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Kapil Dev questions ‘in-form’ Rahul’s absence from Test team

New Zealand were completely whitewashed in the five-match T20I series. However, they made a strong comeback and went on to win the three ODIs and have now won the first Test in the two-Test series.

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New Delhi, Feb 25 : Former India skipper Kapil Dev has criticised Virat Kohli’s boys following their thrashing in the Test series opener in Wellington, a game which they lost by 10 wickets at the Basin Reserve on Monday.

“We have to praise New Zealand, they are playing very good cricket. The three ODIs and this Test match, they have been excellent. If we analyse this match critically, well, I do not understand how one can make so many changes. There is a new team in almost every match. No one in the team is permanent, if there is no security over your place, it will affect the form of the players,” Kapil told ABP News.

The Indian batting line-up, which boasts of players like Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, failed in both the innings at the Basin Reserve — a reason which Kohli himself admitted for the reason for their downfall against the Black Caps.

“Such big names in the batting order, if you cannot score even 200 runs in 2 innings, you have not been able to conquer conditions. You have to focus more on planning and strategy,” Dev added.

New Zealand were completely whitewashed in the five-match T20I series. However, they made a strong comeback and went on to win the three ODIs and have now won the first Test in the two-Test series.

Kapil was also surprised at the non-inclusion of K.L. Rahul — who was the Player of the Series in T20Is — in the Test squad.

“I do not understand. There is a lot of difference between when we played and what is happening now. When you build a team, you have to give confidence to players. When there are so many changes made, it does not make sense. Management believes in format-specific players. Rahul is in great form, he is sitting out, it does not make sense. I believe when a player is in form, he needs to play,” he added.

Team India will now aim to level the series when they take on the Black Caps in the second and final Test beginning Saturday at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

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COVID-19: PM Modi urges sports personalities to keep spreading awareness

In fact, Kohli recently came out with a video where he requested everyone to stay indoors and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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New Delhi, April 3 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to eminent sports personalities that included the likes of BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, badminton world champion P.V. Sindhu and chess legend Viswanathan Anand as the country fights the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments said that the Prime Minister spoke to them about ways in which there can be more awareness creation and more efforts made to reach every citizen in the country so that the directives issued by the health department is followed by one and all.

“The Prime Minister had an interaction with not just cricketers, but also sports personalities from other fields. The basic idea was to ensure that they can then go ahead and pass on the message of staying safe and staying indoors to the masses. The PM acknowledged the contribution the sportspersons have made in spreading awareness and said that this is a battle that the country has to fight together and no better way than to get sports personalities to reach out to their fans and followers further,” the source said.

The sports personalities have been already doing their bit as they have not only donated funds to help fight the pandemic, but have also spread awareness messages on their social media platforms.

In fact, Kohli recently came out with a video where he requested everyone to stay indoors and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Hello, I am Virat Kohli. Today I am speaking to you not as an India player, but as a citizen of the country. What I have seen in the last few days — people moving in groups, not abiding by curfew rules, not following lockdown guidelines — it shows that we are taking the fight very lightly. But this fight is not as easy as it looks or feels.

“I wish to request everyone to please maintain social distancing and follow it. Also we should follow the directives given by the government and just for once think how you would feel if due to your negligence someone in your family gets affected by the virus. Please follow the experts as they are working very hard. It will only be successful when we follow our duties rather than going out in groups and breaking rules. This for me is an act against the country’s well-being. So now, I along with all of you wish to see things improve and please follow the directives of the government. Jai Hind!”

A list of 49 names from all prominent sports were compiled for the interaction with PM Modi. They are: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Cricket), Virat Kohli (Cricket), Rohit Sharma (Cricket), Mamatha Poojary (Kabaddi), Sourav Ganguly (Cricket), Sachin Tendulkar (Cricket), Virender Sehwag (Cricket), Mohd Shami (Cricket), KL Rahul (Cricket), Cheteshwar Pujara (Cricket), Yuvraj Singh (Cricket), Zaheer Khan (Cricket), PT Usha (Athletics), Yogeshwar Dutt (Wrestling), Bajrang Punia (Wrestling), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), PV Sindhu (Badminton), Mary Kom (Boxing), Hima Das (Athletics), Viswanathan Anand (Chess), Rani Rampal (Hockey), Deepika Kumari (Archery), Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting), Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Sharad Kumar (Para Athletics), Apurvi Chandela (Shooting), Manu Bhaker (Shooting), Tarundeep Rai (Archery), Bhaichung Bhutia (Football), Sardara Singh (Hockey)Achanta Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis), Amit Panghal (Boxing), Gagan Narang (Shooting), Anju Bobby George (Athletics), Rohan Bopanna (Tennis), Ankita Raina (Tennis), Sai Praneeth (Badminton), Srihari Natraj (Swimming), Harmeet Desai (Table Tennis), Abhishek Verma (Shooting), Avinash Sable (Athletics), KT Irfan (Athletics), Lovlina Boroghain (Boxing), Simranjeet Kaur (Boxing), Jeremy (Weightlifting), Bhavani Devi (Fencing), Pramod Bhagat (Para Badminton).

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Warne names Akram, Fleming as captains of his greatest Pakistan, New Zealand XIs

The pace battery consists of Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis while off-break bowler Saqlain Mushtaq and leggie Mushtaq Ahmed completed the spin department.

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Shane Warne

New Delhi, April 2 : Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne on Thursday picked the greatest Pakistan and New Zealand XI he played against during his playing days.

Warne picked Wasim Akram as the captain of the Pakistani XI. “Akram was the best bowler that I saw, his skill with the ball was exceptional,” Warne said on Instagram.

He picked Saeed Anwar to open the innings alongside Aamir Sohail. The middle order comprises of Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan with Moin Khan as the wicket-keeper.

The pace battery consists of Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis while off-break bowler Saqlain Mushtaq and leggie Mushtaq Ahmed completed the spin department.

As for the greatest New Zealand XI, the spin legend picked Stephen Fleming as the skipper. In fact, Warne said that Fleming was the best captain he played against. Alongside Fleming, Warne picked the likes of Shane Bond, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Danny Morrison and Martin Crowe in his best New Zealand XI.

Warne’s greatest Pakistan XI: Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Moin Khan (wk), Wasim Akram (c), Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis.

Warne’s greatest New Zealand XI: John Wright, Brendon McCullum, Andrew Jones, Martin Crowe, Stephen Fleming (c), Nathan Astle, Chris Cairns, Daniel Vettori, Shane Bond, Simon Doull and Danny Morrison

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Enjoy batting with Dhoni, ABD the most: Virat Kohli

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Mumbai, April 2 : M.S. Dhoni and AB de Villiers are the two batters Virat Kohli loves batting with the most, the Indian captain said on Thursday during a social media interaction with former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

“I enjoy batting with those who can run fast with me. So it has to be MS when we play for India together and AB when we play in the IPL for RCB. We don’t even talk while we are batting,” Kohli said during an Instagram live hosted by Pietersen.

Pietersen had previously hosted India’s limited-overs vice captain Rohit Sharma at a time all are indoors due to the 21-day lockdown in the country to battle coronavirus pandemic.

Kohli also spoke about the Indian cricket team being one of the best fielding sides in the world and how he got that culture in the side.

“I was lucky to be in the centre of transition. I got to see what we were lacking and what the world was doing and we needed to catch up. So I was lucky to play with plyeers who were on same page,” Kohli said.

The pair also went down memory lane to talk about their days playing together for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2009 and 2010.

“Right from 2009-10 we had amazing fun at RCB. We hit off well from Day 1. You came in as the big KP a star. We had a gun team with Kallis, Boucher, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid,” Kohli said.

RCB have reached three finals but have never won an IPL. Kohli, as captain of the side, said he feels they deserved a title but added he is not obsessed to win one with the franchise.

“We have reached three finals but haven’t won. We deserve to win a title. At RCB, we get talked about so much as we had stars. The more you think (about winning the IPL), the more it keeps running away from you. There have been added pressure lately but we need to just enjoy and not take pressure.”

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