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ICC World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli reveals tactics discussed with Hardik Pandya against Australia

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Virat Kohli can switch gears seamlessly while batting but the Indian captain feels that the presence of a compulsive stroke-player like Hardik Pandya allows him to play second fiddle at times.

It’s not everyday that Kohli scored at more than run a ball, yet his 82 off 77 balls in India’s 36-run win against Australia had only four boundaries and two sixes.

He was happy running the ones and twos, save the two sixes off Mitchell Starc as Pandya was the aggressor, scoring 48 off 25 balls.

Asked if he didn’t think about shifting gears, Kohli replied in the affirmative but then spoke about change in plan.

“Okay, yeah, that thought (to start attacking) did come to my mind. After I crossed 50, I sort of spoke to Hardik and he said, I don’t necessarily need to take any chances,” the skipper said.

In fact, it was Pandya who told his captain to drop anchor as his presence gave him freedom to attack.

“Hardik said, the fact that you are at one end gives me more assurance to play my game. So, I had to take responsibility of holding it but still maintaining tempo, knocking the ball around,” the skipper said, providing some nuggets of his conversation with Pandya.

One of the reasons was not getting enough deliveries that upset his rhythm.

“And then in the last five, six overs, I think I played about six balls. So, I would play one ball in three overs and that was also single immediately. As a batsman, you can’t really get rhythm after a while. These things happen in the one-day game.”

For the skipper, it’s not a problem to swallow his champion’s ego and be the support cast if he finds that someone else is being the enforcer.

“As long as guys like Hardik and MS (Dhoni) play like that, I have no problem in just doing my job and taking singles and being at one end. Sometimes, you will get an opportunity to strike as well, and this is what we discussed as a team.

“If some guys are hitting at a certain strike rate, you make sure that you play a second fiddle and control the game because if you lose wickets — if we lost five wickets in that phase, you’re looking at 20 runs less maybe,” the skipper said, explaining his rationale behind the game plan.

The team management’s communication to the middle-order is pretty clear and the players understand the kind of situational awareness that is expected of him.

“The communication is very important, also. They understood that this is a phase where we could get those extra runs, and they just send Hardik, and I think that it was a very, very good plan,” he said.

He then provided an insight to the team’s game plan against Australia.

“If I get out then MS will come in to control that one end, and if the other guy gets out, if Shikhar got out, then Hardik would have stepped in.

“Exactly that’s what happened, and the communication came from the management that said let’s send Hardik and try and capitalise on this because last time we played here against Sri Lanka we got 330 and we lost the game,” said Kohli.

But what gave skipper confidence was Pandya’s immense self belief that he would score at strike-rate of 200.

“Hardik said to me in the middle of the fact that I’m there at one end gave him the freedom to strike from ball one, and he wanted to strike at 200. That was his plan, and then MS came in and he did the same job beautifully,” the skipper said.

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IPL 2020: Yuzvendra Chahal changed match for RCB, believes captain Virat Kohli

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Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli lauded his teammates for keeping their composure as they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 10 runs in their opening encounter of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Monday.

“Last year we were on the other side of the results. We kept our composure tonight,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

RCB first posted 163/5 in their allotted 20 overs and then defended the total by inflicting a monstrous batting collapse for SRH at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, bowling them out for 153 in the final over of the match.

For RCB, Yuzvendra Chahal starred with the ball as he returned with brilliant figures of 3/18.

“Yuzi (Chahal) came in and changed the game for us. Tonight he showed that if you have skill, you can get purchase on any wicket. He came in and bowled attacking lines,” said Kohli of Chahal.

The RCB skipper further said that it was heartening to see that the team didn’t let negativity slip into the bowling group, which according to him, was a “great sign”.

RCB will next play Kings XI Punjab at the same venue on Thursday.

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IPL 2020: Glenn Maxwell to be available for Kings XI Punjab’s opening match against Delhi Capitals

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Kings XI Punjab on Saturday confirmed that Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will be available for selection for their opening game of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against Delhi Capitals.

On their official website, Kings XI Punjab informed that Maxwell arrived in the UAE on September 17 following Australia’s England tour.

“He would now be required to complete only a three-day quarantine period in the team hotel instead of the normal five, as per regulations, as he arrived into the country from an already bio-secure bubble in England,” Kings XI said.

“With his quarantine period scheduled to be complete on Saturday, Maxwell would be eligible for selection for Kings XI Punjab’s season opener against Delhi Capitals on September 20,” it added.

Maxwell was in great form in the recently concluded T20I and ODI series against England. He was was the Player of the Series in the ODI series which Australia won 2-1.

With Maxwell’s arrival in the UAE, Kings XI’s 25-member squad for IPL 13 is now complete, with the likes of Mujeeb ur Rahman, Nicholas Pooran and Sheldon Cottrell arriving earlier in the week.

With the full squad having arrived in the UAE and no injuries being reported yet, Anil Kumble and the rest of the Kings XI Punjab management will have a full roster of 25 players to choose from for their season opener on Sunday.

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni finally calls it a day, retires from international cricket

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Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has ended all the speculations around his retirement and called it a day in international cricket on Saturday.

Taking to his official Instagram handle, Dhoni posted a montage with several clips and moments from his international career. He captioned the post, “Thanks. Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hours consider me as Retired.”

Dhoni has been the most successful Indian captain ever and is the only international skipper who has led his team all the ICC glories. After the ICC World T20 victory in 2007, Dhoni-led India earned the ICC Test Mace in 2009 and followed it with the ICC World Cup win in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy victory in 2013.

Dhoni has not been seen in the Indian blue since the nation team’s semifinal exit from the ICC World Cup 2019 against New Zealand. He had taken a sabbatical for two months, but no comeback plan was announced by him.

In this time, Rishabh Pant and later KL Rahul took his place as wicketkeeper of the Indian limited-overs side.

Meanwhile, speculations had grown wild that he would return to the cricket field with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and would make a case to be part of the Indian squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting normalcy, the IPL was postponed and this year’s T20 World Cup was also cancelled. While the IPL is set to take place in March, the next T20 World Cup is scheduled for 2021.

Other than that, the recent future of India’s next limited-overs cricket is also under doubt due to the pandemic. Given than Dhoni would be on the vicinity of turning 40 by the time India play any white-ball cricket, his decision emerges as a calculated step.

The 2011 World Cup-winning captain is yet to give details of the development as to whether he is retiring from the game entirely or if he is only bowing out from international cricket.

Dhoni is currently part of the CSK training camp at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai and is expected to lead the team in the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League which is set to start on September 19 in the UAE.

In 350 ODI appearances as a batsman, Dhoni has amassed 10,773 runs at an average of above 50 with 10 centuries. His T20I numbers included 1,617 runs at an average of 37 in 97 matches.

He had retired from Test cricket during India’s 2014-15 tour of Australia.

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