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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WOUNDED KIWIS TAKE ON CONFIDENT TEAM INDIA AT JAIPUR

  

After losing last test match  and first  ODI Kiwis must be hungry to win at any cost but problem with them is that their star players are plagued with injuries and that makes them vulnerable. Daryl Tuffey already withdrawn from the series and flying back home due to bicep strain. Captain Vettori and Brendon McCullum having sour backs. Ross Taylor looked in discomfort and used runner in last match. Jesse Ryder already departed for home before the start of the series. So there is plenty of problems for Kiwi side. If we look at India squad they also have rested their star players for this series, so competition is even between both teams but after victory in first ODI, Indian team looks much more confident and at advantage.


Tomorrow's contest will be crucial for both the teams as  Team India will try  to strengthen their position in the series by winning it and Kiwis will try to come-back in the series to add some spice to the competition. Tomorrow if Vettori and Brendon McCullum play in the match then that will give great chance to Kiwis to win the match because  the experience of both these players will boost the confidence of entire team Andy Mckay will also play crucial role in tomorrow's encounter because of his good from with ball. On the other side India will try to negate the importance of these players by performing better than Guwahati where  they were not able to play their full quota of 50 overs as they got all-out in 49th over itself. I hope Team India don't repeat this mistake. I also hope Indians don't get complacent because of win in last match and lose the match because of over-confidence. It will also be a crucial match for Yuvraj Singh to further strengthen his place in the side because Team India needs player like Yuvraj Singh who can change the course of the match within over or two. Keeping World-Cup in the mind, it is also important that Yuvraj remains fit and get into his top form as quickly as possible because apart from his batting abilities, he is also handy with the ball on sub-continent pitches and that gives the flexibility to the captain to go in with additional batsman or bowler.

Toss will also play crucial role at Jaipur because it will be day-night affair and team which win the toss will choose to ball first because of dew factor during this time of the year in this part of the country. Dew will  give certain advantage to the batting team under lights as ball will not grip the surface and spinners will also not able to hold the wet ball. So if India have to win then  first of all Gambhir will  have to be lucky with the toss because Indians rely heavily on their spinners at home. Lastly I must mention about Virat Kohli, all eyes will be on him tomorrow to see whether he will be able to score 3rd consecutive hundred or not. A rare feat to achieve in ODIs, pressure will be immense on Kohli tomorrow and if he scores century tomorrow then he will establish himself in this Indian team permanently. I think he has class in him to do so.

Monday, November 29, 2010

ENGLAND DREW WITH AUSTRALIA AT GABBA IN ASHES OPENER


Till the 3rd day of 1st Ashes  test match it looked like everything fell in place for Australia and they will win the Ashes opener and everyone was expecting the same from them because of 1st Innings lead of 221 run over England but hats-off to English team, they played like champions and confirmed themselves as favourite to win the Ashes this time. Captain Strauss lead from the front and put England in solid position with opening stand of 188 runs with Alastair Cook. Strauss made brilliant 110 runs and confirmed the fact that this time England will give tough competition to Australia and determined to win Ashes. After the fall of Strauss, Cook took the charge and he was supported well by Jonathan Trott. Trott scored century and Cook went on to get double century and finally on fifth day England declared the innings at 517 for just one wicket, rare statistics in test cricket.

Although test ended in draw but it confirmed that Australia is no longer the force in world cricket and they lack good bowling attack and still they have not found the replacement for Warne and Mcgrath. Australian team expected a lot from Mitchell Johnson but he failed to deliver and remained wicket-less in entire test. Here on Ashes has become interesting and I feel they way England fought back in this match will give them lot of boost and confidence to win the Ashes Down-Under this time. For Australia, I feel they have to do lot of soul searching if they want to regain their supremacy. Overall Ashes Series have become interesting and with four matches to go, I feel England clearly have upper-hand but I also don't count Australia out of the series because lot cricket is still remaining in the series.

KIWIS CRUSHED BY INDIA AT GUWAHATI IN A SERIES OPENER



India won the match is known news but what actually India gained from this victory was the confidence of winning matches without their star players. Yesterday's win over Kiwis was the perfect example of team work. Every member of the team contirbuted in the win. Batsmen did their job, bowlers showed their skills and fielding was also very good. I must give special mention to Virat Kohli. Kohli scored his second consecutive century and this century was his first in setting up the target. He played his shots freely and never looked under pressure. After this knock of Kohli, some news channels compared him with Sachin Tendulkar but I feel it is unfair to compare him with God(Sachin) because this will put unnecessary pressure on this young lad and if in next few innings he fails then that can go against him. Kohli and Yuvraj SIngh partnership gave India the platform to score big. I feel Yuvraj Singh who was playing well was unfortunate to miss out on half century but never the less he did his job and given the signal of coming back into the form and that is great news. After Yuvraj, Raina joined Kohli but Raina carried his bad form into this match as well and failed again by getting out on personal score of 13. Later Yusuf Pathan played few shots and ensure India a score of more then 270. Alarming sign for India was not playing the entire 50 overs after getting great platform from top-order and India have to work on this quickly because not playing entire 50 overs is a crime in ODI. Andy Mckay impressed with his bowling as he picked up 4 wickets and he was the only bowler from Kiwi side who looked like picking up wickets.



New Zealand started their innings steadily till 7 overs in reply to India's score of 273. Guptill opened with Jamie How. Guptill played some gorgeous shots. On the other hand Jamie How was playing cautiously but Nehra strike in 7th over and picked up How by bouncing him. Soon after the fall of How, Guptill played rash stroke in the over of Ashwin and lost his wicket. Ross Taylor was joined by Williamson and they steadied the ship for Kiwis but at crucial juncture Williamson got out and after Williamson's departure Kiwis lost wickets at regular interval. Hats-off to Indian bowlers who displayed great skills on little-bit responsive pitch and kept Kiwis under pressure. Yuvraj Singh was exceptional in bowling, he was economic and also picked up 3 crucial wickets. In the end Mills and Nathan McCullum played few shots and created some tension in Indian camp  but Sreesanth  came into the attack and ended the Kiwi innings and India won this match by 40 runs.

I feel if India continue this kind of performance in coming matches them I feel they have great chance to win the series but it is too early to say so because Kiwis have the capability tocome-back and win the series. Remember they were not full-strength in this match as Vettori and Brendon McCullum opted to rest because of injury. I must advice Team India, not to get over-confident after this match and have to take one-match at a time rather than thinking about entire series. Gambhir was good in his first outing as captain and batted freely which is good for him and the team. He was pro-active in his approach and I hope he continue same way in the coming matches.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

AUSTRALIA IN COMMANDING POSITION IN GREAT ASHES BATTLE

Haddin Celebrates  Century


First time ever in last 2 decades England entered into Ashes contest as favourites and everybody was talking about the balance of English side and about their bowling. On the other hand Australia was down and out completely after losing series to India where they got white-washed by the Indians in India. Moral of Kangaroos was down and media also written-off Australia but as they say champions are never out of the contest and same happened to Australia as they dominated England for first 3 in days in first test match at GABBA(Brisbane).
England Is Down

English captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and elected to bat but that decision went against English batsmen and the entire English team bowled out for 260 runs on first day itself. Hero for Kangaroos was Peter Siddle who returned to the side after 10 months and picked up hat-trick and six wickets over all in first innings of England and pushed English team on back-foot. Australia made a steady start to their batting but they also lost their 5 wickets before scoring 150 runs and it looked like England will dominate the proceedings but in comes Brad Haddin who alongwith out-of-form Mike Hussey build massive partnership and help Australia to gain healthy lead of 221 run. Remember Brad Haddin is also making come-back in this series after recovering from an injury. Both Hussey and Haddin scored century. Hussey was unlucky that he couldn't complete his double-century and got out on 195.Before the start of the series Hussey was under pressure as he failed consistently with bat in last few matches and there was discussion among the selectors to drop him, but 'cometh the hour cometh the man' Hussey batted brilliantly in this innings and allow Australia to dominate the match and saved his place in the side as well. Now here on England have to battle for survival for remaining 2 days of the test match.
Anderson Having chat with Hussey and Haddin
Hussey Celebrates  Century
This match is clear example of turn in fortune. It is interesting to see whether England save this match or not. If England save it then this Ashes series will become very interesting to watch for cricket-lovers. But in cricket miracle happens very rarely. Its time for English players to live upto the expectations of their fans.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Will experiment work for Team India in ODI series against Kiwis?

Last time when Team India experimented with youngsters in a tri-nation tournament held in Zimbabwe in the month of May-June this year, Team India lost badly in that tournament. They lost twice against minnows like Zimbabwe and once against Sri-Lanka and failed to reach the finals as well. That team was captained by Suresh Raina and unfortunately for him that series was nightmare as a captain. Again Team India is experimenting with youngsters in upcoming ODI series against Kiwis which is starting on 28th Novemeber, 2010 and first ODI will be a day affair at Guwahati. I feel this time also Team India will fail because they don't have too many experienced players in this team except Gambhir, Raina and Yuvraj. Gautam Gambhir is captaining this side I feel sorry for him if Team India lose simply because he don't have fire-power. Ashish Nehra has been not included in the squad, Praveen Kumar will not feature in first ODI due to personal reasons and at the top Team India don't have Sachin or Sehwag to give them super start. It is a good idea to give youngsters a chance but you must have balanced side and I feel Team India lacks balance of experience and youth. Moreover their star player Yuvraj Singh will be low on confidence after his grade demotion in central contract and off-late he is not in great form as well.

On the other side there will be an eye on few youngsters like Saurabh Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, R.Ashwin, Vinay Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja. For them this is a fantastic opportunity to cement their place in playing eleven but it happens only when these youngsters perform to their potential because Kiwis will be playing in this series with all their main players so it will be a tough series for these youngsters and believe me whoever pass this acid test will automatically come into the reckoning for World-Cup squad. There is also strong competition between Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan for grabbing No.7 position and I feel this will inspire both of them to perform out of their skins.

After doing all the analysis I come to the conclusion that there is 30% chances for Team India to win this series and 70 % chances for Kiwis and analysis includes fielding, running between the wickets and team composition. As far as fielding and running-between the wickets are concerned Kiwi side is far superior and makes them favourite to win the ODI series.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SELECTION COMMITTEE IS BIAS!

Once Mohinder Amarnath,a great cricketer of our country called selectors as 'Bunch of Jokers' and I believe that is absolutely true till date. Last week Indian ODI team selected and I feel one player who deserved to be in this team is Karnataka player Robin Utthappa but to my surprise he's been ignored once again. This year he performed well in IPL and now doing very well in domestic matches but I feel selection committee don't even consider him. I feel Robin Utthappa is very talented player and the way he plays I feel he can easily match Virender Sehwag in stroke-making and in absence of Virender Sehwag I feel he was deserving candidate for the opening slot. But selection committee had other ideas to my surprise. Robin is not ignored this time, he's been continuously ignored by our selection committee. Players like Rohit Sharma got the chances many times despite their repeated failures but Robin was not given any chance to make a come-back into the team. Another player who has been not considered is young talented Manish Pandey who plays for Karnataka. In domestic circuit he is rated very highly by experts but he is also ignored by the selection committee. I feel when you rest your senior players then you must give chance to deserving players. There is question mark on Murali Vijay's selection. No doubt he performed well in his last test-match and also performed well in T20 Super league but his ODI record is very poor and whatever chances he got in ODIs, he literally wasted them. He is in the team because selection committee chairman hails from Tamil Nadu and fortunately Murali Vijay also play for Tamil Nadu and that goes in Vijay's favour as far as his selection is concerned.Three of our senior cricketers are in last leg of their career and it is the time when you have to try out few youngsters like Robin Utthappa and Manish Pandey who can replace these greats. Time has come now for selection panel to select players on merit and not on the basis of Zonal bias.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

India won series by winning final Test with innings and 198 runs

Well great performance from Indian batsmen and superb display of bowling by Indian bowlers helped India to win the series 1-0 against New Zealand at Jamtha(Nagpur). Looking at the performance of Indian team and New Zealand team in first two test matches it looked like final test will also end in a draw or will be a close finish but Indian Team rose to the challenge and played fantastic cricket to register easy win over Kiwis. At the start of this test India was handicapped in bowling department as their strike bowler Zaheer Khan got injured and pulled out of this test but despite Zaheer's loss India won this test match convincingly. It clearly shows Indian team is not depending on the individuals and they have enough and able replacements. There are lot of positives coming out of this match for Indian team like  Ishant Sharma back in his bowling form , Harbhajan's batting  and Rahul Dravid back in form by correcting his technical flaws. Now talking about negative aspects and it is Surest Raina before this series he was considered great talent and I still believe he is great talent but this series have not done any good to his confidence as he scored only 26 runs in four innings at an paltry average of  6.5 which is not good sign for him and Indian team. Another negative aspect was batting of God(Sachin Tendulkar) who accumulated only 126 runs in the series at an average of 31.50 which is not upto his standard and also missing out on his landmark of 50th Test Hundred which was eagerly awaited by the  fans across the globe. But as we all know Tendulkar is class act and he can come out of these bad situation very quickly. On the whole great series win but not that convincing. Atleast 2-0 was expected from team India after their clean sweep on Australia.
Coming to New Zealand side. They came in this series with horrible loss at the hands of Bangladesh in one-day series and were expected to lose 3-0 but to everybody's surprise they fought well in the series and drew first two test. Lot of positives they carry from this series as they got new star in batting that is Kane Williamson who scored century on debut and impressed everybody with his skill to play on sub-continent pitches and condition. Another positives for them were Jesse Ryder's return and Chris Martin's bowling . I feel Martin  bowled very well on Indian pitches but he was bit unlucky. Kiwis also suffered set-back because of poor batting form of Ross Taylor who was expected a lot to do well in the series but he couldn't live upto the expectations. I also feel New Zealand made a mistake in final test by not including Jeetan Patel as we all saw there was lot of bounce and turn in the pitch and he could have proved handy on this track. Another impressive thing from New Zealan side was their fielding and running between the wickets which was far superior than India team and on this aspect they were far ahead form team India. Overall great series win for team India and I must congratulate Kiwis for fighting hard and drawing first 2 test matches.

Well now test series is over and focus will be on one-day series and both  teams have already made few changes in their squads and I feel one-day series will give us great thrill and entertainment.

Friday, November 19, 2010

SUPREMACY AT STAKE FOR TEAM INDIA AND MS. DHONI

After two drawn test matches Team India will take on Kiwis at Nagpur on Saturday 20th November. It is do or die situation for Dhoni and his men and have to win this contest at any cost if they want to remain supreme in longer format of the game. On the other side draw in this test match for Kiwis will be great and if Kiwis win then this will be their first series win in India and that will give them great boost for the One-Day series which is starting right after the Test Series.

India is already hampered in bowling department as their most consistent and threatning bowler Zaheer Khan got injured during last match and will not take part in this test match. Zaheer was the only bowler in Indian side who looked like picking up wickets regulary and this loss put Team India under pressure as rest of their bowlers including star spinner Harbhajan Singh are not in great form.Weather will also become factor in the result as it is raining in Nagpur so one can expect curtailed match and again that also is not very great news for Team India. Another problem for Team India is form of their batsmen and mainly Sachin Tendulkar has not performed to his best in this series but Sachin is class player and he can come in form anytime but question mark on Dhoni and Raina as both are consistently failing and that certainly put India on back-foot. On the other side all the Kiwi batsmen are in great form and had scored 100+ plus score individually atleast once in both the test matches and that give upper-hand to Kiwis atleast in batting department. Kiwi bowling is also doing well especially captain Vettori is great form with ball and he is properly supported by his fast bowlers. Moreover, Kiwi fielding is big plus for them as we saw in Hyderabad test where Kiwi fielder saved 50-60 runs and which created frustration among Indian batsmen and that resulted into the wickets of Sachin, Raina and Dhoni. So Team India have to be careful and have to win this test and for that they have to give much improved performance otherwise rankings will say something else after this Test Match.

Lastly, my instincts telling me that if weather will be good in Nagpur then Team India will going to lose this Test and I am sure about it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Super Hit performance by Kiwis and Flop Show of Indian bowler resulted into Draw

Kiwis came in this Test Match with lot of confidence and that confidence helped them to achieve the result they desired.Coach Mark Greatbatch said before the start of the series that we are looking at 2 draws and I feel his boys have proved him correct by showing lot of character in both the matches they played at Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. All the top order Kiwi batsman except Ross Taylor are in top form now and I won't be surprised if they win the next test Match at Nagpur which is starting on Saturday. Looking at Kiwi performance, I must put question mark on the abilities Indian bowlers because if you are 'Number One' in rankings and consider yourself 'Number One' then you are expected to beat the number 8 ranked side and that can only happen if you pick 20 wickets in a match but except Zaheer Khan none of the Indian bowlers look like a international class. The way McCullum, Ryder, Williamson and Co. hit them and kept them at bay was very pity. After this match India will be under lot of pressure going into next Test Match. Main worry for Indians is the poor bowling form of Harbhajan Singh, off-late most of the teams playing Harbhajan Singh  comfortably and it seems Harbhajan has lost  bowling. I hope he comes good very quickly otherwise he will become another Irfan Pathan and probably lose his place in the side because we have enough batsmen in our side. If India have to win then Harbhajan have to contribute significantly with the ball atleast in home matches. Another worry for India is batting form of MS Dhoni which is now matter of concern, it seems Dhoni is curbing his natural game and playing under some kind of pressure but he has to understand that his technique is not that great like Rahul Dravid and he will not survive much with defensive batting, so Dhoni has to play to his strength  which aggressive batting just like Virender Sehwag. Now coming to performance of Sreesanth who talks about sticking to the basics and forget the same in the match. I think it is high time for Sreesanth to look at his performances and have to learn from his mistakes. Another zero is Suresh Raina who started his Test career with century but now struggling and problem with him is he thinks Test cricket is T20 or ODI game and try to play lot of shots before getting used to the pitch, conditions and situation of the match. Gary Kirsten have to speak to him and make him understand the test cricket otherwise he will also lose his place like Yuvraj Singh as Cheteshwar Pujara is waiting to get into the team. Beware Raina.

Looking at both the matches I am getting the feeling that India has lost the plot and they will going to lose in Nagpur as Kiwis are in top form, so my favourites for Nagpur is Kiwis looking at their performance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great Show by Kiwis at Motera...Beware India

As I mentioned in my earlier post that Kiwis are hungry to give good performance after drubbing in Bangladesh, Kiwis proved me right. I also mentioned  in my last post about Brendon, McCullum, Ross Taylor and Daniel Vettori, that also proved right and which inspired young Kane Williamson also, to hit a century on debut. Jesse Ryder's performance was icing on the cake. Now lot of work  for Team India ahead and Kiwis have put enormous pressure on No.1 side to give their best performance at Hyderabad. Team India was in control till Day 2 in Ahmedabad but Kiwis clawed back into the contest with some great performances on the field and gave hard time to the Indian Team . Thanks to Laxman and Harbhajan who saved India's pride and drew the Test. There are few concerns for Team India before Hyderabad Test and one of them is Gambhir's form, secondly bowling form of Harbhajan Singh. I feel Gambhir has to fight his way out because last year he was prolific scorer for India in all forms of the game and this year he looks like a struggler. I feel team management must give him confidence and security so that he can play well. Talking about Harbhajan , he is doing well with the bat but India required Harbhajan 'the bowler' because we have enough batsmen in our ranks. If Harbhajan will not perform with ball then I think result will be different for India in this series because you can't expect from Zaheer Khan to win you series alone without any support. Now coming to biggest worry of Team India and that is form of Indian captain MS Dhoni who is failing with bat continuously. As a captain he is doing well so nobody can point fingers at him but once team start losing then it will be difficult for him to answer. So all in all great prospect lies ahead for Kiwis at Hyderabad after their stunning performance at Ahmedabad and for Team India its time to pull up the socks and improve the performance if they want to win the series. I feel next two test matches will be fantastic and if Kiwis win I will not be surprised after their superb performance at Motera.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kiwis are hungry and Indians are triumphant

After wounded badly in Bangladesh, Kiwi morale is bit down but I feel this series will help them to come out of Bangla disaster. Although they don't have much star studded line-up but there are players who can turn things around for them. I feel Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Ross Taylor have to play big role. If these 3 guys performs to their potential then youngsters will get lot of inspiration and that can prove handy for Kiwis to get something out of the tour.Two uncapped players included in the side are also very capable as we saw in Bangladesh series where Williamson hit century in one of the one-day match and that too on turning track so things look somewhat positive for the Kiwis.

On the other hand Indians are confident after their great performance against mighty Aussies and will have upper hand in the series but India have some injury worries and that can prove costly to them in context of the series as Sehwag, Laxman, Harbhajan, Gambhir, Ishant all got injured during last series, even Sachin Tendulkar is having few niggles. Major worry for India is the form of great Rahul Dravid as he didn't look at his best during last two series against Sri Lanka and Australia. So India have to be careful in their approach to the series and have to pick 11 fit men. Good thing for India is that two youngsters in Raina and Pujara have performed well in whatever opportunity they got and that will make Indian Team relax as they have enough replacements. On the bowling side India will rely on spin duo of Harbhajan and Pragyan Ojha. They will also be hoping for some help from their fast bowlers especially Zaheer Khan who can be deadly with both old and new ball. All  in all everything is on stake for India and Kiwis will not lose anything if they will be defeated and if Kiwis will win then that will be bonus for them.