Saturday, November 28, 2009

India will be without the services of opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who will be attending his sister's wedding, for the third Test against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. Gambhir has been in prime form in this series with centuries in each of the two Tests.

Gambhir's spot is likely to be taken by M Vijay, the Tamil Nadu opener. Vijay made his debut against Australia in Nagpur last year, when Gambhir was banned for a Test for an altercation with Shane Watson. The rest of the squad, which was initially picked for the first two Tests, has been retained with no additional replacements. The final Test of the series begins at the Brabourne Stadium on December 2.

India squad for third Test: MS Dhoni (capt),Virender Sehwag Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, , Amit Mishra, Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, S Badrinath.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cyclone alert could affect Mumbai's cricket schedule

A cyclone forming over the Arabian Sea near Mumbai and continuous heavy rains in the city over the past 24 hours have threatened the seventh and final ODI between India and Australia, scheduled to be held there on Wednesday. Cyclone Phyan is expected to hit the coast later on Wednesday and, though Mumbai is not expected to be in its direct path, weather conditions in the city have already deteriorated.
The city municipal corporation has sent out a public SMS advising citizens to stay indoors and extended to 5 p.m. the cyclone warning it issued yesterday.
A PTI report said the DY Patil Stadium, the venue of Wednesday's game, was a pool of water. However, the teams are expected to reach the ground by 2 p.m. and the match has a cut-off time of 5 p.m. - if there's no play by then, it will be called off.
Two other top-level matches in the city have already been affected; the first day's play of Sri Lanka's tour game against the Board President's XI has been washed out and the Ranji game between Mumbai and Orissa is yet to see a ball being bowled into the second day.
India's match-eve practice session was also called off on Tuesday, though the Australians managed theirs in the morning.
The Indian Metereological Department issued an alert for the coastal regions of south Gujarat and north Maharashtra. Weather scientists have been tracking a deep depression formed in the south east and adjoining central Arabian Sea, which was last moving in the northwest direction and to hit south Gujarat.
"The system is likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move in a northerly direction for some more time and then north-northeastwards and cross south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coast between Mahuva and Dahanu by early hours of November 12," the alert issued by the IMD said.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Of My Best-Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar has rated his dazzling 141-ball 175 in the fifth one-dayer against Australia as "one of his best" innings. While orchestrating a stiff chase of 351, Tendulkar looked on course to break the record for the highest individual score in an ODI innings but was undone by a slower ball from debutant Clint McKay in the 48th over, after which India ended four runs short.
"It was one of my best innings, I was striking the ball very well and we were chasing 351 so there was constant pressure," Tendulkar said. "We maintained the run rate and brought the game close, but in the end it was very disappointing."
After sliding to 162 for 4, India were put back on track for what would have been the second highest target achieved in one-dayers by a 137-run stand between Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. India were favourites after 42 overs, needing only 52 runs with a Powerplay still in hand and Raina and Tendulkar in top gear. However, a combination of clever bowling and tigerish fielding from Australia, and some inept running from India handed the visitors a 3-2 series lead.
One bright spot for Tendulkar was that on 7, he became the first to reach the 17,000-run mark in one-dayers. When asked how he stayed motivated over the course of an international career which is days short of being two decades long, he said: "The passion - I care about playing for India. It's always been a dream and I'm absolutely honoured that I've been able to do that for the past 20 years."
Sourav Ganguly, with whom Tendulkar formed the most prolific opening partnership in one-dayers, lauded Tendulkar for reaching the milestone and hoped there was more to come. "It's really a remarkable achievement", Ganguly said. "I wish he scores another 2000 runs by 2011 World Cup. Sachin knows best how to accumulate runs. Once he gets going he becomes unstoppable."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dhoni Suffers Injury During Net Practice

Indian captain MS Dhoni has injured himself while batting during a nets session in Vadodara, but is likely to feature in the first match of the seven-ODI series against Australia on Sunday. Dhoni was apparently hit on the back of his left knee off a Munaf Patel delivery, and having played one more ball, he limped off the practice area on Friday. An ice pack was promptly put on the affected area, but he didn't appear to be in too much pain.
"I should be alright tomorrow," Dhoni said. "But have to wait and see how it feels in the morning." There is no reserve wicketkeeper in the squad of 15 named for the series and Dinesh Karthik, who was the back-up during the Champions Trophy in South Africa, had not received any call from the BCCI until late on Friday night.
The news does not augur well for the Indian team, who have been hit a spate of injuries to players recently. While Virender Sehwag had suffered a shoulder injury, which kept him out of the the World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy as well as the subsequent tours of West Indies and Sri Lanka, Yuvraj Singh had injured the the little finger on his right hand during the Champions Trophy. Both players have recovered since, and have been picked for the Australia series. Also, Suresh Raina had suffered a hairline fracture to his thumb, and Zaheer Khan looks to have worked his way back to fitness after picking up a shoulder injury.

New South Wales Win Champions League Twenty-20

Brett Lee starred with a stunning all-round performance as New South Wales beat Trinidad & Tobago to win the inaugural Champions League Twenty20, and with it a jackpot of US$ 2.5 million, in Hyderabad. The 41-run margin of victory, however, didn't mean it was a one-sided contest: T&T dominated initially, reducing NSW to 83 for 6, before Lee's fighting innings lifted his side to a competitive total. He then returned for a fiery spell with the new ball, jolting T&T's chase with two early wickets.
The match was won and lost in ten overs - the last five of the NSW innings and the first five of T&T's - and it was Lee who imposed himself on the game-breaking moments. The game had several subplots - the nervy collapse of both top orders, Ravi Rampaul's canny seam bowling, Steven Smith's sensible support act and the threat posed by Kieron Pollard - but the one that had the biggest impact was Lee's all-round contribution.
He walked in with NSW tottering and proceeded to slowly pull them out of the hole before shifting gears to propel them to a competitive score. It was almost the perfect counter punch. Lee's first priority was safety - he scored just 7 off 13 deliveries - but, knowing that meandering to a below-par total would be futile against an aggressive T&T team, he upped the ante with precise and powerful blows in the final overs.
Lee launched his assault in the 16th over against Lendl Simmons: the first delivery - a full toss - was swung over square-leg for six, the fourth was hit over long-on, and the last one carved to the cover boundary. From then on he repeatedly cleared the front leg and swung cleanly through the line. Navin Stewart disappeared over long-on and Sherwin Ganga was heaved over midwicket. Lee got support from Steven Smith, who did what was required: give the strike to Lee, try to pinch the occasional boundary, and ensure he didn't lose his wicket.
Lee was the last man out but wasn't done for the night. He returned to harass the T&T top order with pace, bounce and movement. He bowled the impetuous William Perkins with a full, fast and straight delivery and removed Lendl Simmons by taking a sharp return catch off a slower one. Stuart Clark, with his slower cutters, and Doug Bollinger, with his bounce from short of length, proceeded to strangle T&T's middle order and it was left to that man Pollard to try to do the improbable. And he nearly did.
Throughout this tournament, Pollard has batted like Lance Klusener did in the 1999 World Cup. No target seemed to be too much for him. Just like Klusener, he showed unbelievable composure: he started his innings calmly, dealing in singles, before he unleashed his own brand of razzmatazz. He pulled a free hit from Bollinger over midwicket, swung Nathan Hauritz over long-on and got the equation down to 47 from 31 balls when it happened. He went for another six off Hauritz but couldn't clear the boundary, and who else but Lee at long-on settled under the catch. With Pollard's exit, Trinidad's dream run came to a crushing halt, and they had to settle for second prize - US$ 1.3 million.
It ended with defeat, but the game had started splendidly for T&T. If NSW were to reach a huge total, their two hard-hitting openers had to contribute heavily but that didn't happen. T&T started with a spin-seam combination and Sherwin Ganga, the offspinner, bowled three overs in the Powerplay. David Warner opted to play a weak reverse sweep against him and nearly edged it back to the bowler. Warner did go on to thread a couple of boundaries on the off side but never looked in. Meanwhile the pressure told on his partner Phillip Hughes, who faced three balls in the first three overs, and fell, trying to slog-pull the impressive Ravi Rampaul.
While Sherwin Ganga was miserly, it was Rampaul who really shone with a fine display of canny seam bowling. He hit a full length, got the ball to cut both ways and built pressure. One moment captured his combative spirit perfectly: When Warner tried to impose himself with a crashing cover-drive, Rampaul fired in a sharp 140 kmph bouncer that flew past the startled batsman.
The chance for NSW to break free came in the fifth over bowled by Dwayne Bravo, who had leaked runs in the semi-final. Katich started off with a bottom-hand powered six over long-on but Warner fell in the same over, edging one to right of backward point where Dave Mohammed took a fine catch.
What followed was a nervy phase for NSW as one batsman after another fell to soft dismissals. Katich punched Bravo straight to mid-off, Moises Henriques swung a short delivery to fine-leg, Ben Rohrer pulled a long hop straight to deep midwicket, and Daniel Smith chopped a length delivery back on to his stumps. But Lee and Smith saved the day with some sensible batting before Lee returned with the ball to end T&T's dream.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

McGrath to replace Vettori in Delhi squad for Champions League

Delhi Daredevils are set to include Glenn McGrath in their Champions League Twenty20 squad as a replacement for Daniel Vettori. The New Zealand captain had to pull out of the ICC Champions Trophy final against Australia on Monday with a hamstring injury he had aggravated during the semi-final clash against Pakistan. McGrath has already been alerted and is expected to arrive in Delhi on Wednesday pending the organisers' approval.
Delhi Daredevils' chief operating officer Amrit Mathur said two names, including McGrath's, had been sent to the tournament's technical committee. The second, Yogesh Nagar, was a replacement for England allrounder Paul Collingwood, who returned home after the Champions Trophy with a buttock strain. "We have sought the approval from the organisers to replace the injured players and have given the names of McGrath and Nagar, who were part of the original squad of 20," Mathur told Cricinfo.
Delhi have lost three overseas players in less than a week - South African batsman AB De Villers was the first to pull out due to a back injury, followed by Collingwood and now Vettori.
Collingwood's non-participation was confirmed through a press release from the ECB's medical team today. "The scan revealed a grade-two tear and Paul has been withdrawn from the forthcoming Champions League in India in which he was due to play for Delhi Daredevils," the release said.
McGrath's return could be interesting given his absence from competitive cricket since the semi-final of the inaugural IPL in May 2008. Though he was part of the Delhi squad in the second IPL in South Africa, the team management was wary of playing him because of fitness concerns. Peeved at being ignored, the former Australian fast bowler had even spoken about not returning for the third IPL season next year, a comment he claimed he never made.

The youngsters won it for us - Ponting

Ricky Ponting has attributed Australia's Champions Trophy success to the efforts of youngsters in his team, especially their performance in an occasionally tense final.
"We have gone through some ups and downs in the last 18 months. A number of great players have left and we brought in a lot of young, fresh players. It was great to see some of them stand up and deliver," Ponting said after Australia's six-wicket win over New Zealand that gave them their second Champions Trophy title.
Australia's bowling performance in the final was led by Nathan Hauritz, who grabbed 3 for 37, including the well-set Martin Guptill for 40. Later, in their chase of 201, Australia were in trouble at 6 for 2 but
Shane Watson and Cameron White added 128 to put them in control. "Two young guys at the crease at 6 for 2, it doesn't get any tougher and they did a great job," Ponting said.
Australia came in to the tournament as favourites along with South Africa, fresh from the success of a 6-1 ODI humiliation of England. They beat West Indies in a tough contest in Johannesburg, were dominant against India in a washed-out game and edged Pakistan in a two-wicket win in Centurion. They were comprehensive winners in the semi-final against England, Ponting and Shane Watson hammering centuries in a nine-wicket win.
"In the ODI series in England after the Ashes, we did well there to put ourselves in a position where we can give this tournament a little bit of a shake," Ponting said. "We've played some great cricket over the last couple of weeks here."
The Champions Trophy also brought personal success for Ponting, as he emerged the highest run-getter with 288 at 72 in four games. He was honoured with a golden bat for that feat, and followed it up with the Man-of-the-Series award, ahead of Watson, who finished the tournament with back-to-back centuries.
"We needed discipline today, and we knew that if I was around till the 40th over, we had a chance," Watson, who was Man of the Match, said after his innings of 105. "It was set up with Ricky's help in the semi-finals to get me through, and he missed out today, but it was time for another to step up.
"The wicket today was a little slower than the other night but Kyle Mills and Shane Bond bowled beautifully straight up until me and White had a good partnership."