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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Run-rate dipped in absence of mighty Sehwag….


ASehwagHe made his debut for India as a middle-order batsmen and scored century against South Africa at Bloemfontein in his debut game. Looking at his batting style Sourav Ganguly who was captain of Indian team during that period asked Sehwag to open the innings and after that move history of Indian cricket changed many times  and new chapters added to the history of Indian cricket.

Currently Sehwag is the most ballistic opener in world cricket, in all forms of the game. His sheer presence in the middle, creates nightmarish situation for the bowlers around the world. Nobody expected this success of Sehwag considering his unique hand-eye co-ordination technique in which footwork is minimum. But lack of footwork did not  affected Sehwag’s progress in international cricket, especially in test cricket where technique is considered above everything.

Indian team won many test matches in last decade only because of Sehwag’s quick start at the top and it is Sehwag’s brilliance Ashewagwhich helped Indian team in becoming the king of World Cricket. Sehwag is a completely unique batsmen in world cricket not because of his style of playing but also because of his views and thinking about his own batting. There is no complication theory in his batting as ‘ball is there to hit he will hit it’ and in doing so sometimes he dispatches good balls out of the ground as well. He is having clear mind and simplistic approach which makes him stand out above all the cricketers.

Why did I wrote so much about Sehwag. Answer is simple Indian team is missing him badly  So far in 3 innings of two test matches,  Indian opening pair of Vijay and Mukund AVSehwagstruggled badly and their pair didn’t survive for even 5 overs. So in the absence of Sehwag Indian team is missing some zing at the top but good starts are not only the factor, Indian team’s run-rate also dipped badly in the absence of Sehwag. Indian team with Sehwag at top, scored at an average rate of 3.70 runs in last decade in the test matches they played and in first session of the test match, team India scored at an average rate of 4.60 runs in last decade.

But in West indies, now , run-rate of Indian team shattered badly as their average run-rate in two test match is paltry 2.20 runs and in first session it is worst as it dipped to 1.80 runs which clearly shows what impact Sehwag has on the game when he bats. Looking at other aspect of this, Sehwag, with his blitzkrieg batting dented the psyche of the opposition bowlers which helped middle-order batsmen to play comfortably without any pressure. Hence Sehwag factor made batting  easy for the great Indian middle-order. Credit for much of the Indian middle-order success in last decade goes to Sehwag and now we can see easily how Team India’s batting and run-rate is struggling without Sehwag and that too against weak bowling line-up of West Indian team.

So Sehwag is the man for all season for Team India and lets hope he returns to cricket with England series next month and increase the run-rate once again. His batting is like rock music which force bowlers to dance on its tunes


Friday, June 24, 2011

Dravid, Sachin and Laxman are still backbone of Indian Cricket...


India WinIndia won its first test in Caribbean after little struggle but this test match also highlighted that how much we depends on our senior pros for victories in test matches. Many cricket pundits and media again and again raised question over the age of our stalwarts. If possible these so called cricket pundits and media will definitely retire our senior greats and leave the blank space which will kill the Indian cricket. Indian cricket team  has failed to fill the Sourav Ganguly’s place yet in test squad, its almost 3 years, since that No.6 spot is vacant, chopping and changing happens all the time on that spot. India tried Yuvraj, Raina, Pujara, Badrinath but all of them failed to fill those big boots of Sourav Ganguly, so forget that we have players who will fill the boots of greats like Rahul, Sachin and Laxman atleast for next 2 years. But it can happen if these youngster learn from these great players.

Sachin Ganguly Dravid LaxmanI am not against the policy of inducting youngsters in the test team. It is good that India have so many talented youngsters but they need experience and that experience they will get when they will play alongside greats like Dravid, Laxman and Sachin who will teach them how to handle different situations and conditions which will certainly help them to  perform well at International level and it can only happen when these stalwarts play for next 2 to 3 years. Youngsters like Kohli, Raina, Pujara, Pandey, Badrinath will certainly benefit by sharing the dressing room and pitch with these greats of the game. Look at the innings, Rahul Dravid played in  first test match, can we expect from any current youngster to grind the way Dravid did at Sabina Park which eventually helped India win the test match. There was great learning hidden in that innings if any youngster wants to learn how to bat on difficult pitch and difficult situation.

Sachin1Kohli debut made his debut in first test match of the series against West Indies at Sabina Park, Jamaica, but he failed to translate his success of shorter version on test arena, He clearly lacked the technique and temperament to play in longer version and for that he has to  look upto Dravid, Laxman and Sachin and that will only happen when he will play more cricket with these stalwarts. Kohli is a fine young batsmen but he has big technical flaw in his batting which will trouble him on the pitches which will assist the swing and seam bowing. He commits himself early on front–foot and play across the line, bat facing mid-wicket. This shot looks good on flat wickets but it will certainly trouble him on the moving pitches. But he can take help from Rahul Dravid to rectify his technical flaw and this is where experience of our stalwarts become handy.

Media and cricket pundits must stop speculating about the retirement of our greats and allow them to play freely till the time they wish. Our stalwarts know when to retire and they will certainly retire when appropriate time comes. Till then we have to enjoy their batting and keep cheering them because Sachin, Rahul and Laxman are still backbone of Indian cricket.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sri Lanka squandered advantage. India eager to start campaign with a win.


Sri Lanka controlled the game in first session of 2nd test match at Lords after winning the toss but failed to capitalise on a good start provided by their bowlers. Lankan bowlers proved Dilshan’s decision correct when they picked up 3 quick wickets upfront which included the wicket Chanakaof in-form batsmen Jonathan Trott and Captain Strauss. But Cook had other ideas and he got perfect support from Ian Bell as duo helped England in reaching safe total. Matt Prior and Eoin Morgan further strengthen the position of England. Prior is still not-out and looking good to get another hundred. Bell, Cook and Morgan scored brilliant half-centuries. It was unfortunate that Cook got out on 96 and failed to get one more hundred but he certainly saved England from embarrassment.

A.CookSri Lanka did everything right in first session but lost their way in second session  and they allowed England to claw back from the hopeless situation. Lankan bowlers however picked up six wickets at the end of first day but advantage is with England now as they are in comfortable position to dictate terms. Lankans really missed Malinga and Muralitharan and it was written all over on their day’s performance. Score was 22 when 3rd wicket fell but Lankans allowed England to get away with huge score at the end of first day. Tough times ahead for Lankans as series loss looming large over their head.

India eager to start campaign with a win.

IND WIIndian will start their Caribbean safari today with one off T20 games. On paper both teams are equal but in betting market India is favourite to win today’s contest.

viratkohli2811_630_345x230Pitches in Caribbean are much like sub-continent nowadays and this will certainly help the Harbhajan & Co.  Looking at Indian team it has some exciting talent and this talent have to perform on this tour because this tour will decide future of these young cricketers. it’s a golden chance and needs to be grabbed with both hands.

Raina SammyIndia will open with Pathiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan,that is sure. In middle–order India have players like Kohli and Raina who are in tremendous form and they will be supported by Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan and Badrinath. All these batsmen had a great IPL and will be looking to transfer their good form in International cricket. Who ever perform well on this tour will certainly get the ticket for England which will be following Caribbean tour. It will also test the captaincy skills of Suresh Raina who will be leading this Indian team 2nd time in his career. Duncan Fletcher have big challenge ahead of him.

Looking at bowling, India have only Ishant Sharma who is genuinely quick. Likes of Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar are  swing bowlers. They will not get enough assistance from the slow low pitches of West Indies. According to me spinners will going to play big role on this tour as we all saw how Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal destoryed the West Indian batting recently.

Looking at West Indian side, they are bit below par in the absence of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo. But they are in re-building phase and they will try out few youngsters against India. Among all the players Darren Bravo and Andre Russell looks like good talent. Apart from these two players West Indies have players like Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Devendra Bishoo, Marlon Samuels who can turn the tides in the favour of home team.

I think it is going to be an even contest considering both teams don’t have the services of their  frontline players.

The squads

BCCI LogoSuresh Raina (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Subramaniam Badrinath, Yusuf Pathan, Virat Kohli,  Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, R Ashwin, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra and R.Vinay Kumar.

WI LogoDarren Sammy (c), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Andre Fletcher (wk), Danza Hyatt, Ashley Nurse, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

International Cricket is back......

So IPL is over and its time for International Series. Sri Lanka already playing in England and lost the first test match dramatically and after that loss Sri Lankan media held IPL responsible for that loss. Now all eyes on 2nd test match starting tomorrow at Lords. Pakistan already played series in West Indies and Ireland. In West Indies Pakistan won the ODI series by 3-2 and square the 2  test match series. They white-washed Ireland in 2 match ODI series. 

Another series will start in couple of days,  between India and West Indies. This is first international series for Team India after their World Cup triumph. Indian team already reached West Indies where they will play 1 off T20, 5 ODIs and 3 test matches. Indian team which play in this  tour will not have the services few seniors who are out of the series. Some of them will skip T20 and ODIs. Some of them decided to skip entire tour on the account of injury and fatigue. Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag will skip entire tour due to injury while great Tendulkar decided to skip the entire  tour for spending time with his family. Regular Captain MS Dhoni and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan will skip only T20 and ODI series. They will join the team for  test series alongwith Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. s.Sreesanth is selected only for the test series. 

It is fact that West Indies team is not that great as it was in 70s and 80s. This West Indies team is one of the weakest and leaving out Taylor, Gayle and Pollard will certainly make it more vulnerable but  Indian team is also not playing to its full strength, so contest will be even. Also it is difficult to beat any team in their home conditions is always a challenge, so in that sense series becomes interesting. It is chance for Indian young guns to show their talent and pose big challenge to senior players position who opted out of this tour for various reason.

It is also interesting that none of the players will make debut in ODI series because all of them played for India in the past and didn't perform well. Shikhar Dhawan, Manoj Tiwary, R.Vinay Kumar, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha played for India earlier but failed to impress so its a second chance for them to prove their worth in the absence of seniors. Good performance in this series will certainly help few youngsters to feature in the series against England which will follow this series. 

Selectors have selected best possible team and good thing is that they did not selected players on the basis of IPL. Its good that players selected on this tour had very good domestic season behind them. However, Saurabh Tiwary of Jharkhand, Manish Pandey of Karnataka and Deepak Chahar of Rajasthan missed out unfortunately. These three players had a great domestic season but fortunes didn't favoured them because of the limited berth. Saurabh Tiwary also led the Jharkhand successfully in Vijay Hazare Trohpy and scored lot of runs in last season in domestic cricket.

India have the great chance of beating West Indies if they will play to their potential. I don't think this Indian team is second string team because all the players except Abhinav Mukund played in the past for the country and looking at West Indian team they are in process of rebuilding their team, so great chance lies ahead for Team India in Caribbean. Leaving out Chris Gayle will certainly going to hurt West Indies because he is a big player and he is in scintillating form right now. 

So Indian team is ready to dance on Calypso music? With this series India's new coach Duncan Fletcher will also make his debut as a coach of Indian Team and there is lot of hope in cricket lovers that will carry on the legacy of Gary Kirsten successfully. Suresh Raina also have lot to prove about his leadership skills in this series because last time he failed to lead this team successfully in Zimbabwe. Great challenge ahead of new coach and new captain.