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The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is around the corner and the cricket fanatics are eager to know who should be the number four for India.

Suresh Raina, who was a part of the Indian team in the last two World Cups, has picked MS Dhoni as his ideal No.4 for India in the upcoming ICC tournament.

Raina feels that Dhoni could serve well in this position. The number four position has been a headache for the Indian team ever since they started preparing for the 2019 World Cup. They tried out various batsmen at this slot, but none of them gave a solid performance.

Here is what Suresh Raina said while talking to Hindustan times:

“Dhoni has been batting really well and scoring runs. For me, I feel he is India’s number four for the World Cup.”

The southpaw also feels that Dhoni would be the go-to man for Kohli as he has a lot of cricketing experience. MSD has been a part of the big occasions many times and the Indian captain should utilize his experience to the full effect.

” The amount of runs Dhoni has scored recently in Australia and New Zealand and the kind of guidance he gives to the youngsters in the team, especially the bowlers, that augurs really well for the boys. He has seen a lot of ups and downs, he has been a part of quite a few World Cups and has also been there in IPL finals and that is why he is the go-to-man for skipper Kohli, ” Raina further added.

India will begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 at Southampton.

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The ICC and the 2019 World Cup organizing committee remain confident that the tournament’s biggest match, to be played between India and Pakistan on June 16 in Manchester, will go ahead despite the volatile situation between the two countries in the wake of a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district last week.

The ICC’s outgoing chief executive officer Dave Richardson, on Tuesday, said there is no such indication as of now that the match will be cancelled, adding that he doesn’t foresee any change in the schedule.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident and we will be monitoring the situation with our Members,” Richardson said, offering his condolences on the terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

“There is no indication that any (of the) matches at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will not go ahead as planned,” Richardson said.

“Sport, and cricket, in particular, is perfectly placed – it has the wonderful ability to bring people together to unite communities. And hopefully, cricket can be used in this fashion rather than a way of (dividing) people,” he added.

For Steve Elworthy, the World Cup tournament director, the India-Pakistan contest will be a marquee occasion.

“It is probably one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” Elworthy, the former South Africa fast bowler, said. “You think of that match and you think of the passion, the support, the audience, the (number of) people who applied for tickets.”

Even the men who mattered in BCCI said that not playing Pakistan in the World Cup is a ‘long shot’ as of now.

“For the record, India played Pakistan in a World Cup game in England in 1999 edition when Kargil War was at its peak,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying.

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West Indies swashbuckling opening batsman Chris Gayle, who recently announced that he would bid adieu to ODIs after the 2019 World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, has described himself as the ‘greatest player in the world’.

When asked if he is satisfied with his career, the 39-year-old said that he is a great man and would take the tag of the ‘Universe Boss’ to his grave.

“You’re looking at a great man.I’m the greatest player in the world. Of course, I’m still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Gayle as saying.

Looking forward to a fairy-tale swansong by winning the ICC tournament, Gayle said that it’s time to give youngsters anopportunity to come forward and show their talent.

“Yes, I’m looking to draw the line after the World Cup. Or should I say cut the string? Definitely, in 50-over cricket, the World Cup is the end for me. I’ll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun,” Gayle said.

“Winning the World Cup would be a fairy-tale finish. The youngsters owe it to me to win. They have to do that for me and try and get me the trophy. I’ll be looking to put my input in as well,” he added.

However, it will not be an end of Gayle’s international career as he has not ruled himself out of playing for the Windies in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in late 2020.

Gayle is also ready to feature in ECB’s inaugural hundred-ball competition in 2020.

“If I don’t start it, it won’t be a tournament. I guess England should invite me over. Then I’ll explode the tournament and say ‘thank you guys; bring in a youngster now.’ I’ll set the trend like I did in all tournaments around the world,” the Jamaican star said.

“I’m in good condition. The body is feeling good and I’m pleased with that. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I don’t want to get too big. I’m still working on my six pack. I’m trying to keep up with the youngsters in the field who are like cats the way they chase the ball. I still have it in me and I’m still enjoying it,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Gayle is just 273 runs short of becoming the 14th man and second West Indies player to score 10,000 runs in ODIs.

The part-time off-spinner, who has a total of 255 scalps to his name in the three formats, will look to reach the 10,000-run mark when he will lock horns with England in the five-match ODI series starting on February 20.

Gayle will also be seen in action during the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning March 23, where he will open for Kings XI Punjab along with KL Rahul.

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The Indian Premier League (IPL) schedule for the first two weeks of the 12th edition has been announced but it will be further assessed when the Lok Sabha polling schedule is released.

As per the schedule released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the IPL begins on March 23 with defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) hosting Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Chennai.

“IPL released the schedule of the first two weeks (17 matches) of the 2019 Season. These are still subject to the announcement of the Lok Sabha 2019 election dates. Once these have been released BCCI will address any issues with the first two weeks and will also prepare a schedule for the remainder of the season working with the local authorities around the polling dates,” an IPL media release read.

The current schedule sees 17 matches across the fortnight period with 8 venues of the eight franchises.

Delhi Capitals (DC) and RCB will play five matches during this period with the rest playing four matches each. All teams will play a minimum of two home and away games while DC and RCB will be at home at Feroz Shah Kotla and M Chinnaswamy thrice respectively.

“A total of 17 matches will be played during this 2 weeks period across the 8 home venues of the respective franchises. All teams will play minimum of 4 matches with DC and RCB playing 5 matches. Every team will play minimum of 2 home and 2 away matches with DC playing 3 home matches, while RCB will play 3 away matches,” added the release.

In the two-week schedule, March 24 and March 31 will be the only days featuring double-headers. On March 24, Kolkata Knight Riders will host Sunrisers Hyderabad at 4 pm in Kolkata while Mumbai Indians will face-off against Delhi Capitals at 8 pm in Mumbai.

While on March 31, Sunrisers Hyderabad will face RCB in the afternoon fixture in Hyderabad while CSK will host Rajasthan Royals in the 8 pm fixture in Chennai.

Here’s the schedule: (Photo Source: iplt20.com)
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Sri Lanka Cricket, on Monday, announced their squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa, including three uncapped players to the 17-member squad.

Off-break bowler Akila Dhananjaya, who hasn’t played since the home series against England last year, has made a return to the squad.

Right-handed batsman Oshada Fernando is among the fresh names in the squad, for the series which begins on March 3. The other two newcomers include 20-year-old ambidextrous bowler Kamindu Mendis and all-rounder Priyamal Perera.

Dinesh Chandimal, who was also dropped for the Test series against the Proteas continued to be excluded from the team for the ODIs. Danushka Gunathilaka, Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, and Sekkuge Prasanna are also among those excluded.

The squad will be led by veteran fast-bowler Lasith Malinga, with wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella his deputy.

Sri Lanka is currently leading the two-match Test series against South Africa 1-0 after notching up a miraculous one-wicket victory in the first game at Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban.

Sri Lanka squad:

Lasith Malinga (captain), Niroshan Dikwella (wicketkeeper), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Isuru Udana, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan.

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Indian opener and vice-captain in limited overs cricket Rohit Sharma picked the all-time Australian Test XI from the players that he had seen and played with. Surprisingly, he did not pick Steve Smith.

Ahead of the upcoming T20I series against Australia starting on February 24, Rohit did some fun stuff and picked his favourite Australian Test XI on PlayersVoice Facebook page. It’s a pretty difficult choice to make considering the number of legendary names who have donned the Baggy Green and Rohit has left some huge names out.

The 30-year-old Mumbai Indians captain picked Matthew Hayden and David Warner for the opening slots, followed by former Australian captain Ricky Ponting at number three, who has great records at this position.

Rohit has picked Michael Clarke for number four position while veteran Michael Hussey comes at number five. Adam Gilchrist was named as the wicketkeeper for the side, who would bat at number seven.

Interestingly, the Indian opener put all-rounder Shane Watson at number six, someone who hasn’t played much in this position, to bring balance to the Aussie side. He picked three fast bowlers namely Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson. Shane Warne is the only spinner in the team named by Rohit.

Steve Smith has been showing consistency in this format which was only seen from one man, Sir Don Bradman and to not include him in the final XI is really surprising.

Rohit Sharma’s all-time Australian Test XI:

Matthew Hayden, David Warner, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath.

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The All India Selection Committee has picked KL Rahul in the 15-man squad for the upcoming limited overs series against Australia at home that is scheduled to start on February 24.

Rahul, who was in horrendous form in Australia, came back into his groove in the recent matches against England Lions.

Now, Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has revealed the main reason behind Rahul’s inclusion.

“At such a major tournament [World Cup], we can’t afford to go in without a third opener. That’s why we have included KL Rahul for the T20Is and the ODIs against Australia. We have to see how he performs because his form is also very important,” Prasad was quoted as saying in an interview on Hotstar.

The third opener’s spot has been a hot topic of discussion in recent days. Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has backed Dinesh Karthik for the role, while Shane Warne believes India can try Rishabh Pant as the opener in the upcoming series against Australia and in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

“We have included him (Rishabh Pant) considering the fact he is a left-hander. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for him. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination,” Prasad had said after picking Rishabh Pant in the limited-overs squads.

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The way Virat Kohli represents himself on-field while playing for India is absolutely fantastic. He is always hungry to perform well for his country and tries to give more than 100 percent in every game. No wonder, the 30-year-old Kohli is currently the best batsman in Tests and ODI cricket.

The popular Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt is no different as, like every other Indian, she also seems to be the die-hard fan of Virat Kohli.

While speaking to the First Post, in their special segment ‘Celebrity DMs’, expressed her liking towards Kohli. She also congratulated the Indian skipper for all his record-breaking feats.

“Nothing to say. Congratulations for all the great work that you’ve been doing for our Team India and the country,” she said.

Alia also commented on the adorable pictures of Virat with his wife Anushka Sharma, saying: “Your beautiful pictures with Anushka are totally going viral and we’re all hearting them.”

As far Kohli is concerned, the Indian skipper is set to return to the field in the upcoming limited overs series against Australia which will begin on February 24.

Here’s the video:

Alia Bhatt has a message for Virat Kohli | Celebrity DMs - YouTube

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Ever since the ‘cowardly’ Pulwama attack has left the entire nation in shock and anguish, the celebrities and the cricketers are giving a helping hand to the families of the martyred soldiers. More than 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in the terrorist attack and the Indian cricket fraternity isn’t shying away from standing behind them financially after the loss.

Mohammed Shami became the latest India cricketer after Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan and Faiz Fazal to pledge a donation to families of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attack.

Shami has donated a whopping amount of ₹5 lakhs as a help to the wives of the martyred soldiers and also expressed his sadness over their martyrdom. He also assured that their families should feel secured as people like him will always be there to help them.

“When we play for our country they stand at the borders protecting it. We stand with the families of our jawans, we will always be there for them,” Shami said.

Delhi: Cricketer Mohd Shami donates money to the wives of CRPF Jawans who lost their lives in #PulwamaTerrorAttack; says, “When we play for our country they stand at the borders protecting it. We stand with the families of our jawans, we will always be there for them." pic.twitter.com/yP4tRe07lb

— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2019

Earlier, Dhawan said that he will be donating money to the families of the CRPF paramilitary troopers who were killed in a terror attack and asked the others to do the same.

This is the least we can do. Jis se jitna ban pade utna zaroor karein. Jai Hind#standwithforces #pulwama pic.twitter.com/HvzzXi8ERb

— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) February 17, 2019

Sehwag also offered to bear the educational expenses of children of all the CRPF personnel killed in the dastardly terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.

“Nothing we can do will be enough, but the least I can do is offer to take complete care of the education of the children of our brave CRPF jawans martyred in #Pulwama in my Sehwag International School @SehwagSchool, Jhajjar. Saubhagya hoga,” Sehwag wrote on his Twitter handle.

Nothing we can do will be enough, but the least I can do is offer to take complete care of the education of the children of our brave CRPF jawans martyred in #Pulwama in my Sehwag International School @SehwagSchool , Jhajjar. Saubhagya hoga pic.twitter.com/lpRcJSmwUh

— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 16, 2019

Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal also announced that the entire prize money that the team won after clinching the Irani Cup will be donated to the families of the CRPF personnel.

“We as a team have decided to donate the prize money to the family of the martyrs who lost their lives in Pulwama. This is a small gesture from our team and VCA,” Fazal said.

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The skipper of team Melbourne Renegades, Aaron Finch, took out his frustrations on a plastic chair after falling victim to a horror run-out against Melbourne Stars in the final of the Big Bash League (BBL) season 8, played at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

In the all-Melbourne final, the Renegades opener was sensationally sent on his way in the sixth over when a straight-drive from Cameron White was flicked onto the stumps off of Jackson Bird’s foot.

Finch looked relatively composed while walking off the ground until he got to the players’ race where he gave a chair an almighty whack with his bat.

Here’s the video:

A Bucket Moment to end all Bucket Moments as Finch is run out off Bird's boot!#BBLFinal | @KFCAustralia pic.twitter.com/ewI4i9WTZE

— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) February 17, 2019

Meanwhile, the incredible grand final clash went down to the wire with the Melbourne Stars seemingly strolling towards victory after reaching 90 for none while chasing the Renegades’ 145 first innings total.

But in the blink of an eye, it all fell apart for the Stars as they lost a stunning seven-wickets for just 19 runs to watch the game slip through their hands.

Finch’s moment of madness was pushed to the Renegades side as he celebrated the sensational win with his team.

Straight to the pool room. #GETONRED #BBL08 pic.twitter.com/o4hgWpu1Yh

— Melbourne Renegades (@RenegadesBBL) February 17, 2019

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