Tuesday, 31 May 2011

SRI LANKAN batsmen suffering from IPLaria...

Sri Lanka bowled out for 82 in 24.4 overs on the 5th day succumbing to a humiliating innings loss to a rampaging England. Whenever someone says Sri Lanka has a strong batting line up, he actually means Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Dilshan are in top form.Against a top class English seam bowling attack on English conditions, these 3 surrendered without a noise. These were the players who were fighting the Sri Lankan Cricket Board to allow them to play in the IPL and miss the "unneccesary" warm up games. While the 3 could n't do much for their franchises and left them at the bottom of the table, their lack of practice in the longer format made them  vulnerable against the likes of Tremlett and Broad. There is no doubt about the batting abilities of Sangakkara and jayawaredene but their negligence for the warm-up games and playing in the circus..err.. IPL made them look like scapegoats in England. While the rest did n't  show the kind of resilience they had shown in the first innings. The likes of prassana jayawardena and paranavitana fell like nine-pins. The seaming red ball on the final day of a test match was just too much for them. I feel Sri Lanka batting line up is not what this test match reflects. They are far far better than this. They just need to get over this IPLaria. I don't know why these international players leave their national commitments for an Indian domestic league which in anycase would benefit India only. They can get money in IPL but not the kind of respect they would get in scoring a match saving ton on the final day of a test rather than smashing the ball around in small Indian parks.Only time will tell whether the Sri lankan batsmen live to the expectations and bounce back from the IPLaria.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

DHONI- The Trophy Man!

Mahendra singh dhoni......well the name dhoni itself nowadays is mentioned along with a tournament victory. Phew... Its a Dhoni overdose in cricket right now. It seems the captain cool was born to lift trophies and mind you trophies of world stature. A world T20 victory in his first captaincy assignment, commonwealth bank series in Australia, Asia Cup, IPL 2010, IPL 2011, Champions league and the biggest prize of world cricket- The ICC cricket world cup. Really you name it and dhoni has won it. And the fact that he is still unbeaten in a bilateral test series.It seems as if he loses only those matches which he does n't want to win. While you can argue that even Aussie captain Ricky Ponting used to win everything that he came across but then he did it with the same bunch of match winner guys and when they retired, the victories went away. But dhoni has done it with different set of players. We all know India's Test, ODI and T20 squads are pretty different from each other and he has led Chennai Super Kings to IPL finals 3 times and has won it twice. He is turning the Chennai super kings into the Man U of EPL.Many say that he has the goddess of luck with him all the time but I really can't see the point in giving luck the credit for so many tournament victories. He is a performer and a big match player. He has got nerves and he showed it in the world cup final. And his captaincy, well what can I say its just amazing how he can handle so much pressure with a smile on his face. He never loses his cool and shows immense faith in even the most inexperienced player in the side. We saw it when he gave that last over to Joginder sharma instead of the tried and tested bhajji in the T20 world cup final. He has already made India the world champions in limited overs cricket and the no. 1 side in test cricket. Surely India seem to have found their leader under whom India can scale greater heights in cricket, possibly becoming the next Australia in cricket. Hats off to DHONI....

Friday, 27 May 2011

England vs Sri Lanka- England's test before the INDIAN face-off

So as the great Indian circus err... IPL-2011 nears its end, a great cricket summer is about to start with the England-Sri lanka test series followed by the much awaited India-england test series in july-august this year. That series would be the decider on who is the real numero uno in test cricket. While India holds the no.-1 ranking in tests,  a series win over australia at home(2-0) and a drawn series in South Africa with a notable victory on the fast paced Durban track whereas England have a precious 2-1 ashes victory in the Kangaroo homeland  which has sparked the number 1 debate.

But before this clash, both the teams have a practice opportunity with india playing the west indies and england playing sri lanka. While India-west indies series is not expected to test the high-profile Indians much but the England-sri lanka might actually be a test of character for the English. Sri lanka have a very strong batting unit with an unexperienced but unpredictable and lethal bowling attack. With the newly elected skipper Dilshan they will look to register a victory on English soil and themselves move up the rankings and contest the no. 1 spot. While England is in the 3rd position trailing a meagre 2 points behind South Africa. England is looking  the most balanced side in test cricket right now with a good pool of fast bowlers, a world-class spinner and a resilient batting unit. Young sensation Eoin Morgan has been impressive along with Graeme Swann who has become probably the best off-spinner in world cricket currently leaving behind the turbanator Harbhajan Singh. With skipper Strauss and Pietersen in good touch, Engalnd look more than a force to reckon with. But they are up against a spirited Lankan side who have just lost a world cup final. Players like sangakkara and jayawardene never look out of form and it remains to be seen whether England is able to uncode the mystery man ajantha mendis even though he went for a lot of runs in his county stint. But they have lost 2 of their legendary performers Muralitharan and Malinga which certainly will be their weak link in the upcoming series. The first day of the test match was symbolic of a resileint Sri lanka fighting the english as Lankans were 133 for 2 at stumps with the slow and steady paranvitana not out on 58. So england have to cross this Sri Lankan hurdle before they can be worthy to challenge India's crown. Surely, TEST cricket is back..

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Raina-The finisher

What a sensational win for Chennai with an equally sensational knock by Raina. 58 needed in the last 4 overs. Everybody was ready to erupt in RCB colours but SURESH RAINA had other ideas. Along with the skipper and Proteas big hitter Morkel, he once again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Raina has been finishing matches for the past 2 years now. Hard to believe that such a meagre looking man can hit sixes as big as those he hits. I still remember clearly how in the ICC 2011 cricket world cup quarter-final match against Australia, he along with yuvraj won the match for India when the chips were down. Raina has an impeccable sense of timing and put some power in those forearms and he is ready to snatch victories from the opposition. Raina has ensured victory for his team in the end in both IPL and international criicket in numerous occasions.

Chennai super kings led by miracle man Dhoni have been following a startegy of keeping wickets intact for the last 5-6 overs and then launching into an all-out attack. This has been possible only because of players like raina who unbelievably hit any amount of runs in the last 5 overs. Raina perfectly fits in this type of a plan where he has to build an innings by running hard, stabilising the innings and then start hitting big according to the demands of the situation. There was an era of Michael Bevan being the ultimate finisher of the game, but in this new and modern era of slambang cricket Raina has emerged as the best in the business who can be dependable and at the same time destructive. He is an obvious choice for India's T20 and ODI squads but he is yet to establish himself in Test cricket. But considering his outstanding performances in limited overs cricket, he can rightly be called The Best Finisher Of World Cricket.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mumbai Indians-What happened??

Somebody go and ask Sachin Tendulkar, what the hell has happened to mumbai indians. Mumbai indians the strongest team on paper and in the field till 10 of their league matches have suddenly hit a low patch. that too towards the business end of the tournament. The team that was on top of the IPL 2011 league table very recently has now dropped to 4th position and is now looking in a state of bother.

Their chances of making it to the play-offs hang in a balance. The chennai super kings and the royal challengers bangalore have already selaed their play-offs spots in IPL 2011. The remaining 2 spots are now a contest between Kolkata knight riders, kings XI punjab and obviously Mumbai indians. Mumbai had been enjoying purple patches of impact players like Lasith malinga , Sachin tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu. Also with players like Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and the big boys Symonds and Pollard giving their share of good performances, Mumbai was winning matches pretty easily sometimes by a single handed effort of a Tendulkar, malinga or rohit. But recently all these palyers have run out of their form. The batting line up which seemed to be a mount everest for the opposition bowlers now looks vulnerable with Mumbai making a mess of even modest chases in 2 of their last 3 games. While against Kings XI punjab the bowlers were not able to pick early wickets which malinga had been doing in the season earlier and the batting was not even worthyy of talking about. A batting line up boasting of some of the biggest names folded for just 87 with notable failures of the team's sheet anchors tendulkar, rohit and rayudu. In the match against deccan chargers munaf patel's 5 minutes of madness against Amit mishra cost him 23 runs and his team a 10 run loss. Suddenly several problems have cropped up in the Mumbai camp. First of all Mumbai have still not found an able opening partner for tendulkar to relax and play the sheet anchor role while the other one mauls down the opposition. Davey Jacobs and Blizzard have not been consistent with the job. Another problem has been the dearth of early wickets when malinga doesn't perform. Bowlers like munaf patel and Bhajji have not done justice to their potentials. Also last year's orange cap Sachin tendulkar has also lost his orange cap to Marsh and slipped behind Valthaty and marsh in the scorer's list this year. While Pollard ans Symonds have still not given  top notch performances consistently. Rayudu and Rohit are doing their bit but the team is not performing collectively as a unit since the last 3 matches.

While all is yet not over for Mumbai as they still have a match left which if they win, they will seal their spot in the play-offs and even if they lose they can still make it if Punjab lose today against Deccan which seems unlikely seeing Deccan's performances. But the problem for Mumbai is that they are up against a desperate-to-win Kolkata who are also in a similar state and are keen to book their place in the knock outs for the first time in 4 years. Mumbai peaked early but have recieved a few wake up calls. Lets see if the best team on paper of IPL 2011 is able to make it to the play-offs.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Parthiv "captain" Patel!

Kochi tuskers kerala announced parthiv patel as their new captain. Parthiv patel himself would have never believed he could become a captain. I mean how could a player who until last year was not even a regular in the chennai super king's playing eleven be made captain of an IPL team. He doesn't even seem to be a confident player himself let alone captaining and managing a side with players like S. Sreesanth who is tough to manage for even a leader like Dhoni. I, in no way doubt parthiv's ability as a batsman but certainly he is not the skipper material. The franchise could easily have chosen Brad Hodge as the new skipper who is giving good all round performances for the team in this season. Brad Hodge had been unlucky as he was dropped from from the Australia test squad despite having an average of 58.42 in 5 tests in 2005-06. But Kochi needed a leader who could have instilled confidence into the team after the departure of Sri Lankan stalwart Mahela jayawardene. And parthiv patel for now seems least likely to do it. Lets see what he can do with this team in this last leg of IPL 2011.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Gayle vs Sehwag

Chris gayle.. the burly carribean who has raped every bowler he has faced in IPL 2011 in public with 2 centuries and the most recent whirlwind 12 ball 38 run innings standing out. On the other side is "The Nawab Of Najafgarh", "The Multan Of Sultan" Virender Sehwag of India who has been shamelessly murdering bowlers over the years in both test and limited overs cricket alike. Wonder why these 2 men don't get arrested. Well their recent exploits has led to comparisons between both of them as to who is the real tormenter. Both exhibit striking similarities including lack of footwork, bad technique and awful shot selection. √čven though these are the attributes a batsman must never have but they have proved to be immensely successful when coupled with their brilliant hand-eye co-ordination, extraordinary timing and fearless, untensed approach to the most intense situations. Both stand still until the ball comes to them, stay in the crease without appropriate technique and footwork but whack the ball at the last minute with their superhuman hand-eye co-ordination. They don't bother finding gaps as they can clear the fielders at will. But if you compare both of them, you will find Sehwag a notch higher than gayle in many aspects. Take the real form of cricket i.e. test cricket. Sehwag has performed exceptionally with an average of over 50, a strike rate of over 80 combined with over 20 hundreds while gayle has an average of almost 40 with an uniamginable(note : only for gayle) strike rate of 60 and just 13 hundreds. Other than that Sehwag has played under the pressure of the world's most demanding home crowd and has performed against all international teams. But gayle has not reproduced his T20 or IPL performances for West indies in test or one day cricket and has struggled against quality pace attacks of Australia and South Africa more than Sehwag. But in terms of strike rate and big hitting even though both are quite equal, Gayle has an upper hand as he hits much more sixes and that too much longer than sehwag which is justified given the size difference between the 2. But as performance for your country has more value than performance for club teams , Sehwag scores in this aspect and for me ia a better "batsman" than gayle but on the other hand Gayle is a better Six hitter than Sehwag.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

My fascination for cricket!!!

CRICKET.... its on my mind once in almost evry hour of the day. I think cricket, live cricket and love cricket in all its forms. It all started when i saw saw the India vs England Natwest series final at Lords in 2002. The picture above is still etched in my mind and will be forever. India chased an almost impossible score of 326 in that time with India's 2 young future stars Yuvraj and Kaif steering India to victory. What a match it was!! From that day I started playing cricket and watching it. From pointless Zimababwe-Bangladesh test matches to highlights of 2003 cricket world cup(which broke my heart) I watched everything related to cricket. In between I fell in love(not in that sense) with India's most loved cricketer "the God" Sachin Tendulakar. He is simply the best. Now in these years I have talked so much about cricket with so many people, I always wanted to communicate my thoughts about cricket to masses. I wanted to share my knowledge about cricket and talk and debate about all the recent issues in cricket with cricket maniacs like me. So here I am with my blog to share my knowledge and provide an "Only Cricket" space for all of you to know everything about cricket in one go. I am a person who loves discussions and debates and would encourage my readers to always post comments and stir up intense discussions on cricket.