In a week’s time, Sri Lanka will take on India for the first Test of the three-match series and will look to overturn the huge odds. Meanwhile, India’s problem of plenty has another contender in Yuvraj Singh, who is fancying his chances for a comeback in the 50-over format.

However, Dinesh Karthik believes it’s harder to make an international comeback than play for the first time.

Over to the Ashes, James Anderson has been named as the vice-captain of the England side, Peter Handscomb is ready to adjust technically to the challenge that awaits, and Tom Helm finds himself one injury away from a potential Ashes call-up.

Sri Lanka in the quest for first Test win in India (The Indian Express)

The distance between the Great Eastern Hotel on Waterloo Street and Eden Gardens is less than a mile. The visiting Sri Lankan team is put up at this heritage structure that recently underwent a private company takeover and subsequent renovation.
It’s somewhat symbolic that the Islanders, too, are in a desperate need for a makeover, with regard to their performance against India. The first Test of the three-match series starts at Eden in a week’s time. And the visitors will have only one tour game—a two-day fixture against the Board President’s XI at JU Salt Lake Campus ground on Saturdayand Sunday—to get into the groove.

Yuvraj Singh, never-say-die, wants to win back No. 4 slot in Indian cricket team (Hindustan Times)

With the Indian team struggling to find an option at No 4 in their batting line-up in One-day Internationals, it seems Yuvraj Singh is fancying his chances.

The southpaw is working on his fitness at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore and is preparing for the YoYo test, which evaluates an individual’s aerobic endurance fitness.

It has been learnt that the selectors have kept a window open for him should he get back to fitness. He is there for a month and his training will end on November 28 after which he will take the YoYo test. The Sri Lanka ODIs begin on December 10, which he seems to be eyeing.

Dinesh Karthik says getting Indian cricket team recall tougher than making debut (Hindustan Times)

Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 64 in the second ODI against New Zealand came at an opportune time, not only for India but also for the cricketer himself. The 92-ball knock helped India level the three-match series and gave the 32-year-old fresh hope.

It was the second ODI series for Karthik this year after the West Indies tour in July. That journey to the Caribbeans ended a three-year wait for him to be part of Team India’s playing XI.

Karthik, a veteran of 157 first-class matches, acknowledges that success has been quite fleeting for him on the international stage.

4-day game gives me time to settle down: Manish (The Times of India)

The last time Manish Pandey played in whites was in December last year during Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy quarterfinals against Tamil Nadu. The middle-order batsman, who flew in from Thiruvananthapuram following India’s T20 series win against New Zealand on Wednesday evening, showed no rustiness in adapting to the fourday format as he batted against Delhi on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match here on Thursday. Cautious to start with, Pandey didn’t take long to get into the groove during his 107-ball 74 that included seven hits to the fence and two over it.

Evening of cricket nostalgia, and a lesson for Shaw (Hindustan Times)

Walking into the ground at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s clubhouse at Bandra-Kurla complex on Wednesday night, I had some reservations about whether the commemorative function for Mumbai’s 500th Ranji Trophy match would live up to its billing.

The setting was lovely. There was a nip in the air, hinting that a change of season was just days away, the sky was clear and starry (unlike the sooty smog I had experienced in Delhi the previous day) and the liveried support staff courteous.

Kerala eyes IPL matches after Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson praise stadium (Hindustan Times)

After successfully hosting its first international in 29 years, Thiruvananthapuram is eager and ready to host Indian Premier League (IPL) next year.

India beat New Zealand by six runs in a rain-curtailed, eight overs per side game on Tuesday to win the three-match T20 series at the new Greenfield Stadium, which became India’s 50th international venue.

ICC sleuths in Delhi to probe pitch fiasco (Mirror)

Sleuths of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the International Cricket Council (ICC) were in Delhi yesterday to investigate the Pune pitch fiasco. Mirror has learnt that two investigators reached the capital to question the two reporters who had conducted a sting operation on curator of the Pune pitch, Pandurang Salgaonkar, before the second One-Day International between India and New Zealand on November 25.

James Anderson succeeds Ben Stokes as England vice-captain (The Guardian)

England’s leading Test wicket-taker, James Anderson, has been named as Ben Stokes’ replacement as vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series.

Anderson, who has 506 wickets in 129 Tests, expressed an interest in the role earlier this week, and has seen off competition from Alastair Cook, the former captain, and Stuart Broad as Joe Root’s second-in-command. This is Anderson’s fourth Test tour of Australia, so he brings vast experience to the job.

Middlesex seamer Tom Helm eyes late Ashes call-up as England’s injury crisis deepens (Daily Mail)

Tom Helm’s only previous experience of playing in Australia was for the Barmy Army – now he finds himself one injury away from a potential Ashes call-up.
Middlesex seamer Helm, 23, cheered Andrew Strauss’ men onto victory from the stands with his family as a teenager during the 2010-11 tour, lining up for the Barmies in matches against their Aussie counterparts the Fanatics in between Tests.
Seven years on, given an injury epidemic to the fast-bowling stocks – one that has ruled out county colleagues Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn, and now afflicts Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball – he is vying for a significant upgrade.

Australian batsman Peter Handscomb confident his technique can handle Ashes heat (Sydney Morning Herald)

Ashes novice Peter Handscomb has declared he is ready technically to adjust to the challenge that will come from England’s pace spearheads in this month’s series opener.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad will again be the key to the tourists’ Ashes hopes, and for good reason – they are England’s all-time leading wicket-takers with a combined 894 scalps.

Dawid Malan: From South Africa with love … again (Sydney Morning Herald)

“I think everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” Dawid Malan says, in what is not a broad South African accent, but not discernibly English either.

“If people want to give me stick about my old man moving to South Africa and taking me when I was seven, then so be it. I didn’t really have a choice when I was seven years old.”

Wynne Gray: Munro the go as a master blaster (New Zealand Herald)

Extensive research and a touch of caution swathes Mike Hesson’s work as the national cricket coach.

There are no exultant whoops or crashing despair on the public stage as he discusses the performance and tactics from his sides which tackle the rigours of test matches to the smash and crash of T20.

Behind the earnest responses and serious countenance, he will embrace an adventurer such as Brendon McCullumwhose style was about winning rather than not losing, qualities his coach admired.

In New Jersey, racial politics loses big on a new cricket pitch (The Indian Express)

In New Jersey’s Edison town, a vicious political campaign that saw racism piggybacking on cricket has fallen flat with the targeted Asian immigrants going on to win the local elections. On Wednesday — weeks after thousands of anonymous mailers coaxed residents to vote against the Chinese and Indian “takeover” of the town and cricket’s encroachment of open spaces — Falguni Patel, an Indian-origin attorney, and Jerry Chee, an incumbent Chinese candidate, made it to the influential local school board, a body which, apart from its role in education, also funds and allocates parks and grounds.