India youngster Rishabh Pant remains focused on playing positive cricket

Sudhir Gupta 16:36 14/08/2019
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Pant is seen as India's future.

Rishabh Pant has vowed to continue playing his natural attacking game with the bat despite coming under criticism for some of his shot selection.

The young India wicketkeeper batsman is being groomed by the selectors as the long-term successor to MS Dhoni and has been handed the gloves for all three formats in the team’s ongoing tour of West Indies.

However, Pant has failed to really seize his chance in the Caribbean with the left-hander disappointing with the bat in the limited-overs clashes so far bar one unbeaten knock of 65 in the third and final T20.

The youngster has aggregated just 24 runs in his three other innings on the tour with his manner of dismissals leaving plenty to be desired. Despite his inconsistency, Pant remains unperturbed and is confident that the big knock will arrive soon.

Pant's rash shot-making is under the scanner.

Pant’s rash shot-making is under the scanner.

“As an individual, I would like to have a big score at my back but I am not focusing on that every time I go in,” he said on the eve of the final ODI against West Indies at the Port of Spain.

“I just want to play normal, positive cricket. Hopefully I can help my team to win matches. Every match is crucial for me.”

The 21-year-old has already cemented a place in the Test outfit after becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper batsman to register tons in both Australia and England. However, he has failed to translate that success to the limited-overs formats and averages 25.44 with the bat in ODIs after making 11 appearances.

Pant will be in action on Wednesday when West Indies and India lock horns in the third ODI. The visitors lead the three-match series 1-0 after their 59-run win in the second ODI while the first match was washed out due to rain.

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Lord's to turn red on Day Two of Ashes Test in emotional return for Andrew Strauss

Rory Dollard 16:19 14/08/2019
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Former England skipper Andrew Strauss.

Former England captain Andrew Strauss is preparing for an emotional day at Lord’s on Thursday, as the ground turns red in honour of his late wife Ruth and the charity that bears her name.

Day two of the second Ashes Test has been given over to the Ruth Strauss Foundation, which was set up following her death from a rare form of lung cancer in December.

Players, pundits and the paying public have been encouraged to wear something red to show their support, while there will also be a range of fundraising initiatives including the chance to bid for the limited edition caps and shirts being worn by the England and Australia teams.

World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan has also put the shirt he wore in the final into the auction and £1 from every programme sale will be added to the contributions collected at the stadium and online at ruthstraussfoundation.com.

“I’m excited about it, there’s a lot of anticipation about what we’ve got in store and what we might be able to get out of it and how we might be able to change people’s lives as a result,” said Strauss.

“On a personal level it’s going to be an emotional day for me and the kids but it’s great to be here and sample it and get a feeling of how much support there is for the foundation and people who want to pay testament to Ruth.

“What has amazed me throughout the whole process is how willing the MCC, the ECB and the whole cricket family has been to make it happen. Protocol has been chucked to one side, precedent’s gone out the window, they have said ‘crack on and do it’.

“I’m incredibly grateful and hopefully it will be a really special day in terms of awareness for the foundation, testament to Ruth: it will be an emotional day but also a celebration of Ruth’s life. We hope that can help others who are going through something similar.

“Everything we get we’ll be grateful for and we’ll try to make that go as far as possible. We’re conscious that for every pound raised as much of it as possible goes to the causes.”

The initiative was partially inspired by the annual ‘pink Test’ in Sydney, where day three at the SCG turns pink for the McGrath Foundation, set up by Australian great Glenn McGrath following his wife Jane’s death from breast cancer.

Strauss played in a pink Test on the Ashes tour of 2010-11 and has not ruled out a collaboration in the future.

“I sat down and did a piece with him last week, I really enjoyed speaking to him about his experiences and we’ll keep in contact. I’m sure there’s things we can do together in the future,” he said.

“We would love it to be more than a one-off event, but let’s suck it and see and we will make a decision from there. I am very confident it will be a great day. Hopefully we can do it again.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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Sri Lanka vs New Zealand LIVE: Rain ruins much of final session on day one

Sport360 staff 11:34 14/08/2019
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Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya claimed five wickets to put New Zealand on the back foot despite Ross Taylor’s unbeaten half-century in the first Test in Galle Wednesday.

Dananjaya, bowling with a remodelled action after being reported for a suspect action last year, trapped BJ Watling for one at the stroke of tea to register his fourth five-wicket haul in six matches.

New Zealand were 179 for five, having recovered from 71-3 at lunch as Taylor and Henry Nicholls put on 100 runs to lead the tourists’ fightback.

Taylor was unbeaten on 70 after New Zealand elected to bat first at the start of the two-match series.

Dananjaya, who took three wickets in the first session including skipper Kane Williamson’s prized scalp for nought, trapped Nicholls lbw for 42 to break the fourth-wicket century stand.

Taylor handled pace and spin with aplomb as he registered his 31st Test fifty.

Earlier, openers Jeet Raval and Tom Latham put on 64 runs before Dananjaya struck on a pitch that is already offering big turn.

Latham was the first to go after being caught behind for 30 as Dananjaya got the left-handed batsman to poke at a delivery that was turning away.

Williamson fell three balls later when he flicked one straight into the hands of his opposite number Dimuth Karunaratne at short midwicket.

In the last over before lunch, Raval failed to pick a googly and was caught at first slip by Dhananjaya de Silva for 33.

Both Sri Lanka and New Zealand are playing their first match of the World Test Championship, which has nine top teams competing for supremacy in the five-day format.

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