Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Sidhu walked out of the 1996 England tour

Navjot Singh Sidhu at Old Trafford
Former India opener Navjot Singh Sidhu walked out of India's 1996 cricket tour of England because he thought his captain, Mohammed Azharuddin, was constantly abusing him, a new book by former Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Jaywant Lele claims.
The tour is remembered for the infamous walk-out by opener Sidhu, citing differences with his captain, but the exact reasons have never been spelt out by the persons in the middle of the unsavoury drama or the Indian cricket board.
Lele's memoirs: 'Kapil forced Sachin change follow-on decision'
Lele revealed in his autobiography I was There - Memoirs of a Cricket Administrator that Sidhu could not stomach the constant bad mouthing of Azharuddin and abandoned the tour in a huff without being aware that the swear words used by the then skipper were commonplace in his home town Hyderabad and no disrespect was meant.
Finally, it was Mohinder Amarnath, a member of the panel that probed the matter, who managed to coax him to reveal the real reason for his tour walkout, says Lele in the book.
Lele has recalled that the Board had conducted an enquiry into the incident and nothing came out in the first meeting of the special committee in Mumbai, where Sidhu refused to reveal the reason.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Team India Gear Up For A Whitewash

England will be desperate to avoid a second successive series whitewash in India, when they take on the Men in Blue in the fifth and final one-dayer at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
Having come nowhere near beating the Indians in the four matches thus far, the England players who seem to running out of ideas, will have one final crack at the world champions, in an effort to end the tour with a victory to their name.
AP Photo
It was the same old story for the visitors in the fourth ODI at Mumbai, as the English team failed to put up a competitive total, and was blown away by six wickets with almost ten overs to spare.
England once again failed to provide the finishing touches to their innings, and was bowled out for 220 in 46.1 overs.
Apart from some of the self inflicted wounds, England have also been caught on the wrong foot by some fiery bowling by, what could be described as the next generation of Indian pacers.
After sitting out the first three matches of the ongoing series, Varun Aaron, well and truly announced himself on the big stage by castling three lower order batsmen, to bring an abrupt end to the England innings.
Even though it’s still early days to go overboard with Aaron, he could just turn out to be the ideal weapon to polish off the opposition tail.
Playing at home, the Indian batsmen seem have rediscovered themselves, and the situation was no different at Mumbai on Sunday.
Virat Kohli once again steered Team India’s chase, as he finished with unbeaten innings of 86, and Suresh Raina more than played his part with a score of 80 from 62 balls.
England on their part seem to have completely lost the plot in conditions which have not quite suited their style of play.
Their batting has proved to be insipid and their bowling toothless; Tim Bresnan, batting at number eight was the highest scorer in the Mumbai clash with a run a ball 45.
Although Steve Finn continues to impress with his pace and bounce, the rest of the bowlers have consistently misfired, which have allowed the Indians to recover time after time, after the loss of early wickets.
Memories of the 5-0 hammering during the 2008 tour must already be doing the rounds on the minds of many of the England players, and it would take a brave man to bet in favour of the Poms preventing back to back whitewashes in India.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CLT20 Finals : Mumbai Wins - Post Match Analysis

Chennai, Oct 10: Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 31 runs to clinch Champions Trophy T20 on Sunday, Oct 9 at Chennai.
Today, it was another team show by Mumbai as the spinners delivered on a wicket which was assisting the. 140 was defended admirably and they are now the CLT20 champions.
In the semi-final, a great cameo towards the end by Suryakumar and Sathish allowed Mumbai to reach 160. It was the turn of Missile Malinga to wreck Somerset as he picked up 4/20 to seal a spot for Mumbai in the final.
The third match was washed out. However, Kanwar and Pollard lit up their innings with some stunning hits. In their match against NSW, the batting failed and they were handed a heavy defeat.
The second match was a low-scoring humdinger against T&T. After bowling out T&T for 98, Mumbai's batsmen struggled to get going and they gifted their wickets away. At one point, it looked like Trinidad and Tobago would pull off a stunning win but a miscalculation from Darren Ganga allowed Yuzvendar Chahal to sneak in two runs and give victory to Mumbai.
It all started with the match against Chennai Super Kings. On their fortress, Malinga and Harbhajan shared a brilliant partnership to ensure that Mumbai snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a stunning win and that gave Mumbai the confidence as they marched on in this tournament.
No Rohit Sharma, No Sachin Tendulkar, No Munaf Patel at the start of the tournament. To confound their problems, Davy Jacobs also left home with an injured thigh. However, Mumbai played like a complete team and they have reaped rich rewards in the tournament.
Franklin: RCB got some crucial wickets at the back end and we knew that we had a fight. This is a great feeling. It has been well documented that we did not have key players but we played well.
Pollard: It was a total team effort. The youngsters put their hands up and all contributed. We had a motivational speech by Michael Horn and Pollock also focused on the importance of keeping it simple. Malinga is crucial and Franklin was also great. We believed in ourselves as we started to field. We did not have key players but that got the team closer.
In three years of Tendulkar's captaincy, Mumbai Indians have never managed to win a single trophy. In Harbhajan's first stint as captain, he has managed to get some silverware to the team. What an effort.
Smiles all around in the Mumbai camp. What an effort from them in this championship. At one point, they played five foreigners at the start of the tournament because they did not have local players in the squad. Suryakumar Yadav was injured and that was the reason for playing five foreigners.

Presentation Ceremony:
Harbhajan: I want to thank my team-mates. We were right in the game when we went to bowl. Our body language was good. It was a matter of getting Gayle, Dilshan and Kohli. Once we got them off, we were in the game and they were fantastic. When we went to the dressing room, we had the belief that we could defend this total. We gave our best shot and it worked. Lasith is a great player for Mumbai and he is a phenomenal player. It is great to have a player who can win matches out of nowhere. Franklin, Abu Nechim were great. We were not the favorites but to win in this competition in this manner is great.

Without Sachin and Rohit, if the team could achieve this, when they come back, Mumbai will go to greater heights.
Vettori: We fought back well after Franklin got them to a good start. 140 was gettable but everything went pear-shaped. The pitch would have been different from the one in Bangalore. Harbhajan really kept things tight in the middle overs. Mumbai played exceptionally well. After being in the finals of the IPL, we wanted to go one step ahead. However, we will try to do that in the IPL next year. We have some good players like Gayle, Dilshan but we could not go the distance.
David Warner gets the Golden Bat for scoring the maximum number of runs in this tournament.
Malinga: We were not in a good situation at the start of the tournament but we have ended on a high. I am playing only as a bowler in the team but I wanted to show that I can bat as well. We always tried to get somewhere between 140-145 and we wanted to pick some quick wickets. It was a good feeling to get rid of Dilshan. He is a great batsman. I enjoy playing for the Mumbai Indians.
Lasith Malinga is the MoS for his all-round brilliance. He took 10 wickets and for scoring 68 runs lower down the order. He also gets the Golden Wicket award.

Harbhajan Singh is the MoM for his match haul of 3/20 in four overs.
Rayudu: We have created history and it is an unbelievable achievement from our side since the last five years.
What can one say about Bangalore? Three finals and three losses. With the likes of Gayle and Kohli, one wonders why Bangalore have not won many tournaments. The over-reliance on the top order has resulted in Bangalore crumbling at the crucial stage. With Gayle and Dilshan departing cheaply, the rest of the batting order was exposed and they were completely taken apart by the Mumbai spinners. One can say for the moment that RCB are the new South Africa as far as choking is concerned

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Preview : RCB take on Somerset in a must win encounter

Preview: RCB take on Somerset in a must win encounter
RCB need to win all their remaining matches starting with Somerset, if they have to stay in contention for the CLT20 semis 

Bengaluru: Oct 2, 2011

Frustrated after two successive defeats, Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim for redemption when they take on a spirited Somerset in their Champions League Twenty20 group B game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Monday.

Royal Challengers may have lost their games against Warriors and Kolkata Knight Riders but they are not out of the reckoning for a place in the semifinals.

Warriors, with a better net run rate, are leading the table with four points while Kolkata, who are placed second with four points, have finished their league engagements.

Bangalore's passage into the semis could be more demanding as they require big victories against Somerset and South Australia Redbacks. If they do so, they could improve their net run rate which could put them in contention for a spot in the semis.

The RCB top-order, which came a cropper in the last two outings, needs to live up to its reputation. If Chris Gayle.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Virat Kohli score heavily, RCB could upset Somerset's applecart.

If they don't, the going would be tough for RCB who have disappointed their home fans.

Gayle got off to aggressive starts against Warriors and Knight Riders, but failed to convert them into big scores.

Skipper Daniel Vettori would be hoping that the Jamaican bats as well as he did during the last edition of the IPL.

Gayle had scored in the excess of 600 runs in 12 IPL matches, smashing as many as 44 sixes.

Kohli made a crisp 34 in the first match but fell for a blob in the contest against Knight Riders. The flamboyant right-hander will be seeking to make an impression in the do or die game.
Though Saurabh Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal and Mohammed Kaif have the potential to be match-winners, they have failed to get going in the CLT20. Tiwary could be accused of throwing his wicket away after making breezy starts.

It will be crucial that RCB fire as a bowling and fielding unit. While their bowling has been far from impressive, their fielding has been pathetic.

Bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad felt his boys were well prepared after an intense training program but it remains to be seen how they perform.

Somerset have come into the tournament with strong shows in the qualifiers and made a clean start to the main draw with a win to remain unbeaten in the league.

On Saturday, their match against South Australia Redbacks was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to heavy rain.

With three points in their kitty, a win on Monday will pitchfork them into the semifinals.

For the visitors, Roelof van der Merwe has been an inspirational force, with an impressive all-round show against Knight Riders.

If Merwe repeats his heroics, Somerset could augment their chances of qualifying for the semifinals from group B.

Skipper Alfonso Thomas, left arm spinner Murali Kartik and medium pacers Lewis Gregory and Peter make a fighting bowling quartet.

If they hold their nerves and bowl in the right areas, they could spell trouble for the struggling RCB batting line-up.(PTI)


RCB (Probable): Daniel Vettori (c), Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan (wk), Virat Kohli, Mohammad Kaif, Sreenath Aravind, Abhimanyu Mithun, Dirk Nannes, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Saurabh Tiwary, KB Arun Karthik

Somerset (Probable): Chris Jones, Nick Compton, Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe, Steve Snell (wk), Arul Suppiah, George Dockrell, Alfonso Thomas (c), Murali Kartik.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Champion's League Twenty20...

The World Cup ended with plenty of celebration and beginning of IPL 4. By now , I had lost almost all the interest to watch IPL . Two new teams , millions of matches , empty stadiums and a TRP rating which was exponentially decreasing as days passed by. The IPL heat caught up late – only in the semis and finals. CSK won again . Great ! But that’s not the end . The IPL was shortly followed by India’s tour of England.

This tour was a much awaited one. But to our dismay , it resulted in a complete washout ! Team India did not even win a match . Winning the series to door ki baat hai. Team England proved to be too strong an opponent. Their line up was amazing . This tour is probably the worst tour for Team India – ever ! So here we are – the viewers & fans are waiting for a revenge – in the England’s tour of India coming up .

But hey wait – cricket for the year is not over . Shah Rukh Khan’s back in the newspapers & TV commercials – not for Ra.One but for Champions League T20 . We are already tired watching too much of cricket this year . Add to it – the Champions League T20 . More matches , more foreign teams but the same IPL teams ! We are already tired of victories & defeats – we have experienced too much of both this year. “Have no fear , When Srini is here!”; He’ll fix it up for CSK…after all Champion’s League is only a combination of Cricket,Monopoly and of course Politics!

Before I conclude this post – A standing ovation for Rahul Dravid – He has been one of the greatest cricketers in the world . His dedication and team spirit will be remembered forever.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar denied the 100th hundred that India craves

Sachin Tendulkar
India's Sachin Tendulkar walks back to the pavillion after being given out lbw to England's Tim Bresnan. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Sachin Tendulkar will imagine to his dying day that the ball was missing leg-stump and so will much of India, but the moment that India craved – Tendulkar's 100th international hundred – disappeared into dust with the most feted batsman of the age still nine runs short of the century that would have finished his troubled Test series on a personal high.

It would have been a brave decision in Mumbai, it was strong-willed enough in south London, and when the Australian umpire Rod Tucker raised his finger, to give Tim Bresnan an lbw decision, Tendulkar delayed long enough in disbelief for the match referee to have a second look. He has been a model professional and will probably be forgiven his moment of shock.

Hawk-Eye supported Tucker's decision, its predictive path suggesting that the ball would have clipped the top of leg-stump, and judging the decision close enough to be "umpire's call". Umpires' calls normally go in Tendulkar's favour. India have refused to use Hawk-Eye in this series because they lack faith in its accuracy, but Tucker would have been a relieved man when it supported his decision.

Tendulkar could hardly cavil because he had ridden his luck against England's Graeme Swann, who might have dismissed him three times. He was dropped twice, on 70 and 85, and survived a confident lbw appeal from the off-spinner when he tried to sweep him on 79, Hawk-Eye concluding that the ball would have clattered into leg-stump.

Tendulkar, 35 overnight, had battled into mid-afternoon to try to save the final Test for India and avoid a whitewash in the series. When he became the second India wicket to fall, in the 42nd over of the day, India were still 29 runs behind and the crowd, many of whom had come to pay homage to Tendulkar, imagined that a thrilling finish may be in store. In one Bresnan delivery the game, not the individual, had again become the thing.

A Tendulkar hundredth India hundred had been imagined during the first Test at Lord's, as a grand statement of their status as the No1 Test side in the world, a fitting adornment to the 2,000th Test. At The Oval it would have been merely a consolation at the fag end of a series in which they have been thoroughly outplayed.

It would have been a scene stealer after a series in which Rahul Dravid, not Tendulkar, has been India's stand-out batsman. In the end, it did not come to pass.

Ah well, no matter. It would have taken a committed Tendulkar supporter not to admit that the hundred would have come in rather hollow circumstances – so that cuts it down to about 500 million then.

Tendulkar had several moments of good fortune as he edged towards three figures on a slow Oval pitch that offered considerable, but sluggish, turn for Swann and little encouragement for England's seamers, who lost the discipline that had served them so nobly throughout the summer.

Ecstatic cheers greeted Tendulkar's first boundary, from the second ball of the day, when he steered Jimmy Anderson to third man. A routine single, again off Anderson, brought cheers for his fifty. He was picking off singles at will. The assumption grew that it was only a matter of time.

But the closer he got to his goal, the more the errors crept in, reminders of the frailties that have afflicted him throughout this series. He survived an lbw appeal from Stuart Broad on 54, rightly so, but it was enough to unnerve the crowd and Broad twice flashed deliveries past his outside edge.

On 70 he was dropped at short-leg by Alastair Cook, the ball flicking Cook's wrist and striking him on the chest, with the fielder unable to rescue the rebound. On 79, he swept and was hugely fortunate that Simon Taufel, Tucker's fellow Australian, ruled in his favour. Add Matt Prior's failure to hold a tough catch behind the stumps when Tendulkar was 85, and another perilous moment padding up to Swann in the same over, and it was little wonder that Swann scuffed the turf in frustration.

When England's captain, Andrew Strauss, turned to Kevin Pietersen, and Tendulkar pulled a long hop to reach the 90s, there were still five overs to the second new ball and it seemed that he had timed his innings perfectly. The crowd prepared to pay homage, Twitter braced itself for an avalanche of tweets and then Bresnan, seemingly immune to an impending moment of history, left Tendulkar – and India – still waiting for a moment that has failed to materialise all summer.