Monthly Archives: December 2007

Boxing Day Woes

The opening tour game at Victoria saw Rahul Dravid return to form. He was sent as an opener and scored an unbeaten 33 before the match was washed out due to rain. Well, Dravid’s return to form has triggered many questions on who will open for India on the boxing day.

Virendra Sehwag stands as a good opening prospect. Though out of form, he may be under quite a lot of pressure, but all he needs is one innings to signal his return to international cricket. He has proved his mettle in the last series in 2003-2004 by scoring a clean 195. He is a good player of cut shots and displays class while playing on backfoot – the latter being a key ingredient to negotiate bounce in Australia. This means – ‘Better luck next time, Yuvi.’

Dinesh Karthik plays well on foreign wickets, like he did in England and South Africa. He has a good on-field chemistry with Jaffer and hence an excellent running between the wickets. But, a major flaw in Karthink’s batting is that he looks quite nervous while facing pace bowlers and is not able to play outswingers well. He should be more precise on shot selection and should be able to leave the balls going wide outside the off-stump. If Sehwag fails in first two tests straight, Karthik should be given a chance to open at WACA, Perth, where the wicket favours spin bowlers.

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Filed under Australia, Boxing Day, India, Test Match

‘Boxing’ Facts

Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated in Australia and many other Commonwealth countries on December 26, the day after or alternatively on the next day after Christmas.

In 1950 the first ever Australian Boxing Day Test was hosted at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The tradition goes back to the middle ages with varied versions on when and how it began.

Melbourne Cricket Ground will be hosting 100th Test, when India play their first Test against Australia on Boxing Day (December 26). The first ground to host hundred Test matches was Lord’s.

Melbourne Cricket Ground established in 1854 is the biggest cricket ground in the world.

The first Test in the history of cricket was played between Australia and England at MCG on 15-3-1877.

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Just Do It, Dada!

Ricky Ponting is the only cricketer in the world to have posted a ton in both innings of his 100th test match. Can Dada repeat the feat at MCG? Here’s a message for him:

Just Do It
Just Do It!

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Filed under Australia, India, Test Match, World Record

Zak on top

Indian pacer Zaheer Khan emerged the highest wicket taker while his teammate Sachin Tendulkar was the second highest run getter in the one-dayers in the 2007 calendar year.

Zaheer picked up 40 wickets from 33 ODIs he played in the year while Tendulkar scored 1425 runs from the same number of matches in the year.

Among other Indians, Yuvraj Singh was fourth with 1287 runs from 36 matches followed by Sourav Ganguly in the fifth place with 1240 runs from 32 matches. One-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was seventh with 1103 runs from 37 matches.

The lists of top run getters and wicket takers are as follows:

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Blunder Down Under

As a spectator, I think India is not well prepared for the high pressure tour, Down Under. I’d blame the following, if Team India under-performs:

  • Crammed schedule will not allow the team to acclimatize with Australian conditions. BCCI should have planned only two tests with Pakistan instead of three. This would have given Team India some extra time to recuperate and get used to bouncy Australian wickets. Sachin Tendulkar speaks out
  • Team India does not have a regular coach till date who can lay match winning strategies against the very best in the world. Again BCCI is to be blamed for it’s myopic vision
  • India does not home good cricketing wickets, either. We only have the ‘batting’ wickets here. Though Indian wickets are said to be spinner friendly, the tracks are more or less flat.
Team India only has some great experience with little skill set to play at the challenging tracks in Australia. I wish this tour ends in a draw; if India loses pathetically, then it will be recorded as ‘Blunder Down Under’ in the cricketing history.

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Filed under Australia, Cricket, India, Test Match

Marry ME, Dhoni!

Indian media is gaga over Dhoni’s crush on Bollywood star Deepika Padukone. It is believed that Dhoni invited Deepika to watch the T20 match with Australia, which was sealed by a marvellous six off Dhoni’s willow. Cameras turned to record Deepika’s reaction and she was obviously enjoying the moment. Mr. MS Dhoni also requested Shahrukh Khan for a special screening of ‘Om Shanti Om’ for the Indian team in which the damsel acted. Dhoni cut his locks at Deepika’s request (or behest), it is speculated.

What more proof is needed? I think, media is right this time.

But, no love story is complete without a twist. Yuvraj Singh was spotted with Dhoni’s girl at a disco, recently. Rest is left to be concluded by the vivid imagination of the learned reader…

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The Great Indian Sledgers

Sourav Ganguly Harbhajan Singh S Sreesanth Robin Uthappa

Sledging is the practice in cricket of insulting opponents to break their concentration and cause them to make mistakes. Sledging is effective because the batsman stands within hearing range of the bowler and certain fielders. The aim is to intimidate or distract the batsman into making a fatal mistake and being dismissed. Sledging thus tries to “break the flow” of the batsman’s game. There is debate in the cricketing world over whether this is poor sportsmanship or good-humoured banter.

I call this ‘Verbal Abuse’.

This is an art which the Australians are well-versed with. No sooner did they land in India for the Future Cup in 2007 than Ricky Ponting & Co. started lashing their tongues at us. The first one came from the captain himself when he said that the feat of winning the Twenty20 world cup a few weeks back was actually a history. Then during the ODIs Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden and Micheal Clarke went a little ahead by pointing their bats at the Indian bowlers.

I’m very much proud of the present generation of Indian cricketers namely, Bhajji, Sree and Robin. They subdued the kangaroos by matching them at sledging skills. Hats off to Sreesanth who showed the Australians their true class. If they want to play cricket like this then we know how to answer fire with fire.

Even before the start of Indo-Oz series 2007, Down Under, the former Australian coach, John Buchhanan, started verbal abuse by targeting Sachin Tendulkar. From the Indian camp Harbhajan retorted by saying that Brad Hogg is not good enough a spinner and stands nowhere in the likes of Warne and MacGill.

The generation of Indian cricketers has changed and along with answering the remarks thrown at them by the opponents with bat and ball, they return the same with verbal abuse as bonus.

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Filed under Cricket, India, Sledging