Tag Archives: retirement

VVS Laxman – A magician with the bat

Laxman has been a fantastic player for India. His absence in the Indian middle order will be felt more considering how badly the Indian batting has performed over the past year or so. Here is my tribute to the great player. Laxman will be for sure missed in the middle order when India take on Australia in couple of months.

My Thoughts

The first time I watched VVS Laxman was in the home series against South Africa in 1996. It was in the Ahmadabad test where both the teams were even after the first innings and India needed a decent enough lead on a crumbling pitch. Laxman batting at number 6 scored an important fifty on debut which helped India to an unlikely victory. That innings showed Laxman’s fantastic temperament which he displayed throughout his career. In spite of the great talent he possessed Laxman struggled to establish himself in the Indian middle order. Part of the issue was the position in the lineup Laxman was batting. Since India struggled for consistent opening combinations through the 90’s Laxman was pushed to open which proved to be his undoing.

Laxman’s talent was evident as he kept piling on the runs at the domestic level. He truly arrived at the international scene with a…

View original post 584 more words

VVS Laxman – A magician with the bat

The first time I watched VVS Laxman was in the home series against South Africa in 1996. It was in the Ahmadabad test where both the teams were even after the first innings and India needed a decent enough lead on a crumbling pitch. Laxman batting at number 6 scored an important fifty on debut which helped India to an unlikely victory. That innings showed Laxman’s fantastic temperament which he displayed throughout his career. In spite of the great talent he possessed Laxman struggled to establish himself in the Indian middle order. Part of the issue was the position in the lineup Laxman was batting. Since India struggled for consistent opening combinations through the 90’s Laxman was pushed to open which proved to be his undoing.

Laxman’s talent was evident as he kept piling on the runs at the domestic level. He truly arrived at the international scene with a blistering 167 which he scored against a fantastic Australian attack. An attack which boasted of McGrath, Warne and Lee in their ranks and the fact that the runs came in just 190 odd deliveries showed what Laxman was capable of. Even though that innings should have been a turning point in his career, he struggled at the opening spot which he was clearly not comfortable batting in.

In 2001 when Australia toured India and Laxman finally returned to the middle order and only then did the real legend of VVS Laxman emerged. His innings in Kolkata of 281 while following on is considered as one of the best test innings of all time. The partnership with Rahul Dravid was truly special and for sure paved way for many more such match winning partnerships between the two legends. VVS was an incredible player. A player with magic wrists could play both pace and spin with equal ease. A soft spoken individual and a true team man, Laxman became an integral part of the Indian middle order for a decade.

Laxman’s biggest trait was how he always came to party when his team was in trouble. Most of his best performances in test cricket where when India was in trouble. His 73 n.o chasing 200 odd against Australia in 2010 was one of the best innings played in recent times. He did better that innings in the same year with an unbeaten hundred in the fourth innings against Sri Lanka chasing a 250+ total. He has shared some of his fantastic partnerships with Rahul Dravid who announced his retirement just few months back. It isn’t hard to imagine why these two shared such special rapport as both of them are similar individuals and extremely humble human beings.

VVS Laxman was always fantastic against the Aussies and it was ironic that his last tour to Australia was a disaster. Laxman had many memorable innings against the men from down under. He scored 2434 runs at an incredible average of 49.67 against Australia.

Laxman wasn’t a bad ODI player either, even though his ODI record pales in front of his test achievements. His biggest disappointment was not making it to the 2003 world cup squad. He did come back to the ODI team later the same year and had his best year in the shorter format where he again dominated Australia in the CB series.

It is sad to see both Laxman and Dravid retire within the span of few months. Laxman was one of the main pillars of Indian middle order and one of the chief architects of many of India’s overseas wins. He along with Dravid, Sachin and Sehwag were instrumental in taking India to the top of the test rankings. Laxman will for sure be missed and it will be hard to imagine the Indian test team without him walking in to bat at number 6. Laxman would end his career with 134 test caps, scoring 8781 runs at an average of 45.97 with 16 test hundreds. He played 86 ODI’s scoring 2338 runs at a modest average of 30.71 with 6 hundreds.

Laxman was a special player and was an important cog in the Indian batting wheel. He will for sure be missed and I hope that he continues to succeed in whatever career he decides to take over after his retirement. Laxman will still continue to play first class cricket and I hope that he gets involved in Indian setup in some vicinity.

Rahul Dravid – A Tribute to the legend

Looking at the performance of the youngsters on this A tour, it shows how priceless Rahul was for the Indian middle order. We will miss Rahul for sure in the test team. This was the tribute I wrote when he retired and I wish he stayed a little longer.

My Thoughts

It was 1996 and India was touring England. This was the first time I got to see “The Wall” Dravid bat for India. The media coverage those days wasn’t so great for domestic cricket so knowing a player before debut was not that easy. The series did not start well for India as they lost the first test in Edgbaston and as with the case in the 90’s Sachin was the standout performer with a hundred. India decided to go with 2 debutants for the Lord’s test. The 90’s wasn’t a great decade for debutants for India until that point and considering the criticism vented on Ganguly at the start of the tour I wasn’t hoping too much from either Dravid or Ganguly on their debut. How wrong was I?

After dismissing England for 344 in the first Innings, India found themselves in early trouble as usual at 59/2. After…

View original post 759 more words

Rahul Dravid – A Tribute to the legend

Rahul Dravid is all set to announce his retirement from test cricket on Friday.

It was 1996 and India was touring England. This was the first time I got to see “The Wall” Dravid bat for India. The media coverage those days wasn’t so great for domestic cricket so knowing a player before debut was not that easy. The series did not start well for India as they lost the first test in Edgbaston and as with the case in the 90’s Sachin was the standout performer with a hundred. India decided to go with 2 debutants for the Lord’s test. The 90’s wasn’t a great decade for debutants for India until that point and considering the criticism vented on Ganguly at the start of the tour I wasn’t hoping too much from either Dravid or Ganguly on their debut. How wrong was I?

After dismissing England for 344 in the first Innings, India found themselves in early trouble as usual at 59/2. After few partnerships and brilliant innings by the debutant in the match Sourav Ganguly, India were 202/5 still 142 runs behind the English total. Rahul Dravid the other debutant for India walked in to join Sourav in the middle. It was a great moment for Rahul and like Sourav he did not want to let this opportunity slip. Rahul Dravid even in his first innings at the international level showed great composure and calmness at the wicket. He was a perfect foil for the flamboyant Sourav Ganguly who went on to make a brilliant hundred on debut at Lord’s. Rahul though missed the mark by 5 runs.

In spite of him missing his hundred we all then sensed that we had witnessed something special. For the next 15 years along with Sachin, Sourav and Laxman he has been the vital cog in the Indian middle order. Coming in at number three he has been the India’s most important player overseas and has played quite a few memorable match winning knocks. A player par excellence was named the “The Wall” for his amazing appetite for runs and his watertight defense which is almost impossible to breach when he is settled at the crease. He has been a perfect team man often doing what is required of him in the team. He has been pushed around in the batting order even though he has been India’s best number 3 by a distance. He has batted in all positions in the batting order and has also opened when required for his team. He also donned the keeping gloves for a while when India were looking for balance in the ODI squad. Rahul will be always known for his brilliant hundreds in Indian overseas victories over the past decade. Rahul also made India proud with his brilliant speech at the Sir Bradman oration late last year in Australia. He is an articulate speaker and his speech then was like one of his silken cover drives.

Dravid will finish with 13288 test runs at an average of 52.31 with 36 hundreds and 63 fifties. He has been India’s best number 3 by a distance scoring 10524 runs at an impressive average of 52.88 with 28 hundreds and 50 fifties. Rahul Dravid was not a bad ODI player either, he remodeled his game to suit the shorter format and became one of the best middle order bats for India in the late 90’s and better part of last decade. In 344 ODI games he has scored 10889 runs at an impressive average of 39.16 with 12 hundreds and 83 fifties. Not bad for a player called as test specialist.

Rahul as a captain was brilliant too. During his tenure at the helm India had an amazing run in both forms of the game. Under his leadership India won a test series in West Indies and England after a long time. India was also unbeatable at home during the same time in ODI. It was unfortunate that he decided to give up the test captaincy after the English tour. He was player with great cricketing brain and I am sure he would have been an excellent captain had he continued. Rahul captained India in 25 tests, winning 8 and losing 6 with a W/L record of 1.33. His ODI record is impressive too with a W/L record of 1.27.

There is no question that Rahul has been a perfect role model off the pitch too. He is a soft spoken individual who always says the right thing in the media. Rahul has been a great role model and a brilliant player over the years for India and a true legend of the game. He has given us wonderful memories through his batting and the Indian team will for sure miss his presence in the middle order.

Rahul Dravid has finally decided to hang up his boots and it will be very sad to see him go. He has been an integral part of the Indian team over the last 15 years and a player I have seen growing up as a cricket fan during the 90’s. I for sure as a fan will miss Rahul’s calm assurance at the crease when the team is in trouble. He has been a great ambassador for the sport and for sure will be missed in the cricketing circles. I wish the great player an excellent future in whatever he decides to take up after cricket and I hope he remains involved in the development of Indian cricket at some capacity

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.

Ganguly to quit after the Australian series

The decision by the new selection panel to include Ganguly in the test squad for the upcoming series against the Australians was received by everyone with lots of speculation. Lots of media members even described it as a chance for Sourav to make a dignified exit from the International scene. Looking at what has eventually transpired I wouldnt be surprised if that news did not contain an element of truth in it.

Ganguly’s decision to quit after the Australian series has given him a chance to make a dignified exit from the Indian team which not many of his seniors have enjoyed in the past. Indian team always had its players either kicked out or banned in the past decade or so. Ganguly though has made a smart decision by announcing his retirement before the series has begun. Ganguly has been a wonderful player for India and most importantly was a great leader of men.
He took over the reigns in the year 2000 when the Indian team was plagued by match fixing scandals. He along with John Wright instilled lot of self belief in the team. Under his captaincy India improved their dismal overseas record and started winning on the foriegn soil. He deservedly still remains India’s most successful captain. Ganguly’s decline started somewhere in the mid of 2004 and continued till couple of years back till he made an inspired comeback in the series against the South Africans.
Sourav deserved one last hurrah in the Indian team and I hope that the selectors play him for the entire series. I salute Sourav for his great contribution to Indian cricket. He was a great batsmen and an important cog in the Indian batting wheel for more than decade. It will be hard to imagine a team without our Dada. I wish Ganguly a great last series and hopefully will it be a winning one. I wish that Ganguly will have what Steve Waugh did not have in his last series, a win.
Good Bye Dada! Thanks for everything.