Malahide (Ireland):Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli wants to “surprise the opposition” by experimenting with his middle order in the remaining T20s against Ireland and the subsequent three-match series against England.
Kohli pushed himself down the order at six in the opening T20, which India won by 76 runs. Suresh Raina came to bat at three and MS Dhoni four after the openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put up a 160-run stand.
“We have already announced that apart from the opening combination we are going to do a lot of experiments in the middle order. We are going to be flexible in the next few T20s. We will look to throw in guys when the situation requires them to come in and try to surprise the opposition,” said Kohli in the post-match presentation.
“It presents the opportunity for the batsmen who couldn’t get the opportunity to bat. The guys who couldn’t get a chance today will get an opportunity in the next match. The guys had a great time in IPL but they need to get time in the middle here too.”
Kohli assured that everyone in the squad will get a game.
“The team management decided to give a go to everyone in the squad. The guys are fine with this decision. We are looking to give everyone game-time and want them to portray the qualities they possess because many guys go on tour and never get an opportunity to play,” said the skipper.
There was not much to complain either after India outplayed Ireland in all departments.
“The opening combination was excellent. The last over bowled by Ireland was terrific. Great effort by Rohit and Shikhar to put us in a good position. And good strikes from MS, Raina and Pandya in the end. Bowlers did a clinical job too,” Kohli added.
The Indian spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal started the UK tour with a bang, taking four and three wickets respectively.
Ireland captain Gary Wilson said his batsmen will have to find a way to play the Indian spinners better.
“They are a world-class side and their lads at the top played beautifully. I expected it to be a good wicket, I did not expect it to spin as it did in the second innings. We could have bowled spinners in the powerplay,” said Wilson.
“You can always do things differently when things don’t go your way. We are going to have a chat to tackle their spinners. James Shannon (opener) had a good match so that is one positive we can take from this match,” he added.
I-League clubs need not worry about future: AIFF chief
Mumbai: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Praful Patel hinted that there could be a merger of the I-League and the Indian Super League following a three-year transition period.
“AFC (Asian Football Confederation) won’t accept a closed league for long. It is the reason why I have proposed a three-year status quo for both leagues to run simultaneously despite AFC not willing to allow it,” Patel told Times of India.
“I would request the I-League clubs to strengthen themselves financially and otherwise in this period. So when the merging and integration happens according to AFC regulations, they would be in a better position. In three years, I-League will be in a position to thrive and be in a good shape with televised matches. Right now the I-League clubs needn’t worry about their future. Ideal state would be when a second division club plays in ISL.”
Last week, the AIFF threw its weight behind a popular franchise-based league by calling on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to award its champions a slot in the continent’s elite club competition.
Currently, the winners of the traditional I-League are awarded the AFC Champions League slot, while the champions of the upstart Indian Super League (ISL) gain entry to the secondary AFC Cup competition.
Patel said he is “fighting” to give I-League clubs a similar platform as the ISL.
“The AIFF has proposed to show all I-League matches in high definition like ISL with proper timings,” he said. “Half of the production cost would be borne by marketing partners [IMG-Reliance/FSDL] while the rest will be equally divided by AIFF and clubs.”
The AIFF had said last week that its backing of ISL for an AFC spot was based on the Master Rights Agreement, owned by Reliance, it signed in 2010 with its commercial partners Football Sports Development Limited.
It said in a statement “… in the last five years the entire Indian National squad are mostly being signed/playing for the … Indian Super League clubs.
“TV viewership and in-stadia audience having grown far more substantially vis a vis the … I-League,” it added.
Last Monday six I-League clubs wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set up an inquiry commission to “probe the AIFF’s functioning’’ fearing that the league could be demoted to the second tier.
No one lost the final, says Williamson
London: “No one lost the final,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said on Tuesday as his team tried coming to terms with the gut-wrenching defeat against England in the World Cup’s greatest summit clash.
Cricketers, current and former, shared New Zealand’s pain on losing the title on boundary count with many of them asking for a “serious look” into the rule, slammed as “absurd”.
“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” Williamson told Newstalk ZB.
Widely praised for the grace with which he and his side accepted the defeat, Williamson said they had signed up to the rules that governed the tournament.
New Zealand lost to England at the Lord’s due to inferior boundary count (16 in 50 overs to hosts’ 24) after both the regulation 50 overs and the Super Over ended in ties.
“I suppose you never thought you would have to ask that question and I never thought I would have to answer it (smiling),” was Williamson’s first reaction when asked about the rule.
“While the emotions are raw, it is pretty hard to swallow when two teams have worked really, really hard to get to this moment in time.
“When sort of two attempts to separate them with a winner and a loser it still doesn’t perhaps sort of shine with one side coming through, you know,” Williamson, one of the finest gentleman playing the sport, said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern praised the Black Caps for putting their all on the line and then accepting the gut-wrenching defeat with grace.
“That was undeniably an incredible game. I think as a nation we all aged a year in that super over. Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team,” wrote Ardern on Instagram.
Opting to bat, New Zealand had put up a modest 241 for eight. In reply, England ended at the same score leading to the one-over eliminator.
In the Super Over, England batted first and the duo of Ben Stokes, who kept the hosts in the game with a brilliant 84 off 98 balls, and Jos Buttler made 15.
New Zealand also ended at the same score but for the loss of one wicket, paving the way for an English victory on boundary count.
British PM hosts World Cup champs
London: British Prime Minister Theresa May hosted the World Cup-winning England cricket team in the garden of her Downing Street residence, describing their win as “one of the great sporting spectacles of our time”.
England ended their 44-year wait for a first 50 overs world title by beating New Zealand in a nailbiting final Super Over on Sunday.
England’s Eoin Morgan and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May with the trophy as they pose with the team outside number 10
May, a keen cricket fan, was at the match and, after the win, posted a video clip on Twitter of herself dancing.
The prime minister, who is due to stand down next week, greeted the players in front of her home and posed for pictures with the team and the trophy.
Members of the England Cricket Team including Liam Plunkett (2nd from left), Jason Roy (extreme right), Moeen Ali (2nd from right), Jos Buttler (3rd from right) share a laugh with Prime Minister Theresa May during a reception at 10 Downing Street on Monday
“When the odds were against you in the biggest game of your lives, you simply and stubbornly refused to lose. It is that determination, that character, that has made you world champions. But, more than that, you have made history,” May told the players during the drinks reception, according to remarks released by her office.
“You have helped the nation fall in love with cricket once again,” she said, adding that the match was “a final for the ages”.
England’s Eoin Morgan and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May lift the trophy as they pose with the team outside number 10
“The final was not just cricket at its best but sport at its best — courage, character, sportsmanship, drama, incredible skill and even the odd slice of luck — all combining to create a real thriller, one of the great sporting spectacles of our time,” she added.
May added, “It was a fitting end to what has been a great tournament — and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in once again making our country a sporting showcase for the world.”
Since being unceremoniously dumped out of the 2015 World Cup in Australia, the England side have reinvented themselves as one-day cricket specialists and headed into the World Cup as overwhelming favourites.
The match, which England won by the thinnest of margins after a tie-break Super Over, was watched by more than 8 million people in Britain.