Posts Tagged ‘Pragyan Ojha’


IPL 6 FINAL

Finally Mumbai Indians win the IPL trophy, and with this the most star-studded team finally get a hold of the trophy that eluded them for the last 5 years. And with this Sachin Tendulkar gets hold of a probably the only trophy that was missing from his trophy cabinet.

Mumbai Indians have always been a heavy spender at the IPL auctions trying to get hold of players that could possibly win them the trophy. They had won the Champions League in 2011 but somehow IPL trophy has eluded them. This year around they made many strategic changes like appointing Anil Kumble as the mentor, John Wright as the chief coach, and Ricky Ponting as the captain. This gave the world the opportunity to watch Sachin and Ponting open the innings together, definitely a breath-taking sight.

Though Ricky Ponting in the playing eleven did not work for them, but the courageous step of dropping him from the playing eleven and appointing Rohit Sharma as the captain proved to be a master stroke. Though I do believe that Ponting would have played a huge role from the sidelines, of mentoring Sharma to take on the captaincy.

Also Mumbai was one of the strongest team in the IPL with a very strong bowling attack of Jhonson, Harbhajan, Malinga, and Ojha (and all the other youngsters that got a chance proved themselves). Again the batting was bolstered by Karthikh, Sharma, Pollard, and Smith in supreme form ably supported by Rayudu and Sachin when required. But what took the cake was their fielding. Ponting and Pollard were involved in some breath taking catches, and their ground fielding was also superb with the likes of Sharma, Rayudu and Smith diving around and why should it not have been when they were being mentored by none other than Jhonty Rhodes.

Finally Mumbai Indians lived up to the expectations of their fans and they created that magic by being unbeaten at their home venue (Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai).

B_Id_388796_mumbaindiansipl6

But to be honest I am not really sure if all the Mumbai Indian fans were excited by this victory, as soon after the victory, came the announcement that Sachin had retired from the IPL. Probably we might get to see him one last time in the Champions League donning the MI clothing. I don’t know if the IPL would remain the same from next year with the absence of Sachin. Also, I am not sure for myself, as my alliances have been with Mumbai Indians for all these six years and that has largely been due to Sachin’s presence in the team. Though maybe he still would be around next year in a mentor’s role but I am not sure if my alliances would still remain with the team.

Also, came the announcement from Rahul Dravid from IPL, unfortunately since he is out from international cricket, this year’s Champions League would probably be the last time we would get to see him play on the screen. Again, towards the end IPL was surrounded by this spot fixing controversy. I really don’t know, why would any player indulge in such an activity, as IPL already a very high paying league, and all this has done is brought dejection towards the league in the minds of the fans all over the world.

All I can hope is that IPL would remain the same as it has been over the past 6 years with or without legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, and amidst all the spot fixing haphazard that happened this year.

Rohit_Ojha_Harbhajan_Sachin_IPL_Trophy


miNow this is something the cricketing word would be looking forward to, seeing Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting bat together. Ohh, what a sight it is going to be. Hopefully, we would get to see this in this years’ IPL as Mumbai Indians have bought Ricky Ponting in this years’ auction. Though he has been bought at the base price (maybe because he has retired and also as he was not in a great form before his retirement). Mumbai are known for such partnerships as in the first two seasons, it was Sachin opening along with Sanath Jayasurya, another legend from the shorter form of the game (The top two ODI run getters of that time). And now it could be Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting opening together (The top two test run getters).

The other buys in this season for Mumbai Indians were, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and Jacob Oram. Well Jacob Oram is always a great buy because of his all-round capabilities, but I am not sure of Glenn Maxwell especially since he has been bought for a million dollars. Not sure whether he is worth that hefty amount especially when you are not sure whether he is going to make it to the playing eleven. Mumbai did not buy any Indian player this time (there were hardly in the auctions though), and again look a little weak on the Indian bench strength, but surely have the players that can take the team to the title.

The complete list of players is:
Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel, Amitoze Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Ambati Rayudu, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Aditya Tare, Pawan Suyal, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishi Dhawan, Jalaj Saxena, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Aiden Blizzard, James Franklin, Mitchell Johnson, Dwayne Smith, Ricky Ponting, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jacob Oram.

To be honest, the seven Indian players that would make it to the eleven would be:
Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh / Pragyan Ojha (As I don’t see both the spinners playing together), Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni / Abu Nechim Ahmed.
(On second thoughts there can be a high possibility of playing both Harbhajan and Ojha in the team and that would mean only 1 from Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim Ahmed and in that case it would be Munaf, provided he is fit, else it could be Dhawal). But this would impact the selection of the 4 foreign players to a large extent.

The four foreign players that would make it to the eleven should be:
Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, James Franklin / Mitchell Johnson / Jacob Oram, Ricky Ponting / Dwayne Smith
(To be honest, Pollard and Malinga undoubtedly make it to the eleven if fit. The other two slots would be depending on the requirement, whether they need two all-rounders, or 1 all-rounder and fast bowler, or all-rounder and a batsman, or a fast bowler and a batsman. Given that Johnson is primarily be a fast bowler but can also fill in the all-rounders spot. With the entry of Oram, Franklin’s selection looks difficult unless he used as an opening batsman.)

The most probable eleven looks like:
Opener – Sachin Tendulkar
Opener – James Franklin / Dwayne Smith
No. 3 – Ricky Ponting
No. 4 – Rohit Sharma
No. 5 – Dinesh Karthik
No. 6 – Ambati Rayudu
No. 7 – Kieron Pollard (Number 5, 6, and 7 can rotate depending on the match situation)
No. 8 – Harbhajan Singh
No. 9 – Lasith Malinga
No. 10 – Munaf Patel / Dhawal Kulkarni (Dhawal only in case Munaf is unfit)
No. 11 – Pragyan Ojha
12th Man – Mitchell Johnson
This gives them 4 bowlers (2 quick and 2 spinners) and 3 part timers in Pollard, Smith / Franklin, and Sharma. This looks like the team that would play in the eleven. But I somehow feel, with Munaf out of action for a long time, and Harbhajan not in great form off late, this looks like a weak bowling attack, with only Malinga the saving grace. Also in the batting, apart from Smith at the top and Pollard in the end they don’t have players can play big shots. All of Sachin, Ricky, Sharma, Karthik, Rayudu would be players who take time at the crease before playing big shots.

The other option could be play, Johnson instead of Smith / Franklin, which could look a good bowling attack, but that means a depleted batting. Especially in this case who would open with Sachin from Ponting, or Sharma, or Karthik, or the poor Rayudu (he has had to perform many different roles every season)? This would be surprising.

This is why I feel that they really don’t have big Indian names in the lineup, and the ones that they have are not really in great form. They have always tried to have a great foreign players bench strength, but that does not really matter as only 4 of them can play and of them Malinga and Pollard take the spots, leaving to a lot of choices for the remaining 4 spots.

Also, I have included Ponting in the playing eleven, because of his captaincy. With Sachin, having to take the captaincy again when Harbhjan stepped down, I think Ponting can be given the responsibility since Sachin too wasn’t very keen on captaincy.

Anyways all I can hope is that the team plays well, and wins its first title this year.

Ricky_Sachin


India script an emphatic win, a very thrilling one indeed. To be honest, if I look back at the situation India were in before the start of their second innings, this should have been a very comfortable win and not a thrilling one. In fact, because of the top order collapse India also were knocking at the doorstep of a loss, but Laxman and Ishant Sharma had different ideas. They from that situation scripted an unbelievable victory.

Talking from the start of the test match, India were on the back foot very early on the first day itself when they lost Ishant Sharma as a bowler due to a knee injury, but an amazing spell of reverse swing bowling by Zaheer Khan towards the end of the day got Indians back on track. So the first day ended on an equal note though one can say that the Indian team just had their noses a little ahead at that point of time.

One can say that the second day was also an equal day but this time Australia were a little ahead as they had a decent total on board and even though India had got off to the flying start they lost both their openers by the time the play ended that day. The third day again was in a similar situation where the match was evenly poised with Australia just a little ahead. The day initially was dominated by Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina scored fifties to lift the total. Sachin missed his 49th test hundred by two runs and India just fell short of Australian total by the day ended.

The fourth day was the one that had many twists, the first session belonged to Australians after they got of to a flying start, and it looked as if the test match will end in a boring draw unless the Australians want to back themselves by declaring and then press for a victory. The second session saw the opposite and India bounced back very hard to dismiss the Australian side for a low total of 192 and set themselves a target of 216 to achieve in four sessions. By then it looked as if now it should be a comfortable victory India, but then Australian bowlers struck and India were 55 for the loss of 4 wickets by the end of the day, and it looked an uphill task for India to achieve since it had lost its top four batsmen and there were doubts if Laxman could bat. That meant it was left only on Sachin and Dhoni to look at for a victory.

When the day 5 started everyone knew Sachin was the key to Indian success, though in my heart I believed if Laxman could just stay in the middle India would win, because just a month back India were in a similar situation against Sri Lanka when these two batsmen won it for the team. The day started and India moved ahead steadily before Zaheer Khan was dismissed as the fifth wicket and then Laxman walked in to bat. Suddenly the Indian team picked up the momentum and the pair added 40 odd runs in no time before Sacin was dismissed. This led to a type of collapse and when Harbhajan got out the score read 122 for 8, with India needing 94 to win. Then walked in Ishant Sharma to join Laxman in the middle. The task looked impossible to achieve but the kind of determination showed by the two batsmen especially Ishant was extraordinary. Sharma scored 31 invaluable runs and they crossed the 200 hundred mark and then Ishant Sharma was dismissed to a bad decision with India still needing 11 rums more to win. Then Laxman played sensibly trying to score the remaining runs. Ojha got saved on an LBW shout that looked out and that ball went for an overthrow for 4 runs making India requiring just 2 to win. The victory was sealed the very next ball, when the ball was deflected by the pad of Ojha and it moved towards the boundary and in the meanwhile the batsman ran the required two runs.

Laxman played a miraculous innings scoring 73, but one must also praise the performance of Sharma who held his nerve and equally supported Laxman to achieve the impossible.

This must have been a heart break for the Australian team as they almost were ahead in the test match almost till the end but still lost thanks to a spectacular partnership. In the end I would like to congratulate India for a great victory. Now with this it is sure that India will not lose the series (something they haven’t for more than a year now, in fact almost 2 years). And also India has proved why it is ranked the number 1 test team in the world.


India win the third test match and level the series 1 all. There were many questions raised about the no.1 position of the team, especially after the loss in the first test. But India has managed to silent the critics. And they will stay at the top of the ICC test rankings for some more time. Well again India has not lost a test series. As I had written earlier that it has been a very similar story for sometime where India do not start well in the series and then go on to improve as the series progresses. In this test series also India lost the first, drew the second and won the third. Had they managed to draw the first (especially as more than a day was washed out) they would have won the series. But never the less eventually India has managed to draw the series, and with this India has not lost a test series for some time, more than a year (definitely since MS Dhoni has become the captain). I guess that is the one of the main reasons why India is at the top of the list.

This series has not been very easy for the Indians; first of all they were going into the series without their strike bowler, Zaheer Khan. And then before the start of the series, Sreesanth was ruled out which was a big dent in the bowling department, and had become over dependent on Harbhajan Singh especially seeing the form of Ishant Sharma. And then Harbhajan Singh failed to deliver. In the first test match despite more than a day being rained out, India lost the match. The bowlers failed to pick up wickets and the batsman just could not manage to live up the reputation. Overall it was a very much forgetful match for India, but not for Sri Lanka, as with it being the last match of Muralidharan, he also ended up with the magical 800 wickets figure and also the team ended up winning the match.

The second match was again a disappointment, not for the teams but for the game of cricket. It ended as a very boring match were batsman enjoyed, and broke a lot of records. The Indian batting lifted their level in that match but the bowling was disappointing again. Many including me were asking questions if the bowlers in the world number 1 team were capable of picking up 20 wickets in a test match. But that test match will be remembered for Sachin to reach his fifth test hundred. After this I did feel that India might not go back losing the series 2-0, but I also felt that levelling the series would have been very difficult especially after seeing the bowling attack.

Sachin has been, top scoring for India in the series

The third match was special for India as with this match Sachin would become the most capped test player ever. I must say what a record and what a journey he has had so far. But before the start of the test match Indian bowling department was again dented with the loss of Harbhajan Singh. Though after seeing the test match I think it worked in India’s favour as his replacement Amit Mishra not only picked 4 wickets but also scored very important runs down the order. Again India did not start well on the first day were India failed to pick up the wickets but they did come back on second day to dismiss Sri Lanka for just above 400 (though it would have been a very good total if India would have lost early wickets). India started off well with Sehwag and Sachin contributing well. Sehwag again played an outstanding innings. Laxman also contributed his bit for the team, and the new test find Raina again played well proving his selection in the team over Yuvraj. But the most important innings came from the bowlers Mithun and Mishra, both scoring 40s managed help the team cross the Sri Lankan total, and the Sehwag struck twice with the ball putting India a little ahead.

Virender Sehwag, player of the tournament

On the fourth day the bowlers particularly Ojha surprised everyone in the world (I guess that would include the team and yes himself also) by bowling a great spell and picking up three key wickets. And at one time the Sri Lankan team was 87 for 7 wickets. It never looked as if it was an Indian team bowling. I guess the team went into that day to prove the world why they are number 1 in test matches. But then again Indian team had to face the reality and Sri Lankan ended up scoring 267 giving India a target of 257. Then India lost three wickets for less than 50 on the board and again the match had shifted towards the Sri Lankan side. But I believe Sachin came on the field on the final day with a mission. And he was later joined by Laxman, to prove a point to the world. They both played well and laid the foundation for a great win. Sachin scored a good 50; while Laxman went on to score his 16th hundred. And finally the winning runs were scored by the new test team find Raina who again played a fine knock.

Laxman after scoring his hundred

In this series Sachin topped the batting charts scoring 390 runs, while Sehwag was next in line scoring 348 runs. In the bowling Ojha topped the chart picking up 8 wickets and the next in line was Sehwag with 7 wickets. Well I must say this series quite belonged to Sehwag as he contributed very well with both the bat and ball. Also Ojha bowled extremely well in the final match as his figures read 1 wicket for 311 runs before the start of the final match, while in the last match he ended with figures 7 wickets for 204 runs. I must say it has been the bowlers especially the spinners (Ojha, Mishra, and Sehwag) who have won the match for the team as they picked up 15 wickets between them which included 9 in the second innings. This is really a commendable effort if one sees that this bowling attack did have the names of Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.

Pragyan Ojha, the highest wicket taker in the series for India

All what I can say at the end is that the bowlers really lifted their level and it could not have been a better gift than a win for Sachin who was playing his record test match. With this India have managed to maintain their no.1 rankings in test matches. Also for Sri Lanka it has been a good series as now they become third in the rankings, replacing Australia in the list.

In the end I would congratulate India for a great win, and now as the focus shifts to the tri-series tournament, I would wish India all the best for the series up ahead.

Suresh Raina, the find of the series


India I can say have been a little lucky to maintain their no.1 test ranking because of the ICC ranking rules. Earlier it was being speculated that 2-0 series loss will see India drop down the list and with the wins Sri Lanka would replace India at the top. But that is not going to happen anymore. Because a sought of ICC cut off date (1st August) comes between the series. 

The rankings are calculated for a period of four years from 1st August. All the points get changed after this date. For example, now the points will be calculated from 1st August 2007 to 31st July 2011. So since Sri Lanka had won five tests and lost one test from August 06 to July 07, those points have been ceased. Similarly, India had won two and lost two in that period, and that has benefited the team. Their points have in fact increased from 124 to 130 despite losing the first test. And now they are 11 points away from the second placed South Africa. This change in points has seen Sri Lanka drop to no.5. After the Pakistan-Australia series they had climbed to no.3 position as Australia had dropped to no.4. Now after this change Australia are back at no.3.

Now due these change in points the result of the final test will not affect the position of India at the top. But it will definitely reduce the difference in the points. Yes this true, even India win the last test and level the series they lose 3 points and will end up at 127 points, such is the irony of the ranking system. This change has also helped India in the ODI format as well, as after the change they are back at the second place again.

Well now talking about the series so far. The Indian team’s performance has been disappointing so far. In the first game they were completely outplayed. They could manage to even the test match, something that one does not expect from the no.1 team in the world especially after almost one and a half day was washed out in the rain. The bowlers had a disappointing start, and then they could not wipe out the tail early, The Sri Lankans stitched a record partnership for the eight wicket, and I think that partnership was the primary cause of Indian defeat.

The bowlers have been very disappointing in the series so far. Though one may say it is a depleted bowling attack, I do not agree to it, they only have Zaheer Khan out of the side, the other three bowlers are regular members of the playing eleven. And they have only managed to 15 wickets in the two test matches, leave aside a talk of picking up the 20 wickets in a match. Yes one can give the benefit of the doubt that the second test pitch was not good for bowling, but still I feel the no.1 test team should not give any excuses. The fast bowlers have still been good in patches, the spinners have been disappointing as they have managed only six wickets in the two test matches, and too three of them have been taken by Virender Sehwag. Harbhajan Singh has taken two wickets for 304 runs so far, while Pragyan Ojha has just managed 1 wicket at the cost of 311 runs. Something that is not expected at all specially on the sub continent wicket. The performance of Harbhajan Singh has really been disappointing since he is been regarded as a prospect to break Muralidharan’s record.

The batting department has been okay; they were decent in the first match but still could not avoid the defeat. They all played well in patches, Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman, Yuvraj and Dhoni. Both Gambhir and Dravid were disappointing. Though the batting department came very good in the second match specially Sehwag, Sachin, Raina, Dhoni, and Murali Vijay. Dravid was again disappointing in the match. Though I feel that he is due for a big one and will come good in the final test match.

If I talk about the overall team performance then it has not been good, but the team has shown very similar performance in the past year and are still no.1 in the world. What I mean to say that they have faltered in the first match of the series regularly for more than a year now, have always managed to back strong in the rest of the series. It looks like a very similar situation so definitely I will count on India winning the last test especially after playing well in the second match.

In the end I want to wish India best of luck for the last test, and also hope that they will manage to maintain their position at the top for a long time to come.

The ICC standings as of  30th July 2010 after the change in points.

ICC Test Rankings

    Team            Points
1.  India                   130
2.  South Africa         119
3.  Australia             113
4.  England               111
5.  Sri Lanka             111
6.  Pakistan               84
7.  West Indies           79
8.  New Zealand        78
9.  Bangladesh           7

 ICC ODI Rankings

     Team            Points
1.  Australia              132
2.  India                    118
3.  South Africa          115
4.  New Zealand        114
5.  England               113
6.  Sri Lanka             111
7.  Pakistan               98
8.  West Indies            67
9.  Bangladesh           53
10.Zimbabwe            36
11. Ireland                35
12. Netherlands        32
13. Kenya                   0


India again lose in a tri-nation tournament. Well this is not something new for the team, in fact I had written a post on it earlier as well when the team lost a tri-series. Something that is different this time is that Indian team were the favourites to win the tournament, and they could not qualify even fo the finals. This is more shocking when you see that Zimbabwe was the third team. It gets even worse because India lost both its matches with Zimbabwe.

Yes I can agree with the fact that seeing this series, the selectors thought of resting it’s major players, and sent in a second string team. This team was very inexperienced, and so one can say that it was tough for them. But with Zimbabwe as a team and then even Sri Lanka were not full strength, loosing like this is not exceptable. Specially seeing that they lost both their matches to Zimbabwe, and in fact in one of them they even gave away the bonus point.

The team that was sent only had Suresh Raina as the player who is a permanent playing XI player. Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthikh, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan are more or less injury replacement players. A lot was expected from them. As most of the others were new on the scene. Rohit Sharma played two good knocks but they were not sufficient. Jadeja also contributed well, specially after his pathetic performance in the T20 world cup. A lot was expected form Karthikh, Raina (the captain), and of course Yusuf Pathan. But they all could not contribute substantially. The bowling was weak, as almost everyone was a new face. Three fast bowlers and a spinner made a debut in the series, This itself speaks about the lack of experience in the bowling department. And with this the batting also failed, making the team face such a result. Overall six players made debut in the series, this really shows the lack of experience in the team. Virat Kohli was named the vice captain for the series, he had hardly played 25 matches before the series.

I am not sure what the selectors have to say on this. Were they over confident in regard with this series? Well I am not sure, as giving rest to the senior players is a good decision, but you really cannot give rest to top 10 players of your playing 11. I think this is ridiculuos. With this they not only lose the series, but might have to fall down in the ICC rankings as well, because they lost matches to teams ranked much below them.

Anyways what has happened cannot be got back. Even we cannot say that the players should be sacked from the side for their poor performance as most of them will be dropped to get back the main players who were rested for the series.

If we take out the positives from the series, then they definitely have got to be Rohit Sharma and Pragyan Ojha. Ojha really bowled well throughout the series. Sharma got back to back hundreds, and finally proved that he is not just an IPL player.

In the end I will wish the team (the team with the best playing 11) all the very best for the future tournaments.