New Zealand finally notched a victory on what has been a tough tour of India where they had so far been competitive without having anything to show for it. Kane Williamson, the skipper, who carried the team with what turned out to be a match-defining century in the second One-Day International, got due credit in newspapers around the country on Friday (October 21).

Meanwhile Down Under, Glenn Maxwell reiterated his red-ball ambitions, while Steven Smith backed a ‘horses for courses’ selection approach.

Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah a potent combination at Dhoni’s disposal (Hindustan Times)

Handing Hardik Pandya the new ball isn’t a risk India skipper MS Dhoni has taken against New Zealand. There is strategy behind it. Jasprit Bumrah has done well as the first-change bowler too, and the reason for that is the way Pandya has bowled in the first 10 overs.

Williamson shows his special qualities (New Zealand Herald)

He’s a gem, that Kane Williamson.

His fine century, 118 off 128 balls at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla, gave New Zealand just enough runs to hold off India and put themselves on the board for the first time on tour.

It was his eighth ODI century, level with Stephen Fleming and with only Nathan Astle (16), Ross Taylor (15) and Martin Guptill (10) ahead of him. Give him time.

I don’t think anyone can captain as well as McCullum did: NZ pacer Boult (Hindustan Times)

The timing of former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum’s biography release could not have been worse.

While New Zealand are struggling on their tour of India, with top batsmen like Ross Taylor in search for form, McCullum has criticised Taylor’s lack of leadership when he was skipper four years back in the book titled ‘Declared’. Taylor, though, let the criticism pass by, saying he hasn’t read the book but it could well turn out to be a dressing room distraction the Kiwis could do without right now.

Comeback man Aravind shows his experience (ESPN Cricinfo)

Twelve months ago, S Aravind’s answer to what had changed in the last year or so would perhaps have dealt with him recovering from one of the several injuries – back stress fracture, hamstring, knee and a torn ligament in his leg – he has suffered during his stop-start career. Today, you’re met with a smile that accompanies, “the India cap”.

Shubham Khajuria the lone fighter for J&K but Andhra stay in control (Indian Express)

Shubham Khajuria has good memories of Mumbai. The last time he was here for a Ranji match, he scored a century, his first and only one so far at this level, at the Wankhede Stadium. But there was also an added motivation when he padded up on Thursday next door at the Brabourne Stadium. Only last week, a longstanding friend and cricketing colleague had turned his Mumbai visit into a special one. Rishabh Pant had in fact gone on to achieve rave renown with his breathtaking 308. So it was obvious that Khajuria would be inspired to follow suit.

Jammu-Kashmir players still await dues of fine 2014-15 Ranji season (Hindustan Times)

The players’ repeated pleas to the JKCA authorities have proved futile. “We (players) have personally spoken to the authorities in the association, but they say that the earlier regime (Dr Farooq Abdullah’s faction) has not completed the paper work. In their dispute (Abdullah and the ruling Imran Ansari group) the players have been made to suffer,” a senior J&K player told Hindustan Times.

Glenn Maxwell on his hopes of getting back into Test cricket (Fox Sports)

Maxwell has endured a tumultuous few months in which he has been dumped from the Aussie one-day side despite being the reigning ODI player of the year, and was then left red-faced after a last-minute bit to switch states from Victoria to New South Wales was blocked by Cricket Australia.

Hamish Marshall excited about final chapter of cricket career in Wellington (

Cricket Wellington has Hamish Marshall’s brother to thank for delivering him to the Firebirds.

Not James, either, his twin who elevated them to test cricket’s exclusive club in 2005 alongside Steve and Mark Waugh, and now sells real estate in Auckland.

Brother William sowed the seed and his younger sibling grabbed the opportunity after 11 years playing county cricket for Gloucestershire. Hamish will join him selling insurance for AMP in the capital next year, but he leapt at the chance to extend an 18-year first-class career.

Smith open to new selection approach (

Australia captain Steve Smith has stressed the need for greater adaptability from his fellow Test players, but concedes a ‘horses for courses’ approach to selection may be required for future tours.

Bancroft ready for Tests: Hazlewood (

Emerging Western Australia opener Cameron Bancroft is ready to take the step up to Test cricket, according to pace bowler Josh Hazlewood. Bancroft, 23, was poised to make his Test debut last October in Bangladesh, but the tour was postponed due to security fears.

Phillip Hughes tragedy lingers over cricket (Canberra Times)

Another spring, another start of another cricket season under another dozen clouds.

With the first Test due to begin against South Africa in Perth in less than a fortnight, the portents of doom loom large for the Australian team and captain Steve Smith.

England salvage expert Jonny Bairstow comes to the rescue again (The Telegraph)

Installing Jonny Bairstow as England’s Test wicketkeeper and salvage expert at No7 has been the masterstroke of Trevor Bayliss’s coaching tenure.

Bairstow has scored 1,207 runs at an average of 67, and at the rattling rate of 62 runs per 100 balls – almost four an over – since taking over from the exhausted Jos Buttler last December.

Shield batsmen out to catch eye (New Zealand Herald)

New Zealand’s batting problems in their Test series in India add an extra zing to the Plunket Shield, which starts around the country tomorrow.

There’s a tendency among the New Zealand hierarchy to downplay the value of the shield on the basis that the country’s best bowlers spend little time playing in the domestic first-class competition. They’re on national duty, therefore runs are more easily made.

Auckland Aces’ Robbie O’Donnell on chasing the cricket dream – Part 1 (

The first time Robbie O’Donnell faced the hard ball as a youngster he was out for a golden duck.

His second innings didn’t last much longer, when he was again dismissed without scoring.

The inauspicious start didn’t deter him. He is now forging a career that has netted many runs in recent seasons. The 2015/2016 season was O’Donnell’s best for the Auckland Aces.

What return is NZ Cricket getting on its $5m investment in domestic cricket? (

It costs $4-5 million to stage a season of New Zealand domestic cricket; the vast majority of those matches played in empty grounds.

Then there’s 90 contracted player payments on top of the bills for flights, hotels and venue hire.

As the first red Kookaburra of the Plunket Shield season is fired down on Saturday morning in Mt Maunganui, Nelson and Christchurch, the question looms again: is it all worth it?