Team India No.1 in ICC Test Ranking

It was just in the 8th over after the game resumed on Sunday that Team India went to the top in the ICC Test rankings.

Post-match…

As continuation to Aditya’s post, India won the match and the series at the historic Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai against Sri Lanka making India top the ICC Test Ranking in history! The play resumed on Sunday being candy in India’s pocket, India just required 4 wickets without allowing Sri Lanka 59 runs to mark the win. Just allowing 35 runs, India bagged 4 wickets and made their day, rather year!

Series summary

A confident Dhoni and his men kept tact from the first test match itself at Ahmedabad, which was drawn. In the second test match at Kanpur, India had a big win marking Gambhir, Sehwag and Dravid’s ton, making the series 1-0. Now with Sunday’s win, India won the series 2-0 marking Sehwag’s double ton. He missed a triple ton (and a record) just by 7 runs. Nevertheless, he is the man-of-the-match and the man-of-the-series.

Even with Jayawardene’s double ton in the Ahmedabad Test, Indians managed a draw.

For India to stay on top…

India had managed to stay on top in ODI ranking for less than 24 hours with a win in Compaq Cup. South Africa won a match against England which made India slip to No.2. Event this position melted and India slipped back to No.3 when India lost the series to Australia, who took over the top position fron No.3.

But the case of Test Matches is different. For India to lead the board, they need to keep the aim in their mind to play good. A forthcoming series India in Bangladesh is coming up in January 2010. India needs to show to the world that they can be No.1 for a long time.

Dhoni has been marked India’s most succesful skipper now. He is yet to lose a match as skipper in Tests. India overall  played 10 matches with Dhoni as skipper and won seven with three draws.

Image Credit: Cricinfo

LinksSeries home (cricinfo) | 3rd test, Mumbai (cricinfo)

Fascinating Test cricket battles in the week ahead

cricket_ball_test

The week that lies ahead will see some fascinating Test cricket action. It is quite a unique time as all Test playing nations except Bangladesh are involved in a test series. England is touring South Africa, West Indies are touring Austrialia, Pakistan are playing in New Zealand and closer home Sri Lanka will play the final Test of the three match series tomorrow against India.

India play Srilanka at the historic Brabourne…

India takes of Sri Lanka tomorrow at the Brabourne Stadium. It is a stadium that has been known to be the bastion of culture and legacy when it comes to cricket in India. The association which runs the stadium (CCI) had a falling out with the Mumbai Cricket Association back in the early 70s. This led MCA to construct a new stadium called the Wankhede. The two associations have gotten closer now a days and with the Wankhede stadium undergoing a major re-building exercise Brabourne gets its chance to host one more Test match after 36 long years. Last time Test cricket was played at the Brabourne, Sachin Tendulkar was not even born!

India will be keen to win this Test match as it will haul it upwards to being the No 1 ranked Test team in the ICC rankings. This will be quite an achievement for the Indian team who are not particularly hailed for their ability in Test cricket.

New Zealand host Pakistan…

Not sure if New Zealand will have their confidence high after last weeks win over Pakistan. The Pakistan team came very close to an unlikely win over the Kiwis. But I still feel Pakistan have some inherent technically challenged opening batsmen along with some sparkling yet not reliable batting lineup. They have a great bowling line up too but I still feel it would not be able to match up to New Zealand’s usual dose of resoluteness and professionalism. The Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan begins on 3rd December 2009. If you are in India you should be able to catch the action on Ten Sports in early morning around 430 am.

Australia host West Indies in Adelaide…

In the first Test Match Australia declared their innings at 480/8 and bowled out West Indies twice in less than 2 days. The match was over on the 3rd day itself and was one sided more of less from the first day’s first session. This sort of a defeat does not speak very highly of West Indies’ chances in the second Test at Adelaide. This match starts on Friday morning at 5.30 in the morning. Indian viewers should be able to catch the game on Star Cricket.

India destroys Sri Lanka in Kanpur Test

india_win_kanpur

Last time a Test match was played at Green Park in Kanpur, India won the test against South Africa but because the match was over in 3 days the Kanpur pitch came up for a lot of flak. This match which was being played against Sri Lanka got over in 4 days but no one can really complained about a bad pitch. Not after India amassed a massive 642 runs with their top 6 batsmen scoring 3 centuries and 2 fifties amongst them. The surprise was not really the Indian batting coming good but the changes made to the bowling. These changes did go along way to get India its 100th test victory.

Changes that work for India…

India dropped Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma and included controversy’s favourite child S. Sreesanth along with Pragyan Ojha. Ojha picked up 4 wickets in the whole match which was decent and S.Sreesanth ripped across the Sri Lankan batting line up in the first innings to pick up a five wicket haul. It was a welcome sight to see an Indian fast bowler take five wickets in India condition which is a rarity.

Sri Lanka had one too many spinners…

Kanpur might have had a spinning wicket but Srilanka lost the plot with picking 3 spinners and only one seamer. Two spinners are more than enough. You only pick three spinners at the cost of a seamer if the pitch has been recently ploughed by a tractor. India won the toss and with no real seam attack to trouble the openers it was not a surprise that India amassed 642.

Brabourne awaits Test Match cricket…

brabourne_1The Brabourne Stadium will be hosting the final Test match in the series and Srilanka will be looking to win in India a test match for the first time ever and level the series. The Brabourne will be hosting a Test match after 36 years. The last match played there was India v England and it ended in a draw.

So who do you think will take win in Brabourne? Let me know through your comments.

Image Credits: Cricinfo

Who is killing Test cricket? T20 or the curators

With the rise of IPL and T20 cricket in general a lot of voices have showed concern that Test cricket might die out because the entertainment of T20 simply cannot be replicated by Test cricket. Some people are taking the middle path that Test cricket, ODIs and T20 all have their place. A lot of people watching cricket are younger people and hence they choose T20 over Test cricket.

test_vs_odis1

Is T20 really hurting Test Cricket?

Some might argue T20 cricket is making Test matches look boring and might even finish of the game. But I do not think Test cricket is losing it’s charm in India because of T20. I think it is because of the pitches Test matches are being played on.

Over the last 2 years India hosted 13 Test matches. 7 were drawn, 5 won by India and 1 lost. This includes 4 test series out of which India has won two and tied one. The 4th series is still continuing against Sri Lanka and guess what the first match is was drawn.

Now compare Test matches being played in Australia in the last two years. There were 9 Test matches held, 5 won by Australia while they lost 3. One match ended in a draw.

The stark comparison is there for everyone to see. When you play on sporting pitches of Australia there is a result 8 out of 9 times, where as in India there is a result 6 out of 13 times. Take for instance the Test match that just got over against Sri Lanka. 1598 runs were scored and only 21 wickets fell over 5 days. The worlds highest wicket-taker was bowling on a fifth day pitch leave alone taking wickets, he could hardly even trouble the batsmen. T20 is not the villain here, the pitch curator is the villain for making such feather beds.

Importance of Test Cricket

If you kill Test Cricket, you kill cricket. This will happen because the art of bowling is really polished and unrestricted only in Test matches. If a bowler picked up 2 wickets in 4 overs for 40 runs in a Test match, the bowler has bowled well. The scenario in T20 becomes different as 40 runs are too many. The focus is on runs rather than wickets for a bowler.

Test cricket is pure cricket. The batsman have to score runs, the bowlers have to take wickets. The simplicity of this concept brings about the skills in a cricketer out in its purest form. What do you think? Let me know with your comments.

Tendulkar the Great

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When Tendulkar walked out to bat in a Test match for the first time, Rajiv Gandhi was India’s Prime Minister, the Berlin wall stood and USSR still existed. The internet was nascent, mobiles phones were hardly used in US and never used in India. Most of us reading this article were probably less than 10 years old. The world has changed dramatically but Tendulkar remains the best in the world.

Tendulkar completed 20 years of international cricket on 15th November 2009. Out of the 21 men who played in his first test match he played in, all of them have retired over 5 years ago.

His technique, determination, brilliance, ability and talent all have been hailed over the years by everyone who has attempted to write about cricket. I do not want to write about it, it would be mere repeating of words. But hats off to a man who plays 20 years at the highest standard and has only let his bat do the talking.

I do not wonder at the ability to play for 20 years or the talent which scores the highest number of runs in Tests and ODIs. I wonder what goes on behind that cranium of Tendulkar. Does he feel the pressure at all? Does he feel tired of expectations and the criticisms? Does he think like we mortals do?

I reckon he is the perfect example of a person who feels comfortable with his own ability, does his best and puts on a invisible coat of something which makes him immune from all the pressure of expectations around him.

With a total of 12,773 runs in Test cricket and 17,178 runs in ODIs, Sachin Tendulkar has nothing to prove. He is already a legend and will remain so until Cricket is played. But he continues to play, as if he is not aware of his own achievements.

Some people have criticized Tendulkar at various times. Often the grouse being he doesn’t win India matches. Often people forget that Tendulkar has won India many matches but being a team sport he cannot win all matches. To all the critics of the great man and fans alike, I would like to remind that Tendulkar will someday retire and there will be a day when you wont ever get to see Tendulkar take his stance playing for India on live television or at your local city stadium. So sit back and enjoy the last few years of this great man’s career and appreciate anything that he has to offer because players like him don’t come along everyday and we are lucky to be around in the Tendulkar Era.

Has ‘Team-India’ become ‘Indian-Team’ again?

What is the difference between ‘Team-India’ and ‘Indian Team’ ?
India team
Both are the nick names of Indian cricket team.The Indian cricket team -when they were nicknamed as ‘Indian Team’- consisted of many great players like Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Srinath, Kumble etc. All of them were able to win matches themselves and the team was the strongest on paper, but the weakest in reality. It’s because during those days, India had a habit of winning all matches except the final or the Tie-breaker match. We can clearly see it in the 2003 world cup, the tri-series that came after that. Anyway, the concept of ‘Team’ didn’t had much value at that time.

TEAM INDIA

Then comes the ‘Team India’ under MS Dhoni. We can understand the importance of ‘Team India’ from the name itself. This concept gives importance to the team. Under Dhoni, a clevert captain, India attained new heights during this period. India had a lot of gain which included the T20 world cup, #1 ranking in ICC ODI Rankings and many other foreign series. The team was full of youngsters and rather than a ONE MAN SHOW, they had a TEAM WORK SHOW. Instead of individual performance, they concentrated on the victory of team.

But recent results shows that India is going back to its old ‘INDIAN TEAM’ concept. They losses in T20 cup, ICC Champions Trophy etc.. shows it. With the recent loss to Australia, it clearly shows us that the glorious times of Dhoni and his friends are coming to an end. We can only pray to God to not to let it happen like that.

What is your Opinion about this ? Is ‘TEAM INDIA’ going back to the INDIAN TEAM ? Let me know through your comments here.


[Editor’s Note: This post is submitted by our guest blogger Rajeelkp, alias Reji. He is a teen blogger who blogs at labofweb. He loves web, blogging and social sites.

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Indian Squad for the WI Tour

imageThe Indian squad for the Caribbean tour has been announced. Fatigue and injuries playing a big role in the selection is very evident, while, individual performances in IPL also get due recognition.

In or Out?

Let us have a look who gets in and who gets out comparing it with the WT20 squad:

In Out Stays out
M Vijay Zaheer Khan Sachin Tendulkar
S Badrinath Suresh Raina Virender Sehwag
Abhishek Nayar Irfan Pathan Munaf Patel
Ashish Nehra

If we compare it with the ODI squad that toured New Zealand earlier this year, then Ashish Nehra, Abhishek Nayar, RP Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, S Badrinath and M Vijay get the place into the side.

Selected or Dropped?

Let us try to see why few of the players were selected or dropped?

Selected

  • M Vijay: His performance in Ranji trophy gets him in to the squad. Moreover, he is an opener, so he could release Rohit from the extra responsibility and allow him to strengthen the middle over.
  • S Badrinath: He had a good Ranji season and gets a well deserved selection.
  • Abhishek Nayar: All round performance during Ranji and IPL this season helps him get into the 16-member squad.
  • Ravindra Jadeja: Selectors continue with their faith, after WT20, on this young boy with a promising future.
  • Ashish Nehra: Comes back to the side after 4 years. His performance in IPL and past international experience gets him the ticket.
  • RP Singh: The highest wicket taker in the IPL makes a comeback riding on his success during the league.

Dropped

  • Sachin Tendulkar: Opted to rest due to the finger injury that he got during the IPL.
  • Virender Sehwag: Continues his medical leave because of the shoulder injury.
  • Suresh Raina: He needs time to get over with the hairline fracture in his thumb.
  • Irfan Pathan: He was not selected for the final two matches in the WT20 and could not find a place for himself in the squad. He was part of the successful team that went to New Zealand.
  • Munaf Patel: He was part of the team to New Zealand, but did not have a good show during the tour. Though he had a good show during the IPL, while bowling for RR, but still could not impress the selectors.
  • Zaheer Khan: Rested because of the shoulder injury he earlier had.

The 16 Member Squad

  1. MS Dhoni (Captain)
  2. Yuvraj Singh (Vice Captain)
  3. Gautam Gambhir
  4. Rohit Sharma
  5. Yusuf Pathan
  6. Ravindra Jadeja
  7. Harbhajan Singh
  8. Pragyan Ojha
  9. RP Singh
  10. Praveen Kumar
  11. Ishant Sharma
  12. Dinesh Karthik
  13. S Badrinath
  14. Abhishek Nayar
  15. Ashish Nehra
  16. M Vijay

Can India Retain the World Cup?

clip-imageThis time when the Indian team starts its campaign in the World T20 Cup, there are two major differences more than any other.

First, the team looks stronger and better prepared for the shortest form of cricket.

Second, the expectations from the fans are way more than expected.

Given the balance and experience of the side, fans have all the rights to demand nothing less but retain the cup.

Pick any playing 11 out of the 15 member squad and you will have around 8 batsmen and 9 bowlers, courtesy – a big bunch of the all-rounders… A world class seam attack, superb spin attack, very successful part time spinners, a great opening pair, a solid middle order and a super cool minded captain!

If the trophy was to be given based on the cumulative talent of the players on papers, India would have already won it. J No doubt, they start the tournament as the favorites. With a very narrow margin loss to New Zealand and a huge win over Pakistan in the warm-up matches, India has announced that they are in England to win the title.

The line-up

Opening

Be it Shewag and Gambhir OR Rohit and Gambhir (in case Sehwag is not fit) both the pairs have the potential to make the opposite team’s captain run out of ideas. Gambhir got back his form in the match against Pakistan and Rohit looked good filling in Sehwag’s place in his absence during the warm-up matches.

Middle Order

Raina, Dhoni, Yuvraj and Yusuf

All of them are so good in hitting the ball outside the stadium and rotating the strike at almost every ball other than that. The middle order of the team is like a big fort wall and any team playing against India will have to work really hard on their strategy to stop them.

Batting Depth

Jadeja, Irfan, Zaheer and Harbhajan

Jadeja got some good practice in the warm-up match against New Zealand and has placed his candidature well to be in the playing eleven, but then who will sit out to give him space? Not at least in first few matches.

Spin Attack

Harbhajan and Ojha

Both are in good form and have the potential not to allow opposition take middle overs easily.

Pace Attack

Zaheer, Ishant, RP Singh, Praveen and Irfan

Ishant looked good on English pitches during the warm-up matches… good to see him getting over the IPL non-performance in a quick time. The only question that remains is who amongst these five will sit out from the playing eleven?

Part-time Bowlers

Yuvraj, Jadeja, Rohit, Raina, Sehwag and Yusuf

Plenty of options for Dhoni… he can comfortably use them to complete at least one bowler’s quota of 4 overs.

The overall balance of the side displays an immense talent and energy required to defend the title. But, the format of the tournament is such that a single ‘off’ day can put the team out of the contest.

Overall, it should be exciting to see how team India plays and progresses during the tournament to defend its title.

Champions League to be held in October and this time with 12 teams!

clip_image002The Champions League Twenty20 tournament has expanded the participation window from 8 to 12 teams now. The additional teams will be the domestic champions from West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. India will now have the participation from the top 3 teams of the IPL.

Last year the first Champions League had been scheduled to feature two teams each from India, Australia, South Africa and England. However, it was later postponed after the terror attacks in Mumbai.

The $6 million prize money tournament will now be held from October 8 – October 23 in India.

  1. All 12 teams will be divided into four groups of three each to play on a league basis.
  2. The top two teams from each group will move on to the second stage.
  3. The four top teams from the second stage will play the Semifinals.

From India, the league topper Delhi Daredevils will participate along with the two finalists of IPL-2.

The teams for the Champions League include:

#

Team

From

1 Victoria Australia
2 New South Wales Australia
3 Cape Corbas South Africa
4 Eagles South Africa
5 Otago New Zealand
6 Trinidad and Tobago West Indies
7 Wayamba Sri Lanka
8 Deccan Chargers India
9 Royal Challengers India
10 Delhi Daredevils India
11 To be decided England
12 To be decided England

The two English teams will be decided after the domestic Twenty20 championship in August.

And… the Heat is ON!!!

Now all the league matches are over. Semi finals are fixed (!?! I mean which teams are playing against each other….)
Dare-DEVILS will be very happy as they are on the top. And cricket lover DW’iens too 🙂

Icing on the cake for Daredevils is, Sehwag’s back in form with flashing fifty in the last league match against poor Bombay (Sorry Mumbai).

Delhi and Chennai are favorites and why not, they have performed good enough. But keep in mind guys, Deccan Chargers is Dark Horse.

Rohit, Gilli, Roy (Symonds), Gibbs all are hard hitters and will be hunting for bad balls… But Rohit has proved he can hit any good ball over the ropes. Remember the close match against Punjab, yorker-length ball with 143K by Bret Lee is DFL’ed over mid wicket for six! (Professionalism @ its max… DLF Maximum was converted into “DFL’ed”  from the commentary box !!!) Awesome hit…. Truly RO-HIT….!

This guy certainly has huge future. He’s got tremendous temperament… And none other than Sachin praised his batting… Remember two finals against Australia on their home ground.

Well… Vijay Mallya will be happy for his team… but still lots of hustle bustle going inside the team.
Dravid sacked… KP in as a leader… still team was drowning… Dravid’s India trip in middle of the series… KP went back… Dravid performed… and now Anil is leading… so many things happening!!! Well… Kingfisher has less colors than things happening inside… hahahaha.

Does anybody have a doubt on Dhoni… the fox? But still bowing is weak link for them. Part time bowlers have done a good job for them though.

Cricket is a game of full of uncertainties… anybody can win and anybody can loose… (exception Sponsorers!)
The only unhappy man would be SRK… After all, he is the only man after Gandhji who has returned India from South Africa after getting insulted…!!!

John Buchanan get ready to be kicked off!

After all… every game is all about the will to win it and that’s important… but the will to prepare is vital!