Posts Tagged ‘Suresh Raina’


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

Advertisements

India beat arch rivals Pakistan yesterday, to get into the final match of the biggest tournament in cricket. Now they will face Sri Lanka in the World Cup final on Saturday.

I wanted to write this post immediately after the match ended yesterday, but probably as the match ended being an Indian cricket fanatic, I was on cloud nine. And it has taken me almost half a day to get back to normal and write the post. I went to have ice cream late night after the match with my family. And that is time I realized that I am not the only cricket crazy person over here. There are many more cricket crazy people around. There were hundreds of bike riders, riding away to glory, carrying Indian flags, and chanting “India..India”. My grandmother was really amazed seeing such type of behavior and enthusiasm all around. I guess this is what an India-Pakistan match does to the country. When the match started the country had got to a halt, and then as the match ended everyone burst out of their homes in a joyful mood. I later too joined my friends late after midnight to celebrate the Indian victory. Probably this is the day I will not forget for a long time. In fact now I have planned for a bigger celebration if India wins the world cup final.

Now coming back to the match, I won’t say it was a one sided affair. But yes India did manage to win it convincingly in the end defeating Pakistan by a comfortable 29 runs. Though Pakistan had their moments and built up the enthusiasm right till the end. It started great for India as Sehwag got away to a flier, but once he left, it was probably more of a struggle to score runs. Sachin got as many as 6 lives in the match (he was dropped 4 times, a stumping was missed and an LBW decision was turned over by the review system). I don’t think that Sachin would have got these many chances in his complete career as well. However, this opportunity also did not help him scoring his 100th international hundred. But definitely his 85 run knock was the crucial point in India’s win. Gambhir did start well, but I guess he got flown away in emotions and almost threw his wicket. And then Kohli was scratchy, and got out at what can be called as a crucial stage, especially because the very next ball Yuvraj was dismissed to an almost unplayable delivery. Dhoni again was not at his best, but did try hard to help India recover from the two quick jolts. On the other hand Raina played well towards the end, which again raises a question to my mind as why wasn’t he played in the earlier matches of the tournament. Anyways India managed to score 260 runs, though which was too less compared to what everyone felt especially after the start the team had got. The scores dipped from a probable 330 to 300 to 280 and finally ended 260.

Then started the second session where India had to restrict Pakistan to less than 260. It looked a herculean task, because Pakistan bat very deep in the order, and India’s bowling has been a problem in the world cup. But since the last two matches India’s bowling and fielding has been improving by the rate of knots.

And once again when the fans were feeling low, Indian team picked themselves to just another level. Every bowler raised his game to the occasion. Though Zaheer was the most expensive of the lot, but he bowled in the situations of the match when the Pakistani players were trying to score hard, and his two crucial wickets were very important. Same is the case with Nehra and Munaf. Well everyone was shocked with their inclusion in the game, but they justified it very well. Both of them bowled their skins out and probably this has been their best effort in the tournament, I one must say what a time to get this. Harbhajan Singh has been a disappointment in the tournament especially since he has not been able to pick up wickets that were expected of him, but in this match he almost turned the game in India’s favor by picking two wickets of the most dangerous batsman and at crucial times. And now the recent batsman turned all-rounder Yuvraj, played his part as well. He was a little expensive but picked two important top order wickets which allowed every other bowler to build the pressure.

With this win, India have kept their World Cup unbeaten record against Pakistan intact. I guess everyone was confident, rather over confident of India’s win seeing the past history. But now I have understood why everyone felt that. Though as Shahid Afridi had said before the match that Pakistan would not allow Sachin to get to the magic figure, and yes they succeeded in that, but the 85 runs that Sachin did score proved a little too costly for the Pakistan team.

ll in all this was a great team effort. But the job is not over yet, India will face Sri Lanka in the finals. Sri Lankan batsmen have been on fire especially their top order, and their bowling is nowhere close to being a weak one. So this match is not going to be a close one.

Well the stage is set for the grand finale. And everything is falling into place. The match is in Sachin’s home, Mumbai. And what a time this will be for him to get to his 100th international hundred. World Cup finals, in India, and to top it all in Mumbai, in front of home crowd on home ground. What else can anybody dream of? If this hundred can lead to the World Cup win, I guess that moment Sachin will remember all his life.

But the task is not easy. Sri Lanka is team because of whom India had to see the end of their World Cup campaigns in 1996 and 2007. I guess this is right to avenge those losses. The team has been doing well, but I somehow still believe that Pathan should come into the side, in place of Kohli. Though I was unhappy that Ashwin was dropped for the side, but Nehra’s and Munaf’s will only add to the selection headache. But that is a nice thing to have I believe.
In the end I would like to congratulate India for this memorable victory, and also wish them all the best for the big match on Saturday.


It is now going to be a dream Wednesday next. An India Pakistan semi final in a tournament like world cup, how much more can any cricket fan ask for. And that too followed by an India Australia quarter finals. Amazing….

Finally India has shown why it is a top contender to pick up the trophy this time. The beat the last 3 time world champions Australia comprehensively. I do not think anyone expected India to pick up their game to such a high level today. I knew that it was very much possible for India to defeat Australia, but they had to play their best cricket for that. And India did exactly that!
Suddenly, the Indian team has risen up to every ones expectations, and almost has silenced all the criticism that the team was receiving in the last couple of weeks.

R Ashwin- bowled very well...

Today the bowling was good, disciplined, except Munaf Patel. And yes Harbhajan Singh was good but disappointing because he expected to pick up wickets and probably dismiss the top middle order for India. But again he has gone wicket less which has been disappointing. Zaheer was very good again, as usual. Ashwin was brilliant too, now this really confuses me why wasn’t he played earlier. And not to forget Yuvraj, the all rounder was amazing. He was very good with the ball again picking up 2 crucial wickets.

He crossed 18000 run mark

Now with the bat, I must say India played really well chasing. Both Sachin and Sehwag gave a decent start. Though I expected Sehwag to score a few more, and more quickly. Sachin was brilliant till he was dismissed. He scored a very important 50, also surprising the 18000 run mark in one day internationals. Gautam Gambhir played a very good knock, scored a 50 but then could not continue.  Then came Virat Kohli who got decent start but just threw it away and then MS Dhoni also got out leaving India 5 wickets down with over 70 runs to get. And then when everyone was losing hope Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina scripted a victory that Indians will remember for a very long time to run. Both these players played as if there was no tomorrow. To play Raina today was a masterstroke I must say. He played very sensibly and got India home at the end. India has lost wickets in heaps earlier, and today I realized the difference. It was Suresh Raina. The team needed a player like him, as been has been a finisher for the team over the past few years.

And now a talk on Yuvraj Singh. He has been brilliant in the series so far. He has emerged as the all rounder that the team has needed. Today also he played a match winning knock. And the form that he has shown, especially when his place in the playing XI before the start of the tournament was also on doubt is something explicable.  And yes let me acknowledge the team for the last part as well, the fielding department. Today India fielded very well, something one does not see every day.

And yes in the end I would like to point out the effort of Australian captain Ricky Ponting. he played an amzing innings under pressure, but lost to the young Indian exuberance. And suddenly the team that had not lost a single match in the last 2 World Cups, has lost 2 consecutive matches and is out of the tournament. It must have heart breaking for Ponting as this edition could have made him the first captain to win 3 consecutive World Cups. 

Now the world will look forward to the high profile match on Wednesday, 30th March 2011. The game between arch rivals India and Pakistan. Surprisingly Pakistan has been very good in the tournament so far and defeating them will not be easy for India. Though if I look at the World Cup history I would be very relaxed, because Pakistan has never been able to defeat India in World Cups.  But will this record remain intact after next week, I hope that happens. But one can never say anything as cricket is very unpredictable and is know that records break every now and then. And if Pakistan manage their first ever win against India, it will be the ideal situation to do so.

Suresh Raina - India's masterstroke in the game..

Now coming to India’s strategy for the next match. I believe they should drop Munaf Patel, he has been given an extended run. Maybe Sreesanth can come back in his place. That would get some fire back into the opening attack. The other change can be getting Yusuf back in place of Virat Kohli. Now that can be very harsh on Virat, but with Yuvraj in top form he can come in at no. 4 followed by Dhoni. Then I do not believe Virat is of any use at no. 6 or 7. That is the place where Pathan can come handy and can be very dangerous towards the end of the innings. And yes Pathan can be handy with the ball as well, though I am not really sure if that would help against Pakistan who play spin bowling well. But anyways these decisions are to be taken by the management.

Hopefully India will play some great cricket in the next match and move into the finals very easily. And yes not to forget 2 matches (semi-final and finals) left, the stage is set for Sachin to score his 100th international hundred, and then score his 50th one day hundred in the finals. Amazing way for Sachin to fulfil the dream of picking up the World Cup trophy.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the next match. Hopefully India will win!


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 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


Sachin Tendulkar went onto score first fifth double hundred in test cricket today. He reached his hundred yesterday, and completed the double today. For the statistics, this is his 5th test double hundred, 6th International double hundred (he has one in the ODI’s), 48th Test hundred, 94th International hundred, and 75th first class hundred. Also this is his 19th 150+ score in test cricket which equals the record with Brain Lara and also his 24th 150+ score in International cricket, which again is a record. This will again be special because with this match Sachin equals the record Steve Waugh’s record of most test match appearances at 168. Also now he has scored a 150+ score against each test playing nation.

He came into bat when two quick wickets had fallen and then the third also feel in the next over. India was in a situation of trouble as he took guard. But he hung in initially, tried getting in a few runs along with Laxman. After Laxman’s wicket, the debutant Raina joined Sachin in the middle for a memorable partnership. This partnership saw Sachin reach his 48th test ton, while Raina scored his maiden ton in his debut match. Sachin later went onto score his double hundred, and was finally dismissed by Dilshan at the score of 203.

This innings was very important for India, as India were completely outplayed in the first two days, and were looking at the doors of defeat after three quick wickets on the third day. Now it looks as if Sachin has almost saved the match for India (though with still a full day to go nothing can really be predicted). I guess this innings will also save India of falling from their no.1 position in the ICC test rankings. A defeat would have pushed them down the rankings. Also one must say that Raina played very well, especially considering that this is his debut match. Again Sehwag played well, but fell to a bad shot, just 1 run short of a hundred.

If we just talk about Sachin, after the day three ended he was batting at 108 still almost everyone had started speculating him of getting a double, and not just double many had already started talking about him getting to his first triple century. I guess that is the expectation from this little champion whenever he comes out to bat. He did disappoint his fans but not completely as he did score a double century. But all I can say is most of us are disappointed as he could not get a triple. That is the expectation level of all his fans, it just keeps on increasing.

With so many records under his belt, he is literally competing only with himself. I wish him all the best for future and hope that he gives us many such instances in the near future. Now I am eagerly waiting for his 50th test hundred and 100th international hundred, I hope he gets to these landmarks in this year itself.


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.


Chennai are the champions of IPL third edition. They defeated the favorites Mumbai Indians comprehensively in the finals.  As I had written in my previous post that I was supporting both teams (Mumbai Indians a little more), so this loss for Mumbai Indians has not hurt much. Though I would have loved to have seen a different result, but genuinely I am not very disappointed with this result either.

Mumbai Indians have played great cricket throughout the tournament. They had won 10 out of their 14 games in the league phase. Also they were playing the semi-finals and finals in Mumbai, so had a slight home advantage as well. But they were not very good on this day. They started off well, and till half way through the first innings, they were on the top. But after that the pressure of the final showed on them and they dropped two very easy catches of Suresh Raina, who went onto to lay a good foundation of the victory for Chennai. Also what was debatable was the fact that why was Kieron Pollard sent so late into bat. He was just given about 18 balls to play, had he come sometime when there were 5-6 overs left probably the result could have been something else.

Anyways now talking about Chennai Super Kings, it will not be correct to say that they deserved to win this year if one sees their performance in this edition. But if one looks at their performance in all the tree editions then I guess no one will have a doubt on whether they deserved or not. They have by far been the most consistent side. Having made it to the semi-final stage in all the three editions.  This year the managed to enter the semi-finals through a great innings from their captain MS Dhoni. Then after that as everyone says its history. They had been to the finals in 2008 but had lost then, so this was their chance to win it. 

I must say that one needs to spare a thought for Sachin Tendulkar. He had performed brilliantly in this tournament, he also had inspired the young team to perform well at this big stage, and in the finals he almost anchored the side to victory (despite having an injury in his right hand), and still the team lost. As everyone says, no one remembers how well you have played the tournament, if you lose the finals, also no one will remember that how bad were throughout the tournament if you win the finals. If anything is remembered it is the name of the eventual winner.

As MS Dhoni had correctly said after his knock n the last league game, that it is important to make it to the top four after that it is more of lottery cricket. Well his team has proved him correct, they somehow managed to qualify, but then just raised their level in the final two games and won the championship. They not only won, but won both the matches were convincingly.

Well this year the awards were much different from the others in for the Indians. I the first edition it was foriegners for won the awards, the second year it was a mixed bag for both Indian and foriegn players. But this year surprisingly every award has gone to an Indian player. Finally it has been an Indian Premier League. Now coming to the awards given at the end of the tournament:

2010 Champions: Chennai Super Kings
IPL Fair-play Award: Chennai Super Kings
Man of the Match in the Finals: Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings)
Player of the Tournament: Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians)
Orange Cap: Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians)
Purple Cap: Pragyan Ojha (Deccan Chargers)
Under-23 Success of the Tournament: Saurabh Tiwary (Mumbai Indians)
The only hatrick this year was taken by Praveen Kumar (Royal Challengers Bangalore).
The fastest hundred was by Yusuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals)
And the highest Score was by Murali Vijay (Chennai Super Kings)

The final standings of the tournament were:
1. Chennai Super Kings
2. Mumbai Indians
3. Royal Challengers Bangalore
4. Deccan Chargers
5. Delhi Daredevils
6. Kolkata Knight Riders
7. Rajasthan Royals
8. Kings XI Punjab

The Batting charts was headed by Sachin Tendulkarand there were as many as 4 Indians in the top five in the charts. While the bowling department was a bit different with P Ojha heading the charts along with it was an all indian players show in the top five. And surprisingly the top four bowlers of the tournament were spinners. 

The top three teams that are Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, and Royal Challengers Bangalore have made it to the Champions League that will be held in South Africa in September this year.

One thing that has made me happy is that it is MS Dhoni’s team that has won. He has inspired his team to win this cup. Hopefully he can do the same thing when he leads the Indian team in the T20 World Cup staring at the end of this week in West Indies. With this I will end the post and also wish the Indian team all the best for the World Cup.