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Mid-Day Premium Is it coming home, India?

A home-ground privilege, seasoned campaigners in Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and an overall imposing record this year, it’s reasonable to consider that India will enter as outright favourites to lift the ICC Cricket ODI World Cup 2023 trophy, much as they did in 2011.  The ‘fairly-settled’ Indian team got its final shape last Thursday as they look to be driving on a smooth highway to the 50-over cricket showpiece after having easily navigated the Australian challenge most recently. Some ropey performances in South Africa and Bangladesh last year were put to one side with an improved display to be ranked the highest in the format, suggesting that it is possible for India’s well-travelled combination to get things together at the right moment to challenge for a first World Cup title since 2011. The Men in Blue have, more often than not, have been able to extract the very most out of their collective talents – batting, bowling, fielding. If anything, India boasts of a stronger squad to call upon than 2019, given the emergence of Shubman Gill to help Rohit and others compile big scores. Especially where Indian conditions will be ideally suited to the team’s bevy of dominant batsmen, coach Rahul Dravid is likely to place more onus on the top and middle-order to dig in and keep the runs ticking over at a steady rate. Team India could be losing its sleep over the gargantuan pressure that a home World Cup brings. More so, because, they are yet to win a World Cup since 2011, were vanquished in the semi-finals in each of the past two editions and also thwarted in the Twenty20 World Cup. It may be noted that India’s win in the Asia Cup and the recent three-match Australian series saw a group of men lead from the front in a number of ways, but sadly, they couldn’t cement a spot in the final World Cup squad. The pressure is, thus, on India’s old guard (Virat and Rohit) to stand tall and deliver in the same way Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni did 12 years ago.  Also Read: Shouldn’t ODI World Cup opener feature the host team? Sure, Rohit and Co. have the best chance of winning the World Cup on home turf this year. Heavy to very heavy dew is expected in a few venues and if it comes down to chasing totals, other teams could be on their way to losing sleep, fearing India’s pinpoint consistency if the top-order gets going. Under these circumstances, the side would be mostly banking on chase master Kohli, who is breathing down Tendulkar's neck with as many as 47 ODI centuries, and is three tons away to get past that mark. A deep and varied Indian squad with the likes of Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya, headlined by hitman Rohit and the hostile Kohli, India’s top-order line-up is just as formidable as it gets. With the side rolling out its best crop of players this October, fans could be in for a relentless run-feast on flat batting decks with no signs of slowing down. That ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ must have come out of experience. It could be the same way for India. Because, at times, too many options in the playing XI could do more harm than good. 

04 October,2023 09:24 PM IST | Mumbai | Srijanee Majumdar
Representational Image. Pic Courtesy/iStock

Saurabh claims 6-43 as ROI beat Saurashtra

Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar was virtually unplayable on a raging turner, returning with a match haul of 10 wickets as Rest of India pulverised Ranji Trophy champions Saurashtra by 175 runs inside three days to win the Irani Cup here on Tuesday. As many as 21 wickets fell on the day with Saurashtra being shot out for 79 in just 34.3 overs in pursuit of a near impossible target of 255 which would have taken a Herculean effort on this track. Also Read: Ranji Trophy: Prithvi Shaw smashes triple hundred against Assam Saurabh, who has been a regular India A spinner, had match figures of 10-108 (4-65 and 6-43). This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

04 October,2023 07:23 AM IST | Rajkot | PTI
ICC Men's Cricket World Cup warm up match between India and Netherlands stands abandoned due to continues rains in Thiruvananthapuram, India. Pic/AP

Rain washes out India’s second warm-up match

India’s second World Cup warm-up match against the Netherlands was washed out due to incessant rain here on Tuesday. The game was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Also Read: ODI World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli skips practice due to personal reasons, could play warm-up game The hosts’s first warm-up game against England also met with a similar fate in Guwahati last week. India is thus the only team that heads to the World Cup without batting or bowling in the warm-up matches. They will open their campaign against Australia in Chennai on Sunday. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

04 October,2023 07:22 AM IST | Thiruvananthapuram | PTI
Glenn Maxwell. Pic/PTI

Australia earn 14-run victory over Pakistan

The form of openers and bowlers remained a concern as Pakistan was handed a 14-run loss by Australia on the concluding day of the World Cup warm-ups here on Tuesday. David Warner (48 off 33) and Glenn Maxwell (77 off 71) got valuable time in the middle as Australia amassed 351-7 after opting to bat. Also Read: ODI World Cup 2023: Ravichandran Ashwin says this year's WC could be his last for India Babar Azam (90 retired hurt) was once again amongst the runs while middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmed (83 off 85) got a good hit batting at No. 4. Pakistan should have closed down the chase comfortably but found a way to lose at 337 all out with 12 balls to spare. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

04 October,2023 07:21 AM IST | Hyderabad | PTI
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson during the warm-up match against Pakistan ahead of the ODI World Cup, in Hyderabad on Friday. Pic/AFP

‘It’s a gamble’: Former NZ all-rounder Dipak Patel on Williamson's inclusion

The opening game between defending champions England and 2019 World Cup runners-up New Zealand will kick start the 13th edition of the ICC ODI World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.  England on the aggressive While the Jos Buttler-led English side will go in with an attacking mindset, it will be interesting to see how the Kiwis will counter that strategy without their most experienced batsman and skipper Kane Williamson, who is yet to be fully fit for the opening game. Dipak Patel However, former NZ all-rounder Dipak Patel reckoned that Tom Latham & Co would have worked out how to tackle attacking English batsmen. “The strategy they [England] are using of attacking cricket is very good. But the Kiwis will answer  with swing bowling. The Kiwis have done their homework and are ready with their plans,” Patel told mid-day from Auckland on Tuesday. He reckoned pacers Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry have to generate more swing to dash England’s  plans. In addition, they have spinners like Mitchell Santner, Mark Chapman and Rachin Ravindra.   Also Read: Sunil Gavaskar picks England as favourites for ICC Cricket World Cup Though Williamson scored 54 not out and 37 against Pakistan and South Africa respectively in the warm-up games a few days ago, he is yet to recover fully from his knee injury. Patel expressed surprise at Williamson’s inclusion in the World Cup squad. “Picking Kane was a big gamble. Fingers crossed… it’s surprising to select him when he is not fully fit. If he is fit, he will be a big asset to the team considering his vast experience,” said Patel, 64.  ‘Proper execution is key’ From a team’s perspective, Patel expressed concern over how  Kiwis will showcase their potential on the biggest platform. “NZ are a balanced side, but the World Cup is a big stage; a different kettle of fish. Proper execution is the key at this level and if you are mentally strong, you will get good results at the World Cup,” he remarked.       Kenyan-born Patel proved to be a revelation at the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where his late skipper Martin Crowe got him to open the bowling with this brand of off-spin.

04 October,2023 07:20 AM IST | Ahmedabad | Subodh Mayure
Rohit Sharma

Shouldn’t ODI World Cup opener feature the host team?

For the majority of Indian fans, the cricket World Cup begins only on October 8 in Chennai, where the home team take on former champions Australia. Officially, though, it is the finalists of the 2019 World Cup who will get things rolling at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Thursday.  Champions England and New Zealand who played a humdinger of a final at Lord’s four summers ago, will be at each other’s throats once again, though not with the same intensity as this is just a lung opener in alien conditions. By the time the home team play on Sunday, eight of the 10 teams would have made an appearance and Indian fans worldwide would be waiting patiently for their team to show up in the 13th edition of the mega event.  Not so grand opener As of now, the inaugural match here on Thursday looks a bit low-key, though it is hoped that spectators will fill up most of the 1,10,000 seats at the biggest cricket stadium in the world.  The ICC, in collaboration with the BCCI, should have planned the event a bit better; a world-class opening ceremony would have been a great attraction as well as an advertisement for the event worldwide. Two days before the opening game, there is no information on any ceremony to mark the beginning of the event.  There is no doubt cricket does not require much publicity in India as fans are guaranteed to flock to the games, especially the Indian matches, but a cultural event to attract worldwide non-diaspora to the mega-event would have been a great move.  Also Read: Sunil Gavaskar picks England as favourites for ICC Cricket World Cup Tickets still available Presently, barring India’s nine matches, tickets to most of the 36 other league matches are still available. The ICC should have taken a leaf out of the football World Cup and began the tournament with the hosts rather than the finalists of the previous World Cup. Had India played the first game of the tournament the impact would have been mindboggling. Ahmedabad would have been throbbing by now and the whole world’s attention would have been on the inaugural match. Now the focus is on India’s game against Australia on Sunday and then against Pakistan, to be played here on October 14.   Talking about the opening ceremony, either it is a well-guarded secret or none has been planned at all. Is there any event marked during India’s matches? That is also not known. But one thing is sure, when the final is played on November 19, Ahmedabad will be in focus once again the world over. Hopefully, we will have a final to remember, like the 2019 edition at Lord’s, and a grand closing ceremony to mark the completion of a great event.

04 October,2023 07:18 AM IST | Ahmedabad | Santosh Suri
Pat Cummins, Rohit Sharma (Pic: File Pic)

ICC World Cup 2023: India vs Australia, here's all you need to know

As the warm-up matches of ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023 have started, many teams are displaying their exceptional skills on the big stage. Here is all you need to know about India's first match in World Cup 2023. The host will be playing their first match on October 8 against Australia in Chennai's M.A. Chidambaram Stadium. Team India has lifted the World Cup twice in cricketing history, whereas Australia has five ODI World Cup titles under its name. Team India's World Cup campaign will be led by Rohit Sharma and Australia will start their campaign under the captaincy of Pat Cummins. Also Read: Asian Games 2023: Yashasvi Jaiswal's ton helps India to qualify for the semifinal After the series win against Australia just before the marquee event, the Indian team is all pumped up to start their ODI World Cup 2023 campaign with a positive mindset. KL Rahul, whose position in the team was always questioned by people also proved his fitness and form in Asia Cup 2023 and in the ODI series against Australia. India has made a small change by replacing Axar Patel with Ravichandran Ashwin. Axar Patel experienced a left quadriceps strain during the Asia Cup 2023. Shreyas Iyer looks in good touch after the three-match ODI series against Australia. Steve Smith who has been a consistent performer against the Indian team will be a player to watch out for during the clash. In form, Steve Smith has completed 5,000 runs in the India vs Australia ODI series. He scored 1,260 runs in 27 ODIs against India. India and Australia faced each other in 149 ODI matches out of which India won 56 matches and Australia won 83 matches. Australia's record against India in the ODI World Cup is 12 matches played in which Australia have come out victorious in 8 and the remaining are won by India. India's squad for ICC World Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav. Australia's squad for ICC World Cup 2023: Pat Cummins (captain), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.

03 October,2023 08:58 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Yashasvi Jaiswal (Pic: File Pic)

Asian Games 2023: Jaiswal's ton helps India to qualify for the semifinals

Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed a blistering hundred to lead India to the Asian Games 2023 semifinals but cricketers from Nepal showed a lot of promising efforts by putting up a fearless fight in their 23-run defeat here on Tuesday. Jaiswal, Indian cricket's new pin-up boy, earned the distinction of being the youngest T20I centurion from the country en route to his 49-ball-100 that took India to a healthy 202 for 4. The men from the Himalayan nation made a match of it but lack of experience became their undoing as their innings ended at 179 for 9, ensuring a last-four spot for Ruturaj Gaikwad's men. Also Read: Never expected to play in China: VVS Laxman No praise would be enough for the Monty Desai-coached Nepalese side as the smaller ground dimensions helped them embarrass two Indian pacers Arshdeep Singh (2/43) and Avesh Khan (3/32), who gave away 75 runs in their 8 overs. There is one piece of statistics that will certainly annoy head coach VVS Laxman. India, in all, hit 12 sixes but Nepal batters surpassed them with 14 maximums.India skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad admitted it wasn't their best day. He was also not surprised by Nepal's gritty performance."Not really. They are an international side backed up with international experience, having played tournaments like Asia Cup with all the main teams. They have scored around 250 runs against India, the main side, as well. They are a good side so were not really surprised with how they came (at us)."Centurion Jaiswal was expectedly pleased with his batting. "I'm just so glad and happy to represent India and proud of myself for going out there to express myself and my game. I didn't think for that (century). At the start I had some plans. I was just trying to play all my shots and making sure that the run rate was high even when I had played only a few," he said.It was debutant left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (1/25) and IPL star Ravi Bishnoi (3/24) who actually controlled the middle overs to save India from what could have been an upset. The likes of Kushal Bhurtel, Kushal Malla, Deependra Airee and Sundeep Jora are blessed with talent and hopefully, the global cricket establishment will give them enough exposure to consistently challenge heavyweights like they did this day.Against better teams like Bangladesh or Pakistan, the Indian pacers, who bowled too full or too short will be in trouble keeping the ridiculously short side boundaries into account. But nothing can take the credit away from 21-year-old Jaiswal, who enthralled the crowd with eight fours and seven sixes.There was slog sweep off pacers and spinners, the pick-up pull behind square, the square cuts, the heave over cow corner and the deftly executed lap shot over the keeper's head to reach to 99 before a single took him to the milestone.Credit should also be given to Rinku Singh, who once again enjoyed his role as a finisher with 37 off 15 balls, including 20-odd in the final over which made the difference in the end. Brief Scores:India 202/4 in 20 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 100 off 49 balls, Rinku Singh 37 not out off 15 balls, Sandeep Lamichhane 1/28, DS Airee 1/31)Nepal: 179/9 in 20 overs (DS Airee 32 off 15 balls, Ravi Bishnoi 3/24, Avesh Khan 3/32) (With Agency Inputs)

03 October,2023 01:35 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
VVS Laxman

Never expected to play in China: VVS Laxman

For a change, the trend-setting Indian men’s cricketing team will be looking to ape their female counterparts. A few days ago, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led women’s team beat Sri Lanka to win the gold medal. Now, it’s the turn of the Ruturaj Gaikwad-led men’s side to strike gold. On the eve of their quarter-final against Nepal at the Pingfeng Cricket Field here, India head coach and former batsman, VVS Laxman said that he was hoping for the same kind of support that the Indian eves received here. “The Asian Games organisers have made a huge effort in creating some decent infrastructure here and we are hoping that there will be support for us once we start playing our matches. When the women’s team played here, they had a lot of support and they realised their potential and won gold. We are expecting the same when we start to play,” said Laxman, 48, after a team training session. Also Read: Cheteshwar Pujara struggles as Saurashtra 212 for 9 “I never thought we would come to China and play cricket, but it’s a great opportunity for the entire team and participating in the Asian Games is a matter of great pride for the players,” added Laxman referring to the India team’s first-ever Asian Games appearance. Meanwhile, skipper Gaikwad was happy to sign autographs for a few volunteers and members of the public, who assembled here to see their superstar cricketing heroes in the flesh. “I find it all really cute. I don’t think these people know you personally or have tracked your career. They just know that you are someone big in your country and are coming up to take your autograph. This is something different and beautiful that we have experienced with the Chinese people here,” Gaikwad said. Laxman also batted in support of cricket being included in the Olympics sometime in the future. “The T20 format is an ideal format to be part of the Olympics and hopefully, in the near future, cricket will be a part of the Olympic programme,” he said. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have received a direct entry to the quarter-finals and will play Nepal, Hong Kong China, Afghanistan and Malaysia respectively.

03 October,2023 07:54 AM IST | Hangzhou | Ashwin Ferro
Cheteshwar Pujara. Pic/AFP

Cheteshwar Pujara struggles as Saurashtra 212 for 9

Cheteshwar Pujara was dismissed cheaply as Rest of India spinners shared bulk of the spoils restricting Saurashtra to 212 for 9 on the second day of the Irani Cup here on Monday. This was after Rest of India were bowled out for 308 in their first innings, courtesy left-arm spinner Parth Bhut’s 5 for 94. Also Read: A Dhawan-less ODI World Cup! The most important wicket was taken by off-spinner Pulkit Narang (1-56 in 21 overs) as he dismissed Pujara (29 off 81 balls) to put Saurashtra on the back foot. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

03 October,2023 07:25 AM IST | Rajkot | mid-day online correspondent
Shikhar Dhawan. Pic/AFP

Mid-Day Premium A Dhawan-less ODI World Cup!

Less than four years ago, when Shikhar Dhawan, seeming to defy mortality, hit his third World Cup century to set up India’s magnificent 36-run victory over the then defending champions Australia, none could dare to look beyond him for the opening setup. This was his 17th overall hundred in the ODI format, and by this time, he had already become a raging white-ball force.  But how good was he? In the ten World Cup matches that he has featured so far, Dhawan amassed 537 runs at an average of 53.70 with three hundreds under his belt. Having been ruled out of the 2019 edition after only two matches, the two-time ICC Player of the Tournament rose to prominence once again with a match-winning century against Australia at The Oval.  Dhawan made his ODI debut in 2010, after which he accompanied the team on a couple of India-A tours abroad, particularly to the West Indies. But nothing reaped dividends, runs were hard to come by. Even in domestic first-class cricket, he failed to gather the requisite number of runs to throw the Indian openers off their perch – not until they collapsed themselves. Also Read: An opening pair like no other! But giving up was not an option for India’s very own ‘Gabbar’. In March 2013, Dhawan, in his Test debut against Australia, smashed a belligerent 187 off 174 balls with 33 boundaries and two sixes against an attack that comprised Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty. His brutal 85-ball 100 was the fastest by a debutant and powered India to a six-wicket win in Mohali. That innings in Mohali will always be a reminder of his mental strength. It is not an easy task to dust off heartbreaks on the field and pick yourself up again. But Dhawan did it umpteen number of times and pounced on the second chance with all his might. Cut to present, Dhawan is yet to play an ODI this year, after having last represented India in the format in December 2022 against Bangladesh. He failed to excel in the three-match series, managing to score 18 runs in total. With youngster Shubman Gill taking over the realms of ODI cricket alongside captain and batting mainstay Rohit Sharma, Dhawan’s comeback plans are in a spot of bother. Gill’s staggering numbers in ODI cricket back up that claim quite emphatically. His pinpoint consistency with the willow made him firmly cement his place at the top of the order. Gill added 624 runs from nine games to his name, at a stunning average of 78 and an exceptional strike rate of 117.5, including a double ton against New Zealand. Dhawan, on the other hand, on a comparative view, amassed 688 runs from 22 ODI he played last year at a below-par average of 34.4. The drop in his strike rate from 93.8 before 2022 to a lowly 74.2 was particularly noticeable. Interestingly, Gill kicked off his opening stint in ODIs alongside the very man whom he has now replaced. In fact, in their first four instances of opening the innings together, the duo registered three century stands, with their overall opening stand average standing at 76.2 from 11 innings in total. Throughout last year, Gill blossomed as Dhawan’s form dipped. Yet, a little hope never hurts.  “They (Rohit and Dhawan) have both done a brilliant job together. I think in world cricket they are third or fourth (sic: fourth highest in ODIs as an opening pair) and Rohit believes that if someone is consistently performing or has done really well over the years, you can’t just discard him. Rohit definitely gives you that cushion and it’s a good thing, kyunki ICC events ki baat karein toh wahan pe thoda experience zaroor chahiye,” former India cricketer and the member of IPL Governing Council, Pragyan Ojha was quoted as saying on Glance. Honestly, Dhawan might not be the dashing hero that we Indians see in Kohli or Rohit. But can we dare to deny that he has given the team some amount of stability when it was in dire straits? Certainly not.  Dhawan’s approach towards cricket is based on the old-fashioned principle of keeping your wickets till the end, and then stepping on the gas. In his best years as an ODI batsman, the 37-year-old did his best to frustrate the opposition before he launched a sudden attack.   Indeed, there is a saying that a player's mistakes tend to be more memorable than their achievements. This adage rings true in the case of Dhawan.

02 October,2023 11:30 PM IST | Mumbai | Srijanee Majumdar
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