De Kock sets Pak huge task

The Hitavada - - SPORTS -

RISHABH Pant is a “cham­pion crick­eter in the mak­ing”, who is very much in the mix for the 2019 In­dia’s World Cup cam­paign for his abil­ity to seam­lessly switch for­mats, says chair­man of se­lec­tor MSK Prasad.

Af­ter be­ing “rested” for the ODI se­ries against Aus­tralia and New Zealand, there have been con­jec­tures about his place in the Eng­land-bound squad but Prasad set the record straight about se­lec­tion com­mit­tee’s plans about tal­ents such as Pant and Shub­man Gill.

“Rishabh Pant played three T20s and four Test matches in Aus­tralia and that had an im­pact on his body. He needed com­plete rest for two weeks and then we will take a call on how many matches he will play against Eng­land Li­ons. Let me put it straight, he is very much in our World Cup plans. He is a cham­pion player in the mak­ing and even he is not fully aware the kind of po­ten­tial he has,” Prasad told PTI in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view.

Prasad is happy that Pant is now un­der­stand­ing what skip­per Vi­rat Kohli and coach Ravi Shas­tri ex­pect of him and Syd­ney was a tes­ti­mony to that.

“Ravi and Vi­rat had ad­vised him to put his head down and re­spect the match sit­u­a­tion and he did ex­actly that. He proved that he can switch gears seam­lessly. When we picked him for Tests, ex­perts were scep­ti­cal about his keep­ing but 11 catches in a Test in Eng­land, record dis­missals in Aus­tralia se­ries proves A CEN­TURY by Quin­ton de Kock en­sured Pak­istan would face a huge task in their quest for a con­so­la­tion win in the third and fi­nal Test against South Africa at the Wan­der­ers Sta­dium on Sun­day.

Need­ing 381 runs to win, Pak­istan were 34 for no wicket at tea on the third day.

De Kock equalled his Test-best score of 129 be­fore South Africa were bowled out for 303. It was De Kock’s fourth Test cen­tury and his first in two years.

De Kock went to the wicket with his side in some trou­ble at 93 for five, at which stage their lead was a mod­est 170.

De Kock shared a sixth wicket stand of 102 with Hashim Amla, who made 71, be­fore adding 79 for the eighth wicket with Kag­iso Rabada (21).

In an in­nings stud­ded with flow­ing strokes, De Kock reached his fifty off 49 balls and his cen­tury off 121 de­liv­er­ies.

He was fi­nally caught in the deep, try­ing for a se­cond suc­ces­sive six off leg-spin­ner Shadab Khan, af­ter fac­ing 138 balls and hit­ting 18 fours and a six.

Shadab fin­ished with three for 41 while medium-pacer Fa­heem Ashraf took three for 42.

Pak­istan open­ing bats­men Imam-ul Haq and Shan Ma­sood both started con­fi­dently as they scored freely against Dale Steyn and Ver­non Phi­lan­der, nei­ther of FOR­MER Goa Ranji player Ra­jesh Ghodge (44) died af­ter col­laps­ing dur­ing a lo­cal-level match in Mar­gao town of the state Sun­day af­ter­noon. “He was at the non-striker end when he col­lapsed. He was im­me­di­ately shifted to a hos­pi­tal,” a se­nior mem­ber of the Mar­gao Cricket Club which had or­gan­ised the tour­na­ment told PTI.

The in­ci­dent took place at the Ra­jen­dra Prasad Sta­dium around 2.30 pm.

The crick­eter was de­clared dead upon ar­rival at the hos­pi­tal. Ghodge was part of the Goa Ranji squad in 1999-2000 and was ac­tive in lo­cal cricket cir­cles.

When joke be­came re­al­ity for Ja­son

ON A dream ODI de­but, Aus­tralian pacer Ja­son Behren­dorff picked up a wicket in his very first over and this was ex­actly what he had joked about ahead of the match. whom was able to find the swing or seam move­ment that they gen­er­ated in the first in­nings.

Pak­istan have only made one to­tal over 200 in their first five in­nings in the se­ries and have not bat­ted for longer than 70.4 overs.

In a night­mare start to their chase, In­dia were re­duced to four for three in the fourth over, with Behren­dorff snap­ping up Shikhar Dhawan for a duck in the very first over.

“I was a lit­tle ner­vous in the first over. It shows you care and it was good fun. But I can­not ask much more than how that first over went about. I joked with a cou­ple of guys that I would love to have a wicket in my first ODI over, and then it hap­pened. That was one way to set­tle the nerves,” Behren­dorff said on Sun­day.

RR ap­point Up­ton as Head Coach

RA­JASTHAN Roy­als have brought back for­mer Team In­dia men­tal con­di­tion­ing coach Paddy Up­ton in their ranks for the forth­com­ing In­dian Pre­mier League sea­son.

Dur­ing his ear­lier stint, Up­ton was the head coach for four years, reach­ing the semi-fi­nals of the IPL in 2013. The edi­tion was par­tic­u­lar dif­fi­cult one as three of its play­ers in­clud­ing the tainted S Sreesanth, were ar­rested mid­way into the tour­na­ment on al­le­ga­tions of spot-fix­ing.

The same year, Roy­als also reached the fi­nal of the Cham­pi­ons League T20.

His big­gest achieve­ment came with the In­dian na­tional team, as men­tal con­di­tion­ing coach, when he com­bined with head coach Gary Kirsten to guide In­dia to 2011 ODI World Cup ti­tle and World No.1 rank in ICC Test rank­ings.

South African bats­man Quin­ton de Kock raises his bat and hel­met as he cel­e­brates his hun­dred dur­ing third day of their third Test against Pak­istan at Wan­der­ers cricket sta­dium in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa. (AFP/Gi­an­luigi Guer­cia)

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