Heriot-Watt head to Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals once again

Nick Watkins 18/04/2018
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Red Bull winners: Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University (HWU) were crowned UAE champions of the Red Bull Campus Cricket 2018 for the fourth time, after defeating Manipal University en route to the World Finals in Sri Lanka.

Ten universities from the UAE took part in the three-day tournament, which produced thrilling action at Ajman Eden Grounds. Former UAE Under 19 captain Rohit Singh won the toss, elected to bat and helped his side score a massive 201 runs in their allotted 20 overs with the loss of six wickets. In reply, Manipal University were all out for 122 runs.

Key batsman Imad Mustaq scored  a quick fire 104 runs for HWU in just 55 balls, while Manipal’s star bowler, Mukul Anand took the important wicket of UAE international Chirag Suri for just 10 runs. However, chasing a target of 202 runs, Manipal University were all out 81 short, thanks to a vengeful Suri taking three wickets, for just 22 runs with his off-spin.

Red Bull’s chief guests, Bollywood actor and chairman and MD of Caprice watches Mr. M.S. Khan, along with former UAE World Cup 1996 cricketer Mr. Shehzad Altaf, presented prizes to the tournament’s top performers.

Best bowler of the tournament, Jay Joshi from HWU said, “It was a great few days; it was my second year competing in the Red Bull Campus Cricket and we’ve been champions four times in a row now so it’s been great to take part”.

“The ground facilities are superb and the quality of cricket is amazing, it’s good to play exciting cricket in the UAE. The quality is getting better every year and the tournament is being managed better every year as well, it’s really turning into a special event”.

Rohit Singh representing HWU, was awarded the best captain of the season award following the event. With plenty of experience playing abroad he’s looking forward to the World Finals in September. “The tournament has been a great success, and I’ve been lucky enough to captain the side over the last four years. The first year we won, we flew to India and the following two years to Sri Lanka, so we’re looking forward to going back there again and going one better than before. We’ve got a stronger team than ever and we’re aiming to at least reach the semi finals this time”.

He added, “It’s much different to playing in the UAE because a lot of the players have professional contracts so the standard in the world finals is very tough. Some of the guys are fully contracted domestically as well even if they’re not playing for the national side to it’s highly competitive”.

Red Bull Campus Cricket 2018 awards

  1. Best Captain of all season—- Rohit Singh (Heriot-Watt University)
  2. Man of the Finals — Imad Mustaq 104 runs in 55 balls (Heriot-Watt University)
  3. Best Batsman of the tournament – Chirag Suri – 202 runs (Heriot-Watt University)
  4. Best Bowler of the tournament – Jay Joshi – 8 wickets (Heriot-Watt University)
  5. Player of the Tournament – Khalid Shah – 206 runs and three wickets – (Skyline University)
  6. Red Bull Campus Cricket UAE Qualifiers Champions 2018— Heriot-Watt University.
  7. Runner Up Team UAE Qualifiers 2018 – Manipal University

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Dinesh Karthik stakes claim for prominent role in India's 2019 World Cup squad after T20 tri-series heroics

Ashish Peter 20/03/2018
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Karthik might have played himself into contention for a World Cup spot.

It has been almost 14 years since Dinesh Karthik made his debut for India at the iconic Lords in an ODI against England. Since then, he has been in and out of the side, never truly establishing himself, before his career’ biggest moment arrived in Colombo with a last-ball six against Bangladesh to win the Nidahas Trophy for India.

Calm and composed under intense pressure, the 32-year-old wicket-keeper batsman smashed an eight-ball 29 to clinch victory when the match was all but lost with 34 needed from two overs. His cameo, which he himself described as a ‘memory of lifetime’, has resulted in calls to instate Karthik as the wicket-keeper in the limited-overs side in the run-up to the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Those calls may be a little far-fetched since MS Dhoni remains the best wicketkeeper-batsman in white ball cricket. It has been Karthik’s misfortune that his career has coincided with that of Dhoni, who made his debut for India in 2004 as well.

He has lived in the shadow of Dhoni for so long, youngsters like Rishab Pant are being seen as Dhoni’s replacement as and when that time comes. However, with his whirlwind knock in Colombo, Karthik has sent a timely reminder to selectors about his match-winning abilities.

The Tamil Nadu man became the forgotten man of Indian cricket after 2014, before a prolific run in domestic cricket gave Karthik some opportunities for India last year. Even so, he has not been given a consistent run in the side.

Still, the right-handed batsman does what is expected of him time and again. In the absence of regular stars in the Nidahas Cup, Karthik was the experienced member of the side. He played that role to perfection, remaining unbeaten in all five innings.

Karthik has been under Dhoni's shadow for much of his career.

Karthik’s career has coincided with the era of MS Dhoni.

And it is in this role that Karthik could become a crucial player for India as they prepare the squad for next year’s World Cup. While the possibility of Karthik taking the gloves from Dhoni is remote, he could very well play purely as a batsman capable of  hitting the big shots in the death overs.

Dhoni’s impact with the bat is not what it used to be, with the veteran now more comfortable rotating the strike in the middle order. Karthik has it in him to be the number six batsman India are looking for, especially since the likes of Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav have failed to deliver.

A consistent performer in the IPL, Karthik is probably in the best phase of his career having been appointed as the skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders for the upcoming edition of the T20 league.

He might not replace Dhoni as India wicket-keeper but he is definitely a worthy alternative. And with his finishing abilities, Karthik can fill a huge hgap in India’s lower order.

After remaining on the fringes of Indian cricket for much of his international career, this might just be Karthik’s time.

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South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada has no one to blame but himself for two-Test suspension

Ashish Peter 13/03/2018
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Rabada can have no excuses for his repeated indiscretions.

As South Africa celebrated the high of a Test win against Australia to level the series at Port Elizabeth on Monday, the ICC delivered a jolt. Pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada was handed a two-Test suspension for inappropriate conduct by the ICC hours after victory, effectively ruling him out of the remainder of the series.

The warning signs were there for Rabada before the start of the Test.

The 22-year-old pacer, exceptionally talented as he is, has a history of disciplinary issues. Since making his Test debut in 2015, the fast-bowler’s indiscretions have landed him in trouble.

The South African has now been charged five times by the ICC for various offences following his twin run-ins in the Port Elizabeth Test. His first breach came after an altercation with Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella during an ODI at Cape Town last year.

Both players were docked 50 per cent of their match fees along with three ICC demerit points for their conduct. Four demerit points equals a one-Test or two ODIs/T20s, whichever comes first.

Hence, when South Africa toured England three months later, the pacer was walking a tight-rope disciplinary wise. During the second Test at Trent Bridge, he gave Ben Stokes an expletive laden send-off after dismissing him. Rabada was subsequently given a demerit point for his behaviour, resulting in a one-Test suspension.

The pace did not learn his lesson. He repeated the same offence, this time against India’s Shikhar Dhawan in an ODI series last month. Another demerit point followed and meant that the youngster came into the Australia series with five of them to his name, putting him on the verge of a two-Test suspension.

The David Warner-Quinton de Kock shenanigans left a sour taste in the mouths of both camps and emotions were high. Before the start of the second Test, Proteas veteran Dale Steyn inferred that Rabada had been bowling on a ‘leash’ due to his disciplinary issues and that it was unfair as the Aussies were supposedly going about their business as usual.

It seems the youngster took that call to heart. Even as he bowled his heart out in the second Test, Rabada’s match-winning efforts were overshadowed by two code of conduct violations. The first for making contact with Steve Smith’s shoulder in the first innings after trapping him lbw and the second for giving Warner one of his now infamous sendoffs.

The youngster knew he had indeed crossed the line when he appeared for the post-match press conference.

“I’ve let myself and the team down,” he said.

“But I have to move forward and I have to see, if I do get banned, then I have to see it as a big learning curve and not repeat the same mistake, because I’ve repeated the same mistake in the eyes of the umpires. I’m not happy about it,” he added.

Hours later, as feared, he was suspended. After the match, there has been intense debate among current and former players on whether such punishments are stifling a format which is already struggling to get eyeballs.

But whichever way you look at it, it is Rabada’s fault that he landed in that situation. While aggression remains one of the biggest weapons of most fast bowlers, it can always be channelled in a way which does not bring about one’s own downfall. Rabada only has to look at how Steyn went about his business without ever curbing his aggression.

What is infuriating about the youngster’s troubles is the fact he has been down this road before. Repeating the same offence three times in short span is a sign of indifference and recklessness.

He might have learnt his lesson for now but it has come at a huge cost to his side. As bowler who seems destined to end up as one of the greats of the game, Rabada needs to cut out the ‘celebrations’ for now.

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