Friday, August 10, 2012

India’s T20WC Squad: Surprises and Shocks

BCCI’s selection committee met today in Mumbai and announced the teams for T20WC and for the test series vs NZ starting August 23. The meeting started at 11.30 and went on for more than 3 hours. As long as a T20 match and may be longer than the Gangs of Wasseypur.  But the team selected for the WC has some selection which will certainly surprise and shock few people.

The Squad for the T20WC is:  MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, L Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda

Players like Dhoni, Sehwag,Gambhir, Kohli, Raina, Zaher, Pathan and R Ashwin were expected to be in the team. But the remaining 7 sports must have been discussed.  And those 7 names they have picked have surprised and shocked

1)      Yuvraj Singh:
Indian cricket fans must have been happy to see his name in the squad and why they would be? He has been the best player for India in T20WC 2007 and in WC 2011 and he has won the battle against Cancer to be back. His inclusion might have surprised few people including Sourav Ganguly. The reason is he last played for India in December 2011 vs West Indies. He has been practicing hard at NCA in Bangalore but certainly lacks match practice. But before T20 WC, India will be playing two T20 matches vs NZ which will be a very good preparation for the T20 WC. So he will have a chance to play couple of international matches before a big tournament. Though I hope he is not  in hurry to make a comeback. Hope he is 100% fit and not taking any chance with his fitness which I am sure he is not.
2)      Harbhajan Singh:
Harbhajan Singh makes a comeback in the Indian team after having played his last test in August last year  in England.  He has been playing lot of matches but in those games, he hasn’t done well enough according to me to make a comeback in the national team. He had a bad Ranji Trophy, Ordinary IPL and is having a very ordinary outing in UK while playing for Essex. I have always felt that he has been one of the most overrated Indian Cricketers. I cant see any reason for including him in the side for this tournament. He had tweeted about his 3 wickets in one of the county games, few days back and that might have impressed the selectors to pick him up.
3)      Piyush Chawla:
Piyush Chawla got 16 wickets of 16 matches at the economy rate of 7.35 and that might have helped him in getting into the squad. But for quite sometime now, Rahul Sharma has been in the side and hasn’t  got enough chances. Dropping him will not help his confidence level. But may be, his not so good performance in IPL (and even immediately after IPL) went against him. Piyush’s inclusion mayhave shocked few but still not too shocking as of Harbhajan Singh. It is also unlikely that India will play with 2 spinners. They cant do it without going with 5 bowlers which is very unlikely. Also, guys like Sehwag,Raina and Yuvraj/Rohit Sharma can play the role of the second spin bowler. And as of now Ashwin looks the frontline spin bowler of the team so chance of Harbhajan and Piyush making it to Final 11 is very less.
4)      L.Balaji:
Not many people were expecting Balaji to make the cut. He last played for India around 3 years back and had issues with back injuries. But his IPL Performance of 11 wickets from 8 games at the Economy rate of 5.40 helped his team KKR lifting the IPL trophy for the first time. I am happy to see him. He can swing the bowl well and does have a good slower one in his pocket. And the recently concluded ODI series in SriLanka did witness some swing.
5)      Ashoke Dinda:
Dinda was expensive in ODI series but did get wickets. The good thing about him (and bad at times) is that he always try and take the wicket and gives his 100% while bowling. He had a reasonably good IPL. He took 9 wickets from 7 games at the Economy rate of 7 before suffering an ankle injury. He was one of the players because of whom PWI started their campaign well in IPL and he was surely missed by his team after getting injured. He also bowled well in a T20 match played vs Sri Lanka.
6)      Manoj Tewary:
Manoj Tewary has done well in 50 overs game but hasn’t rally fired in T20 matches. He scored 260 runs in last IPL at a strike rate of 105 which is not at all good in this shortest format of the game. In 4th ODI, he had replaced Rahul Sharma and did manage to get 4 wickets so may be he has been included in the side as a genuine all rounder! No doubt on his talent but unsure of his ability to be a right choice for twenty over game.
7)      Rohit Sharma:
There were speculations about him but he has made it to the team. He managed to score only 14 runs of 5 games in Sri Lanka and looked completely out of touch with the bat. He was brilliant with the bat in IPL and scored 433 runs of 17 games at a strike rate of 126 including a century and three half centuries. Well, may be that helped him in getting in the squad. Still a month left for the WC and selectors must have felt of him getting back to form. But there hasn’t been any domestic Cricket going on. He will only have 2 T20 matches vs NZ in September.

Ishant Sharma has been included in the Test Squad  but not in T20s as his record in T20s haven’t been an encouraging one. I would have loved to see 2 players here in the squad. Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan. Robin had an average IPL and Yusuf had a bad one but those players are made for this format. If Gambhir/Sehwag gets injured, there is not a  single genuine opening batsman in the squad. This is where Uthappa can be useful. He can open and he can also bat in the middle or down the order and can hit few big shots. At the same time he can also keep the wickets if reqd. We all know what Yusuf Pathan is capable of. He can be useful with the bat  as well as with the ball and is certainly a T20 specialist. Would have loved to see Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan in place of Manoj Tewary and Harbhajan Singh respectively.

This was probably the last team selction by the committee let by K.Shrikanth as their term is ending next month which was extended after India’s WC victory. Hopefully, the new committee will be better and some recently retired players should be there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dada is Priceless

In IPL Auctions which took place on last weekend, Gautam Gambhir was sold for 11.04 crore, Out of form and out of India’s WC probable team Irfan Pathan was sold for 8.6 crore and Australian Domestic Player Daniel Christian went for more than 4 crores. But the main highlight of the auction was that former Indian and Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain Sourav Ganguly remained unsold as he did not find any takers in IPL Auctions.

Sourav Ganguly, who retired from International Cricket in November 2008, played all the 3 seasons of IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders and led the side in the 1st and the 3rd edition. KKR is the only side which has not played semi final of the IPL. The team played well in the season 3 but could not make it to the semis because of the net run rate. But Sourav Ganguly’s performance was good and he was the highest run scorer for his side by scoring 493 runs in 14 matches at an average of 37.93 and with the strike rate of 118.66. He scored more runs than the players like Mahela Jayawardene whoc scored 2 centuries in IPL-3, Andrew Symonds, Saurabh Tewary, Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa etc. But Cricket is a team game and an individual can’t win a game for you evetrytime. The same thing happened at KKR as Ganguly did not get enough support from his other team mates. Well some might say that strike of 118.66 is not good but it is wrong because when you have the players like Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, David Hussey, Manoj Tewary, etc a team needs someone who can play steadily at the other hand. I feel that as of now he is a better T20 player than Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and even Mohammad Kaif. I am sure his exclusion from the IPL is not because of the Cricketing Reasons.

One of the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders and the one who thinks that he is the face of the IPL, Shahrukh Khan has said that he will find a good role for Dada in Kolkata Knight Riders. I don’t know about the supporters outside Kolkata, but in Kolkata people support KKR because of Sourav Ganguly and not because of SRK. If KKR has registered maximum number of merchandise selling, that is because of Sourav and not because of Shahrukh. May be ego clash between SRK and Dada could have caused this as both of them carries King’s attitude but SRK should not have interfered because Ganguly has a better cricketing mind than SRK. Some say that Sourav has not played Cricket for a year now and that could be the reason but he did play in one of the Ranji matches and was supposed to play in the shorter format of the domestic games. Even the players like Chris Gayle and Sanath Jayasurya remained unsold but that is because of availability issues and because of being foreign player. Even the former Indian captain Kapil Dev has said “Lot of other reasons are there. I don't think merely on cricketing basis, he is not there. It's not on purely cricketing basis (his exclusion),".He also said “I always felt that Ganguly should be the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders otherwise he should not be playing. Because of his nature, commitment, determination and the way he works with the team or what he did to the Indian team, this all makes a lot of difference.” I guess all these things mentioned here suggest that Dada’s exclusion is not because of the cricketing reasons. He still has to offer to the team in IPL.

If anyone still doubts, I guess he or she doesn’t need to check his bating statistics but watch the 2 spectacular catches that he had taken in last year’s IPL.

Friday, January 7, 2011

350 Players on sell in IPL Auctions starting tomorrow

If Graham Onions is in IPL auction, he should choose his reserve price on the basis of per kg. He stands to make a lot more that way :-). Well this there are not only more players than before but there are now 10 Franchisee as well. All of them will be fighting out at Bangalore on this weekend to bag the players of their choices.

The franchisees had the option to retain the four players of their choice but the team like Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab decided not to use this facility. But the other teams used this option.

Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, & Harbhajan Singh

Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne and Shane Watson

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag

Royal Challengers: Virat Kohli

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, Albie Morkel

Well, some would say that MI should have retained Zaheer Khan but they could not as the teams had the option to retain 4 players only but they would be trying desperately to buy back Zaheer Khan. RR surprises everybody by not retaining T20 specialist and a superb performer in IPL Yusuf Pathan. That decision doesn’t look understandable to anyone. Daredevils also retained Sehwag only and did not retain captain Gambhir and inform A.B.Devilliers. Royal Challengers also surprised by not retaining the likes of Ross Taylor, Kallis, Kevin Pieterson and Dale Steyn. They have retained only Virat Kohli who might become the captain of the RCB as well. Chennai could have retained Muralitharan but they decided to retain Albie Morkel as he could have become and expensive. KKR, the only IPL team which is yet to make it o the semi-finals of IPL did not retain any player of the team. Well, Kolkata is a city which is driven by Sourav Ganguly may not support KKR if Dada doesn’t play in the team. SRK must be knowing this after IPL-2 fiasco. I personally think that KKR would buy Sourav Ganguly but it might be not as costly as 4.11 crores of rupees and Sourav Ganguly wont be a that costly buy. They also did not retain the players like Chris Gayle, McCullum, David Hussey and Angello Matthews. Deccan Chargers also did not retain players like Gilchrist, Gibbs, Symonds and Rohit Sharma. While Kings XI Punjab did not retain the players like Sangakkara, Jayawardene, and more importantly Yuvraj Singh.

There are many players for whom the top businessman would not hesitate to give any amount of money. These players are like Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Dale Steyn, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, James Anderson, Mitchell Johnson, A.B.Devilliers, etc. Few of the teams would also be interested in buying the players like Sourab Ganguly, Jaques Kallis, Rahul Dravid and Brain Lara who is set to play in the IPL at the age of 41. I feel that Sahara Pune Warriors may show their interest in Sourav Ganguly because of his relationships with the top management of SAHARA Group. All the teams except Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Superkings will be looking to buy the players who can be effective leaders as well. Going by that the players like Ganguly, Graeme Smith, Gautam Gambhir, Kumara Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Daniel Vettori, etc will be in demand. T20 is not only about hitting 4s and 6s but it also requires technique so the players like Dravid, Collingwood, Styris, Kallis,etc will be in demand.

There is a total salary cap of USD 9 million (Rs. 45 crore) per team. But the teams that have retained any player(s) will have that limit reduced based on the price of players retained. So that means only Deccan Chargers, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, along with new entrants Pune and Kochi, can do a full monty.

The magnetism associated with cricket's biggest domestic extravaganza is set to have a newfound pull in the form of Caribbean charisma called Brian Lara. The 41-year-old batting legend has decided to mesmerize cricket lovers once again by being part of one of cricket's most captivating events. And what more, the West Indian run-machine is among 21 players having the highest base price of USD 4,00,000.

USD 4,00,000 base price

Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, James Anderson, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Sourav Ganguly.

USD 3,00,000 base price

Zaheer Khan, Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews.

USD 2,00,000 base price

Gautam Gambhir, Michael Hussey, Doug Bollinger, Dirk Nannes, Eoin Morgan, Robin Uthappa, Sanath Jayasuriya.

USD 1,00,000 base price

Tamim Iqbal, R Ashwin, Morne Morkel, Ben Hilfenhaus

My Darkhorses or Underdogs:

Alviro Pieterson, Dirk Nannes, David Hussey, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Bravo, Graeme Swann, Eion Morgan, Tamim Iqbal.

The live telecast of the auction will be on SET MAX from 10 am.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Champions Trophy '09: Sri Lanka looks Favorites

Some experts are saying that South Africa is favorites for Champions Trophy. Some are with India and Some of are them with Australia. But according to me Sri Lanka is favorites to win the tournament.

Sri Lanka is in Pool B with South Africa, New Zealand, and England. Sri Lanka is in good form currently. Team is doing good job under Kumara Sangakkara. Few of the batsmen like Dilshan, Jayawardene, and Kandamby are in good form. Plus you can never forget the legend Jayasuriya. Bowlers like Malinga, Kulasekara, Muralitharan, and Mendis are in good form. The teams like SA and England haven’t faced the mysterious spinner Mendis. So they will be tested by his famous carom ball. Angelo Mathews and Thushara provides good balance to the team

In the semi final They may face India, Australia, Pakistan or West Indies. Versus these teams Sri Lanka can do well. Sri Lanka have played some good cricket versus India and Pakistan in the recent past. It will a challenging tournament but Lankan lions kook good to win the tournament.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pakistan deserves the T20 title

Before 10 years on June 21, 1999 Pakistan lost the final of ICC World Cup V/S Australia at Lord's. Exactly after 10 years they were once again in the final of ICC World Cup V/S Srilanka at the very same venue. But this time it wasnt 50 over game it was Cricket's shortest version 20-20. And the result was also different. Pakistan won the match against the Srilankans as they beat them by 8 wickets.
Pakistan came in to this tournament facing some tough and unusual situations. The team hardly played any cricket in the year.The team didn't do too well in the warm up games and in the group satge.But in the Super 8 round they won against Ireland and New Zealand. They faced South Africa,the favourites of the tournament in the semi-final and won against them. The final was against Srilanka against whom they lost in the Super-8 stage. But it was a new day. They forgot the past. They had some plans for every player of the oppsission team and they successfully implimented the plans. They believed in their selves and gave their 100% in the final and won the T20 World Cup at the Home Of Cricket at Lord's. Last time they almost clinched the victory from India at the Wanderers, Johannesburg but couldn't win. This time they didn't make even a single mistake in the final and became the World T20 Champions.
Pakistan taught the lesson that even in the T20 Cricket you need to play some sensible cricket and you need to get your basics right. Afridi and Malik batted very sensibly. They are the real champions. There is no doubt that the best team won the tournament.
Srilanka also played well in the tournament. Sangakkara led his side very well and played an excellent knock in the final but they couldn't win.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No favourites in T20 WC: But my money on Australia

This year's WC is starting just after the IPL. Different players from different countries have done well in the IPL. According to most of the people Indian team is favourite to win the T20 WC in England. I think in this format of Cricket its difficult to select a favourite.There is nothing like favourites in the shortest version of Cricket. Any team can do well on a pirticular day. Before 2 years in the same tournament at the Rainbow Nation nobody was considering Indian Team as favourites but at the end Indian team won the tournament.
Indian team is looking strong,no doubt in that with some in form players like Raina,Rohit Sharma,RP Singh,Pragyan Ojha,etc. And we have few excellent players for this format of the game like Gambhir,Sehwag,Dhoni,Yuvraj,Pathan Bros.,etc. The team is looking very balanced. People also beilive that we have got very easy group in the group stage round. India is in group A withBngladesh And Ireland. But we should not forget these both sides created a major upset by beating India and Pakistan respectively. If this can happen in a 50 over game,they can rewrite the history in a T20 match.So India will have to play both the matches very seriously in group stage. There are other fine teams like Australia,South Africa,New Zealand,etc. India will have to face them in super 8 round. So its not going to be easy for the Indian team to retain the title.
If I have to pick a side as a favourite for the WC,it will be Australia. Many people are not considering Punter & Co. as a strong contenders for the tournament. According to me the Australians will give their more than 100% to win the tournament. Some players like Ponting,Mike Hussey,Shaun Marsh,Shanw Watson didn't play in the 2nd edition of IPL. I think that will help them as they have got enough rest and all the players are feet to play.
Their bowling attack will be led by Mitchell Johnson and it has become stronger as Brett Lee is back. Though David Hussey hasn't done well in the recent past I think he should be in the team as he can do the job with the bat and the ball and can be a trump card for the kangaroos. David Warner is also one of the player to watch out for. And Ricky "Punter" Ponting may come with some surprises.
If i have to rate my top 4 favourites teams to win the T20 WC 2009-England, the list will be like this :
1) Australia 2) South Africa 3) New Zealand 4) India

Saturday, April 18, 2009

CSK favourites but, dont underestimate RCB

According to me this time CSK looks favourite to win the IPL-2. Led by a very good and lucky captain MS Dhoni, CSK is a very balanced team. There r some good Indian players like Raina,Badrinath,Parthiv and of course Dhoni him self. And classic foreign players like Hayden,Muralitharan,Oram,Flintoff,Albie Morkel and Stephen Fleming who is also their coach this time.Thilan Thushara is also a good player with the ball and bat. The good thing for the team is that all the foriegn players mentioned above except Flintoff will be available for the whole tournament. And most of them r in good form ,so they r looking favourites to win the tournament innitially.

One should not underestimate the Royal Challangers this time. The team is led by Kevin Pietersen and they have 5 South Africans in their squad,more than the any other side. 4 of them r Kallis,Boucher,Steyn,and Van Merve. Kallis will be the captain once KP leaves the team for his national duties. Other good foreign players like Chanderpaul,Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor are also very hand ful in this form of the game. Rahul dravid scored 371 runs in the last season.This time he's not the captain and wont be under pressure as he was in the last season. Kumble will also help the team with his flippers googlies and probably with his leg spinners.Praveen Kumar also swings the bowl and will get the help in south african conditions. Robin Uthappa is back in their side and might open the batting for them. Unfortunately Nathan Bracken is also not available this time.