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India have found Dhoni’s replacement in Pandey: Akhtar

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New Delhi: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar believes India have found a suitable M.S. Dhoni replacement in Manish Pandey inthe limited-overs cricket.

“‘Hindustan ko akhir Dhoni ka replacement mil gya,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel after India’s emphatic comeback victory over Australia in three-match ODI series.

“India has finally got Dhoni’s replacement. They have found a good fit in Manish Pandey. Shreyas Iyer too looks a complete player and these add depth to India’s batting,” he said.

Dhoni has not played for India since the 2019 World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand. He recently was not included in the BCCI central contract list for October 2019-September 2020 period.

“These players have played a lot in the IPL, they know how to handle pressure, they do not care about big names and hence, end up playing important innings,” Akhtar said about Iyer and Pandey.

Pandey couldn’t contribute much with the bat in the three ODIs as the top-order comprising of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, got the job done for India in the last two matches after the Men in Blue faced a drubbing in Mumbai.

However, he grabbed the limelight for his spectacular fielding skills in the series. In the Rajkot ODI, Pandey took a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss David Warner.

India have now left for New Zealand where both the teams will be contesting in five T20Is, three ODIs and two Test matches.

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Pacers shine for India on Day 2 of warm-up game

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Hamilton: Indian pacers came out with a remarkable performance on second day of the practice game against New Zealand XI being played at the Seddon Park.

On Saturday, the four Indian pacers — Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini — all bowled on immaculate line and lengths and bundled out New Zealand XI for 235.

While Shami was pick of the Indian bowlers as he picked up 3 for 17, Bumrah, Umesh and Saini picked two-two wickets each. Ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin scalped the remaining one wicket.

For New Zealand XI, Henry Cooper top scored with 40 while Rachin Ravindra and captain Daryl Mitchell contributed with 34 and 32 respectively.

With a lead of 28, Indian openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal then came out all guns blazing in the second innings and accumulated 59 runs in the seven overs they played before Stumps.

While Shaw scored 35* off the 25 balls he faced (5 fours and a six), Agarwal too smashed 23 runs off 17 balls (4 fours and a six), swelling India’s lead to 89.

In their first innings, India had been bundled out for 263 riding on Hanuma Vihari’s 101 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 93.

Brief Scores: India 263 all out and 59/0 (Prithvi Shaw 35*, Mayank Agarwal 23*); New Zealand 235 all out (Henry Cooper 40, Mohammed Shami 3/17

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