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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sachin Tendulkar: Weight of a milestone

Perth In early 2008, Sachin Tendulkar won India a triangular ODI series in Australia, scoring 117 not out and 91 in the two finals. The series had begun with transition talk, with the selectors dropping Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.

Four years later, not far short of his 39th birthday, Tendulkar will take part in another triangular ODI series in Australia. When it begins, a week after the Adelaide Test, another transition may well have been set in motion. One or two of Tendulkar’s old pals may have announced their Test retirements.

Tendulkar last played an ODI on April 2 at the Wankhede. That match brought glorious culmination to the process sparked off by the 2008 tri-series victory. Tendulkar had been a vital cog in that process. With a World Cup finally in his kitbag, there was little left for him to achieve in the 50-over format.

The last time Tendulkar made himself available for an ODI assignment was in England last year. A toe injury ruled him out then. India had been whitewashed 4-0 in the Test series, and Tendulkar hadn’t scored a century. One Test still remains in the current series, but the circumstances are otherwise similar. India have lost all the Tests, and Tendulkar hasn’t made a hundred. The same hundred he didn’t make in England. The hundredth hundred.

Plenty of speculation

It’s hard to say what effect it’s had on the team. It’s not stopped the media, particularly the Australian one, from speculating endlessly, and asking the question to whoever turns up for a press conference, never mind if he’s already made a statement about it.

It’s hard to say what effect it’s had on Tendulkar’s game. In terms of form, that indefinable word, he’s never looked better. But the sequence of century-less Test innings has now reached 20. It’s the longest of his career.

The last time he went anywhere near as long was for 17 innings between December 2005 and May 2007. It was a different sort of drought then, since his form was distinctly worrying, with only two half-centuries in that period. While that puts some sort of perspective on his current situation, it can’t be denied that a Tendulkar century, at any point during this series, might have swung a session or two in India’s favour.

Consider the timing of his dismissals in his first three innings of the series. In the first innings at the MCG, Tendulkar was on 73, and had put on 117 with Dravid to take India to 214/2. Australia, batting first, had made 333. Three balls remained of Day Two. In the second MCG innings and the first at Sydney, India had sunk to dire situations. But he had crossed 30 both times, and MS Dhoni was 22 yards away. Post-Tendulkar, India folded without resistance.

In both Tests, Australia were willing to let Tendulkar drive, and he was ready to take the challenge on. The contest produced scintillating strokes but also, on each of those occasions, his eventual dismissal. Like most batsmen, Tendulkar was bound to have one failure in a long series like this. That happened at Perth. And so, after three Tests where he’s been in great form, he averages 41.50.

In a sense, Tendulkar on this tour has been the equivalent of Dravid on the England tour. His technique has thrived in conditions in which the majority of the lineup has appeared close to clueless. But Dravid made centuries. Tendulkar hasn’t, even if he might have wanted one a hell of a lot more — subconsciously, at any rate. In Tendulkar’s case, wanting that hundredth hundred, or just being affected by it, could have manifested itself in a million different ways.

Before Tendulkar approached the milestone, nobody even thought it made any kind of sense to add centuries from two vastly different formats. But now that the milestone has been deemed significant, it is. And once it assumed such proportions, no one could have remained impervious to the frenzy surrounding it.

Curtsey: ExpressIndia

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Sachin back for ODIs

Sachin Tendulkar is back to play ODIs after 10 months, so is Zaheer Khan, but no one seems bothered.

As chairman Krishnamachari Srikkanth stepped out of the national selection committee meeting on a lovely Pongal evening, he was bombarded with bitter queries over India's abject failure Down Under.

"Sitting in Chennai, it is difficult for me to pinpoint a particular reason behind the failure...The next (Test) series is in September. If Laxman decides to retire, I cannot say anything," a flustered Chika was clearly not his composed self.

He, of course, agreed that the batting has been a complete failure.

"We are totally devastated... Definitely our batting has failed consistently throughout the series," the chairman said, adding that he can take the blame on himself for the mauling, even though "it's a collective failure with six players with 8000-10,000 runs failing on a consistent basis".

And that meant that if he had harboured any hopes of trying any new combinations in the tri-series in Australia starting from Feb 5, it went out of the window.

Zaheer and Sachin - the bowling a batting pillars respectively - will have to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that the team comes back in March after the tri-series with some pride intact.

With a string of ODIs at home after this, will this be the duo's last in limited-overs competition? The query was left unanswered for now, but something may come out in the course of the next one month.

The squad that was selected for the tri-series was on predictable lines, the only surprise was the inclusion of a 17th member in an ODI squad.

It was quite evident that the panel was in no mood to take any chances as they included three spinners (R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Rahul Sharma) for a series in Australia.

With Irfan Pathan, too, in, India will have the luxury of two bowling all-rounders (Jadeja being the first), and it's to be seen whether the under-pressure MS Dhoni can accommodate five bowlers in the playing XI.

On the batting front, with Yuvraj Singh opting out, Manoj Tiwary was rewarded for his excellent show against West Indies on a difficult Chepauk pitch while the rest of the unit consists of the tried-and-tested ones like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Dhoni.

The acid test for Dhoni's captaincy, though, starts from here. It's his success in ODIs that has still allowed him to retain the captain's armband, but indications are that if India don't do well in the tri-series, the axe may come down pretty soon.

But for now, the selectors gave him the team he wanted, even with an out-of-form Parthiv Patel getting the nod as the second stumper.

The squad: MS Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag (Vice-Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan.

Curtsey:  Times of India

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An Appeal to Indian Cricket Fans.

Indian cricket team is not performing as good as their reputation since last few games. lost continually 6 games.Every one has started to criticize team india,but i am appealing Indian fans to keep  patience   and support team india in this tough time.When team perfome well they don't need support they need it when passing through bed period.It is part and parcel of the game some time you lose and some time you win.we must accept it and start to support during bad period too.Anyone required support when things doesn't go their way. 
So Please Be with our team and support in this time.

Hope Indian Team come back strongly in 3rd Test at Perth.Best of Luck Team India.We are with you in any situation.Try your level best.

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Show some pride, McGill urges India

Former Australia spinner Stuart MacGill is surprised by India's poor batting so far and has called on them to show some pride in the remaining Tests.
India trail the series 0-2 after losing heavily in both Melbourne and Sydney. Barring Sachin Tendulkar, the touring batsmen have struggled, something that has stunned MacGill.
Show some pride, McGill urges India
"We have bowled very well but I am very disappointed that India collapse very quickly," MacGill told 'News Limited Newspapers'.

"I think whether it is the middle-order or tail, you need to have some pride," he added.

The third Test is to be held at the pace-friendly WACA track here and MacGill feels Australia should not hesitate in going in with four fast bowlers and leave out spinner Nathan Lyon if it serves the purpose.

"I am reluctant to speak badly of Nathan Lyon as I think he has a great temperament and future. However, if Nathan is in the side and isn't bowling much and the conditions don't suit him, I don't think you are doing him any favours by keeping him in," said MacGill.

"Nathan has been quite an important part of that Australian side but people get hung up about being dropped. I was left out of the Test team a number of times and I think what defines you is to be there when it does suit," recalled MacGill."

"I would have no hesitation picking four or five quicks for a Test and no spin bowler if that was the way to go. I think in the Test environment you pick the best bowlers you consider most likely to take you 20 wickets. If those bowlers are all seamers, you have to pick them," the former Aussie Test spinner added.

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Sachin Tendulkar's cool demeanour is an example for Ishant Sharma & Virat Kohli to emulate

 from Sachin Tendulkar © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar's cool demeanour is an example for Ishant Sharma & Virat Kohli to emulate

Ishant Sharma (C) and Virat Kohli (L) should learn to handle critical situations from Sachin Tendulkar © Getty Images
By Nishad Pai Vaidya

If the tour of England exposed India’s shortcomings on the field of play, the ongoing tour of Australia threatens to break the morale, patience and spirit of the entire unit. Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma’s obscene gestures at fans, the priorities of the team management to go-karting when the players should be spending time at the nets, rumours of a rift within the team are byproducts of the disappointments and frustrations on the field of play.

Four years ago, Australia and India were engaged in a bitter controversy that threatened to ruin the relations between the two nations. The Indian team then headed to Perth as victims of poor umpiring decisions and disgraceful on-field behavior by the home team. Fast forward to the present, we face a contrasting setup as some of the Indians are responsible for poor behavior that doesn’t speak well of the team. Kohli and Ishant’s gestures are shameful, to say the least. It’s unbecoming of ambassadors who represent a billion people on the international stage.

As men who have the power to influence young and impressionable minds, they have set very poor examples with their reactions. This is not the first time sportspersons have encountered cheap and provocative public behavior, but by reacting in the way Kohli and Ishant did, they are only worsening matters. Now, spectators all over the world will try to rile them up knowing that they could lose control of themselves. There is a price to pay for fame and the sooner they learn the better it is for them and the team. Both players are keys to India’s future and the team can ill-afford to have men with brittle temperament who stoop to the level of the louts masquerading as fans.

When a team is having a bad time on the field, fans may become agitated and the opposition supporters may try to get under the skins of the frustrated players. Handling such situations is critical to success and the two young men need to look no further than team-mate Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar has been on the international circuit since the age of 16. He would have unarguably encountered similar situations many, many times in his two decade-plus career. However, never have we heard of him losing his cool. He has never reacted to what the unruly mob may have thrown at him. Leaving all the runs aside, it is his demeanor that has won the hearts of millions. The standing ovations are not for the records alone but also for his exemplary conduct. The same people who may have made fun of him during his younger days now stand up and salute his genius.

Rumours of Dhoni-Sehwag rift – yet again

If the hammering on the field and Virat and Ishant’s mannerisms weren’t enough, rumors of a rift within the team rocked the Indian ship further. An Australian newspaper claimed that Virender Sehwag is behind the cracks within the Indian team. It’s said that a few members of the Indian team backed Sehwag as captain, ahead of Dhoni, creating disharmony. In fact, it quotes Australian pacer Ryan Harris who says that the Indians were “fighting amongst themselves.”

This isn’t the first time that rumours of a Mahendra Singh Dhoni-Sehwag rift have come to the fore. Prior to the ICC World T20 2009, there was widespread speculation in the press that the two men had a confrontation. It led to the whole Indian team attending a press conference and showing off their bond of unity to deny such murmurs.

The other time such stories did the rounds was during the Bangladesh tour of 2010. Dhoni had missed the first Test against Bangladesh due to injury and Sehwag had captained in his place. Amit Mishra performed well in that game but when Dhoni returned for the next encounter, Mishra was inexplicably excluded for Pragyan Ojha. Reports suggested that Dhoni and Sehwag had an argument regarding this choice. This too was denied.

Skeptics may say that there cannot be smoke without fire, though the team management will expectedly deny such incidents. The fact that these stories have done the rounds on more than an occasion strengthens their argument. If these alleged claims are true, one cannot expect the Indians to deliver and produce positive results. In such a case, feelings of ill-will and mistrust would brew to the detriment of their cause. Abraham Lincoln aptly said in one of his speeches, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

However, it may be another move played by the Australian media on the mind-games board. If there isn’t any factionalism within the team, the Aussies may be pulling yet another trick from their sleeve to disturb India’s progress (if one may use this word). It may be an attempt to revive a skeleton from India’s cupboard, if there is one that is.

The events in Australia clearly illustrate the fact that when things aren’t alright on the game front, most of the other aspects take a hit. It is a vicious cycle and the Indians have been engulfed by its force. The only way they can get out is by upping the ante and doing what is required. When they will start winning, no one will talk about infighting, nor will anyone care about a go-karting session and at last the forbidden fingers won’t spoil the party.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya, a 21-year-old law student, is a club and college-level cricketer. His teachers always complain, “He knows the stats and facts of cricket more than the subjects we teach him.") 

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Sachin Tendulkar's go-kart spins off the track just before the 100m mark!

oment. And just after he had covered 94 meters, Sachin Tendulkar’s kart spun off the field, stunning the gathering into pin-drop silence – Photoshopped pix by Jyoti Desale
 Sachin Tendulkar's go-kart spins off the track just before the 100m mark!
Spectators held their breath, aware that they were witnessing a historic moment. And just after he had covered 94 meters, Sachin Tendulkar’s kart spun off the field, stunning the gathering into pin-drop silence – Photoshopped pix by Jyoti Desale

After a torrid time in the first half of the ongoing India Australia Test series, Team India took a much-needed break from cricket and went go-karting to distract themselves from events on the field. The idea, suggested by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and approved by coach Duncan Fletcher, seemed to be working really well to start with, as the boys were seen enjoying themselves and seemingly getting back into the groove – before disaster struck.

Virender Sehwag flew off the blocks, expertly steering his kart through the various turns and gaining several meters on the others within a couple of minutes. Trouble began when Sehwag spotted a pigeon flying right in the middle of the track a little in front of him. Determined to swat it away, the dashing opener chased it all along the straight stretch of road and drove his kart right off the track instead of making a turn at the end. Alas, it was the pigeon and not the Nawab of Najafgarh who got off to a flier, pouring cold water over the think-tank’s plans.

Almost a lap behind Sehwag, Rahul Dravid drove with poise and assurance, expertly maneuvering his vehicle and making turns with optimal velocity. He smartly swung out of the way of incoming vehicles, never taking his eyes off the steering wheel. The Indian team began to prepare for a lazy, much-needed, siesta, confident that Dravid would keep things tight.
“Looks like the Indians are in the driving seat here, but just get the feeling that this might go down to the wire, Chappelli,” said Ravi Shastri, even as Ian Chappell began to bite into his hat to preserve his sanity. 
Suddenly, Dravid’s car encountered a fork in the track prompting him to drive down the wrong line and lose his steering wheel in the process.

Dravid’s exit paved way for Sachin Tendulkar. Almost everyone present around the track – kids of all ages, their parents and track officials – stood up to give a standing ovation as Tendulkar imperiously drove forward with exquisite timing, covering 80 meters within no time.

Suddenly, tension began to build up in the air. The raucous, carnival-like atmosphere, gave way to an eerie silence as Tendulkar proceeded gingerly towards the milestone, meter by meter.

Dhoni shooed away some pesky reporters, berating them for contributing to the pressure. Spectators held their breath, aware that they were witnessing a historic moment. And just after he had covered 94 meters, Tendulkar’s kart spun off the field, stunning the gathering into pin-drop silence.

The excitement in the field waned after Tendulkar’s exit, with those waiting for their turn growing increasingly restless. Things came to a boil when a couple of kids next in line to use the track asked Virat Kohli to ‘hurry up’. An enraged Kohli immediately showed the kids his middle finger, prompting officials to cut short the team’s go-karting exercise, much to the consternation of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan and Ravichandran Ashwin who were patiently waiting for their turn.

A visibly disappointed Ashwin later told media persons that “there was nothing in the track for the bowlers.”

Coach Fletcher was just as despondent. “This is so annoying, man,” he groaned. “We came here to take our mind off cricket, and the boys end up repeating the stuff last week!”

(Reproduced with permission from The UnReal Times is one of the top websites for satire, spoof, parody and humour in India)

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Monday, January 2, 2012


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