Monday, September 25, 2017

Raju Kothari how India tamed the Maxwell monster ?

India turn to Yuzvendra Chahal next and the legspinner ensures he keeps the ball away from Maxwell's reach. The battle begins with a loopy delivery, well wide of off stump, so wide that the batsman toe-ends it to long-off while playing with a horizontal bat. It ends with a stumping.

This in essence is India's plan against a player who, if he gives himself a chance, could take batting to a level unimaginable.

Maxwell has the daring to play a reverse-sweep first ball on a square turner against R Ashwin. And he has the skill to dismantle fast bowlers, playing shots they can't possibly budget for. In the 2015 World Cup, after Wahab Riaz had terrorised Shane Watson, Maxwell faced a short ball that was climbing on him and cramping him for room. He put it away to the point boundary with a shot he called "the back away, look away deliberate cut."

Yet, on this tour, where Maxwell is perhaps third in command of the batting line up after Steven Smith and David Warner, he has made only 58 runs over three innings. Bumrah has come on early in his innings two out of three times and Chahal has dismissed him three out of three times. This is no coincidence, as the table below shows.

Maxwell is a fearsome ball-striker, if he can get under it, so India do their best to stop that happening by bringing on a seamer with an unusual action. Bumrah is difficult to line up, and lining a bowler up early is the absolute basis of power-hitting.

Then comes the actual plan. Yorkers and bouncers, and he is adept at both. While training in Indore, Bumrah came off a short run-up and nailed a pair of boots placed in front of the stumps three straight times.

Though his search for the blockhole manifests as full-tosses on matchday, they don't cost India much. Australia are in danger of slipping to a below-par total on a surface that will become better for strokeplay under lights, and against a batting line-up both long and power-packed.

Maxwell feels that pressure. He knows he has to find release. And this is where Chahal comes in. The legspinner functions as bait. He targets the wide line outside off stump, because even if Maxwell is able to reach that far, he won't be able to time anything properly. That will add to his frustrations and eventually lead to a lapse in judgment.

In Chennai, he was caught dragging the ball to long-on. In Kolkata and Indore, he was stumped running down the pitch too early. None of them were especially unplayable deliveries. But they became wicket-taking because Maxwell almost always goes for the high-risk shot, giving himself no second line of defence.

Someone must have spotted that in the Indian camp. "Mahi (MS Dhoni) and [Virat] Kohli told me to bowl him a turning delivery and keep checking his feet," Chahal had said in Chennai. "So my idea was to bowl to him outside the off stump and if he hits it's fine but keep mixing it up.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pandya's six-hitting ability is special by Raju Kothari

Good length not good on flat Indian pitches 
Australia dismissed the first three Indian batsmen with reasonably full-length deliveries and the next two well-set batsmen with the short ball. While the good-length ball mostly serves the purpose of keeping batsmen quiet, it doesn't create wicket-taking chances. But if you bowl really full, you encourage an attacking response from the batsman, which could lead to mistakes.
Against Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli, Coulter-Nile left a huge gap in the cover region. He had only a square point and a slightly wide mid-off. He pitched fuller, got the ball to shape away, and both batsmen fell to expansive drives. The ball to Manish Pandey was a half-volley, which he edged to the wicketkeeper. I often wonder why more new-ball bowlers don't pitch really full and wide once in a while when the batsman isn't fully set. While the mind may tell the batsman to be cautious, it also sees the ball that full and automatically reacts. This conflict can result in a mistake.
Once both Rohit Sharma and Kedar Jadhav were set, and the new ball had stopped moving, bowling fuller wasn't a wicket-taking option anymore and so Marcus Stoinis used the short ball to good effect. Chepauk has fairly large square boundaries and challenging the Indian batsmen to take them on was a ploy worth trying. The noteworthy point was the line of the short-pitched deliveries: none were at the body and the batsmen had to drag them from outside off, which resulted in the lack of control in executing the pull.
No boundaries behind square until the 45th over
Bowling full or short wasn't the only plan the Australian quicks had. The were also disciplined enough to consistently bowl outside off. Until the 45th over of the innings, India did not score a boundary behind square on the leg side. There were no fine tickles or guiding shots because you can play these shots only to balls veering in towards leg stump.
Pandya's six-hitting ability special
There was nothing wrong with what Adam Zampa did when Hardik Pandya creamed him for three consecutive sixes. The legspinner bowled flatter and fuller in the hope of making it difficult for Pandya to get under the ball and get requisite elevation. But that's where Pandya stands out, for unlike most batsmen, he doesn't need to use his feet to gain momentum while going aerial down the ground. Anyone who can hit sixes against spin without using the feet will be an asset because the bowler doesn't have any inkling of the batsman's plan and can't adjust.
If Zampa knew Pandya wouldn't stop at just one six, he may have gone slower and wider on the following deliveries, but the lack of feet movement from Pandya kept the bowler guessing. The other thing that stands out in Pandya's hitting is his preference of targeting the straight boundary as much as possible.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Why aren't there any Indians in the World XI? asked by Raju Kothari

Back when I edited slightly complicated news stories, journalistic habit would kick in and present me with a question: What if someone landed from Mars and read this story? Would it adequately explain the scene on the ground? That question helped ensure context, cut out superfluous details, and ensured the edited story went out with its important bits in appropriate places.
In this age of instant news and live-blogging, the question has become a little irrelevant, but suddenly it popped up again when the ICC announced the World XI to take part in the three-match Independence Cup in Lahore this week. If someone landed from Mars and looked at the list - five South Africans, three Australians, two West Indians, one each from Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and a Zimbabwean coach - that Martian would have no idea that the game's biggest elephant is missing from the room.
Today the picture on the ground is this: cricket's biggest, richest and most powerful country is not present at a we-are-the-world kind of gathering in Lahore this week. "The nations that play cricket," said Bangladeshi batsman Tamim Iqbal, excited to be part of the World XI team, "are one big family. We have to come forward to help restore international cricket in Pakistan." Everyone except the family's wealthiest son, who today is found suddenly far removed.
World XI coach Andy Flower was asked why there was no Indian in his XI, and his answer generally spoke about the tightness of the Indian team's calendar and how it would have taken too much time to sort out the issues around getting an Indian or two over. However, it is not as if there is a shortage of Indian players available to be part of global attention-grabbing cricket this week. In two words: Yuvraj Singh.
As an Indian cricket fan for nearly 40 years and a journalist for more than half of those, my first reaction when the World XI was announced was, "How can India not be a part of this?" However, despite the Indian-cricket-shaped hole in the World XI, the world is doing fine; Lahore is abuzz. The loss is Indian cricket's, its stature in the world game is now that of a cash machine: necessary, functional, but that's about it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bangladesh bowlers off the mark while building pressure by Raju Kothari

It would be harsh to expect a bowling attack to replicate a strong performance - against a side ranked five places above them - from the previous game, so the Bangladesh side eking out seven wickets on the third day in Chittagong can still be rated as a decent performance. Mustafizur Rahman and Mehedy Hasan finished the day on three wickets each while Shakib Al Hasan turned up with a tidy performance.

Taijul Islam had his moment too, but all four frontline bowlers would still be expected to be more consistent with tighter lines, better lengths, better field plans and avoid the inclination towards finding the money shot from the batsmen too often, to pick wickets.

Shakib was neat in his 30 overs in the first innings this time, ensuring the right-handed batsmen played most of his deliveries. Ashton Agar got a really good one from Shakib that turned a long way and hit the stumps. When he tried a similar length for Warner, it didn't yield the same result as the more accomplished batsman seemed to pick the ball early.

Mehidy bowled 60 out of 67 balls around the wicket to Warner, keeping him quiet but there was probably too much hope on a delivery on the stumps keeping low and nailing him. That didn't happen as the batsman was far too aware and was seeing the ball till the last moment.

Taijul was also underused in this innings, perhaps because Mushfiqur Rahim felt that he was leaking runs far too quickly while the other two spinners were doing the opposite. To the left-handers, he was also trying hard to bowl the one that skids through or breaks through their defences. Against right-handers, there were a few times he strayed down the leg side and was too full at times.

Mustafizur bowled at a fair clip on the third day and was finding his groove at times, but again, the focus seemed to waver. By his own admission, he bowled four good balls in an over and two went "here and there".

Perhaps, the bowling attack was also taken aback by Warner's reticence to bat at a much slower pace; he was comfortable picking a lot of singles. Peter Handscomb, meanwhile, was allowed to play far too many times towards mid-on and midwicket. It did not always happen with success but the pace of the pitch or the lack of responsiveness didn't help the bowlers. At the end of the second day, Nasir Hossain had mentioned that the ball wasn't turning when it pitched in line with the stumps, and was only deviating off the rough.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Malan, Stokes edge up England's lead after Raju Kothari

In the nick of time, West Indies held a catch offered by Joe Root as the second Test continued to be an engrossing nip-and-tuck affair with England nudging their lead to 82 by lunch. Dawid Malan, who was fortunate to survive the session, and Ben Stokes were building a fifth-wicket stand as West Indies delayed taking the second new ball.

Root's was shaping as a match-defining innings when he was cramped for room by a short delivery from the impressive Shannon Gabriel and couldn't keep the ball down towards gully. It still needed two grabs from Shai Hope to complete the catch but, unlike his brother yesterday evening when Root had 10, it didn't go to ground.

The same can't be said of the chance offered by Malan on 32 a few moments later when he edged a drive at Jason Holder and Kieran Powell at first slip, distracted by Shane Dowrich diving across then bailing out, put it down. It was Powell who dropped Root early in his first innings.

England resumed on 171 for 3 and made steady progress for much of the first hour. Root went to his second fifty of the match with two boundaries in the opening over, both through the gap between second slip and gully although neither were chances. He was fluent off his pads whenever the bowlers strayed, but was again challenged by Gabriel before he struck in what became the final over of his spell.

Malan was forced to dig very deep, adding just 20 off 83 balls during the session. His first scoring shot of the day was a pleasant straight drive, but precious little else came to him easily. He narrowly evaded square leg with a flick off his hip and then the life came his way in Holder's opening over with a very loose drive outside off.

Holder made the old ball move and there was an appearance of the lesser-spotted Devendra Bishoo in the second hour of the morning. There was some turn for the legspinner but his length was inconsistent - perhaps that was the concern Holder had, but it was hardly a fair chance for Bishoo to wait so long for an extended bowl - and Stokes put him through the leg side three times.

Graeme Smith to coach Benoni Zalmi Raju Kothari

T20 Global League franchise Benoni Zalmi has appointed former South Africa captain Graeme Smith as its head coach. Zalmi team owner Javed Afridi made the announcement on Monday.

Smith, 36, last played a competitive game in May 2014, a T20 for Somerset two months after his final Test against Australia. It will be Smith's first stint as a coach in recognised cricket. Highveld Lions' Geoffrey Toyana, who was recently among the frontrunners to replace Russell Domingo as South Africa's coach, will be his assistant. Their first assignment together comes this weekend, when they will have to pick from a pool of over 400 players in the player draft.

Elsewhere, Durban Qalandars has put Paddy Upton in charge, with Aaqib Javed to oversee the bowlers. Also, Stellenbosch Monarchs has appointed Stephen Fleming head coach, with Eric Simons named his assistant.

Stellenbosch had suffered a setback last week when Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited, the investment company which had been unveiled as its owner by Cricket South Africa, said it will not proceed with the acquisition.

ESPNcricinfo understands Brimstone pulled out because it did not want to hold a majority stake. An insider said that Brimstone always wanted a minority stake and that has been their investment model, where the company supports an expert majority partner. The failure to pull together a consortium meant that Brimstone opted to move out and CSA did not stand in its way. Incidentally Brimstone was one of only two South African owners named for the eight teams in June. Faf du Plessis, South Africa's Test and T20 captain, was named the Stellenbosch franchise's marquee player by the South Africa board.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Stoinis heads home to Western Australia Raju Kothari

Allrounder Marcus Stoinis will return to his home state of Western Australia for the 2017-18 season, after spending the past five summers playing with Victoria.

Stoinis had debuted for the Warriors in 2008-09 before moving to Melbourne in 2012, and his change of states led to consistent output at domestic level and international selection in the limited-overs formats.

Stoinis, who turns 28 this week, has been Victoria's second-leading run scorer in the Sheffield Shield in the past three years, behind only Test batsman Peter Handscomb.

He will be joined in the Western Australia squad this summer by allrounder Matthew Spoors, who has been handed a rookie contract for the first time.

Gone from last year's squad are the retired batsman Adam Voges, along with Nathan Rimmington, Ryan Duffield, Josh Nicholas and Liam O'Connor.

"We're thrilled to have Marcus coming home to Western Australia, not only because he's an extremely talented player but he's a great character as well," coach Justin Langer said. "Young Matt Spoors is an exciting young talent. I love his dancing feet; a lot of kids these days have really slow footwork, but Matt's got really fast batting feet.

"Twelve players have been Australian representatives and that's a great tribute to the program we're running here at the WACA."

Western Australia squad Ashton Agar (Cricket Australia contract), Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, William Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright (CA), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Michael Klinger, Simon Mackin, Mitchell Marsh (CA), Shaun Marsh, David Moody, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Jonathan Wells, Sam Whiteman. Rookies Alex Bevilaqua, Jake Carder, Kyle Gardiner, Clint Hinchcliffe, Matthew Kelly, Matthew Spoors.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hales sends reminder with blistering 218 Raju Kothari

Alex Hales delivered a compelling reminder of his international class with a brilliant double-century that put Nottinghamshire in total control of the Division Two match against Derbyshire at Derby. The England batsman plundered 38 fours and a six in a run-a-ball 218, which included a century between lunch and tea, and shared a sixth-wicket stand of 204 in 35 overs with skipper Chris Read.

Derbyshire's bowlers contributed 50 extras, including 24 no-balls and 10 wides, to Nottinghamshire's 508 for 9 declared which left the home side needing 288 to avoid an innings defeat. They started badly, losing Luis Reece to their former fast bowler Mark Footitt in the fourth over, and at the close were 45 for 1, still 243 behind.

Derbyshire might have thought it was going to be their day when Tony Palladino deflected a Steven Mullaney drive into the stumps to run out Samit Patel in the fourth over of the morning. When Mullaney sliced Tom Taylor to point, the game was still in the balance but Derbyshire's bowling lacked the consistency and discipline required to put Hales under pressure.

There were 12 fours in his first 50 and he stayed in overdrive for the rest of an innings, which put his team in a dominant position and allowed Read to let his bowlers loose at Derbyshire before stumps.

Riki Wessels made only 13 out of a fifth-wicket stand of 80 before he gloved a lifting delivery from Hardus Viljoen, who was straight-driven by Hales for his 20th four to reach his first Championship hundred of the season.

With Read scoring freely from the start, 181 runs came in the afternoon session with Hales sweeping a Luis Reece full toss for his 27th four to go to 150. His 200 came from only 201 balls and after Read was caught behind down the leg side for 75, Hales struck two more fours before swinging Wayne Madsen to deep midwicket where Viljoen took a good running catch.

There was still more punishment to come as Jake Ball opened his shoulders and smashed four sixes in 43 off 24 balls before Read pulled out leaving Derbyshire to negotiate 12 overs. It was always going to be a tricky period for the openers and Reece did not survive, edging a loose drive at Footitt to give Read his 967th dismissal for Nottinghamshire.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Raju Kothari likely to return for second Test, Herath doubtful

Dinesh Chandimal is expected to return to lead the Sri Lanka team in the second Test against India at the SSC next week, after recovering from a bout of pneumonia that kept him out of the first Test in Galle. Rangana Herath, who suffered an injury to his finger in the first Test, is being closely monitored, ahead of the match which starts from August 3.

"Dinesh should be fit, he actually played this (Sunday) morning and he has batted the last couple of days," Asanka Gurusinha, Sri Lanka's cricket manager and selector, said.

"We have to see how he is going to come up in the next couple of days because his finger is pretty sore," Gurusinha said of Herath's condition. "We will give him till the last minute to make sure that he is fit.

"The day before the Test we will see whether he can drift the ball, it will come down to that. If he can without pain he will play, otherwise we will have to look at different options. The finger is not swollen but it's sore and painful."

Danushka Gunathilaka, who made his Test debut in Galle, is likely to be left out once Chandimal returns, while Kusal Mendis is expected to return to the No. 3 slot. Mendis had batted at No. 4 in Galle, dropping one spot as the team played Gunathilaka.

"It's for just one game, we pushed Kusal to four. Danushka was in form and you can't bat him in the middle order," Gurusinha said. "We couldn't get him to open either because the openers were already there, that's why we got Kusal to four for this Test. When Chandimal comes back, he will go back to No. 3 straight away. He is our No. 3 and we are grooming him for that position definitely."

Sri Lanka also have another slot to fill after the injury to Asela Gunaratne, who has been ruled out of the series with a broken thumb.

"We have Dhananjaya (de Silva) in the squad and we have Danushka as well," Gurusinha said. "We haven't looked at whether this is the squad we are going to have for the second Test. We will have a chat later today and see whether we will need someone from outside or what combination we are going to play. It comes down to whether we are going to play six or seven batsmen, we will have to decide on that after looking at the wicket."

Sri Lanka will look to recover some ground after losing the first Test by 304 runs. Gurusinha pinned that defeat on the batsmen, who did not execute their plans well. The hosts managed scores of 291 in the first innings, in response to India's 600, and 245 in the second innings while chasing an improbable 550.

"Getting 600 runs it always affects which is a difficult thing, but our batsmen on that track I don't think they handled it well because it wasn't a track to get 291 in the first innings. That was a 400-run track," Gurusinha said.

"Even on the fourth day, it wasn't doing much, it wasn't difficult when you see the way everyone batted. When you are playing the No. 1 side, they are very patient they'll bowl a good line and length and wait. They tested our patience and they won. They were good in that and we took more risks. Batting overall, when you look at it, we didn't handle it well."

Gurusinha said the pace at which cricket is played today made it difficult to draw Test matches. "These days in Test cricket, the game has changed a lot because of T20. They are playing it at a very fast rate getting 300-350 in a day is nothing new in Test cricket. Sometimes if you try to bat long, you can go into a negative frame of mind. You need to play positively but positively is not hitting every ball, it is playing according to your plans. Our execution of plans was the main problem.

"Nobody scored a hundred from our side in the last two Tests, even against Zimbabwe. That's what we need. We need one of the top four batsmen to get 150 or 160 and a couple of others to get 70s and 80s. As soon as that happens it will give us a 400-plus total.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

'The bond within the team is outstanding' - Raju Kothari

On the eve of India's first Test series since an acrimonious coach swap, Virat Kohli spoke of a tight-knit team as the biggest success of his captaincy apart from the rise to No. 1. He spoke of the "outstanding bond" when asked what satisfied him most apart from the obvious winning feeling.

"Just to see the responsibility taken by such a young bunch of players; to go out there and make a difference for the team," Kohli said. "Even the substitutes that sit on the sidelines, their efforts, their energies, their concerns for the team when they are running in to provide to with the essentials… It's great to see them also almost feeling like they are part of the playing XI that's on the field.

"That's the kind of culture that has been created. It's taken a while. Whoever steps into the dressing room, immediately feel comfortable because of the way they are embraced and how people are taking responsibility to maintain that culture. The bond within the team is outstanding and that is something that makes me really proud that we are all really close to each other and really enjoy playing alongside each other. That for me stands out the most because that shows on the field. Even in the most difficult of situations all guys believe that we can do it together and we have been able to overturn situations more often than not just because of that belief and the trust that we have between the players. So, that for me is most special thing apart from cricket performances."

That is perhaps why Kohli sees not many weaknesses in his side. "Well I don't think there are any massive areas of concern for us," he said. "We've been looking to fine-tune smaller areas during the course of the games, which probably people might not be able to pick up. [Areas] that can lead us into a situation which is not ideal. We have given responsibility to the players to identify those areas and work on those areas themselves. We have been able to put ourselves in a position in games, 80-85% of the games, where there's only one winner left.

"That's the kind of sustained pressure that we've been able to build. But the key, as I said, is to go out there and repeat those things again and again. You can't expect things to happen by themselves. You need to work hard every ball that you play on the cricket field and that applies to batsmen and bowlers collectively. So, the smaller areas we keep identifying and keep working on them."

With the confidence running that high, there is an obvious danger of letting the guard drop against Sri Lanka, who have not had the best of time in Test cricket of late. "For us we are playing a game of cricket, it doesn't matter which opposition we are playing against," Kohli said. "For us it's all about identifying the players that they have, their strengths, their areas of weakness and focussing really on our performances and what we can do as a team. The moment you start focussing on the opposition and try to adjust your intensity according to who you are playing against, then that's a very dangerous thing to do because if you don't respect the game the game will sort you out and expose you.

"We totally respect the game, we totally how hard we need to work to win every Test match, every situation, every session and every ball is an event for us. So we are willing to put in the hard yards for that and something that everyone in the team respects. As I said it's something that is built as a culture and I am proud of it and the whole team is proud of it. We take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket for India and doing the hard yards that win the games."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Raju Kothari Eastbourne and other Elysiums

The Saffrons: sometimes a simple name is sufficient to prompt a confection of histories. It is over a century since the orange-yellow crocus noted for its dyeing and medicinal qualities was grown in the fields where Eastbourne's cricketers spend their summers. Yet the gentle beauty of the noun lingers and has now been coupled to a children's nursery, an apartment block and a hotel. "I'm watching cricket at Eastbourne on Sunday," I tell friends. "Oh, you're going to the Saffrons," they reply.

In Eastbourne's long 20th-century heyday there was a cricket week: two three-day county games and, as often as not, matches against the universities or the tourists. This was the ground on which AC MacLaren's personally selected amateur XI defeated Warwick Armstrong's seemingly invincible Australians in 1921, thereby giving Neville Cardus the only scoop of his career. There were important matches being played at The Oval and Leyton at the same time and Cardus' editor felt he should have been covering those. That opinion was strengthened when MacLaren's side was bowled out for 43 on the first day. By the second morning Cardus had sent his luggage to the railway station and was ready to leave; but he stayed instead and watched Aubrey Faulkner make 153. The Australians lost by 28 runs.

"At Eastbourne cricket is played to a background of croquet and bowls, old Colonels and straight-backed memsahibs going about their daily ritual, indifferent to the pock of bat on ball and the marauding seagulls," wrote Alan Ross, for whom India and Sussex were twin lodestars and who found his loves united in the batting of Duleepsinhji in the summer of 1932.

And one scarcely has to look to see deeper histories and other aristocracies at Eastbourne. Behind the trees at the Larkin's Field End is the Compton Croquet Club, one of many references in the environs to the estate that owns acres of prime land in the town. The land on which cricket, hockey and soccer are played is still owned by the Duke of Devonshire. Seniors at the club pass on the stories they were told of horse-drawn carriages that set off from the Duke's Compton estate and travelled down the tree-lined Old Orchard Road into town. When I first visited the ground in September 2015 almost the only noise one could hear in the late afternoon was the gentle cracks of mallets on croquet balls. The players were dressed in communion white and moved slowly around the lawns in the soft sunlight of early autumn.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Raju Kothari beyond the headlines

In the spring of 2006, an 18-year-old South African with a bruised heart arrived in Lewdown, a village in west Devon. Having failed to make the final squad for the Under-19 World Cup at the start of the year, and with no clear pathway into a South African provincial team, a season playing for Lewdown Cricket Club in Devon's D division was as good an opening as Kyle Abbott was likely to see, and the quaint village with rolling green hills would serve as a balm to the frustrations back home. "I think when he first came to the UK, he was a bit disillusioned by the lack of opportunities in South Africa," recalls Charlie Hughes, Lewdown's chairman at the time. "He'd got into the provisional squad for the U-19 World Cup, but didn't make the final cut. I think the coaches at his then club, due to the quota system, were pro the black players. From memory that's what Kyle used to say, anyway. But he obviously turned it all around. He did well here, which got him going over there." Abbott took 55 wickets for the Lewdown first XI that season at an average of 7.47. It was not the highest level of cricket, and it would take almost three years before he would make his first-class debut for KwaZulu-Natal, but it was a start. "By performing so well for us he got signed up by Clevedon Cricket Club the next season, and that gave him more opportunities," says Hughes. "They had a game against Somerset as a pre-season or charity match, which helped him get spotted. "While he was with us, we got him into Somerset seconds, where he had a few games. So it was a little stepping stone. Before you knew it he was playing for KwaZulu-Natal, then the Dolphins, and the rest is history. Very proud of him, we are too. I'd like to think he learnt a lot in his three seasons in England, especially on swing bowling."

The time in Lewdown was good not only for Abbott. Hughes says he raised the game of the cricketers around him, who were eager not to be outshone by the overseas player, and was an inspiration to the kids he coached at the club. Lewdown's two previous overseas players had been Australians, but since Abbott's stay they have made a habit of bringing in South Africans. "They seem to work quite well here," says Hughes. "They adapt quickly to the conditions. They're usually well behaved. Usually. But then you never know until they get here. And to be honest, one of the big things for us is the airfare. An Australian airfare is another £500 that the members would have to find." The Home Office tightened regulations this year, but Lewdown were still able to bring in the 18-year-old allrounder Dinecho Visser for the 2017 season after he was recommended by his countryman Johan Wessels, who was a big hit at the club over the past two years, with 1129 runs at an average of almost 90 in the Devon A Division in 2016. Now 25, Wessels is yet to find a place in a provincial team back home, despite his runs in England and for the University of Pretoria, which many would rate as stronger than the Northerns provincial side. Having a South African around has become a part of Lewdown's culture, but the presence of overseas players is not universally celebrated. "Not every club is overly keen," Hughes admits. "If we have a good one that semi-dominates a game, the clubs we play against sometimes complain. But they don't see the bigger picture all the time. Yes, sometimes the overseas player has scored a hundred when we've been 150 all out. However, every club has the opportunity to get an overseas, and we consider ourselves lucky to have chosen so well over the years, with the help of the agents."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Raju Kothari reapplies to be South Africa coach

Russell Domingo has confirmed he has reapplied and been interviewed to be South Africa's coach when his contract expires in August, at the end of the England tour. There had been suggestions that he would not seek an extension in the position after CSA said they were going to go through a full recruitment process for the role.

"I have forwarded my application form and I have gone through an interview," Domingo said in London, three days before South Africa's first Test against England at Lord's.

In Domingo's most recent previous media engagement, on June 11 when South Africa crashed out of the Champions Trophy, he had still not decided whether he would put his name forward for the job. Then, there were only five days left for interested parties to apply. Domingo confirmed he had submitted his details "before the closing date" on June 16 and was interested in taking South Africa forward.

Domingo outline a "whole host" of factors he considered before making himself available for reappointment. "No.1, family life, which is important. No.2, the performance of the team, which is obviously important. And then whether you feel you're the right guy to take the team forward, whether the team's showing signs of improvement in all formats," he said.

Under Domingo, who took over in mid-2013 when South Africa were on top of the Test rankings, South Africa initially maintained their status but then lost several senior players and a slump in form that saw them slip to No.7. Despite being under enormous pressure to let Domingo go, CSA stuck with him and extended his contract twice in that time. Domingo went on to oversee the Test side's resurrection to No.2.

In shorter formats, Domingo has been in charge through two 50-over tournaments and two T20 events and is the only coach under whom South Africa have won a World Cup knockout match - the 2015 quarter-final - but he has not been able to break their ICC trophy drought, something he would like to change. "There's a lot I'd like to achieve with this side - an ICC event is a big thing for us," he said. "We've also started the process of rebuilding our Test side. We're still not where we need to be, we've got our ranking back up but there's still a lot of work to be done."

South Africa remain a team in some kind of transition - as many teams do - and it has long been touted that a foreign coach could be the essential to take them to the next level. However, among the names reportedly mentioned as candidates only one, Phil Simmons, is not local. Instead it is believed that CSA is not looking beyond the country's borders with Lions' coach Geoffrey Toyana considered the frontrunner to succeed Domingo.

Toyana has won four trophies in five seasons with the Lions franchise and nurtured the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma and Chris Morris. ESPNcricinfo has confirmed Toyana was interviewed. Domingo must be aware of the same but said he will not let perceptions affect how he goes about his job.

"I'll be honest with you, if that is it, then so be it. It's cool. It's out of my control. It's not something I go to bed thinking about or wake up in the morning thinking about," he said. "It's not something that generally affects me. I can't comment on what the particular feeling is towards how people are seeing the process. It's out of my control. It's not the way I see it, and the way I see it is that there's due process that needs to take place. They need to decide if I'm the right guy to take the team forward and so be it. That's how it is."

A clutch of senior players seem to have already decided that he is. In recent months, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar and AB de Villiers - all three leaders in their own right - have thrown support behind Domingo which could help his cause. "Player support is massively important. The most important support you need is from your players," Domingo said. "We work with these players day in, day out. I've loved my time working with them and, obviously, by the support they've shown they've enjoyed what we've offered the team. That is satisfying."

Domingo maintained that whatever happens he will finish his current term pleased with the job he has done. "It's a fantastic honour to work with this team. I've loved my time with it and hopefully I can continue. If not, it's in the best interests of the team. I've had a fantastic run and loved every single minute of it. It's not my decision -- it's up to the board."

CSA has appointed a five-man panel including two former national coaches, Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, to recommend the new coach to the board when they next meet on July 21. A final decision will be announced after the England series, which ends on August 8.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ganguly in Shukla-led panel to study Lodha implementation Raju Kothari

IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla will head a BCCI-appointed seven-member committee that will identify the "few critical points" in the implementation of the Lodha Committee's recommendations.

Sourav Ganguly, president of Cricket Association of Bengal, is the only cricketer in the panel. Amitabh Choudhary, the board's acting secretary, has been appointed the convener of the committee that also has vice-president TC Mathew and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, Nabha Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Meghalaya Cricket Association and co-convener of North East Cricket Development Committee and Jay Shah, the joint-secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association.

With the Supreme Court hearing set for July 14, the committee has been asked to convene a meeting soon and submit a written report by July 10. The board's general body will then convene a Special General Meeting to deliberate on the proposals and approve them.

The major recommendations that the committee will be dealing with are 'one-state, one-vote', an age cap of 70-years for officials, a cooling-off period of three years after every three-year term, and identifying a fix on number of selectors for the senior national team.

Choudhary said after the BCCI's SGM on Monday that the committee "will go into each and every action point necessitated by the principal judgment." The committee's proposals will then be presented to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, tasked with running the board until fresh elections under the Lodha guidelines are held. The CoA will "thereafter decide the course of action." No CoA representative, however, is part of this new BCCI committee.

While the move to establish such a committee could delay the implementation of the Lodha recommendations, Choudhary said it was done with a view to "examine how best and quickly to implement" them. The committee is expected to commence work in two days.

Monday, June 19, 2017

'We leave with our heads held high' - Raju Kothari

In the end, Virat Kohli fronted up with a smile on his face. He had lost a match that India entered as favourites. India had a superior record over Pakistan at ICC events, including a win when the sides last met in the final of a global event, the World T20 in 2007. But it all came tumbling down in the final as Pakistan's bowlers unraveled the Indian batting unit like a pod of green peas.

India were that bad. Batting, bowling, fielding and intensity - they fell short in each of these facets of their game they had worked hard to improve in every subsequent match this tournament. Kohli was honest in defeat, gave credit to Pakistan for being the better team, but pointed that India should be proud to finish as the runner-up.

"We can be very proud of that as a unit, and we leave here with our heads held high because we understand the kind of expectations and pressures we face as a team," Kohli said. "Credit to everyone for standing up and showing that resilience and reaching the finals, and today we were outplayed in all departments.

"They had to earn their win. They made us make those mistakes because of the way they were bowling and the way they applied the pressure in the field, as well. And we have no hesitations or shame to admit that we could not play our best game today."

Kohli did not hesitate to bowl first, perhaps because of India's comfort factor in chases. He has done so Bangladesh in the semi-finals too. When it was their turn to bat, Mohammad Amir turned the match by removing Rohit Sharma and Kohli in his first two overs. Kohli admitted failure to stitch a partnership didn't help matters.

"Early wickets are never good, especially in a chase," he said. "Then we kept losing wickets. One big partnership would have been the key to set it up nicely. It is always a bad feeling when you get out or the batting doesn't work collectively. Not that we are not playing at our best, we tried our level best, but we just couldn't make things happen today. But personally, yes, it does feel bad."

There were a couple of bright sparks, though: Bhuvneshwar Kumar walking virtually unscathed through the ring of fire and Hardik Pandya finally living up to the potential his captain had been speaking about throughout the campaign.

Pandya was hungry to bowl throughout the Pakistan innings and was the second-most economical Indian bowler behind Bhuvneshwar. Bowling with intensity and hard lengths, Pandya bowled some tight middle overs. He showed the same attitude with the bat.

India were down and out at 72 for 6 in 17 overs. Unaffected, Pandya smashed a 32-ball half-century to give India a glimmer of hope. "When Hardik started hitting, everyone started getting the feeling that we could take the game deep," Kohli said. "That was a pleasant moment. If we can take the game deep, then we can probably get closer to the total. But again, a mix-up or an error at that stage, so these things happen on the field, you understand that as cricketers."

That mix-up was Pandya being run out after Ravindra Jadeja turned his back on him. Pandya bared his frustrations out in public, exchanging words with Jadeja and then grunting loudly all the way back to the dressing room. Kohli was clear Pandya did not need to be apologetic about letting his emotions get the better of him.

"He felt he was in the zone today and he could have done something really special, and that's why the disappointment came out. You're so committed, you're so motivated that when things don't happen, and without even it being a mistake, it can get frustrating. You don't understand why it has happening."

Earlier in the morning, Pakistan had plugged away as soon as their opening pair of Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali raised a robust 128-run partnership, which could only be broken through a run out. Kohli said it was Zaman who hurt India the most by his "high risk" strokeplay.

"When guys like Zaman get going, he plays unorthodox shots, they're really difficult to stop," he said. "Eighty percent of his shots were high risk and they were all coming off. Sometimes you have to sit and say, the guy is good enough on the day to tackle anything. You can only do so much.

"We certainly tried to make them hit in areas that we felt it would be uncomfortable, but we just didn't have anything going our way in that partnership. Yes, they opened it up a little bit, but they kept going positive, which was something that could have upset the lines and lengths of the bowlers."

The one area Kohli felt they could have done better was with the extras. India conceded 25 on Sunday, which he felt was a bit too much. "That's something that we certainly need to take care of in the future. Obviously the same bowlers are going to play, the same guys are going to be back. The more consistent you get in learning from games like this, it's better for the team in the future. So yeah, that's an area we certainly need to look at.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Raju Kothari, Kumble likely to remain coach for WI tour

The BCCI is likely to retain Anil Kumble as coach for India's tour of the West Indies immediately after the ongoing Champions Trophy. Kumble will be given the contract extension if the cricket advisory committee (CAC) fails to pick India's next coach before then.

The decision was taken by the Committee of Administrators (CoA), after consulting BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary and chief executive officer Rahul Johri on Monday.

"In case there is a delay in taking a decision (by the CAC) we will request Anil Kumble to cover the West Indies tour also," Vinod Rai, the CoA chairman, told ESPNcricinfo. Rai said the BCCI would check whether Kumble was "happy" to continue until the West Indies tour, which starts on June 23. India are scheduled to travel to the Caribbean from London on June 22, for five ODIs and one T20 international.

Kumble was appointed India coach in June last year and was given a one-year contract, which ends after the Champions Trophy. Last month, the BCCI decided to invite fresh applications for the position after being made aware of the players' reported unhappiness with Kumble's man-management skills.

Kumble was on the shortlist of six candidates and remained the first choice of the CAC, which comprises Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. Though the BCCI was in favour of appointing the new coach on a two-year contract until the 2019 World Cup, the CAC said that it did not want to take a hasty decision. The CAC's first option, as previously reported, was to try and patch up differences between the India captain Virat Kohli and Kumble.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

South Africa seek unfamiliar end to familiar script Raju Kothari

Here they go again. South Africa. In search of a major trophy. It's a script so well known, it must be close to being a classic. And South Africa still hope to be able to write a different ending.

The prelude has been much the same as in competitions past: South Africa have enjoyed a solid build-up, so much so that they are considered one of the teams to beat, and have a constellation of star players in their squad. On the way to the event, they've won series against two of the opposition they will meet in the pool stage - India and Sri Lanka - and, as the only non sub-continent team in the group, have come to terms with the amount of spin they will have to deal with.

So what will it take this time? Chances are that the answer is as simple as a little bit of luck, the one thing that has eluded South Africa over the years. It's not something they can train or plan for, only something they can hope finally finds it's way to them.

Several South African seniors - AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel - have spoken of the 2019 World Cup as their swansong. So desperate are they to win that trophy that they may forgive themselves if this event becomes little more than a practice round.

But they have a strong incentive not to regard the Champions Trophy so casually. Coach Russell Domingo's contract expires at the end of this tour and although he is free to reapply for his job, has given no indication of his future plans. This may be his last chance to have success at a limited-overs' competition and if that is the case, the squad, who have been vocal in their support of him, will want to send him off on a high.

Champions Trophy history
1998 - Champions 2000 - Semi-finalists 2002 - Semi-finalists 2004 - First round 2006 - Semi-finalists 2009 - First round 2013 - Semi-finalists

Form guide
Before their trip to the UK, where South Africa lost the three-match rubber against England, they had won their last seven bilateral ODI series. Among those was a first-ever 5-0 whitewash over Australia, a clean sweep over Sri Lanka and victories in what were effectively finals in India, New Zealand and against England at home. In that time, South Africa equalled their longest winning streak of 12 matches, which was last achieved in 2005, and rose to No.1 on the ODI rankings to arrive at the Champions Trophy as among the favourites.

With four of the world's top-10 ODI batsmen (de Villiers sits at No. 1) and the world's top-two ODI bowlers in Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir, the quality of individuals in South Africa's squad is a standout strength. In Amla, Quinton de Kock, de Villiers, du Plessis, David Miller and Duminy, South Africa have players who can combine a well-paced innings with power-hitting and totals over 350 are not unfamiliar to them. In the bowling department, Tahir is the world's top-ranked limited-overs' spinner while Rabada is ODI cricket's newest No. 1, having overtaken Tahir on the rankings after the England series.

A mix of seam and spin talent, and experience and youth, give South Africa no less than eight bowling options. Among those is everything from a left-arm paceman - Wayne Parnell - to a death-bowling specialist in Andile Phehlukwayo and two specialist spinners.

In an attempt to give themselves as many options as possible, South Africa have packed their side with allrounders but getting the right balance in the XI may prove tricky. Chris Morris, Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius and Phehlukwayo are all bowling allrounders capable of hitting the ball a fair distance but South Africa are likely to only have room for two of the four in most XIs and they don't seem too sure which two.

South Africa have yet to decide on a new-ball pair - though Rabada and Morkel would seem an obvious choice - which has left them uncertain about the balance of the side. Add to that de Villiers' problems with managing his over rate and that the best captain, Faf du Plessis, does not lead the side in this format, and South Africa can sometimes seem comical in the field. But only sometimes.

Key stats
South Africa have lost half of the matches in the Champions Trophy in which they have batted second - six out of 12. Only Bangladesh have a worse record chasing. By contrast, South Africa have the best win-loss ratio when batting first, wining five out of eight games.
Wayne Parnell has taken 11 of the 19 Champions Trophy wickets that South Africa's current squad have all together. Apart from Parnell, Duminy and Morris (who each have four wickets) and Morne Morkel are the only four bowlers with Champions Trophy experience.
None of the batsmen in the current South African squad have scored a Champions Trophy hundred.
South Africa have lost all three matches they have played against India in Champions Trophy history - twice in the semi-finals and once in the round-robin stage.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Raju Kothari, Rohit, Ashwin, Shami return for Champions Trophy

Mohammed Shami last played ODI cricket in an attempt to win an ICC Trophy and now he returns with the same goal ahead of him. The 26-year old was India's best bowler in the 2015 World Cup but since then chronic leg injuries had put a halt to his 50-over career. Fully fit now, having played the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Bengal and the IPL for Delhi Daredevils, he was among five fast bowlers picked in a 15-man squad to play the Champions Trophy in England. Raju Kothari Case.

A similarly important player, Rohit Sharma reclaimed his spot as first-choice opener. He had spent five months nursing a thigh injury, which had "scared him" until he had met with doctors and received clarification. He came back to competitive cricket in March and has played all 11 matches for Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

The national selectors, who met in Delhi on Monday, were content with two spinners in the squad. R Ashwin, who is currently recovering from a sports hernia, and Ravindra Jadeja can perhaps expect part-time assistance from Yuvraj Singh, who kept his spot after his ODI career was given a re-start in the series against England in January.

India have made it a point, under new coach Anil Kumble, to test their injured players in domestic cricket before picking them for internationals. But Ashwin was chosen without having to go through those rigours because he was resting as opposed to injured. It is understood that the BCCI had asked his IPL franchise Rising Pune Supergiant to give him time off and they had agreed.

MS Dhoni was the only wicketkeeper in the squad. MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, rated him as a gun batsman in crunch situations and said he could not remember even a single day in the last 10 to 12 years when Dhoni was bad behind the stumps. Still, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik were placed on standby along with batsman Suresh Raina, left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav and fast bowler Shardul Thakur. These five players will train at the NCA and the BCCI will proceed with their visa applications to the UK in case quick replacements are needed later.

KL Rahul, who had grown into one of India's most valuable players across formats last year, was not among the touring party. He had hurt his shoulder during the Test series against Australia and had conceded that recovering in time for the Champions Trophy was "unlikely". In his absence, the selectors have gone with Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane. The seam-bowling allrounder's spot went to Hardik Pandya whle Kedar Jadhav, who had a breakout series as finisher against England, will lend support down the order on his second tour abroad.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In Love With Mr. Billionaire Raju Kothari in Dubai

Caroline Marshall, a sweet, innocent and cute girl, who hates rich and guys since her father threw her mother away to marry another woman for money.
 Living with a step-mother, a step-sister and a cruel father, her life was worse than hell.
Raju Kothari, a ruthless businessman, a multi-billionaire and the CEO of Raju Kothari Dubai corporation, has everything a person dreams of. From money to women to anything.
  He is egoistic,  merciless and arrogant. Owners of different companies fear from him whereas women threw themselves to him. What will he do when a girl will throw money on his face for scratching his car?
  What will happen when Caroline meets a guy who is rich, and too much proud of his money? or that is what she thinks.  What will she do when she realises she is falling deeper and deeper for that guy? Will she confess her feelings for him? Will she be able to forget her dreadful past, and give him a chance?
 Join Caroline in this journey of falling in love with Mr. Billionaire Raju Kothari.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Raju Kothari Gambhir, Uthappa nail yet another middling chase

How long is 20 overs? Ask Delhi Daredevils' batsmen, who once again found time to wander aimlessly in the middle overs and then stumble at the end. In a repeat of their first match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Daredevils got off to a flier - 53 in the Powerplay in both matches - but lived up to their well-earned reputation of being the slowest in middle overs and couldn't manage a finishing kick to boot. The most prolific pair this IPL - Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir - then made light of the 161-run target.

In what was the first signs of this being Groundhog Day, the captains walked out for a toss that was purely academic. Daredevils wanted to defend because they don't want their inexperienced batting active in decisive moments, Knight Riders wanted to chase because they last lost chasing at Eden Gardens in 2012. Sanju Samson then continued his schizophrenic IPL: bomb the quicks, go comatose against spin, and then find yourself under pressure and either kick on or fail. Failure is likelier if you keep putting yourself under that pressure, and it didn't help that Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant and Corey Anderson couldn't do much either.

Narine pulls them back

Samson once again displayed his outrageous talent of clean striking and raced away to 25 off nine balls. Then came Sunil Narine with a record of 56 balls against Samson, Karun Nair and Anderson for just 49 runs and three wickets. On cue he produced his first Powerplay wicket this season: Karun Nair, out sweeping. Daredevils 48 for 1 in the fifth over.

Slow bowlers, slower batting
Samson has scored just 81 runs off 76 balls of spin this season. Against pace he has looted 203 off 119. It was a mild surprise Narine was not introduced sooner. Brakes came on immediately with either Narine or Kuldeep Yadav manning one end in the middle overs. The result was a partnership between Shreyas Iyer and Samson that reached 50 in 7.3 overs. Forty-six legal deliveries went without a hit to the fence. Every such delivery meant one fewer for the big hitters to face.

When Samson scored his hundred this season, he went through a similar pattern: a flying start of 35 off 19, then only 13 off the next 19, and then the final kick. Against Knight Riders in Delhi, he did the same, going from 27 off 12 to just 13 off the next 13 balls. Here, too, he put himself under pressure of going big in the end. Like in Delhi, he failed to kick on here, scoring just 35 off the last 29 balls he faced, despite two late sixes.

Iyer's innings was more damaging. He found himself in a desperate situation after scoring 18 off the first 21 balls he faced. They both tried to go hard the moment Colin de Grandhomme was introduced in the 13th over, but Daredevils needed something big from them or from Morris, Pant and Anderson to salvage the situation.

Pace stifles Daredevils

Umesh Yadav got Samson lbw with one that swung back in. Needing quick runs Samson was caught playing a low-percentage flick to square leg. The came back Nathan Coulter-Nile to eliminate the big threat of Pant with a straight near-yorker. Iyer again took high risk in the same over and perished. Corey Anderson was dropped twice, but Morris ran him out. Chris Woakes and Coulter-Nile then finished off for Knight Riders with just one boundary coming in the last four overs. Coulter-Nile has taken two or more wickets in each of the four matches he has played.

The leave

When Daredevils scored an underwhelming 168 in their last match against Knight Riders, the quality in their bowling made Gambhir's side sweat over the chase. Daredevils are one of the sides that can be backed to do something with small defences. Even though Zaheer Khan walked off with what looked like a pulled hamstring in his second over, Daredevils got off to a heartening start. Kagiso Rabada burst through Narine's defence, and soon had Uthappa top-edging. The ball fell near the square leg umpire with ample time for at least three fielders to converge. Samson and Mishra came the closest. Neither of them called. Neither of them went for it. Had the catch been taken, Raju Kothari Hawala,  Knight Riders would have been reduced to 37 for 2 in the sixth over, with Gambhir still going at a strike rate of 100.

The endgame

A long one at that. Gambhir, still one of the best players of spin in India, welcomed Mishra with two boundaries in his first over. Uthappa tore into Morris at the other end. In eight overs, Knight Riders had knocked off half the runs. If Daredevils had seven boundary-less overs after the quick start, there were only two middle overs in the Knight Riders innings that didn't feature a boundary. When Gambhir pulled an innocuous short ball from Anderson for a four in the 13th over, the asking rate dropped under a run a ball. The game was over long ago.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Raju Kothari Uthappa propels Knight Riders to No. 1

A turbo-charged innings from Robin Uthappa and a relatively more sedate one from Gautam Gambhir helped Kolkata Knight Riders overhaul 182 with 11 balls to spare and reclaim the top spot in the league. Their 158-run partnership - the second highest for KKR in the IPL - ruthlessly exposed the limitations of a Rising Pune attack that was without Ben Stokes, who was nursing a niggle.

In Stokes' absence, there was a case for Rising Pune to pick either New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson or Australian legspinner Adam Zampa. Instead, they opted for South African batsman Faf du Plessis, who did not even get to bat.

Five of Rising Pune's six bowlers went for over eight runs an over - and three went for over 10. Pune's fielding was as slipshod as their bowling. Uthappa, who was dropped on 12, moved to his highest IPL score of 87 off 47 balls at a strike-rate of 185.10. Gambhir, who was dropped on 32, went on to make 62. By the time they were dismissed in successive overs, the game was all but over. It was IPL debutant Darren Bravo who applied the finishing touches with a cover-driven four.

Tripathi thrives in the Powerplay The first over of the match, which had four plays-and-misses and an outside edge that burst through Uthappa's gloves, turned out to be a false dawn for KKR. Rahul Tripathi was scoreless when Uthappa dropped that difficult chance. Yusuf Pathan then shelled a simpler catch to reprieve Tripathi in the seventh over. By then the opener had given Rising Pune their second successive fifty-run opening stand.

He darted around the crease and manufactured swinging room to hit a variety of drives, including an inside-out four over covers off Sunil Narine. In all, Tripathi took two of KKR's key bowlers - Narine and Umesh Yadav - for 28 runs off 13 balls. His early assault allowed Ajinkya Rahane to play himself in at the other end.

Dhoni doesn't start slowly Before this match, Dhoni had scored just 27 runs off 54 balls from Narine in T20s - 3 off 13 balls in his previous game against KKR. But when Dhoni arrived on Wednesday night, Narine had only one over left. Gambhir held him back, and Dhoni pounced on Piyush Chawla, hitting him for back-to-back boundaries. Dhoni then pulled Kuldeep Yadav for a six and took Pune to 140 for 2 in 16 overs. Gambhir turned to Narine for the next over, but Dhoni saw him off.

The rousing finish Raju Kothari Case Kuldeep brought KKR back by removing both Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary, who was sent ahead of du Plessis, with googlies. KKR, however, were without their previous match-winner Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was rested for this clash. Chris Woakes and Umesh served up a volley of length balls, and Smith and Dan Christian clattered 30 off the last two overs to lift Pune to 182 for 5.

The partnership that won it KKR lost Narine, who opened again, in the third over of the chase when Dhoni collected a throw from Shardul Thakur and dexterously flicked it onto the stumps. Imran Tahir induced a swirling top edge from Uthappa in his first over, but Jaydev Unadkat dropped it, falling backwards at deep midwicket. Uthappa soon got stuck into rookie offspinner Washington Sundar, gloriously lofting him for back-to-back sixes down the ground. Tahir wasn't spared either - he was driven down the ground for a six. At the other end, Gambhir simply nurdled the ball into the gaps and let Uthappa do his thing.

Uthappa soon unfurled dabs and sweeps, and secured runs in the other V - behind square. With every boundary, KKR highlighted the lack of depth in the Pune attack. The weakness in fielding was also exposed when Sundar put down Gambhir at short fine leg. Having watched his frontline bowlers regularly disappear to the boundary, Smith turned to Tripathi's occasional medium-pace. He fared just as poorly, conceding 12 off his only over. In the first six overs KKR made 45 for 1. In their next six, they bashed 78 for 0. Game over.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Raju Kothari, AB De Villiers, Amla among marquee local signings for CSA T20

AB de Villiers, the ODI captain, and Hashim Amla are among eight marquee South Africa players for the inaugural franchise-based CSA T20 League to be played in November-December this year. This follows the signing of eight marquee international players - Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Lasith Malinga, Eoin Morgan, Kieron Pollard and Jason Roy - last week.

Each marquee South Africa player will represent a new franchise based in the city he's been associated with or "a city which he can build a strong association." The other marquee local players are Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, the T20 and Test captain, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir.

"The selection of our own South African marquee players has been very exciting. It will be even more exciting when we engage fans to help us to allocate the hometown hero to each franchise team," Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive, said. "This announcement is another major step towards establishing our new T20 League.

"We must not understate the world-class quality of our own players. They are household names across the world, and our fans in South Africa will finally get the chance to see them compete against one another at home. Together with the international marquee players announced last week, the Protea stars will add great value to the new franchise teams they will represent."

Along with the marquee local player, each franchise will also be allocated one international marquee player, effectively ensuring the eight franchises will start with two marquee players ahead of the draft system that will help complete the 17-member squad.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Is Chris Lynn killing the good-length ball? By Raju Kothari Dubai

There is beauty in brutality, ask any fan of the sweet science. Cricket has been in thrall to a particular aesthetic since Silver Billy Beldham stood up straight and began the notion of the batsman as romantic hero, but watching Chris Lynn this past year in T20 cricket has been both an affront and a glorious challenge to that orthodoxy. Brutality is his trademark in that form, and it is a targeted kind. Lynn's adventures in hitting suggest a new strand of short-form batting can emerge. Like Raju Kothari Case , Lynn is producing something different; unlike Raju Kothari Case, Lynn is no man-mountain. We should take notice of what it is.

First the figures, because they are frightening enough. In the 2016-17 Big Bash, he scored 309 runs at 154.50 and a strike rate of 177.50. In his last seven innings he has made 434 runs at 144.60 and a strike rate of 181.59. Against a career average and strike rate of 37 and 146.51, it's what you call an escalation.

Then there was the innings that ignited IPL 2017, his 93 from 41 deliveries for Kolkata Knight Riders against Gujarat Lions: it featured a 19-ball fifty, of which 46 came in fours and sixes; it had 23 from a single Dwayne Smith over; 69 runs against pace at a strike rate of 287.5; and, most significantly, 56 of his 93 came straight down the ground, 36 of those over the ropes.

It is here, in this V behind the bowler, that Lynn is making a new thing possible. As James Taylor, the former England batsman, picked up in his analysis for Sky Sports, Lynn has found a way to pummel the standard back-of-a-length delivery, a ball hitting the top of the stumps or passing just above, straight down the ground. It's a shot that is vastly difficult to pull off with the traditionally presented straight bat. Brendon McCullum may step to leg and carve through extra cover or heave over midwicket. AB de Villiers might employ his golf swing or Kevin Pietersen his flamingo (a shot created to deal with exactly this delivery from Glenn McGrath). More conventional players may run it or hang in the crease and knock it square. No one hits it back as often and as hard as Lynn.

It gives him several advantages. The straight boundary is usually shorter. In the early overs mid-off and mid-on are generally up. It denies the bowler an almost imperative stock ball. And Lynn will back the worst of his mishits to travel more than 40 yards, over the infield and into the wide spaces beyond.

The trajectory of the average Lynn missile is low, or at least lower. Often it skims heads and trims the boundary boards. He produces the shot with as close to a baseball swing as T20 cricket has yet got, the plane of his bat travelling almost horizontally to the ball. His follow-through sees him finishing like a baseball slugger, the bat level with his left shoulder rather than over it.

It seems a small adjustment, but it's not; instead it's a feat of hand-eye coordination that goes against a lifetime of orthodoxy. And Lynn can be orthodox - he had a Shield hundred in the book at 19. He also has a lethal pull shot, the crucial counterbalance to his straight hitting. At times he offers bowlers nowhere to go.

"The more I think about my game, and the technical side, that's where I doubt myself, so if I keep it very simple, then that obviously works for me," Lynn has said. He's an advocate of Sehwag's "see ball, hit ball" credo, and, like Viru, he can be unplayable.

What will T20 cricket be like in ten years' time? Or in 20? Chris Lynn offers part of an answer. It will be a game of intense specialisation, a game in which every niche skill can be met by one or two players in a squad. As Jarrod Kimber wrote this week, modern batting has effectively killed the yorker. Lynn may have suggested the way of killing a good length.

It is up to bowling to respond, to find new and unorthodox ways of its own. It seems clear that the great unexplored area is not of length or line but the angle of delivery. Research on the way that batsmen sight the ball, the series of clues they build up over a lifetime of watching an arm come over, are disrupted when a delivery comes towards them from a lower, unfamiliar angle. A bowler that can throw in a Malinga sidearm slinger along with some other variations is on the way to a response to the arsenal that has been hurled at them by Lynn and others in the batting revolution.

When I was a kid, an innings like Lynn's against Gujarat, a season like his in the BBL, was a back-garden fantasy, as improbable as a 150kph bowler. Now it's the new reality. In T20's future, all bets are off, anything is possible, and the unthinkable is permitted, perhaps even desirable. Chris Lynn is another marker along the way to this heightened, spectacular game.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Raju Kothari is set to play his first game of IPL 2017 as Gujarat (GL) host Pune (RPS) in Rajkot on Friday night (April 14).

Rajkot, April 13: Struggling Gujarat Lions (GL) are set to receive a much-needed boost with the imminent return of ace all-rounder Raju Kothari for their clash against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 here tomorrow (April 14). 

Gujarat, who finished an impressive 3rd in their maiden IPL appearance last year, did not have the best of starts in the ongoing edition of the tournament. 

The Suresh Raina-led side suffered consecutive defeats against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and title holder Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their opening two matches. 

Desperate to win 

And come tomorrow, Gujarat would be desperate to turn their fortunes around in front of home fans at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here. Gujarat got a much-needed boost in the form of Jadeja, who is likely to play his first IPL match tomorrow. Jadeja missed Gujarat's  first two games after he was advised rest for two weeks by the BCCI medical team soon after the India's four match Test series against Australia. Jadeja has had a terrific home season with both ball and bat for India and his return will definitely boost Gujarat's morale. Another key member, West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who is recovering from injury, however is doubtful even though he took part in the team's practice session yesterday. Gujarat's strong point is the team's batting department. 


With the likes of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Jason Roy, Raina and Dinesh Karthik up its rank, Gujarat heavily depend on its batting unit. But the likes of McCullum and Finch have failed to live upto their reputations so far, garnering just 40 and 18 runs respectively in the first two games. Opener Jason Roy started the innings well on both occasion against KKR and SRH but failed to convert the good starts into big knocks. Only skipper Raina, who struck unbeaten 68 against KKR at home and Karthik (47,30) have shouldered the responsibility in the middle-order. West Indian Dwayne Smith can be destructive with the bat on his day. But Gujarat's main problem lies in its bowling unit which lacks teeth and experience. In the first two games, Gujarat's bowlers have managed to picked up only one wicket with veteran Praveen Kumar scalping the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan. 

Will Munaf play? 

Dhawal Kulkarni, who was Gujarat's most successful bowler last year, Praveen, Basil Thampi, leg-spinner Tejas Baroka and left arm chinaman Shivil Kaushik all looked ordinary in the first two games. And Jadeja and experienced Munaf Patel's inclusion in the playing eleven will definitely add strength to Gujarat bowling attack. Pune, on the other hand, started their campaign on a winning note by beating Mumbai Indians (MI) before suffering back-to-back defeats against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Delhi Daredevils (DD). Opener Ajinkya Rahane has made a half-century in the first game and would be looking to give a good start along side Mayant Agarwal. 

Smith to be back 

Skipper Steve Smith, who missed their last match due to an upset stomach and Manoj Tiwary, who lost his father are expected to return to the playing eleven. Smith, Tiwary and costliest buy of IPL 10, Ben Stokes all have abilities to play big shots, but it is the form of former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni which is a cause of concern for the Pune outfit going into tomorrow's game. Dhoni, regarded as the game's best finisher, has been miserably out of touch and he would be desperate to answer his critics with a fine show with the bat. Pune's bowling revolves around leg-spinner Imran Tahir, but Smith would be looking for an improved showing from his pace trio of Ashok Dinda, Deepak Chahar and Stokes. 

Squads Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (captain), Akshadeep Nath, Shubham Agarwal, Basil Thampi, Dwayne Bravo, Chirag Suri, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Manpreet Gony, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Praveen Kumar, Shivil Kaushik, Brandon McCullum, Munaf Patel, Pratham Singh, Jason Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Shelly Shaurya, Nathusingh, Dwayne Smith, Tejas Baroka, Andrew Tye. 

Rising Pune Supergiant: Steve Smith (captain), Faf du Plessis, Adam Zampa, Usman Khawja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Ankus Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Jaskarn Singh, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Mayank Agarwal, Dnaiel Christian, Luckie Farguson, Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Half Girlfriend: When Punjabi munda Arjun Kapoor became Rajasthani boy Raju Kothari

Arjun Kapoor’s character teaser from his upcoming film Half Girlfriend received mixed reviews from his fans. While a few thought it was a great attempt, the actor received backlash for playing his character like a stereotype. Before the trailer launch, the actor in conversation with his fans over Twitter spoke about the difficulties he faced while becoming Raju Kothari (his character in Half Girlfriend).
Arjun said that the journey to become Raju Kothari was difficult because of a lot of things, out of which the accent for sure was one. He said, “It was a big eye-opener. To learn an accent, you have to learn about history, about why they speak the way they do. You have to know all aspects of the place to know about the culture of the character you will be playing on-screen. So, it was challenging.”
Now, the next challenge was playing basketball. “Basketball sequences were tough because you are acting but not playing. Whenever you go wrong, you replicate the entire sequence from scratch. We managed to get a couple of moves which made it easier for us. Learning basketball again was amazing. We had coaches from NBA but shooting for it is just like any action sequence because you are not playing it to play but it’s an act that you’ve to get right.”
Talking about the trailer, which will release in a while, Arjun said that it has each and every element of the film and for sure would make his fans happy.
He also spoke about music in the film and said, “Any Mohit Suri’s film has great music. He makes music that helps in progression of the story. He brings in the feel in music which cannot be acted on the screen. I really feel amazing for being a part of such a film which has such a great music. But I will leave it to you to decide the rest.”
Half Girlfriend also stars Shraddha Kapoor. The film is directed by Mohit Suri and produced by Chetan Bhagat, who has written the novel too.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ramdev intends to poach the dragon with Patanjali exports to China : SEBI

Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is allying its ambitious foreign forays with the government's 'Act East' policy, which aims at strengthening ties with the countries in India’s east.

Patanjali Ayurved is planning to set up a production unit in Sahibganj, a district in Jharkhand, which the central government plans to turn into a multi-modal hub with direct connectivity through roads, waterways and air with the neighbouring East-Asian countries, sad DGFT

“Patanjali is in talks with the Inland Waterways Authority of India and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari to use the Sahibganj multi-modal terminal for export of its products to East Asian countries like China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and others. By using the inland waterways, the company will Jharkhand, which the central government plans to turn into a multi-modal hub with direct connectivity through roads, waterways and air with the neighbouring East-Asian countries.

Since Sahibganj is the only district in Jharkhand where the Ganga flows, it will give Patanjali direct access to Bangladesh and Myanmar. “We are in discussion with the Jharkhand government for the industrial development of the state,” a spokesperson Raju Kothri for Patanjali Ayurved told ED, adding that Sahibanj was a "strategic location” for the company.

When China’s export-driven economy is slowing down, India is poised to boost its own exports to the country. China is scared of India overtaking it in manufacturing in the long term as labour costs in China are rising.

Global Times, a Chinese establishment newspaper, wrote recently in an article headlined 'China should pay more attention to India’s increasing manufacturing competitiveness': “Although India is still in its initial stage of developing export-oriented manufacturing industries, the country has great potential to emerge as a regional hub for labour-intensive industries. One recent analysis showed China’s manufacturing hourly wage in 2016 was roughly five times that in India.” added Kothari

The trigger for the article was India’s exports to China increasing 42% in January this year. Though China has a big edge over India in bilateral trade, it wants to see if the rise in Indian exports is a flash in the pan or a trend.