Leeds :Virat Kohli said that India will be looking to finding the right combination in the remaining ODI matches that they play before the 2019 World Cup. “We’ve got to get our act right and get the balance of the side and make sure we are not over-reliant on one skill,” he said while speaking in the post-match presentation ceremony following India’s eight-wicket loss to England. India also lost the series 2-1, which was the first time they had lost a bilateral ODI series since January 2016 and also Virat Kohli’s first ODI series loss as captain.
However, Kohli did not exactly spell out what areas they need to work on to be ready for the World Cup. “Well, quite a few,” Kohli said. “That is what every side is looking for: they are looking for the best balance they can have possibly. All these sort of series and these sort of losses will tell us exactly what we need to work on and the things we need to rectify come World Cup time.”
Having put 258 on the board, India fell short of the mark required for a competitive second inning. “We were never on the mark as far as the runs on the board was concerned, we were 25-30 less,” said Kohli. “England were really clinical with the ball, bat and the field as well. We were just not good enough.”
India’s fragile and unstable middle order was exposed this series as their mighty top order failed to get going. They decided to go for Dinesh Karthik in place of KL Rahul, who was going through a fine patch of form in the preceding T20I series but failed to score in the first two ODIs. Kohli dismissed the effect that change had on India’s chances in Leeds. “We thought Dinesh did well, but he couldn’t convert his start, so I don’t regret the batting order changes. Shardul was meant to get some exposure, and Bhuvi needed to make a comeback. When the changes don’t come off, they look unnecessary so it must be taken in our stride,” he said.
Kohli stated he was left surprised with the behaviour of the pitch which was slow throughout. He said initially with the new ball it had been two-paced, but subsequently became slow which helped spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. “They suffocated us through the middle overs really well. And the two spinners again joining hands and bowling 20 overs together. They really bowled well in partnerships. That is what you need as a side – you need bowlers to step up and bowl in partnerships. None of them got greedy, they just kept containing the runs and got the results eventually.”
India and England have now both won three matches in total on this tour with India winning the T20I series 2-1 and England winning the ODI series by the same ratio. The two teams will now play a five-match Test series. “The Test squad is pretty settled, and it’s going to be a lengthy series. We want to play tough cricket and we know the English side will provide us with that,” he said.
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.