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KL Rahul is still in doubt in Test cricket



KL rahul

There are only two names that feature in all three lists. Saeed Anwar is the one person who is criminally underrated. KL Rahul is the other.

Since the sport was reintroduced in South Africa, six Asian openers have scored hundreds in tests. In that time, 14 of them have scored hundreds in England, and 10 of them have done the same in Australia.

When you look at KL Rahul’s overall numbers in Test matches, which show nothing but untapped potential, it seems strangely surprising, but six years ago, the last time Australia travelled to India for a Test match series, that was exactly what you would have read about KL Rahul in six years.

In the 2016/17 Border-Gavaskar series, played on four different pitches, three of which were very difficult, Rahul faced the visitors’ best and most balanced bowling attack to come to India in the last decade. He scored scores of 64, 10, 90, 51, 67, 60 and 51*. He thus scored the third most runs in the series after Steven Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara. These scores were part of a 14-run game

During this good time, KL Rahul turned 25 years old. He had already scored hundreds for India in all three formats, so it seemed he could, well, accomplish anything.

Six years later, he has achieved almost everything a batsman can achieve at the highest level of the game. He hasn’t done it all, but he has done it all. At IPL, he scored 50 in 14 balls, but he needed 108 balls to hit his first boundary while putting up a hundred at Lord’s. He can hit balls from the hip for huge easy sixes, and he can hit outswingers off the fourth stump, taking his bat out of the way at the last moment.

Rahul is capable of anything, but his wide range of skills can also hurt him. Part of a cricketer’s job today is to be able to play in a variety of formats, but the challenge is perhaps most difficult for those who can play in many different ways. Virat Kohli bats quite differently in Tests than he does in T20 matches. However, the difference isn’t as big as that between the way Rahul plays in Tests and the way he plays in T20s, like in 2018 when he had a strike rate of 158.41 on IPL.

Even if there were other factors, it might have been difficult for Rahul to switch from the fast pace of T20s to the slower pace of red-ball cricket. In 2018, Rahul had a terrible year in Test cricket, scoring just 468 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 22.28. Not only did he consistently score low, but his technique seemed to be off, making him easy to bat on both sides of the bat.

​Rahul’s successful return to Test cricket in 2021, when he scored hundreds in Lord’s and Centurion that were masterclasses in getting off the ball, may not have been a fluke either. In the same year, he changed his T20 game a lot and took much less risk at the start of his innings. He was criticised for this by everyone, including us, but you can’t please everyone when you’re trying to succeed in three different formats with very different demands.

Rahul’s return to Test matches was the start of one of the most exciting journeys in the history of Indian cricket. At the start of 2021, he wasn’t even among the first choice of Indian Test players XI. But in the first Test of 2022, when both the then Indian Test captain Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma were injured, he took charge. He also led India in two Tests in Bangladesh in late 2022 when Rohit, who is now captain for all types of cricket, missed the tour due to another injury.

But just when Rahul was at the peak of his powers as an Indian cricketer, he lost his form completely. In 2022, he averaged 17.12 in eight innings, and he reached fifty only once.

KL Rahul and Shubman Gill
The KL Rahul vs. Shubman Gill debate is sad in a way.

Of course, four Tests and eight innings is not a large sample size, but Indian batsmen do not always have the option of using large samples. That is especially true now, just before a four-Test series at home against Australia, where India will almost certainly field only five specialist batsmen and the competition for those five spots is fierce.

Had Shreyas Iyer been healthy enough to start in the first Test in Nagpur, Rahul might have had to sit out immediately after captaining India in the last Test. Iyer’s counter-attacking game against spin has been very important for India in recent matches in the subcontinent. It was almost certain that he would start in the middle order, so if India wanted to play Shubman Gill, they would have had to put him at the top of the order. And with the way Gill has been batting lately, even if those runs were scored in white-ball cricket, India would find it hard not to play him.

Iyer’s back is hurting at the moment, so it is likely that Gill will play in the middle order and Rahul will remain at the top. If the conditions in Nagpur lend themselves to a low-scoring, spin-dominated shootout, India may be tempted to go for one or two game-changing uses of Suryakumar Yadav, which would leave room for only one of Rahul or Gill.

Rahul vs Gill. Even though it’s just a question at the moment, it carries some weight. When Australia came to this area six years ago, India had a future superstar in its ranks. He was a big, lazy batsman who timed the ball like a dream. Everything is different and the same at the same time.

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1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy



1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli's Cricket Legacy

On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.

Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs

Virat Kohli celebrating 1000 Runs in ODIs with a jump on the field

Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.

An Unforgettable Journey

In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.

Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.

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Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets



Shah Afridi celebrating a wicket

Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.

A Landmark Moment

In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.

Surpassing Preceding Records

Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Legacy of Excellence

Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.

Beyond ODIs

Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

A Testament to Talent and Dedication

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.

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ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’



Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani fast bowler

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah laughing together on the field

India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation

In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team is standing for the national anthem at the ICC World Cup

India’s Path to World Cup Glory

Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.

Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism

Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.

Virat Kohli gives a hand gesture on the field during a match

Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli

Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.

In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.

In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.

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