My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Muralitharan

When Anil Kumble retired in 2008 everyone expected Harbajan to easily slip into the role of India’s lead spinner. Unfortunately 4 years since then Harbajan finds himself out of the Indian test team and fighting for a spot even in the ODI/T20 teams. Harbajan has had a long run in the Indian team and can still make a comeback with age on his side. But for the moment, Ravi Ashwin has done a great job for the Indian team in all formats. His test performances at home have been brilliant. He also has consistently contributed with the bat averaging 39 at number 7 which is an added bonus.

He just had one away tour of Australia and he did not perform well. Australia isn’t a great place for young spinners to tour and sometime for even experienced ones. Murali averages 75 in Australia and almost all visiting spinners average in mid to late 30’s there. So Judging Ashwin on just one away tour to Australia is not fair. The experts crying about Ashwin’s performances in Australia need to realize that Harbajan himself hasn’t done anything of note on recent away tours.

Harbajan was given an extended run in the Indian team after his breakthrough series against Australia in 2001 and Ashwin deserves similar run as India’s premier spinner. So far he has done a good job and needs to be persisted with for now. He needs to be given the confidence that he will not have to worry about his place in the side. Harbajan is 32 now and is not getting any younger and India needs to keep the future in mind. Bajji can still make a comeback but at the moment he hasn’t done anything of note to displace either Ojha or Ashwin in the test team.

Currently though his partnership with Ojha has been good for India in home tests and there is no need to tamper with that combination. Harbajan needs to prove himself again by playing few first class games and force his way back in. As of now let Ashwin lead the Indian spin attack for the next 10-15 tests and then take a call on his place

It seems like Ishant leart nothing during his stint with the legendary Wasim Akram

Sri Lankan batsmen hammered the Indian attack on day 1 at Galle when they finished on 256/2 in just 68 overs. The bowling performance by the Indians was lackluster and without any imagination for most part of the day. Abhinav Mithun though did not do himself any harm as he turned out to be the best bowler on view on a day when the bat dominated the proceedings.

When Sreesanth and Zaheer pulled out due to injuries everyone knew that the Indian bowling would struggle but one thought that with added responsibility Ishant might get his form back. But it seems like Ishant hasn’t learnt anything during his sabbatical from the Indian team. His stint at Kolkata Knight Rider’s camp under the tutelage of the legendry Wasim Akram seems to have had no impact on the lanky pacer. Ishant Sharma is a classic case of modern Indian bowlers who start their careers with a bang and lose their steam with one full year of International cricket. As my numerous articles on this topic suggests the list is endless. Zaheer was the only one who managed to escape the trend with an inspired comeback couple of years back.

With the day 2 washed out it seems like this test might meander to a boring draw unless the Indian batting fails dramatically. It’s unfortunate that the last test of the great Murali has to end this way. If the rain continues he might not have the opportunity to go past 800 test wickets which begs the question whether he should have retired after this series rather than just the first test.

All in all it was a disappointing performance by the Indians as the bowlers looked pretty flat on the opening day. Sri Lankan batsmen were untroubled for most part of the day and Indian bowlers, pace and spin alike did not have any impact on the batsmen. If the play resumes on the 3rd day, it seems like the batsmen would continue to dominate and the Indians are facing a huge first innings total. I am thinking that the Indian batsmen would be praying for more rain in the coming three days of the test.

Chennai Super Kings win the IPL III defeating Mumbai Indians

Two semi-finals and one final appearance later Chennai Super Kings lead by Dhoni won the IPL title defeating Mumbai at D Y Patil stadium in Mumbai. It was a brilliant win by CSK as they were almost down and out half way through the tournament. Credit has to be given to the captain and the support staff along with the players who showed tremendous mental fortitude to script this turnaround.

For Mumbai though this was a day of mistakes as dropped catches and poor decisions with batting order punctuated their performance in the finals. Sachin Tendulkar will be really disappointed as Mumbai Indians were the best side in this IPL. Even though I was happy to see Chennai Super Kings win, I was really sad to see Sachin in the losing side. But in the end Dhoni’s captaincy and Chennai’s superior fielding was the difference between the two sides.

When Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat everyone knew that Chennai had the upper hand as teams chasing at the D Y Patil stadium had struggled in the past. The Chennai batsmen started cautiously with Hayden’s continued struggle at the top of the order and with Vijay having to do the bulk of the scoring. But the real push for the Chennai innings came when Dhoni joined Raina at the middle as they both hammered the Mumbai bowlers to set up a competitive total. Mumbai Indians did not help themselves as they fluffed two chances both of Suresh Raina and the Chennai batsman made them pay with an unbeaten 57 of 35 balls.
When Mumbai began their chase in the pursuit of 169 to win the IPL III crown Doug Bollinger and Ravichandran Ashwin choked them for runs. Bollinger sent Dhawan early and Sachin along with Nayyar forged a decent partnership but the run rate was well within control for the CSK. Murali, Ashwin and Jakati were difficult to get away and the Chennai fielders put lots of pressure on the Mumbai batsmen. Even though Keiron Pollard’s late flourish gave some hopes to MI chances, Chennai Super Kings won the game comfortably by 22 runs in the end.

It was a brilliant display by the Chennai team which was brilliantly led by their cool captain Dhoni. Stephen Fleming the coach of Chennai Super Kings also deserves a special mention along with the other support staff. Chennai was helped by the arrival of the Aussie Doug Bollinger as his presence in the team provided the much needed potency to the bowling attack. Dhoni’s decision to open the bowling with Ashwin turned out to be the masterstroke as the youngster responded brilliantly to finish as the most economical bowler of the IPL III. Suresh Raina as usual was brilliant and the turnaround of Vijay from a correct player to a swashbuckling opener was amazing. Badri was consistent and Anirudha Srikkanth played couple of crucial knocks in the end. Murali and Morkel should not be forgotten as they both contributed handsomely towards the CSK progress throughout the tournament.

Dhoni was brilliant with the bat and was very shrewd with his captaincy. Even though Chennai was not the best team in IPL III but they were the most consistent team across the three IPL’s. They were for sure the most deserving champions in IPL.

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.
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.


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