Monday Jun 24, 2013
Thanks for the memories India, for being brilliant at one level and the tournament and the ICC Champions Trophy itself, at another. However, how will history remember the tournament?
An event by the way, that started off as the next big thing to the World Cup was reduced to nothing more than a transit lounge for a few teams ahead of their future engagements. Even as I sat back and admired this Indian team for easily being the most consistent in all departments of the game over the fortnight, I wonder what will be its place in history for having won a tournament in a format that's no more the most popular and in an event that has been phased out too. Don't get me wrong, it was an amazing performance in testing conditions by the Indian cricket team. But at a micro level, its as good as undermining what has been an outstanding victory in a tournament, which when instated was dubbed the mini World Cup.
Wednesday Apr 24, 2013
I'm not too sure if there are any adjectives that remain in the thesaurus to describe Sachin Tendulkar. If there are indeed a few more in the queen's language, it's just that we haven't heard them ever. It comes as no surprise to me with respect to Tendulkar, who I'm sure many will agree, is one of the biggest reasons why we stuck around with this game called cricket. He not only inspired, but also initiated a generation to the game.
So what is it that makes him so special? Besides the many array of strokes on the cricketing field and the humility that he displays off it, I think the core of Tendulkar is timing. That's the one word around which his personality has revolved. His timing on the field; his adherence and value for his and others' time off it.
Thursday Apr 11, 2013
Its early days in IPL 6 and understandably the teams are settling in. The scores have been modest in comparison to the previous editions held in India, with bowlers establishing their credentials on good surfaces making it really pleasing to the eye. Central to this script has been the surfaces that we have got to see at most venues.
There's generally a lot more bounce and carry on the surfaces allowing the ball to come on to the bat a lot more while at the same time giving the bowlers a bit more encouragement. The average score in the first ten overs hover around the 60-run mark and not too many totals above or even close to 200 mark indicates, thankfully, that there is a bit more of a balance and contest between the bat and the ball in IPL 6.
Saturday Mar 30, 2013
From being a slightly secluded breed to being an integral match winning component of a side, if we are talking evolution in the world of cricket, wicketkeepers should take centrestage. And no surprisingly, a third of the teams in this edition of the IPL will look up to their wicketkeepers to lead from the front while the others will expect contributions for most of the 40 overs in every game they play.
Their adaptability under different situations in different continents in different formats of the game has been astonishing. Maybe we have come to expect it almost always from them. Doesn't matter the conditions - hot or cold, the pitch - green or dry, you almost always expect them to perform. The bars set are always set differently and higher for that breed. You may pardon a spinner for being ordinary in South Africa or for that matter, a paceman may be absolved of any wrongdoing on a sub-continental track but if you are a wicket keeper, no such sympathy sir. Maybe it's the height of those expectations that's kept them going and evolving to a great extent.
Thursday Mar 21, 2013
The final Test between India and Australia at the Feroze Shah Kotla is perhaps one of the most important Test matches for the entire Australian cricket hierarchy. In the wake of what's happened over the course of the Indian tour on and off the pitch, it's imperative that the powers that be and the observers of Australian cricket Down Under evaluate the situation and circumstances before arriving at conclusions. It's not the first time Australian cricket finds itself in the situation they are in and probably this won't be the last time as well.
Talking of circumstances - If Michael Clarke and Australia lose this Test, it will be the first time since 1982 that Australia would have been blanked in a series that comprises of three Test matches or over. Bill Lawry and Kim Hughes hold that dubious distinction in the last century besides Tup Scott in 1886.
Wednesday Feb 27, 2013
A win under the belt should give the home side some comfort and without much time between two Test matches would mean India will most likely persist with the same XI and allow a few members a few more hours to regain their confidence. But if India want to get back to No. 1 in Test cricket, they might want to look at a combination that would equip them going forward mentally towards bigger challenges. Perhaps this series presents itself with a good and very realistic opportunity to understand a different combination for the future.
In more ways than one, the two teams started the series on a similar note. While Michael Clarke's men had an almost flawless summer in Australia, the Indians, with the exception of a defeat against England, have been consistent in churning out series wins at home. It is tough to see much change over the course of the next fortnight unless one of the Australian bowlers put up an inspired performance. Unlike England, it's clear they don't have a lead spinner and in Xavier Doherty, they have a man whose records don't necessarily warrant an automatic selection. Despite that, the Australian team selection for the first Test was positive - Mathew Wade at No. 6 showed intent but their lack of bowling resources meant they were never going to test India in home conditions. So, while they still seem to have options on the bench, it is not easy to see who could come in and make a serious difference. If anything, a change in the batting line-up with Clarke and Moises Henriques going up a bit should help.
Wednesday Nov 21, 2012
Packed schedules more often than not don't allow players and teams to reflect upon what's happened with them. While India will not have trouble picking
Saturday Oct 13, 2012
One of the overriding challenges of being a cricket journalist in this part of the world is to sit back and think of a story