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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Team India humbled Proteas at Durban by series levelling win

One more master-piece from Very very Special Laxman scripted the 88 runs victory for Team India with his Very Very Special innings of 96 runs in the second innings in 2nd test match at Kingsmead, Durban. Team India humbled Proteas by series levelling win at Kingsmead, Durban. VVS Laxman along with Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Harbhajan were the architects of this 2nd  Indian victory on the South Africa soil in last 18 years. I must say, decision of not using UDRS in the series played  important role in this victory of Team India as Proteas became victim of 2 bad decisions. Had UDRS used in the series then I think this test would have been ended in favour of Proteas but nevertheless victory is victory. VVS Laxman adjudged Man of the Match for his fantastic innings.

Return of Zaheer Khan bolstered  the Indian bowling attack but it was important that somebody supports Zaheer Khan from the other end. Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh supported Zaheer Khan very well from the other end and picked up crucial wickets at crucial moments and helped India in taking crucial lead of 74 runs in first innings by bundling out South Africa for just 131 runs. I feel wicket of Kallis was the turning point and  I feel best batsmen of South African team got out to the best ball of the match. That ball on which Kallis got out in the second innings was really a snorter. India did very well with the ball but I feel apart from Laxman and Dhoni all the batsmen were disappointing. I feel Pujara too an extent showed character and technique but he also failed to score big runs. I think Pujara have it in him to stay in International cricket for long. He has grit and determination to do well in International cricket.

I feel Sachin Tendulkar's approach in this match was very care-free as he tried to play shot moment he came onto the pitch but I feel his assessment about the pitch led him to do so because this was the pitch where  every batsmen was unassured of staying long so it was important to play shots right from the word go and score as many runs as possible and thats what all the batsmen tried. Laxman was lucky in terms of scoring runs because he was also beaten on several occasions on this pitch but he cashed on his luck and played very well.I think partnership between Zaheer and Laxman in the second innings played crucial role in India's victory as both helped India to go past 300 runs mark in second innings. MS Dhoni again found himself lucky by winning the test match after losing the crucial toss. I don't know what has happened to his luck with the toss. He lost 13 tosses out 17 but I must say as long as team is winning, I feel losing toss will not matter that much. I feel Ishant Sharma is big let down in the series so far and I feel he should be dropped from the next test match at Capetown. 

I believe Umesh Yadav deserves to play the next test match as he has pace and sharpness plus he is unknown quantity for the South African batsmen. I am also not happy the way Sehwag played in this match. He threw his wicket after settling down in both the innings. Had he stayed for some more time on the crease then it would have made Team India's victory easy and tension free.

For Proteas, Smith was lucky with the toss but his batsmen let him down big time in both the innings. Certainly Durban wicket was not 131 wicket. Hashim Amla finally got out without scoring half-century or century against India in his 50th test match at his home-ground and I must say that played crucial role in Proteas defeat because Amla is the Pillar of South African batting line-up. I feel Proteas were unlucky also to an extent in terms of getting out. Kallis got run-out in unusual fashion in first innings and second innings he got snorter from Sreesanth. DeVilliers and Boucher got out to dubious decisions. Proteas bowlers bowled very well in the match but didn't get much support from their batters. I feel Morkel, Steyn and Tsotsobe bowled their heart out. I feel Paul Harris was big let down in this match and I don't understand why Proteas selecting him because he doesn't look like an International bowler.

Lastly verbal spat between Sreesanth and Greame Smith in South Africa's second innings did not help Proteas cause and they lost the match from that moment. I still feel South Africa will win this test series and result will be 2-1 in favour Proteas because conditions suits to Proteas more than us and remember, on las tour we won at Wanderers but lost at Durban and Capetown and lost the series.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

England retain Ashes down-under after 24 years, Punter in Trouble

Indeed a great day for English cricket as they retained the Ashes by winning 4th test match at MCG. Wait for 24 long years is over and I feel Englishmen will be jubilant and will certainly enjoying the moment. England defeated Australia by innings and 157 runs on fourth day of the 4th test match and now leading the series by 2-1. This is very emphatic win for England and worst loss for Australia. This defeat is ranked at 8th place in terms of margin for Australia. Its Black Day for Australian Cricket and Golden Day for English Cricket. With this defeat, Australian domination on World Cricket is also ended and I feel its good for cricket. Australian fans already organised funeral of this humiliating defeat at MCG on second day of this test when Australia was all-out for 98 runs in first innings and allowed England to score 157 runs without picking up single wicket. Indeed very sad day for Australian fans.

England were favourites to win Ashes this time before the start of series and now they are winners. I feel this victory is good example of team-work. Every member of English team played crucial role in this victory. So it is difficult to give credit to single player. I must appreciate Strauss as captain. He motivated his team to perform well and lead from the front and establish example and when your captain performs well and lead from the front then it becomes easy for the team achieve whatever they want to. This series has proved that captain's role and his performance matters the most. Punter didn't perform well with bat and that affected the morale of his team as he failed to motivate his team with his deeds. So I feel captain of the team play important role in winning or losing cause of the team and this Ashes series is best example of that. Hats-off to England the way they played in this series and now they will be looking to win Sydney test match which is starting in couple of days time and probably end the series with comprehensive win. 

Australia have the last chance to salvage some pride by playing well in fifth and final test match at Sydney and for that Punter have to motivate his team and have to lead from the front. If Australian selectors don't axe him before the final test match then it will be Punter's last chance to save his credentials and end his career on high note. If he also lose final test match then I feel it will be a sad end of the illustrious career of one of the finest batsmen. Losing at Sydney means Ponting will become first captain in the history of Australian cricket to lose 3 Ashes series and I am sure after all the debacles in the series, Punter will certainly don't like that and will try and win the final test match and also score some runs. Pain of losing and not scoring runs was clearly seen on his face on the 3rd day of fourth test match from the way he argued with umpires twice and his on-field behaviour also made this loss more sour.

I feel time has come now when Ponting have to decide on his career and future. Australian selectors will be in dilemma whether to drop Ponting from the team or continue with him, so now it is upto Ponting to decide what he wants and have to find the way out of this crisis either by retiring gracefully or allow selectors to end his illustrious career. In my opinion, he should be given chance for Sydney test match and selectors have to give him graceful farewell at Sydney after fifth and final test match. Its sad to see the end of one of the finest batsmen of all time in such a humiliating manner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

India defeated by Proteas at Durban, At MCG against England Australia in trouble

Once again famed batting line-up of Team India surrendered to South African pace. Now after looking at the performance of our top-order batsmen in little testing conditions, question arise, do Team India deserves the No.1 ranking in Test Cricket. My answer is absolute NO. Team India don't deserve to be NO.1 in test cricket as they can't perform well in unfamiliar conditions. Its really a shame that twice in the series South Africa put Indian batting line-up in big hole. 

As I mentioned in my last post clearly that MS Dhoni will not going win the toss and exactly the same happened. I also mentioned pitch will be green and bouncy that also proved right. So whatever I predicted about this second test match is true. I must appreciate my analysis. Dhoni lost the toss as usual put into bat and India repeated the story of the last match as they lost their six wickets for just 183 runs and that is really pathetic. Once again Dale's Steyn-Gun shot Indian batsmen and put Team India in all sorts of trouble at Durban. There was no application seen from any batsmen because all of them got out after spending reasonable time on the crease and yet couldn't convert the starts in big innings.

It looks like club team is playing against Champion team. There is no competition at all. I feel everything is over for Team India at Durban and Team India is on doorstep of losing yet another test match in South Africa. As far as I am concern India lost the match and series is over. Indian fans must be really disappointed with the poor show of the Team India in South Africa but this is Team India which is champion at home and losers outside the home and it will not going to change unless and until our administrators prepare wickets similar to South Africa, Australia and England.

At MCG Australia is on doorstep of losing the Ashes as at the end of Day-2 England is leading by 346 runs and their five wickets are intact and 3 full days remaining in the match. It was expected from Aussies that they will come hard at MCG after the emphatic in Perth but to everybody's surprise Australia failed to achieve 3 figure mark in their first innings and got all-out for paltry 98 runs. Reason of this score was over-confidence of victory in last match as all the Aussies batsmen played too many shots and tried to dominate the English bowling but this strategy back-fired and now Australia is on doorstep of losing at MCG and with this England will retain the Ashes. Australia prepared the wicket which suits to their bowlers but Ponting lost the toss and put into the bat by Strauss. Pace trio of Anderson, Tremlett and Bresnan bowled superb line and length and that resulted into Aussie downfall. Anderson and Tremlett ended with 4 wickets a piece and with this Anderson becomes the highest wicket-taker in the series with 16 wickets and the top-three bowlers in the series are all English so that shows the dominance of England in the series. Ricky Ponting failed once again with the bat and his captaincy and place in the team is in danger.
In batting Strauss and Cook continued their good form and gave solid platform to England by scoring 159 runs for first wicket. Both fell in quick succession but both completed their half-centuries and put England in commanding position. Pietersen and Trott continued their good form and put brilliant partnership of 92 for forth wicket. Pietersen fell after scoring brilliant half-century. Siddle picked up all the 3 wickets.  After Pietersen's departure England faced little set-back as they lost Collingwood and Bell in quick succession and looked in some trouble but Wicket Keeper Matt Prior and Jonathon Trott put up a good partnership of more than 100 runs and both are not-out. Trott completed his second century of the series and Prior is not out on 75 and looking good to score century. For Australia, task is difficult and I think somebody have to rise and put up a big effort to save the Ashes but it seems virtually impossible for Aussies to save the Ashes looking at their current situation.

So, England and South Africa dominating their respective matches and former No.1 ranked team and Current No.1 ranked team is on the doorstep of losing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Proteas are eager to wrap-up the series in Durban, tough times ahead for India

Proteas are  upbeat after victory in the first test match at Super Sports Park, Centurion and will be eager to wrap-up the series in the second test match starting on Boxing Day at Kingsmead, Durban. Greame Smith already warned Team India that it will be tough for them to make a come-back in the series. Pitch at Kingsmead is also supporting the claims of Greame Smith. There is no difference in look of pitch and outfield, it is that green. Durban pitch is one of the fastest and bounciest pitch in the world and with grass on it, will make this pitch even more dangerous, so it will be difficult for Indian batsmen to play on such bouncy and moving pitch. Indian batsmen already found vulnerable on little less dangerous pitch at Centurion in first test match of the series and got out cheaply. So fans can imagine what will happen to Indian batsmen when they will bat on Durban pitch which is much more dangerous than Centurion. Another thing which supports Smith's claim is form of the South African batsmen. Kallis, Amla , AB Devilliers, Peterson are in good form and Smith is also performing well with the bat and they are well supported by their bowling and fielding. Steyn and Morkel are very dangerous bowlers on bouncy and seaming pitches as we all witnessed their skills in Centurion.

However, Team India can do better at Durban if MS Dhoni wins the toss and field first but that is unlikely to happen because record of MS Dhoni is very poor with the toss and this time also he will going to lose the toss and that is sure. India also have another big headache in Hashim Amla. If  India wants to win second test match then they have to tame Amla from scoring big runs. Hashim Amla loves to bat against India and already struck 4 centuries against India this year and Team India failed to get him out on most occasions. Looking at Indian batting Dravid and Laxman have to perform at any cost and Team India have to drop Raina after his poor show with bat in last 5 test matches he played. Zaheer Khan will boost the Indian bowling but he needs support from other end. If Zaheer gets the support then India have small chance otherwise Proteas will going to win this test match as well and wrap-up the series. I feel India should go in with 5 bowlers. Umesh Yadav is one bowler who is very quick and sharp compared to other Indian bowlers. So in my opinion India have to drop Raina and replace him with Umesh Yadav instead of Cheteshwar Pujara because India is already having seven batsmen in their line-up and their seventh batsmen is Harbhajan Singh who is performing more with the bat and less with the ball nowadays.

I must say another series loss in South Africa is on cards and I am very sure that Proteas will wrap-up the series at Durban because Indian batsmen and bowlers are already on back-foot after their loss at Centurion. Pressure is immense on Team India.

Friday, December 24, 2010

In search of fast bowlers.......Where all the fast bowlers gone?

Ladha Amar Singh
Indian Cricket team never enjoyed services of 4 genuine quick bowlers right from its inception in International Cricket. In the year 1932  India played its first test at Lords against England. In that first test match Indian cricket team included  two genuine quick bowlers and they were Ladha Amar Singh and Mohammad Nissar. After these two fast bowlers India struggled to find genuine fast bowler for next forty years although Ramakant Desai served India for sometime during 1950s and 1960s but he was not genuine quick bowler until Kapil Dev emerged as a fresh breath for the country. Kapil Dev in 70s burst on the scene with the bang and lead the Indian pace attack till 1994. But Kapil Dev also became swing bowler as his career progressed. 

Mohammad Nissar
There were few bowlers whom we can consider medium pacers played alongside Kapil Dev during his career and they were Madan Lal, Roger Binny, Karsan Ghavri, Chetan Sharma,  Mohinder Amarnath, Manoj Prabhakar,etc. but none of them left the impact or I must say inspired the youngsters to take the fast bowling seriously except Kapil Dev. So India mostly relied on spin quartet of Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrshekhar and Venkatraghvan to win the matches and fast bowlers were only used to reduce the shine of the ball so that spinners can take wicket with rough balls. On the other hand our neighbour country Pakistan kept producing genuine fast bowlers one after another in Sarfaraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, etc. and still producing the good number of fast bowlers although conditions and environment is almost same in both the countries. 

Kapil Dev
In the late 80s and early 90s, few fast bowlers in Vivek Razdan, Atul Wassan, Subroto Banerjee, Salil Ankola, Sanjeev Sharma played for India but didn't last long or we can say were not persisted with and dropped after one or two failures or some of them lost their fitness. But among these bowlers, one bowler who emerged on the scene was Javagal Srinath who served Indian cricket for more than a decade. I think Javagal Srinath was the first genuine fast bowler India produced after Amar Singh and Mohammad Nissar. During Srinath's career Manoj Prabhakar and Venkatesh Prasad shared new ball. Both Prabhakar and Prasad were medium pacers.But some how these three bowlers carried the load on their shoulders.

Javagal Srinath
In late 90s and early 2000, many fast bowlers emerged in Indian cricket who promised a lot and some of them were genuine quick bowlers. Likes of Munaf Patel, R.P Singh, L.Balaji, Manpreet Gony, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Pankaj Singh, S.Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Praveen Kumar,etc. Out of which I feel Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma were genuinely quick At this moment Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth are permanent fixture in the team but all three of them have acute problem of fitness and often dropped because of injuries. 

Zaheer Khan
One more problem for Team India is that bowlers who emerge as genuine quicks always turns medium pacers surprisingly after one season. Prime example of that is Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma who bowled at speed of more than 150 kms. when they first came on to the scene. I really don't understand what happens to these bowlers after one season that they becomes medium pacers from genuine quick bowlers. Today one question also arise and that is when we are blessed with so many fast bowlers after 80 years since our debut in International cricket then why not we nurture these fast bowlers and why not our selectors and administrators persists with these bowlers and help them to serve the country for longer period. Why don't we have system where all the promising fast bowlers supported by the board, so that they can flourish their bowling and serve the country for longer periods.

Vivek Razdan
I must say we don't prepare fast and green pitches in our domestic cricket which boost the confidence of fast bowlers. We struggle till 2000 to win the series outside sub-continent because we did not had the bowlers who can take advantage of seaming and bouncing pitches. Scenario has changed after year 2000 and we have started winning the matches outside sub-continent but still we lack the bowlers who can pick 20 wickets of opposition team because batsman can save the match but its the bowlers who can win matches by picking up 20 wickets. If we want more fast bowlers and want to retain existing bowlers then we have to prepare pitches which assists fast bowlers. This will also help our batsmen in disguise as they don't find themselves in alien nation when they tour overseas and will play the fast bowling well.

Atul Wassan
Finally I want to ask our cricket administrators that where is Irfan Pathan, R.P Singh, L. Balaji, Manpreet Gony, Pankaj Singh and why don't these bowlers get the assistance from the board? We have huge pool of fast bowlers in our country at this moment, only thing required is that our administrators have to help them  by starting a special programme for them which ensures that all these bowlers remain fit and rotated. This will motivate these bowlers to do well for the country. Still if we have to chose four genuine quick bowlers then we don't have too many options so scenario remains the same since 1932.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

England determined to make a comeback against jubilant Aussies on Boxing Day

After losing 3rd test match at WACA, England is determined to make a comeback in the Boxing Day test match at MCG. Test match wins always depends on how well you play in each session and each session has its own importance. One brilliant session puts you on the road of victory then one poor session can spoil your chances of winning, so you have to dominate all the session you play and certainly England failed to do so in Perth. England started well by reducing Aussies to 59 for 6 but after that they became complacent and couldn't stop lower-order Aussie batsmen from scoring runs and as a result Mitchell Johnson scored half-century and helped Australia to post fairly competitive total on the pitch which had something in it for the bowlers. England dominated first session of the test match but allow Aussies to dominate next one and that proved costly to England at Perth as Aussies got the chance to make a comeback in the test match.

England started well in their response to Aussie total and were 78 for 1 but comeback man Mitchell Johnson proved too dangerous for them as he was allowed to gain the confidence while batting and that reflected in his bowling as he tormented English batting badly and reduced England for 187 and allowed Aussies to take a decisive lead of 81. Mitchell Johnson ended up with figures of 38 for 6 in first innings and that spell of Johnson  gave momentum to Aussies to dominate the rest of the match and that eventually resulted in victory for Aussies. Now series is squared.

England must have learnt lessons from the 3rd test match and will not going not make the same mistakes again  but bad news for them is injuries to their main bowlers. Anderson and Finn are doubtful starters for the Boxing Day test match and if they will not take the field then that will cost England badly. Staurt Broad is already out of the series due to injury. On the other hand situation of Australia is also not good because captain Ricky Ponting is also suffering with finger injury and doubtful starter for the Boxing Day test match. Uncapped 24-year-old Usman Khawaja, a Pakistan-born top-order batsman, has been named as stand-by for the Boxing Day Test if Ponting fails to prove his fitness. Simon Katch is already out of the series due to injury and replacement Phil Hughes failed to live upto the expectations in Perth as he got out cheaply in both the innings. Vice-Captain Michael Clarke's form is also a concern  for Australia. So worries is on both the sides. Although England's middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen is confident of bouncing back in the series. 

From England's point of view good thing for them is the form of their opening batsmen. Both Strauss and Cook had given them good starts in the series and hopefully will continue the same. From Australian point of view form of Watson and Hussey is a matter of joy as both of them got the runs in the series. Especially Mike Hussey batted brilliantly in the series and he played major role in Australian victory at Perth. England have to find out ways to get Hussey's wicket cheaply if they want to win  Boxing Day test match and the series. For Ponting it is important that they don't lose Boxing Day test match  if they lose then Engalnd will retain the Ashes and that will end the career of Ponting as well. So Boxing Day test is crucial for Ponting's career and win or loss will decide his fate as a captain and batsman.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deserving Players always becomes victim of selection bias...

Once again Indian selectors proved themselves joker in selecting the ODI team for South Africa Tour and World Cup probables. I think these selectors often ignore  deserving players who deserves to be in team on the basis of performances. First of all we look at ODI Squad for South Africa and then we look at 30 World Cup probables.

ODI and T20I Squad for South Africa: Mahendra Singh Dhoni(C / WK), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, R Ashwin, Yusuf Pathan.

Selectors dropped M.Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja and Saurabh Tiwary from this team. I must say Ravindra Jadeja and M.Vijay don't deserve place in this team hence their non-inclusion is correct but on what basis selectors dropped Saurabh Tiwary. Tiwary is good hard-hitting batsman with good head on his shoulder and this guy had performed well in whatever limited opportunities he got. Remember his partnership with Yusuf Pathan at Bengaluru in last series against New Zealand. Raina is not in great form and hence we needed cover for him and Tiwary is the best replacement if Raina don't perform well. I really fail to understand why selectors have included 3 spinners for South Afirca tour as India will not going to play with 2 spinners on bouncy tracks so I think selection of Piyush Chawla is also questionable.
30 World Cup Probables:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni(C / WK), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, M Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Saurabh Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Parthiv Patel, R Ashwin, Wriddhimaan Saha, Dinesh Karthik, Shikhar Dhawan, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla, Cheteshwar Pujara, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar.

Rahul Dravid who captained India in last World Cup has been axed. Irfan Pathan is also not included in these probables. I think these two decisions are correct too an extent because Irfan is struggling with form and injury and Rahul Dravid is not playing ODI cricket actively but I fail to understand inclusion of Murali Vijay and Cheteswar Pujara. Murali Vijay is complete failure in ODI cricket and Cheteshwar Pujara is Test Match player. I think selectors made a mistake by including these two players. I think Robin Utthappa and Manish Pandey deserves to be in World Cup probables instead of M.Vijay and C.Pujara. I think M.Vijay is getting big favours from selection committee chairman because both hails from same state Tamil Nadu. Robin Utthappa and Manish Pandey are performing very well in domestic cricket. Robin Utthappa is a game changer and Manish Pandey is currently the most talented player according to cricket experts. 

I think selectors have to pick players who are performing well and deserves a place in the team because they are selecting team for the country and not for the state or zone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Chance for team India to win or draw the Test Series against Proteas

There is no chance for Team India to win or draw the test series.Its a very cruel truth but it is fact. There are 10  reasons why India can't win or draw the test series in South Africa.

India don't have bowling attack to pick up 20 wickets. Return of Zaheer Khan will not going to help because there is nobody to support him from other end and most important thing is that Zaheer Khan is returning after an injury. Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma along with Harbhajan Singh were disappointing in first test match so there is no expectations from them.

Indian Captain M.S Dhoni is unlucky with the toss and he lost the toss 12 times in 13 test matches and became second captain after Lala Amarnath to lose 8 tosses consecutively.

South Africa will prepare pitches which will favour their style of play and Proteas looks better prepared then Team India in this series and they have done home-work on each and every player of Team India.

Indian batsmen have weakness on playing moving and bouncy wickets and evidence is visible from the performance in last test match at Centurion where Team India got out to paltry 136 in their first innings in testing conditions.

Suresh Raina is in poor form and has to be dropped but Cheteshwar Pujara will also going to play his first test match in South Africa. So not sure about his ability to play in seaming and bouncy conditions.

Proteas bowling is far superior than Team India. Both Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn bowls at speed of 145 kms. Both are very consistent with their line and length and can pick-up wicket anytime in the match. They both have great support from Harris and Kallis from other end who pick up crucial wickets at crucial junctures.

Team India depends highly on their openers to give them good start. If openers fail then middle-order will not going to survive too long.

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid didn't look in good form in first test match at Centurion and that is big blow to Team India.

All the South African batsmen are in superb form and they are more dangerous in their home conditions. Especially Amla is having great run against Team India and he likes scoring against Team India.

Fielding of Proteas is far better than Team India and that will play crucial role in deciding the fate of the series.

So above are the 10 reasons which clearly suggests that there is absolutely no chance for Team India to win or draw the Test Series in South Africa. Team India will end on losing note in this Test Series and that is confirm.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sachin Tendulkar - The Colossus

Finally wait is over for Sachin's 50th test ton. Yesterday at Super Sports Park, Centurion, Sachin completed his 50th test century which got delayed for two months. Now what lies ahead of Tendulkar. I must say its winning World Cup 2011 and 100 centuries in International cricket. At the moment he is 4 centuries away from this milestone. He has completed 50 centuries in test matches but he is on 46 in ODIs and I feel he will achieve this feat as well within next 3 months. But I must say Sachin Tendulkar is now above all the numbers. He is colossus. He is on top. 

You can't compare his achievement with any other sports-person and if compared then it will be unfair. You can't compare him with Pete Sampras, Roger Federar, David Beckham, Tiger Woods, Vishwanathan Anand, Michael Schumacher, David Beckham, Ronaldo, Usen Bolt, Mohammad Ali, Mike Tyson and list continues. He is far above from all these great players because nobody from the above list carried hopes of billion people on his shoulder for more than 2 decades and performed consistently under all the pressures and created new milestones and records. If we look at his achievements we can say, he has achieved so much but you have to understand under what circumstances he has achieved all his records. Every time he goes out to play, there are hopes of billions of  people associated with him because these people consider him GOD and expect him to do something which nobody had ever done so pressure on him is immense and  great thing about him is that, he seldom fails to the expectations and always fulfill these wishes of billion people. He is the only player who gets standing ovation on all the grounds when he goes out for batting which is in itself is an achievement and say everything about this great-man. 

Every sports person has some or other controversies to their credit but it is Sachin Tendulkar who never  created any controversy after playing for more than two decades which is also a record. He is a role model for society as well as for this entire world. His greatness can't be assessed because after achieving so much in his career he is still  a very down-to-earth person and his feet are perfectly grounded. Every parent in India want his child to be like Sachin Tendulkar and that in itself is an achievement and I don't find too many sports-person in this world carries this kind of impact on society. I think time has come now to honour him with Bharat Ratna. If we honour him with this award I think we will be saying thank you to him for all he has done for the country and made us proud. He is the one who bring smiles on the grim faces. So Tendulkar's achievement list is too long and no matter how much you talk about him or write about him, everything looks small in front of the stature.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

India defeated by Proteas at Centurion, England is in trouble at WACA

As far as I am concerned test-match is over for India at Centurion as they lose to South Africa. Everybody must be wondering how could India lose because test match is still in progress but I must say the kind of situation India is in there is only one result possible and that is India will end on losing note at Centurion. 

The way Proteas dominated Team India on first 2 days, first with the ball and then with the bat, it seems Proteas have already sealed the fate of this match because no team recover from the situation after conceding lead of more than 400. At the moment South Africa is 220 runs ahead and they have 8 wickets in hand and they way they are batting or rather I say the way Indian bowlers are bowling, I am sure Proteas will put huge score on the board, so India have to chase the leather today as well at Centurion. 

How much our bowlers struggle against South Africa can be known from the fact that Hashim Amla is averaging over 600 against India this year with four centuries to his credit and India succeeded to dismiss him at one occasion only so far. So no respite for Team India. All South African batsmen are in good from and which is reflecting from the fact that both openers in Smith and Peterson scored half century before getting out. Amla and Kallis are not-out on 100+ scores and due for many more and players waiting for their chance are AB Devilliers and Ashwell Prince are capable enough to play big innings. 
I am also surprised the way Proteas played on this pitch. This pitch looked absolute beauty for batting right now compare to first day when India was batting and they  scored paltry 136 in their first innings and surrendered of South African bowling. Now result is clear  from this test and that is Proteas will end on winning side and that too with big margin and that will dent Indian team's morale badly for remaining test matches. I also admit that Indian bowlers bowled poorly in this match and they wasted the new ball completely although pitch had little assistance for the bowlers. India certainly missed the Zaheer Khan in this match. I think India don't deserve No.1 status in test-match if they can't perform well in  alien conditions.

At WACA, situation of England is also no different from team India. They are also on the verge of losing the match because they allowed Aussies to clawed back into the match on second day by batting poorly in best of the batting conditions. I think credit goes to Mitchell Johnson, the way he bowled in this match. He proved that dropping him from second test match at Adelaide was big mistake. Australia is already having a lead of more than 300 and look to increase this lead beyond 400 and looks like certain winner of this match. Here on England have to bat very well like they batted in first test at GABBA if they want to save this match but that is uphill task and I feel it will be difficult for them to repeat the same performance. Good boost for Australians and once again Mike Hussey proved trump card for them who scored his second hundred of the series.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Proteas in commanding Position, Johnson Six for gives edge to Aussies

As expected, India started the tour on disastrous note at Centurion as their famed batting line-up consist of legends, collapsed like nine-pins. It was looked like Proteas were playing against any club-side and not against the No.1 ranked test team. I mentioned in my earlier posts clearly that India will not going to win this test series as well and Indian team proved me correct on Day-1 itself. I think lack of match-practice cost India badly as India did not play any warm-up game before the test match and that is causing big problem. No matter how much you practice in the Nets but ultimately it is match practice which helps you to get acclimatised to the conditions especially when you are touring South Africa, Australia and England. 

It seems to me that history is going to repeat here as  we went to New Zealand in 2006-2007 season and played on green-tops which had very bad effect on our batting. We lost that series and we were thrown out of the World-Cup as well after first round itself. I will not be surprised if same thing happens after this tour as well because Proteas will not going to make life easy for Team India and team India is already on back-foot. This match is over for India as far as I am concerned. I think now India don't have any chance to save this game as whatever help was in the pitch was on first day and exploited very well by South African bowlers. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel  bowled very well and supported well by Kallis and Tsotsobe. I must say whatever Proteas planned was executed perfectly by their bowlers and fielders in this match. Looking at the performance of Proteas on Day-1 it looked like every wicket was planned and they did great home-work on all the Indian batsmen and bowled accordingly. Now one thing is sure, India is out of the contest in this match and Proteas going to win this match because all their batsmen are in good form and they will play better than India batsmen in these conditions. India minus Zaheer Khan is in big trouble  at Centurion.

In Ashes, Australia made a great come-back at WACA as Johnson celebrated his return to the team with five wicket haul and help his team to take vital lead of 81 runs. Englishment were 77-0 at one stage great spell from Johnson reduce them to 187. Now Australia in driver's seat at WACA and it looks like they got the boost which they required and now on they will not going to throw away this opportunity. Now this matches in interesting phase and if Aussies win this match then this series will be alive again but for that Aussie batsmen have to play very well in second innings and there is lot depends on Ponting how he bats. Strauss played very well for his half-century but apart from him nobody contributed to the team's cause and now Englishmen are on back-foot and they have uphill task ahead in this test.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Its Advantage to England on Day 1 at WACA

3rd test match of Ashes test series started with bad luck for Ponting as he lost the toss and put into bat by Andrew Strauss on fairly responsive pitch of WACA. Ponting went in with  4 seamers in this match and it was very important for him to win the toss but nothing is going right for Ponting at this moment. England utilized the new ball and conditions perfectly and dismantled the Aussie top-order and reduced them for 69 for 5. But some-how here on England lost the grip on the proceedings and Hussey, Haddin and lower order batsmen took full advantage of the situation and posted satisfactory total for Australia. Hussey, Haddin and Johnson scored half-centuries and Siddle remain not-out on 35 as Aussies recovered well from early shocks. Ponting failed again in this match and that is not good sign for him and his team because  Ponting is strongest pillar of this side and if keeps failing with bat then I think this series will become his last series and he becomes the first Australian captain to lose 3 Ashes series which will fade his illustrious career.  From England side all the bowlers did their job and were among the wicket as Anderson and Tremlett picked up 3 wickets with Finn and Swann picking up 2 wickets each. Once again Anderson was pick of the bowler and Tremlett who replaced Broad in this match was also impressive.

Now Australia have got the fairly competitive total on the board and now it is upto the Aussie bowlers to reduce England for as less as possible if they want to win this match. If England  score big runs like they did in Adelaide then Aussies will be in big trouble. Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson have to bowl very well to English batsmen and have to pick early wickets to put England on back-foot. Watson and Smith have to support their front-line bowlers and have to do containing job rather than going for wickets. Pitch is responsive at WACA and that will certainly help Aussie bowlers if they bowl in good areas.

Ponting now have to play important role and have to be impeccable with his bowling changes and field placings otherwise things will get worse for him.

Still four days to go in the match and it will be interesting to see how Englishmen replies with bat and what strategy Ponting adapts to win this match. There is lot of pride on stake for Aussies in this match and they have to win this match at any cost. For England, form of their batsmen in this series is great asset. Their openers in Cook and Strauss have given them good starts in this series so far and middle-order is also doing well. Pietersen will be key for England in this match and series because he is one batsman who have full impact on opposition because he scores his runs at brisk pace and put bowlers on back-foot.  Englishmen will not going to waste this opportunity at any cost because you don't get too many chances to beat Aussies in their home. Englishmen ended the day on high note as both the opening batsmen remained not-out at the end of the day's play and tough task ahead for Aussie bowlers tomorrow.