Is this the End of Yuvraj Singh?

This article needed special guts, for it’s about an all-conquering Champion player who may not deserve such criticism but today is only a pale shadow his own former self, for it’s about a man who a whole nation is proud of, for it’s about a man who hurts the most when he’s not scoring runs!

Those who watched yesterday’s match, will provide a testimony of a player who’s terribly short on confidence. He just hasn’t looked like himself. The under confident footwork, the ebbing demeanor, that sinking chin, and eyes that just won’t match the levels with any other player in the team. He isn’t the same man who won MS Dhoni the most coveted World Cup in 2011. He isn’t the same roaring Yuvraj Singh.

He was a different man then, who’d match the best in the business any time of the day and between any dream of the night as well. And yet have enough to come out the next day and take on the next best. He was in a class of his own then. His feet moved ever so elegantly, he saw the balls earlier, and hence, read the lines better giving the bowlers an absolute nightmare. The nudges, the pulls, the hooks, the sweeps, the slog-sweeps, the cover-drives – lofted and otherwise, the square cuts, he was an absolute Indian treat to watch. The sore of the eye to the world and the twinkle of the eyes for India. He was untouchable – a terrific athletic and safe fielder, a fast runner – both on the field and between the wickets, and a man of organization. In all of the World Cup 2011, he fed off the confidence that he got from bowling his slow left armers which reflected in his batting too. Ask him now and he may himself say that those were the best days of his cricketing career.

Between then and now though, he’s had a rough ride. Forging through a near terminal illness, inspiring many a billions with his courage on the way, he came back on the scene with a bang, with a quick-fire 70 odd, and man, wasn’t Indian public and media gaga over his return. But since then, bowlers have figured him out, for he is still unsure about himself. For some reason, he doesn’t seem to bend down enough when playing his drives and his stride is shorter and legs stiffer. He isn’t playing straight enough. He’s trying to move but the feet take him to places inside the crease, he really doesn’t want to be.

And consequently, he now faces issues with fast bowlers, both seamers and swingers. He pokes at anything going away from him (very Gautam Gambhir style). I guess that’s what lack of form brings to you – an inherent urge to get off the strike so you spend more time on the crease. He doesn’t read the balls that come in and hence, sits like a duck being shot at. He is unsure about off-spinners bowling to him, for they have their own variations to bamboozle him with. It seems he has never played the doosra from any off-spinner, when all the while during his playing days, he had one of the best exponents of bowling doosra in his own team, bowling at him in the nets – Harbhajan Singh (and later Ravichandran Ashwin as well). A world-class batsman like him is facing issues differentiating between the balls that skid on and the ones that leave him. He isn’t watching the balls closely enough. The only bowlers he seems contented playing, are genuine leg-spinners who don’t have their own doosra, for that’ll take the balls away from him too. He’s hitting them for sixes aplomb!

His bowling too is coming apart, for the turn and guile isn’t visible and the man just lacks confidence to even arrive at the crease with a ball in his hand. The Yuvraj Singh of old who was once the go to bowler for MS Dhoni in crunch situations and who invariably broke critical partnerships, is now at best a part timer and much preferred is Suresh Raina.

Now some may say that he’s lacking opportunities and a long rope that MS Dhoni so often provides to players with promise, ones like Rohit Sharma. But I argue this point with the expectation that Yuvraj Singh carries with him every time he walks out to bat. Rohit Sharma is no Yuvraj Singh and may never even come close to achieving what Yuvraj has. But the Indian public looks at Yuvraj the same way they used to when he hit Stuart Broad for those 6 consecutive sixes in an over – the ever flamboyant batsman, who demolished bowling attacks at will and was once invincible. Players like Rohit Sharma have a lot of years still to go under their bellies but not Yuvi. He has to make the lost time count, for he owes it to his country and I certainly believe he knows it too.

But how do performances like the one yesterday help him get a go ahead from the selectors and the captain himself? Everyone’s looking at the World Cup in 2015 and although ICC T20 World Cup isn’t of the same the magnitude as the 50 over version, it certainly gives us a peek into what Yuvraj Singh is going through. It’s not just the lean patch that most batsmen go through a few times in their cricketing careers, it’s a total lack of belief in hitting the same balls that he so disdainfully dispatched out of stadiums in his hay days. No IPL style batting is going to help him earn his place in the national side. He has to come through stronger but till then, Indian side needs a stronger middle order that isn’t scared of facing the short pitched bombs that they’ll be pampered with, in Australia and New Zealand.

So who’d serve as his replacement, Cheteshwar Pujara? Ajinkya Rahane? With Suresh Raina himself now losing his place in the 50 over side, the Indian middle order looks the weakest ever. Whoever his replacements are, the best basis they must be selected on, is their ability to play the short pitched bowling else India look sure to not make it through, to even the second stage of the tournament.

Dhoni has a lot of issues at hand and a under confident Yuvraj Singh only makes the matters worse. How Yuvraj Singh goes on and fights his battles over the next six month is what will grab everyone’s eyeballs, for India needs him badly and knowing that tournaments like IPL will not serve him well, is what makes the onward journey even tougher for Yuvraj who clearly doesn’t have many opportunities at his disposal now, to impress the selectors and the ever believing Captain!

Go on Yuvi, we are praying for you to come back stronger!

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The Greatest Rescue Act

I’ve had the best day of the past 7 years. They’ve been rough. They’ve degraded my mind, my thinking, and my personality. They’ve killed a lot of my ambitions and some of my body parts too (not that one though, don’t think dirty)!

But 14th of March 2014 will forever embolden me. Today, after a real struggle lasting 4 years, is the day I finally break into the Indian financial market again. Finally the credit bureau CIBIL recognized my credit worthiness. Finally my buying power soars – again.

I’ve made mistakes, but no more. I’m smarter and I’ll behave smarter. My decisions will now make an impact on the lives of all my favorite people – for better!

This incidentally is also the day when two of the greatest Indian batsmen Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman broke the 15 test match Australian winning streak in 2001 in Kolkata. That was one of the greatest rescue acts ever in test cricket. It was day 4 when they batted through the day and not only saved the match for India but led them to a 171 run victory!

This day now has now witnessed two such acts – one saved a test match in cricket and the other saved a test match of life.

When the Devils Danced and Fairies Cried

2013 – An year of the unforgettables.

As it comes to an end and I try to reminisce the rights and the wrongs, the successes and failures, the joys and sorrows, the heartaches and some not, the pains and pleasures – I stand ready to be emptied and filled again, like clay ready to mold, like water waiting to be filled in a jar.

Its been that kind of year. I am so depressingly filled with negative feelings that I wish I can be recreated, from scratch – born again to live free and then die again with no regrets. They are bursting to come out. Right people need to know but how will it reflect upon me? Will I stand vindicated? My experience says – No.

So, forget? I Can’t. Tried that too many times and lost.

So, do what? Quit.  I should seek my own space. But that once I’m done reminiscing this year.

The biggest event of this year for me was my siblings wedding, bringing a new member to our family, with cheers all around. He is all grown up now. Handles himself and his wife very astutely. Mom and Dad are mighty proud of him and so am I.

That being said, that has been the only happy event of the year. Rest has been intensely gloomy. The suffering that fate has unleashed upon my home has admonished us to think beyond the realm of possibility. We are broken from inside. She – more so. And yet my love for life stands so much more invigorated again, only the trigger remains unclear. I could start with a thousand things, but then there could be none too.

I turned 30 this year and life has become a parody of suffering, learning, rising, fighting and living. Lemme call this song “My Life”.

I don’t have a long time to live and I don’t wish to live long. I just want to have bombs of happiness dropped on me every 4 months or so to erase the pain inside or at least partly subside it.

Sachin “The God” Tendulkar retired – the second saddest event of the year. His farewell speech will always stay with me in my heart and the hearts of his billion other followers and so will his legacy. No cricketer can and will ever touch his greatness, his humility and passion for his game.

India finally now has had its hands on all the 3 ICC (International Cricket Council) Trophies – The Champions Trophy, The ICC World Cup and The ICC T20 World Cup – the only team to have done so till date. We are proud of you boys – keep going!

The people of Delhi finally came into their own this year with Aam Aadmi Party doing what no other party could do in the last 15 years of corruption – dislodge Congress. Too many scams, rising prices, rapes, molestations have finally forced people to look into a direction that aims to guide Delhi towards mending what has broken completely – trust on government. Lets hope things change quickly and for good and Delhi at least becomes a safe haven for women.

Emergence of Narendra Modi as the colossal giant is the single greatest challenge Congress will face with its reputation also taking a severe dent after the loss in the state elections this year.

I’m neutral but I want change. The Center requires someone who delivers on his promises without hurting peoples pockets. Prices are out of control. Living has become expensive and the way prices of the some of the most basic amenities spirals out of control is intolerable. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, sugar. Rice, wheat get expensive with not enough storage to shelter the produce. Petrol price seems to have stabilized but I hope other energy products become cheap and available for public. I’m least happy with the situation for women in the nations capital. Nothing is being done to shelter the harmed and stop the harm itself.

Uttarakhand and Muzaffarnagar were two major incidents of the year that have led to massive life and property damages.  Clearly no one can be blamed for the former, for it was the natures retaliation to damage that we inflict upon it. But the other, clashes between castes and the other sects of Indian society, should have been averted. Taking advantage of peoples sentiments towards their religion is the worst thing we can do and we do it without any qualms. In this particular case, people are still dying without even a clear reason for the clashes. Stop it!

Lets make this new year to change our mindset for the better. Lets be happy, love each other, live our lives to the full and learn to take responsibility for your actions. We are the people who drive this nation. Keep it clean. Recycle. Try and curb pollution. Lets make this nation even more beautiful.

Left Bereft! :(

I’m finally done with my sentiments for cricket. I’ll never be as passionate for cricket ever again. The reason why I never watched a single game involving India in a stadium, retired today. I only realized it today how much I dreaded for my life when Tendulkar would get out. I hated that scene. Had it ever been in my hands, too many television sets would stand destroyed. May be I will someday watch a cricket match in a stadium now for it’ll only be fun time for me.

Sachin Tendulkar was the reason I started watching cricket and followed it so passionately. I simply loved the sight of him hitting a ball whatever the result of the hit may be. Watching his passion for the game, match after match, series after series, for 24 years together (I watched him 16 of his 24 years), no one has ever presented the world with a better and beautiful picture of cricket than him. We were taught to respect cricket even when we never played it ourselves. A true ambassador of humility, humanity and respect towards everything that made him what he is today.

His farewell speech just blew me away. I had my wife sitting in front of me, only to mock me, ‘coz she knows my passion for Sachin is almost emotionally comical at times. The lump in my throat grew exponentially as soon as Mohammad Shami got that final wicket. I kept my tears in check for I wanted to pretend that I am too strong to cry for someone I don’t even know personally. Amidst all my emotions, started his speech and for some reason my wife kept very quiet all that time, for it was the first time she really respected a cricketer. I kept listening to that speech and at some point, I didn’t even know when, I felt tears gushing down my fat cheeks.

Here’s the transcript of the speech –

All my friends. Settle down let me talk, I will get more and more emotional (crowd gets louder and louder as he composes himself). My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that that wonderful journey has come to an end, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who have played an important role in my life. Also, for the first time in my life I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand. It’s getting a little bit difficult to talk but I will manage.

The most important person in my life, and I have missed him a lot since 1999 when he passed away, my father. Without his guidance, I don’t think I would have been standing here in front of you. He gave me freedom at the age of 11, and told me that [I should] chase my dreams, but make sure you do not find short cuts. The path might be difficult, but don’t give up, and I have simply followed his instructions. Above all, he told me to be a nice human being, which I will continue to do and try my best. Every time I have done something special [and] showed my bat, it was [for] my father.

My mother, I don’t know how she dealt with such a naughty child like me. I was not easy to manage. She must be extremely patient. For a mother, the most important thing is that her child remains safe and healthy and fit. That was what she was most bothered and worried about. She took care of me for the last 24 years that I have played for India, but even before that she started praying for me the day I started playing cricket. She just prayed and prayed and I think her prayers and blessings have given me the strength to go out and perform, so a big thank you to my mother for all the sacrifices.

In my school days, for four years, I stayed with my uncle and aunt because my school was quite far from my home, and they treated me like their son. My aunt, after having had a hard day’s play, I would be half asleep and she would be feeding me food so I could go again and play tomorrow. I can’t forget these moments. I am like their son and I am glad it has continued to be the same way.

My eldest brother, Nitin, and his family, have always encouraged me. My eldest brother doesn’t like to talk much, but the one thing he always told me is that whatever you do, I know you will always give it 100%, and that I have full faith and confidence in you. His encouragement meant a lot to me. My sister, Savita, and her family, was no different. The first cricket bat of my life was presented to me by my sister. It was a Kashmir willow bat. But that is where the journey began. She is one of those many who still continue to fast when I bat, so thank you very much.

Ajit, my brother, now what do I talk about him? I don’t know. We have lived this dream together. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me. And it all started from the age of 11 when he took me to Archrekar sir, my coach, and from there on my life changed. You will find this hard to believe but even last night he called to discuss my dismissal, knowing that there was a remote chance of batting again, but just the habit we have developed, the rapport we have developed, since my birth, has continued and it will continue. Maybe when I’m not playing cricket we will still be discussing technique.

Various things we agreed upon, my technique, and so many technical things which I didn’t agree with him, we have had arguments and disagreements, but when I look back at all these things in my life, I would have been a lesser cricketer.

The most beautiful thing happened to me in 1990 when I met my wife, Anjali. Those were special years and it has continued and will always continue that way. I know Anjali, being a doctor; there was a wonderful career in front of her. When we decided to have a family, Anjali took the initiative to step back and say that ‘you continue with your cricket and I will take the responsibility of the family’.

Without that, I don’t think I would have been able to play cricket freely and without stress. Thanks for bearing with all my fuss and all my frustrations, and all sorts of rubbish that I have spoken. Thanks for bearing with me and always staying by my side through all the ups and downs. You are the best partnership I’ve had in my life.

Then, the two precious diamonds of my life, Sara and Arjun. They have already grown up. My daughter is 16, my son is 14. Time has flown by. I wanted to spend so much time with them on special occasions like their birthdays, their annual days, their sports day, going on holidays, whatever. I have missed out on all those things. Thanks for your understanding. Both of you have been so, so special to me you cannot imagine. I promise you [that] for 14 and 16 years I have not spent enough time with both of you, but the next 16 years or even beyond that, everything is for you.

My in-laws, Anand Mehta and Annabelle, both have been so, so supportive [and] loving and caring. I have discussed on various things in life, generally with them, and have taken their advice. You know, it’s so important to have a strong family who is always with you and who are guiding you. Before you start clapping, the most important thing they did was allowing me to marry Anjali, so thank you very much.

In the last 24 years that I have played for India I have made new friends, and before that I have had friends from my childhood. They have all had a terrific contribution. As and when I have called them to come and bowl to me at the nets, they have left their work aside to come and help me. Be it joining me on holidays and having discussions with me on cricket, or how I was a little stressed and wanting to find a solution so I can perform better.

All those moments my friends were with me. Even for when I was injured, I would wake up in the morning because I couldn’t sleep and thought that my career was over because of injuries, that is when my friends have woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drive with me and make me believe that my career was not over. Life would be incomplete without all those friends. Thanks for being there for me.

My cricket career started when I was 11. The turning point of my career was when my brother (Ajit) took me to Achrekar sir. I was extremely delighted to see him up in the stands. Normally he sits in front of the television and he watches all the games that I play. When I was 11/12, those were the days when I used to hop back on his scooter and play a couple of practice matches a day. The first half the innings I would be batting at Shivaji Park, the second half, at some other match in Azad Maidan. He would take me all over Mumbai to make sure I got match practice.

On a lighter note, in the last 29 years, sir has never ever said ‘well played’ to me because he thought I would get complacent and I would stop working hard. Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career, because there are no more matches, sir, in my life. I will be witnessing cricket, and cricket will always stay in my heart, but you have had an immense contribution in my life, so thank you very much.

My cricket for Mumbai started right here on this ground, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), which is so dear to me. I remember landing from New Zealand at four o’clock in the morning, and turning up for a game here at eight o’clock just because I wanted to be a part of Mumbai cricket, and not that somebody forced me. That was for the love of Mumbai cricket, and thank you very much. The president is here so thank you very much, along with your team, for taking care of me and looking after my cricket.

The dream was obviously to play for India, and that is where my association with BCCI started. BCCI was fantastic, right from my debut they believed in my ability and selecting me into the squad at the age of 16 was a big step, so thanks to all the selectors for having faith in me and the BCCI for giving me the freedom to express myself out in the middle. Things would have been different if you had not been behind me, and I really appreciate your support. Especially when I was injured, you were right with me and making sure that all the treatments were taken care of, and that I got fit and fine and playing [right] back for India.

The journey has been special, the last 24 years, I have played with many senior cricketers, and even before that there were many senior cricketers with whom I watched on television. They inspired me to play cricket, and to play in the right way. Thanks to all those senior cricketers, and unfortunately I have not been able to play with them, but I have high regards for all their achievements and all their contributions.

We see it on the mega-screen, Rahul, Laxman, Sourav, and Anil, who is not here, and my team-mates right here in front me. You are like my family away from home. I have had some wonderful times with you. It is going to be difficult to not be part of the dressing room, sharing those special moments. All the coaches for their guidance, it has been special for me. I know when MS Dhoni presented me the 200th Test match cap on day one morning. I had a brief message for the team. I would like to repeat that. I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of the Indian cricket team and serving the nation.

Knowing all of you guys, I know you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and right values. I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this sport. Each generation gets this opportunity to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and to the best of your ability, to bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.

I would be failing in my duties if I did not thank all the doctors, the physios, the trainers, who have put this difficult body together to go back on the field and be able to play. The amount of injuries that I have had in my career, I don’t know how you have managed to keep me fit, but without your special efforts, it would never have happened. The doctors have met me at weird hours. I mean I have called them from Mumbai to Chennai, Mumbai to Delhi, I mean wherever. They have just taken the next flight and left their work and families to be with me, which has allowed me to play. So a big thank you to all three of you for keeping me in good shape.

My dear friend, late Mark Mascarenhas, my first manager. We unfortunately lost him in a car accident in 2001, but he was such a well-wisher of cricket, my cricket, and especially Indian cricket. He was so passionate. He understood what it takes to represent a nation and gave me all the space to go out and express myself, and never pressurized me to do this ad or promotion or whatever the sponsors demanded. He took care of that and today I miss him, so thank you Mark for all your contribution.

My current management team, WSG, for repeating what Mark has done, because when I signed the contract I exactly told them what I want from them, and what it requires to represent me. They have done that and respected that.

Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my manager, Vinod Nayudu. He is more like my family and all the sacrifices, spending time away from his family for my work, has been special, so big thank you to his family as well for giving up so much time for my work with Vinod.

In my school days, when I performed well, the media backed me a lot. They continue to do that till this morning. Thank you so much to the media for supporting and appreciating my performances. It surely had a positive effect on me. Thank you so much to all the photographers as well for those wonderfully captured moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life, so a big thank you to all the photographers.

I know my speech is getting a bit too long (crowd roars), but this is the last thing I want to say. I want to thank all the people here who have flown in from various parts of the world, and have supported me endlessly, whether I scored a 0 or a 100-plus. Your support was so dear to me and meant a lot to me. Whatever you have done for me.

I know I have met so many guys who have fasted for me, prayed for me, done so much for me. Without that life wouldn’t have been like this for me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and also say that time has flown by rather quickly, but the memories you have left with me will always be with me forever and ever, especially “Sachin, Sachin” which will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing. Thank you very much. If I have missed out on saying something, I hope you understand. Goodbye.

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I have copied this to my blog from ESPNCricinfo so that I can forever treasure his final words with me.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/689203.html?CMP=chrome

The link also has the video of his final speech but I’ll never forget it anyways so I didn’t copy it here.

Thank You Sachin for everything you have given to all of us so selflessly.

India Loses – Again and why!

The third ODI between India and Australia brought with it the memories of the same old frail days when Sachin and Saurav under their captaincy struggled to conjure up the fifth bowler. They were blessed with a few better ones at that then – Kumble, Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and later an in-form Harbhajan Singh.

Yesterday I could get a glimpse about why Dhoni has to remain so pro-active on the field with his bowling changes. Let me admit it first by the way – he is one of the best captains to have led India ever, simply for perfectly utilizing his under-performing resources and yet ending up on the winning side. Many a times, it has been sheer luck that has favored him but like yesterday, when luck totally deserted him, so did his small little brain as was pointed out by Shashi Tharoor in his tweet right after India lost the match – “Questions for MSD: Why was Kohli given an over when regular bowlers had enough2spare? Why Ishant¬ Vinay for 48th over when VK had 2 left?”.

While it’s totally immaterial to tell you now, how I kept hopping in my home yelling the same thing over and over, it needs to be signified amongst all of this that how an under-performing Ashwiin becomes a liability in the Indian bowling line-up. He needs to be given a long break to get this one simple fact correct in his head – that he is an off-spinner first and then anything else. Looking good while batting will not make up for the fact that it was Dhoni’s lost confidence in him that he had to wait for half of the Australian innings to get wrapped up before the ball was thrown at him. I have no clue what keeps going inside his head as was pointed out by Gavaskar and Sivaramakrishnan during their commentary stint in one of Ashwin’s over. Six balls were bowled – and all of them were different. One of them was scathed for a boundary too. What’s worth pointing out is how his stock delivery, the off-break never goes for more than a run or two while all his stop-go motions let the crowd revel in the glory of impending sixes to come. He never got to complete his quota of his 10 overs because Dhoni knew he couldn’t be made to. Dhoni also inside his head knew that this target was never safe for he would have known what Faulkner could do with the bat. Ashwins (dis)array of deliveries almost lands Dhoni in soup with his field placements too. And while Dhoni would keep his CSK mate motivated right through his bowling, all that it seems to accomplish is give him freedom to throw bullshit at right handed batsman (that most of the Australian batsmen are) who are happy to cart him for sixes of mind-boggling deflating lengths.

Another problem that Dhoni is facing is under-utilization of Yuvraj. He can’t be made to look like a fool for Dhoni has himself conceded that the least pressure will be applied on Yuvraj as it’s his comeback series. Yet I don’t see any reason for Yuvraj why he can’t take the onus upon himself and not get out the same way in 2 matches out of three. Why do you have to jump in your crease while playing a ball that is short enough only to come to your chest in your normal stance. Isn’t that a ball worth leaving? Hasn’t Yuvraj been a good player of short deliveries? Since when did he start getting bogged down by the likes of Mitchell Johnsons and their short pitched barrage of bowling?

Another problem that Dhoni has called upon himself is giving Raina a stationary post at number 4. Why? Raina is only good enough to play old balls when they don’t jump to his chest else he loses his shape playing the short deliveries. It was a very good point raised by Gavaskar again yesterday that he should be playing short deliveries in front of his right shoulder and not the left one. That way he would have a better chance to dab a ball down to leg side than having to fend at them. My advice to him would be the same as Haydens – You have to decide in your career whether you want to play the short ball. If you decide not to, always leave them. It’s a simple enough decision. Only one bouncer is allowed in an over and you can play the other five balls to their merit.

Still keeping up with the issue of batting at number 4, I think it needs a more solid batsman than Yuvraj or Raina. They are both number 5 batsmen who can come in later in the innings and pavé way for Dhoni to cart the opposition bowling for sixes while staying with him all along. Both these batsmen have terrible weaknesses in their batting when they are new at the crease and these shortfalls will only make them look foolish on pace friendly Australian wickets. Mold someone like Pujara or Rahane for that place to take on more responsibility and play sensibly at number 4 to stabilize the ship when its sinking or make headway for hitters when the winds are sailing for you. They are not supposed to hit out.

While there will always be points to ponder for Dhoni about his batting, it’s his bowling department that needs a serious rethinking. Him and Joe Dawes have to sit down and see bowlers for the future. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has kept him in good stead in non-swinging conditions by not leaking runs on batting friendly tracks but Vinay Kumar totally gives away all that he does in his initial overs by bowling short on slow Indian pitches in the death overs. By doing that he simply sets up the ball to be hit anywhere in the park and any good enough batsman from even Bangladesh would do that – leave alone pace loving Australians who have bred on short pitched bowling. Ishant Sharma has to go. He’s simply not a capable enough bowler to spearhead any bowling attack in this world. Zaheer Khan should be brought back along with Umesh Yadav. A team can only play 1 swing bowler in a team which plays majority of its cricket in non-swinging conditions. Jaidev Unadkat should be given sparring games to never let him forget the taste of international cricket.

A lot has to be learnt from yesterdays defeat and Dhoni would be ill-advised to keep up his adamant stand at playing certain players in the team. Because they simply aren’t good enough to hold their places in the Indian team. Dhoni also has to understand that whatever went right for him yesterday may not persist in the future like Virats belligerent form and himself and Jadejas miserly bowling. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have to make sure that they keep providing starts on a regular basis, for this team doesn’t need another case of Sehwag – a bull who could never be controlled and who could never control himself.

Come On boys. This Australian team is easily beatable. Don’t let this series get away from hands at the price of unnecessary persistence with rubbish players.

P.S. – Sourav Ganguly – please stop calling SHIKHAR Dhawan as SHEKHAR Dhawan. You sound moron.

Run Outs Affected

I think there should be a stat/column for all Cricket players that says “Run Outs Affected”!!! This should be something like the way goal assists are counted in Soccer that quantifies your importance and presence on the field! Just a thought!!!

Adam Gilchrist: The DRS is not the solution, it’s part of the problem

Adam Gilchrist: The DRS is not the solution, it’s part of the problem | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo.

Cricket isn’t something that I talk about a lot on my blog but this is an issue thats demanding my attention ever since, BCCI refused to adopt the system in totality. Frankly, my first reaction was – BCCI is cutting costs to fill it’s own pockets, that it wants to run the cricket carnival with all its flair all the while saving pennies on it. I may have been right too but right now, the only one at the wrong end of the stick is the DRS system itself.

Has it delivered what it had set out to? Have the human errors reduced so much for us to trust the system in whole? First it was the Vaseline saga on VVS Laxmans bat when the English media came out with the accusation that the Indian players were using Vaseline on their bats to fool the DRS system. Then started pouring the DRS  howlers from all over the world. A nick missed here, the line of the ball bowled was wrong, the batsman was shuffling are some of the issues that constantly keep troubling the DRS.

The best umpires today swear by the name of the system but have we totally discounted what exactly has this system done to our cricket in whole? The best description has been given by Adam Gilchrist himself in the link above. The system should be handed over to the players to use and not kept limited to the umpires to keep the howlers at bay.

 

The spot-fixing controversy

This is how I feel about my cricket – the cricket that I have come to revel in, the cricketers I love and adore and respect, I can’t see my game fall and I wish it doesn’t!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/637438.html

Please read this!

Utterly mundane cliches from cricket commentators

Ravi Shastri had to be the face of this article!

Utterly mundane cliches from cricket commentators | SportsKeeda.

World T20 cricket: Darren Sammy wants West Indies legacy

BBC Sport – World T20 cricket: Darren Sammy wants West Indies legacy.

He surely did create a legacy for the world yesterday. Windies were the favorites entering into the tournament and they certainly lived up to the expectation. One thing about T20 cricket is, it’s the fearlessness that defines even before the match has started, the will to survive and win a contest. The legacy of fearlessness was for sure laid down by the Indians under the newly appointed captain Dhoni in T20 World Cup 2007 when the entire world saw how Dhoni’s own enthusiasm and youth rubbed on every player in the team. The same was displayed by Windies yesterday under Darren Sammy.  The enthusiasm and the will to enjoy every moment of their cricket defined even before the match had started, that no matter what happened yesterday, Windies were gonna give the Lankans a hard fight for their money. Chris Gayle as expected spoke too much and supported a little, same as Dwayne Bravo but the man who did all the talking was Marlon Samuels, although he did it with the only thing he could have spoken with – his willow! Remaining unperturbed right through the match, he showed the world that his career will only prosper from here on in after the struggles he has gone through. Calm, cool, collected he chose to be wily yesterday, scoring slowly at start and then blasting 2 overs for more than 20 with shots that can only be described in a single word – clean. The bowling saw the Windies dropping hooks on every scoring opportunity that Lankans had and at sometime Lankans had to give and they did. They self-destructed, imploded under the eye of supreme over-confidence. The shots – loose, footwork – poor, the captain himself never paved way for a run chase even though he was one of the high scorers in the Lankan innings. His own shots were very dangerous to be  precise. Sweeping from such precariously low angles was always gonna land him in trouble. The sun is shining for Windies right now and may this give the direction and the impetus that they, their cricket and the world cricket so desperately needs.

14 months of failure: A new low in Indian Cricket?

 

14 months of failure: A new low in Indian Cricket? | News | NDTVSports.com.

How many of us really believe right now that Dhoni should quit T20 captaincy? He puts a lot of pressure on himself by trying to do what no man has ever accomplished i.e. satiate an Indian cricket fan almost single-handedly. Leaving the tests apart as the test team thoroughly lacked power due to non-performance by key men in batting but T20? This is supposed to be Dhoni’s forte and as results have started to show, all of the pressure is taking it’s toll on him. He had all the resources he wanted for this T20 World Cup but still couldn’t reach the semi-finals. Why? Unclear thinking. Pakistan in their match against Australia had dished out 17 overs of spin against a hapless batting unit. Clue enough? Fast bowlers were easy to dispatch on that pitch and hence, Australia were left stifled. But India, they went in with a single specialist spinner with other two left on the bench to rot. 3 fast bowlers and the decision to bowl Rohit Sharma never made any sense. Rohit Sharma for Christs sakes!!! Ridiculous!!! What was Dhoni trynna do? Shouldn’t he have gone for the kill by bringing in 3 spinners and leaving Balaji or a shambolic Zaheer out? They knew the target even before the toss happened? The mistakes were absolutely unpardonable and Dhoni should be the scape-goat this time

India to start with four bowlers

 

India v Afghanistan, World Twenty20, Group A, Colombo : India to start with four bowlers | Cricket News | ICC World Twenty20 2012 | ESPN Cricinfo.

As easy as it may sound, India have a much better team this time around than the previous  2 unsuccessful campaigns. Dhoni should go for his tried and tested ploy of 4 bowlers who can at-least complete their quota of overs economically. Rest will depend on how his batsmen fire.

Underrated Australia remain a threat

 

Team preview: Underrated Australia remain a threat | Cricket News | ICC World Twenty20 2012 | ESPN Cricinfo.

Australia have it in them to disfigure the scorecard with ruthless hitting. But will this work on Lankan pitches? Can they counter spin well?