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Jitesh Sharma didn’t want to play cricket professionally, but he did.



jitesh sharma

Jitesh Sharma’s just IPL experience until 2022 was being in the Mumbai Indians changing area in 2017 and gaining life examples from his legends. Last year, when he at long last got to play in the competition for Punjab Lords, the 28-year-old grabbed everybody’s eye with his striking strokeplay.

This made it workable for India to pick him for the home series against Sri Lanka recently. Presently, he’s in the T20I group for the New Zealand series, and regardless of whether he plays, Jitesh is certain that he has the right stuff to get along admirably at the most significant levels.

In this meeting , Jitesh discussed his experience growing up, the IPL, and how regardless of how diligently he attempted to move away from cricket, it wouldn’t let him.

When you started out in Amravati all those years ago, did you ever think you’d make it to the Indian team?

I would have rather not played cricket by any means. I wasn’t intrigued, frankly. I used to play cricket with a plastic ball, however when I began playing to get better grades at school, I improved. In Maharashtra, assuming that you play for the state group toward the finish of Class X, you get 4% more checks. I used to play football for my school, however a portion of my companions let me know that our school’s cricket crew is great and that I could get better grades assuming that I played for the state. I just attended the cricket court dates at school to get those additional focuses. The school didn’t have a wicketkeeper, so when they inquired as to whether I was one, I just said OK. From that day on, I began keeping. I was great at getting the ball and got in the school group. When I was in Class X, I had played for the state.

We used to play our school games at the club ground in Amravati. One of the mentors, Amar More, let me know I ought to take up cricket. I let him know that my fantasy was to enlist in the military and that cricket wasn’t my thing. In any case, he made me attempt. Whenever I first went for the Under-16 group, I made the Vidarbha group. Then, when I got to Class 11, I figured I wouldn’t play, yet my dad advised me to utilize cricket to get in shape since wellness was a significant piece of finishing the NDA tests I needed to take after Class 12.

Then, at that point, when I got to the Under-19 level, I was picked again in my most memorable year of qualification. As a matter of fact, I was one of the most youthful individuals to play for Vidarbha’s U-19 group. Then, at that point, in class XII, I continued to play to get those extra 4% focuses. I needed to get a specific number of imprints in physical science, science, and math to pass. At the point when I was picked for the U-19 group for the subsequent year and got along nicely, I understood I could likewise be the commander.

I saw that my life was changing course. (snickers). Then, at that point, the energy started to stream in. I didn’t ponder playing for India or whatever else. I loved playing since we got to go to better places, remain in decent lodgings, and see new things. That is the reason I loved cricket.

Where were you when you were asked to play in the T20Is in Sri Lanka? Did you see it coming?

The group had previously been picked, so I didn’t think I’d be picked. That’s what I knew whether I needed to be viewed in a serious way, I needed to do well in the IPL. I wasn’t in the Ranji group, so I prepared all alone. At the point when Sanju Samson got injured, I was brought in.

I didn’t know whether I ought to call my father, my younger sibling, or my companions. I returned home, plunked down, and told my father and sibling in a quiet manner. Everybody was exceptionally blissful. At the point when I joined the Indian group, I was greeted wholeheartedly. Rahul [Dravid] sir and Paras [Mhambrey] sir were there. I had played for him for a long time at Vidarbha.

I had played in the IPL, so I was accustomed to being in that sort of headspace. There was significantly less pressure. I had a thought of how everything functions, so I was quiet.

At the point when they went into that changing area, it was a personal second. At the point when you go into the India storage space, you have a ton of obligations. I view it as something to chip away at. Perhaps God has allowed me to get this far in light of the fact that he believes I’m sufficiently able to deal with this. Whether we win or lose, everybody in the storage space is continuously grinning and cheerful.

A few years ago, Mumbai Indians signed you. What do you remember about that time?

Those two years were awesome of my life. I was youthful and had a long way to go. MI dealt with me like an individual from the family, and I never felt like another player. I didn’t express a lot of in the storage space, however I gleaned tons of useful knowledge simply by watching. Simply hearing Sachin Tendulkar’s voice used to fulfill me. I used to continue to gaze at him, at Rohit Sharma from a good ways. I used to watch him play cricket, and when he called out to me by me interestingly, I felt like I had scored that sweepstakes.

I was extremely youthful, and I realize that I wouldn’t get to play in light of the fact that Jos Buttler, Nicholas Pooran, and Parthiv Patel were at that point in the group. Be that as it may, I got the opportunity to advance however much I could from them. I saw how they prepared, how they acted in various circumstances, and their opinion on games. During those two years, I gained tons of useful knowledge, and I’ve kept everything with me.

Last year, a different player named Jitesh Sharma played for Punjab Kings. People took notice of how well you finished, especially after you scored 44 runs quickly against Delhi Capitals.

Since we lost, everybody was miserable. I blew up in light of the fact that I realized I might have dominated the match. We wanted two additional hits to win, and I had brought the group close. That game was vital. In the event that we had won, my set of experiences and the historical backdrop of our group could have been unique. In any case, the mentor and more established players enjoyed how I dealt with myself since I had the option to move the game along until the end when nobody figured we could.

The mentor, Anil Kumble, was exceptionally cheerful. My partners in general, including Mayank [Agarwal], Shikhar [Dhawan] bhai, Jonny [Bairstow], and Liam [Livingstone], enjoyed how diligently I attempted to win. After that work, Punjab Lords have somewhat more confidence in me. At the point when a group places cash into you, you must repay them. I truly value the possibilities. It depends on me to satisfy their confidence in me.

What other great things do you remember about the IPL?

After my most memorable game in the IPL, I conversed with MS Dhoni for 10 to 15 minutes. Ambati Rayudu is somebody I’ve played with at Vidarbha, so I requested that he present us. I asked Dhoni how I could continue onward at this level and get huge. He utilized basic words, and from that point forward, I’ve experienced no difficulty grasping him. He said that all over, cricket is something very similar. The SMAT [Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament] isn’t generally so extraordinary as the IPL, and India is the most serious.

You don’t need to change quite a bit of what you as of now have; you simply have to change the degree of power to where you are.

Now that you are so close to the Indian team, do you think about the 2023 World Cup at all?

I’m not that a long ways in front of myself. I don’t carry on that way. I take a gander at each game exclusively. I realize that the T20 World Cup is coming up in 2024, yet in the event that you center around each thing in turn, you will generally get it. I would rather not go to the World Cup, I maintain that the World Cup should come to me. I’m focusing on it.

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De Zorzi now has a chance to become the star he has always wanted to be.




De Zorzi

Tony de Zorzi returned to the Wanderers eight years after he was captain of King Edwards VII, one of Johannesburg’s best schools, and seven years after he led South Africa’s Under-19 team to a World Cup where they were the defending champions but finished in 11th place. He found friends he didn’t know he had.

There were a few of my friends here, and it’s always nice to have my mum watching,” de Zorzi said. “Some people said they were my friends, but I’ve never met them.”

Natasha raised de Zorzi on her own, and he has always wanted to be the best he could be for her. She doesn’t watch him play much anymore because he took the long way to become an international cricket player. He went to the same school as Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith, then to Pretoria, and finally to Cape Town, which is 1400 kilometres away from where he grew up. In a way, it was good for de Zorzi to play his first Test match on the Highveld and get his first fifty while Natasha was watching.

He said, “She always sits in the same spot, so I knew where she was.” “Since I’m in Cape Town, she hasn’t been able to watch many games. I hope I can get three figures the next time she comes.”

De Zorzi has set high goals for himself. In the last two years, only one of his teammates has scored a hundred at home, and only two others (Sarel Erwee and Kyle Verreynne, neither of whom is playing in this series) have reached 100. But because he has let people down in the past, he knows this is his chance to step up.

“My life has changed a lot since I played for SA under-19,” de Zorzi said. “I was captain, but I wasn’t the star of that side,” he said.

Because Wiaan Mulder did it. When De Zorzi came back from the World Cup for his age group, he had to go back to club cricket and “start over.” He played for the University of Pretoria team, which was led by Kruger van Wyk, who is now the fielding coach. Then he got a job with Northerns, where he kept getting better and better and averaged almost 80 for the second-tier provincial team in the summer of 2016–17. In the summer of 2020, he moved to Western Province, where Ashwell Prince was the head coach. Since then, he has been made captain.

This summer, he is averaging over 100, mostly because of his unbeaten 304 against the Knights, when Gerald Coetzee was part of his attack (though admittedly not many other big names).

“It’s been a long process, and I’m glad it’s come to this,” said de Zorzi. “It also reminds me of where I came from and to not get too far ahead of myself because I had to do a lot of dirty work to get there. Some guys start getting it a little bit earlier. Mine is starting to come true right now.”

After averaging over 48 in three of the last four seasons, de Zorzi was hard to ignore in this Test squad, but it took a change in leadership for that to happen. He got his chance because the new red-ball coach, Shukri Conrad, also acts as a selector when there isn’t a panel. “We knew it would be a new start when the coaches changed,” de Zorzi said. “If everyone took a chance and did well, you knew there would be a new set of eyes and maybe even more chances. That was a lot of fun. Dean Elgar, who was captain at the time, used to say that the number of runs you scored would get you into the team. Guys knew that they had to have a good season if they wanted to move up. There was nothing else to do.”

De Zorzi
De Zorzi is especially good at the cut shot, which is how he scored almost a third of his runs in this innings.

But now that it has, players like de Zorzi need to take control of their space. He showed West Indies’ attack what he was made of in the first Test, and Kyle Mayers saw it. “This guy seems to have everything together,” he said. “He is square of the wicket and strong.”

De Zorzi is very good at the cut shot. In this innings, he got almost a third of his runs with the cut shot. However, the West Indies had already figured him out from the first Test. At the SuperSport Park, they tried to give him less space. De Zorzi said, “They stick to the basics a little bit longer.” “You might get a few less bad balls, but international cricketers who do their homework are going to do it. I could tell they had different plans based on how they bowled to me today compared to how they did it at SuperSport Park. They can make it harder for you to score. And, of course, the intensity is a little bit higher. When I got out, I was really tired. It is not easy.”

But so was de Zorzi. During the free-flowing afternoon session in South Africa, he played well. Natasha sat still in the Memorial Stand the whole time. De Zorzi made his first sign to her when he hit Alzarri Joseph out of the ground with the 82nd ball he faced. She would have been incredibly proud, no doubt. As the pitch got faster and West Indies made a comeback, De Zorzi faced 73 more balls and scored 35 more runs.

They lost five wickets for 64 runs after tea, so the game is now tied. If South Africa can’t score more than 350, West Indies might be able to fight back. If you give up on that, on a pitch that is already starting to turn, the game might be over. Either way, it’s set up to bring in people who didn’t know they liked cricket, especially during a mid-week Test match when only a small part of the stadium is filled. But it’s important. And de Zorzi knows that better than anyone else.

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The collapse that never came at Hagley Oval involving Sri Lanka




Angelo Mathews

The skies are gray and heavy, like a wet blanket that will soon be thrown over the whole series. The field is so full of plants that animals that live in the woods have moved in. The outfield is wet, and sometimes a cold drizzle falls on biting winds. And while the local bowlers, who are all big and tall, are nimble and strong in their warm-up overs on the practice pitches, the Sri Lankan batters, who are covered in wool sweaters, face throwdowns and look like they are about to be sacrificed on an altar of seam bowling.

Get the coin. Put Sri Lanka in. Watch the ball jump gleefully off the edges of the bats and into the hands of the slip cordon as batter after batter falls like marionettes, the scoreboard showing 45-3, then 67-5, and a few swipes at the end pushing the total just over 100. Here are the usual parts of Sri Lanka’s day one story on a ground like Hagley Oval.

When they were here before, they didn’t have to bat first, but they were still out after 138 runs. The last time, they had players like Kumar Sangakkara on their team, but they still lost by 104 runs. Unless Sri Lanka pulls off a near-miracle in the second innings, which they do from time to time, these are game-changing messes. (Then New Zealand will go up to bat and put on half a million for six while smiling politely, which will only show how bad they were before.)

Then this happened. Four years after the last time they played a Test in New Zealand, where they were beaten by 423 runs at this same site, they had an amazing day of batting. Of defensive play that was mostly okay and technique that was pretty good. Had Sri Lanka’s batters done the work to figure out where their off stump was before they started a Test on foreign soil? Any Sri Lanka fan should feel a tear of pure pride just thinking about it.

Kusal Mendis, who may have been the best player in the XI, took the lead. The most important part of his 87 out of 83 was how he judged length on a surface that was a bit bumpy. When it was on a good length, he defended close to his body, almost always with soft hands, so that when the ball came in and took the edge, it bounced short of the slips. Most of the time, though, he defended inside the line, mostly using his bat to block balls that could hit him in front of the wickets or get past him to the wickets.

When New Zealand’s bowlers bowled fuller and tried hard to get an edge that could be caught, Mendis gave his all to his front-foot strokes, sometimes driving it with authority, other times sending it squirting off the face of the bat through backward point, and other times flicking it deliciously off his pads.

Angelo Mathews
Although Angelo Mathews mainly scored 38 out of his 47 runs through the leg side, his driving down the ground was particularly beautiful to watch.

He got 50 runs off of 40 balls, but New Zealand’s bowlers didn’t have a great morning. 44 of those runs came from fours. He and Dimuth Karunaratne, who was just as steady but less aggressive against balls that could be hit, put together a 137-run partnership at the second wicket that was the key to Sri Lanka’s progress on day one. They would get out in consecutive overs, but when they did, they were often replaced by better batsmen.

Angelo Mathews waited for the shorter balls and scored 38 of his 47 runs through the leg side. He also hit a couple of fours off his pads when the ball was close to him. Dinesh Chandimal liked to hit the ball to the off side, and he did so six times. As Dhananjaya de Silva batted with Kasun Rajitha near the end of the day, he made boundaries whenever he could.

Their scoring areas were different, but almost all of Sri Lanka’s top seven batters covered the stumps, didn’t rush at balls until they were set, didn’t mind when deliveries beat their bats, and didn’t chase seaming balls outside their stumps. Even when bowled at (mostly by Tim Southee and Matt Henry), they didn’t give up, which is something they often do when the ball is turning.

Given Sri Lanka’s long tail and lack of experience in the field, which New Zealand can easily take advantage of, 305 for 6 is not a great first-day score. It is possible that New Zealand will win the match. But given the situation, Sri Lanka were good enough. And it’s not often that you can say that about Sri Lanka on the first day of a match in New Zealand.

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India’s trust is rewarded by Bharat’s skill behind the stumps.




KS Bharat

Sometimes almost everything that makes up a Test match is found in a single ball. One of those balls was the one that knocked Pat Cummins out of the game on the third morning in Delhi. It had the blunt precision of the Indian spinners, the deadly glide that made this pitch so hard to play on, and the sweep, a high-risk, high-reward shot so controversial that a thousand autopsies were written about it.

And there was one more thing. After the ball slipped under Cummins‘ bat, it hit the inside edge of the outside stump, bounced off the side of the middle stump and landed in KS Bharat’s gloves.

The ball didn’t spin sharply, but it didn’t go all the way with the arm either. After it was thrown, it straightened just a little. It also stayed low before bouncing off the stumps twice. Bharat had followed the ball all the way, even as Cummins took a wild swing, and he had collected it cleanly.

It didn’t matter because the ball was dead by the time he reached it, but he did a good job with his glove.

Later that day, when India had lost four wickets and were 27 runs away from their target, Bharat was moved up the order and scored a brilliant unbeaten 23 off 22 balls, including three perfectly timed fours to cover and a solid knock with a slog-swept six.

In his first two Test innings, Bharat had scored 8 and 6 in the first two games of this series. He must have felt much better after that start because he played on Sunday. Some watching from the outside might have even thought he was trying to save his career with that performance.

But India probably wouldn’t have seriously considered taking Bharat out of the game after Delhi, even if he had done nothing in the second innings. They probably know that anyone can score a number of low scores on difficult pitches, and they may have seen glimpses of Bharat’s counter-attacking potential during his brief stint with the Indian national team

In Nagpur, Bharat got rid of Marnus Labuschagne with a sharp stumping.

It took a long time for these things to happen.

In May 2018, Indian senior team officials selected Bharat as the goalkeeper for the four-day tour and Rishabh Pant as the goalkeeper for the 50-over tour. The Indian senior team was also touring England that summer, so the A tour was a shadow tour. At the time, officials felt that Bharat was India’s best pure goalkeeper and Pant was an exciting batsman whose glovework needed work.

When Wriddhiman Saha got injured and could not join the England tour, India included Pant in its Test team in place of Bharat. The genius is going in his own direction.

But Bharat remained an important player in India’s second team. Since the beginning of 2018, he has played 19 first-class matches for the India A team, which is more than any other player except Abhimanyu Easwaran, who bats first. In those India A matches, he has scored 971 runs at a rate of 48.55, including three hundreds.

Last year, when India took Saha out of its test team, Bharat took his place. So it made sense that Bharat made his debut when Pant was injured. The Indian team management may have been tempted by Ishan Kishan’s competing claims, but they chose Bharat at the start of this Border-Gavaskar series.

At the start of the 2019-20 home season, India dropped Pant from the Test programme XI and brought back Saha for a series against South Africa. Virat Kohli described Saha as the best goalkeeper in the world and they felt his good glove work was important on India’s winding tracks. They felt that Pant still needed to work on his goalkeeping. Pant worked on it and became a world-class goalkeeper when India played England in early 2021. Until then, however, Saha was still the first choice for home games.

At the start of this series between India and Australia, the same idea was in play. India appreciates how good Bharat is with the bat, but they know he is their best goalkeeper when Pant is not around.

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