Normal business has resumed for Indian cricket after a tumultuous period. Shortly before the Champions Trophy got underway in England, murmurs of a rift between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble first appeared in the media. In the subsequent days and weeks, what unfolded was a messy sequence of events.There had been a total breakdown of communication between Kohli and Kumble. The players were far from happy with the coach’s headmasterly behaviour and there was absolutely no way the Cricket Advisory Committee, Committee of Administrators or the BCCI could have salvaged the situation. After what seemed like an eternity, Kumble stepped down as coach following a Champions Trophy final defeat to Pakistan. (Team India living it up in Sri Lanka: Pool splashes and fun dinners)About three weeks later, after much conjecture, Ravi Shastri, the former team director and the man who was overlooked at Kumble’s expense, was brought back to the fold. And life was all smiles and roses again.India returned from the West Indies and set sail for Sri Lanka, Shastri’s first appointment as the new coach. And in scenic Galle, the venue of India’s first Test against the hosts, Shastri made an immediate impact.AP PhotoAccording to reports, the coach wanted his wards to remember why they started playing cricket for the first time, forget everything else and just enjoy the game. The batsmen were encouraged to reach the ground well before game-time to warm themselves up.Shikhar Dhawan reaped the rewards, making 190 while Abhinav Mukund made his best in Tests in the second dig as India destroyed Sri Lanka by 304 runs. Besides, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli helped themselves to centuries too and Hardik Pandya smashed an aggressive fifty on debut. advertisementKumble’s exit had left the cricket community in India shocked. He had done remarkably well as coach and an extension till the 2019 World Cup was taken for granted. Yet, despite the success, he could not hit the strike the notes with his captain and the rest of the team. Shastri has a different method. He believes in motivating the players, superstars in this country.Hardik Pandya Twitter PhotoIncidentally, Kohli’s record-breaking run in Test cricket (double hundreds in four successive series) came with Kumble in the dressing-room. But an ordinary series against Australia ensued, when it is understood the differences between the two were at their peak. However, Kohli came back strongly in the Champions Trophy, made a fine hundred against West Indies and tuned up for the Sri Lanka tour with a glorious, unbeaten 103 in the Galle Test. Two years ago, that was where Kohli and his men started their ascent to the top of the Test rankings.Indian cricket touched new peaks under the Kohli-Kumble combination and the show will go on with Shastri at the helm. It was a typical Indian victory that unfolded at Galle – methodical, clinical and ruthless.However, the onus would be on the team to push hard for the 2019 World Cup and that is when Shasri and Kohli would be truly judged. However, for now, both men have their hands full and it will be a tough road ahead with key overseas tours coming up. Will they be up for the challenge?
U17 World Cup: Spain 4-0 Niger: La Rojita maul Menas in four-goal masterclass Nisanth V Easwar Last updated 2 years ago 19:39 10/10/17 Getty FC Barcelona’ Abel Ruiz scored a brace as Spain won their first game in Kochi… Spain reacted to their loss against Brazil with a scintillating 4-0 win against FIFA U-17 World Cup new boys Niger in their second game of Group D at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Tuesday.Abel Ruiz (21′ & 41′) and César Gelabert (45+1) scored in the first half followed a Sergio Gómez (82′) curler towards the end of the second as Spain exploited the spaces offered to them all over the field.Mohamed Moukhliss started in midfield for Spain alongside Antonio Blanco. Ferran Torres, who impressed against Brazil in the first game, was fielded on the right once again, with Cesar Gelaber in behind striker and skipper Abel Ruiz.Salim Abdourahmane lead the line for Niger, with Karim Tinni and Ibrahim Boubacar providing support from the flanks.Spain threatened right from the get-go, with Mohamed Moukhliss impressing in the double pivot. Niger found it difficult to deal with the one-touch passes, flicks and tricks of the Spanish attack. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez didn’t have the greatest of starts to the game, as Niger, despite their opponent’s technical superiority, pressed high up the pitch.La Rojita’s dominance was finally rewarded with the opening goal in the 21st minute. Left back Juan Miranda set off on a marauding run, beat his marker and crossed low into the box into the feet of Abel Ruiz and the striker tapped it in to make it 1-0.Both Spain full-backs were spending most of their time in the attacking third and with Niger refusing to sit back and defend, they were spaces to utilize.Goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez started the game on a sketchy note but when called into action in the 37th minute, he was quick and alert. Tinni’s diagonal run was perfectly timed but Fernandez came off his line to launch it away.Four minutes before the break, Spain doubled their lead. A free-kick from outside the box was launched into the box and Abel Ruiz latched onto it like a fox in the box. Khaled Lawali blocked his initial shot but unfortunately for the keeper, the rebound fell to the Ruiz again, who made no mistake in scoring his second goal of the game.Niger was struggling to get a grip in midfield. They were open spaces to pick out and just before the break, Spain struck the third blow. Sergio Gomez, who worked his socks off against Brazil on the left flank, picked out Cesar Gelabert’s late central run into the box. The attacking midfielder diverted the ball into the top left corner of the net to make it 3-0 at the half-time whistle. La Rojita started the second half just as they did the first. Precise passes, flicks and late runs by midfielders and from the flanks. One such period of play in the 54th minute resulted in Gelabert sliding in a precise through ball into the path of a surging Moukhliss but the midfield engine lost his balance and Rachid Soumana pounced on his tiny window of opportunity to clear the ball away from the area.Abel Ruiz almost scored his third goal when Miranda’s cross after an overlap on the left met his right foot inside the box but the end product wasn’t on target.Cesar Gelabert dazzled the crowd with his touches on the ball through the centre of the pitch. He showed great composure on the ball and ran the show as Spain continued to threaten the Niger defence. The crowd applauded him off the field, as he was replaced by Jose Lara in the 78th minute.Sergio Gomez struck the final nail in the coffin in the 82nd minute when he curled a low left-footed shot into the bottom right corner to make it a dominant 4-0.Spain passed their way towards the final whistle and there was Niger could do to claw their way back into the game. The winning side looked hungry and threatened with every surge forward.Spain will now take on DPR Korea whereas Niger will hope to keep their hopes alive against tournament favourites Brazil. read more