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CSK vs KKR, IPL 2021, final – ‘We have to decide what is good for CSK’

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Suggests that Super Kings ought to retain players who can form their core “for the next ten years”, but quips that he’s not quite done yet

MS Dhoni has not shut the door on continuing with Chennai Super Kings beyond IPL 2021, though he said that the final decision would be taken keeping in mind what would work best for the franchise, given the upcoming auction will offer franchises – including two new ones – the chance to majorly revamps their squads.
“We have to decide what is good for CSK you know. It’s not really about me being there in the top three or four, whatever the retained number of players is,” Dhoni told host broadcaster Star Sports, after having lifted his fourth IPL trophy with a 27-run win against Kolkata Knight Riders. “It’s about making a strong core and making sure the franchise doesn’t really suffer, because it will be an auction where you have to make a team for the next ten years. Definitely in 2008, the core group carried on for more than ten years. We’ll have to have a hard look as to in the next ten years, who are the people who will contribute in a similar manner.”

The BCCI hasn’t yet released what the retention rules will be for the eight existing franchises ahead of this mega auction, scheduled for January 2022, and how much of the auction purse retaining players will eat into. Given the cycle of mega auctions, the next one after 2022 is unlikely to take place before 2025, and Dhoni seemed to be suggesting that Super Kings ought to make a pragmatic decision and retain those players around whom a long-term core could be built.

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WATCH - Jadeja takes two sharp catches to thwart KKR

WATCH – Jadeja takes two sharp catches to thwart KKR

However, when congratulated on the legacy he had left behind at Super Kings – with four titles, nine appearances in the final, and qualification for the playoffs in every season they participated in except IPL 2020 – Dhoni enigmatically said: “But still, I haven’t left [it] behind!”

Earlier this season, too, Dhoni had said: “You’ll see me in yellow next season but whether I’ll be playing for CSK you never know.”

Reflecting on the period of sustained success he and the franchise have had, Dhoni said being clinical in the playoffs is crucial.

“Every final is special. But also, if you start looking at the stats, you may say we are the most consistent team that loses in the finals. Because that is also a fact. But there have been a few finals where we lost because of that one brilliant performance or a span of 15 minutes where something happened and we lost the game.

“I feel it’s very important to come [on] strong, especially in the knockout stages. Give performances where you don’t let the opposition creep into the game. That’s something that we made a conscious attempt to do. I hope that in the coming seasons, CSK will be known for that: when you’ve got a chance to win the game you know, very plain and simple, win it and move forward.”

Dhoni hasn’t been known as one to engage in long team meetings and strategy sessions, and he said that was the way he had operated in IPL 2021 too, using Super Kings’ practice sessions as opportunities to talk to the players.



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Pat Cummins eager for clarity over Justin Langer’s contract

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The coach is not certain to get a new deal despite T20 World Cup and Ashes success

Pat Cummins is keen to have clarity on Justin Langer‘s contract status beyond this summer’s Ashes, insisting Australia’s Test side “absolutely love” their coach.

The future of Langer, who comes off contract in mid-2022 and has made it clear he is keen to continue, remains an unresolved talking point.

Langer came under intense pressure to keep his job last year, when Cummins and other on-field leaders delivered forthright feedback about dressing-room disgruntlement.

The former Test opener changed his ways, adopting more of a low-key role as Australia went on to win the Twenty20 World Cup and retain the urn. But there remains speculation Cricket Australia will opt to move Langer on.

Cummins, asked about Langer after Australia claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-Test series against England, bluntly replied that “his contract is up for renewal in a few months and we’ll deal with that then”.

He struck a more diplomatic note in Hobart, speaking after his four-wicket haul helped Australia claim a first-innings lead of 115 runs in the fifth and final Ashes Test.

“That’s above my pay grade. We’ll wait and see, it’d be nice to have clarity for everyone,” Cummins said. “But he’s been doing a fantastic job, we absolutely love JL.

“He’s been really great through the World Cup and the Ashes. Honestly, it’s not been a talking point at all within the camp.

“The plan has always been to chat about it after the Ashes, so the powers that be, I’m sure, will chat at some stage. But he’s been fantastic for us and the boys love having him around.”

CA chief executive Nick Hockley and high-performance boss Ben Oliver are yet to set a definitive timeline around the call on Langer, likewise a final decision on potentially splitting the role by installing separate white-ball and red-ball mentors.

But the growing expectation is the elephant in the room will be addressed soon after the Ashes series finale. Oliver noted last month that CA will take player feedback on board before resolving Langer’s future.

Former captain Steve Waugh, who worked under Langer as a consultant during the 2019 Ashes, offered strong support for his former team-mate on social media.

“Position in doubt? Influenced the culture and character of the team after the Cape Town debacle,” Waugh posted on Instagram. “Coached the team to a winning World Cup 20/20 and now to a commanding Ashes victory. Time to put the rumours and innuendo to rest. #respect #culture #character.”

Other former team-mates of Langer have also offered their support in recent days with Shane Warne questioning why he had not already had his deal renewed.

“I don’t know what everyone’s waiting for,” Warne told Fox Cricket. “He should be signed up in my opinion because he’s done such a good job.

“We’re not inside the dressing room, so we don’t know all the inside-outs, but I think the only way we can judge a coach is from the performances and has Australian cricket got better? Is the better of cricket better domestically? Is there a group of players? There’s probably three or four players outside this squad now that could all play and that wasn’t there a couple of years ago.”

Australia do not have much of a break in their schedule after the Ashes with limited-overs matches against New Zealand and Sri Lanka from late January to mid-February.

That is then followed by the tour of Pakistan, Australia’s first to the country since 1998, which also falls within Langer’s current contract. There will be the need to split coaches during that period with a brief T20I series in New Zealand during March, the same situation that was set to occur last season before the South Africa tour was postponed.



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Recent Match Report – South Z (BD) vs Cent Z (BD) Final 2021/22

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Bowlers, Al-Amin shine as Central beat South by six wickets after bowling them out for 163

Central Zone 164 for four (Al-Amin 53 not out, Mizanur 39, Ahmed 3 for 32) beat South Zone 163 all out (Pinak 35) by six wickets

Central Zone completed a domestic double after they beat South Zone by six wickets in the BCL One-Day final held at the Sylhet International Stadium on Saturday. Central Zone took 42.3 overs to chase down 164 in the low-scoring tournament.

Asked to bat first, South Zone were bowled out for 163 runs in 48.5 overs. They gave away a good start as they slipped to 99 for four after Anamul Haque and Pinak Ghosh added 51 for the opening stand. Nahidul Islam’s 31 took them past the 150-mark.

In reply, Soumya and Mizanur Rahman helped Central Zone get off to a brisk start. The duo added 65 for the opening stand in 12.1 overs. Al-Amin Hossain followed it up with an unbeaten 53, adding 88 runs for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Mosaddek, who remained unbeaten on 33.

Captain Mosaddek was later adjudged the Player-of-the-Match and the Player-of-the-Series for scoring 148 runs and taking six wickets in the tournament. Imrul Kayes was the only batter to score more than 150 runs in the competition while Soumya was one of the four bowlers to take seven wickets.

Earlier this month, Central Zone had won the BCL first-class competition after they beat South Zone by four wickets in a tense final day.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Sans big names, Sri Lanka eye crucial Super League points against Zimbabwe

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Sri Lanka could be pushed out of the top eight in the table to qualify directly for the next World Cup, while Zimbabwe are dead last



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