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Thursday, 31 October 2013
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Kohli can break Sachin’s ODI record: Sunil Gavaskar

“Records are meant to be broken. While we know that some of Tendulkar’s records are impossible to get to – like 200 Tests or 51 Test hundreds. But the manner in which Virat is batting, Tendulkar’s record of 49 hundreds looks possible. Virat needs 32 more hundreds to match Tendulkar’s feat and with the number of ODIs Indians play, he can do it. This season itself, Virat can get to 20 or 22 hundreds,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
Twenty-year-old Kohli has scored 17 hundreds in 112 innings with an overall average of 52.32. Sourav Ganguly needed 170 innings to make 17 hundreds and Tendulkar 189.
Kohli is also the fastest Indian to amass 4,000 runs. He has already scored two hundreds in the ongoing series against Australia.
Former Australia batsman Dean Jones concurred with Gavaskar.
“I will tell you he will get past Sachin. He will play 30 ODIs a year for the next 15 years and he will pass Sachin… Who would have ever thought of that,” Jones said.
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Heroic Virat Kohli smashes ton to script stunning Indian win

Master of chases Virat Kohli smashed a 61-ball century to fashion an astonishing six-wicket Indian victory after Shikhar Dhawan scored a run-a-ball century in the sixth ODI against Australia in Nagpur on Wednesday. En route, Kohli scored his fifth half-century on-the-trot as India levelled the seven-match series 2-2. The Cuttack and Ranchi ODIs were abandoned due to rain. The final match of the series will be played in Bangalore on November 2. (Jadeja takes 100 ODI wickets)

Chasing 351 for a win, India rode an opening stand of 178 runs between Dhawan (100 with 11x4s) and Rohit Sharma (79) to set up a scintillating chase. It was Kohli's heroics (115 with 18 fours and a six) that gave the Indian innings the acceleration it needed in the home stretch. Kohli scored his fifty off 31 balls, slamming eight boundaries and a six. Kohli produced 56 runs with Dhawan off 39 balls. (Scorecard) (Kohli made batting look easy: Dhoni)

India looked to be in good position when Mitchell Johnson (2/72) struck a double blow in the 43rd over to swing the game Australia's way. Suresh Raina (16) got a dubious caught-behind decision and Yuvraj Singh was bowled for zero as the Indian innings suddenly lose its rhythm. India needed 48 runs in the last five overs and with Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the middle, victory wasn't impossible. Kohli was simply unstoppable as he smashed the ball to all parts of the park for his 17th ODI ton. With Dhoni (25 not out off 23 balls), he produced 61 runs for the fifth wicket as India raced to a stunning win with three balls to spare. (Match Highlights | Match pics)

Dhawan, who missed out on a coveted century by just five runs in the Jaipur ODI, was not to be denied at Nagpur. The left-hander struck his fourth ODI century after being dropped by Glenn Maxwell off James Faulkner on 19. Dhawan's 178-run stand with Sharma bettered the previous record (176 at Jaipur) of the highest opening partnership for India against Australia in ODIs. (Dhawan smashes 4th ODI ton)

Sharma and Dhawan started steadily but soon runs began to flow as the pair made the best use of the fielding restrictions. Once Dhawan settled down, he began to play shots all over the park. His appetite for big scores is well known, particularly against Australia, when he hit 187 on his Test debut in Mohali. Dhawan also completed 1000 runs in ODIs when he reached his hundred is his 24th ODI. It was the perfect response to the big total set by the Aussies in what was a must-win game for the home side. (Kohli smashes 17th ODI ton)

Earlier, after India invited the Australians to bat, Shane Watson and captain George Bailey smashed scintillating centuries as Australia put the listless Indian bowling attack to the sword to post an imposing 350 for 6. Burly Watson struck 13 fours and three sixes in making 102 off 94 balls while the in-form Bailey was equally impressive in scoring a career-best 156, his second ODI ton, in 115 balls. His brilliant innings contained half a dozen sixes and 13 fours. These two batsmen also compiled the second-highest third-wicket stand of 168 in ODIs against India to help the visitors record their fourth 300-plus total in the series
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
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You can't win against the God of cricket: Ajay Jadeja

Former Team India teammate Ajay Jadeja paid rich tribute to Sachin Tendulkar, who scored a decisive 79 not out in his final Ranji Trophy innings on Wednesday. Tendulkar's knock helped Mumbai score a four-wicket victory against Haryana in the sleepy town of Lahli near Rohtak. Jadeja skippered the young Haryana squad.

Speaking to NDTV, Jadeja said: "You call him God and we call him the Master. You can't win against the God of cricket." The former opening batsman said Tendulkar's decision to play the Lahli game brought the fans back to Ranji Trophy. "We didn't have a clue that he was going to play this game. It came as a pleasant surprise for our young team," said Jadeja.

Jadeja said Tendulkar's ability to enjoy the game has kept him going in the last 24 years. "He still enjoys different challenges and is still not finished," Jadeja said, indicating how his 79 runs on a difficult track at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium helped Mumbai's cause. "He has proved why he is still the master. We have all batted on this wicket but his innings made the difference," Jadeja added.

Tendulkar's teammate and skipper Zaheer Khan said the Lahli match will help the master blaster prepare for the two-Test series against the West Indies next month. "The match has been a good exposure for him. It's definitely going to help him prepare for the West Indies series," Zaheer said
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Heroic Virat Kohli smashes ton to script stunning Indian win

Chasing 351 for a win, India rode an opening stand of 178 runs between Dhawan (100 with 11x4s) and Rohit Sharma (79) to set up a scintillating chase. It was Kohli's heroics (115 with 18 fours and a six) that gave the Indian innings the acceleration it needed in the home stretch. Kohli scored his fifty off 31 balls, slamming eight boundaries and a six. Kohli produced 56 runs with Dhawan off 39 balls. (Scorecard) (Kohli made batting look easy: Dhoni)

India looked to be in good position when Mitchell Johnson (2/72) struck a double blow in the 43rd over to swing the game Australia's way. Suresh Raina (16) got a dubious caught-behind decision and Yuvraj Singh was bowled for zero as the Indian innings suddenly lose its rhythm. India needed 48 runs in the last five overs and with Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the middle, victory wasn't impossible. Kohli was simply unstoppable as he smashed the ball to all parts of the park for his 17th ODI ton. With Dhoni (25 not out off 23 balls), he produced 61 runs for the fifth wicket as India raced to a stunning win with three balls to spare. (Match Highlights | Match pics)

Dhawan, who missed out on a coveted century by just five runs in the Jaipur ODI, was not to be denied at Nagpur. The left-hander struck his fourth ODI century after being dropped by Glenn Maxwell off James Faulkner on 19. Dhawan's 178-run stand with Sharma bettered the previous record (176 at Jaipur) of the highest opening partnership for India against Australia in ODIs. (Dhawan smashes 4th ODI ton)

Sharma and Dhawan started steadily but soon runs began to flow as the pair made the best use of the fielding restrictions. Once Dhawan settled down, he began to play shots all over the park. His appetite for big scores is well known, particularly against Australia, when he hit 187 on his Test debut in Mohali. Dhawan also completed 1000 runs in ODIs when he reached his hundred is his 24th ODI. It was the perfect response to the big total set by the Aussies in what was a must-win game for the home side. (Kohli smashes 17th ODI ton)

Earlier, after India invited the Australians to bat, Shane Watson and captain George Bailey smashed scintillating centuries as Australia put the listless Indian bowling attack to the sword to post an imposing 350 for 6. Burly Watson struck 13 fours and three sixes in making 102 off 94 balls while the in-form Bailey was equally impressive in scoring a career-best 156, his second ODI ton, in 115 balls. His brilliant innings contained half a dozen sixes and 13 fours. These two batsmen also compiled the second-highest third-wicket stand of 168 in ODIs against India to help the visitors record their fourth 300-plus total in the series
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
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Hope to live up to expectations in West Indies series: Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar was chaired off by teammates after his 79 not out scripted a four-wicket victory for defending Ranji Trophy champions against Haryana in Lahli near Rohtak on Wednesday. Tendulkar has won five Ranji Trophy titles with Mumbai. The Master Blaster thanked the people of Lahli for a grand farewell and said the match was "challenging" as scoring 240 was not an easy job on a slow Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium wicket.

Tendulkar's focus immediately shifted to the upcoming West Indies series next month. The two Test-series will be Tendulkar's swansong. Kolkata will host his 199th Test while Wankhede will host the milestone 200th. "West Indies are a good side and it will be a good series. I hope it produces good cricket and we live up to the expectations. I am looking forward to the series as it will be my last," the 40-year-old said.

The Haryana match was a good warm-up for Tendulkar. In a rather low-scoring tie, the wicket was not easy to bat in the fourth winning of a match. "On paper, it looked like a 240-run target, but it was almost like scoring 280. It was a challenging match for Mumbai and I am happy that we won in my last game for Mumbai," Tendulkar said.

Tendulkar said he enjoyed the "competitive" flavor of the match. "This was the kind of outing I was looking forward to and it was fun. It was a good warm up before the Test series," Tendulkar said.

Tendulkar thanked the people of Lahli for a making his final Ranji game a "memorable one." "The police did a wonderful job. The security was nice and I thank the organisers for making my stay at Lahli 
Sunday, 27 October 2013
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Ishant Sharma: The other side of looking at India's 'new cricket

If a lawsuit was to be filed against Ishant Sharma for poor bowling, I may well have opted to become his lawyer. To most, my job would have appeared tough but a look at the statistics from the series so far show a glaring escape route - they reveal, surprisingly, that the lanky pacer has not been the worst performer!

Before we dabble into the now much-ridiculed 48th over at Mohali, here is an analysis of how Ishant has fared vis-a-vis other bowlers - both Indians as well as Australians - in this series.

1st T20: (Scorecard)

Ishant Sharma bowled four overs which cost a whopping 52 which meant an economy rate of 13. So? Ashwin bowled two and cost 41 (economy of 20.50). Although not noted for his bowling, Virat Kohli went for 24 off his two. For Australia, Clint McKay bowled four and cost just two less than Ishant while Mosies Henriques was whacked for 15 off his solitary over.

While McKay did claim two wickets unlike Ishant, Kohli, Ashwin and teammate Henriques, shouldn't the fact that bowlers were pelted at large be factored into every argument against the Delhi pacer?

1st ODI: (Scorecard)

Australia won the toss, batted first and blasted Ishant's seven overs for 56 runs. However, the tourists also targeted Vinay Kumar (9 overs for 68; economy of 7.55) and Kohli ( one over for 12).

Track may have favoured spin more than pace but isn't it blasphemy for a team's main fast-bowler to be bullied by the opposition? True and sometimes, 'atrocious' bowling just cannot be justified - this being one of those occasions. Even still, Kohli did go on the record and say a player cannot be dropped because of one poor performance. (Read here)

2nd ODI: (Scorecard)

Ishant Sharma was not, repeat, was not the most expensive bowler in this match. 

Figures of bowlers returning expensive figures, from worst to 'best': 

Shane Watson: 5/0/47/0 (Economy: 9.40)
Clint McKay: 7/0/64/0 (Economy: 9.14)
Yuvraj Singh: 4/0/35/0 (Economy: 8.75)
Glenn Maxwell: 5.3/0/48/0 (Economy: 8.72)
James Falkner: 7/0/60/1 (Economy: 8.57)
R Vinay Kumar: 9/0/73/0 (Economy: 8.11)
and
Ishant Sharma: 9/1/70/0 (Economy: 7.77)

Yes, Ishant did bowl a maiden in a 700-plus match!

3rd ODI: (Scorecard)

Here is where the script got totally warped for poor Ishant. Who would have known that the 48th over would make him the butt of all jokes?

But did you notice in the midst of the anguish and anger that the 25-year-old had cost just 33 in his first seven overs! He even dismissed a dangerous Aaron Finch! And in a match where Watson's eight cost 74  albeit 'more consistenly', Ishant emerged as the 'most-hated' because of six nightmarish deliveries.

Conclusion:

No one deserves accolades for being best in a crop of worst. No one deserves credit for bowling seven overs cheap only to throw it all away in the eight. No one deserves to be let off the hook for being the main cause of a defeat and yes Ishant was responsible for handing over the match. 

Similarly however, Ishant doesn't deserve to be the sole target after repetitive and collective bowling failures. Ishant does not deserve to be blamed for all the defeats before his one 'unforgivable' mistake. And Ishant surely does not deserve to be hauled up, especially at a time when cricket pundits are highlighting the possible extinction of bowlers at large, courtesy shorter boundaries and fielding restrictions. (Ian Chappell's warning)

Whether Ishant is India's worst or he is too ordinary to be in the side or  a man not playing to his potential while others like Zaheer Khan stand in the waiting is not for me to comment on. Opinions and predictions aside, the above statistics from the series however do reveal that here is a cricketer who has been unfairly made the mascot of horrendous bowling while most others hide their consistently bad figures by citing Ishant's fateful six deliveries in Mohali.
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Ranji Trophy, Haryana vs Mumbai: Day 2 Live Blog

Lahli:  Harayana's Ranji match against Mumbai here has generated a lot of buzz as it is Sachin Tendulkar's last. He however scored five on the opening day. Catch the updates as his teammates look to finish the job and mount a commanding lead on Monday.

9:30 (IST): Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawal Kulkarni will resume Mumbai's innings today. While Rahane looked his confident best as he put together 44 off 96 with eight boundaries, his partner is relatively new to the middle.

9:20 (IST): In a recent interview to the official BCCI website, Sachin stressed the importance of playing Ranji and impressing selectors. Although he said scoring big or claiming wickets in Ranji is no guarantee of a spot in the national side, it can help make a case for a player. "A good performance in Ranji Trophy definitely helps you to be recognised by the selectors but it is not a sure-shot certainty that it is going to get you a berth in the Indian cricket team because you also have to see the composition of the national squad, whether one fits into the selectors' ideas and the captain's ideas."

9:10 (IST): Lahli in Haryana - venue for this match - has had a buzz like never before as the stadium was packed to the brim on Sunday. Their hero - Sachin - was dismissed by Mohit Sharma but fans are hopeful of seeing him bat once again in the second innings.

9:00 (IST): Hosts Haryana found themselves cornered on the opening day of the Ranji clash against giants Mumbai. The batting collapsed like a pack of cards with the team managing only 134 in the first innings. In reply, Mumbai lost Sachin Tendulkar on five but looked in command at 100/4 at stumps.
For the latest Cricket news
Saturday, 26 October 2013
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Pak vs SA 2nd Test Day 2 : Live Scores updates

Dubai :  South Africa scored 460 runs with loss of 4 wickets after bowled out Pakistan in 99 runs here in Dubai today.
Live Scores | Full Scorecard
Update at end of day 2 :
Pakistan 99/10 (36.4 ov)
South Africa 460/4 (133.6 ov)
Graeme Smith (227*) and AB de Villiers (157*) are on crease.
Update at end of day 1 :
Pakistan : 1st Inning : 99/10 (36.4 ov)
South Africa : 1st Inning : 128/3 (48.6 ov)
Imran Tahir has taken 5 wickets while Dale Steyn and M Morkel took 3 wickets and 1 wicket respectively.
Toss : Pakistan won the toss and choose to bat first.
Time : Match starts at 1:30 PM
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Ban vs NZ 2nd Test Day 5 : Live Score updates

Update at end of 4th day :
1st Inning :  Bangladesh 282/10 (74.5 ov)
1st Inning : New Zealand 437/10 (140 ov)
2nd Inning  Bangladesh 269/3 (89 ov)
Score update at end of 2nd day: 
Bangladesh : 1st Inning : 282/10 (74.5 ov)
New Zealand: 1st Inning : 107/3 (33.3 ov)
Score update at end of 1st day:
Bangladesh : 1st Innings : 228/5 in 54.4 Overs
Toss : Bangladesh won the toss and choose to bat first.
Players in both team : 
Bangladesh Team : Tamim Iqbal,Anamul Haque,Marshall Ayub,Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, A A Hossain
New Zealand Team : PG Fulton, HD Rutherford, KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, BB McCullum, N Wagner, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, DAJ Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, TA Boult
Thursday, 24 October 2013
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Ban vs NZ 2nd Test Day 5 : Live Score updates

Mirpur : Bangladesh playing its 2nd inning on 5th day against New Zealand in their 2nd test match here in Mirpur today.
Check Live Scores  |  Full Scorecard
Update at end of 4th day :
1st Inning :  Bangladesh 282/10 (74.5 ov)
1st Inning : New Zealand 437/10 (140 ov)
2nd Inning  Bangladesh 269/3 (89 ov)
Score update at end of 2nd day: 
Bangladesh : 1st Inning : 282/10 (74.5 ov)
New Zealand: 1st Inning : 107/3 (33.3 ov)
Score update at end of 1st day:
Bangladesh : 1st Innings : 228/5 in 54.4 Overs
Toss : Bangladesh won the toss and choose to bat first.
Players in both team : 
Bangladesh Team : Tamim Iqbal,Anamul Haque,Marshall Ayub,Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, A A Hossain
New Zealand Team : PG Fulton, HD Rutherford, KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, BB McCullum, N Wagner, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, DAJ Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, TA Boult
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India to play 2 Tests, 3 ODIs in South Africa

Ending months of speculation, the Indian cricket board Tuesday confirmed that India will tour South Africa at the end of the year to play two Tests and three One-Day Internationals (ODI).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) came to the decision after the recent International Cricket Council (ICC) board meetings in London over the past couple of days.
“CSA and the BCCI have today announced that the South Africa cricket team will play against India in an upcoming home series comprising of two Test matches and three One Day Internationals, the specific dates and details of which will be announced in due course,” said a joint statement by the two boards.
“In addition, both parties have also agreed to continue with good faith discussions between their respective presidents about the possibility of agreeing further bilateral arrangements in respect of the scheduled fixtures between the two teams, and taking into account any scheduling imbalances from previous years.”
The agreement was reached after CSA decided to withdraw its chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat from not just its dealings with BCCI but also the ICC chief executives committee pending an inquiry into his actions.
CSA also refuted statements made by former ICC legal head and former CSA legal advisor David Becker, accusing BCCI president N. Srinivasan of being manipulative.
“The ICC and CSA have already refuted the comments made by Mr. Becker and the ICC is now considering its legal options in respect of the same. In addition, the ICC will convene an investigation by an independent third party (to be appointed by the ICC) into the content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Mr. Lorgat in relation to these matters.
“Pending the outcome of this investigation, CSA has ordered the withdrawal of Mr. Lorgat from representing it at the ICC’s chief executive’s committee (or from acting in any other ICC-related matters), and CSA has also withdrawn him from having involvement in any aspect of CSA’s relationship with the BCCI, including but not limited to the upcoming tour,” added the statement.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
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India to play 2 Tests, 3 ODIs in South Africa

Ending months of speculation, the Indian cricket board Tuesday confirmed that India will tour South Africa at the end of the year to play two Tests and three One-Day Internationals (ODI).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) came to the decision after the recent International Cricket Council (ICC) board meetings in London over the past couple of days.
“CSA and the BCCI have today announced that the South Africa cricket team will play against India in an upcoming home series comprising of two Test matches and three One Day Internationals, the specific dates and details of which will be announced in due course,” said a joint statement by the two boards.
“In addition, both parties have also agreed to continue with good faith discussions between their respective presidents about the possibility of agreeing further bilateral arrangements in respect of the scheduled fixtures between the two teams, and taking into account any scheduling imbalances from previous years.”
The agreement was reached after CSA decided to withdraw its chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat from not just its dealings with BCCI but also the ICC chief executives committee pending an inquiry into his actions.
CSA also refuted statements made by former ICC legal head and former CSA legal advisor David Becker, accusing BCCI president N. Srinivasan of being manipulative.
“The ICC and CSA have already refuted the comments made by Mr. Becker and the ICC is now considering its legal options in respect of the same. In addition, the ICC will convene an investigation by an independent third party (to be appointed by the ICC) into the content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Mr. Lorgat in relation to these matters.
“Pending the outcome of this investigation, CSA has ordered the withdrawal of Mr. Lorgat from representing it at the ICC’s chief executive’s committee (or from acting in any other ICC-related matters), and CSA has also withdrawn him from having involvement in any aspect of CSA’s relationship with the BCCI, including but not limited to the upcoming tour,” added the statement.
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Pak vs SA 2nd Test Day 2 : Live Scores updates

Dubai :  South Africa scored 128 runs with loss of 3 wickets after bowled out Pakistan in 99 runs here in Dubai today.
Match starts at 1:30 PM IST.
Live Scores | Full Scorecard
Update at end of day 1 :
Pakistan : 1st Inning : 99/10 (36.4 ov)
South Africa : 1st Inning : 128/3 (48.6 ov)
Toss : Pakistan won the toss and choose to bat first
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
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India name unchanged squad for remaining ODIs

Mumbai : The All-India Senior Selection Committee Sunday announced an unchanged team for the last four One-Day Internationals (ODIs) of the ongoing series against Australia.
Australia lead the seven-match series 2-1.
India squad:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain),
Shikhar Dhawan,
Rohit Sharma,
Virat Kohli,
Yuvraj Singh,
Suresh Raina,
Ravindra Jadeja,
Ravichandran Ashwin,
Bhuvneshwar Kumar,
Ishant Sharma,
Vinay Kumar,
Amit Mishra,
Ambati Rayudu,
Mohammed Shami,
Jaydev Unadkat.
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Ban vs NZ 2nd Test Day 2 : Live Score updates

Mirpur : Pakistan has made 107 runs with loss of 3 wickets after bowled out Bangladesh in 282 runs on 2nd day in their 2nd test match here in Mirpur today.
Live Scores  |  Full Scorecard
Score update at end of 2nd day: 
Bangladesh : 1st Inning : 282/10 (74.5 ov)
New Zealand: 1st Inning : 107/3 (33.3 ov)
Score update at end of 1st day:
Bangladesh : 1st Innings : 228/5 in 54.4 Overs
Toss : Bangladesh won the toss and choose to bat first.
Players in both team : 
Bangladesh Team : Tamim Iqbal,Anamul Haque,Marshall Ayub,Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, A A Hossain
New Zealand Team : PG Fulton, HD Rutherford, KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, BB McCullum, N Wagner, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, DAJ Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, TA Boult
Monday, 21 October 2013
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Kumble, Dravid and the long goodbyes

It's been five years, but the memory is as fresh as ever. VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly were batting together on the final day of India's third Test against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, when L Sivaramakrishnan, on air at the time, prefaced his announcement with "Breaking news". You fancied you could hear his throat catch when he spoke the next few words to let the world know that a titan was retiring from cricket. Which was strange because when Siva, once India's premier legspinner, was trying to make his way back into the national side, it was the presence of the man he was eulogising that kept him out. Nobody - legspinner, offspinner, mystery spinner or others - could usurp Anil Kumble's place as the No.1 bowler in the Indian team. And no one has filled the void, even five years after he left the game.

But, he didn't actually leave as a player. After that day (November 2) in Delhi in 2008, Kumble played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in two IPL seasons and one edition of the Champions League Twenty20. It's an effort to remember the match that was technically his final one in senior, competitive cricket. More so because we didn't know then that he wouldn't return as a player in 2011.

Rahul Dravid led a team that was under siege for a while, and Rajasthan Royals became everyone's favourite underdog, which is why his final bow was likely to be more remembered. Then it happened to coincide with Sachin Tendulkar's final outing in Twenty20 cricket. Partly due to the hype generated, and partly due to the stature of the men involved, the build-up to the CLT20 final was all about saying farewell to the legends, as was its aftermath. After all, you don't get to see two legends of the game going out together very often.

Except that it didn't really feel like a farewell. At the same ground, when Kumble bid adieu, the swirling emotions were so much more raw and real, even though the stands weren't as packed as they had been during the CLT20 final.

Last year, on March 9 and then August 18, Dravid and Laxman said goodbye in press conferences. There was no cheering stadium while they rode on teammates' shoulders. But as both began by saying they were retiring from the game, those who had followed Indian cricket for a few years felt like something deeply personal and cherished was being torn away from them.

When Dravid walked off after a two-ball innings in Delhi, it was nice - heartwarming even - to see the Mumbai Indians' players converge on him for a parting handshake, and the crowd get to its feet. But where March 9, 2012 left you aching, this was merely a skin-deep wound.

It's the nature of the beast that is franchise and Twenty20 cricket. The shortest format is good fun, has evolved as a legitimate contest rather than just hits-and-giggles, and is a number-cruncher's dream. And if you're looking for a Moneyball moment in cricket, 20-overs-a-side seems the most likely to deliver it. But as has been said on many occasions by a variety of people, it cannot match the longer format for nuance and drama. And what is a proper farewell without these?

True, we won't get to see Rahul Dravid bat again in competitive cricket, but the batsman who made watchers sigh and get lumps in throats when he was on song was the one they saw in whites. The memory of what he did in whites kept the affection alive when he was wearing jersey No.19 for Rajasthan Royals. Not that he didn't find success in Twenty20s. In fact, contrary to popular perception, whether with Bangalore or Rajasthan, Dravid generally had more successes than failures.

A day after the CLT20 final, Dravid himself said, "When you give up Test cricket, that's when you feel really emotional about it."

With Sachin Tendulkar, the emotion was even less, because he's still going to be around. He might be on his last legs, they might creak rather more than they did, but he's still going to be playing Test cricket. The day that is Tendulkar's last in whites will be seismic, a tectonic plate-shifting event for the cricket world at large, and it will be so regardless of whether he goes out with a bang or a whimper. But Tendulkar playing his last match of Twenty20 cricket hardly evoked the same sense of an ending.

After Kumble's unexpected retirement announcement during a Test that was meandering towards a draw, the final session of play was charged, even though no result was possible. After the match, Kumble was hoisted on to different shoulders while completing a lap of honour - possibly the only time he didn't have both feet on the ground.

There was sadness of course, but it was tempered with much joy at the incredible career that had gone before, the privilege at being able to witness it, and the reception from fans that showed you were not alone in feeling that way.
Friday, 18 October 2013
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India vs Australia preview: Hosts look to build on Jaipur high against shell-shocked Aussies

Mohali:  On a high after a sensational performance in Jaipur, a supremely confident India will look to keep the momentum going with another dominating display when they they take on a shell-shocked Australian team in the third ODI in Mohali on Saturday. (Read: Bowlers will bounce back after Jaipur carnage, says George Bailey)

Having made a mockery of the second highest run-chase in the history of limited overs cricket, the Indian team would not like to settle for anything less than an overwhelming win at the PCA Stadium on Saturday. (Read: Shikhar Dhawan wants repeat of Test debut in Mohali)

As for George Bailey and his bunch of committed warriors, the quicker they get over the disappointment of that defeat, better it will be as this Indian team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's stewardship can decisively seize the momentum from the visitors. (Read: Dew factor may come into play in Mohali ODI)

To chase a target of 360 inside 44 overs requires a Herculean effort, and the trio of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have now proved that no target in the world is safe when they come out all guns blazing at the opposition.

Three immensely talented batsmen have completely different areas of strength but what binds the troika together is their ability to give it back to the opposition as good as they get.

Dhawan's 95 in Jaipur was all about brute power and taking the opponents by the scruff of their neck. Rohit's 141 had the silken grace that has always been associated with this wristy Mumbaikar.

Kohli's innings was all intimidation as he showed that why he is turning out to be one of the premier batsmen in limited overs format.

His 52-ball-100 had everything. Skill, power, artistry all of which goes into the making of a brilliant cricketer.

As rival skipper Bailey had aptly pointed out at the post-match press conference in Jaipur, the Indian batting's top seven is wonderful to have in ODI format.

After a disappointing first match, the remarkable comeback would have certainly helped the Indians rejuvenate as they would like to go for the kill on another placid Punjab Cricket Association Stadium wicket which is expected to be full of runs.

For Dhawan, it will be like homecoming of sorts as it all started at this very venue with a smashing Test century on debut.

With India's top-three raising the bar, the likes of Suresh Raina and veterans Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh will also be itching to perform and make their share of substantial contribution.

The only worrying factor for Team India is its bowling which has conceded a whopping 864 runs in 120 overs so far (T20 match included) at a pathetic economy rate of 7.20 overs.

While Dhoni doesn't believe in tinkering with the playing XI, the pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Ranganath Vinay Kumar should not take their places in the team for granted.

Both have been dismal with the ball as they have failed to contain the run flow. Despite a heartbreaking loss, a positive aspect of this Australian team has been its batting which has fared well in all three matches.

Aaron Finch and Bailey have been in terrific form while Phil Hughes has been able to put behind his poor show in the Test series earlier this year with a lot of grit and application.

Shane Watson has also made his share of contribution with the bat and the talented Glenn Maxwell has x-factor to change things around quickly.

The Aussie bowlers would have never have imagined the thrashing they would get after having bowled some really fast stuff in the first one dayer at Pune. 

Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson were taken to the task by the Indian openers while none of the visiting team bowlers could escape the fury of Kohli's long blade.

In all it will again be a battle between immense talent of the Indians and the gutsy attitude of the Aussies.

Teams (from):

India: M S Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Jaydev Unadkat and Mohd Shami.

Australia: George Bailey (C), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Moises Henriques, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Adam Voges, Shane Watson.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
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Ban vs NZ 1st Test : Match drawn

Chittagong : First test match has been drawn between New Zealand and Bangladesh here at Chittagong.
Full Scorecard
Update at end of 5th Day
New Zealand (1st Innings) : 469/10 in 157.1 Overs
Bangladesh (1st Innings) : 501/10 in 148.5 overs
New Zealand (2nd Innings) : 287/7 in 89.6 Overs
Bangladesh (2nd Innings) : 173/3 in 48.2 Overs
Full Scorecard
Team players of both team :
New Zealand : PG Fulton, HD Rutherford, KS Williamson, BB McCullum, LRPL Taylor, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, DAJ Bracewell, Bruce Martin, TA Boult, Ish Sodhi
Bangladesh : Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Marshall Ayub, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak, SK Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
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Ban vs NZ 1st Test : Match drawn

Chittagong : First test match has been drawn between New Zealand and Bangladesh here at Chittagong.
Full Scorecard
Update at end of 5th Day
New Zealand (1st Innings) : 469/10 in 157.1 Overs
Bangladesh (1st Innings) : 501/10 in 148.5 overs
New Zealand (2nd Innings) : 287/7 in 89.6 Overs
Bangladesh (2nd Innings) : 173/3 in 48.2 Overs
Full Scorecard
Team players of both team :
New Zealand : PG Fulton, HD Rutherford, KS Williamson, BB McCullum, LRPL Taylor, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, DAJ Bracewell, Bruce Martin, TA Boult, Ish Sodhi
Bangladesh : Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Marshall Ayub, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak, SK Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
Full Scorecard
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Tendulkar’s farewell 200th

Mumbai  :  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Tuesday finally granted Sachin Tendulkar his wish to play in his 200th and farewell Test at his home ground of Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

The two-Test series against the West Indies will be Tendulkar’s swan song series. The cricketing great will be playing his 199th Test at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata Nov 6-10 and the farewell Test at the Wankhede in Mumbai Nov 14-18.
In addition, the West Indies will also play ODIs at Kochi (Nov 21) and Visakhapatnam (Nov 24), while the third, slated for Nov 27, will be held either at Baroda or Kanpur.
For the board’s tours and fixtures committee, headed by BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, that met here Tuesday, the decision on the venues was a mere formality.
“Tendulkar will be playing his 199th Test match in Kolkata and 200th farewell match in Mumbai. Tendulkar had written to the BCCI requesting to hold his 200th match in Mumbai,” said Shukla.
Baroda, which is the home association of board secretary Sanjay Patel, was allotted the third match as per the rotation policy, but if the Reliance-owned IPCL Stadium is not ready, the match will be shifted to Kanpur, the home of Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) headed by Shukla.
Last week, Tendulkar announced his retirement from Test cricket after the series against the West Indies. The series will bring the curtain down on his illustrious 24-year-long career.
Tendulkar retired from ODIs last December. The recently concluded Champions League T20 tournament that Mumbai Indians won was Tendulkar’s last T20 outing.
Monday, 14 October 2013
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Kumble, Dravid and the long goodbyes

It's been five years, but the memory is as fresh as ever. VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly were batting together on the final day of India's third Test against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, when L Sivaramakrishnan, on air at the time, prefaced his announcement with "Breaking news". You fancied you could hear his throat catch when he spoke the next few words to let the world know that a titan was retiring from cricket. Which was strange because when Siva, once India's premier legspinner, was trying to make his way back into the national side, it was the presence of the man he was eulogising that kept him out. Nobody - legspinner, offspinner, mystery spinner or others - could usurp Anil Kumble's place as the No.1 bowler in the Indian team. And no one has filled the void, even five years after he left the game.

But, he didn't actually leave as a player. After that day (November 2) in Delhi in 2008, Kumble played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in two IPL seasons and one edition of the Champions League Twenty20. It's an effort to remember the match that was technically his final one in senior, competitive cricket. More so because we didn't know then that he wouldn't return as a player in 2011.

Rahul Dravid led a team that was under siege for a while, and Rajasthan Royals became everyone's favourite underdog, which is why his final bow was likely to be more remembered. Then it happened to coincide with Sachin Tendulkar's final outing in Twenty20 cricket. Partly due to the hype generated, and partly due to the stature of the men involved, the build-up to the CLT20 final was all about saying farewell to the legends, as was its aftermath. After all, you don't get to see two legends of the game going out together very often.

Except that it didn't really feel like a farewell. At the same ground, when Kumble bid adieu, the swirling emotions were so much more raw and real, even though the stands weren't as packed as they had been during the CLT20 final.

Last year, on March 9 and then August 18, Dravid and Laxman said goodbye in press conferences. There was no cheering stadium while they rode on teammates' shoulders. But as both began by saying they were retiring from the game, those who had followed Indian cricket for a few years felt like something deeply personal and cherished was being torn away from them.

When Dravid walked off after a two-ball innings in Delhi, it was nice - heartwarming even - to see the Mumbai Indians' players converge on him for a parting handshake, and the crowd get to its feet. But where March 9, 2012 left you aching, this was merely a skin-deep wound.

It's the nature of the beast that is franchise and Twenty20 cricket. The shortest format is good fun, has evolved as a legitimate contest rather than just hits-and-giggles, and is a number-cruncher's dream. And if you're looking for a Moneyball moment in cricket, 20-overs-a-side seems the most likely to deliver it. But as has been said on many occasions by a variety of people, it cannot match the longer format for nuance and drama. And what is a proper farewell without these?

True, we won't get to see Rahul Dravid bat again in competitive cricket, but the batsman who made watchers sigh and get lumps in throats when he was on song was the one they saw in whites. The memory of what he did in whites kept the affection alive when he was wearing jersey No.19 for Rajasthan Royals. Not that he didn't find success in Twenty20s. In fact, contrary to popular perception, whether with Bangalore or Rajasthan, Dravid generally had more successes than failures.

A day after the CLT20 final, Dravid himself said, "When you give up Test cricket, that's when you feel really emotional about it."

With Sachin Tendulkar, the emotion was even less, because he's still going to be around. He might be on his last legs, they might creak rather more than they did, but he's still going to be playing Test cricket. The day that is Tendulkar's last in whites will be seismic, a tectonic plate-shifting event for the cricket world at large, and it will be so regardless of whether he goes out with a bang or a whimper. But Tendulkar playing his last match of Twenty20 cricket hardly evoked the same sense of an ending.

After Kumble's unexpected retirement announcement during a Test that was meandering towards a draw, the final session of play was charged, even though no result was possible. After the match, Kumble was hoisted on to different shoulders while completing a lap of honour - possibly the only time he didn't have both feet on the ground.

There was sadness of course, but it was tempered with much joy at the incredible career that had gone before, the privilege at being able to witness it, and the reception from fans that showed you were not alone in feeling that way.

The five-day game is not just the true test of a cricketer's skill; it's also the only proper stage for a farewell to legends.