Monday, November 25, 2013

India's tour of South Africa, Dec 2013, Complete Match Schedules and Team Preview

Next month India will face South Africa for a three ODI and one test match at their home turf. Considering that the South African cricket team is in full form from their recent matches, India may face some resistance what it has experiences in the recent past against Australia and West Indies in the home turf.

Test squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), M Vijay, S Dhawan, C Pujara, V Kohli, R Sharma, A Rahane, R Ashwin, B Kumar, U Yadav, M Shami, R Jadeja, Z Khan, A Rayudu, W Saha (wk), I Sharma, P Ojha ;

ODI squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), S Dhawan, S Raina, V Kohli, R Sharma, A Rahane, Y Singh, R Ashwin, B Kumar, M Shami, A Rayudu, U Yadav, I Sharma, M Sharma, R Jadeja, A Mishra.

Zaheer Khan, the Indian pacer has been called back for action in South Africa and has been included in the Test squad for the tour of South Africa. The 88-Test veteran Khan has been rewarded for his impressive showing in first-class cricket. But unfortunately, Gautam Gambhir, who scored a remarkable match wining 153 runs just few days back, was not included in the team. A second wicket keeper in form of Wriddhiman Saha has been included instead.

Date & Time
Thu Dec 5
1st ODI - South Africa v India
New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
12:30 GMT | 14:30 local
20:30 HKT 20:30 SGT
Sun Dec 8
2nd ODI - South Africa v India
Kingsmead, Durban
08:00 GMT | 10:00 local
16:00 HKT 16:00 SGT
Wed Dec 11
3rd ODI - South Africa v India
SuperSport Park, Centurion
12:30 GMT | 14:30 local
20:30 HKT 20:30 SGT
Sat Dec 14 - Sun Dec 15
South African Invitation XI v Indians
Willowmoore Park, Benoni
08:00 GMT | 10:00 local
16:00 HKT 16:00 SGT
Wed Dec 18 - Sun Dec 22
1st Test - South Africa v India
New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
08:30 GMT | 10:30 local
16:30 HKT 16:30 SGT
On the other hand, Ishant Sharma, whose woeful performance during the recent concluded Australian visit of India snatched a match from the hands of the Indian team has been included as part of the both Test as well as Test  squads.

The left-arm pacer, who last played a Test in December 2012, has attained supreme match fitness by sweating it out for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. Khan, who will lead the five-member pace department, is the most experienced member of the squad with six Test appearances in the ‘Rainbow Nation’. In fact, only four others - skipper MS Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant - know what’s it like to play with the red ball in South Africa.

Baroda’s Ambati Rayudu is the only newcomer in the squad that is loaded with in-form Shikhar Dhawan, Pujara, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and perennial benchwarmer Ajinkya Rahane.

Khan will have to mentor the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant on the bouncy wickets there. The spin department, led by R Ashwin, comprises left-arm spinners Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja, who needs to prove himself with the bat before he can be called an all-rounder.

With six consecutive wins — 4-0 against Australia and 2-0 against the West Indies — on home soil, India are sure on a high, but let’s not forget those eight straight defeats Dhoni’s men suffered in Australia and England. The squad, especially the batting unit, is relatively inexperienced. And that’s why Gambhir’s absence is all the more baffling.

There aren’t any major surprises in the ODI squad, but the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh must consider themselves lucky. Raina, who last scored an ODI fifty against Zimbabwe in August, won’t exactly feel at home in South Africa. The left-hander’s inability to tackle the short ball is well known. Yuvraj was at his best in the one-off T20 against Australia at Rajkot, where he smashed an unbeaten 77 off 35 balls. However, his highest score in eight subsequent ODIs has been 28.

Rahane and Yadav have been included in the 16-member squad, while Jaydev Unadkat and R Vinay Kumar are out. Leggie Amit Mishra is the third spinner.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kanpur ODI ticket to be available on 25/26 Nov at selected SBI counters

The tickets for the third One-day International (ODI) between India and West Indies will be available at various State Bank of India branches here from November 25.

ADM (City) Avinash Singh today said that tickets can bought from five SBI branches namely Mall Road, Motijheel, Lakhanpur, Lal Bangla and Goshala from 10 am to 4 pm on November 25 and 26.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1st ODI - India v West Indies Nehru Stadium, Kochi, 21st Nov 2013 (Thursday) : Match Preview

Do you have any idea what was the total runs scored by both Indian and Australian teams during the last cricket series during the latter’s visit of India? It was a whopping 3,614 runs. For sure all the matches in the past series were batsmen dominated matches, although in some matches bowlers also played a role in deciding the fate of the match.
But with all the hula bulla about the little master’s retirement gradually shedding from the arena, now again the time has come for serious cricket. The Indian team is gearing up for another ODI series against the West Indies team.
 India won the last ODI series against Australia mainly due to the superb performance of the Indian batsmen, like Kohli, Sharma, Dhoni, etc. India already showed their better performance on the recent concluded test series against West Indies, even though both the test matches were over showed by the theme of Sachin’s retirement.

The 1st of the 3 match series is scheduled to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Kochi and the focus is on the 22-yard strip laid out for the match. Although traditionally the pitch in Kochi has favoured batsmen a lot, but in the recent years the pitch has shown symptom of slowing down at the second innings.

In the first match played on this pitch in 1998 India posted a handsome total in excess of 300 and that record has been breached don this pitch at least 3 more times. But in recent days as the match progresses and teams batting second have found it difficult to chase. 
The last match played here in January earlier this year saw England getting bowled out for 158 while they were chasing 286 set by India. 

The Kochi stadium's pitch curator Mr. PV Ramachandran says that the pitch is not going to be a batsman's paradise. He said "Personally, I prefer wickets which have something in it for both bowlers and batsmen. I think the pitch will be best for batting first. It might not offer great help for fast bowlers, but as the game goes on, it will definitely help the slower bowlers. I think 280 could be a winning score on this wicket." 

So to know whether the recent trend of chasing big runs and finally winning the game will be repeated in the forthcoming match in Kochi, we have to wait until the final overs of the game. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sachin is perhaps beyond success and failures

On the 2nd day of the current test match going on at the Wankhede Stadium in Mimbai Sachin Tendulkar was bowled out for 74 runs in his own home turf and with this he failed to break a 15 years record of not scoring a century in his home ground.
Fans across the world were expecting the little master to say goodbye to his 24 years of glittering cricket career with a humble century. But that was not to happen. His last and 200th test match had to remain short of a century.
But his failure is his success. This is especially true for Sachin, the so called God of cricket. The title of God is actually tells us that when we are talking about Sachin Tendullar, there is perhaps no differences between momentary success and failures. Long ago he has transcended such mundane definitions.  
Perhaps this 74 run will be his last score in his international career when he was caught in the slips on the second morning of play at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium. In the morning he came to the crease to resume batting against the West Indies to a roaring crowd and same was the case when he left the field with his last 74 runs. 
There was a sense of sorrow on the face of the crowds. But it was not because he could not score a century in his last international match. The crowd was not disappointed because Shammy took the catch. They were sad only because they won’t be seeing Sachin playing anymore. Sachin will no more come to the crease to bring all the Indians divided by their faiths, caste, creed, etc. under a single roof.
For this perhaps the crowd were looking sorry.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sudarshan Pattnaik bids farewell to Sachin Tendulkar with his sand art

The famous sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik was one among the thousands who came forward in the last few days to pay tribute to the Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar on the occasion of his 200th and final international match in Mumbai.

Mr. Pattnaik made a beautiful art piece of Sachin Tendulkar by sculpting 200 colourful cricket bats on the Puri sea beach in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. 

Sachin Tendulkar will complete his 24 years long cricketing career with his 200th test match at Wankhede Stadium, his home turf in Mumbai.

The artist has sculptured the cricket bats made of sand in different colours and the sculpture lured domestic and international tourists. 

Mr. Pattnaik said: "As Sachin Tendulkar is retiring from cricket, so we thought of saluting him in a grand way and therefore, we made around 200 cricket bats out of sand to pay him a tribute." 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why Indians love Sachin Tendulkar ? - By Ramachandra Guha

Why Sachin Tendulkar is so popular in India? Does it mean he is the best cricketer India has ever produced? Does that mean Kapil Dev, Gavaskar and many more superb cricketers are inferior to Sachin?

There are no answers to such questions. But there is one truth. That is Sachin is perhaps the greatest cricketer born in India adored by the largest numbers of Indian. There might be several reasons for that. Introduction of satellite televisions, new technologies bridging communication gap and promotion of cricket as a world class game are just few of those reasons.

But the truth remains.  As poet CP Surendran once remarked, whereas other batsmen walked out to bat alone, when Tendulkar came to the crease, "a whole nation, tatters and all, marched with him to the battle arena". Here were "one billion hard-pressed Indians", with "just one hero".

In the early years of his career, Tendulkar brought solace and consolation to a divided nation by the sheer quality of his batsmanship. There were few credible role models elsewhere - the politicians were manipulative and corrupt, the film stars voyeuristic and exhibitionist, the entrepreneurs self-serving.

Perhaps India really needs many more Sachins to bridge the gap of north and south, rich and poor and many more such classes still existing in India.  He definitely has an impact on national integration.

Here is a nice piece by famous historian Ramachanda Guha about Sachin and his popularity.

Link : BBC 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sachin has changed the history of cricket - Shoaib Akhtar

Now it’s the turn of Pakistani cricketers to pay their tribute to Sachin Tendulkar. Pakistan bowling greats Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar rated Tendulkar the best in the world ahead of Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and even their teammate Inzamam-ul-Haq. 

“He is right at the top in the world,” was how Younis thought of Tendulkar, while Akhtar called him the “greatest player” at an event here on Tuesday.
When Younis and Akhtar, who redefined aggression, praise a batsman who went after them in the field, the player does not need any other certificate. Especially, considering the intense rivaly. 

Akhtar said that he was proud to get Tendulkar’s wicket. “He has changed the history of cricket.  He’s the world’s greatest player. I felt great when I got him out and I take pride when he did not hit me out of the park,” he said.  

Younis added, “From being a boy, he went on to rule the world of cricket. All the four Tests of that series (1988/89) were played on greenish pitches and he played very well. He’s right at the top. Not only in subcontinent he has scored outside too. His statistics are the proof.”

Akhtar said “I never said he was afraid of fast bowling, but I thought he was a bit casual when he came out to bat after I had bowled Rahul Dravid. The ball was swinging and I wanted to bowl a swinging yorker. When he was out, I was stunned by the reaction of the crowd. I had no idea when I came to India that Sachin is so big this country,” he recalled.

Remembering the famous cut over point that went for six during the 2003 World Cup where Tendulkar scored a 75-ball 98 at Centurion, Akhtar said it was difficult to bowl to him.

“I struggled with the line. He thrashed me, the faster I bowled the harder he hit me. He hit me for a six over point. He batted amazingly and from the first ball looked very focused,” he said.

Waqar reminisced about the bouncer that injured Tendulkar on his debut Test against Pakistan. “He was hit on the nose off the glove and the injury was not as bad. He did not fall down. After a few minutes he started batting again,” said Waqar. 

Waqar rated Tendulkar’s 136 in a losing cause in the Chennai Test of 1999 against Pakistan as his best knock he has seen. 

“Saqlain and Afridi were turning the ball square. The way he batted was amazing. Then he mishit and got out when India needed 13 runs to win and we wrapped up the remaining wickets in two-three overs,” said Waqar.