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I wasn’t comfortable with Chappell: Sehwag; Praises Sourav Ganguly

Indian opener Virender Sehwag

Greg Chappell betrayed the trust of players but Gary Kirsten, his successor as Indian cricket coach, is the “best I have ever seen”, India’s dashing opening batsman Virender Sehwag said on Monday (January 19, 2009). The former South African batting star, Kirsten “doesn’t force things on you”, Sehwag said.

Comparing the two coaches, Sehwag indicated that Chappell had tried to get him to change his batting style.

“He had his view on my front-foot play, my footwork. The thing with him (Chappell) was that whatever you shared with him, it was promptly disclosed to media and selectors. He talked and that hurt the trust. I wasn’t comfortable with him,” Sehwag said.

Calling current coach Gary Kirsten as the best coach he has ever seen, Sehwag said, “He is the best coach I have ever seen. He doesn’t force things on you. His basic premise is: you all are international cricketers and you know how to succeed and how important it is to succeed. So I won’t thrust myself on you. But whenever you need me, for practice, throwing balls, sharing ideas, worries, I am always there.”

“During Test matches, there are days when he doesn’t force you to follow you a similar routine in warm ups. If he senses a day when it can be an easy one for the lads, he allows you to do no warm ups. When an intense day is ahead, we all come together to bring that required intensity,” added Viru.

The Delhi-opener also praised former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who encouraged him to take on the mantle of an opener in the Test side.

“Yes, Dada made me an opener in Sri Lanka, where I hit gold in the third match with that blistering century off 69 balls (against New Zealand). A lot of youngsters, including me, came to the fore under Dada,” Viru said.

Praising Dada’s captaincy skills, Sehwag said, “Remember, when he took over world cricket was reeling under the impact of match-fixing. He always backed us. For instance when I was Man of the Match against Australia early in my career, he assured me that I would play in at least next 30 one-day matches. Even when he promoted me as an opener, he told me to bat without worry as he wouldn’t touch me for the next 30-35 games.”

“When your captains back you in this manner, your confidence is sky-high. He was also an extremely aggressive captain,” he added.

Viru, however, said that his current skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing what Dada used to do, but just that Mahi give more space to everyone.

He said, “In many ways he is doing what Ganguly used to do. He is also aggressive. But he also knows how to be defensive if a game is to be saved. The thing with Dhoni is that he gives all of us a lot of space. He doesn’t want to control everyone.”

“The optional practice rule has really gained ground under him. Now it’s not mandatory to turn up for practice everyday. There is so much of travelling, so many matches. He knows the importance of rest and allows everyone their own recovery period,” added the opener.

Finally, commenting on his Test career revival after the Adelaide Test in Australia in 2007-08, Sehwag went on to say that the century in the Test was very special.

“Yes it is. It was a knock when I was determined to spend time at the crease. In the first two hours on the final day, I made only 27 runs in the first session. In the afternoon, Tendulkar kept telling me that we had to keep going. Or Australians could use the final 30-35 overs to chase down the target. It was very, very special,” he said.

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January 19, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sachin Tendulkar role model of cricket: Andrew Flintoff

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff

Sachin Tendulkar’s match-winning century knock in Chennai which he dedicated to the people of India deeply hurt by the terror attack in Mumbai has earned respect from England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff who called the master bastman a “role model” for the game.

“It is impossible not to admire him (Tendulkar) when you are out in the middle. He is a class player and a great role model for the game,” Flintoff said.

“His innings (in Chennai) was a scriptwriter’s dream. The lad from Mumbai, with everything that has happened there, scores a hundred to win and then dedicates it to everyone in the country. Thinking about it, it was probably inevitable it happened,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Independent’. Flintoff said playing against Tendulkar brought the best out of him.

“Playing against him brings the best out of you in a lot of ways. The worrying thing for us is that he was getting better towards the end of that innings. You could see in the way he was playing he was back to his best.”

The 31-year-old Lancashire player was of the view that there is very little margin for error bowling against greats like Tendulkar and Brian Lara.  “I enjoy bowling at him, as I did at the likes of Brian
Lara. I think they bring the best out of you. Your margins for error are small, you have to bowl well to restrict them, never mind get them out.”

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tendulkar ton scripts India’s historical win

Sachin Tendulkar led the Indian run chase to take India to a famous
victory on the decisive day of the first Test against England. The
master batsman clobbered his 41st Test hundred as India won by six
wickets. The second hero on the tense day was Yuvraj Singh who proved
his Test credentials with an unbeaten 85 while Tendulkar remained
unconquered on 103.

Chasing a
daunting 387-run target, India lost only three wickets on the day as
they scripted the fourth highest successful run chase in history of
Test cricket. The final two sessions of play saw India dominate
proceedings with Tendulkar and Yuvraj batting with authority to swing
the match completely in India’s favour shortly after tea. India, who
started the second session on a poor note losing VVS Laxman, made 91
runs after lunch without any further damage and in the post tea
session, the willows of Yuvraj and Tendulkar flourished in grand style
to author India’s highest run chase in the sub-continent.

Tendulkar
was a picture of poise as he batted with effortless ease on a slow
turning track, plundering nine boundaries in his unbeaten innings. He
authored the chase, playing the sheet anchor to perfection and building
vital stands with of 42 Gautam Gambhir, of 41 with Laxman (41) and
finally an unbroken 162 one with Yuvraj. And in a fitting finish, a
nudge down the leg side took Tendulkar to his century and India home.

India
suffered a big blow after lunch when Graeme Swann had VVS Laxman caught
at short midwicket for 26. England at that stage had India under
pressure at 224-4 but Yuvraj ignored both the nerves and the words that
came his way from Andrew Flintoff to punch a determined knock that
included a huge six off Monty Panesar.

He batted
with caution, showing the temperament that was amiss in several of his
previous Test outings. But once he settled down, the southpaw displayed
the spectacular strokeplay he is capable of. His 84 came off only 131
balls that saw him hammer eight boundaries and one six.

India
started the day at 131-1, needing 256 to win on the final day at the MA
Chidambaram stadium with Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in the
middle. But England got the perfect start with Andrew Flintoff removing
Dravid, who could add only a couple to his overnight score of two.
Dravid, who has been in dismal form throughout 2008, edged an outgoing
delivery and Matt Prior made no mistake behind the stumps.

Gambhir
reached his half-century soon after Dravid’s dismissal but he once
again fell to a poor shot. He poked at a wide delivery from James
Anderson and Paul Collingwood leaped to his right to take a neat catch.
The southpaw made 66 with seven boundaries to his name.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

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

Sachin Tendulkar: I will miss Sourav Ganguly

The two legends together for the last time

Sachin Tendulkar said he would miss Bengali chatter with close pal Sourav Ganguly, who retired from international cricket.

Tendulkar recalled his long association with the elegant left-hander and said he owes the little Bengali he knows to his former opening partner in one-dayers.

“But the question I ask myself is who will I now speak to in Bengali? Well I have enjoyed conversing with him in that language and whatever Bengali I have picked up is thanks to him,” Tendulkar said in a newspaper column.

“Whenever we had a long partnership, I used to walk mid-pitch and speak a few Bangla words to ease the pressure of the situation,” he said.

Tendulkar went on to recount some pranks he had played on Ganguly during their days together in the Indian dressing room.

“Cricket lovers have heard about how I disturbed the watchman of the Nehru Stadium with my constant bat-hitting leather activities at night and the fact that he brought it to the attention of our coach Vasu Paranjape,” he wrote in ‘Mid-Day’.

“But not many have heard this — One day when Sourav was enjoying his rest and dozed off, I had his room flooded with water. Sourav woke up to the mini deluge surprised, shocked, staggered — in that order.

“His only solace was I made sure that his cricketing kit was not among the ruins. Imagine what a sight it would have been — his bats, pads floating in water.”

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

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

Sourav Ganguly misses century; Five for Jason Krejza

Ask any purist and he would tell you what a sight it is when Sourav Ganguly dances down the track to loft a spinner over his head. The frequency of those humongous sixes has diminished over time, but in his final Test match, the southpaw put the sublime on display as he moved to 80 not out in perhaps his penultimate innings in Test cricket. Not just did he dance down the pitch but threaded the offside with the timing people now associate him with his retirement.

The Indians had made their intentions clear on the opening day of the final Test itself, and Ganguly kept it going as Jason Krejza was dismissed over long-on for a six, and then repeated the act for a boundary after completing his half-century. India saw off the first session to be 404-5 at lunch on a day when Australia’s bowlers not only looked flat but pedestrian. Along with Dhoni, the sixth wicket stood on an unbeaten 101 runs.

Australia started the second day with Jason Krejza despite operating with the second new ball. Brett Lee took the ball from the other end, but it was more than a tactical error. Mitchell Johnson, the pick of Australian bowlers this series, has been off-colour in the final Test, often spraying wide of off-stump and far too full.

India’s first day total of 311-5 was more or less identical to that of Mohali, where the hosts established a 1-0 series lead with a 320-run victory. The turn of events were also similar, with a mini-collapse followed by a resolute stand before losing Sachin Tendulkar towards the end of day’s play.

Even the start to the second day was similar, with Ganguly and Dhoni putting on 56 in the first hour of play. The only difference was the role reversal between the batsmen, with Ganguly taking the attack to the bowlers while Dhoni’s knock was comparatively reserved to his whirlwind 92 in Mohali.

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