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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.

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November 24, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Yuvraj Singh make it three in a row?

With two hundreds in two successive innings,
Yuvraj Singh has a great chance to equal the world record of scoring
hundreds in most consecutive innings. The record is of three
consecutive hundreds shared by three batsmen as is listed below:

Name Runs Vs Venue Year
Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 118 v India Multan 17 Dec 1982
105 v India Lahore 31 Dec 1982
113 v India Karachi 21 Jan 1982
Saeed Anwar (Pak) 107 v Sri Lanka Sharjah 30 Oct 1993
131 v West Indies Sharjah 01 Nov 1993
111 v Sri Lanka Sharjah 02 Nov 1993
H Gibbs (SA) 116 v Kenya Colombo (RPS) 20 Sep 2002
116* v India Colombo (RPS) 25 Sep 2002
153 v Bangladesh Potchefstroom

November 19, 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

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

After battling draw, it’s the war of words

Australian captain Ricky Ponting greets Sourav Ganguly after the first cricket Test ended in draw in Bangalore.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting greets Sourav Ganguly after the first cricket Test ended in draw in Bangalore.

As soon as the on-field battle ended in a draw, the war of words kicked off. While collecting his Man of the Match award, Indian pacer Zaheer Khan said that the Aussies hadn’t been aggressive enough. And that triggered an exchange of words between the two camps.
Since there have been quite a few on-field scraps between the rival players during this hotly-contested Test, and in most contests between these countries in the recent past, should mean an entertaining few days between Tests.

Zaheer’s comments were in context of Australia’s run rate — which stayed under three — in both the innings, as well as the defensive fields set by Ricky Ponting, who employed a sweeper on both sides of the wicket for most parts.

But Ponting, who addressed the media after the match, said that the Indian pacer didn’t know what he was talking about. “We were the only ones here trying to take the game forward. We played aggressive cricket. I’m not sure what he means by that (statement). He can have a little bit of a chuckle to himself on the inside, that’s what I have to say to him. I don’t think it means too much to us,” he said. Later he added that it was the Indian team that was known to play for draws.

And once Ponting was done, Zaheer walked in from the Indian camp, ensuring that the issue simmered. “They generally play at four runs an over, but that was not the case here,” he said. After that he went on to comment about the Australian bowling attack. “Look, they (Aussies) couldn’t get us out twice, they couldn’t pick up 20 wickets… they couldn’t even get me and Bhajji out so what are they talking about?” he said.The Indian pacer also commented on the Australian spin-department. “On this fifth day pitch the spinners looked a long way from getting a wicket. Not just that even their seamers didn’t get many,” said Zaheer.

Ponting did admit though that his side missed a quality spinner. “A quality spinner might have made things a little different today. We’ve got a couple of days to recover from this game now and we hope to play hard Cricket in Mohali as well,” he said.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment