Hardik Pandya will captain India in the absence of Rishabh Pant for the two-match T20I series in Ireland, while Rahul Tripathi has received his first call-up.

India announced their 17-man squad on Wednesday for the Ireland series, which starts on June 26 in Malahide.

Pant and Shreyas Iyer will be a part of India's Test squad for the rearranged fixture against England, giving Pandya the opportunity to captain the white-ball side and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to deputise as vice-captain.

Pandya is acting as Pant's vice-captain for the ongoing five-match T20I series against South Africa, which India trail 2-1.

Tripathi has been rewarded for a fine Indian Premier League campaign, scoring 413 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad an average of 37.6.

"I am very happy that the selectors and everybody believed in me and whatever hard work I have put in, I have got the rewards," Tripathi told PTI after the announcement. 

"And hopefully, if I get an opportunity to play, I will try and give my best."

Sanju Samson has been recalled, while Suryakumar Yadav returns after recovering from a forearm injury that ruled him out of the IPL and South Africa series.

Experienced campaigner Dinesh Karthik will come in as wicket-keeper in the absence of Pant, though Ishan Kishan or Samson can also fill in behind the stumps if needs be.

VVS Laxman will coach India on the tour, with Rahul Dravid overseeing the Test side in England.
 

India’s T20I squad: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

Eoin Morgan says he will step aside as England white-ball captain when he feels he is no longer contributing, while he hailed Jos Buttler as "probably the best in the world".

Morgan has overseen a period of transformative change with England in limited-overs cricket since his appointment as captain in 2014.

The 35-year-old guided England to a dramatic Cricket World Cup win in the 50-over game in 2019, three years after taking his side to the T20 World Cup final.

He followed that up with another semi-final appearance at the T20 World Cup in 2021, where England were defeated by New Zealand.

England have become the dominant force in white-ball internationals, with Australian Matthew Mott taking over as the limited-overs coach ahead of the three-match ODI series against Netherlands.

Morgan will lead a much-changed side to Netherlands, with the Test series against New Zealand ongoing, before facing India and South Africa in three-match series' in both T20I and ODI cricket.

The middle-order batter has somewhat struggled for form and been hampered by injuries, though, and he admitted he will step down if he believes he can no longer deliver.

"I would love to say I am finishing here or there and that's it. I would love to work like that but the way my body is at the moment, I can't work like that," Morgan told Sky Sports.

"If I injured myself tomorrow and it was going to be quite a prolonged injury then I wouldn't be doing the team and myself any favours if I still held a commitment to finish at a certain point.

"If I don't think I am good enough or I don't feel I am contributing to the team, then I will finish.

"That's just the way I am and I hope that rubs off onto the team. Your leader doesn't have to be selfless, they can be whoever he or she wants to be, but I feel this is a better way of doing things.

"Since taking the captaincy [any lack of form] has not been a huge issue for me, simply because I know if I am not good enough to score runs or contribute then I will drop myself.

"I know I will come back into form at some stage. The cycle throughout my career has been a complete rollercoaster, so it's nothing strange."

Luke Wood and David Payne are the new faces in England's squad ahead of June's tour of Netherlands, which starts on Friday.

But there will be familiar names among the ranks, with Moeen Ali, Buttler and Liam Livingstone all part of the 14-man touring party.

Morgan picked out Buttler – who enjoyed a phenomenal Indian Premier League stint with Rajasthan Royals, scoring 863 runs to win the Orange Cap – and Moeen for special praise.

"Jos is one of the best in the world. Right here and now, he probably is the best in the world," he added.

"He enjoys that with where he is in his career, it sits well with him. The big thing you notice about how he plays is that everything he does is revolved around winning the game.

"When you are a little bit younger all you are trying to do is impact the game. The older you get it is about getting your side over the line.

"Rajasthan were heavily dependent on his runs and he took on that responsibility while also being able to take risks.

"Moeen has been incredible. He is unbelievably respected on and off the field and has given so much of himself in our changing room. He is always himself, never tries to be anyone else.

"He has the ability to break the ice but also take things seriously when needed and obviously the role he plays in the community he is from is huge.

"He embraces being that role model and I hugely admire him for that."

Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal starred as India wrecked the South Africa top order in Visakhapatnam, sealing a massive 48-run victory to reduce their T20I series deficit to 2-1.

The hosts needed to win to keep their hopes of a series triumph alive after going down to Heinrich Klaasen's career-best 81 in Sunday's four-wicket defeat.

And superb bowling displays from Harshal (4-25) and Chahal (3-20) meant they did exactly that after Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) hit half-centuries for the hosts, who scored 179-5.

The tourists produced a disappointing performance with the bat as they toiled to 71-5 and ultimately fell well short of their much-improved hosts, eventually bowled out for 131 in the final over.

Having been put in to bat by South Africa, Gaikwad and Ishan wasted little time in establishing a strong platform for the hosts, the former becoming the first dismissal of the contest in the 10th over, by which point India had 97 on the board.

While Dwaine Pretorius (2-29) eventually claimed the wickets of both Ishan and skipper Rishabh Pant (6) to keep the Proteas in contention, their hopes of wrapping up the series early were quickly shattered when they took up the bat.

The dismissal of skipper Temba Bavuma for just 8 set the tone for a dismal South African display, with Reeza Hendricks (23), Rassie van der Dussen (1), Pretorius (20) and David Miller (3) all following in a miserable start.

With India in full control, Chahal and Harshal ran riot, the latter claiming his fourth wicket when dismissing Tabraiz Shamsi for a golden duck with the final ball of the contest as the dominant hosts kept the series alive.

Dominant duo run riot

Having struggled to make headway against South Africa in the first two contests of the series, the Indian attack was back to its best in this potentially decisive third clash. 

Harshal set the tone by sending Bavuma and Hendricks tumbling early before finishing with four, while Chahal stepped up to claim his own treble, ensuring there was to be no repeat of Klaasen's heroics by dismissing him for 29.

Home openers on form

Gaikwad and Ishan's gave India a superb platform to build from, with the former recovering from his poor start to the series – in which he had previously scored just 24 runs across two innings – as the pair each hit crucial half-centuries.

Heinrich Klaasen smashed a career-best 81 as South Africa claimed a 2-0 T20I series lead with a four-wicket victory over India.

Ishan Kishan (34) and Shreyas Iyer (40) offered India a bright start at the Barabati Stadium on Sunday.

But the hosts' middle-order batters struggled before Dinesh Karthik scored a brisk 30 off 21 balls to propel India to 148-6.

Having chased an improbable 212 in the first meeting, South Africa initially struggled this time around with Bhuvneshwar Kumar reducing the tourists to 29-3 after an opening spell of three wickets for 10 runs.

Captain Temba Bavuma watched as wickets fell around him but posted an important 35 before being bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal (1-49).

Bavuma combined in a vital 64-run partnership with Klaasen, whose brutal 81 came off just 46 deliveries before he was removed by Harshal Patel (1-17) and Wayne Parnell (one) fell to Kumar (4-13).

David Miller (20 not out) then saw South Africa over the line with 10 balls to spare as the Proteas furthered their advantage in the five-match series.

Rapid Rabada

Rabada became the fourth South African bowler to claim 50 wickets in men's T20Is when he dismissed Ruturaj Gaikwad for one in the first over.

The fast bowler achieved the feat in his 42nd game, making him the third-fastest bowler from South Africa to a half-century of dismissals, behind only Dale Steyn (35) and Imran Tahir (31).

Hendricks misses opportunity

Chasing a far from imposing total, Reeza Hendricks had the chance to make his mark as an opener, replacing South Africa stalwart Quinton de Kock.

However, the 32-year-old made just four before being bowled by Kumar as he failed to leave a lasting impression in a rare opportunity at the top of the order.

David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen starred as South Africa chased a remarkable 212 to end India's 12-game T20I winning run.

Ishan Kishan (76) combined with Shreyas Iyer (36) in a destructive 80-run partnership as India posted 211-4 – the highest score in T20Is at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

That total was boosted by a late flurry of runs from Rishabh Pant (29 off 16 balls) and Hardik Pandya's 12-ball 31 for a much-changed India, without Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah or Virat Kohli.

South Africa soon lost captain Temba Bavuma (10) in the chase, caught behind off Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-43), before Dwaine Pretorius and Quinton de Kock offered brief resistance.

Harshal Patel (1-43) then removed Pretorius (29), and De Kock (22) followed to Axar Patel (1-40), with South Africa 81-3 after 8.4 overs, before Miller and Van der Dussen joined in an incredible 131-run partnership.

Miller blasted 64 off 31 and Van der Dussen – dropped on 29 by Iyer – mustered 75 off 46 deliveries to complete the sixth-highest run chase in T20I history and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

India run ends

India seemed set to move clear of Afghanistan and Romania (both 12) for the longest winning streak in the format's history and end South Africa's own four-game winning run.

But the late heroics of Miller and Van der Dussen ensured South Africa collected their 12th win in 13 T20Is, while India have won just one of their past five at home to the Proteas in 20-over cricket.

Maharaj misery in winning cause

Maharaj picked up the all-important wicket of Kishan, but the left-armer struggled against India, albeit in a winning cause.

He went for 43 from his three overs, at an economy of 14.33, but could have been helped by De Kock had the wicket-keeper not missed a stumping of Iyer on 25.

Australia survived a Wanindu Hasaranga blitz to seal a T20I series win over Sri Lanka.

For the second time in as many days, Sri Lanka produced a disappointing batting showing in Colombo, following up 128 all out in the first game with 124-9 on Wednesday.

Charith Asalanka (39) again impressed with the bat but the Australia attack fired without the injured Mitchell Starc, as his replacement Jhye Richardson and namesake Kane Richardson accounted for seven wickets.

Australia stuttered to 64-4 in reply but were still in cruise control even when Marcus Stoinis departed to leave them 80-5 in the ninth over.

However, Hasaranga gave them hope with his final over, removing Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar in successive deliveries before narrowly missing out on a hat-trick.

But Matthew Wade kept his composure, scoring an unbeaten 26 to steer Australia over the line and secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with a three-wicket win.

Relentless Richardsons

Starc suffered a hand injury in Australia's 10-wicket win on Tuesday but his absence mattered not thanks to the efforts of Kane and Jhye Richardson.

Kane Richardson claimed 4-30 and Jhye Richardson 3-26, the latter dismissing Kusal Mendis (36) hit wicket and removing all-rounder Hasaranga (12) in the penultimate over.

 

Wow-nindu

Hasaranga was 0-27 for his two overs in the first game but bounced back in style with 4-33.

He looked to be turning the game in Sri Lanka's favour in the 12th over, deceiving Maxwell (19) with a googly and then bowling Agar through the gate. Hasaranga came agonisingly close to drawing an outside edge from Jhye Richardson, who denied him a hat-trick.

Rishabh Pant will captain India for the first time against South Africa after KL Rahul was ruled out of the five-match Twenty20 International series.

Rahul was due to lead India in the absence of the rested Rohit Sharma, but the batter has sustained a groin injury.

That has opened the door for Pant to step up, with Hardik Pandya named vice-captain after leading Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League title in his first tournament as captain.

Delhi Capitals skipper Pant is relishing the opportunity to lead his country in a series that starts at Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.

The wicketkeeper-batter said: "It's a great feeling, especially getting an opportunity like this in your hometown.

"There is nothing bigger than this. It didn't come under very good circumstances but I will try to make most of it and give my 100 per cent."

Pant came under fire for costly mistakes he made during a must-win IPL encounter with Mumbai Indians last month, but says he will learn from such experiences.

"I think it [captaining in the IPL] will help me a lot because when you keep doing the same thing over a period of time, you tend to improve," the 24-year-old said.

"I am someone who keeps on learning from my mistakes and that's something which is going to help me in the coming days as well."

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has also been ruled out of the series after taking a blow on his right hand in the nets on Tuesday, while Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested along with Rohit.

India will become the first men's team to win 13 T20I matches in a row if they take a 1-0 lead over the Proteas.

The tourists are also in excellent form, having been victorious in 11 of their past 12 games in the shortest format - their only loss during that time coming against Australia in the T20 World Cup last October.

 

Malik to be unleashed, Karthik returns

Umran Malik has been rewarded for a hugely impressive IPL by being called up for India duty for the first time.

The 22-year-old paceman was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 22 for Sunrisers Hyderabad and is a hugely exciting prospect. 

Dinesh Karthik has not played for his country since 2019, but the 37-year-old wicketkeeper-batter is back in the fold with the World Cup on the horizon.

Nortje back, Van der Dussen closing on landmark

South Africa have brought a strong squad to India and are boosted by the return to fitness of Anrich Nortje.

Nortje had been sidelined by a hip injury, but played in the IPL and is set to fire in a hostile South Africa attack.

The Proteas also have a dangerous batting line-up and Rassie van der Dussen needs only 67 runs to reach the 1,000 landmark in T20Is. If he scores those runs in his next innings, he would be the joint-fastest to reach that figure along with Faf du Plessis (32 innings).

Australia cruised to a 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the opening T20I of the three-match series after a dismal collapse from the hosts.

In a rain-affected first match of Australia's tour, which will encompass series in all three formats, Sri Lanka looked to be in a strong position on 100-1.

However, from there they lost nine wickets for just 28 further runs, Josh Hazlewood (4-16) and Mitchell Starc (3-26) ripping through Sri Lanka's line-up.

Danushka Gunathilaka went in the fifth over after a pacey 15-ball 26 but Sri Lanka appeared solid until Starc bowled Pathum Nissanka (36).

That brought about a flurry of wickets, Charith Asalanka (38) run out by Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade just before the first rain delay.

Australia polished off the tail upon resumption, Wanindu Hasaranga (17) the sole other batter to reach double figures, and the rain could not stop captain Aaron Finch (61 not out) and David Warner (70no) from powering the tourists to the meagre target with 36 balls remaining. Finch finished things off with an uppercut for six.
 

Josh the boss

Hazlewood's figures marked the second best of his career in T20 international cricket after the 4-12 he took against the same opposition in Sydney in February.

The seamer continues to torment Sri Lanka, his effort this time around comprising 15 dot balls as he gave up only two boundaries.

Hasaranga helpless

Hasaranga was one of the star performers of the 2022 Indian Premier League, taking 26 wickets, but was bludgeoned by Finch and Warner on home soil, his two overs going for 27 runs.

Maheesh Theekshana was slightly better with 0-25 from four, but Sri Lanka's decision to pick two spinners backfired.

Sean Abbott will fly home from Australia's tour of Sri Lanka without playing a game after suffering a fractured finger.

The paceman, who was only in the T20I squad, was struck on the left index finger by a net bowler this week.

Cricket Australia confirmed ahead of the opener in the three-match T20I series in Colombo on Tuesday that Abbott will not be replaced in the squad.

Abbott was due to link up with Australia's A squad in Sri Lanka after the T20I series. Scott Boland has been called up to cover for Abbott in the A team's four-day matches ahead of the two-match Test series

Meanwhile, Peter Handscomb will leave the A squad to return to Melbourne and be with his pregnant wife.

Jimmy Peirson has been added to the squad as a replacement for Handscomb.

Alex Carey is set to captain the Australia A team in their first 50-over match in Colombo on Wednesday after being added to the squad along with Cameron Green, who will also play.

Dasun Shanaka is confident Sri Lanka can claim a shock win over world champions Australia in a T20 International series that starts in Colomba on Tuesday.

The visitors previously beat their hosts 4-1 in a five-match series in February on home soil after winning the T20 World Cup for the first time in Dubai.

Aaron Finch's side have since won a one-off match in Pakistan despite being without a whole host of players.

They are close to full strength for the start of the three-match series, with Finch and Marcus Stoinis the only players who featured in that win in Lahore who have named in the team for the opener at the R.Premadasa Stadium.

Yet Sri Lanka captain Shanaka believes his side can make the most of the conditions on the back of a triumph for the Test side against Bangladesh in such tough times due to a financial crisis in the country.

He said: "We gained much playing Australia in their own backyard last time out and I'm confident that we are well geared in the batting and bowling to get the better of them with our home conditions in our favour."

Shanaka added: "Lots of our players have benefited by playing in the recent IPL and that experience would be a leading edge to maximising their potential when Sri Lanka locks horns with the Australians strong as they are.

"A positive factor for our players at the IPL is that they have gained the opportunity of flexing their muscles in gay abandon, unlike back home where the domestic season has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in several players being laid down, while the adverse weather has been a negating factor as well."

Sri Lanka have named uncapped duo Nuwanidu Fernando, a top-order batter, and Matheesha Pathirana, a right-arm seamer, in their squad early in a new era under head coach Chris Silverwood.

The tourists are without Pat Cummins (rested) and Adam Zampa (parental leave), while Michael Di Venuto is filling in at the start of the series after head coach Andrew McDonald was forced into isolation back home following a positive COVID-19 test.

 

Finch in the spotlight

Australia captain Finch endured a frustrating Indian Premier League, scoring only 86 runs in five innings for Kolkata Knight Riders.

The opener did make 55 in his last game for his country, the T20I success over Pakistan, and the tourists will be looking for him to set the tone at the top of the order with the T20 World Cup on home soil fast approaching.

Hasaranga key for Sri Lanka

If Sri Lanka are to pull off an upset, Wanindu Hasaranga will surely have a big part to play after an excellent IPL for the spinner.

The tweaker was the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament behind with 26 at an average of 17.65 for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Maheesh Theekshana can also trouble the tourists as they face a trial by spin.

Head coach Andrew McDonald will miss the start of Australia's tour of Sri Lanka after testing positive for coronavirus.

McDonald was unable to fly out with the rest of the touring party on Wednesday after returning a positive test on Tuesday.

Michael Di Venuto will coach the Twenty20 team in the absence of McDonald, who must spend a week in isolation.

A three-match T20 series gets under way in Colombo next Tuesday.

Sri Lanka and Australia will then play five ODIs this month before a two-match Test series in Galle.

Australia have not been in action since McDonald was appointed as Justin Langer's successor on a four-year deal.

Justin Langer says he was tired of the "b******t politics" within Cricket Australia while he was head coach of the national team and insisted he would never coach England.

Langer resigned in February on the back of masterminding Australia's maiden T20 World Cup triumph and a 4-0 Ashes thumping of England on home soil.

The former opening batter turned down a short-term contract extension, bringing his reign to an end almost four years after replacing Darren Lehmann.

Ricky Ponting, the late Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Mark Waugh were among the Australia greats who hit out at Cricket Australia over their treatment of Langer.

The 51-year-old has spoken out over the issues he had to contend with, taking aim at interim Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein.

Langer told a Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA event in Perth: "The first thing he [Freudenstein] said to me was, 'It must make you feel so good that all your mates are supporting you in the media.'

"I said, 'Yeah it is, acting chairman, but with all due respect, those mates are also the all-time greats of Australian cricket. They are the fabric of Australian cricket. They are Australian cricket. They also work all around the world in cricket. So yeah, I'm glad my mates are looking after me. Imagine if you had have'.

"Ironically, the last six months of my coaching career were the most enjoyable period of 12 years of coaching. Not only did we win everything, but I had energy, and I had focus, and I was happy – besides the b******t politics."

Langer added: "It's no wonder you get tired. It's no wonder your health suffers; your mental, your physical health. You're trying to please everybody.

"The great lesson I learned was…I cleared my desk, and all of a sudden instead of having everything on my table, I had two things on my desk. One was winning and the second thing was my people.

"If you know people have got your back, you can achieve miracles. If they haven't, it's a very lonely place. Leadership can be very, very lonely. But it's not lonely when you know people have got your back."

Langer was linked with England before Brendon McCullum and Matthew Mott were appointed as Test and white-ball head coaches respectively.

Asked whether he would have taken a job with Australia's fierce rivals, Langer replied while shaking his head: "I've never spoken to English cricket. The thought of coaching England ...mate!"

Cheteshwar Pujara has been rewarded with a return to the India squad for the rearranged fifth Test against England in July after a fine spell in the County Championship.

India, led by Virat Kohli, were 2-1 up in the five-match Test series in England before the tourists were unable to field a team due to coronavirus-related concerns in September.

The one-off Test starts at Edgbaston on July 1, following a four-day warm-up game against Leicestershire on June 24, and India have named their 17-man red-ball squad.

Pujara was dropped for the home Test series against Sri Lanka but has been reinstated after managing 720 runs in eight innings for Sussex – including four centuries – in County Championship Division Two.

Ravindra Jadeja is also part of the touring party despite pulling out of the ongoing Indian Premier League due to a rib injury, while Hanuma Vihari and Shubman Gill retained their spots.

Rohit Sharma will lead the Test side after Kohli, who remains in the squad, stepped down as captain following the 2-1 series defeat to South Africa earlier this year.

Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will lead the bowling attack, which includes Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and the uncapped Prasidh Krishna.

Ajinkya Rahane was not available for selection after sustaining a hamstring injury, while openers Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal were the other two left out from the Sri Lanka series.

Meanwhile, Rohit, Kohli and Bumrah were all rested for the home five-match T20I series against South Africa, which starts on June 9.

KL Rahul will skipper the white-ball side in Sharma's absence, with fast bowler Umran Malik handed a maiden call-up after impressing in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The experienced Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik return to the international limited-overs squad, while spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal make their comebacks after taking the IPL by storm.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda and Shreyas Iyer all retain their spots, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar heading a bowling attack that includes Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh.

India’s Test squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain) Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.

India’s T20I squad: KL Rahul (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (vice-captain)(wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

India star Virat Kohli might take a break to "rejuvenate mentally and physically", but assures he is in "the happiest phase of my life".

Kohli stepped down as India's Test captain in January following a series defeat to South Africa, having already relinquished his role as skipper of his country's white-ball teams.

The 33-year-old has struggled for form in 2022, averaging 21.45 in the ongoing Indian Premier League before Thursday's clash with Gujarat Titans – his lowest figure in the tournament since 2008.

Kohli, who also gave up the captaincy at Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, has not scored a century in any format since November 2019 when he managed 136 in Kolkata against Bangladesh.

While he averages 49.95 in the longest format, Kohli acknowledged it may be time for a rest.

"It's not a lot of people who mentioned it [taking a break]," Kohli told Star Sports. "There is one person precisely who has mentioned it which is Ravi [Shastri] and that's because he has seen from close quarters over the last six, seven years the reality of the situation that I have been in.

"The amount of cricket that I have played and the ups and downs and the toll that it takes on you to play three formats of the game plus the IPL for 10, 11 years non-stop with the seven years of captaincy in between.

"It is definitely a thing that one needs to consider because you don't want to do something which you are not a part of 100 per cent and I have always believed in that in my life.

"So to take a break and when to take a break is obviously something that I need to take a call on, but it is only a healthy decision for anyone to take some time off and just rejuvenate yourself mentally and physically.

"Not so much physically because physical fitness you keep up with through the course of playing cricket all the time, but it is a mental kind of reset that you need, and you want to be excited for what you are doing. You don't want to feel like you have been forcing yourself into any situation.

"It's only a thing of creating a balance and finding that balance which is right for you as an individual moving forward and I'll definitely discuss this with all the people involved – [India coach] Rahul [Dravid], the Indian team management, everyone to chart out whatever is best for myself and for the team definitely."

 

Kohli would not be the first high-profile international player to take a break from cricket to prioritise their mental and physical health, given new England Test captain Ben Stokes did so last year.

However, Kohli insists he is still enjoying his game as he looks to secure a playoff spot in the IPL with Bangalore.

"Right now, there is nothing that you can point out saying there is a problem here," Kohli said.

"I know where my game stands and you cannot come this far in your international career without having the ability to counter the situations and counter conditions and counter different kinds of bowling.

"So this phase for me is the easier phase to process but I don't want to put this behind me. I want to learn from it and understand that what are the core values that I have as a sports person and as a human being.

"As long as I'm ticking those boxes, I know these are ups and downs and when I come out of this phase I know how consistent I can be. I know how motivated I will be once the scores start coming.

"My experiences are sacred to me – whatever I have experienced in this phase or in the past as well. 

"So I am experiencing now that I value myself and I care for my own well-being way more than I would have in the past. And actually, contrary to a lot of belief or a lot of perceptions as I mentioned on the outside, I'm actually in the happiest phase of my life."

Ravi Shastri has urged the BCCI to give Umran Malik a central contract with India "straightaway" and says the paceman will be a "handful" in red-ball cricket.

Malik has taken the 2022 Indian Premier League by storm, claiming 21 wickets at an average of 20 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The 22-year-old clocked the fastest ball in this year's tournament with a delivery that registered 156.9 kilometres per hour on the speed gun against Delhi Capitals this month.

Malik rattled India captain Rohit Sharma on the helmet and took 3-23 to make another huge statement in Sunrisers' win over Mumbai Indians on Tuesday.

He became the youngest Indian to take 20 wickets in an IPL season with his latest exhibition of explosive pace bowling.

Former India head coach Shastri wants to see the rapid Malik in Rohit's pace attack on the international stage in the near future.

"Central contract straightaway," Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time Out.

"And keep him in the mix, don't let him float around. Keep him in the mix with the main players and then he learns seeing (and) being around with the [Mohammed] Shamis and the [Jasprit] Bumrahs, and see the way they train, see the way they manage their workload.

"Of course, there'll be the team management there, support staff, that'll help him do that, but don't let him stray at the moment. Get him into the mix, and keep him there and groom him."

Shastri says the quick will be even more potent when he learns to bowl with more control.

He said: "He'll get better and better. You see his bowling once he takes a wicket. Look at the lines he starts bowling as opposed to when he has not got a wicket – that's when he is trying everything, his lines are all over the place.

"You don't want him to cut down on pace. The last thing you would tell him looking for control, cut down on pace. What you want him to do is get his lines right: if he can bowl that stump line, attack the stumps on a constant basis, varying his lengths, he will trouble [batters].

"If he gets a wicket and new guy comes in, he can really rattle him because he has got the pace, he can keep the bloke on his toes, but it's that line - if he gets into that channel, without cutting his pace it will make a huge difference."

Shastri says Malik can provide a new dimension to the India Test attack.

"I promise you, this guy is going to be a handful in red-ball cricket. Handful, really. If he is part of an Indian pace battery that has Bumrah, Shami, you add this bloke in, a fourth guy, it's going to be a serious attack," he added.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.