Friday, March 30, 2007

On Kumble's retirement.

Jumbo's retirement is not a surprise and was expected for a some time now. The most destructive bowler after Kapil Dev had a killer fighting spirit and he will always be remembered for that. I remember his great spell of 6/12 against West Indies in Titan Cup in Calcutta. The figures remained unbeaten for a long long time. He went on to become second bowler in the history to take 10 wickets in an innings. He is the first in modern era. That day at ferozshah kotla was the most amazing day for Indian Bowing history.
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MOVING AHEAD: Anil Kumble announced his retirement in Bangalore.

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Sachin should retire or not?

A good article by Ian Chappell has sparked the controversial discussion about sachin's retirement. But this discussion is getting one sided now with most of the people voting for the little master to retire. Its clear that Sachin, to some extent has lost his touch and if people still want to see his odd century in months, they are not doing cricket of India any good. As Chappell rightly pointed that this has to do with lots of injuries that he suffered and with the amount of cricket India play, he is going to suffer a lot more. I simply hate the idea to selectively make him play in so called "important" series and rest him for others. We have already seen in the world cup, Minnows are getting dangerous and are catching up with the game. Lets not get into Lara-Sachin comparison. Lara is a great player and will remain so. Sachin is by no means any less. Coming to Sachin's retirement, I think its time for him to say goodbye. I would say, he should leave One Day cricket and take a long rest and think about his future. If he still feels, he has energy and hunger for the game, he can continue with Test cricket for some more time. The point is, after the recent World Cup disaster for India, harsh steps are expected to be in place. There will be more emphasis for a younger and fitter team. The focus is going to be 2011 world cup in the sub-continent. We would want to build on players who are most likely to play in 2011 and not on players who are in for a short term. I don't think Sachin will play for that long so why not keep him aside from day 1. The same implies to other players also like Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Sehwag, Agarkar and Harbhajan . They are good players but are not going to solve our future problems. But the experience of these cricketers is too crucial to loose like this. I think if India has to advance in the game, these extremely talented cricketers should be involved at some level or the other. I think a new system has to evolve. I don't mind having a hard look at Australia's excellent factory of producing brilliant players!

Tendulkar should consider quitting

Look into that mirror, Sachin

Time to retire for Sachin Tendulkar? Ian Chappell thinks so
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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hayden has done it again - 2 in 2

Back to Back Centuries against tough teams in the world cup shows the class of a batsman and if have an opener like him then not only your win is certain but the opposition's morale is battered in the beginning itself. Then chances of recovery become None. Against WI, Hayden proved that he is any team's nightmare. He scored more than 150 runs and made sure that Australia posts a big score. His game is so complete that it is really difficult to bowl at him and if he is in form, he is impossible. His raw power and great technique is second to none in this world cup. Smaller grounds are making things easy for him. Australians are playing great cricket and it was evident in their bowling. They want to crush the opposition. If they continue to play like this, it will be 3 in 3 (World Cups) for them (a record they only can break).
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History made by Malinga - 4 in 4

South Africa nearly saved an embarrassment after losing 4 wickets in 4 balls but in the end saving the match against Sri Lanka. The required runs were scored of a miscued shot by number 11 batsman. But the winner of the day was Malinga. What an amazing bowler he is. He is surely in the class of Shoab Akhtar, Bond and Brett lee who are asked by the captains to bowl fast, very fast. They all are a class apart. Malinga almost saved the day for Sri Lanka but in the end, it was proved that they were always 20-30 runs short . I think run out of Chamara Silva turned the game. Captain Jayawardene went on to speak freely to the press that they didn't deserve to win. Thats a big statement and hopefully taken by the players in the positive sense. This Lankan side is talented indeed but they have to make sure that they make some runs at the top. They should not always put pressure on middle order. It worked against poor bowling side like India but won't work against others in Super 8's. I still think they will reach the semi finals.
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Lasith Malinga's four wickets in four balls couldn't prevent South Africa winning in Guyana but reduced their margin of victory to one wicket © AFP

South Africa survive Malinga menace

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Australians are masters of the game!

What went wrong with India?? We missed Mandira Bedi's(lady) luck Looking right now at the way Aussies are batting against SA, I wonder what India lacks or has problem with? Well it is not only lack of passion or ageing team or poor captaincy or bad coach? Naaahh...Indians lack technique too. The game has changed so much and teams like Australia have adapted to it very well and now they are the pioneers. Mind you Australia was not the team to bring about the change of 100 runs in 15 overs. They didn't start this with openers like Mark greatbatch, Jayasuriya, Kallu or even Sachin tendulkar. Still they are able to adjust to that kind of game and produced openers like hayden and adam gilcrist. They did not stop there (where most others). Australia took the game to a new level where Players like Ponting coming at number 3 is even more dangerous. They had players like beven who had an average in 60's or 50's and a marvelous finisher, still had to retire to give way to youngsters. India is nowhere near the new level of the game. It needs major overhaul. On a laughing note, why not a fixed retirement age for cricketers?? 30 .. may be.
Michael Clarke launches a straight six during his bellegerent knock, Australia v South Africa, Group A, St Kitts, March 24, 2007

Michael Clarke launches a straight six during his bellegerent knock, Australia v South Africa, Group A, St Kitts, March 24, 2007

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Harbhajan or Kumble?? Rare dilemma.

Interesting article on Hindustan Times today. India is not able to decide between Bhajji and Kumble to be the preferred spinner in the game against SL. Looking at the record, Kumble struggled against Sri Lanka in the past where as Bhajji has a better record. I think the slower bowler is a better choice, so bhajji is my choice. Slower bowler can induce false shots and difficult to hit sometimes.
He is also going to be better against so many left handers. India is up against Sri Lanka in such a crucial match that even the best of bowlers can struggle under pressure. Whoever plays, what matters is a team victory. Bowling is definitely the area of concern for India so bowlers better perform.
Team India in spin dilemma
The Indian cricket team is in a dilemma over the choice of specialist spinner ahead of the critical game against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup in Port of Spain.
Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh both have given good account of themselves in their solitary games and now a choice needs to be made between them for Friday's game.

Kumble showed all the traits that make him such a remarkable strike bowler in the game against Bermuda.

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The group of death - Every team is in Danger.

One upset and the whole group is feeling the heat. Bangladesh has achieved something that is going to go down in history. They well be the responsible party if India or Sri Lanka crash out of the world cup. There is every chance that top three teams in this group (most probably be Ind,Ban,SL) stand with 4 points but with calculators in their hands. Can you imagine, even a .0001 in the net run-rate(NRR) can decide of the fate of a team. India upped their NRR to Positive 2.5 after Bermuda match and SL is already sitting pretty at 4.86. Its now Bangladesh who has to maintain their NRR if they want to qualify. This match against SL may ruin their run rate because of the class bowlers like Vaas and Murali. But again they have to play the last match of the group and that too with Bermuda. They will have exact numbers to put their NRR ahead of either SL or Ind. Being an Indian supporter, I want the match between SL and Ban to be a closest of ties, so their NRR will not change much.
Indians will have to win the match against SL to qualify and win it by quite a margin or if they are chasing, they need to get the runs quickly. Since the points against the other qualifier from the group get carried over to the Super Eight stage, ideally for India, Sri Lanka should be the second qualifier from group B, so that India have two points in their kitty. If Bangladesh qualify along with India, Bangladesh will have that luxury.
Jayasuriya powers through Bangladesh attack
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Group B, Trinidad
24 overs Sri Lanka 136 for 1 (Jayasuriya 83*, Jayawardene 11*) v Bangladesh
Sri Lanka, after being put in to bat by Habibul Bashar, set about to work in clinical fashion, picking off the runs against Bangladesh to reach a superb platform of 136 for 1 an over before the halfway mark of the innings, when rain stopped play. Sanath Jayasuriya and MahelaJayawardene made the most of the opportunity, reeling off big scores.

The Bangladesh bowlers were left to rue the missed run out chances as Sanath Jayasuriya repeatedly found the boundary

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Normalcy restored - Is it too late?

India finally got their act together when they beat Bermuda by 257 runs. But they still have to beat Sri Lanka to enter Super 8's. The match had some importance because India wanted to lift their net run-rate. Indians made the highest ever WC total of 413 and lot of other records tumbled. Sehwag and Yuvi played exceptional innings. They were very well supported by Ganguly and Tendulkar. Bermuda had no answer what so ever. They did manage to play a lot of overs though. India had no other option but to win the match against SL to sideline Bangladesh from reaching the Super 8's but if SL loose to both India and Bangladesh, they would crash out. The match would have given a lot of confidence to indians but there is still that uneasy feeling and can only be eliminated by reaching super 8's. For this Indians will have to play their skins out. They still have some issues in Bowling department. They are not able to bowl tight line and longer spells without giving away too many runs. Kumble came in as a good replacement for Bhajji but Agarkar does not look too impressive. He took few wickets in the end but other teams can clobber him for lot of runs before falling into his trap. He needs to take wickets specially when he shares the new ball with Zaheer khan. Teams like SA and Australia can be ruthless against him. Indians have to come out with a real plan against SL to beat that talented bunch. Tight bowling can be the difference in the end. Keeping fingers crossed.
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India's 413 was the highest score in World Cup history and their 257-run victory margin against Bermuda at Trinidad was the highest in ODIs © Getty Images
India's 413 was the highest score in World Cup history and their 257-run victory margin against Bermuda at Trinidad was the highest in ODIs
© Getty Images
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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Inzi retires from One day cricket.

Its been a day of bad news from the world cup. Earlier Bob Woolmer's death had shocked the world and then came the news that Inzi is saying good bye to One day cricket.Ironically, It was the same platform (1992 world cup in Australia) where he emerged as a star for pakistani cricket, steering them to a WC win. He made his debut there. What a sad end to such an illustrious career.
I cannot forget the innings he played in the semi finals. The world watched as Pakistan from nowhere blasted their way to the finals (and eventually winning the WC). He is known for many things like being prone to run outs, Sahara cup controversy in Toronto when he jumped on to the stands with his bat to beat an Indian spectator, his slow pace on the field and many more. But he will be remembered more because of his contributions and records than any thing else.

Shattered Inzamam retires from one-day cricket

Inzamam-ul-Haq has announced his retirement from one-day cricket on a sad day for the game
© Getty Images
in Test
he has made 8813 runs in 119 Tests, with a highest score of 329 against New Zealand at Lahore

Inzamam's one-day career was legendary. He played 377 matches over a 15-year career, scoring 11702 runs at 39.53 including 10 hundreds and 83 fifties. He shot to fame as a 22-year-old in Pakistan's triumphant World Cup campaign in 1992, belting his side into the final with a blistering 60 from 37 balls in the semi-final against New Zealand at Auckland.

He went on to contribute a vital 42 in the final itself, at Melbourne against England
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Bob Woolmer died in hotel - A setback to the Cup

The cricket world was shocked to learn of Bob Woolmer's sudden death in Jamaica, a day after Pakistan's early exit from the World Cup. As rightly said by Donald - 'He gave his life to cricket and paid for it' , Woolmer was extremely respected all over the world.

Bob Woolmer's death stuns cricket world

Bob Woolmer: found unconscious in his hotel room
© The Cricketer
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

India down and out - Shocked by Bangladesh.

Its a another shocker and this time for India. Bangladesh crushed (I can say that) India in the first game of the group. All I can say is India played poor cricket and were all over the place. I am really really disappointed. Its a sad day for Indian supporters.

India hapless against super-charged Bangladesh

Virender Sehwag falls on the ground after an unsuccessful run-out attempt by Aftab Ahmed, Bangladesh v India, Group B, Trinidad, March 17, 2007
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Pakistan and India - Worst day out

Bob Woolmer said today after the Pakistanis lost to Ireland -
".......with Bangladesh beating India as well. I think you can say that March 17, 2007 will be a historic day for cricket." To a great extent he is right. India and Pakistan suffered their worst defeats ever in World Cup. Pakistan's is worst as they are out of the World Cup but India is tantalisingly close to be bowed out. India played their worst cricket in many months. They are back as one of the most highly rated and the most inconsistent team in the world. I saw the match and again there was no plan and application. All the batsman played wreck less shots and even if the wickets were tumbling on both the ends, no body switched gears and built partnerships. Worst of all, the best players of spin was falling as pack of cards. No body was sticking to basics of playing straight or with the spin. Oh boy and the way Bangladesh played, amazing. Low scoring games often become close games but Bangladeshis were determined and played some excellent shots. The way they played straight and over the in field was mark of a great technique. The way they bowled they hearts out was awe inspiring. With only two seamers, Bangladesh dismissed India under 200 is hard to believe. I can understand this happening against Aussies or SA. But all marks to Bangladesh. They deserved to win. Pakistan too played a very similar game. I don't agree with Inzy's comments that Pitch played bad. They are the team that can handle these situations very well. Poor shot selection and lack of application was responsible for Pakistan's total of 132. In the end, both the totals were too low to defend against spirited sides.
Inzamam-ul-Haq overcomes his disappointment to congratulate Trent Johnston on Ireland's victory
A distraught Inzamam-ul-Haq tries to comprehend Pakistan's elimination, Ireland v Pakistan, Group D, Jamaica, March 17, 2007
Rahul Dravid wonders what went wrong, Bangladesh v India, Group B, Trinidad, Marchh 17, 2007
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Friday, March 16, 2007

6 X 6 = 36. Gibbs made history

Well it seemed almost impossible to think of 6 sixes in 1 over in modern day cricket, even if the bowling side is Netherlands. That almost an impossible task was made possible by Hershelle Gibbs of SA. He is a known aggressive player but a bad bad memory of world cup - dropped the catch (cup) of Steve Waugh in 99 and part of the tied semi final of the same world cup. Now he can cheer about a record that no body has done before.
South Africa murdered Netherlands today by scoring 353 for 3 in 40 overs. Kallis scored the 3rd century of the WC. SA looks like a team to watch for in this world cup. They have plenty to prove and are the number 1 team in the world. Good Luck to them.

Herschelle Gibbs smashes a record six sixes in an over

29.1 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Violence! Gibbs charged down the track and hoicked it over long on.

29.2 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Murder! Floated on the leg and middle stump line and Gibbs sends it soaring over long-off.

29.3 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Carnage! Flatter one this time but it makes no difference to Gibbs. He just stands there and delivers. This one also has been sucked over long off

29.4 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Wah Wah! Low full toss and guess where this went Yep. A slap slog and it went over deep midwicket! He is going to go for 6 sixes in this over!

29.5 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Short in length, on the off stump line and Gibbs rocks back and swat-pulls it over wide long off. SImply amazing. What a batsman. This is pure violence!

29.6 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, He has done it! One-day record. No one has hit six sixes in a row. GIbbs stands alone in that zone.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Another shocker, this time for Zimbabwe!

This is the first real shocker in the world cup. Zimbabwe could not score a single of the last ball. This was a real dent on Zimbabwe's image who once defeated India in 1999 World cup. But this zimbabwe team is nothing compared to the team in 1999. I can't forget Flower brothers, Heath streak and company. I think Irish team has a good future with the way they have played and specially when they have such great fans.

Irish joy at a tie as Zimbabwe choke

Zimbabwe 221 (Matsikenyeri 73*, Sibanda 67) tied with Ireland 221 for 9 (Bray 115*)
Jeremy Bray reaches his outstanding hundred ... it earned him the Man-of-the-Match award
© Getty Images
The Blarney Army in full voice
© Getty Images
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