Focus shifts to India’s preparation for WTCand Asia Cup as IPL comes to an end


LSG captain Krunal Pandya and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma with IPL 2023 trophy during Eliminator match (ANI)

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Team India on Thursday unveiled their training kit with new sponsors Adidas as they started their preparation for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia next month in England.

Earlier this week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah confirmed that Adidas had been signed as the new kit sponsor for the Indian cricket team. Taking to their official Twitter handle, BCCI revealed Team India’s new training kit. The coaching staff, including head coach Rahul Dravid and fast bowlers Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav were pictured in the new kit. India will take on Australia at The Oval in the ICC World Test Championship final from June 7 to 11.

The No.1 and No.2 ranked sides in the ICC Test Team rankings will play each other in the marquee WTC final at The Oval in England with neither team enjoying a particularly good record at the venue. “Unveiling #TeamIndia’s new training kit Also, kickstarting our preparations for the #WTCFinal,” BCCI said in a tweet.

Two of India’s most prolific batters Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer won’t be playing in the final with the latter down with injury and the wicketkeeper-batter still recovering from a car accident earlier in the year.

India have three spin options in their squad, with experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and No.1 ranked all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja joined in the 15-player squad by left-armer tweaker Axar Patel.

Despite numerous injuries hurting their lead-up, India boasts fast-bowling depth, and could yet fit three fast bowlers into the side.

Mohammed Siraj and Mohammad Shami could be joined by Shardul Thakur, also known to bring support on the batting side of things, a strong trio even if Umesh Yadav and left-armer Jaydev Unadkat join Jasprit Bumrah as injury absentees.

On the other hand, with Josh Hazlewood priming for the one-off Test after recovering from Achilles trouble, and expected to line up with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, the Australian attack at this point almost picks itself.

David Warner who returned to form recently can have a strong impact during the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final against India. Warner broke a drought of almost two years without a Test century when he amassed a superb 200 against South Africa during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne last year and looked to be in reasonable touch when scoring 516 runs from 14 IPL matches with the Delhi Capitals in even more recent times.

India’s Test squad WTC final: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, K L Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat.

Australia’s squad for WTC final 2023:Pat Cummins (Captain), Steve Smith, David Warner, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Renshaw, Marcus Harris, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Cameron Green, Mitchell Marsh, Scott Boland, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, and Todd Murphy.

Ishant Sharma celebrates the wicket of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson during the fifth day of the World Test Championship final match between New Zealand and India in June last year (ANI Photo)

Future of Asia Cup to be decided after IPL final

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah on Thursday said that discussions will be held regarding the future of Asia Cup 2023. Last year, Shah announced that India will not travel to play Asia Cup 2023 which is being hosted by Pakistan.

Along with this Shah also announced that the presidents of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka Cricket Boards will be present at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad for the IPL-2023 final scheduled on May 28. “The respective presidents of the Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka Cricket Boards will grace the Tata IPL 2023 final to be held on May 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium. We will hold discussions with them for outlining the future course of action in relation to Asia Cup 2023,” BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said.

Earlier, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) supported the BCCI over the matter of moving this year’s Asia Cup tournament out of Pakistan.

Najam Sethi, the chairperson of the PCB Management Committee, called for a rational approach to solve the crisis looming over the country’s hosting of the Asia Cup.

Akash Madhwal delivers great performance

Mumbai Indians young bowler Akash Madhwal delivered a brilliant spell against Lucknow Super Giants in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match. He became an overnight sensation after breaking many records at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

The talented medium pacer dismantled the opponent’s batting with his excellent bowling, picking five wickets and conceding only five runs. His victims were opener Prerak Mankad (2 runs), Ayush Badoni (1 run), Nicholas Pooran (0), Ravi Bishnoi (3 runs) and Mohsin Khan (0). With this outstanding performance, Akash registered a record of bowling best figures in the IPL by an uncapped player. He surpassed Ankit Rajpoot’s record, who took five wickets conceding 14 runs playing for Punjab Kings.

The 29-year-old from Uttarakhand has also featured himself in the elite group of bowlers having the best bowling returns in IPL, he has fourth-best bowling figures with legendary Anil Kumble who had the same figures (5/5) in the year 2009 when he was captaining Royal Challengers Bangalore’s side. Alzarri Joseph is leading the chart with 6/12 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, playing for Mumbai Indians.

He also became the first-ever bowler to take a five-wicket haul in an IPL playoff match, surpassing bowling figures of Doug Bollinger, who took 4/13 in 2010 IPL semifinals against Deccan Chargers for Chennai Super Kings.

The MI bowler also became the bowler taking a five-wicket haul with the lowest economy. He surpassed Kumble 5/5 (ER: 1.57) and Jasprit Bumrah 5/10 (ER: 2.50).

While batting first, MI registered a competitive score of 182/8. Cameron Green (41) and Suryakumar Yadav’s (33) kept MI’s swift flow of run intact. On the other hand, LSG’s middle-order collapse was enough to end their campaign on a bitter note.

Krunal takes blame for LSG’s loss

Lucknow Super Giants skipper Krunal Pandya’s wicket was one of the talking points of the game against Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 Eliminator match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.

Pandya has struggled at the Chepauk in his nine innings. He has scored a total of 47 runs with a strike rate of 92.15. He had the opportunity to turn around his fortune but he played an unusual shot as he came down the track to loft the ball but miscued it and Tim David made no mistake in lapping it up. After the match, Krunal Pandya took ownership of his decision. “We were in a good position at one stage, but everything started (going wrong) when I played that shot, we should have played better cricket. That shot (his wicket) was not on, I completely take the blame for that. The ball was coming nicely onto the bat, we just had to bat better,” Pandya said after the match.

“We didn’t play good cricket after that strategic break. Quinton de Kock is a quality batter, but Mayers has a better record here, so we went ahead (in the playing XI) with him. Their batters bat really well against fast bowlers, so I thought of starting with spin against them,” Pandya concluded.

Chasing 183, LSG were off to a poor start. Akash Madhwal dismissed Prerak Mankad for three with Hritik Shokeen taking the catch. LSG were 12/1 in 1.5 overs.

LSG were dealt another heavy blow in the powerplay as the dangerous Kyle Mayers was dismissed for 18 of 13 balls. Chris Jordan took his first wicket and Green took a great catch. LSG were 23/2 in 3.2 overs.

Following this, Marcus Stoinis and Krunal Pandya started to build a partnership. The duo took LSG through the remainder of the powerplay without loss of wicket.

LSG reached the 50-run mark in 5.4 overs. At the end of the powerplay, LSG were 54/2, with Stoinis (28*) and Krunal (2*) unbeaten. Stoinis and Krunal smashed Hritik for 18 runs in the sixth over.

The 46-run stand between the duo was broken by spinner Piyush Chawla. Krunal was dismissed for eight off 11 balls after being caught by Tim David at long-on. LSG were 69/3 in 8.2 overs. Akash continued to run riot over LSG’s batting, dismissing Ayush Badoni (1) and an in-form Nicholas Pooran (0) on two successive balls. LSG sunk to 74/5 in 9.5 overs.

At the end of 10 overs, LSG were 75/5, with Deepak Hooda (1*) and Stoinis (36*) unbeaten at the crease. A heavy blow was dealt to LSG’s hopes as David and Ishan Kishan ran out Stoinis for 40 (27 balls). His knock had five fours and a six. LSG were 79/6 in 11.5 overs.

A Rohit Sharma direct hit ran out Krishnappa Gowtham for 2. LSG were 92/7 in 12.3 overs. Ravi Bishnoi was dismissed for 3. Madhwal got his fourth wicket, with a catch from Jordan. LSG were 100/8 in 14.3 overs. Hooda was run out for 15 (13 balls). LSG were 100/9 in 14.5 overs. Madhwal concluded LSG’s innings, dismissing Mohsin for a duck, completing his five-wicket haul.

LSG were bundled out for 101 in 16.3 overs. MI won by 81 runs to seal place for Qualifier 2 match against Gujarat Titans.

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