Australia all-rounder Shane Watson picks Kohli ahead of Smith, Root, Williamson and Babar
New Delhi, Apr 14 (Cricket News) Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has picked Virat Kohli as the best batter among the 'big five' in Test cricket, preferring to not read much into the Indian maestro's failure to score a hundred since November 2019.
As per Watson's list, the former India captain has pipped the likes of Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Babar Azam.
"In Test match cricket, I am always going to say Virat Kohli," Watson said when asked by Isa Guha who he thought is the best Test batter in the world, in his latest episode of the ICC Review.
"It's nearly superhuman, what he is able to do because he has such high intensity every time he goes out to play," Watson added.
While Kohli has slipped to 10th on the ICC rankings, the Indian great continues to hold a remarkable Test batting record. He has scored 27 Test centuries and 28 half-centuries and currently has a Test batting average of just under 50.
The world's current No.1 Test batter Marnus Labuschagne, who has played 26 Test matches and averages 54.31, would have increased the 'big 'five' to a 'big six', but was left out of the debate for this topic due to a 40-Test minimum criteria, the ICC said in a report on its official website.
Regarding Pakistan skipper Babar, who he has kept at number two, Watson noted, "Babar Azam is playing incredibly well.
"(It's great) to be able to see how he has adapted his game to really move his game to Test cricket as well.
"Babar Azam would probably be No.2 at the moment." Babar is currently ranked the fifth best batter in the world and appears to be on the rise if his recent performances against Australia are anything to go by. He stroked a superb 196 during the second Test in Karachi and finished the series with a total of 390 runs.
About Watson's third best batter Smith, he said the Australian star "has just started to come off a little bit." "It looks like Smith has really started to play for time a little bit more and is not putting as much pressure on the bowlers as he did when was at his absolute best. For me, Steve has dropped down that list a little bit." Smith is second on the ICC rankings, with only Australian team-mate Labuschagne ranked ahead of him.
About Williamson, who Watson considers the world's fourth best at the moment, the Australian said, "Kane knows his game inside out and knows how to put pressure on bowlers in any conditions." While Williamson has played just two Test matches in the last 12 months, he remains ranked as the third best batter. The Kiwi veteran has 24 Test centuries to his name and may still have plenty of cricket left in him if he can overcome his injury issues.
Coming to his fifth best batter Root, Watson said, "Joe Root recently scored a hundred but he has had a bit of time along the lines of Steve Smith where he hasn't been able to nail the big scores like he has done in the past." "It's incredible how these world-class batters just go through waves where instead of scoring those big hundreds, get the 70s-80s, but still have an impact on the game but are not able to really maintain that really high standard of getting those big runs as they have done in the past," Watson added.
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News Source : PTI
Warne would have done terrific job as England coach: Ponting
Dubai, Mar 8 (Cricket News) Shane Warne would have been a "terrific" England coach with his immense knowledge of the game, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said in an emotional tribute to the legendary spinner.
Following the sacking of Chris Silverwood in the aftermath of Australia's 4-0 Ashes win, Warne had confided to his friends about his aspiration to become England coach, weeks ahead of his shocking death due to suspected heart attack while holidaying in Thailand.
"His (Warne's) passion and knowledge for the game is something to behold. He would have made a great coach. Having someone like Warne to take over the England cricket team, I think he would have done a terrific job," Ponting told fellow broadcaster Isa Guha on 'The ICC Review'.
"He's a huge loss to the world game. It's simple as that, whether he would have done some coaching or even just the way he talks, the insights he gave us through his commentary, I think we're all gonna miss that." Ponting, who played for much of his 15-year international career with Warne said the spin king, however, did not talk to him about his intention to helm the England team. "He didn't (talk to me about that) because I would have tried talking him out of it pretty quickly.
"I think he had a pretty good idea of things to talk to me about and not talk to me about. He would have made a great coach," said the batting legend.
Guha herself said that Warne’s desire to coach England was real.
In a column for 'News Corp', Guha said Warne had floated the idea to her.
“The last time I saw Shane Warne in person, he came to me with a question... 'Hey Ish … I’m keen to put my hand up for this England job, what do you reckon?' He was serious," Guha wrote.
Warne had previously coached and captained the Rajasthan Royals to win the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008. He also coached The Hundred franchise, the London Spirit.
"I know he's done a bit of it in The Hundred (with the London Spirit) but having someone like Shane Warne to take over the England cricket team now he would have done a great job," Ponting said.
"I don't think he left too much in his head. Whenever he had something to talk about, he made sure he got that out there and he did it in such a great way.
"It was in an educational way. That was what he was. He was very much a teacher through his commentary." Warne's career was marred by many unfortunate incidents and controversies and one of the lowest points was when he had to deal with his broken marriage with then wife Simone Callahan, a few days before the famous 2005 Ashes series.
Their marriage lasted 10 years before the duo split in 2005. But Warne showed character, returning with 40 wickets and finishing as the fifth leading run getter for Australia in their 1-2 defeat.
"I was worried about him, not just his cricket, but his life and home. I wanted to make sure everything was okay," Ponting remembered.
"I finally got him at breakfast and spoke to him. He told me, 'Mate what are you talking? I will deal with all this stuff, I guarantee you when the first ball is bowled in the first Test, you would not even know that anything's up'.
"If you look back, that was probably the greatest series he had in his career, not just with the ball but with the bat."
Also Read : Used to bowl medium pace to be next Kapil Paaji: Ashwin
News Source : PTI
Ponting says every time he thinks about Warne, he becomes emotional
Dubai, Mar 7 (Cricket News) Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting "loves" Shane Warne so much that he tends to switch off his television set on hearing the late spin king's voice in it in the past couple of days as he can't still believe that his one-time team-mate is no more.
In an emotional tribute to Warne with whom he played for much of his 15-year international career, Ponting said he is still struggling to comprehend the unexpected death of his close friend.
"It was so raw to me I couldn't really speak and every time I thought about him and our experiences and our journey together and I just got short for words," Ponting told Isa Guha, on The ICC Review.
"Even today I have had the TV on watching the tributes, but every time I hear his voice I have to turn it off.
"It's been a tough couple of days, but it makes us a bit more aware of things I probably need to pay more attention to and there is stuff there for all of us to learn.” Ponting knew Warne better than most having played alongside the iconic spinner for much of his international career, where the duo shared numerous Test victories, memorable series triumphs and a successful World Cup campaign in 1999.
But while Ponting lived in the same Melbourne bayside suburb as Warne and even caught up for the occasional game of golf all the way up to his death, the former Australia skipper said there was one thing he will never get to share with his long-time friend.
"I would say just how much I love him," Ponting said tearily, when asked what he would say to Warne if he had the chance for one final conversation.
"I didn't say that to him and I wish I did." Warne died at the age of 52 of suspected heart attack at the Thai resort of Koh Samui on Friday, leaving the cricket world stunned and shell-shocked.
"I woke up nice and early I was getting the kids ready to go to netball and Rianna (Ponting’s wife) looked at her phone and told me the news about Warney," he said.
"I grabbed the phone out of her hand to look at it and I couldn't believe it and it is still the same now," said the legendary batsman.
He vowed to ensure the champion leg spinner's legacy continues through his interactions with younger generation.
"He (Warne) was a teacher through his commentary and I've seen hundreds of photos over the last 24 hours of all the spinners he worked with. He helped Steve Smith in his younger days and Rashid Khan has been catching up with him - just imagine the conversations they would have had.
"So I feel it is now up to me whenever I get an opportunity to just let the world know what he was like and pass on some of the things I learnt from him." Ponting also reflected on the special memories he had with Warne while also paying homage to the type of man he was.
"If you spent a day with him (it was amazing to) see some of the names flashing up on his mobile phone.
"It was very rare for Warney just to be sitting at home. He would always try and find time for his friends and his family and that was one of his great strengths," Ponting said.
"The more people talking about Shane, the thing that will shine through will be just how loyal he was to family and friends and how loved he was. He had the energy that drew you to him and that is a trait that not a lot of people have."
Also Read : India register emphatic win against Sri Lanka with multiple milestones
News Source : PTI
Docu series 'Down Underdogs' will leave Indian cricket fans in nostalgic tears
(Cricket news) It's been almost a year since the Indian cricket team against all the odds defeated Australia in an away Test series. Now Sony Sports has released a 4 part docu series on India's triumph where they won 2-1 away against the mighty Australia despite numeral setbacks. The series is available to watch on SonyLiv
In the docu series, viewers will see players Hanuma Vihari, Mohammed Siraj and Marnus Labuschagne talking about their experiences. Former cricketers turned commentators Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Nick Knight, Isa Guha, Vivek Razdan, Lisa Sthalekar, Micheal Clarke, Jason talked about the series and also their own experiences in similar situations. Journalists Harsha Bhogle, Ayaz Memon, Joy Bhattacharjya, Gaurav Kapoor and Rajdeep Sardesai highlighted several points about the series and the historical context of it.
The topic of the documentary was such that fans of Indian cricket would enjoy it regardless of the quality of the end product because it is still fresh in people's mind and the memories of it would trigger the nostalgic factor in people's brain who have experienced the series even if it is through their T.V screens. Each episode focused on the 4 Test matches titled Adelaide Aberration, Melbourne Magic, Sydney Siege and Brisbane Breached.
Throughout the series there were stories and anecdotes about players like Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan and Washington Sundar. The series brilliantly portrayed important parts of the series like Virat Kohli leaving after the first Test, Ravichandran Ashwin's battle with Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane's hundred, India's multiple injury woes, racist abuse, the unexpected debuts of inexperienced Indian players and Tim Paine's sledging.
The main thing missing was that Marnus Labuschagne, Hanuma Vihari and Mohammed Siraj were unable to enlighten the viewers about their mindset during and before the games. What the atmosphere was inside the changing room was not really talked about. The main takeaway from the series was that it depicted the beauty of Test cricket and why it is the best format of the game and must be preserved. Overall the series is definitely a must watch for all the cricket fans. The high drama along with the ebbs and flow of the Test series is highlighted and enhanced in the docu series.
It's shame and anticlimax to wonderful series: former players on cancellation of Manchester Test
New Delhi, Sep 10 (Cricket news) The cancellation of the fifth and final Test between India and England in Manchester due to fears of more COVID-19 cases in the visitors' camp was on Friday described as "absolute shame" and anticlimax to a "wonderful series".
Many of them, however, refused to point fingers on India, who were leading the series 2-1, reminding that England had done the same in South Africa.
The Test was cancelled just a couple of hours before the toss after India were left on tenterhooks following physio Yogesh Parmar's positive COVID-19 test that led to concerns that the infection could spread during the match.
"This is such a shame - as it’s been a wonderful series!," Australian spin legend Shane Warne wrote on his Twitter handle on the cancellation of the Old Trafford Test.
England batting great Kevin Pietersen said there should not be fingers pointed on the Indians for deciding not to play the Test.
"England left the tour of SA for Covid scares & cost CSA plenty, so don’t go pointing fingers!," he tweeted.
"Just remember what I said about where Test Cricket will be at in 2026…" Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted: "India have let English Cricket down!!! But England did let South African Cricket down!!!" Another former England captain Nasser Hussain said after both sides and the game of cricket went through this summer, it would have been nice to finish the series off.
"The bubble time they have done and everything that has been done to get this series on, it's a real shame that it has to end on such a low note," he said on Sky Sports.
Also read: India forfeit fifth Test against England as players decline to take field post COVID scare
Former England batsman Mark Butcher said the restart of Indian Premier League in the UAE on September 19 could be one of the reasons for the cancellation of the Test.
"The IPL restarts in the UAE on September 19 and any further postponement of the Test pushed the Indian players beyond the start of the competition (IPL)," he said on Sky Sports.
"Also, should any of the Indian players test positive in the meantime, they would haver to further quarantine another 10 days in the UK before they are able to leave," he added.
"There could be multiple reasons but it is absolute shame that the series has not been played out the way it was meant to." He said it has been a tremendous series and India had been a fantastic team, giving England the real run for their money in home conditions.
"We had an inkling last night that there could be an issue, there was talk of postponement of the Test match which of course would have caused as many problems as it can solve." Royal Challengers Bangalore, which is captained by India skipper Virat Kohli, said the right decision has been taken.
"Health and safety of everyone involved is paramount and the right call has been made. We hope and pray that everybody is safe," the RCB tweeted.
Another IPL side Punjab Kings described the development as "sad news".
Former England woman player Isa Guha tweeted: "Mad times ... Some questions - what happens to the points/how does the series end? If not forfeited? Will there be a chance to complete it another time?"
News source: PTI
Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Alastair Cook predict New Zealand victory in World Test Championship final
London, Jun 17 Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Alastair Cook reckon New Zealand will walk away with the top honours in the WTC final against India as they have the ability to play long periods of disciplined cricket and have got acclimatized to the English conditions.
The two sides are set to lock horns in the marquee clash starting Friday in Southampton.
"I fancy New Zealand. I know I'm going to get absolute pelters on social media for going against India. But the way New Zealand played in the two Tests against England, I think they're going to do it. They are a high-class cricket team - I like every aspect of their game," Vaughan told 'BBC'.
"New Zealand play long periods of disciplined cricket, with bat and ball. They bat with a great maturity and read the situation perfectly.
"If you analyse Test cricket, generally it is the side that are able to cover all the bases the longest that wins, and New Zealand are able to do that because they have a very skilful bowling attack," he added.
New Zealand head into the fixture on the back of a 1-0 Test series victory over hosts England last week while the last red-ball match India featured in was in March.
Cook feels New Zealand's match sharpness will work in the favour of Kane Williamson and company.
"New Zealand are going to win. They're two matches further into match-sharpness after the series win against England - they're used to playing under pressure and in English conditions." Cook, who amassed 12,472 in 161 Tests for England, backed the inclusion of left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel in the Kiwi playing XI.
"The only thing they've got to deal with is the selection question - and getting the balance of the side right. I hope they go in with Ajaz Patel, the left-arm spinner.
"But that means one of their big four seam bowlers - Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner or Matt Henry - who have done such a good job for them, isn't going to play," he added.
Former England women's speedster-turned-analyst Isa Guha said India have the depth in squad with quality batters and an equally potent bowling attack.
"I'm going to go for India. They have got tremendous depth in their squad, the big guns are back and they are a quality outfit under the leadership of Virat Kohli.
"They've got an unbelievable top six -Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant are a world-beating line-up and they've got pace bowlers to back it up.
"They have a wonderful bowling attack, probably the best in the history of Indian cricket," Guha said. News source PTI
Indian women will dominate when as much thought goes into their game as men: Isa Guha
London, May 23 Former England cricketer Isa Guha on Sunday said disparities still existed between men's and women's cricket but expressed optimism that the Indian women's team will do as good as their their celebrated male counterparts if "equal amount of thought" goes into it.
In a couple of tweets, she pointed out the areas that need to be looked into by the game's stakeholders to "reach equity".
She has also called for the need to have a strong player's association in place for the welfare of the women's game.
"Women are made to feel grateful for progress but there is still so much to be done to reach equity (& that isn't just equal pay). Players associations are a vital part of reaching this. Indian women will dominate the stage when as much thought goes into the their game as the men," Isa tweeted.
"While the men are at a different level there are still base level equities in player welfare. Things like payment/contract times, well-being support networks, domestic structure prof support, maternity provisions, retirement planning are all things can be gained from having a pa (player's association)." The Indian women cricketers, who made the finals of last year's World T20 in Australia, will receive their share from the USD 500,000 prize money by the end of this week, a senior BCCI official told PTI on Sunday after it came to light that they are yet to be paid.
A report in the UK's 'Telegraph' newspaper quoted an official from the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) as saying that the BCCI is yet to disburse the runner-up prize money of the global event, which was held in February-March last year.
India were led by Harmanpreet Kaur at the marquee event, where they lost to Australia in the final watched by over 85,000 people at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. News source: PTI