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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.

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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

Tendulkar ton, poor fielding deny Aussies the edge

There couldn’t have been more perfect a beginning to international cricket at the VCA Jamtha Stadium here. Sourav Ganguly’s farewell and VVS Laxman’s 100th Test had already built up the stakes, before Sachin Tendulkar made it consummate with a magnificent 40th Test hundred.

India closed the opening day of the fourth and final Test against Australia on 311-5 with the retiring Sourav Ganguly batting on 27 and captain MS Dhoni four not out, after Dhoni’s decision to bat first on a batting paradise nearly backfired. But Laxman’s calm 64 and Tendulkar’s classy 109 steadied India with their 146-run fifth wicket stand before both fell in the final session of play.

A freak two-wicket burst from debutant Jason Krejza before lunch after being hammered around the park was not enough to slow down Tendulkar, whose latest milestone became his 10th century against the Australians.

The Australians have a reputation of giving it back to their opponents on the field. Michael Clarke was helped on to his century in the previous Test in Delhi by three dropped chances. Australia returned the favour to Tendulkar through Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee, who grassed sitters when the batsman was on 85 and 96 respectively.

Australia seemed to have lost the initiative as getting rid of Tendulkar on the back of Laxman’s wicket would have put on added pressure. However, Johnson’s strike towards the end of day’s play still keeps the game intriguingly poised.

It could have been worse for the Australians had a belligerent Virender Sehwag not thrown away his wicket for 66. The opener tore into Lee and Johnson, who went for five runs an over in their respective opening spells, which also gave a significant boost to debutant Murali Vijay at the other end.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anil Kumble retires from cricket

It was only fitting that Anil Kumble announced his retirement in Delhi, the scene of his greatest bowling effort, at the end of which he was carried off the field by teammates in an emotional farewell © AFP

Anil Kumble has announced his retirement from cricket, saying the finger injury he sustained on the third day of the Test helped him make his decision. The news was made public minutes after the tea break on the final day; Kumble then bowled four overs before the match was called off as a draw.

“The body was asking questions every day,” he said. “It was not easy to keep bowling the way I have been bowling the last 18 years, to keep going. The injury I had on the third day probably helped me make the decision.”

The captaincy now passes on to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who already leads India in the shorter forms of the game.

Kumble made the formal announcement at the post-match press conference, at which he received a standing ovation from the journalists crowded into the room. He doffed his cap and sat down to speak to the media one last time as an India player and captain. He stayed composed throughout the conference, which took place minutes after the emotional farewell he had received on the field.

Kumble had decided to quit last night but took his time in letting his team-mates know, lest it took their focus off the match. “I did inform my team-mates, who I have played with all these years, one by one during the day,” Kumble said. “Then I informed the chairman of the selection committee just after lunch. I did inform the board as well.”

It took a “nasty injury” to finally push Kumble into retirement. He has had a shoulder injury before, and has been troubled by it, but at 38, the “pretty deep” cut proved too much. “You could see the flesh. There are 11 stitches,” Kumble said. “The doctor said I had to undergo the procedure under general anesthesia. I told him, ‘If you give me general anesthesia I’ll lose time, I’d like to go there and bowl.’ He said ‘Look, it’s a medical decision, not a cricketing decision.”

“The stitches will come out only on November 8, which is the third day of the Nagpur Test. I don’t think it was easy for me to bat or field. I wouldn’t have been 100% and I didn’t want to let the team down. Anyway I had more or less decided this would be my last series.”

Kumble has never given the team less than 100% and he said wanted to be remembered most for that. “I definitely put the team above self, right through my career,” Kumble said. “I believe Indian cricket has certainly gone further from the time when I started, in terms of results, not just in India but also abroad.

“And I am confident that with this young team, with a few of the experienced senior players still being a part of the team, we have an opportunity to dominate world cricket and be No. 1 in all forms of the game. In one-day cricket we’re pretty close to the top, in Twenty20 we’re No. 1, I don’t think we are that far behind in Tests as well and it will be great to see that happen.”

Anil Kumble: “I kept getting responses from the body saying that you can’t. I fought that, I took various painkillers and tried all sorts of things, but ultimately one injury to the hand said ‘enough now’.” © Getty Images

An important part of that surge towards Test leadership would be a series win against Australia. Kumble said he will there in Nagpur to see whether the team can do that. “Ideally I would have liked to finish in Nagpur,” Kumble said. “At this moment, I don’t think I will be traveling with the team, but I will certainly go to Nagpur. I want to see Sourav’s last Test match, and also wish Laxman on his 100th. And win the series. That is the ultimate goal for all of us. I would like to be a part of that.”

It has been a long road for Kumble – 18 years – on which he has come across many highs and lows. “I had to go through a lot of things in the early part of my career,” Kumble said. “People questioning my ability, my fitness, my form, my bowling and the effectiveness of my bowling. I had to go through that then, now right at the end of my career, and even in the middle.

In that sense, after the shoulder surgery [in 2001], I’ve done exceptionally well to have played eight years. To have bowled so many overs and to have got so many wickets, the second phase was certainly more satisfying. We had a lot more victories, not just in India but also abroad: especially the Australia series in 2004, the Pakistan series after that, West Indies and England where we won. All of them were a challenge and to come out triumphant was special.”

The retirement decision, in the end, came easy for Kumble. “The body tells you how far you can go,” he said. “I kept challenging – as a cricketer you are always competitive, always saying, ‘I can do it’. Whether you can or not only time will tell. I kept getting responses from the body saying that you can’t. I fought that, I took various painkillers and tried all sorts of things, but ultimately one injury to the hand said ‘enough now’. I was also not bowling at my best and you want to keep performing at a level that you are satisfied with. That was not happening so I thought this was the right time to move on.”

For a moment as emotional as this, Kumble ended on a humorous note. “At this moment I would like to thank my family, my parents, who gave me all the encouragement, supported me and asked me to bowl legspin. Although I am still trying to find out how I can bowl legspin.

“Thank you all for all the support I have received right through my career. I’ve built some great friendships and met some fantastic people along the way. You’ll probably start calling me from tomorrow for quotes about somebody else. Give me a break for a couple of days and I’ll certainly take all your calls.” Like he has unfailingly answered the Indian team’s calls for the last 18 years.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India thump World Champs Australia by 320 runs

India drubbed Australia by 320 runs at Mohali to take a 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar series. This is India’s biggest ever Test win (excluding innings victories).

India dominated this match with everybody chipping in significantly. Debutant Amit Mishra had a 7-wicket match haul, while Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir slammed centuries in first and second innings respectively. Sachin Tendulkar scored 88. But the ‘Man of the Match’ was the captain himself. MS Dhoni was given the award for his knocks of 92 and 68*.

Scorecard

Congratulate Team India

Earlier, Australia, who resumed the play on Tuesday with their overnight score of 141/5, were bundled before the lunch in reply to India’s 515 runs on the last day of the second Test.

Zaheer Khan fastened India’s winning bid as he took three quick wickets of Brad Haddin, Cameron White and Brett Lee while Amit Mishra wrapped up the proceedings by claiming Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke.

Zaheer struck in the very first over of the fifth day and dismissed Haddin for 37 runs after he added 84 runs with Clarke for the sixth wicket. A good length ball from Zaheer came back to beat Haddin and crash into the middle and off-stump.

In his next over, he got White come forward for the drive. The ball took an outside edge and Dhoni took a good catch behind the wicket. Lee didn’t even last a ball. Zaheer pitched a short stuff that beat Lee and uprooted the off-stump.

After Lee fell, India hoped to finish it quickly but a 50-run partnership between Johnson and Clarke frustrated the hosts. Mishra then foxed Johnson with his flight caught him off his own bowling. Clarke, who slammed a fighting 69, fell as the last wicket as he pulled a good length ball from Mishra and Sehwag at midwicket pouched it safely.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen had confessed after the close of fourth day’s play that team played for a win but the gameplan backfired. Of course, with 515 runs to chase in four sessions on a spinning track can never be easy and playing aggressively cost Australian heavily.

4th innings score in India by visiting team

Inn4 Score Result Margin M Season Venue Target
WI 276-5 W 5 wickets 1 1987-88 Delhi (Feroz SK) 276
NZ 272-6 D drawn 1 2003-04 Ahmedabad (GS) 370
WI 270-7 D drawn 3 1966-67 Chepauk 322
WI 266 L 96 runs 1 1994-95 Wankhede 363
NZ 252-2 D drawn 3 1999-00 Ahmedabad (GS) 424
Aus 212 L 171 runs 2 2000-01 Calcutta 384

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Timeline: Career of Sourav Ganguly

Following are the career highlights of Sourav Ganguly who on Tuesday announced his
retirement.
January, 1992: Makes ODI debut against Australia, scores just 3 before being dropped.

June, 1996: Scores century against England at Lord’s on Test debut and follows it up
with another century in the very next Test at Trent Bridge.

August, 1997: Scores his first ODI century in Colombo against Sri Lanka in his 32nd
match.

September, 1997: Leading scorer and wicket-taker in the Sahara Cup as India thrash
Pakistan 4-1. He scored 222 runs at 55.5 and 15 wickets at 10.66. Wins four
Man-of-the-Match awards in five matches and Man of the Series.

November-December, 1997:Top scorer and Man of the Series in the three-Test home
series against Sri Lanka with 392 runs at an average of 98.

May, 1999:Scores 183 in Taunton against Sri Lanka in the World Cup, then highest ODI
score by an Indian.

September, 1999: Captains India for the first time in the Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge
tournament, against West Indies after Tendulkar pulled out due to a sore back.

February, 2000: Joins Lancashire.

February, 2000: Named captain for the five-ODI home series against South Africa after
Tendulkar relinquished post.

March, 2001: Led India to 2-1 win against Australia at home in a historic Test series.

November, 2001: Ganguly and five other Indian players are warned for excessive
appealing during the Port Elizabeth Test by match-referee Mike Denness. Handed a
suspended ban for one Test match and two one-day international matches.

July, 2002: Takes off shirt at the Lord’s balcony after win in the NatWest Trophy final.

April, 2004: Becomes the first Indian captain to win a Test series in Pakistan. Also with
15 Test wins, he becomes India’s most successful captain.

October, 2004: India lose home series against Australia, first time after 35 years.

March, 2005: Draws home series against Pakistan.

April, 2005: Banned for six matches for a slow-over rate during ODI series in Pakistan.
India lose series 2-4 to Pakistan.

September, 2005: Reveals in Zimbabwe that then coach Greg Chappell had asked him
to step down from captaincy.

November, 2005:End of five-year reign as Test captain as Rahul Dravid takes over the
reins against Sri Lanka.

January 2006: Picked for the Test series in Pakistan.

December, 2006: Picked for Test series against South Africa, returns as leading
run-getter.

January, 2007: Scores 98 in his ODI comeback in Nagpur against West Indies.

July-August, 2007:Scores 249 runs at 49.80 in India’s series win in England to
cement his place in both Test and ODI squads.

November-December, 2007: Top scorer (534) and man of the series in the three-
Test series against Pakistan. Scores first Test century at his home ground at Eden
Gardens. Slams his first double-century in Bangalore.

December 2007-January 2008: A mixed Test series in Australia (235 runs at 29.37,
two half-centuries). Axed from ODI squad.

October, 2008: Announces retirement after the Test series against Australia.

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Cricket | , , , , , | Leave a comment