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  Chand to lead India A in tri-series, Rayudu against South Africa A
Posted by: nairrk - Today 12:52 PM - No Replies

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Unmukt Chand led India to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2012

Unmukt Chand, the former Under-19 captain, will lead India A in the upcoming tri-series against Australia A and South Africa A, while Ambati Rayudu has been named as captain for the two-match unofficial Test series that follows against South Africa A.

Legspinner Karn Sharma, who missed the Zimbabwe tour due to a fractured finger, was picked for both squads.

All matches of the tri-series will be played in Chennai between August 5 and August 14. The two-match series against South Africa A begins three days later on August 18 in Wayanad, Kerala.

India A squad for tri-series: Unmukt Chand (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Kedar Jadhav, Sanju Samson, Axar Patel, Parvez Rasool, Karn Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sandeep Sharma, Rush Kalaria, Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rishi Dhawan.

India A squad for unofficial Tests: Ambati Rayudu (capt), Karun Nair, Abhinav Mukund, Ankush Bains, Shreyas Iyer, Baba Aparajith, Vijay Shankar, Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun, Shardul Thakur, Ishwar Pandey, Sheldon Jackson, Jiwanjot Singh.

Chand to lead India A in tri-series, Rayudu against South Africa A | Cricket | ESPN Cricinfo

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  Is it time to rethink the toss?
Posted by: nairrk - Today 12:49 PM - No Replies

Why not let captains decide what batting or bowling first is worth and use runs to buy the advantage?

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The toss might be antiquated, but it has symbolic value

One of the myriad suggestions for "improving" Test match cricket is to abandon the toss in favour of giving the visiting captain the choice of whether to bat or bowl, thus negating the home side's opportunity to doctor a pitch in their favour.

As with many apparently simple things - and you don't get much more binary than the toss of a coin - it hides its complexity in unexpected ways. As a piece of sporting symbolism it is perfect: no matter how mismatched the two sides may be, the captains come together at the start with a gesture of absolute equality. The toss is ritualistic and it offers a focus for the start of every game.

It can reveal the psychology and the superstitions of the captains. Some always call the same way. Michael Clarke has won twice in this Ashes series by varying his call. Michael Vaughan admitted that in the 2005 series he flipped the coin miles in the air simply to prolong the uncertainty.

Beyond these ritualistic skirmishes, the toss has a deeper value. It's a value that varies with conditions and it is shifting with history as the game advances, but it exists and is worth paying attention to. Last autumn a statistician called David Franklin wrote a wonderful piece for Wisden's quarterly journal The Nightwatchman that revealed that although the act of flipping the coin and calling is equal, the outcome is not. He analysed the 1397 Test matches that had, to date, produced a positive result and found that 53% of those were won by the side winning the toss, a number high enough to pass the statistically significant "95% confidence" level that suggests this is not merely natural variation.

Franklin went further, calculating that the batting average of players in the side winning the toss was, at 32.81, 1.41 runs higher than the team losing the toss at 31.40. Multiplied out over the 20 available wickets, it positioned a value of winning the toss at 28 runs (or just less than one wicket, if a wicket is worth around 31 runs).

This value has dropped from around 40 runs that winning the toss offered in the era of uncovered pitches, and there has been a corresponding fall in the number of captains opting to bat first - 89% did in the uncovered era, compared to 66% now. One of Franklin's more surprising statistics revealed that since 1970, captains who have won the toss and bowled first have won 179 games and lost 150. Perhaps bowling first is an underrated tactic, the perception of it skewed by famous disasters like Nasser Hussain's in Brisbane in 2002 and Ricky Ponting's at Edgbaston in 2005.

The toss has always battled conditions because its value is greater in some places than in others. Franklin's analysis showed that in Sri Lanka the toss is worth an average of 60 runs, in England 58, India 28, and in South Africa just seven runs. New Zealand is unique in having a negative value (-12 runs) suggesting that the decision to bat or bowl in the rapidly varying conditions there is a toss up in more ways than one.

Franklin's suggestion for a system to replace the toss is more complex than simply handing the advantage to the visiting captain. He proposes a "sealed bid" system, where each captain assesses conditions and then makes an offer of a certain number of runs to be traded for having the choice of whether to bat or bowl, thus introducing a tactical element to the process - captains would be forced to decide what batting or bowling is actually worth.

It's a lovely notion, one that would keep a pub debate warm for hours. While we may baulk at the thought of "imaginary" runs intruding on real cricket, it reinforces the idea that the choice that the toss creates is important and that both teams need to have a stake in it. Surrendering it to the away captain as a tool to discourage the rigging of pitches is throwing away a dramatic and necessary element of the game to solve a problem that is only tangentially connected to it.

Jon Hotten: Is it time to rethink the toss? | Cricket | ESPN Cricinfo

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  I have always played with responsibility for team: Virat Kohli
Posted by: nairrk - Today 12:42 PM - No Replies

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Chennai: His batting form has not been the best of late but an unfazed Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday said he does not need to put in any extra effort on that front as he has always played with responsibility for the team.

Kohli, who played for India A in the just-concluded second unofficial four-day Test against Australia A, produced knocks of 16 and 45 in the match which the home team won by 10 wickets.

India have not played much of Test cricket this year and Kohli's form has been rather indifferent in the ODI arena where he hasn't scored a hundred since February.

Asked if he needs to curb his aggressive approach to get back into the groove ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka starting August 12, the batsman responded with a firm no.

"As a batsman I have always been responsible with the way I play my cricket and it comes from wanting to win the game for the team everytime I play. So I don't think I need to change too much in that aspect. I think that is one of the major reasons that the board thought that I could be the man to take up responsibility for the team," Kohli told 'bcci.tv'.

"It all boils down to how you play your cricket eventually and that's the way I have always played my cricket, be it on the field, be it the way I bat, I always give my 100 per cent. Putting in that extra effort in batting I don't think is required because I have always played in a responsible way for the team. And I will continue to that till the time I play for my country," he asserted.

Talking about the tour of Sri Lanka, which comprises three Tests, Kohli said he is looking forward to leading India for the first time in a full-fledged series.

"It's basically my first full assignment as Test captain.

In Bangladesh it was a one-odd Test match it wasn't a full-fledged series. So it will be a new challenge for me and the whole team because we have such a young squad and so many new players looking to build their careers," he said.

"It is an exciting challenge to start together as a new unit. It is exciting for me and as a team. Everyone is very very happy and putting in all the effort required to do well in Test cricket. I am certain if we prepare well and have the right kind of vision, we will do really well in Sri Lanka. I am confident about the whole team and also hope that I am able to do the job given by BCCI," he added.

India A, for which Kohli turned up here, is currently being coached by former skipper Rahul Dravid. Kohli said playing under his tutelage has been helpful.

"It's always nice to be around great players like Rahul Dravid, because just their presence is so calming and so reassuring and even if you don't want to speak about the game, just having them around makes you feel good about your own cricket because just looking at them you can learn so much more," Kohli said.

"I think being around him is always a good feeling. I have played lot of games with him as well. He is a very nice and genuine person. It is always nice to talk to him about the game and otherwise as well," he added.

On why he chose to play this game, Kohli said, "...I wanted some kind of momentum going into the Sri Lanka tour."

"We have had a decent break, I have had three weeks off.

I have had lots of time off the game, which was required to get mentally fresh and now with a week of training going into this India A game and a week or two of training after that as well, I think it will be the best preparation for me as far as preparing for the Sri Lanka tour is concerned, so that was the whole idea."

Talking about individual players of the Sri Lanka-bound squad, Kohli praised opener Murali Vijay.

"He (Murali Vijay) has always been a very very solid opener for India. Everyone has a few hiccups in his career, all of us out involved in that bracket and all of us have gone through it. The best thing about him is that he is mentally very strong. Has a lot of patience, a very solid character and is very sure of himself and of his game," he said.

"In Test matches he has been a very solid opener for us, especially after the pair of Sehwag and Gambhir that we had, he is the one who has given us lot of stability at the top of the order," he added.

Also drawing praise from Kohli were young batsman Ajinkya Rahane and senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who has come back after being sidelined for more than two years.

"I really like Ajinkya (Rahane) as a batsman and as a fielder as well in the team. Really nice to have a guy who has so much energy and puts in 100 percent every time he steps on the field, every ball that he plays, every ball that he fields, he is always there for the team.

"He is willing to do anything for the team requires of him and he is one guy who I feel will be a very important factor as far as Team India doing well in Test cricket is concerned, because he brings that solidarity in the middle order, coming straight after me."

On Harbhajan, Kohli said he would have a crucial role to play in Sri Lanka.

""We have lot of experience with the spin department.

(Ravichandran) Ashwin has been wonderful for us. Harbhajan Singh has been a match-winner for India in Test matches and one-day cricket. So it's great to have his vision, his ideas and his confidence back into the team and Amit Mishra as well.

He is bowling really well for the last one year or so and that is the reason why we wanted him in the team as well," he said.

Kohli said even the pacers will be required to do well in the island nation.

"I think not just the spinners but the fast bowlers will also play a massive role in Sri Lanka. I think with the ball reversing later on, the fast bowlers have been the ones who have come in and given those crucial breakthroughs for the Test match to be won," he said.

I have always played with responsibility for team: Virat Kohli | Zee News

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  India A v Australia A 2015 Series
Posted by: nairrk - Today 10:26 AM - No Replies

2nd Unofficial Test, 29 july - 1st August 2015

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  Zimbabwe look to build on India shock against Kiwis
Posted by: nairrk - Today 09:15 AM - No Replies

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Zimbabwe plan to tap into the renewed energy that sparked a victory over India recently as they take on an under-strength New Zealand side in a three-match one-day international series that starts on Sunday.

After sleepwalking their way through a one-day series whitewash at the hands of India, Zimbabwe came to life in the final match of the tour as a fresh desire drove them to a 10-run victory in a Twenty20 match.

While New Zealand will be without regular captain Brendon McCullum, new-ball bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee, and top all-rounder Corey Anderson, Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore says his team need to repeat the energy from their last game to have a chance.

"I just think we can do a bit better than what we did against India," Whatmore said.

"To win the last game was very good, there was a different energy out there, and I think if we can reproduce that against New Zealand then we should have a little bit more joy.

"Despite McCullum, Southee and Boult not being here, they`ve still got a pretty decent team, but it`s our home conditions so we have the ability to surprise."

The hosts have been bolstered by all-rounder Luke Jongwe`s recovery from injuries sustained in a car crash, and the return of fast bowler Tinashe Panyangara from a side strain, while off-spinner John Nyumbu has been recalled.

Whatmore said that he planned to make an unexpected tweak to the batting line-up, but felt the bowling department was the one with the most room for improvement.

"We gave India too many runs -- we had them in trouble two out of the three ODI games and they still ended up scoring 25 or 30 runs too many, which put our batsmen under pressure chasing," said Whatmore.

Having rested McCullum and Southee, and seen Boult and Anderson forced out of the tour by injury, New Zealand will get a glimpse of some future talent as they plot their path from a World Cup final appearance earlier this year to the 2019 edition of the tournament.

Kane Williamson will captain the Black Caps on the tour, which also comprises a Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe followed by two T20s and three ODIs in South Africa.

All-rounder George Worker could make his international debut and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi is in line for his first ODI appearance.

"If we are looking ahead to four years` time and the next World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to start that development," New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said.

"Two years ago we did the same with Corey Anderson, James Neesham and Mitch McClenaghan on their first tour."

Sunday`s game will see New Zealand play with "Aotearoa" on their shirts for the first time to mark the end of Maori Language Week back home.

All three ODIs as well as the Twenty20 match will take place at Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe look to build on India shock against Kiwis | Zee News

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