QPlay: Dhoni’s India Start ODIs vs Aus and Messi Wins Ballon d’Or

All the latest sports news in The Quint’s morning wrap.

3 min read
India start a 5-match ODI series vs Australia in Perth today. (Photo: PTI)

1. India Should Cash in on Inexperienced Aussie Attack: Gavaskar

Former captain Sunil Gavaskar has said the Indian team will have an advantage in the upcoming five-match ODI series against Australia as the home team’s bowling attack looks thin in the absence of the ‘Two Mitchells’ – Johnson and Starc.

Australia are blooding new pacers Joel Paris and Scot Boland against India and the legendary opener believes that MS Dhoni and his men should cash in on that opportunity.

The two Mitchells – Johnson and Starc, who have been such an integral part of the team are not there, which makes Australia’s new-ball attack inexperienced. If the Indian team can get off to a good start, they will not be easy to beat. The first two matches will be important as you need a good start.

Sunil Gavaskar to NDTV

2. Dhoni to Play 3-2, Smith to Give Two Debuts

India will test out several uncapped players in the limited-overs series in Australia, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Monday.

India are likely to blood Barinder Sran, Gurkeerat Singh and Rishi Dhawan in the series and Dhoni acknowledged he will have to be patient with the uncapped trio.

“As far as newcomers are concerned, we’d definitely feature them in the tournament because we want to see where they stand,” Dhoni said ahead of the first match of the five-game series against the world champions on Tuesday.

Uncapped pacemen Joel Paris and Scott Boland will make their international debuts for Australia in the first one-day match against India in Perth on Tuesday.

The pair joins Josh Hazlewood and fast bowling all-rounders Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner in a pace-heavy attack at the WACA.

3. Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or for Fifth Time

(Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)

Lionel Messi reclaimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the world player of the year on Monday from his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo who had walked off with the award for the previous two years.

The Barcelona and Argentina forward took 41.33 percent of the votes followed by the Portuguese and Real Madrid forward (27.76 percent), with Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar third (7.86 per cent).

“It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d’Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win,” said Messi as he accepted the award at the end of a drawn-out 90-minute ceremony.

“It’s incredible this is my fifth.”


4. Stephen Fleming Named Coach of Pune IPL Team

Stephen Fleming (left) and MS Dhoni (right). (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Stephen Fleming (left) and MS Dhoni (right). (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming has been named chief coach of the new Pune franchise of the Indian Premier League.

With this the former Chennai Super Kings coach will renew his long and most successful partnership with his former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was picked in the December draft.

“I warmly welcome Stephen Fleming as the chief coach,” team owner Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group said in a statement.

5. MCA Not Agreeable to Most Recommendations of Lodha Panel

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), headed by Sharad Pawar, is set to oppose most of the recommendations of the Justice Lodha committee submitted in its report to the Supreme Court last week.

“We are opposed to most of the recommendations and are one hundred per cent behind Mr Pawar. We will discuss everything and then put forth our views to the BCCI,” said MCA’s joint secretary PV Shetty, when asked about the managing committee meeting convened on 13 January to discuss the implications of the Lodha panel recommendations.

Among the sweeping reforms proposed by the Lodha panel which are set to be opposed by the MCA’s managing committee are that politicians should not be part of the cricket set-up, no office bearer should be above 70 years of age and one state can have only one member and one vote in the BCCI.

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