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‘Completely fit’ Deepak Chahar determined for national comeback

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India seamer Deepak Chahar is determined to get his place back in the national team, having fully recovered from hamstring and back issues. Chahar, 31, last played for India in December last year and has been bogged down by multiple injury concerns in the past. He picked up a hamstring injury earlier in the season and missed as many as six IPL league games for Chennai Super Kings.

Chahar had missed the whole of 2022 IPL because of a back injury and also sat out of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“A player should not get disappointed by injuries. These things are not in a player’s hand. My priority right now is to remain fit and be available for the team. I will give my 100% for the team whenever I get a chance,” Chahar told PTI on the sidelines of a promotional event in New Delhi.

“In my case it can also be said that I was having a bad time. Last year I suffered a back injury, which is serious for a fast bowler, but now I am completely fit. I am very happy with my bowling at the moment.

“I am trying to make a comeback into the national team. I recently played the RPL (Rajasthan Premier League) tournament. Till Sunday, I was at the National Cricket Academy. I was practising with the Indian team, which is going to China for the Asian Games.”

Chahar has so far picked up 16 wickets in 12 ODIs and 29 wickets in 24 T20Is, since making his India debut in 2018.

Chahar is not part of the Indian team for the upcoming ODI World Cup at home but he aspires to win the elite ICC tournament once during his playing career.

“A cricketer’s dream is to play the World Cup and win it for the country. I will try to complete it whenever I get a chance,” he said. “I have won many tournaments in my first appearance. It was my first Asia Cup when India won it in 2018. I have played five finals in last six IPL seasons and have become champions thrice.

“I have not played the World Cup yet and whenever I get a chance, I want to contribute to the team’s victory.”

Chahar said he has learnt a lot from MS Dhoni, his captain at CSK.

“I am very lucky that I got a chance to spend time with Mahi bhai. I have been playing with him for many years. I consider him as my elder brother and my idol. I respect him a lot as a player and human being. I have learnt a lot from him.”

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India pick R Ashwin for ODIs vs Australia; KL Rahul captain for first two games as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli rested

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India have included both R Ashwin and Washington Sundar in their 15-member squad for the three-match ODIs series against Australia.

Ashwin last played an ODI more than 18 months ago, and his selection is a chance for the team management to have him ready, along with Washington, should they need to replace Axar Patel, who has a left quadriceps strain that ruled him out of the Asia Cup final.

Ashwin has been training at the NCA over the past week along with spin consultant Sairaj Bahutule, apart from regular physical conditioning work, even as the national team was away in Sri Lanka.

“We’re hoping Axar will be fit,” chief selector Ajit Agarkar said. “Washy was already part of the squad for the final. Ashwin brings experience, so it gives us options in case there is a need at some stage for us to look at those guys.”

Rohit elaborated on the Ashwin selection a bit more when asked if the offspinner’s lack of match-time in the format could be a possible hindrance.

“With guys like Ashwin, game-time and time on the ground is not so much of a concern,” he said. “Which is why we thought if he is an option for us, we need to get him in. With the kind of experience he has, for guys like him, it’s all in the head more than the body. I thought getting him in could give is a chance to understand where he is at, how his body is and stuff like that.

“It’s not like he has not been playing cricket for the last year or so. Yes, he hasn’t played in this [ODI] format, but he played Test cricket recently in the West Indies, and if I’m not wrong, in the TNPL as well. Of course, there’s no comparison but he has had some cricket there. The games against Australia will give us a chance to look at where he’s at.”

Explaining the team management’s rationale behind naming two different squads for a short ODI series, Agarkar stressed the importance of giving the senior players a “mental break” given the short turnaround between their victorious Asia Cup campaign and the first ODI.

“Luckily we got a fair amount of cricket at the Asia Cup,” Agarkar said. “If not, we would’ve looked at it some other way. More than physical, sometimes guys need a mental break, which isn’t a bad thing leading into a tournament like the World Cup.

“For the third game, everyone will be available. We will play our World Cup squad. This [squad for the first two ODIs] gives us a chance to give guys sitting outside a chance. It’s still a strong squad. Like I said, if we hadn’t got a lot of cricket at the Asia Cup, who knows, we may have thought differently.”

With Rohit resting, India have the option of picking either Ishan Kishan or Ruturaj Gaikwad as an opener. Gaikwad has been training at the NCA along with the rest of India’s Asian Games contingent that will leave for China on September 27. Gaikwad, who is set to captain that team, will now link up with the rest of the touring group immediately after the second ODI in Indore on September 24.

The Australia series, which begins on September 22, is India’s last ODI assignment before the World Cup and it presents a chance for highly-rated middle-order batter Tilak Varma to push his case at the highest level. He has been picked for the first two games.

India’s squad for Australia series

For first two ODIs: KL Rahul (capt), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-capt), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

For third ODI: Rohit Sharma (capt), Hardik Pandya (vice-capt), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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World Cup 2023 – Adam Gilchrist ‘fascinated’ by Rishabh Pant’s positive impact on India

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Rishabh Pant won’t be fit to play the upcoming World Cup but former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist is still fascinated by the impact he has had in his six years with the Indian team.
Pant, 25, made his international debut in February 2017 and has risen to be one of the first names down on the team sheet, especially in Test cricket. A strike rate of 73 in the longest format shows the kind of threat he poses to the bowlers and his performance against Australia – 274 runs in five innings, including a series-winning 89 at the Gabba – was crucial to one of India greatest achievements: taking home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2020-21.

“I think Rishabh has inspired a lot of wicket-keeper batters around the world to play that [aggressive] way. It is fascinating for such a young man to have such an impact that Rishabh has had, and others are responding and playing in that positive manner,” Gilchrist, who is in India on a promotional visit, told PTI.

In Pant’s absence, KL Rahul is likely to keep wicket for India in the World Cup. Ishan Kishan also has experience behind the stumps but it appears his role in the first team will be limited to that of a middle-order batter. Gilchrist was impressed with how Kishan has shaped up despite knowing that he is behind Rahul in the pecking order.

“They [India] are well stocked,” Gilchrist said. “They have got a couple of [wicketkeeping] options there, obviously, when KL was out with his injury, Ishan Kishan took his opportunity and played really well, and now they find themselves in the team together so that’s a wonderful case of taking an opportunity.

“Being positive, and then, forcing the selectors into keeping you in the team [is impressive]. It seems like KL is gonna be the one who is going to continue with the gloves but it does not seem to hinder Ishan Kishan’s batting, he seems to be playing really well, carefree, attacking and dangerous.”

Gilchrist picks his World Cup semi-finalists

With the tournament less than three weeks away, and having won it three times, Gilchrist was asked to pick his final four. “I think India and Pakistan could feature, Australia and England are another two teams,” he said.
Gilchrist is hopeful that Australia, five-time champions, will do well in India, where they won a bilateral series 2-1 in March 2023. He added that Adam Zampa, who finished with 0 for 113 and 3 for 70 in his last two ODIs in South Africa, will bounce back in more favourable conditions.

“Australia will learn a lot from their efforts in South Africa when they come to India. They have got three games before the World Cup against India. So, they will have a bit more of a full-strength squad there, that might tell us a bit about where they are at.

“Adam Zampa, in South Africa, was at the receiving end a little bit but it’s different conditions out here in India with different pitches and he is a world-class spin bowler, and he has shown that particularly across T20 cricket, and now he gets his chance in the 50-over World Cup. So it’s a very knowledgeable group and they are going to have to use all that experience against batting line-ups across the globe and play without fear.”

There have been some suggestions about Australia pushing David Warner down the order but Gilchrist isn’t a fan. “He [Warner] looked really good in South Africa for the most part of what he did,” he said. “I think he has got to bat at the top, there has been some sort of discussions that he bats down the middle order but I think he has got to open. He showed in South Africa a couple of times that he is [as] aggressive and dominant at the top of the order as he has ever been. So, I think they bring with him a lot of experience and a lot of confidence, and I think he should play at the top of the order for Australia and if he plays really well then our opposition will fear that.”
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World Cup 2023 – Brook vs Malan vs Roy – How three into two couldn’t go

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September 5
Malan hits 26 off 21 in the final T20I at Trent Bridge, while Brook makes 4 off 8. Speaking before the game, Mott repeatedly stresses that the squad is only “provisional”, telling Sky Sports: “What I’ve been most impressed by is his response since missing out and that’s what great players do. There’s a lot to play out before we pick that first XI against New Zealand in India and we’ve always said it’s a provisional squad.”
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India at the World Cup – Rohit Sharma expects Shreyas Iyer to be ready for World Cup

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Shreyas Iyer wasn’t fit for much of the Asia Cup, but he has ticked off most of the boxes the team management had set for him as he came back from injury and attempted to prove his match fitness for the World Cup, which is now less than three weeks away.
“Shreyas was not available for this game [final] because there were certain parameters that were kept for him to tick off. Today, he completed most of it,” Rohit Sharma said after India won their eighth Asia Cup crown on Sunday after making short work of Sri Lanka. “I would say 99% he should be okay as of now, but he looks good.

“He batted, he fielded for long hours before we came in today So, he’s looking good at this point in time. I don’t think it’s a worry for us.”

Iyer featured in just one game at the Asia Cup – India’s group-stage opener against Pakistan – and then missed out after suffering back spasms. The timing of the fresh injury has raised doubts over his availability for the World Cup, but it appears that Iyer will remain with the squad for the three-ODI series against Australia starting on September 22 in Mohali.

The update on Axar Patel wasn’t as encouraging. Axar was ruled out of the final after picking up a left quadricep strain during India’s last Super Four fixture against Bangladesh on Friday, and replaced in the XI by Washington Sundar, who was flown in from Bengaluru just 24 hours earlier.

“Axar – I’m not sure, he had a small tear,” Rohit said. “It looks like maybe [unavailable] a week or ten days. We just have to wait and see how the injury progresses. Because every individual is different; some guys recover quickly.

“I hope that’s the case with Axar, so we’ll wait and see what happens with him. Obviously, am not too sure if he’ll be available to play the first two games at home against Australia. We’ll wait and see.”

Is Washington in the frame for the World Cup?

Asked specifically about Washington’s role and where he stands in the bigger scheme of things, given India’s World Cup squad lacks an offspinner, Rohit said he had been communicating with those who the team management thinks may have a role to play, even if they don’t make the final cut.

“With the spinning allrounder, everyone’s in line, [R] Ashwin as well. I’ve been talking to him on the phone,” Rohit said. “He’s very much in line, so is Washy. We want those guys who can do the job with ball and bat as well. Washy, honestly that injury happened to Axar very late in the night, and then we had to call a few guys to see where they were at.

“Washy was available, so we got him in to play the role and perform the job for us. Luckily, he was with the Asian Games squad in Bangalore. He was training, he was bowling, so he was cricket fit, so we had to get him.

“But yeah, I’ve been very clear with certain guys who can come up and play certain roles. I’ve been talking to everyone; I don’t want to take names. Everyone is aware of what is happening, no one is in the dark as to what is happening. Everyone is kept in the loop.”

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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs India Final 2023

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India 51 for 0 (Gill 27*, Kishan 23*) beat Sri Lanka 50 (Siraj 6-21, Pandya 3-3) by 10 wickets

After a couple of tight games, it seemed like the 2023 Asia Cup was heading towards an exciting finale but the title bout turned out to be an anti-climax as Mohammed Siraj singlehandedly demolished Sri Lanka in the blink of an eye. It was India’s seventh 50-over Asia Cup title, to go with one in the T20 format in 2016.

In overcast conditions, Siraj got the new ball to move around and picked up 6 for 21, the fourth-best ODI figures for India. He took just 16 balls for his first five wickets – the joint-fastest five-for in ODIs (where ESPNcricinfo has the data recorded) alongside Sri Lanka’s Chaminda Vaas and USA’s Ali Khan.

In response, Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan, opening the innings in place of Rohit Sharma, took just 6.1 overs to complete the formalities. The two India openers hit nine fours between them; all Sri Lanka batters combined hit five.

After losing the toss, Rohit Sharma said that he too had wanted to bat first on what he called “a dry wicket”. But ten minutes before the scheduled start, it started raining. Perhaps that changed the whole situation.

When the match finally started after a delay of 40 minutes, Jasprit Bumrah got the ball to move in both directions. With his third delivery, he had Kusal Perera caught behind. Sri Lanka were in for an even ruder shock from the other end.

Siraj started with a maiden, beating Kusal Mendis’ outside edge four times in the over. In his next, he had four wickets. Pathum Nissanka was the first to depart, pushing a length delivery uppishly towards backward point, where Ravindra Jadeja dived low to his right to pouch it with both hands.

Two balls later, Siraj trapped Sadeera Samarawickrama lbw and then immediately after that had Charith Asalanka chipping one to cover. Dhananjaya de Silva survived the hat-trick ball. In fact, he pushed it through the vacant mid-on region for four. Such was Siraj’s adrenaline that he chased it all the way to the long-on boundary, leaving the Indian fielders, especially Virat Kohli, splitting their sides with laughter.

Dhananjaya did not last much longer; next ball, Siraj finished the over by having him caught behind, thus becoming the fourth bowler after Vaas, Mohammad Sami and Adil Rashid to take four wickets in an over in ODIs (where data is available). In his next over, Siraj uprooted Dasun Shanaka’s off stump to complete his maiden ODI five-wicket haul.

At 12 for 6, Sri Lanka were in danger of being bowled out for the lowest ODI total. Mendis and Dunith Wellalage saved them from that ignominy by adding 21 for the seventh wicket. But Siraj wasn’t done yet. In the 12th over, he got one to nip back to rattle Mendis’ middle stump.

Soon after, Hardik Pandya wrapped up the innings with three quick wickets.

Gill and Kishan faced no trouble in chasing down the paltry target, with Gill opening his account by flicking Pramod Madushan for four on the last ball of the first over.

From the other end, Kishan struck back-to-back fours off Matheesha Pathirana, only for Gill to go one up on him in the next over with three in three balls.

Off the first ball of the seventh over, Kishan sealed the win with a single to long-off.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Mohammed Siraj blows Sri Lanka away – ‘The plan was to keep it simple, and I kept getting wickets’

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After Jasprit Bumrah went boom in the first over of the Asia Cup final, it was over to Mohammed Siraj. Bang, bang, bang, bang he went in the fourth, ripping out the Sri Lankan top order. It was just the fourth instance of four wickets going to a bowler in an over in men’s ODIs (when ball-by-ball data has been available). He wasn’t done. He picked up two more to finish with 6 for 21 and shoot Sri Lanka out for 50. “Like a dream,” he called it, and put it down to “keeping it simple” and “executing my line and length”. And the batters kept falling.

“Last time, against Sri Lanka, in Trivandrum [Thiruvananthapuram], I had taken the first four wickets [three of the first four], but couldn’t get the fifth,” Siraj told Sanjay Manjrekar on the official broadcast between innings. “Then I realised that you only get what is in your destiny, not more, however hard you try. So the plan was to keep it simple and execute my line and length, and I kept getting wickets.”

Pathum Nissanka fell first ball of that fourth over, driving an outswinger to Ravindra Jadeja at point. Two balls later, Sadeera Samarawickrama went, trapped in front to one that moved in after pitching outside off stump. Next ball, Charith Asalanka chipped a full ball around off stump to Ishan Kishan at cover. And though he denied Siraj the hat-trick, Dhananjaya de Silva was caught behind nicking the channel delivery off the last ball of the over.

Dasun Shanaka and Kusal Mendis were then both bowled by Siraj in his third and sixth overs respectively.

What did it for Siraj, looking at it from the outside, was the swing. Primarily away from the right-hand batters. And pace, of course. In overcast conditions.

“My only thing when I play white-ball cricket is that I would try to swing the new ball at the start. But here, there wasn’t a lot of swing on offer in the initial matches. Today it swung, so I tried to make the batsman play as much as possible,” he said. “It’s nice when it catches the edge. I have not picked up a lot of wickets with my outswing – today I got a lot of wickets with my outswing, so that felt very good.”

And a Test-match-ish length…

“Exactly, I was getting so much swing that I tried to make the batsmen drive, drag them forward and get their wickets,” he said. “That was the plan. I didn’t run after wickets, but the conditions did a lot of work for me. If you keep hitting the wickets with one line, you will keep getting wickets.”