India picks veterans; recalls Shami for World T20

Updated 05 February 2016
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India picks veterans; recalls Shami for World T20

NEW DELHI: The hosts India Friday recalled strike bowler Mohammed Shami and named veteran former champions Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in their squad for the World Twenty20, which begins next month.
Shami has not played for India since last year’s 50 over World Cup after suffering a knee injury and was sent home early from India’s recent tour of Australia with hamstring problems.
But chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said the 25-year-old had recovered and would be given time to prove his fitness, leaving open the possibility of calling up a late replacement before the final selection deadline.
“We have 30 days to ascertain where Shami is,” Patil told reporters in New Delhi.
“He has recovered, he has resumed bowling. That’s what we know right now.”
Shami had been emerging as India’s premier fast bowler before his injury woes, shining in all three formats of the game.
Given India’s struggles to identify a successor to the recently retired spearhead Zaheer Khan, Shami’s fitness could be key to the host’s chances of winning the tournament for the second time.
Shami’s inclusion was the most eye-catching in a 15-man squad packed with experience and skippered by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led India to victory in the 2007 inaugural tournament in South Africa.
There had been questions about Dhoni’s future after a disappointing run of scores but critics were silenced when he led India to a 3-0 victory in the recent T20 series against Australia.
Patil refused to be drawn on Dhoni’s long-term future but underlined the Indian board (BCCI) retained complete faith in the 34-year-old, who will also captain the same squad in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
“I have repeatedly said that selectors or BCCI, I don’t think we have any right to tell any player when he should retire,” Patil said.
“We have a right to pick (a) player on his performance and fitness. What the player thinks about his future is entirely his decision.
“We have total faith in MSD’s captaincy and that is why the selection committee felt that he is the right person to lead India in the Asia cup and till the T20 world cup. What happens after that we will wait and see.”
Dhoni, who has already relinquished the Test captaincy to Virat Kohli, is widely expected to retire from internationals after the tournament.
The 35-year-old Harbhajan and Yuvraj, 34, are two other veterans of India’s triumph in 2007, the only time the team has won the trophy.
Harbhajan failed to make the starting line-up in the Australia tour but Patil said the off-spinner, who has taken more than 700 international wickets, still had something to offer.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get a chance (in Australia),” he said.
“But selectors and captain and team management have total faith in Harbhajan and the record which has set and the contribution that he has made, not only toward Indian cricket but toward world cricket.”
The only uncapped player in the squad is the left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who has impressed in the Indian Premier League with his bowling and his powerful lower-order hitting.
India’s first match in the World T20 comes against New Zealand in Nagpur on March 15. They then face arch rivals Pakistan in Dharamsala on March 19. The final is in Kolkata on April 3.
The Asia Cup, which is also a T20 tournament, runs from February 24 to March 6.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Pawan Negi and Mohammed Shami.


Time for the Sun to shine on Hyderabad in the IPL

Updated 22 March 2019
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Time for the Sun to shine on Hyderabad in the IPL

  • Can MS Dhoni lead the Super Kings to another IPL title?
  • Who are the players to watch out for?

LONDON: The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League gets underway today with the usual razzmatazz, stacks of cash — in cricketing terms at least, pure conspicuous consumption — on display. This is the form of leather on willow that is as close to pure Americana as you are going to find.
As much as $15 million was shelled out at this year’s auction on 60 players. You only have to look at the riches the players are now earning to realize why every big-hitting batsman or wily bowler wants a piece of the IPL. Varun Chakravarthy went for $1.2 million, a millionaire overnight having not even played for his country.
Once again the Chennai Super Kings are the team to beat. Under MS Dhoni the powerhouses have won three titles — a record they share with the Mumbai Indians.
Here we give you the lowdown on cricket’s brashest format and take a peek into our crystal ball to tell you what we think is going to happen.

DELHI CAPITALS (8th last year)

Have only made the last four three times, finished rock bottom last year and decided something had to change. So they changed their name from the Daredevils to the Capitals, the new name as prosaic as their past cricket. They have added Shikhar Dhawan for power at the top of the order and to compliment the decent bowling attack of Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: The only way is up but will finish outside the top four.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS (4th)

The winners of the first IPL they have made the last four three times since. A look at their batting line-up — Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane — will always trouble the opposition bowlers and with Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat in the attack will always take wickets. Can they back up their impressive team sheet with equally impressive results?
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Will reach the last four but will miss the departing Stokes and Buttler who leave for a pre-World Cup training camp.

KINGS PUNJAB (7th)

An impressive spin attack of Ravi Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Chakravarthy will once again prove that T20, once thought to be the graveyard for slow bowlers, is a game built just for them. They will look for West Indies legend Chris Gayle to find his big-hitting range early on to give them the totals to defend.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Could prove to be the surprise package if, and it is a big if, their big names fire. We think they will just miss out on the last four.

Will Chris Gayle fire again this season? (AFP)

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE (6th)

One look at their batting line-up is enough to give any bowler the dreaded yips. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers could have their very own “who is the greatest short-form batsman of all-time” competition. The addition of Marcus Stoinis will give the side more balance and a chance of winning their first title.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: A side with Kohli and De Villiers cannot go three years without a top-four finish.

MUMBAI INDIANS (5th)

The Manchester United of the IPL, they have won three titles and with Rohit Sharma as captain, and a settled side — Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah just three of the retained stars — will always be a danger. But they finished outside the top four last year and perhaps miss a bit of fire power in the batting department.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Another year outside the top four.

Virat Kohli is dangerous no matter what the format. (AFP) 

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS (3)

Last year’s top-four finish was a surprise and there is the sense they will struggle to match that this time around. With Windies stars Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell in the side and spin king Sunil Narine they will always have a chance but it is perhaps expecting too much to repeat last season’s surge to the semis.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: They will not be able to repeat last year’s heroics and will finish in sixth.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS (Champions)

The team to beat, they have kept most of their title-winning side from last year and still have MS Dhoni — will he ever retire? — at the helm. It is hard to make a case for them not reaching the final, harder still not making the last four. If there is one possible worry is it that they have not strengthened much over the winter.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: In the last four.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD (2nd)

Will still be smarting from their heavy defeat in the final at the hands of Chennai last year. They look to have the strongest batting line-up with Kane Williamson, Martin Guptil, Jonny Bairstow and David Warner to share the big-hitting responsibilities and with spinner of the moment Rashid Khan they will always be able to take wickets.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Champions