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Virat Kohli: MS Dhoni played a big role in my becoming captain

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Virat Kohli has credited MS Dhoni with playing a significant role in anointing him as his successor as India captain.

Kohli took over as the full-time Test captain when Dhoni retired from the format midway through India’s tour of Australia in 2014-15, and later became captain across formats when Dhoni quit his limited-overs post in early 2017.

Kohli said the process was a gradual one of “earning trust” over several years.

“I was always inclined towards taking responsibility,” Kohli said of his early days in the India dressing room, during an Instagram chat with team-mate R Ashwin. “After that it was all about just wanting to play, wanting to be in the XI regularly. I didn’t play all the games, but I wanted to be discussed, that ‘whether this guy is good enough to play or not.’ That is a transition that slowly happens.

“Then with your interest in the game you start talking to the captain regularly. I was always in MS’s ear, standing next to him, saying, ‘We can do this, we can do that.’ He would deny a lot of things but he would discuss a lot of things as well. I think he got a lot of confidence that I can do this after him.

“A large portion of me becoming captain was also to do with him observing me for a long period of time. It can’t just happen that he goes and the selectors say, ‘Okay you become captain.’ Obviously the guy who is there takes responsibility and says, ‘Okay I think this is the next guy. I will tell you how it is going.’ And then slowly that transition is formed. He played a big role in that, and that trust you have to build over six-seven years. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process.”

Kohli was first appointed vice-captain for the 2012 Asia Cup, which followed India’s tour of Australia for a Test series and a tri-series in 2011-12. In a tour that otherwise went poorly for India, who were blanked 4-0 in the Tests and failed to reach the tri-series final, Kohli emerged with distinction. He scored his maiden Test century in the fourth match at Adelaide, becoming the only India batsman to reach three figures in that series. In the ODIs, he made his then highest score in the format , smashing 133* off just 86 balls as India chased down a target of 321 in 36.4 overs to keep their hopes of making the final alive.

Kohli said that tour helped him become aware of his game and hone it significantly. “I remember that whole season,” he said. “It was from that Test hundred in Adelaide to continuously stringing scores. That was a phase of six to eight months where I really realised a lot about my own game and came into my own as far as my skills were concerned.

“I was very competitive but I wasn’t very sure or in control of what I wanted to do before. When you come in new, you’re still figuring out how to go about it. At the international stage you want to be feared, you want to be respected. You don’t want to walk in and hear, ‘He’s one of the youngsters, we’ll just knock him over.’ We all play for that. That was a phase where I started to realise this.”

In the Asia Cup that followed, Kohli made 183 in another tall chase, against Pakistan. He revealed that during this knock, he had negated the threat posed by Saeed Ajmal by treating the offspinner as if he were a legspinner.

“I told myself I’m going to start playing him like a legspinner,” Kohli said. “Because his doosra was quite difficult to face and his offspinner was not that lethal. So I said I’m going to try and hit him over cover consistently, and it just paid off. As soon as I negated his doosra, the potency of his threat became lesser and lesser.

“In that game I scored most of my runs against him through the off side [29 off 10 balls on the off side and 7 off 7 on the leg side]. My only aim was I’m going to make him unsettled with his doosra. He should fear bowling the doosrato me, then I’m on top of my game.”



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Curtis Campher, Jonathan Garth the new faces as Ireland name 21-man squad for England ODIs

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Ireland have left Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate out while naming an expanded 21-man squad for a three-match ODI series against England this month, while David Delany is missing the trip as precaution following an injury.

Curtis Campher, the South Africa-born allrounder who was awarded an emerging contract earlier this year, has been included in a senior squad for the first time after having represented Ireland A against Namibia in February, while there is another new face in legspinner Jonathan Garth – whose sister Kim quit Irish cricket to take up a contract with Cricket Victoria last month.

Ireland will arrive in Southampton on a charter flight from Dublin on July 18, and play an intra-squad warm-up match and a fixture against England Lions before the group is separated into a 14-man squad and seven reserves. They will play three ODIs – the first game in the new ODI Super League – at the Ageas Bowl, before returning to Dublin on August 5.

“The selectors were delighted to have been able to meet once more to select a squad for international action. We have lost so much cricket this year, so to have a series – let alone such a major series as this – to look forward to is a great relief for all,” Andrew White, the chair of national men’s selectors, said. “This lack of on-field action since March – and the short lead-in programme to the ODI series – influenced our thinking on the broader squad. However, the unique circumstances of the situation has allowed us to involve more players than we would normally bring on such a tour.”

White also said that some players had been selected to “help our batters prepare for the type of opposition we’ll be facing”, which seemed like a nod to Garth’s inclusion. He is the only legspinner in the wider party, while England have named two in their 24-man training group in Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson.

“While a number of players like Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate are unfortunate to not to be travelling, the experience that will be gained on this trip by a number of the younger players will be invaluable in their development”

Andrew White

“The form shown by several players in the Caribbean in January, Wolves tour in February and the Afghan series in March really bolstered their case for selection,” White said. “We’re delighted that our top wicket-taker in 2019, Mark Adair, returns after recovering from ankle surgery, and feel we have the right squad balance for these important fixtures – keeping in mind that they are World Cup qualifiers.”

Thompson and Getkate’s exclusions might come as a surprise, not least given that both have central contracts for 2020-21 and that both have been regulars in white-ball squads in recent years.

“While a number of players like Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate are unfortunate to not to be travelling, the experience that will be gained on this trip by a number of the younger players will be invaluable in their development,” White said. “Additionally, David Delany was not considered for selection this time. As a result of his previous surgery, and the subsequent extended lockdown period, we were not fully confident that he has had the time to complete the necessary amount of preparation in order to safely play in these matches.”

As well as the task at hand, several Ireland players will hope that strong performances in this series can provide them with a springboard towards contracts for the T20 Blast. Paul Stirling’s overseas deal at Northants is one of only a handful yet to be cancelled in the competition, and ESPNcricinfo understands that some names in this squad have been floated to counties in recent weeks as possible options to replace their bigger overseas names.



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Trinidad & Tobago gets government nod to host CPL 2020

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The 2020 CPL will take place in Trinidad & Tobago between August 18 and September 10, after the organisers got the final nod from the local government. A total of 33 matches including two semifinals and a final will be played behind closer doors across two stadiums.

As per the agreement between the CPL and the T&T government, all the participants – squads and team management of the six franchises, the organisers and the rest of the crews – will need to self-isolate for two weeks before they board their flights, and for two weeks upon arrival in T&T. All the participants will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival followed by two more tests – a week and two weeks after arrival.

All six teams will stay in the same hotel in Trinidad. Even within that bio-secure bubble, it is understood that each team will be broken up into mini clusters. In case anyone from one of the clusters tests positive before or during the tournament, that cluster will have to self-isolate.

The CPL is set to be the first time people from outside of T&T are allowed into the country since the closure of its borders in late March. The Caribbean has been relatively unaffected during the Covid-19 pandemic, with T&T only recording 133 positive tests and eight deaths until July 9, according to data released by its health ministry. As a precaution, the T&T government has closed borders even to other countries in the Caribbean and its own citizens who are overseas.



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Sachin Tendulkar lauds James Anderson’s ‘reverse’ reverse swing

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Fast bowlers are widely known to use three different methods to get the ball to swerve through the air: conventional swing, contrast swing, reverse swing. James Anderson, however, can lay claim to a fourth method: reverse reverse swing.

What’s that?

According to no less an authority than Sachin Tendulkar, who faced him in 14 Test matches and was dismissed by him a record nine times, Anderson has a way of confounding batsmen with his wrist position while delivering the outswinger with the reverse-swinging ball.

The conventionally swinging ball swings towards the rough side, and the reverse-swinging ball towards the shiny side. The ball’s orientation for the conventional inswinger, therefore, is the same as the one for the reverse outswinger. The two deliveries usually involve different wrist positions, but Anderson, Tendulkar noted in a chat with Brian Lara on the 100MB app, had the ability to deliver a reverse outswinger with the wrist position of a conventional inswinger.

“With reverse swing, Jimmy Anderson was possibly the first bowler who bowled reverse swing also reverse,” he said. “What I experienced, over a period of time, [is] that he would hold the ball as if he was bowling [a reverse] outswinger, but [at] the release point, he would try and bring the ball back in, and [a] number of batters would look at the wrist position, and what he has actually done, he’s shown you that he’s bowling inswing, but the imbalance between both sides of the ball would take the ball away from you.

“What he has done is, he’s got you to commit to play, for an [inswinger], and the ball, after covering almost three-fourths of the length of the pitch, starts leaving you. But you had already committed [to play], because you’ve seen that inswing position, and that is something which was new to me. Nobody had done that.

“Now, [a] number of guys, you see their shine, and what they’re trying to do – I spotted even Stuart Broad trying to do that at some stage, but Anderson started this [a] long time ago. So I rate him very very highly. One of the best exponents of reverse swing.”

One of Anderson’s best spells in reverse-swinging conditions came in Kolkata in 2012, when he took three wickets in each innings to help England take a 2-1 series lead. Anderson had Tendulkar caught behind for 76 in the first innings with a reverse outswinger, but it’s unclear whether that ball was a reverse-reverse outswinger.

Nonetheless, if other bowlers can master Anderson’s seeming ability to deliver reverse reverse swing, it gives batsmen one more thing to worry about, particularly when the ball is at that stage of its lifespan when it’s transitioning from swinging conventionally to reversing.





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