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Jamie Alter
Friday , August 16, 2013

India must revive its relationship with county cricket


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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. While not earth-shattering, this is....


Monday , July 22, 2013

What Australia would do for a Love, Hodge or Maher now


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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....


Monday , May 27, 2013

Who are you trying to fool, Mr Srinivasan?


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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. The....


Thursday , March 14, 2013

Once upon a player: Robert Croft, Glamorgan legend


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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. I never saw him bowl live in a first-class game,....


Friday , January 18, 2013

'Pataudi: Nawab of Cricket' review: An elegy for Pataudi as he was


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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, Sussex and India found both themselves equally at ease with and uncomfortable addressing him by. This is but one interesting and endearing subtext in Pataudi: Nawab of Cricket, a collection of reminiscences contributed by former players, friends, journalists, editors, writers and even an actor. The book, edited by noted sports writer and journalist Suresh Menon, is an enjoyable experience because it sheds light on Pataudi the individual, player, captain, husband, father, gentleman, hero and icon. In this anthology of essays Menon has succeeded in compiling a glittering list of contributors: Abbas Ali Baig, MJ Akbar, Bishan Bedi, Mike Brearley, Ian Chappell, Mike Coward, Ted Dexter, Rahul Dravid, Farokh Engineer, Sunil Gavaskar, Tony Lewis, Robin Marlar, Naseeruddin Shah, Mudar Patheya, N Ram, Saba Ali....


Saturday , September 08, 2012

Slip catching is a thing of beauty


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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 of the stumps, one of cricket's most engaging aspects is the sight of a fielder taking a catch in the slips. Mark Waugh, Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting are some of the finest slip catchers of the modern era - all three feature in the top four Test catchers list of all time - and if you have time to spend, YouTube will keep you engaged with examples of their expertise. In these days of HD TV, you can even catch numerous examples of some of breathtaking catches on the sports channels which use highlights to fill space. Great teams field as well as they bat and bowl and a feature of that fielding is always outstanding slip catching. This facet....


Tuesday , September 04, 2012

I was prepared to die out on the pitch: Lillee


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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, tough-as-nails one. He bowled in an era when fast bowling was exhilarating, sexy and macho - as well as the primary way to win Test matches. Without a doubt one of the finest and fastest fast bowlers ever, Lillee overcame severe injury problems to become his country's highest wicket-taker until Shane Warne surpassed him. After retiring, Lillee took up the role of director of the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, a role he held for 25 years. He spoke to Cricketnext in Chennai on Sunday after ending his association with MRF. Excerpts ... You've been associated with the MRF Pace Academy for 25 years. How has India's attitude towards fast bowling changed since 1987? When I first showed up in India,....


Tuesday , August 21, 2012

India should bat Kohli at No. 3 in Tests


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"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 most of my career, right from the Under-15 days. It was probably the main number for the team and that's where the management wanted me to be for a long time. With time that became my favourite number." That was Virat Kohli in 2010, speaking to me about his preference for the No. 4 spot in all forms of the game. Two years later, he has transformed himself into an ODI run-machine and India's undisputed No. 3 in limited-overs cricket. As India head into the post-Rahul Dravid era, with two Tests against New Zealand starting in Hyderabad on Thursday, the time has come to see what Kohli is really made of. The No. 3 position is generally reserved for the team's most dependable batsman,....


Thursday , August 09, 2012

U-19 success comes with cautionary tales


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In March 2008, a pubescent bunch of boys were being feted in a double-decker bus from Bangalore's Airport Road and up the landmark MG Road heading to the Chinnaswamy Stadium. They were the victorious Indian Under-19 side that had won the World Cup in Malaysia. Clad in matching light blue t-shirts and khaki trousers, white and red garlands hanging from their necks, the young cricketers waved and hooted and lapped up the attention from onlookers who at best were moderately interested at the passing circus. The faces plastered to the sides of the bus, those of the 2007 ICC World Twenty20-winning Indian team, were more recognizable than those of the players hanging out of the windows. Outside the Chinnaswamy, the boys were welcomed by drummers and dancers. A couple shook a leg as they walked into the stadium. Once inside, they were felicitated by Vijay Mallya and Sharad Pawar,....


Monday , July 02, 2012

Once upon a scorecard


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It's funny how stumbling upon an archived scorecard brings back certain memories, and how glancing down a team's batting innings facilitates nostalgia. With the gentle tapping on the cursor of a mouse you can be transported back to a precise date or particular passage of your life, your eyes reminding you how many runs a batsman scored or how many wickets a bowler told while your mind harks back to a different time and place. Yesterday I stumbled upon one such archived scorecard. Twelve years ago, England and West Indies played out a gripping Test match at Lord's which ended with Dominic Cork cutting Courtney Walsh for four in the lengthening London shadows to seal a most remarkable victory, and cap a memorable personal achievement. It was Cork's first Test match in 18 months, at the hallowed ground at which he made his debut five years earlier, and it....


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More about Jamie Alter

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.

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