Talking Points- India A vs South Africa A 1st Test in Thiruvananthapuram September 2019

South Africa A’s struggles on their tour of India continued as they were comfortably beaten by the hosts in the first test between the two sides in Thiruvananthapuram. A change in personnel from the ODI’s didn’t really help the Proteas’ cause as they were outplayed in all three facets of the game. We take a look at our talking points from the fixture.

Worrying times for Aiden Markram: Markram, the A side’s captain, and the likely partner for Dean Elgar when the official senior test series begins, made only 0 and 4 in this game. He struggled badly on South Africa’s last tour to Sri Lanka, and long-suffering Proteas fans will be hoping that this India tour doesn’t go the same way for him as it did for Stiaan van Zyl four years ago. Fortunately for Markram, he’s a more natural opener than Van Zyl, and there aren’t too many contenders knocking on the door in domestic cricket back home.

South Africa’s batsmen fail again: It wasn’t just Markram, but the likes of Pieter Malan, Khaya Zondo and co. also came a cropper. Across both innings, no Proteas batsman managed to make a single half century. The highest score came from the bat of Titans keeper Heinrich Klaasen (48)- a man who has seen his international career stall over the last eighteen months or so. Batting has been a serious issue for the Proteas for the best part of this decade, and more so after the retirement of AB de Villiers. The Proteas batting was a key component of their unprecedented success between 2006 and 2014- there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the class of De Villiers, Kallis or Amla coming up the ranks.

No Anrich Nortje in the SA XI and Muthusamy underbowled: Anrich Nortje has a strong case to be in the Proteas test side next month, given that Vernon Philander doesn’t quite have the pace required for Indian conditions and Lungi Ngidi tends to struggle with heavy workloads. Nortje wasn’t even in the squad for this game, and all rounder Senuran Muthusamy, who has been talked of as a potential third spinner option for the test side, bowled just a handful of overs.

Jalaj Saxena makes his mark: Saxena stamped his authority on this game- his 61 in the first innings bailed India out after they were in a spot of bother at 199/7, and also took two wickets in the second innings.

South Africa (164 and 186) lost to India (303 and 49/3) by seven wickets.

India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?

India have today (September 12, 2019) officially announced their test squad for their upcoming home series against South Africa.

After a mediocre performance with the bat in the recently concluded series against the West Indies, Karnataka batsman KL Rahul has been axed, with the the selectors opting to bring in young Shubhman Gill into the squad. Gill captained India A in their recent test against South Africa A in Trivandrum, a game that was comfortably won by the home side. The India U19 star opened the batting in this fixture, and scored a masterful 90 in the first innings- the highest score by an individual player across both teams in this test.

As suggested by previous media reports, the selectors have also given Rohit Sharma another chance at resurrecting his test career- this time as an opener. The MI skipper is expected to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top Continue reading “India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 4 Kingston Match Report September 2 2019

India produced a clinical performance with the ball to crush the West Indies by 257 runs in the second test at Kingston on Monday. The result makes Virat Kohli the country’s most successful captain in the longest format of the game, with this win being his 28th in charge of the side. Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 4 Kingston Match Report September 2 2019”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 3 Kingston Match Report September 1 2019

India enjoyed another day of dominance with both bat and ball as they closed in on a clean sweep on their tour of the Caribbean in Jamaica on Sunday.

Jasprit Bumrah’s stunning spell had reduced the Windies to 87/7 on Day 2, and it didn’t take too much time for the visitors to wrap up the innings today. Mohammed Shami was the first to strike, with Rahkeem Cornwall only able to fend an absolute snorter to Ajinkya Rahane at gully. Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 3 Kingston Match Report September 1 2019”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 2 Kingston Match Report August 31 2019

Hanuma Vihari’s maiden ton, followed by a magnificent spell of fast bowling by Jasprit Bumrah, put India in the drivers’ seat at the end of the second day of the second test against the West Indies on Saturday. Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 2 Kingston Match Report August 31 2019”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 1 Kingston Match Report August 30 2019

Mayank Agarwal and skipper Virat Kohli both scored fine half centuries as India recovered from a shaky start to finish Day 1 of the second test at 264/5 in Kingston on Friday.

India went in with an unchanged line up, while the home side included debutant Rahkeem Cornwall and wicket keeper Jahmar Hamilton in place of Miguel Cummins and Shai Hope respectively.

West Indies Line up vs India in second Test-2019 Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 1 Kingston Match Report August 30 2019”

India T20 Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Hardik Pandya back, but no MS Dhoni

India have officially announced their squad for the three T20 internationals against South Africa next month at home.

The three fixtures will be played at Dharamshala, Mohali and Bengaluru on 15, 18 and 22 September respectively, following which the two sides will lock horns in a three-test series beginning October 2.

The Indian selectors have opted for continuity, opting to keep faith with the squad that did the job against the West Indies in the Caribbean. There is only one change- all rounder Hardik Pandya returns, with pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar making away for the MI star.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no place for either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal, with the selectors choosing to again back the trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar in the spin department.

Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to be sidelined from the squad, with the Men in Blue looking to give rookie keeper Rishabh Pant as many opportunities as possible behind the wickets ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

India T20 Squad vs South Africa 2019 Continue reading “India T20 Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Hardik Pandya back, but no MS Dhoni”

West Indies vs India First Test Day 1 Antigua Match Report August 22 2019

Under-fire Indian vice captain Ajinkya Rahane saved his team’s blushes with a gritty 81 as the visitors finished Day 1 of the opening test at 203 for six in Antigua on Thursday.

The decision to axe Ravi Ashwin, left out in favour of Ravi Jadeja, took fans and pundits alike by surprise. The visitors also chose to persist with Hanuma Vihari, with the Andhra batsman getting the nod at 6 ahead of Rohit Sharma.

India's line up against West Indies 2019 Continue reading “West Indies vs India First Test Day 1 Antigua Match Report August 22 2019”

Talking Points- West Indies vs India 3rd ODI 2019 Port of Spain Trinidad

Virat Kohli lost his first toss of the tour, but it didn’t stop India’s winning run in the Caribbean as they comfortably beat the West Indies by six wickets in Trinidad on Wednesday. It was another masterclass with the bat from Kohli and Shreyas Iyer as the visitors chased down the revised DLS target of 255 with more than two overs to spare.

Here are our talking points from the game.

The West Indies sorely missed Sheldon Cottrell

Not only has Cottrell been the West Indies’ best bowler in this series, he also made Shikhar Dhawan his bunny of sorts. In Cottrell’s absence, Dhawan made a quickfire 36 that ensured India had a good start to a tricky chase. Without Cottrell, Jason Holder didn’t really have a strike bowler to turn to when he needed wickets or wanted to stem the flow of runs, which made this an easy chase for India.

Another batting masterclass from Kohli and Iyer

They were instrumental in India’s victory at the same venue a couple of days ago, and Kohli and Iyer again came to the party here in Trinidad.

The duo came together with India in a slight spot of bother at 92/3, having lost Dhawan and Rishabh Pant in successive deliveries, but brought the chase back on track with a fine 120 run stand in 15 and a half odd overs.

Iyer hit five sixes in his 41 ball 65 while Kohli struck his second consecutive century as India cruised home in the 33rd over.

Shai Hope’s slow start with the bat hurts the West Indies

We had mentioned this several times in the World Cup as well- Shai Hope tends to start too slowly for the modern game. He made 24 today off 52 balls- effectively eating up a quarter of the Windies’ overs for one tenth the score. He’s a talented player, but if he’s going to start so slowly, he needs to make them count.

Hope drops Kohli catch

Not only did Hope rob the Windies innings of momentum in the middle phase, he also dropped a relatively straightforward catch Continue reading “Talking Points- West Indies vs India 3rd ODI 2019 Port of Spain Trinidad”

End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket

It’s officially the end of an era. With the retirements of Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla, all members of the South African side who scripted that famous series victory Down Under against Australia in 2008 have called it a day.

That Proteas team was also the first one since readmission to beat Australia in Australia, and they didn’t lose a single away test series between 2007 and 2015- quite an amazing statistic given the variety of conditions that prevail in test cricket today. Amla and Steyn were both key members of that squad as was AB de Villiers, who also hung up his international boots last year. Interestingly, the trio were the 295th, 296th and 297th players for South Africa and made their debuts in the same year- will the Proteas ever have a more impactful troika of players in the future? Continue reading “End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket”