India’s middle-order woes was the topic of discussion on Tuesday (November 7), as the hosts get ready to lock horns with a buoyant New Zealand in the series-deciding third Twenty20 International in Thiruvananthapuram. While the sides look set for a thrilling finale to what has been a refreshingly competitive series, the big danger comes from the weather, as rain might play spoilsport

ML Jaisimha, the charismatic former India batsman, is remembered, while memories of the first match in Thiruvananthapuram between India and West Indies in 1988 — “the cricketing equivalent of hosting the Beatles” – come flooding back.

In Ashes news, Mason Crane, the English legspinner, made it to the headlines in English news dailies, even as Australia weigh up their wicketkeeping options ahead of the first Test starting on November 23.

`Good rapport’ helps Bhuvi, Bumrah form perfect combo (The Times of India)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have fast cemented their place in the Indian limited-overs set-up as the first choice seamers. The growing influence of the pair on India’s fortunes in whiteball cricket is down to the excellent rapport the pair shares.“ Bumrah has a different action which creates problems for the batsmen, but he has improved a lot of things with his action. He had these yorkers and slower ones earlier as well. So when you bowl with Bumrah you have the confidence that if you need to save runs later, he will also do it with me,” said Bhuvneshwar.

Changes in the middle order hurting India (The Times of India)

New Zealand played like champions at Rajkot and they showed they have a good all-round team and that they can compete with the best of sides. Colin Munro played one the best innings of his short career. What New Zealand needed was a good start which they haven’t been getting and both he and Guptill provided that. It was a huge challenge for India after losing both Rohit and Shikhar early. It’s not really about the openers failing now and again: risks have to taken when chasing a big score. What is more worrying is the middle-order. Someone needed to continue batting like Virat Kohli till the end to give India a chance of winning.

Primed to win the series: Santner (The Hindu)

Mitchell Santner has thrown up constant roadblocks for the Indian batsmen on this tour. His impressive bowling in the middle overs has been one of the factors for the team’s revival and the bowler is excited that his side has managed to keep the series alive with the win in Rajkot.

Santner’s high point was his duel with Dhoni whom he managed to keep quiet. Calling Dhoni a great batsman, Santner said his plan against the batsmen clicked.

Rahul Dravid and India U-19 team management say no, no to Yo-Yo test for junior players (The Indian Express)

While the Indian cricket board wants to extend the Yo-Yo test to the U-19 team, who are touring Malaysia for the Asia Youth Cup next week, it’s learnt that the junior team’s management and coach Rahul Dravid have reservations about it. This has resulted in the Yo-Yo test not being made mandatory for junior cricketers.

“The Indian team trainer had thrown the idea of having Yo-Yo test for India under-19 team but Dravid made it clear that it should not be needed for junior cricket. At this age, players should improve their skills. Fitness is important but if he can score runs and take wickets, that should be the parameter of selecting a player,” source at the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore, told The Indian Express.

Mason Crane puts his faith in spin lessons of last winter’s Australian adventure (The Guardian)

England have moved east to Adelaide, where their day-night tour match against a Cricket Australia XI begins on Wednesday. In Perth, they moved through the gears and the two-day game threw up pockets of positivity, such as the batting of Dawid Malan and Mark Stoneman, and the bowling of Jake Ball, who immediately found the perfect length. The expectation is that more boxes will be ticked as the first-class cricket begins and the intensity rises.

With Moeen Ali still injured (but running again and on the mend), the performance of Mason Crane, the 20-year-old leg-spinner who picked up two wickets, was also encouraging. Such opportunity this early in the tour – he should play in Adelaide, too – is unexpected but he is confident he is ready for a Test debut, even if his fledging first-class numbers (his average is a tick under 43), suggest otherwise.

England wrist-spinner Mason Crane aiming to rewrite history Down Under (The Telegraph, UK)

If Mason Crane, England’s 20-year-old wrist-spinner, is going to flourish in this Ashes series, he will have to turn the clock back a bit. The last match-winning performance by an England wrist-spinner in a Test in Australia was in 1904.

In England’s two-day tour-opener Crane did the basics right, flighting and turning his leg-breaks, inviting batsmen to take the risk of running down the pitch to drive. Even Shane Warne never did well at the WACA, so unsympathetic is the cast-iron clay, so a couple of wickets for Crane was a commendable start, even if the batsmen were his own tender age.

The baby-faced rookie who bested England (Cricket.com.au)

Asked to take on two of England’s greatest-ever bowlers wielding a brand new ball, baby-faced batsman Josh Philippe thrived in a role he hadn’t performed since his junior days and in the process managed to get under the skin of star quick James Anderson. Admitting he hadn’t opened the batting since the under-15s before this summer, Philippe not only negotiated an opening burst from Anderson and partner-in-crime Stuart Broad, he lashed England for 16 boundaries in an exhilarating knock for a Western Australia XI on Sunday.

Tim Paine has chance to stake unlikely claim for wicketkeeping spot (The Sydney Morning Herald)

A shock Test return for Tim Paine is not out of the question according to Cricket Australia XI coach Ryan Harris, who hinted that the failures of Matthew Wade, Peter Nevill and Alex Carey to mount a compelling case with the bat had opened the door for the veteran wicketkeeper to make a late charge for an Ashes berth.

Paine, who turns 33 in December, hasn’t played a Test since 2010, and has been overlooked by Tasmania in the first two rounds of the Sheffield Shield season following Wade’s return to his home state. But none of Wade, Nevill and Carey – widely acknowledged as the three leading contenders to don the gloves for the first Test at the Gabba – have cemented a spot on weight of runs.

England pace king Jimmy Anderson zeroes in on opener Matthew Renshaw (The Sydney Morning Herald)

England’s swing king Jimmy Anderson says he’s about to go to school on Matthew Renshaw to plot the Ashes downfall of the run-starved Australian opener. Despite the lean trot, Renshaw appears a lock to face Anderson and his teammates in the Ashes opener in Brisbane from November 23. “I have not seen a huge amount [of him], just the Test matches he has played,” Anderson said of the Australian left-hander. “I have tried to watch as much over the last year or so of the Australian Test team, knowing you have got an Ashes in the future, so just try and keep tabs on them.

Darren Lehmann to take a walk with son Jake in Ashes selection frame (Stuff.co.nz)

A conflict of interest protocol established at a Cricket Australia management meeting and agreed by the board two years ago is set to be called into action after Jake Lehmann announced himself as a genuine Ashes contender.  The 24-year-old has surged into calculations to make a test debut at the Gabba on November 23 for an Australian team that is crying out for a No 6 batsman in form.

With at least two and possibly three spots in Steve Smith’s top seven undecided heading into the Sheffield Shield rounds that precede the Ashes, the narrative of a pressurised and high-stakes play-off for places around the country was deliberately pushed by CA and selectors.

Cricketer who sent back Suchitra Sen’s champagne (The Times of India)

They remember his walk; its languid cool. Blend that with the fresh creased flannel, the upturned collar, the easy charm. Even film-stars indulged him. The Hyderabad batsman, a biography says, once returned a bottle of champagne sent by diva Suchitra Sen with the words that it meant nothing unless she delivered it herself. She did eventually. ML Jaisimha truly walked through life like it was a breeze.

But Jaisimha was much more than a Page 3 star cricketer before Page 3 had been born. Business professor Aaron Levenstein once aptly said that “statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.“ In Jaisimha’s case -2056 runs in 39 Tests with three centuries at an average of 30.68 and nine wickets hardly capture the impact and influence that the cricketer had both on and off the field.

Star-cast match, floodlit memories of 1988 (The Times of India)

It was the cricketing equivalent of hosting the Beatles. Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Richie Richardson, Winston Benjamin, Patrick Patterson, the visiting West Indies team had an eye-popping array of stars. The newcomer Phil Simmons was the hero of the day. He crushed India’s challenge just as easily as he chewed the ever-present gum in his mouth scoring an unbeaten century in the game they beat India by nine wickets. The crowds in the University Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram, were entertained to the hilt. As they took away a bagful of memories, on January 25, 1988, for the organizers it was a moment of vindication, having successfully hosted an international match with limited resources.

CoA disbands BCCI panel to probe car invasion in Ranji tie (The Times of India)

The BCCI officials’ move to form a committee to investigate the Palam ground incident ­ where a man drove his WagonR on to the pitch even as the Delhi-UP Ranji match was in progress ­ was short-lived as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) put an end to this `unnecessary’ exercise.
The BCCI had written a strongly-worded letter to the Services sports board over the incident.

On Monday, acting BCCI president CK Khanna formed a security committee ­ headed by acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary, Jay Shah (Gujarat) and Abhishek Dalmiya (Cricket Association of Bengal) ­ to investigate the matter further. However, the committee lasted for just an hour or so before it was disbanded by the CoA.