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Virat Kohli and Anushka Show Social Responsibility


The star cricketer Virat Kohili and the Bollywood’s feisty actress Anushka Sharma tied the knot last December in the midst of their family and close friends. Ever since, they have been on the news for good reasons! Now, Virat has posted a video of his wife questioning a passerby on not being responsible enough on roads!

The video features Anushka questioning a random person on road about why he is throwing plastic on the road and spoiling the environment. It has obviously become viral and bringing some sense to all the common folks who get carried away on roads by throwing litter on streets!

It is indeed interesting to see the star couple showing such responsible and promoting healthy and clean India!

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Virat Kohli scared of Anushka Sharma


Indian star cricketer Virat Kohli got hitched to his rumored girlfriend Anushka Sharma last year through a destination wedding. After a short holiday, the duo got back to work and Anushka is eagerly waiting for the release of her next film Pari which is a horror thriller. Anushka played the title role and she bankrolled Pari on Clean Slate Films. An excited Anushka hosted a special screening of the film last night for her close friends including her husband Virat Kohli.

Virat was left scared with Anushka’s performance in the film and he left Anushka in heaps of praises. He took his official twitter handle saying “Watched Pari last night, has to be my Wife’s best work ever! One of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. Got quite scared but so very proud of you @AnushkaSharma”. Directed by Prosit Roy, Pari features Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Ritabhari Chakraborty in the lead roles which released all over today.

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Plenty of cricket still to be played in the series


Free-flowing advice has poured in from across the cricketing world for Virat Kohli and his teammates after the setback at Newlands. Much of it for the batsmen, a little to bowlers and the team management.

Old-timers talked about the batsmen’s lack of technique, the line and length of the bowlers and some dissected the team selection and some others turned sports psychologists going into the mindset of players when the seaming ball is flying around.

All after one bad defeat. This is not the first time the India team was rattled by fast bowlers nor is it the first time they lost the first Test of a series. Why overseas, they lost the first Test even at home to Australia by a massive 333 runs at Pune last year and before that to Sri Lanka at Galle. On both the occasions they bounced back to take the series 2-1. The difference is in both the Tests it was not the pace but the spin of Steve O’Keefe and Rangana Herath that baffled the Indians.

The situation is different now, and also the conditions. The bounce in South Africa is disconcerting to the batsmen, and, to make matters worse, the seaming ball posed questions at the Newlands. It is not that the batsmen have not coped with such conditions. They have done well in different atmospheric and pitch conditions in England, Australia and in South Africa, managing to win Tests if not series like they are used to back home.

No one can allege that India win Tests on doctored pitches any longer. South Africa, England and Australia were beaten on good wickets the last time they toured India. For that matter, Kohli did not blame the Newlands pitch for his team’s defeat, he was all praise for it as it had something for everyone. Batsmen who could play the cut and pull were happy with the bounce and so were those who could hit through the line. Only those who poked at deliveries well outside their off-stump or played across the line looked inept and ungainly.

Having said that, on another day the Indian batsmen would put the same attack to the sword in slightly different conditions.

Losing a Test chasing 208 runs can demoralise the best of teams and it will surely hurt the World Number One team. But looking at India’s record at the venues India will be playing the remaining two Tests, at SuperSport Park at the Centurion, starting Saturday, and then at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, they need not be disheartened even if the pitches there are known to be quick with bounce.

India played only one Test at the Centurion — on the 2010-11 tour — and lost it by an innings after being put in to bat and bowled out for 136 in the first innings, though they scored 459 in the second knock thanks to Sachin Tendulkar’s century (111) and healthy contributions from Gautam Gambhir (80), Virendra Sehwag (63) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (90).

At Wanderers India have an unbeaten record, winning in 2010-11 to share the series 1-1, and drawing the other three, including a bizarre finish to a Test which the South Africans should have won, but they chose to settle for a draw, eighth-wicket pair Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn not wanting to take chances, even when they needed eight runs chasing 458.

It only proves that there is still plenty of cricket to be played. Under the circumstances, who should be India’s horses for the two courses? The options for the second Test are limited and, in fact, little if the team management goes by normal cricket sense instead of panicking after the loss at Newlands.

The media waited for the Test to end to ask why Ajinkya Rahane and Lokesh Rahul were not played and Kohli was quick to respond, both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were included on current form. So, can they be dropped now after failing in one Test in which the best of batsmen on both sides could not get going?

Don’t forget the year 2017 belonged to both Kohli and Rohit, who had shone across the formats.

If a case is made out for Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit’s camp will ask how can you drop a guy who scored 82, 51 not out, 102 not out, 65 and 50 not out in his last five Test innings, at an average of 175? If the overseas record is taken into account, Murali Vijay has as good a record as any and see how he groped to find his off-stump.

Then there is a suggestion of players playing their natural game. Dhawan tried doing it and did not succeed. Rohit was cautious but he looked good in till he got out without notice. We can‘t also be asking the present lot to bat like Sehwag or V.V.S. Laxman, if not Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid.

Imagine the pressure on Rahul and Rahane if they are pitchforked into the side. You can’t be changing and chopping players after every individual failure and a Test loss.

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Anushka, Virat Kohli hold second, star-studded reception in Mumbai


After hosting their first reception in Delhi, high-profile couple Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma hosted their second reception attended by stars from both the sporting world and the film world here on Tuesday.

Big Celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Rekha and more were spotted at the reception.

After hosting their first reception in Delhi, Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, the high profile couple hosted their second reception here at St Regis’ Astor Ballroom in Mumbai.

The couple looked beautiful. While Anushka seen in side slick hair with cascading curls and nude lips to go with the elegant vibe of her ensemble and wearing a Sabyasachi creation – a dull gold heavily embroidered and embellished lehenga set teamed with a matching dupatta, cinched at the waist with a signature Sabyasachi belt. She completed the heavy dress with simple earing studs, a diamond neck-piece and traditional Punjabi red bangles set.

Hubby Virat wore a navy velvet bandhgala which he paired with a pair of white pants and brown shoes.

At the reception among the attendees also included people from the sports world and was represented by Chief selector Sandeep Patil, Saina Nehwal, Ravindra Jadeja, M.S. Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Hardik Pandya, Zaheer Khan, Jaydev Unadkat, Cheteshwar Pujara, Umesh Yadav and many more, while Bollywood bigwigs such as Rekha, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Kangana Ranaut, Prasoon Joshi, Anurag Kashyap, Lara Dutta, Ramesh Taurani, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sidharth Roy Kapur, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Boman Irani, Rajkumar Hirani, newbie Sara Ali Khan and Ibrahim Ali Khan, Dino Morea, Music Maestro A.R. Rahman were present.

Right from their environment-friendly invites with saplings to the anthology of Rumi’s poems as return gifts, the couple seems to have invested great thought in all the functions. They made sure that all the events reflected the spirit of their companionship and their personalities.

After wrapping the wedding festivities, Anushka and Virat will fly off to South Africa, where Virat will stay on for an upcoming series.

Anushka is scheduled to touch base in Mumbai after New Year celebrations, where she will resume her pending work commitments – a film with Aanand L. Rai, YRF’s “Sui Dhaaga” and the promotions of “Pari”.

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Virat, Anushka meet Modi


Virat, Anushka meet Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday met newly-married Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and his Bollywood actress wife Anushka Sharma and congratulated the couple.

Along with the couple, Kohli’s brother Vikas was also present during the meet.

“Captain of the Indian cricket team @imVkohli and noted actor @AnushkaSharma met PM @narendramodi this evening. The Prime Minister congratulated them on their wedding,” said PMO’s Twitter handle in a caption accompanying a picture of the meeting.

Virat and Anushka, who tied the knot at a picturesque location in Italy on December 11, will host two receptions — in New Delhi on December 21 and in Mumbai on December 26.

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BJP MLA Questions Virat Kohli’s Patriotism


BJP MLA Questions Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli marriage

We are all well-aware of the fact that Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are one of the most talked couples in the recent times and a couple of days ago, the couple got hitched in a low-key lavish Italian wedding. Now, on a shocking note, BJP MLA Pannalal Shakya from Pune lashed out on Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma for getting married outside India and even questioned Virat’s patriotism and respect towards the country.

In a public meeting, BJP neta Shakya said, “In the country where Ram, Krishna, Vikramaditya, and Yuddistara got married and you people married or would get married. No one among us goes to a foreign land like him to get married. He has earned his fame and money in this country, but took all of it abroad.”

He also questioned the couple, why they didn’t get married in India and the respect they have towards their country.

Ever since the statement is out, the politician has started receiving a big blow on social media, a majority of the people are in support of Virushka.

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Virat, Anushka wed in Italy, begin new innings

Virat, Anushka wed in Italy

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma — India’s most watched couple — sealed their relationship with a wedding — here amidst close family and friends on Monday.

“Today we have promised each other to be bound in love forever. We are truly blessed to share the news with you,” Virat and Anushka posted on their social media accounts.

“This beautiful day will be made more special with the love and support of our family of fans and well-wishers. Thank you for being such an important part of our journey,” the statement read.

The happy couple shared their wedding photographs on social media with fans. In one image, they are seen laughing happily during the ‘phera’ ceremony, while in another, a smiling Anushka is seen holding the garland to place it on Virat, who is held aloft by friends.

A string of congratulatory messages from the film and sports fraternity followed the official announcement. The wedding was solemnised as per Hindu rituals at 2 p.m. here, with the bride and groom looking resplendent in ensembles by celebrated couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

For the D-day, Anushka wore a pale pink lehenga with Renaissance embroidery in vintage English colours embellished with silver-gold metal thread, pearls and beads. The bridal jewellery, handcrafted with syndicate uncut diamonds, pale pink spinel and baroque Japanese cultured pearls, was by the Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry collection.

The groom looked smart in an ivory raw silk sherwani hand-embroidered in a vintage Benarasi pattern, with an old rose silk kota safa. The couple, who has been together for four years, is said to have chosen a luxury heritage resort Borgo Finocchieto, a little over 100 km away from here, for their nuptials. They appointed boutique wedding planning and production experts Shaadi Squad to ensure their celebrations were special and classy.

A host of photographs and video clips from the gala, which was preceded by a mehendi and engagement ceremony, suggest the decor was minimalistic and sophisticated.

An Instagram post by Shaadi Squad reads: “Four months of keeping a secret, hiding even from our own team, the secret recces, midnight meetings, vague conversations, and sleepless nights have finally manifested into this grand moment.”

Anushka and Virat, both 29, set tongues wagging about their wedding when they were seen leaving the Mumbai and Delhi airport respectively with their family members last week. All of them maintained a stoic silence, keeping the secrecy about the much-anticipated union intact.

Virat has been fairly open about how Anushka’s presence in his life has brought in positive changes in him, but the actress has preferred to keep her private life private. The rumours about their wedding had gathered steam when Virat asked for rest during the ODI and T20Is against Sri Lanka. He will join the team for the South Africa series which starts from December 30.

But before that, the couple will be hosting a reception in New Delhi for their relatives on December 21, followed by a reception for industry friends and cricketers in Mumbai on December 26.

They will be shifting to their new residence in Worli, Mumbai in December once they return from Delhi.

The couple will then travel to South Africa where Virat will start prepping for the upcoming series and Anushka will spend New Year’s Eve with him, read a statement from the actress’ representative. She will return in the first week of January to begin the next schedule of Aanand L. Rai’s film with Shah Rukh in Mumbai. She will also start prepping for “Sui Dhaaga” as the shooting for the same starts in February 2018 with Varun Dhawan.

That apart, the actress-producer will also be busy with the marketing and promotions of “Pari”, which will release on February 9.

Anushka, the daughter of an army officer, was a model before she made inroads with “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” opposite Shah Rukh Khan in 2008. It set the pace of a career which has seen her be a part of movies like “Band Baaja Baaraat”, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, “PK”, “NH10”, “Dil Dhadakne Do”, “Sultan” and “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. Her last release was “Jab Harry Met Sejal” earlier this year.

Even Virat’s India career started in 2008 in the senior team, after he led the U-19 team to a World Cup win. He has had a glorious run on the cricket pitch ever since.

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Virat and Anushka Wedding Photos


Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma Wedding Photos

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Virat and Anushka to Wed in Italy?


Virat kohli and Anushka Sharma to Wedding in Italy

Indian cricket team’s dashing captain and player Virat Kohli has been dating Bollywood’s glamor diva Anushka Sharma for quite some time now and the couple have appeared in the festive Manyavar ad as well together in stunning costumes.

As per the latest updates, Virat and Anushka will tie the knot in dream destination Italy in second week of December. The wedding is touted to be a three day event in the midst of respective families and friends. Anushka’s bridal look will be designed by celebrated costume designer Sabyasachi and the wedding bells will begin from the 9th!

However, Anushka’ PR has denied the news and an official confirmation is awaited from the couple about this.

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Virat Kohli becomes first captain to score hat-trick of tons in 3-match series


Arjun Reddy Review,Arjun Reddy

Indian cricket’s current “Milestone Man” Virat Kohli on Saturday became the first international captain to hit three successive hundreds in a three-Test series.

Kohli also completed his individual 5,000-runs mark in the longest version of the game. While many captains have had three or four Test tons in a five-match series, it is rarity that a batsman has scored three consecutive tons in a three-match series. Kohli now has 11 international hundreds in a season—one less than Sachin Tendulkar’s 12.

The Indian captain scored 104 not out in Kolkata followed by 213 in Nagpur before completing his hat-trick with his 20th Test hundred in his 63rd game in New Delhi.

Incidentally, this is also Kohli’s first ever Test hundred at the Feroz Shah Kotla. His century off 110 balls and the half-century off 52 balls were his individual fastest landmarks in this format. The 5,000-runs mark came in 105th innings, which is the fourth fastest among Indian batsmen after Sunil Gavaskar (95 innings), Virender Sehwag (98 innings) and Sachin Tendulkar (103 innings).

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Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma set the dance floor on fire

Zaheer Khan, who played all forms of the cricket for India from 2000 till 2014, tied knot with Sagarika Ghatge, an Indian model and film actress. Do you remember Sharukh’s Chak De India movie? She is the one who portrayed the role of Preeti Sabarwal in that super hit movie. While these newlyweds themselves were a sight for sore eyes, Virat Kohli and Anushka’s dance in their wedding reception party left the guests gasping for breath as they set the dance floor on fire.

Fan clubs of Virat and Anushka shared the video of the two burning the dance floor and the video went viral. Of course this is not the first time these love birds seen dancing together. The last time Virat and Anushka were seen dancing during cricketer Yuvraj Singh and actress Hazel Keech’s wedding. Back then too, Virat and Anushka, who are lovingly called ‘Virushka’ by their fans, made sure they made an impression with their dance.

One more interesting observation is both Yuvaraj and Zaheer were cricketers and married actresses. Virat and Anushka, meanwhile, have kept their fans wondering as to when they are finally tying the knot.

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Bollywood tie-ups: A lucrative e-commerce formula


Bollywood plays a big role in influencing youth and, keeping this in mind, the trend of e-commerce websites associating with films and film celebrities has of late gone to the next level. This partnership boosts customer footfalls and adds to business, say experts.

Actors like Anushka Sharma, Kriti Sanon, Shahid Kapoor, and even cricketer Virat Kohli have in recent times launched their own brands exclusively on some of the known portals.

“Bollywood stars are helping in building the brand as they are influencers, especially to our main target audience, that is youth. Bollywood is something that everybody observes and keenly follows; they are the main trendsetters in India,” Jigar Agarwal, Co-Founder at Ninecolours.com, told IANS.

“They help e-commerce companies by increasing the reach of customers as Bollywood has a huge influence. Creatively, it’s the designer who makes fashionable outfits, but it becomes a trend only when Bollywood stars opt for those outfits,” he added.

Kabir Mehra and Samarth Hegde, who co-founded Herringbone & Sui, a brand that creates made-to-measure suits and Indian formal wear for “sophisticated men”, agree celebrity endorsement help in driving traffic on an e-commerce platform, but “it is the engagement with our platform that helps us convert business and retain customers”.

A celebrity dressing association with Shahid Kapoor in August led to a growth of 12 per cent in traffic on Herringbone & Sui.

Samarth said: “We have dressed many Indian and international celebrities over the past few years. Their reach is immense, globally. While there is tremendous credibility accredited to a brand by virtue of its associations and friends, ultimately, conversions boil down to consumers’ experiences with the brand.”

According to a report, some 55-60 million consumers are currently buying fashion products online, pointing to high interest.

In the past, Myntra has tied-up with Mandira Bedi to retail her sari range. Also, Jabong partnered with young actress Alia Bhatt, who brought out “Alia Bhatt for Jabong”, while Snapdeal had actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s jewellery line Satyug.

Even Anushka came up with her fashion brand NUSH, exclusively available on Myntra; Shahid’s brand Skult is exclusively available on Abof.com and other platforms. Then there’s also Kriti Sanon’s brand Ms.taken and Virat Kohli’s brand Wrogn, exclusively available on Myntra, adding to the growing trend.

Also, Hrithik Roshan tied up with fashion portal Myntra to launch his own private label HRX. Shraddha Kapoor made a debut as a designer with clothing line Imara, while Sonam Kapoor, along with sister Rhea, are the proud owners of Rheson.

“HRX is a consortium between Hrithik Roshan and Exceed Entertainment who came together to form the brand five years ago. As a brand, HRX has seen extensive involvement from Hrithik with regards to promotion, product design and quality control.

“HRX has maintained a phenomenal year-on-year growth of 100 per cent and the footwear category has been the key driver for the brand. The footwear category, currently at 16 per cent, is projected to grow to 24 per cent of the overall portfolio by the end of the year,” Afsar Zaidi, Co-Founder and CEO, HRX, told IANS.

“Last year, HRX clocked Rs 81 crore in revenue and this financial year we are projecting a revenue of Rs 160 crore,” he added.

Gauri Tandon, who co-founded Isharya, a brand that offers premium modern Indian jewellery, says she noticed a spike in interest in a product the minute it’s been spotted on a celebrity.

“We recently had Deepika Padukone sighted wearing not one but two of our necklaces… We were flooded with orders for this same necklace and look and even though we hadn’t originally designed it this way. We created a new necklace to look and sit just like how Deepika wore it and the choker, affectionately dubbed ‘The Deepika choker’ by us, is a bestseller today,” Tandon told IANS.

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Virat Kohli a relaxed, genuine person: Aamir Khan


Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, who will be seen alongside Virat Kohli in a Diwali special show on TV, has praised the Indian skipper and called him a relaxed and genuine person.

“What fun it was interacting with Virat! He is such a relaxed, straight-forward and genuine person. And what a dancer,” Aamir tweeted on Saturday alongside a promo of the show, which will air on Zee TV on Sunday.

In the promo, Aamir can be seen learning Punjabi folk dance bhangra from Virat and host Aparshakti Khurana.

“It’s a Diwali special episode so two bomb performers of our country, Virat and Aamir sir had to be there. It was lovely to host these two gems,” Aparshakti said in a statement.

Aamir and Aparshakti worked together in the 2016 sports drama film “Dangal”.

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Secret of Virat Kohli’s Fitness


Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli is one of the highly regarded and most successful cricketers of this generation. Is it only his immaculate technique and sheer talent that helped him in scaling such phenomenal heights in the history of cricket sport?

BCCI has revealed what sort of strenuous effort goes in the making of a legend that Kohli is. In the video, India’s fitness coach Shankar Basu is seen formulating Kohli’s daily routine which the Indian skipper practices to perfection.

Those who have tracked the skipper’s career from his early days know that he wasn’t the most athletic player. His discipline and strict fitness regime over the years, especially for the past four years, have not just made him one of the fittest players in the world but also set the fitness bar for the whole Indian team. His coach credits his fitness regimen as one of the key factors for his success in all the three formats of cricket.

Kohli and his men are currently gearing up to take on Sri Lanka in the second ODI on August 24 after registering a thumping 9-wicket victory in the first ODI.

Courtesy : BCCI

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Don’t think we need to change anything for final: Kohli

Pakistan’s “magnificent turnaround” has impressed him but India captain Virat Kohli says there is nothing that his side needs to be overtly concerned about ahead of the Champions Trophy final against the arch-foes on Sunday.

India eased past Bangladesh to enter the finals while Pakistan got the better of more fancied England in their semifinal clash.

India have already beaten Pakistan in the ongoing tournament during the preliminary stage.

Speaking about what is expected to be a high-voltage second clash, Kohli was nonchalant.

“What we are going to try to do is repeat the similar sort of cricket that we have played so far, knowing the strengths and weaknesses they have. Obviously, we will have to plan a bit according to that, but I don’t know if there’s much that we need to change as a team,” he said.

“I don’t think we need to look too far away from what we are doing as a group, I think focus on our skills and our abilities and believe in ourselves on that particular day, and we will give ourselves a good chance to go out there and do some good things for the team,” he added.

Asked if India made a statement to their bitter rivals with the nine-wicket triumph over Bangladesh last night, Kohli dismissed the suggestion.

“There are no statements in this game, honestly. On the day you arrive, if you are not feeling well mentally, it doesn’t matter whether you are 100 or whether you had a convincing victory.

“And there will be days, when you score a zero and you feel great on the day as you have won a game of cricket.

That’s how this game goes, and that’s the beauty of this game,” said Kohli when asked if Pakistan will be rattled by India’s performance.

“No one is a winner beforehand, and you can’t predict anything in this game. We have seen some really surprising results, and it’s been amazing for the fans to watch and for the players to be a part of, as well. We just want to enjoy the finals and we deserve to be there,” the skipper had a calm confidence in his tone.

But, he insisted that his team never takes anything for granted.

“We played some really good cricket. We are not going to take anything for granted for sure. It doesn’t matter whether we win by nine wickets, we win by one wicket. We are just going to go there and try to do the same things again and again. Be bowling as a team, and hopefully the results will come,” he added.

He was all praise for Pakistan team’s turnaround in the competition.

“Yeah, I am very impressed. The turnaround has been magnificent. Obviously, if you reach the finals, you have to play some good cricket, and credit to them, they have turned around things for themselves really well.

“They have beaten sides that looked really strong against them, but the belief just showed on the field the way they played together as a team, and you know, regardless of who you play in the finals, it’s always going to be challenging because once you start thinking that it’s a big game, then your mindset changes,” the skipper gave a peek into the mindset of an international team.

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Bowlers give India strong chance to defend CT title: Laxman Interview


Terming young pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as among the best death overs bowlers in world cricket, former star batsman V.V.S Laxman said a powerful bowling line-up gives India a strong chance to defend their Champions Trophy title.

Laxman said that skipper Virat Kohli will be depending on these two bowlers because of their current form and the pace-friendly conditions in England which will host the Champions Trophy from June 1 to 18.

Kumar scalped three wickets in each of the two warm-up matches that India played against New Zealand and Bangladesh while Bumrah was economical.

“India has got four quality fast bowlers and along with that they have got two quality spinners in (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja; it’s important to pick up wickets not only with the new ball but also with the middle overs.

“And I believe that Virat Kohli will depend a lot on Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, possibly two of the best death bowlers in world cricket, to bowl well at the end,” Laxman told IANS.

“So I think Virat Kohli has got luxury and options from which he can choose the best playing combination depending on the surfaces the team is going to play on and also the weather conditions.

“I believe that India has got a very good chance of defending the Champions Trophy. The way they played in both the warm-up games, the batsmen are in good form, but the bowlers have been very ruthless,” the former right-handed batsman added.

India are placed in Group B along with Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The defending champions will start their Champions Trophy campaign on June 4 against arch-rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston.

Laxman also said that the much-awaited match against Pakistan will be a high profile one because of the fact that India rarely play against their arch-rivals.

“The expectations of the countrymen of both countries will be really high but as far as Virat Kohli and his team are concerned, I’m sure his message to the team would be, go out, just keep aside all the distractions from outside and just look to focus on the target and the task at hand — and go out and express yourself, play your natural game,” the 42-year-old said.

“And I believe that once they do that, they have got the ability and the potential to not only beat Pakistan but to also retain the Champion’s Trophy,” he added.

India will play their next two matches at The Oval in London, against the Lankans on June 8 and then South Africa on June 11.

The veteran batsman also praised Kohli for his attacking game and said its good to see him playing like this.

India defeated New Zealand by 45-runs in the first warm-up game and then outplayed Bangladesh by 240-runs in the second tie. And in both the games, India managed to bundle out the opposition inside 40 overs.

“Virat as a captain was very attacking, because to bowl out both New Zealand and Bangladesh in that fashion, and the way they were getting the wickets, it was really heartening to see,” Laxman said.

In the second match, opener Shikhar Dhawan (60) and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (94 retired hurt) put on a 100-run stand for the third wicket before all-rounder Hardik Pandya smashed a 54-ball unbeaten 80 to propel India to a mammoth 324/7.

Laxman praised the Indian batsmen for showing the temperament and skills in English conditions.

“It was really good to see the way Dinesh Karthik, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and even Virat Kohli in the first match against New Zealand bat,” Laxman said.

“You know it’s very important when you are playing in English conditions to play close to your body and play late.”

“You cannot reach out or play the shots away from your body and so it’s also important to assess the conditions, not only the pitch conditions but also the weather conditions which can change dramatically during the day,” he added.

Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri had earlier said that the Champions Trophy is only an overdose of cricket for the audience and equally hard on the players. When asked about the importance of the tournament Laxman differed from his former teammate’s comment.

“I always felt that the Champion’s Trophy is a very good tournament, it is always treated like a mini World Cup,” Laxman said.

“This time it is going to be short and crisp, with only eight teams involved so it is going to be a highly competitive tournament and I think there are 4-5 contenders who can win the trophy,” he added.

Laxman also named his four semi-finalists of the tournament.

“For me the four semi-finalists would be England, Australia, South Africa and India and whichever team plays well on that particular day will win the championship but it is going to be highly competitive tournament,” Laxman concluded.

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