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Thursday , March 31, 2011

Ponting well passed his shelf life date as captain


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When it comes to leadership and captaincy, Australia are a hard-nosed, streetwise lot. Not competing in the World Cup final for the first time since 1996, has added a new taste to the game's showpiece menu final at Wankhede. No Australian side bidding for the title for the first time in 15 years after playing in four World Cup finals, explains why the event as predicted, has thrown up an unexpected possible new title-holder. Ricky Ponting, anyway was possibly past his shelf life as captain, which in turn was divisive in that while he still has much to contribute to the ream as a batsman, he was battling with a side struggling to find a new identity in the post-Glenn McGrath/Shane Warne era. Suggestion how since Sir Donald Bradman post-1948, any Aussie skipper losing The Ashes was considered damaged goods and had to be replaced, is typical....


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

'Walking' is more than a mind game for some batsmen


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If Don Bradman could get away with it, so could others if they stood their ground. Or, as England's great opening batsman, Sir Jack Hobbs, infers in the biography by John Arlott, "Walking is a matter of principle and ethics. In the end it evens out." Does this mean if you know you have touched the ball you walk? Or stay put and let the umpire decide for you, as did Bradman. Sachin Tendulkar did the honest thing and walked against the West Indies. In an earlier World Cup, an even more hotly debated incident occurred when Adam Gilchrist walked in the 2003 semi-final involving Sri Lanka at Port Elizabeth's St George's Park. Disgruntled critics in Sri Lanka of the Gilchrist decision, still grumble about his reasons. It is so often pointed out how the only time as Australian walks is when his car has run....


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aussies are lined up to retain title


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Apart from so-called wildcards such as possibly the West Indies upsetting a few more fancied sides, the man in the street will whisper confidentially how, as they see it, Australia will retain the World Cup a fourth time. Their April 2 opponents too are most likely to be the other southern hemisphere giant, South Africa. And the interesting point is how none of those making the comments, do so without feeling any regret for their South Asian affiliations. Except of course the Pakistanis who, believing in tooth fairy miracles, feel they have a divine right to the trophy. From a doctor on a bench in a hospital writing a prescription for a bad cough, to a regular trishaw driver chatting about the flaws in the Sri Lanka team, a chef serving a dinner at a World Cup venue, a street vendor peddling bottled water and a shop owner....


Friday , March 11, 2011

How four centuries have shaped WC quarterfinal plans


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Just how important is a World Cup century depends on the game and its result - whether the victory box can be ticked or a cross against the name to indicate defeat in a valiant cause. Also, whether they have helped secured the team involved a quarterfinal or semi-final position. Names in this tournament, which have shown how easy it is to dismiss lesser teams and players is so often fraught with flawed comments and arcane details explaining how the critics so often misread the gameplan in matches. Kevin O'Brien's superlative... "Wow did you see that?" innings against England in a winning cause is of more note that the Sachin Tendulkar three figure total, also arguably those by Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli against Bangladesh. Not everyone will agree of course with such a comment and that is understandable. In a World Cup though, with its competitive....


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Waqar's bid to bail out the associates


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There is a lot more to Waqar Younis than his illustrious CV suggests. As a former deadly fast bowler with the toe-crunching yorker that other bowlers have perfected, he was partner with Wasim Akram in the demolition of teams in the 1990s. As Pakistan captain, he earned certain notoriety in the 2003 World Cup with a succession of beamers to Andrew Symonds as The Wanderers and had the late David Shepherd banning from bowling the last three balls of that final over. Yet he was a jovial sort. Always willing to interpret with Pakistan players battling with English, he gives a grin when question are piled and sorts them out as cleverly as when bowling his yorkers. Now, in a sense, he has come out in support of the associate teams in the World Cup, saying if it is to be an event representative of global....


Friday , February 25, 2011

Ryan century a reminder for ICC warlords


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Haroon Lorgat was recently on his pet hobbyhorse. He was grumbling about the length of the Wold Cup and why it is necessary be reduce the event to 10 countries. Well now, it is time for a reminder for the International Cricket Council's chief executive. What did the then ICC senior officer, Malcolm Speed, say at the end of CWC07? It was too long because the way the draw was worked. Well now, five days into CWC11 and South Africa and West Indies finally shape up and Ireland also have their opening game - against Bangladesh on the sixth. It is not the way that professional organisation of this nature should run a tournament of this size. If they can push their ICC WorldT20 into 21 days, why does it need so long to run an event like the World Cup over 43 days? It is because....


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Looking for a World Cup winner is tough


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Is it a case of deja vu for Australia? Even South Africa and India, for that matter as the analysing of the series of practice games are mulled. How serious can the challenge of defending title-holders Australia be viewed for CWC 2011? For Australia, seeking title number four in succession, it is two games, two defeats; the second, against South Africa is far more alarming, if not embarrassing than the game against India where the batting crumbled like badly baked flaky pastry. Australia are looking out of shape, struggling to adapt; so reminiscent of the 1999 side's erratic performance in England. If they were shown up by India's spin, they were wrecked by South Africa's seam and pace at Bangalore. What made it worse, against Graeme Smith's team, is the galling experience of two batsmen being retired out to give others a chance to experience some middle net....


Thursday , February 10, 2011

Can battered Pakistan rally around Afridi the DJ


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Back in August, they drove donkeys through the streets of Lahore with names of the three players who cheated in the Lord's 'spot-fixing' scam. Sure, it was an insult to the donkeys to have such labels affixed to them. Why sully their image with names of such miscreants. Among the nefarious players' names plastered on these poor creatures of burden has been Salman Butt. Had he kept his nose clean he would most likely be leading Pakistan to the 10th version of the World Cup with their games being played in Sri Lanka. "Most likely" is the applicable term as in the troubled corridors of the Pakistan Cricket Board anything is likely to happen over the captaincy issue. As with the players selection becomes a revolving door conundrum. It is not so much who to select as finding the most reliable to lead a side with such a....


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

How bureaucratic bungling failed Eden Gardens


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Opening batsman and former Test captain Marvan Atapattu once referred to bureaucratic bunglers as "Jokers led by a Muppet". At the time, he was talking about Sri Lanka's inept selection panel. Transfer the "Jokers led by a Muppet" image to the current mandarins of the Cricket Association of Bengal and you have a similar hidebound bunch of middle-aged groupies. What they have managed to achieve is rob the residents of Kolkata, and the world-famed icon venue, Eden Gardens, of the chance to stage a major World Cup game. It would have been thought, after the Commonwealth Games fiasco over venues and the chaotic bungling of the athletes accommodation, sports administrators would have learned. As can be seen they have not. It also serves CAB and the smug Board of Control for Cricket in India right for ignoring danger signals. More surprising is that CAB is headed by....


Thursday , January 27, 2011

Simons the other South African coaching connection


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John Wright, that laconic down to earth New Zealander who like most Kiwis has a veritable dry sense of humour, once explained the role of coaching a country that is not his own as a matter of teaching the gullible to believe anything is possible. It is a whimsical comment, suggesting it is like the role of a schoolmaster without a degree; one with the ability to turn an average player into a world-class athlete others want to emulate and a team into one for which they all want to play. This is when they seek you out for advice. Wright left a lasting legacy for foreign coaches with India that took seismic event - the shock first round World Cup exit in 2007 - to correct through the calming influences of Gary Kirsten. Although both were openings batsmen with a penchant for grinding out runs, dry humour aside....


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More about Trevor Chesterfield

From an early age cricket and writing have been a passion for Trevor Chesterfield; along with these twin influences has been the travelling bug and regularly living outside the comfort zone. Such emotive and inspirational events has enabled him to become a player (in his youth), later a first-class umpire, for a brief byzantine period a war correspondent in Vietnam in 1965. Now into his 55th year as a cricket writer/journalist/author he has written on 220 Tests, about 400 ODIs, a dozen of the new fad T20s, written five books on the game and published author in fiction. Apart from New Zealand, he has worked and lived in Australia, England/Europe, South Africa/Africa and now Sri Lanka/India. Currently working on a book of his 55 years as a journalist.
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