Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka Cricket Team’


The Champion Team - INDIA..

Winning the World Cup that not only every Indian player had seen, in fact it was the dream that every Indian had seen, and it is not a dream anymore but reality. Yes, India is now the World Champions. They defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets to win the final and the tournament.

What an effort this was, simply amazing. India in their last four matches beat every other world champion. They beat 2 time champion West Indies in their last league game, then 4 time champion Australia in the quarters, 92 winners Pakistan in the semis, and then the 96 winners in the finals. This world cup belonged to the subcontinent teams, as three teams finished in the top four, and two of them made it to the finals. This is the first time this has happened. In fact except for 1987, a subcontinent team has been in the world cup final since 1983.

Everyone before the tournament said that they wanted to win the cup for the special Sachin Tendulkar, and this was evident when after winning the players took Sachin on their shoulders for a victory lap. Everyone was emotional, right from Sachin to Sehwag to Harbhajan to Yuraj to Sreesanth as the tears of joy dripped from their eyes. But that was the moment these players, and even every Indian will never forget for their lives. On one side dreams were fulfilled, on the other side dreams broken. Muralidharan quit cricket on not that high as he would have loved to, and Jayawardhane’s century went in vain. This is the first time when a World Cup final centurion has ended on the losing side. 

With this win now MS Dhoni has become the only caption to have won almost every major tournament. He has taken India top of the ICC rankings in test matches, won the T20 world cup, the IPL, the champion’s league, and now the WORLD CUP.

Coming back to the match, it started with Sri Lanka batting first. The start that Indians got was fabulous, with Zaheer Khan bowling 3 maiden overs on the trot. But later Mahela Jayawardhane played an extra ordinary innings scoring a century and taking the total to a formidable 274. Yuvraj was once again the best bowler picking up 2 wickets. Zaheer bowled beautifully and picked up 2 wickets, but his figures were damaged in the last three overs when he gave 44 runs. Harbhajan Singh dismissed the dangerous Dilshan. Munaf was very economical, but the only disappointment in bowling was Sreesanth. Once again, he leaked runs in heaps. I really don’t know why he was included in the playing XI ahead of Ashwin. Overall the bowling was decent, but they way they leaked runs towards the end was horrifying. 275 looked a very tough target, especially when the pressure of chasing in the World Cup final. The best part of the day was the fielding of the team. They fielded like tigers, and stopped numerous runs. They way Yuvraj and Raina fielded was something beyond belief. Had it not been that standard of fielding and the opening spell of Zaheer the target to chase could have been way more than 300.

Nevertheless, India had to chase 275 to win, and all eyes were set on the explosive Sehwag and legend Sachin. And both disappointed, by getting out early as the score read 31 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Really, I must say I had lost hope at that time. But it was then for gen..next, to step up and Gambhir played one of the finest innings under pressure. He eventually got out for 97, and missed on a very well deserved century. Kohli played a good knock of 35 runs. But it was Dhoni who played another great knock under pressure scoring an unbeaten 91 and Yuvraj finished the proceedings with an unbeaten 21. Must say, Dhoni was criticized all month long for his batting, and what a time he chose to rise to the occasion and silence all the critics. He won the man of the match for the effort, though I feel it should have been given to Gambhir. Yuvraj won the man of the tournament award, and then India picked up the trophy, to be crowned world champions.

But yes I would also like to mention the contribution of Indian coach Gary Kiersten here. He has been an inspiration, and has changed the belief of the side completely. Under him, the team has taken the no.1 spot in test matches, and now the World Cup. With this his tenure as a coach also ends, hopefully he will be back later to take the team to new heights.

This is probably the last world cup for Sachin Tendulkar, but I hope that the he plays in the next one as well (just being optimistic). Now with his biggest dream in his kitty, I hope he does not quit the game. The urge to win the World Cup made him perform better and better, I hope that after the win he should not quit and continue his game as his is in a dream form right now. I think he should not look to retire for at least the next two years if not till the next World Cup.

In the end all I can say is well done India and congratulations for the victory. Keep on going this way, 2015 is not far away.

To two LEGENDS - SACHIN & MURALIDHARAN


The first stage of the event is over, and the second stage will start in 2 days from now. Unlike the previous three editions, this time the tournament is going the tournament is going to have three knock stages, which are the quarters, semis and lastly the grand finale. The schedule for the quarterfinals is as below: 

Q-F MATCH DATE TEAMS VENUE
1 March 23, 2011 Pakistan v West Indies Dhaka
2 March 24, 2011 Australiav India Ahmedabad
3 March 25, 2011 South Africa v New Zealand Dhaka
4 March 26, 2011 Sri Lankav England Colombo

There are no surprises in the final eight teams that have come through. Although, Bangladesh did fight very hard to squeeze through, but could not make it in the end. Surprisingly, Australia has not topped its group; in fact it has ended the first stage at third position. And again surprisingly Pakistan has topped the group. No surprises on the other two teams in the group A to qualify. I had expected Sri Lanka to end second in the group, and New Zealand fourth or probably third, once they had defeated Pakistan, but it has not turned out that way in the end.

In group B, the matches have been very different than expected. However, there are no unexpected results there. The ranking I had thought initially has eventually happened, but the surprising thing is how it has happened. South Africa topped the group, India second, England third, followed by West Indies. However, I had given a chance to Bangladesh to make the cut; but unfortunately, they lost out on the net run rate.

Now if India can defeat Australia, it can well probably be an India-Pakistan, high profile semi-final clash. But India will have to defeat Australia; it looks very difficult, but possible. Hopefully that will happen.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the tournament ahead.


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

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

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

Sachin has been, top scoring for India in the series

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

Virender Sehwag, player of the tournament

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

Laxman after scoring his hundred

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

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

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

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

Suresh Raina, the find of the series


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICC Test Rankings

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

 ICC ODI Rankings

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


India 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.


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.


Well India yet again loose in the finals of a tri-nation tournament. In the recent past, or I must say since Dhoni has taken up the captaincy, India have played well, won most of its bilateral series, almost reached to each and every final of a multi-nation tournament very comprehensively. It’s only the Champions Trophy that they could not, at least the only one i remember. But surprisingly, having reached the finals India has not been able to end the tournament as champions most of the times.

I think the team does have a lot more psychological pressure in the final, or maybe I can say that the other teams come out better prepared for the finals and it’s India who treats it just as another match. Because if you see the overall performance of the team, whenever they have played a bilateral match where, each match holds the equal importance the team has performed pretty well, and at most of the times ended the series going into the last match itself, which is very good cricket.

I think the team must look into this final problem of theirs. And its also the players that need to contribute and stand up to the occasion. A final is not just another match, in fact it’s the match that decides the fate of the performance in the tournament. Even if a team somehow manages to reach the finals and an end with winning the finals, no one remembers how they played the tournament, it also happens to the opposite scenario. If the team loses the finals no one remembers how well they played in the other matches.

If India needs to become no.1 One day team in the world and actually stay there for a long time, then the team needs to win matches on consistent basis, and must win tournament finals consistently as well. That’s the way Australians have been doing it and that was one of the reasons why it stayed at top for such a long time. They have players who rise to the occasion of the final day. India needs those kinds of performances at a regular basis. In the last tournament that happened in Sri Lanka which also featured New Zealand, It was first Sachin Tendulkar who scored a huge century and then Harbhajan Singh picked up five wickets to win the finals and become no.1 team at that time.

I feel we need these types of performances on a regular basis, if Indian wants to be No.1 One Day team in the world. The year has somewhat started on a disappointing note but hopefully it will not continue in this way. Hoping that India gives everyone some great moments to feel happy about in the near future.


India have finally reached the place where they had reached probably only in the dreams before. Yes India is now No.1 in the ICC Test Rankings, a brilliant feat to have achieved. I would say it all started with Sourav Ganguly who made the team realize that it can win matches overseas as well with wins in West Indies and Pakistan. Later Dravid proved him correct with series victory in England and also registering its only test match victory on the South African soil. Later Kumble took the position and showed his character down under in Australia. Then stepped in Dhoni where he helped defeat Australia 2-0 at home, defeated England. Went to New Zealand to win its maiden test series victory and now after defeating Sri Lanka at home, he has lead the team to the No.1 spot in test matches.

Coach Gary Kirsten joined the team 18-20 months back, and since then has coached the team to the top. Well this series has been one of those were there have been a few outstanding performances, but overall in every match every player contributed towards a win. Every player stood up to be counted and that is one of the qualities of the champion team, and that is why it has reached the position as well. Dhoni too has been a remarkable captain. He has captained the side in 10 test matches and has won in 7 of them and lost none. Although people will still question his abilities as he has not proved in conditions of South Africa, Australia or England. But I feel when he does tour there he will prove his mettle there as well. The combination is great with likes of MS Dhoni coming in at no 7 to bat and yes finally it looks that India have got the combination to pick 20 wickets regularly. Even overseas the teams will think twice before preparing a green top in front of Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth and the calibre of Indian batsman. Yes the spin department is not as strong as it was when kumble and Harbhajan bowled in tandem but yes with the likes of Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra it does not look that weak as well.

India has had a shy to the No.1 spot in ODI’s having been there 3 times in the last three months but they haven’t managed to stay there any long. Hopefully this will not happen in the test matches and they will stay there for a long time. But with just 2 matches to play in the year it is more of unfortunate for them as Australia and South Africa (the other contenders for the No.1 spot) will be playing a lot more matches.

This series has been very good for India. Sachin crossed his 30000 international rum mark (although missed his 13000 test runs mark), Dravid reached 11000 test runs, Sreesanth and Zaheer made great comebacks to the team, Sehwag became the only Indian to score 6 double hundreds (although he missed to become the only player to score 3 triple hundreds just by 7 runs), Dhoni took his 100th catch to become only the third Indian keeper to do so and also scored 2 test centuries in the series to become the only wicketkeeper captain to do so, Gambhir became one of the few batsman to score four centuries in 4 consecutive matches. Apart from the individual feats India registered its 100th test victory in the series and yes to top it all it has become the world No.1 test side for the first time ever.

With all these records coming in the series, I can realize what a memorable series it has been for the country. Anyways in the end I would say that I am very happy for what the team has achieved and hope that it can maintain its position for a long time. And in the end I would like to congratulate the team for its great achievement and hope that they give us many more such moments to be proud of in future.

The ICC standings as of  6th Dec 2009

ICC Test Rankings

    Team            Points
1.  India                   124
2.  South Africa         122
3.  Australia             116
4.  Sri Lanka             115
5.  England               105
6.  Pakistan               84
7.  New Zealand        80
8.  West Indies           76
9.  Bangladesh           13

 ICC ODI Rankings

     Team            Points
1.  Australia              130
2.  India                    122
3.  South Africa          119
4.  New Zealand        112
5.  England               109
6.  Pakistan              108
7.  Sri Lanka             106
8.  West Indies            76
9.  Bangladesh           55
10.Zimbabwe            26
11. Ireland                25
12. Kenya                   2

 


Finally Australia slipped to number 4 in the ICC test ranking and for the first time we have a no1 test team other than Australia. Since the ranking started, Australia has dominated the ODI and Test rankings. Although South Africa has replaced the Australians a few times at the top in this period in the ODI’s and this time they have been at the top for quite some time. But in the test matches such an incidence had never happened. This is the first time Australians have lost their no1 spot and making it worse for them is that they have directly slipped from no1 to no4 position. Now Sri Lanka is no2 and India is no3 and Australia at no4.

Last month Australia slipped to no3 in the ODI rankings as well their lowest ever in this format since the rankings have started. A series loss against England has cost Australia a lot in the Test format now. Well they knew that only a series win could keep them at the top. Now with the Sri Lankans already having a very good series against the New Zealanders the gap between the no2 and no4 can increase. Reaching the no1 spot again looks a bit difficult at the moment but it is always possible for a team like Australia.

I guess the downfall started with the retirement of stalwarts Glen Mcgrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn in the same series. Somehow they managed to keep their position for some time but with the Retirement of Adam Gilchrist and now Matthew Hayden this was sure in the coming. And now the Australian team does not at all look the invincible that it did earlier. India showed the way by defeating Aussies 2-0 at home and then the South Africans beat Australians in Australia, one of the biggest victories for South African cricket. I guess that it will take some time for them to come to the top again, but with a team like Australia nothing is impossible. I hope that India makes it to the top but the road to that spot is not going to be easy as the next series India plays is going to be against the Sri Lankans and then the South Africans, the present no2 and no1 teams. Well I end with wishes to the Indian team and I am also happy that finally we have seen a change at the top of the test rankings.

The current rankings are as follows:

ICC Test Championship
23 Aug 2009

    Team                     Rating

1. South Africa             122
2. Sri Lanka                 119
3. India                       119
4. Australia                 116
5. England                  105
6. Pakistan                  84
7. New Zealand           82
8. West Indies             76
9. Bangladesh             13

ICC ODI Championship
18 Aug 2009

    Team                     Rating

1. South Africa            127
2. India                      126
3. Australia                 119
4. England                  111
5. New Zealand           110
6. Pakistan                 109
7. Sri Lanka                104
8. West Indies              78
9. Bangladesh              55
10. Ireland                  27
11. Zimbabwe             26


The T20 World Cup came to end yesterday and i must say pakistan deserved to lift the trophy. They missed it the last time around just by one good hit but this time they knew they had to make up for that loss. Although one should spare a thought for Sri Lanka as they were undefeated in the tournament until the final. The feeling of the only defeat coming in the tournament was in the final must have been a heart breaking one for them. They played well but Pakistan were better.

It had been a sought of roller coaster start for Pakistan. They did not play well in the warm-up games and then lost to England by a big margin in their first match. They were looking at being eliminated from the tournament in the first round itself, when they just held their nerves to see themselves through to the super eight stage. And as eneryone says rest is history. They lost only to Sri Lanka in the super eight stage and entered the semifinals were they defeated South Africans to reach the stage were they have been earlier in 2007 but could not conquer it then.

They had a good team and it clicked together when they needed to do it the most. Afridi has been their star player in the Semi-finals and the finals. I must say it again that they really deserved to lift the trophy which eluded them two years back.

Talking about the other teams South Africa and India were known to be the favourites to play the match yesterday but neither of the two teams made it to the stage. South African lost to the eventual champions Pakistan and India were eliminated in the super eight stage itself. Australia gave a big surprise this time by getting eliminated in the first round itself. But i must say they had two semi-finalists(Sri Lanka, West Indies) in their league group. West Indies too had a good run until the semi-finals against the Sri Lankans.

India did disappoint in the tournament but honestly i knew somewhere at the back of the heart that they could not win this. But having seen Pakistan win this i feel India had a chance if they had played a little better as they lost all the super eight matches in very close finishes. I feel both Pakistan and India had very similar teams with similar talents so if Pakistan could do it India to had a chance.

India won only against Bangladesh and Ireland (although these are the two teams that showed the exit door to India and Paksitan during the 2007 “World Cup”). Also they defeated Pakistan in the warm-up game keeping their undefeated record against Pakistan in the Word Cups intact.

The Final standings of the tournament are:
1. Pakistan – champions
2. Sri Lanka – runners up
3. South Africa
4. West Indies
5. England
6. New Zealand
7. India
8. Ireland
9. Netherland
10. Australia
11. Bangladesh
12. Scotland

This standings would bring a lot of joy to Pakistani people back home. As they are going through a trauma, a tough situation. This will bring them some sought of joy atleast. I missed the the award ditribution,but I wanted to hear the winning speach of Younus Khan as last time Shoaib Mallik really disappointed me by thanking only the muslims all round the world. I did not feel happy about it as cricket is not a game between religions. I backed Pakistan to win the trophy this year specially after the semifinals so I was eager to see if Younus Khan does something stupid again, although i think nothing would have happened because Younus looks a very sensible person to me and that he has proved it in the tournament.

Coming towards the end I would like to congratualte the Pakistan team from my side for the great moment of glory. I hope the Indian team will rise to the occasion next time around. Although they might get a tough draw next time but i hope they will prove why they where the champions last time.


Aussie umpire tells of terror attack
correspondents in Lahore, Pakistan
Herald Sun, March 03, 2009

“It was terrible. The van driver died in front of us. I am lost for words,” stunned Australian cricket umpire Steve Davis said after gunmen turned an upmarket Pakistani square into a battleground.

Sri Lanka’s cricket side were on the team bus, all thoughts trained on the third day of their second Test against Pakistan in Lahore, when an explosion shattered the morning calm.

Masked attackers, creeping through trees, then opened fire in a brazen gun and grenade attack that left eight people dead and wounded six members of the squad.

For 15 minutes, the expensive business and commercial district of Liberty Square, with its designer boutiques and smart offices, was raked by bullets as Pakistani security forces and the attackers exchanged fire.

“There was a blast first, then we heard firing. A rocket launcher was also fired at the bus which narrowly missed,” a Sri Lankan cricketer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Television umpire Nadeem Ghori and Davis were travelling with other Test umpires just behind the Sri Lankan team when the bullets suddenly rang out.

“Our bus driver Mohammad Zafar was hit in the stomach and died on the spot,” Ghori said.

“The firing continued for 15 minutes. It was shocking.”

Television footage showed a number of gunmen, wearing backpacks and some in sports trainers, creeping nimbly behind bushes, crouching to aim their weapons and then running onto the next target.

Blood stained the front seats of a vehicle used by Pakistan’s elite force, the van raked with gunfire with its wheels shot up, its plastic steering wheel cover damaged and radio system disabled by bullets, said an AFP reporter.

Crystals of broken glass littered the road.

Bullet holes tore through the windscreen of another vehicle and a white car was shown smashed headlong into the roundabout, with nervous security officers guarding the site.

An AFP correspondent found and handed over empty rifle magazines dropped by the gunmen in a side street after they fled.

Australian freelance cameraman Tony Bennett was at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore when “we heard a bomb go off, rapid rounds of machine gun fire outside the ground, small arms fire.”

“Next thing we knew, the Sri Lankan team bus rolls up being sprayed by bullets,” he said.

“Players (were) getting carried into the dressing room.”

Gavin Scovell, director for Australia’s Ten Sports television channel, also witnessed the shooting.

“I could see a few wounds but they weren’t panicking, they were very calm,” he said of the players.

“With all respect to them, it must have been a terrifying experience for them.”

A security guard in the Big City Plaza said he heard a huge explosion before the shooting began.

“Soon after the blast, there was (the) noise of continuous firing. I thought perhaps some bomb had exploded in the Gaddafi Stadium,” he said.

“I was frightened. I had only a gun. After some time I saw a damaged police vehicle, an overturned traffic police motorcycle and a traffic warden dead on the road. Then my superiors ordered me to come inside,” he added.

Sri Lankan authorities said six players were wounded and recalled the team home after what was the first bloody attack on a visiting cricket team in this cricket-obsessed country.

Security officials said the gunmen managed to escape after the shooting on four main roads leading from the square.


Attack bore LeT signs: Experts

The attack on Lankan cricketers in Lahore bear the signs of a Lashkar-e-Tayiba-style attack, terror experts say.  Experts say it is typical of the LeT to carry out such attacks after security agencies cracked down on its leaders.  The attack, they say, goes on to prove that despite claims of dismantling its top leadership, the outfit is capable of striking at will.

Flashback 2002: source livemint

In 2002, a bomb exploded in Karachi while the New Zealand cricket team were touring, killing 13 people including 11 French navy experts. The tourists, based at the Pearl Continental Hotel, were preparing to depart for the National Stadium for the start of a test match when a car exploded outside the nearby Karachi Sheraton. New Zealand called off the tour within hours of the attack.

Acting Sri Lankan foreign minister Hussein Bhaila “also confirmed that two players, Tharanga Paranavitana and Thilan Thushara were hospitalised and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner is rushing to Lahore to take stock of the situation.Divulging the details, he said that Thilan Samaraweera, who was in great form, was hit in the thigh, while a bullet grazed the chest of another player that was treated in the hospital. Also, six others suffered from cut injuries and were treated in the Gaddafi Stadium itself.”   (www.zeenews.com)

Sri Lankan cricket team attacked in Pakistan
By RIZWAN ALI – Associated Press Writer
LAHORE, Pakistan

A dozen masked gunmen armed with rifles and rocket launchers attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team as it traveled to a match in Pakistan on Tuesday, wounding several players and killing five police officers, officials said.

The assailants ambushed the team’s convoy at a traffic circle close to the main sports stadium in the eastern city of Lahore ahead of a match against Pakistan’s national team, triggering a 15-minute gunbattle with police guarding the vehicles.

None of the attackers were killed or captured at the scene, said city police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said. Authorities did not speculate on the identities of the attackers or their motives.

TV footage showed gunmen with backpacks – apparently the attackers – firing at the convoy as they retreated from the scene, with several damaged vehicles and a lone, unexploded grenade lying on the ground.

A Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said two players – Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana – were hospitalized. He said three more players were slightly injured and that the head coach, Australian Trevor Bayliss, also sustained minor injuries. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Squad member Kumar Sangakkara told Sri Lankan radio station Yes-FM that “all the players are completely out of danger.”

“Luckily there’s nothing serious and everyone is fine,” he said.

Police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said five policemen died in the attack by 12 masked gunmen.

Authorities cancelled the test match and the Lahore governor said the team was flying home.

The attack will surely mean the end of international cricket in Pakistan for months, if not years. Even before, most teams refused to tour the country because of security concerns. It will also have implications on the game’s future in South Asia, its most lucrative market.

“It is terrible incident and I am lost for words,” said Steve Davis, an Australian who was umpiring the match.

Nadeem Ghauri, a Pakistani umpire who witnessed the attack, said the umpires were behind a bus of Sri Lankan players when suddenly they heard gunshots.

“The firing started at about 8:40 and it continued for 15 minutes,” he said, adding “our driver was hit, and he was injured.”

A driver of one of the vehicles in the convoy told Pakistan’s private Express news channel that he saw a man firing a rocket toward their van and then some one hurled a grenade, but the weapons missed their vehicle.

Gunmen attack SL cricketers in Lahore
March 03, 2009 10:11 IST
Last Updated: March 03, 2009

Gunmen killed at least four people in an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus on Tuesday as it drove to the Gadaffi stadium in Lahore, according to witnesses and cricket officials.

Sri Lankan media, quoting the sports minister, said four players received minor injuries in the attack — Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana.

Pakistan television channels said four people were killed.

A witness told Reuters he believed two police commandos were killed along with a regular policeman and a traffic warden. Shopkeeper Ahmed Ali said the two police commandos had been driving behind the team bus when they were hit.

“It was a very heavy firing and I heard at least two explosions at the time,” said a Reuters witness who had been on his way to cover the Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka .

Pakistan only invited the Sri Lanka team to tour after India’s team pulled out with security concerns following the militant attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai  in November.

According to PTI, the incident took place when the Sri Lankan team was attacked by around 10 armed gunmen near the Liberty Chowk which is close to the stadium.

“The firing took place from at least four sides and continued for some minutes,” one police official said.

One explosion was also heard at the stadium, PTI adds.

The attackers later escaped in separate groups.

The liaison officer of the Pakistan team said players of the host nation have been sent back to the hotel.

“The Sri Lankan players are presently safe at the Gaddafi stadium and they are getting treatment,” one PCB official told PTI.

Sources also claimed that the police had received a threat on Monday that the Sri Lankan team would be attacked so a different route was used to transport the team to the stadium.

“The firing took place from at least four sides and continued for some minutes,” one police official said.

“There were 12 masked gunmen,” Lahore police chief Habib-ur Rehman told reporters, adding that police battled against the assailants for about 25 minutes.

“They appeared to be well-trained terrorists. They came on rickshaws. They were armed with rockets, hand grenades, kalashnikovs,” he said.

Television channels aired footage of at least two of the gunmen, one of them wearing shalwar kameez and other jeans and a jacket. Both were armed with assault rifles and carrying backpacks.

Police cordoned off the area immediately after the attack and launched a search for the gunmen. The driver of the cricket team’s bus drove away from the spot immediately after the firing started.

“We are assessing the situation,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ejaz Butt said.

“Five policemen who were providing protection to the team sacrificed their lives,” he added.

Attack came despite change in Lankan team route
Sheela Bhatt, March 03, 2009

“It was a daring attack on Sri Lankan cricketers by around a dozen young gunmen, reminding one of the Mumbai terror attacks ,” says well known Pakistani editor Hamid Mir, speaking to rediff.com from Islamabad .

He said given the threat perception for the Sri Lankan cricket team, they had taken a different route on Tuesday and yet were attacked.

“From their hotel, Pearl Intercontinental in Lahore ,to the cricket stadium they usually go through the road along the canal. But today they took the route through Liberty market,” he said.

According to reports, the gunmen were carrying weapons in sacks and were dressed like college students.

From their appearance they looked like Ajmal Kasab, who was among 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Mir says around eight to 10 gunmen came from one side and four to five gunmen came from the other side to attack the cricketers. When the security commandos took up position to protect the cricketers they were hit by the bullets, killing four of them.

In view of the Mumbai attacks and because of the threat to security to its cricketers, India had refused to send its team to Pakistan but Sri Lanka agreed to replace them. The current attack is one more severe setback to the image of Pakistan as an unsafe place for foreigners.

Mir says, “We are not surprised. Similar attacks are being carried out every day in Swat valley. Today it has happened before the full glare of the media.” He said the timing of the attack is significant.

Interestingly, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon had recently met his Sri Lankan counterpart, and communication channels between the two nations were just opening up.

Hamid Gul, former chief of Inter Services Intelligence, has quickly blamed the Indian external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing for the attack.

Mir added, “It is difficult to say who attacked the Sri Lankan team,” and refused to comment on Gul’s allegation against India. He also pointed out that the Lashkar e Tayiba was not opposed to the Sri Lankans.