Posts Tagged ‘Zaheer Khan’


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


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!


Bangladesh defeat England with two wickets. What an amazing result, and this opens up the group B completely. Now England is in deep trouble. But I must say, I was expecting this result, in fact I had expected Bangladesh to defeat West Indies as well, but I was shocked to see them lose in such a one sided manner.

But it is really good to see them lift themselves up after a pathetic performance, and come up good. Though I must say that they had somewhat lost the plot in between, and it looked like it is going to be another Bangladesh middle order collapse, but their lower proved too good in these circumstances and brought them a well deserved victory.

On the other hand England has had 5 very, very close games. They won the first, probably because of the inexperience of Netherland team. The second was a tie against India, thanks to the late brilliance of Zaheer Khan. The third they lost to the spirited Ireland, and in the fourth they managed to snatch victory from South Africa’s mouth thanks to South Africa’s middle order collapse. And now against Bangladesh the lose again a close match, especially if one sees that they had Bangladesh 8 wickets down with still over 60 runs to get. Now they have their last match against West Indies which they have to win, or they will probably be out of the tournament. But if they look back at their tournament so far, they would realize that they have been consistently inconsistent. They have played out all close games, maybe only a difference f one over could have them at 5 losses or 5 wins, instead of their current 2 losses, 2 wins, and 1 tie.

I also wanted to mention about Ireland team here. Today again, they lost against West Indies fighting. They had their chances but just could not grab them due to their inexperience. That is why; I am feeling very sad for them, as they are probably out of the tournament now, only probably. But I must salute them for their courage and fighting spirit. They really have played well in the tournament. Now I feel had they been in group A, probably they could have made it to the next stage. After seeing their effort, I would like to request ICC to promote Ireland cricket more, they definitely need encouragement.

At the end, this result makes me happy because it somewhat consolidates the position of the Indian team at the top for some time. As it is known that higher you finish in the group the better it is and easier it might be in the quarter final stage.


Woh this was breath taking stuff.. The match between India and England ends in a tie. This is only the fourth ever tie in World Cup History. No winner, no looser amazing. Which team will be more disappointed in not winning the match? I guess both, but if you actually see, India has just thrown it away, by not winning this one.

It started of very well for India; they scored 338 which was a target that would have taken something to be chased down. But i am not sure if actually India would be happy with the score. India was past 300 in the 45th over with 7 wickets in hand, but still they managed only 338, losing 7 wickets in the last 25 balls. Though it must be said Sachin batted beautifully, getting up his 5th World Cup hundred, his 47th ODI, and his 98th International hundred. He was well supported by Gambhir and Yuvraj who scored half centuries each. But what cost India the win is that they did not play the complete quota of overs, got out with a ball to spare. And to top it when Zaheer got run out in as the last wicket trying to get a double, the run was called a short run, which meant a run wasted and so a wicket. I guess that run cost India the victory.

In the second half England started off well. I must say Strauss played one of the finest world cup innings to almost get his team home.  His knock of 158 will be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of world cup cricket. Just when they were cruising with 61 required of 54 balls to win, it was Zaheer’s spell which turned things around, he picked up 3 quick wickets, leaving India ahead. With 29 required of the last two over 3 wickets in hand, it looked as if India were to reach home finally. But they just threw it away and gave away 28 in 12 balls, to end this match in a tie. Now, should we call this as an escape for India, or should we call it a chance thrown away is something that I am confused of.

Another big concern is that the batsmen have played really well so far, but have the bowlers done that. Today the bowling was tested, and it almost failed. When the opposition is set a target of 339 to win, one expects a big victory, not a tie or a loss. I think India needs to pull their socks in this department or a world cup win will only be a dream. How long can one just rely on Sehwag and Sachin to fire? How many times will they be able to score 300 plus runs? And even if they do that what is the guarantee that the bowlers will bowl well. I really think India needs to reassess. They definitely have the strongest batting line up, but also one of the weakest bowling line ups. Today also except from that exceptional 3 over spell from Zaheer, the Indian bowling was nowhere close to a decent one, leave aside a good one. If it wasn’t that spell Zaheer, india would have lost the match badly. India really needs to work up this or they would be exploited badly in the later stages of the games. Do not forget that this time there are three knock out stages, and I am not really sure if the Indian bowlers are up for it.

In the end I hope that Indian team would definitely think about it, and also I would like to wish the team all the best for the coming matches. Also I would like to wish Sachin for another gem of an innings and how luckily it is not gone in vain. Hope they do not play any lack lustre cricket and come up victorious.




Well the final scores do depict that India did thrash Australia, but to be honest it has not really been that easy as the final scores suggest. In the first test match India somehow managed to escape the doors of defeat and ended on the winning side, big thanks to great innings from VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma.

In the second test also Australia had come all guns blazing in their innings, and made Indian team look an ordinary team for some time, but in the end India did fight back and proved why they are the number 1 team. And finally a great innings from Sachin Tendulkar led to the foundation af a great series win. And then later on the fourth day the Indian bowlers responded and made the series win come as a clean sweep on Australia, the first time they could do it to Australia.

Zaheer Khan was given the man of the match award in the first match because of his bowling performance, but it was Sachin Tendulkar who was adjudjed the man of the match for the second test to go with the man of the series award.

Many other records were made during this series. India won their 3rd consecutive match in a row. Dhoni continued his capataincy form in Test cricket as a he has never lost a series. In fact India have now not lost 8 consecutive series. Sachin notched up his 49th hundred and his 6th test double hundred and in the meanwhile also passed the 14000 run mark in test matches. Dhoni completed his 150th dismissal in test cricket while Zaheer Khan reached the mark of 250 test wickets. Virender Sehwag equalled the record of making fifty or more in 11 consecutive matches (this now equals with Vivian Richards and Gautam Gambhur). In fact Sachin Tendulkar has now scored a fifty or more in 10 consecutive matches (and this is still an active streak).

Well these were definitely the high points of the series. But there were many low points in the firm of injuries as well. Ishant, Gambhir and Laxman got injuries in the first test match. This gave an opportunity to Cheteshwar Pujara, and yes he did not disappoint others by scoring a fluent fifty in the final innings and the setting the platform for a great  victory.

With the no.1 position in test matches confirm for sometime now, India would really be feeling happy of it. But on the other side Australia has slipped to the fifth position in the ICC rankings for the first time. And this could be very hurting for them as this would mean that for the first time they would be ranked lower than England at the start of the Ashes.

I end this here hoping that India continue its good form and defeat New Zealand which is next up in the test series. Though before that we have the ODI series against Australia. But I guess the biggest test of the Indian team would be at the end of the year when they would visist South Africa for the test series. I wwould like to wish the team best of luck for their coming tournamnets.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Sachin has been, top scoring for India in the series

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

Virender Sehwag, player of the tournament

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

Laxman after scoring his hundred

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

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

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

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

Suresh Raina, the find of the series


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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