Watch: From Sunil Narine's hitting to Sakshi Dhoni hitting out, 'Free Hit' discusses talking points from 2nd week of IPL
Rohan Gavaskar and Amol Muzumder were back with another show of Free Hit and, as usual, there was plenty of fun and frolic.
Rohan Gavaskar and Amol Muzumder were back with the third episode of Free Hit – a show brought to you by Firstpost in association with Exhale Sports – and, as usual, there was plenty of fun and frolic. Fit again Virat Kohli's return was big news for not just Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), but for all the fans of the IPL in general and Rohan and Amol announced the news in their own distinctive way, with some Kohli-style profanities and with Kohli pictured as 'Wolverine' too! Add to that a howl in the background and you were not left even with a shadow of a doubt that the maverick RCB captain was back.
He had a phenomenal Indian Premier League (IPL) last year with four hundreds and followed it up with a great run on the international stage. But he did not have a great Test series against Australia and is coming out of an injury. Can he recreate the magic of 2016? That was the big question on Rohan and Amol's mind.
On to the biggest news (read 'Free Hit') of last week, and none possibly bigger than Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wife Sakshi coming out in support of the former Rising Pune Supergiant captain, who had been under some attack, from some quarters. She did that by getting herself pictured in the yellow of Chennai Super Kings, a team which Dhoni captained with such distiction, and which is expected to be back in the IPL next year, after serving out a suspension. Sakshi's actions had great symbolic significance and could be interpreted as her way of getting back at the brother of Pune owner Sanjeev Goenka, Harsh Goenka, who had some harsh words for Dhoni on Twitter.
Sunil Narine coming out to open against Kings XI Punjab, and hitting the bowlers to all ends of the park made news too. "He's a freak, maan," says Amol in a heavy Caribbean accent, and Rohan responds in a Caribbean accent of his own. His father, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, had a special relationship with the West Indies, and he would know the Caribbean accent well, one feels.
Chris Morris' nine-ball unbeaten 38 against Rising Pune Supergiant came up for discussion then and through fun and games, Rohan and Amol expressed how impactful that innings was.
Sanju Samson's imperious hundred in the same match was the fourth on the list of top newsmakers of last week, and Amol shared the story of how he had a chance to play with him during the fag end of his career. They were playing on a rank turner somewhere deep in Kerala and the way Sanju batted in that innings left Amol in awe. "What I noticed from the slips was that he had great hands. He has the quality to succeed at the international level," Amol said. He had not had a good domestic season, but was he a player who performed at a higher level, Rohan asked. The selectors might want to take a chance and put him in the India squad and see how he performed, Rohan suggested. Some food for thought there.
The discussion then went on with the 'Fan on the Deck' Shiv Burman joining in. Burman is an IPL insider, having been associated with with KXIP and lives in Kolkata. and there were some interesting light-hearted discussions between the trio. The show ended with Amol shouldering arms to a question on who his No 1 Mumbai batsman was - Sachin Tendulkar, or Sunil Gavaskar. With Rohan on the show, possibly a good decision to play it safe and let that question pass!
Iyer started hitting the nets recently but it is understood that he is far from being ready for the 22 July- 18 August tournament.
Ashwin, who is one of the three Indian spinners to take over 400 Test wickets, gave away 99 runs as Somerset scored a mammoth 429 all out in 148.5 overs.
The 30-year-old, who has been captaining Middlesex this season, couldn't play their Championship Group Two game on Sunday after being forced into isolation following a positive test result.