Balgates’s Weblog

I’m Wat I’m!!!

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.

Advertisements

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, 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

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

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