Virat Kohli calls for India calm ahead of Pretoria Test

India's captain Virat Kohli looks on during their training at Centurion Park in Pretoria. (AP)
Updated 13 January 2018

Virat Kohli calls for India calm ahead of Pretoria Test

PRETORIA: Virat Kohli has called on his India side to keep clam as they aim to bounce back from their 72-run defeat in Cape Town last week.
Kohli will lead the tourists out on the field for the second Test at Supersport Park in Centurion, a stronghold where South Africa have won 17 and lost just one of 21 matches.
As if that was not daunting enough India know they have to improve against the world’s best pace attack having been skittled out for 209 and 135 at Newlands.
But the India captain said this was not the time to panic and that playing an extra batsman wasn’t necessarily the answer. “People need to apply themselves much better whether we are playing five batsmen or six,” Kohli said.
“If you are playing six batters, it doesn’t mean you can afford to go out and play loose shots.
 “We might do something different, but there is definitely no need to panic. As a batting line-up, we have played well for a long time. We just need to adapt and apply ourselves better when we go out to bat.”
Shikhar Dhawan, who made 16 and 16 last week, is almost certain to sit this one out, but there was no clarity on which two openers India would go with. KL Rahul alongside Murali Vijay is the obvious choice, but given the team management’s preference for a left-right combination, there could even be a shock recall for Parthiv Patel, who last played against England in December 2016.
 If he does play, then India can afford to add an additional middle-order batsmen, with Ajinkya Rahane likely to be pencilled in at No. 5. That would mean the axe for Wriddhiman Saha, fewer than five days after he completed an Indian record of ten catches in a match.
For Faf du Plessis and South Africa, it is a straight choice between Chris Morris, the all-rounder, and Lungi Ngidi, a promising tearaway fast bowler, to replace the crocked Dale Steyn. Morris would strengthen the batting, but tends to leak runs with the ball.
“Before yesterday, I hadn’t seen him bowl at all,” said Du Plessis when asked about Ngidi. “I believe there is a lot of talent there. He bowls a heavy ball, and I’m excited to have him in the group.”
Du Plessis, who grew up in the area, expected the pitch to be fast and bouncy, but accepted that the harsh sun of the past week had burnt off much of the grass. He was also not about to discount India’s chances. “Their bowlers took 20 wickets, the only part when we were a little bit better was we got more runs in the first innings,” he said of the first Test. “I expect another huge performance from them. For us it’s about making sure we don’t take a step back. If you do that against a strong team like India, they will pounce on you.”


FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

Updated 03 December 2020

FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

  • The Halo device is widely considered to have helped save Romain Grosjean’s life

SAKHIR, Bahrain: Motor racing chiefs announced on Thursday the launch of an investigation into Romain Grosjean’s fiery Bahrain crash, saying the forensic probe would take “around six to eight” weeks to complete.
The French Formula One driver somehow wrenched himself free from his blazing Haas car with just burns to his hands and a broken left foot after a collision with Daniil Kvyat on the first lap of Sunday’s Grand Prix. He left hospital on Wednesday.
In the immediate aftermath of the shocking smash there was widespread praise for modern safety measures in the sport, but also concern over what F1’s motor sport managing director Ross Brawn described as “unpredictable” failures.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said it had “initiated a detailed analysis of Romain Grosjean’s accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.”
The FIA’s safety director, Adam Baker, said: “With so much data available in Formula 1, it allows us to accurately determine every element of what occurred and this work has already begun.
“We take this research very seriously and will follow a rigorous process to find out exactly what happened before proposing potential improvements.”
The FIA probe will look at a range of factors including Grosjean’s helmet, safety harness, headrest, in-car extinguisher and the Halo cockpit protection.
The Halo device is widely considered to have helped save Grosjean’s life as his car was sliced in two after careering into a barrier.
“The ‘halo’ saved the day and it saved Romain,” Brawn said on Sunday.
“There was controversy in developing it initially, but there can’t be any doubt now, so hats off to those who pushed for the introduction.”
But he added: “The fire is worrying. The split in the barrier is worrying and the barrier coming apart, but we can be happy with the safety of the car – that got us through today, but things failed in an unpredictable way.
“We haven’t seen anything like that for a very long time, but the barrier splitting normally results in a fatality.”
At the circuit new safety measures have been introduced to reduce the risk of a repeat crash at this Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Two rows of tires wrapped in a conveyor belt have been installed in front of a reconstructed guardrail at the exit of Turn Three.
Several drivers expressed serious concerns at the failure of the barrier and the manner in which it was punctured.
In other changes to the circuit, where this weekend’s Grand Prix will be using the shorter “outer loop’, a kerb has been removed at Turn Nine – which was used as Turn 13 last Sunday – and a tire barrier in the approach to that corner has been extended and enlarged to four rows in depth.
Grosjean left hospital on Wednesday and in an Instagram post he highlighted the professionalism of a marshal with an extinguisher and the FIA doctor in the following Safety Car, who was on the scene very quickly.
“I told him he was a hero,” said Grosjean.
“He went into the fire as much as he could to save me. I felt Ian’s hands pulling me over the barrier and I knew I was safe... life will never be the same again.”
Grosjean is resting and healing from burns at a hotel in Abu Dhabi where he hopes he will be fit enough to race in the season-closing race next weekend.