Chennai: Australian fast bowling great Glenn McGrath is highly impressed with Indian pacers’ performance during the Test series in South Africa and backed them to maintain the momentum in the upcoming tours of England and Australia.
Indian pacers bowled their heart out in the series which the visitors lost 1-2.
“They say you can’t win Test matches consistently if you can’t take 20 wickets. The bowlers India have at the moment are looking good, especially (Bhuvneshwar) Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit
Bumrah as well as the spinners,” McGrath, who is Director of Coaching at MRF Pace Foundation, told reporters here.
He said Hardik Pandya was also doing a good job.
“Obviously Pandya is doing his job as well. There is no shortage of bowlers. So things are looking good for India at the moment.”
McGrath also heaped praise on U-19 star Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who attracted a lot of attention with his left-arm pace in the World Cup in New Zealand. It helped him bag a lucrative deal with KKR for the upcoming IPL.
“He has got some good real pace. I was impressed (with his performance) in the U-19 WC. He has got selected for KKR which is another bonus for him. I think he has got a bright career in front of him.
“For someone so young he is able to generate high speeds which will put stress on his body. As long as he looks after his body and concentrates on what he wants to do, he will get the results. He can’t get lazy. It’s tough to get to the top but it’s tougher to stay there,” the legendary paceman, who finished with 563 wickets from 124 Tests, said.
On what India had to do well to succeed on the forthcoming tour of England, the former Aussie paceman said it is about getting used to the conditions and adapt to Duke balls.
“It’s just about getting used to the conditions. We always say bowl with good control, hit the deck top of off-stump. In England you have to hit that right length. There will be seam movement but the pitches won’t be as quick as what is in Australia. It is different to what it is in India.
“If they can adapt using that Duke cricket balls, I think the Indian bowlers will enjoy bowling there,” he added.
On India’s tour of Australia later this year and if the team stood a chance, McGrath said despite the good performance in South Africa, Australia would win.
“No. They don’t stand a chance of winning (laughs). There are positive signs there without a doubt. They played well in South Africa. I don’1t think SA is quite the team it used to be. But you still have to give credit to India. They had done well in those conditions. It’s different to what they have back home. The signs are good but my prediction will be the same as always. 2-0 for Australia,” he said.
McGrath, who took over as director of coaching at the famed MRF Pace Foundation from compatriot Dennis Lillee, said he was delighted to see several of the academy’s trainees doing well and earning IPL contracts.
“Basil Thampi is selected into the Indian team. Seven of the MRF trainees are in different IPL teams. KM Asif has been picked by CSK. I think it is a big positive for the Pace Foundation,” he said.
The Aussie legend is in the city to impart coaching to the trainees till March 17.
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.