Mumbai: Indian captain Virat Kohli faced stiff criticism both Down Under and at home after his side’s crushing loss to Australia in the second Test.
Former Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson called Kohli “disrespectful” and “silly” over his heated exchanges with fellow skipper Tim Paine during the Perth Test.
Former India great Sunil Gavaskar meanwhile hit out at “selection blunders” and the Indian Express daily slammed Kohli’s “explicit lack of confidence” in some of his players.
Kohli and Paine exchanged barbs, at one point prompting intervention from the umpire, during the game that Australia won by 146 runs to level the four-match series 1-1.
It was reported that Kohli belittled Paine as just “a stand-in captain” — a claim angrily denied by India’s team management.
The retired Johnson said the famously combative Kohli’s antics were unnecessary.
“At the end of the match, you should be able to look each other in the eyes, shake hands and say ‘great contest’,” he wrote in a column for Fox Sports. “Virat Kohli could not do that with Tim Paine, shaking the Australian captain’s hand but barely making eye contact with him. To me, that is disrespectful.
“Kohli gets away with more than most cricketers simply because he is Virat Kohli and he gets placed on a pedestal but this Test left the Indian captain looking silly,” he added.
After the game both Paine and Kohli played down their on-field sledging, which was picked up by stump microphones.
Kohli described it as simply banter that was part and parcel of Test cricket.
“As long as there is no swearing the line doesn’t get crossed. And no personal attacks,” he said.
He added that the remarks in Perth were nothing compared to their Australian tour in 2014, when he claimed to have been called a “spoilt brat”.
But Johnson said Kohli’s behaviour made a mockery of his pre-series claims that he was a changed man and didn’t plan to initiate any confrontations.
“What we saw this Test says otherwise,” he said. “From my experiences with him and what I am seeing as an observer now, not much has changed. It was disappointing and that is not the only area where he let himself down.”
Johnson and Kohli have history. In 2014 at Melbourne, Johnson threw the ball that hit Kohli in the back when attempting a run out, sparking a heated debate.
Gavaskar said that the roles of Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri need to be assessed if India fail to perform in the final two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.
He said that since India’s tour of South Africa at the start of the year, picking the wrong players “has lost matches which could’ve been won.”
If India fail to win the next two matches, “the selectors need to think whether we are getting any benefit from this lot — the captain, coach and support staff,”
Gavaskar told Aaj Tak TV news network.
The Indian Express said that the biggest bone of contention in Perth was not selection but that Kohli “has little confidence in some of his teammates”.
“It’s a viciously self-fulfilling prophecy: the more you think they can’t do it, they won’t be able to do it,” the paper said.
It cited the non-selection of Ravindra Jadeja, and Kohli saying that fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would probably not have played even if he had been fit.
“Kohli quite rightly rates (Australian spinner Nathan) Lyon highly, but one wonders how Ashwin and Jadeja would feel about their captain’s assessment of them,” the paper added.
“India can still win this series, but for that to happen, Kohli will have to back his players. “
UEFA probe Ronaldo for ‘improper conduct’ over goal celebration
London : UEFA opened an investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ Champions League comeback win against Atletico Madrid last week.
European football’s governing body said Ronaldo was facing charges of “improper conduct” after he mimicked Diego Simeone’s crotch-grabbing gesture in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win that sent Juventus through 3-2 on aggregate.
After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone’s gesture after the Spaniards’ 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.
A decision will be taken by UEFA on March 21.
Juventus take on Dutch club Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals over two legs, on April 10 in Amsterdam and April 16 in Turin.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he is confident Ronaldo will not be fined or suspended.
“I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands.
I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won’t be a ban,” said Allegri.
Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture.
“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” said the Argentinian coach.
Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo is the record goal scorer in the European competition with 124 goals in 160 matches.
Sachin echoes Virat Kohli’s workload views
New Delhi: There cannot be a uniform structure for workload management during the Indian Premier League as each and every player will have different set of requirements, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar said .
There have been a lot of discussions about how the World Cup-bound players need to effectively manage their workload during a demanding tournament like the IPL, and the maestro has his own take on it.
“Preparation before the World Cup is different for each player and so their workload management will also be different,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar agreed with skipper Virat Kohli who recently said that it is up to the players to realise the kind of load they are taking as well as the form they are in. “To me, momentum is important. Every individual should be smart enough to assess if he needs to take a break or he needs to play games to stay in the thick of things. So the responsibility is on the individual to take a call,” said the world’s highest run-getter in Tests and One-day Internationals.
He then gave an example of how workload management will be different for different players. “As a pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s workload will be very different from a pure batsman like Virat Kohli and a wicket-keeper batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. All these players have a lot of experience and they will certainly make the right call,” said Tendulkar, who is a mentor with IPL’s most popular franchise Mumbai Indians.
Tendulkar echoed what Kohli had said a couple of days earlier during a media interaction in Bengaluru. “If I’m able to play 10, 12 or 15 games, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest,” the Indian skipper had said.
“Someone else’s body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event.”
Kohli had said that it is up to individual players to deal with the issue to keep their body fit and be in contention for a place in the World Cup-bound squad. “From a responsibility point of view, all the Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and their workloads,” he said.
“And to continue the frame of mind we have created in the Indian team – strive towards excellence and improve every day. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind,” he said.
Kerala Blasters sign Rahul KP
Mumbai : Kerala Blasters have wrapped up a deal to bring Indian Arrows forward Rahul Kannoly Praveen on board for the 2019-20 season, Goal has learnt.
The 19-year-old forward has become the fifth former India U-17 player to be roped in by Blasters after Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Rakip, Nongdamba Naorem and Jeakson Singh.
Thrissur-born Rahul featured for Luis Norton de Matos’ Indian team in the U-17 World Cup held in India. He continued his development with AIFF’s Indian Arrows in the I-League and impressed in patches last season, scoring two goals in 17 appearances.
He has stepped up his game at Arrows this season under Floyd Pinto and contributed greatly to the team’s eighth-placed finish under the Indian head coach. He has three goals to his name this season.
Blessed with pace and dazzling feet, Rahul is good at taking on his opponent from wide areas and also has an eye for a pass. He was impressive against Gokulam Kerala and scored a terrific volley in the I-League match at Kozhikode earlier this season. He also featured in the Super Cup qualifier against Kerala Blasters as Indian Arrows won 2-0.
In what seems like a much-needed move after a disapponting season in the ISL, Kerala Blasters, under the new leadership of CEO Viren D’Silva, are off to a good start off the field and have added a promising local talent to the squad.