India captain Kohli strongly defends Dhoni's role in T20I team amidst criticism

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Kolhi has hit back at Dhoni's detractors.

India skipper Virat Kohli came to the aid of MS Dhoni in the wake of criticism over the veteran wicket-keeper’s spot in the T20I team.

After India had earned a narrow win over New Zealand to clinch the T20 series on Tuesday, Kohli gave his views on the subject in the post-match press conference.

“I don’t understand why people are pointing him out. If I fail as a batsman three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I am not over 35,” said the 29-year-old.

“The guy is fit, he is passing all the tests. He is contributing to the team in every tactical way on the field. With the bat, he did really well against Sri Lanka and Australia.”

“In this series, he didn’t get much time to bat. You have to understand that the position he comes in to bat, even Hardik Pandya could not score in that game so why are we pointing out one man. Hardik as well got out in the last T20 in Rajkot. You are conveniently targeting one man which is not fair.”

Dhoni's future in the shortest format has been under the spotlight.

Dhoni’s future in the shortest format has been under the spotlight.

Criticisms had been levied at Dhoni following India’s defeat in the second T20I at Rajkot where the 36-year-old had scored a 44-ball 49.

The former World Cup winning captain’s role in the shortest format of the game has been the subject of hot discussion amongst former cricketers and TV pundits.

With the next World T20 set to take place in 2020, the decision of the selectors to persist with Dhoni has not gone down well with the former players likes of Ajit Agarkar and VVS Laxman who feel that the Ranchi man’s T20I career has run its course.

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In bizarre incident, man drives car onto pitch in Ranji Trophy clash

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Ishant Sharma and co look on in bewilderment as car rolls onto pitch.

In a bizarre occurrence, a man drove onto the field of play and over the pitch during a Ranji Trophy encounter between hosts Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on Friday.

The Ranji Trophy is India’s premier domestic first-class competition and the match being held at the Air Force Complex in Palam had to be halted when the man, identified as Girish Sharma drove onto the field of play 20 minutes before the close of play.

With a number of international stars such as Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina and Rishab Pant in action, the players could only look on in bemusement as Sharma drove over the pitch.

Sharma later said that he had merely lost track of directions before wandering into the ground aimlessly.

Despite repeated attempts by the umpires and players to keep Sharma off the pitch, he did manage to drive over it on two occasions.

The match referee examined the pitch for potential damage and found it in acceptable condition for the match to proceed.

The incident highlighted a major security breach on the part of the organizers with Sharma able to get so close to the players despite having apparently been lost.

Uttar Pradesh, led by Raina, were 246 runs ahead of the Rishab Pant led Delhi when play was stopped on Friday.

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Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik fifties help India level series 1-1 against New Zealand

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Half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik fired India to a comfortable six-wicket win over New Zealand after a pitch-tampering storm threatened the second one-day international in Pune on Wednesday.

Dhawan scored a classy 68 and Karthik notched an unbeaten 64 as India made 232-4 to clinch victory with 24 balls to spare and level the three-match ODI series 1-1.

The match had looked to be under threat after a groundsman at the Maharashtra cricket Association (MCA) stadium told undercover journalists that he had doctored the pitch before the game.

The Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI) dismissed Pandurang Salgaoncar, the pitch manager at the Pune ground, after he described to India Today TV reporters, who were posing as bookies, how he had tampered with the surface.

“The BCCI has zero tolerance towards any activity that brings the game into disrepute,” Amitabh Choudhary, the BCCI’s acting honorary secretary, said in a statement.

The International cricket Council said that it had launched an investigation into the pitch tampering claims “to establish the facts”.

Another curator was swiftly drafted in before match referee Chris Broad inspected the pitch and gave the game the go-ahead to start on schedule.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bat as the visitors looked to clinch the series with a victory following their six-wicket win in the opening ODI in Mumbai on Sunday.

India had other ideas though and restricted the Kiwis to 230-9.

Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed three wickets while paceman Jasprit Bumrah and spinner Yuzvendra Chahal chipped in with two each.

Henry Nicholls top-scored for New Zealand with 42 while skipper Williamson’s miserable series continued, adding just three runs to the six he made on Sunday.

Left-hander Dhawan hit five fours and two sixes during his 84-ball knock before driving the straight at Ross Taylor at cover for a simple catch off Adam Milne.

New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee had earlier claimed the wicket of Indian opener Rohit Sharma for just seven runs while Indian captain Virat Kohli made 29.

The right-handed Karthik hit four fours, including the last shot of the game which took India past the 231-mark required to win.

The third and decisive ODI takes place in Kanpur on Sunday. The two sides will then play three T20 matches.

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