Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
Australia defeated India by 35 runs in the fifth ODI in Delhi yesterday to win the series 3-2. Chasing a target of 273, India managed to score just 237 in their 50 overs after recovering from yet another middle order collapse. India dropped KL Rahul from the game and played Rishabh Pant at number four while Vijay Shankar came in at number five. It was a last-ditch effort by India to settle on a good batting order. A scratchy Rohit Sharma top scored for the hosts with 56 runs while Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar made 44 and 46 respectively. Jadhav and Kumar tried to resurrect India’s innings but the bowling of Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa was too good for them. Zampa finished with 3/46.
Earlier, Usman Khawaja scored his second century of the series, making 100 runs from 106 balls, as Australia negotiated a dicey pitch to put 272 on the board. Peter Handscomb chipped in with 52 runs. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was the pick of India’s bowlers, taking 3/48. However, the Australian total would prove competitive given that India have not successfully chased a 250-plus total at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the last 37 years.
What’s worrying for India is that yesterday’s match was their last ODI before the 2019 World Cup, which begins in May. This series defeat is India's first at home since losing to South Africa in 2015. India also became the only side in the world to lose an ODI series twice after leading 2-0. On the other hand, Australia made a fantastic comeback, winning three games on the trot to win their first ODI series in India since 2009. This is just the fifth time that a team has won a series after being down 0-2.
The MCC World Cricket Committee has suggested making some additions to Test cricket to make the format more exciting. The MCC proposed changes like a shot clock to prevent time wastage, a standard ball for the inaugural World Test Championship, and free hits for no balls.
The Committee, chaired by former England captain Mike Gatting and includes former India captain Sourav Ganguly, suggested some changes in Test cricket at a meeting held in Bengaluru last week. Speaking about the need for introducing a shot clock, it said, “When asked what the main barriers were for attending Test Cricket, 25 percent of fans from England, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa mentioned slow over rates. In those countries, where spinners bowl fewer overs, the full 90 overs are sometimes not bowled in a day, even with the extra 30 minutes. Whilst the Decision Review System (or DRS) was partly responsible for the delays, the committee felt that a series of measures should be introduced to help...speed up the game.”
The Committee has suggested the following changes:
One, a timer to count down from 45 seconds from the call of "Over"; 60 seconds for a new batsman on strike, and 80 seconds for a change of bowler. If either side is not ready to play when the clock reaches zero, they would receive a warning, and further infringements would result in five Penalty runs being awarded to the opposition.
Two, a similar timer to be used at the fall of wickets, depending on the distance from the dressing rooms to the pitch, and at drinks breaks. Batsmen and fielders should be in position before the clock reaches zero.
And three, during DRS reviews, the standard protocol should be cut short as soon as the TV production team is aware that it will be Not out. For example, time is often spent trying to discern an inside edge for LBWs, only to see, for example, that the ball was missing the stumps. The Committee suggested that as soon as the ball tracking has been loaded, if it will result in a Not out decision, the TV umpire should be informed immediately.
Another major recommendation was the use of a standard ball in the World Test Championship, which begins in July after the 2019 World Cup. Currently, the SG ball is used in India, Dukes in England and West Indies, and Kookaburra in other countries including Australia and South Africa.
They also recommended free hits after no balls, saying, “The system is used in the white-ball formats and the added deterrent results in there being fewer No balls than in Tests. For example, England recently had a spell of 45 ODIs without bowling a No ball, yet they bowled eleven in the three Test series against the West Indies...The system would not only be exciting for crowds when there was a Free Hit, but also it would help to speed up over rates, if fewer No balls are bowled.”
The Indian women's football team kicked off its campaign at the SAFF Women's Championship with a resounding 6-0 win over Maldives on Wednesday. The tournament is being held in Nepal. India come into the tournament as defending champions, and have won the trophy four times.
The Indian team pressed forward from the first whistle, looking to seize the initiative from the get-go. Dangmei Grace put India in the lead eight minutes into the match, thanks to some fine pressing from the Indian attackers, which allowed the winger to latch on to a loose ball inside the box and slot it past the keeper.
The Indians continued their charge to widen the gap, with the Maldives keeper forced into a couple of saves. However, she could do nothing when Ratanbala Devi slammed home India's fifth goal of the match, which came from a direct free-kick from just outside the penalty area in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time.
Sandhiya Ranganathan, Sanju, Indumathi Kathiresan also scored goals as India pretty much dominated Maldives. In the last minute of the match, Sanju added India's sixth goal of the evening, completing the rout.
The Indian team now has an unbeaten run of 20 matches at the SAFF Championships.
In I-League news, former Indian midfielder Renedy Singh was named the new head coach of Neroca FC. He takes over from Spanish coach Manuel Retamero Fraile who quit after Neroca’s sixth-place finish in the just-concluded season.
Neroca lost 2-3 to Real Kashmir at home in their final match, finishing with 26 points from 20 matches. That turned out to be Fraile's last match at the helm of the Imphal side.
39-year-old Renedy, who lives just a few kilometers from the club’s base, donned India colours in 59 matches between 1998 and 2011, during which he was a dead-ball specialist along with Steven Dias. He also captained India on a few occasions and featured in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. He had a stint as assistant coach of Indian Super League side Pune City FC in the 2015-16 season. Renedy is also an AFC - A Licence holder.
Speaking about his new role, Renedy said, “It is an honour to be the head coach of Neroca FC. Hoping I could help the team implement my own philosophy and use my own style, which is going to be important here at Neroca...glad to sign for Neroca FC. Looking to work with the players.”
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 13:54:51 IST