Tag Archives: Ponting

A captain is as good as his team

There is a famous saying in cricket “Wicket keeping is a thankless job”. For 6 years in the Indian team Dhoni has donned the keeping gloves and he should be pretty aware of the saying. The Indian cricket team has for sure hit a road block, all the good work done by Kirsten and Dhoni seems to have been undone but Dhoni alone is not to be blamed for this fiasco. When a team is doing well, whatever the captain does is appreciated. The captain makes a change and the ball goes there and people say that he is an astute captain; he has a great cricketing brain etc. But as soon as the team starts to lose he becomes a villain.

Click here to read the full article

World Cup 2011 – It’s now or never for team India

After a comfortable win against West Indies in Chennai, India now travel to Motera to face their biggest challenge yet. India takes on Australia in the second quarterfinals to be played in Ahmadabad this Thursday. It’s a mouth watering contest considering the recent rivalry between the two teams. The biggest worry for India would be their recent record against the Aussies in the ODI’s. India has lost 9 out of the last 15 games the two teams have played in India. The Australians also haven’t lost to India in a world cup game since their narrow 1 run victory in 1992 world cup.

So if India manages to win this game they will be breaking a plethora of records. The pressure for sure will be on the men in blue. The Indian performance against the WI followed the familiar pattern, good top order batting, middle and lower order collapse and ordinary effort in the field until Zaheer came back for the second spell. The Indian captain will be still worried about the bowling combination. The one thing that went right for India was the inclusion of Ashwin, as the off-spinner from Chennai gave a good account of himself. Yuvraj’s form also would be heartening for the Indian think tank as he has been a star performer for the men in blue with both bat and ball.

The onus again will be on the batsmen for the Indians. Sehwag will for sure return for the crucial game to join Sachin at the top. Gambhir will drop to number 3 followed by Yuvraj, Kohli and Dhoni in the middle. The batsmen will have to be mindful of the late order collapses and will have to utilize the batting power play better. The Indian bowling though again will rely on Zaheer and Bajji. Ashwin is a welcome addition to the squad and his ability to bowl will the new ball is a great advantage for the team. Munaf might retain his spot as the second seamer.

The Australians though will be really disappointed with their performance against Pakistan. Their batting was seriously exposed against the spinners and India would make sure that they play lot of them. Watson, Haddin and Hussey will be extremely important to Australia’s success with the bat. The Australians will also be hoping that their captain Ricky Ponting rediscovers his form to lend solidity to their fragile middle order. Their bowling will rely on pace as I don’t see Krezja troubling Indian batsmen too much. Lee will be extremely crucial for Australia, if they have to keep the Indian top order in check. Johnson and Tait are extremely inconsistent and you never know how which side of them will turn up on a particular day.

The pitch will be the extremely crucial and since both the games played on this venue involved Zimbabwe, the true nature cannot be gauged. It seems little hard to bat on judging by Australia’s struggle to reach 262 against Zimbabwe in their first game. India haven’t had a great time at Motera in the past as they have won 5 and lost 7 in the 12 games they have played. Toss seems extremely crucial as teams winning the toss and batting first have won 8 times out of 12, bowling first have won it 5 times out of 8. Teams winning the toss have distinct advantage at Motera. So toss will be extremely crucial for the Thursday’s game.

All in all this will be a brilliant game for the cricket fans across the world. It will be battle between India’s spin Vs Australia’s pace. Whoever wins that battle will win the contest. Let’s hope we have a great game of cricket.

World Cup 2011 team preview – Australia

With just few days to go for the cricket world cup 2011 to begin, I have decided to take a look at the top contenders. In the first part I am going to take a look at Australia. Australia has won the cup 4 times and is the defending champion. That’s precisely the reason I decided to write a separate preview on them.

You can never count Australia out of any major sporting event. The team is still the best in the world in the 50 over format and has just had a crushing 6-1 victory over England in the ODI series. The current Australian team does not have the aura of the past 3 world cup teams and has only one great player in Ricky Ponting. The batting has been a struggle for the defending champions over the past year or so but their fighting spirit has kept them afloat in the shorter format. The Australian batting will be lead by the inform Shane Watson. Watson who has been brilliant for the Aussies over the past couple of years in all formats and will be a key member at the top of the order.

Ricky Ponting off course will be vital to their chances and the middle order comprising of David Hussey, Cameroon White and Michael Clarke need to step up to the occasion. Michael Hussey’s sudden removal from the squad due to injury is a major blow to the Australian chances as that has put enormous pressure on an inexperienced Australian middle order. The bowling though does not have such issues as Brett Lee’s return has given a definite edge to the pace department. Jason Krezja did a good job in the warm up game and will definitely be a good addition in the sub continental condition.

Even though Australia have struggled in the longer format in the recent years, their ODI form hasn’t dipped that much. They are still the best team in the world by a wide margin according to the rankings and would have to be considered as one of the favorites. I would place them as the top contender to win the world cup as they know how to raise their game for a major event. I am sure they will be one of the semifinalists this time and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are one of the two teams competing for the title on the 2nd of April at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

Australia’s fall in the rankings expected

Disapointed Aussie captain after losing the Ashes for the second time in England

Disapointed Aussie captain after losing the Ashes for the second time in England

England won the Ashes and Australia was pushed down the rankings from the first time since 2003. Australia has been such a dominant team for the past 15 years or so that this loss would have hurt their pride in more than one way. First thing is that Ponting losses both his English Ashes assignments in 2005 and 2009 and second thing is that the Aussies drop to number 4 in the rankings. But like the cricket Australia said all cannot be blamed on the captain. This situation was already predicted by few pundits earlier last year.

Australia had lost to India and South Africa last year and scraped through to victories against SL and WI. Australia is still quite a decent team but no way as intimidating or dominant as they used to be couple of years ago. To be frank both the teams in this series were pretty ordinary. Australia’s demise in the rankings was expected. No team can recover quickly when you lose players of the caliber of Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Gilchrist, Langer etc, in such a short span of time. The biggest loss for Australia has been for sure Shane Warne. Australia since his retirement has struggled to find a decent spinner to replace him.

The Problem for the Aussies was that Stuart McGill who was supposed to walk into the squad announced his retirement immediately after Shane did his. This put a great dampener on the Aussie plans. Since then they have tried Hogg, McGain, Hauritz and Krezja all with limited success. Their batting has been okay and has held its own most of the time in the recently concluded series but the bowling did struggle a bit. Even though the Aussie bowlers finished with better stats at the end of the series they came short at the crucial moments in the series.

The Aussie problems were compounded with the failures from their main batsmen namely Hussey and Hughes. Phil Hughes was immediately replaced by Shane Watson who even though did a good job, never kicked on to a big score. Hussey though was the biggest disappointment for the Aussies. He did score a hundred in the lost cause in the final innings of the series but it came a little bit too late for his team. The other major disappointment was the injury to their premier bowler Lee who could not play in a single game. In spite of him being in good form and fit the selectors resisted playing him in the final test.

They can’t be faulted as Clarke, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle combination did a great job at Headingly. Not playing Hauritz on a turning Oval pitch shows the complete lack of confidence of the skipper on his premier spinner on this tour. The way Marcus North was turning the ball square only made everyone think what would have happened if Warne was still playing for Australia. Even though the Aussies lost lots of great names in the last 2 years the biggest of them was Shane Warne. I guess the Aussies will do reasonably well with their pace attack in the coming few years but not having a decent spinner might work against them.

Well anyways the top three teams currently are South Africa, Sri Lanka and India (In the same order) followed by Australia and England forming the top 5. The Aussies will be disappointed by their showing in the Ashes and the English will be elated on regaining the urn. There will be lots for the Aussie captain to ponder about in coming days but he does not have too much time as the Champions Trophy begins in less than a month’s time. There are rumors of Ponting being replaced as the captain of Australian team by Clarke but that might not happen.

Anyways congrats to Strauss and England on regaining the Ashes and to the South African team who have reached the top of the test rankings with consistent performances over the past couple of years. The rankings are going to be interesting as I expect musical chairs at the top spot for the next couple of years as no team looks as dominant as the Aussies were couple of years back.

Tale of two teams

Accepting having a problem is the first step towards improvement. This is what the Australians have done in the past one year. When they defeated WI 2-0 in a closely fought series the Australian captain said that his side is no longer going to roll over sides as they used to, few month before. This was a good assessment from the captain on the team which was finding it hard to replace few retired players. Australia beat New Zealand and then had the worst few months in the last decade when they were beaten both by India away and SA at home in tests.
South Africa also defeated them in the ODI’s to claim the top spot in the rankings. Australia though started experimenting with new players and quickly accepted that they have to do some serious rebuilding if they have to return to their dominating best. They did it admirably. The brought in Phil Hughes who is just 20 and Peter Siddle an unknown material in International cricket and then Hilfenhaus who played in few ODI’s before. They added Marcus North in the middle order who can bowl some useful off spinners and look where they are now.
Australia defeated the South Africans away 2-0 without the experience of Brett lee and Stuart Clarke. Ponting is now hailed as the genius who turned it around for the team from a guy who was bashed all around in the media last year and was also asked to step down. Australia back to No 1 spot in test cricket and looking impressive and I have no doubts in my mind that they will regain the Ashes.
The English though have gone the other way and currently are on a slippery slope. They are living in denial and don’t seem to be accepting the fact that they are at best No 5 in the ranking. They currently had a poor test series against a team who has not won a series in the last 5 years. The English team and the supporters though are full of excuses, blaming everything else except for themselves for the losses. England though hasn’t won against the top sides in tests since beating Australia in the Ashes in 2005.
That’s a long time ago considering the fact that they have been beaten by India, Australia and South Africa in tests both home and away. Their one day form is even worse. The problem with English cricket is that they always think they are better than what they are. They fail to give credit to the opponents and were so happy about the Australian slump last year that they forgot that they are in a bigger one. The Ashes is to start in a few months time and when we look at the progress of both the teams and we know who is clearly on top.
England fired Kevin Pieterson from captaincy after he had some sort of rift with the team members and coach. Considering that KP is only English player who is slightly different in approach from the other captains, it was a big blow for the team. They left to WI saying that it will be almost a walkover and it will be a good practice for the Ashes but what transpired in the last couple of months surely was not in Andrew Strauss’s script.
England lost the test series 1-0 and now has lost the Twenty20 badly. England has blamed everything after the test series loss and has currently lost on excuses for the Twenty20. They are currently tied in the one-day series 1-1 after they were beaten in the second game by 23 runs by the WI. They won the first game after a blunder from the WI coach who messed up the Duck-worth and Lewis calculation which handed England the game. I guess unless they accept their failure and do something drastic in the coming months, I don’t see them posing any challenge to the Aussies. Two separate approaches from two separate team managements and the difference is there to be seen.
I am thinking another bashing for the English team as they still live in constant denial. Anything other than an Australian win in the Ashes will be surprising and looks highly impossible.

Tale of two teams

England captain Andre Strauss has a tough season ahead

England captain Andrew Strauss has a tough season ahead

Accepting having a problem is the first step towards improvement. This is what the Australians have done in the past one year. When they defeated WI 2-0 in a closely fought series the Australian captain said that his side is no longer going to roll over sides as they used to, few month before. This was a good assessment from the captain on the team which was finding it hard to replace few retired players. Australia beat New Zealand and then had the worst few months in the last decade when they were beaten both by India away and SA at home in tests.

South Africa also defeated them in the ODI’s to claim the top spot in the rankings. Australia though started experimenting with new players and quickly accepted that they have to do some serious rebuilding if they have to return to their dominating best. They did it admirably. The brought in Phil Hughes who is just 20 and Peter Siddle an unknown material in International cricket and then Hilfenhaus who played in few ODI’s before. They added Marcus North in the middle order who can bowl some useful off spinners and look where they are now.

Australia defeated the South Africans away 2-0 without the experience of Brett lee and Stuart Clarke. Ponting is now hailed as the genius who turned it around for the team from a guy who was bashed all around in the media last year and was also asked to step down. Australia back to No 1 spot in test cricket and looking impressive and I have no doubts in my mind that they will regain the Ashes.

The English though have gone the other way and currently are on a slippery slope. They are living in denial and don’t seem to be accepting the fact that they are at best No 5 in the ranking. They currently had a poor test series against a team who has not won a series in the last 5 years. The English team and the supporters though are full of excuses, blaming everything else except for themselves for the losses. England though hasn’t won against the top sides in tests since beating Australia in the Ashes in 2005.

That’s a long time ago considering the fact that they have been beaten by India, Australia and South Africa in tests both home and away. Their one day form is even worse. The problem with English cricket is that they always think they are better than what they are. They fail to give credit to the opponents and were so happy about the Australian slump last year that they forgot that they are in a bigger one. The Ashes is to start in a few months time and when we look at the progress of both the teams and we know who is clearly on top.

England fired Kevin Pieterson from captaincy after he had some sort of rift with the team members and coach. Considering that KP is only English player who is slightly different in approach from the other captains, it was a big blow for the team. They left to WI saying that it will be almost a walkover and it will be a good practice for the Ashes but what transpired in the last couple of months surely was not in Andrew Strauss’s script.

England lost the test series 1-0 and now has lost the Twenty20 badly. England has blamed everything after the test series loss and has currently lost on excuses for the Twenty20. They are currently tied in the one-day series 1-1 after they were beaten in the second game by 23 runs by the WI. They won the first game after a blunder from the WI coach who messed up the Duck-worth and Lewis calculation which handed England the game. I guess unless they accept their failure and do something drastic in the coming months, I don’t see them posing any challenge to the Aussies. Two separate approaches from two separate team managements and the difference is there to be seen.

I am thinking another bashing for the English team as they still live in constant denial. Anything other than an Australian win in the Ashes will be surprising and looks highly impossible.

Bangalore test ends in a hard fought draw

India managed to achieve what they could not in Sydney earlier this year and managed to save the first test in Bangalore against the Aussies. The test match ended with a slight advantage to Australia as the dominated for the most of it. The Indians though would be happy that their batsmen got a good workout on the final day and almost everyone made some runs in the match.

The Australians would be dissapointed with their efforts in the Indian first innings where they allowed India to escape from a 232/7 to 360 reducing the lead to just 70. Australia’s major concern would be their spin department as Cameroon White did not pose any problems to the Indians on a wearing pitch. The Indians too would be worried about Kumble, who did not pick up a single wicket in this test match and has problems with his shoulder. Harbajan’s performance also was below par, even though he bowled well in the second innings.

India’s star this test match was undoubtedly Zaheer Khan with his gritty 57 in the first innings and picking up 6 wickets in the match on top of that. Zaheer deservedly won the man of the match award for his allround performance. The other top performer for the Indians was Ishant Sharma who constantly troubled the Australians to fininsh with 7 wickets in the match. The batting which failed to Impress in the first innings held their own in the second.

The Australians had a good match. Ricky Ponting finally scored runs in India with a superb hundred in the first innings. Hayden’s failure would be a worrying factor for the Aussies as he is their best in Indian conditions. Johnson bowled beautifully and troubled the Indians in the first innings taking 4 wickets in the process. Australia’s only worry would be their spin department.
All in all it was a gripping 5 days of test cricket. Both teams would be hoping to put up a better show in Mohali to go one up in the test series. Indian would be hoping that Anil Kumble recovers from the shoulder injury. Sachin would be hoping that he will reach the milestone in the next test match which he is currently behind by 13 runs.