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20 January, 2021

10 Not-To-Be-Missed Cricket Developments in India

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Celebrate? But how, coach Shastri?

Unlike their Australia or England counterparts, Team India players seem to need a nod from their coach to celebrate a record-breaking victory, hence this speech, video above, by coach Ravi Shastri that the Board of  Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has posted on its site.

Most of the current India players though seem to be teetotalers. There could be few exceptions such as the boisterous bachelors. However, even they'd have difficulty celebrating with "a little bit of the bubbly" (did Chris Jericho make this phrase famous?).

During this time of quarantine, lockdown, social distancing and wearing masks, celebrating in a foreign land would be a nightmare with all the restrictions and regulation. Rohit Sharma, who had ventured out to a Melbourne restaurant would know how risky it is for cricket celebrities to be seen in public places even during this Covid-19 lockdown period.

You are not sure if Shastri invited the entire entourage (batting, bowling coaches, masseurs, physios, and so on) later to a celebration within the hotel.

Speculation is rife that the India head coach himself was desperate for a drink. There are several memes on him with the bottle. And he is known to celebrate, rightly so, after a hard day's work.

Lockdown or quarantine, Shastri shouldn't have any problem arranging booze in Australia. He's been travelling Down Under for decades and have celebrated one of his biggest moments as a player, the Champion of Champions title in 1985 in Melbourne along with an Audi.

This time though even his staunch critics would agree that the coach deserved a celebratory drink for motivating a bunch of youngsters into rising like a phoenix and ultimately setting Benchmark Brisbane!

Fans Are Asking Where's Their Nattu?

The BCCI announced the India squad to play the first two Tests against the visiting England team led by Joe Root.

This team does not have major surprises and includes regular captain Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma's return to the team.

The BCCI advisory says, the team is as follows: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur

The Committee also picked five net bowlers and five players as standbys.

Get New Games Cheaper Hottest Deals!Net Bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Krishnappa Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar
Standby players: K S Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Priyank Panchal

There are several fans who immediately noticed the absence of Thangarasu Natarajan's name. The left armer progressed from a net bowler to India debutant in less than two months, from Canberra to Brisbane.

He made his ODI debut on 2nd Dec 2020, T20 debut two days later and Test debut on 15th Jan, 2021.

The present BCCI administration is known to nurture players and monitor their progress regularly. However, the cricket body would have been lauded for their professionalism had they also clarified the fate of Natarajan, especially after his 3 for 78 contribution in India's record win at the Gabba.

When Will These Veterans Retire?

You'd be a little confused to see the inclusion of Wriddhiman Saha's name in the list announced for the first two Tests against England.

Saha, originally the preferred Test wicket-keeper, was replaced by Pant in Sydney. Since then, Pant has sealed his authority over that prime position.

This makes you wonder why would the team thinktank need a reserve wicket-keeper when playing at home?

The only plausible cause could be the requirement for the team and reserves to be restricted in a bio bubble for the entire duration of the tour. Any inclusion requires a quarantine protocol to be followed.

Saha, born on 24 October 1984, is more than 36 years old and the oldest among the current crop of Test players, ahead of Ashwin who is 34 years and nearing 35.

The oldest Test player to retire since 2000 has been icon and Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who retired from Test cricket on 16 November 2013, when he was 40.

Seven Test players Kohli, Rahane, Rohit, Jadeja, Pujara and Umesh Yadav, apart from Saha and Ashwin have crossed 32 years. 

Considering the increased number of matches these players play, including the Indian Premier League, only Kohli who's the fittest among them seem to be able to go the long distance.

However, BCCI may be forced to look into preparing a younger bunch for away matches now that playing for a draw is the last option and the Brisbane victory a new benchmark or standard to go forward with.

Was Paineful Riposte Needed From Ashwin?

"Ravichandran Ashwin and his wife savagely sledge Tim Paine after miracle series win", says a headline from an article on the site.
The article highlights how former England pacer Darren Gough observed Ashwin's dig and reacted with “Is it too early for #waittillwegetyoutobrisbane”?

The Australian captain would be cursing himself for getting into such a slugfest with India's top off spinner, then seeing his team end up on the losing side.

Paine is set to face a lot of flak on his leadership skill, tactics and missed catches, stumping during the series. Paineful experience!

World Test Championship Top Ranking

Coach Shastri and Rahane are saying they did not send any instruction to Pant when he was batting out in the middle.

Promote & earn moneyTV commentators were discussing the animated messages being passed to Pant by Saha and Prithvi Shaw, who took turns to run to the crease as drinks carrying men.

Pant's own admission suggests he went for the win because he has been told by the team management that he's a match winner.

Had India drawn the Test, they would have gone down to No 3 position on the World Test Championhip table, behind Australia and challenger New Zealand.

Because they won the 4th Test at the Gabba and with it the series, they are now perched atop with 71.66% percentage of points (PCT).

India earned 30 points from the win. A draw would have fetched them 10 points. They have now pushed Australia to the third position with England breathing down their neck.

See the latest standings here: World Test Championship standing

Hardik, Ishant under scrutiny

The manner with which Shardul Thakur batted and bowled and the hunger shown by Mohammed Siraj has opened the return of allrounder Hardik Pandya and pace spearhead Ishant Sharma to scrutiny.

Although both, Hardik and Ishant have won matches for India, they will still have to show the spunk with which Shardul and Siraj, both rookies, played with in Australia.

They'll have to get their 'A' Game to the field against England.

Microsoft, Google CEOs Compliment Win

FontExplorer X - Makes Everyone an ExpertMuch of United States does not know anything about cricket. However, there's a sizeable Indian diaspora who are cricket lovers and ardent Team India fans.

Among these fans are Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Looks like both were awake, about 2am in the United States, to watch Rishabh leave the Aussies panting.

If India continue to play this invincible brand of cricket hereon, you may see interest in the sport growing in the US of A! 

IPL Auction and Fate of Senior Players 

The IPL 2021 auction is scheduled to be held in February between the first and second Test matches versus England. 

The franchises had (20 Jan, 2021) Wednesday's deadline to reveal the list of players they will release. 

Among the early news that came in, the Royal Challengers Bangalore announced they have released Umesh Yadav while the Chennai Super Kings said they have let go Harbhajan Singh. 

Apart from these Indian players, a long list of foreign players have been released, among them Steve Smith, have been traded or the players themselves have said they'll be unavailable to play in this year's edition. 

Dravid, the man behind Brisbane Glory? 

Indian cricket's The Wall, Rahul Dravid is in the spotlight after Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj played pivotal roles in orchestrating their team's record win at the Gabba.

Pant and Sundar were part of the India Under-19 team of 2016 and were coached by Dravid. 

Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill and  Mohammed Siraj seem to have also benefited from the former India captain at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru where Dravid is the Director of Cricket Operations.

Apart from earning the title of The Wall, Dravid was also known as Mr Dependable for rescuing his team out of the woods when others failed.

With their exploits, Pant, Gill, Siraj and Vihari have shown that they can emulate Dravid and become Mr Dependables for Team India.

Such healthy transition of players to the senior ranks works well for India.

Data Driven Training And Coaching 

Speaking of Dravid, the former India captain believes and backs data to assist a player improve.

"Look at Natarajan, for example, a young bowler from Tamil Nadu. I'm sure that over the last few years, he has seen the value that a yorker brings and he's seen the importance of a yorker. 

System Shield Antivirus & AntispywareAnd he has gone away and practiced it. He has developed that skill and that skill has got him into the Indian team. So, it's just phenomenal to see how the data has come along and how people are now beginning to use it," Dravid told ESPNCricinfo in an interview. 

How would have data helped him as a player? "I'd like to believe that I'd have seen it positively as an opportunity to improve and grow," Dravid said.

You may think, someone should have showed Rohit Sharma data on his batting overseas and suggested remedies. India were fortunate, his failure in Australia was overcome by the younger players.

There's been buzz on the social media over Rohit's poor shot selection in Brisbane and his counter that he'd play such a shot again. There are cricket fans who have reignited the clamor to rest the explosive batsman.

However, these cricket fans should know that the Mumbai Indians skipper's batting average at home is more than 50. Shastri and the BCCI, led by Sourav Ganguly will have none of such clamor on ignoring Rohit against England.

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