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Dhoni only wanted to make way for Pant in T20s, remains integral part in ODIs: Kohli

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Thirvananthapuram: India captain Virat Kohli reiterated that Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains an integral part of the ODI team and the veteran wicket-keeper batsman decided not to play the upcoming T20s only to make way for the much younger Rishabh Pant.

“I think the selectors have already addressed this if I’m not wrong. And he’s been spoken to, firstly… So, I don’t see any reason why I should be sitting here and explaining that. I think the selectors have come out and explained exactly what happened,” said Kohli at the post-match press conference after guiding India to another series win at home.

“I was not part of that conversation so… It is what the selectors explained. I think people are putting too much variables into the situation, which is not the case I can assure you of that. He’s still a very integral part of this team and he just feels that in the T20 format, someone like Rishabh can get more chances.”

 

Dhoni has been dropped for the upcoming T20 series against the West Indies and Australia and there is a possibility that he never plays for India again in the shortest format.

“He anyway plays the ODIs for us regularly, so… From that point of view, he’s only trying to help the youngsters; nothing that anything that other people are thinking and I as captain can certainly assure you of that,” Kohli said.

On the positives from the West Indies series, which India won 3-1, Kohli said he was happy with the way Ambati Rayudu had played at No.4 and the manner in which young Khaleel Ahmed bowled.

“Those two things is something that we were looking for a while; someone to back-up Bhuvi and Bumrah – someone to pick up wickets and bowl in good areas. Having a left-arm seamer gives you variation in the attack. Khaleel was really good and Rayudu of course grabbing his opportunities, batting with maturity, batting with composure. It is always good to plug in the areas that you are looking at,” he added.

On the areas of concern for the team in the run-up to the World Cup in England next year, the India skipper said it was about putting in consistent efforts on the field.

“If we can be consistent as a fielding side, it can give us more consistency overall in our skills department as well. In the field, we can still improve a lot. We have spoken to the people in the practice sessions who need to do the extra effort to sharpen their fielding, and they are putting in that extra effort.

“That is the only area we feel we can get better at. Obviously, batting and bowling are big variables. Fielding is something that is controllable and you need to get that from all the 11 players in the field.”


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ICC World Cup 2019: Team India to don new jersey for away matches

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The hype surrounding the ongoing World Cup in England and Wales is on an escalation with the tournament only a week away. The mega event is scheduled to get underway on May 30 and Team India is deemed as one of the favourites to get their hands on the coveted trophy. All the teams wear special kits for the World Cup and the Indian team also had unveiled their jersey for the tournament, however, there’s an addition to it.

As per the ICC’s World Cup schedule, the teams have home and away matches. The Men in Blue will not actually be completely Blue when they play those away games. The Indian team will play with a new and differently coloured clothing for all the away matches in the tournament. Their first match is against South Africa on June 5 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

Their away matches are versus Afghanistan on June 22 at The Rose Bowl in Southampton and versus hosts England on June 30 at the Edgbaston in Birmingham. As many as four teams- England, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan- have blue as their preferred colour. However, since England are the hosts, the other teams will have to change their colours when they lock horns with the Eoin Morgan-led Brits.

 

Different outfits for Team India

India’s jersey is yet to be released and will see the players wear a darker blue in the front, whereas orange will dominate the sleeves as well as the back.

On the other hand, teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa have a common colour – green jerseys. As a result, these teams will also need to look for alternatives for a few matches in the tournament. Australia, Windies and New Zealand should not have to change the colours since they already having distinct jerseys.

The opening match of the World Cup will be played between hosts England and South Africa at the Kennington Oval in London. Apart from India, England are also on the expected winner’s list for the 50-overs tournament as they are ICC’s number-one ranked ODI team at the moment.

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ICC World Cup 2019: Sachin Tendulkar picks his semi-finalists ahead of WC

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Legendary India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has given his opinion into which four teams he feels will enter the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2019 which is scheduled to be played between May 30 and July 14 in England and Wales.

“India, England, Australia should be in the semis. The fourth could be one of New Zealand or Pakistan,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo. ((Complete coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019))

Earlier, speaking to Hindustan Times, Tendulkar had said India have a well-balanced squad and they are capable of pulling off something special in UK.

 

“We have a balanced team which can go out and do something special. The whole team has to chip in, there will be some performers (in different situations, who must say) ‘this is my game; I am batting well or bowling well’. Support is needed from the other end also,” the Master Blaster said.

Tendulkar also heaped praise on wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni and said he has a big role to play for Team India.

“Not only in batting, also behind the stumps. He has got the best view; the batters are always looking for the gaps and what areas to target. Standing behind the batsmen, he can see that. He has plenty of suggestions to make and that would come in handy,” Tendulkar said.

“His contribution will be in the form of an experienced keeper observing the game and making suggestions. Also, his experience while batting—how to play those critical moments, how to rotate the strike, when to strike, and when to just build a partnership—will count.”

The first match of the World Cup will be played between England and South Africa on May 30 while India open their campaign against South Africa on June 5.

Before that, the ‘Blue Brigade’ will take on New Zealand and Bangaldesh in two practice matches on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.

India’s 15-member squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami.

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Shakib tops ICC ODI all-rounders list

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Dubai: Senior Bangladesh cricketer Shakib Al Hasan Wednesday jumped to the top of the latest MRF Tyres ICC ODI rankings for all-rounders, which doesn’t feature a single Indian in the top-10 chart.

Shakib, 32, grabbed the top spot just ahead of the ODI World Cup after showcasing fine form during the tri-nation series in Ireland, which Bangladesh famously won to claim their first title in a multi-nation tournament.

In the three matches of the series, Shakib totalled 140 runs, including two unbeaten half-centuries and also picked up two wickets.

 

Shakib now has 359 points, 20 clear of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, the previous holder of the top ranking, who has now slipped to No. 2.

Rashid’s Afghanistan team-mate Mohammad Nabi completes the top three, with 319 points.

Pakistan are the only other team to have two players in the top 10, with Imad Wasim at No. 4 and Mohammad Hafeez claiming the seventh spot.

They are separated by New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner (No.5) and England’s Chris Woakes, who leapfrogged four places to No. 6.

West Indies captain Jason Holder is their top-ranked all-rounder at number eight spot followed by Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza and Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka.England’s Ben Stokes missed out on the top 10 by one spot, finishing eight points behind Mathews.

Kedar Jadhav, who is part of India’s World Cup team and is recovering from a shoulder injury, is the best-placed Indian at joint 12th spot alongside South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo and Moeen Ali of England.

Hardik Pandya completes the top 20 list.

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