Cricket News Today: KS Bharat receives maiden ODI call up, Virat Kohli reminisces Under-19 triumph and more- 17th January 2020

Aakash Arya

Virat Kohli during the Under-19 WC

Hello and welcome to the daily round-up of all the major stories happening in the cricketing world today.

First up, a surprise call-up for KS Bharat to the ODI setup following concussion issues with Rishabh Pant. Virat Kohli reminisces his Under-19 winning days while Narendra Hirwani has a few tips up his sleeves for Kuldeep Yadav followed by Anil Kumble's stance on four-day Tests. Lastly, BCCI has acknowledged the T20 specialists in their annual central contracts list for the first time.

Here is a look at those stories in detail.

#1 KS Bharat called in as cover for Pant

KS Bharat is the first wicket-keeper batsman to register a triple ton in the Ranji Trophy

As per the reports, Andhra Pradesh wicket-keeper batsman has been called in as cover for Rishabh Pant for the remainder of the ODI series against Australia. Pant, who was hit on the head by a quick bouncer from Pat Cummins, is still under assessment at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

Bharat had earlier been drafted into the Test squad for the historic day-night Test against Bangladesh, received a call-up for the ODI squad this time around. 26-year-old Bharat has been piling on runs in the domestic circuit and has scored 4143 runs in 74 first-class games at an average of 37.66.

He came into the selector's radar in the 2014-15 season where he scored 758 runs at 54.11 and was picked up by IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils. But the highlight of his career remains his 308-run innings against Kerala in 2014, which made him the first wicket-keeper batsman to score a triple ton in the Ranji Trophy.

Full article: India vs Australia 2020: Srikar Bharat called in as cover for Rishabh Pant

#2 Virat Kohli talks about U-19 WC triumph

Virat Kohli led India brilliantly in the 2008 U-19 World Cup

Indian captain Virat Kohli reflected his winning Under-19 WC campaign as a leader, stating how the age-group tournament helped him take his game to the next level. Kohli also stressed the importance of the tournament being aired live on TV which boosted morale as budding cricketers.

"I have always maintained that it was probably the most crucial phase of my development as a cricketer because that was probably the second time that the World Cup started being aired on TV. Many people score runs and do well but when you watch someone play, you know there's something different."

Kohli finished as the third-highest run-getter and later played the IPL and was eventually drafted into the Indian side. According to Kohli, players like Ravindra Jadeja and Manish Pandey also benefitted from the tournament.

"I am grateful that the tournament was aired on TV because everyone watched us play, we were picked into the IPL and people started thinking that these guys could do something in future. I think it was a great stepping stone and winning that tournament was a boost for us."

"I think when you have the chance to show what you can do in front of the world, it really provides you with a rare opportunity."

Full article: Winning Under-19 World Cup was a stepping stone for me, reveals Virat Kohli

#3 Narendra Hirwani feels a few tweaks would help Kuldeep Yadav

Hirwani believes Kuldeep will have to work on his variations to regain his white-ball form.

Former Indian leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani believes that struggling Indian leggie Kuldeep Yadav doesnn't require much alteration in his bowling and just needs to attack the stumps at better lengths.

He further stated that Yadav only needs a good balance, a mix of traditional leg-spin and different varieties in the same over to get his groove back again. Yadav was played quite easily by Aaron Finch and David Warner which put the leggie in a spot of bother going ahead in the series.

“I didn’t see any glaring weakness where he has to go and work for months. There is the need to be a bit smarter with his lengths, a mindset to attack more, and a few tweaks.”

“Kuldeep’s best bet is to concentrate on the extent of spin and dip. I am not talking like some old-timer – flight it high, but just over the eye-line. And also not every ball. Let him keep varying it but there should be enough of such balls in the spell."

“If you can keep varying your pace and trajectory, and get enough revolutions on the ball, the batsmen can have the doubt what the next ball would do. There can be a little delay in his reaction – just a little bit as these are all very good batsmen – but that slight delay can work.

" The batsman tries to kill the turn but if there is doubt, his movements would be a little slower and that fraction of a second is the key for a spinner.”

Full article: India vs Australia 2020: Narendra Hirwani feels a few tweaks would help Kuldeep Yadav to regain his white-ball form

#4 KXIP coach Kumble feels the current generation of players want five-day Tests to stay

Anil Kumble wants domestic players to focus more on Ranji Trophy

Head coach of IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab, Anil Kumble has stated that the current crop of Indian players advocate the idea of going with the traditional five-day format for Test cricket rather than the proposed four-day Tests.

Reiterating the statements of Indian captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri, Kumble stated that domestic cricketers preferred the grind of the longest format as it challenges a player completely.

He also spoke about the importance of good performances in the Ranji Trophy in the lives of domestic cricketers as a criterion for selection in the national side. As per Kumble, Ranji Trophy should be held as a priority by state players rather than being lured in by the domestic cash-rich leagues all around the globe.

I think everybody wants to play Test cricket, that’s very clear. The generation of cricketers certainly want five-day cricket and that’s something very obvious.”

“There is some challenge in keeping everyone focused and pushed towards playing domestic competition especially the Ranji Trophy.” 

“Very few players are common to formats and it’s getting lesser and lesser. But I don’t think there is any dearth of people wanting to play the longer format. I think everybody wants to, they realize that’s the biggest challenge and I’m sure that’s going to be the case for a long time .”

Full article: Kings XI Punjab head coach Anil Kumble feels current generation of players wants five-day Test format to stay

#5 BCCI considers T20Is as a criterion for central contracts

BCCI for the first time decided to reward players by providing contracts based on T20I performances

T20I specialist players like Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, and Deepak Chahar have benefitted from BCCI's new criteria of rewarding T20 players with Annual Central Contracts.

In the recently announced contracts for the 2019-20 season, BCCI acknowledged the T20 specialists and rewarded them with annual contracts for the first time. According to the sports highest body, at least 10 T20Is have been kept as a compulsory yardstick for a player to be considered for the central contract, with an eye on the T20 WC to be held in Australia this year.

“The selectors were told to go ahead with this new criterion for T20 specialists. This is likely to be approved in the next apex council meeting.”

“The board is looking forward to the two T20 World Cups scheduled for the next two years. That’s why the players who have done well in white-ball cricket post the 2019 World Cup — like Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, and Washington Sundar — have been given contracts.

"These players are seen as prospects to make it to the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. KL Rahul too has been promoted to Grade A from B largely based on his form in white-ball cricket.”

Full article: BCCI considers T20Is as a criterion for central contracts for the first time