Virat Kohli believes England v India series has revived Test cricket

Sudhir Gupta 12/09/2018
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A hard-fought series: Joe Root and Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli believes the concluded five-match series between England and India has revived Test cricket.

Kohli and his men fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the hosts who clinched victory in the final Test at the Oval by 118 runs on Tuesday.

Despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise, the series was a hard-fought affair with India relinquishing advantageous positions multiple times in the five matches.

Kohli, who finished as the series’ top-scorer with 593 runs, has called the series a ‘perfect advertisement’ for Test cricket.

“It might not show in the scoreline but both the sides know that it’s been a competitive series, it’s taken a lot out of both the sides, and it’s been something that we’ve really enjoyed. We’ve taken up the challenge head on, and today was an example of two guys not giving up and actually entertaining the crowd,” Kohli said after the loss.

Kohli's men were guilty of letting the advantage slip many times.

Kohli’s men were guilty of letting the advantage slip many times.

“As I said, this is probably the revival of Test cricket again and shows people what it means to all of us, and for people watching it’s a great advertisement for Test cricket,” he added.

Kohli had earlier called Test cricket the ‘most beautiful format’ of the game in an interview with the Wisden Cricket Monthly.

His No1 ranked India side will take on Australia in their next overseas challenge and the 29-year-old is confident that the lessons from the England series will help them Down Under.

“This kind of series shows you exactly the kind of character of individuals and I see that as an opportunity and not adversity because if you keep winning all the time a lot of faults are swept under the carpet, you don’t realise the faults you need to work on,” he said.

India’s tour of Australia will get underway in November this year.

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Glenn McGrath hails England's James Anderson for overtaking his Test wicket tally

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Passing of the mantle: James Anderson and Glenn McGrath.

Australia fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath has hailed James Anderson after the England seamer overthauled his Test wickets tally on Tuesday.

Anderson dismissed Mohammed Shami in the final hour of play in the fifth Test against India to clinch a 118-run win for the hosts. In doing so, the Englishman went past McGrath’s tally of 563 Test wickets to become the most prolific pacer in history.

The Aussie, in turn, has lauded Anderson’s achievement and believes that he can breach the elusive 600-wicket mark in the near future.

“I was proud to hold it for as long as I did – for it to be beaten by somebody like Jimmy Anderson is great,” McGrath told BBC’s Radio 5 live.

“I have a lot of respect for Jimmy. He’s been an incredible bowler for a long time. To have played well over 140 Tests and just keep running in, day in, day out, and remain at the top of his game, yeah, I’m very proud Jimmy’s got there.

“If he can raise the bar to 600 wickets, that’s an incredible effort.”

McGrath wants Anderson to breach the 600-wicket mark.

McGrath wants Anderson to breach the 600-wicket mark.

The 36-year-old finished as the highest wicket-taker in the five-match series with 24 scalps to his name and drew further praise from the Aussie legend for his unique skilset.

“Jimmy is different. He’s taller and right-handed, but the way he swings a ball – both ways at will – is is what sets him apart. It’s definitely an art form and when the conditions suit – like they often do at Lord’s when it’s overcast and the ball is swinging – no-one comes close to him,” McGrath said.

“Most guys hit the deck, get the ball in the right area and hope for a little bit of swing. We don’t see people with the skills of Anderson too often.”

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Asia Cup 2018 Team Guide: Fakhar Zaman the trump card in strong Pakistan squad

Waseem Ahmed 12/09/2018
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Fakhar Zaman is Pakistan's ace in the pack.

Less than four days remain for the Asia Cup to get underway in the UAE and the six participating teams are all set to battle it out for the crown of the continent’s best.

With the tournament opener fast approaching, we take a closer look at the Pakistan squad who are among the favourites for the crown.

The men in green have been placed in Group A of the tournament along with arch-rivals India and qualifier Hong Kong.

COACH – MICKEY ARTHUR

The South African has a reputation of being a hard taskmaster and he has very much lived up to his billing ever since taking the reins of the Pakistan team in 2016. Within a span of two years, Arthur has completely transformed the side, especially in limited-overs cricket. His tenure has seen them rise to the top of the T20 rankings along with capturing the ICC Champions Trophy in England last year.

CAPTAIN – SARFRAZ AHMED

The wicketkeeper-batsman has grown into the role ever since being handed the T20 captaincy in 2016. Turning Pakistan into T20 world beaters, Sarfraz and Arthur have completely changed the approach of the team with their insistence on youth. The same upturn has followed in the ODI setup too after Sarfraz was appointed skipper in the format last year. He showed his captaincy credentials by leading Pakistan to a fairytale win in the Champions Trophy in what was his first major series as ODI skipper.

Arthur and Sarfraz have transformed the fortunes of the team.

Arthur and Sarfraz have transformed the fortunes of the team.

STAR MAN – FAKHAR ZAMAN

There is probably no bigger in-form batsman in limited-overs cricket at the moment than Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman. A late bloomer, the left-handed opener has gone from strength to strength ever since his rollicking displays in the Champions Trophy last year. In the team’s recent ODI series in Zimbabwe, Fakhar finished as the highest run-scorer by a considerable margin while becoming the quickest batsman to the 1000-run mark in ODIs. In the process, he also became the first Pakistan batsman to register a double ton in the 50-over format and he is primed to have another strong showing in the UAE.

Man in form: Fakhar Zaman.

Man in form: Fakhar Zaman.

ONE TO WATCH – SHAHEEN SHAH AFRIDI

The 18-year-old pacer has already been hailed as the next big thing in Pakistan cricket and is the latest product to emerge from the country’s famed pace-bowling conveyor belt. After an excellent showing in Pakistan’s run to the semi-final of the ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year, Afridi has followed it up with a strong showing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). That has seen him capped three times already at the T20I level and he showed he is ready for the international stage with a three-wicket against Australia recently.

Teenage sensation: Shaheen Afridi.

Teenage sensation: Shaheen Afridi.

STRENGTHS – BOWLING

Although there is quality in every department for Pakistan, none of them are as strong as their bowling. With Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali leading the pace attack and Shadab Khan providing the threat with his leg-spin, the bowling attack has all bases covered. It has been the major reason for Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20 standings and the strength in depths available to Sarfraz and Pakistan are unrivalled by any other team in the competition.

Pace spearhead: Mohammad Amir.

Pace spearhead: Mohammad Amir.

WEAKNESSES

It is in the batting department that Pakistan will feel they are at the weakest. Although the likes of Fakhar, Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik give the batting a strong look on paper and they were on fire in the series against Zimbabwe, they are yet to be tested thoroughly against a strong opposition in a high-stake clash in recent times.

PREDICTION

It is hard to look beyond Pakistan and India as favourites for the Asia Cup title given their ODI form. Sarfraz and his men should have no trouble in advancing to the Super Four and even the final. In the case of a potential final between the two arch-rivals, it is hard to pick a winner yet given how past form and records go out of the window when the two teams meet.

SQUAD

Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Sarfraz Ahmed(c & wk), Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir

All ears as the coach speaks: Pakistan cricket team.

All ears as the coach speaks: Pakistan cricket team.

SCHEDULE

GROUP STAGE MATCH 1

September 16: Pakistan v Hong Kong

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai.

Time: 14:00 GST

GROUP STAGE MATCH 2

September 19: India v Pakistan

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

Time: 14:00 GST

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