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.