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Saturday, March 31, 2012

India Cricket Team - Players Wife, Girlfriends and Family mates

TENDULKAR'S MAGICAL BOWL

Sachin's final over a lesson for indian bowlers

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bangladesh's chance for unprecedented glory


Big Picture
Just how momentous is Bangladesh's passage to the Asia Cup final? Decide for yourself after reading these figures. In nine previous tournaments, Bangladesh had played 29 matches and won two, against Hong Kong and UAE. Out of three games this time, they have won two, against World Cup 2011 finalists India and Sri Lanka, and lost a close match to Pakistan.
Shakib Al Hasan smashes one to the leg side, Bangladesh v India, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 16, 2012
For Bangladesh's tireless supporters, starved of success but never lacking in passion, this is like finding an oasis in a desert. A sea of the darker shade of green will be cheering every run that Bangladesh score tomorrow and every Pakistan wicket that falls. Victory won't be demanded, though; an appearance in the final is already a windfall for the fan.

How will the Bangladesh players approach this game, probably the biggest in their careers so far? Apart from blanking New Zealand some time ago at home, this is the first time they have put together consistently solid performances for three games running against world-class opposition. Will the fourth time prove to be too much? Will the pressure of a final, something they have hardly experienced, restrict the freedom with which they bat? Will their bowling and fielding be able to hold together?

Whatever be the result, Bangladesh's surge to the final holds the promise of another close match. They will fight; if they go down, they will still be heroes. If they win, they'll become part of folklore in the years to come. Either way, a bit of history has already been created.

While tomorrow's contest pales before the fervour an India-Pakistan final would have generated, Pakistan won't mind running into Bangladesh. They have relied on their bowling, as they often do, for getting them to the final. The one time their batting appeared to have almost won a game for them, they ran into Virat Kohli.

Pakistan have underperformed in the Asia Cup, winning it only once compared to the four titles each won by India and Sri Lanka. A second title beckons tomorrow, unless Bangladesh can ride on the passion and momentum and play beyond themselves again.

Form guide
Bangladesh: WWLLL (most recent first)
Pakistan: LWWLL
In the spotlight
Had Shakib Al Hasan been playing for some of the bigger Test sides, he would have been given a lot more respect than he gets at present. He averages 54.50 with the bat and 22.29 with the ball in ODI wins. He carries the expectations of Bangladesh fans lightly and, more often than not, puts in a telling contribution. He was Man of the Match in the hosts' wins over India and Sri Lanka and would have got the award against Pakistan had the Bangladesh lower order not collapsed around him. The hosts have found Nasir Hossain, but for the moment, as Shakib goes, so do Bangladesh.

Umar Gul helped Pakistan avoid defeat against Bangladesh with a three-wicket burst that included the wickets of Nasir and Shakib. One new ball or two, Gul has found reverse swing. When asked how he was getting such movement with a lush green outfield in Mirpur, he pointed to the dry-looking square. Bangladesh were able to survive the threat of Lasith Malinga on Tuesday. Gul will come hard at them tomorrow, especially after going for runs against India.

Team news
Nazmul Hossain took three wickets against Sri Lanka on his comeback in place of the injured Shafiul Islam. Bangladesh could go in with the same side that beat Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Nazimuddin, 3 Jahurul Islam, 4 Nasir Hossain, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Nazmul Hossain, 11 Shahadat Hossain

Pakistan played five bowlers against India, but Wahab Riaz, included in place of the specialist wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, went for 50 in four overs. Sarfraz is expected to return for the final, freeing Umar Akmal of the additional responsibility of keeping wicket.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Hammad Azam, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema

Stats and trivia
Pakistan have made the Asia Cup final for only the third time. They won their previous final (in Dhaka in 2000) by 39 runs. Bangladesh, on the other hand, have made their first final of a multi-nation tournament since reaching the final of the tri-series at home in 2009
If Bangladesh go on to win the final, they will become only the second team after Australia (in the 2003 World Cup) to beat India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in a single tournament
Quotes
"I was out of the country and having a holiday when these things were happening. It gave me some rest and mental freshness. I wanted to prove myself in the game after I came back. I worked hard and it's going alright."
With three half-centuries in three games, Tamim Iqbal has more than proved his point after having been left out of the original Asia Cup squad.

Dramatic last over run-out leaves match tied

Any lingering thoughts of a Caribbean holiday were swept decisively away from Australia by a thrilling and courageous West Indies chase to force a dramatic tie at a heaving Arnos Vale Ground. Tuesday had been declared a public holiday in St Vincent and a sold-out crowd was kept on its feet throughout as the two sides finished locked on 220 apiece on a pitch almost as lively for spin bowling as for dancing at the boundary's edge.

The West Indies needed only one run from the final three deliveries to be bowled by Brett Lee, but a mix-up between the captain Darren Sammy and the last man Kemar Roach saw both stranded at the striker's end as Lee broke the stumps at his. However, the hosts' fight to level the scores having been mired as deeply as 78 for 5 will provide plenty of belief for Sammy's men, while also showing Australia's players that they cannot afford to misstep quite so badly as they have done at times in the three matches so far.

This time the fault lay with the batsmen, who squandered the best of the conditions and failed completely to cope with the crafty spin of Sunil Narine. But there was also a cautionary note for the stand-in captain Shane Watson, who spoiled an otherwise admirable bowling stint with a no-ball that reprieved Andre Russell at a critical time. Watson fumed over the episode and may need to calm himself more rapidly on future captaincy assignments, not least on this tour.

Having built a sound platform to chase the 221 required at 52 for 1, the hosts lost four wickets for 26 as Xavier Doherty and Watson cut through the batting with a combination of spin, changes of pace and alert field placement. However a series of doughty contributions from Johnson Charles, Kieron Pollard, Russell and Carlton Baugh brought the West Indies to the brink, and Sammy would have taken his side home without a moment of running impulse from Roach.

In front of a teeming Kingstown gathering that caused a long trail of morning traffic to the ground, the Australians had been briefly delighted to find a pitch offering more pace than had been found in either of the first two fixtures here. However, they lost their previous enthusiasm when the offspinner Narine used it, along with the sharp spin that had been on offer all week, to cause considerable torment.


George Bailey, promoted to No. 4, and Michael Hussey provided some measure of stability to the innings, from an uncertain 58 for 3, but neither batsman could quite attain command of the bowling. Hussey's dismissal signalled another flurry of wickets, this time the giddy loss of five for six runs. Marlon Samuels and Roach both contributed with clever spells, but it was Narine's deception of the touring batsmen that was most complete, their muddle exemplified by two run-outs in the slipstream of Narine overs.
When West Indies chased, Charles and Kieran Powell enjoyed a more fruitful stand than their one-ball effort in the second ODI, and Watson had to introduce Doherty's spin in the seventh over as he sought a wicket. Powell hammered Doherty over the wide long-on rope, but next ball the spinner took revenge by running a delivery across the opener to draw a clear stumping for Matthew Wade.
Watson used a slower ball to tunnel through Samuels' defence, and in the same over Darren Bravo was confounded by a delivery that disturbed the surface and sent his drive straight to Bailey at short cover. A similar dismissal accounted for Charles, though he could have fewer queries about how the ball had reached him off the pitch, and Doherty used another straighter variation to cramp Dwayne Bravo's attempt to cut and coax an edge into Wade's gloves.
Pollard had seen the West Indies home on Sunday, but had a far sterner task ahead of him this time. For a while he delighted team-mates and spectators, sending one mighty swipe at Lee clean out of the ground. To rid him of this threat, Watson called on Nathan Lyon, Pollard's sometime compatriot in Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition.
As he has done before, Lyon was not afraid to sacrifice a six in search of a wicket: Pollard cleared Doherty at long-on once, but found him when attempting to repeat the stroke two balls later. Russell maintained the fight in the company of Baugh, smiting a rival to Pollard's earlier six when he crashed Clint McKay down the ground and beyond it.
The required rate crept up gradually, aided by Watson's thrift, and when Russell was bowled attempting an impatient heave the game appeared up. However replays showed that Watson had overstepped, and Russell's rearguard went on. As if to frustrate Watson further, Russell was also to be bowled by the resulting free-hit.
As he and Doherty had almost exhausted their overs, Watson called on McKay to probe for the clinching wickets. As the crowd clung to rum-fuelled visions of victory, he seemed to do just that: first teasing an edge out of Russell that Wade dived to claim, then prompting Baugh to send an attempted flick skyward for Daniel Christian to pouch.
Not willing to give up, Narine hit out boldly to reduce the requirement, and Sammy showed the sort of composure he is beginning to make a habit of. However Roach ran on the third-last ball as though it was the last, and Australia salvaged something.
Having won the toss, Watson had expected a similar surface to those previously encountered in Kingstown, but noted more evidence of dryness. In the first few overs he and David Warner timed the ball more successfully than at any stage of the first two games, and it was with the score a promising 33 for 0 that Sammy called on Narine. His first over saw the ball popping and spinning far more excitedly than the batsmen were expecting, and Watson's response in the next over was to chase a tight single that became fatal when Russell threw the stumps down.
The wicketkeeper Wade, back to No. 3 in the shuffle that had Peter Forrest dropped to make room for Lyon's spin, struggled mightily in his brief time against Narine, also narrowly avoiding a run-out. Shuffling too far across his crease, it was no great surprise when Narine spun a delivery around Wade's pads to bowl him for a fretful 2 from 11 balls. Narine's analysis told a tale of bewitchment: 5-1-5-1.
Bailey and Hussey were vigilant as they built a significant union, tallying 112 before they were separated by Samuels. His role in the dismissal was more technical than practical, a short ball pulled venomously by Bailey - he had just struck a compelling straight six - straight into the hands of Bravo behind square leg. Bailey cursed his exit, just at the moment when it seemed Australia had wrested the advantage, and they would prove to be prescient oaths.
Michael Hussey misread Samuels' length and turn to be stumped by a distance. Next over David Hussey was deceived completely by Roach's perfectly pitched slower ball and bowled, and after a first-up wide Brett Lee fell to the same variation, this time dragging a shorter offering onto his stumps. The innings had lost its way; it so very nearly cost the match.

InningsDot balls4s6sPP1PP2PP3Last 10 oversNB/Wides
Australia17514338/218/0 (16-20)29/0 (35-39)50/61/3
West Indies20319645/115/1 (16-20)10/0 (36-40)56/41/6

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If there is a better man, give him the job - Dhoni

"I just said my statement. The best thing about statements is, you can assume it the way you want to."


That was MS Dhoni's response when told how his statement that he might have to give up Test cricket at the end of 2013 if he is to captain India to their World Cup defence was seen by many as a general disinterest in Test cricket.

"Maybe by 2013 I'll have to," Dhoni said. "It is two years away, and the kind of cricket we are playing - IPL, 45 days; Champions League; and back-to-back series; lots of games. We have to see where we last. It's not a calendar year where you get a lot of rest, and you get away with small niggles during that rest period."

Dhoni then sought to clarify his thought process. "I said end of 2013," he said. "Now it's the start of 2012, 2013 is two years. I don't know whether I will be alive in two years. That's a long time. What I said was, by the end of 2013, I will have to see whether I can play the World Cup. It wasn't about one format, it was about cricket. I can't play till 2014 and say I am not fit enough to survive till the next World Cup. And you'll have a player coming in who has played just 25 games."

When pointedly asked if he was as interested in Tests as he was in other formats, and whether Test cricket was as important in his mind, Dhoni's response was emphatic. "Of course. Test cricket is the real cricket." However, he went on to say he wasn't running down the other formats either.

"Every form of cricket has its own challenges," Dhoni said. "You have the Test format, the longer version. You have ODI cricket where you can see glimpses of Test cricket and Twenty20s, especially with two balls getting used. And all of a sudden a team loses three or four wickets, and you go and do the consolidating job and then go on with the slog. And then there is the shortest format where you lose five wickets, you go in and the longest consolidating period you get is one over and you start hitting again. All of them are very interesting, and as long as I am able to, I will play all the three formats."

Dhoni was then asked where he felt he was on his Test journey. "I am still on my way. I have not reached any place," he said, suggesting there might finally be something in a Dhoni press conference that might reveal his inner feelings, before going on to show it was just a tease. "If I remember, the thing I said was 2013, which is two years from now on. I don't know if you will be covering cricket or not. I don't know if I will be playing cricket or not. That's a long time."
That's the thing with Dhoni. You never know. If you haven't been to a match, you won't be able to tell from Dhoni's face if he has won it or lost it. There is a sense of detachment, whether real or rehearsed, that has worked for Dhoni, ridding him of the pressures Indian captaincy brings. It has consumed the best of them, even the best tactical captain India has had, Rahul Dravid.

Dhoni has fought it by not acknowledging it, but over the last 12 months, especially after India won the World Cup, you wonder if he has been too detached when India needed a more involved leader to oversee the transition to the next phase. In Australia, loss after loss brought the same combination, same strategy, same faces, same answers. You didn't get a feeling somebody was taking charge. You didn't see Dhoni change his tactics on the field. You can't blame the thinkers for thinking he didn't care. Dhoni, though, will tell you only he knows how much he cares. However, people who wanted to see a sign didn't get to see one.

Then there was intrigue off the field. There were reports of Virender Sehwag wanting the captaincy, and that he was not very appreciative of Dhoni's work. Not to forget that Sehwag can't be very appreciative of his own work, either as batsman or captain at this stage. Sehwag, of course, denied all that. Now that the series is gone, though, rumour mills are abuzz again. Dhoni's captaincy in Tests away from subcontinent is bound to come under scrutiny.

When asked where he saw himself vis-à-vis the captaincy issue, Dhoni said: "It's an added role and responsibility for me. It's not a position that belongs to anyone. That responsibility was given to me three-and-a-half years back. I have been trying to do well, get along with the team, perform well wherever we play.

"It's just a position I hold. It's something I'll always look to do well till I am in the job. It's not something I want to hold on to or stick on to. If there's a better replacement, it's a very open thing. He can come in. At the end of the day you want India to perform. If there is someone who can do a better job, then it's a place that should be given to him. It's not something you have to cling on to."

When asked if, given his workload, he had enough left to go on and lead India's attempt at rebuilding from the defeats, Dhoni said: "It's not an individual who decides whether he is good enough or not. It's others who decide if you are good enough or not. When it comes to effort, I am still giving my 100%."

To paraphrase Dhoni himself, the beauty of statements is, they are open to interpretations. As are the last two. Is he resigned to losing his Test captaincy? Is he so detached he won't fight if it is taken away? Will he not be desperate to correct the lasting memory of his captaincy - back-to-back whitewashes? Or - and this is interesting - is he daring the powers to find a man better suited to the job because there isn't anybody in sight at the moment?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sehwag, Gambhir back in full-strength Test squad

A proud Yuvraj Singh holds the Player of the Tournament trophy, India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, April 2, 2011
Virender Sehwag, who is yet to fully recover after undergoing surgery on his shoulder, has made it to 17-man India squad for the Test series in England, but will miss the first two weeks of the tour to give him time to recuperate further.
Sachin Tendulkar returned to the squad after skipping the West Indies tour to rest, while Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth made comebacks from injury breaks. Yuvraj Singh, who missed the West Indies tour with a chest infection, also forced his way back into the Test plans following his excellent performance in the World Cup. M Vijay and Virat Kohli, who have so far failed to impress in the West Indies Tests, were dropped, while Suresh Raina's strong show in the same series helped him retain his place.
Abhinav Mukund, who made a dogged 48 in Barbados on Friday, will travel to England as the reserve opener. Wriddhiman Saha was included as the back-up wicketkeeper, edging out Parthiv Patel. Cheteshwar Pujara is yet to recover from the knee injury he picked up in the IPL, and misses out once again.
Munaf Patel made the squad despite missing the first two West Indies Tests with fitness issues. Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar, who have been among the wickets in the Caribbean, round off the pace attack, while Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra make up the spin department.
The tour begins with a three-day warm-up match on July 15, with the first Test starting on July 21 at Lord's.
The squad: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Gautam Gambhir (vice-capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Abhinav Mukund, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar

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