What he said:
“Even my mother asks me every time I come to Lucknow, koi ladki toh pasand nahi aa gayi wahan (have you selected a girl yet)?”
Suresh Raina is perturbed that no one including his mother believes that he visits Lucknow simply to catch up with his school friends.
“But I actually come here to just unwind with my friends. I have very few friends, and I share a special bond with them. I have a lot of matches coming up after the Champions League, there’s the West Indies tour in October. I know I will not be able to meet my friends for a long time now. So I made a short trip to Lucknow between two tournaments. She(my mother)’s been after me for a while now to get married, especially since my closest friend has also tied the knot. Each time I go back home, my marriage is the topic of conversation.But I have put off any wedding talk till after the World Cup. Abhi ussi pe focus karna hai. (I have to focus on that.)”
The Chennai Superkings star revealed the secret behind his recent success in the ODIs and T20s against England.
“After I was dropped from the Asia Cup squad earlier this year, I did a lot of introspection as far as my game was concerned. I had to go back to basics, and just perform very well. I spent months with single-minded focus on training, fitness, discipline. I trained at the Lucknow Sports College and in Mumbai, and I spent a lot of time with my friends and family to regain my confidence. You can’t take everyone’s advice, because everyone has a different opinion, so you need to depend on your friends to give you the right advice. That confidence helped me to play my natural game, and tackle the pressure. Pressure tha (there was pressure), but I knew I can turn things around. When I got on the flight from Mumbai to London, I was ready to give my best. And I am so happy I did. It was very important.”
What he really meant:
“My mother wishes I’d make the most of my trips to Lucknow and kill two birds with one stone. Find a girl and meet my pals too. She’s pragmatic that way.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“What?! And be embroiled in a senseless wrangle with the press about the presence of a girlfriend or wife on tour?”
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The Indian team’s preparations for the World Cup recovered from a minor hiccup when Shantakumaran Sreesanth replaced the injured Praveen Kumar in the side.
The UP bowler has not yet recovered from an elbow injury sustained on the South Africa tour.
Though there were some calls for Ishant Sharma instead, the Kerala cricketer is the man in form. Sharma is a far cry from the bowler he was on his debut Down Under in 2008. He has been bowled into the ground; a case of poor handling by captain and coach. In his case, the rotation policy is a joke.
The debate rages on.
Have the Indian selectors chosen the best possible side for the ODI World Cup?
The argument centres on whether there ought to have been a back-up keeper. MS Dhoni—as captain and stumper—shoulders a heavy responsibility.
To his credit, he has borne the burden well and there is no reason to believe that he will not do the same in February-March—should he remain fit.
As for the pessimists, they will wonder who will keep wickets if Dhoni is forced to miss a match.
The second Test at Durban ended with India triumphant, levelling the series 1-1.
A few takeaways from a thrilling encounter:
VVS Laxman is Very, Very Special. He has proved that before and did so anew. What can be said about the Hyderabadi maestro that has not been said before? Dealing in mere superlatives seems trite given the backdrop of his recent achievements. Suffice to say, that he was man-of-the-match (MOM), top-scoring in both innings, the only player to score over 50 from both sides.
The second Test match at Hyderabad ended as a damp squib as well.
There were many who considered the tourists easy meat coming into the Test series. The New Zealand batsmen obviously had other thoughts.
Except for the first innings here when they collapsed after a healthy start, they have made the Indian bowlers labour hard for their wickets. They have not let the home side buy their wickets cheap.
Suresh Raina has made strides in more ways than one. Besides making it to the Test eleven at the expense of Yuvraj Singh, his success at the highest level has resulted in the demotion of Yuvraj Singh from a Grade A contract to a Grade B one.
The BCCI has sprung a few other surprises in its revised structure of payments to Indian cricketers.
The types of graded contracts has been fixed at A,B and C. Grade D has been scrapped.The number of players contracted to the BCCI has also been reduced from 41 to 24.
The retainers for each contract type have been upwardly revised.
A Grade A player receives a crore (Rs. 100 lacs) up from Rs. 60 lacs;Grades B and C cricketers receive Rs. 50 lacs (up from Rs. 40 lacs) and Rs. 25 lacs respectively.
The third one-day between India and Australia was rained off. A similar fate befell the first one-day at Kochi.
It just goes to show that cramming in a series in what’s usually the off-season requires detailed planning. Though we had a wonderful Test series, the fans and spectators were left short-changed by the washout of the two ODIs.
Rain, rain, go away, the Ozzies and Indies want to play!
The Australians are probably left a little shell-shocked by the way their curtailed tour of India turned out. A winless tour for a team of their calibre will rankle for a long time.
I don’t envy the Poms when they meet the kangaroos down under.
The Australians will be doubly motivated to move up the rankings and prove that their recent losses are just an aberration.
To put it succinctly: India won a match they should have lost. Australia lost a game they should have won.
Neither team deserved to lose and it was a great advertisement for Test cricket. That’s what Test cricket is all about. It’s not over until it’s truly over!
The difference was that man VVS Laxman, who reserves his best for the kangaroos.
The Aussies kept digging into their marsupial pockets for ways to counter the Hyderabadi’s merry march to victory but there were just no tricks up their sleeves.
Ricky Ponting, unlike his predecessor, Steve Waugh, seems to ,more often than not, let the game drift and that was to be the case once more when the Aussies, by rights, should have gone in for the kayo.
No discredit to the fighting qualities exhibited by Laxman, Sharma and Ojha but Ponting needs a new thinking cap and soon!
In the end, it was yet another famous victory for the No. 1 Test team and Dhoni must thank his stars that he can call upon players of the calibre of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman to do yeoman service without throwing any starry tantrums.