Darren Lehmann on Ashton Agar

Darren Lehmann has hinted that it’s the batting potential of Ashton Agar which might have got him the nod ahead of the veteran O’Keefe for the upcoming Bangladesh series.


O’Keefe had won Australia a test match single-handedly in India and in the other matches of that tour as well, his performances were there and thereabouts and it was really hard to imagine that he would not be on the flight to Bangladesh.

But, the Australian selection committee, much to the surprise of everyone, has kept him out of the touring party to Bangladesh and has put their weight behind Ashton Agar to do the same kind of role that O’Keefe had done on India tour.

Lehmann during his address to the media acknowledges that O’Keefe’s bowling was really satisfactory, but, he gave the impression that in his opinion, Agar is a little more versatile in comparison to O’Keefe and that opens up a lot of options for the think tank.

As per Lehmann, with Agar in the mix, the think tank can even go with a three man pace attack because they know that the Western Australian southpaw has it in him to do the job with the bat too and he can take the place of a specialist batsman in top 7.

And secondly his fielding is also a positive. He is a very agile young man and his presence brings a lot of energy and intensity on to the field.

Lehmann however stresses that Agar is not a guaranteed pick and Swepson, the other spinner in the squad, also has a chance of making it into the XI as the second spinner or it may also be possible that both of them play with the lead spinner Nathan Lyon. No combination can be ruled out yet.

INDIA-AUSTRALIA TEST SERIES DREW BIG NUMBERS

The numbers from the Border-Gavaskar Test series are out and Star India are celebrating the record-breaking TV audience from the enthralling series.


The Test series was a close one, and with tempers flying left, right and centre, the audiences remained glued.

Star India claim the figures posted are the highest for a Test series on Indian television. The four match series eventually ended 2-1 in favour of the hosts but it was a hard-fought one. India won the final Test in Dharamsala to claim victory but the Aussies produced a strong performance in the third Test in Ranchi to get a draw. In the history of India’s Broadcast Audience Research Council, the series’ 1.1 billion tally is the all-time highest. Each game averaged over 280 million gross impressions –a figure that is tens of millions more than the figure posted after the recent one-time Test against Bangladesh.

The game against Bangladesh drew more audience than the five match series against England. India had hosted the series in the summer where a strong performance gave them a 4-0 victory. About 243 million impressions reportedly saw the game.

A spokesperson for Star India said: “The Indian cricket team continued their high levels of performance as they reclaimed the No. 1 Test team title, beating opponents like New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia. With success across all the formats, the fans were delighted to witness such an action-packed home season of cricket with every season being exciting and unpredictable.”

Before the Border-Gavaskar Test, many had expected the Aussies to lose by a huge margin, particularly with the series on home soil. The hosts had not lost a home game for several matches while the Australia cricket team had historically poor results in India. When the series started, Australia humbled their hosts and went on to start the second Test brilliantly. Nathan Lyon was impressive but India had to fight hard to get a win. Many analysts pick that as the game changer in the Test series as Australia leading 2-0 would have been difficult.

Mitchell Starc has warned Ravichandran Ashwin

Mitchell Starc has warned Ravichandran Ashwin that he will have to deal with some serious music from him on his next tour Down Under.


The story between Starc and Ashwin goes back to the Bengaluru test match.

It actually started with Abhinav Mukund top edging Starc for six runs over the keeper’s head which didn’t go well with the southpaw pacer and he had a few words to say in return to the Indian opener.

While speaking, Starc was also pointing towards his head as if he was telling Mukund that he should be ready to be stuck on the head in the next over.

Mukund, however, got dismissed by Josh Hazlewood before Starc could bowl any more deliveries to him.

But, Ashwin, who comes from the same state as Mukund and is very close to him, didn’t like Starc’s sledging and decided to have a revenge for his friend.

Luckily when Starc came in to bat, Ashwin was firing on all cylinders and he bowled an absolute peach to the big Aussie to knock him over and then made the same gesture towards him that he had made towards Mukund earlier.

By making that gesture, the off spinner probably taunted Starc that he wasn’t able to do what he had said and instead he had been cleaned up himself.

Starc, at that time, just went off the field with a wry smile on his face, but, recently after reaching Australia, when he was asked what message he would like to convey to Ashwin, the speedster said that Ashwin would get an answer of that when he faces him on the Australian turf in future.

Ashwin wouldn’t be afraid hearing that though. He is that kind of a personality. He is always up for a challenge and he is not the worst player of the short balls either.

AUSTRALIA TO FACE AMIR IN DAY-NIGHT TEST

Mohammed Amir, Pakistan’s paceman will continue his quest for redemption in the upcoming Test series as he is set to play against the Australian Cricket team in the day-night test.


Several words have been made use of, in a bid to describe Amir, such as ‘ex-fixer’, and a host of others but the catchcry the Australian team will be sticking with is ‘another player.”

At the age of 18 and at the request of Captain Salman Butt, Amir deliberately bowled a series of no balls in a test. This thus put him in the spotlight amongst two other Pakistan cricketers in 2010 that were embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal.

As a result of this, Amir was sent to prison to spend three months and was banned from the cricket game for no less than five years.

With the day-night test starting on Thursday in Gabba, Amir’s comeback has been divisive and far from being seamless. A training camp last year was boycotted by team mates, Mohammed Hafeez and Azhar Ali due to the presence of Amir. Early this year had seen the swing specialist being taunted by the New Zealand crowds.

However, some past players such as Mitchell Johnson believes that what the left-armer deserves is sympathy because at the time, he was just a teenager coerced into action by his captain.

And after the scandal, other players such as Ian Healy and Andrew Flintoff, former England skipper wanted harsher sentences for match fixers.

Fellow left-armer, Mitchell Starc was not willing to shed any light on which side of the fence he sits,
“He’s playing Test cricket. He’s another player in their team and we’ll address him in the team meeting. That’s all that needs to be said I think,” Starc said in Brisbane.

AUSTRALIA TO FACE AMIR IN DAY-NIGHT TEST

Mohammed Amir, Pakistan’s paceman will continue his quest for redemption in the upcoming Test series as he is set to play against the Australian Cricket team in the day-night test.


Several words have been made use of, in a bid to describe Amir, such as ‘ex-fixer’, and a host of others but the catchcry the Australian team will be sticking with is ‘another player.”

At the age of 18 and at the request of Captain Salman Butt, Amir deliberately bowled a series of no balls in a test. This thus put him in the spotlight amongst two other Pakistan cricketers in 2010 that were embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal.

As a result of this, Amir was sent to prison to spend three months and was banned from the cricket game for no less than five years.

With the day-night test starting on Thursday in Gabba, Amir’s comeback has been divisive and far from being seamless. A training camp last year was boycotted by team mates, Mohammed Hafeez and Azhar Ali due to the presence of Amir. Early this year had seen the swing specialist being taunted by the New Zealand crowds.

However, some past players such as Mitchell Johnson believes that what the left-armer deserves is sympathy because at the time, he was just a teenager coerced into action by his captain.

And after the scandal, other players such as Ian Healy and Andrew Flintoff, former England skipper wanted harsher sentences for match fixers.

Fellow left-armer, Mitchell Starc was not willing to shed any light on which side of the fence he sits,
“He’s playing Test cricket. He’s another player in their team and we’ll address him in the team meeting. That’s all that needs to be said I think,” Starc said in Brisbane.

Darren Lehmann May Sack any Player for Upcoming Series

Darren Lehmann hints that any player in the Aussie side may have to suffer the sack for the coming match in Colombo.

It’s believed that bowling quartet might just be retained as they bowled out Sri Lanka twice in Galle, but, some of the batters, who played the previous two matches, would perhaps find themselves carrying waters.

However, Lehmann has assured whoever has to leave his place in the eleven would still be in the frame of selection when the South Africa series begins and the sack would only be for this particular game.

As per Lehmann, telling someone that you are not playing him is always a sorry situation, but, you can’t escape from it when you entrusted with the job of picking the XI.

The young Australian top order players who, since being drafted into the side the previous summer, had been racking up tons have not looked any better than the school boys facing slow bowling of Sri Lanka.

However, pulling them up for poor skills or preparation is harsh because it’s their first exposure to such conditions. In Australia, rarely do they find such dryness in the surfaces they play and rarely do they see red ball turn with as much fizz as it has done in Sri Lanka.

Back in the day, a couple of Aussie surfaces were like that and 2-pacer-2-spinner combination was a fruitful prospect and Australia hence had a couple of decent players of spin too.

But, nowadays each and every surface that the Australian curators present is true and batting season in season out on such stone hard surfaces does not develop spin playing skills in the players at all.

Lehmann himself had talked up this issue ahead of the second test and had demanded variation in the playing conditions around the country.

Brendan McCullum was loved in each Cricket Format

Brendan McCullum was one player who was loved in each and every Cricket playing nation.

And, that’s why, when the reports of his retirement came through, there was a sense of sadness in the entire Cricketing fraternity.

B Mac was not more than an average player in the first half of his career, but, he really teed off in his early thirties and was probably still at his peak when he decided to call it quits.

McCullum’s batting style was such an audacious one. He could just destroy the morale of any bowler in the world.
He was not afraid to go down the track against even the quickest of the bowlers. His biggest strength was his bat speed and his quick foot movement.

His quick feet allowed him to leave the crease very, very late and thus, he would very rarely give the bowler the opportunity to adjust his length.

He was at times impossible to bowl to.

And, he was a top class wicketkeeper as well earlier in his career. However, as he grew older and had a few back troubles, he gave up the gloves and started playing as a specialist batsman.

But, he was as sharp as anyone behind the stumps when he used to do the wicket keeping job as well for the Black Caps.

However, the thing for which McCullum would be remembered for the most is his leadership. He captained New Zealand to great success in all formats of the game and almost won them the World Cup in 2015.

And, he always made them play the game in the right spirit.
Many believe McCullum is the best captain that has ever captained New Zealand to date.

Of course, number-wise, Stephen Fleming is a long way ahead, but, in terms of having the influence on New Zealand Cricket; McCullum is unmatchable.

Brendan McCullum retirement Brings in Sadness in Cricketing fraternity

Brendan McCullum was one player who was loved in each and every Cricket playing nation. And, that’s why, when the reports of his retirement came through, there was a sense of sadness in the entire Cricketing fraternity.

B Mac was not more than an average player in the first half of his career, but, he really teed off in his early thirties and was probably still at his peak when he decided to call it quits.

McCullum’s batting style was such an audacious one. He could just destroy the morale of any bowler in the world.
He was not afraid to go down the track against even the quickest of the bowlers. His biggest strength was his bat speed and his quick foot movement.

His quick feet allowed him to leave the crease very, very late and thus, he would very rarely give the bowler the opportunity to adjust his length.

He was at times impossible to bowl to.

And, he was a top class wicketkeeper as well earlier in his career. However, as he grew older and had a few back troubles, he gave up the gloves and started playing as a specialist batsman.

But, he was as sharp as anyone behind the stumps when he used to do the wicket keeping job as well for the Black Caps.

However, the thing for which McCullum would be remembered for the most is his leadership. He captained New Zealand to great success in all formats of the game and almost won them the World Cup in 2015.

And, he always made them play the game in the right spirit.
Many believe McCullum is the best captain that has ever captained New Zealand to date.

Of course, number-wise, Stephen Fleming is a long way ahead, but, in terms of having the influence on New Zealand Cricket; McCullum is unmatchable.

Shane Warne believes Adil Rashid has got the potential

Shane Warne believes Adil Rashid has got the potential to win games for England with his leggies, but, only if the team management does not run out of patience with him.

Rashid has started his test career on England’s ongoing
tour of Emirates and has been proving to be very expensive in front of the Pakistani batsmen who are pretty efficient when it comes to handling the spinners.

But, according to Warne, Rashid is only in the early stages of his test career. He will get better with more games.
Speaking on the sidelines of England’s practice session ahead of the third game of the series which Pakistan is currently leading 1-0, the 46-year old who is arguably considered the best spinner of all time said, “Leg spin is not an easy art. You excel at it only with experience. I believe he is a good talent, Rashid. He’s got the resources that you ideally need to be a successful leggie, but, we will see him putting his best on the ground only if he is persisted with.”

“Leg spinners will always dish out some hit-me deliveries, but, they are wicket takers and can win you games. These are early days for Rashid and he can be groomed into a really good test Cricketer for England. I had a little conversation with him a while ago and I told him that he shouldn’t be worried if he is taken for a few boundaries in some of his spells. It happens. He just has to make sure he gets more consistent and works batsmen out.”

Rashid will be a big player for England going into the Sharjah game. Although the Sharjah pitch happens to be flat initially but, it starts turning considerably from the 4th day onwards.

Steve Smith confirmed yesterday that he’s not Australia’s captain

Steve Smith confirmed yesterday that he’s not Australia’s captain in the shortest form of the game and it was just because of Aaron Finch’s unavailability that he led the side in the one off Twenty-20 versus England the other day.

Finch has not been included in the Australian limited-over squads versus England as he is on a comeback trial after injury and it was Smith who’s named the captain of both the 20-over as well as the 50-over teams after which there were some talks that the Aussie selectors might have decided to ditch the theory of split captaincy and have just one captain from here onwards considering the fact that Smith is an automatic pick in the playing XI in all formats of the game.

But, addressing the press following a 5-run defeat at the hands of England in Cardiff, Smith said, “Aaron Finch is our skipper as far as Twenty-20 Cricket is concerned. We will be moving forward under him in this format. I was in charge tonight just because he’s not here. I will be handing over the reins to him once he is back fit.”

Twenty 20 is the priority of most of the teams at the moment as the next World Championship, which is going to be organized in India, is not too far ahead.

That is one ICC tournament that Australia has never been able to win so far in their 5 attempts.

Their best outing was in West Indies in 2010 when they had reached the final only to be smashed by the arch rivals England.

This time around, the Kangaroos would be desperate to win the title. The conditions would not be that easy for them though especially if one takes into account that the World Championship is going to be played at the end of the season there in India and thus, the pitches will lack freshness.