India may rest Virat Kohli for tour game vs West Indies Cricket Board XI

first_imgTest specialists Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane along with a well-rested Jasprit Bumrah will be aiming for some quality game time when India take on West Indies Cricket Board XI in a three-day warm-up game starting on Saturday ahead of two-match series.With skipper Virat Kohli sustaining a right thumb injury during the third ODI, the team management would like to exercise precaution and may be rest their best player before World Test championship opener.Kohli has been in phenomenal form and has led India from the front in the limited-overs series. After scoring 106 runs in the three T20s, Kohli garnered 234 runs, including two centuries, in the two ODIs while the first one-dayer was called off due to rains after playing 13 overs.After whitewashing West Indies 3-0 in the T20 International series, India continued their winning spree and pocketed the three-match ODI rubber 2-0. A win in the Test series starting August 22 will be the first time that India would have won across all formats on Caribbean soil.For one of India’s batting mainstays in the longest format, Pujara will be playing a competitive red ball game after a good six months having last appeared in the Ranji Trophy final for Saurashtra a good six months back.Rahane, skipper Virat Kohli’s deputy in this format, didn’t exactly set the English County on fire scoring only 307 runs in seven games with a hundred and a fifty and sub-par average of 23.61.Rahane has had a prolonged bad patch in Tests also and this tour will be crucial for the Mumbaikar and a good hit in the warm-up is the kind of start he would be looking at.advertisementBumrah, who had a strenuous six months till World Cup has now freshened up and the practice game would be more about hitting the straps and getting some rhythm back after a month-long rest.The practice game will give a chance for the players who are already here in the West Indies to shift from limited-overs to five-day format and from white-ball to red-ball cricket.On the batting front, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant would desperately look for runs after a below-par limited-overs leg. Rishabh for one would be more keen on a hit as his understudy Wriddhiman Saha has already hit two half-centuries in the A games and is no doubt considered a far better keeper.Mayank Agarwal is certain to open in the Tests but it will be a toss-up between Hanuma Vihari (originally a middle-order batsman) and KL Rahul, who has not been in best of forms in this format.Pacers Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma too would look to impress the team management with a fine show in the practice game ahead of the two Tests.India’s spin department is expected to be led by the duo of off-spinner Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.Since it will not be an official first-class game, all the batsmen in the Indian squad are likely to spend some time in the middle to have a feel of the red ball. All the bowlers likewise will also roll their arms to get used to the longer format.The World Test Championship is a league which is being contested by nine of the 12 full members countries of the ICC. It is a two-year cycle, the first of which started on August 1 with the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston.The group phase officially began on July 16 and will run until March 31, 2021, after which the top two teams will contest a final.And being the number one side in Test cricket at present, India would definitely start as one of the favourites to win the Championships.India Test squadIndia: Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant, Cheteshwar Pujara, K L Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Umesh Yadav.Also See:last_img read more

Racism protocols executed as Bulgaria embarrassed in 6-0 rout

first_imgRoss Barkley and Raheem Sterling hit two goals apiece as England thrashed Bulgaria 6-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier amid racist behaviour from fans in Sofia.Marcus Rashford and Barkley had Gareth Southgate’s men two goals to the good midway through the first half when play was stopped and a message relayed over the public address system at Vasil Levski National Stadium, urging home supporters to cease their abuse.In between Barkley and Sterling continuing an emphatic response to the Three Lions’ surprise defeat to the Czech Republic, there was a further lengthy delay. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career The game appeared under threat of abandonment at that stage, as a group of fans were ejected, but England resumed their punishment of over-matched opponents – captain Harry Kane laying on Sterling’s second and completing the scoring five minutes from time.Bounced back in styleA terrific performance from the #ThreeLions to take the three points in Sofia!— England (@England) October 14, 2019Manchester United’s Rashford, who has struggled for form at club level this season, left Georgi Pashov on the turf before thrashing into the top corner from a tight angle in the seventh minute.Jordan Pickford got down sharply to keep out a 25-yard drive from Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov, although that amounted to a fleeting moment of encouragement for the hosts.Sterling played a slick one-two with Kane and drilled across the face of goal for Barkley to tap home in the 20th minute.Barkley’s second, a finely judged run and header to meet Kane’s curling cross, came after the first stoppage in play.Southgate was in discussion with the fourth official shortly before half-time when the game was halted again and a group of Bulgaria fans were escorted out of the stadium.Unperturbed by the dismal circumstances, Kieran Trippier and Kane combined for Sterling to make it 4-0 at the interval.Counter-attacking football at its very best. Brilliant from the #ThreeLions!— England (@England) October 14, 2019The one-way traffic continued after the break, with Sterling slotting wide before he and Kane got in one another’s way.Plamen Iliev then foiled the Manchester City forward with his boot but he would not be denied a seventh goal in qualification when Kane teed him up 21 minutes from time.The Tottenham striker dispatched a shot beyond the beleaguered Iliev to get the goal his efforts deserved, while substitute Callum Wilson hit the post as Bulgaria downed tools. What does it mean? UEFA must actThe sight of Sterling scoring to make a mockery of those abusing him and his team-mates felt inevitable. We know all about the unbending fortitude of this admirable 24-year-old when faced with such vile incidents. But it is time he and England’s other black players – such as Tyrone Mings, who might find an international debut played out amid such sickening vulgarity hard to cherish – were able to be confident they might never ply their trade in such circumstances again.Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov attempted deflection and whataboutery pre-match. Sadly, this is not a problem exclusive to his country – far from it – but the authorities must now take a strong stance and make an example of them. Football has paid lip service to tackling racism for far too long.Barkley banks some timely creditBefore the match, former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane questioned Barkley’s effectiveness in terms of goals and assists. Those are unfortunate queries for a career attacking midfielder to have hanging over him and Barkley grasped his recall clinically.Chelsea team-mate Mason Mount and James Maddison are among Southgate’s latest call-ups, while Jack Grealish and Phil Foden might also come into the reckoning soon. It meant this was a timely reminder of the ex-Everton favourite’s qualities.Love it, @RBarkley8 #threelions— England (@England) October 14, 2019Pashov a pushoverIt always promised to be a tough outing for a Bulgaria side swatted aside at Wembley last month and they could have done without Pashov’s efforts preceding Rashford’s opener. The right-sided defender headed Harry Maguire’s long ball straight to Barkley and his attempts to remedy the situation were more akin to Sunday League football.Key Opta Facts- England have faced Bulgaria without losing more times than they have any other opponent in their history (P12 W8 D4 L0).- Only Belgium (30) and Russia (27) have scored more goals than England in Euro 2020 qualifiers (26).- England have scored at least five goals in four different matches in 2019, their joint-most in a single calendar year (also in 1937 and 1908).- All six of Barkley’s goals for England have been away from home – only Freddie Steele (8) and James Windridge (7) scored more for the Three Lions without netting at home.- Sterling has been directly involved in 13 goals in qualifying (eight goals, five assists). Only Russia’s Artem Dzyuba has been involved in more (14).- Kane has been directly involved in 15 goals in his past 10 games for England in all competitions (nine goals, six assists).What’s nextEngland host Montenegro before closing out the campaign in Kosovo, with qualification seemingly a formality. The Czech Republic travel to face bottom-of-the-table Bulgaria, whose reckoning must now be with UEFA. read morelast_img read more