Rohit Sharma wants MS Dhoni to bat at No4 in ODIs

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Rohit Sharma's ton went in vain in Sydney.

India opening batsman Rohit Sharma wants veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni to bat at the problematic No4 position in ODIs after a top-order collapse saw Australia take a 1-0 lead in the series in Sydney.

Fifties from Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb saw the Aussies post 288-5 on a sluggish Sydney pitch before the hosts’ new-ball bowlers Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson reduced India to four runs for three wickets. Rohit scored a superb 133 from just 129 balls but got support only from Dhoni – who laboured to 51 from 96 balls – as the Aussies prevailed by 34 runs.

Ambati Rayudu (0) has been India’s No4 batsman for some time but he has yet to make the spot his own. After the match, Rohit said what many outside the team had been talking about for a long time – Dhoni is not the lower-order finisher he once was and needs to bat at number four as some other power hitter comes lower down.

“Personally I fell, Dhoni batting at number four will be ideal for the team. But we have got Rayudu who has done well. Depends on what the captain and coach are thinking. Personally speaking, I would be happy if he bats at number four,” Rohit said on Saturday.

Since Rohit has captained India in Virat Kohli’s absence – leading the team to the Asia Cup win in UAE – his views carry weight.

Dhoni scored at barely three runs an over and that meant that even though Rohit scored at more than run a ball, India were all but out of game at the halfway stage. However, Rohit defended Dhoni’s slow rate of scoring.

“MS’s overall strike rate is about 85-90. When he came out to bat, we had lost three wickets. We had to respect that spell. We wanted to get partnerships. Sometimes you have to grind it out. When the bowlers are disciplined, it’s not easy for batsmen to go and start hitting.

“We wanted to get partnership. If we had lost a wicket then, the game would have been dead. Wanted to take the game forward. Hence we had to play dot balls,” the batsman added.

Rohit said performances like the ones in Sydney show India have a long way to go as the World Cup draws closer. “International cricket is all about absorbing pressure. Today was the perfect example when we were put under pressure and we weren’t able to absorb it.”

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Five teams out for less than 80 in India's first-class tournament

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Image for representation only.

The nature of wickets and level of opposition in India‘s premier first-class tournament – Ranji Trophy – came into focus this week as five teams in two divisions failed miserably with the bat.

The 2019 leg of the Ranji Trophy tournament saw some very ordinary batting efforts. As many as five teams were dismissed for less than 80 with two teams managing to get out for 35.

The most shocking scorecard was that of Madhya Pradesh against Andhra in the Elite Division as they were placed at 35-3 chasing 343. Then the innings derailed in the blink of an eye as MP were incredibly bowled out for 35 with five batsmen out for nought.

Rajasthan crushed new entrants Tripura by an innings after dismissing the team from the north-eastern part of India – recently included in the domestic structure – for 35 and 106. In the first innings, six Tripura batsmen got out without scoring.

The story continued in north India as Services were bowled out for 79 against Haryana while Maharashtra were out for 70 against Railways.

All these matches were held in the Elite Division. In the Plate Group, Mizoram were dismissed for 77 against Bihar in a match that ended on New Year’s day.

Teams like Tripura and Mizoram don’t have first-class history so their results are understandable. But more established teams like MP and Maharashtra getting out for such low scores doesn’t bode well.

Cheap wickets in matches finishing in two and a half days provide an inaccurate account of the level of bowlers while hitting the confidence of batsmen. While some venues could have been affected by the morning starts during the winter season, seeing so many teams get out for shockingly low scores will be a matter of concern for the No1 Test team in the world.

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Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul asked to explain misogynist and sexist comments

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Hardik Pandya is courting controversy.

Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have been asked to explain comments deemed misogynist and sexist that were made on an Indian chat show.

The BCCI’s (Board of Control for Cricket in India) Committee of Administrators issued a show-cause notice to the star duo on Wednesday, and sought an explanation from them within 24 hours, reported PTI.

On the Koffee With Karan show, hosted by film-maker Karan Johar, 25-year-old all-rounder Pandya boasted about a string of relationships with multiple women.

Aired on Sunday, both players were asked a number of questions about their personal life. Pandya spoke about how open he is with his parents about his relationships. Pandya later issued a statement saying he got “carried away by the nature of the show”.

“We have sent show-cause notices to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for their comments,” CoA chief Vinod Rai told PTI. “They have given 24 hours to give an explanation.”

Hours after the show aired, Pandya was slammed on Twitter for “objectifying women” and being “unapologetically misogynistic”. Finally, on Wednesday, he issued an apology.

“After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way,” the statement from Pandya read.

“Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments. Respect.”

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