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AUS W vs IND W | With World Cup in mind, coach Ramesh Powar looks to find fast bowler support for Jhulan

The Indian Women’s team embarked on their tour of Australia after spending a good amount of time in their Bengaluru camp. The team might be playing only three ODIs and the entire focus might be on the one-off day/night Test at WACA in Perth, but coach Ramesh Powar is pretty sure of what he wants. 

"World Cup is a very important tournament for us and we're focusing on that. If you see only the one-off Test, we can't go in with a mindset of preparing for that,” he said in the pre-departure press conference. 

But his focus on ODIs doesn’t mean that he or the team is taking the Test lightly. According to the former India player, the team will transition itself from the ODI mode to the test mode and he trusts them to do so. 

"I think it is about taking the one-day confidence into Test. I'm confident that we don't have to prepare separately for the pink-ball Test. We back our players in the format and they are good enough to react to the situation,” said the coach whose time drew the one-off Test against England Women coming from behind in June this year. 

Powar, himself a successful Mumbai off-spinner knows that it won’t be easy for the Indian team to adjust quickly and the experience would be totally different for the team. Hence he has focused on making sure that players react to the situation instead of going with a fixed mindset. 

"The Test in Australia will be slightly different because we will be playing with the pink ball under lights. The experience will be different because we have never played with the pink ball under lights before,” he said. 

“We don't go in with a set mindset. It's all about how we apply ourselves at that moment,” Powar added further. 

Another point of focus of Powar is to find a pacer who would share the responsibility with Jhulana Goswami for opening the innings with the ball. Meghna Singh, the Railways medium pacer, and Renuka Singh Thakur of Himachal Pradesh have been drafted into the side as extra support to Goswami Shikha Pandey and Pooja Vastrakar. 

Powar believes that these new pacers would be tried to get to the composition before the ODI World Cup in 2022 in New Zealand in February. 

“In the fast-bowling department, we are looking for consistency so that Jhulan can express herself. Because of lack of partnership, she is defensive which we don't want as a team. And we are giving her that support,” the coach said. 

The Indian Women begin their tour with the first ODI at North Sydney Oval on September 19.

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This group has been brilliant: Veteran Jimmy Anderson praises young English bowling attack

England made a real quick work of the Indian innings on the fourth day of the third Test between the two sides at Headingley, Leeds. After the Indian batting unit had staged a dogged fight on day three losing just two wickets, it seemed like the English bowlers would have to sweat a lot to get to the win, however, it wasn’t the case. James Anderson, the leader of the England bowling pack being it was courtesy of great patience and discipline by his young group. The Burnley born made it a point of notice that England are playing without their regulars and are still able to produce such great performances. “We are missing quite a few bowlers. The likes of Stuart Broad, Jofra [Archer], Chris Wokes, guys who have done a fantastic job throughout the last few years weren’t available and then the guys coming in playing that well, yes it shows a great depth in our bowling group,’ Anderson told in a video uploaded by Sky Cricket on their official Twitter handle. “It’s that collective effort that helps you get those wickets. Building pressure at both ends. We were relentless with that yesterday and carried it on today,” added the 39-year-old. Praising his fellow bowlers, Anderson went to list how each of the bowlers has been brilliant. This group has been brilliant. Craig Overton has come back in and done a fantastic job for us. Sam Curran got a couple of wickets on the first day so we all are chipping in and I think it’s really important.” he said before lauding the Man of the Match Ollie Robinson, who took seven wickets in the match including a five-wicket haul in the second innings. “And obviously, Ollie Robinson today was absolutely unbelievable. He’s been brilliant since he has come into the side and got his rewards today with the five-wicket haul,” Anderson said. Anderson, who has 630 wickets in 165 Tests said that he wasn’t expecting such an early end to the game and had prepared for a hard toil on day four. But he was also somewhere sure that if the bowlers bowled in the right channel they were bound to be rewarded. “Obviously, India fought back and we expected them to do it. But we knew that if we kept hitting the right lengths and kept bowling in the right areas, there was enough for us to get wickets and we got our rewards this morning,” said the right-arm pacer. “We came in thinking that it would be a long day considering the quality of the Indian batting, but we also knew that if we bowled as well as we did yesterday, we will get our rewards for it and thankfully it happened before Lunch,” concluded Anderson, but not before converting that the English bowlers will be going for more wickets in the remaining two Test matches at Oval and Old Trafford respectively.


Kohli doesn't 'believe' in playing with sixth batsman, still backs five bowler ‘template’

Virat Kohli often cops criticism for not changing his approach of playing Test matches, especially in overseas conditions while at the same time also earning high praise from people who believe in his ideas of how to play and succeed in the longest format. He has always been a strong supporter of playing with five bowlers to have an extra cushion to enforce a result albeit at the expense of putting huge responsibilities on the batting lineup like he did at Lord’s and Headingley. The move worked tremendously well for his side as the quartet of pacers ran rampant throughout the games and got the better of the hosts on an energetic final day. However, they could not carry on with momentum as India suffered an embarrassing collapse in the first innings of the third Test to lose the game by a big margin of an innings and 76 runs. Former greats and his critics have always outlined the risks in playing one extra bowler at the expense of extra batsmen and the collapses such as the one at Headingley have more or less ratified their perspectives. However, staying true to his character, Kohli has not buckled under pressure and innumerable suggestions for outside and always maintained that he sees more rewards than risks in having five bowling options. As India collapsed for 78 in the first innings and from 215/2 to 278 all out in the second innings at Headingley, he was again confronted with the question of risk vs rewards in terms of selection, and Kohli once again stayed true to his ideas. He refuted the idea of playing a sixth batsman and reiterated his long-standing scepticism of that “balance” that experts are asking him to weigh on. He chose the dichotomy of either trying to “win the game” by playing an extra bowler or trying to “save a defeat” by playing an extra batsman. He concluded that if batsmen batting at the top six position can’t produce performances to put the team in front of the game, there is “no guarantee” that an extra batsman will save the day for the side. He said that fielding a playing XI that does not have “resources” to take 20 opposition wickets is not the brand of cricket he and his team play in the longest format. "I don't believe in that balance. I have never believed in that balance. Because either you can try to save a defeat or try to win the game. We have drawn games in the past with similar number of batters in the team. So, if your top six or seven don't do the job, that extra batter is no guarantee of bailing you out every time,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference. "You have to accept that as a team you take responsibility and pride in doing the job for the team. If you don't have the ability or the resources of taking 20 wickets going into as Test, then you are only playing for two results. And that's not how we play." Apart from the debate over a perfect team combination of bowlers and batsmen, Kohli has also had to deal with the composition of the bowling attack. He has taken a brave call of benching a player of Ravichandran Ashwin, who is considered as the best finger spinner going around across the world of cricket and the move is a decisive one, to say the least. After quite a satisfying performance at Trent Bridge where India had played Shardul Thakur as the fourth bowling option instead of Ashwin, Kohli had expressed confidence in that “template” of four pacers. He did not give up on his ideas albeit Shardul got ruled out of the Lord’s Test and he carried on with a rather more aggressive option of playing with four genuine seamers, who elongated the tail. The win at Lord’s that came on sheer energy and brilliance of the pace quartet, Kohli chose to stick with them albeit dropping a strong hint that Ashwin was in the reckoning for the Leeds Test. He was once again asked to address the Ashwin conundrum and whether the off-spinner will find a place in the XI for the Oval Test. Kohli chose to keep the answer close to his chest and pointed out that the team selection is flexible based on the nature of the pitch that will be on offer at the Oval. However, he backed his template of four pacers with the strongest word and said that having the cushion of an extra seamer helps while bowling on a fresh pitch on the first day of the Test match in case the opposition win the toss and decide to bat first. "That depends on the pitch," Kohli said. "We have to obviously assess the surface that we are going to play on. Forecast is something that no one really knows in this country. It all depends on the pitch. I think this template works. If you are consistent enough, the pressure from the fourth seamer, especially when you lose the toss and you have to bowl first, that comes in very handy because when you have two spinners you can only attack with three seamers and then the spinners are into play on a fresh wicket on Day 1,” Kohli added. Another area of concern for India could be the workload of pacers having bowled a decent amount of overs in the first three Tests. They got a long break between the second and the third Test and also an extra day rest before starting the fourth day, but Kohli conceded that the rotation of quicks is “bound to happen” as the team management is reluctant to push pacers beyond their limit of workload. He has all but confirmed that none of the Indian pacers will play all the five Tests of the series due to the short turnaround time between the games. He said that the management will have “sensible and logical” conversations with the pacers to assess their physical state after the third Test before deciding the playing XIs of the future games of the series. "That's bound to happen. It is a logical and sensible thing to do. You obviously don't want to push individuals to a point where they break down. That conversation is very important. Very sensible and logical one at that as well,” Kohli admitted the workload management issues. "We will have that conversation with individuals and see who is placed where physically and who needs to have a game off. You can't expect with a short turnaround like this for guys to play four Tests in a row. So, we will have to assess who are the guys who will be given that many days to recover and be okay for the fourth one." Virat Kohli can choose to be bullish about playing only six batsmen and putting the onus on them to give ample amount of runs for bowlers to execute their plans with confidence. However, he no longer can choose to not address the frequent batting collapses that the team is suffering from in this series and also in the recent past. He also has to pick himself after a string of low scores and more importantly with a pattern emerging in his dismissals. He got past the 50-run mark in the second innings and batted with confidence on the third day before being opened up in the channel outside off once again early on the fourth day by both James Anderson and Ollie Robinson. If India have to come back after this big loss in Leeds, the onus must be on Kohli and his senior member such as Ajinkya Rahane to do the bulk of run-scoring otherwise another chance of defeating England in their backyard will go wasted.


Watch 'Giorgio Armani of broadcasting’ Dinesh Karthik depart for IPL after fabulous show in England

Dinesh Karthik has been a breath of fresh air in the broadcast arena with his new brand of cricket commentary altogether. Right from the World Test Championship 2019-21 Final at Southampton to the third match of the India-England Test series, his presence in the Sky Sports commentary box has been well received by cricket audiences all around the world. On the fourth day of the third Test at Headingley in Leeds, the Indian batter was given a farewell by his fellow commentators Nasser Hussain, Shane Warne and Micahel Atherton during the post-match show after England registered an innings and 76 run win over India. During the discussion, Karthik summarised his stay in the comm box as wonderful. “It’s been wonderful, I have thoroughly enjoyed the company, everybody has been very good to me, which is quite surprising (chuckles),” Karthik told Atherton. “The commentary part has been really fun. It’s been great to watch the three Tests and I am leaving in a couple of days and then have the IPL coming up, then we will see what happens, “ he added. Nasser, while cutting the Indian wicket-keeper in between said, “If we have to commentate on you, make sure you bring your ‘A’ game (chuckling).” It was not only the WTC Final and the England-India series, but the 36-year-old was also part of The Hundred and England’s series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well. He was not only praised for his commentary but also for his dressing sense as Michael holding described him as the best-dressed commentator. Karthik, vice-captain of the Kolkata knight Riders will have his task cut out during the UAE leg of the IPL as his team is reeling in the bottom half of the table.


Joe Root becomes most-successful England captain after Leeds Test win over India

With the win against India in the third Test of the series at his home ground Headingley, Joe Root has become the most successful England captain in terms of winning the longest format games. Before the Leeds Test, he had 26 Test wins from 54 games he had led England side in an with a big win over the Virat Kohli-led side he got past Michael Vaughan who had won 26 wins as England captain in 51 occurrences. Root has gone past Vaughan in 55 Test matches as captain of the side. Root took over the captaincy from Alastair Cook in 2017 who also has a decent winning record as an England captain. The Essex left-hander had led England to 24 wins out of 59 Test matches while his predecessor Andrew Strauss has a winning record of 24 wins out of 50 Test matches. Root has been in tremendous form in the recent past and is piling on the runs against an impressive Indian bowling attack. He has scored three centuries in the three Tests of the ongoing series at home after scoring a ton earlier this year in Chennai. Joe Root came under enormous pressure after Australia had retained the Urn after drawing the Ashes series at home in 2019, but no alternative option except Ben Stokes, who already had too many responsibilities for the side helped him continue with the role. He has turned his fortunes around massively this year and looks certain to go on for some time if his men can build on an impressive win against India in Leeds.