Balgates’s Weblog

I’m Wat I’m!!!

Sania Mirza enters round 2 of Australian Open

Indian ace Saniza Mirza  moves to second round

Making a successful return to the grand slams, India’s Sania Mirza cruised into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday (January 19, 2009) after defeating aside Poland’s  Marta Domachowska.

Sania won the match 6-1, 6-4 in a convincing display of form. However, she will have to continue in the same tempo as she may have to face Nadia Petrova, a top-10 player.

Sania raced away with the first set in just 25 minutes, breaking the Polish player thrice. The Indian led 2-0 in the second set before Marta stepped on the gas, winning four games on the trot, breaking Sania in the third and fifth games.

From a comfortable 2-0, Sania found herself trailing 2-4 in no time. Under pressure, the 22-year-old Hyderabadi got her act together and went on to win the next four games to seal the issue.

Sania broke Marta in the eighth and 10th games in the process. Sania had lost to Marta in 2003 in their first meeting and now the face-to-face record stands 1-1.

Sania, playing her first singles match of the season after a long injury-lay off, was happy with her comeback  match. “It was a great way to begin after such a long break. I’ve not played a match in almost six months now. I’m just happy to have come through,” she said after the match.

Sania’s best show so far in the Australian Open has been reaching the third round in 2005 and 2008.

Advertisements

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

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.

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

Ganguly: I see a lot of myself in Dhoni

Arguably the most successful Indian skipper ever, Sourav Ganguly says he sees a lot of himself in Dhoni

Arguably the most successful Indian skipper ever, Sourav Ganguly says he sees a lot of himself in
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and reckons that the charismatic new captain will go on to better his record and further enhance India’s stature in international cricket.

“He has done fantastically well. Captaincy is a task, it’s not just about being a good player. He will be tested when India plays abroad and if the boys do well under him then it will be great. I am sure he will take Indian cricket forward,” said Ganguly, whose last Test saw India clinching the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the fourth and final match.

“I did what I felt was right. I’m a captain who did not believe in the drawing board but react to what happens on the field of play. I see a lot of myself in Dhoni. He also doesn’t like meetings. In fact he sees things better than me. He has also had a bit of luck that a captain needs,” he added.

Ganguly said a captain is only as good as his team but he did have a huge role to play in enhancing India’s reputation. “Most important thing is that a captain is as good as a player. Raising India’s image in world cricket especially as a touring side is my legacy in Indian cricket. We, at present, are a formidable side both home and away,” he said.

Ganguly said he would not be missing the Indian dressing room as he was leaving with happy memories of being part of a team that beat the world’s best side 2-0 in the series. “I don’t think I would miss the dressing room. I have had a good innings and it’s time to leave. I am leaving with happy memories that it ended with a win for India. A 2-0 win over the world’s best team was the best that could have happened after all the doubts arising after the Sri Lanka series (where India lost)”, Ganguly said.

“I have played well and the team has played outstandingly well. To win the series 2-0 was very satisfying. We had dominated (the proceedings) after the first Test (at Bangalore),” said the former captain. Ganguly, who was asked to lead the team on the field for a brief while when India was close to winning the fourth and final Test against Australia before being chaired off the ground after India’s 172-run win, said he would forever cherish the moments that he lived today.

“In terms of team performance the way this Test has finished was one of the best ever. I want to cherish it for long. Everyone has chipped in throughout the series. Somehow we manage to pick up when we play against Australia,” said the veteran of 113 Tests. “I enjoyed my last few days and the last few hours. I was
asked to lead for five overs, did it for three overs and then told Dhoni that it was not my job,” he said.

The stylish left-hander side-stepped queries on past controversies like his public spat with former coach Greg Chappell. “Let’s keep the controversies aside. It’s a happy day for Indian cricket. The past is past, let’s not talk about it,” he said.

Ganguly said the first-ball duck in the second innings didn’t disappoint him as much as missing a hundred by 15 runs in the first innings. “I am not disappointed with the first-ball duck, getting out on 85 in the first innings was more disappointing as I was so close to a hundred. I don’t think the last duck has made it (my career) any more dramatic, it’s been dramatic anyway,” he put it succinctly.

Ganguly said he rated the 100 on debut at Lord’s against England in 1996 as his most cherished innings. He said the blazing century he made against Australia as captain in the 2004 series at Brisbane was also close to his heart. “The first Test hundred at Lord’s is always special to me. The 2001 series against Australia here and the 2004 series against them in Australia are my best series. We have won in Pakistan and England but to win against Australia is always special,” he said.

November 10, 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