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Favourites India to start World Cup preparation with WI series

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India vs west indies
India vs West Indies (File Photo)

Guwahati, Oct 20: Hot favourites India will look to start their preparation for next year’s 50-over World Cup in style and iron out the weaknesses in the side when they take on lowly West Indies in the five-match ODI series starting here on Sunday.

India will play 18-odd One-Day Internationals (ODI) before the World Cup in England.

Among the issues they would want to address, India’s middle order is a problem especially a number four position where many have been tried but with little success.

Explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is expected to make his ODI debut, following his exploits in tests.

The 21-year-old Pant, who cracked a ton at the Oval in his debut series against England, continued his rich form with consecutive scores of 92 against the West Indies in the two-match Test series.

This series will also see skipper Virat Kohli making the return to the fold after taking a break during the Asia Cup which India won.

Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will once again be under the pump as he has time and again struggled to replicate his old form.

Dhoni was far from his best in the Asia Cup, scoring 77 runs in four innings with an average of 19.25 and a strike rate of 62.09.

With Pant now also making the team regularly, Dhoni will be under more pressure to perform.

India have struggled to find a proper No.4 batsman and this will also present an opportunity to Ambati Rayudu, who is expected to bat at the position, to stake a claim in the side more regularly.

Rayudu and will look to carry forward his fine form of Asia Cup where he scored 175 runs, averaging 43.75 from six innings.

India will also have the services of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in the lower-order and in the absence of injured Hardik Pandya, he will have to step-up.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will once again be expected to wreak havoc with their spin while fast bowlers Mohammad Shami and an in-form Umesh Yadav will share the workload in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who have been rested for the first two ODIs.

The tourists are expected to put up a better show in white ball cricket unlike the Tests.

But the withdrawal of big-hitting opener Evin Lewis from the ODI series citing personal reasons is a body for the side which is already missing Chris Gayle and Andre Russell.

To make matters worse, coach Stuart Law, who is into his penultimate assignment with the team, will not be allowed in the dressing room in the first two ODIs due to a breach of ICC’s code of conduct.

West Indies will bank on veteran Marlon Samuels, captain and all-rounder Jason Holder and pacer Kemar Roach.

The squad features three uncapped players — opener Chandrapaul Hemraj, all-rounder Fabian Allen and pacer Oshane Thomas.

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Lokesh Rahul, Umesh Yadav.

West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas and Obed McCoy.

IANS

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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed racially abuses Andile Phehlukwayo

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Durban, Jan 23 : Pakistan cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed stirred a controversy when he racially abused South Africa pacer Andile Phehlukwayo during the second One-Day International (ODI)
in Kingsmead, Durban .

Ahmed was seen to be racially abusing South African all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo who played a key role in his side’s victory over their opposition in Kingsmead, Durban. He was heard to be referring to Phehlukwayo as kaala (black).

Phehlukwayo and Rassie van der Dussen put together a 127-run stand as South Africa defeated Pakistan by five wickets on Tuesday.

The duo came together when the Proteas were struggling at 80/5 in the 15th over while chasing a target of 204 runs.

The partnership apparently frustrated the Pakistanis and Sarfraz gave vent to his feelings in the 37th over of the hosts’ innings when Phehlukwayo was facing Shaheen Afridi.

As Phehlukwayo ambled across to the non-striker’s end while taking a single, the Pakistan captain could be clearly heard saying on the stump mike: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” (Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What prayer have you said today?)

The comment sparked a storm of criticism on social media with a host of people condemning Sarfraz’s comment.

Former star fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar called on Sarfraz to tender an apology to Phehlukwayo.

“This is not acceptable as a Pakistani. I guess he did this in the heat of the moment. He should tender a public apology,” the former Pakistan international said in a video on Twitter.

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One of our most balanced performances, Says Captain Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli

Napier, Jan 23: India skipper Virat Kohli said their 8-wicket win over New Zealand in the first contest of the five-match ODI rubber here was one of their “most balanced” performances.

Chasing a meagre revised 156-run target from 49 overs, opener Shikhar Dhawan (75 not out) starred with the bat to help his side cross the line with ease and 85 balls to spare. Skipper Virat Kohli contributed with 45 runs before falling.

Earlier, India rode the exceptional bowling effort of chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (4/39) and Mohammed Shami (3/19) to restrict the hosts to a paltry 157 runs.

“It was one of our most balanced performances. With the ball, couldn’t have asked for anything better. When I lost the toss, I thought a score of about 300 par but the bowlers were brilliant.

“To get them out for 150-odd on this pitch was brilliant. Belief in his (Shami) abilities is key and as he said, the fast bowling unit is extremely confident of knocking any team out.

“The lines and lengths bowled by the spinners were brilliant because the pitch only slowed down in the second half and they were really good,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Praising Dhawan’s innings, he said: “Really important innings for Shikhar and we spoke during the sun break that he needed to finish the game to get some momentum. He is a dangerous player when in rhythm.”

Commenting on whether he’s experienced a sunstrike break before, Kohli said: “Never in my life, this rule wasn’t there in 2014 and I actually got out in a similar situation.”

Man-of-the-Match Mohammed Shami lauded India’s team effort, saying the teammates enjoy each other’s success and that is the key.

“Till now, whatever we have achieved has been a team effort. We enjoy each other’s success and are able to execute our plans.”

“If we have a plan A that doesn’t work, there’s always a Plan B. As a bowling unit, we decide things together. Injuries changed my outlook. I made a comeback after a long time and spent a good time at our rehab centre which is world class,” he said.

“The management and support staff have been really cooperative, as has been my captain who has always encouraged me. Pitches were similar to Australia but the grounds there were bigger and climate was warmer, here the venues are smaller with pleasant temperatures. Important to adapt and we’re enjoying it.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson blamed the batsmen, saying they failed to adjust to the conditions and the surface and their poor show with the bat was not due to lack of match practice.

“Certainly wasn’t our best effort. India, we expected them to be good and they really were on top of the game. The surface wasn’t as traditional as we thought it to be,” he said.

“India bowled well, particularly the lengths hit by their slower bowlers were really good. Getting to just 150ish on a pitch where 250-plus was needed, doesn’t help.

“I think we didn’t adjust well enough to the surface, don’t think it was the lack of match practice that cost us. Their whole bowling unit contributed well and they need credit for that.”

“We also did well with the ball, showed enough intent and will hope to take those things forward,” Williamson added.

IANS

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1st ODI: All-round effort helps India thrash New Zealand

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1st ODI , Ind Vs NZ
1st ODI , Ind Vs NZ. Image : ICC Twitter Handle

Napier, Jan 23: A brilliant all-round effort helped India thrash New Zealand by eight wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method in the first One Day International match at the McLean Park here on Wednesday.

Asked to field first, the Indian bowlers were right on the money as they restricted the hosts to a paltry score and then Indian batters displayed a clinical performance to hand India a 1-0 lead in the five match series.

Chasing 157, Indian openers Rohit Sharma (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (75 not out) started on a positive note, forging a crucial 41-runs partnership before Rohit was dismissed by Doug Bracewell in the 10th over. He was caught by Martin Guptil in the slips.

Just after the fall of Rohit’s wicket, sun stopped the play for around 30 minutes. The sun rays were directly getting into the players eyes which prompted the umpires to suspend the proceedings.

The break saw the match officials reduce the match by one over and the new target for India was revised to 156 from 49 overs.

After the restart, skipper Virat Kohli (45) joined Dhawan in the middle and the duo hammered the New Zealand bowlers all round the park. In the process, Dhawan reached the landmark of 5000 ODI runs and became the second fastest Indian to reach the milestone.

It seemed like the Delhi duo will remain unbeaten and complete the match with ease but in the 29th over, Kohli was sent packing by Lockie Ferguson when scoreboard was reading 132. He was caught behind by Tom Latham.

New batsman Ambati Rayudu (13 not out) and Dhawan then joined hands and completed the proceeding with 85 balls remaining.

For New Zealand, Ferguson and Bracewell took one wicket each.

Earlier, India rode chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and pacer Mohammed Shami’s exceptional bowling effort to restrict New Zealand to a paltry 157 runs.

While Kuldeep’s figures were 4/39, Shami was also phenomenal with the leather, scalping three Kiwi wickets conceding just 19 runs from his six overs.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedar Jadhav picked two and one wicket, respectively.

Other than New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (64), no other batsmen put up a fight against the disciplined Indian attack.

Opting to bat, the hosts had the worst possible start as Shami struck early sending back both the openers — Martin Guptill (5) and Colin Munro (8), cheaply.

Newcomers Williamson and Ross Taylor (24) then tried to rescue their side from the early damage, taking New Zealand past the 50-run mark in 13.3 overs.

However, Taylor’s stay was cut short by Chahal in the 15th over with the hosts at 52/3.

With the addition of just 24 runs in the Kiwi scorecard, Chahal struck again to dismiss incoming batsman Tom Latham (11). Jadhav and Shami then joined the party as they sent back Henry Nicholls (12) and Mitchell Santner (14), leaving the hosts reeling at 133/6.

Williamson, however, continued to show resistance and kept one end safe, but lacked support from the other end.

While trying to clear the fence in the 34th over off a Kuldeep delivery, the Kiwi skipper misread the ball and offered a simple catch to Vijay Shankar at long-on.

Kuldeep then put the final nail in the coffin, picking the tailenders — Doug Bracewell (7), Lockie Ferguson (0) and Trent Boult (1) in quick succession to wrap up the host in just 38 overs.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 157 all out (Kane Williamson 64, Ross Taylor 24; Kuldeep Yadav 4/39) vs India 156/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 75 not out, Virat Kohli 45; Doug Bracewell 1/23).

IANS

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