And so Cricket begins – India vs. WI – Test 1 @ Sabina Park

June 22, 2011

After the mind-tiring IPL and the inconsequential ODIs, time for some Testing cricket action.

Sabina park brings back memories of a hard fought innings from Dravid a few years back. This pitch isn’t the same. But RD’s class is still there!

Praveen Kumar has just made his Test debut. Couldn’t believe that he was playing his first test match. Seemed like a seasoned pro. With Munaf perennially picking up injuries, Praveen’s dashing debut must definitely augur well. Furthermore, Raina has learned how to battle the short ones. Are things too good to be true? Can we win the first Test of a series? Let’s see.


Squad Announcement – Ganguly in, Mishra the surprize

October 3, 2008

Yes, Dada is in; something for Ganguly fan to cheer. Many expected this. Fellow blogger Ottayan, sarcastically or seriously suggested that this might very well be the case.

While I rejoice in Ganguly’s Nth coming, Souberry will surely be thrilled by the inclusion of Amit Mishra. I guess the change in selecion panel did it for him.

My only gripe – yes, we always have something to barb about BCCI’s selections – is Badrinath’s selection. My vote would have been for Aakash Chopra, but I don’t think he’s got the right age. At the moment 19 is a good age. Furthermore, with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s score against Australia in the ongoing tour match, Chopra will be forgotten, unless, logic prevails.

Rest of the squad remains intact, at least for the moment:

Anil Kumble (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, RP Singh, S Badrinath,  Amit Mishra

Go Dada! Rock em!


Irani Trophy Day 2: What is a good total?

September 25, 2008

On a day that seemed the best for batting, given the nature of the pitch, Delhi squandered what could have been a good opportunity while Kumble’s Rest of India did well with the ball and surprising fielded rather well too. I must add here that I didn’t expect much from ROI’s fielding, thus the relieved sense of surprise has set in. Of the Delhi batsmen, Aakash Chopra impressed the most and if you ask me, deserves another stint with India. He’s not exactly a youngster, but when did being 19 alone become the most important criterion for selection?

Munaf, I thought was very impressive and is perhaps another good option for the Indian attack. I have a feeling he might wrestle his way through this time. From the the Delhi’s side, Nanda impressed to pin down a decent-looking Dravid and a hungry Badrinath. A few of his overs really tested them.

On Rest of India’s batting front – Jaffer did it again and threw it away. Dravid is playing his normal grafty innings, getting closer to and closer to confident. Badri, on the other hand seems to be in a mood to make ammends for the mess he made on Day 1. If Dravid and Badri hang on and put up another 50-80 runs, the middle order can chip in. Something tells me that the second half of Day 3 can be the decider. The pitch’s bounce is getting lower by the hour and is not likely to have too many runs to offer. However, catches might also be harder to get as the match progresses. If ROI bat through tomorrow and put up a total of about 280-300 they could consider themselves to be on the top. I’m hesitant to be more certain as the wise will never write off a side with Sehwag in it. Anything less than 300 will be gettable with time but will require effort. If Sehwag and Chopra fail, it may be the end for Delhi.


The Irani Trophy beckons!

September 23, 2008

Well almost – it’s tomorrow and I can’t wait. This Delhi vs. Rest of India clash, touted as the the dress rehearsal to the Australia series, has everything in it to be a cracker. Everybody will have everything to play for. Weather permitting and pitch (and cable operator) willing we should see a good contest. I’m not a Delhi-ite but I think they have the psychological edge with the “we can afford to mess this up” factor helping them; at least they will be the lesser of the stressed. It is the Kumble lead Rest-of-India who will need to prove points. Every single middle order batsmen in their line up – Dravid and Laxman in particular – have everything at stake here. Actually, apart from Badri/Kaif, depending on who will play, and the aforementioned India seniors, there isn’t too much of interesting batting in the Rest of India line up. When I read the name Wasim Jaffer, I tend to to mentally skip it and am not too excited about Parthiv Patel either – he has no technique whatsoever. Delhi, on the other hand seems to have a more interesting batting line up. I use the word interesting for it is the kind of batting that could swing to either of the extremes. They could thrill us all, with attacking stroke play or have us screaming and lamenting about the future depending upon how things go for them. Delhi batsmen to watch out for will be Aakash Chopra, in-form Virat Kohli and Shikar Dhawan, though I feel the latter might turn out to be just a bit of hype. And that’s aside of perennial surprise package that is Virender Sehwag and “purple patch” Gambhir.

Two contests I will eagerly look forward to are Ishant vs. Dravid and Ishant vs. Laxman. While Ishant got Dravid in the IPL opener at Bangalore, it is his nagging off-stump line that is likely to bother Dravid in particular as he has been dismissed by such deliveries thrice (as far as I can remember) in the last year to Sohail Tanvir, Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma. Laxman who has a similar approach, though not identical, might fare a little better against such stuff. My predictions on Ishant – he will get the top four of Rest of India with Jaffer and Parthiv being the bunnies. I’m not familiar with the rest of the Delhi bowlers and will leave that discussion to the expert opinion of my Delhi-ite blogging friends.

Another contest to look to is Sehwag against Zaheer; the other Rest of India pacers, R P Singh and Munaf may get it from Sehwag big time! I would also like to see the look on Harbhajan’s face when Sehwag hits him over the top for six 🙂 ! Also interesting would be to see how the young Delhi middle order cope with the spin duo of Kumble and Harbhajan.

For Delhi, top order will be key, and middle for Rest of India. I already feel that this is an India vs. somebody else match with scale titled in favor of the “somebody else”. Rest of India, prove me wrong!


Of Dhoni, Yuvraj and the Commonwealth Bank ODI Tri-series

February 17, 2008

Took a rather unplanned blogging break since early Feb. Catching up with mundane things and what not. Ok, on to cricket.

I had written earlier that India would get thrashed in the Tri-series. Well, thrashed may not be the right word, considering that the rain gods played their part to wash out of couple of matches; however, till date, I stand correct and predictably so with my hunch about this batting line up.

What I didn’t expect was the success of the young seamers. Ishant has become the man of the Tour carrying his dream Test form to the ODI series, scalping crucial wicket at important junctures, making the Aussie batting line up look the weakest I have ever seen (given their standards).

With Yuvraj fizzling out as fast the Reliance Power IPO and the Dhoni-Yuvraj pact that seems to be going on, I think captain Dhoni needs a rap on his head (not to say that today’s match hasn’t done that). To persist with an out-of-form Yuvraj and making adamant media statements that he will play in every game seems like an emotional (not instinctive) decision to me. Rewind back to the ODI series against Australia in India in late 2007, an out-of-from Dravid was benched and then hideously shown the door as far as the ODI team is concerned. Isn’t it fair to expect similar stands taken with Yuvraj also, or rather the other way around, shouldn’t the team management have persisted with Dravid? Old questions being asked again and again, on the face of every Indian defeat. To me, the equation is as follows:

1 out-of-form Yuvraj + a thin as ice batting line up = -2 batsmen OR 3 out-of-form Dravids

Pick your worst. If you are anti-Dravid-ian, my guess is you would pick the second one. As for me, any day, I would pick 3 out-of-form Dravids over an out-of-form Yuvraj.

As a result of today’s match, many questions will be asked of Dhoni. Picking Munaf over Sehwag, promoting Pathan, selecting Uthappa who hasn’t been among the runs even in the Ranji matches, not playing Dinesh Karthik or Piyush Chawla and many more.

As for the rest of the series, I don’t think this Indian batting line up deserve to make it to the final. Actually what would be entertaining would be to see a toss up between the Sri Lankan batsmen and the Indian pacers headed by Jayawardena against the Aussies. Now that would be a match to watch!