Posts Tagged ‘Rohit Sharma’


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.

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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


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


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.


Once again India is out of the T20 World Cup, without qualifying for the semi-final stage. It has been very similar situation for India in the last two editions of the world cup. They entered the tournament in both the years after a very hectic IPL schedule. Last year India won both its matches in the group stage and then lost all its three matches in the super eight stage. Similarly India won both its matches in the group stage and lost all its three matches in the super eight stage in this edition. The only difference was that last year both the victories India got were against the minnows Bangladesh and Ireland. Well this year they did defeat South Africa, definitely a big team. They won the other match against minnows Afghanistan.

In both these years India has not been able to play its full strength side due to the injuries that have happened during the IPL. The players have had to undergo a lot of burnout in the 40 days before entering a major tournament like the World Cup. Even Indian captain blamed the IPL for its loss in the World Cup this time (something he had not done last year). Indian started off well defeating Afghanistan and South Africa, but then faltered against Australia, losing by a huge margin. After this they just could not recover at all. They lost to West Indies and in their final match against Sri Lanka, almost till the final ball of the match it looked that India could win, but they just gave up probably in the last over. They went into that match with a must win situation and on top of that win with a minimum of 20 runs. They started well scoring 90 runs in the first 10 overs but could not capitalize on the advantage and scored only 73 runs in the last 10 even though they had 9 wickets in hand half way through their innings. Then in the second innings while bowling they got off to a decent start picking a couple of wickets early, but again when it looked as if they would definitely win the match (not by the margin of 20 runs, but a win never the less), they lost the match. In the last four overs they had 51 runs to defend to win, and 31 runs to have a chance of qualifying for the semi-final spot. From that situation in the match having lost it would have been the most disappointing thing for the team.

If I come to take out some positives from the tournament, then definitely for one it would be the batting of Suresh Raina. He scored a hundred against South Africa, and also played well enough in the other matches. Rohit Sharma too played very well against Australia, but apart from these the batting performances have been disappointing. Especially the performance of Murali Vijay who was chosen in the team as a replacement for Virender Sehwag, just could not fire at all in the tournament. His only noticeable performance came against Afghanistan. Also Ravindra Jadeja was a big disappointment in the tournament. He did not bowl well, did not bat well (though he did not get many chances to bat), and the worst was dropped quite a few catches. His noticeable bowling performance also came against Afghanistan. The other positive in the bowling department can be the performance of R Vinay Kumar. He really played very well in his debut and the only match. He somewhat was the good only bowling performance in the match against Sri Lanka. Also the most disappointing thing was that once Sehwag was injured Murali Vijay was chosen and not Robin Uthappa. Personally I feel that the form in which Robin was in during the IPL, he would have been the best choice as a replacement for Sehwag.

Apart from this there was nothing to cheer about for the Indian fans. If I talk about the rest of the tournament, the best thing was that all the major teams advanced in the second stage of the tournament (something that had not happened in the earlier two editions). Also England and Australia have played some great cricket. Pakistan has been very lucky getting into the top four stage while the last team that is Sri Lanka also have played some very good cricket in the tournament. They have played very well and they only faltered once in the tournament against Australia. By reaching the semifinal spot one can say that Pakistan has been one of the most consistent sides in the T20 format. They were the runners-up in the first edition, champions in the second. And now they have a chance to defend their title once again. Sri Lanka too has made it to the semi-final stage for the second consecutive time. Australia had made it to the top four in the first edition, and now will be looking forward to win the tournament (this is the only major tournament they haven’t won as yet). Well this can be the first time when England can try and win the tournament (they haven’t ever won a major tournament).

Well I end this post wishing Indian team all the best in their future tournaments. Also they will have to be very careful as next year again there will be the cricket World Cup 2011 sometime very close to the IPL. Hopefully next year the team will come up with some better performances.