Posts Tagged 'Sports'

And it’s back!

So tomorrow onwards I know how my evenings would be spent – sitting in front of the TV and trying to catch every ball of the India’s tour to England. After the WC, Cricket had taken a backseat with the advertisements taking up the prime time during IPL. I’m hoping (foolishly, I know) that there are less ads for the India-England series.

When I compare the teams, I feel England is a tad better than the Indian team. Without Sehwag, Indian opening combination fades in front of England’s combination. Middle order (# 3, 4, 5) is India’s strong point whereas the # 6 and 7 – it is a tossup. On his day Dhoni is better than anybody else, but he has been performing sporadically in the test matches. And when we compare the bowlers it is absolutely clear which team is superior. Swann, Anderson, and Tremlett – all are very very dangerous. And when you look at India’s bowling lineup it starts and ends with Zaheer. Bhajji is not the same aggressive bowler that he used to be, Sreesanth is plain mad, and the maximum hope I have is from Ishant. He showed signs of regaining the form he showed in Australia. Remember the Ponting-Ishant tussle?

And since England is at home, they had that advantage too. So I predict it to be a drawn series: 1-1 with rain playing spoilsport in the other two matches :)

Whatever be the result, cannot wait to watch high quality test matches once again!

A Cricketing Tale

He looked determined, ready to prove himself. He had beat me the previous delivery with a ball that came in sharply. He was short in stature, and was using that to his advantage by skidding the ball.

He started his run-up, expertly hiding the ball in his hand, glided to the crease and tried to reach escape velocity as he jumped to deliver the ball. He landed hard, and the ball left his hand with the seam scrambled.

It headed towards the leg stump, and I attempted a flick. The ball beat me for pace and I heard the timber shattering. The leg stump lay uprooted.

The bowler howled in delight and started his customary dance on claiming any wicket. I rearranged the stumps and as he finished his dance, I picked the ball and threw it back to him, pointing to him the start of the run-up. He dejectedly walked back, and I marked my guard once again.

Being an elder brother sure had its advantages.

All time India-XI

Cricinfo has been publishing the dream teams for each country one-by-one. Since India is yet to make an appearance, I thought why not I give a shot to the all-time-XI of Indian Cricket Team.

Openers:
There is no doubt who the two openers would be – Sunil Gavaskar & Virender Sehwag. I am willing to stake my life, that nobody can replace these two.

Middle Order:
Number 4 position is secure – no one can budge SRT from it.
To claim stake to the remaining two positions, I can immediately think of many players – Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, Gundappa Viswanath, Pataudi, Dilip Vengsarkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
At the end of the day my choice would be Vengsarkar for #3, and Dravid for #5.

Allrounder:
I know Kapil Dev is the best allrounder India has ever produced, but I would keep him as a bowler in the team, and would take in Vinoo Mankad as the batting allrounder.

Wicket Keeper:
Farokh Engineer or Kiran More or Kirmani or Dhoni? Now this is a tough one – the best batsman among these is without a doubt Dhoni, but the best wicketkeeper would be either Engineer or Kirmani. I would choose Kirmani over Engineer as he had to keep to one of the best bowlers of India – Kapil Dev, after keeping to the spin-quartet flawlessly for many years.

Bowlers:
In all Cricinfo articles they have chosen three fast bowlers, and one spinner. I would instead go for the best four bowlers that India produced. Two players are automatically chosen – Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble.

For the other two bowlers I don’t see any clear contenders. If I look at the post-90 era, only two people stand out – Javagal Srinath and Bhajji. The spin-quartet from 70s – Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrasekhar and Venkataraghavan. And India’s fast bowlers from their opening test – Amar Singh and Mohammed Nissar who earned very high praise from English batsmen even 30+ years after having played them.

I would go with B Chandrasekhar as the second spinner (he was the best of the lot), and Amar Singh (the best fast bowler India had before Kapil) as the opening partner for Kapil Dev.

The all-time India XI

Sunil Gavaskar
Virender Sehwag

Dilip Vengsarkar
Sachin Tendulkar
Rahul Dravid

Vinoo Mankad

Syed Kirmani

Kapil Dev
Anil Kumble
Bhagwath Chandrasekhar
L Amar Singh

So have I done justice to the India-XI or are there some glaring omissions?

India’s T20 World Cup Team based on IPL performance

Now that all the league matches are over, it is time to check whether the Indian Team that has been selected for the T20 World Cup is performance based, or rather purely based on the past laurels.

Last time I chose my team based on the total number of runs scored, and wickets taken as my criteria. This time I am changing the criteria and using the Cricinfo’s Fantasy Cricket Stats (sorting it based on total points). And this time I am choosing a team of 15 that comprises of 5 batsmen, 3 all-rounders, 1 wicket keeper, and 6 bowlers (like the Indian Team already chosen for the T20 World Cup).

Team
Batsmen
Suresh Raina
Rohit Sharma
Sachin Tendulkar
Yuvraj Singh
TS Suman

All-rounders
Yusuf Pathan
Irfan Pathan
RA Jadeja

Wicket keeper
Dinesh Karthik !!!

Bowlers
Anil Kumble
Ashish Nehra
RP Singh
Harbhajan Singh
Pragyan Ojha
P Sangwan

There are two names here that anyway would not have been in the team – SRT & Kumble. Replacing them would be:
SRT – Virat Kohli
Anil Kumble – Praveen Kumar

There are some major surprises here, none bigger than: No MS Dhoni! The captain of the team is out. Karthik has been keeping better, and scoring at par with Dhoni at least in this format. Also no Gautam Gambhir, no Virender Sehwag, no Zaheer, no Ishant Sharma. Well at least for Sehwag and Zaheer, I can at least say that they did not play many matches, but Gambhir?

Anyway I do not have any problem with the team chosen for T20 World Cup, although I seriously wish that Nehra was going rather than Munaf Patel – this guy never seems to be giving his 100% (to use an oft-used cliche).

Wishing that this T20 brouhaha finishes soon, so that we can get back to the serious business of the Ashes, and the French Open, and the Wimbledon! :)

India’s T20 Team based on IPL performance

If we choose India’s World Cup T20 team based on performance [List of top scorers and top wicket takers] till now in IPL 2009, it throws up some major surprises. I am choosing 5 batsman, 1 all-rounder, 1 wk, 4 bowlers. I think this balance should be fine. So the team that comes up is:

SR Tendulkar
R Dravid
YK Pathan
RG Sharma
SK Raina

IK Pathan

MS Dhoni

RP Singh
PP Ojha
MM Patel
L Balaji

Just missed out bowlers: Kamran Khan, A Kumble
No other batsman has scored even 100 runs to be in contention.

If I compare this team with the team that played our last T20, only 4 names are common – Dhoni, Raina, and Pathan brothers. Rest all are different.

Time to change our international T20 team? ;)


Meet the Blogger…

I write! Topic does not matter, can be my life, or my travels, or any match I saw, or the Hyderabadi life, or reminiscing about Raipur, or penning Short Stories & 55s.

I can be contacted at kunalblogs[at]gmail[dot]com.

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