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Kohli leaves Lara behind in all-time ICC ranking points for Test batsmen

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Dubai: India captain and ICC Cricketer of the Year Virat Kohli moved ahead of West Indies legend Brian Lara in the all-time career-high player rankings for Test batsmen by earning 12 points from the Johannesburg Test.
Kohli had started the third and final Test on 900 points and earned 12 points following contributions of 54 and 41. This means he is now on 912 points and in 26th position on the all-time list, which is headed by Don Bradman (961 points). Current number-one ranked batsman Steve Smith is second in the all-time list with 947 points.
While moving from 31st to 26th position, Kohli has leapfrogged Lara (911), Kevin Pietersen (909), Hashim Amla (907), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (901) and Michael Clarke (900).
Kohli now has his compatriot and ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Sunil Gavaskar, who peaked at 916 points following The Oval Test against England in 1979, firmly within his sights.
The India captain’s next chance to gain more points will be either the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June or the five-Test series against England in August/September.
Other batsmen to improve their rankings after the Johannesburg Test include Amla in seventh (up by one place), Dean Elgar in 12th (up by two places) and Ajinkya Rahane in 18th (up by five places).
Those heading in the wrong direction are Faf du Plessis in 14th (down by two places), Lokesh Rahul in 20th (down by two places), Quinton de Kock in 27th (down by seven places) and Aiden Markram in 48th (down by 10 places).
There is no change in the top five of the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, where James Anderson comfortably leads Kagiso Rabada, Ravindra Jadeja, Josh Hazlewood and Ravichandran Ashwin.
The only bowlers inside the top 20 to improve their rankings are Morne Morkel, who has moved up two places to ninth, and Mohammed Shami, who has risen two places to a career-best 15th position.
India’s trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are also on the charge.
Kumar has entered the top 20 for the first time in his career after lifting two places to take 20th position, Ishant Sharma is now in 26th spot after rising three places and Bumrah is at a career-high 46th position after vaulting 36 places.
Kumar and Shami have also improved their rankings in the allrounders’ list, which is still headed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. Kumar has lifted eight places to join Rabada in 12th position and Shami has moved from 27th to 17th.


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Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup

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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 Indias hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitalsseven-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.

Named 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.

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Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat

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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 Limbombes 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.

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Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal

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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.

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