KKR’s new captain: Jacques Kallis names an overseas cricketer who can fill Gautam Gambhir’s shoes in IPL 2018

KKR’s new captain: Jacques Kallis names an overseas cricketer who can fill Gautam Gambhir’s shoes in IPL 2018

New Delhi: The two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) winner, Kolkata Knight Riders splurged an amount of 59 crores to rope in just 17 players, the least by any team in the mega-auction, held in the twilight of January, in addition to their retained list – Andre Russel and Sunil Narine. While the batting lineup looks daunting enough with the likes of Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Narine himself (as a pinch hitter), the bowlers look equally formidable with lineup garnered with Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and India’s U19 World Cup stars – Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti. Yet, they aren’t the strongest of all on paper, the reason being captaincy. And in a recent interview with PTI, coach Jacques Kallis mentions an overseas cricketer who can fill Gautam Gambhir’s shoes in IPL 2018 – Chis Lynn. KKR entered with 59 crores and left with none in hand, but 17 players in the bank. Heading into the 11th edition of IPL, the Knights have a new core with Aussie opener Lynn being their costliest players – 9.6 crores, while Windies all-rounder Narine and Russel being retained.Yet, with Gambhir’s exit from the team, KKR fans look bewildered as to who will ably fill in the gaps. The left-hander had led the Kolkata-based franchise in 122 IPL matches, with the team grabbing 69 victories and two titles – 2012 and 2014 and going to the playoffs thrice – 2011, 2016 and 2017. Lynn, Narine, Uthappa are some of the favourites to take the captain’s armband, but nothing has been yet made official by the team or any of its members. When asked by PTI about the Aussie, Kallis said, “Yes, he is probably one of the candidates but we haven’t yet decided about it. Maybe, we will get to know in the next couple of weeks.”“We have got an experienced side and our first XI, as of now, looks pretty settled,” he continued as he talked about his side, “We have some very talented youngsters as back-ups. One positive thing about this year’s squad is that we have proper balance for home and away conditions.”IPL season 11 will kick off from April 7 onwards at Wankhede Stadium with Mumbai Indians hosting the opener against Chennai Super Kings. KKR will have their first match at home when they welcome Royal Challengers Bangalore to Eden Gardens on April 8.
Australia hammer record chase after Guptill’s 49-ball ton
Eden Park was transformed into a T20 batting paradise as Australia pulled off a world-record run chase in Auckland, reducing Martin Guptill’s 49-ball hundred – and a host of other records – to a footnote. D’Arcy Short and David Warner hammered aggressive fifties to set the tone of the reply and Australia’s middle order kept the pedal to the metal at a stage where New Zealand had stuttered to seal victory with more than an over to spare.
The stands were peppered for 32 sixes – equalling the T20I record – as the odd-shaped boundaries at Eden Park produced a lop-sided match in which batsman were able to swing with impunity and bowling became an exercise in damage limitation. No team had successfully chased as many in all T20 cricket.
New Zealand were left to rue a passage at the back end of their innings when they didn’t score a boundary for 18 balls, but the point at which the game tipped decisively came in the 17th over of the chase. Australia needed 42 from 24 but Ben Wheeler, in the side after an injury to Mitchell Santner, delivered a no-ball that Aaron Finch struck for six, followed by a four and another high full toss.
Wheeler was removed from the attack, the equation had become 29 from 23, and although his replacement, Trent Boult, had Short caught behind top-edging a pull, another four and a six from Finch left Australia needing less than a run a ball. Finch’s unbeaten 36 off 14 at No. 5 provided a muscular contrast with the way New Zealand had faltered and it was probably apt that he finished things off with the final six of a gluttonous encounter.Australia had ransacked their way to victory, leaving Guptill in the shade despite several personal milestones. Their fourth win from four in the tri-series left the home fans muttering quietly to themselves but would have been cheered down in Hamilton, as it helped keep England in with a chance of pipping a shell-shocked New Zealand to a place in the final.
Guptill became the leading run-scorer in all T20 internationals, surpassing Brendon McCullum, while also striking the fastest hundred by a New Zealander (one delivery quicker than McCullum) and moving up above his former team-mate to second on the all-time six-hitting list, too. But from Guptill’s dismissal in the 17th over, New Zealand stumbled. Kane Richardson picked up two wickets as New Zealand lost 4 for 12 and it required a couple more sixes from Ross Taylor – one of which was adroitly held by a fan in the crowd wearing a sponsor’s shirt – to ensure the innings didn’t dribble to a conclusion.
This was a night to make bowlers question their life choices. AJ Tye conceded 64 from his four overs, soothed a modicum by two wickets, but he could probably spare some sympathy for New Zealand’s Wheeler, who was left with 0 for 64 from just 3.1. Perversely, the most economical bowler on either side – Ashton Agar – did not deliver his full quota.
Having been on the receiving end of untrammelled aggression from Guptill and Colin Munro, who struck six sixes of his own in making 76, Australia’s openers took the Spinal Tap route and turned the amps up to 11. Short’s first three boundaries all came off the edge of the bat – the first flying all the way over the rope at third man – and he might have been caught on 18 gloving a pull at Tim Southee, but Tim Seifert could not hold on one-handed down the leg side.
Warner, whose run of poor form in white-ball cricket had extended 10 innings without a fifty, had 12 off seven balls when he twice latched on to Wheeler for leg-side sixes. Five wides over the keeper (among 20 extras down by the New Zealand attack) turned the fifth into a 22-run over, and Warner cleared the ropes two more times in the next as Australia equalled the Powerplay record of 91 in T20 internationals.A 20-ball fifty from Warner had clearly shaken New Zealand’s resolve, though he fell shortly after missing an attempted pull at Ish Sodhi’s googly. Chris Lynn struck one towering blow before being caught by Guptill – who had dropped him two overs before – but Short crashed two sixes and a four from his next four legitimate balls to keep Australia on track.
Australia raised their 150 in the 12th over, just as New Zealand had. Short had not looked as imperious as Guptill but he was striking the ball ever-more cleanly; Glenn Maxwell, meanwhile, continued the theme of the night by hitting his second ball for six over long-on as New Zealand’s late-innings lull began to look ever-more costly. Something had to give and it turned out to be Wheeler.
I was ‘hurt’ after getting snubbed despite performing well: Raina
New Delhi Suresh Raina says he was “hurt” after being dropped from the Indian team despite performing well, but since he is back in the mix, the southpaw is determined to make the most of the upcoming T20 series in South Africa. “I was hurt on getting dropped even after performing well. But now I have cleared the Yo-Yo test and feeling strong. During all these months of hard training, the desire to play for India again grew stronger,” Raina told Aaj Tak.
“I won’t leave it here. I have to play for India for as long as possible. I have to play the 2019 World Cup because I know I have done well in England. There is still a lot left in me and I am extremely confident of doing well in these three games in South Africa,” he said.The 31-year-old has played 223 ODIs and 65 T20s but feels like a debutant again. “Yes, I am 31 but age is just a number. The other day when my match clothing arrived, I had the same feeling like I got before making my India debut. It is so special,” he said.The left-hander last played for India in the T20 series against England and scored an impressive 63 in the final match at Bengaluru in February last year. However, failure to clear the Yo-Yo test kept him out of the Indian team. “My family became my biggest strength during this difficult time. I played a lot of domestic cricket and focused on clearing the Yo-Yo test. I worked really hard on it at the NCA. I have always been fit during my entire career but it is just that at times you get down with injuries or niggles and that hampered the preparation to clear the test.”
With the likes of Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav and Ajinkya Rahane still trying to cement their place in the Indian ODI middle order, Raina knows a few good knocks in the T20s can help him get a look in the 50-over format ahead of the 2019 World Cup. “If you talk about the No 4 slot in the ODIs, it is not an easy one to bat on. Most of the time the team is in a tricky situation when the No 4 comes to bat, especially while chasing. One needs to attack, change the gears constantly. I personally feel that the No 4 and 5 slot suits more to my style of batting,” said Raina.
Mujeeb Zadran youngest to take five-for in ODIs, beats Waqar Younis
On Friday at the age of 16 years and 325 days, Afghanistan offspinner Mujeeb Zadran became the youngest bowler to take a five-wicket haul in the 50-overs format. Zadran took 5/50 in his 10 overs as the Afghans bowled out Zimbabwe for 134 in 38 overs in the fourth ODI at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, after which his team chased down the target in 21.1 overs without any loss thanks to Mohammad Shahzad (75) and Ihsanullah (51).Zadran overtook Pakistan great Waqar Younis as the youngest to take a five-for. Younis (6/26) had achieved the feat in 1990 at the age of 18 years and 164 days against Sri Lanka at the same venue.