" Cricket Etcetera was voted as the Best Cricket Blog by Google during the World Cup 2007 "

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Australia vs South Africa | 2nd Test | Melbourne

Who could have ever predicted that at the end of the 3rd day's play at the MCG, it would be Australia that would be trailing! Fascinating Test Cricket again - even after the 1st Test of the series turned on its head in the final quarter of the match only last week, no one expected this. Yesterday evening, Rickey Ponting must have been a satisfied captain - a lead of over 200 runs, and 7 South African wickets back in the pavillion already. The match looked well and truly in the bag.
Day 2 in the Boxing Day Test began with the overnight batsmen Duminy and Harris beginning cautiously - the runs never came at a brisk pace, but the important thing was that the final three wickets didn't fall in hurry. Duminy was brilliant, playing with the last three - Harris gave him good company to settle the mood for the day, and then Steyn hung on - not without ample support from the Aussie fielders. When the final South African wicket fell, the scorecard read 459 - a healthy lead of 65 runs. Duminy was the last batsman to fall, not before compiling a brilliant 166.
While the match is still alive and evenly poised, South Africa have already dented the Aussie spirit like no other visiting team has in the past so many years. The visitors are already 1-0 up in the series, and the onus is completely on Australia to try and set up a win from here, and it is in that Aussie hurry to win that South Africa will see their chances of going up 2-0. Now when was the last time you saw that kind of a scenario against Australia, in Australia? So don't miss live action tomorrow and the day after.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai Blasts derail India-England Series

The English Cricket Board's request for a postponement of the final 2 India vs England ODIs because of the terror strikes in Mumbai has been accepted by the BCCI. In all likelihood, the final 2 One Dayers would be called off, though a call on the 2 test series will be taken later.

The 2nd India-England Test Match is in fact scheduled for Mumbai, and the Taj Mahal Hotel, the scene of the crime might have been the hosts for the two cricket teams.

The fidayeen strikes have also jeopardised the holding of the Champions Twenty20 League which again had Mumbai as one of its venues. Rickey Ponting, the Australia captain and Shane Warne have both already called for the Champions T20 League to be shifted out of India.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gavaskar was no angel : Ponting

The war of words never seems to end. Now it's Australia captain Rickey Ponting lashing out at Sunil Gavaskar.

"Sunny was no angel in his playing days", commented Ponting referring to an incident in the 1981 India vs Australia Test, when Gavaskar walked out protesting an lbw decision.

While Ponting pointed out Gavaskar in particular, the Aussie captain also lashed out at the 'hypocrisy' of many former cricket legends who he thinks expect current cricketers to behave in a certain way, while their own behaviour and talk during their playing days was less than exemplary.

Ponting was worried that over the last 10 years a certain image was getting formed of the Australian cricketers - that they walked onto the field with an intention of having a few words with the opposition.

He is worried alright, but instead of lashing out at Gavaskar, Ponting would do better to rein in himself and his colleagues if he wants this image to change. Only yesterday, Daniel Vettori just ahead of the Australia - New Zealand series called Ponting the most aggressive person on the cricket field who was always 'spoiling for a fight'. Vettori is surely no former cricketer, Mr. Ponting.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

England begin India tour with a win in Mumbai

Even as India was engaged in the last test against Australia in Nagpur, England began their 2008 Test and One-Day tour to India with a win against a Mumbai side led by spinner Nilesh Kulkarni. Flintoff top scored for the visitors with a less than a ball 100. Owais Shah and Ian Bell contributed with half-centuries as England, batting first, piled up a score of 297. James Anderson took 3 wickets as Mumbai were restricted to 175 off their quota of 50 overs to hand England a 122 runs victory.

Performances in tour games don't mean much, as Krejza showed with a 12 wickets haul in his debut cricket test after having been overlooked for the first 3 tests after the mauling he received at then hands of lesser batsmen, in a tour game. But a win is a win, and a century is a century - and England, and Flintoff would be pleased with the way they have begun their India campaign.

1st ODI Match : India vs England - 14th November 2008.
Click here for the Full Schedule of the India vs England Series

Thursday, November 06, 2008

India Team for ODI Series vs England

At least one man in India will not be too displeased with the one Test ban that has come Gambhir's way. After having been selected to replace Gautam Gambhir in the India Team for the 4th Test against Australia, Vijay has now made it to the just announced India Team for the first 3 one day internationals against England.

Sachin Tendulkar has been rested for the first 3 ODIs on request while Badrinath, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan and Parthiv Patel - who were a part of the India Team for the ODI series against Sri Lanka have not found a place in the new squad. Ishant Sharma returns to the team and alongwith Zaheer Khan, R P Singh and Munaf Patel will form a formidable pace attack to choose from. T20 star Yusuf Pathan is in too.

The Full Team for the first 3 matches of the India vs England One Day Series 2008:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain, Wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay,Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Rudra Pratap Singh, Virat Kohli, Harbhajan Singh

Live action begins 14th November 2008.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

India vs England | Schedule | One Day Series | Test Series

Just a few days after the current 4 Test India-Australia series comes to a close, India begin another home series - against England. The series comprises a bit too much of one day cricket - 7 ODIs in all , while the number of tests is sadly only two.

Find below the full schedule of the India Vs England ODI series with match dates, venues and timings at which you can start watching live cricket streaming or the live telecast on TV. The touring England side will play a couple of practise matches against Mumbai - the venue for both matches is the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The matches are on the 9th and 11th November.

1st One Day International : India vs England

Date: Friday 14 November, Venue: Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, Rajkot

Live TV Telecast of the cricket match starts 9:00 am (India Time) / 3:30 am (GMT)

The India-England series can be viewed live on Neo Cricket.

2nd One Day International : India vs England

Date: Monday 17 November, Venue: Maharani Usha Raje Trust Cricket Stadium in Indore

Day schedule same as above match

3rd ODI

Date: Thursday 20 November, Venue: Green Park, Kanpur

Watch Live Cricket action from 9:00 am India Time ( Live on NeoCricket )

4th ODI : India vs England

Sunday 23 November, Venue: M Chinnaswami Stadium, Bangalore

Day Night Match :: Watch Live Cricket on Neo Cricket from 2:00 pm India Time, 6:30 pm GMT

5th One-Day International : India-England

Wednesday 26 November, Venue: Barabati Stadium, Cuttack

Day Night Match : Live on Neo Cricket, Timings as in the 4th ODI

6th ODI

Saturday 29 November, Venue: Nehru Stadium, Guwahati

Day Match : Live Telecast from 9:00 am India Time

7th One Day: India vs England

Date: 2 December, Venue: Feroze Shah Kotla, Delhi

Before the commencement of the 2 test series, England will play a 3 day practise match against a local team in Baroda.

The Schedule of the India vs England 2 test series:

1st Test: 11th - 15th November, Motera, Ahmedabad

2nd Test: 19th - 23rd December, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai ( not Wankhede)


Click here for Live Cricket Streaming Links for the India vs England Series

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gilchrist Going Nuts - Now it's Muralitharan's Action

He is retired now, and doesn't know what to do when not playing cricket. Or, it is a desperate marketing strategy for his autobiography? Whatever be the case, the former Australian keeper who was often described as the 'greatest current all-rounder' now seems to be fast losing it.

True Colours : My Life already seems to be more about the lives of other cricketers rather than Gilchrist's own. First it was his bit about Tendulkar's lack of honesty during the famed Sydney Trial, now it is about Muralitharan's bowling action. Gilly believes that Murali has a suspect action, and the ICC bent the rules of cricket to accommodate the Lankan. His part about ICC bending the rules of the game to accommodate is a fair accusation, but if Gilly really had the balls to be honest, he should not have singled out Muralitharan and stopped there, but come out with the whole scary truth.

As Gilchrist rightly points out, the ICC did change the rules - the definition of what constitutes a 'legal delivery' was indeed modified. But the redefinition was not to accommodate Muralitharan - it was to ensure that two of Gilchrist's own team-mates, Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie amongst many other leading bowlers of the world were not outlawed alongwith Murali!

Following Hair's no-balling Muralitharan for throwing, the ICC initiated a study of the bowling actions of bowlers across the world. This study revealed some shocking statistics - as per the existing laws of cricket, more than 90 percent of bowlers were chucking, not bowling! Imagine a scenario where the ICC had to ban McGrath, Pollock, Gillespie and Brett Lee - the world of cricket would have gone topsy turvy, at least temporarily international cricket would have come to a grinding halt. That's what hurried the ICC into amending the definition of a valid bowling action. Both McGrath and Lee were going beyond the ten degrees limit, and on a regular basis - it was not even a case where only the doosra was a problem.

Surely Gilly knows about this - then why this distortion of truth?

Gilchrist calls that change of rule by the ICC to accommodate Murali 'horse-crap'. The truth is that it is he who is trying to bull-shit his way to a best-seller. I also fear that he might actually succeed.

Live Cricket Streaming | India vs England ODI Series

Are you a cricket lover stuck in a place with no live telecast of the cricket on TV? If so, then you may be searching for information and links for watching Live Cricket Streaming Online on the internet, maybe for free! The India-England One-Day Series starts on 14th November 2008 with the 1st ODI match in Rajkot, hardly a few days after the fourth Test between India and Australia ends in Nagpur.

You can check this previous post to get more information and to get links for Live Cricket Streaming for the India vs England ODI Series 2008 . If you have useful info regarding free cricket sopcasts or webcasts, please share it with fellow cricket fans using the comments area of this blogspot.

Gambhir appeal rejected | will miss Nagpur Test

Gautam Gambhir who was handed out a one test ban for 'making physical contact' with Shane Watson in the previous test at Delhi had appealed against the ban, and the BCCI was expecting that either the appeal would be upheld or at least the decision would be delayed enough to allow Gambhir to participate in the 4th test against Australia at Nagpur. But unfortunately, the ICC match commissioner acted quick and the decision has been swift and Gambhir's appeal has been rejected.

Latest reports suggest that the BCCI has refused to accept the rejection of the appeal against Gambhir and will be protesting against it. But they are left with little time, and it will be interesting to see if the BCCI can engage in some quick back-room diplomacy and manage to get Gambhir in, in time.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Anil Kumble Announces Retirement from Cricket

Breaking News:

Anil Kumble has announced he is retiring from International Cricket at the end of the current Delhi Test between India and Australia.

Read previous post on "Anil Kumble to announce retirement"

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Anil Kumble to Announce Retirement

A 5 wicket haul for part time spinner Virender Sehwag on a Kotla track may just hasten a decision which wasn't far off even otherwise. While Sehwag's figures at tea on day 4 of the 3rd India - Australia test read 40-9-104-5, Kumble had just one wicket to show in what is his favourite hunting ground. Add to that his current injury problems, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni pressing hard to displace him from the top job, and Anil Kumble may not be left with much choice.

Compounding problems further would be the speed with which the BCCI has obtained a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) Certificate to administer a steroid on Harbhajan Singh that could give the offie significant relief and allow him to play the Nagpur Test. Thankfully for Kumble, the star of the previous test Amit Mishra has failed as much as him else the public and media pressure would have been in the extreme.

There would be only one question in Kumble's mind - should he announce his retirement immediately after the Delhi Test or wait for Nagpur and hopefully retire on a winning note. Only recently had he remarked about "bowing out on his own terms" and I suspect Nagpur may be his last chance to do that.

Pictures of Matt Prior's wife sitting on Allen Stanford's laps -

Imagine Mrs Dhoni sitting on IPL chief Lalit Modi's lap! Thankfully Mrs Dhoni is still an imaginary being, and Modi is not Stanford. Else you could be guaranteed a milion non-stop videos of that on India TV and the many other idiotic news channels. But the T20 for 20 is real and so is Mrs Matt Prior, and Allen Stanford did manage to get the wife of the English wicket keeper on his lap, during a T20 for 20 match in Antigua.

Wife of English cricketer Matt Prior sitting on Allen Stanford's lapsYes, that indeed is the Texan Billionaire Allen Stanford with Matt Prior's wife on his lap and surrounded by the wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of the English cricketers who are in Antigua for the T20 for 20 million $ Cricket Super Series. Imagine the shock of Matt Prior, Kevin Pietersen and other English cricketers when they saw this images being flashed live on the screen in the ground.

Stanford has since personally apologised to the English players, saying he was unaware they were the English cricketers' WAGs. "The girl who was stood up plopped down on my knee. I did not put her on my knee or sit here on my lap, she just plopped down. It was strictly an innocent thing. I apologised to Matt and to Kevin (Pietersen, the England captain)," he said.

The Importance of Lalit Modi

" There are a whole nest of issues around this appointment, and you have to wonder how Lalit Modi will respond as well. "
- Sean Morris, Chief Executive of the Professional Cricketers' Action (PCA), reacting to the appointment of Mushtaq Ahmed as England's spin bowling coach.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Double Hundreds in a Test Innings: Rare Record

When VVS Laxman completed his double century in the ongoing 3rd Test against Australia in Delhi, a little after Gambhir had completed his, the duo joined a rare club of 'twin double centurions in a single Test Innings'. Here is a compilation of the other instances of this record - I have manually compiling this list, and is not yet complete. Should be a finished product in a day or two.

1. Pakistan vs West Indies, Venue: Jamaica, 26 Feb - 4 Mar 1958 ( 6 day test )

Chasing Pakistan's 1st innings total of 328, West Indies piled up a score of 790. Opener Conrad Hunte scored 260 and Gary Sobers scored his famous 365 not out.

2. Sri Lanka vs South Africa, Venue: Colombo, 27 - 31 July 2005

After dismissing the tourists for a sub 200 score, Sri Lanka went on to make 756/5 declared. This included a triple hundred from captain Mahela Jayawardene who fell 1 short of Lara's mark of 375. Kumar Sangakkara narrowly missed his triple hundred falling for 287, else a record of two triple hundreds in an innings would have been one massive one, and unlikely to be ever overtaken.

3. Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, Venue: Bulawayo, 14 - 17 May 2004

Sri Lanka's 1st Innings total of 713 for 3 included two double centuries, one each by Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Attapattu. Both double hundreds came at good pace - Sangakkara's 270 came at a strike rate of 74 while Attapattu's knock of 249 was even better at 76.85

4. Australia vs England, Venue: Kennington Oval, 18,20,21, 22 Aug 1934 (Timeless Test Match)

Australia lost a quick 1st wicket when opener Brown fell with the total at 21. His opening partner Ponsford was joined by the Don and by the time the second wicket fell, the score card read 472. Bradman got out for 244 - if Sangakkara and Attapattu were quick, this was a lightning knock. Comprising 32 boundaries and 1 six, Bradman's 244 came at a strike rate of over 90. Ponsford's 266 was more sedate at 63.33

5. Australia vs England, 13-19 December 1946 (six day test), Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground

Both Sid Barnes and Don Bradman compiled identical scores of 234 in the 1st Innings of this Ashes Tes. What were not identical were the scoring rates - the Don himself scored a slow double by his standards, at a strike rate of 59.09 but it was Barnes' knock which was a specially laborious one. In his 649 minutes vigil at the crease, he faced no fewer than 667 balls - the innings was spread over 3 days!

6. England vs India, 13-18 January 1985, Venue: Chepauk, Chennai

Opener Fowler and Mike Gatting, both got double centuries for England in the 1st Innings of the test. While Fowler scored 201, Gatting got 207.

7. Australia vs West Indies, 5 - 11 May 1965 (6 day test), Venue: Bridgetown Barbados

Both the Australian openers, Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson scored double hundreds as Australia declared their 1st Innings at 650/6. Simpson's brave second innings declaration made it a very interesting test but he was fortunate in being saved from the blushes as time ran out on West Indies when they were just 11 short of the target, with 5 wickets remaining.

Narrow Misses:
India vs Pakistan Multan Test: Rahul Dravid declared when Tendulkar was on 194. Sehwag had scored a triple hundred in the same innings.

In the 1984 Faisalabad Test against India, Qasim Umar got a double hundred in the 1st Innings but the record was missed by the narrowest margin when Mudassar Nazar was unlucky to be dismissed on 199.

In Independent India's 1st test series against Australia in January 1948, Don Bradman scored a double hundred in the 1st Innings of the Adelaide Test. But this unique rare test record of two hundreds in an innings was missed as Allan Hasset was left stranded on 194 when the last Aussie wicket fell.

During the 1st Test of the 1981 New Zealand - Sri Lanka series a most unique record was narrowly missed - 'twin double hundreds in the second innings of a test match'. Andrew Jones missed his double hundred by 14 runs. The one who did go on to get his double hundred was more unfortunate though - Martin Crowe got out for 299.

Another chance to get this unique record came India's way in the famous Kolkata Test against Australia. That opportunity was lost in a very similar way as in the above Test - while one batsman (VVS Laxman) narrowly missed his triple hundred, his partner Dravid was unfortunately run out when his score was 180.

First Left Hand Double Century against Australia

Did you know that Gautam Gambhir just became the first left-hand opening batsman in history to score a double century against Australia?

(Australia played its first test a hundred and thirty four years before, and the Delhi Test is their 699th)

info source: Ian Chappell, informing ex-Australia captain and left-hand batsman Allan Border, on Neo Cricket.

Laxman vs Australia

Just 13 hundreds and a little over 6000 runs at an average below 45 are not the statistics that can assure VVS Laxman a place amongst the all time greats of the game. That do not even place him against India's best. Tendulkar has twice the number of runs and thrice the number of centuries. Ganguly, surely an inferior test batsman has more runs to show than the stylish Hyderabadi. Gavaskar, Dravid, Vengsarkar, Azharuddin and Vishwanath would all be ahead of Laxman in any list of India's all time test greats. But what make him special are his sublime touch and his record against the World Champions.

Earlier today, he completed his 6th ton against Australia. That's about half of his total number of centuries. Against an overall career average of 45, his average against Australia is over 50, and by the time the current India-Australia series comes to a close, he should have finished with a career batting average of about 55 against Australia. Of his 6000 runs, one-third of them have been aggregated against the Aussies. What makes his record against the world's leading test team even more special is the fact that he has been more successful against them in their own backyard. Laxman has 4 hundreds and over 1000 runs against Australia in Australia.

While almost every other leading batter in the world has used the matches against the minnows to prop up their batting averages, Laxman's career average against Zimbabwe is below his career average and against Bangladesh about 20. He seems to relish the challenge of playing against the world's best, and it's fitting that he will be playing his 100th test against his favourite opposition. The Nagpur test will be a very, very special one indeed!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Will the real ICC please stand up?

Sometimes one can almost sympathize with the ICC - that Cricket's governing body has to find time to investigate 'possible murders' is strange. Last year it was Bob Woolmer's death under mysterious circumstances during the Word Cup in the West Indies. Now it is a Fiji cricketer found in a pool of blood during the recently concluded Division 4 World Cricket League.

But shouldn't the ICC hand over the investigation to the police and instead focus its attention on managing cricket, and try and do a good job of it? Strange are the range of activities which keep the ICC officials busy. President Morgan has ensured that the controversial 2006 Oval Test between Pakistan and England is back in news. Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove had adjudicated the match in favour of England, after the Pakistan players didn't show up on the field for the post-tea session on the 4th day of the test, protesting against the umpires accusing them of ball-tampering during the match. Subsequently, the ICC had reversed this result and now Morgan wants this decision to be reversed.

Lalit ModiThat match is well overs 2 years into the past, and the ICC would have been best left getting over with and getting on along with the current set of problems, which aren't exactly minor in nature. At the rate at which Modi, Stanford and the rest of the T20 band are growing, on either side of the equator, Test Cricket may be dead sooner rather than later. In cricket crazy India, an India-Australia test last week was played in front of a largely empty stadium. England, who were reluctant playing too many ODIs until a few years back now don't mind flying all the way to Antigua to face Middlesex for the Stanford T20 Super Series. IPL has already strained relations between the India and Sri Lanka Cricket Boards. The other T20 major, Indian Cricket League (ICL) has weaned away a large chunk of the Bangladesh Cricket team. New Zealand players are already threatening to go the Bangladesh way - and if they haven't already it's not for the charm of playing Test Cricket, but the lure of the the IPL T20 lucre.

Cricket, as we have known and loved it, is under threat from inside - from another game, which is trying to pass itself off as cricket. It is time Morgan and his men wake up to this danger and direct all their resources and energies in the right direction, and save cricket from extinction.

Monday, October 27, 2008

India vs Australia : Delhi Test - Will Bhajji make way for Kumble?

The BCCI is already ready with an ornate scroll to be presented to commemorate VVS Laxman's 100th test match appearance when India take on Australia in the 4th and final test match of the series at Nagpur. That match can't be Laxman's 100th should he not play in Kotla. Anil Kumble has already announced in his newspaper column that he is fit and ready to take on the field in the 3rd Test. Will the spin-maestro be able to reclaim his deserved place in the team? If he indeed does, as he should, the winning combination will have to be disturbed. But the question remains - who will be the chosen scapegoat?

Gambhir can't be dropped on form, Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag on form and more and Ganguly definetely cannot be - it's the penultimate test of an illustrious career and with a series average of 66.73 at the end of the 2nd Test, he is a potential contender for the Man-of-the-series. No one can dare think of sitting out Dhoni, even if he had not been averaging over 80 yet. That leaves us with the bowlers - Zaheer, Ishant, Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra. So which one of these four will be sacrificed to accomodate Kumble?

We can safely rule out the first two - dropping even one will imbalance the team and both are currently posing enough questions to the Australian batters with reverse swing. Ideally, it is Mishra who should sit out because he came in to replace an injured Kumble. Now that the captain is fit, Mishra must bide his team before he earns a regular spot in the India test XI. But it was Mishra's 1st innings demolition of the Aussie batting that sealed India's victory. Against a lesser opposition, the selectors might have still overlooked that match wining figures of 7/106. Remember Arun Lal? Even after scoring fifities in either innings of the test, didn't he have to make way for Gavaskar who had opted out of the Kolkata Test against Pakistan in the 1987 series. Mishra may not be comparable to Gavaskar in stature yet the selectors wouldn't want to make a wrong move that can jeopardise India's chances of grabbing back the Border-Gavaskar trophy from the cricket World Champions. India are 1-0 ahead and Mishra was instrumental in that solitary win. If he even comes close to his Bangalore performance in either of the remaining 2 tests, it will be sufficient to finish with a memorable win. That leaves us with just one name.

Indian Spinners - Kumble, Mishra and HarbhajanOver two days still remain before the Delhi match goes live, and the preparation for dropping the Turbanator seems to have already begun. During net practise at the Feroze Shah Kotla yesterday, Harbhajan Singh left the field after bowling just a couple of overs. Later in the day, while answering questions from the media, Dravid said it was because Bhajji had 'slight pain in the toe but nothing serious'. I fear that is just the first episode of a 3-act play which will ultimately result in Bhajji's omission from the Indian cricket team for the Delhi Test.

If Mishra has tormented Australia once, Bhajji has done it many a times before - once through a whole series, and not just with the ball. It is not easy to explain dropping Harbhajan Singh - the spinner is in fine form and the Aussies would be happy not seeing him in the final India XI. That necessitates this 3-act play. First let the media watch Bhajji bowling just 2 overs in the net and then dismiss the first round of questioning, as if to portray that he is fine and will play. In the second act, let the 'injury problem' escalate though still sounding hopeful of a 'recovery in time'. In the final act, make a last moment announcement of his having to sit out so that the on-field action will ensure that the off-field acts don't grab as much media and public attention.

But then, do they have an alternative? Truth causes too many problems, too many questions. A lie will keep everyone happy - Kumble is back as captain, Shashank Manohar gets to present the ornate scroll to Laxman for playing 100 tests, Laxman gets to play his 100th test and the team balance is retained. If India wins as it is likely to, we will all forget this little episode but should things go awry and Kumble fails with the ball, then there might be a 4th act to this play. Again unless Kumble has already been talked to about his retirment plans!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Huge disappointment for Bangladesh

One player from Newzealand finally came in between Bangladesh and its surge towards a first test victory over a major test playing nation. It was a spirited performance from Bangladesh in the 1st test of the 3-match series being played at Chittagong, but in the end captain Vettori's splendid all-round performance claiming 9 wickets and half-centuries in either innings ensured that Newzealand managed to reach home with 3 wickets remaining and in the process breaking a million Bangla hearts.

Compare Vettori's performance with the other test captain who finished with the man-of-the-match award on the same day and you will realize what a grand effort it was. In India's annihilation of Australia, Dhoni's twin fifties were enough to bag him the MOM award. Vettori, besides doing that, also bagged 9 wickets. Unlike India who outplayed Australia on each of the 5 days of the test, captain Vettori had to maintain his composure in a test, where Bangladesh were on top for the first 3 and a half days. (not for nothing is he amongst my favourite cricket players in the world - see pic on right column, top)

Two more tests still remain in each of the two test series being played in the subcontinent, and both teams from down under seem to be under huge pressure, though of different kinds. Whatever the final outcomes, the next couple of weeks surely promise the most exciting cricket action, and for a change, not of the quicker variety and neither off-the-field.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

When should India declare? (India vs Australia, 2nd Test)

India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali
Scorecard at stumps on Day 3

India 1st Innings: 469 all out, Australia 1st Innings: 268 all out
India 2nd Innings: 100 without loss

With Stowage and Gambhir having already added 100 runs at just over 4 rpo and both still at the crease, India are already 301 runs ahead of Australia and well poised to go to Kotla with an important lead of 1-0. But the important decision tomorrow for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be - when should India declare?

Arguments are flying thick and fast that India shouldn't get defensive and go for an aggressive declaration, Australia style. But is that required? I was following the post-match discussion on Neo-Cricket, where Arun Lal was trying to make a very pertinent point which unfortunately no one on the panel or in the audience was bothering to understand. Why Lal was against the idea of declaring at lunch was very logical - that would leave Australia with 150 overs and a little over 400 to get. If Australia bat out 150 overs, they would reach 400; in fact they would reach 400 in about 140 overs. That means '10 overs are wasted' - neither India needs them, nor Australia. What that means that India must bundle out Australia in under 140 overs. So wouldn't it be more sensible to bat for another 10 overs, get about 50 more runs and put the match completely out of Australia's reach? That may sound like a typical Indian defensive stance but it's not - it only allows Dhoni to give Mishra and Harbhajan that much more chance of taking a wicket by employing a more attacking field. Surely you do not want a situation where India has to go on the defensive by the end of day 4, were Australia to reach a score of 180 for the loss of 2 or 3 wickets.

Here's a table I have created which clearly illustrates that '5 overs after lunch' or 35 overs into tomorrow is when the ideal declaration time would be. Of course, Dhoni could employ someone to create a more dynamic 'excel sheet' to help him decide, factoring in a few more situations, mainly pertaining to the run-rate scenario.

Assuming India's Expected Run Rate on Day 4 is 4.5 rpo No. of overs Left Lead Target for Australia Assuming Australia chases at 3 rpo

Overs reqd to achieve target
Start of Day 180 301 302 101
At Lunch 150 436 437 146
5 overs more 145 458.5 460 153

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ganguly overtakes Bradman

Sir Don Bradman: 6996 Test Runs, retired.
Saurav Ganguly: 7000+ Test Runs, Unbeaten in current match against Australia, going strong!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Umpire Appeals in next India Pakistan test series

The ICC has approved an extension of the Umpire Review System first used in the recently concluded India-Sri Lanka test series. Four future series including the forthcoming India-Pakistan test series have been earmarked for further testing of the review system. Although Indian captain Kumble didn't appreciate the experiment much, that can largely be attributed to the atrocious results that India got in the review system. A total of 48 appeals for a review of the on-field umpire's decisions were made in that series out of which 25% were upheld by the television umpire. Of these 12 successful decisions, 11 went in favour of Sri Lanka with India getting only the solitary decision in their favour. That obviously irked the Indians, but then technically the ICC and not IPL is still in charge of world cricket.
The next bilateral series where the review system will be employed is the Newzealand vs West Indies test series in December. The appeals system wherein each team is allowed 3 unsuccessful appeals per innings, from what we saw of it in its maiden appearance in Sri Lanka is a great move forward - bringing in technology to improve the percentage of correct decisions will help decrease the stress on the two umpires in the middle and reduce tension between players that often take root in doubtful decisions, a lot of which we saw in the Sydney Test between India and Australia.
A smart, thinking captain like Vettori should be able to use the review system to his team's advantage against the West Indies, much like Jayawardene did for his team against India. I personally hold Anil Kumble in the highest esteem and was quite surprised that he failed to get a review strategy in place. The review system should have actually fitted in very well with Kumble's stump-to-stump accurate bowling style, and he could have got a numer of decisions reversed in his favour. Indeed if the system had been in place in the Bangalaore test against Australia, Kumble would have definitely not gone wicketless. I guess he realizes that now, but then again the IPL is still technically not in charge of world cricket!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vinod Kambli in Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina

So have you caught the off-field action on the new TV Channel Colours? I am talking about the new dance show "Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena" in which you can catch cricketers paired with glamorous TV actresses gyrating to Bollywood Numbers. These are the four Cricketer-Actress pairs currently in action:

1. India's 1st back to back test double centurion Vinod Kambli with Shama Sikander
2. Sreesanth with Surveen Chawla
3. Harbhajan Singh - Mona Singh (of Jassi fame)
4. Dinesh Karthik - Nigar Khan (of Lakme India Fashion week wardrobe malfunction fame)
5. Nikhil Chopra - Barkha Bisht
6. Irfan Pathan - Ashima Bhalla

Since the start of the show, the last pair of Irfan Pathan and Ashima Bhalla have withdrawn from the programme but there are rumours that they may make a re-entry.

Find below a video of Vinod Kambli looking very funny in some Chinese make-up dancing with his partner Shama Sikander on Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina's 4th October episode.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tail saves Australia from follow-on in practise game

When the umpire lifted the finger for the fifth time in the day, it seemed all over for Australia. The Yuvraj Singh led Board President's XI was just a wicket away from shaming a full-strength Australian team into following on. Alas! That was not to be.

Hussey finally found support - at the fag end of the tail. Batsman no.XI, Stuart Clark gave Hussey ample company, toiling for over a hundred balls for a dogged 44. Hussey himself faced 302 balls for his score of 126. The duo added 96 runs for the last wicket ensuring safe passage for Australia, and but for a mircale session or two, the match looks headed for a draw.

What was worth noting were the contrasting rates at which the two teams piled up their runs. While the Indians scored at an Australian pace of 4.18, the tourists struggled with a run rate of just over 2. It is these run-rates which may become crucial tomorrow.

In their second essay, the Board's XI have already notched up 110 for the loss of Badrinath and Chopra. The two men at the crease, Jaffer and Yuvraj are both capable of scoring quickly - they are already 251 runs ahead and if they can add a quick 70 or 80 in the morning session and declare a couple of overs before lunch, things can get really interesting at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Live Streaming Cricket: India vs Australia: PC, Mobile

The Australian team is already in India, and already facing some uncomfortable time in their practice game against the Indian Board President's XI. As I write this at the end of Day 2, Australia are over 250 runs behind with 4 top wickets including Hayden and Ponting already back in the pavilion. I was catching the cricket action live on TV - Neo Sports. Besides India, NeoSports may be reachable upto the Middle-East (UAE, Dubai, Sharjah) .Hope you too are in a place where you can watch the India - Australia series live on TV. In many a countries you can watch the four India-Australia tests live on Sky Sports. For cricket fans in the US, the channel to watch out for is Zee Sports America. In Malaysia and Singapore, the cable TV operators Star Hub arrange for you to watch Neo Sports. However if you are not fortunate enough to be able to watch it live on TV, read on - about how you can watch live streaming cricket through the internet on your PC or may be even live cricket on your mobile.

Firs the bad news - Willow.tv is amongst the better options to watch live streaming cricket on the internet but they don't seem to be covering the India-Australia 2008 series.

Action8Cricket is another website you can check out for live stuff.

One new website I ran into - Imvite - provides you with an option of watching hundreds of Indian channels live on your computer. I saw ESPN-Star amongst the options but you may check out for other cricket channels. On Tariksworld Dot Com, you can download a Sopcast player and a TVU Player. There is a clear mention of the India-Australia series Live Streaming Facility.

You may also check out Indiapad, Desikotha or Daruchini for more info on live streaming cricket for the india vs australia 2008 series.

A lot of these places aren't legal and look pretty dicey. I don't know why the ICC or the BCCI don't make an official arrangement for live webcast of cricket on the internet - there was something during the IPL T20 but since then, I don't know.

A couple of times I have been stuck in places where it was not possible to watch live cricket matches on TV and so i know how it can feel. I haven't provided a direct link to any of these sites as I can myself not be too sure about any one of them but this should be handy references for you to start searching for more. You may have to do lot of searching on the internet - click on lots of different ads and search more before you find the right place. Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

India vs Australia Series - Match Schedule 2008

Match Category Date Schedule Timings Team 1 Team 2 Stadium City
Practise Match September 27 - 28 9:30 am - 4:00 pm Australia Rajasthan Cricket Association's Centre of Excellence Sawai ManSingh Stadium Jaipur
Practise Match October 2 - 5 9:30 am - 4:00 pm Australia BCCI Board President's XI Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium Uppal, Hyderabad
1st Test Match October 9 - 13 9:30 am - 4:00 pm Australia India M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
2nd Test Match October 17 - 21 9:30 am - 4:00 pm Australia India Punjab Cricket Association Stadium Mohali, Chandigarh
3rd Test Match October 29 - Nov 2 9:30 am - 4:00 pm Australia India Feroze Shah Kotla Delhi
4th Test Match November 6 - 10 9:30 am - 4:00 pm Australia India Vidharbha Cricket Association Ground Cuttack

Monday, August 25, 2008

Howzzat Munaf??

Arjuna Ranatunga was not among the fittest of players to have graced a cricket field, actually he was pot-bellied. So was Inzy, even Boon and Warne. But I never had a problem with their rotundness - they were good at their craft, put in their best efforts always, and were deeply passionate about the game. Isn't that all that a cricket fan expects of his heroes? But can we say the same about Mr Munaf Patel?

As long back as January 2007, this blog had advocated for his non-inclusion in the team in spite of the fact that on the merit of his bowling skills alone, he was a shoo-in into the India team. Munaf is leaner, thinner and younger than the Ranatunga, Inzy and Boon I am talking about. Yet it is a shame the way he fields. It's understandable that everyone can't be a Jonty, but one does expect the player to put in his 100 percent, isn't it. Did you see the match yesterday? ( India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, 24th August, Colombo) This guy's absolute lack of passion drove me crazy. Munaf was bowling the 46th over of the innings; in the 2nd ball of the over he ran the non-striker Ajantha Mendis out (!), but didn't bother to make a real appeal. Granted, I have the advantage of the TV replay which he didn't and he may not have realized that Mendis was actually out, but he would have atleast realized that it was a close case. Isn't that when players all over the world appeal?? But not our man - just a faint howzatt and he was already trotting back to mark his run-up!!

In the very next over, he gave away an extra run where there should have been none. Both the mistakes didn't ultimately prove to be costly. In fact, Munaf himself dismissed the dangerous looking Jayawardene in the very over that we just discussed above. No one is doubting the quality of his bowling skills, but this man has no passion at all. Ian Chappell once commented, "How can you be playing for your country, and not get excited sometimes." I am not as big a fan of sledging as Ian though I do agree with the bit about getting excited. Surely a cricket team doesn't need a bowler who can't be excited about making an appeal. Howzzat?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Security disMay for Pakistan

Shouldn't the Indian cricket team be the most scared about travelling to and playing the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan? Yet, we hardly hear of any concerns from the Indian players; instead it is the Australians who are getting all worked up. Now, the Australian Cricket Association (ACA) has even given its official recommendation to its players - "don't travel to Pakistan". And guess what is the BCCI stand - Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary says he sees "no harm" in Pakistan hosting the prestigious tournament.

Only recently Bangalore and Ahmedabad were targeted with multiple blasts in a single day; the next day, the news channels were busy reporting as the Surat police kept finding bomb after unexploded bombs across the city - so much so, the channels finally lost interest in the count. In almost all cases of terrorism in this country, the government points out to Pakistan's hand. Yet, we are least bothered or worried when our players are going right into the 'terrorist den'.

Are we a nation of the most courageous, or has the relentless exposure to terrorism at home made us indifferent to the prospect of another bombing? I think it is neither - the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is right when it says that the ACA stand is absolutely illlogical. The ACA has given more weightage to the report given by Reg Dickason, based on his short stay in Karachi. You can't blame the PCB for being unhappy as the ACA has largely ignored the more comprehensive report provided by Nicholls Steyn, the security experts hired by the ICC.

The BCCI's stand is not any show of bravado - it just shows a more intelligent understanding of the situation in Pakistan. Imran Khan does have a point when he points out that no cricket team or player has been the target of any terrorist activity ever. With the Australian players, it looks like their wives, girlfriends and the ACA have a bigger influence on their decision than an official ICC report. What remains to be seen now is how Cricket Australia reacts. Or will it be ICC that comes to its rescue?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One Kiwi searching for a billion new cricket fans

" Could you imagine that if cricket was in the Olympics, it might have been a catalyst for, let's say an example, a major ODI/Twenty20 or a Super Test series being played beside the Yangtze River in the picturesque Gorges region? Or perhaps a super series involving all major cricketing nations including China in the modern metropolis of Beijing itself? "

- That's not me, but an avid cricket blogger from the beautiful New Zealand, who seems to be right now obsessed with spreading cricket across the oriental. Click here to read more about cricket or the possibilities thereof, in China and Japan. Also, for an interesting field set-up in Mandarin.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

I am high on MSD, what about Nasser?

"If there is a better one-day keeper-batsman in the world at the moment I'd like to see him."
- Nasser Hussain sings the praises of James Foster, wondering why he has been kept out of the current scheme of things.

"He is called Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is good looking too...here Nasser, just for you."
- Amit Bajaj

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cute Cricket Pic

Cricket Picture
Cricket, cricket everywhere....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Review, Reviewed.

The anti-technology brigade hasn't exactly quietened down, but the vociferousness in their voices seem to be missing after seeing the first display of cricket's 'review system' in the 1st Test between India and Sri Lanka at Colombo. Yes, they are picking out the holes - the Dilshan dismissal being their strongest case. Dileep Premchandran writes in his piece titled 'Bugs in the system' - "As Benson signalled for the replay, all eyes turned to the TV screens. Replay followed replay, yet no one could be absolutely sure whether there had been the thinnest of edges, or if the sound heard was merely bat striking ground. The technology that's often used by broadcasters in such situations, the Snickometer, wasn't employed because doubts remain about its efficacy, while Hotspot, used by Channel Nine during the last Ashes series, has yet to be officially tested for accuracy. With Rudi Koertzen, the third umpire, as undecided as anyone watching, Benson, who had no access to the replays, had little option but to change the decision." (cricinfo)

Sirs, what about the Tendulkar decision and the Dravid one? Unlike the Dilshan case, where one cannot be absolutely sure one way or the other, here are two cases where two wrongs (beyond any realm of doubt) were righted with the aid of technology. If we look at the Sehwag decision, it was more a situation of a human error by the 3rd umpire than any technological glitch.

Slow-motion replays, the wicket-to-wicket “mat”, sound from stump microphones and ball-tracking technology up to the point of impact on the pad will be available for use by the television umpire. ( source: The Hindu, Chennai)

Rudi Koertzen, the 3rd umpire was to make a decision based only on 'that part of the ball's trajectory till it hit Sehwag's pads'. If Koertzen wasn't able to spot the ball touching Sehwag's pads, well, technology can't be blamed for it, can it. And would you still want Rudi to be deciding on far more complex decisions with his naked eye, in the middle. ( He will be in the middle for the next two India-Lanka tests, so beware, in advance)

I have always held that umpires across the world are too defensive in their approach, and the bowlers pay a huge price for it. Here i don't blame the umpires though because what we are expecting of them is super-human whereas the fact is they are only humans. If the review system wins its battle against this influential anti-technology brigade, expect a plummeting of batting averages across the world. Batsmen will now be essentially very, very vulnerable in their first twenty or thirty minutes of stay at the crease, when I think, over the years, a huge number of lbw decisions that should have gone the bowler's way didn't. Spinners should hugely benefit from this - and one person who would today be ruing the review format more than anyone else might actually turn out to be the single biggest beneficiary of this system across the world - he is Anil Kumble. He will have a tough time reining in Bhajji from over-using the review, though!

Friday, April 18, 2008

...and IPL begins.

First Ladies of Football now cheer for Bangalore Royal Challengers in the IPLThe Indian Premier League (IPL) begins today evening only - less than six hours remain before Dravid's (and Mallya's, or should i have put it the other way round) Royal Challengers, egged on by the 'first ladies of football' take on King Khan's Kokata Knight Riders ( no prizes now for guessing which team Ekta Kapoor supports ) in the inaugural match of the inaugural Indian Premier League.
You can catch all IPL action live on SET MAX or if you are stuck in some godforsaken place where there is no live coverage of the league on TV, then i suggest you check this link out - This list created earlier should also serve as a good list of sites for Live Streaming Cricket of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Here's the itinerary of the first few matches to get you started.
Day, Date,Time - Team 1 vs Team 2 - Venue
Friday, 18 April, 7 pm - Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Kolkata Knight Riders - Bangalore
Saturday, 19 April, 3 pm - Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings - Mohali
Saturday, 19 April, 8 pm - Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals - Delhi
Sunday, 20 April, 3 pm - Mumbai Indians vs Bangalore Royal Challengers - Mumbai
Sunday, 20 April, 8 pm - Kolkata Knight Riders vs Deccan Chargers - Kolkata
In case you are still in doubt, I am rooting for Delhi Daredevils. In case they fare as per expectation, I will switch to King Khan's Kolkata. What are your plans?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Indian Premier League: Part I

The IPL Launch: September 2007:
On Thursday, the 13th september 2007, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) launched the Indian Premier League (IPL) on the lines of football’s English Premier League and the National Basketball League (NBA) of the U.S.
Cricket:Indian Premier League LaunchIn an apparent reaction to Essel Group’s Indian Cricket League (ICL) that had generated much debate, the BCCI paraded Australia bowling great Glenn McGrath and former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming in the national capital to support the IPL. India’s captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble were also part of the glittering launch attended by the President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Ray Mali, and chiefs of various cricket boards.
On the occasion, the BCCI and the ICC also unveiled a $5 million prize money Champions Twenty20 League. The added incentive of being part of the IPL will be the chance to play in the Champions Twenty20 League to be organised by the International Cricket Committee (ICC).

Just as in the UEFA Champions League, the winner and runner-up team of the IPL will qualify for the Champions League, to be played in October 2008. For a start, domestic Twenty20 leagues would be conducted by the cricket boards of Australia, South Africa and England, to have an eight-team Champions League.

The IPL, India’s domestic Twenty20 league will debut in April 2008 with 59 matches spread over 44 days. The IPL will primarily be played under lights with play beginning at 5 p.m. Two matches will be scheduled each day.

The IPL will be a franchise-model wherein corporates and sponsors will be allowed to buy and run teams. Player buy-outs will be an added feature, something that cricket is not accustomed to.
Title Sponsorship Rights:
Real estate developer DLF Group has won the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after its successful Rs 200-crore bid. The bidding started at Rs 125 crores.
The three other bidders apart from DLF were Percept D'Mark, Hero Honda along with WSG and 21st Century even though the latter withdrew their bid as they wanted extra time to discuss the product category.

TV Rights:
Jan 14, 2008: In one of the biggest telecast deals in Indian cricket, the consortium of India's Sony Television network and the Singapore-based World Sports Group (WSG) bagged the rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the official Twenty20 league for a period of 10 years at a cost of over US$1 billion. As part of the deal, the consortium will pay the BCCI US$908 million for the telecast rights and US$108 million for the promotion of the tournament.

Rough calculations show that Sony will need to sell a 10 second commercial for upwards of 2 lakh rupees to make the deals profitable. Advertisers, Media Planners and Buyers are divided over the value of these commercials - especially after the bitter experience of last year's ODI World Cup. While Sony claims that advertisers are showing keen interest in this 'more than cricket' entertainment package, a few media planners are wary for other reasons. Says one, "These matches are all prime time matches. How many women will allow their husband’s fascination for cricket to take precedence over soaps for 59 straight days remains to be seen?"

(to be continued)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Racism row's innocent victims

Read this interesting story about the disappointment of five young cricket fans at the Bradman Oval.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I am no racist but Procter is a monkey

Last winter, when the cricket world was in the midst of another umpiring controversy, this blog had defended Mr. Darrell Hair - my stand was that in the process of indicting Hair, the ICC had violated one of the basic principles of modern democracies. The judiciary doesn't work like the legislature - on the principle of majority. A good judge dispassionately listens to witnesses, checks for evidences and motives only before pronouncing his sentence. Yesterday in Sydney, the ICC got it wrong yet again.
Handing out the Indian offie, Harbhajan Singh a 3 test ban for making a racist remark (he allegedly called Andrew Symonds a monkey), the ICC match referee Mike Procter said he was satisfied beyond doubt that the allegations made by the Australian cricketers was correct. And how exactly did he reach at this truth? The stump-mikes offered nothing, the umpires heard no such thing, out of the 4 Australian players who went along with Symonds for the hearing, 2 had heard nothing. Just that Ponting believed in the sincerity of his star all-rounder and decided to support him. Bhajji was supported by Tendulkar, Kumble and Dravid. They denied that their team-mate had made any such remark. So Procter, in the lack of any evidence went for the majority opinion! This team of people whose views was factored in included besides others the much maligned firm of Messers Bucknor and Benson!! Procter also added that he gave special importance to Michael Clarke's words. Now why would you that Mr. Neutral Refereee? Unless you have a thing for cute looking Aussie men or you are a racist yourself, Mr. Procter, I don't quite appreciate your modus operandi. And what was the Queen's Counsel, Nigel Peters doing all the while? He should surely have known a thing or two about the way legal systems work.