Tag Archives: Rahul Dravid

Dead rubber blues

India lost yet another dead rubber and this time it was against the Black Caps. The Indian batting continued in the same merry way as the other games where the pitches were more suited to the batters. The pitch at Auckland had something for the seam bowlers and the Indian batsmen kept swinging and lost wickets at regular intervals to get bowled out for 149. The game was shortened by rain and India decided to bat first which actually surprised Daniel Vettori as he claimed that he would have bowled first if he had won the toss.

The Indian batting started aiming for 300 or something with Sehwag and Ghambir both trying to hit out, but were still able to provide a decent start. Once Ghambir departed Sehwag was joined by Raina who again continued the approach. After Raina departed playing an ugly swing across the line, Sehwag joined him pretty soon with another rash shot.

India was three down and the team needed a partnership which never happened. Jesse Ryder was brought into the attack and he took the wickets of Dhoni and Yuvraj which put the Indians completely out of the game. Rohit Sharma tried to get some respectability to the total but did not get too much help from the others in the top order.

It was a really bad performance by the Indians after dominating the series. The New Zealanders would have been happy to get the win as it would give them the much needed confidence ahead of the test series. This is the third time in last one year that India has lost the dead rubber after dominating the series till then.

The test series gets underway in Hamilton on the 18th and it will be interesting to see how the Indian batters go about their business. It will be a different team with Dravid and Laxman coming in for Raina and Rohit. I am sure that the approach will be much measured and calculated than the mindless swinging of the bat we saw in the last game. The test wickets for sure are going to have something in it for the bowlers and the Indians should respect the same. Hopefully it will be an Indian win which will make this series more memorable.

Dead rubber blues

India lost yet another dead rubber and this time it was against the Black Caps. The Indian batting continued in the same merry way as the other games where the pitches were more suited to the batters. The pitch at Auckland had something for the seam bowlers and the Indian batsmen kept swinging and lost wickets at regular intervals to get bowled out for 149. The game was shortened by rain and India decided to bat first which actually surprised Daniel Vettori as he claimed that he would have bowled first if he had won the toss.

The Indian batting started aiming for 300 or something with Sehwag and Ghambir both trying to hit out, but were still able to provide a decent start. Once Ghambir departed Sehwag was joined by Raina who again continued the approach. After Raina departed playing an ugly swing across the line, Sehwag joined him pretty soon with another rash shot.

India was three down and the team needed a partnership which never happened. Jesse Ryder was brought into the attack and he took the wickets of Dhoni and Yuvraj which put the Indians completely out of the game. Rohit Sharma tried to get some respectability to the total but did not get too much help from the others in the top order.

It was a really bad performance by the Indians after dominating the series. The New Zealanders would have been happy to get the win as it would give them the much needed confidence ahead of the test series. This is the third time in last one year that India has lost the dead rubber after dominating the series till then.

The test series gets underway in Hamilton on the 18th and it will be interesting to see how the Indian batters go about their business. It will be a different team with Dravid and Laxman coming in for Raina and Rohit. I am sure that the approach will be much measured and calculated than the mindless swinging of the bat we saw in the last game. The test wickets for sure are going to have something in it for the bowlers and the Indians should respect the same. Hopefully it will be an Indian win which will make this series more memorable.

Dhoni and Yuvraj receive ICC awards and Ganguly gets the axe

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh received top ICC honours for one day and Twenty20 performances respectively. For Yuvraj though it was a week of mixed emotions as he was dropped from the Rest of India (ROI) squad for the Irani trophy. This makes it almost certain that he will not be considered for the upcoming test series against the Australians. To be frank even Yuvraj wouldnt be that surprised about his omission from the test team.

He has been really inconsistant and in my opinion does not deserve a spot in the test team. The other omission which has again led to some controversy is of the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. The selectors have been called as biased and unfair in the media and by the supporters of the former captain on this decision. Well to be honest everyone including the people who are complaining now knew that Ganguly would be the first one to get the axe from the so called “Fab Four”. Even though Ganguly had been the most consistant player for the past two years in tests for team India, the selectors it seems have gone based on the overall ability.

The problem for Ganguly is that he has failed in two of the three away series this year which has not helped his cause. Even though it might seem unfair as he played couple of important innings against the touring South African team earlier this year, he should have seen this coming. Rahul Dravid though has been really lucky to find a place in the Indian team after poor performances away against Australia and Srilanka and at home against the South Africans. Apart from couple of contributions here and there he has been really inconsistant over the last one year.

Calls to drop Sachin Tendulkar from the supporters of Ganguly seems overboard as the little master’s only real failure this year has been in Srilanka. He has been nominated for the best ODI player award and was instrumental in India’s performances down under. Laxman has been never in bad form and has turned in some consistant performances throughout the year. Rahul Dravid has been retained in the team due to his proven ability to win matches for India and I guess his 60 odd runs in the final innings of the test series against SL helped his cause.

Even though Ganguly’s exclusion from the team seems unfair, I feel that by no means its a bad decision. I guess it sends across a clear message to all the seniors that if they dont perform they could be the next to get the axe. India is in the process of rebuilding and they need to approach the same with caution. We cannot replace all the seniors with youngsters as we have done with our one day team. Players like Rohit, Kohli and Badrinath need to be in the presence of experiance during initial phase of their test careers. Yuvraj who was supposed to be that experianced person in the team is now finding it difficult to even hold his place in the one day team.

Sourav Ganguly could have received a better send off for his services to the Indian team but as Tony Greg said in one of his interviews “Indian players dont retire but get kicked out”.

Dhoni and Yuvraj receive ICC awards and Ganguly gets the axe

Ganguly becomes first of the "Fab Four" to get the axe

Ganguly becomes first of the Fab Four to get the axe

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh received top ICC honours for one day and Twenty20 performances respectively. For Yuvraj though it was a week of mixed emotions as he was dropped from the Rest of India (ROI) squad for the Irani trophy. This makes it almost certain that he would not be considered for the upcoming test series against the Australians. To be frank even Yuvraj wouldnt be that surprised about his omission from the test team.

He has been really inconsistant and in my opinion does not deserve a spot in the test team. The other omission which has again led to some controversy is of the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. The selectors have been called as biased and unfair in the media and by the supporters of the former captain on this decision. Well to be honest everyone including the people who are complaining now knew that Ganguly would be the first one to get the axe from the so called “Fab Four”. Even though Ganguly had been the most consistant player for the past two years in tests for team India, the selectors it seems have gone based on the overall ability.

The problem for Ganguly is that he has failed in two of the three away series this year which has not helped his cause. Even though it might seem unfair as he played couple of important innings against the touring South African team earlier this year, he should have seen this coming. Rahul Dravid though has been really lucky to find a place in the Indian team after poor performances away against Australia and Srilanka and at home against the South Africans. Apart from couple of contributions here and there he has been really inconsistant over the last one year.

Calls to drop Sachin Tendulkar from the supporters of Ganguly seems overboard as the little master’s only real failure this year has been in Srilanka. He has been nominated for the best ODI player award and was instrumental in India’s performances down under. Laxman has been never in bad form and has turned in some consistant performances throughout the year. Rahul Dravid has been retained in the team due to his proven ability to win matches for India and I guess his 60 odd runs in the final innings of the test series against SL helped his cause.

Even though Ganguly’s exclusion from the team seems unfair, I feel that by no means its a bad decision. I guess it sends across a clear message to all the seniors that if they dont perform they could be the next to get the axe. India is in the process of rebuilding and they need to approach the same with caution. We cannot replace all the seniors with youngsters as we have done with our one day team. Players like Rohit, Kohli and Badrinath need to be in the presence of experiance during initial phase of their test careers. Yuvraj who was supposed to be that experianced person in the team is now finding it difficult to even hold his place in the one day team.

Sourav Ganguly could have received a better send off for his services to the Indian team but as Tony Greg said in one of his interviews “Indian players dont retire but get kicked out”.

Second Test – Sehwag and Harbajan keep India in the hunt

Harbhajan Celebrates after a wicket

Harbhajan Celebrates after a wicket

Sehwag’s double hundred and Harbhajan’s late 4 wicket burst kept India in the hunt in the second test at Galle. Srilanka finished on 215/5 still 114 runs behind India’s first innings total of 329. Earlier today Indian were bowled out for 329 after resuming on 214/4 on the second day. Sehwag scored a brilliant double hundred (His fifth) to guide India to a competetive total as the rest of the batting struggled. Only Laxman and Ghambir were able to give some sort of support to Sehwag’s lone hand for the visitors.

When Srilanka started their second innings, they lost Vandort early caught by Rahul Dravid of the bowling on Zaheer in the first over but Sangakkara and Warnapura batted with assurance to help their team to 137/1. The hosts seemed to be cruising with none of the Indian bowlers able to make any impact. After Harbhajan picked up Warnapura for 66 he was completely a different bowler and kind of ran through the middle order leaving them on 192/5 when Dilshan got out. Captain Jayawardane along with the other Jayawardane in the team formed a small unbroken partnership of 23 to lead Srilanka to 215/5 at the end of day2.

India would still be wary of the Srilankan captain as he can turn the game in the home team’s favour. Indians would also be worried with the bowling for of their captain as he was unable to make any impact in this series yet. Indians would be hoping to dismiss Srilanka within 300 and would hope to get a slight advantage in the first innings. The pitch will for sure get more difficult to bat on in the 3rd and fourth innings and both the team would want to have as much lead as possible.

Second Test – Sehwag and Harbajan keep India in the hunt

Sehwag’s double hundred and Harbhajan’s late 4 wicket burst kept India in the hunt in the second test at Galle. Srilanka finished on 215/5 still 114 runs behind India’s first innings total of 329. Earlier today Indian were bowled out for 329 after resuming on 214/4 on the second day. Sehwag scored a brilliant double hundred (His fifth) to guide India to a competetive total as the rest of the batting struggled. Only Laxman and Ghambir were able to give some sort of support to Sehwag’s lone hand for the visitors.

When Srilanka started their second innings, they lost Vandort early caught by Rahul Dravid of the bowling on Zaheer in the first over but Sangakkara and Warnapura batted with assurance to help their team to 137/1. The hosts seemed to be cruising with none of the Indian bowlers able to make any impact. After Harbhajan picked up Warnapura for 66 he was completely a different bowler and kind of ran through the middle order leaving them on 192/5 when Dilshan got out. Captain Jayawardane along with the other Jayawardane in the team formed a small unbroken partnership of 23 to lead Srilanka to 215/5 at the end of day2.

India would still be wary of the Srilankan captain as he can turn the game in the home team’s favour. Indians would also be worried with the bowling for of their captain as he was unable to make any impact in this series yet. Indians would be hoping to dismiss Srilanka within 300 and would hope to get a slight advantage in the first innings. The pitch will for sure get more difficult to bat on in the 3rd and fourth innings and both the team would want to have as much lead as possible.

A greatly underrated cricketer


The earliest memory I have of Shiv Chandrapaul is during the India’s tour to the Caribbean in 96/97 season. Brian Lara and Carl Hooper were the major stars in the team then and I had not heard too much about Shiv at that moment. It was the third test of the series after the first two had ended in dull draws. The game was in Bridgetown Barbados (Kensington Oval) with both teams yet to win a game. The wicket at Kensington oval promised a result and both teams were keen to go one up. India won the toss and invited WI to bat first and at 10/1, Shiv Chanderpaul walked in to Join Stuart Williams.

That was my first look at Shiv. He was not a very attractive batsmen to look at and was very limited in his stroke play. He did not have the style and flamboyance of a Brian Lara. When WI were finally dismissed for 298 in their first innings the batsmen unbeaten with 137 against his name was the 22 year old Shivnarine Chanderpaul. That innings proved very decisive for the West Indians as the Indians crashed to a 40 run defeat chasing a paltry 121 in their fourth innings. WI at one stage in their first innings were 193/7 but finished on 298 due to a brilliant innings from Shiv.

Since then Shiv has been one of the most consistant player for the WI. The unfortunate thing for Shiv is that he has been under the shadow of the great Lara for most of his career. The problem for Shiv is that he has hardly been a part of a successful WI team. Shiv’s career is in a way similar to the one of India’s Rahul Dravid. When Chanderpaul started his career he mostly played one side of the wicket and was mostly an accumulater of runs.

Over the years his game has evolved and I would call him as one of leading players in the world in all forms of cricket. May be if he had played for a more fancied team such as Australia, England, India etc, he would have been termed as a great already. After the retirement of Brian Lara the entire responsibilty of carrying and inspiring a inexperianced batting line up has fallen upon Chanderpaul. The problem for Shiv is that he is not getting enough support from the more experianced Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels.

Shiv has been in tremendrous form over the last couple of years, especially in the last 12 months he has amassed 1635 in all forms of cricket at an amazing average of 86. The runs also has not come against weak sides, it has been scored against the Aussies at home and against England and South Africa away. The problem for Chanderpaul is that inspite of his great run of form WI have lost all those test series.

Its a pity that such a great player has never got the recognition he deserves. Shivnarine Chanderpaul averages 49.08 in tests and 40.49 in ODI’s, which I would say puts him in the category of great players. He has 19 test centuries and 8 ODI hundreds to his name. He would have ended up with more test hundreds if only he had some support from rest of his team mates. I guess Shiv will never graduate from a good player to a great player in the eyes of the critics but I would say that he is already there as far as I am concerned.

A greatly underrated cricketer

Shiv Chanderpaul against the Aussies
Shiv Chanderpaul against the Aussies

The earliest memory I have of Shiv Chandrapaul is during the India’s tour to the Caribbean in 96/97 season. Brian Lara and Carl Hooper were the major stars in the team then and I had not heard too much about Shiv at that moment. It was the third test of the series after the first two had ended in dull draws. The game was in Bridgetown Barbados (Kensington Oval) with both teams yet to win a game. The wicket at Kensington oval promised a result and both teams were keen to go one up. India won the toss and invited WI to bat first and at 10/1, Shiv Chanderpaul walked in to Join Stuart Williams.

That was my first look at Shiv. He was not a very attractive batsmen to look at and was very limited in his stroke play. He did not have the style and flamboyance of a Brian Lara. When WI were finally dismissed for 298 in their first innings the batsmen unbeaten with 137 against his name was the 22 year old Shivnarine Chanderpaul. That innings proved very decisive for the West Indians as the Indians crashed to a 40 run defeat chasing a paltry 121 in their fourth innings. WI at one stage in their first innings were 193/7 but finished on 298 due to a brilliant innings from Shiv.

Since then Shiv has been one of the most consistant player for the WI. The unfortunate thing for Shiv is that he has been under the shadow of the great Lara for most of his career. The problem for Shiv is that he has hardly been a part of a successful WI team. Shiv’s career is in a way similar to the one of India’s Rahul Dravid. When Chanderpaul started his career he mostly played one side of the wicket and was mostly an accumulater of runs.

Over the years his game has evolved and I would call him as one of leading players in the world in all forms of cricket. May be if he had played for a more fancied team such as Australia, England, India etc, he would have been termed as a great already. After the retirement of Brian Lara the entire responsibilty of carrying and inspiring a inexperianced batting line up has fallen upon Chanderpaul. The problem for Shiv is that he is not getting enough support from the more experianced Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels.

Shiv has been in tremendrous form over the last couple of years, especially in the last 12 months he has amassed 1635 in all forms of cricket at an amazing average of 86. The runs also has not come against weak sides, it has been scored against the Aussies at home and against England and South Africa away. The problem for Chanderpaul is that inspite of his great run of form WI have lost all those test series.

Its a pity that such a great player has never got the recognition he deserves. Shivnarine Chanderpaul averages 49.08 in tests and 40.49 in ODI’s, which I would say puts him in the category of great players. He has 19 test centuries and 8 ODI hundreds to his name. He would have ended up with more test hundreds if only he had some support from rest of his team mates. I guess Shiv will never graduate from a good player to a great player in the eyes of the critics but I would say that he is already there as far as I am concerned.

Go Kings Go!

Rahul Dravid

The Chennai Superkings(CSK) under the captaincy of Dhoni has now won 4 out of 4 to remain the only team to be unbeaten in IPL. Today the CSK defeated the sorry Bangalore Royal challengers by 13 runs to hand Vijay Mallya’s team their 3rd defeat in 4 games. The team captain Rahul Dravid made his second duck in consecutive games to make things worse for his team. The main problem for the BRC is that they dont have any player in the team apart from Ross Taylor who looks like a Twenty20 specialist. Even though the Royal challengers beat Mumbai Indians (The other struggling team in the tournament) they still look out of sorts and the captain seems to be running out of ideas.

The absence of a renowned big hitter in the team is costing the BRC’s a lot. The role played by Dhoni for the chennai team today is what that is lacking for the Royal Challengers. Martin Crowe and Rahul Dravid have to sit together and come up with a better strategy to make optimum use of the available resources. The Chennai Superkings though have done exceedingly well in this tournament and at the end of the first week they are at the top of the table. Great performances by the inexperianced bowling line up and consistancy at the top of the order has helped them to succeed.

Dhoni’s captaincy has again been very precise and his cool head under pressure situations has helped the team from Chennai. Dhoni has got great response from his inexperianced bowling line up and the inclusion of Albie Morkel and Makaya Ntini will sure bolster the same. Elsewhere the Mumbai Indians crashed to their 4 consecutive defeat of the tournament and remain the only team to have not won a game yet. Their team looks in total shambles in the absence of their icon player Sachin Tendulkar and Harbajan recently due to his row with Sreesanth. Rajasthan Royals continue to impress with their 3rd consecutive win and are in second spot behind the CSKs.

Punjab Kings X1 also overcame a dissapointing start to the tournament to win two games in a row to put them back in contention. Adam Gilchrist’s fastest IPL century gave the strong Deccan Chargers their first victroy of the tournament against the hapless Mumbai attack.

The first week of cricket was really interesting and entertaining. When IPL began I was little skeptical regarding the same due to the involvement of the bollywood and the kollywood stars but after the first few games the focus has shifted to cricket. Cricket has been really fantastic only the Harbajan and Sreesant row has taken some sheen of a good week’s cricket. Harbajan has plead guilty and has been handed 10 games ban from IPL whereas Sreesanth has been let off with a warning. I guess Sreesanth needs to be handed a more serious punishment than just a warning. His behaviour on the field is still questionable. The fact that Sreesant cried and made a scene in front of millions of viewers accross the world should not excuse him from the ridiculous behaviour in that match when he was bowling. Behaviour like that in the name of aggression should not be tolerated in any sport.

India needs ODI strategy rethink

The Indian team went 3-1 down in the ongoing one-day series against England. The Indian team was expected to perform better after their exploits in the just concluded test series against the same opposition. The Indian team have struggled in all departments including their much hyped batting line up. After watching the fourth one-day international, the need for a professional coach has become more evident. The Indian team is struggling with fitness and consistency in all forms of the game. The team’s fielding has been very disappointing in this series. The Indian team has never been a great fielding side but at least used to be safe catchers, even that aspect of their game has taken a hit in this series.

The Indian captain seems to have run out of ideas as India lost from a position of strength in the fourth ODI. After having England 7 down of 100 odd runs with 98 runs more required, India managed to lose the game, thanks to some uninspired bowling and fielding performance. The team’s bad fielding performance has been attributed to their aging players as per the media but I tend to disagree with the same. Only few years back we had the oldest players in the team as our best fielders, I am talking about our current fielding coach Robin Singh and the former captain Azhar. Age should not be given as an excuse for bad fielding.
The problem with the Indian team has been their ODI combination which does not look strong neither on paper nor on the field. The decision of Rahul Dravid to play five bowlers is a positive move but that seriously weakens our batting. The bottom half of our batting line up has just been a formality in the first four ODI’s. The only way this combination could work for India is when they find a genuine bowling all rounder, someone in the mold of Kapil Dev. I guess the Indian team will do well to get Irfan back into the team. The Indian team needs to completely rethink their strategy in one-day cricket. They need bowlers who are aggressive and consistent.

I think we need to get Pathan back into the scheme of things at least for the one-dayers. Pathan would lend perfect balance to the team and give Rahul the option of playing 5 bowlers without compromising the team’s batting strength. As we all know Pathan is a good bat at number 6 or 7 in the line up and can follow the opening bowlers as the first change bowler. We need to experiment with the team a little bit and also keep a close eye on the 20-20 tournament which is starting from the 11th of this month. India can identify few good one-day cricketers for the future from this series. I think India should consider giving a chance to Rohit Sharma as he has just been carrying drinks in this one-day series. The worst thing about the selectors is that they would always take a younster for a tour, never give them a chance and drop them for the following series. I guess we need to treat good talents better and give them appropriate chances to prove themselves at this level.

The Indian team can still win this series if their batting fires, even though their bowling and fielding are below the international standards. As I complete this article the Indian team just won the 5th game to keep the series alive, again owing to a good batting display and some great spin bowling. I hope that we carry on this momentum into the 6th game tomorrow and level the series at 3-3.