Bumrah confident he can maintain stellar red-ball start in first Test series in India

Sudhir Gupta 14/09/2019
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Bumrah has had an electric start to his Test career.

Jasprit Bumrah’s start to his Test career has been as sensational as it gets with the India pacer going on to bag five-wicket hauls in his maiden tours of South Africa, England, Australia and the West Indies since making his debut last year.

All 12 of the 25-year-old’s Test appearances so far have come on overseas soil and he has claimed a total of 62 wickets in the process at a staggering average of just 19.24.

After making waves overseas, Bumrah is all set to play his first Test on home soil after being named in the India squad for the upcoming three-match series against South Africa. While fast bowlers have traditionally struggled in Indian subcontinent conditions, Bumrah is confident that he can replicate his overseas displays at home.

“I just didn’t want to be a cricketer who played one-day and T20,” Bumrah was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“So, the journey has been good. It’s just started, hopefully a long way to go. I’m learning from the experience that I’ve gained by playing in South Africa, England, Australia and the West Indies.

“India will be a different challenge, which I’m looking forward to.”

Jasprit Bumrah's sensational rise in Test cricket continues.

Jasprit Bumrah’s sensational rise in Test cricket continues.

Bumrah is now the first Asian bowler to claim five-wicket hauls in South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies while he also recently became the second Indian bowler to claim a Test hat-trick.

It might be difficult for the pacer to replicate the same success in India but he is taking confidence from the 38 first-class matches he has played for Gujarat over the course of his career.

“I have played all my life in Ranji Trophy cricket in India. These are not alien conditions for me,” Bumrah said.

“For me, a lot of preparation goes in before any match or tournament. I assess the conditions, we will discuss with the team management and the senior players, who have played a lot of cricket over here, as to what works, what doesn’t work, so will take everything into consideration and see how it goes.

“All these things I listen to, and filter them, and figure out what I can do and cannot. I try to asses all this and make my plans.”

The pacer has been rested for the T20 series against South Africa which begins on Sunday at Dharamsala. The three-match Test series between the two sides will begin on October 2 at Visakhapatnam.

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Sarfraz urges ICC members to do more for the return of international cricket to Pakistan

Waseem Ahmed 14/09/2019
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Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has urged the ICC and its member boards to do more to facilitate the return of international cricket to the country.

International cricket has been at a near standstill in Pakistan ever since the terror attacks on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore in 2009 and the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) were hoping to change that picture by inviting the same opposition for a limited-overs tour later this month.

However, those plans have received a big setback with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) currently reassessing the security conditions for the tour following a tip-off for a potential terrorist threat.

Sarfraz, who was on Friday retained as the Pakistan skipper for the upcoming clashes against Sri Lanka, feels that the international cricket community could do much more to help normalise the situation again in the country.

“I don’t know anything about this nor can I say who is behind the threat to Sri Lankan Board but I just think the ICC and member boards needs to do more to support the return of international cricket to Pakistan,” Sarfraz said in his address to the media on Friday.

“Recently after the Easter bomb attacks (in Sri Lanka) the Pakistan board sent its Under-19 team to Sri Lanka at a time when everyone was wondering whether there would be international cricket in Sri Lanka again.

“The security situation has improved a lot and in the last few years we have successfully hosted cricket without any problem and there have been no security issues.”

Having been retained as the Pakistan skipper for the Sri Lanka clashes, Sarfraz is hoping to work with new head coach cum chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq to change the flailing fortunes of the ODI side.

“I am aware we have not done justice to our potential in ODIs, which has disappointed us as well as our fans,” he said.

“I am hopeful we will be able to turn things around in the coming season and in this relation, I remain committed to stepping up to the challenge with my performances and captaincy.

“I have complete faith in my team, which has time and again shown the talent, class and charisma it possesses. The only thing missing has been consistency, which Misbah and I would like to focus and improve across all departments of the game.”

Sarfraz will have Babar Azam as his deputy skipper for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka which is slated to begin on September 27 with the first ODI.

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India and South Africa set eyes on 2020 T20 World Cup ahead of Dharamsala series opener

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Eyes on the big prize for Kohli and India. Image - @BCCI/Twitter.

The 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia is on the minds of both India and South Africa as the two teams get ready to lock horns in a three-match T20 series which begins at Dharamsala on Sunday.

Hosts India have already started their preparations for the ICC event next year with a 3-0 series clean sweep in the West Indies and skipper Virat Kohli feels that the upcoming clashes against the Proteas will be another chance for the team to fine-tune its T20 preparations.

“We have 30 matches left before the World T20 and this is the best opportunity for us to try and check what our best combination is in the next two or three series,” the India skipper stated on the eve of the first T20I.

“We will also understand how much ability, character and composure the new players possess while performing at the international level.

“From that point of view, it is exciting for a captain to try different players and check out combinations. We have all come through that process and I feel happy when I see these new faces emerging, trying to express themselves.”

Some of the new faces that impressed in India’s tour of the West Indies were middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer, off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar and pacer Navdeep Saini. Kohli and the Indian team management will want to the youngsters to keep up that promising form as they look to quell South Africa’s challenge on home soil.

For the visitors, it will be their first international assignment since their disastrous World Cup campaign and they come into the series with a majorly rejigged and inexperienced squad led by stand-in skipper Quinton de Kock.

Life without the likes of Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy starts now for South Africa but Rassie van der Dussen is backing De Kock to extract the maximum from a relatively inexperienced T20 squad.

“We obviously know what he (De Kock) is as a player and how many games he’s won for South Africa, and what he brings to the team in terms of cricketing capability,” Rassie van der Dussen stated.

“I think having the leadership band around his arm is just going to bring more out of him. He really wants to do well in India, always. We as a team really want to walk away with a series win. Everything we do is gearing up to that.”

LIKELY XIs

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c and wk), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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