Mumbai: Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar recently opened up on Virat Kohli-led India’s chances in South Africa, saying that the upcoming long tour will be a challenge.
The Men in Blue are currently in the rainbow nation, as they prepare to play the first Test against Faf du Plessis-led South Africa side on Friday.
“It will be a good challenge to play in seaming conditions in South Africa and England. It’s about the Indian team and not about any individual. As a team, India is very well prepared,” he was quoted saying to Hindustan Times.
He, however, continued that captain Virat Kohli should play his normal game and stick to the basics.
“Virat Kohli will succeed if the team succeeds. Virat should just play his normal game and stick to the basics. The team should rally around him. India can only succeed if they can put up good totals. Runs will matter and not only Virat, but the entire team has to contribute. So, it’s not only about Virat Kohli,” he continued.
Star batsmen AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla have been in fine form over the years, and he stressed on the fact that the duo must score in every match if the team are to succeed.
“If South Africa have to be successful, then De Villiers and Hashim Amla must score in every match. Du Plessis is the third man in the pecking order, but it’s about De Villiers and Amla. If India can get them out early, then that’s a big job done. De Villiers is the key man for sure. South Africa will now feel the absence of a Kallis, Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher,” he stated.
The former Mumbai batsman also admitted to the fact that during his time in the Indian team, the team did not have the right kind of balance like now.
“In my 24 years with the Indian Test team we never had the balance this team has. The man who brings in such versatility is Hardik Pandya. A guy who can bowl 17-18 overs and is perfectly capable of scoring runs at No 7 or 8 is an asset. This is going to be Pandya’s biggest series and Virat will be banking on him.”
He further stressed on Pandya’s importance in the team.
“For the first time, India can afford to play with three genuine seamers. Never before could we think of three pacers and a fourth one to fall back on — not even during Kapil Dev’s time could we enjoy this luxury. At best we would play with three quicks with Manoj Prabhakar being one of them. But this team is just so well balanced,” he added.
“I don’t think our players are scared of either pace or bounce. They may have played a lot of cricket on Indian wickets but that doesn’t mean they are not equipped to play on quick surfaces. Our batsmen are mentally very strong,” he said.
Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup
Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to India
s hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.
Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitals
seven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.
Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.
“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.
“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”
Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.
man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.
“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”
Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.
Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat
London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.
Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombe
s late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.
Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.
It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.
The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.
With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.
Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.
Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.
Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.
Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal
Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.
East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.
However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.
“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.
“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.
The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.
East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.