Virat Kohli claims India’s first series win in Australia is his greatest achievement

Kohli has led his side to their first ever series win Down Under. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019

Virat Kohli claims India’s first series win in Australia is his greatest achievement

  • Cheteshwar Pujara the star as India prove their batting is a cut above all their rivals.
  • Skipper hopes series win proves a boon for the Test game.

SYDNEY: Superstar captain Virat Kohli ay called winning a series in Australia his proudest ever moment, capping a 12-month journey for his India team of hard graft, fixing mistakes and comradeship.

Their 2-1 triumph achieved what no other Indian side has managed since they started touring to Australia in 1947-48, with the foundations for success laid not in the first Test at Adelaide, but on their tour of South Africa last year.

It was there, and the subsequent tour of England, that he and coach Ravi Shastri identified the attacking brand of cricket that they wanted to play, all in preparation for Australia.

“We wanted to experiment with combinations and find out what suits the team best and take it forward from there,” Shastri said.

“So we learned a heck of a lot in South Africa, we learned a lot in England. We made mistakes, which we didn’t make in this series. We learned from those mistakes.

India lost 2-1 in Tests to South Africa in January last year, and were then outplayed in England 4-1.

“So the most satisfying part of it (winning in Australia) was it was a team working toward this goal over the last 12 months,” said Shastri.

That journey has led to India boasting one of the most fearsome bowling attacks in the world, with the breakthroughs of speedster Jasprit Bumrah and spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

While India’s batting in Australia was a class above, anchored by Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, it was the consistency of the bowling that made the difference, with no Australian batsmen scoring a century.

“The way the bowlers have dictated and dominated, not here but also in England and South Africa, it’s something I haven’t seen before,” said Kohli.

“Hats off to them, the way they’ve prepared, their fitness levels, and their mindset.”

So important was the win that Kohli, the best batsmen in the world in all three formats, placed it above being part of the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup.

“It’s obviously a very proud moment. More so because for the last 12 months we understand what we have gone through as a team, we understand the kind of cricket we have been able to play,” he said.

“The fact that the reward has come in the most historic series for Indian cricket is the cherry on top of the cake.”

STEPPING STONE

And while accolades will inevitably fall on Kohli, he has consistently stressed through the series that it can never be about one person.

“It was a team effort through and through and that’s what we strive for. We strive to play well as a team,” he said.

“Single innings and single spells don’t win games of Test cricket. We play to make the team win.”

India was already the No.1 team in the world before the series began, with the win only shoring up their formidable reputation.

Kohli is passionate about Test cricket and said he wanted youngsters to look at what the team had achieved, and they way they have done it, for inspiration to keep the red ball game in focus as limited-overs formats gain ever more traction.

“I see this series as a stepping stone for this team to inspire the next lot of Test cricketers. To be passionate for Test cricket firstly,” he said.

“When Indian cricket respects Test cricket we know the fans are going to come in and watch Test cricket.

“We definitely want to build on this and always promote the message of Test cricket being the most important and the most valued format of the game which it rightfully is.”


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.