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Tuesday , November 01, 2011

The tables have been turned!


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Team India turned the tables on old rivals England with an emphatic 5-0 win in the recently concluded ODI series. The totally one-sided nature of the contest meant that the treatment meted out to the Indians in England over the summer was paid back in the same manner by Team India. MS Dhoni's team not only regained its number 3 status in the World ODI rankings after sliding to number 5 at the end of the England tour but also got back a large measure of pride that had been lost. The Test series disaster and the loss of the number 1 ranking to England is still to be avenged though, and India would look forward to playing them on home pitches the next time round in the longer version of the game too. India did lose the T-20 match to the visitors after the ODI series but that should....


Thursday , October 13, 2011

Amid overkill, India ready to play again


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It is the bizarre nature of current cricketing times that has led to a scenario wherein one season has not yet ended and the next one has begun! This non-stop, incessant, series of matches of all varieties has led not only to player-fatigue, but also spectator-fatigue, administrator-fatigue and doubtlessly even media-fatigue. The cash cow that is cricket in India has not yet started complaining loudly but the day may not be far when empty stadia are the norm even for the slam-bang versions of the game, rather than the exception. Be that as it may, the English ODI side has been here for over a week now, practising for the upcoming 5 match series against hosts India, whereas the Indian team is now being cobbled together from various places, just 2 days before the fist encounter at Hyderabad. Skipper MS Dhoni would have every justification to feel aggrieved at having....


Friday , September 02, 2011

The stuff of champions


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A champion side has to display, more than anything else, a sense of pride and commitment to the cause of winning. Team India has not been able to do that on the tour to England and has ended up losing the Test series 4-0 as also the one off T-20 match. Having lost the number 1 Test ranking to a sprightly and determined English team will rankle for some time, though India might find the resolve and the talent to emerge as numero-uno once again before the year ends. However, the one-day series that commences on Saturday gives India the chance to stem the rot and pay back the compliment to their rivals in no uncertain terms. A side which won the World Cup so spectacularly just months ago has looked defeated and jaded in the last few weeks and it will have to pull up its socks in no....


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is not the end of the world!


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Team India's disastrous performance in the Test series against England has set the cat among the pigeons as never before. Accusations are flying thick and fast. Finger pointing is the norm rather than the exception and the players have had to bear the brunt of unbridled criticism for losing 3 Tests in a row. Yes, the team has performed abysmally and yes they were pushed to the brink by poor scheduling and non-stop cricket. Yes, the series is already lost and with it the number 1 Test spot too. Yes, the much vaunted batting line-up has been miserably out of form and yes, the bowling has appeared worse than that of second-grade teams at times. But is this shattering result indeed so calamitous that Team India cannot recover and get back into its stride in the coming months? Is it not possible that they can regain the number....


Saturday , July 30, 2011

India can bounce back


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The manner in which India capitulated before England on the hallowed turf of Lords in the first Test left many fans totally disheartened. The 2000th Test in history, the 100th between the two teams, was an occasion befitting a more gripping contest and a fight to the finish. India lost the initiative after winning the toss when they let Kevin Pietersen score a double century to take the home team to an imposing first innings score. Praveen Kumar bowled 40 overs for his team in the absence of the injured Zaheer Khan and picked up a 5 wicket haul. The fact that Team India finished 188 runs behind on the first innings meant that it was always fighting with its back to the wall after that. The 'Wall' himself, Rahul Dravid, did his reputation no harm by scoring a combative century, his first at the ground where he....


Tuesday , July 12, 2011

Ishant Sharma stands even taller now


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The one truly outstanding performance in the just concluded Test series between the world number one side, India, and the lowly ranked West Indians, was that of the tall and wiry Ishant Sharma. A haul of 22 wickets in a 3 match Test series is unheard of for an Indian pace bowler, but Ishant troubled the West Indians throughout the series to lead India to an easy win. The result could have been 3-0 instead of 1-0, such was India's dominance, but they failed to put in that extra bit of effort, and the rain did play spoilsport at Barbados. Ishant Sharma used his pace and ability to make the ball rear off a good length to trouble all opposition batters. He showed a great deal of improvement by keeping his line tight and not giving batsmen room to play forcing shots on the off side. In fact he....


Tuesday , June 21, 2011

Testing times ahead for Team India


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With seven Test Matches to be played in the coming months, Team India and its think-tank would be tested to the hilt. On the other hand, three Tests against the West Indies and four against England would surely provide the younger set of Indian players with opportunities to prove their mettle at the very highest level of the game. Injuries to Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, the established openers, have given Murali Vijay and debutant Abhinav Mukund the chance to establish themselves at this level. That too in a full series against a so-so West Indian attack. The two Chennai openers have been in fabulous form for their State team, Tamil Nadu, and even featured in a record 400 run plus partnership for them last year. Being from the same State would give them an opportunity to forge an effective opening partnership which would give India appreciable back-up....


Monday , May 23, 2011

Gambhir is the right choice


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Once the IPL hoopla is over, the focus of the Indian cricket fan would doubtless shift instantaneously to the tour of the West Indies. Such is the non-stop nature of international cricket in present times that even the fans do not get much rest between series, let alone the players. It is no wonder then that the Indian selectors have decided to field a team for the ODI series that would be without superstars Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag. While the first three would get some badly needed time to rest aching bones, Sehwag would miss even the Test matches in the Caribbean and would get his shoulder repaired in the meantime. He hopes to be fit for the tour of England in the second half of the summer. The choice of Gautam Gambhir as skipper for the ODIs against Darren Sammy's side is....


Tuesday , April 12, 2011

No time for pomp, the show goes on!


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Having conquered the world and also the hearts of millions of Indian fans by lifting the ICC World Cup at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on April 2, the Indian cricketers soon got down to the frenzied business of playing the IPL without much ado. The celebratory mood that enveloped the nation after skipper MS Dhoni scored the winning runs in the Cup final with a mighty six has still not abated, but the teams contesting the IPL are already into the thick of things. Battle lines have been drawn and strategies are already being modified on the basis of the early skirmishes that have taken place between the ten contesting sides. The World Cup heroes have had mixed results in the opening encounters of IPL 4. Dhoni continued his Midas touch by leading Chennai Super Kings to a pulsating 2 run win over a combative Kolkata Knight Riders team in....


Monday , April 04, 2011

7 reasons why India won the Cup!


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The sense of euphoria and elation that has engulfed the whole of India after MS Dhoni lifted the ICC World Cup is all encompassing, all pervasive. The man on the street, the corporate honcho, the young professional and the budding sportsperson have all taken heart from the momentous victory and realised that life is not as impossible as it seems. The people of India are grateful to the men in blue for having uplifted the national mood so emphatically! How did Team India accomplish this monumental task? Here are the top seven reasons why India won the Cup- 1. Unshakeable Team Spirit- Indian teams of the past have often had internal fissures to deal with. India has had many great cricketers but the results have not always been commensurate with available talent. The present team has, however, gelled magnificently under the leadership of Dhoni. The performances during the....


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More about Vivek Atray

Vivek Atray, 44 , is a civil servant by profession, but at heart he is a writer. He writes on cricketing matters for a number of publications and combines an in-depth knowledge of the game with analytical views. He is the author of the forthcoming book, 'MOVE ON BUNNY!'- a humorous tale of a young man's escapades. He played cricket at the national level in the under-19 age group. He has also been organising one of the leading tournaments in the country, the All India JP Atray Memorial Cricket Tournament, for the last 18 years. He can be reached at www.vivekatray.com.
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