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Pakistan unsafe: Dhoni, Tendulkar tell Board

The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

DOWN: The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

Top Indian cricket players, including captain M S Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, are unwilling to tour Pakistan in January because they fear for their security.

Sources tell that senior players have expressed their concern to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The team is scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs from January 4 to February 19 tour in Pakistan.

Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh too have expressed their unwillingness to tour Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has assured foolproof security but the Indians believe the threat during the tour would be severe.

PCB chief Ejaz Butt is scheduled to visit India soon to try and convince the BCCI but that plea is now likely to fall on deaf ears.

It is known that the Ministry of External Affairs is unlikely to permit the Indian team to tour Pakistan.

Early November, the government refused to permit the Indian junior hockey team to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.

The Associated Press reports the International Cricket Council deferred the Champions Trophy in September after five of the eight participating teams refused to compete at the biennial tournament that is considered the second most prestigious one-day event after the World Cup.

The PCB has said it would consider playing India at a neutral venue or possibly switch series as alternatives. Pakistan is due to tour India in 2010.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India is the new Australia: Wasim Akram

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership has changed the face of Indian cricket, according to Pakistan’s pace legend Wasim Akram who believes it is a matter of time before India upstages Australia as the number one team in the world.

Akram said Dhoni has completely transformed the team ever since he took over the mantle of captaincy and that Indian cricket was on the right track with a number of talented players in their ranks.

“Dhoni has changed the face of Indian cricket, there is no doubt about that. He leads from the front, he has charisma and players like him. You can’t ask for anything more,” Akram said in a telephonic interview.

“He has given the team the confidence. The players now believe that they can go and beat any team and it is this confidence that has helped India to bring about the desired results,” the former Pakistan captain said.

Akram, regarded as one of the finest left-arm speedsters with 414 Test and 502 ODI wickets to his credit in a career spanning nearly 17 years, said Dhoni had also brought about a refreshing change in his attitude and approach to matches.

“It does not matter whether Sachin Tendulkar is resting or some other players are injured, the Indians are so confident that they go out and do the job. It was not the case about six or seven years ago, India did not have that confidence,” he observed.

“If the captain leads from the front, half the job is done. That is what I like about Dhoni. He is cool, comes out with few quotes and gets the best out of his players,” Akram said.

“Leading the Chennai team in the upcoming Champions League will be a good challenge for him since there will be a lot of international teams,” he said.

Asked whether India would be able to topple Australia as the number one team in the near future, Akram said “India is the new Australia. I think they are on the right track to achieve that”.

Akram also lavished praise on India’s new pace sensation Ishant Sharma saying the Delhi youngster had improved by leaps and bounds in the last few months.

“Ishant has been a revelation. He has really improved in the last few months and I think he is a real asset to India,” Akram said about the paceman who emerged as the man-of-the-series in the recent Test series against Australia.

“After the Australian tour late last year, his length was slightly short. But he has now rectified that and was simply brilliant in the recent series against Australia. The way he bowled, it seemed he had been around in Test cricket for five years or so,” he said.

The cricketer-turned-commentator said Ishant will only get better with time but also cautioned that the youngster needed to be handled well to prolong his career.

“He (Ishant) will get quicker and better with time, there is no doubt about it. He just has to keep himself fit as fast bowling is hard work,” Akram pointed out.

He said the Indian bowling line-up looked quite balanced at the moment and the presence of an in-form Zaheer Khan has provided a lot more sting.

“Zaheer has been fantastic. He has bowled the reverse swing well, got the ball to swing in and out… he has become a complete bowler now. He really provides that cutting edge to the attack,” he said.

“India always had good spinners but I am happy to see these pacemen developing. They are winning matches for India”, Akram said.

The ex-pacer said Harbhajan Singh was capable enough to shoulder the responsibility in the spin department following the retirement of champion leg spinner Anil Kumble.

“Harbhajan is a good spinner. It is now upto him to take upon the responsibility in the spin department. I think he is capable of doing it and also has the experience”.

Akram also credited India’s rise as a cricketing nation to the planning done by the BCCI over the last few years.

“Credit must also go the BCCI for India’s rise in recent times. They have planned and implemented everything well. The results have started coming now,” he added.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Salute Sourav Ganguly

As the curtains come down on Sourav’s illustrious 16-year international career, I salute

India’s most successful captain for all his on and off field achievements. You will forever remain a hero and an

inspiration for us, Dada. May you continue to prosper and achieve even greater heights in your life ahead.

All the best and thanks for all the memories. We will miss you a lot.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BCCI felicitates ‘Fab Four’

VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, and Sachin Tendulkar during a felicitation

Former captains Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly reposed faith in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and expressed hopes that under him, India would emerge as the number one team in the world.

“I know for the fact that this team under MS and (coach) Gary (Kirsten) will soon become the number one team. We have that talent,” an optimist Kumble said after he, along with Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman were felicitated by the BCCI.

Ganguly, India’s most successful captain ever, shared Kumble’s view and said, “MS and Gary are our two torch-bearers and I hope they would take Indian cricket forward.”

Ganguly, who is playing his last Test here, took the occasion to thank all and said though he didn’t endear to all, he always had the team interest in mind.

“It was a long journey with lots of ups and downs, victory and loss but it was wonderful. Sharing the dressing room with the likes of Anil, Sachin, Rahul (Dravid) and Laxman has been an honour and privilege.

“During the journey, I made both friends and enemies but it was all for the good of Indian cricket,” said the left-hander.

Kumble individually thanked almost each and every teammate even though Tendulkar came in for special praise. “When he first came into the international scene, whole India said ‘you’d break every batting record’ and he had the talents to prove all right…

“With Rahul, I have shared a special bond, he was my Karnataka teammate as well. We have had some fantastic moments and I say ‘you have been the backbone of Indian cricket. All the success we had came because of your contribution’,” Kumble said.

Kumble was equally effusive in his praise for Ganguly and said, “Under you, we’ve learnt how to win Tests abroad. Besides, we have always cherished your batting.”

On Laxman, who is playing his 100th Test here, Kumble felt the right hander didn’t get his dues despite bailing out the team from difficult situations.

For his spin partner Harbhajan Singh, Kumble said, “I will miss bowling with you from the other end. From now onwards, you’d lead the (spin) attack. You are close to a personal landmark (of 300 Test wickets) and I’m sure one day you’ll become the highest wicket-taker for India.”

On Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, Kumble said, “I have played lot with both Veeru and Zak. Veeru is a very special talent and both he and Zak would lead the Indian batting and bowling.

“To all other members of the team, I wish you a great career ahead. Before this Test series against Australia, we sat and decided in Bangalore that we have to win this series. We are very close to that and I hope you guys will win it.”

Talking about Kumble and Ganguly, Tendulkar paid a rich tribute to both and said, “Sourav had lots of ups and downs in his career but has shown great determination and delivered tremendous performance. We’ve opened in lot of ODIs and know each other’s game very well.

“Anil too showed 100 percent determination. He broke his jaw in West Indies but returned with a plastered jaw and removed Brian Lara,” Tendulkar said.

“We’ll miss Sourav and Anil, as will the entire country,” he added.

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

நான் ‘பலிகடா’: கங்குலி ஆவேசம்

பெங்களூரு: “”தேர்வு குழுவினர் என்னை மோசமாக நடத்தினர். இனிமேலும் என்னை பலிகடா ஆக்க வேண்டாம் என்ற எண்ணத்தில் தான் ஓய்வை அறிவித்தேன்,” என்கிறார் கங்குலி. இந்திய அணியின் வெற்றி கேப்டனாக திகழ்ந்தவர் கங்குலி. இவர் ஆஸ்திரேலிய தொடருக்கு பின் சர்வதேச கிரிக் கெட்டில் இருந்து ஓய்வு பெறப்போவதாக திடீரென அறிவித்தார். இதற்கு இந்திய கிரிக்கெட் போர்டின் நிர்ப்பந்தம் தான் காரணம் என கூறப்படுகிறது.

நெருக்கடி கொடுத்தனர்: இந்நிலையில் வெங்சர்க்கார் தலைமையிலான தேர்வு குழுவினர் தன்னை பலிகடா ஆக்கிவிட்டதாக கங்குலி குற்றம் சாட்டியுள்ளார். இது குறித்து அவர் அளித்த பேட்டி: தேர்வாளர்களின் கருணையில் விளையாட வேண்டிய அவசியம் எனக்கு இல்லை. ஒரு தொடருக்கு வாய்ப்பு தருவார்கள். ஆனால், அடுத்த தொடரிலிருந்து நீக்கிவிடுவார்கள். எப்போதும் என்னை தான் “பலிகடா’ ஆக்குகிறார்கள். இது நீடிக்க வேண் டாம் என்ற எண்ணத்துடன் ஓய்வு பெற முடிவு செய் தேன். உங்கள் தலையில் துப்பாக்கியை வைத்தால், அதை எவ்வளவு நேரம் தான் பொறுத்து கொள்வீர்கள். 450 போட்டிகள் விளையாடிய பின்பும் எனக்கு நெருக்கடி கொடுக்கிறார்கள். தூக்கம் வரவில்லை: இரானி கோப்பைக்கான அணியிலிருந்து நீக்கப்படுவேன் என கொஞ்சமும் எதிர்பார்க்கவில்லை. இதனால் ஏற்பட்ட காயம் ஆறவில்லை. சொல்ல முடியாத வேதனை காரணமாக ஒரு மாதம் எனக்கு தூக்கம் வரவில்லை. புதிய தேர்வு குழுவினர் மூன்று ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னரே பொறுப்பேற்றிருந்தால், நிலைமை வேறு மாதிரி இருந்திருக்கும். சிலர் தாங்கள் சேர்த்த ரன்களை விட அதிக முறை “ஹேர் ஸ்டைலை’ மாற்றியுள்ளனர். இவர்களுக்கு அணியில் தொடர்ந்து இடம் அளிக் கப்படுகிறது. சிறப்பாக விளையாடிய போதும் என்னை நீக்கிவிட்டார்கள். எனக்குரிய மதிப்பு கிடைக்கவில்லை. இவ்வாறு கங்குலி தெரிவித்தார்.

October 11, 2008 Posted by | Cricket | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment