have played together for over a decade, initially for their state Victoria, then for the baggy green cap.

And both, Glenn Maxwell and his Australia T20 skipper Aaron Finch were released by their respective Indian Premier League teams after the 13th edition got over in November 2020 in the United Arab Emirates. 

The release, announced in January 2021 by the eight teams competing in the IPL, also had other big names including Steve Smith. 

On Thursday, 18 February 2021, Maxwell who was let go by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) became the X-Factor purchase for the IPL trophy-less Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by all-format India skipper Virat Kohli. 

Maxwell's price: A whopping Rupees 14.25 crore (about U.S.$2 million). 

Finch's price: Unsold (IPL future literally over). 

Finch was dumped by RCB, who splashed out a large fund from their kitty for allrounder Maxwell instead.

Their story makes interesting reading. They know each other as much as they know cricket.

In an interview with ESPN Cricinfo few days ago, Maxwell said this of Finch: "It's been nice to have someone who's followed a similar journey and we're still going together. 

"I know how happy for me he was when I made my Test debut and vice versa when he made his. But I think we were living together from around 2012, and to be on the same one-day and T20 journey together at that stage and then eventually make our Test debuts was pretty cool. 

There was a lot of watching cricket in the house and talking tactics and all that sort of thing."

They even played for the same county, Yorkshire. Finch had played a season for Yorkshire in the 2014. Maxwell joined him there the next season. "Having Maxi playing alongside me will be terrific. He is a true competitor and loves the shorter form of the game," Finch had said then.

Later, both players missed their opening 11th edition IPL match for their respective teams as Finch was the groom and Maxwell the emcee. 
Maxwell's post on his Instagram profile

Australian publication had reported: "Both Finch and close friend Glenn Maxwell, who was emcee of the wedding, will miss their respective IPL side's season-openers because of the wedding. Kings XI Punjab (who purchased Finch for A$1.2million at January's auction) and the Delhi Daredevils (who bought Maxwell for $1.75m) face off on Sunday (8.30pm AEST)."

As recently as 2020, the ICC shared a video to showcase Friendship Day that had Maxwell and Finch combine to take a catch that saw the back of Mark Wood in an Australia-England 2019 World Cup tie.

After Maxwell's name went under the hammer at the ITC Grand Chola Hotel in Chennai on Thursday, 18 Feb, 2021, the flamboyant player tweeted this:
His dear friend Finch, meanwhile, spent his time supporting a request for a social cause:

Here's a complete list of sold and unsold players during the IPL Auction 2021 as published by The Hindu's Sportstar on their website:

Sold Players

Batsmen (with initial base price, the price bought for & team that bought the player)

Steve Smith 2 CR 2.20 CR Delhi Capitals

Sachin Baby 20 L 20 L Royal Challengers Bangalore

Rajat Patidar 20 L 20 L Royal Challengers Bangalore

Cheteshwar Pujara 50 L 50 L Chennai Super Kings

Karun Nair 50 L 50 L Kolkata Knight Riders

C. Hari Nishaanth 20 L 20 L Chennai Super Kings  


Adam Milne 50 L 3.2 CR Mumbai Indians

Mustafizur Rahman 1 CR 1 CR Rajasthan Royals

Jhye Richardson 1.5 CR 14 CR Punjab Kings

Nathan Coulter-Nile 1.5 CR 5 CR Mumbai Indians

Umesh Yadav 1 CR 1 CR Delhi Capitals

Piyush Chawla 50 L 2.4 CR Mumbai Indians

Lukman Hussain Meriwala 20 L 20 L Delhi Capitals

Chetan Sakariya 20 L 1.2 CR Rajasthan Royals

Riley Meredith 40 L 8 CR Punjab Kings

M Siddharth 20 L 20 L Delhi Capitals

Jagadeesha Suchith 20 L 30 L Sunrisers Hyderabad

K. C. Cariappa 20 L 20 L Rajasthan Royals

Vaibhav Arora 20 L 20 L Kolkata Knight Riders

M. Harisankar Reddy 20 L 20 L Chennai Super Kings

Kuldip Yadav 20 L 20 L Rajasthan Royals

Mujeeb Ur Rahman 1.5 CR 1.5 CR Punjab Kings

Harbhajan Singh 2 CR 2 CR Kolkata Knight Riders

Akash Singh 20 L 20 L Rajasthan Royals  


Vishnu Vinod 20 L 20 L Delhi Capitals

Sheldon Jackson 20 L 20 L Kolkata Knight Riders

Mohammed Azharuddeen 20 L 20 L Royal Challengers Bangalore

K. S. Bharat 20 L 20 L Royal Challengers Bangalore

Sam Billings 2 CR 2 CR Delhi Capitals 


Glenn Maxwell 2 CR 14.25 CR Royal Challengers Bangalore

Shakib Al Hasan 2 CR 3.2 CR Kolkata Knight Riders

Moeen Ali 2 CR 7 CR Chennai Super Kings

Shivam Dube 50 L 4.4 CR Rajasthan Royals

Chris Morris 75 L 16.25 CR Rajasthan Royals

Dawid Malan 1.5 CR 1.5 CR Punjab Kings

Ripal Patel 20 L 20 L Delhi Capitals

Shahrukh Khan 20 L 5.25 CR Punjab Kings

Krishnappa Gowtham 20 L 9.25 CR Chennai Super Kings

Kyle Jamieson 75 L 15 CR Royal Challengers Bangalore

Tom Curran 1.5 CR 5.25 CR Delhi Capitals

Moises Henriques 1 CR 4.2 CR Punjab Kings

Jalaj Saxena 30 L 30 L Punjab Kings

Utkarsh Singh 20 L 20 L Punjab Kings

Fabian Allen 75 L 75 L Punjab Kings

Daniel Christian 75 L 4.8 CR Royal Challengers Bangalore

Liam Livingstone 75 L 75 L Rajasthan Royals

Suyash Prabhudessai 20 L 20 L Royal Challengers Bangalore

James Neesham 50 L 50 L Mumbai Indians

Yudhvir Charak 20 L 20 L Mumbai Indians

K. Bhagath Varma 20 L 20 L Chennai Super Kings

Marco Jansen 20 L 20 L Mumbai Indians

Saurabh Kumar 20 L 20 L Punjab Kings

Kedar Jadhav 2 CR 2 CR Sunrisers Hyderabad

Ben Cutting 75 L 75 L Kolkata Knight Riders

Venkatesh Iyer 20 L 20 L Kolkata Knight Riders

Pawan Negi 50 L 50 L Kolkata Knight Riders

Arjun Tendulkar 20 L 20 L Mumbai Indians 

Unsold Players


Alex Hales 1.50 CR

Jason Roy 2 CR

Evin Lewis 1 CR

Aaron Finch 1 CR

Hanuma Vihari 1 CR

Himanshu Rana 20 L

Rahul Gahlaut 20 L

Himmat Singh 20 L

Vishnu Solanki 20 L

Rovman Powell 50 L

Shaun Marsh 1.5 CR

Corey Anderson 75 L

Devon Conway 50 L

Darren Bravo 75 L

Rassie van der Dussen 50 L

Martin Guptill 50 L

Siddhesh Lad 20 L  


Sheldon Cottrell 1 CR

Adil Rashid 1.5 CR

Rahul Sharma 50 L

Ish Sodhi 50 L

Qais Ahmad 50 L

Mujtaba Yousuf 20 L

Ankit Singh Rajpoot 30 L

Kuldeep Sen 20 L

Tushar Deshpande 20 L

Karanveer Singh 20 L

Sandeep Lamichhane 40 L

Midhun Sudhesan 20 L

Tejas Baroka 20 L

Varun Aaron 50 L

Oshane Thomas 50 L

Mohit Sharma 50 L

Billy Stanlake 1 CR

Mitchell McClenaghan 50 L

Jason Behrendorff 1 CR

Naveen-ul-Haq 50 L

Ben Dwarshuis 30 L

G. Periyasamy 20 L

Sean Abbott 50 L

Simarjeet Singh 20 L

Reece Topley 50 L 


Glenn Phillips 50 L

Alex Carey 1.5 CR

Kusal Perera 50 L

Kedar Devdhar 20 L

Avi Barot 20 L

K.L. Shrijith 20 L

Ben McDermott 50 L

Matthew Wade 1 CR

Josh Inglis 20 L 


Atit Sheth 20 L

Ayush Badoni 20 L

Vivek Singh 20 L

Gurkeerat Singh 50 L

Marnus Labuschagne 1 CR

Karan Sharma 20 L

Thisara Perera 50 L

Tajinder Dhillon 20 L

Prerak Mankad 20 L

Scott Kuggeleijn 50 L

Wayne Parnell 50 L

Chris Green 30 L

Isuru Udana 50 L

George Linde 50 L

Chaitanya Bishnoi 20 L

Ajay Dev Goud 20 L

Jack Wildermuth 50 L

Harsh Tyagi 20 L

Gerald Coetzee 20 L

Tim David 20 L

Pratyush Singh 20 L 

17 February, 2021

IPL 2021 Player Auction: All Eyes On 11 Top Draws And 282 Others


Mini Auction for the 14th edition of the IPL today (18 Feb, 2021) at the ITC Grand Chola Hotel in Chennai

  • Time: Starts 3PM, IST
  •  Telecast: On Star Sports Network & Live streaming on Hotstar

Although 11 of the biggest ticketed players will be in the spotlight the moment the first hammer is struck at the IPL Auction 2021 for the 14th edition of the league, surprises and shock are expected because this'll be a mini auction.

The Covid-19 pandemic and prospect of adding new teams to the league in the 15th edition in 2022 are two major reasons that are doing the rounds as cause for this mini auction.

The top five purpose of the eight competing teams in vying for players in this auction are: 

1. Finding a player / players who'll help balance the team dynamic after releasing and retaining players in January 2021. 

These balance requirements vary from need for a finisher, an X factor, a wicket-keeper, left arm bowler, death overs bowler, or even a potential leader.

2.  Back up players who could step in if the preferred players get injured or fail to click in their assigned roles.

3. Finding the variety in bowling the team lacked in the previous IPL edition.

4. A major overhaul by casting out the old and bringing in the younger new.

5. Picking up allrounders who can play dual roles such as bowling and batting, or batting and wicket-keeping.

Because this is a mini auction there's a big likelihood of teams going for lesser known youngsters who are already playing the circuit in the shorter versions such as the T10 and the T20.

This'll help teams not only utilize wisely the limited resource (fund) they have available to spend, but also have young aspirants who'll display abundance of energy, show they are hungrier to perform in an internationally more recognized league and as good performers get into the retention list.

Owners and their representatives from the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings (previously King's XI Punjab) are likely to hog the limelight during the auction.

RCB have 11, the highest number of total 61 slots to be filled by the eight teams, while Punjab Kings have the 9, the second highest number of slots and with the biggest available purse to splash on. 

292 players list for IPL 2021 Auction released by the BCCI's IPLT20 on its website: 

16 February, 2021

Victorious Team India Riding On 5 Successful Corporate Management Team Characteristics



Ravichandran Ashwin deservedly walked away with the Player of the Match honor for his 8 for 96 and 106 in the match, Rohit Sharma rightly with the game changer award for his 161 when India batted first that set the stage for complete domination over England. 

However, a resurgent display of collective effort following a huge loss has gained the spotlight once again, after a similar act in Australia. 

The 1-all series result in this 4-Test series became apparent after England's first innings folded on 134. The stranglehold increased resulting in a whopping 317-run defeat for the Joe Root-led team.

Anand Mahindra, chairman of the automotive-to-Information Technology Mahindra Group that has presence in 100 countries, commended Virat Kohli and his victorious men with: "So our team members have confirmed their competence in scriptwriting as well as sports...From the ashes of defeat to the roar of victory. Keep weaving such great stories... #INDvsENG."

In fact, Team India's senior and the Young India brigade are writing a script resembling 5 successful corporate management team characteristics. Here's how: 

1. Communicate well: There have been reports of discord among members of the team. Instances of skipper Kohli and Rohit Sharma not getting along, or Ashwin having difference of opinion with his captain or coach have been doing the rounds.

Such chatter seemed true when India lost the pink ball Test in Adelaide by eight wickets and Kohli identified the cause to lack of intent from team members.

It looked clear then that cricketers playing the highest professional game, a Test match, were not aware the intent they needed to show for their team's cause.

However, from that moment and six Test matches later (2 defeats, 3 wins and a draw), Team India's members have displayed remarkable communication skills.

A lot of this exemplary art of communication was evident during this second Test when Rohit Sharma sought valuable feedback on field, initially from Pujara and later Rahane.

Other marked moments of such good communication could be seen when Kohli and Ashwin were batting together in India's second innings.

Axar Patel, who excelled on debut with match figures of 7 for 100 and Kuldeep Yadav benefited by communicating constantly with their senior pro Ashwin as well as their captain.

Finally, most corporate teams have that amusing member who communicates loudly and chirps to keep the team's spirit high. Rishabh Pant played that role to good effect.

2. Focus on goals: Stung by the first Test debacle, you'd have thought this India team would find it tough to regroup and bounce back immediately.

However, as Rohit Sharma and Ashwin explained, the team devoted the time between the two Tests to focus on how the second Test pitch will play and ways to capitalize on it.

Among the goals was to focus on playing the sweep shots often not before choosing which bowlers and which deliveries to play them.
The sweep show helped both Rohit and Ashwin establish their innings.

Kohli too revealed how he focused on correcting his mistake from the first innings when he was bowled for a duck to an awe-inspiring 62 in the second innings.

"I've taken a lot of pride in correcting mistakes quickly, which I haven't done in the past because I'm rigid. But, I want to correct those quickly now," Kohli said after the win.

3. Support for each other: A lot of those individual brilliance you got to see during this second Test received timely help from other members of the team.

"For the 15-20 mins, when the bowler needs support from the crowd, it's my responsibility [to egg the crowd on]," said Kohli who'd be seen helping build the support his bowler needed.

Kuldeep, playing in a Test after two years, said return to Test cricket was like making another debut. However, he had able support. "I always speak to Ash bhai [Ashwin] a lot, even during the Australia tour. He was telling me a lot about where to bowl to which batsmen, what shots they like to play," said Kuldeep.

Ashwin himself sought tips and support from his more accomplished batting mate before he scored that ton. "I was having a chat with Rohit and the batting coach [Vikram Rathour] about the options to put pressure on the bowler than waiting for the loose balls. First couple of sweeps I connected, I got a hang of the wicket."

4. Diverse yet one team: Not all members of this Team India are academically qualified. 

It's not clear if all of them are graduates. Ashwin seems the only one who is a BTech in Information Technology.

Although majority of them read, write and speak the English language fluently, there are members such as Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav who struggle to hold a conversation in English. And there are a couple who do not speak Hindi.

This because the team comprises members from the country's north, west, south, and east zones, and converge representing a nation that has about 1581 languages that have script and more than 2000 dialects.

It's the admirable manner in which these players from diverse culture and languages join hands to play as one and win encourages corporates to use them as an example in better employee engagement programs.

5. Having fun: This Team India knows to have fun. There were plenty of fun moments on display during this Test. 

Funmaster Rishabh Pant received good backing from his skipper who could also be seen indulging in a few pranks and acts of buffoonery.

Ashwin and Team India's fielding coach R Sridhar recently regaled viewers of Ashwin's YouTube channel with a fun filled incident involving coach Ravi Shastri during the Sydney Test.

While Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari were facing up to the onslaught from Nathon Lyon and Pat Cummins, Sridhar had the chance to also observe a tense Shastri react to every ball in a manner that was funny.

According to Sridhar, Shastri would let out "Shabash" (well done) every time Ashwin or Vihari defended a guileful delivery from Lyon or Cummins.

The funny part, Sridhar narrated was: Shastri's tone and duration of "Shabash" would vary according whom between Lyon and Cummins was bowling.

So, a shorter "Shaa..bash" would mean spinner Lyon was bowling and a longer "Shaaaa...baash" would mean pacer Cummins was in the act with his comparatively longer run-up.

You can imagine the fun those watching Shastri let out those different shabaashes would have had as Ashwin and Vihari stood at the crease battling an epic 256 deliveries to help Team India draw the Test.