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Southampton Calling

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Pataudi series is at a very interesting stage. After comprehensive defeat in Lords test, fans of the Indian tram were not only disappointed but angry as well. They were not expecting number 1 test team in the world to capitulate so easily. Even though India lost the first test there was no anger amongst the fans since India did not lose so badly. Disappointment, definitely. However, the way in which they surrendered in the Lords test even after significant time loss due to rain, simply raised the fears again that Indian team is a tiger only at home. The team of Virat Kohli had no space to go back; not one step. And they responded splendidly. After losing the toss, when England send them into bat in very helpful conditions, their batting responded like a true champion. First innings total of 329 was par score on that wicket and conditions. To add to that, their bowlers performed tremendously. In conditions far better than their opponent, England capitulated for a meagre 161 which was l…

Trent Bridge- Is that a bridge too far?

0-2 down and more importantly beaten in two playing days of a test match that could have been totally rained off; just that the English cricket had the sun on their beck and call. Indians of course obliged the hosts by playing terribly in the second innings, a total spineless performance has left them with no defence for an extreme bad luck of losing the toss and massively swinging conditions where 150 was a par score for the best of the best. That innings was no different in English condition from the typical spinning wickets Poms have faced a few times in India and have been annihilated as badly as Indians were at Lords. None of the Indian batsmen barring Kohli look settled; and even he is looking vulnerable more due to his sore back. He looked set to win his much-touted contest with Anderson after mercurial innings at Edgbaston. Currently, Kohli is a wee bit ahead in that contest; 200 runs in one innings notwithstanding, Anderson was a bit unlucky not to nip out Kohli earlier, due …

Team India on the cusp of greatness

India V England test series: a contest too close to call.

Team India is on the cusp of greatness. Opportunity to play two very strong and difficult opponents on their home turf in next 6 months, brings opportunities to shut their detractors and critics who have consistently rubbished its no.1 test cricket ranking claim at the throne of the test team by calling them tigers at home, lambs overseas. There is some softening in that stance though ; now they call them tigers in subcontinent conditions! In all fairness, there is some truth in it. While their journey to the top ranking test team came during four successive series wins at home including 13 tests winning all but two (one draw and one loss). However, as soon as they travelled to South Africa, the usual failings against pace and bounce surfaced and the critics were up with their customary I-told-you-so. To their credit, they came back strongly in the test series, but it was too late to erase that familiar sense of deja vu!

While …

World Cup Opener, Befitting The Championship

Second time, second time India will start their world cup campaign as the defending champs. Last time, it was twenty seven years back. Then, India had forced the cricket authorities to look beyond the mother country and move to the subcontinent. I still remember the excitement we Indian fans had; dual excitement of having first ever major world sporting event in the most popular game of the country and a great opportunity for the home team to defend it's crown and prove to all, themselves included, that their win in 1983 was no fluke. India then was so overwhelming, sentimental favorite to retain the crown that every one was thinking about their opponent at the Eden gardens on the final day..there was no doubt about  playing in the finals. What happened then is history; disappointment at India's defeat by Graham Gooch's sweeping bat, almost single handedly, was palpable even months later. Indian cricket plunged into a deep disappointment. Subsequent world cups brought sim…

One Over

Bit outside the off stump, probably fifth stump; that was the first ball of the over. Good pace, lovely out swinger and also a bit late movement. The ball is only 7 overs old. The game has just begun; no wickets down yet. That is a bit of a surprise since the opponents are slightly mis-matched. The bowling side has representative players of high skill; the opening batsmen are not highly ranked but not bad; after all they are playing first grade district cricket. In grade cricket anywhere in Australia, that is no mean achievement. The line then changes slightly towards the off stump next ball. One after that and it keeps coming towards the off stump with same late outswinger and off the deck movement. I can see what the bowler is up to now. The opener has been stubborn, not very skilful but good enough to leave good balls and not good enough to touch the cockers!! Three overs that the bowler has bowled from my end, I am certain would have produced a wicket, if the batsmen were good en…

Playing Blind...India in England

Five tests and Indians proved to be duds, even after winning a famous test at Lords after a long time; and that too more for the way in which they won rather than the result itself! Perhaps for the first time England were bounced out by Indians! They have been spun out many times but bounced out?? I never though I would live to see that..Strange thing though was that some bouncers were actually quite friendly!! Only a few were in the West Indian category of eighties. But Poms reciprocated the chivalry of Indian bowlers by being even better hosts, and hit them straight down the throats of very visibly placed deep midwicket, square leg fielders. Honestly it was as much an English loss as it was an Indian win. This is not to detract from one of the finest and worthy centuries in the history of Indian cricket; a superlative century in the first innings by Ajinkya Rehane on a spicy wicket and against a skilfully mean set of seam bowlers. Or a singularly unidirectional but lion-hearted spe…

Dhoni X-Factor in ICC Champions Trophy Finale..

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Indian cricket team is once again living up to its tag of being unpredictable. The difference is till now in the tournament, it has shown the kind of consistently dominating performance that can only be termed as oxymoronic for Jekyl and Hyde nature that Indian fans are so used to. It is indeed a pleasant surprise. I thought they would be tested by the Sri Lankans, but probably the toss going in favour of Indian captain and then the support he got from his new ball bowlers in forst 15 overs, really put a nooze around the Lankan throats. Dhoni is too smart a captain to let that loose; to me the brilliance of his captainship was a decision to take the pads off and bowl a few overs when his main pace bowlers were coming close to exhausting their quota and clearly, one of the best batsman of spin bowling ever, Mahela Jayavardane was waiting for spinners to come on. Dhoni got the nod from Aleem Dar with a hooping in-swinger, only to be denied by the DRS. But that and Dhoni's spell infa…