Tuesday, January 27, 2009

India Vs Sri Lanka ODI Series Preview

India is back to cricket after a gap of 1 month while Sri Lanka have been playing some cricket recently. Sri Lanka started this year with a test series against Bangladesh. And then they took part in a tri-series with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka toured Pakistan for 3 ODIs. SL won all of the 3 series.

India will want to maintain their dominance while the Sri Lankans will certainly be making every effort to take revenge for their 3-2 loss in the ODI series at home against India in Sep'08.

If either team wants to win, the following players are going to hold a lot of the responsibility...


Virender Sehwag - Gautam Gambhir:
This opening duo has been in sparkling form and have given excellent starts most of the times. The opening stands by this pair are important for the series result to go India's way. Sachin may open the innings with Sehwag while Gambhir comes at No.3 . In any case the performance by both of these players will be important for the team.

Zaheer-Ishant :
Both these bowlers are on roll. They have made invaluable contributions in India's wins recently. They are capable of performing in any conditions and early breakthroughs by these bowlers will be important for India to win.

The middle order is strong with Dhoni, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina. India are without Harbhajan which may give some advantage to Sri Lanka. It is now a good chance for Ravindra Jadeja and Ojha to prove themselves.

Sri Lanka:

Dilshan : Dilshan has been in good form in recent times and his promotion to opening slot against Pakistan worked wonders for Sri Lanka. Dilshan has been a crucial part in Sri Lanka's wins in the recent times. His innings will be an important one for Sri Lanka.

Mendis-Muralitharan : The spin duo has to strike to turn the series in Sri Lanka's favour. Most of the Indian batsmen struggled to face Mendis in India's tour to Sri Lanka last year and in Asia cup. Their attack from both the ends can worry Indian batsmen and help Sri Lanka gain some advantage. Sri Lanka is strong in spin department as India is without their main spinner Harbhajan.

The main worry for Sri Lanka is the form of their captain, Mahela Jayawardena. He did not have a great tour against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Coming to the pace bowling..Nuwan Kulasekara has been in good form..He is the No.2 bowler in ICC ODI Rankings..

I am eagerly waiting for Mendis vs Sehwag..it will be a cracker of contest....

My playing XI(India): Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Ojha, Munaf Patel.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

India needs an all-rounder

An all-rounder plays a significant role in cricket.

Kallis for South Africa, Michale Clark and Symonds for Australia, Flintoff for England, Malik for Pakistan, Gayle for West Indies, Jacob Oram for New Zealand, Jayasuriya for Sri Lanka have been playing an important role of an all-rounder in their respective teams.

But India lacks a genuine all-rounder.

Almost all teams have a good all-rounder, but India doesn't.

Along with Kapil Dev, the players Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny, Ravi Shastri, Madan Lal and Manoj Prabhakar had the capability to change the game either with the bat or with the ball.

After Kapil Dev's retirement, India has been facing this problem of finding a genuine all-rounder.

Robin Singh shined once but out of the team in a short time.

Agarkar and Sreenath had come into the team as all-rounders but settled as bowlers.

Irfan Pathan was thought to be the perfect all-rounder after Kapil Dev..but he is now a total failure in both bowling and batting.

Currently we have Yuvraj, Sehwag, Yusuf Pathan and some others who can fill the fifth bowler's slot.

But what we need is a specific all-rounder who is very good at bowling.

Ravindra Jadeja who got a place in the Indian team as an all-rounder is all set to prove his capabilities in the Sri Lanka tour.

Let's hope Jadeja proves as a worthy successor to Kapil Dev.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Was the selection good?

Indian selectors, on Jan 18th, announced the squad that tours Sri Lanka in Jan-Feb 09. Out of Ravindra Jadeja, Pujara, Rahane and D Kulakarni who performed well in recently concluded Ranji Trophy, only Jadeja earned a place in the 15-member Indian squad. Dhoni, Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj, Zaheer and Ishant are sure selections.

It's a little unfortunate that Kohli wasn't selected despite his good performance. Badrinath is another unlucky one. He lacks the support to perform..Although he had given chances, he did not get a chance to bat most of the times.

Pathan brothers, Raina, Ojha and Munaf have retained their place. Praveen Kumar, who was left out for ODI series against England, has been recalled. A hamstring injury had ruled out Harbhajan Singh's selection.

I am eagerly waiting to see Uthappa back in the team who has been in good form..

The lineup is good but there are some questions to be answered.

Harbhajan was fit during the 2nd test against England and he hasn't played a match after that test. How and when was he injured?

Why are there two left-arm spinners in the squad? There is no right arm spinner in the squad. Either Piyush Chawla or Amit Mishra should have been selected.

Dhaval kulkarni could have been given a chance. He was the highest wicket taker along with Jadeja in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy. He should have been selected ahead of Irfan Pathan/Praveen.

Why is Praveen selected as extra seamer? Why wasn't he selected for ODI series against England if he is considered a quality bowler?

Jadeja has been awesome at domestic level..let's see how he performs at international level....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Australia..Can you retain No.1 spot?

Australia have posted a tempting total for SA to chase in the 3rd test. I don't know if it was a wise decision from Ponting.

SA chased 414 easily in the first test at Perth. SA has been good against Australia in chasing 'big' totals.SA stunned the world by chasing 434 against Australia in a ODI in 2006.

I don't think it won't at all be a problem for SA to chase this total with all of SA batsmen in good touch.

But let's see if Australia can win/draw this match to retain their No.1 spot.