IPL 2023: Virat and Dhoni go down memory lane as young blood shines in T20 games


Rajasthan Royals' Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates after hitting the winning runs in a match against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League 2023, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata (ANI)

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Cricket icon Virat Kohli admitted that breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries would be an emotional moment for him, whereas Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri revealed why he thought of giving up on football at the age of 17 as Let There Be Sport documentary series unfolds never-heard-before stories of India’s top sporting legends.

Kohli, who is just three short of equalling Tendulkar’s record of most ODI centuries in the world, when asked about his thoughts on reaching that milestone, he quickly says, “It will be a very emotional moment for me.” The gripping conversation also includes Kohli talking about his childhood memories of playing cricket with older boys and highlighting the importance of sports.

“Sports teaches you some values of life, discipline and planning. It opens up your side, making you a productive person. No matter which profession you are in, the value of playing sports is immense. Don’t make them [students] just play sports, teach them. It is important to teach them small details of what it means to play a sport,” Kohli adds as he further recalls the incident that took off the pressure of studies from him when his school’s vice principal advised him to religiously follow cricket.

Featuring Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MC Mary Kom, Chhetri, Harmanpreet Kaur and para-athlete Avani Lekhara, PUMA’s six-part docu-series, in association with Disney+ Hotstar, takes a deep dive into journeys of these six sporting greats and also showcases the role and impact of sports and fitness in their lives.

Harmanpreet also shares an incident where she convinced girls from her school to build a cricket team. “I was the only girl playing cricket in the school. So, I went to every class asking girls if they can play cricket so that I can also get to play. That experience taught me a lot of things. Sport teaches you how to handle responsibility and it makes you independent,” Harmanpreet says.

The docu-series also showcases Yuvraj talking about how a young Indian team added fuel to the Indo-Australia rivalry with fearless cricket in 2007. Mary Kom and Avani also shared compelling stories of their journeys, emphasising the need to give sports more prominence and encouraging Indians to engage in sporting activities.

Gujarat Titans’ Hardik Pandya being greeted by Lucknow Super Giants Krunal Pandya after the match during the Indian Premier League 2023, at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad (ANI)

Hardik Pandya will lead: Shastri on India’s T20 captaincy

Former Indian Head coach and cricketer Ravi Shastri feels that Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya should lead the Indian cricket team in next year’s T20 World Cup.

At present, Rohit Sharma is leading the Indian team in all three formats but he has missed a lot of action in the shortest format of the cricket. Apart from Indian Premier League, Sharma last featured in the T20I format in the 2022 T20 World Cup.

KL Rahul is suffering from an injury. He served as Rohit’s deputy in the 2022 T20 World Cup and also played his last T20I match in that tournament.

In the absence of the two players, India played eight T20I matches and Hardik has led the team to five victories out of those eight matches.

“Everyone can qualify to play, but I think Hardik will lead,” Shastri said, according to ESPNcricinfo.

“The next two World Cups [after the 2023 ODI World Cup] are T20 cricket. He’s already [standby T20I] captain of India, so he will continue unless he is not fit. I think they [the selectors] will look into a new direction. There’s a lot of talent among the youth at the moment. You might have a pretty much new team, there’ll be some new faces if not a new team.”

“There will be still plenty who played in the last T20I match that India played, but there will be some new faces because what we’ve seen here in this year’s IPL is some refreshing young talent.

“Now I feel they will go the 2007 route, where they will identify talent and Hardik will have a big choice when it comes to the selection,” Shastri said.

“Because his ideas will be different; he has played the IPL as a captain of a franchise and seen a lot of the other players. And he’ll have his inputs.”

Shastri also talked about the importance of conversation with senior players.

“Because he is the guy who is going to take the guys out on the park. Whatever he says has to be given importance and listened to.

“It is not that he is playing three formats. Everything now is separate. You have Test matches, so the moment a Test series comes, he gets a corridor of a month to rest and recuperate. He is supremely confident about his own ability. The fact that he is fully fit now makes a massive difference. Form plays an important role. When he is fit, then he is arguably one of the best T20 players in the world,” Shastri concluded.

It was Jaiswal’s day: Venkatesh Iyer

After Yashasvi Jaiswal’s fireworks lit up the Eden Gardens last night, the Rajasthan Royals (RR) opener received accolades from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) counterpart Venkatesh Iyer, who said that he deserved to be on the winning team.

Records tumbled in Kolkata as Rajasthan Royals climbed to number three on the points table in the Indian Premier League 2023 after registering a 9-wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday at the Eden Gardens. A Yuzvendra Chahal four-wicket haul and Yashasvi Jaiswal’s record-breaking half-century propelled Rajasthan Royals to an emphatic victory.

“Every single shot of his, I feel it was his day and he deserved to end up on the winning side,” Iyer said in a video shared by KKR on their Twitter handle.

Jaiswal on Thursday produced an exhibition in power-hitting to script history, becoming the first player to slam the fastest half-century in Indian Premier League (IPL). Jaiswal achieved this feat in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. Jaiswal slammed the half-century in just 13 balls to script his incredible milestone to his name.

“Quite disappointing the way things turned out. We didn’t get enough runs on the board but we have to give it to Yashasvi, the way he batted he completely took the game away from us and on such days you can’t help but just appreciate the ways he played,” Iyer added.

MS Dhoni has found his best again: Graeme Smith

MS Dhoni has “found his best again” in a 27-run win over the Delhi Capitals at the Chepauk Stadium here, thereby taking another step towards solidifying Chennai Super Kings’ playoff berth in the 2023 IPL, said former South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

CSK’s balanced batting saw them score 167 runs with six players hitting 20 or more runs, including a blistering 20 from MS Dhoni (9b, 1×4, 2×6) on Wednesday. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Dube, Ambati Rayudu, and Ravindra Jadeja joined Dhoni in the 20-run club, with Dube’s 25 runs being the most (12b, 3×6).

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith recognized the incredible pressure under which Dhoni plays and said on JioCinema, “The pressure on him every time he goes to bat is enormous. The roars every time he gets on strike, and the crowd goes berserk. It’s incredible to watch, this season, he has found his best again. Khaleel was bowling really well until that over against MS, he kind of read the play and had him under pressure. Once he hit that one down the ground, you could just see Khaleel, he didn’t think he’d get it going. That put him under pressure. 20 off 9, strike rate of over 220, just the impetus he and Jadeja gave that inning, that 160 total created pressure.”

This win allows Chennai to improve their tally of wins on the season to seven, trailing the reigning champions and current table-topper Gujarat Titans by just a point. Former India cricketer Parthiv Patel on JioCinema laid out what CSK could be aiming for to solidify their qualification, “We had discussed that a win today would almost guarantee qualification for the playoffs and they can focus on trying to finish one or two. Finish one or two will ensure they play a match in Chennai, so we could see Chennai play in the finals once again. We know how they have played here. Look at their batting tonight, Shivam Dube led all scorers with 25 runs, with others getting around 20 to 22 and we still saw a total of 167. The way they fielded, bowled, everything looks to be going fine. That’s why the team can aim for finishing first or second.”

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