India Versus England – Third ODI Preview

The new year brought along a change in leadership for the Indian cricket team. M.S Dhoni, India’s most successful skipper pulled the plug on his captaincy stint which elevated his heir, Virat Kohli to the helm. Kohli had already tasted quite a lot of success leading the test team but limited overs cricket poses an entirely different set of challenges. The three ODIs against England were India’s only fixtures in this format ahead of the Champions Trophy in June and hence it was pivotal to make these games count. Going into the third and final game, India have not only sealed the series but have also ticked a lot of boxes.

The first match, played in Pune witnessed a stunning chase from the Indians. After Roy, Root and Stokes had powered England to a mammoth 350, the Barmy Army had the Men in Blue stuttering at 63-4. This is when the local lad, Kedar Jadhav, joined his skipper in the middle and the two of them struck scintillating centuries to help India win by 3 wickets. The second game at Cuttack saw the Indian top order struggle again. Then came a heartwarming partnership between two stalwarts of Indian cricket. Yuvraj Singh scored a magnificent 150, his first ODI century in nearly 6 years while Dhoni bludgeoned a stunning 134 which lifted India to an enormous 381. In reply, the under fire English skipper, Eoin Morgan struck a superlative century but the asking rate was just too much as his team fell short by 15 runs.

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Though the series is sealed, there will definitely be no letup in intensity from Virat’s men. As he stated earlier, they will be treating every game as a knock out and will look to whitewash the Englishmen. Barring the openers, the rest of the batting is more or less set for the Champions Trophy. Kohli, Yuvi, Dhoni and Jadhav will look to continue their fine run. Eden Gardens will present one last opportunity for Shikhar Dhawan to seal his spot. While Rohit Sharma is expected to open once he returns from injury, the other slot has 3 potential takers in Dhawan, Rahul and Rahane. The management might want to give Rahane a chance along with Dhawan in Kolkata. On the bowling side, Bhuvi, Ashwin and Jaddu bowled admirably in Cuttack and will once again be expected to deliver the goods. Pandya was erratic in the last game but will be looking to bounce back in the next one which is expected to offer more to the seamers. His role as an allrounder who can clock 140 kph augurs well for India ahead of 8 team extravaganza in England in June. The visitors on the other hand have not yet won a game on this tour and the desperation will be mounting. They have done well in both the games this year but have let India off the hook at key instances. Morgan will want to avoid a whitewash and get some momentum going ahead of the 3 match T20 series.

Jose Mourinho open to re-sign Lyon-bound Memphis Depay

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Jose Mourinho is hoping to see an outstanding performance from Memphis Depay at Lyon which will lead to the Manchester United winger’s return to old Trafford.

In the 2015 summer when Depay arrived in a big money deal from PSV Eindhoven, expectations were high but an underwhelming first season led to a difficult second campaign.

The 22-year old has made only one United start since Jose Mourinho has taken the place of Louis van Gaal in the summer. He has now joined Lyon.

United have added a sell-on clause into the deal with an option that would see them one day buy back the winger. When asked about the security built around the deal, the boss said that Depay is definitely a potential player.

He also said that when Mr. Van Gaal decided to buy him, he did really well and he knew him from the national team. He was a young player during the 2014 world cup and he showed signs of a top quality player.

Depay was playing well in Holland. Although the Dutch league is not similar, he was showing some good skills. According to Morinho, Mr Van Gaal did a nice move for United by buying him. Mourinho also mentioned that it is important for the club to keep control of this talent. He did not succeed in the 18 months but the coach believes that he is young and also has some great potential.

Mourinho also wishes for Depay to well in Olympique Lyon and also hopes for his comeback. He added that Depay can join them after Lyon as everyone loves him there.

Depay became the second high-profile departure at Old Trafford of this month after Morgan Schneiderlin joined Everton for a great deal. But things have not worked out for Depay at Old Trafford.

Mourinho talked about the position he plays for and said that he is a winger and they have more of wingers in the team. He played for the position where it was more difficult to have chances and also the position where it is difficult to become the next choice as there are no problems in that particular position.

He mentioned about Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Ashley Young and Marcus who also play as wingers. Mourinho said that there are six possibilities in the team for the position. He also cleared the doubts about Depay’s lack of professionalism upon his arrival in England.

Mourinho is not considering to sell Schneiderlin or Depay this January but he said that right offers have arrived for the players who were not happy due to the lack of their game time.

Manchester United is all set to stoke on Saturday with a complete fit squad but Mourinho is aware about the fact that the squad will be tested based on how they juggle league and cup competitions.

Mourinho considers the January market as an emergency one to resolve issues and to provide a little push to the team for the rest of the season. He said that the summer market is the best time for the deals.

Bernardo Silva: ‘Little Messi’ and some facts to know about him

 

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Although he has played only a handful of minutes of top-level football in Portugal and also missed out on national team glory at Euro 2016, the extra ordinary talent of Bernardo Silva is not unknown to his homeland.

His style is compared with Rui Costa and many believe that he can match the career of this extremely gifted attacking midfielder who started his journey at Benfica. Manchester United have also joined the long queue of suitors with Silva on their radar.

Things to know about the ‘little Messi’:

  1. Benfica discarded this talent

 

Silva has been a footballer of immense talent since a very young age and he was nicknamed as “Messizinho” (little Messi) at Benfica’s famed seixal youth academy. He was also selected as the Breakthrough star of 2013-14 after an extra ordinary season for Benfica B in the Portugese second division.

Jorge Jesus, the manager of the team has achieved a lot of things at Benfica but the fans of the club are well acquainted with his lack of faith in the homegrown talents. Silva is one of the examples that can be cited. He had only played for 31 minutes in the three matches for the first team of Benfica. Silva admitted that while he was training at left-back at Benfica he realised that he had no future in the club.

 

  1. His impact in France

 

Due to Silva’s transfer to Monaco, Benfica had earned a fair amount of €15 million. Initially it looked like a great deal for a player with no practical experience of top-level football but within a season it was understood that French club had the better end of the deal.

While he was still 20 years old, Silva settled immediately and played 45 matches with a score of 10 goals. His skills and vision were dazzling the onlookers.

 

  1. His formidable attacking site

 

Silva has an amazing technique and tight control even in the most congested spaces. This allows him to make constant intelligent use of the ball. He is mostly positioned on the right although he can play wide on either flank. His quick thinking and instinctive creativity are perfect attributes to make him a classic No.10. For the teams who seek to dominate possession, Silva is a frightening attacking weapon.

 

  1. His outstanding intelligence

 

Silva’s intelligence is visible on the ground along with his well-worded and thoughtful answers to the journalists. This reveals his interesting personality and also shows his interests in the affair. He also talks about his benefits due to his early move to Monaco. He had to adapt to a new country, new language and new culture at a very young age which has also helped him to grow as a person. If he has to move to England, he would settle quite easily with his more-than-passable English even though he had never been there.

 

  1. International Career

 

Silva has performed outstandingly for over two and a half seasons at Monaco including the Champion’s League. But his Portugal career is yet to take off due to his promising start to life as a professional footballer.

His performance was brilliant in the under-21 European championship in 2015 and he deserved the player of the tournament more than his teammate William Carvalho.

He also forced his way to the senior Portugal side during Euro 2016 but due to an injury before the announcement of the squad he missed out on the opportunity.