WTC Final: Ajinkya Rahane Set To Make Playing XI, Head Coach Rahul Dravid Drops Major Hint

Team India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batter Ajinkya Rahane is celebrating his 35th birthday on Tuesday and a day later he could be back in the ‘whites’ in Rohit Sharma’s side for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, starting at the Oval in London on Wednesday. Rahane has stormed back into the reckoning on the back of his impressive performances in domestic cricket as well as his sensational show in the IPL 2023.

Rahane had the highest strike-rate against fast bowlers in IPL 2023 – scoring at over 232 – better than even Suryakumar Yadav. Head coach Rahul Dravid revealed that Rahane should not consider the WTC Final as ‘one-off game’.

Rahane is set to play his first Test in 18 months and a failure in the game could potentially be career-ending. Dravid had a word of advice for the experienced batter. “Firstly it’s good to have him. We’ve had a few injuries which have probably led to him having the opportunity to come back into the squad. Great for us to have someone of his quality back. He brings obviously a lot of that experience, he brings proven performance in overseas conditions. Even in England he’s played some terrific innings for us,” Dravid told the media ahead of the WTC Final on Monday.

“He brings terrific catching in the slips as well to the group. He just brings his personality to the group as well which is really important. He’s led the team to considerable success. And again, I wouldn’t want him to approach this as just a one-off,” Team India head coach added.

Dravid said the 82 Test veteran might go on to play many more five-day games for the country.

“Sometimes you get dropped from teams and you make a comeback and you can play for as long as you’re playing well and as long as you’re performing. It’s not written in stone or rule that you only get one match. He puts in a good performance, really shows what he’s got. Who knows, even when people come back from injury, you never know what can happen. So again, from my point of view, it’s not really only about this match. Yes this match is important but then in the larger context of things there’s a lot of cricket to be played further down the road as well,” he said.

Rahul Dravid not worried about ICC Trophy drought

India may not have won an ICC title in 10 years but head coach Rahul Dravid on Monday insisted his team is not feeling any pressure going into the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. However, the former India captain said it would be nice to win the trophy as it is something his team has worked towards over the last two years.

India lost the inaugural WTC final to New Zealand in 2021 and have been guilty of faltering in knockout games. “No, not at all. I mean we don’t feel any pressure in terms of trying to win an ICC trophy. Of course it would be nice to do it. It would be certainly nice to be able to win an ICC tournament. But also in the context of things, you look at this and you see this is the culmination of two years of work. It’s a culmination of a lot of success that gets you here. So there’s a lot of positives to take from that to see where you stand on the table. Winning series in Australia, drawing series here, being very competitive everywhere that this team has played in the world over the last five or six years,” Dravid said.

“I think those are things that will never change just because you have or you don’t have an ICC trophy. That’s really the bigger picture,” said Dravid.

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I Will Bat With Same Intent I showed In IPL 2023: Ajinkya Rahane Gets Battle-Ready Ahead Of WTC 2023 Final

Back in India colours after nearly 18 months, senior batter Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t want to have any “regrets” for the time lost and would like to bat in the upcoming World Test Championship final against Australia with the same “intent” like he did in the just-concluded IPL. “Coming back after 18-19 months, whatever has happened, good or bad, I don’t want to think about my past. I just want to start afresh and keep doing whatever I have been doing,” Rahane told BCCI.TV on the sidelines of India’s training session.

“Personally enjoyed playing for CSK as I have been batting well throughout the season, even before IPL. I had a very good domestic season and I felt good. So this comeback was a bit emotional for me.”

Rahane, who was a part of CSK’s fifth IPL title-winning side, has already received a lot of praise for his attacking batting and improved strike-rate in T20 cricket, and especially the 27-ball 61 against Mumbai Indians showed a shift in his intent.

“I want to bat with the same mindset and show same intent that I showed before coming here in IPL and Ranji Trophy. I would not like to think about format whether it is T20 or Tests. The way I am batting now, I don’t want to complicate things and the more I keep it simple, better it is for me,” the veteran of 82 Tests and 4,931 runs said. The man, who led India to the most talked-about series triumph in Australia, back in 2021, also praised Rohit Sharma for leading the team admirably for the better part of this WTC cycle.

“I thought culture in team now is really good. Rohit is handling the team really well and I am sure Rahul bhai is also handling the team really well. That helps as well and atmosphere is really good. Whatever I am seeing right now is that everyone is enjoying each other’s company,” he said.

Also Read | 10 India Batters With Most Test Runs Vs Australia

Rahane thanked his family and friends for the support he got during his time away from the national team. “It was (an) emotional moment for me. When I got dropped, the support I got from my family was massive and dream was to play for India and that was massive. Playing for India matters a lot for me and I worked hard on my fitness and went back to domestic cricket.”

“Thanks to BCCI and selectors and when I went back to domestic cricket, the goal was to play for India — be it Ranji Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy or practice session, for me, every day that I was waking up, it was all about thinking that I can play for India again.

“What made my comeback possible was enjoying each and every moment, be it success or failure, and having no regrets. Learning from every individual in Mumbai Ranji team. You have to grow as a cricketer every single day, learning process shouldnt stop,” he said.

Playing in England is challenging, feels Rahane, who had scored a match-winning hundred in a Test match at Lord’s back in 2014. “It’s all about mindset and reading the situation well, staying in (the) moment and playing it session by session. In England, you just don’t look at the pitch but also keep an eye on the weather. In England, you never feel that you are in even if you are batting on 70,” he said.

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WTC Final: Indian Pace Bowling Attack A Mystery For Australia, Says Assistant Coach Daniel Vettori

London: Australia are expecting Ravindra Jadeja to feature in India’s playing XI in the World Test Championship (WTC) final but are unsure about Ravichandran Ashwin’s participation in the marque contest to be played at The Oval starting June 7. India utilised three spinners during the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy series with both Ashwin (25 wickets) and Jadeja (22) shinning bright to help their side claim a 2-1 series win.

Talking to local media prior to Australia’s training session at the Kent County Cricket Ground in Beckenham on Thursday, assistant coach Daniel Vettori said the team management had a lot of discussion about India’s probable bowling attack. “We have been debating that,” Vettori said.

“I think Jadeja will play because of the batting he brings to the table and how successful he has been at that No.6 position. Then the question will be around that fourth seamer and the all-rounder in (Shardul) Thakur and Ashwin, but they are (both) pretty good choices,” Vettori added.

Vettori, however, feels Ashwin might just lose out on a spot in the playing XI because of team combination despite enjoying a decent record in England. The experienced off-spinner has a total of 18 wickets at an average of 28.11 from seven matches in England but has played just one Test at The Oval.

“Ashwin is an incredible bowler and he will be first choice in most teams, and just with their combinations it may lead to that (him missing selection),” Vettori said. “We expect The Oval to behave how it always behaves. It is a good wicket, but it can offer a lot to the spinners as the game goes on.”

Vettori also expects Cameron Green to play a big part in the WTC final, especially after his superb showing in the just-concluded IPL 2023. “Any cricket is preparation now. He is doing work in the background to make sure his bowling loads are up and he is actually ready for Test cricket,” Vettori said of Green.

“We look at it like if you are involved in high-intensity, high-class cricket, we are happy with that as it means you are playing cricket. The hardest thing for guys is coming out of nothing and that might be a challenge for a couple of guys who have had an extended break and how they get up to speed as quickly as possible,” he said.

“With Cameron I think he has been playing so much cricket, he will be fine. It’s great to have him back. He offers so much to the team and had a great series in India for us and then is coming off the back of a successful IPL.”

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WTC Final: Those Who Played In IPL 2023 Have An Advantage In Title Clash, Says Matthew Hayden

New Delhi: Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden reckons India’s title drought in ICC events in the past decade has to come down to the players’ mindset as skill was never an issue and has advised them to ‘forget about the outcome’ going into the World Test Championship final against Australia  from June 7.

India’s last ICC title came under the leadership of MS Dhoni back in 2013 and since then the team has fallen short in high pressure knock-out games including the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal versus New Zealand and more recently the T20 World Cup semifinal against England last year. In the inaugural WTC final two years ago, India finished runners-up to New Zealand.

In terms of the financial and talent resources, India have been the sport’s powerhouse for long but the big titles have eluded them. Can they turn it around against Australia at The Oval in the final from June 7?

“It’s certainly not a question of skill. So, it has to be a question of just the opportunity and the mindset going in. I mean, cricket is life here, it is the DNA of sport and has no other competitors,” Hayden, an important member of the all-conquering Australian team of 2000s, told PTI in an interview.

Cricket’s popularity in India is unmatched and therefore it creates more pressure around the players, said Hayden. “In Australia I could walk down the street and largely be unrecognised, especially with this terrible beard and hat on (laughs). But it’s also got great competitive sports besides cricket. Rugby, football, our watersports, surfing, outdoor sports, here in India it’s very insular and there’s a lot of pressure. It’s the same with Pakistan cricket as well. There is one sport and it is cricket so it’s a mindset thing.

“Being cautious about looking for the scoreboard and looking for the titles and just playing and being a part of process, something when you look at franchise setups, Gujarat Titans have done really well this year and CSK have done very well. Mumbai Indians as well believe in a certain process. So, that would be my advice to Indian cricket to forget the outcomes, but buy into the process,” said former CSK opener.

‘Australia would’ve had huge advantage at Lord’s but Oval will be 50-50’

Hayden believes either side doesn’t enjoy an advantage going into the final but the IPL players from both teams would be well prepared. Majority of India’s squad members played in the IPL 2023 while only three from Australia were part of the two month long tournament.

“The Test championship puts context to Test cricket relevance. And you’ve got two of the greatest nations in cricket, head to head in India and Australia. Being at The Oval, it’s a good opportunity for it to be a venue which doesn’t necessarily favour one particular side or the other.

“It’s by tradition England’s bounciest, more even surfaces. It doesn’t favour the spinners, doesn’t really favour the seamers so it’s quite a neutral venue. It’s nice to see them playing in that venue in particular, had it been at the Lord’s, Australia would have had a huge advantage there,” he said.

‘Players who played in the IPL 2023 at an advantage’

For someone like Cameron Green, a maiden IPL season was good preparation for the high stakes WTC final, said Hayden. “Don’t pay too much mind to the preparation of either nation. I don’t sense that there’s a great disadvantage in playing IPL cricket as opposed to playing county cricket.

“The level is so extreme in high performance at IPL level. Take someone like a Cameron Green for example. He’s had a bumper of a season for Mumbai Indians. It’s a no brainer whether he is playing here or whether he’s actually playing in county cricket or wherever. He’s exposed to the highest level of sport and if anything, I think there may be a slight advantage for the guys that have been playing that higher level (IPL).

“The mix of playing high performance cricket at IPL now going to match specific venue training, is excellent preparation,” said Hayden when asked about both teams not playing a warm-up game ahead of WTC title clash.

‘Rishabh Pant one of big losses to Indian cricket’

The absence of the dashing Rishabh Pant, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident in December, leaves a big void in India’s Test XI, said Hayden, who is backing Ishan Kishan to don the wicketkeeping gloves instead of K S Bharat.

“One of the big losses to Indian cricket right now is Rishabh Pant. If I was an Indian selector, I certainly go with the more dynamic wicketkeeper batter Ishan Kishan, he also adds that bit of swagger to the batting line up and in the fielding unit as well,” Hayden said.

The spinners could play a role at The Oval as the game progresses and that is why Hayden said India must play both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. “What works for India is two spinners. It doesn’t work for Australia, apart from the outrageous turners that we saw in India during the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

“I know the Australian combination will always want to have three quicks. Obviously, Nathan Lyon’s is our spinner and Cameron Green can play as an all-rounder. I mean, that’s, that’s how important Cameron Green is. That’s a powerful and important role that he plays as an all-rounder. So it’s great to have him in form,” he said.

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MS Dhoni Knee Surgery Successful in Mumbai | Cricket News – Times of India

Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni underwent a left knee surgery at a renowned Mumbai hospital on Thursday. The procedure was performed by renowned sports orthopaedic surgeon Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala, who is also a member of the BCCI medical panel. Dhoni, who led the Chennai Super Kings to their fifth IPL title, had flown to Mumbai from Ahmedabad following the IPL final.
“Yes, Dhoni has had a successful knee surgery at the Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai on Thursday. He is doing fine and will be released in a day or two. He will be resting for a few days before his extensive rehabilitation starts. It is now expected that he would have enough time to get fit to play in the next IPL,” a source close to the CSK management revealed to PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Throughout the IPL, Dhoni was seen playing with heavy strapping on his left knee. While his wicket-keeping remained exceptional, his batting performance was affected, often resulting in him batting at a lower position in the order. Running between the wickets seemed to pose challenges for the veteran cricketer.
CSK CEO Kashi Viswanathan had earlier stated that the decision to undergo surgery would be entirely up to Dhoni. After the IPL final, Dhoni expressed his desire to continue playing and acknowledged the overwhelming love and support he received from CSK fans. He deemed it a privilege to play another season, hoping to repay the fans with his contributions on the field.
“If you circumstantially see, it’s the best time to announce retirement. The easy thing for me to say is thank you and retire. But the hard thing to do is to work hard for nine months and try to play one more IPL season. The body has to hold up. But the amount of love I have received from CSK fans, it would be a gift for them to play one more season,” Dhoni had stated after the IPL final.
With the successful completion of his knee surgery, Dhoni can now focus on his recovery and rehabilitation. The extended period before the next IPL season provides him with ample time to regain his fitness and form. The iconic cricketer aims to make a comeback and continue his impactful presence on the field for CSK. The enduring bond between Dhoni and his fans remains strong, and he expressed his gratitude for their unwavering support throughout his illustrious career.
(With inputs from PTI)

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Dwayne Bravo On Becoming CSK’s Bowling Coach: ‘A Phone Call From Dhoni…’

After Chennai Super Kings’ win over Gujarat Titans in the final of the Indian Premier League 2023, Dwayne Bravo, the CSK bowling coach, revealed that a phone call from MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming convinced him to take on the coaching role. Bravo, who retired from the league after the 2022 season, had been an integral part of the Chennai Super Kings’ squad, making significant contributions to the bowling attack.


“A year ago when I decided to announce my retirement from IPL cricket it was a sad moment but at the same time, I was grateful for a successful IPL career. As fate would have it I received a phone call from CSK captain MS Dhoni and head coach Stephen Fleming who invited me to be a part of the coaching staff. I had no doubt in my mind that this was the direction I wanted to take my new cricketing career,” Bravo wrote in a lengthy Instagram reel.

Bravo expressed his joy by sharing pictures and reels featuring his fellow players, coaches, and staff from the Chennai team. He also congratulated bowlers such as Matheesha Pathirana, Deepak Chahar, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, and others for their exceptional performances.

“To my team; a big congratulations on this great victory and what I consider one the most memorable seasons in IPL cricket. To the coaching staff thank you for embracing me, I cannot say thank you enough. As one of the youngest members of the coaching staff it has been a huge learning process for me but I’m enjoying every second of it,” he added.

Bravo, the former West Indies cricket captain, was the leading wicket-taker in the IPL ahead of the 2023 season with 183 wickets in 161 matches. In May 2022, he played his last IPL match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

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Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane And Team Chennai Super Kings Celebrate IPL Win The Whistle Podu Way

Chennai Super Kings scripted history after getting the better of Gujarat Titans in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) final by five wickets. MS Dhoni’s men joined Mumbai Indians to lift the coveted IPL trophy record five times. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was the man of the moment in the summit clash after he pulled off the winning stroke at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Following his electrifying show, Jadeja, in a video, was seen leading his side’s celebration in the team bus. We can see Ajinkya Rahane, Devon Conway, Tushar Deshpande and Matheesha Pathirana having a fun time. We also get a glimpse of head coach Stephen Fleming. The official Twitter handle of the Chennai-based franchise shared the clip. “57 seconds of yellow love,” Chennai tweeted.



Talking about Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane’s crucial contribution, this person came up with a heartwarming response.



It is not possible to talk about Chennai Super Kings’ legacy in the IPL without mentioning MS Dhoni’s name.







Sharing a picture of Chennai Super Kings pacer Rajvardhan Hangargekar, another user wrote that the uncapped India cricketer “will be lifting the trophy while entering the hotel.”



This fan expressed his desire to have a documentary on Chennai Super Kings’ performance in IPL 2023.



Some were bemused not to see legendary West Indies all-rounder and current Chennai Super Kings bowling coach Dwayne Bravo in the video.









This fan, just like all of us, wanted to touch the priceless IPL trophy once.



Coming back to on-field developments, Chennai Super Kings exhibited a clinical performance to finish their IPL 2023 league-stage campaign at the second spot. In the first Qualifier, they defeated Gujarat Titans by 15 runs. The two opponents met once again in IPL 2023 final but the outcome did not change in the summit clash either. With 13 runs needed off the final over, Ravindra Jadeja produced a boundary on the last ball of the contest to earn a five-wicket win for the MS Dhoni-led side. Chennai’s New Zealand batter Devon Conway was adjudged Man of the Match in the final for playing a vital knock of 47 off 25 balls.

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WTC Final: Big Challenge For Rohit Sharma’s Team India To Come Out Of T20 Mould, Says Sunil Gavaskar

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels emerging from the IPL 2023 T20 mode will be the biggest challenge for the Indian players when they take on Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia next week. Rohit Sharma’s India will play the WTC final at The Oval from June 7 with a majority of the players having come through the rigours of IPL 2023, which concluded on Monday night with Chennai Super Kings lifting the trophy for a record-equalling fifth time.

“The biggest test will be the fact that just about everybody will be coming out of a T20 format, and Test cricket is a longer format. So, I think that’s going to be the big challenge,” said Gavaskar on Star Sports on Tuesday.

He added that among all the India players only veteran batter Cheteshwar Pujara was well acclimatised to the longer format as he has been playing county cricket. “They (India) have only Cheteshwar Pujara who has been playing in the English County Championship, so he will be the only guy who has played the longer format in these conditions, so that’s going to be the big challenge for them.”

On Ajinkya Rahane, who after a long form slump has come back strongly in the IPL and helped CSK win the title this season, Gavaskar said the the 34-year-old’s experience of English conditions will be beneficial to the side. “He’s got a lot of experience having played in England, having scored runs in England. So, yes, I think he is going to be crucial down at number 5. And yes, I do believe he has a point to prove, I still feel he has got plenty of cricket left in him, and this is a wonderful opportunity for him.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator hoped Rahane makes full use of the opportunity that has come his way to extend his professional career. “I’m hoping he will be able to grab this opportunity with all the experience that he has and make a place for him back in the Indian team,” Gavaskar said.

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How MS Dhoni’s CSK Won IPL 2023 Final Against GT? Sachin Tendulkar Decodes

Sachin Tendulkar, an iconic figure in Indian cricket, expressed his admiration for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and MS Dhoni after their thrilling last-ball victory against the Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023 final. Played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday night, the match stretched over multiple days due to rain interruptions. CSK’s Ravindra Jadeja played a remarkable innings, hitting a six and a four off the last two balls to secure CSK’s record-equalling fifth IPL title.

The IPL final was an unprecedented spectacle that extended for almost three days due to unfavourable weather conditions. After Sunday’s washout, the reserve day’s play continued past midnight, providing an exhilarating contest. Batting first, the Gujarat Titans (GT) posted a formidable total of 214/4, thanks to Sai Sudharsan’s superb knock of 96 runs and a well-made half-century by Wriddhiman Saha. CSK began their chase, but rain interrupted the match after just three balls. After a lengthy delay, play resumed with CSK given a revised target of 171 runs in 15 overs.

In a nail-biting finish, MS Dhoni’s team managed to clinch victory on the last ball, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Sachin Tendulkar took to Twitter and Instagram to congratulate both CSK and GT for their efforts, acknowledging the thrilling nature of the final and praising CSK for their depth as a team. With their fifth title win, CSK joined the Mumbai Indians as the most successful teams in IPL history.

Tendulkar hailed the overall performances of both teams throughout the season and acknowledged the difficulty in choosing a winner. He commended the intensity of the match, which kept fans on the edge of their seats until the very end. The legendary cricketer, also serving as the mentor of the Mumbai Indians, highlighted the crucial role played by CSK’s batting depth in their triumph.

During the run chase, CSK’s openers Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad provided an excellent start, forging a fifty partnership within the powerplay overs. Although spinner Noor Ahmad dismissed both openers in quick succession, CSK maintained their aggressive approach. Ajinkya Rahane contributed 27 runs off 13 balls, while Rayudu’s explosive hitting was halted by Mohit Sharma’s consecutive wickets. Sharma took a return catch to dismiss Rayudu and later caught Dhoni for a first-ball duck. This left Jadeja and Shivam Dube, who played a crucial unbeaten innings of 32 runs off 21 balls, to guide CSK to victory.

MS Dhoni, who has been leading the Chennai franchise since the inception of the IPL, expressed his willingness to continue playing for another season. Despite the temptation to retire, Dhoni acknowledged the immense love and support he has received from CSK fans and considered it a gift to play another season.

In the penultimate over, Mohammed Shami delivered an exceptional performance, conceding only three runs and leaving CSK with the daunting task of scoring 13 runs off the final six balls. However, Mohit Sharma’s excellent bowling restricted CSK to just nine runs off the first four deliveries. It seemed like CSK might fall short, but Jadeja’s extraordinary last-minute heroics sealed the victory.

Earlier in the match, Chennai’s fielding lapses allowed the Gujarat Titans to gain momentum. Deepak Chahar missed catching opportunities against Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha. Gill, the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 890 runs, contributed 39 runs off 20 balls before being stumped by Dhoni. Saha played a valuable knock of 54 runs. Sudharsan played aggressively and shared two crucial partnerships, including a 64-run stand with Saha and an explosive 81-run partnership off just 33 balls with Titans captain Hardik Pandya. Sudharsan’s innings featured eight boundaries and six sixes, but he was denied a well-deserved century in the final over by Matheesha Pathirana’s superb yorker.

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