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Stokes might play the ODI World Cup, after all!

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Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has not ruled out the possibility of coming out of ODI retirement for England’s title defence of the 50-over World Cup in India next year.

The 31-year-old England Test captain had announced retirement from ODIs in July, citing pressure on his workload.

However, less than five months after that decision, he has left the door open for a possible U-turn.

Stokes said, “Who knows how I might feel towards a World Cup at the time.”

The next 50-over World Cup will be held in India in October-November in 2023.

“It’s one of those things. Going to a World Cup is an amazing thing to do, to represent your country.”, Stokes said

“But at the moment I’m not even thinking about that. My focus is solely on this series (against Pakistan).”

When Stokes announced his ODI retirement, he had said it should serve as a warning to authorities over the amount of multi-format cricket players are expected to play.

“There is too much cricket rammed in for people to play all three formats now,” he said in July.

“We are not cars, you can’t just fill us up and we’ll go out there and be ready to be fuelled up again.”

He had then dismissed suggestion he would come back to play at the 50-over World Cup.

But the thought of playing another World Cup is too tempting, we presume.

That’s great news for English fans.

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MS Dhoni almost tried to ‘spoil’ Sachin Tendulkar’s significant milestone; Shocked? Check out how

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Sachin Tendulkar & MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni is one of India’s most loved cricketers, thanks to his heroics as a wicketkeeper batter and captain over the years. The former India skipper has had the privilege of witnessing milestones created by his teammates from up close many times. Remember Dhoni at the non-striker’s end when Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in an over against England’s Stuart Broad in the 2007 World Cup to score the fastest T20 half-century?

He was also at the other end when the legendary Sachin Tendulkar achieved a significant milestone in his 24-year cricket career. India vs South Africa, second ODI of the three-match series at Gwalior on 24 February 2010. Opting to bat first, the home team dominated right from the start despite losing Virender Sehwag in the fourth over.

India were 392/3 in 49.2 overs and Tendulkar was at the striker’s end with four balls remaining. The anticipation and excitement of the fans was not to see the team score break the barrier of 400 runs, but the Master Blaster was on 199. Yes, you read that right! He was on the verge of reaching a seemingly impossible milestone.

Finally, the moment came when Tendulkar hit the ball for a single. History was made at the Gwalior International Cricket Stadium. The batting maestro added yet another feather in his cap as he became the first player on the planet to score 200 in men’s ODIs.

MSD made Indian fans’ heart rate higher 

But now you might be thinking how Dhoni has played an antagonist role here. Believe it or not, Tendulkar was almost denied the opportunity to score a double century, not by his opposition, but by his own teammate. It was none other than the then captain of the team, who was standing at the non-striker’s end – ‘Captain Cool’ MSD.

When Tendulkar moved to 199, there were 14 balls left in India’s innings. But he never got a strike in the next 10 balls as Dhoni went berserk in an attempt to increase the team score. He scored 25 runs off those 10 balls, but he played with the patience of fans and his teammate at the other end. But with four balls left in the innings, Dhoni managed to give the strike to Tendulkar and the world witnessed the great man achieve the impossible.

Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 200 off 147 balls and Dhoni made a 35-ball 68 not out to take team total to 401/3. In reply, South Africa were bowled out for 248 runs and India won by 153 runs to clinch the series 2-0 with one game to spare.

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No mercy from India! Jasprit Bumrah set to return for final Test against England in Dharamsala

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Jasprit Bumrah

Team India have pocked the five-match Test series against England with a five-wicket win in the fourth match. With a 3-1 lead in the series, they will head into the final Test in Dharamsala as a confident unit. While it is crucial for Ben Stokes and Co. to leave the touring nation on a positive note, the home side is likely to experiment with their playing XI for the low-key fixture.

According to reports, the Indian cricket management is considering resting a few players for the final Test due to the workload. India were without some key players due to withdrawal and injuries throughout the series. However, the youngsters stepped up and gave the desired result, gaining the confidence of the management.

Meanwhile, the Men in Blue are not going to make it easy for the visitors when the two teams clash at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium from March 7. As per Cricbuzz, elite pacer and the team’s vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah is set to be recalled. This shows that India will go hard in the upcoming match and aim to settle the series 4-1.

Bumrah was rested for the fourth Test in Ranchi as he played three matches on a trot. The 30-year-old has been carefully managed by management since his return from a back injury last year after a nearly year-long absence. He made his comeback in the T20I series against Ireland and after that, he played only in crucial fixtures like the Asia Cup, ODI World Cup, and Test matches. With the 2024 T20 World Cup also around the corner, it will be important for the team to manage Bumrah’s workload.

KL Rahul doubtful for Dharamsala Test 

KL Rahul, who was deemed 90% fit before the third Test in Rajkot, has not fully recovered and is unlikely to play in the final match. Rahul suffered a quadriceps strain in the series opener and missed the next two matches. The report states that the Karnataka cricketer has been sent overseas for treatment.

It remains to be seen whether the under-fire Rajat Patidar will get another chance to prove his mettle in Rahul’s absence. Patidar looked promising in the first innings of the Hyderabad Test, but then lost his rhythm and suffered a series of low scores, including two ducks.

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‘Ye toh Mohammad Kaif 2.0 nikla’ – Fans react as Brendon McCullum accepts series defeat against India and claim themselves to be better than they were in 2022

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Brendon McCullum has reacted to England’s performance in the ongoing series against India. The visiting side are currently trailing 1-3 in the series after the conclusion of the 4th Test in Ranchi. With the fifth Test set to happen in Dharamshala, England have lost the series by all means. They do have a chance to end the series on a high note by winning the last Test.

After the loss against India in the 4th Test, McCullum was in the press conference. He claimed that they are a better side than they were 18 months ago. Brendon acknowledged the fact that they lost the series against India and could not win in the Ashes. He felt that given the way England is playing, there is a good chance of them doing special things in the next 18 months in Test cricket.

“We’ve lost this series and we didn’t win the Ashes, but we’re a better cricket team than we were 18 months ago and we’ve got an opportunity in the next 18 months to do some pretty special shitz. I’m fizzing for it, to be honest,” said McCullum as he was hopeful of a bright future for England in Tests. It is true that England were not as competitive under Joe Root as they are under Ben Stokes.

Improved competitiveness of England

While Root’s tenure was good before the pandemic, the team struggled under his captaincy. 2021 and early 2020 were the years when England was demoralised. They lost in India 1-3 and trailed 1-2 at home against the same opponent. For the first time in over 20 years, NZ beat England in Tests in their own backyard. In 2022, England lost the Ashes 0-4 away from home.

They also lost to the West Indies 0-1 which acted as a final nail in the coffin of Root’s leadership. However, things have changed drastically under Stokes and McCullum. They won the series against New Zealand at home and clean-swept Pakistan in their own backyard. They drew the Ashes 2-2 and drew the series against NZ 1-1 before losing the series against India.

Here’s how the fans reacted to the statement of Brendon McCullum –

 

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