What he said:
“Everybody go ga ga about Sachin Tendulkar that ‘I learn from him and so on’. If you ask Virender Sehwag who is your guru he will say Sachin. If you ask Yuvraj, he will say Sachin. But I have never seen Sehwag or Sachin or Laxman, with their bundle of experience in batting, walking up to the bowlers to advise them the correct line to bowl.”
Kapil Dev Nikhanj is certain that the youngsters merely pay lip service tributes to the seniors in the side. The former Indian captain does not see the desired team spirit on the field.
What he really meant:
“If the bowlers keep repeating their mistakes and no one corrects them on the field, will they not continue in the same vein?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“What I really advocate is on-field coaching with microphones and headsets, specifically for this Indian side.”
If the Spirit of Cricket were a kite, then we all know who should be holding the strings, sending it soaring into the stratosphere.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni made Indians (and connoisseurs of the game) proud with his decision to rescind the contentious appeal made against Ian Bell at the break of tea on the third day of the third Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday, the 31st of July, 2011.
The contrast between the two sides was not more readily apparent than last evening.
One side has gone to town with allegations about ‘bat-fixing’ with Vaseline to fox ‘Hot-Spot’, the other exhibited that the spirit of the game was more important than winning at all costs.
Cricket lovers have Graeme Smith to thank for enriching their vocabulary last weekend.
The South African Test skipper was “Mampara Of the Week”—selected by the nation’s leading daily, The Sunday Times. It is a moniker reserved for politicians and businessmen but ‘Biff’ trumped all contenders last week with his “wishy-washy apology” to the South African public for his side’s early exit at this year’s ODI World Cup in India.
Mamapara roughly translates to “idiot”. I must admit—“You b****y Mampara” has a nice ring to it.
Sachin Tendulkar—in the sunset of his career—is an inspiration to older cricketers. Simon Katich is the latest to pay obeisance. The West Australian cricketer—in his press conference—slammed Greg Chappell ,rightly questioning his credentials as a selector as he pointed out his inability to predict the master bat’s recent heights.
“Elder cricketers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but bad selectors.”
Rushing to Katich’s defence was minister of defence for the realm, Stephen Smith. Australian politicians love their cricket and their cricketers.
“If he’s not in the top 25 Australian cricketers – and I can’t find one better opener than him on that list, let alone two – then I’ll go hee for chasey.” said the minister. An Aussie phrase learned here—take note,English language lovers.
The West Indians have been shafted once more. Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth have opted out of the India-WI Test series citing injuries. Indian fans don’t seem to care. The boys in blue have ratcheted up wins—rising to the occasion. Who’s to say that Praveen Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun won’t?
The trio of Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli seem natural replacements for RahulDravid,Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
There’s oft a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip, though.
Remember the dynamic duo of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif?
Kaif languishes in the minor leagues of domestic cricket whereas Yuvraj "blundered" from strength to strength.
ODI success does not instinctively translate to Test level. Yuvraj Singh will testify.
Quote of the day:
Anything not worth doing is worth not doing well. Think about it. – Elias Schwartz
The game between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkatta Knight Riders was a humdinger. A last-ball finish was a perfect ending to a cliff-hanger.
Fresh personnel could not take KKR over the line. Captain Cool MS Dhoni retains the Midas touch though he seemed a little lacklustre in the field.
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.
Graeme Smith scathed Sachin Tendulkar for not doing enough on the final day to try and ensure a draw. The South African skipper believed that the great should have shielded the tail-enders, that the master showcased a dereliction of duty.
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.
With the Indian Test team now at the summit , (we are now No.1 ) , let’s take a pause from celebrating , and ask a pertinent question, where’s the next generation of players, who will keep India at the top?
The Big 3, namely Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid will soon be retiring within the next 2 years. Sehwag will then be the elder statesman of the team; I wonder if that will have an impact on his batting style. Will he still be as care-free? I have a feeling he will. He’s more in the Viv Richards/Srikkanth mold in terms of his persona; as long as he can score he’ll play else he might even retire early. The last 2 batsmen to retire early i.e. in their early 30s, were Sanjay Manjrekar and Ravi Shastri. Shastri probably has no regrets ; he made his debut for India at 19. For a man of his limited talents, he was an overachiever. To start as No. 11 and end as the opener must be a record of sorts.
So who do we have to replace Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar?
Murali Vijay has made the most of the limited opportunities he has been given. With an eye on the future , he can be the No.3 bat for a long time if he plays to potential. The top 3 slots can then rotate amongst Gambhir, Sehwag and Vijay.
Wasim Jaffer , though already in his early 30s, might be another one who deserves a second or third chance. Remember even Australia, when phasing out their No.1 side, opted for players in their 30s before making a clean break over the past 1 year. So Jaffer cannot be ruled out.
So who’ll take Tendulkar’s place? On the weight of sheer talent itself, Rohit Sharma comes to mind. He has impressed one and all when he has put his mind to it. If he can be a bit more consistent , he can cement his place in the Indian side.
As for the contenders for Laxman’s place, there’s Uthappa, maybe a comeback from Kaif, though unlikely, Dinesh karthik perhaps, and in all likelihood, Suresh Raina but no other batsman springs to mind. None of the other T20 and ODI players selected seem like good bets for Test cricket. So there is a possibility that this Indian side can go the Australia way, (i.e. from world beaters to struggling to remain the best) , if we do not unearth gems who can adorn Indian cricket’s showcase over the next decade and a half!
Your thoughts and comments are welcome!