Zone Blitz: How will the Windies fare against India in Antigua?

By August 21, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Virat Kohli vows India will not get distracted by 'exciting' first day-night Test Virat Kohli vows India will not get distracted by 'exciting' first day-night Test

    India are excited for their first day-night Test but captain Virat Kohli insists they have not overlooked their opening match against Bangladesh.

    The two-Test series between India and Bangladesh begins in Indore on Thursday, before a maiden pink-ball match for both teams commences at Eden Gardens on November 22.

    The match in Kolkata will leave newly promoted Afghanistan and Ireland as the only teams yet to play a day-night Test.

    Kohli anticipates the fast bowlers getting plenty of joy under the lights but assured India's main objective is getting a positive result in Indore.

    "It's quite exciting. I think it's a new way to bring excitement to Test cricket. We are all very excited about that," Kohli, who was rested for the 2-1 Twenty20 series victory over Bangladesh, told a pre-match news conference on Wednesday.

    "The pink ball I played [on Tuesday], I felt it swings a lot more as compared to the red ball because there's extra lacquer on the ball which doesn't go away too fast. And the seam holds upright quite a bit.

    "I think if the pitch has extra help for the bowlers then the bowlers will be in the game, especially fast bowlers, throughout the course of the Test match.

    "I don't quite know how the old ball behaves with the dew and the lacquer going off. It will be interesting to see how much the old ball does. With the pink ball, with the pitch having enough, the life in it will be a very important factor.

    "In Test cricket I don't think you can afford to take focus away at all, not even one session, not even one over. With the red ball you need to be absolutely precise in your focus, every game that you play, every ball that you play, every situation that you are in.

    "Our primary focus is tomorrow's Test match. When the pink-ball Test match arrives, as I said we will be quite excited about it."

    Bangladesh will be without captain Shakib Al Hasan due to a two-year ban for ICC anti-corruption breaches, while Tamim Iqbal withdrew from the squad to be with his wife ahead of the birth of their second child.

    Mominul Haque expects Bangladesh to rise to the task of playing without two key figures and does not plan to change his approach despite being named stand-in skipper.

    "I do not think being the captain will change my batting style. I will apply the same composure I did before and will bat in the same manner," said the 28-year-old.

    "Being a captain will help me become more responsible and it will further improve my cricketing knowledge. As a captain, it is a good opportunity for me to showcase my skills. It will be all about adjusting the mental aspect of the game.

    "It will be challenging to play without Shakib and Tamim, but the guys are up for the challenge."

  • Kohli: 'Remarkable' Maxwell has set the right example Kohli: 'Remarkable' Maxwell has set the right example

    Virat Kohli believes the "remarkable" Glenn Maxwell has set a brilliant example for all cricketers by deciding to temporarily step away from the sport and focus on his mental health.

    Cricket Australia announced ahead of the third Twenty20 against Sri Lanka two weeks ago that, following a talk with head coach Justin Langer, Maxwell would take a short break for personal reasons.

    India captain Kohli commended the all-rounder and recalled difficulties he wrestled with alone while he struggled for runs during India's tour of England five years ago.

    "I'm absolutely for it," Kohli said of Maxwell's decision ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh in Indore, which begins on Thursday.

    "To be very honest, everyone is focused on what they need to do. It is difficult for anyone to figure out what is going around in another person's mind.

    "I have gone through a phase in my career where I felt like it was the end of the world. In England in 2014, I did not know what to do and what to say to anyone and how to speak and how to communicate.

    "I could not have said I am not feeling great mentally and I need to get away from the game because you never know how it is taken.

    "I think these things should be of great importance because if you think that a player is important enough for the team or Indian cricket to go forward. I think they should be looked after. When you get to the international stage, every player needs that communication, that ability to just speak out.

    "I think what Glenn has done is remarkable and he has set a right example for the cricketers all around the world that if you are not in the best frame of mind, you try, try and try but as human beings, you reach a tipping point at some stage when you need time away from the game. Not to say you give up, but just to gain more clarity."

  • Windies batsman Pooran handed four-game ban for ball tampering Windies batsman Pooran handed four-game ban for ball tampering

    West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran has been handed a four-game ban for ball tampering, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday.

    Pooran admitted changing the condition of the ball as the Windies sealed a whitewash in their three-game ODI series against Afghanistan with a five-wicket victory in Lucknow on Monday.

    Video footage showed the 24-year-old scratching the surface of the ball with his thumbnail and he accepted the sanction put forward by match referee Chris Broad, avoiding the need for a formal hearing.

    As part of the suspension handed down by the ICC, Pooran will sit out the three Twenty20 internationals against Afghanistan.

    Pooran said: "I want to issue a sincere apology to my team-mates, supporters and the Afghanistan team for what transpired on the field of play on Monday in Lucknow.

    "I recognise that I made an extreme error in judgement and I fully accept the ICC penalty. I want to assure everyone that this is an isolated incident and it will not be repeated.

    "I promise to learn from this and come back stronger and wiser."

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