Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Hi all..
I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year 2009..
May this new year all your dreams turn into reality and all your efforts into great achievements...

-Srinivasarao Vundavalli

A great year for cricket

The year 2008 will be remembered in cricket history forever... 2008 is the beginning of the end of an era of Australia's domination in the world cricket. 2008 brought a new life to test cricket. India and South Africa are the stars in 2008. Both these teams are the strong contenders for the top spot in test cricket.

IPL was a great success... "We don't even watch one day cricket...then how can we watch test cricket....the future is Twenty20 cricket's"....This is what we have been hearing recently...All the cricket fans, former players, cricket analysts.....everyone who is attached to cricket have been saying just one thing..."Test cricket is in danger"...

But the two test match results, at the end of 2008, in a span of a week gave a new life to test is the first test between India and England Chennai in December, and the second one is the first test between Australia and South Africa at Perth in December...And also out of 46 test matches that took place in 2008, 35 matches got the results which shows that test cricket has gained some speed.

And the year ended on Australia losing a test series to South Africa, at home, after 16 years..

The performances of teams in 2008.

India: No doubt 2008 will remain as a wonderful year in India cricket. Dhoni took on the test captaincy and now he is the captain of team India in all formats of the game. There are so many unforgettable moments like test series win against Australia in India, CB series win, test and ODI series win against England, IPL etc.. Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Zaheer, Ishant, Harbhajan and Dhoni's captaincy took India to great heights.. Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar and Laxman crossed 1000 runs in tests in a calender year..The year marked the end of an era with Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble bidding adieu to international cricket.

South Africa: South Africa is on a roll under Smith's captaincy. SA won 11 of their 15 test matches played in 2008. SA has been very consistent in all the formats of the game. Smith is the leading run scorer in tests in 2008 with 1656 runs in 15 test matches. Amla also crossed 100 runs in tests in 2008. Steyn is the leading wicket taker in tests in 2008. SA has got a new talent in the form of Duminy. De Villiers has been in good touch..If they continue this form, they will surely be No.1 in all formats..

Australia: 2008 is the year Australia don't want to remember. 2008 marked the end of an era of Australia's dominance. Australia's great wicket-keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist retired in 2008 after CB series. The effect of the retirement of McGrath and Warne was completely visible on the team's performance. Australia lost to India and SA in successive test series at the end of the year. The form of their top order batsmen like Hayden, Ponting and Hussey has been their main concern. Bowling department is also looking weak with no one, except Johnson, performing well. Retaining Ashes is their main focus in 2009.

Sri Lanka: Mendis is SL's new weapon. Asia cup win was their biggest win in 2008. The team was not up to the mark in a series with Zimbabwe. With Mendis and Murlai in the bowling department, and Jayawardena, Sangakkara, Dilshan in batting department, SL looks ahead for a great future.

New Zealand: Stephen Fleming retired after the test match against England in Napier. Except Vettori and McCullum no other player performed well for New Zealand. New Zealand has many new players. It will take a little time before they all adjust. NZ got mixed results in 2008.

England: After England lost the four match series against South Africa, captain Michael Vaughan stepped down from the captaincy. England appointed Kevin Pietersen as their new captain. England's whole concentration has been on Ashes. England won the hearts of many people by coming to India and play the test series after Mumbai blasts. Pietersen was their star in 2008 with Flintoff, Strauss, Collingwood performing consistently. Stuart Broad is a rising talent. England's bowling department is also good with Sidebottom, Anderson and Harmison.

West Indies: The form of West Indies was very bad. They won only one test match in 2008. The team depends a lot on Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul.

Pakistan: 2008 is a worst year in Pakistan's cricket. Pak did not played even a single test. They played some ODIs and won many matches but all of them came against weak teams. Pak is pleading other teams to come and play in Pak. Neutral venues seems to be the only option for Pakistan. Pakistan's great player Mohammad Yousuf joined ICL. It was a big shock to Pak. Aisf was accused of using drugs in IPL and banned from all formats of cricket.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh cricket was under shock when 14 of their cricketers joined ICL. But with many other youngsters like Shakib-ul-Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mortaza, the team performed well under the captaincy of Ashraful. But the results were not satisfying. On a whole, their performance improved a little bit.

Smith, Sehwag, Gambhir, Steyn and Mendis were the stars of 2008.

Hoping for a much more exciting cricket in 2009...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day/Night test cricket

Wouldn't it be fun to watch the final hours of test cricket at night after coming home from work.

Keeping in mind the amount of damage T20 is causing to Test Cricket and as popularity of test cricket is decreasing among spectators , it seems to be a better idea to implement day/night test cricket.

Cricket Australia has been very keen to introduce the day and night tests. But the major problem in this kind of tests is to find a ball that can be used for 80 overs and make sure that it does not lose its visibility under any the circumstances.

Positive points :

1. There won't be any instances of game being stopped due to bad light.
2. This move would allow more people to watch at grounds and on television.
3. Hot and humid climates can be avoided.
4. Bad light would no more be a problem.

Negative Points:

1. Teams bowling at night may have problems with the ball. But as it is a 5-day game, it won't effect the game much as the other team may also get into the same situation to bowl during the night.
2. Changing the ball to suit the day/night cricket.
3. Color of the ball.
4. Fielding may be difficult in presence of dew factor. There will be a lot mis-fields as the ball easily slips away from hands.

2nd and 3rd problems are solved by Cricket Australia. It has been trying to host Test matches at nights for the long time. CA commissioned the CSIRO in July to manufacture a revolutionary all-conditions ball suitable for Tests in Australia played from 1pm to 9pm. Cricket Australia is assured that it is possible to develop a suitable ball for day-night tests.

Australia and Pakistan are going to become the first teams to play a night Test next November in Adelaide according to a report.

I think a bit of thinking should go in before putting this idea into practice.

any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What went wrong for England? Plan or Effort ?

I was very thrilled to watch the first test match between India and England.This is one of the test matches in the recent times that I enjoyed to the full extent. Thanks to Sehwag who changed the complexion of the game with his awesome innings.

Englang dominated the test till 2nd session on day-4. They set a seemingly unchasable target. But Sehwag's brilliant innings moved the game into India's hands. Sachin and Yuvi completed the formalities. Sachin was simply awesome with his match winning century.

Pietersen and his men might have been really happy after they set a target of 387 to India. But their happiness did not last long. England dominated about 70% of the game but ended up on losing side becuase of firing Sehwag, cautios Sachin and coolheaded Yuvraj. England missed a golden opportunity to win the test match. They would have gained a lot of confidence before the Ashes had they won the game.

England coach Peter Moores said that it was because of the poor team effort England lost the game after being in the driver's seat for 11 sessions. Except Strauss, Cook and Collingwood, the rest of the English batsmen were not up to the mark. In bowling department, except Flintoff, all the other bowlers failed. Panesar was a huge disappointment.

England scored less than 3 runs per over in both the innings where as India scored more than 3 runs per over(close to 4 runs per over) in both the innings. Englang should have been a bit more aggressive like India. Had they scored a bit quicker, they could have set a much more tougher target and made sure that India had no chance to win the game.

I think it was a combination of poor game plan and team effort that cost England the match.

But again it was the complete team effort from India which won them the test match. India has been the best in every form of cricket in recent times and continues to be the best...

Thanks to England for coming to India after mumbai terror and for a brilliant game.

looking forward to another thrilling match in Mohali...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Whatelse are the selectors expecting from him?

I was shocked to know that Pujara is not included in India's 15-member Test squad for the two match series against England.

Many current and former cricketers and the critics have praised Pujara as next Dravid.

He is a new wall in the making....

He is India's new run machine...

Scoring runs is a routine for him...

He scored 3 triple centuries for Saurashtra in a span of 24 days - one in the Ranji Trophy and two in an Under-22 tournament -- this season.

He has consistently displayed the quality of playing long innings.

The levels of concentration and determination, he shows at this age, are awesome.

It looks to me that he is completely addicted to scoring hundreds.....

If selectors consider the form, Pujara should not have been left out.

I think this is the right time to give a chance to Pujara.

"Pujara's shown his ability to stay at the wicket for long and that's the most important ingredient to a Test prospect.", says Srikkanth.

Then why didn't they select him ?

Whatelse are the selectors expecting from Pujara?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

India to cut-off ties with Pakistan?

It is really sad to see the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. The attacks have damaged India's relationships with Pakistan. Cricket between these two countires is also largely affected. Though there is no official confirmation, many news channels have reported that India's tour of Pakistan is cancelled. As it is found that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai have links with Pakistan, Central Government refused India's tour of Pakistan. It is also decided that there should not be any cricketing ties with Pakistan in future.

There was no cricket between India and Pakistan for almost two years during Kargil war in 1999. After some talks the cricketing ties were resumed in 2001.

The sources also ruled out the possibility of India playing the series at a neutral venue as proposed by PCB. It is known that many of our cricketers like Sachin, Dhoni are reluctant to tour Pakistan. In any way, cricketing ties between India and Pakistan are certain to be affected for sometime.

Is India's decision to stop cricketing ties with Pakistan right??
Will this decision have any effect on world cricket?

Anyway I hope India and Pakistan will resolve their differences soon....

Money power should save

No team has toured Pakistan for the last one year showing security concerns. India has also witnessed terrosit attacks in main cities in the last few months. But I think the teams will tour India because of BCCI's money power. Other boards will lose financially if they don't tour India. Cricket is adored in India and in international cricket, it is India that generates 70% of crickets income.

Coming to England's test tour, BCCI may use IPL as the weapon in bringing them back. If England refuses to tour India, the chances of the England players playing in IPL will be nil. Already many England cricketers are worrying for not playing in IPL. The relationship between ECB and BCCI has not been so good. There has been many disputes over ICL players, ECB deciding to unveil new league, ECB not allowing their cricketers not to play in IPL etc.. If England refuses to tour India now, the relations between ECB and BCCI may slide down furthur. If England team comes to India, India can prove that playing in India is safe.

Australia and South Africa who are the partners of Champions League will want cricket to be played in India. Both these boards will get US $3 millions if CL is played. The amount may increase in future. I don't think the boards want to lose this amount.

After England's tour in India, there won't be any other matches in India untill IPL, except Chamiopns League. Everything will be normal by that time. India is trying to host the 2 test matches against England by providing a tight security and trying to prove that everything will be fine and there won't be any problem to host 2011 world cup.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A new 'Wall' in the making

There has been a lot of discussion over the future of Indian cricket after Ganguly, Laxman, Dravid, Sachin, who have been the main pillars of Indian cricket for over a decade, retire. Many people thought that there are no perfect players now to replace the above players. Yuvraj or Rohit Sharma looks to be the replacement for Ganguly.

There is a player who seems to be the perfect replacement for Dravid. He has been scoring a lot of runs in every match and waiting for a test spot. He is a Saurashtra player, Cheteshwar Arvind Pujara. With the levels of concentration and determination he has, he will surely reach great heights.

Scorpicity wrote an excellent post, The wall 2.0 , on Pujara.

Pujara signed on with the Kolkata Knight Riders of IPL. But he did not get a chance to play. Ganguly will surely bring in Pujara after watching him scoring centuries one after other.

An attempt to make India unsafe for visitors?

After a terrorist attack in Mumbai, cricket all over India is affected. England's ongoing ODI tour is cancelled. Champions League is postponed as Middlesex is not willing to participate and Australia suspended all travel to India. ICL called off its ongoing world series. Indian domestic tournament, Ranji Trophy, has also been affected.

Many countries will now surely show reluctance to play in India due to security reasons.

Is this attack an attempt to make India an unsafe place, like Pakistan right now, for visitors ?

My commiserations to victims of Mumbai terrorist attack

Terrorism has struck India once again..It is a very sad day for Mumbai and India..Terrorism has become a part of people's day to day life.. Several Indian cities like Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Assam, Malegaon, Jaipur etc have been attacked over the last few years...

This attack proves once again how inefficient our indian cops and government are. We see security checks only for a few days after a bomb blast occurs...after that it's security checks till another bomb blast occurs.. The security needs to be tightened at each and every place. All the political parties should unite in fighting against terrorism instead of throwing mud on each other about terrorism.

The government should take the necessary steps to make sure that there are no recurrences. The world need a long term solution to this f***king terrorism... Hoping for the day to come soon...

My deep condolences to the victims' families and the injured.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Was Dhoni right?

India was shocked to hear that Dhoni had offered to resign from the captaincy following Irfan Pathan's inclusion ahead of RP Singh.

The rift between captain and the selectors is not new. Almost all countires have been facing the same situation, especially Pakistan. But the main concern here is the leak of selection report.

Dhoni took charge of India as a captain during T20 world cup last year. In one year, he has become the captain for India in all formats. India has been very consistent and winning the series under his captaincy. He might have thought that the team is completely under his control as he has not faced any problem with his captaincy till now. This might have lead to the rift between Dhoni and the selectors.

No doubt he is a talented batsman and a good captain. But Dhoni has a long way to go before he reaches his potential as a captain. Dhoni has been safe as India is winnig the matches. If India starts to lose, then Dhoni has to face a lot of criticism. If you are in good form, people praise you and if you lose your form, the same people will criticise you.

The best example is India's 2007 World Cup failure. Dhoni was out of form in that tournament and the fans damaged Dhoni's under construction house in Ranchi. Selectors need to back if you lose your form and if you are under pressure. So Dhoni needs to calm down a bit and has act with restraint.

There was only one captain who took complete contorl of his team selection. It was Imran Khan of Pakistan. Selectors would not say a word when Imran picks the team. It was largely due to his all rounder qualities with which he was able to lead his team successfully.

If the captain can decide who should be in the team, and who should not be, then what is the use of selection committee? I am not saying that the captain should not be given a chance in picking the team. The captain and the coach should be given a chance in picking the team. Consider a player's recent performance, his ability to play on any kind of surface in any situation while picking him.

What do you guys say?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where is the common sense?

India have won the 3rd ODI by D/L method. It's very sad that we did not have the full match. England was very unfortunate. They set a chaseable target for India and got wickets at regular intervals. They were set back by bad light.

The toss was delayed because of the haze and overcast conditions. And we lost 45 mins before the start of the play. Finally the match was reduced to 49 overs per team. When we have lost 45 mins and you expect bad light at the end of the day, 2-3 more overs should have been deducted per innings.

And adding to this the lunch break was not shortened. A 10-15 min lunch break would have been fine in this situtaion.

In a ODI match played between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston on 18th June 2008, England's time wasting tactics cost New Zealand the match. ICC changed the rule after this match to prevent such instances.

As per the rule, the 10 minute's break will be taken only if we lose more than an hour of play. We lost 45 minutes here and the bad light was expected at the end of the day. So, why wouldn't they implement this rule and reduce the lunch break to 10 minutes?

And why didn't they make use of the flood lights?

I strongly feel that D/L method should come into play only when any further play is not possible because of rain. In situations like bad light or anything other than rain, they must make use of the flood lights.

Suresh Menon at cricinfo says 'Have a full game at any cost'.

The struggle continues

After 2-0 humiliation by India, Australia is now playing against New Zealand and their struggle continues, especially Ponting's poor form.

New Zealand did well to restrict Australia to a low first innings total. Except Michael Clark, no one showed the signs of offering resistance. Tim Southee was the star of the day with his superb bowling.

But New Zealand has a reputation for inconsistent performance. If NZ bowlers can bowl out Australia then New Zealand may be bowled out for a score less than Australia's. Anything can happen with New Zealand. But the clash between Australia and New Zealand is always interesing.

Unusual thing happened:
Andrew Symonds scored 8 runs of one ball when he hit O'Brien and ran four runs and then got four overthrows from New Zealand fielding.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Asif to join ICL?

Mohammad Asif, along with Sohail Khan, may join ICL.
ICL has got tremendous response in Pakistan because of Lahore Badshahs, which consists of some of the great Pakistan players. Most of the Pakistan players have joined ICL. Mohammad Yousuf has joined ICL recently. And now it seems to be Sohail and Asif's turn. Asif trained with ICL players after he was suspended for using a banned substance during IPL.

Sohail Khan, a right-arm fast-medium bowler, is a quality bowler who took 104 wickets in 18 first class matches with 2 10-wicket hauls and 10 5-wicket hauls. Pakistan will be another Bangladesh if they lose all these players.

Inzamam is very confident that Pakistan will lift ban on the players participating in ICL. It will definitely do good for them.

What say now, Ponting?

Ponting felt that Dhoni and his side are better suited for T20 than Tests.

Dhoni made his point clear to Ponting during VB series and Border-Gavaskar Trophy. So Ponting, do u really think u were right?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ICL and Indian domestic players

Everyone thought that ICL won't be a great success when it was started on April 3, 2007. But it's proving us wrong with its success. The league started becuase BCCI was ignoring many talented young players at the domestic level.

Though the first season of ICL was not successful, this season was a grand success with large crowd coming for all the matches. The quality of cricket was good and so was the crowd at all the grounds.

ICL started with 6 teams, which expanded to 8 in early 2008 and added one more in the second half of the same year.

ICL television ratings were very strong towards the end of their first season. 55 million people watched the first series of the tournament and most estimates have this season's television audience at above 100 million viewers.

There is a lot of talent at the domestic level with the hunger to prove themselves and represent their country. Most of the domestic players are proving their talent in ICL.

The following players(Indian) were very successful in ICL.

Rajagopal Sathish : This all-rounder plays for Chennai Super Stars and scored 287 runs from 9 matches at an average of 47.83 in this tournament with 76* being his highest score. He scored 843 runs from 36 matches at an average of 32.42 in ICL Twenty20s with 86* being his highest score and took 14 wickets. He has the most number(6) of fifties in ICL Twenty20s. He is also the captain of ICL IndiaXI.

His first class average is 37.03 with 1222 runs in 22 matches. His highest score is 204*.

Ambati Rayudu : He is a great talent and can play according to the situation. He has been one of the consistent performers for Hyderabad Heroes. He played an important role in Heroes winning the first season title. People, especially Hyderabadis, saw Azharuddin in Rayudu. But he was unfortunate to get a call to national team.

He scored 212 runs in 12 matches in this tournament where as he scored 738 runs in 35 ICL Twenty20 matches at an average of 23.81.

Ganapathi Vignesh : Vignesh is a good all-rounder. He plays for Chennai Super Stars. He averaged 29.11 in 9 matches and scored 262 runs. 88 was his highest score in this tournament.
In all 32 ICL Twenty20 matches he played, he scored 882 runs at an average of 27.56 and took 28 wickets.

Stuart Binny : Stuart Binny is the son of former Indian cricketer Rojer Binny. Stuart plays for Hyderabad Heroes in ICL and has been a part of their success in the tournament. He scored 258 runs at average of 25.80 and took 5 wickets in 12 matches. In all 29 ICL Twenty20 matches he played, he scored 667 at an average of 27.79 and took 16 wickets.

Ibrahim Khaleel : This wicketkeeper-batsman has a lot of talent. He provided good starts for Hyderabad Heroes. He scored 219 runs in 12 matches at an average of 73.00 in this tournament. He played an important role in Heroes' win. In all 22 ICL Twenty20 matches he played, he scored 449 runs at an average of 32.07.

TP Singh : This left-handed batsman plays for Chandigarh Lions in ICL. He is useful with the ball also. He scored 219 in 12 matches with an average of 31.28 and took 4 wickets in this tournament where as he scored 828 runs in 34 ICL Twenty20 matches with an average of 26.71 and took 13 wickets.

Inder Shekar Reddy : This slow left-arm orthodox bowler plays for Hyderabad Heroes. He took 15 wicketsin 12 matches at an average of 15.00 in this tournament. In all 34 ICL Twenty20 matches he played, he took 31 wickets at an average of 23.42.

T Kumaran: This right-arm medium bowler plays for Chennai Super Stars and was very successful in the first season of ICL. He played only one match in this season. He took 35 wickets in all the 20 matches he played.

ICL proved the perfect platform for many players to showcase their talents. I strongly feel these players make a strong bench strength for India. It is a great talent and unfortunately we may not see them in indian team.

BCCI shouldn't ignore the talented players for the reasons other than talent. It needs to support the players irrespective of whether they play for a rebel league or BCCI.

Courtesy: and

Monday, November 17, 2008

Singh is king

It was an awesome performance by Yuvraj. His effort, both with the bat and the ball, powered India to gain 2-0 lead in 7 match ODI series.

He hit 2nd consecutive century followed by a 4-wicket haul. This century was special and important than the one in the first ODI as he got this one when the team needed. It was definitely one of his memorable innings. He is more confident now and needs to make sure he continues his good form.

After winning the toss and elected to bat, India got off to a poor start. Sehwag(1), Raina(4) and Rohit Sharma(3) were dismissed early by Stuart Broad.

After their departure, Yuvraj and Gambhir(70) added 134 runs in 22.3 overs for the 4th wicket to take India to a comfortable position before Pietersen dismissed Gambhir. Yuvraj Singh took India out of trouble with his wonderful batting. Gambhir did excellent for his 70, but failed again to reach 100 after getting it to 50.

Dhoni made just 15 before Paul Collingwood dismissed him. Broad returned in the 3rd powerplay , for his second spell, and removed Yuvraj. Harbhajan and Zaheer were run out trying to get the runs quickly. Harmison dismissed RP Singh the last over. Yusuf Pathan took the responsibility after Yuvraj and scored an unbeaten 50 from 29 deliveries to take India to 292/9 in 50 overs. It was his maiden half century in ODIs.

England managed only 238 from 47 overs in reply. England began their innings on a disatrous note when Suresh Raina run out Ian Bell(1) with brilliant fielding, in the first over of England's innings. Owais Shah(58) and Prior(38) took the responsibility of building up the innings and scored 96 runs in 22.1 overs before Yuvraj struck. He dismissed Shah and Prior in two overs.

Ashes heroes, Pietersen(33) and Flintoff(43), found it difficult to score runs as Yuvraj and Harbhajan quickly chipped in with economical overs, and the required-rate crept up towards 9 an over. England skipper took a smart move by opting for the 3rd powerplay at that time and England scored 59 in that 5 overs which brought the visitors a ray of hope.

But Yuvraj's two wicket over, just after power play, turned the match completely towards India. He dismissed Flintoff and Pietersen in that over to make it 4-28, his scond best in ODIs. Harbhajan Singh took a return catch to dismiss Paul Collingwood (2). Yusuf Pathan dismissed Ravinder Bopara (3) in his first over. Virender Sehwag then took the next three England wickets dismissing Samit Patel (20), Steve Harmison (6) and Stuart Broad (22) to all out England for 238.

Interestingly, all the England wickets(except Bell's run out) were taken by the spinners. But England spinners have managed to take only 1 Indian wicket.

One thing, I don't understand with England is why they sent Bopara after Samit Patel. When you take Bopara as a batsman you have to use him. England need to send him before Patel and Collingwood.

The two teams will now travel to Kanpur for the third match to be played on Thursday.

Badshahs take revenge on Heroes

What an excellent innings from Imran Nazir...

I expected this match to be interesing as in the 2nd fianl, but Nazir made it look one-sided. He took Badshahs to a comfortable 8-wicket win in the 3rd final of best of 3 finals to win this season's ICL title. He blasted a sparkling 44-ball 111 with 7-4s and 11-6s.

Hyderabad Heroes couldn't retain their championship. After losing the first final, Heroes came back strongly and won the 2nd final with plenty of drama to make it to the third final. Both the finals were a bit close.

Badshahs won the first match by 4 wickets after they were asked to chase 170. The 2nd one very close match. Defending 158, Heroes did well to win the match by taking wickets at regular intervals. But Sami and Saqlain batted well and were looking to take the match away from Heroes. But a stunning catch from Kemp sent Sami back to the pavilion. But even after all the umpires gave it out, Badshahs were not happy and play was stopped for sometime, and finally they agreed. Run-out of Saqlain in the last over ended Badshahs chase and Heroes won the match by 8 runs.

Rana Naved was the man of the series for his all round performance in the tournament. He was the the highest wicket taker of the tournament with 22 from 11 matches and also scored 189 runs from 11 matchs with an average of 27.00 with 2 fifties.

ICL has been a success with almost 90% of the stadiums filling up. With this success they move on to the next tournament ICL 20s World Series. ICL 20s World Series will start on Nov 23rd which features the teams ICL India, ICL Pakistan, ICL Bangladesh, and ICL World. Each team will play a match against the other 3 teams and the final will take place between the top 2 teams on 29th November.

It will be much more interesting.....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Advantage India

Just 3 days after the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India is ready to take on England.

India has the destructive opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir (M Vijay as back up opener) compared to England's Ian Bell and Matt Prior (A Cook as back p opener).

Both teams have a good pace attack. England has no quality/experienced spinner while India has got Bhajji.

Both teams have strong middle-order. England's middle order has players like Pietersen, Flintoff, Collingwood, Bopara and Owais Shah while India has Rohit Sharma, Raina, Dhoni, Kohli and Yuvraj.

The teams are almost equal in terms of their batting, bowling and fielding.

But India is mentally strong after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-0 while England goes into the series after thet were humiliated by Mumbai Cricket Association XI in the 2nd practice match and Stanford Super Stars in the Stanford Twenty 20 match.

India has clearly an edge over England.

It will be interesting to see how the new powerplay rules are going to effect the game.

Heroes Vs Badshahs

Last ICL tournament finalists, Hyderabad Heros and Lahore Badshahs, are once again ready to face each other in the on-going ICL tournament.
Hyderabad Heros won the best of 3 finals in the last tournament.
Heros won 7 out of 9 matches they played where as Badshahs won 6.
Both of the are looking good and it's going to be an entertaining best of 3 finals.
I hope Heroes will retain the ICL trophy :)

Pakistan clinches the nail biting thriller

What a match!
Pakistan won the nail biting thriller against West Indies.
West Indies set a target of 295 for Pakistan, thanx to the brilliant 113 from Chris Gayle.
Needing 17 off the last over, Kamran Akmal hit 2 sixes in that over to win the match for Pakistan.
A very entertaining knock from Akmal...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is it possible

to have a multi-nation series in test cricket as in ODIs?

Test matches are usually played between two teams in a group of matches. We are always fed up with watching the test matches between two teams only. As in ODIs, I want to watch a test series which is played among 3 or more nations. Can we have multi-nation series in test cricket as in ODIs?

What do u say guys??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008 Review

India created a history yesterday by regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India is on its way to the No.1 spot in test cricket. It was not just one or two individuals who made this historic series win possible but a perfect team effort from India. Australia was outclassed in all the departments.

This series has seen two great Indian cricket legends retire, the wall cracking, master breaking the world record, Australians struggling in all the departments, Ishant evolving as one of the best bowlers in the world, Ponting under fire, and many more....

This is a sincere effort to review this entertaining series....


Opening: Sehwag and Gambhir proved they are the best opening pair. They have been very consistent and they provided excellent starts in this series. The left-right combination also gone well with this pair. The understanding between these two is amazing. They played an important role in putting up big totals by scoring the runs quickly. Vijay, who played last test match in place of Gambhir, also gave India good starts with Sehwag.
Rating: 4.5/5

Middle Order: No doubt India has got the outstanding middle-order with players like Sachin, Laxman, Ganguly, Dravid and Dhoni. They all were upto their mark except Dravid who has to forget this series( in terms of his performance) as soon as possible. Sachin and Laxman came up with excellent innings at times they needed. Ganguly played well in his last test series. Dhoni too came up with good innings when the team was in trouble. This series is a disaster for Dravid in terms of batting and fielding. He dropped a few simple catches.
Rating: 4/5

Pace Bowling: This was the major difference between the two teams in the series. Everyone thought that Indian pitches are not suitable for the pace bowlers. The job of pace bowlers is to make the ball old, give it to the spinners and let the spinners do the rest. But Zaheer and Ishant proved it wrong. They made good use of reverse-swing. Australian batsmen struggled against these two bowlers. They have taken 26 wickets together.
Rating: 4.75/5

Spin Bowling: On Indian pitches, spinners have been threat to the visitors. This time it was not all their show though they contributed much to the series win. Anil Kumble was struggling in the first test and did not play the second test. He came back for the third test and yet he was not effective. He finally announced his retirement after he was injured during the third test. Amit Mishra, who replaced Kumble for the second and fourth tests and Harbhajan for the third test, was a hit on his debut match. But he had to fight hard in the third test. He came up with a good performance at an important time in the last test. Harbhajan was quite beautiful with his bowling. Actually he played an all-rounder role in this series. Sehwag too tried his hand at bowling and bowled well to take 5 wickets in the third test.
Rating: 3.5/5

Fielding: Indian fielders missed a few simple catches. Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Ishant missed many catches among them. Had Ishant taken the catch of Clarke in the third test, we would have won the series 3-0. Viajy did excellent to run out Hussey, Hayden while Mishra did well to run out Ponting. On a whole, fielding is a bit disappointment. Fielding standards are average and India should concentrate on this.
Rating: 3/5

Captaincy: Dhoni has already evolved as a successful captain in the shorter versions of the game. He is now the captain for India in all forms of the game after Anil Kumble announced his retirement during the third test. Dhoni had taken a very timely and wise decisions in the series (2nd and 4th tests) and India won both of them. Both Kumble and Dhoni were successful in inspiring the team. They came up with a plan and executed their plan to perfection without mistakes.
Rating: 4.25/5


Opening: Hayden struggled through out the series, especially against Zaheer. He did well in the last match but could not win the match for Aussies. Katich was consistent throughout the series. But these openers failed to give good starts for Australia.
Rating: 3.5/5

Middle Order: With the batsmen like Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, Watson and Haddin at the middle of the order, one would expect big partnerships among these batsmen. But that was never the case in this series. Hussey was impressive. Clarke made a century which helped them to draw the third test. Watson was OK... Haddin was a big disappointment with the bat and behind the stumps.
Rating: 3.25/5

Pace Bowling: The fast bowlers had a lean time. If I had to pick one bowler from Australia who bowled quite well in this series, I would prefer Shane Watson. Watson bowled beautifully in the last test match. Mitchell Johnson bowled well and is the leading wicket taker for Australia in this series. Lee and Stuart Clark were average. The weakness of Australian bowlers was exposed when they could not break the partnership between Harbhajan and Zaheer in the first innings of the first test.
Rating: 2.75/5

Spin Bowling: Australia struggled through out the series with their spin department. Krejza was very impressive in his debut match. He was smart and patient. White, Clarke and Katich were the other spinners who were below average.
Rating: 2.75/5

Fielding: Fielding was good except for a few occasions where they dropped some catches. Haddin was not good behind the stumps. He gave away many byes.
Rating: 4/5

Captaincy: Ponting never looked like a captain he used to be. A captain has to lead his team from the front. Except for a century in the first test, he did not play a big innings. His tactics in the last test match, where he used his part time bowlers instead of pace bowlers, raised questions over his captaincy. Instead of trying to win the test match, he was afraid of his ban because of slow over-rate and used his part-time bowlers. He could not inspire his team in this series.
Rating: 3.5/5

India has to be consistent in order to be the No.1 in the test cricket... But with this hectic schedule, India need to protect its players from injuries by rotating the players which would otherwise be an obstacle for its aim to be No.1... India has a great bench strength in the form of many youngsters like Rohit Sharma, Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Vijay, Munaf RP Singh, Irfan Pathan etc...Use them wisely and protect the players...

Congratulations and all the best India....

Monday, November 10, 2008

India regains Border-Gavaskar Trophy

India ended Australia's record 16-match winning streak, when India recorded one of their most amazing Test victory in the third cricket Test match against Australia at Perth earlier this year. But this win today and the series win ends Australian domination in the world cricket. It was an awesome win and a perfect team effort.

India regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 172-run win over Australia to wrap up a deserved 2-0 series win at Nagpur in the fourth and final test match. The Indians celebrated by hugging each other after Harbhajan trapped last man Johnson in front of the wickets. It ended a dramatic day of test match cricket.

Australia resumed their innings on 13/0. 369 runs in 90.3 overs on the last day of the test match in India was never going to be easy. But Hayden attacked indian bowlers from the begining. He was dropped twice by Dhoni and Dravid. Both were easy ones. Ishant got the breakthrough by dismissing Katich in the 6th over of Australian innings. In the next over, Amit Mishra run out Ponting. It was similar to the Hayden run out in the first innings. Clarke was promoted ahead of Hussey. Clarke was gone for a beauty from Ishant.

Mishra struck in his first over of the day by dismissing Hussey with a beautiful delivery. Hayden(73) was dropped twice by Dhoni and Dravid before he was trapped in front of the wickets by Harbhajan. Hayden was looking to take the match away from India. But his wicket was a big relief for India. It was very easy for the Indians there after. Mishra and Harbhajan ripped through Australian tail. Mishra dismissed Haddin and Krejza while Harbhaja dismissed Watson, Lee and Johnson to bowl out Australia for 209, win the match by 172 runs and the series 2-0.

Dhoni let Ganguly captain for a few overs at the end of the Australian Innings. Ganguly made his debut as the captain of India 8 years ago on this day.

Jason Krejza received man of the match for his great debut (12 wickets). Ishant received man of the series awrad for his excellent bowling (15 wickets) throughout the series.

The ultimate reason Australia lost this test match, the series is Ponting. They had a chance to win the match and level the series when India were 6-down yesterday. But bowling changes by Ponting cost them the match and the series. Ponting has to face a lot of criticism now. Cricket Australia is already ready to question him over his tactics on day-4.

Billy Bowden is the next Steve Buckor?

7.2 Sharma to Clarke, no run, big big shout for lbw. That looked very close. It was full, it was swinging and thudded into the pad in front of middle. It would have taken out the leg stump. Hawk eye confirms that. Ishant can't believe that Bowden has not given it out. That's that. Let's move on.

Billy has given out M Vijay for a delivery that was going down the leg-side. But here, the ball was in line and as per Hawk-Eye it was going to hit the middle of off and leg stump.

Goodluck Ganguly and Kumble for the future...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A great final day ahead

An awesome day of test cricket this......India dominated Australia in pre lunch session, Australia came back strongly and dominated dramatic post-lunch session and India was back in the game in post-tea session mainly because of Ponting's bowling changes.

India resumed their innings with an overnight score of 0/0.

Virender Sehwag and M Vijay scored 116 in quick time for the first wicket, before Vijay was trapped, just after lunch, in front of the wicket by a beautiful delivery from Watson. Viru demolished Krejza in the first over after lunch by taking 14 runs in that over.

Shane Watson dismissed Rahul Dravid for 3 with a beautiful outswinger. Dravid edged it to Haddin. Dravid's poor form continues. Dravid should not have been sent at No.3 today.

What's next Dravid? Are you going to announce your retirement tomorrow? Or are you going to take some rest and come back ?

Brett Lee dismissed Virender Sehwag for 92 to reduce India to 142/3. And then Krejza brought Australia back in the match by dismissing VVS Laxman(4) and Sourav Ganguly(0) in successive deliveries. Krejza's delivery to Laxman was a beauty. It pitched outside off and turned a lot to hit the stumps. Ganguly was dismissed for a first ball duck. A disappointing last innings to a great career.

Sachin Tendulkar (12) was run out in the last over before tea. It was an unncesessary run.

The post lunch session raised hopes of series levelling victory for Australia. India were in a losing position at tea.

But after tea, Dhoni(55) and Harbhajan(52) shattered Australia's hopes by scoring 108 runs for the seventh wicket, there by got India to a decent total and set a target of 382 for Australia in 92 overs thanks to the slow overrate of Australia which made Ponting to use his part-time bowlers.

Hussey took a great catch to dismiss Dhoni in Krejza's bowling and then Krejza dismissed Zaheer. After reaching his 6th test fifty, 4th Vs Australia and 2nd in this series Harbhajan was dismissed by Watson by a good delivery. Watson bowled Amit Mishra to bowl out India for 295 in their second innings.

Krejza and Watson took 4 wickets each.

Ponting surely cost Australia the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Why did he use his part time bowlers instead of trying to win the test match by using Watson who was bowling so well at that moment ?. Becuase, he thought of his suspension due to slow over-rate. He wanted to save himself from the suspension. Slow overrates have been the problem for Australia throughout the series.

Australia were at 13/0 at the end of day-4. Bad light stopped play with 3 more deliveries to go. Australia need 369 more to win from 90.3 overs.

A great final day ahead...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tight Schedule

Australians are still here playing test cricket. England have already reached India for 7 ODIs and 2 Tests. And they have already started their preparations. ODI series between India and England begins on 14th November, just 3 days after the test series with Australia concludes.
The players(Indian) have no time to rest. It's not this time, it is going to be the case for the next 9 months.

Indian players are going to play non-stop cricket for the next 9 months, which starts with the ODI series against Egland. The ODI series will be followed by Champions Twenty20 Leauge in India and then the 2-test series with England. Soon after India will facing Pakistan in Pakistan for a three-match Test series, 5 match ODI series and a Twenty20 match. Then India will play 2 tests, 5 ODIs and a Twenty20 against New Zealand in New Zealand. Soon after this series finishes, they will take part in the 2nd season of Indian Premium League. They have to fly all across the country during the IPL. Within a week, India have to go to Egland to play in ICC Twenty20 World Cup, followed by 4 ODIs with West Indies in West Indies.

The schedule for India in next 9 months is as follows.

India Vs England : 7 ODIs and 2 Tests, 14th Nov'08 - 23rd Dec'08
Champions Twenty20 Leauge : 3rd Dec'08 - 10th Dec'08
India Vs Pakistan : 5 ODIs, 1 Twenty20 and 3 Tests, 6th Jan'09 - 19 Feb'09
India Vs New Zealand : 5 ODIs, 1 Twenty20 and 2 Tests, 6th Mar'09 - 7th Apr'09
IPL 2nd season 10th Apr'09 - 29th May'09
ICC World Twenty20 : 5th June'09 - 21st June'09
India Vs West Indies : 4 ODIs 26th Jun'09 - 5th July'09

There has been a lot of debate over too much cricket in India. This schedule causes a lot of problems to the players' fitness. Many players are prone to injuries because of this kind of schedule.

Many people were surprised over Sachin's decision to opt out of the first 3 ODIs. He wanted rest and so he opted out for first 3 ODIs. Many players would follow Sachin if such is the case with this tight schedule. Dhoni pulled himself out of test series against Sri Lanka this year because of the tight schedule at that time.

The cricket fans will enjoy this, but not the players...a tough time ahead for the players...
I am afraid some of Indian players may pull out themselves during these 9 months. BCCI need to implement rotation policy.

An absorbing day of test cricket

It's been a hard day for India. Had the catches been taken, India might have got a bigger lead. But they finally managed to get a 89-run lead.

Resuming at the overnight score of 189/2, Hussey reached his fifty in the third over of the day and Katich reached his hundred after he was dropped by Dravid at first slip when he was on 94. That catch did not cost India in terms of number of runs. But, he played for nearly 2 hrs from there on and scored just 8 runs from 63 balls. Had Dravid been taken that catch, India might have got 1 or 2 wickets in the pre-lunch session and put pressure on Australia. Katich has been consistent in this series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni deployed 8-1 field against Katich and Hussey when Ishant and Zaheer were bowling. Both these bowlers bowled outside off and the bastmen never tried to play those balls. When it came to Harbhajan, Dhoni deployed in and out field, close-in fielders around the wickets and fielders at the bounderies. Zaheer dismissed Katich for lbw with a beatiful yorker. Katich played very well for his 102. Soon after Katich fell, Michael Clark was dismissed by Ishant.

Excellent fielding by Vijay sent Hussey back to pavilion when he drove a ball from Harbhajan to silly mid-on and went for a run. Great reflexes there from Vijay. Harbhajan struck in his next over by dismissing Watson. Haddin and White offered a bit of resistance for sometime and scored 52 for the 7th wickets before Mishra removed Haddin for 28. Ishant dismissed Krejza, Harbhajan dismissed White and finally Mishra got Johnson.

Australia were 355/10 in their first innings, giving a first innings lead of 89 to India.
India played 1 over before the day ended and is on 0 for no loss.

The contest is still alive. If India bats tomorrow and declare one hour before the end of the day by setting a target of around 350 for Australia, they have chances to win this game. But if Australia manages to get 2-3 quick wickets before lunch, I think India will surely play for a draw.
A lot depends on Sehwag. If he stays there till lunch, India can easily set a huge target for Australia.

Ganguly at No.3 ahead of Dravid ?

Field Setting:

Dhoni deployed a defensive field in the first session and an attacking field from the post-lunch session. Mahendra Singh Dhoni deployed 8-1 field against Katich and Hussey when Ishant and Zaheer were bowling. Ishant and Zaheer kept on bowling outside off and controlled the batsmen from scoring the runs.

I think Dhoni wanted to control the run rate and let Aussies try to score runs. In that process, they may loose the wickets which helps India to gain a big first innings total. Finally after Katich was out, he brought in the spinners and attacked the Aussies batsmen and put them in pressure.

I am sure Dhoni came up with a perfect plan and he executed it to perfection. The match was completely changed after the post-lunch session once India started attacking. They got wickets at regular intervals, but Australia managed to get closer to India's total.

Many people said that this is a negative tactic by Dhoni.

But what have Australia done throughout the series ? The way Mitchel Johnson bowled throughout the series is no different from what Indians did today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A warning to Yuvi ?

A few days ago, I wrote about Yuvraj's place in the Indian team.

He should now give a serious thought on his current form and his place in the team as BCCI has sent a strong message to Yuvraj by promoting Sehwag as India's Vice-Captain.

Yuvraj is removed from the duty of Vice Captain and Sehwag is the new Vice-Captain. So, Yuvraj, if you still don't concentrate on your batting and come back strongly, the next step BCCI would take is to drop you for the future tours and you would loose your place in the ODI team too.

Krejza on cloud 9

What a moment this for Jason Krejza. He has taken 8 wickets in India's first innings. I think he was given more than he deserved. Many of those wickets were the result of some poor shots from the Indians. But in the end what matters is the number of wickets. So, Jason did extremely well to claim 8 wickets in his debut match. One thing I like in him is that he was not depressed and was courageous even he gave away many runs. He kept bowling and got wickets, that too the wickets of great batsmen like dravid, laxman, sehwag, ganguly and dhoni. He goes into the second innings with much more confidence.

None of the other Australian bowlers looked like taking a wicket. Ricky Ponting might be wondering why he did not bring Jason Krejza on for the first three Tests.

Starting at the overnight score of 311/5, Sourav Ganguly(85) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni(56) batted wonderfully together and added 119 for the sixth wicket before Krejza dismissed both of them in a span of 3 balls. While Ganguly showed elegance in his drives through the off-side, Dhoni batted with his own style in his 56. Playing his last Test, Ganguly displayed a great determination to get to his fifty. Unfortunately he missed a well deserved century. He missed becoming one of the batsmen to score a century on his debut as well as in his last test match. He still has a chance to score a century in the second innings.

It was very easy for Krejza after Ganguly and Dhoni were dismissed. He ripped through India's tail and stopped India from scoring a big total. India were allout for 441.

Australian openers Hayden and Katich started their innings confidently. After a brisk start to their innings, M Vijay ran out opener Matthew Hayden with a direct hit. It was an unnecessary run and Hayden paid the price. Harbhajan got his 300th wicket by dismissing Ponting. His dismissal was similar to that of Sehwag and Laxman. Hussey joined Katich and both of them looked solid at the crease. They never looked facing any trouble from the Indian bowlers. Great batting display by Katich and Hussey.

Australia is on 189/2 at the end of day-2 with the two well set batsmen, Katich and Hussey, at the crease. Katich is on 92 and on his way to a century. Hussey is on 45.

In the end, it was a great day for Australia.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Master reaches another century

After Indian skipper Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first, India got off to a flyer on day one of the second Test against Australia in Mohali before Australia came back to remove 3 wickets in quick succession.

After being selected into the side to replace the banned Gautam Gambhir, Vijay started confidently and played well for his 33 before being dismissed by Watson. Sehwag and Vijay scored 98 for the first wicket. The debutant Krejza took 3 wickets on day-1. But Sachin was not his first test wicket :). He dismissed Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman. But he gave mway any runs. Sehwag was looking dangerous but got out playing a bad shot. Rahul Dravid once again failed to score and was out for a duck. The wall is cracking... The pressure is on him and I think we are going to hear about his retirement soon.

After the collapse both Tendulkar and Laxman played some beautiful strokes and rebuilt the innings. Theyscored 146 for the 4th wicket. Laxman scored another fifty in this series. Ganguly came to the crease after Laxman departed. Tendulkar reached his 40th century after being dropped by Lee when he was on 98 and was dismissed by Johnson for 109. He was dropped by Haddin already and missed a run-out chance too.

India is on 311/5 with Ganguly and Dhoni are on 27 and 4 at the end of the day. This was Tendulkar's day. Jason Krejza made a decent debut too. India need big runs from Dhoni, Ganguly and the lower order if they want to make the best use of winning the toss and batting first.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pakistan cricket in shock

He has been in dilemma for the last eight months whether to join ICL or not. Finally he comes out and joins ICL...
Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan signed up for ICL and as expected he is banned by Pakistan cricket board from all forms of the game. He will play for Lahore Badshahs in ICL.

Yousuf is the No.3 batsman in Tests and No.5 bastsman in ODIs. He is the Pakistan's best batsman now. It's a big shock and a big loss for Pakistan. None of the Pakistani players can replace this batsman. Pakistan will have to suffer in their next series against India. Not only against India, Pakistan will be outplayed by every other nations.

Yousuf said "I have decided to sign for ICL. There was a misunderstanding with the ICL. I was misguided and confused and not able to take a decision earlier. See, I want to continue playing for Pakistan and the ICL authorities also have no problem with that."

But Yousuf, you have done a great mistake by choosing ICL ahead of your nation though you know you will be banned. The pakistan cricket is in a grim situation now and you left your team aside for money when you are supposed to be with the team. Really shame on you Yousuf. You made pakistan cricket even worser...

India Vs Australia 4th test preview

India is going into the 4th test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy with 1-0 lead. Australia must win this test match to retain the Trophy.

Indian team composition:
The selectors called up M Vijay as back up for Gambhir as Gambhir is banned for one test match. Vijay has been in good form. He scored a double century against Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy. If he gets a chance, it's Vireder Sehwag who has to score for the team as Vijay will be under pressure in his first match. This looks to be the only change in the indian team apart from Bhajji returning to team in place of Anil Kumble. Bhajji is one wicket away from his 300 test wickets. Amit Mishra is confident and is bowling well.

There is also a possiblity of Dravid and Sehwag open for India and bring Badrinath in. But I do't think it happens. Dravid is under pressure as he hasn't played a big innings in the series. If he is sent to open the innings, it will add more to his pressure.
So, Vijay will make his test debut.

Indian Team(Probable) : Virender Sehwag, M Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Gangly, MS Dhoni(captain & wicket-keeper), Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra

This is the last test for Sourav Ganguly and the 100th test for VVS Laxman.

Australian team Composition:
Australia won the series in India after nearly 34 years by winning a test match here in 2004. It was for that match Ganguly and Harbhajan were absent. Gilchrist mentioned this in his auto-biography.

Asutralia is in a better position to win/draw the 4th test as all their batsmen are in good touch and have got some runs in the 3rd test match. Australia's only concern is their bowling line-up. They are looking at all possible options for the last test match. Ponting indicates that Stuart Clark may have to sit out and Krejza might debut. But I think Australia should drop White and bring in Krejza. White never looked dangerous and he struggled against the Indian bastmen.

Australian Team(Probable) : Simon Katich, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting(captain), Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin(wicket-keeper), Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Jason Krejza

Gambhir's ban might help Australia and they might be happy as he is not playing. He is the leading run scorer, with 463 runs with 2 centuries and a fifty in three matches, in the series.

They have to concentrate on their bowling and come up with a better team effort to win the test and retain the trophy.

Probable Indian Squad for ODI series against England

The selectors will meet today in Nagpur to pick the 14-member Indian team for the ODI series against England starting on Nov 14. Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, who missed the last ODI series in Sri Lanka, are set to return to the Indian squad. The squad may consists of 8 batsmen, including wicket-keeper, 4 pace bowlers and 2 spinners.

There is no doubt about the selcetion of Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni, Yuvra, Raina. So the remaining two slots may be filled by Rohit Sharma, Badrinath, Uthappa and Virat Kohli. There is a tough competetion among these four. But I think the selectors will stick to Rohit and Badrinath considering their recent performances. Uthappa may have to wait for some more time before he gets a call up. Yusuf Pathan, a big disappointment with bat in the Challenger Trophy, is likely to be left out.

Pace Bowling:
Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma lead the pace bowling attack. The other options for the remaining two places are Munaf Patel, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar. The selectors may stick to Munaf and Praveen Kumar. Irfan Pathan's recent performance, except in the Challenger's trophy, is not upto the mark. But if one of Zaher and Ishant is rested, Pathan might get a chance.

Spin Bowling:
Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha and Piyush Chawla are the other options for the second spinner besides Harbhajan. Amit Mishra is a better option for the selectors considering his form in the on-going test series against Australia. There are also a few chances for Pragyan Ojha to be selected.

Probable India Squad: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni(captain & wicket-keeper), Suresh Raina, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra.

My Favourite Playing XI (in that oder):
Sachin Tendulkar
Virender Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir
Rohit Sharma
Yuvraj Singh
Suresh Raina
MS Dhoni
Zaheer Khan
Praveen Kumar
Harbhajan Singh
Ishant Sharma

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A weird question

Guys.. what if Ganguly is given one last chance to captain indian team in his last test ( 4th test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008) at Nagpur :) ?

All the 11 players in the team bowls

Yesterday, when I was looking at the scorecard for the test match between India and West Indies at Antigua in 2002 where Kumble bowled with a broken jaw, I found an interesting stat. All the 11 indian players bowled in an innings in that match. It happened twice before this match.

Here are the other two matches.

All 11 England players bowlers bowled during Australia's score of 551 at the Oval, London on August 12, 1884. In fact in this Test match Australia became the first team in Test cricket to score over 500 runs. Interestingly WG Grace kept wickets for some time thus allowing regular keeper Alfred Lyttelton to bowl during Australia's innings. He went on to claim four wickets - his figures being 12-5-19-4 - which still remains the best bowling performance by a wicket-keeper in Test cricket.

Then nearly 95 years later, on March 11, 1980 all 11 Australians bowled in Pakistan's innings of 382-2 at Faisalabad. Australia batting upto the fourth afternoon while scoring 617 runs, hardly left any time for Pakistan to bat more than once. So on the last day the Australians made all their 11 players to bowl, including their keeper Rodney Marsh (skipper Greg Chappell kept wickets after tea on the final day). Not surprisingly both the above Tests were boring drawn matches.


Monday, November 3, 2008

We miss you Jumbo

Anil kumble announced his retirement during the third test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008. It was a shocking decision. He would have been satisfied to retire after winning the series. But the injury forced him to retire. He retired from ODIs in March 2007. I was a bit emotional when I heard about his retirement yesterday.

In his career of 18 years, he has done a lot to Indian cricket. He is the most successful bowler in Indian cricket and he is one of the best bowlers in the world cricket. He has won many matches for India. He is India's greatest match winner. His commitment to the game is unquestionable. You can't forget him bowling in West Indies with a fractured jaw or his 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan at Ferozshah Kotla or his century against England last year.

The incident where he bowled with a bandage covering the broken jaw just shows the determination of Kumble. And in the 3rd test match against Australia at Kotla, he has shown it again by walking on the field with 11 stitches in his left hand, took the ball straightaway and claiming three wickets. He took an excellent catch of Mitchell Johnson. He doesn't give up easily in any situation. Match winning bowlers of his ability are harder to come by.

He is often criticized as not a big turner of the ball. He kept his critics silent with his match-winnings performances throughout his career. He has taken 619 wickets in tests and 337 wickets in ODIS with many match-winnings performances. His best one-day performance was six for 12 against West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 1993. And his best test performance was 14 for 149 against Pakistan in 1999 at Ferozshah Kotla where he claimed all 10 wickets in an innings. He is in the top 10 wicket takers list in ODIs and Tests.

Columnist and former cricketer Peter Roebuck said "Curiously, Kumble has little in common with his two great contemporaries, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. They relied on excess, spinning the ball ferociously and able, by sleight of hand, to fool batsmen into playing at thin air. They created error by destroying hope. Kumble more closely resembles Glenn McGrath because he does not so much baffle batsmen as torture them with precisely-pitched deliveries. Like the Australian, he does not tear opponents apart, just works away methodically till the deed has been done. Apparently he is an engineer, but he belongs in the courts of law as an inquisitor."

Kumble has been an inspiration to indian cricket generations. I have seen him play for India all these years and I don't think he got involved in any controversy or charged for an offense in his 18 years of career. He has portrayed himself as one of the most dedicated player on the field.

However his form slipped during the tour of Sri Lanka and there was pressure on him to quit after a wicketless performance in the Bangalore Test against Australia. A shoulder injury and the recent injury added fuel to the fire. He announced his retirement during the third test.

He said "Eventually it was an injury to the hand that told me it was time. The stitches would have been out on November 8, which would have been the third day of the fourth Test, and I don't want to go into the Test less than a 100 per cent fit. I didn't want to hurt India's chances, and I made the decision last night.."

You can have a look at the timeline of Anil Kumble here.

He received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1995. Kumble was one of the Wisden Cricketers of the year in 1996. The Government of India presented him with the Padma Shri in 2005.

India is proud of you ...
Good bye Jumbo...we will miss you...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kumble retires as the third test ends in a draw

The third test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia ended in a draw. Michael Clarke's century helped Australia to save the test. However, it was the Indians who created the chances for Australia to save the match by missing the simple catches.

Starting at the overnight score of 43/2 India lost Dravid early. Brett Lee dismissed Dravid by a beautiful delivery. Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir tried to build a partnership before the opener was given out for a lbw off Mitchell Johnson. But TV replays showed the ball would have missed the leg stump. Gambhir was a bit unlucky there.

The early breakthrough gave Ozs some hope of dismissing all the Indian batsmen early and win the test to level the series. But Laxman along with Tendulkar and Ganguly shattered their hopes by giving them no chance. Tendulkar missed another half century. White dismissed him when he was on 47. Following his double hundred in the first innings, Laxman added another half-century in his second innings. He played some delightful drives in his unbeaten 59. Ganguly was on 32 when the declaration came.
Finally India declared at 208/5 after tea setting Australia a target of 245 runs to level the series. Australia scored 31 runs with both the openers remained not out.

Laxman was the man of the match for his wonderful double hundred in the first innings and a half century in the second innings.

There are a few positives to be taken for Ozs.
  1. Brett Lee finally finds his rhythm.
  2. All of Australian batsmen performed well.
Ricky Ponting must be happy with the way they played.

Unavailability of Harbhajan and fielding mistakes made India to compromise on a draw. Dravid's form is also a concern for India. Dravid disappointed once again and the focus will now be on his retirement now after Ganguly and Kumble.

India skipper Anil Kumble announced his retirement after the third test against Australia.

Anil Kumble said "It's a tough decision when you have played 18 years of cricket and been so competitive. But my body helped making the decision and also, this injury. I had already made the decision yesterday as I knew I won't be hundred percent for the next game. I had already decided to leave the game after this series any way."

It was a disappointing end to Kumble's great career.

India now leads series 1-0 with only one test to play at Nagpur. The fourth and final Test will be played in Nagpur from Nov 6-10.

First Day Report
Second Day Report
Third Day Report
Fourth Day Report

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Australia dominates India on day-4

Australia dominated India on day-4 of the 3rd test match of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008. Australia finished their first innings fo 577, 36 runs behind India's first innings total. Michael Clarke's timely innings with some support from Watson and White helped Australia to reduce India's first innings lead. Clarke was lucky to survive three times when he was on 21 and in 90s. He gave 3 simple catches to Ishant Sharma, Laxman and Amit Mishra. They missed thse catches and Clarke went on to score 112 before he was dismissed by Mishra. His knock was an absolute delight to watch. He was determined and timed his shots to perfection. His footwork was good. Clarke put on valuable partnerships with Watson and White.

Fielding mistakes by India, manily the simple catches, helped Australia to get into a safe position.
Sehwag picked his career best figures of 5-104. Harbhajan would have really enjoyed bowling on this pitch. Kumble finally got some wickets in this seris. He finished with 3-112. Amit Mishra took 2 wickets.

Australia put India under pressure by removing Sehwag and the nightwatchman Ishant Sharma early in India's 2nd innings. Brett Lee dismissed Sehwag for the second time in this match. Ishant Sharma was welcomed by a short pitch delivery. The ball hit his bat and was in air for sometime. Fortunately for him, the ball landed safely. But he was dismissed the next ball faced for a similar delivery off Stuart Clark by giving a simple catch to Ponting.

India's hopes of clinching the series by winning this match were destroyed by Australia. For India to win this test, they have to score quickly 2morrow morning and set a target of 250-300 in 30-35 overs before Australia and then bowl them out. I think it won't be possible without Bhajii :)...

Who wants to be Stanford's millionaire?

A Match can change their life.....Yes I'm talking about Stanford T20. After a lot of publicity and practice matches, the final showdown is here. The US $20 million match between England and Stanford Superstars is all set to begin on Saturday, 1st November.

The winner of the match takes all the money. The losing team gets nothing. The player who takes his team to victory will be a hero. If a player commits a mistake and if his team loses the match, everyone in the team has to suffer. And all of them see that player as villian who cost them $20 million.

This match is going to be an interesting one. But it won't at all do good for the game of cricket. There is a famous saying "Money is the root of all evil". And that's the case with these Twenty20's.

If Stanford really wants to help West Indies cricket why doesn't he directly involve with the board and give the money directly to the West Indies board.

Twenty-20 is for money, fun and excitement. Twenty-20 surely destroys the Test cricket. Test
cricket is the best form of the game and ICC must fo something to protect test cricket.

Everyone thinks Twenty-20 is always exciting, but unless you get a close match, games can be as uninteresting as in any other forms of cricket.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Australia responds well to India's big total

It was a good day of test cricket.
An excellent start from the openers Hayden and Katich, a well built innings from the captain Ponting and a patient half century by Hussey put Australia in a safe position in the 3rd test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008 at Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi.

Katich played well for his 64 and was bowled by Amit Mishra. Hayden(83), who has been struggling to score runs in this series, finally came up with a wonderful knock. He was dismissed by Sehwag. But Ricky Ponting played with patience and made sure they did not loose another wicket. He faced the spinners very well. He used his feet very wel against the spinners. He had some problems facing Ishant. He bowled beautifully to Ponting. Sehwag dismissed Ponting(87) with a beautiful ball. The ball turned much for Sehwag.

Michael Hussey(53) played a well composed innings. He did not play any loose shots. He was very cool and patient. Sehwag bowled him with another good ball just before the close of the day's play.

Sehwag used the conditions well and bowled pretty well today. He turned the ball, bounced it well. He was pick of the bowlers today. Amit Mishra too bowled excellently. One of his overs to Ponting was top class. Ponting had no answers to Mishra in that over. Mishra was simply superb with his turn. He ended the day with an excellent googly to Michael Clarke. Kumble was injured after lunch and he was out for the day's play. Ishant and Zaheer bowled well but they did not get any wickets.

None of the Australian batsmen looked uneasy against the Indian bowlers, except Ponting at sometimes against Ishant. They must be happy with the way they batted. The ball might turn much tomorrow and Australians have to be careful in facing the spinners in the next two days. This test is going to be an interesting one.

Australia is on 338/4 at the end of day-3. Michael Clarke and Shane Watson are at the crease.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gambhir and Laxman propel India to a big Total

It can't get better than this....two double centuries in an innings by Gambhir and Very Very Special Laxman followed by brisk knocks from Kumble, Zaheer and Dhoni took India to 613/7. India declared after Laxman reached 200.

Starting at his overnight score of 149, Gambhir went on to reach 200, after lunch, before Watson dismissed him. Gambhir played some superb shots. He was catious and aggressive. It is a good achievement to score back to back centuries against a team like Australia. Gambhir has been really enjoying his time since T20 world cup.

Laxman reached his hundred before lunch and went on to reach 200. It was Laxman's second double hundred and both of them have come against Australia. Out of his 13 centuries, Laxman scored 6 of them against Australia including the century today at Ferozshah Kotla. He was very wristy and played some beautiful shots. It was very delightful to watch him play those wristy shots. Most of his bounderis were perfectly timed. He completely dominated the Australian bowlers.

Gambhir and Laxman scored a record 278 runs between them for the 4th wicket. Both these players frustrated Australians on a perfect batting pitch which is expected to assist spinners from day-3. Australian bowlers were hopeless against these two.

Ganguly joined Laxman after Gambhir departed. But Ganguly departed early. Dhoni came and played aggressively for his 27. He hit 2 fours and a six in Cameron White's over and then edged a Watson's delivery after hitting him 2 consecutive fours in the first two balls. Kumble and Zaheer too scored runs quickly while Laxman slowly moved to his 200. Kumble declared Indian innings immediately after Laxman's double.

Australian openers started their innings confidently. Australia is on 50/0 at the end of the day. Both the openers, Hayden and Katich, are unbeaten on 16 and 29 respectively. But the pitch is expected to produce more turn and bounce from day-3. This will surely trouble the visitors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

India in driver's seat on day 1

Gambir had Australia in a spot of bother on the first day of the third test at Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi today. An unbeaten 149 by Gambhir, a good knock of 68 by Sachin and a quick unbeaten 54 by Laxman have put India in a commanding position at the end of Day 1 of the third test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008. The way Gambir, Sachin and Laxman batted, India looked set for a big first innings total.

Everything went in India's way from the time Kumble won the toss. The day clearly belonged to Gautam Gambhir who scored an excellent century. Brett Lee gave the perfect start to Australia by removing Sehwag in the third over. Sehwag was one run away, when he was out, to become the leading run scorer in 2008 in tests. Dravid was out for a wide delivery from Johnson. India were 27/2 when Dravid was out.

Tedulkar joined Gambhir after Dravid was dismissed. Gambhir started slowly while Sachin played some excellent shots at the other end. He looked dangerous in their 130 run partnership. He played most of the shots on back foot today. He was well set to score a century. But he was dismissed by Johnson just before tea. Gambhir played his natural game after Sachin's dismissal. Gambhir brought up his third century in style by hitting a six when he was on 99. He scored back to back centuries, that too against Australia. He must be happy. Gambhir was absolutely delightful to watch. Laxman too scored quickly in contrast to his natural game. The unfinished fourth-wicket association of 139 between Gambhir and Laxman promises to be a big one.

The Australian pace bowlers were all working on reverse swing in the one week gap between the second and third tests. But none of them could reverse swing the ball in this test match except Brett Lee for some balls. The pitch was very sluggish and only Stuart Clark bowled well with his nagging deliveries. Ponting was once again in trouble for the slow over-rate. He used Simon Katich, Michael Clarke to reduce the slow over-rate. One should wonder what is the role of Cameron White in the playing XI for Australia. He was used for only 4 overs today.

There were a couple of heated moments in the game today.

The first one occured in 51st over. Gambhir hit the ball off Watson for 2 runs. Watson said somethig when Gambhir ran the first run. Gambhir then hit Watson with his shoulder as he went past him for the second run.

The second one occured in 78th over. When Laxman hit a ball off Katich straight to him, Laxman wanted a single. But Katich did not allow Gambhir to run by blocking his way. They exchanged some words there and Billy Bowden intervened and calmed them down.

India is on 296/3 at the end of day 1. India have a great chance of sealing the series 2-0 at Ferozshah Kotla, which is considered a fortress for India.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

India Vs Australia 3rd test Preview

After a memorable 320-run win in the 2nd test, India is looking forward to seal the series in Delhi. Australia is under tremendous pressure here. The third test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008 is going to start on Wednesday at Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi. India played 29 test matches here and won 10 matches. 13 of them were drawn. India won the last seven test matches it played in this ground. Australia played 5 tests here but managed to win only one test. Surely Kotla is a fortress for India, especially Anil Kumble. Kumble has taken 55 wickets in 6 tests with an average of 15.41.

Ferozeshah Kotla is the home ground for the openers Sehwag and Ghambir, and Ishant Sharma. This is the second test for Sehwag in Kotla. This Delhi duo have given good starts in the series so far. They will surely be on fire in the 3rd test at their home ground. All the Indian batsmen are in good form and they have a good track record here. Ganguly, Laxman, Dravid and Dhoni average 60.55, 54.75, 58.66 and 56.50 respectively in this ground. Sachin averages 44 with 2 centuries. The bowling department is also strong with Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan on song. Kumble declared himself fit for the 3rd test. Considering his performances at Ferozeshah Kotla, he can be a major threat for Australia. Much of the focus will be on Kumble, his bowling and his captaincy. Only bad news for India is Harbhajan Singh is doubtful for the test. If he doesn't play, Amit Mishra might be retained. You have to wait for the decision till Wednesday's morning.

Austrlian batsmen are struggling with their form. They are all experienced batsmen and if they find their form it will be a bit difficult for India to clinch the series in Delhi. Austrlian bowlers are also struggling against the Indian Bastmen. Brett Lee is one of the major concerns for Australia. He has not been upto the mark in this series. Stuart Clarke is fit for the test. So he replaces Peter Siddle in the 3rd test. This might be the only change in the Austrlian side.

India is surely on top and head into the 3rd test with confidence.
Can Australia keep the series alive by winning this test?

Monday, October 27, 2008

When will Yuvraj learn?

India Blue won the the recent NKP Challenger Trophy. But Yuvraj Singh's contribution to the team's victory was almost nil. He was out for some poor shots in this series. He doesn't seem to be learning from his mistakes. He was trying to play too many shots too early in the innings.
His place in the team is going to be in danger. A lot of talented youngsters are there waiting for the place in the national team. Yuvraj must be aware of this and he has to perform to keep his place safe.
Yuvraj was in the form of his life one year ago. He was named as the man of the series in three consecutive series against South Africa (joint with Graeme Smith), against Pakistan and England. He scored three centuries and four half-centuries in fifteen matches in those 3 series. It helped him to make it into the top ten of the ICC ODI batting rankings.
Though he is there in the international cricket for around 8 years, he is yet to make his mark in the test cricket. Though he got many opportunities in tests, he did not utilize them. He already lost his place in the test team. And if you consider his recent ODIs, he scored 72 runs with an average of 14.40 in 5 matches against SriLanka. He struggled a lot against the spinners. And it's still the main concern for Yuvi.
In the last 12 months, he has not played a big innings. He scored 840 in 27 matches with an average of 35.00. After his successful performance in the T20 world cup last year, Yuvraj has been playing that kind of shots in all formats of the game. He was trying to hit every ball out of the ground. It's going to be difficult for Yuvraj to keep his place safe in the team(atleast ODIs) unless he changes his attitude.
C'mon are a match winner...make a strong come back...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cricket-Past, Present and Future

Cricket is one of the greatest games ever played. It is a mind game than body. Going back to the past, it was a game played by a minimum number of nations, but as time passed on, the game raised interest in the hearts of millions. The number of cricket playing nations have increased over time.

Cricket was discovered in England and the only countries which played it initially were England and Australia. Then the countries South Africa, West Indies, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh have joined the list. Now cricket is played in more than 100 countries. It all started with test matches which do not have a limit on time. Then the time was limited to 5 days and later the limited overs game was established which are the one-dayer. The one-day matches were initially 60 overs but were later reduced to 50 overs. Now the new format of the game is established which are the 20-20's. This was introduced in England to provide the tired workers with some evening entertainment and it proved prosperous. Thus the unlimited time matches has reduced to a very much limited time. And what might be the future. It might even reduce to 10 overs.

In the past cricket was even seen with pride ,but now its been a business with a lot of sponserships, telecasting rights and even high amount of betting. The players are giving top priority to money than game. Now by introducing different leagues like IPL,ICL and the Champions league which are drawing more crowds, the number of one-days and tests played will get down. Even the players are giving priority to the leagues than playing to their country. Many players already said that Test matches are no more interesting. The interest in test cricket has gone down. The stadium in India which are always seen filled up are now seen empty during the test matches between India and Australia. Even the 50-50 format is slowly loosing its grip. ICC is taking care to limit the number of 20-20 played every year. But this cannot avoid the fact that other formats of the game are dipping. The future might well give way to short time matches like the 20-20 where the importance of class-play is minimum. The test matches might not be eradicated but might loose their importance.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Will Sreesanth come back?

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, fast bowler from Kerala, is struggling to make it to the Indian team after being ruled out with a side strain injury that he suffered during the Indian Premier League. Sreesanth suffered a left side strain in the IPL during Kings XI Punjab's final league match on May 28 and played the semi-final, but only bowled one over.
He was left out for the Kitply Cup in Bangladesh, the Asia Cup in Pakistan, the Sri Lankan tour, the Irani Cup , Challenger Trophy, the Champions Trophy.(postponed to 2009) and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
He was picked for the India-A team after he was declared fit by the NCA(Bangalore) physio. But unfortunately for him he again injured his back and was left out of the squad. He is not even playing any domestic cricket. S. Sreesanth has not been included in the Kerala Ranji Trophy squad for the opening match of the plate league against Goa which begins at Fort Maidan on November 3.
Sreesanth last played for India in the Test series against South Africa in April 2008.
He is not looking to be concerned about his place in the team. He is frequently seen in fashion shows and other TV realty shows. This emotional, aggressive fast bowler needs to concentrate more on his fitness and bowling rather than these TV shows.
Former Indian Captain Ravi Shastri said "Sreesanth should be more disciplined if he has to make full use of his talent.
Kapil Dev said "I wish he concentrates more on cricket. Aggression is good but it should be on the field".
We have Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel, with RP Singh too in the mix. It would be best for Sreesanth to play matches, get match fit and pick wickets to return to the Indian side.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can Ponting beat Sachin?

There has been a lot of speculation over whether Ponting will beat Sachin or not. After Sachin broke Lara's record of most test runs, many people gave their thoughts on whether or not Ponting is going to beat Sachin.
Lara said "Ricky Ponting (with 10,239 runs, currently sixth on the all-time run-scorer's list) is the guy who can break Sachin's records. He is young enough. I think he is a class player, who may take away the record from Sachin in the future."
Former English batsman Allan Lamb has said that though Indian master blaster Sachin was a brilliant cricketer, but Australian captain Ricky Ponting was closely chasing his world record of maximum Test runs.
No one can even come closer to Sachin in ODI format.
Well..coming to tests, it depends on Sachin's fitness.
Sachin has 12037 runs in 152 matches where as Ponting has 10246 runs in 121 matches. Sachin is 35 years old. He can still play some more years. If Sachin continues his good form for 2-3 years more, no one can beat him.
Sachin says he wants to play the 2011 world cup. But if he plays more of limited over matches, fitness problems may arise for him. I think he needs to concentrate more on the test cricket as a lot of promising young cricketers are proving their talent in the limited overs format.
Ponting can also play for 3 or more years. I think it will be difficult for Ponting to surpass Sachin, but it is not impossible.
If Sachin wants to keep his record safe for a long long time, he better keeps an eye on Ponting and set that record out of his reach before he retires.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All set for the Challenger Trophy

The Challenger Trophy was introduced by the BCCI in 1994-95.
Ths year's NKP Salve Challenger Trophy begins tomorrow with a match between India Blue and India Red at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and S Badrinath lead India Blue, Green and Red respectively. This is a good chance to the players like Yuvraj, Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Mohamad Kaif to impress the selectors. Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 386 against Maharashtra in the Under-22 CK Nayudu Trophy in Rajkot, has got an excellent opportunity to play along with the seniors.

The squads were announced on 12th October.

India Blue: 1 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6, Ravinder Singh, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Yogesh Takawale (wk), 9 Ashok Dinda, 10 Pradeep Sangwan, 11 Chetanya Nanda, 12 Arjun Yadav, 13 Siddarth Trivedi, 14 R Ashwin.

India Red: 1 S Badrinath (capt), 2 M Vijay, 3 F Fazal, 4 Manoj Tiwary, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Jaydev Shah, 7 Abhishek Nayar, 8 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 L Balaji, 11 Piyush Chawla, 12 Vinay Kumar, 13 Monish Parmar, Parthiv Patel (wk)

India Green: 1 Mohammad Kaif (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Naman Ojha (wk), 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Cheteshwar Pujara, 6 Saurabh Tiwary, 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 9 Manpreet Gony, 10 RP Singh, 11 Pragyan Ojha, 12 Rajat Bhatia, 13 Abhinav Kumar, 14 Pankaj Singh


India Blue Vs India Red at Cuttack - Oct 23,2008.
India Green Vs India Red at Cuttack - Oct 24,2008.
India Blue Vs India Green at Cuttack - Oct 25,2008.
Final: at Cuttack- Oct 26,2008.

I bet on India Red....What's your bet?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

India crushes Australia in the second test at Mohali

When it comes to rivalry in cricket, people talk about India Vs Pakistan matches and Australia Vs England matches. But India Vs Australia matches seem to surpass the traditional rivalries and the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy between the two teams proves so.

India beat Australia to take 1-0 lead in the series. Australia was totally outplayed by India. It all worked for India from the moment Dhoni came out for the toss. India never looked ot of touch from the moment it won the toss. India registered a 320 run victory which is the biggest margin of victory by runs for India. Resuming at the overnight score of 141/5, Australia slipped to 144/8 when Zaheer Khan grabbed three quick wickets on the fifth day. Leg-Spinner Amit Mishra got the last two wickets and that made 7 wickets in his debut match. India's bowling performance throughout the match is superb. All the bowlers played their part prefectly and contributed to their victory. Dhoni was named Man of the Match for his aggressive batting and his captaincy.

Here's the progress of the match.

It was the day of records as Sachin broke Lara's record of most test runs. Ganguly crossed 7000 runs in tests. After a flying start from the openers Gambhir and Sehwag who added 70 runs to their first wicket, India lost 3 quick wickets. But Sachin and Ganguly ensured that the good start wasn't wasted. They added 142 runs between them. They became the sixth pair to score more than 4000 runs when batting together in tests. India were 311/5 at the end of the day with Ganguly batting on 54.
It was all Sachin's day.

Ganguly's elagant century, Dhoni's aggressive 92 took India to a massive total of 469. Dhoni played his natural game after a long time. Dhoni played agressively and carried the momentum set by Sachin Tendulkar. It was nice to see him playing this way. Ganguly makes his last test series a sweet one with his hundred in the first innings of the second test and a good performance in the first test. He was cool and confident throughout his innings and did not play a too many unnecessary shots. He constructed his innings with ease.

Zaheer Khan removed Hayden third time in a row in this series. After Harbhajan Vs Ponting, it is Zaheer Vs Hayden now. Ishant Sharma dismissed his favourite batsman, Ricky Ponting with a good length ball that nipped back into right hander after pitching. The bebutant Mishra joined the party by removing Katich and Clarke. Australia were 102/4 at the end of the day.
It was the day of Ganguly and Dhoni.

It was the spinner's day, especially the debutant Mishra's. His 5 for helped India to restrict Australia to 268 and take a first innings lead of 301 runs. Amit Mishra is the sixth Indian bowler to take five wickets in his debut. Ishant Sharma removed Hussey for a fantastic delivery. Shane Watson and Brad Haddin resisted Indian bowling for sometime before Harbhajan removed Haddin with a flighted delivery. Australia were all out for 268. Watson played well for his 78. He showed sense in the difficult situation. His 78 came in handy when his team needed a good innings.
Aggressive batting from the Indian openers Sehwag and Gambhir took India to 100/0 at the end of the day.
It was the day of Amit Mishra and Shane Watson.

Gambhir went on to score a magnificent century where as Sehwag fell for 90. The pair added 182 for the first wicket. Dhoni promoted himself up the order to score the runs quickly. He scored an unbeaten 68 to set Australia a mammoth target of 516.
Australian openers started their chase aggressively. But that did not help Australia as both the openers fell in one over looking to play for big shots. Harbhajan removed both the openers in an over before tea. He dismissed Hussey just after tea. It was Ishant Sharma then who carried the momentum. He bowled two top class deliveries to dismiss Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson. Both the balls were pitched just outside off and nipped back into right handers sharply. It was an excellent stuff from Ishant Sharma.

It was the day of Gambhir, Harbhajan and Ishant.

Starting the day with the overnight score of 141/5, Australia was slipped to 144/8 thanks to the excellent bowling from Zaheer Khan. He grabbed 3 wickets in a span of 4 balls.It was then Amit Mishra who took the last two wickets to end the match.

Here's my ratings of both the teams in this match.


Batting: 4.5 out of 5
Indian batsman made use of the batting conditions and scored well. They were amazing in their own conditions. Sehwag and Gambhir played aggressively from the start of the match. Both of them faced the Australian bowlers well. Tendulkar and Ganguly set a big partnership and they crossed some milestones. Dhoni too played aggressively to take his team to a big total. Dravid too played his part in the first innings. It was a bit disaponting for Laxman in the first innings. Dravid and Laxman did not get a chance in the second innings. It was a collective performance from all the batsman.

Bowling: 5 out of 5
This is the main difference between the two teams. On a pitch where Australians struggled to swing the ball, Ishant and Zaheer swung the ball very well and troubled the Australians throughout the match. Ishant's bowling was superb. His deliveries to Ponting and Watson in the second innings were top class. The two pacers claimed 8 wickets between them. Harbhajan bowled excellently in the second innings. He took 5 wickets in the match. The debutant Amit Mishra got 7 wickets in the match. His variations made the Australian batsman struggle. The spinners claimed 12 wickets between them. Full marks to India in the bowling department. Indian bowlers were on song throughout the match.

Fielding: 3.5 out of 5
Indian test side is full of senior players like Laxman, Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly. But it did not affect their fielding in this match. Sachin took a terrific catch off Simon Katich. It was a fine fielding from India though there were some minor mistakes.


Batting: 3 ot of 5
Except Hussey, Clarke and Watson to some extent none of the batsmen peformed well. Had Hayden, Ponting performed well, the reslt would be different. Hussey, Clarke and Watson faced the indian bowlers well. These batsman batted with focus and determination. They held the Austrlian innings together for sometime.

Bowling: 3 out of 5
Brett Lee was the major problem for Australia in this match. He was not upto the mark. He took just two wickets. Indian batsman were never troubled by Brett Lee in the match. Mitchell Johnson was the only Australian bowler to perform well. Peter Siddle, the debutant, was predictable. Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Cameron White shared just two wickets among them. Australia definitely needs a quality bowler. On a pitch where Indian bowlers could find some assistance, Australian bowlers could find no assistance in the pitch and struggled to trouble the Indian batsmen. Indian batsman played them comfortably.

Fielding: 3 out of 5
Rarely we see the Australians misfield. Australia's fielding in this match is not upto their potential. Ponting misfielded a few times and they given away so many extras in the form of over throws, byes.

This is one of the finest moments of Indian test cricket.The important aspect of this test was indians played attacking and sensible cricket. Dhoni once again led from the front. Australia were outplayed in every department.
India will look to wrap up the series in the third test match starts at Delhi on October 29. The Australians will need to regroup after this crushing loss.