Bangladesh, the game of cricket needs you…

They’ve been taking giant strides on the cricket field. They’ve been playing quality cricket over the past couple of years. The team from Bangladesh showed immense character and promise when it participated in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Successive victories in the bilateral series against the likes of Pakistan, South Africa and India reiterated the fact that the Bangladesh has transformed as a cricketing nation.

Continue reading “Bangladesh, the game of cricket needs you…”

IPL auction 2017: Of English flavours and Afghani spices

Ben Stokes, Bought by Hyderabad For Rs 14.5 Crore, Becomes IPL's Most Expensive Foreign Player Ever

Seeing more than 350 players going under the hammer is exciting. It really thrills me out when I see bids being placed and players from across the globe going under the hammer (the auction hammer, I mean). The auction for the 10th season of the cash-rich Indian Premiere League saw two different flavours.  On one hand, players from England attracted a lot of bids. The auction saw Ben Stokes, England’s star all-rounder in white-ball cricket, being sold for INR 14.5 crore to the Rising Pune Supergiants  (That’s insane). Stokes would certainly be the happiest person on earth right now. Everytime I look at his (Stokes) price tag, it baffles me.

Continue reading “IPL auction 2017: Of English flavours and Afghani spices”

Decoding Ravi Ashwin…

The game of cricket has transformed by leaps and bounds. From cricket to 50 over matches and now, from 50 over matches to the bang-bang Twenty20 matches. Cricketers need to adapt. They need to perform well across different conditions and formats. Pressure of performing consistently has never been this high.Being a good batsman isn’t enough, you need to be an excellent fieldsman and a more than useful bowler as well.

The Indian National cricket team’s so-called ‘never-ending’ search for a genuine test all-rounder seems to have finally ended. The transformation of the tall and lanky lad from Chennai (Ravi Ashwin) has been nothing short of exceptional.  The thing that makes him one of India’s most valuable cricketers is the fact that the bowler in him can think like a batsman,anticipating what the opponent is trying to do. Furthermore,the batsman in him can think like a bowler, avoiding ploys and traps.

Ashwin has been appreciated by cricket pundits all over the world for his exceptional strike-rate of five wicket hauls. He has further gained appreciation for his ability to make valuable contributions down the order, but his inability to replicate this prolific run on foreign soils has been criticized.

ravichandran-ashwin-jamaica-.jpg. You can’t be called a complete cricketer just because you pile of the runs and pick wickets on your home-soil. Don Bradman, one of the hungriest cricketers to ever pick up the piece of willow, isn’t considered by some cricket pundits to be a complete cricketer for having played in only two countries.

Ashwin’s rise as a genuine all-rounder has a variety of reasons. First of all, his ability to stay firm at one end while batting. Secondly, his technique, which is quite okay (remember we are talking about a guy who bats at seven or eight). Thirdly, he is someone who has almost all the orthodox shots in his kitty. While he has the ball in hand, his variations make him a lethal weapon capable of destroying even the world’s best batting line up.

The key to understanding Ashwin’s value lies in unlocking the many successful transformations he has gone through. He started his career as a batsman who could bowl occasional medium pace. Now he has transitioned into one of the finest off-spinners the game of cricket has ever seen. He was the first one to realize that his physique isn’t built for speed. He won’t be able to beat most of his teammates in a sprint. He has spent considerable time ensuring he has a safe pair of hands when it comes to catching.

Ashwin has altered his bowling technique on more than one occasions. From the time he starts from the mark, builds the momentum towards the crease, then loads up, pivots up and releases one of his many deliveries. Ashwin does not merely live cricket, he loves it. And it appears as if the game of cricket is loving him back.

Talking of records, Ashwin is the quickest to reach 200 test wickets.Since January 2015, he has completed  five wicket hauls 14 times in 20 tests. That is sheer greatness.His all round displays are a case in  point. He has thus far won an identical six Man Of The Match and Man Of The Series awards in test match cricket this year. The man who seems to have perfected the art of bowling a ‘carrom ball’ does not believe in going after records. He keeps on dismissing batsmen and the records keep tumbling as well. Presently, Ashwin has 72 test scalps from 12 test matches he has been a part of this year, making him the highest wicket-taker this year.

Ashwin has already had some stellar performances to his credit. Considering his rising stature and the kind of form he’s in,  the best may just be round the corner. A long home season awaits Ashwin as he’ll be seen flexing his muscles against the mighty Aussies in the spring of 2017. We’re surely in for a tour de force or two from this prodigiously gifted and talented all-rounder.

Best of the best: Edge of the seat thrillers (ODIs)

 

Ever since ODI (One Day International) cricket came into existence, the world has seen thousands of ODI matches being played between some of the top cricketing sides in the world. While there have been some ordinary matches, there have been many which have been no less than extra-ordinary. Let us take a look at 5 of the top ODI matches ever played. Continue reading “Best of the best: Edge of the seat thrillers (ODIs)”

Preventing the fall…

Test match cricket is in a spot of bother and we need to bring it out of troubled waters, but before we do that, we need to  accept the fact that test cricket does not suit the modern day generation. Well, I’m a traditionalist who loves the longest format of the game. The reason I love it is that test matches challenge each and every aspect of a player’s technique and character. But, there’s another side to it. As a spectator, I would certainly not go out with my family to watch a long day of test match cricket. A night out at a Twenty20 encounter is where I would perhaps go with my family. Continue reading “Preventing the fall…”

Of medals and mettle…

As far as India’s Olympic journey is concerned, one thing’s for sure, India’s women are doing their country proud ( with the notable exception of Shobha De 🙂 ) Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and now, PV Sandhu. Women have exceeded expectations and given us something to cheer.

Sakshi Malik won the first medal for India at the Rio Olympics and the entire nation celebrated her achievement on August 18. Malik won the first medal for India (a bronze) and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter in order to congratulate her. Continue reading “Of medals and mettle…”

For the sheer charm of Test Cricket……

I still remember waking up at around 5am in the morning in order to watch the first ever day-night test match between Australia and New Zealand. Test cricket is undoubtedly the true essence of the game of cricket. I remember watching the video footage of a game played during the 1970’s between India and England at Lord’s, the great cathedral of the game of cricket. I remember watching Sunil Gavaskar walking out to open the innings for India. There was a unique sort of charm in Sunny’s batting. The orthodox pulls and hooks along with some expansive cover-drives, Gavaskar’s batting used to be studded by some of the finest textbook strokes. As the red cherry swung there in England, Sunil Gavaskar’s bat was no less effective.  Continue reading “For the sheer charm of Test Cricket……”

Team India: The firm favourites in their backyard…..

As the world Twenty20 dawn on us, the expectations and hopes are soaring yet again. Just a few days to go before the twenty20 extravaganza unfolds in India, speculations have already started erupting on who will be crowned this year’s Twenty20 champion. The twenty20 format, as we all know, is more like a gamble so it is quite difficult to predict a winner. Nevertheless, with the way the Indian team has been performing in the shortest format of the game recently, hopes have been kindled in every Indian fan. Well, there are other teams like Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies who happen to be excellent in this format. But some amount of rationale dictates that team India is the frontrunner to reclaim the title they had won in its inaugural edition. Continue reading “Team India: The firm favourites in their backyard…..”

Lazy elegance and the rise of Rohit Sharma

I still remember the day Rohit Sharma made his Twenty20 International debut for India against a high-flying South African side in the ICC World Twenty20 2007 and that too, in their own backyard. It was a do-or-die game for the men in blue. They had to beat the formidable South African team in the super 8s stage in order to make their way into the semis. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Indian side was reduced to 61/4, courtesy of some disciplined bowling by Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini. Continue reading “Lazy elegance and the rise of Rohit Sharma”