Albert Ward © Wikimedia CommonsIt has been a long tradition on the part of Wisden to honour cricketers with the title Cricketers of the Year based primarily on their “influence on the previous English season.” The tradition began in 1889 with the naming of Six Great Bowlers of the Year (George Lohmann, Johnny Briggs, John Ferris, Charles Turner, Sammy Woods, and Bobby Peel). Nine Great Batsmen of the Year were named in 1890 (Bobby Abel, Billy Barnes, Billy Gunn, Louis Hall, Robert Henderson, Maurice Read, Arthur Shrewsbury, Frank Sugg, and Albert Ward). Five Great Wicketkeepers were nominated in 1891 (Jack Blackham, Gregor MacGregor, Dick Pilling, Mordecai Sherwin, and Henry Wood). And so it went, five Cricketers of the Year becoming the norm from 1897 onwards, with a few exceptions made. Among the star batsmen named in the second year was a man with a rather unusual entry in his curriculum vitae. He was chronologically the first of the nine players till date to represent both Yorkshire and Lancashire in County Cricket, beginning in 1886, in the days of the “unofficial” Championship and spilling over to the “official” Championship that began in 1890. We speak of Albert Ward. Ward was born November 21, 1865 at Waterloo, Leeds. He is seen to have been a right-handed batsman, usually batting up the order, and a right-arm slow bowler. Ward developed into a professional cricketer and exceptionally gifted batsman with a long reach from his 6-foot frame. Wisden, not known for the use of hyperbole, had this to say about Ward’s batting: “Possessing the ideal temperament for an opening batsman —cool, patient, and persevering — he carried his bat through an innings on five occasions and for England against Australia he accomplished some of his best performances.” Ward made his First-Class debut for Yorkshire in August 1886, under the stern captaincy of Lord Hawke against Middlesex at Bradford. Yorkshire won the game by an innings and 196 runs. Ward scored 22 out of a total of 401 and took a catch. He played 4 matches for Yorkshire in that month. Also ReadFrederick Ponsonby: Cricketing peer, co-founder of I Zingari It was while he was playing Minor cricket in 1887 that he came under the notice of Lancashire for whom he was eligible to play from 1889 on the strength of a residence qualification. Ward made his Lancashire debut against MCC at Lord’s that year. Although it was a drawn game, Ward, under the watchful eye of skipper ‘Monkey’ Hornby, made a reasonable debut for his new county, scoring 33 (the second-highest score in the first innings) and 62* (top-score in the second). The Lancashire Committee seemed to have liked what they saw in the young professional. In a span of 1886 to 1904, Albert Ward played 385 First-Class matches, scoring 17,783 runs, with a highest of 219 and an average of 30.08 — a fairly high average given that he usually batted in the upper half of the order and played on uncovered wickets. He had 29 centuries and 87 fifties, and held 172 catches. Of his bowling, it was said: “He was one of the early freak bowlers before the description googly was invented.” His 71 First-Class wickets included CL Townsend, Arthur Shrewsbury, George Hirst, and CB Fry, all in their prime. Between 1893 and 1894-95 he also played 7 Tests for England, scoring 487 runs at an average of 37.46 with a hundred and 3 fifties. In his 16 seasons for Lancashire (1889 to 1904), Ward scored in excess of 1,000 runs in a season 9 times, and became, in 1893, the first professional to top the 1000-run mark in a season for Lancashire, with an aggregate of 1,435. His most productive season was 1895 when he scored 1,790 runs at an average of 42.61. He carried his bat for Lancashire 5 times in all, twice in 1893, once in 1895, and twice again in 1899. In all matches for Lancashire alone, Ward aggregated 15,362 runs at an average of 30.97. Also ReadJohn Napier: Frugal Man of God who took 4 wickets in 4 balls The history of the club shows that the fortunes of Lancashire began to rise from 1885 with the infusion of new talent in the ranks. In 1885 the 19-year-old George Kemp, later an MP, scored the first century for Lancashire in a Roses Match. Also, Briggs and Pilling put on the record last-wicket stand of 173 against Surrey at Liverpool. 1889 saw the re-emergence of Lancashire who shared the championship with Surrey and Nottinghamshire, but many people felt they had begun to rely too much on players born outside the county. Three players recruited during the season, Arthur Paul, Arthur Mold and Ward, who were all to play a significant part in the future of Lancashire cricket, were all born outside the county. In 1890 one Archie MacLaren, still a schoolboy and captain of Harrow, made his Lancashire debut scoring a century against Sussex at Hove. MacLaren was destined to become a Grand Old Man of Lancashire cricket and captain of England in his later years. Ward’s consistent scoring in the early part of 1893, both on behalf of Lancashire and of The North, particularly against the visiting Australians, was taken cognisance of. He was chosen to make the first of his 7 Test appearances for England in the second Test against Australia at The Oval in 1893. England won the Test by an innings and 43 runs despite heroic efforts by George Giffen. Winning the toss, WG went in first with Drewy Stoddart, and the pair put on 151, with Grace scoring 68 and Stoddart making 83. Batting at No. 5, debutant Ward scored 55 while Stanley Jackson (103) registered his maiden Test century (“the first in a Test in England to be completed with a hit over the boundary (then worth only four runs,” as per Bill Frindall). England finished at 483, Giffen capturing 7 for 128. Thanks to Bill Lockwood (4 for 37) and Briggs (5 for 34), Australia’s first innings finished on a paltry 91. Although the visitors posted a healthy 349 in the second innings, Harry Trott top-scoring with 92, the total proved to be inadequate. Also ReadWilliam Yardley: The man who hit two switch-hits in 1870 The third Test at Old Trafford was drawn. The defining innings of the Test was the 102* by William Gunn in the England first innings of 243. Ward had scores of 13 and 0. Ward maintained a reasonably good batting form throughout the 1894 domestic season and found himself on the boat to Australia in the autumn of 1894 under the captaincy of Stodddart. The 13-member party had two Lancastrians as the designated openers — MacLaren and Ward. England won the 5-Test series 3-2 after a dramatic all-round performance in the very first Test at Sydney. The gripping story of the first Test of this series at Sydney has already been recounted in great detail in these columns. However, the account of the Test by Stephen Samuelson, published in The Sydney Morning Herald, makes compelling reading. As has been well-documented, Australia had posted an imposing total of 586, thanks to maiden Test centuries by Giffen (161) and Syd Gregory (201, only the second double-century in the 18-year history of Test cricket till then). While debutant Joe Darling had begun his Test career with a golden duck, another Australian debutant, Frank Iredale, had given a good account of himself with an innings of 81. Skipper Jack Blackham added 74. Also ReadEmmanuel Benjamin: The second Indian to play Sheffield Shield For England, debutant opener MacLaren, perhaps somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead, had been dismissed for 4. His partner Ward top-scored with a confident 75. Thereafter, some lower-order tenacity by Briggs (57) and wicketkeeper Leslie Gay (33) had taken the total to 325. It was at this point that the drama began. Blackham decided to enforce the follow-on, and England were obliged to go back to the batting crease. This time MacLaren contributed 20 to a stand of 44. As in the first innings, Ward again stood resolute, and top-scored for the second time in the match with 117, scored at a crucial juncture of the game. That Ward had scored his runs quite freely is evident from the fact that he was the third man dismissed, at the total of 217. England’s second-innings total rose to 437. Australia began the fourth innings of the Test needing 177 for victory, and there were no alarms when they finished Day Four on 113 for 2. But it rained overnight. Stoddart put Bobby Peel, hung over from the previous night, under a cold shower. Thus charged, Peel told his captain: “Gi’ me t’ball, Mr Stoddart. Ah’ll get t’buggers out before lunch.” And he did, with 6 for 67. Briggs took 3 for 25, and England won by 10 runs, becoming the first side to win a Test after following on. The second Test at Melbourne resulted in another victory for England, this time by 94 runs. Ward top-scored with 30 in a meagre total of 75 in the face of superlative bowling from Charles Turner (5 for 32) and Hugh Trumble (3 for 15). It was Tom Richardson to the fore for England when Australia began their first innings, taking 5 for 57 in a home total of 123. The England second innings total of 475 had a decidedly more wholesome look about it, replete with a magnificent 173 from Stoddart. Ward scored 41 and Peel 53. It was Giffen (6 for 155) and Turner (3 for 99) with the ball this time. The 428-run target proved to be beyond the home team and they managed 333, headed by a fine 95 and 54 respectively from openers Harry Trott and William Bruce. Frank Iredale contributed 68. Australia responded with a resounding 382 run win in the third Test at Adelaide, Ward scoring 5 and 13. In many ways, this Test turned out to be a triumph for Australian debutant Albert Trott, who scored 38* and 72 * and captured 8 for 43 in the second innings. Australia won their second consecutive match, this time at Sydney, by an innings and 147 runs. Australia scored 284, Harry Graham scoring 105, the only century of the game. They then dismissed England for 65 and 72, with Giffen and Turner running riot with the ball. England won the deciding fifth Test at Melbourne by 6 wickets, with opener Ward scoring 32 and 93 and MacLaren (120) and John Brown (140) registering their maiden Test centuries. In the last innings, Ward and Brown had shared a vital third-wicket stand of 210 to propel England to a deserving victory. Richardson shone with the ball, taking 9 wickets in the Test. Tom Horan, under the pseudonym of ‘Felix’, had this to say in the Australasian: “When Stoddart fell, I doubt whether two batsmen ever faced the music with a heavier responsibility upon them than Ward and Brown. And so long as cricket flourishes, their splendid performance deserves to hold a high place in the annals of the game as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, performance on record.” Indeed, the 1894-95 Englishmen had captured the hearts and the imagination of all Australia, the media included. This was the opinion of one of the leading Editorials of the time: “It has been left to Mr Stoddart and his companions to take the Australian public by storm, and for at least four months to make cricket the question of the day. Politics local and imperial, the war in the East, currency tangles and municipal corruption in the United States, diplomatic intriguing, with possibly grave complications arising therefrom, have been cast into the shade. Nothing in short has been able to withstand the avalanche-like progress of the Stoddart combination.” It was in the last game of the tour, against South Australia at Adelaide, that Ward achieved his highest individual score. The home team had put up a fairly respectable total of 397, Clem Hill contributing 150. The tourists responded with 609, Ward leading the way with 219 at the top of the order, and sharing a second-wicket stand of 174 with Brown (101). Francis Ford scored 106. For the hosts, skipper Giffen captured 5 for 309, an unwanted record for him as the most runs conceded by any South Australian in a First-Class innings till date. The home second innings finished at 255, conceding a 10-wicket win. For England, Richardson took 9 wickets in the match. Back home after the tour and halfway through his First-Class career, Ward was very highly regarded by one and all for his batting abilities. In The Jubilee Book of Cricket, KS Ranjitsinhji makes the following remark: “There are few worthier fellows in the world than the average professional of the better class. I remember hearing Mr Stoddart say — and I hope he will not mind my repeating it—”Well, I never want to meet three better fellows or more pleasant companions than Tom Richardson, Albert Ward, and [Bill] Brockwell.” Coming from such an illustrious amateur, and captain of the team, this was a very high degree of appreciation in staid Victorian England. Ward contributed a morsel of cricket trivia to lovers of the game in a match against Derbyshire at Old Trafford in 1899 when he was dismissed hit wicket for 72. A delivery from Frank Davidson had caused part of the shoulder of Ward’s bat to become detached and the detached portion had dislodged the leg-bail to dismiss him. This had been one of the earliest instances of this sort of freak dismissal in First-Class cricket history. Lancashire awarded Ward a benefit in 1902, a ‘Roses’ match at Old Trafford in 1902. The entire last day of the game was rained off, but an estimated 24,000 spectators had passed through the turnstiles on the first day of the game, raising £1,739. Albert Ward, the ‘Roses’ man, passed away on January 6, 1939 at his home in Heaton, Bolton, Lancashire, aged about 73.
Mohammad Aamer has taken his first 5-for since his return to international cricket © AFPThe second day’s play between Pakistan and West Indies was called off due to persistent rainfall. Only 11.3 overs of the game was witnessed on Day Two which saw Mohammad Aamer taking his five-for (5 for 41) – his 4th in Test cricket. West Indies had put up a score of 278 for the loss of 9 when torrential rains hit the Sabina Park once again eventually the day getting called off. West Indies skipper Jason Holder is currently unbeaten on 55 having scored his 5th test fifty. Apart from Aamer, spinner Yasir Shah has taken 2 wickets in his kitty having conceded 91 runs for the same whereas debutant pacer Mohammad Abbas and Wahab Riaz have got 1 wicket each. Live Cricket Scorecard, Pakistan vs West Indies 2017, 1st Test at Jamaica Day Two started on an embarrassing note for West Indies. There had been heavy rain overnight, but the covers on the ground were insufficient to cover the entire area. This resulted in the wet outfield and moreover, the covers which were put on the wicket saw water seeping in through them resulting in the bowler’s run-up area become damp. Coal therapy was used at the start of the day to dry up the wet patches but to a very little success. Umpires Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough had an inspection of the pitch twice but no play was possible in the first session of the day. This resulted in the first session getting washed out completely and soon after the lunch was taken, rain hit Sabina Park again stopping only after a brief period of time. Eventually, rainfall stopped resulting in weather clearing up and the finally the game was possible after a brief 4-hour break. When the players took to the field finally, the game was revised to 53 overs which was to be played in two sessions – if the weather and lights permitted. West Indies resumed from their overnight score of 244 with Holder and Bishoo (28). Both added 20 runs more to their overnight total before Aamer got the wicket of Bishoo taking his 4th of the match. Holder continued scoring runs dealing in boundaries bringing up his gritty fifty from the other end. But Aamer struck once again, this time getting the wicket of Alzarri Joseph (0) taking his five-for – his first since the infamous five-for at Lords in 2010. Pakistan pacers tried their best to get the last wicket of West Indies innings, but their plans were disrupted by rain eventually the play getting called off. The game will begin 30 minutes early on Day Three to compensate for the loss of the game on Day Two. But with the prospects of rain on all the remaining days of this first Test of the series, the future of this Test remains hanging in the hands of weather! Brief scores: West Indies 278 for 9 (Roston Chase 63, Shane Dowrich 56, Jason Holder 55*; Mohammad Aamer 5 for 41, Yasir Shah 2 for 91) vs Pakistan Live Cricket Scorecard, Pakistan vs West Indies 2017, 1st Test at Jamaica
Mitchell McClenaghan ended with figures of 3 for 24 vs DD © BCCIIn what turned out to be a low-scoring encounter in the 25th match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, Mumbai Indians came out victorious by 14 runs against Delhi Daredevils (DD). After being reduced to a modest 142 for 8 batting first, Mumbai Indians produced a scintillating display of fast bowling with Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah claiming more than half of the wickets that Delhi lost. However, the limelight was hogged completely by the IPL debutant Kagiso Rabada, who notched up his highest T20 score of 44. Let us take a look at the highlights of the Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils’ IPL 10 clash: FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Delhi Daredevils (DD), IPL 10, Match 25 Malinga missed out on the fun: After being punished for a plenty of runs in the previous game, the veteran Mumbai Indians’ bowler Lasith Malinga missed out on a game in which bowlers had all the fun. After Delhi Daredevils skittled Mumbai out for a mere 142 for 8 in their 20 overs, Mumbai bowlers bowled with tremendous intensity to reduce Delhi to 26 for 6 in their chase. Rabada’s impressive debut: To watch Rabada bowl in this IPL was one of the aspects to look forward to, and when his chance finally arrived, the South African pacer did not disappoint. He began with an erratic over but by the time his second over ended, Rabada had a wicket in his kitty. Rabada also affected the dismissal of Harbhajan Singh late in Mumbai Indians’ innings. When Delhi were tottering in their reply at 26 for 6, Rabada teamed up with Chris Morris to add a vital 91 runs for the seventh wicket. While their partnership was enough to carry Delhi close to an improbable win from a situation they were in earlier, Rabada and Morris could not finish the game in the team’s favour. An umpiring howler: On the first ball of the 19th over, umpire Nand Kishore called a no-ball for overstepping when Rabada’s foot was well within the legal limits. New Zealand’s former cricketer-turned-commentator Simon Gould screamed for third umpire’s intervention while the umpire signalled for a free-hit. The young Rabada, who bowled a terrific yorker outside the off-stump for a dot on the free-hit, did not carry any grudge against the umpire. He had seen what went wrong on the giant screen at the Wankhede. However, after completing his follow-through, the bowler tapped the umpire on his shoulder in compassion. Rohit Sharma vs leg-spinners: On a comeback trail into the national side, Rohit has shown tremendous weakness against the leg-spinners. After becoming the hat-trick victim of Samuel Badree not long ago, Rohit once again fell to a leg-spinner — Amit Mishra on this occasion. With Mumbai needing a strong stand, Rohit played one straight to the man at deep square leg and fell for a mere 5, which left Mumbai Indians struggling at 60 for 4. Amit Mishra, you beauty: For someone who has been in and out of the national side on a consistent basis, it remains important to keep making the right statement. Mishra did exactly that on Saturday, claiming 2 for 18 off his 4 overs. Mishra mixed his deliveries perfectly, squeezing the life out of Mumbai batsmen, not allowing them to score runs in the middle overs at all. Mitchell McClenaghan’s night: In a game wherein bowlers had a lot to cheer about, McClenaghan had the most to cherish. His opening spell broke the back of Delhi Daredevils, reducing them to an embarrassing score of 26 for 6 inside the first seven overs. McClenaghan, who claimed the wickets of Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Corey Anderson to return with the figures of 4-0-24-3, was adjudged the Man of the Match. Ball boy’s catch: There have been several instances of ball boys going on to play cricket at the highest level and even garner a lot of success. The biggest example could be of Sachin Tendulkar, who served as a ball boy in the 1987 World Cup. Several years later, Arjun Tendulkar served as a ball boy in his father’s last Test. However, on Saturday night, one of the boys took a splendid catch running towards his left. A stroke from Jos Buttler off Rabada was enough to clear the ropes, but displaying perfect technique, the ball boy ran towards his left and leapt in the air at just the right moment to grab the ball with both his hands. Mumbai Indians on a roll: With six consecutive victories in last seven matches after losing their opening tie, Mumbai Indians have now equalled their best run in IPL so far. Mumbai Indians have also consolidated their position in the IPL 10 points table, with a lead of 4 points over the second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have been lacking in the variety of bowlers, which J Arunkumar feels that part-time bowlers could well fill it up © BCCIDespite having done fairly with both bat and the ball, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) head coach J Arunkumar feels they are yet to click as a team, and also need to be more consistent in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. However, he also feels that the bowling of the side could improve, as despite having performed fairly enough so far, and being their strongest department, they need to be more consistent with the bowling. Punjab have been lacking in the variety of bowlers, which feels that part-time bowlers could well fill it up. Also, he was a bit concerned regarding David Miller’s form, but was confident of him hitting the form at the right time. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Gujarat Lions (GL) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Match 26 at Rajkot “It’s important to play as a team, our players like Manan Vohra and Hashim Amla scored well, while bowlers also did well in patches, but we need them to play as a team. We have had patches where we really bowled well; we bowled well in two-three games and batted well in two-three games but failed to get them together; we need to get them together and complement each other. It’s a matter of time. Of course our bowlers gave way a few runs but they need to find out where batsmen find difficulties,” he said, as reported by PTI. Jos Buttler delighted with his match-winning knock for MI vs KXIP Speaking on the side’s bowling attack, Arunkumar said: “We have an Indian bowling attack, particularly in seam department. They have done well in patches but need to be more consistent and should bowl in areas where batsmen can make mistakes. We don’t have off-spinners or leg-spinners in the team. Maxwell can bowl a couple of overs if required. The trend in IPL this time is leg-spinners doing well in some games, off-spinner in some and left-arm leg-spinners doing well in some. We have good options in KC Cariappa and Rahul Tewatia.” On Miller’s form he said: “We all know what a very good batsman he is. It’s just a matter of time. Once he gets settled down at the crease and plays a few balls, he is able to destroy any bowling attack. He is ready than any other batsmen in the team, but we want to give him the comfort of the options. Miller is a batsman who can bat at any number. We know that once he plays few balls and get his eyes, he would start making runs.”
Rohit Sharma (left) and Shikhar Dhawan opened for India in ICC Champions Trophy 2013 © IANS (File Photo)With ICC Champions Trophy 2017 just a month and half away, VVS Laxman backed Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma as the right candidates to open batting for India in the tournament to be held in England. Laxman has been highly impressed with Dhawan’s return in form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 for defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), of whom Laxman is also the mentor. Laxman feels that not only should Dhawan be a regular member of the Indian squad for the Champions Trophy, but should be considered for opening along with Rohit, as they did in 2013, leading to their title victory. “I think it is great to see Shikhar batting the way he is. He looks in very good rhythm. Also he is in good space of mind. And I am sure the way he is batting, he will win more and more matches for the franchise. I am hoping that he will get a place in the Champions Trophy. I believe Shikhar and Rohit are the right players to open in England,” said Laxman in an exclusive interview with ANI. “I am very pleased with the way Shikhar is batting and I just want him to enjoy and play with a lot of freedom because he is a match winner and an impact player.”. Speaking on India’s chances of retaining the trophy, they won back in 2013, he said: “I believe India have got a very good chance in the Champions Trophy. But whether it is T20 or 50-over format, whichever team performs well on that day, they win the game. I believe at this moment I can chose the four semi-finalists and India will be one among them. I believe India will go into the tournament with a lot of confidence because most of the players have been playing in the IPL and they are match fit. So, I believe India has got a very good chance to win the Champions Trophy,” he concluded.
It was a rare sight for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to lose a home game © IANSWith an intense battle up in the hands, the fans will get a toast of high voltage cricketing action, as former 2-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) take on Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), in Match 27 of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 at the historic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday. The live cricket streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar. Also, the live telecast of the match will be available on Sony Six and Sony Six HD, while Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD will broadcast it in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu commentary. SET MAX too will telecast it live with Hindi commentary. Full Cricket Scorecard, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), IPL 2017, Match 27 at Eden Gardens It was a rare sight for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to lose a home game. Ever since the setback received against Mumbai Indians (MI), KKR were ticking all the boxes right before Gujarat Lions (GL) halted their progress in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Nonetheless, Kolkata Knight Riders will like to get act together when they host a misfiring Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday. Virat Kohli-led side will like to come hard against the Gautam Gambhir’s well-oiled XI with the overall head-to-head record tied at 10-9 in favour of the hosts. KKR are down with a defeat but things are expected to turn around on Sunday. Their head-to-head record versus RCB at home will also bolster them ahead of the clash. With a win ratio of 4-3, Gambhir’s side start as favourites. Nonetheless, RCB have got the better of their opponents in the last two meetings at Eden Gardens. Expect a cliff hanger when these two starry sides clash on Sunday.
A riveting clash awaits at Eden Gardens when Kolkata Knight Riders host Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday © AFPIt was a rare sight for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to lose a home game. Ever since the setback received against Mumbai Indians (MI), KKR were ticking all the boxes right before Gujarat Lions (GL) halted their progress in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Nonetheless, Kolkata Knight Riders will like to get act together when they host a misfiring Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday. Virat Kohli-led side will like to come hard against Gautam Gambhir’s well-oiled XI with the overall head-to-head record interestingly tied at 9-9. Full Cricket Scorecard, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Match 27 Team combination: KKR have been smart buyers since revamping their side in 2011. Gambhir and co. have stuck with their core members, bought some useful foreigner players and used them judiciously as well. KKR have some settled faces in the form of Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawala and Umesh Yadav. To top it all, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Trent Boult and Chris Lynn have joined the party and contributed in wins as well. Gambhir is not likely to tinker much with his line-up, despite the drubbing received against GL. Gambhir will open the innings with his new partner Sunil Narine. The West Indian has been given the full license to go after the opposition bowlers in the powerplay overs and initiate a solid start. Narine has done justice with the ‘pinch-hitter’ tag with blitz against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and GL. He will like to come hard against RCB’s inconsistent bowling line-up. Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Suryakumar Yadav will come in at No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively. There may be some changes in the order according to situations. Talking about KKR’s vice-captain, Suryakumar, will like some runs under his belt who has been a non-performer in this edition. Shakib-Al-Hasan played his first game of the season against GL on Friday. He is expected to come at No. 7 followed by Woakes, Kuldeep, Umesh and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Shakib was out of sorts in his first appearance in IPL 10 and the team management may replace him with Boult. The Kiwi pacer may trouble Chris Gayle early in the innings. Nonetheless, if they resist with Shakib, KKR are likely to play the same XI. KKR’s bowling gives them enough blanket to restrict a starry batting line-up of RCB. With the likes of Woakes, Boult/Shakib, Kuldeep, Umesh, Narine and Coulter-Nile, there is no stopping the hosts. KKR’s likely XI: Gautam Gambhir (c), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan/Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile RCB are languishing at the bottom half of the points table. With some uninspiring performances and injuries, RCB still not roared in IPL 10. However, with a victory against GL in their last tie, Royal Challengers Bangalore will like to maintain momentum while travelling. Kohli will continue to open the innings along Gayle. The Caribbean batsman finally got some runs in the tenth edition and became the first player to cross the 10,000-run mark in T20s. He will be hopeful of making a mark against a better bowling line-up than GL. AB de Villiers’ missed RCB’s last game due to a shoulder injury. Nonetheless, Yuzvendra Chahal has stated that the South African may make it for the clash against KKR. If he comes in, Travis Head will again have to sit out despite vital contributions. De Villiers will come at No. 3 followed by Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson and Stuart Binny. Binny and Mandeep will have to pull up their socks and raise the bar in the upcoming matches. Pawan Negi will be their last recognised batsman at No. 8. Sreenath Aravind, Chahal and Adam Milne will be the prime bowlers for RCB. Tymal Mills is expected to return as well, but RCB may continue to go with Milne. RCB’s likely XI: Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers/Travis Head, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Milne Predictions: KKR are down with a defeat but things are expected to turn around on Sunday. Their head-to-head record versus RCB at home will also bolster them ahead of the clash. With a win ratio of 4-2, Gambhir’s side start as favourites. Nonetheless, RCB have got the better of their opponents in the last two meetings at Eden Gardens. Expect a cliff hanger when these two starry sides clash on Sunday. Squads: Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Darren Bravo, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Suryakumar Yadav, Sunil Narine, Trent Boult, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Rovman Powell, Ishank Jaggi, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Sheldon Jackson (wk), Ankit Rajpoot, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sayan Ghosh Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Choudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake Time: 20:00 PM IST | 14.30 GMT It was a rare sight for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to lose a home game. Ever since the setback received against Mumbai Indians (MI), KKR were ticking all the boxes right before Gujarat Lions (GL) halted their progress in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Nonetheless, Kolkata Knight Riders will like to get act together when they host a misfiring Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday. Virat Kohli-led side will like to come hard against Gautam Gambhir‘s well-oiled XI with the overall head-to-head record interestingly tied at 9-9.
Imran Tahir picked a crucial wicket of Shikhar Dhawan against SRH © BCCIRising Pune Supergiant’s (RPS) spinner Imran Tahir says it is an honour to share dressing room with a great cricketer like MS Dhoni. Tahir bowled only 3 overs and gave away 23 runs and picked a crucial wicket of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) opener Shikhar Dhawan during their clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad. After registering their third win in the 10th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), Tahir opened up on a few things with some interesting statements. Tahir started by praising Dhoni’s match-winning knock of 61 off just 34 balls. FULL CRICKET SCORES: RPS vs SRH, Match 24 “I don’t have words. He played very well and Dhoni is known for playing in this type of situations. It was unbelievable to watch from Tripathi first and then Dhoni. We are also excited that we will get to see Dhoni playing in similar fashion. It was a great knock,” said Tahir, as quoted by PTI. When asked about his experience of sharing dressing room with a great personality like Dhoni, Tahir said, “It is absolutely an honour. What a humble and nice person he is and it’s been lovely to play with him. I try as much as things I can share with him because he has got a lot of experience. To be honest, I am loving every moment and I am sure it’s every cricketer’s dream to play with MS Dhoni. And it’s a great opportunity, thanks to IPL. I got into Pune and then play with him. It has been really going well with him. I hope it carries on.” Being a leg spinner, Tahir has faced many situations where he had to bowl on flat pitches where no turn is on offer. Talking about that factor, Tahir opined, “It is all about mind games. If pitch is not offering turn and still you are trying to legbreak and leaking runs, then you are actually going against your team plan or your own plan. In my view, you can only success by sticking to yours plans because if wicket is not allowing turn and still trying for legbreak, you will get hit as per my thinking. If legbreak is happening then definitely go for it. But I am also a bit lucky that I am a leg spinner because of variations and we have to use it quite intelligently. So, legbreak should be done only according to the conditions and plan.” Further, Tahir also added that T20 is a format which has made spinners more perfect as batsman are expected to deal in fours and sixes very often. “In my view, we are aware of the fact that people love watching sixes and fours. They have no idea what we have to go through. But since it is part of our job and the way T20 cricket has been designed, it benefits bowlers as they become more perfect. And as we all know that bats are thicker these days and because of those things, it is a good challenge for bowlers,” Tahir said. At the end, Tahir shared something interesting when asked about sharing knowledge with other bowlers. He started by saying nobody taught him anything but he likes to share with the other bowlers. Tahir did not name the player with whom he has shared his knowledge after the match but he probably indicated towards Afghanistan sensation Rashid Khan and said, “Nobody taught me on my bowling. I wouldn’t name any one, but there were many people whom I sought help but none did. But I like to share my knowledge till the time I am playing and contributing to the game by any means. Even now, I went to SRH’s dressing room to ask him, although he is currently bowling better than me. But then he also asked something from me, which I knew and shared with him. So I think, by sharing, you earn more.”
Just when the ‘#BreaktheBeard’ trend was catching up fast on the Indian players during IPL 2017, Virat Kohli has expressed no interest in ‘breaking’ his beard through his Instagram posts. Kohli posted a photo on Sunday morning with the message reading, “Sorry boys @hardikpandya_official @royalnavghan @rohitsharma45 but iam not ready to break the beard yet. Great job on the makeovers though. Kudos.” The trend started off with Ravindra Jadeja uploading a video on his Instagram account and putting up a snazzy look. When Kohli saw this different look of Jadeja during an IPL 2017 game, he was seen laughing hysterically on the all-rounder along with Praveen Kumar and others. Full Cricket Scorecard, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Match 27 Sorry boys @hardikpandya_official @royalnavghan @rohitsharma45 but iam not ready to break the beard yet. Great job on the makeovers though. Kudos A post shared by Virat Kohli (@virat.kohli) on Apr 23, 2017 at 12:10am PDT Following the trend, Hardik Pandya also donned a new look, posting a video of the same, and giving the credit to Jadeja. Soon, Rohit Sharma followed the fashion. Both the players donned the new look in their match against Delhi Daredevils (DD) on Saturday. Many thought that Kohli might follow the trend soon. But Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain is usually known to set new fashion statements, which most of his Indian teammates follow. It will be interesting to see what wouldl be the rest of the team’s reaction on this #BreaktheBeard wave. Several Indian cricketers, such as Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra and a few more in the domestic circuit follow the trend. Change the game on the field. Change the look in the dressing room. #BreakTheBeard #rajputboy #newlook #timeforchange #vivoipl #glvsrcb A post shared by Ravindrasinh Jadeja (@royalnavghan) on Apr 18, 2017 at 5:20am PDT Jaddu, this one’s for you.We got no dressing room confusions here now. #BreakTheBeard #MIGotStyle #newlook #KKRvGL #OneMoreSurpriseComing A post shared by Hardik Pandya (@hardikpandya_official) on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:11am PDT Decided to finally have a summer style of my own. My time to #BreakTheBeard! A post shared by Rohit Sharma (@rohitsharma45) on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:29pm PDT Meanwhile, IPL 2017 is almost halfway through. RCB are right at the bottom of the table placed on No. 7 and are in hunt of a desperate win. RCB’s clash against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday night will be keenly followed As the Kohli-led side are eager to break the jinx at Eden Gardens
AB de Villiers missed RCB’s last match against GL due to injury © BCCIKolkata: Star South African batsman AB de Villiers and England pacer Tymal Mills are expected to return to the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) line-up against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on Sunday. De Villiers did not play RCB’s last game against Gujarat Lions (GL) due to a back injury while Mills was also ruled out. The South African was seen practicing on Saturday, coming ahead of skipper Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle, who joined the team in the second-half of their training session. Mills also rolled his arms at the nets for quite some time. “He is fit and is available for selection,” an RCB official told IANS on the sidelines of the team’s practice session. Full Cricket Scorecard: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL 2017, Match 27 at Kolkata De Villiers has so far played three matches scoring 137 runs, while Mills has three scalps to his name from four outings. after the 21-run win over GL, RCB head coach Daniel Vettori had said that he was hopeful of having de Villiers, Mills and also leg-spinner Samuel Badree fit for the match against KKR. “Fortunately we don’t play till the 23rd, that allows us bit of recovery time. We are hopeful that AB is fit for that, hopeful that Samuel is fit for that, hopeful that Tymal is fit for that. So, they do have an extended period of time before we play again. So, [I am] reasonably confident that they will be available to play. But it’s good Chris and Travis stood up today. So, we have more selection dilemmas.”