Tag Archives: Kapil Dev

Criticizing a young team is not fair

India has been traditionally been a poor traveling team. The team has hardly won overseas even with some legends in the team in the past. India has only won 40 tests overseas out of 247 games with a W/L ratio of 0.377. India’s overseas record post Ganguly era is impressive. India has won 27 tests overseas since November 10, 2000 (The first time Ganguly captained in tests) out of 91 tests since that period. The W/L ratio since that period is very respectable 0.75. So if we take that period out we have 13 test wins overseas in 156 games at a W/L ratio of 0.185 which is extremely poor record.

The Ganguly era basically made the overall test record slightly better than the horrible record we had prior to that. It is not like the India had a poor test team  before that. India lost all those tests with legends in the team like Sunil Gavaskar, Bedi, Prasanna, Kapil Dev, GR Vishwanath, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Amarnath, Venkatraghavan, Mohd Azharuddin etc. The Indian team was mentally weak and was not able to turn good performances into wins overseas and was mostly blow away by the opposition. Now all the experts from the past are expecting this young team who are nowhere near the capability of the teams of the past to suddenly start hammering teams overseas.

Let us look at the current Indian team. Except for Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli, the rest of the batting order is still up for debate. The bowling has been extremely inconsistent with a young brigade led by very inconsistent Ishant Sharma. The spin attack hasn’t played too much overseas (Ashwin has played a grand total of 9 tests outside Asia). The attack on Kohli and this young team by past players and media for not winning overseas seems little over the top. I agree that the fans want Indian team to win overseas and compete but again we need to give this team a chance. Almost all the players played their first games overseas in 2013-14 and gave a decent account of themselves, much better than some legends did in the past.

Sourav Ganguly started kind of a golden era of Indian cricket but again he had much better team at his disposal. Sourav and Virat are similar captains, both are aggressive in your face leaders but Virat Kohli is developing a core while Sourav already had a core available to him. The task for Sourav was to channelize and guide a group of legends to perform as a team and start winning games overseas but the task for Kohli is much tougher. He does not have legends in his team but has few good players who are still finding their feet at this level. He does not have a batting line up consisting of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. He does not have a bowling attack of Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, and Anil Kumble at his disposal to turn this around immediately. So the media and experts need to be patient with this young team.

There is no reason to crucify this team now. They have just started to gel and perform. They just won a test series in Sri Lanka which even the best of Indian teams were not able to do for 22 years. Sourav Ganguly had a bunch of players who were experienced and were playing in the team for 10-13 years. Srinath, Kumble and Sachin were playing for a long time and except for Sehwag the rest of the team at least was 5 years behind them. So let us not hammer this team now. The ex-players should understand this better than anyone. I can agree if the media is doing this as they like to sensationalize things but the former players who have played at the highest level should know better.

I can understand the frustration of Virat Kohli and he is completely justified to feel aggrieved. The Indian teams of the past won home games like how Virat and his team is doing now and except for post Ganguly era performed worse than the current team outside home. Expecting a bunch of players who hardly have any experience to suddenly turn that horrible overseas record overnight is ridiculous. I hope that we support this young team and back them and give them some time to figure themselves out and I am sure we will see the results getting better when they travel overseas again. This is a young team with a young leader after legends exited the game. We can see how badly South Africa and Australia played in the sub-continent after their legends left the game so give these players some time and encourage them. No need to throw your own players under the bus for winning home games the same way the teams of the past won their games at home.

Captain Marvelous!!

On 2nd April 2011, MS Dhoni did which no other captain after Kapil in 1983 was able to achieve. He won the World Cup for India. A wait of 28 years finally ended and the nation rejoiced. The memory of Dhoni smashing Kulasekara over the long on fence will be forever etched in the minds of the Indian cricket fans. Such is the power of this victory and Dhoni becomes a legend in the Indian cricketing history. The ice cool captain of India stood up to be counted when it absolutely mattered and with the help of Ghambir sealed the most memorable victory for the team India.

When I watched my first game in 1991, I had no clue about the Indian cricket. After watching just few games, I was glued on to the sport forever. I began by knowing about the game better, the history of the sport, the legends of Indian cricket everything I needed to know about the game. I even watched a video called “The History of Indian cricket- 1933-1985”, which taught me a lot about Indian cricket. I learnt that India had won the 1983 world cup. I saw the clippings like thousands of times. I saw the 1983 stars speak about that moment so many times on television. The picture of Kapil lifting the coveted trophy in 1983 is something every cricket fan cherishes even today. That as everyone knows kicked off the cricketing legacy of team India. That win inspired a young Sachin Tendulkar to grow in to a legend that he is today.

As a cricket fan, I always dreamt about watching an Indian team win a world cup again. A dream which I am sure is shared by every cricket fan in India. The dream was turned into a reality when Mahindra Singh Dhoni lifted the trophy on the 2nd of April in Mumbai. It was surely a proud moment for me. I felt extremely blessed to have watched the winning moment, a moment which I always wanted to be a part of. As a cricket fan I had two major wishes, one was to watch my icon Sachin Tendulkar score a hundred live (Which I did on the 4th day of India Vs Pak in Chennai, I was there on the ground) and the second was to watch India win a world cup. I am extremely happy that both those wishes have been granted.

MSD probably is the most unassuming leader of the Indian cricket team ever, the icy cool nature of the man is being appreciated by cricketing pundits across the globe. Dhoni led the team in a brilliant fashion in this cup and marshaled his resources with extreme finesse. He now leads the best team in the world in Test cricket, has won T20 world cup as captain and now adds the World Cup to his already impressive resume. As Imran Khan said in a recent interview, he is now the best captain in world cricket and he deserves all the accolades he is receiving right now. In spite of such a great win, we still see him humble and down to earth which shows the humility of the man. To be grounded after achieving such stupendous success speaks volumes about his nature.

In all this celebration, as the captain himself pointed out, we should not forget the contributions of Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid. A various stages these there legends were responsible in setting up the team to what it is at the moment. Ganguly took over the reins of the team when the entire cricketing world was in turmoil with the match fixing saga. His contribution along with John Wright cannot be forgotten by any Indian cricket fan. He instilled the fighting spirit, self belief in this team which was lacking in the teams of the 90’s. Dhoni though if he continues in the vein might become the best Indian captain of all time. I congratulate the team on a brilliant win and I hope that they don’t stop at this and achieve much more in the coming years. With Captain Marvelous leading us from the front, I think there is more to celebrate in the coming years.

In search of an all rounder

Bajji walks back after playing a blinder against the Aussies in the first ODI in Vadodara

Bajji walks back after playing a blinder against the Aussies in the first ODI in Vadodara

In a recent interview Bajji (Harbhajan Singh) told the media that his captain Dhoni had told him to concentrate on batting a bit more. This shows Dhoni’s desperation for a good all rounder in the team. Bajji for his part has done a brilliant job as he has been contributing consistently in Tests and scored 4 fifties last year. But is this the right path for the premier spinner in the Indian team? Bajji’s primary role in the team should be to take wickets and help his side to win more games and anything other than that should be a bonus.

Since Kapil retired from all forms of cricket in 94/95 the Indian team has been in search of an able all rounder to replace the legend but has been largely unsuccessful in doing so. India tried out various options in the mid and late nineties but none of them were able to fill the big void Kapil had left in the squad. In the last 15 years the only player who came close to filling that spot was Irfan Pathan. Irfan was a brilliant bowler when he made his debut in 2004 and was more than useful with the bat.

But unfortunately things went downhill for Irfan after his first year in International cricket. During “Guru” Greg’s tenure as Indian coach things changed for Irfan as he was used more as a batsman in the ODI squad. He bowling declined due to that switch and Irfan now is no more a regular fixture in the Indian team. Dhoni and Kirsten need to be careful as they wouldn’t want Bajji to follow that route.

India needs to unearth a bowling all rounder from the domestic scene to fill the all rounder spot. Irfan himself is an option. In the recent ODI against the Aussies, Bajji and Praveen almost pulled off an improbable victory. Can Praveen Kumar be a candidate for the all rounder spot? You never know. The Indian think tank need to make sure that they don’t put too much pressure on the Indian bowlers to perform with the bat, since that may affect their bowling. Yes the bowlers need to contribute with the bat but should be a bonus and not their primary role.

Australia during their prime played with some bits and pieces all rounders but was still able to win due to a good bowling attack. India needs to keep that in mind, even though an all rounder is an important cog in the wheel of a successful team, specialists are essential too. As the Indian team continues to search for an all rounder, the Bajji’s and Praveen’s can concentrate on what they do best that is to win games with their bowling and their batting contributions should just be a bonus.

IPL good but ICL better

We have seen so many articles in past couple of years about ICL but there have been very few based on the actual action on the field. The so called “Rebel” league enjoys very less space on the media due to its status. Well keeping the political standpoint aside lets for once concentrate on the actual cricket. I have watched two editions of ICL and the inaugural edition of IPL earlier this year.
While IPL is all glamour and glitz, ICL is more about cricket. Even though I loved watchin IPL’s first edition earlier this year I would rate ICL higher in terms of action on the field. ICL provides more close contests than what I saw in IPL earlier this year. We might put that down to IPL being in its first season and ICL has already completed 2 editions. IPL was enjoyable but there was a overdose of bollywood stars in the first edition. It was exciting in the beginning but later in the tournament it became little bit irritating and annoying.
Every four or a six from the Kolkata Knightriders was followed by the camera focussing on Sharukh khan dancing on the stands with his esteemed bollywood friends. The purpose of the league was lost on the same. The cricket was good but it was unable to sustain the hype for too long. ICL on the other hand does not have the burden that IPL has, its sans hype and media attention. Not many high profile bollywood stars are involved which shifts the focus on cricket. I have seen few bollywood stars here and there but none dancing in the stands regularly for all the games.
The franchise system is a good attempt in cricket and it was highly successful in the first edition of IPL. But the organizers need to be careful as the focus can easily shift from cricket and the league can become one big budget bollywood movie. The stars are fine as they own some of the teams but while there is a cricket match going on, the focus should remain on the ground rather than on the stars in the stands. IPL was good as an overall entertainment package but as Kapil put it ICL is definitely better in terms of quality of cricket.

IPL good but ICL better

ICL provides more closely fought games than IPL

ICL provides more closely fought games than IPL

We have seen so many articles in past couple of years about ICL but there have been very few based on the actual action on the field. The so called “Rebel” league enjoys very less space on the media due to its status. Well keeping the political standpoint aside lets for once concentrate on the actual cricket. I have watched two editions of ICL and the inaugural edition of IPL earlier this year.

While IPL is all glamour and glitz, ICL is more about cricket. Even though I loved watchin IPL’s first edition earlier this year I would rate ICL higher in terms of action on the field. ICL provides more close contests than what I saw in IPL earlier this year. We might put that down to IPL being in its first season and ICL has already completed 2 editions. IPL was enjoyable but there was a overdose of bollywood stars in the first edition. It was exciting in the beginning but later in the tournament it became little bit irritating and annoying.

Every four or a six from the Kolkata Knightriders was followed by the camera focussing on Sharukh khan dancing on the stands with his esteemed bollywood friends. The purpose of the league was lost on the same. The cricket was good but it was unable to sustain the hype for too long. ICL on the other hand does not have the burden that IPL has, its sans hype and media attention. Not many high profile bollywood stars are involved which shifts the focus on cricket. I have seen few bollywood stars here and there but none dancing in the stands regularly for all the games.

The franchise system is a good attempt in cricket and it was highly successful in the first edition of IPL. But the organizers need to be careful as the focus can easily shift from cricket and the league can become one big budget bollywood movie. The stars are fine as they own some of the teams but while there is a cricket match going on, the focus should remain on the ground rather than on the stars in the stands. IPL was good as an overall entertainment package but as Kapil put it ICL is definitely better in terms of quality of cricket.

India hang on as Kumble retires

The third test ended in dull draw after the bowlers from both the teams were unable to force a result. The Indian team after scoring 613 in their first innings dropped too many catches to let Australia off the hook to allow them to reach 577 in reply. Once that happened it was almost sure that this test would head for a draw and it did. The Indians were guilty of dropping too many chances on a pitch which was offering slow turn to the spinners. Sehwag was India’s most successful bowler in the Australian first innings taking 5 wickets.
The Indian batting though held on for a draw on the 5th day as the Australians had an outside chance of winning the test match. The Indian batsmen scored freely against an inconsistant Australian bowling in the first innings to set up the game in favor of the hosts. The bowlers bowled with lot of heart on a pitch which offered very little assistance. If only the fielders had held on to few of the chances created by their bowlers, probably we could have eneded up with a closer result. Ishant and Zaheer were good once again without luck. Anil was injured early in the Australian first innings after bowling 9 ineffective overs but Mishra troubled the Australians with his variations.
Sehwag was called upon to replace Anil, who had to leave the field with an injured thumb and used the conditions the best among all the bowlers on view. He accounted for 3 of the 4 Australian wickets to fall on the third day. Micheal Clarke, hayden and Ponting made valuable contributions to propel Australia to 577 in their first innings. Even though the test match ended in a draw it will always be remembered for being the last one played by one of the greatest cricketers India have ever produced. Anil Kumble surprised one and all by his sudden decision to quit on the 5th day of the test match. Kumble later said that the injury prompted him to take the decision.
Kumble had been subjected to media pressure after Amit Mishra’s successful debut in the Mohali test and no one can deny that it played a small part in his decision to retire. Kumble’s career spanned for over 16 years and he became the highest wicket taker for India overtaking Kapil’s tally of 434. Anil now finishes with 619 wickets which is the all time third highest tally in test cricket behind Shane Warne and Muralitharan. Kumble was a fierce competitor on the cricket field and a soft spoken induvidual off it.
India for sure will miss this great legend but as the old saying goes “Every good thing must come to an end”. I wish Kumble all the best for the future and thank him for providing us with lots of moments to cheer during his illustrious career. Good Bye to India’s greatest match winner.

India hang on as Kumble retires

Team mates carry Kumble on their shoulder after the champion bowler announced his retirement from test cricket

Team mates carry Kumble on their shoulder after the champion bowler announced his retirement from test cricket

The third test ended in dull draw after the bowlers from both the teams were unable to force a result. The Indian team after scoring 613 in their first innings dropped too many catches to let Australia off the hook to allow them to reach 577 in reply. Once that happened it was almost sure that this test would head for a draw and it did. The Indians were guilty of dropping too many chances on a pitch which was offering slow turn to the spinners. Sehwag was India’s most successful bowler in the Australian first innings taking 5 wickets.

The Indian batting though held on for a draw on the 5th day as the Australians had an outside chance of winning the test match. The Indian batsmen scored freely against an inconsistant Australian bowling in the first innings to set up the game in favor of the hosts. The bowlers bowled with lot of heart on a pitch which offered very little assistance. If only the fielders had held on to few of the chances created by their bowlers, probably we could have eneded up with a closer result. Ishant and Zaheer were good once again without luck. Anil was injured early in the Australian first innings after bowling 9 ineffective overs but Mishra troubled the Australians with his variations.

Sehwag was called upon to replace Anil, who had to leave the field with an injured thumb and used the conditions the best among all the bowlers on view. He accounted for 3 of the 4 Australian wickets to fall on the third day. Micheal Clarke, hayden and Ponting made valuable contributions to propel Australia to 577 in their first innings. Even though the test match ended in a draw it will always be remembered for being the last one played by one of the greatest cricketers India have ever produced. Anil Kumble surprised one and all by his sudden decision to quit on the 5th day of the test match. Kumble later said that the injury prompted him to take the decision.

Kumble had been subjected to media pressure after Amit Mishra’s successful debut in the Mohali test and no one can deny that it played a small part in his decision to retire. Kumble’s career spanned for over 16 years and he became the highest wicket taker for India overtaking Kapil’s tally of 434. Anil now finishes with 619 wickets which is the all time third highest tally in test cricket behind Shane Warne and Muralitharan. Kumble was a fierce competitor on the cricket field and a soft spoken induvidual off it.

India for sure will miss this great legend but as the old saying goes “Every good thing must come to an end”. I wish Kumble all the best for the future and thank him for providing us with lots of moments to cheer during his illustrious career. Good Bye to India’s greatest match winner.