RCB News

Kohli leads India to victory

Sun, 2nd, Nov 2014
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India started the series on a huge win as they beat Sri Lanka by 169 runs yesterday. The Lankans had won the toss and decided that it would be a good idea to put the Indian team up to bat first.

The Indian innings started out slowly with openers Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane being extremely vigil and safe on the pitch. In fact, at the end of 10 overs, India stood at just 43/0. But as the openers got more comfortable in the crease, their shots started free flowing. And after that what Dhawan and Rahane did can only be described as a rampage.

Dhawan and Rahane went on to score 113 (107) and 111 (108) respectively and together put up 231 (211) runs on the board for India. The team is still on the lookout for a strong opening pair for the World Cup and Dhawan and Rahane might just have ended their search. After that a quick 52 off 34 from Suresh Raina put India in a very comfortable position at 363/5. Sri Lanka used eight of their bowlers to try and contain India’s carnage. But their bowling was indisciplined and uninspiring, leading India to this huge total.

Sri Lanka too were slow from the start and their batsmen looked rusty. Leaving aside Jayawardene who scored 43, there was no one who made a worthwhile contribution with the bat. Their wickets fell in quick succession and no one really looked comfortable at the crease. Ishant Sharma was the pick of our bowlers as he clinched 4 wickets with an economy of just 4.25 runs. Our pacer Varun Aaron was doing well until his fifth over when he hobbled off the field uncomfortably. We hope he is fine and gets a chance to play in the coming ODIs.

Eventually, the entire Sri Lankan batting line-up succumbed for 194 in 39.2 overs – their entire team’s score being lesser than what Rahane and Dhawan alone put up for India. But we know the Sri Lankans are not ones to take a loss lightly. They’ll come back at Team India harder and Kohli and his boys will have to buck up and fight hard to keep winning in the four ODIs remaining in the tournament. Let’s hope for a tougher fight from the Lankans next ODI around.
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Kohli skipper for first 3 ODIs, Dhoni rested.

Tue, 21st, Oct 2014
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Dhoni has opted out of the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka because he needed a break to freshen up ahead of the Australian Tour and the World Cup. In his place, RCB’s captain Virat Kohli has been declared the skipper for these three ODIs. Wriddhiman Saha will take over the wicket-keeping duties in Dhoni’s absence.

Here’s the squad for the first three ODIs: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Murali Vijay, Varun Aaron and Akshar Patel.

Ashwin who was rested for the ODIs against West Indies has been brought back into the squad and will be replacing Kuldeep Yadav. Our seamer Varun Aaron too has been given a chance to play. He should make full use of this opportunity to ensure a regular spot in the Indian squad.

The venues for these five ODIs have been announced. They’ll be played at Cuttack, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Before the 5 ODIs, the India A team will play practice matches against Sri Lanka. The squad for the India A team is: Manoj Tiwary (C), Unmukt Chand, Manan Vohra, Karun Nair, Rohit Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Sanju Samson, Parvez Rasool, Karn Sharma, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Manish Pandey and Kuldeep Yadav.

It’s going to be an exciting series for Indian cricket fans. But it’ll be additionally interesting for RCBians to see how their skipper fares while captaining the national side. We hope he does well and becomes the reason for an Indian series win.
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Aaron and Dinda sweat it out with McGrath at the MRF Pace Foundation

Wed, 3rd, Sep 2014
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India’s fastest pacer, RCBian Varun Aaron has begun his 10-day training under one of Australia’s most prolific fast bowlers – Glenn McGrath. His RCB teammate Ashok Dinda too has joined him at the MRF Pace Foundation as McGrath tries to iron out all the kinks in their bowling.

BCCI has tied up with MRF to conduct this 10-day training program. It aims to fine-tune some of India’s most talented pacers while preparing them for future tournaments.

All eyes will be on the speedy Aaron as he works with McGrath to correct even the minutest of the former’s flaws. Aaron will also be looking to learn a few tricks for bowling on the pitches Down Under. This is because India will be touring Australia in the latter end of 2014 and playing a 4-test series against them. This program will be a good chance for Aaron to polish his rough edges and stand a chance to be selected for the Indian ODI team as well.
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RCB News

India succumb at the Oval to register a 3-1 series loss to England

Mon, 18th, Aug 2014
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Having weathered a controversial spat with India’s Ravindra Jadeja to take a series haul of 25 wickets at a phenomenal average of 20.60, England’s premier pacer James Anderson was named Man of the Series by coach Duncan Fletcher. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was named Man of the Series by the English coach Peter Moores for his runs in the first three Tests and disciplined bowling throughout the series.

The Indian batsmen for the 5th time in a row couldn’t cross the 200-run mark as they were skittled out for 148 and 94 in their 1st and 2nd innings respectively. Captain MS Dhoni’s fighting 82 was India’s sole form of resistance in the whole Test match while Stuart Binny’s 25* was the highest score registered by an Indian batsman in the 2nd innings of the match.

RCB’s Virat Kohli looked like he had made changes to his technique to end his poor run in the series and though he registered the 2nd highest score for India in the 2nd innings, he could not last long in the middle. Another RCBian Varun Aaron initially bowled with pace and venom but conceded too many runs when England’s lower order went down swinging, ending with figures of 2/153.

The last time India toured England, they were whitewashed 4-0 in 2011. This time India might have fared marginally better, however since the celebrations at Lord’s, the current series has culminated into a bitter memory-wiping pill to swallow.

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Preview: Last chance for India to save themselves the blushes

Thu, 14th, Aug 2014
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The loss at Old Trafford should rankle, India failed to stay in the middle for even 50 overs in their two innings, crashing to an innings and 54 run defeat after Lunch on Day 3. It rained from the next session to the scheduled end of play on Day 5 with very small breaks, India could have escaped with a draw if they had only pushed themselves to bat till Tea on Day 3.

Ishant Sharma's expected return for the last Test should add wind to the sails of India who are dead in the water at the moment. Bhuvneshwar is sure to play, Ishant could replace Pankaj Singh and with Varun Aaron showing remarkable hostility and accuracy at Old Trafford, the pace attack could be the strongest combination India have tried out in the series.

R Ashwin was India's best batsman and tight while bowling at Manchester but Ravindra Jadeja could play again at the Oval despite his lack of wickets and poor batting thanks to the pitch which will assist spinners. Ashwin too will have to show results for his tight bowling, runs will not be enough if he wants to be a constant presence on international tours.

The bowling overall has been the better performing unit and could have very different results but for the lack of support from the fielders and tactics from skipper MS Dhoni.

England too have concerns over the availability of Stuart Broad. He has been bowling in the nets and said he could be playing with a mask on after having his nose broken by a short ball from Varun Aaron at Manchester. Jimmy Anderson had to bowl through Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes have not been too effective while India's batsmen have been tripping over themselves to offer Moeen Ali wickets, another factor that could push England to seek a dry turner at the Oval.

India's batting has fallen apart since Lord's. Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara will find themselves under the most pressure with Vijay, Rahane, Dhoni and Jadeja not far behind. A tiring Bhuvneshwar has not been able to spend time in the middle either.

Kohli's struggles over judging the late swing to decide whether to leave the ball or not have seen him play at deliveries he was leaving in South Africa and New Zealand. Pujara has had a worse run with simple mistakes and soft dismissals. Gambhir's pokes could send him into an exile longer than the one he just came out of. Jadeja's approached worked at Lord's but his refusal to play to the match situation since then has hurt India a lot. Vijay's magical summer which began with runs at Trent Bridge and Lord's seems from another year already. Rahane and Dhoni have still managed to squeeze runs out but not commandingly and they have to score bigger knocks to win games.

It is the easy and expected thing to do from England to comfortably draw the match and seal the series but with India looking so vulnerable, Cook might just go for the jugular.
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India continue to lose momentum in the Investec Test Series

Mon, 11th, Aug 2014
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Unfortunately, none of the Indian batsmen save Ashwin's 46* stepped up to the mark as they were wiped out for 161 in the second innings. England won the match by an innings and 54 runs. The fact that India were 8/4 in the first hour of the Test match spelt doom for the visitors then and there.

All eyes will be on India’s vice-captain Virat Kohli to turn things around dramatically in the last Investec Test. When Kohli strikes form, the Indian batsmen play around him and generally post a good total on the board. India’s No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara needs to step up as well and rotate the strike more often while holding one end strong.

Another RCBian Varun Aaron impressed with figures of 3/97. He looked sharp and hardly dropped pace. England’s Stuart Broad was on the wrong end of a nasty Aaron bouncer which squeezed through Broad’s helmet grill to leave a scar on his face. We can expect Aaron to repeat his sharp performance in the last Test.

India currently trail the series 2-1 and the visitors will hope for an all-out team performance at the Oval on Independence Day to draw the Investec series and restore the form they displayed at Lord’s.
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Preview: Team India look to turn the tide in Manchester

Wed, 6th, Aug 2014
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England's 266 run win at Southampton exposed India's weaknesses. Strange as it may sound, Ishant Sharma's absence was felt with Bhuvneshwar having to bowl below his best, Mohammed Shami letting the pressure off with poor lengths and Pankaj Singh unfortunate to have chances off his bowling dropped or missed. With no one to enforce pace on Alastair Cook and push him back, he played out of his crease to counter Bhuvneshwar's swing and once he found his gears, the rest of the English line up piled on the runs against a tiring attack bereft of ideas.

This lack of pace is why Pankaj might make way for Varun Aaron at Old Trafford. Aaron last played a Test in 2011 and has not bowled much since his return to first class cricket after recovering from an injury and in addition, he lacks the control and England could easily capitalize on that so he has a big task cut out for him if he makes it to the playing XI.

R Ashwin is likely to finally play a Test on the series after Jadeja's lacklustre bowling and Moeen Ali's success at the Ageas Bowl. Rohit Sharma or Jadeja could be the players to miss out if Ashwin plays.

Time is precious for Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, both of whom had a horrid Test at Southampton and are in the red with their form. Kohli's pattern of dismissals indicates he has to address a weakness of chasing balls outside off while Pujara's immaculate technique leaves him with his own temperament to work on.

Shikhar Dhawan could already be a casualty of poor form with Gautam Gambhir getting a lot more batting practice in the build up to the fourth Test. Only Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay have shown any kind of consistency on the tour and MS Dhoni's worries over the batting line up will remain until they prove themselves with a heavy amount of runs.

India didn't help themselves at Southampton with poor catching and England made the team pay for the reprieves. The young slip cordon is yet to develop the instinct slip fielders need to take those lightning quick catches or they could see the series slip away from their outstretched palms.

England will be buoyant after the win with Alastair Cook among the runs. He was lucky early in his innings but still had to fight for his runs. He will be more confident of grinding India at Old Trafford and with Ian Bell back in form, his job will be easier. Gary Ballance has been priceless for England, Jos Buttler gives them unpredictability lower down the order and Moeen Ali has earned his spot as a bowler if not as a batsman.

Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes too will be eager to show what they are capable of and so will Sam Robson. James Anderson and Stuart Broad exploited the conditions at the Ageas Bowl perfectly and the pitch at Old Trafford will encourage them again.

India will want to prove they can win Tests and series abroad while England will pull out all the stops to avoid a second home series loss this summer. Both will want to avoid the pressure of being 2-1 behind before the 5th Test so expect them to give their best here.
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RCB News

India name 17-man squad for ODI series and T20I against England

Wed, 6th, Aug 2014
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Virat Kohli is the only RCBian to feature in the 17-man squad as he looks set to continue his role as Vice-Captain of the team. Yuvraj Singh hasn't been considered for selection despite showing traces of form for RCB in IPL-7. Tearaway fast bowler Varun Aaron missed out on being selected too although he bowled consistently well for the Royal Challengers last season.

Take a look at the Indian squad below:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Virat Kohli (Vice-Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma.
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Ganguly calls for Aaron's inclusion in India's XI for Manchester Test

Mon, 4th, Aug 2014
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The visitors will look to chop and change the squad to accommodate a few fresh faces. Ishant Sharma has been declared unfit for the upcoming match while Mohammad Shami has had a couple of below par Tests since India’s tour of New Zealand. Pankaj Singh, although impressive, remained wicketless at Southampton.

If the selectors decide to replace some of the underperforming bowlers in the playing XI and bring some pace into the attack, we could potentially see RCBian Varun Aaron’s return to Test cricket. The latest to voice support for Aaron’s selection is none other than legendary Indian batsman Sourav Ganguly:

“"Manchester track is the fastest wicket in England. I think Varun Aaron should get a look-in."

Considering into mind Aaron’s raw pace and recent form, one can't help but agree with Ganguly’s suggestion. However, will the Indian selectors take notice?
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India get off to a positive start in England

Fri, 4th, Jul 2014
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India used the entire 18-man squad in the two warm up games they played in, giving a fair amount of practice to all the players. The first warm up game was played against Leicestershire which was curtailed due to rain and ended in a draw. Despite the match being abandoned, the Indian batsmen got to bat for a reasonable amount of time, getting accustomed to the English conditions in the process.

India’s star batsmen and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper, Virat Kohli, got off to good starts in both the matches but missed out on staying longer at the crease. Virat made 29 and 36 in the two warm up games and looked solid until he was dismissed. The two practice games will be a healthy wake up call before the real ‘Tests’ arrive. The 25-year old will be raring to go out and perform well for his team. Kohli is one of the main pillars of this new-look Indian team, and the onus will be on him to make it count in his very first Test series in England.

Another promising sign for India is paceman Varun Aaron. He was asked to ball a few short spells in the game and the RCB speedster really cranked it up. Aaron can be lethal in English conditions if he’s able to swing the ball at great pace. If selected, he could become an integral part of the bowling line up as he gives the team the element of raw pace; something which has eluded Team India for quite some time!

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