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IPL 2021 RCB news – Glenn Maxwell could solve Royal Challengers Bangalore’s middle-order issues

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Mike Hesson, the Royal Challengers Bangalore team director, is clear that the team is looking at Glenn Maxwell to be the finisher they have lacked in the recent past. Without giving away much of the team’s plans, Hesson stressed on clarity of roles as being key to getting the best out of “X-factor players” such as Maxwell.

“Glenn Maxwell is a fantastic player, and he fits what we require in the middle order,” Hesson said on Wednesday. “We want some X-factor players, that high-impact player we’ve talked about. We’ve just found through the middle overs as an area [to work on], so to have another player of that quality just adds to the likes of AB de Villiers and a two-pronged attack through the middle overs and the back-end.

Maxwell was released by the Punjab Kings after a poor IPL 2020, in which he managed just 108 runs and three wickets in 13 matches. However, that did not stop Maxwell from listing his base price in the highest bracket of INR 2 crore ahead of the 2021 season, and for the Royal Challengers from entering a fierce bidding war with the Chennai Super Kings, before securing his services for INR 14.25 crore.



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Ind vs NZ – WTC final

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“Test cricket needs to survive, and a WTC format helps where every Test, every series is important”

The absence of a proper warm-up fixture for India in the lead-up to the WTC final is a “bit of a disadvantage”, but the team is happy just being able to play cricket in a pandemic-hit world, according to Cheteshwar Pujara.

“It is (a disadvantage), but this is something we can’t control,” Pujara said in a media interaction on Tuesday. “These are challenging times in the world because of the pandemic, and you can’t have the luxury for extra preparation time. But the most important part is the game is still going on and that we’re playing a final.

“Yes, preparation time is a bit of a disadvantage maybe, but if you’re ready for the challenge, even if circumstances aren’t favourable, you’d do well. We’re confident as a team. Maybe a few extra days of preparation would’ve helped, but we can’t complain. We’re ready.”

Nothing beats match time, and while India haven’t had any, New Zealand have just finished a two-Test series against England – and won it 1-0.

“Test cricket needs to survive, and a WTC format helps where every Test, every series is important. If we win, then many youngsters would want to play the Test format and be part of the final when the next cycle comes around”

Cheteshwar Pujara

India spent two weeks in quarantine in Mumbai before arriving in the UK on June 3. Over the past three days, the team has taken part in match-simulation exercises, apart from their regular fitness sessions in batches. Pujara said that the first few sessions upon arrival in the UK were simply about “getting back into rhythm” to shed the quarantine hangover, but they have since amped up their intensity.

“We’ve utilised the time really well,” he said. “Even during the centre-wicket simulation, we had some practice wickets available. When in the middle, you want to ensure things you’re working on in the nets to come along.

“For bowlers, it was important to get used to the workload again. They would have bowled 14-15 overs in the entire game, which is very important for their workload. For the batsmen, it was about spending time in the middle, having the discipline of leaving balls, playing shots you would in a game. So being in the middle and having match scenario is very important.”

As a one-format player, for Pujara, the WTC final is as big as it gets, like any other global tournament final. “Personally, it means a lot to me,” he said. “This is the first time we are in a WTC final. We have worked hard over a period of time. It’s just like playing in a 50-over or T20 World Cup final.

“Test cricket needs to survive, and a WTC format helps where every Test, every series is important. If we win, then many youngsters would want to play the Test format and be part of the final when the next cycle comes around.”

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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WTC final, Southampton – VVS Laxman’s advice to Rohit Sharma – ‘Focus on leaving deliveries outside off’ | Cricket

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Five batters and two spinners? Aakash Chopra’s India XI for WTC final


VVS Laxman has offered two tips to Rohit Sharma ahead of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand starting Friday: know where your off stump is to leave the ball outside off and don’t take the left leg across too much while facing Trent Boult, who is likely to swing the ball into the batter. Laxman was speaking at a virtual press conference organised by broadcaster Star Sports, with Ian Bishop and Shane Bond as his co-panelists.



“Even during the IPL season, Trent Boult was running in, swinging the ball and hitting him (Rohit Sharma) on the pads and telling him, ‘that’s what is going to happen in the World Test Championship final'”


Shane Bond reveals snippets of conversation from the Mumbai Indians dressing room



“I think not only for Rohit but for every opener, it’s very important to know where your off stump is,” Laxman said. “And Rohit, since the time he has opened for the Indian team even in Indian conditions against South Africa, the way he knew where his off stump was, he was very disciplined at the start of the innings. And if Rohit can replicate that in England, I’m sure he will perform well.

“We all know what an unbelievable and talented batsman he is. He is a match-winner for the Indian team. But knowing where your off stump is and letting go of the balls outside the off stump in the channel of uncertainty is something which Rohit requires to focus on.

“Another challenge is in the form of Trent Boult who can get the ball in. So I think he also knows that against Trent Boult, he cannot take his left leg across, he has to play as much as possible with the full face of the bat back towards the bowler and the umpire. These are the two things Rohit definitely requires to address at the start of the innings.”

Bond, meanwhile, believes Sharma has the ability impose himself on bowling attacks like Matthew Hayden did during his time. The former New Zealand quick is part of the Mumbai Indians, of which both Sharma and Boult are part of. The trio were part of the IPL-winning Mumbai Indians team in the UAE last September.




Rohit Sharma and Trent Boult play for the same IPL franchise © BCCI


Bond chuckled that banter for the WTC final between Sharma and Boult had started well in advance, during the 2021 IPL season.

“What I do know is that even during the IPL season, Trent Boult was running in, swinging the ball and hitting him (Sharma) on the pads and telling him, ‘that’s what is going to happen in the World Test Championship final’,” Bond said with a hearty laugh. “So he was talking about it four months in advance, there was banter going on, which was just brilliant. Those two were very aware that they were going to come up against each other.

“I love Rohit Sharma as a player, I see him almost in a Matt Hayden kind of role where he goes out, as he did against England in the series in India on very difficult wickets, and he imposes himself. He could come out and score very quickly, he’s that sort of player, very dynamic in difficult conditions, like a Rishabh Pant, can take the game away from a team in a very good hour even when New Zealand are bowling with the new ball. So with the field up and he’s such a stroke-maker, it sort of suits him being at the top of the order when the ball is hard.

“There’s obviously some areas in his game which New Zealand will look to exploit but what he does do is he scores fast and if he can score fast and put runs on the board, that instantly puts pressure on the bowling attack and there’s nothing worse as a bowler than going for runs, especially if you’re trying to pitch the ball up. I can’t wait for the Boult-Sharma battle, with all the banter that’s been going on and I’m expecting a few smiles between the boys as well.”

For the rest of the Indian batting line-up as well, Laxman emphasised on how playing the ball late would help them in covering the late swing of the Dukes ball.

“What the batsmen require to remember if they want to succeed in England is to know where there off stump is, and also always look for the full ball and a good, long, big stride,” Laxman said. “What that enables them to do is to play the ball late, allow the ball to come close to them and they can then cover the late swing which the bowlers will extract with the Dukes ball and also the lateral movement which probably they can extract because of the conditions there.”

Boult further said it was New Zealand ‘s “best chance” to take home an ICC trophy after finishing runners-up in the 2015 and 2019 ODI World Cups, and expected them to play five quick bowlers by picking Colin de Grandhomme ahead of spinner Ajaz Patel, who was named in the final 15 ahead of Mitchell Santner on Tuesday.

Laxman and Bishop both predicted India to pick five batters, Pant as the wicketkeeper at No. 6, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as the spin-bowling allrounders, and three fast bowlers.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


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Women’s T20s at 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games to run from July 29 to August 7

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The matches will be played at Edgbaston over a ten-day period

The women’s T20 cricket competition at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games will take place from July 29 to August 7 at Edgbaston, the organisers announced on Tuesday. The group-stage matches of the eight-team event will take place till August 4, with the semi-finals scheduled for August 6. The final as well as the playoff for the third place (bronze medal) will take place on August 7.

“With 11 days of swimming and diving, 8 days of cricket, 8 days of gymnastics and 7 days of athletics, including the marathon, the summer of 2022 is set for a spectacular home Games,” the official website said. “The Birmingham 2022 competition schedule features more medal events for women than men for the first time in Commonwealth Games history, as well as a fully integrated para-sport programme.”

It will only be the second time that cricket will feature in the Commonwealth Games, but it’s a debut for the women’s game, as well as the T20 format, after a men’s 50-over competition was part of the schedule in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, hosts England, and a nation from the Caribbean have all qualified for the event. Apart from England, the other nations to qualify were determined based on the T20I rankings on April 1, 2021.

Athletes from the Caribbean represent their individual countries at the Games and a qualifying tournament for those nations will decide which team takes West Indies’ spot.

The eighth spot in the tournament will be allocated to the winners of a qualifying event to be held by January 31, 2022.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will attract 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories, is scheduled to run from July 28 to August 8 next year.



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