Steve Smith Wonโ€™t Be Donning The Pink This Year

Steve Smith Wonโ€™t Be Donning The Pink This Year

The Indian Premier League (IPL) teams announced their lists of retained players ahead of the mini auction to be held next month, and the Rajasthan Royals have bid farewell to their captain Steve Smith.

Smith, one of the best contemporary batsmen in the world, came under flak following his team’s dismal showing in the 2020 edition of the tournament. He has now been released by the Royals, who have named Sanju Samson as captain for the new season.

Among the other big releases was Glenn Maxwell by Kings XI Punjab. One of the most expensive players in last year’s IPL, Maxwell had to pay for an ordinary season. The Chennai Super Kings, meanwhile, let go spinners Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla as well as opener Shane Watson. Suresh Raina, who had opted out of IPL 2020, was retained by the franchise.

The Mumbai Indians will be without Lasith Malinga, after the talismanic pacer announced his retirement from franchise cricket, thus ending a stellar IPL career. Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in IPL history, with 170 scalps. The Royal Challengers Bangalore sprung a surprise by releasing all-rounders Chris Morris and Shivam Dube.

Here’s a look at all the retentions and releases by the teams.

Chennai Super Kings

Retained: MS Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Bravo, Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, R Sai Kishore.

Released: Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay, Monu Singh, Shane Watson.

Delhi Capitals

Retained: Shreyas Iyer (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Daniels Sams, Anrich Nortje.

Released: Alex Carey, Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane, Tushar Deshpande, Mohit Sharma.

Kings XI Punjab

Retained: KL Rahul (captain), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Prabhsimran Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel.

Released: Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sheldon Cottrell, Jimmy Neesham, Krishnappa Gowtham, Tajinder Singh.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Retained: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Rahul Tripathi, Tom Banton, Varun Chakravarthy.

Released: M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Siddhesh Lad, Chris Green, Tom Banton.

Mumbai Indians

Retained: Rohit Sharma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan.

Released: Lasith Malinga, Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digivijay Deshmukh.

Rajasthan Royals

Retained: Sanju Samson (captain), Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Robin Uthappa.

Released: Steve Smith, Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Anirudha Joshi, Shashank Singh.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Retained: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Joshua Philippe, Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahamad, Adam Zampa.

Released: Chris Morris, Aaron Finch, Moeen Ali, Isuru Udana, Dale Steyn, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Mann, Parthiv Patel.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Retained: David Warner (captain), Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Abdul Samad, Mitchell Marsh, Priyam Garg, Virat Singh.

Released: Sanjay Yadav, B Sandeep, Billy Stanlake, Fabian Allen, Prithviraj Yarra.

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By Neel Gudka
We Have This Man To Thank For Indiaโ€™s Young Talent

We Have This Man To Thank For Indiaโ€™s Young Talent

We’re still hungover from yesterday’s events at the Gabba. On a ground that is Australia’s fortress, India pulled off the improbable to register a test series win for the ages.

The highlight of this series was India’s youngsters punching above their weight and showing their mettle. With so many key players lost to injury, the team management was compelled to throw a lot of newcomers into the deep end. The series saw as many as five debutants for India, and none disappointed.

This surplus of young talent, however, isn’t something that was achieved overnight. It is the result of an elaborate process put in place by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and one man has played a key role in it all. Rahul Dravid has been instrumental in shaping the careers of young cricketers and grooming them for the big stage.

After drawing curtains to a glittering international career in 2012, the legendary batsman has remained deeply involved in Indian cricket. He enjoyed an immensely fruitful stint as the coach of India’s under-19 and A teams, and now helms the National Cricket Academy (NCA). It would be unfair to credit Dravid alone for the supply chain of young cricketers that India enjoys today. Indian cricket, after all, has an admirable structure for domestic cricket that regularly throws up new talent. Dravid, however, has been responsible for the effective transition of these talents from domestic to international cricket. All of the young heroes of the Australia series, be it Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur or Mohammed Siraj, have graduated from Dravid’s finishing school.

After the series win yesterday, Indian fans took to Twitter to express their gratitude to Dravid..

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By Neel Gudka
Indiaโ€™s Historic Win At The Gabba Was Full Of Drama

Indiaโ€™s Historic Win At The Gabba Was Full Of Drama

What a riveting final day it was to mark the end of a magnificent test series. The series decider was played at Brisbane, where Australia hadn’t lost a test match since 1988 and where India had never won one. Injuries had forced the Indian side to field a highly inexperienced bowling attack. The odds were firmly stacked against us, but on day five the team engineered a herculean chase to register not only their first ever win at the Gabba, but also clinch their second consecutive series win on Australian soil. To think that this was a team that was bowled out for 36 at the start of the series. With true grit and determination, they’ve orchestrated one of the most dramatic turnarounds in recent history.

The series proved that the Indian team isn’t just about the Virats, the Pujaras, the Ashwins and the Bumrahs. A Hanuma Vihari, a Mohammed Siraj, a Shardul Thakur and a Rishabh Pant also put their hands up when the team needed it.

And what do we say about Ajinkya Rahane’s calm and composed leadership? Not one who finds himself in the limelight too often, Rahane took his chance to show the world what an able leader he is. He will continue to live in Kohli’s shadow once the latter returns to the side, but boy are we glad to have him in our ranks.

Here’s how social media celebrated India’s win…

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By Neel Gudka
Indiaโ€™s Spirit At The Gabba Won A Lot Of Hearts Including Ours

Indiaโ€™s Spirit At The Gabba Won A Lot Of Hearts Including Ours

This Indian team is made of steely resolve. Weakened by injuries, and playing on a ground where it has traditionally struggled, the side has fought tooth and nail to give the Aussies a run for their money in the series decider.

The growing list of injuries forced the Indian management to field two more newcomers in the Brisbane test, taking the total number of debutants in this series for India to five. The team’s five bowlers had played a grand total of four tests between them before the start of this game. The mighty Aussies would steamroll such an inexperienced side, everyone thought. But it wasn’t meant to be.

As has happened so often in the series, someone put their hand up and bailed the side when the chips were down. When India were at a precarious 186 for 6 in the first innings, debutant Washington Sundar and one-test-old Shardul Thakur dug in and hit half centuries, thereby ensuring that Australia didn’t enjoy a strong first innings lead. Thakur in particular has been exceptional, with a tally of 67 runs and 7 wickets in the match.

And what a series it’s been for young Mohammed Siraj. The 26-year-old lost his father at the start of the tour but chose to stay back with the team. He then went on to make his test debut at Melbourne, and two tests later was tasked with leading the bowling attack. How did he respond? By bagging a five-wicket haul in the second innings.

Social media heaped praise on the Indian team’s performance…

India either need to chase down 328, or bat out the entire fifth day to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The ask is tall, but this team has made a habit of defying odds in this series. Of course, there is also a chance that the rain gods might offer some help. Tomorrow promises to be a mouth-watering final day of the series.

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By Neel Gudka
Missing Tendulkar On The Field? You Wonโ€™t Have To Wait Long

Missing Tendulkar On The Field? You Wonโ€™t Have To Wait Long

Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Brett Lee are gearing up to return to the cricket field. The Road Safety World Series is set to resume after nearly a year.

Organised by the Road Safety cell of Maharashtra to create awareness about road safety, the series is a T20 competition featuring retired cricketers from India, Australia, West Indies, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The India Legends side is led by Sachin Tendulkar and boasts of other retired stars like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan. Foreign stars featuring in the tournament include West Indies’ Brian Lara, South Africa’s Jonty Rhodes, Australia’s Brett Lee and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan among others.

The series began in March last year, but after just four games was called off indefinitely due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The organisers had issued a statement saying the remaining games would be played when the situation is conducive to holding public events.

Now, with the world slowly returning to normalcy, the tournament is finally set to resume, according to a 45-second promo released by Voot, one of its telecast partners. The clip makes no mention of dates but indicates that live action isn’t far away.

Viewers will be able to watch the Road Safety World Series live on Colors Cineplex and Rishtey Cineplex, or live-stream it on Voot.

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By Neel Gudka
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