Thursday, December 16, 2010

More than just the series at risk for Ponting

Former England captain, Michael Vaughan, has spoken out at his fears for Ricky Ponting’s international career and captaincy, saying that his fading form and current squad which is weakening around him will lead to his retirement from Test cricket next month, regardless of the result in this year’s Ashes series.

Whilst Vaughan doubts that Cricket Australia would actually sack the influential Ponting, he said that the 150-Test veteran, who turns 36 next week, would walk away from the game with no fears over his reputation:

“From what we have seen so far it is clear this will be Ricky Ponting’s last series – he is the right man to carry on until it finishes but he has to lead by scoring a gallon of runs.”

Ponting has had a number of issues this series over selection, and has stopped only just short of criticizing chairman Andrew Hilditch when discussing the omission of paceman Mitchell Johnson in Adelaide while his decision to go with fellow Tasmanian Xavier Doherty over Nathan Hauritz backfired when the spinner was badly exposed as being as threatening as Pingu when it came to bowling the English batsmen out.

Ponting however has accepted this week that he is failing with the bat, but not as a leader, and has accepted that his return of nine runs in two innings in the second Test is unacceptable.

However, Mike Gatting, the last England captain to taste victory in an Ashes series down under, believes Ponting could prolong his batting career if he gave up the Australia captaincy, saying: “that might re-invent Ricky Ponting for three or four years which would be great for Australian cricket.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pakistan v South Africa T20 series preview

There will be plenty of subplots when Pakistan and South Africa take the field in the first of two Twenty20 matches in Abu Dhabi. Some eyes will be on Graeme Smith to see how he handles being back in the ranks after resigning the captaincy in this format, others will be on the form of players in coloured clothing as the World Cup approaches, but most will be on Pakistan as they begin life after the controversial tour of England.

The match-fixing saga continues to hang over Pakistan cricket, with the news that Mohammad Asif has dropped his appeal against his suspension dominating the build-up to what should be an interesting contest.

Its more immediate effect was shown in England, when the Pakistan squad bounced back to take a five-match ODI series to a decider. If that siege mentality is maintained, then the Proteas might struggle in conditions that suit the 2009 World Twenty20 champions more.

This increased determination to succeed is offset by the loss of Asif, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir, three first choice players who are hard to replace in any format. The emergence of Asad Shafiq in England will soften the blow of Butt’s absence and it is likely to be trial by spin for South Africa, with major roles expected for Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and captain Shahid Afridi.

United Arab Emirates is Pakistan’s home venue nowadays, but Abu Dhabi is not a fortress for them. They have played 14 ODIs at the Sheikh Zayed stadium, winning eight and lost both their series at the venue last year, against Australia and New Zealand by a 2-1 scoreline. This is their first Twenty20 match at the ground.

South Africa have won all four Twenty20 matches since the world event in the Caribbean, albeit against West Indies and Zimbabwe, but this will be a stern test for a team in transition under the guidance of new captain Johan Botha. A win apiece would perhaps be an outcome that both teams would settle for.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finn looks to announce himself

England’s exciting young fast bowler Steven Finn, has been named the ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year, after bursting on the international scene this year. The Middlesex pace man beat off competition from 15 other players to win the award in Bangalore, including international team-mates Eoin Morgan and Tim Bresnan.

Since his debut in Chittagong against Bangladesh earlier this year, Finn has proved himself as perhaps England’s most exciting bowling prospect. In his eight Tests so far, Finn has taken 32 wickets at an average of 23.85, including back to back five wicket hauls, at Lords and Old Trafford this summer. His six foot seven frame has made Finn a different option for the England selectors and so far a very successful one.

While Finn has looked dangerous against the relatively modest batting attacks of Pakistan and Bangladesh, it will be a different story when the bowler faces Australia’s finest, if selected for the opening Ashes Test later next month in Brisbane. In his short career so far, the 21 year old won’t have faced many batsmen of the calibre of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey and the pressure will be firmly on the youngster to prove his worth to the team.

So far it looks Finn to edge his way into the starting 11, ahead of bowling rivals Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett. While Bresnan has proved his worth to England’s one day side, he has so far failed to consistently perform in the Test arena and will probably be left carrying the drinks tray when the Brisbane Test starts. Tremlett offers similar qualities to Finn and has returned to the Test squad after three years in the wilderness. The fast bowler has had a tough few years struggling with injury and will probably be used as a reserve option.

It looks as though the pace department will be filled by Stuart Broad and James Anderson with Finn making it three. With Monty Panesar back in the squad heading to Australia, England may choose to play two spinners but it would seem for the opening Test, they will stick with just the one spinner along with the three pace men.

And one more

As I (may be everyone) expected, the debutant Peter George gets Sachin as his first test wicket.

Friday, October 8, 2010

VVS Laxman: Australian for Fear

Source: Hindu
Source: Rediff
Source: Hindu
  1. Fosters have started a new campaign: VVS Laxman, Australian for Fear.
  2. The scale which measures 'resistance to pressure' (or 'resilience') has been edited. 'Laxman against Aussies' is the maximum achievable value.
  3. Cockroaches originated in Australia. This is proved by the fact that they are killed by application of Laxmanrekha.
  4. Team India has changed the phrase 'one-man army'. From now on it is known as the 'Lax-man Army'.
  5. People have complained that Laxman doesn't do much in the Ramayan. It was because Raavan was from Sri Lanka and not Australia.
  6. Indian students put on high alert in Australia, they are the only Indians in the universe criticizing Laxman today.
  7. Gandhi's last words were - 'Hey Ram', Ponting's last words would be 'Hey Laxman'.
  8. There is a cheat code in the International Cricket 2010 video game that lets you have two Laxmans in your team. Australia has complained to the ICC and the UN Atrocities Commission against this.
  9. Australia is called 'Down Under' not because of its location on the map, but because of their state after Laxman bats against them.
  10. In the last continental drift, Australia broke away from Asia. They knew Laxman was coming, and were trying to get away.
  11. Kangaroos keep their young in a pouch in their bellies to protect them from Laxman.
  12. A new festival has been instituted in India. Lord Ram's conquest over Lanka is currently celebrated as Ramnavami. Laxman's conquest over Aussies has given way to a five day festival called Laxmanpanchmi. Ravan is replaced by Ponting, and the 10 heads by heads of Aussie players. Instead of an arrow killing Ravan effigy, finale includes a bat hitting a ball and bringing down the modified effigy. Ishant is happy to play the role of Hanuman.
  13. When someone dies in Australia, they chant 'Laxman naam satya hai'.
  14. Ricky Ponting doesn't need to watch horror movies. He just sets up a slideshow of Laxman pictures.
  15. The Ashes have a new meaning in Australia - they are what you're reduced to when Laxman is done with you.
  16. Sachin is one of the most common first names in India today. In 10 years, it will be Vangipurappu.
  17. There is a brand of shoes in Australia that is used to discipline donkeys. Its name: VVS Laxman, because Laxman kicks your ass.
  18. The day VVS Laxman retires from Test cricket, it will be a National holiday in Australia.
  19. Reports coming in from Cloud 9 indicate that this is the first time when more people are chanting Laxman than his much more revered brother Ram.
  20. The Laxman fan club have applied for his canonization. They already have proof of his miracles, the latest one involving the Cricinfo server crash. The first time such an out of the world thing happened was when an existing God scored 200.
Source: Lolland

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's time BCCI must accept UDRS

India can feel hard on the umpiring decisions that were gone against them in the first test between India and Australia, but they have only themselves to blame. Many Indian fans would have thought that Umpire Decision Review System(UDRS) should have been in place for the series. BCCI's reluctance to implementing UDRS hurts India more than Australia. BCCI has been against UDRS ever since it has been introduced. The technology didn’t work in favor of India the last time they were visiting Sri Lanka, which was a couple of years ago. BCCI argues that they are not comfortable with UDRS unless a technology at least as reliable as Hot Spot is used.

I think the favor UDRS does to a team depends on how the team uses it. Sri Lanka used it to their advantage and successfully challenged many decisions as opposed to India. India challenged many obvious dismissals which went against them and wasted their referrals.

I think it's time BCCI should give a green signal to UDRS.

What's your take on UDRS? Should it be continued? Or should it be rejected as certain umpiring errors(without UDRS) leads to more exciting matches with twists, like the first test b/w India and Australia that is concluded today?

PS: Take a bow VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma. Laxman fought hard despite his bad back and handed over India another memorable win against Australia.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

$65 Gift Certificate Giveaway

I'm very happy to announce the first ever giveaway on my blog. This giveaway is open to the residents of US and Canada only. International folks, sorry.  :(

To participate in this giveaway, follow the rules given below.
  • Retweet about the giveaway.
  • Become a follower via Google Friend Connect.
  • Subscribe to this blog.
  • Pick your favorite post from this blog(Cricket Crazy) and leave a comment on that post.
  • Leave a comment with your name, email id, details of your tweet and the post you commented on.
  • Please don't subscribe/follow if you don't wish to continue to do it after the giveaway.
Bonus Entry 1:
Write about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.

Your comment should look like this:

Name, email, tweet details, following the blog or not, subscribed to the blog or not, link to your favorite post on this blog where you left a comment, link to a post on your blog about this giveaway(optional).

The giveaway ends at 11:59pm IST on October 1, 2010. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on 3rd October. One lucky winner gets a $65 gift certificate to use in any of CSN stores.

This giveaway is sponsored by CSN stores. CSN Stores is an e-commerce company based in Boston, Massachusetts. It has been growing rapidly since its inception in 2002 with over 200 online stores. CSN stores sell everything, from furniture like drop leaf table to pet toys to fitness equipment to cookware to baby supplies.

Winner: Liz M.

PS: Gift certificate does not include shipping costs. However, a lot of items in CSN stores do offer free shipping.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cricket’s Growing Popularity: France and Beyond

Guest post by Heather Green.

For many years, the popularity of cricket has seemingly been isolated to very specific regions of the globe, usually those that experienced a great deal of British influence during the Colonial Era. In the last decade, cricket is becoming more popular in European countries outside of England.

France Crazy For Cricket
Perhaps the most surprising addition to the newly cricket crazy country list is France. Traditionally, the French have sported a barely-hidden disdain for this traditional pastime of British elites. Today, their enthusiasm for the sport places its popularity nearly on par with America’s recent rediscovery of lacrosse.

Educational Incentive
It all started with a school program introducing children from 200 French schools to cricket. Students now have the opportunity to join one of the only 69 cricket clubs in the country of France as junior members. The initial government program will fund cricket in the public schools for eight years. During this time, schools will be provided with funding earmarked for the development of cricket teams.

A French Future
More young players will potentially translate into an intimidating lineup of French cricket players on the world tour circuit in the coming years. It wouldn’t be the first time the French have stepped up to bat (to borrow American baseball terminology). Some have even argued that the word “cricket” is derived from an old French word. Archeological evidence indicates that cricket was played in France as early as the 1400’s.

Official Participation
While France Cricket, the only regulatory organization in France devoted to cricket, only reports 850 registered players in the country, this statistic has slowly been increasing over the decades. In the past, members of the organization were generally transplanted foreigners from cricket playing countries. Recent years have seen a reverse of this trend as more young people rediscover this ancient pastime.

Heather Green is a freelance writer, mother, professional model and the resident blogger for An Apple a Day... blog, a free informational website offering tips and advice on online nursing schools.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Events of the last few days

  • Daniel Vettori, a big fish in a small aquarium, wins three prizes at New Zealand Cricket awards.
  • What is Ravindra Jadeja doing in Board President's XI squad that takes on Australia?
  • Spot-fixing controversy - a  big blow to cricket. Who's to blame?
  • Champions League started off with a Mumbai Indians' loss thanks to their poor bowling. Somehow, I feel it's not worth following CLT20.
  • IPL-4 format and number of matches have been announced. Do you think player retention will help the teams?
  • No Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for India-Australia series. Will BCCI ever allow UDRS?
  • It's all Dhoni on TV.  It's no wonder Mahendra Singh Dhoni regarded as the superstar of commercials.  It's better he concentrates on his game rather than these commercials.
  • Really really surprised to see Mohammad Yusuf in Pakistan's T20 team.
  • Sachin Tendulkar has become the first sportsman to be conferred with the honorary rank of Group Captain by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

An interesting stat: Muttiah Muralitharan is fifth on the all-time list of Sri Lankan Test match six-hitters.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chances of each team for World cup Cricket 2011

The stage is all set for the biggest contest of modern cricket and the countdown has already begun. ICC Cricket World Cup is to begin on the 19th of February, 2011, hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Earlier, Pakistan was to co-host the tournament; however, thanks to an attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team in 2009, they lost their rights.

Below are the fourteen teams fighting for the cup, divided into two broad groups. Both the groups are to have their individual league matches, where each team would have to play versus each other. The top four teams based on points awarded or in case tied based on their Net Run Rate, would proceed to the next round i.e. Quarter Finals.

Here on, the knock-out begins and it would drill down to the Last Men standing. 

A prediction in terms of who can win might be a tough job as the teams have evolved over the past four years and quite a few of them have started to make good progress. Let’s take an analytical crack at this.
Group A League Matches: 
Undoubtedly, Australia would be the hot favorites but might end up taking the second and third slot considering the fact that they don’t play as well on the sub-continental pitches as they do outside. However, Sri Lanka should come out victorious in the league table, definitely because they have five home matches out of the six that they are supposed to play.

Pakistan should either trail Sri Lanka or Australia with some of the key players back to their squad. They have a nice blend of youth and experience on their side which might come in handy on the sub continental turfs.  The Kiwis however can be very unpredictable and on a given day can beat any team in the world. They should end up third or fourth on the chart.

Kenya has been a developing team for quite a while and have shown occasional sparks but their performance have not yet established a strong belief in the mind of cricket followers. The same can be stated about Zimbabwe. However, to infer, both the teams don’t have enough fuel to outclass teams like Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand. Canada is still an amateur in this sport. They should be happy to win a match or two on a good day.
Group B League Matches: 
This is the Group of Death. Other than Netherlands and Ireland, all other teams are capable of making it through to the Quarters.

India has quite a few players capable of single-handedly butchering the opposition. Home advantage alone can play a big role in their success story.  Also, unarguably, the best batsman in the world, Sachin Tendulkar would be creating history playing the sixth World Cup. His inclusion in itself is a massive confidence boost.

The South African side has been phenomenal in terms of adapting to various playing conditions. They seem to have what it takes to win the cup, leave aside their chance of making it through to the Quarter Finals. A lot of their players have been playing in the Indian Premier League giving them a lot of comfort.

Bangladesh and West Indies are highly unpredictable in terms of their approach but I would like to keep Bangladesh ahead of West Indies due to their home advantage. They have a lot to play for and history suggests that they are capable of making huge upsets.

The English team is quite unstable and is capable of losing matches from winning situations. However, it’s hard to rule them out as well. They have quite a few match winners in Kevin Peterson, Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood. However, their strong swing attack might find it tough to adjust.

Possibilities and probabilities might be endless but, what all should be looking at is a competitive series and not something like the previous one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How good will the split innings format of ODIs be?

With the 2011 ICC World Cup round the corner, a new rule is under the scanner of World Cricket – some in favour and others not. Though, it seems like an interesting ploy to make One Day cricket more interesting and dynamic. With Twenty-twenty cricket being a prime attraction today, one day cricket had to change to draw more attention.

This new concept however was once proposed by Sachin Tendulkar in September 2009 after the rain-hit Champion’s Trophy 2002 Finals between India and Sri Lanka, where both the teams played for two days – 110 over, yet ending up with a draw.

The rules of this new version are as exciting as it sounds. There would be four innings, each of them to be played alternately by both the teams.  The first innings played by both the team would be of twenty overs, while the second one would be of twenty five. It seems to be like a test match, however limited. The most interesting aspect of this version would be – one player gets to bat twice in a single match. This gives a clear idea that the matches would be very high scoring and any team can make a come-back and win.
To make it clearer, below are the basic rules being drawn out:
  • Fielding restrictions would be only for the first five over of all four innings.
  • There is a big change in terms of the maximum number of overs allowed to one bowler. They are now allowed to bowl twelve overs instead of ten.
  • The bowlers seem to be getting a lot of advantages here. They would be allowed to bowl two bouncers here instead of one. So, we can expect a lot of fireworks around.
  • The team who leads the first innings would be awarded a point even though they end up losing the match.The One Day Internationals would be having twelve players instead of the conventional eleven. However, only eleven players out of them can bat in any given innings.
International Cricket Council however, is yet to decide on the implementation of the new rules of the road. They are in talks to multiple Cricketing Nations in order to have a feedback whether this style would help One Day Internationals restore their past glory. With the number of Twenty-twenty matches being played these days, and the number of spectators liking them, ODIs have been under a massive threat.

Today, people love to watch something which would give a result and a quicker result. In fact, there would be a higher chance of getting a result in this new style, even if half the match has been played. The intensity would be higher since the players would get two lives in a single match, which would lead them to take more risk and play more aggressively. Apart from that, captains would have a massive role to play in terms of strategizing on the field.

Looks like, cricket is moving in the right direction, provided ICC realizes that a revolution is required at the earliest – what better than implementing it during the upcoming World Cup!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

India Needs a Genuine Pace Attack

Success of a team in cricket is in the hands of opening batsmen and also the pace bowlers. The role of pace bowlers is as important as they can disturb the opponent batsmen with their pace and swing. Indian bowling department is not as impressive as it was in the past. Kapil Dev, a legend, is the best bowler of Indian cricket. In his captaincy India won the world cup in 1983 and it’s purely because of a bowler who cleaned the opponent. Few decades back Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad were the pace bowlers and they were the successful opening bowling pair for Indian cricket. The variety in their bowling fetched quick wickets and they were responsible for victory.

After their retirement from international cricket the bowling department of India was found helpless. Zaheer Khan is the most reliable pace bowler at present and he is prone to injuries most of the time. The left arm pacer is a perfect attacker with new ball and also expert in reverse and in swing yorkers that can surely clear the defense of a batsmen. There were many bowlers like Ajit Agarkar, Debasis Mohanty, Aavishkar Salvi, Sreesanth and Ashish Nehra who were in the team but couldn’t mark their presence permanently in the squad due to the loss of variety. Indian team suffered a lot without quality bowlers and faced many loses. Javagal Srinath carried the bowling till 2003 world cup. After his retirement there was no strong bowling attack in Indian team.

Irfan Pathan stepped in to the squad as a bowler and surprised everyone with the ability of swinging the ball into the batsman. He was successful in fetching quick wickets but lost his form and is out of squad for long time. Ishanth Sharma and Munaf Patel are the other bowlers picked for Indian squad who were admirable at the beginning but as days passed on they too failed at important situations.

On a whole the team fully relies on Zaheer Khan and his absence is noticed in all series. RP Singh has not found permanent place in the squad and Praveen Kumar is being impressive till now with his ability of swinging in air and troubling the opponent. Mithun another pace bowler has the ability to bowl well and he must be developed to be a star bowler for the team. Pace bowlers are the key players in any match and if players like Praveen Kumar, Mithun, Ishanth Sharma are trained well they could be the best in sharing the bowling attack with Zaheer Khan.

What are your views on Indian pace attack?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Fanatic Fans Challenge

RCB's Fanatic Fans Challenge 3:South Africa is the sequel to the Fanatic Fans Challenge 2 which took place during IPL 2010. They are having 3 positions to fill out this season. A blogger, a photographer and a podcaster.

Well, your job as a Chief Fanatic Fan would be to cover the CLT20 and the masalas and the local enthusiasms, everything that cricket & the CLT20 touches in South Africa and update it on the RCB site for your fellow RCB fans back home. The idea behind sending the best there is so everyone through their words, pictures and voice would feel as though they are in South Africa and not missing a thing.

How will you prove you can do that? Every category has 2 questions – one to prove you have a passion for cricket and can generate content on that topic (so that you don’t go there and watch the game without understanding why so many men running after 1 ball) and the second question to prove that you can make a story out of nothing (so we know you can add masalas and make a dull story interesting for the audiences)

Write out your application, send it in and then start collecting votes, you have until 11th of August to collect votes! If your application is one of the best, that they think can stand a chance to win, they will feature it. A featured application is also an example of what it will take for a fan to win this challenge. So for those of you who don’t have your applications featured, you can pick up a few pointers from the Featured Apps list. You can edit your application until the 9th of August.

Here is the entire flow of the process at RCB.

7 winners will be shortlisted from each category on the 12th and then they will go to Bangalore for the final audition (dates for which will be confirmed).

So if you think you have it in you, to be a Chief Fanatic Fan, travel to South Africa for the CLT20 while you work for RCB – Apply Now!

Friday, June 25, 2010

India wins Asia Cup after 15 years

They've done it. India, under Dhoni's captaincy,  won the Asia Cup, crushing defending champions Sri Lanka by 81 runs. After 15 years of waiting India would be very pleased to lift the Asia Cup trophy.

Today's match reflected what a team can do when it plays as a team, not as an individual. Every player did his job to perfection. To me, this was the best fastbowling effort by indians in recent times in sub-continent.

PS: I don't like the point of India playing too many matches against Sri Lanka. It has already been so many since 2009. And again we have a series with Sri Lanka in July this year.

What is the point in playing with the same team again and again?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Boom Boom Afridi

Shahid Afridi is known for hitting cricket balls out of the ground with ease. But he has been more of a bowler in recent times and failed miserably with the bat. It wasn't the one we know. And the one we know is back with a bang with 2 superb centuries in Asia Cup. He struck 109 off 76 balls that included 8 fours and 7 sixes, against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup 2010. And today he scored another blitzering knock of 124 from just 60 balls against Bangladesh that included 17 fours and 4 sixes. And what's more, it was the sixth fastest ODI century and the quickest one in Asia Cup. I've not seen any of these innings, but I can say that Afridi is back.

Afridi has shown interest in leading his team in international cricket. He got a chance to lead Pakistan in T20 world cup earlier this year in England. And he was made captain for all formats of the game.

Do you think captaincy(responsibility) changed his game? Can Afridi fire against England and Australia?

Monday, May 17, 2010

England lifts their first ever ICC trophy

Wisden Cricketer - EnglandI've never expected England to reach this far. I agree that they are a good team. They are the pioneers of cricket. But they've never managed to win a major ICC trophy. Even if they reached the final of this year's Twenty20 World cup, I still had some doubt if they can do it this time. They were against Australia and that made me feel that England might have to wait more. But......they made history by defeating Australia in ICC world Twenty 2010 final. This is a moment to cherish for england fans.

I still wonder if it was Australia against which England played this final. Australia never looked dominant right from the start of the match except for one over in which they got 21 runs. Full credit goes to England for their superb fielding and collective performances with bat and bowl. It's very rare to see Australia loosing a final. They came into the final unbeaten. They came out of nowhere in the semifinal against Pakistan to register an excellent win to reach the final thanks to an exceptional knock of 60 from 24 balls from Mr Cricket.

After loosing a final against England, Austrlia would definitely want to comeback hard at them in the Ashes. It'll be a good contest to enjoy.

PS: I congratulate one of my friends(An ardent fan of England) on England's victory.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IPL team of the tournament

Sachin Tendulkar
The A to Z of Sachin TendulkarThere are two things in the world that get better with time, Wine and Sachin. The master had two forgetful IPLs previously. But this time, he looked like a man on a mission. He proved that even in the mad world of mongooses and dilscoops, there is still place for romance between bat and ball. He was consistent throughout and never let Mumbai down. His captaincy was also top notch (barring the finals) and the way he handled the youngsters Tiwary, Rayudu, Dhawan, Satish was exceptional. It's a pity that the trophy didn't land in his hands.

Murali Vijay
This hasn't been a tournament for maverick openers. Big names like Hayden,Gilchrist,Sehwag,Gayle,Jayasuriya flopped and lesser knowns like Vijay, Lumb, Ojha made hay. Vijay is always known to be a technically compact and a good onside player but not an ideal T20 opener. He started IPL3 on a poor note and was even dropped for Parthiv. The way he bounced back was impeccable and his rise in form was parallel to Chennai's rise of fortunes. The ton he got against Rajasthan was a  pleasure to watch and expect fireworks from him in world T20.

Suresh Raina
The fact that Raina is the only player to score 400+ in every edition of IPL speaks volumes about the talent this man has. The south paw, a favourite to Greg Chappel, who viewed him as India's answer to Brain Lara, packs a punch and has been a reliable performer for CSK. He added a lot of maturity to his batting which should augur well for India. A fantastic fielder too and a bowler trusted by Dhoni. He is still 23 and with time on his side, expect big things from him in future.

Robin Uthappa
Why this man won't be in the flight for carribean is still a mystery to many. A better striker/batsman than Yusuf Pathan as this IPL proved, he has a fantastic ability to change the course of the match in the space of a couple of overs. These are impact players and the one's who win you trophies from the most unlikliest of situations as he showed game after game in this IPL. The fact that he also keeps the wickets is a bonus. That over of Sreesanth in which he plundered 25 runs to change the game at Chinnaswamy is some of the finest hitting witnessed in recent times.

Shane Watson
I know this will be a controversial selection but watson has proved us all how Rajastan missed him in IPL2 and half of IPL3. Almost chased down 246 in his very first outing in IPL3. A fearsome striker of the ball, a good player of the short ball and is a true floater, some one who can bat anywhere from 1-5 with devastating effect. A very clever bowler and a good fielder. A very experienced T20 cricketer and a vital cog in the Aussie side, every captain would love to have him in his side. He only played 8 games but he has done enough to merit an all rounders slot in this lineup.

Kieron Pollard
Generally Mumbai get it wrong with big signings, be it  Jayasuriya/Duminy/Uthappa(850,000$). When they signed him for the record IPL fee, he was in Australia playing with Shahid Afridi for South Australia. He had a mediocre big bash and i had doubts over him. But boy did he prove me wrong or what. Tailor made for T20, the big West Indian was an instant hit with the Mumbai crowd with his brutal hitting. Even for such a powerful man, the way he plays with a straight bat is refreshing to see.  Also a very canny T20 bowler and a brilliant fielder, he has been a revelation in this IPL. Every penny well spent.

Captain Cool: The M.S.Dhoni StoryMS Dhoni
Naman Ojha had a terrific IPL and by Dhoni's standards, he had an ordinary time with the bat. But for the balance of the side, Dhoni has to be in this side. As the team is loaded with big hitters, they need a captain who will let them be their own selves and will always put his hand up in times of crisis. He still can hit a mean ball, as showed by his innings against Punjab, he is the leading wicket keeper batsmen in world cricket right now.

Pragyan Ojha
The purple cap winner of this edition of IPL has been a vital cog in the Deccan setup. He got wickets aplenty and crucially at a less economy rate. Never afraid to flight the ball, he and Mishra proved that spinners are pretty effective in the shorter format of the game. He should be deployed as a containing bowler rather than an attacking one. Hw will be bitterly disappointed to watch world T20 in his LCD.

Doug Bollinger
CSK's IPL campaign can be divided into two halves, one before bollinger and another after Bollinger. Chennai tried many a fast bowler before him without any success. His first game for Chennai was a bowler's nightmare. Chennai scored 246 and Rajastan almost chased it down. Amid all those ruins, only Bollinger came out with the best paint, (figures of 4-0-13-3). Has been at his bustling best throughout his stay, he provided Chennai with crucial breakthroughs and is a firm fan favourite at Chennai.

Lasith Malinga
The most lethal T20 bowler in world cricket right now. He is very difficult to get away because of his slinging action and deadly accuracy. He formed a deadly partnership with Zaheer Khan and was mean and reliable throughout the IPL. The first bowler that any captain would want in his side.

Amit Mishra
Another inclusion that doesn't win me any fans but Mishra was brilliant for the daredevils this season. The runner up to the purple cap is a more attacking spinner than Ojha and would like the batsmen to attack him and then beat them with his flight and googlies. I had to include him in this side for the balance of the side. Teams would know they can't score many of Bollinger and Lasith and might target this leggie. This is where he is at his best and can outsmart them. The way he got rid of Kallis was a thing of beauty.  He should be deployed as an attacking spinner.

Honourable mentions
Jayawardene, R.Ashwin, J.Kallis, A.Kumble,A.Symonds

PS: This article is contributed by my friend Phani Raja Sekhar.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chennai Super Kings - IPL-3 Winners

It was Chennai Super Kings who kept their cool under pressure and eventually lifted the trophy of Indian Premier League season 3. They have been consistent throughout the 3 seasons. Dhoni would be very happy to lift the trophy after  they lost the first season's final to Rajasthan Royals.

Thanks to Raina's wonderful knock at the end and his partnership with Dhoni, Chennai managed to put a very good total on the board. CSK started off things slowly. Hayden once again missed out on a good score in what could be his last IPL game. He had a worst time with the bat in this year's IPL. Dhoni and Raina accelerated CSK's innings after 12th over. Raina capitalized on two missed chances and went on to score a good half century.

Mumbai Indians too started the innings slowly. After 13 overs Mumbai and Chennai were at the same score. Things changed thereafter with Jakati taking the wickets of Sachin and Tiwary in one over. Mumbai have made so many changes to their batting order by promoting Nayar and Harbhajan ahead of Tiwary and Rayudu. Pollard got the chance to bat only for the last 3 overs. But the match was already in Chennai's hands at that stage with Mumbai needing 55 runs from the last 3 overs. Pollard scored 22 off Bollinger making the equation to 33 from 12 balls. Morkel bowled a good 19th over to remove Rayudu and Pollard ensuring a good win in the final for CSK.

I think the main reasons for Mumbai's loss are:
1. Two dropped chances off Raina
2. Pollard not coming in to bat ahead of Duminy. It might have been easy for Mumbai had Pollard been given a few more overs to bat.
3. Promoting Nayar and Harbhajan ahead of Rayudu and Tiwary who have been exceptionally good throughout the series. They should have come in ahead of Nayar and Harbhajan.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

IPL 2010 Final Preview: Mumbai Indians Vs Chennai Super Kings

The final of IPL will be held on 25th April at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai amidst the raging controversies surrounding the Indian Premier League.

Mumbai Indians, so far, have a wonderful tournament. Mumbai made it to the finals for the first time in IPL. Sachin would love to finish the tournament on a winning note.

On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings struggled to make it to the finals. Chennai were finalists of IPL 2008 and they lost it to Rajasthan Royals. So, Dhoni would be determined to set the things right this time.

Tendulkar has led the team well and has given so much confidence to the players like Rayudu, Tiwary. Mumbai Indians have a good depth in batting and bowling department. Sachin is suffering from a finger injury and hopefully he will be available for the final. It would be a big loss for Mumbai Indians if Sachin won't be available as he carried Mumbai on his shoulders with his wonderful batting and captaincy. Tiwary and Rayudu proved their talent under pressure when Mumbai lost a few early wickets. And then there is Pollard who can hit the ball out of ground easily. His medium pace has also proved worthy. Their bowling attack has been reliable. And they have no worries on this matter.

On the other hand, Chennai mostly had to rely on good individual performances to make it so far. If Hayden delivers a good knock at the top and their bowlers can take 2-3 early wickets, Chennai would fancy their chances. Suresh Raina is the key batsman for Chennai. It will be interesting to see if Dhoni opens their bowling with Ashwin with Sachin at the crease. Ashwin and Bollinger have been exceptional for Chennai. Spinners have been Chennai's strength.

Winning the toss and batting first looks a better choice at this ground as teams chasing a total have stumbled on this pitch.

All in all, We are up for one exciting final. My money would be on Mumbai Indians.

Happy Birthday Master

"If Cricket is a religion, Sachin is God."

"Commit all your sins while Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed becasue God is busy watching Sachin's batting."

"I have seen god, he bats at no. 4 for India"- Mathew Hayden

“On a train from Shimla to Delhi , there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!”- Peter Roebuck -An Aussie journalist

"There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others." - Andy Flower

"Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives." - BBC Sports on Sachin Tendulkar

These are just a few to describe the greatness of Sachin.

Sachin turns 38 today. Cricket Crazy wishes him a wonderful birthday and all the best.

I loved this Petition to the President of India from one of the Sachin fans.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gilchrist Vs Dhoni

The second semi-final of IPL-3 between defending champions Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings will take place at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on 22nd April. Both teams had to win their last league match to qualify for the semis. Chennai made it to the semis thanks to Dhoni's superb knock against Kings XI Punjab. Deccan made it to the semis by a collective performance against Delhi Daredevils.

Adam Gilchrist is due a big knock for Chargers. T Suman, Rohit Sharma, Symonds have been consistent with the bat while P Ojha has been performing well with the bowl. Harmeet Singh has been superb with the slow leg cutter. The only concern for DC would be to play at DY Patil stadium where they lost both the games they played before.

Chennai on the other hand too need a big konck from Hayden. Vijay, Raina has been in good form.

Both the teams have been set back a bit by their bowling attack. Deccan have worst record of conceding most runs in the last five overs.

My playing XIs:
Deccan Chargers:
Adam Gilchrist, Monish Mishra, T Suman, Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Mitchell Marsh, Sumanth, Harmeet Singh, Vaas, Ojha, RP Singh

Mathew Hayden, Murai Vijay, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Badrinath, A Morkel, Justin Kemp, Ashwin, Jakati, Bollinger, S Tyagi

Deccan beat Chennai twice this season and they have the advantage. But it can be anyone's game.

I'll be supporting Deccan and I want the final to be between Mumbai and Deccan.

A Clash of Indian Legends

Well, the third season if Indian Premier League is into it's last week.

The first semi final of IPL-3, between Mumbai Indians and last year's finalists Royal Challengers Banglore is going to take place at DY Patil stadium in Mumbai.

Mumbai Indians is in tremendous form winning 10 out of their 14 league matches. Sachin mesmerized everyone with his lovely batting and he has been in a great form. Mumbai Indians need Sachin to fire once again to put a great start. Then they have in Rayudu, Tiwary two good players who can play some big shots. If Pollard delivers with the bat, then it will be an easy match for Mumbai. Mumbai's bowling department is also strong with the likes of Malinga, harbhajan and Zaheer.

Coming to Banglore team, Kallis has been a consistent performer. But he needs to improve his strike rate if they have to put up/chase a big score. They have explosive batsmen like Uthappa and Taylor who can turn the match away from the opponent very easily.

On a whole, both teams are very strong. Both the teams have good batting line up and good bowling attacks. But, mumbai has been consistent and playing in front of the home crowd is an advantage.

My playing XIs:
Sachin Tendulkar, Shikar Dhawan, S Tiwary, A Rayudu, JP Duminy, K Pollard, Satish, R McLaren, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, S Malinga

J Kallis, M Pandey, K Pietersen, R Uthappa, R Taylor, V Kohli, R Dravid, D Steyn, R Vinay Kumar, Anil Kumble, Praveen Kumar

I'll go with Mumbai Indians.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

IPL is back

IPL has influenced the world cricket so much. True cricket lovers say it is not real cricket. But, it's a complete entertainment package. Well, IPL3 is back to India and it's just 3 days away.

IPL3 starts off with a match between the defending champions Deccan Chargers and Kolkatta Knight Riders on March 12th, 2010.

45 days of entertainment  with exciting matches, bollywood beauties, cheerleaders, strategy breaks etc... We are all getting ready to experience this high voltage cricket extravaganga.

Rajastan Royals and Deccan Chargers clinched IPL season 1 and season 2 respectively. Anything can happen in the game of cricket. The favorites this time may reach the bottom of the table and the bottom teams may top the table(as DC and RCB did it last time).

Who, do you think, will be the winners of IPL 3?