Border even extended the invitation to the Indian skipper and said he was more than welcome to play for Australia. “We were thinking he might think about having his newborn baby here because we can claim his offspring as Australian,” he joked.
The 65-year-old is excited to see cricket on his home soil again and the visiting Indian team is adding to the glint in his eyes.
What is Border’s prediction for the Border-Gavaskar series? The southpaw, who still holds the record for being the only batsman to score 150 in each innings (vs Pak, Lahore, 1980), says, “Very confident of Australia’s chances, especially when they are playing in Australia.” The reasons for his confidence are a quality pace attack comprising Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, a high class spinner in Nathan Lyon and the boost to the batting in the form of Steve Smith and David Warner and a battery of talented young players like Marnus Labuschagne, Will Pucovski and Cameron Green.
But the biggest factor, Border reckons, is Kohli’s departure for the birth of his first child after the first Test in Adelaide. “The one thing that is in Australia’s favour is Virat Kohli playing only the first Test. I think that is a big OUT for India. He is irreplaceable at the moment as a batsman and a leader. Should be 2-1 to Australia,” he prophecies.
Border clearly is a huge fan of the Indian skipper, but he also says the Aussies love to hate him. “He is an antagonist and plays aggressively,” he stresses.
“Look, I love the way he plays his game; he wears his heart on his sleeve. I like his aggression and passion for the game. India as a team will miss that. He is a special player, has serious talent and is part of this new India — that’s the way I look at it. The way India play the modern game, they have a very positive mindset, and Virat has led the way very well in those areas. I am a big fan,” Border gushed.
The 1987 World Cup winning captain says he appreciates the skill that Kohli has to change his game seamlessly across formats. “I like the way he can change his game between different formats. I think, if you go back in time when I was playing against someone like Sunil Gavaskar, we just had to bring only one type of game to the table,” Border said.
“If you look at Virat, he has done equally well in T20s, ODIs and Tests. There are a few of those who do it well around the world — Steve Smith, David Warner and AB de Villiers … That’s why I rate Virat so highly, because it’s not easy to chop and change your game plan … So, for me, he is right up there in the top echelon of Indian cricketers,” he adds.
While Kohli’s is obviously the biggest scalp for the Aussie bowlers, at least in the first Test, they would also like to see the back of Cheteshwar Pujara quickly. The Saurashtra batsman amassed 521 runs in the series the last time that India toured Down Under two years ago and struck three hundreds and blunted the Aussie attack by batting for long periods of time. This time though, he may suffer from lack of game time. Pujara hasn’t played any competitive cricket since the Ranji Trophy final in March between Saurashtra and Bengal in his hometown of Rajkot. Border says that as a player, he never liked too many breaks, especially if he was batting well and Pujara too could find the going tough.
“Someone like Pujara loves batting so much, I would imagine he would be going crazy without it. What he’s effectively going to do is go from a nets session into facing Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins with the new ball. That’s going to be hard work,” he says.
What will also be hard work is players adjusting to bio bubbles endlessly. Border reveals that in Queensland, where he is based, things are not too bad and there is not even a ‘mask is a must’ rule to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. He fears though for the mental health of players who have moved from one bio bubble in UAE to another one in Australia.
“I can’t imagine me being in a bubble. I don’t know how the players will be able to cope with moving from one bubble to another. More than the physical fatigue, they will struggle with mental fatigue. Hotel, bus, ground and back. This routine for months will be hard work. It could play a decisive role in the series and Indians could feel more isolated than Aussies,” is how he assesses things.
Border, who has witnessed maverick characters and intensive brooders during his long and illustrious career, feels players must find ways to entertain themselves and cites examples of Australian players travelling to Pakistan in the early days, feeling caged as they could not drink during outings. “So we often got into a team scenario where we had card nights and stuff. You must have characters in your team and find different ways of relaxing. We were fortunate to have a guy like Merv Hughes, who was very entertaining and kept the mood of the guys up,” he states.
Border also voiced his apprehension on the need to find a skipper after Tim Paine’s Test stint ends and stated that the captaincy going back to Smith will result in a media circus. “We have no obvious choice after Paine. I don’t think the selectors want to go back to Smith. The media will go all over the place and it will become a media circus which we don’t need. Let sleeping dogs lie and allow Smith to just make as many runs as he can,” he says.
The words ball tampering and Cape Town still rankle Aussies, but Border credits coach Justin Langer for making fans fall in love again with the Aussie team. “The win at all costs was not proving very popular. Justin has made the boys win, but with class.”
Border was a selector from 1998 to 2006 and was part of a selectorial team that took two contentious calls. Splitting the Test and ODI Captaincy. In 1997, the Australian selectors dropped Mark Taylor as ODI skipper and announced Steve Waugh as the captain. In 2002, they dropped Waugh as ODI skipper and appointed Ricky Ponting as the captain in coloured clothing. Both moves paid dividends as Australia won three successive World Cups. Even today, while Tim Paine leads the men in white, it is Aaron Finch that is in charge of the team in ODIs and T20s. Does split captaincy help? With Rohit Sharma doing well as IPL skipper of Mumbai Indians and also shining in the limited opportunities that he has got for India, there is talk that the white-ball captaincy should go to the Mumbai batsman.
Says Border, “Ideally, we would have one player to captain in different formats. But these days, it is a seamless transition as players play a lot of different formats across the world under different captains.”
The man who held the record of playing 153 successive Tests, which was broken by Alastair Cook (159), wants the Aussie selectors to punt on the talents of Victoria’s Will Puckovski and West Australian Cameron Green. He also warns India that the Aussies won’t find the off-spin of R Ashwin too difficult to handle on Australian pitches. “I think Yuzvendra Chahal would be very effective with his leg-spin. The Australians have historically also struggled against quality left-arm spin and that is where Ravindra Jadeja could come in,” he states.
(India’s first ODI against Australia will be telecast live at 8am, November 27, on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels)
Champions League: Bayern reach last 16 as Lewandowski matches Raul goal tally | Football News
Lewandowski scored just before the break at the Allianz Arena to draw level with Real Madrid great Raul in third on the Champions League list of top goalscorers.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo, who has netted 131 times, and Lionel Messi with 118 goals, have scored more than Poland star Lewandowski.
Bayern earned their 15th straight Champions League win to qualify for the knock-out stage as Group A winners, as second-placed Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 with Lokomotiv Moscow.
Bayern doubled their lead just after the break when Kingsley Coman’s shot deflected in off Salzburg defender Maximilian Woeber.
Leroy Sane claimed their third goal just after Bayern were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Marc Roca was sent off on his Champions League debut.
Salzburg pulled a goal back when forward Mergim Berisha got in behind the Bayern defence to net on 73 minutes.
With Bayern defenders Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez sidelined, US international Chris Richards made his Champions League debut at left-back.
Roca lasted just over an hour on only his third appearance since joining from Espanyol in October.
The European champions won 6-2 when the sides met in Austria at the start of November when Bayern scored four late goals.
Just as they had done at home, Salzburg made a bright start and Hungarian rising star Dominik Szoboszlai wasted a golden chance in the 35th minute when he shot over with the goal at his mercy.
Just as they had in Saturday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw at home to Werder Bremen, Bayern laboured early on, but did not waste the first chance which came their way.
When Thomas Mueller’s shot was only parried by Salzburg goalkeeper Cican Stankovic, Lewandowski was on hand to turn in the rebound on 43 minutes.
It was 2-0 seven minutes just after the break when Leon Goretkza won the ball and passed to Coman, who beat a defender and fired in a speculative shot which took a wicked deflection off Woeber’s boot.
Having already been booked for an earlier foul on Zlatko Junuzovic, Roca was dismissed on 66 minutes for a late challenge on the Salzburg midfielder.
It made little difference as Bayern grabbed their third goal when Sane powered home a header from Coman’s cross.
Sane was at fault for Salzburg’s consolation when he gave the ball away in his own half which led to Berisha getting in behind the defence.
Bayern lived dangerously late on as Salzburg replacement Luka Sucic fired just wide.
Australia vs India: KL Rahul looks to fill Dhoni-sized shoes | Cricket News
Two days before India’s first ODI in Australia, Rahul made it clear how much he values this opportunity. The Indian team is in the initial stages of building a core for the two ICC T20 World Cups and one 50-over World Cup in the next three years.
“Nothing has been told to me and we are not thinking that far ahead as a team. Obviously, World Cups are important and that is a long-term vision for every team and country,” Rahul said on Wednesday.
“It (him wicketkeeping) helps the team combination a little more and it’s something I would love to do. If the opportunity presents itself and I can keep in three World Cups, I would love to do it for my country,” he added.
Before it actually came his way in January this year, Rahul has been on the prowl to latch onto an opportunity of this kind. He has been carrying his wicketkeeping gear in his kit for a couple of years. He has kept wickets in every white-ball match beyond international cricket.
However, there is also the possibility of burnout while keeping in both formats.
“My batting position will depend on the format I am playing. The last ODI series we played, I batted at No. 5 and I kept wickets, so it is a role that I enjoyed and I am happy to play whatever role the team gives me,” Rahul pointed out.
Team India are looking for a suitable replacement to fill the void MS Dhoni has left behind. The pressure seemed to have got to Rishabh Pant, who has been dropped from the white-ball formats. Rahul knows it’s the expertise from behind the stumps that made Dhoni such an asset in the team.
“Dhoni has shown the way to the wicketkeeper-batsmen on how to do the role perfectly. I will probably go and give the spinners the feedback regarding what length can be bowled on different wickets.”
This is a fresh start for Indian cricket in the post-Dhoni world, a performing wicketkeeper-batsman in KL Rahul could just be the head-start Team India needed.
isl 2020: Indian Super League: Mumbai leave it late to pip Goa | Football News
For most part, Goa, who had Redeem Tlang sent off in the 40th minute, weathered the Mumbai storm but were helpless when Seriton Fernandes handled the ball inside the danger zone and the referee pointed at the spot.
It was the fourth minute of the five that were added and Le Fondre kept his cool to hand Mumbai their first win in two games.
🗣️ “That’s all you need in football.”@GoddardCy feels @MumbaiCityFC needed just one chance to get the result they… https://t.co/MdpkNiQwIh
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) 1606337081000
For Goa, this would have been a hard blow. With a point to prove after former coach Sergio Lobera and several influential players’ departure to Mumbai, they had done well to keep their famed attack at an arm’s length.
They could have surged ahead themselves early in the second session, if not for double save from goalkeeper Amrinder Singh to deny Edu Bedia and Ivan Gonzalez.
Redeem’s sending off in the 40th minute for a studs-up challenge on Santana was always going to hand Mumbai the advantage.
📽️ James Donachie highlights the positives after 10-man @FCGoaOfficial fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat in #FCGMCFC.… https://t.co/mIyUghPPsZ
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) 1606337444000
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