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    Having reconciled himself to the fact that he would never get paid to play cricket, Jamie Alter decided on the next best thing – writing on the sport. Having ditched a stint at an insurance firm in Boston, Jamie joined ESPNcricinfo where he worked for five years, covering cricket apart from trying to improve – unsuccessfully, ultimately – his technique against the short ball in office cricket. After taking a break to author two cricket books, Jamie joined CricketNext as editor in 2011.

    Suddenly, in the space of a couple days, three Indian cricketers have been linked with county cricket deals. It is very rare in Indian cricket, in the current climate. One has been confirmed, the second awaits official paperwork and the third is tinged with a bit of personal nostalgia.

    Gautam Gambhir has been allowed to fly to Essex for the remainder of the season, making him the only current Indian to be with a county team. Piyush Chawla looks set for a second county stint as he waits for a UK visa, this time for Somerset, after he represented Sussex successfully in 2009. While far from official and highly unlikely, Shikhar Dhawan has attracted interest from Surrey by the man whose List A record he fell short of breaking last week, Alistair Brown, who is now coaching the club's second XI.

    In his playing career for Australia, Darren Lehmann experienced Test defeats just twice, out of a total of 27 matches. That's two defeats spaced five years apart in a career that spanned six years. As coach of the current Australian team, Lehmann has twice experienced defeat in less than two weeks. And it looks like 'Boof' is in line to add to that tally before the Ashes summer is up. And then some, if Australia don't get their act together before the return leg later this year.

    Lehmann didn't mince words when dissecting Australia's woeful capitulation from 42 for 0 to 128 all out on day two of the Lord's Test, which his team lost by 347 runs to go 0-2 down in the Ashes. "It was more one-day batting than Test much batting. We know we have to improve our batting over periods of time and bat a lot more than 55 overs. We believe the plans are right. Our shot selection was poor today. Simple as that. I think eight out of the 10 were self-inflicted to be perfectly honest." This, after Lehmann had read the riot act to his players in the dressing room.

    The most honest and probably the truest words that came out of BCCI president N Srinivasan's mouth at his press conference in Kolkata on Sunday afternoon were not directed at the media gathered before him. Neither were they directed at the people glued with expectancy to their TV screens. No, they were almost murmured, as Srinivasan's head turned to his right side and he raised a finger upwards, addressing a nondescript individual: "That light has to be switched off. I can't read ..."

    Those ten words were as real as Srinivasan would get over the 25-odd minutes. Here on, the words that came forth from Srinivasan, staccato and with a typewriter-like proficiency, were so thinly veiled in arrogance, absurdity and sheer disregard for the notion that his association with the arrested Gurunath Meiyappan, his son-in-law, could tarnish the BCCI's reputation and undermine his position as board president.

    There are some cricketers who manage to endear themselves to individuals for various reasons. I'm not talking of superstars or legends of the game, but of those smaller figures who, for one innings or shot or spell or catch or celebration or series, left an impression. For me, one such cricketer is Robert Croft.

    Croft played only 50 one-dayers and 21 Tests for England, and will probably be remembered as an international cricketer more for his gritty unbeaten 37 scored in over three hours - and which made up for three wicketless Tests - to help seal a famous draw against South Africa in 1998 and for his decision not to tour India in 2001 because of security concerns more than for his prowess as an offspinner. For me, however, Croft will always be a cherubic fighter.

    Nawab, Tiger, Pat, The Noob. The late Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi had several titles and nicknames, some of which his team-mates at school, Oxford University,

    Slip catching is a thing of beauty

    Saturday Sep 08, 2012

    While there is nothing quite like watching Test batsmen essay a picture-perfect straight drive or a fast bowler beating the bat and clipping the top

    Australia's fast-bowling great Dennis Lillee, his country's third-highest Test wicket-taker with 355 wickets from 70 matches, was not just a speed demon but a single-minded,

    "I could probably look to bat anywhere, but the team wanted me to be at No. 4 all the time and that's where I've spent