Virat Kohli found himself at the centre of yet another controversy, not remotely of his making, but better sense prevailing meant the non-issue was nipped in the bud. Kohli was seen communicating via walkie-talkie in India’s win against New Zealand in the first Twenty20 International, and though some people jumped in to question if it was allowed, those who checked the facts found that Kohli had broken no law.

Elsewhere in the news on Friday (November 3), cricket and Donald Trump’s America met in strange fashion when racist flyers in New Jersey urged people to stay away from the game – and an Indian origin candidate.

The rest of the cricket news in the world was more straightforward, with Ashes salvo being fired to and fro, the New Zealanders searching for quick fixes and Cheteshwar Pujara setting yet another Indian batting record.

Virat Kohli’s walkie-talkie usage during India-New Zealand T20I within ICC parameters (Times of India)

Contrary to what has been doing the rounds of some Indian news channels and on social media, Kohli was not in violation of any ICC rule. As per the ICC, while mobile phones are banned from dressing rooms, players and members of team management are allowed to use walkie-talkies.

Conversing over walkie-talkies is perfectly legitimate, and umpires, match referees and players often use them. More particularly, it is a common mode of communication in T20 cricket to communicate from the dugout to dressing room.

Racist ‘Make Edison Great Again’ flyers target cricket in New Jersey (The Telegraph)

A racist flyer targeting Indian and Chinese-origin electoral candidates has been distributed in the New Jersey town of Edison.

The flyer highlights the increase in the number of cricket pitches as an apparent reason not to vote for the Indian-origin candidate.

“The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town. Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough,” the flyer states.

Black Caps need a few things to fix fast (New Zealand Herald)

Sharpen up the fielding and somebody please shore up an end so the best of leg spinner Ish Sodhi can be unleashed on India’s batsmen.

Those are the gleanings from New Zealand’s opening 53-run loss to India at Delhi in their three-match Twenty20 series.

Any batting issues were more collateral damage, enforced via an extortionate required run rate.

Black Caps ‘disappointing in all areas’ in heavy defeat to India (

For a New Zealand team ranked No 1 in the world, scheduled to play 12 more Twenty20 cricket internationals before the end of February, this was a real burst of the balloon.

Captain Kane Williamson didn’t hide his displeasure, particularly at his side’s sloppy fielding and the quicker bowlers’ support of their spinners, after their 53-run defeat to India in the T20 series opener.

At home, a new high for Cheteshwar Pujara (The Indian Express)

The re-acquaintance with the Madhavrao Scindia Ground in Rajkot, where he’d spent more time than any other ground from his childhood to early adulthood, didn’t as much as dust up Cheteshwar Pujara’s nostalgia as it disturbed him. “It was sad to see how poorly maintained the ground is. It used to be such a lovely ground back then,” he laments. “Back then” implies a long time, though it’s been only two years since he’d featured in a few domestic limited-overs games there.

Cheteshwar Pujara sets Indian record for first-class 200s, joins elite list (Hindustan Times)

Pujara claimed the accolade while making 204 for Saurashtra against Jharkhand in a Group B Ranji Trophy game at Rajkot.

Pujara’s 12th double century overall took him past the mark of former India Test batsman Vijay Merchant (11). Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid are joint third in the list with 10 double centuries each.

Three of Cheteshwar Pujara’s 12 first-class double tons have come in Test cricket while two of those knocks are triple centuries.

Off the tube: No tele spot for star-studded Ranji Trophy 2017 games (The Indian Express)

If you’ve been wondering why there’s been no Ranji Trophy on the tele this season; it’s because the BCCI have failed to convince Star India, the official broadcasters, to show Indian cricket’s premier domestic tournament on their wide array of channels. Instead, Star have been content with broadcasting one match from each round—the Ranji Trophy is into its fourth round presently—on Hotstar, their digital platform. And this is expected to continue throughout the league stages of the tournament with Star expected to have the knockout phase on their TV platform.

Troubled body aside, Ashish Nehra’s sturdy resolve rare to match (Times of India)

Beyond the timeless image of him scarfing a banana and then throwing it up by the side of the pitch and numerous memes on social media, Nehra possesses a unique strength: his realistic and practical approach. And he has always been outspoken about it. Nehra has blatantly accepted that his body couldn’t take the rigours of lasting ten overs, or that he needed to prepare to even go out for a practice session, or that last year’s bout of Chikungunya was the worst pain he’s endured in his life. Everytime a Nehra return seemed impossible, he would pop up.

Mohammed Shami’s late surge puts Bengal in control (The Indian Express)

Mohammed Shami lit up Eden Gardens towards the fag end of the day. The late afternoon shadows lengthened as the Bengal fast bowler imposed himself on the Himachal Pradesh batsmen. The second day’s play of this Ranji Trophy match had been meandering along until Shami provided the spark.

On difficult track, Delhi’s Dhruv Shorey hangs in against Uttar Pradesh (The Indian Express)

An assuring aspect in Delhi’s ongoing Ranji Trophy campaign has been the stellar contributions from the top order. Gautam Gambhir and Nitish Rana got them going in the opening match against Assam, while all-rounder Manan Sharma scored a pivotal, match-winning century against the Railways.

Consequently, Delhi have seized the early initiative this season with a bonus-point win over Railways in the last match, after having narrowly missed out on a win against Assam in the season opener.

Puzzled Irfan Pathan unsure of his future in cricket (Hindustan Times)

“I am puzzled! This is happening for the last three years. I am trying to find an answer within myself without asking anyone. I am not the kind of guy who will run around to ask what’s wrong,” Pathan, 33, told Hindustan Times. “(If my) performance is not there, no issues. But I just scored 80 runs batting at No.6, got wickets. The ball is coming out really well, I am fit, then why drop me?”

MS Dhoni should not be undervalued in this Indian cricket team: Adam Gilchrist (Hindustan Times)

“I love Virat and the young Indian players, all their passion. But it’s always nice to be balanced with some experience. I wonder if people are undervaluing that experience and calmness (of Dhoni),” Gilchrist said.

“I think he (Dhoni) is so versatile that he could possibly play anywhere between No 3 to 7 and still have an impact. So, this Indian team is full of options and flexibility and MS just adds to that.”

And the Shaw goes on… (Pune Mirror)

Prithvi Shaw and Mumbai continued to do what they have been doing this season. The 17-year old became the sixth man to make three hundreds in his first four Ranji Trophy games, joining Rusi Modi, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Amol Muzumdar and Aditya Shrivastava. Shaw’s 105 against Odisha in Bhubaneswar was also his fourth first-class century in five matches.

Saurashtra Cricket Association insures T20I game for Rs 5 crore (Press Trust of India)

The Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has insured the second game of the T20 International series between India and New Zealand, scheduled on November 4, for Rs 5 crore.

“All the preparation for the match has got completed and the stadium, which has a 28,000 capacity, would be a full house,” said SCA media manager Himanshu Shah.

Joe Root urges England to start Ashes tour in ruthless fashion (The Guardian)

Root is cutting a relaxed figure on tour, back sharing with his old house-mate Gary Ballance – “It’s nice to have someone cleaning the room,” he said, “that was my job when we lived together” – but is bullish about his aims as England prepare for the Gabba. He is looking for “continuity in the top order” and for those coming into the squad to “put your name forward for that first Test” but cannot guarantee every player will play one of the three warmups.

Justin Langer calls on Coulter-Nile to ‘inflict psychological scars’ on England (The Guardian)

Coulter-Nile has played 40 white-ball internationals but no Tests and is bidding for an Ashes place at the Gabba. Langer said he was reluctant to play the fast bowler – who will captain an inexperienced WA XI – “because why would we give them [England] a look?”, although he added: “That said, there could be a psychological advantage the other way as well. If he bowls fast and gets wickets, he has the early psychological advantage.

‘I played under armed guard in Pakistan so the Aussies don’t scare me’ (Daily Mail)

‘We were only there for 24 hours. We arrived about 3am, were taken to the hotel by armoured convoy, slept, then went to the stadium and immediately after the game we were put into armoured vehicles and taken back to the airport,’ he says.

‘It felt like the whole army was guarding us. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I hadn’t really heard noise like that before, it made me hungry for more.’

Ian Botham and Ian Chappell rekindle feud ahead of Ashes documentary (Daily Mail)

Trailers for the three-part Channel Nine series Forged in Fire: Cricket’s Greatest Rivalry, to be shown during the forthcoming Ashes series, has 74-year-old Chappell saying of Botham: ‘If Ian ever apologises for the lies that he’s told.’ Botham replies: ‘Maybe he needs to grow up and let go.’

England players agree socialising protocol for Ashes tour of Australia (The Telegraph)

No curfew will be imposed on the 16-player touring party, while in return the players have agreed not to drink “two or three days before a game” and to make sure they tell their security officers if they go out after dinner.

“It doesn’t matter if you have rules and regulations and curfews,” Bayliss said. “In the end it’s the players’ own choice whether they break a rule or work things out for themselves.”

Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann go head to head in commentary box (Sydney Morning Herald)

The pair’s busy schedules mean they are unlikely to share a commentary box, but do not rule out Swann at some point conducting an in-play interview with Pietersen, who will be miked up for each of his matches with the Melbourne Stars.

This will make for must-see TV given their history. Pietersen accused England’s bowlers of being bullies in his autobiography, to which Swann responded by accusing him of the same thing.

Ellyse Perry ready for pink-ball learning curve (Sydney Morning Herald)

Perry has leant on Mitchell Starc for advice and is keen to make amends after she was ejected from Australia’s attack in the second one-day international in Coffs Harbour.

The 26-year-old bowled consecutive chest and head-high no-balls in slippery and humid conditions and was ineligible to bowl for the rest of the game despite no intent or danger to the batter.

Glenn Maxwell revamps batting technique in hope of Ashes selection (Sydney Morning Herald)

Having spent significant time this year playing on the low-bouncing pitches of the subcontinent, Maxwell had noticed upon his return home that he was crouching too low at the crease, and was not generating the power he craved.

“I have changed a few things in the past month … just trying to bring back the footwork I probably had a couple of years ago in the Shield format,” Maxwell said on Friday.

Hafeez’s bowling action tested in England, report likely in two weeks (Dawn)

According to sources, Hafeez was asked to bowl four overs for the test. The report is likely to arrive in two weeks.

If he’s unable to clear the test, Hafeez will face suspension and be asked to correct his action and pass the test again. He last faced a one-year suspension after his action was found to flout ICC rules.

Where have all the wins gone in first-class cricket? (TimesLive)

Of the 15 matches played since the 2017-18 campaign started on September 19‚ only one has been won and lost. Just five of the first 15 games played last season ended inconclusively.

Thirty franchise first-class matches were played in all last season. Eleven were drawn — or only one more than in half as many games this summer.

Stubborn Zimbabwe hold off West Indies (Sport 24)

Chakabva and Cremer combined in an unbroken stand for the eighth wicket that chewed up nearly 50 overs, leaving West Indies coach Stuart Law frustrated at the slow, placid nature of a Queens Sports Club pitch that permitted just 27 wickets in five days.

“I’d just like to see a more even contest between bat and ball,” said Law. “There are a lot of people saying that Test cricket is dying, and on a pitch like this it is.”