Posts Tagged ‘Rahul Dravid’


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).

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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

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Rahul Dravid turns 40 today!

Posted: January 11, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in Cricket, India
Tags: , , , , ,

Rahul Dravid turns 40 today, and here I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy birthday and also thank him for all the glorious days of cricket I got to witness when he played for India, whether be it in tests or in ODIs. Although he was always branded as a test player, his cotribution to ODI cricket has not been any less.

With whatever has happened in the test series against England at home last month, all I can say is I really missed him on the field. I really felt we needed him on the field especially since the tracks in Mumbai, Kolkata, and in Nagpur suited his style of batting more than that of the stylish strokeplayers we have in the current side. He definitely would have been an asset (as he has been throughout his career), in that series despite his growing age.

Also, it is unfortunate that he announced his retirement 10 months back as  had he been playing today, he could have mastered another record of becoming the seventh Indian player to play test cricket in his 40s, and the first to do it after since 196o. Unfortunately the record would have to wait for some more time.

Anyways, I would want to wish him a very happy birthday again, and I hope to see him, again with the Indian team (maybe as a coach) sometime soon.


It is time now for VVS Laxman to step down and way for the youngsters who have been trying to get a chance to make it to the playing XI in the test matches. This retirement has come 5 months after Rahul Dravid announced his retirement. I believe this is what the media pressure can do to you, by making you take such a strong step. To be honest 5 months back I was really shocked on hearing Dravid’s retirement, as at that time I was probably expecting Laxman to take that step as media was more harsh on him after the failures in England and Australia. But after Dravid exiting the show no one would have expected Laxman to retire too. In fact now with Dravid gone, everyone was expecting Tendulkar and Laxman to help the youngsters like Raina, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and mentor them to help them perform consistently at the top level. So now this news of his retirement is a shock to the complete nation and not just me. This shock only increases as Laxman was not dropped from the side, and was selected for the upcoming New Zealand series. And his sudden announcement will surely make many people vary to know why this actually happened. To be honest I would have loved to watch Laxman to play one last time at least and why just him, even Dravid, as given that they really are legends of Indian cricket they definitely deserved a better farewell. All I can say, is that this loss will have to bared entirely by Indian cricket. As now on 23rd when the Indian team walks out onto the field, they will do so without the services of Laxman and Dravid (not just the two of the finest batsman India has had in recent times but also the two highest catch takers in the history of Indian cricket).

Here is the complete article covering his retirement from the ESPNcricinfo site:

VVS Laxman has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, ending a 16-year career that will be remembered for several innings of extreme grace under extreme pressure. Laxman, 37, had been included in India’s squad for the home series against New Zealand starting next week but said he took the decision over the past few days.

He announced his decision at an emotional press conference in his hometown Hyderabad, which he will represent in the Ranji Trophy this coming season.

“I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect,” Laxman said. “I have always kept my country’s success and need ahead of my personal aspirations. And while I would love contributing to the team’s success, especially against England and Australia, I think this is the right time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments coming up next year.” The chance he said, could be, “no better than against an inexperienced New Zealand bowling attack.”

Dressed in a sharp, formal suit, Laxman made his announcement in a conference room at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Uppal to the north east of his home city, Hyderabad. Several members of family, including his parents, wife and two children, were present at the function. Shortly into his speech the lights of the conference room went out, and Laxman grinned, an otherwise sombre occasion turning informal.

He admitted that this sudden retirement had been “a tough decision to take,” adding, “I have always listened to my inner conscience. I have always done that right through my career. There was a lot of debate in the last four days. I felt this is the right time to move on.”

The decision to quit had been arrived at only on Saturday morning after Laxman admitted he had toyed over the idea over the last few days. “Till last night I was unable to make up my mind, but in the end I listened to my inner voice and arrived at my decision to retire. I informed the chairman of selectors (Krishnamachari Srikkanth) this morning that I would not continue playing for India. I also spoke to many of my team-mates, they were surprised that I was retiring before the series. It was all very emotional.”

Laxman read out a prepared statement in which he thanked everyone who had been part “of my journey” in which he said he had been able to “live his dream” and felt “blessed that I had got the opportunity. Very few get the opportunity to play for their country.” His voice shook only briefly in the early part of his statement and his wife Sailaja was seen wiping away tears. Laxman gathered himself, finished his statement and took questions about quitting only five days before the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad. He said that while his family had waned him to play in the Hyderabad Test but he had made up his mind in what had been the “toughest three or four days of my career.”

In a touch of the dramatic after he had read out his prepared statement, the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) G Vinod appealed to Laxman to change his mind about retirement and agree to play in the Hyderabad Test versus New Zealand next week. In response, Laxman only smiled.

He did admit however that until a few weeks ago, he had not thought about quitting the game before the Test series versus New Zealand. It was the “internal debate” over the last few days that led to this decision. It was not however, made in haste or with regret. “I have always read and listened to a lot of sportspersons who have excelled in their careers and they have all said that at the end of their career, there will suddenly be a feeling, a thought within you that a day has come that you have to leave the sport and move on. It is what I have experienced in the last four or five days… I feel really satisfied that I have left the game with the same ideals that I have played the game.”

When asked whether his decision to retire had come about largely due to adverse criticism following two poor series in England and Australia, Laxman said, “Those comments have definitely not allowed (sic) me to make the decision.” The Australia series he said was, “very disappointing. No cricketer would want to lose in such a fashion.”

Responding to being criticised, Laxman said, “Right from the start of my career there have been a lot of people who wrote negative about me and there have been more people who have been well wishers and talked positive about me. In a country like India, where cricket is more like a religion than a sport, if you try to satisfy each and every one, it’s next to impossible.”

Laxman represented India in 134 Tests, scoring 8781 runs at 45.97. He made his debut against South Africa in the home series in 1996 but shot to the limelight with a knock of 167 against Australia in Sydney in 2000. Perhaps his greatest achievement was his 281 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001, against Australia, then the highest score by an Indian batsman in Tests. Part of a record stand with Rahul Dravid, it set up a stunning victory for the home team after following on and ended Australia’s consecutive 16-match winning streak.

Laxman last played an ODI in 2006 but had, by then, become a regular in the Test side and played his 100th Test in 2008, against Australia in Nagpur. Laxman made six of his 17 Test centuries against Australia, with an average of 49.67 in 29 Tests and success both home and away.

His performances in the eight Tests during India’s disastrous tours of England and Australia in 2011 were disappointing. He averaged 22.75 in England and 19.38 in Australia, prompting some to call for him being dropped from the side with a long-term view of grooming a youngster to take his place.

 


Well this analysis was published on the ESPNCricinfo site immediately after Rahul dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic cricket on Friday 9th March, 2012. So surely this analysis is not done by me, and also since it comes from cricinfo it can be taken to be very much accurate, legitimate, and correct.

This article was published under the heading: India’s overseas hero, and much more, with definitely sums up Dravid’s career correctly.

Here is the complete article:

Rahul Dravid scored more runs in India’s overseas wins than any other batsman, and his contributions go beyond his aggregate and hundreds.

The stat that perhaps best sums up Rahul Dravid is not the runs he made or the the hundreds he notched up, but the number of balls he consumed over a Test career that spanned fifteen-and-a-half years. In 286 Test innings, Dravid played 31,258 balls. Given that no other batsman has faced more than 29,000 deliveries, it puts into perspective the amount of hard work and sheer effort that went into scoring those 13,288 runs. There were other batsmen who had more natural talent, and were more elegant, aggressive, and exciting to watch. In terms of dedication to craft and working on achieving perfection, though, Dravid ranks second to none. That dedication fetched him just rewards, ensuring he scored runs in every country he played in, and finished his Test career as the second-highest run-getter, next only to Sachin Tendulkar.

From the time he scored 95 in his first Test innings against England at Lord’s, it was clear he was an exceptional batting talent, but even so, not many would have envisaged a career that spanned 164 Test matches and 344 one-day internationals. His maiden Test century, a sparkling 148 against a tough South African attack in Johannesburg, further confirmed his class, and from there it has been a journey of several highs, interspersed with – as every career must have – its share of lows.

For most of his career, consistency was one of Dravid’s fortes. For instance, of the first ten series that he played in (excluding one-off Tests), he averaged more than 40 in seven of them. His best phase, though, was the four-year period from the middle of 2002 to 2006, a stunning spell when he scored heavily pretty much everywhere he went: in 16 series during this period, 13 times he averaged more than 49, and nine times over 75. More importantly, he scored those runs in tough batting conditions, and in overseas Tests that led to wins abroad, a phenomenon that till then had been pretty rare in Indian cricket. During this period, his overseas average was an exceptional 77.07.

A slump followed, almost inevitably, from the middle of 2006 to 2008, when he struggled in South Africa, England, Australia and Sri Lanka. There was talk, inevitably again, that Dravid should quit Tests, but in his last three years he came out of that slump pretty well. He was among the runs in New Zealand, West Indies, and – in what must rank as arguably his best series, given the lack of batting support – in England in 2011, when he fought the England pace attack almost singlehandedly, scoring 461 runs at 76.83. His last series was admittedly a huge disappointment, but despite that he averaged more than 52 in his last 33 Tests.

Rahul Dravid’s Test career

Period

Tests

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Home ave

Away ave

Till Mar 31, 2002

55

4329

50.92

9/ 24

48.91

53.20

Apr 2002 – Jul 2006

49

4720

68.40

14/ 22

55.71

77.07

Aug 2006 – Dec 2008

27

1460

31.06

3/ 7

31.60

30.66

Jan 2009 onwards

33

2779

52.43

10/ 10

75.31

42.54

Career

164

13,288

52.31

36/ 63

51.35

53.03

At home overseas
As mentioned above, perhaps the most significant aspect of Dravid’s Test career was that the runs he scored contributed significantly to India’s wins, mainly overseas. Overall, Dravid scored 5131 runs in Test wins, next only to Tendulkar’s 5594. However, in overseas Test wins, he was often India’s main man, even more than Tendulkar. India won 15 Tests abroad during Dravid’s career (excluding matches in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe), and in those games he scored 1577 runs at 65.70 – both aggregate and average is higher than Tendulkar’s.

Quite fittingly, Dravid was Man of the Match in the last overseas Test win that India achieved during his career – his second-innings 112 and match tally of 152 were largely instrumental in India winning a low-scoring game in Kingston by 63 runs. In all, eight of his 11 Man-of-the-Match awards came in overseas Tests, and five in overseas wins, including unforgettable performances at Headingley (2002), Adelaide (2003), Rawalpindi (2004) and Kingston (2006). Tendulkar won only five out of his 14 Man-of-the-Match awards overseas, and only one in a win (excluding Bangladesh). In fact, no Indian has won as many match awards overseas as Dravid has. (Remember, though, that this award wasn’t always around during the days of some of India’s earlier players.)

As well as helping India win overseas, Dravid also scored mountains of runs in draws overseas, averaging more than 75 in those matches, with ten centuries in 32 Tests. Two of those hundreds were in the drawn game in Hamilton in 1999, one of two times he scored a century in each innings of a Test. In fact, he is one of only three Indians to achieve this feat – Sunil Gavaskar and Vijay Hazare are the others.

Indian batsmen in overseas* Tests, in wins and draws

Batsman

Won Tests

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Drawn Tests

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Rahul Dravid

15

1577

65.70

4/ 7

32

3083

75.19

10/ 17

Sachin Tendulkar

13

1219

60.95

5/ 3

42

3484

71.10

11/ 18

VVS Laxman

14

1111

52.90

2/ 8

26

1931

58.51

4/ 14

Virender Sehwag

11

965

56.76

3/ 1

15

1386

57.75

4/ 4

Sunil Gavaskar

9

756

50.40

3/ 3

30

2697

64.21

9/ 12

Sourav Ganguly

9

617

51.41

1/ 5

21

1601

59.29

5/ 8

Gundappa Viswanath

6

533

53.30

2/ 3

19

1040

40.00

2/ 8

* Excluding Tests in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe

No. 1 at No. 3
India didn’t always have the luxury of solid opening pairs through his career, which made Dravid’s presence at No. 3 all the more important. He is the only batsman at the moment to have scored more than 10,000 runs at that position, and he did it at a superb average too, scoring close to 53 runs per dismissal. At No. 3, though, his home record was better – he averaged 54.81 in India, and 51.35 abroad. In overseas Tests excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, his average at No. 3 fell marginally below 50, to 48.75.

Highest run-getters at No. 3 in Tests

Batsman

Innings

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Rahul Dravid

219

10,524

52.88

28/ 50

Ricky Ponting

196

9904

56.27

32/ 43

Kumar Sangakkara

158

8702

58.79

27/ 36

Don Bradman

56

5078

103.63

20/ 10

Richie Richardson

107

4711

47.11

14/ 21

Rohan Kanhai

90

4689

52.68

13/ 20

David Boon

111

4412

45.58

13/ 20

Ian Chappell

91

4279

50.94

13/ 22

Dravid’s stats at No. 3 sorted by the score at which he came in to bat present some interesting numbers. He averaged only 38 when the first wicket fell with ten runs or fewer on the board, but on the 18 occasions when the first wicket fell at zero, he averaged 51.94, with three centuries and as many fifties. In fact, his highest Test score, 270, came when he came out to bat second ball, after Virender Sehwag had fallen to Shoaib Akhtar off the first ball of the innings in Rawalpindi. He also had plenty of success when he came in to bat fairly early, with the score between 11 and 20. The 148 at Headingley in 2002 came after the first wicket fell for 15, while the 217 that followed in the next Test, at The Oval, was scored after the first wicket fell at 18.

He obviously relished coming in to bat after the openers had given the team a solid start. On the 66 occasions when they added more than 50, Dravid averaged 62.41. Among his key knocks in such situations was the 233 in Adelaide in 2003 – that match-winning effort came after the openers had added 66.

Dravid at No. 3 by point-of-entry scores

Point of entry

Innings

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

10 or below

66

2322

38.07

4/ 12

11 to 20

45

2482

60.54

7/ 9

21 to 50

42

1913

53.14

4/ 11

51 and above

66

3807

62.41

13/ 18

Staying through partnerships
Dravid’s ability to spend long periods at the crease meant bowlers had to invariably work hard to get his wicket. On an average, he played 123 balls per dismissal, which works out to 20.3 overs. Since the year of his debut, the only batsman who has faced 10,000-plus deliveries and has a higher rate of balls per dismissal is Jacques Kallis, who averages 125.55 balls per dismissal. They’re the only two batsmen with a balls-per-dismissal figure of more than 120. Further down the table below, Tendulkar and Kumar Sangakkara have similar numbers: both have higher averages than Dravid, but their higher scoring rates also mean they don’t play as many deliveries per dismissal.

Highest balls per dismissal in Tests since Jan 1996 (Qual: 10,000 balls faced)

Batsman

Innings

Not outs

Balls faced

Average

Strike rate

Balls per dismissal

Jacques Kallis

253

39

26,867

57.28

45.62

125.55

Rahul Dravid

286

32

31,258

52.31

42.51

123.06

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

221

33

21,365

48.79

42.93

113.64

Thilan Samaraweera

114

20

10,497

53.42

47.84

111.67

Steve Waugh

137

21

12,705

53.06

48.45

109.53

Gary Kirsten

143

14

13,841

47.19

43.98

107.29

Sachin Tendulkar

256

25

23,781

56.22

54.61

102.95

Kumar Sangakkara

179

12

17,191

55.97

54.37

102.94

Dravid’s ability to spend long periods at the crease obviously meant his contribution to the team was much more than just the runs he scored. His solidity at the top of the order allowed the other, more extravagant, strokeplayers in the Indian team to express themselves freely, knowing that Dravid would hold his end up for long periods without losing concentration.

The table below shows that when Dravid was at the crease, the team scored 32,039 runs (60 of those runs were in the Test between Australia and the ICC World XI, so 31,979 runs were scored by the Indian team). Given that the entire Indian team scored 89,668 runs, it means 35.6% of the total runs that India made in Tests involving Dravid were scored with him at the crease. The corresponding percentage for Tendulkar is 29.9, and 32.6 for Kallis. Dravid is also the only batsman to be involved in more than 700 partnerships; in fact, no other batsman has even touched 650 so far.

Every time Dravid walked out to bat, he was involved in, on an average, 2.58 partnerships. Among batsmen who’ve played at least 100 innings, only Shivnarine Chanderpaul has a higher partnerships-per-innings number (2.66). So, while Dravid scored heaps of runs himself, his batting style also meant many more runs were being scored from the other end while he was around, all of which helped the team’s cause.

Partnership runs for batsmen with 10,000-plus Test runs

Batsman

Partnerships

P’ship runs

100/ 50 stands

Batsman runs

Percentage

Rahul Dravid

738

32,039

88/ 126

13,288

41.47

Sachin Tendulkar

646

30,278

85/ 121

15,470

51.09

Ricky Ponting

496

26,703

85/ 110

13,200

49.43

Jacques Kallis

578

26,107

64/ 119

12,260

46.96

Allan Border

617

24,500

63/ 104

11,174

45.61

S Waugh

590

23,457

64/ 87

10,927

46.58

Brian Lara

508

21,495

62/ 84

11,953

55.61

Sunil Gavaskar

519

21,080

58/ 85

10,122

48.02

Mahela Jayawardene

420

20,635

63/ 78

10,086

48.88

Dravid has also been involved in more century stands than any other batsman: he finishes at 88, with two other current players about whom there has been plenty of retirement talk – Tendulkar and Ponting – on 85 each. Dravid is also the only batsman to have ten or more century stands with four others. And with Tendulkar, Dravid scored more partnership runs and century stands than any other pair, including openers: 6920 runs in 143 partnerships at 50.51, with 20 century stands.

Batsmen involved in most 100-plus stands in Tests

Batsman

Century stands

Partners with 10+ century stands

Rahul Dravid

88

Tendulkar (20), Laxman (12), Sehwag (10), Ganguly(10)

Ricky Ponting

85

Hayden (16), Langer (14)

Sachin Tendulkar

85

Dravid (20), Ganguly (12)

Jacques Kallis

64

de Villiers (12)

Steve Waugh

64

Allan Border

63

Mahela Jayawardene

63

Sangakkara (14), Samaraweera (10)

Brian Lara

62

Sarwan (12)

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

60

Sunil Gavaskar

58

Chauhan (11), Vengsarkar (10), M Amarnath (10)

Beyond the batsman
And if all those achievements as a batsman are not enough, Dravid was captain of the Indian Test team for 25 Tests, a period during which the team had an 8-6 win-loss record, and won series in West Indies and England. Among Indian captains who led in 20 or more Tests, only MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly have a better win-loss ratio.

Indian captains with best win-loss ratio (Qual: 20 Tests)

Captain

Tests

Win/Loss

Draw

W/L ratio

MS Dhoni

37

17/ 10

10

1.70

Sourav Ganguly

49

21/ 13

15

1.61

Rahul Dravid

25

8/ 6

11

1.33

Sunil Gavaskar

47

9/ 8

30

1.12

Mohammad Azharuddin

47

14/ 14

19

1.00

And on the field, he snaffled a record 210 catches, mostly in the slips. That was another aspect of the game where his immense powers of concentration stood him in good stead.

There’s plenty to like about Rahul Dravid’s Test career. The one aspect that’s disappointing, though, is his record against Australia and South Africa, arguably the two best bowling sides during his playing period. His poor final series in Australia meant his overall average against them dipped below 40 (38.67), while against South Africa he averaged only 33.83. Thus, in 54 Tests against those two teams, he averaged 36.75 with only four hundreds; in 27 Tests in those two countries, he averaged 36.53, with only two centuries. He never scored another Test hundred in South Africa after that 148 in Johannesburg in 1996-97, while the 233 in Adelaide remained his only Test hundred in Australia. Those, though, are minor blips in a career that largely stayed at an exceptionally high level through more than 15 years.


In just my previous post, I had written about Dravid’s career reaching towards its end. But I did not know that it will end so soon. Today Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic cricket. Surely that is a big step taken, unfortunately this is what media pressure can do to you. But the loss will have to bared entirely by the team and his fans. Unfortunately, we will never see him play for India again. However, he will play in IPL this year, but surely the Great Indian Wall will be missed on the field.

Here is the complete article covering his retirement from the ESPNcricinfo site:

Rahul Dravid announincing his retirement

Rahul Dravid’s retirement from international cricket was announced at his home ground, the Chinnaswamy Stadium, in a function room filled with more than 200 people. Family, team-mates, friends, KSCA members, officials and journalists had gathered – as did fans watching a live broadcast on national television – to mark the end of a remarkable career and a “reassuring presence” in the Indian team. Dravid, the second-highest run-getter in the history of Test cricket, possibly the last of India’s classical Test batsmen, was a cricketer who successfully straddled the old school with the new age, becoming a pivotal figure in the growth of India’s Test team in the 21st century.

The press conference began on schedule and, within three-quarters of an hour, Dravid left the room and international cricket as he had walked in. Swift, smooth, business-like, and, on Friday, to the sound-and-light burst of camera flashbulbs. The significance of Friday’s announcement will be understood only six months down the line, when India play Test cricket for the first time in 16 years without the most reliable one-drop in their history.

The decision to retire was not sudden, he said; the period of contemplation had lasted over a year as he assessed his game series after series. The disappointment of the Australia tour had not given him any ‘eureka’ moment around his decision to leave the game. “I didn’t take the decision based on one series… these decisions are based on a lot of other things, it’s the culmination of a lot of things. I don’t think it’s based on what happened in the last series. For each one it comes differently, for me it’s come with a bit of contemplation, a bit of thought, with friends and family.”

On his return from Australia, Dravid spent a month, taking out the “emotion” from the overall result in order to “look at things dispassionately,” he said. At the end he said, “I came to this decision and when I came to it, I was very clear in my mind.” It had, he said, been easy as it was difficult, that he had known “deep down in his heart” that it was time for the “next generation of the young Indian cricketer” to take over.

It was tough to leave “the life I have lived for 16 years and, before that, five years of first class cricket. It [cricket] is all I have known all my grown life … it wasn’t a difficult decision for me because I just knew in my heart that the time was right, and I was very happy and comfortable in what I had achieved and what I had done. You just know deep down that it is time to move on and let the next generation take over.”

Dravid entered the function room straight into a scrum of photographers, looking almost apologetic at having caused such a fuss. He was dressed in his India blazer and seated on the podium next to BCCI president N Srinivasan and his former team-mate, captain and now KSCA president, Anil Kumble. The walls around him were lined with portraits of Karnataka’s Test players, in the front row of the audience were members of his family, team-mates and the cricket community of the city.

He began by reading out his statement, his voice steady as he listed the people who’d played a part in every stage of his career – coaches, selectors, trainers, physios, officials, team-mates, family, even the media. He ended with the Indian cricket fan. “The game is lucky to have you and I have been lucky to play before you… My approach to cricket has been reasonably simple: it was about giving everything to the team, it was about playing with dignity and it was about upholding the spirit of the game. I hope I have done some of that. I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying. It is why I leave with sadness but also with pride.”

With the statement ended and applause breaking out, Dravid looked at his wife in the first row. There was both relief and calm on his face and something other than television lights reflecting in his eyes. After the contemplation and the deliberation, the conversations with people he trusted, it was over.

Dravid became the first of India’s senior-most cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman being the others – to quit the game after a season of speculation surrounding their future. His decision follows a poor tour of Australia but he enjoyed a prolific run through 2011, scoring five centuries – including four in the Caribbean and England. However, he is set to captain Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming IPL season.

The biggest surprise of the afternoon, however – far more unexpected than even the finality of Dravid’s retirement – was to follow. It came from BCCI president N Srinivasan: a man famous for an undemonstrative, glacial public face made an emotional and heartfelt speech. He spoke extempore of an “irreplaceable” cricketer, his voice wavering more than once. Srinivasan recalled having watched Dravid “grow from the days he played club cricket in Chennai, from the Ranji Trophy days … to the time he captained India”. Dravid, he said, was an “ambassador for the sport, for the Indian team and for India”.

“None of us really want to see such great players go away, we like to think they are permanent,” Srinivasan said. “I think that deciding when to retire is possibly the hardest decision Rahul has ever faced. It is not easy to say adieu…”

Kumble called Dravid one of Karnataka’s “finest cricketing sons” and spoke of his “reassuring presence” for India in the dressing room and on the field. It was Kumble who got Dravid to eventually crack his first smile of the afternoon, when he said the KSCA would now “expect to see you often in the association wearing the administrative hat.” There were also a few tips on life after retirement, Kumble telling Dravid that apart from being busier “with exceptional demands made on your time, your ability to say no will be challenged like never before”.

Sitting in the audience was Dravid’s former team-mate Javagal Srinath, the current KSCA secretary, who had walked into the room before the event to check if the arrangements were in order. Dravid’s immediate future includes six weeks of the IPL and he offered no clues as to whether he would take up a post-retirement life as coach, administrator or commentator. “I truly believe that some time away from the game will be good for me, I’ve played the game for 20 years I’ve lived in a cocoon, in a surreal world, this world has been away from reality in some ways.” He did say though that because he loved routines, his return to the real world could include his new routines that involve dropping his sons off at school and shopping for groceries.

Among Dravid’s contemporaries, both Kumble and Sourav Ganguly retired just after Test matches and Dravid was asked whether he had not wanted to end his career that way, walking off a field of play. “Just to keep playing for the sake of playing just one Test match, I didn’t think was right.” He needed to play, “for the right reasons – to win Test matches for India. I’ve done that for 16 years and I feel the time was right, I’ve had a great run. I have given this some thought … at the end of the day when a player has to go, he knows he has to go and I didn’t feel the need to drag it on longer [in order to have a farewell Test].” Dravid was replying to questions in three of the four languages he speaks, taking particular pride in receiving special applause from the back of the room for working his way through a fairly long answer in Kannada.

Along with his wife, sons and brother, Dravid had walked onto the Chinnaswamy field for a short while just before he came in to speak to the media. The stadium was his finishing school before his graduation to Test cricket, and the adjacent NCA nets turned into a trusted training ground over the past decade where Dravid had always showed up early to work on his game.

Now retired, he will finally be free of the 7am gym and nets sessions. But what about the pure love of just batting? Of striking the ball with bat? Wouldn’t he want to steal into the nets just for a hit or two? Dravid paused for a moment, smiled and then said: “Probably in the quiet. I’ll come very late at night.”

On the day he left the international game, this became the perfect final image of Rahul Dravid. Not that of the obdurate competitor in the arclights of cricket’s ‘surreal’ centre. But of the “reassuring presence”, of the craftsman in the quiet of dusk, of the man who never stopped trying.

I am surely not the biggest fan of Rahul Dravid, but still he is definitely one of my favorite sportsmen. I found an article on yahoo, as a letter to Rahul from one of his fans like me and I found it so touching that I am putting it here on my site as a tribute to Rahul Dravid.

Dear Rahul,

This is not going to be easy. But I will try. One sentence at a time.

Congratulations. Is that appropriate? That’s what people at work say when someone quits. And, despite the anguish surrounding your decision, this is supposed to be a happy day. At least I would like to think of it that way.

I expected you to finish in Adelaide. The same Adelaide where, in 2003, you found gold at the end of the rainbow. The same Adelaide where another colossus, Adam Gilchrist, retired four years ago, his wife and children sitting among the press, his voice breaking towards the end of each sentence, tears trickling down his cheeks as the press conference wound down.

But the Chinnaswamy Stadium fits well. That’s where it all began. And that’s where it ends. Like Gilly, you leave with your family and former team-mates watching over your retirement announcement. And like him, you leave amid breaking voices and teary eyes. 

There is a constant temptation, especially when a cricketer retires, to draw comparisons. We live in a world that loves definitives. It frowns upon ambiguity. We want to determine your exact location in the pantheon. I will refrain from this. I am sure you are tired of being compared to other great Indian batsmen. And I am not about to bore you.

But I must tell you something that has bothered me for a long time. You are too conveniently slotted as a specialist batsman. I disagree. That’s too simplistic. For me, you are an allrounder – not in the way our limited imaginations defines an allrounder but in a broader, more sweeping, sense. 

I find it hard to think of a more versatile cricketer. You were one of our finest short leg fielders. You were, for the most part, a remarkable slip catcher. You have opened the innings, batted at No.3, batted at No.6 (from where you conjured up that 180 in Kolkata). I’m sure you have batted everywhere else.

You have kept wicket, offering an added dimension to the one-day side in two World Cups. You even scored 145 in one of those games. You captained both the Test and one-day teams. Sure things didn’t go according to plan but you were a superb on-field captain. More importantly you were India’s finest vice-captain, an aspect that is often conveniently forgotten. Jeez, you even took some wickets.

There’s something unique about this. In Indian cricket’s hall of fame, you can proudly share a table with Gavaskar and Tendulkar. But you can also share one with Kapil, Mankad and Ganguly – cricketers who excelled in more than one aspect of their game for an extended period of time.

The only people who will understand this are those who you played with. The only people who will begin to appreciate your value to the side are those who you propped up. Which is why it is not the least surprising when Tendulkar said yesterday, ‘There can be no cricketer like Rahul Dravid.’ Hell yeah. It’s too far-fetched.

Talking about Tendulkar, you know my best moment involving you two? Adelaide again. 2003 again. Damien Martyn c Dravid b Tendulkar 38. Ripping legbreak, spanking cut, screaming edge, lunging right hand, gotcha. That was magic. Pure magic. Swung the game. Ignited the series.

What else will I remember? Hmm. That shirt of yours immaculately tucked in. How did you manage to keep it tucked in every single time? I’ll remember the way you chased the ball to the boundary line, as if you were competing in a hundred-meter race. I’ll remember the intensity with which you studied the pitch before the game, like a geologist, scraping the surface with your palms, examining the grains of sand, gauging the direction of the breeze. You loved all these tiny details, didn’t you?

There is a general perception that you have not got the credit you deserve. I don’t know if that is accurate. I wonder if you feel that way. But just you wait. Wait for India to play a Test without you. Wait for the team to lose an early wicket, especially on a challenging pitch. You’ll hear a gazillion sighs, sighs filled with longing. India 8 for 1 and you sitting in his living room, sipping tea and watching TV. I’ll be surprised if you don’t palpably feel a nation’s collective yearning for a sunnier, glorious past.

But even that I may be able to somehow handle. What I won’t be able to come to terms with is not watching you bat. Over the years few things have given me as much joy as watching you construct an innings, hour upon hour, brick upon brick.

Here I must mention what the great American author, Edgar Allan Poe, once said about the importance of punctuation.

It does not seem to be known that, even where the sense is perfectly clear, a sentence may be deprived of half its force – its spirit – its point – by improper punctuation.

An innings of yours would be incomplete without the punctuation marks that you masterfully employed along the way: the focussed leaves, the immaculate dead-bats, the softening of the grip, the late strokeplay, the ducking, the weaving, the swaying, the head totally still, your eyes always on the ball, the focus, more focus, still more focus, even more focus.

There is no point watching an innings of yours stripped of all this. I’ve cursed all these TV producers who create highlight packages with fours, sixes, your raised bat after each fifty, a jump after a hundred, more fours, more sixes and done. Finished. Poof. That’s supposed to be a summation of your innings.

It’s the same with all these photographers who click away and the websites that use those photos to create galleries. None of them even begin to portray the painstaking manner in which you create these pearls. None of them can capture over after over of graft. There is nothing more exhilarating that being exhausted after watching you bat. But there is no technology that can capture that, no software that can simulate it.

So if my grandson were to ask me about your batting, I would be lost. The only way anyone can begin to understand your craft is by watching you bat through a whole day, by experiencing your pain. There are no short cuts.

There are a million links that pop up on YouTube when I type ‘Rahul Dravid’. All of them show you batting. None of them contain your essence. There is no Rahul Dravid in there.

That’s sad. But maybe that’s also a good thing. I was fortunate to be able to watch you bat. My grandson won’t be as lucky. He’s just going to be born at the wrong time. Let’s go with that. It’s much easier.

As I said, this is supposed to be a happy day. It’s the memories that matter. You’ve left us a world full of them.

So long, Rahul. Adios. Ciao. Auf Wiedersehen. Tata. Bye. Bye. Olleyadagali guru.

And thank you. It’s been a privilege.

Yours faithfully,

Sidvee


For the past couple of months what has happened down under in Australia has certainly raised this question amongst all the cricket experts, ex-cricketers, and to some extent amongst most of the Indians as well now. However this question has not just been hovering for Sachin, it has been even more gruelling on Dravid and Laxman two more legends of Indian cricket.

Two regretful overseas series in the past 6-7 months, in England in July last year and the one in Australia this January has certainly raised many questions in the big 3. Well certainly the 3 are the fag ends of their careers, but surely I feel they aren’t over as yet. Yes the age is against them, and that’s why probably with every batting failure the question gets bigger and bigger. I believe that players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Suresh Raina are the ones that are adding that extra pressure on these big 3, since they proved their worth in the ODI format and now are ready to play regularly at the Test level. Something that is not really possible till these big 3 fade away.
But if we see at their performances in the past matches I really do not feel that they played that badly. In England, Dravid was exceptional scoring runs at will and in a situation when the other batsmen were getting out cheaply. In Australia, Sachin started with a bang and only faded out towards the end of the test series. Well honestly this is not the first time they questions have been raised. Dravid was really under pressure in 2009-10, when even the likes Pujara were included into the side citing him as a replacement for Dravid in future. But, Dravid has survived backed up with decent performances, and some of them at such a level that he had to be recalled to the T-20 and ODI sides in England after a gap of almost 3 years. Then how can really be a bad series thereafter (that too, when all the innings were not failures) ask him to think of retirement.

Sachin too was under tremendous pressure in 2007 when he was struggling to score rums, to an extent a century getting out in the 90s on numerous occasions. I guess a similar situation has returned when the wait for his 100th century has extended over 10 months. But he came back from that slump with a bang and 2009 and 2010 were exceptional years for him, making him touch the heights nobody would have believed 4 years ago. So to write him out after a just one series is not a good idea I believe. Maybe the pressure of the 100th century is building on him and once that is of his back, he might just start scoring big runs at will again. But honestly this is for the first time I have seen Sachin being dropped/rested from the team when he is fit and available for selection, that maybe under the rotation policy but that certainly is a message.

Now talking about Laxman, yes he has had two bad overseas series but then he has always been the disaster management man for the past many years, bailing the team out of treacherous situations on numerous occasions. He has not had too many big scores in the past few matches, but he surely has been consistent. And he already out of limited over cricket, his survival in test matches would be critical for him, and in similar situation is Dravid as well.

Now with Ponting having announced his retirement from ODI cricket the pressure will be on Sachin to take a similar step and maybe Laxman and Dravid also think of hanging their boots. Now with Indian cricket team not playing any test matches in the coming 6-7 months would mean that would give enough time for Dravid and Laxman to think. But what that would also mean that they would be away from international cricket for that long. Also, with no overseas cricket for almost two years now means that Sachin would hardly play the ODI format, especially since he has been very selective in which ODI tournament he plays for the past couple of years. This surely looks like that there will be very chances of seeing him in the coloured clothing for the Indian team. And, with this giving ample opportunities for Raina, Kolhi, Sharma to cement their places in the team.

But still the question remains, whether the big 3 should retire. Definitely I believe it is always great to announce your retirement while playing then to dropped and then announce it from the sidelines. But then has that time come? Well only time will tell that I think.

The big 3: VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid


Amidst all the hype and expectations of Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th International ton, another Indian cricketing legend, Rahul Dravid surpassed a major milestone. A milestone, which only one player has achieved in the history of test cricket. That was crossing the 13000 runs mark in test matches, he became only the second batsman to do so, which is a memorable feat.

He had become the sixth batsman to reach the 10000 mark, the fifth to reach the 11000 mark, the third to reach the 12000 mark, and now has become the second player to reach the 13000 run mark. This proves why he is the backbone of the Indian cricket team, and why he has been given the nickname of “The Wall”.

Though unfortunately, he has always been under the shadow of another Sachin Tendulkar, and probably because of this his major feats have gone unnoticed. But certainly that cannot take anything away from this legend. Apart from the runs he has scored 36 test centuries and 62 test fifties. His number of centuries is only fourth in number behind Sachin’s 51, Kallis’s 40, and Ponting’s 39. His 62 test fifties is the second highest in number, both Sachin and Allan Border having scored a record 63 test fifties (if Sachin goes onto score a hundred in this match he would come down to a joint position with Dravid here). All these records have to be of a special player. Also, this year Rahul’s form has been exceptional, having scored over 1000 test runs in the calendar year. And this is his third occasion he has done so.

Dravid’s contribution to Indian cricket is legendary, and so in the end I would like to salute his contribution to Indian cricket and congratulate him on his recent milestone. Also I hope that he does cross many more and give us many more moments to cherish. 


Sourav Ganguly is all set to make a comeback to the Indian Premier League, this time in the colors of Pune Warriors India instead of the Kolkata Knight Riders. Earlier during the auctions no team was interested in buying the most successful Indian captain. But recently he has been roped in by team Pune as a replacement for injured Ashish Nehra.

Pune has had a bad tournament so far, they won their first two matches comfortably but since then have gone onto to losing six consecutive matches and are now placed at the bottom of the group. But I feel, with Ganguly’s inclusion the team will get the balance it required. The stability he will get to the batting order, which has a bunch of dynamic players like Ryder, Yuvraj, and Uthappa will exactly what team Pune requires at the moment.

I am not sure if this move can really change the position of the team but yes, Sourav will be very eager to perform and silence all his critics, and this can be a god sent opportunity for him. Also, this just can be the incentive and motivation the team Pune was in a need of.

Also, now I am really looking forward to the match between Pune Warriors India and Kolkata Knight Riders to be held on May 19, 2011. Unluckily this is held in Mumbai and not at Eden Gardens Kolkata, otherwise it would have been great fun to watch the spectators to see whom they would have eventually supported, their biggest sporting hero or their city team. But unfortunately this might not be that evident since the match is held at Mumbai, but still it should be worth watching. Also, a similar affair was washed off when that time Dravid playing for Rajasthan Royals had to play in Bangalore against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Unfortunately, that time the rains played the spoil sport, but I hope this time they do not in the match of Sourav Ganguly against Kolkata Knight Riders.

The news from the Yahoo over Ganguly’s inclusion to team Pune:

“New Delhi, (PTI): After going unsold in the players’ auction, former India captain Sourav Ganguly made a dramatic return to the Indian Premier League by signing up for struggling franchise Pune Warriors as replacement for injured pacer Ashish Nehra.
"We were waiting for Ashish Nehra’s fitness report and ultimately the report came yesterday. I was already in talks with Ganguly and we decided that the amount of experience that Sourav has in cricket will no doubt help the team. So we finalised Ganguly last night," Pune Warriors Team director Abhijit Sarkar said referring to the finger injury that Nehra has been nursing.
Ganguly, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders for three IPL seasons captaining them in two editions, went unsold in the January players’ auction despite a rather modest base price of $400,000.
The 38-year-old refused a mentor’s role with KKR after that and there had been speculation of a possible comeback through another franchise. The left-handed batman was first sought by Kochi Tuskers Kerala but their application was rejected by the IPL’s Governing Council.
However, he signed on the dotted line for Pune on Monday, giving a major fillip to the side which has lost six matches on the trot after starting promisingly with a couple of back-to-back wins.”


The teams have announced the players they want to retain for the next three seasons starting from 2011. The committee had earlier announced that a team can retain a maximum of 4 players with a maximum of 3 Indian players. Yesterday 8th December 2010 was the last day to announce the retained player names by all the franchises (teams). I was thinking that the franchises will be going mad over thinking which four players they could retain. They really would be having problems in selecting 4 players from their present lot. But to my surprise (well IPL has been full of surprises) the teams made this selection very easy. In fact three teams decided not to retain any player, while two teams retained only a single player. Only Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings were the teams that retained its maximum quota of 4 players. Well this is really a surprise since I believed that most of the teams would try and retain the players who have performed really very well for them in the earlier seasons. For example, Rajasthan Royals did not retain Yusuf Pathan, Kings XI Punjab did not retain Irfan Pathan and Kumar Sangakarra, Delhi Daredevils did not retain Gautam Gambhir, Dilshan, and Karthikh, Royal Challengers Bangalore did not retain players like Robin Uttappa, Anil Kumble, and Jacques Kallis while Deccan Chargers did not retain players like Rohit Sharma, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds and RP Singh.

This new season of IPL has been in news and controversies since the last season ended, but I hope that all the controversies will end with this and we can have a good season of T20 cricket.

Here is the complete article from cricinfo.

“Ganguly, Dravid shown the door, Kohli stays on

Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir are among the big names released by their IPL franchises, along with Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle and Andrew Symonds, while Virat Kohli is the surprise retention for his team for the next three seasons. Wednesday was the deadline for the franchises to name the players they would retain from their current squads and while there is no common thread running through the choices of players retained and released, the key factors seem to be form, brand appeal and age.

Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab have decided not to retain any of their players, while all the other IPL franchises have held back at least one current player. Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the 2010 finalists, have retained the maximum of four players each, in the process parting with half of the $9 million salary cap available to teams.

According to the auction rules for IPL 4, teams can retain up to four players, only three of whom can be Indians. The retained players – who must have been part of the franchise’s registered squads for the 2010 season – will be valued at $1.8 million for the first player, $1.3 million for the second, $900,000 for the third and $500,000 for the fourth.

Mumbai, as expected, held on to Sachin Tendulkar, the highest run-scorer of the 2010 season, offspinner Harbhajan Singh, West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard and Sri Lanka seamer Lasith Malinga. Chennai took the Indian trio of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and M Vijay out of the auction, in addition to South African allrounder Albie Morkel, their regular opening bowler. Delhi Daredevils retained only Virender Sehwag, meaning Gambhir – their captain for the last two seasons – is in the auction pool.

The most interesting choice came from Royal Challengers Bangalore whose sole retention is Virat Kohli, currently on an impressive run in ODIs. There is no place for Dravid, their icon player, nor for Anil Kumble, their captain and the head of the state association. Kolkata’s decision to drop Sourav Ganguly, the biggest cricketing name to emerge from the city and the face of the franchise’s on-field persona, is a bold step.

Punjab’s decision to release all their players was expected following their dismal 2010 season, which means Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Yuvraj Singh will go under the hammer.

Siddhartha Mallya, owner of the Bangalore franchise, said the decision to retain just one player was backed by financial logic. “You must realise that with retention, a big chunk of your budget gets taken away,” Mallya told ESPNcricinfo. ” Mumbai and Chennai have kept four players, which means that half their budget is gone. It finally comes down to how much money one was going to lose. We have a big balance sheet but we have lost $1.8 million for keeping one player. We still have about $7-odd million left but if we had retained four then we would have had to buy virtually an entire squad with the remaining half.”

Age is not a universal disqualification. It didn’t count in Tendulkar’s case, nor in that of Shane Warne, Rajasthan’s coach and captain, who was retained by Rajasthan Royals, along with Shane Watson, a day ahead of the deadline. One franchise official explained the difference: “Warne is a global brand so that only helps to promote the franchise.”

If Rajasthan opted for Warne because they have always viewed the IPL as a global brand, Mumbai went with Tendulkar and Harbhajan for their popularity. Pollard and Malinga may have made the cut on account of being impact players, who have backed up their strong Twenty20 credentials with consistent performance.

Sehwag’s match-winning abilities, coupled with his rapid emergence as a brand, clearly had a say in Delhi’s decision to retain him. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina must have been shoo-ins for Chennai following their compelling IPL and international form. Vijay’s performances, coupled with his potential to attract a strong local fan-base, must have tilted the scales in his favour, while Morkel’s proven all-round skills were always going to be an asset. If there is a stranger in this crowd, it could be Kohli. Despite his owners trumpeting his recent performances, Kohli is still work in progress. But he is young, ambitious and has the youth appeal – all qualities of the UB Group’s target audience.”

The retained players:

  • Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga
  • Chennai: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, M Vijay, Albie Morkel
  • Rajasthan: Shane Warne, Shane Watson
  • Delhi: Virender Sehwag
  • Bangalore: Virat Kohli

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.


Should Rahul Dravid be dropped from the team. This is the question many people around the country, in fact all over the world are asking the national team selectors. Well I feel, this should not happen, as one should not judge a player that too of the caliber of Dravid by one poor series. I agree that Dravid had a bad series in Sri Lanka, but one can notice that he did not look out of form; it was just that he played some bad shots which cost him his wicket. Maybe this was because he did not have enough match practice before the start of the series (he is not a part of the one day squad). Also, it has not happened that this is the first time a player has not performed in the series. Dravid has been consistent for India for many years now, and this can be seen as not many players have scored more than 11000 runs in test cricket.

I don’t think that his career is over, in fact I do believe that he will also make a comeback something very similar to what Sachin has done. If I remember around 2006-2007, when Sachin was down with a lot of injuries and also was not able to perform the way he was known to, many people had started speculating the end of Sachin. It is almost 3-4 years from then, and if the selectors had dropped Sachin, we could not have witnessed so many records being broken. It was just a bad patch in Sachin life which he overcame with great ease, and now he is player better than he probably ever did. I guess Dravid also has a very similar character in him; he too is a great fighter and will surely comeback with high colors. And there is no point in dropping him from the test side.

Also there is one name Cheteshwar Pujara who is being claimed to take the place of Dravid in the team. I don’t agree to this either. Though Pujara has been performing consistently very well at the domestic level, he still does not have the international experience behind him. Test cricket is much more different from the domestic level. In fact if Pujara has to be groomed to play at that level and replace Dravid, he should be given chances to play the one dayers first, maybe when India had gone to Bangladesh, which would have been the best time to test Pujara, at least tried to get him used to that level.

Again even if selectors feel its time over for Dravid, why look at Pujara. I feel Virat Kohli has performed very well at the international level, he should get a chance before. Also what wrong has Badrinath done in the couple of test matches he played? They have the international experience behind them, and can be tried sometime during the home series. Also since Suresh Raina has made it to the test side there can be a possibilty of Laxman playing up in the order and Yuvraj Singh coming back into the middle order or with a similar set up get Dinesh Kartikh into the middle order. This might help Dhoni also relax form the wicket keeping job in the middle of the match if he wants to.

But I really don’t feel any changes required especially when Australia is coming here next. That will be a tough series and India will need Dravid in the team. Maybe if he fails then again then the other options as I have mentioned earlier can be tested in the next series when they face New Zealand. But the selectors will have to be very careful and intelligent with the changes since in December India will tour South Africa, where definitely, India will need the services and the experience of Dravid in the team.

In the end I would like to conclude as it is still very early to write of Dravid. And also if that is to be done maybe after a couple of series, I would like to suggest the selectors to go in for the options they have already tested at the international level.


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 finally wins the Asia Cup after 15 years. With this they also win a multi-nation series after some time now. Incidentally the last time won a multi-nation tournament was a tri-series tournament in Sri Lanka. Win this win the team would probably go to the second spot in the ICC ODI team rankings.

Everybody played well in the series, whether it is the batsman or the bowlers. In the first game, it was the bowlers who stole the show, then in the second match it were the batsman who took away the show. In the third match both of them failed and then in the final match both of them came to the party, winning the cup for the team.

Gautam Gambhir performed well in the start of the series, while Dinesh Kartikh did well in whatever opportunities he got. MS Dhoni has been very good in the series, both with the bat and behind the wickets. Surprisingly the bowlers have done well to, especially the faster bowlers (something that is not the strength of the team). In the finals India defeated Sri Lanka with a big 81 runs. In the bowling department, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh and Jadeja were good, but Nehra and Zaheer Khan were outstanding on the day. They picked up early wickets and at regular intervals, something that the team is not known for. In the batting department too, Kartikh was very good up at the top who laid the foundation for a decent score to defend. But the bowlers made this score look a mountain task to achieve.

Finally I would like to congratulate the team for the achievement and wish them best of luck for the future series. They play Sri Lanka in a test series in some time. Now we will have the return of legends, Sachin and Dravid in the team adding that extra strength. I hope they would win the series and maintain their stay at the top of the ICC Rankings chart.


The test series between India and South Africa will be similar to clash of the titans. It will be clash for No.1 spot. The winner of the test series will become the no.1 test team in the world.

With the No.1 title at stake and with so many injuries in the batting middle order, it will be up to the younger generation to grasp the opportunity and be counted. Similarly the experience players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan will have to stand up and deliver. They will have to lead the way for the new players. The form that Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan have displayed in the last series, will somewhat lift the spirits of the team and motivate them to give in their best shot.

Meanwhile South Africa is looking set for the clash with their full fledged team. They will definitely come very hard against India. Their bowlers are very much in form, as that is one of the most important factors as to win a match a team needs to pick up 20 wickets. With the series starting in 5 days time it looks to be a cracker of a series.

I wish the Indian team the best of luck for the series hoping that it will win the series and keep the no.1 title with them. The last time a similar series had happened against Australia (One-day), India had lost unfortunately not making it to top spot.

The Indian team for the series is MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, S Badrinath, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Sudeep Tyagi, Abhimanyu Mithun, Wriddhiman Saha.


Well the final scores do depict that India did Thrash Bangladesh, but to be honest it has not really been that easy as the final scores suggest. On the very first day of first test match, Bangladesh did put India in some sought of a humiliating position, by taking 8 wickets without much score on the board. If it had not been a hundred by Sachin Tendulkar, India could have found themselves in deep problems in the first match. Bangladesh came very hard at India, but just due their inexperience let the situation of the hands. And then as a big team should do India capitalized and won very comfortably.

In the second test also Bangladesh had come all guns blazing in their second innings, and made Indian team look an ordinary team, no way close to a no.1 team. They had India on the back foot. But again it was up to the experience that counted and Zaheer Khan came back to pick up two wickets of both the well settled batsman in the last few over’s of the day to put India back on top. In fact on the fourth morning it was Zaheer Khan again to get the downfall of the team by picking up 4 wickets in the space of 8 balls. And Bangladesh lost their last seven wickets for just 22 runs. India came to bat needing just 2 runs to win, and they won of the second ball of the match and that too without any of the batsman scoring the runs (a very rare occasion).

Zaheer Khan was given the man of the match award for his 10 wickets in the match and was also given the man of the series award for his 15 wickets in the series. Zaheer also became the fourth Indian fast bowler to pick up 10 wickets in an away match. Many other records were made during this series. India won their 4th consecutive match in a row, only their second time they have done it. Dhoni continued his unbeaten form in Test cricket as a captain. India registered its 5th consecutive series win. Gautam Gambhir scored his fifth century in consecutive matches. Sachin notched up his 44th and 45th hundred and in the meanwhile also passed the 13000 run mark in test matches. Dravid scored his 29th century and now is at par with Sir Donald Bradman with the total number of centuries. Harbhajan Singh picked up his 600th international wicket and now has become only the third Indian after Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev to do so. Also Sachin Tendulkar becme only the second Indian to score 22000 first-class runs.

Well these were definitely the high points of the series. But there were many low points in the firm of injuries as well. Sreesanth and Laxman got injuries in the first test match and Dravid and Yuvraj got injured during the second test. With four premier players missing, in fact we can say that complete middle order missing out it will be very tough for India in the coming series against South Africans. This will give opportunity to the young players but it will be up to them how they capitalize on this situation.

With the no.1 position in test matches up at stake in this series it will be a lot of pressure on Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan to carry their form from this series into the next. And also guide the young players who will be trying to fill in the void created by the injuries to the senior players.

I end this here hoping that India continue its good form and defeat South Africa in the coming series and also hold on to their no.1 position.