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Rahul Dravid needs a big score: Sourav Ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly says Rahul Dravid needs to get a big knock under his belt to ward off critics who have been questioning his place in the team for some time now.

“The pressure is bound to start mounting on Rahul Dravid after another below par effort and he must get a big score before the murmurings about his place in the team get louder,” Ganguly wrote in his column.

Dravid, who has been struggling with the bat ever since the last English summer, could only manage three in the first innings of the ongoing first Test against England in Chennai on Dec 11, 2008.

There was also much expected from Yuvraj Singh, who earned a recall to the Test team after an excellent performance in the ODI series, but the Chandigarh lad too disappointed scoring just 14.

“Yuvraj failed to make an impression in his comeback Test, but that was down to the supreme line and length that the English bowlers maintained against him,” Ganguly wrote.

“They used the short ball well, and also kept the spinners on, which Yuvraj does not enjoy when he starts his innings,” he added.

The classy southpaw also had a word of advice for England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

“Pietersen needs to adjust ‘mentally’ while batting in the subcontinent, as he is far too good a player to be gifting his wicket to the opposition. It’s paramount that he holds the English middle order together, especially in trying batting conditions,” Ganguly reckoned.

India’s most successful captain also wondered by India “always seem to struggle in the first Test of a new series” and hoped that a strong performance from the side was just around the corner.

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December 13, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

England may return, first Test shifted to Mohali

The England cricket team is likely to return to India on December 3 to play the two Test series against India.

The first Test from December 11 to 15 has been shifted to Mohali from Ahmedabad. The second Test had been shifted to Chennai earlier itself after the terror attack on Mumbai.

The three-day practice game that was scheduled to be held in Baroda from December 5 to 7 is also likely to be played in Mohali.

England called off their seven-match ODI series with two more games to play after the terror attacks in Mumbai. The visitors were playing their fifth ODI in Cuttack on December 26 when terrorists struck India’s financial capital.

The team flew to Bangalore from where they flew back home. While some England cricketers have voiced their reservations about coming back to play in India, England skipper Kevin Pietersen has refused to be cowed down by the attacks.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Ganguly: I won’t miss cricket

Goodbye Dada!

Sourav Ganguly, who returned home to Kolkata to a rousing welcome from fans Tuesday said he would not miss cricket.

The former India skipper also said like to meet the soccer legend Diego Maradona when he comes to Kolkata.

“I just want to see him,” Ganguly said referring to the Argentine footballer.

Having returned to his home town after playing his last Test at Nagpur, Ganguly said that he would, however, miss the company of his teammates.

At his Behala residence Ganguly told reporters: “We share a good camaraderie among ourselves. We make fun and crack jokes together. I don’t think I will miss cricket but will miss the companions.” Reiterating that he will not change his retirement decision, Ganguly said: “In sports, you have to retire one day. It’s about physical ability. Once you start playing, you have to call it quits some day. It’s like when you are born you have to die … All great players like Maradona, Pele, Sampras and Gavaskar retired…” Ganguly picked his Lord’s debut Test, his first captaincy and the recent series win as his Big Three moments.

About his future plans, Ganguly ruled out commentary as an option.

“There are a lot of opportunities coming in. But, at present, there is no such plan to do commentary … It needs lot of travelling.” Ganguly added that he is yet to decide on his future plans.

“You have to wait and see … I have not thought about it yet. IPL is in April there’s a long way to go … But I will definitely do something that will contribute to the game.”

On the 2-0 series win to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ganguly said, “We outplayed them in all the departments … We celebrated a lot. It was fantastic. We had lot of drinks as we never done in life. We had great fun … Anil and I were there present and celebrated our win till 1 in the night.” Praising Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he added, “He (Dhoni) has done well as captain in his last one year tenure and I am sure, he will take India cricket forward. There’s a lot of talented players it depends how they transform them into performance.” Earlier, there was chaos at the airport as large number of fans gathered to welcome him.

His car was mobbed and halted before he was escorted by the pilot vehicles from the VVIP exit of the airport.

Police had to resort to mild baton charge to calm down the situation as Ganguly’s black SUV with his wife Dona and daughter Sana on board made way to their Behala residence.

There were chants of “Dada Dada … Ami tumake bhulchhi na, bhulbo na… (Dada we are not going to forget you).” Some waved the Tricolour while others carried Ganguly’s posters.

The CAB will organise a grand function at the Eden Gardens on December 7 to felicitate Sourav in a befitting manner.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India win the Border-Gavaskar trophy

India create history in Nagpur, as they bring home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

The nation revelled today (Nov 10), as India, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, created history by registering a 172 run victory in the fourth and final Test at Nagpur against world champions Australia, to bring home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-0 series win. India now lead the overal series wins by 4-3 in the last decade.

This historic Test also saw the end of one the most celebrated Indian cricketers career — Sourav Ganguly. The classically elegant Ganguly had announced that he will play his last Test in this Orange City before hanging up his boots.

Earlier, set the daunting task of scoring an imposing 382 to win the fourth and final Test against India, Australia were tottering at 111 for three wickets at lunch on the fifth and final day in Nagpur today.

As play resumed post lunch India continued to inch closer to victory with their spinners bringing about the dismissal of the dangerous Michael Hussey and Matthew Hayden. Soon, the Australian wicketkeeper too fell prey to the spin web wound by India as he fell prey to Amit Mishra having been caught by Sachin Tendulkar at mid-on.

This catch has given the Master Blaster another berth in the record books, as he claims his 100th Test catch.  The batting maestro, who holds several batting records in Tests and ODIs, reached the milestone in his 154th Test to follow compatriots Rahul Dravid (179), Sunil Gavaskar (108), VVS Laxman and Mohd Azharuddin (105) into the record book. The world record for the most number of catches in a Test career, 181 in 128 matches, stands in the name of Mark Waugh of Australia.

Soon, Shane Watson too fell prey to the the 300 wicket taker Harbhajan Singh for nine runs. In no time, leg spinner Amit Mishra got rid of ten wicket hauler on debut Jason Krejza and Brett Lee.

Mitchel Johnson and Cameroon White looked to consolidate and defend towards the end of the innings, however, failed to save the Test as Bhajji claimed the last wicket of Johnson.

Brief scores: India: 441 and 295
Australia 355 and 209 (Matthew Hayden 77; Amit Mishra 4/64, Harbhajan Singh 3/27)

Earlier, the batsmen out in the visitors’ second innings, after they had commenced at the overnight 13 for no loss, were first innings centurion Simon Katich (16), captain Ricky Ponting (8) and his deputy Michael Clarke (22), promoted up the order in quest for quick runs despite being unwell.

Ishant Sharma, India’s most successful bowler of the four-Test rubber, was easily the pick of the attack this morning and accounted for Katich and Clarke, while Ponting was run out through a brilliant piece of fielding and throwing by Amit Mishra.

The home team should have ended the session with more Australian wickets in their clutch but for a few dropped catches and a few edges that eluded the slip cordon.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sachin Tendulkar praises Sourav Ganguly, says he’ll be missed

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly smile after India defeated Australia in the second Test in Mohali.

TWO LEGENDS: Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly smile after India defeated Australia in the second Test in Mohali.

Sourav Ganguly, one of India’s most charismatic cricketers, will be seen for the last time as an international player on Monday. Ganguly is retiring from international cricket after nearly 16 years.

Sachin Tendulkar says the entire country will miss the elegant left-hand batsman, who has often been described as the ‘God of off-side’.

“Everyone will miss Sourav. He is not only my teammate but is a very special player and has contributed a lot to the team and country. He has had a fantastic career and when a player like him retires not only the team but the entire country will miss him,” Tendulkar said.

Ironically, Ganguly’s last Test innings, just like Sir Don Bradman, ended in a duck on Sunday. He was caught and bowled by Jason Krejza in the second innings of the Nagpur Test against Australia off the first ball that he faced.

A bit disappointing for Ganguly, but his fans will look back on his international career with great pride. He started with a century on debut and made a sublime 85 in the first innings of the Nagpur Test against Australia; although he had to end with a golden duck.

So was Ganguly pleased with how his career turned out?

A few days a go in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN’s Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Ganguly had said he would have liked a few more Test runs under against his name.

Sanjeeb Mukherjea: Talking about Sourav Ganguly — the batsman, do you think you neglected your batting?

Sourav Ganguly: No, I didn’t. In terms of my One-Day performance, I think it’s been outstanding. In terms of my Test cricket, I would have loved to have a few more runs but I also batted at No. 5 and No. 6 and although it is not an excuse but I thought that although I have more that 7,000 runs in test cricket, a few more would have been happy to go with.

Sanjeeb Mukherjea: What were the reactions of Sachin, Dravid, Anil and Sehwag, when you broke the news to them?

Sourav Ganguly: I’m sure they knew that at some stage it had to come. It’s going to come for them as well. They were not surprised, they expected it. Everybody has to go in sports. It’s my turn today and it will be their turn sometime.

Sanjeeb Mukherjea: It must have been an emotional moment for you also?

Sourav Ganguly: It wasn’t that emotional buy obviously we would miss it. Initially, you will miss the competitiveness because the pleasure you got by scoring a Test hundred or an One-Day hundred, it cannot be valued by anything else. Every time you get a hundred, you feel ‘this is what I wanted to do and I am still good at it’. That satisfaction will not come from anything else. Financially, when you play for 13-14 years in modern cricket, you are far past well-off. That’s not an issue.

Ganguly made his One-Day debut against the West Indies during the 1991/92 Benson and Hedges World Series Cup at Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, in Australia while his first Test match was against England at Lord’s in 1996.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gambhir ban upheld by ICC, will miss Nagpur Test

Gautam Gambhir walks back to the pavilion as the Australian team celebrates the fall of his wicket.

WALKING OFF: Gautam Gambhir walks back to the pavilion as the Australian team celebrates the fall of his wicket.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has rejected the appeal of Gautam Gambhir and upheld the one-Test match ban imposed by match referee Chis Broad.

Justice Albie Sachs, who was appointed to hear the appeal, upheld the ban, which means Gambhir will miss the fourth and final Test match against Australia starting from November 6.

Justice Sachs, Cricket South Africa’s appointment on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, was appointed to hear the appeal in accordance with ICC Code of Conduct processes.

Tamil Nadu opener M Vijay has been named as Gambhir’s replacement for Nagpur Test.

Gambhir was charged under Level 2.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for pushing out his elbow that hit Australian all-rounder Shane Watson during the first day’s play in the third Test match in New Delhi.

While handing out the one-Test ban on Gambhir, Broad said that he also considered an incident that happened almost a year ago when Gambhir went face to face with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi in during an ODI Kanpur.

“The ICC has repeatedly told the players that deliberate physical contact between players will not be tolerated. I have also taken into account the previous offences of Gambhir and therefore, I am satisfied that the penalty imposed is an appropriate outcome in the circumstances of this matter,” Broad had said.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gambhir ban takes the focus away from Test series

Brett Lee congratulates Gautam Gambhir after the Indian scored his double century on the second day of the Test in New Delhi.

IN TRUE SPIRIT: Brett Lee congratulates Gautam Gambhir after the Indian scored his double century on the second day of the Test in New Delhi.

Gautam Gambhir will be able to play in the fourth Test against Australia at Nagpur after filing an appeal against the one-match ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

But the big question is: did he need to banned in the fist place?

Gambhir was charged under Level 2.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for pushing out his elbow that hit Australian all-rounder Shane Watson during the first day’s play in the third Test match in New Delhi.

The incident spiralled into a controversy that took the focus away from what Gambhir should have really been making the headlines for, his run of form that has seen him make a century and a double hundred in the series

His teammates though believe a match ban was harsh.

“It is difficult to react but Gambhir admitted his guilt. One-match ban is too harsh. He should have been fined,” Virender Sehwag said.

Sources told CNN-IBN that the Australian camp wanted even sterner action against Gambhir.

The Australian media had in fact called the charge under Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct too timid. They wanted him to face a higher charge and as a result a harsher punishment.

“He used his hands. Physical contact is unquestionably not part of the game,” said Matthew Hayden.

Clearly, Gambhir hasn’t helped his case. Match referee Chris Broad said that he also consider an incident that happened almost a year ago when Gambhir went face to face with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi in during an ODI Kanpur.

“The ICC has repeatedly told the players that deliberate physical contact between players will not be tolerated. I have also taken into account the previous offences of Gambhir and therefore, I am satisfied that the penalty imposed is an appropriate outcome in the circumstances of this matter,” Broad said.

Both camps had spoken of playing in the spirit of the game when the series began but with unsporting incidents which led to a fine for Zaheer Khan in Bangalore and now the Gambhir-Watson spat; it is evident that relations between the teams are far from cordial.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tendulkar breaks Lara’s record

Sachin Tendulkar went past Brian Lara’s tally of 11,953 Test runs © AFP

Sachin Tendulkar broke Brian Lara’s record for most Test runs in the final session of day one in Mohali when he hit Peter Siddle to third man for two runs. The record stood for nearly two years after Lara played his final Test and it was inevitable that Tendulkar would eventually break it. Incidentally, he is also one-day cricket’s leading run-scorer with 16,631 runs.

Tendulkar was expected to attain the feat in Sri Lanka recently but he endured a poor series with the bat, scoring just 95 runs in three Tests. It was only fitting, though, that he achieved the record against Australia, a team he has tormented several times in the past.

Coincidentally, Lara too achieved the world record against Australia, when he went past Allan Border’s tally of 11,174 runs during the Adelaide Test in 2005. They remain the only three players to cross the 11,000-run mark in Tests. Though it is uncertain how long Tendulkar will prolong his Test career – which has lasted 19 years – the two players who stand the best chance of beating his eventual tally are Rahul Dravid (10,341) and Ricky Ponting (10,239).

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment