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Ind vs NZ 2021 – KL Rahul

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India’s T20I vice-captain also “excited” to work with new captain and “great guy” Rohit Sharma

India’s new head coach Rahul Dravid will bring with him a culture in which the players put the team above themselves. This is the view of India’s new T20I vice-captain KL Rahul, who plays for Karnataka, the same state team that Dravid represented, and has known him ever since the time he was coming up the age-group ranks.

“I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve known him for a very long time,” Rahul said in a press conference two days out from India’s first T20I against New Zealand in Jaipur. “Obviously as a youngster I did try and pick his brain and I did understand the game better, and understand the art of batting better from [having talked to] him, and he’s been more than kind and he’s been very helpful to all of us back home in Karnataka.

“Obviously since he’s finished playing he’s been [coaching] different teams and he’s been helping the boys around the country, so to have him here with this set-up is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from him. We all know what a big name Rahul Dravid is in Indian cricket and the kind of things he has done for our country. So it’ll be a great opportunity and great time for all of us to learn from him and get better as cricketers and understand the game better, and understand the game from his point of view.

“When it comes to coaching, I’ve played a couple of games with the India A set-up [under Dravid], and we’ve had a small chat just before coming out here for training, and he’s somebody who’s big on setting a good team culture and creating an atmosphere where people are thriving and trying to get better as people and as cricketers. He’s always been a team man when he was playing, and that’s the kind of culture he wants to bring in here as well, where everyone’s putting the team ahead of personal goals.”

The series against New Zealand will also be the first to feature Rohit Sharma as India’s full-time T20I captain. Rahul said Rohit was already a proven leader, having captained Mumbai Indians to five IPL titles, and felt he would bring to his role plenty of tactical acumen as well as calmness.

“There’s nothing new about Rohit being captain,” Rahul said. “For as long as I can remember, he’s been Mumbai Indians’ captain, and his stats are there for everybody to see. He has a great understanding of the game and tactically he’s really, really good, and that’s why he’s been able to achieve the kind of things that he has as a leader.

“We all enjoy watching Rohit bat and we all enjoy having him in the dressing room. He’s a great guy to be around, so I’m sure he’s excited and all of us in the team are excited to play under Rohit and he’ll bring a lot of calm into the dressing room.

“The next few weeks or the next few days will be exciting, to understand what kind of goals he has and what kind of culture and – I got asked this question before – what kind of template we’re looking to play. The more we talk to him in the next couple of days, I’ll also understand it better and maybe be able to give you that answer the next time I have this conversation. It’s a big change in Indian cricket, so we’re all looking forward and really excited about it.”

As for his own role as vice-captain, Rahul said he would try to work with the rest of the leadership group to build a secure team environment for the players.

“I think it’s a collective effort,” Rahul said. “Whatever happens in a team sport, it’s always a collective decision, and the leadership group becomes really important in making sure that everybody’s feeling comfortable, everybody is clear about their roles, everybody is feeling secure in the team, and I think that will be an exciting challenge for all of us, to create that kind of environment, and we’re really looking forward to it.”



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22

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Blackwood fell in the last over before lunch after he’d batted out 23 overs with Bonner

West Indies 253 and 65 for 2 (Bonner 22*) trail Sri Lanka 204 and 345 for 9 declared (Dhananjaya 155*, Permaul 3-106) by 232 runs

Tasked with seeing out at least 93 overs to save the second Test in Galle, West Indies lost two wickets inside the first 31 before lunch. Kraigg Brathwaite had been dismissed towards the end of the first hour of play, when Ramesh Mendis trapped him lbw with an arm ball.

Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner then mounted some resistance, batting out 23 overs together. Then with three balls to go for lunch, Lasith Embuldeniya tempted Blackwood into a drive, with loopy delivery outside off stump. The bowler had spun this one hard, though – it dipped, took the outside edge, and was caught at slip by Dhananjaya de Silva. Blackwood had batted out 92 balls for his 36. Bonner, at the other end, was on 22 off 71.

The late wicket was reward for Sri Lanka’s spinners, who had created a number of half chances through the course of the session. Blackwood was dropped by Dimuth Karunaratne at short midwicket in the 20th over, the ball only just carrying to him, low to his left. At other times, balls took the inside edge but evaded the short leg fielder, who was constantly in the action.

Despite the loss of their openers however, West Indies batted well to see out the new ball, which has been the Sri Lanka spinners’ primary weapon, as is often the case in Galle. On a pitch that is taking substantial turn, but is not unplayable yet, the visitors do bat deep – Joshua da Silva coming in as low as No. 8.

Early in the day, Sri Lanka added 17 runs in 2.4 overs – No. 10 batter Embuldeniya doing much of the attacking. When Embuldeniya was bowled by Jason Holder, captain Dimuth Karunaratne declared the innings, Sri Lanka sitting on a lead of 297. Dhananjaya added two to his overnight score and finished 155 not out.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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Marnus Labuschagne eager for James Anderson duel with 'target on the back'

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Australia’s No. 3 is one of the few players who will enter the Ashes with substantial cricket under his belt



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India vs NZ, 2nd Test

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Tom Latham will lead New Zealand

Rahane is out due to a minor left hamstring strain he picked up while fielding on the final day of the Kanpur Test. Jadeja’s is a right forearm injury that required scans which revealed swelling. “He has been advised rest,” stated a BCCI release.

Ishant, meanwhile, dislocated his left little finger on the final day in Kanpur, leaving the door open for Mohammed Siraj‘s return. Siraj had himself sustained a finger injury during the T20I series, but has now been deemed fit.
For Williamson, it’s the recurrence of an old left-elbow problem that has troubled him for much of the year. Coach Gary Stead confirmed the injury had flared up during the first Test and with it failing to improve in the days following the match, the call was made to rule him out. In his absence. Tom Latham will lead the side.

“It’s been a really tough time for Kane having to deal with such a persistent injury,” Stead said. “While we’ve been able to manage the injury through the year and the T20 World Cup, the shift to Test cricket and the increased batting loading has re-aggravated his elbow.

“Ultimately the injury is still not right and while he got through the Kanpur Test, it was clear playing in the second Test wasn’t an option.”

Meanwhile, the absence of Rahane and Jadeja could leave India’s team management contemplate a sixth batting option. If they go down this route, it could mean a debut for KS Bharat or Suryakumar Yadav at his home ground. Wriddhiman Saha was ruled fit by Virat Kohli a day before the match.



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