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Mikkhail Vaswani
Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Which Indian pacers will make the Champions Trophy?


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It's the hits, the heaves and the "Yes maximums" that makes any T20 match an exciting and entertaining one. So if IPL 6 is high on Christ Gayle, it has also seen quite a few pacers giving a good account of themselves. All thanks to the lively pitches, even contests have been a par for course this season. Venues like Jaipur, Bangalore, Mumbai and Mohali have all dished out pacer-friendly tracks much to the benefit of speedsters. It always helps in the development of a fast bowler and also a team's plan especially if the next big international assignment is the ICC Champions Trophy at a venue like England. So an impressive IPL performance will always serve as a fair indication of a bowler's skill, adaptability and consistency in testing conditions and challenging situations. Obviously, IPL being a domestic competition has a great sense of Indian interest.....


Tuesday , April 09, 2013

Pujara omitted from India's ODI team without a chance


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What happened in this year's NKP Salve Challengers Trophy? Who was the highest run-getter? More importantly, what does a good outing in one of India's premier 50-over competitions mean for a batsman? Well, it means nothing if you are Cheteshwar Pujara. A tally of 361 runs in three innings with two centuries and one fifty. Pujara was not out twice finishing with an average of 361, but above all of this, his strike-rate of 107 underlined his comfort with the short format of the game. Yet the selectors feel Pujara is not ODI material. Pujara's exclusion from the 30-man probable list for the ICC Champions Trophy fails isn't convincing, especially keeping in mind that the competition is happening in England. This is a venue where not so long ago the Indian selectors called back Rahul Dravid in what looked like a desperate measure after India's....


Tuesday , April 02, 2013

Robin Uthappa's IPL 6 lifeline


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It's that time of the year when cricket finds a new definition. From 'city moment of success' to 'maximums', IPL's 'bus dekhne ka nahi' slogan has caught everyone's imagination and interest, but besides all the razzmatazz, excitement and thrill, for quite a few cricketers this IPL 6 outing is a moment of truth. Some are seeking redemption, for others it's a launch pad and for quite a few discards this is another chance of making a comeback into the Indian side. Even though domestic performers are now being rewarded by this new selection committee, consistent scores in front of packed stadiums in the IPL helps the selectors in their decision making. While there are a number of cricketers that fall under this category, there are three batsmen who find themselves at different crossroads of life - Robin Uthappa, Unmukt Chand and Ambati Rayudu. They're three brilliant batsmen with....


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

For Shikhar Dhawan, the wait is finally over


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As far back as 2004, nine years ago, an 18-year-old made his first-class debut for Delhi. Opening the innings, this young lad would fall one short of a well-deserved fifty, but the start had been made to what turned out to be an uphill climb and an agonising wait. Over the years, Shikhar Dhawan kept things simple and quietly piled on the runs. In those nine years, he played 82 first-class games, scored 5,886 runs with 17 hundreds and 24 fifties (talk about a great conversion rate). Add to that another 102 List A games with 10 centuries and 21 fifties. Not to mention another 78 Twenty20 matches that he added to his CV along the way. That's a lot of time in domestic cricket. While some of India's recent recruits have been lucky to earn an ODI/Test cap rather early, Dhawan has had to wait, score, wait....


Tuesday , March 12, 2013

Dhoni's mantra: results matter, not consequences


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It's often said that age is no guarantee for efficiency and youth is no guarantee for innovation. While the first part falls right for Virender Sehwag, the latter part has been proven wrong by quite a few youngsters in this Indian Test side. At a time when the whole country is debating Sehwag's future in the Test team, the writing is on the wall for the 34-year-old: get fit, score runs and come back. At the moment, India have a series to be won comprehensively, the right combination to be put in place ahead of the South Africa tour and a need to understand Dhoni's 'horses for courses' formula that he keeps reiterating in every press conference. Ravindra Jadeja's inclusion is the best way to illustrate how Dhoni has begun to operate. After all, who would have expected Jadeja to represent India in Tests so....


Tuesday , March 05, 2013

Sachin Tendulkar, the person before the professional


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Every young kid who has lived to see the Sachin Tendulkar magic has a distinct memory of the genius. Those who recall his classics from the archives are fortunate, but those who have had one-on-one interactions should feel blessed. I am part of the latter group who lives to share an experience every kid in the 90s dreamed of, at a time when the entire nation was high on three alphabets - SRT. My first Tendulkar moment was in the mid-90s - charity match in the small town of Mangalore in coastal Karnataka. A little boy purchased a ticket to watch Sachin. Sachin took off from the very first ball and it was just a matter of time until he got to his century. Mangalore went wild and the little boy caught in the frenzy, high on adrenaline, charged on to the pitch, desperate for a handshake. Almost there,....


Tuesday , February 26, 2013

Let's welcome Harbhajan's comeback, not question it


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For a youngster, playing for India is a dream he grows up with and every time he listens to a former cricketing great, the one line he keeps hearing is 'you have to earn your India cap'. For a batsman it's by the weight of runs and for a bowler it's a bagful of wickets, all of this matched with consistency. So if making a debut is considered an individual's biggest test and challenge, then shouldn't it be the same for an Indian discard making a comeback into the Indian side? To begin with, Harbhajan Singh may have earned his first Test cap but the out-of-form spinner did not earn his 100th, especially at the cost of an in-form Pragyan Ojha. Harbhajan's sliding transition from being a phenomenon to a puzzle has put a big question mark over his immediate future in international cricket.To put things in perspective -....


Tuesday , May 15, 2012

Sourav Ganguly, the comeback man, has to go


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Age is a question of mind over matter, but it's a matter of concern when quite a few minds question the presence of age in a set-up largely defined by youth. The IPL has a place for everyone. The greats believe it is a tournament largely defined by their presence, while youngsters believe this is their best chance to prove their worth to the world. So it's one happy joint family at the start of the season, only to become a daily Ekta Kapoor soap by the end of the tournament, with conspiring theories that do the rounds and become more pronounced when a team is losing. The IPL's short history has produced quite a few such families in the past and sadly one man has always been a member of that house. Sometimes as head of the house and on occasions he was just another abandoned colleague who would....


Tuesday , May 01, 2012

Where is logic in the new India 'A' squad?


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A cricketer in India sleeps with a dream and wakes up with a purpose, but selectors in India sleep with a purpose, only to wake up with nightmarish decisions. Sometimes team selection in India resembles the country's elections where weightage is given to the one with more 'promise' while the one who keeps performing finds no preference. The one selected is actually the one elected and the one excluded is the one secluded. This has pretty much been the case in the selection of the India 'A' squad for the tour of West Indies. Former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath once called the Indian selectors a 'bunch of jokers', and he ironically finds himself in that same bunch now with a very few Amarnath's left to challenge the selectors' credibility and reasoning behind their logic. I have always backed the inclusion of youth, performance and form, so when I look at....


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The curious case of Shantakumaran Sreesanth


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It was in November 2009 at Kanpur, India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 144 runs. Shantakumaran Sreesanth walked away with the Man-of-the Match award and Indian captain MS Dhoni admitted that 'Sree', along with Zaheer Khan, was the best reverse-swing bowler in India. In fact, Dhoni even drew comparisons between Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma, only to admit that Sreesanth had more control between the two when it came to seam bowling. Dhoni usually chooses his words carefully, but at that time his lavish praise suggested the Indian captain, while wicketkeeping to Sreesanth, had seen something special from behind the stumps. Five for 75 in the first innings and clearly Sree had won his captain over. Sreesanth, for obvious reasons, commands respect from his contemporaries. From his wrist position to his seam presentation, the 29-year-old possesses a unique quality of making the ball talk, so much so....


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More about Mikkhail Vaswani

Mikkhail Vaswani is a presenter on Neo Cricket and hosts 'Dial C for Cricket' and other shows on the channel. Prior to Neo, Mikkhail worked with NDTV, ZEE and Times Now. Along with his editorial and programming expertise, he also teaches in colleges as a guest faculty and has also hosted and moderated seminars in colleges as a motivational speaker.

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