Ashish Nehra, the veteran Indian pacer who will hang up his boots after the first Twenty20 International against New Zealand at his home ground at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on November 1, was the man in focus in most newspapers on Tuesday (October 31).

Rohit Sharma’s and Virat Kohli’s scintillating performances with the bat in the final One-Day International in Kanpur continued to occupy print space, while in BCCI news, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) could ensure that India’s next panel of national selectors may be appointed using the same process to identify the national coach.

English and Australian papers have kicked off the Ashes coverage in right earnest, even though the first Test is more than three weeks away.

`I would love 38-year-old Nehra’s mind in his 22-year-old body’ (The Times of India)

It’s past five in the evening at a Noida school.

Ashish Nehra is going through his fielding drills. As the sun sets quietly behind the buildings outside the ground, and the shadows get longer, Nehra waves out and asks for another 15-20 minutes.

He moves to the centre pitch with just a wicketkeeper to throw back his deliveries. Four balls from a four-step run-up, then another six with decent strides and the last 15 from his full run-up, smacking the young keeper’s gloves. Then, Nehra is ready for a chat. He pulls up a chair and calls out for a mosquito-repellant cream. “I had chikungunya last year. I never felt such pain even when I went through the most complicated surgeries in my career,“ he says, rubbing the cream vigorously on his legs.

The final hurrah for the old war horse (The Hindu)

Twelve years after he last bowled for India in a Test, Ashish Nehra will make his final international appearance at the very ground where he took baby steps in an eventful cricket career.

His last Test appearance was against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004. “I was only 25,” he smiles. After the 2011 World Cup semifinal, incidentally against Pakistan, Nehra was lost to the cricket world despite being the best of the 11 bowlers in that match barring Wahab Riaz.

Ashish Nehra blasts THIS former India coach with quirky ‘Biryani’ analogy (International Business Times)

Veteran Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra took a dig at Greg Chappell saying the former coach was not good at helping players realise their potentials. “Even a biryani would turn into Khichdi,” was the analogy the 38-year-old came up with.

The World Cup-winning fast bowler, who will be playing his last competitive match on Wednesday in the first T20I against New Zealand in New Delhi, has seen eight different coaches come and go even since he joined the Indian dressing room in 1999.

Rohit Sharma-Virat Kohli are the most devastating one-two punch in cricket (Scroll)

It took one a little longer to come along than the other but now that they are both here, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are simply unstoppable. For the first two ODIs in the series,

New Zealand’s new ball bowlers seemed to have their number – in a sense, Rohit struggled against swing and seam while Kohli’s runs did not have their usual belligerent feel against an accurate attack.

But all that changed in the third ODI at Kanpur. Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan got through the first six overs. ‘Got through’ being an accurate term because the Kiwi bowlers were making good use of the movement available and if anything, their sole failing was the one boundary ball that they bowled in almost every over. It helped release the pressure.

Mitchell Santner bucks the trend in age of wrist spin (Hindustan Times)

Throughout the India-New Zealand ODI series, Mitchell Santner has been quite impressive. Though he picked just four wickets, it is his miserly economy rate and approach that command applause.

Currently, when wrist spinners are in vogue, Santner seems to be carrying the flag for finger spinners. The way he has operated in varied conditions, Indian tweakers such as Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja can take a leaf out of his book.

Virat ought to be more inventive (The Times of India)

The series-decider in Kanpur has to be the most intense and competitive game of the Indian season thus far, New Zealand pushing India all the way until falling just short. It was New Zealand’s game to win going into the last four overs of a steep chase, and as well as Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled at the death, it was more a case of New Zealand losing than India winning, writes VVS Laxman.

CAC may get to appoint selectors too (The Times of India)

India’s next panel of national selectors may be appointed though the same process which is applied to find the coach of the team. In an attempt to remove interference from Board office-bearers who often appoint their `yes men’ in the set-up to influence selection at times, the Committee of Administrators (CoA), in its meeting on October 27, has decided to make a suggestion to the Supreme Court that “the selectors should be appointed for two years and that the appointment of selectors and coach should be free from any political influence,” according to the minutes of the meeting put up on the Board website.

MV Sridhar: a dear friend who lived by his words (The New Indian Express)

An admirable batsman, courageous captain and a great friend — that’s how I would remember MV Sridhar. It’s shocking to know he is no more. Sridhar and I go back a long way. He was quite a character — on and off field. He was one of those who made the dressing room a lively place. Back in those days, train travels used to be tedious, but Sridhar was among those who made it enjoyable.

As a batsman, Sridhar was as good as one you came across in domestic cricket those days, especially on turning tracks. When VVS Laxman was playing for Hyderabad, responsibility of scoring runs was shared. But after Laxman got into the India team, Sridhar took it upon himself. Ability, skill and temperament apart, it was the sense of responsibility that stood out. He gave an impression that it was his duty, which had a positive effect on the team.

Coffs loss changes Aussie Test mindset (Cricket.com.au)

Australia coach Matthew Mott says Sunday’s third ODI loss to England will likely change the make-up of the XI and their approach for the first-ever Ashes day-night Test match. Australia were beaten by 20 runs (DLS method) in Coffs Harbour yesterday to finish the ODI leg of the multi-format Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Series with a two-point advantage heading into the Test at North Sydney Oval.

Had the Australians won that final one-dayer, it would have meant a draw in the pink-ball fixture would have been enough to retain the Women’s Ashes with the T20 international series still to play.

As holders, Australia need only eight points out of a possible 16 to keep the trophy, while England must beat their hosts to regain the title they lost in 2015.

Matt Renshaw bracing for banter from Joe Root and Barmy Army (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Matt Renshaw is anticipating to be sledged by the Barmy Army and his childhood mate Joe Root as the Australian Test opener prepares to face his birth country for the first time. The 21-year-old, who has worn the baggy green 10 times since his debut last year, says it would be a “dream come true” to play in the Ashes. Born in Yorkshire, Renshaw played cricket with Root when he was younger and admits the England captain has plenty of dirt on him that will resurface come the series opener at the Gabba on November 23.

Jonny Bairstow delighted with role of England’s man for all sessions (The Guardian)

In the precious few weeks between the end of England’s busiest ever international summer and the team’s departure for Australia last weekend Jonny Bairstow did a fair bit of talking.

Rather than hunker down before the Ashes tour the Yorkshire wicketkeeper instead went public on his life and career to date, offering a raw and emotional account of his formative years – chiefly the death of his father, David, and his mother Janet’s two battles with cancer – in what was an inspirational tale of his family’s strength and perseverance.

Mistrusted by many in England, Mason Crane remains the envy of Australia (The Telegraph, UK)

 

Ashes departures from Heathrow follow a familiar pattern. There are odd occasions, at least 20 years apart, when English fans rejoice at the parade of talents strutting through the airport. More commonly, though, our sense of forboding is matched by full-on Aussie scorn.

Yet 20-year-old leg-spinner Mason Crane bucks the trend. His inexperience and high economy rate might have prompted scepticism from the home camp, with Michael Vaughan just one of the experts calling the selection “a step too far”. But there is a different mood Down Under, where the cognoscenti are fascinated by this rare creature: a leggie who is prepared to give the ball some air.

2013/14 hero Brad Haddin aiming to be England’s Ashes nemesis once again – but this time, off the field (The Independent)

Mitchell Johnson stole the headlines as England’s capitulated on their most recent tour Down Under but without the understated Brad Haddin, that 5-0 scoreline might have swung significantly in England’s favour. Time and again, the then 36-year-old wicketkeeper came in with Australia in trouble. And time and again he took the fight to England and stole back the initiative.

Haddin will again be involved in this winter’s series, although fortunately for England he’s now the Aussies fielding coach rather than their go-to player in a crisis. His presence on the sidelines, though, will be enough to bring back some painful memories for Joe Root and Alastair Cook, captains past and present and two players who, like Haddin, know the unique pressures that an Ashes series can bring.

International cricket returns to Pakistan (Aljazeera)

The sense of excitement was palpable on this warm, smoggy evening as cricket fans queued for hours outside Gaddafi Stadium in Pakistan’s Lahore. Despite the long lines, people of all ages waited patiently for their security cards to be checked before entering the stadium to watch the highest-profile international cricket match in eight years. In 2009, the bus of the Sri Lankan national team was attacked by 12 gunmen in Lahore while heading to the stadium. The attack left eight people dead and seven players wounded. Since then, no major Test-playing nation went to Pakistan due to security concerns. But on Sunday, the returning Sri Lankan team received a hero’s welcome – despite some of its major players pulling out of the match.

 

Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter: The Australian Test star who died on the battlefield (The Sydney Morning Herald)

One hundred years ago today, on 31 October 1917, outside the town of Beersheba in Palestine, Trooper Albert Cotter of the 12th Australian Light Horse was shot and killed.

And that’s everything we know for certain about the death of the only Australian Test cricketer killed in action in the First World War.  Within a few years, stories began to circulate about the exact circumstances in which “Tibby” Cotter died, but every one of them is marred by obvious inaccuracies.  One popular tale has Cotter being shot in a trench, but there was no trench fighting at Beersheba.  Most of the stories overlook the fact that Cotter wasn’t an armed combatant, but a stretcher-bearer, so that he usually entered the action after the first wave of any attack.