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Will the exciting lineup of new IPL Players get to play in the 2019 Cricket World Cup?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

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When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? Pixabay

-by Veturi Srivatsa

New Delhi, October 23, 2017 :
 So much of cricket is being played around the world — Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20s. The so-called pecking order is going for a toss with each passing series.

India, who got to the No. 1 position in the One-Day Internationals after beating Australia, vacated it for South Africa who went up beating Bangladesh.

Bangladesh are still playing in South Africa, Sri Lanka in the Gulf, home of Pakistan, and New Zealand are in India for a series each in the two shorter formats. Australia are getting ready for the Ashes and the South Africans will be looking forward to settling a score with India.

Every international side is seriously looking to the 2019 World Cup, building their core component, or is it rebuilding with less than two years for the mega event. Some top cricketers around the world are happy playing in the shorter formats to prolong their careers and with an eye on the pay packages.

There was a time good Test cricketers used to move into the One-Day format on the strength of their technique and fitness. Players now look to get into the Test squad on the weight of their performance in the ODIs. Both the players and the selectors are striking a blance between the long duration domestic cricket and the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL).

India are going through a peculiar renaissance of sorts. Players who are thought to be indispensable not long ago are being rested, rotated and dropped whichever way one wants to take the selectors’ and team management’s perspective.

Not one or two players, practically the entire Test attack is banished to domestic cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are playing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy just to keep them in the loop. Jadeja is, with a vengeance, scoring hundreds and taking wickets.

The captain and chief coach Ravi Shastri seem to be calling the shots. Virat Kohli, like his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is slowly seeing the back of senior cricketers who he feels are slow coaches in the field, Jadeja being the exception. Both Jadeja and Ashwin had to go out for their inability to take wickets in the middle-overs on a regular basis.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal are providing the variety in the attack and importantly they are taking wickets bowling at any stage of the match. Axar Patel is doing the backup job. If Ashwin and Jadeja are in consideration for 2019, then they should also get to bowl a lot of overs before their fate is decided once and for all.

If there are four players good enough to open the innings, none of them is being considered for a middle-order position. Actually, Lokesh Rahul is the man the team management wants to keep him in the squad. He also prefers to open the innings and he just couldn’t adjust at No.4 behind Kohli. Hardik Pandya was tried at four and looked good in one match and then he became a floater, pushing Dhoni up and down.

Ajinkya Rahane continues to be a stop-gap opener, getting an opportunity whenever Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan are out through injuries. Strangely, he is not seen as a middle-order bat after an impression was created that he cannot rotate the strike, though it was during his early years in international cricket.

The other middle-order slots are now with Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey, both have good performances and the powers that be think the two should to be nursed, particularly Jadhav who is not only a handy bowler but also a decent wicket-keeper in an emergency. Rahul is another who keen keep wickets. Amazingly, the squad to play New Zealand has a regular wicket-keeper, Dinesh Karthik as a batsman. He is also seen as a contender for the No.4 position.

Kohli continues to be the man to hold both the top order and in the middle, more so while chasing. His record is amazing going into his 200th match on Sunday against New Zealand in Mumbai. He has 12 hundreds more than Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who had 18 each at the very stage of their careers.

Kohli’s faith in Dhoni as his onfield consultant gives a totally different connotation to captaincy. None of the Fab Four or Five ever looked demonstrably carrying the side as Dhoni looks today. The arrangement is working out perfectly fine. The two are pulling the the youngsters in the side with them to give them confidence.

When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? When will Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana or someone like all-rounder Washington Sundar and fast bowler Mohammad Siraj get a look in?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Veturi Srivatsa, a senior journalist and was first published at IANS. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at sveturi@gmail.com)

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“Corruption Exists in all Fields and Cricket is No Exception”, Says Kabir Khan

According to Kabir, the ban of the team was not only shattering for the players but also for the fans

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"I think there is corruption in every profession... a grey area exists in every field, be it cricket, corporate, cinema…it is ultimately dependent on how an individual holds himself or herself", says Kabir Khan. Wikimedia

Filmmaker Kabir Khan, whose latest docu-drama titled “Roar of the Lion” revolves around the downfall of the Chennai Super Kings for match fixing, followed by their victorious comeback in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL), says that corruption exists in all fields and cricket is no exception.

Asked if young players get influenced by power and money that the IPL offers and get involved in match fixing, Kabir told IANS here: “I think there is corruption in every profession… a grey area exists in every field, be it cricket, corporate, cinema…it is ultimately dependent on how an individual holds himself or herself.”

“Of course in cricket, when players are starting at a young age for an obvious reason… with IPL when they get exposed to huge money, attention and celebrity status, it is easy to lose control and get carried away.”

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According to Kabir, the ban of the team was not only shattering for the players but also for the fans. Wikimedia

“Ultimately, more than an opportunity, it becomes more important how you are utilising the opportunity. If you conduct yourself right and stay focussed on your game, you will become a successful professional,” he added.

Many players earn celebrity status overnight thanks to the IPL.

Asked if becoming a celebrity cricketer is easier now, Kabir said: “I think becoming a celebrity itself is much easier these days. One can become a celebrity by writing a blog or travelling the world…but some get the fame of 15 minutes and some find a place in the history books…in their respective fields depending on their consistent contribution.”

“The IPL is, of course, one of the great platforms to find talent from the hinterland and they are getting the opportunity to play international cricket. But yes, unless your performance is consistent, you won’t be able to survive in the competition.”

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During the filming of the show, he interacted with some of the fans who had strong faith in CSK and said that the team will come back and again win the trophy. Wikimedia

The story of “Roar of the Lion” has already been reported by mainstream media.

Emphasising on the unique elements of the show, Kabir shared: “We have never seen Dhoni (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) opening up and talking about what he went through when the team got involved in the match fixing allegations and was banned for two years. During that time, Dhoni was completely silent.”

“Nobody knows how he dealt with the whole situation internally. I think that conversation makes the show different, makes it unique,” he added.

According to Kabir, the ban of the team was not only shattering for the players but also for the fans.

kabir khan
According to Kabir, the ban of the team was not only shattering for the players but also for the fans. Wikimedia

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During the filming of the show, he interacted with some of the fans who had strong faith in CSK and said that the team will come back and again win the trophy.

“When the team came back… since the age group of the players was above 30, the new team was ridiculed by the media and fans of other teams. They called CSK as ‘Chennai Senior Kings’, ‘buddhe ki fauj’ etc. Despite all that, when the team won the 2018 IPL, their victory was the answer to all the criticism. That is why it is an inspiring story that deserved to be told,” said the filmmaker, who is also making a movie on the 1983 Cricket World Cup.

“Roar of the Lion” is streaming on Hotstar. (IANS)