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  • I have learnt a lot from Symonds: Rohit

    We are disappointed to have lost our last game against Rajasthan but with nine matches left, we are hopeful of getting our IPL III campaign back on track, says Rohit Sharma.

    On the eve of his team's home game against Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers' Rohit Sharma spoke to Devendra Pandey about his form during the IPL III and his selection to the T20 World Cup squad.

     

    You should be feeling at home at DY Patil?

     

    Yes, one can say DY Patil is my home ground. I have played many matches here. We are disappointed to have lost our last game against Rajasthan but with nine matches left, we are hopeful of getting our IPL III campaign back on track.

     

    What are the things you have picked up from the likes of Andrew Symonds and Herschelle Gibbs?

     

    They are great team players and I have learnt a lot from them. Symonds is fearless and he can hit a six off any ball - including the first one he faces. One day he told me that a bad ball had its place in the stands and there is no point in wasting it.

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  • I let my bat do the talking: Raina

    The Team India batting sensation is quite content with his current form and is hoping that India does really well against the visiting South African team.

    Hard hitter Suresh Raina believes that he must concentrate only on working hard and let his bat do the talking during international matches. The Team India batting sensation is quite content with his current form and is hoping that India does really well against the visiting South African team.

     

    Raina who was in the state capital just for a day — on Friday, called up his coach Deepak Sharma and requested him to arrange for his practice at the Guru Govind Singh Sports College nets. The trainees at the college were quite impressed when even after practising non-stop for two hours he complained to the coach, "Sir, the sun set very early today."

     

    In an exclusive chat with The Indian Express after the practice, Raina confided, "I practise wherever I get a chance. Even when I am at home in Ghaziabad, I never skip practice. On my visit to

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  • ‘SA series a chance to test our bench’

    The chairman of the national selection committee K Srikkanth said that Rahul and Yuvraj will be missed but is hopeful that their replacements will rise to the occasion.

    The Indian team go into the Test series against the South Africans with gaping holes in their usually solid middle-order. With Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh out of action, the inexperienced pair of Murali Vijay and S Badrinath will be under pressure to deliver.

     

    The chairman of the national selection committee K Srikkanth, in an interview with The Indian Express, says that the mainstays will be missed but is hopeful that their replacements will rise to the occasion. Excerpts:

     

    The top two Test teams in the world are facing each other. Will the contest live up to the hype?

     

    It is going to be an exciting series. A well-fought contest where one will see two good teams facing a great challenge.

     

    Rahul Dravid will not be playing due to injury. How do you think it will affect India's chances?

     

    Any team will miss a guy of

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  • ‘Lanka tour was the turning point’

    With a place in the ODI playing XI almost set in stone, Virat Kohli believes that his achievements so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Tattoo wrapped around the length and breadth of his left arm, Virat Kohli rocked onto the back-foot and pulled Punjab fast bowler Luv Ablish with furious velocity, as the ball left his bat faster than it had arrived. The sound of leather meeting the sweet spot of the willow forced the West Zone team — practicing in Kohli's square-leg area — to take evasive action and shroud their heads in cover, well after the ball had zoomed past them.

     

    During Kohli's 40 minute hit in the North Zone nets on the eve of the Duleep Trophy semi-final between the two teams in Rajkot, the home side was constantly on the lookout as Kohli unleashed his fury, almost with venom and the internal strife to prove a point. Just like his pull shot, everything has fallen in the right place for Kohli in his short international career as success has come thick and fast for the

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  • ‘I would play any role for the team’

    A complete all-rounder in more ways than one, Rajat Bhatia has seldom complained about workload, always delivering for Delhi when it mattered.

    Rajat Bhatia can definitely bat. He can also bowl outswingers and inswingers, and he can bowl off-spin as well. He is known to form crucial partnerships, and break them. And he can lead the team. A complete all-rounder in more ways than one, Bhatia has seldom complained about workload, always delivering for Delhi when it mattered.

     

    Named skipper for the crucial quarter-final match against Tamil Nadu from December 24, Bhatia talked to Sportline about the responsibilities, his batting order, and playing against his former team.

     

    You were first named captain for a day before someone else was appointed. Now back at the helm, how do you relate to the two incidents?

     

    Yes, I was told that I was the skipper before the then selectors thought I wasn't the right candidate. Maybe it was a miscommunication, but yes I was the captain for a day! But I see

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  • ‘I’ve never beaten batsmen more often than I did in this series’

    I'm actually quite happy with the way I'm bowling. I feel I could've picked up a five-wicket haul in the Test series, but at least I was the highest wicket-taker for India.

    Harbhajan Singh hasn't been bowling at his best in the game's shorter formats this season, but the off-spinner emerged as one of the key members of the Indian team that won the Test series against Sri Lanka, leading the bowling chart with 13 wickets. Harbhajan spoke to The Indian Express about his form, the No.1 ranking, and the upcoming T20 matches. Excerpts:

     

    India are the top-ranked Test team in the world. How has the side changed over the last 18 months?

     

    We deserve to be the No.1 side. Every player has worked really hard, and as a result we've improved considerably, both individually and as a unit. The players have all contributed - the batsmen have put runs on the board, the bowlers have taken wickets. Seniors, juniors, everyone has chipped in, and the results are there for all to see.

     

    India now play

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  • I wasn’t good enough to play for Mumbai: Bangar

    Mumbai has a great set up for budding cricketers but I was never good enough to get into their main squad, says Sanjay Bangar.

    A few spectators gathered to watch their local hero in the Capital on Tuesday. They got their chance when he walked in at number three, but his stay in the middle lasted only a little more than half an hour against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy match Group A encounter.

     

    Although Sanjay Bangar is not the typical crowd puller or a swashbuckling batsman by any stretch of the imagination, but whenever he bats at the Karnail Singh Stadium, the Railways faithful turn up to witness the former India all-rounder put a price on his wicket.

     

    A couple of months into his 38th year, Bangar has come a long way in terms of longevity in the game. A prolific scorer in the domestic circuit, Bangar forms an integral part of the core unit of the Railways side. However, it wasn't Railways that Bangar had in mind when he made cricket his profession, but the side that dismissed him for

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  • ‘I have sacrificed a lot to play for so many years’

    Chaminda Vaas plans to concentrate on the shorter versions of the game before he ends his long international career at the 2011 World Cup.

    After announcing his retirement from Test cricket, Chaminda Vaas plans to concentrate on the shorter versions of the game before he ends his long international career at the 2011 World Cup. Vaas speaks to The Indian Express and gives his assessment on MS Dhoni and Co. before they land in Sri Lanka for the tri-series.

     

    What is different about this Indian team from the ones you have played in the past?

     

    India is playing more positive cricket and all the batsmen are scoring runs. They have a fantastic leader in Dhoni and everything is going right at the moment. As compared to Indian teams of the past, they have depth in their batting line-up. India are tough to beat. Their all-rounders, though, need to be more consistent.

     

    With Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid back in the squad, what would you advise the young Sri Lankan pacers?

     

    You can't bowl on

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  • ‘When you take wickets, no one talks of technique’

    Irfan Pathan talks about his technique, his transition from a pure bowler to a batting all-rounder, and about the mistake of consulting too many experts.

    After a hectic workout at the National Cricket Academy, Irfan Pathan was aware that all eyes were on him as he made his way to the Chinnaswamy Stadium, where his Corporate trophy team Air India (Red) were practising. In an interview with The Indian Express, Pathan talks about his technique, his transition from a pure bowler to a batting all-rounder, and about the mistake of consulting too many experts. Excerpts:

     

    What's the latest on Irfan Pathan's comeback?

     

    I was supposed to play Corporate trophy, but I just did a session with the trainers in NCA, and they wanted me to first strengthen my legs before I start playing again. Paul Close and Paul Chapman are here and they'll work with me for one or two weeks. I might miss the first two matches. So that's the latest but yes, but I'm pretty relaxed, feeling pretty fresh.

     

    There's been

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  • ‘I am a better bowler now’

    Amit Mishra talks about the role of leggies in the 50-over format and the advantage of having Harbhajan Singh as the bowling partner.

    Amit Mishra made his ODI debut in 2003, but faded away after playing just three games. Four years of hard work on the domestic circuit, however, paid dividends in 2008 and an impressive show in the inaugural IPL saw him make his Test debut. Consistent performance has been rewarded with a place in the ODI squad. Mishra speaks to The Indian Express about the role of leggies in the 50-over format and the advantage of having Harbhajan Singh as the bowling partner. Excerpts:

    Considering that left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was also performing well in T20, were you surprised with the ODI recall?

    Not really, I was expecting it. I had two good IPL seasons and was among the wickets in the recent Emerging Players tournament. Even during the Ranji one-dayers, I'd bowled well. I always felt that I'd make it in the One-day squad again.

     

    The last ODI you played was in

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