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Will have to work harder to get into Test team, says Navdeep Saini

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An impressive T20 International debut under his belt, speedster Navdeep Saini hopes to play Test cricket in future but feels he will need extra hard work to break into the “strong” bowling unit of the national team.


The 26-year-old Saini, who plays domestic cricket for Delhi, made his T20 International debut against the West Indies in Florida and won the Man of the Match award in his maiden appearance last month.


“Our bowling unit in the Test format is very strong. When I was with the team (in West Indies) I realised that I’ll have to work harder to get into the side. Only by doing that a I might get a chance,” Saini told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of All India Public Sector T20 cricket tournament.


The Indian pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami have been extremely consistent helping the side claim some of its biggest overseas Test wins in the last couple of years.


With Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also competing for spots in the playing XI, breaking in to the Indian Test side seems tough.


However, the Indian team management sees Saini as a future prospect in red-ball cricket. To groom him in the longest format of the game, the management used him as a net bowler in the Test series against West Indies and the youngster said he learnt a lot from his experience with the senior team.


“When I speak to bowlers like Shami, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar in the nets I get a lot of help from them. At the international level error of margin is very less so I learn how to work around it in practice,” Saini said.


Saini was in the reckoning for selection for India’s home Test series against South Africa next month but did not figure in the 15-member squad announced on Thursday.


Talking about skipper Virat Kohli, who also captains Saini in the IPL in the Royal Challengers Bangalore team, he said: “Playing under Virat bhai’s captaincy helps me a lot. He always talks about commitment. He says if you have to achieve anything you should be committed to it completely.



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We are here to play in traditional South African way: Van der Dussen

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Vice-captain Rassie van der Dussen on Saturday said they are here to compete in the “traditional South African way” even though the team currently touring India lacks the firepower of the previous visiting outfits.


The Proteas lost the second T20 International by seven wickets after the series opener was washed out.


The new-look team will have a chance to draw level in the third and final game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday, which will be followed by a three-match Test series.


“We got a young squad now but we came here to compete in the traditional South African way, try hard, play hard,” Van der Dussen told reporters on the eve of the game.


“We have got young guys in the squad and we are not going to stand back for anyone. That’s the emphasis, results go your way or not, that’s sometimes you are not sure what’s going to happen. We knew it’s going to be tough, India is one of the strongest team in the world, and we know we are embracing their challenge.”

One of South Africa’s rare success stories from the ODI World Cup in England, van der Dussen said some of his teammates’ experience of playing here in the last Test tour will help the visitors in the upcoming engagements.


“The last Test tour did not go well but the guys who were here have learnt a lot of lessons and we definitely are better prepared this time,” he said.


He was asked about his team’s challenge of bowling to India’s top three comprising skipper Virat Kohli, his deputy Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, and he admitted that the task is very difficult.


“They are probably three of the best T20 batters in the world and the world has ever seen. Virat and Rohit are the two leading run scorers at the moment in international T20 cricket.


“It’s a great challenge for young bowlers coming here and bowling to these guys. But like I said, we know what the challenge is. If we want to get a win, we have to nullify this kind of players.”

He said the team is missing the services of longs-serving leg-spinner Imran Tahir.


“Imran Tahir is obviously massive for us. He has been so good, he has retired from one-day cricket so he is going to focus on T20 cricket, and we know he is a big weapon for us.


“The challenge for other bowlers is that we don’t have the luxury of a guy like that, who can come in and bowl four overs for 20, and maybe take one or two wickets.”

Van der Dussen scored 311 runs in the World Cup and showed composure in the face of constant criticism the team attracted for its poor showing.


“It’s been an unbelievable 12 to 14 months for me. The challenge for me going forward would be to maintain the form that I have had and keep improving as a player and winning games for the team. That’s something I pride myself in.”

Asked about the team’s targets in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup, he said the challenge is to learn the lessons quickly.


“We have a young team. Guys are absolving and learning everything quickly. We have got some 18 more games leading to the T20 World Cup next year. The challenge for us is to learn those lessons very quickly and make sure in some years time, we are one of the top sides of the world.



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Team India and coaching staff’s daily allowance on away tours doubled

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The Indian team under Virat Kohli has done just as well on foreign soil as it has at home and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) have decided to reward the players by doubling their daily allowance when on tour.


As per a report in Mumbai Mirror, the Indian players and coaching staff will now get a daily allowance of $250 (Rs 17,799.30) as compared to the earlier amount of $125 (Rs 8,899.65). The pay at home though remains unchanged.


The report further states that the foreign travel allowance is over and above the business class travel, accommodation and laundry expenses that the BCCI pays for.


Having won the Test series Down Under at the turn of the year, India started their campaign in the World Test Championship with a comprehensive 2-0 win against West Indies in the Caribbean Islands.


While the Indians are slated to play mostly at home this year, they are set to travel to New Zealand at the start of 2020.


Skipper Kohli has time and again said that winning games in the longest format and that too away from home is what his real motive is as leader of the unit. In fact, he has now gone past both M.S. Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly as the most successful Indian skipper on foreign soil.


 



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CAB Elections: Saurav Ganguly set to be re-elected but only till July 2020

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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is set to be re-elected as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president as there was no opposition against his five-member panel with the deadline for filing nomination ending on Saturday.


The CAB will hold its 85th Annual General Meeting on September 28, as per Committee of Administrators’ (CoA) diktat.


It will be Ganguly’s second term after he became the president in 2015, following the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya. Ganguly, who was a joint secretary from 2014, will have his six years as office-bearer completed in July 2020, which is 10 months from now before the mandatory cooling-off starts.


As of now, he holds no other position on record as his term as mentor of Delhi Capitals had officially ended after IPL 2019.


It can however be renewed prior to 2020 IPL and in that case, it will be interesting if Ganguly continues as CAB president from April onwards.


Dalmiya’s son Abhishek will be elevated from joint secretary’s post to secretary while Debabrata Das of Town Club will be lone joint secretary.


CAB earlier had five vice-presidents but veteran administrator Naresh Ojha will be the only vice-president now. Debashis Ganguly is the treasurer.


In case, Ganguly quits his president’s post earlier than July, Abhishek, who has made his mark as a young administrator, is likely to take over as the president.


The Supreme Court on Friday had cleared decks for the state associations to hold elections, restricting the disqualification from contesting to only office-bearers only.


A few days back, Committee of Administrators (CoA) in their electoral directive had mentioned that even the tenure of service in the Working Committee will be calculated to determine the ‘cooling off’ period, which had put a question mark on Ganguly’s eligibility as he had been a working committee member for three years before taking over as joint secretary in 2014 before becoming the president.


The CAB had last held its AGM in 2015 under Jagmohan Dalmiya era when the former BCCI president was elected unopposed for an eighth consecutive term.


In 2016, the CAB had to cancel their AGM in 2016 under “supervening circumstances” arising out of the Supreme Court order on Lodha Committee’s report.


The CAB panel

President: Sourav Ganguly; Vice-president: Naresh Ojha; Secretary: Avishek Dalmiya; Joint secretary: Debabrata Das; Treasurer: Debasish Ganguly.



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