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Mayank Agarwal overcomes himself and challenges.



Mayank Agarwal

Mayank Agarwal was upset because he had played a ball that he should have left lying around. He was in the middle of a pitch and stabbed into the shade. He hit the right side of the grille of his helmet. Then he changed his coverage.

When Mayank Agarwal was at 13, Snell Patel gave him a second chance at second slip off Prerak Mankad. Only an hour had passed on the first day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal on the green-hued Chinnaswamy deck when the Saurashtra attackers were without their inspirational leader Jaydev Unadkat, who was away at home.

Up to that point, his life had been hard. It was a struggle against his own style of striking, which can be very striking when he is doing well. It was a battle against the ground and the weather. You could tell right away that this was not going to be a deck where you could just hit through the line like he and other hitters like him are likely to do in April at IPL.

When the ball was dropped, Agarwal had already been opened three times. The ball fell twice before the slips. Once he was injured. Saurashtra’s method of encouraging the bowlers by clapping at the same time gained momentum. Agarwal realised that he was in the middle of a real battle.

R. Samarth, the other opener, was out when he took a shot that did not land in the slips. Left-handed seamer Chetan Sakariya made the ball talk by throwing it at odd angles and returning it late to the right-handed batsmen. Sometimes he would turn them on their side and make them hold their line. For Agarwal and the other batsmen, this was a good test.

The knock against Snell should have given Mayank Agarwal pause for thought. Instead, it seemed to settle things for him.

For the rest of the day, Agarwal was a picture of calm. His unbeaten 110 off 246 balls helped Karnataka move from 112 for 5 to 229 for 5 at the end of the day. In the process, he showed a lot of self-control and discipline, especially against the fast bowlers who kept coming into play throughout the day, though the pitch gave just enough. When he ran away together with Sharath Srinivas, with whom he had scored 117 runs in a row without stopping, even the spectators on the other side cheered.

Shortly after Agarwal was dropped, he hit his first powerful boundary. It was a perfect on-drive that he hit wide, almost running into the shot to make up for the late movement. That was the first of several times he stood in the middle, seemingly to get closer to the outside line. He moved to the outside and got himself into a good position, with his head directly over the ball and his hands pressing lightly on the shot.

Mayank Agarwal

Before lunch, Agarwal was mostly in his own world. He did not go all the way forward in cover driving, so the shots landed around the fourth stump. To avoid getting hit on the pads by Sakariya, he hit well outside the crease and used a shorter backlift.

The reward was tasty half volleys that he kept hitting his pads. As the game progressed, he got better and better at dealing with Dharmendrasinh Jadeja’s left-hand spin. This was especially true when he came out and hit with spin, a stroke he is very good at.

Agarwal reached his first fifty after 105 strokes. It took him even longer to reach his next fifty, 110 strokes, but he showed great determination by staying on. When Agarwal got to his hundred in the 1990s with two consecutive fours, it looked for a moment as if he would try to break free. But Karnataka was not out of the woods yet. The front row was gone, and Sharath Srinivas, a young wicketkeeper who could also bat, was all they had left. All they had to do was put their minds over their bodies and keep batting.

At the start of the season, Agarwal said he wanted to build on his 2017/18 performance when he scored more than 1,160 runs in 13 innings and had an average of 105.45. He was nearing the 800-run mark Wednesday and may have had two or three more chances to reach 1,000. Perhaps his hitting was also a quiet reminder to national selectors that he is not finished yet, even if getting back into the Test team is not easy.

India has its own story. One thing is clear: at 31, Karnataka captain Mayank Agarwal still has a lot to offer.


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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