INDIA-ENG TEST SERIES PREVIEW

INDIA -ENGLAND  TEST SERIES IN ENGLAND PREVIEW- 2021

Courtesy : Times of India.

As the  battle lines are drawn for another awe inspiring Test series between England and India Test series and getting underway today at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, let’s peep into the history of the rivalry.

The Pataudi Trophy (named in 2007 after India’s illustrious cricketer M.A.K. Pataudi )was claimed by India once only in the inaugural series in 2007 under the captainship of Rahul Dravid with a solitary win at Trent Bridge, Nottingham in the 3 Test series.

The India-England  Test series will kick start the second edition of ICC WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP  (WTC), which will be played in 2021-23 cycle. 

More than winning the Pataudi Trophy, a feat India last achieved under the leadership of RAHUL DRAVID in 2007, Kohli said the challenge for his team was to win in “situations which are not ours”.

INDIA IN ENGLAND 

India and England played 62 Tests in England from 1932.  England won 34 tests and India won 7 tests.

After 22 outings, India registered its first Test win in English soil in 1971 at The Oval under the leadership of Ajit Wadekar with Indian spinners having a field day led by the unpredictable  leg spinner Chandrasekar and it also marked India’s Firstever Test series win in England.

India had to wait for another 15 years for the next series victory as the team led by the mercurial all rounder Kapil Dev.  Kapil led his team into a tumultuous win in 1986 by 2-0 by winning comprehensively both in Lord’s and Headingley, Leeds.

Then under the leadership of “The Wall”, Rahul Dravid in 2007, India won the Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham and also the series with 1-0.

Though India did win a Test in 2014 under M.S. Dhoni at Lord’s with Ishant Sharma & Bhuvneshkumar bowling their best, but India had to suffer heavy defeats in the remaining 3 Tests.

In our last outing in 2018 under “King “ Kohli, we could manage a solitary win in the 3rd Test at Trent Bridge with Kohli leading from the front with 97 & 103 runs and Jasprit Bumraha’s incisive spell, after a humiliating innings defeat when they were blown away by the English pacemen and Chris Woakes scoring a magnificent century in the 2nd test at Lord’s.

Now, India with well acclimatising with the weather conditions at England and a practice match before the Test series are well equipped to take on a depleted England side in the absence of their mercurial all rounder Ben Stokes, bowlers Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes due to injuries.  England will include the young all rounder Sam Curran who made a sensational start in 2018 against India and Jonny Bairstrow in place of the injured Ollie Pope.

Indian team have a dilemma  to choose the best XI, though there are indications from the Captain’s pre-match interview that the all rounder Shardul Thakur will make it to the playing XI and Mohamed Siraj will also make a cut into the final XI.  Two spinners may be a luxury in England pitches and the captain will be tempted to include the all rounder and athletic fielder Ravindra Jadeja into the XI and leave out R. Ashwin.

We have to wait and see whether the history will repeat at Trent Bridge as India has most success here with 2 wins here.     

England (possible): 1 Rory Burns, 2 Dom Sibley, 3 Zak Crawley, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Ollie Pope/Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Sam Curran, 8 Ollie Robinson, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Jack Leach, 11 James Anderson

India (possible): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma / Mohammed Siraj, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

THE OVAL ground, LONDON

Courtesy : google images

CRICKET  GROUNDS- THE OVAL, LONDON

The Oval, currently known as Kia Oval for sponsorship reasons, is an international cricket ground in Kennington in the London Borough of Lambeth, South London.

The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket club since it was opened in 1845.

The ground is owned by Prince of Duke Charles ( Duchy of Cornwall) and the only ground in England NOT owned by the County club.

It was the FIRST ground in England and second in international cricket ( MCG, Australia was the first ground) to host Test cricket in Sept. 1880.

HISTORY

The Oval is built on the former Kennington Common.  Cricket matches were played on the Common throughout the early 18th Century.  However, as the Common was also used regularly for public executions for convicts, cricket matches had moved away to Artillery ground by 1740s.

In 1844, the site of the present Kennington Oval was a market garden owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.  The Duchy was willing to lease the land for the purpose of a cricket ground and on 10th March 1845, the first lease was made, which was later assumed , issued to President of Montpelier Cricket Club by the Otter Trustees who held the land from Duchy to convert into a subscription cricket ground for 31 years at a rent of 120 pounds per annum.

 Prince Charles, Duchy of Cornwall, owner of the ground gets a slice of ticket prices , every drink, pie and programme sold.  The Duchy of Cornwall, who is still the owner of the ground, the property Estate which generated profits 14 Million pounds last year, provided Prince Charles personal income.  Prince Charles, the 24th Duke of Cornwall became entitled to the full income from the Duchy’s profit on his 21st birthday in 1969.

Original Contract for turfing The Oval cost 300 Pounds, the 10,000 grass turfs came from Tooting Common and were laid in the spring of 1845 allowing the first cricket match to be played in May 1845.  Hence, Surrey County Cricket Club was established in 1845.

On 3rd May 1845 the Club acquired the remainder of the leasehold of land for a further period of 31 years.

The Pavilion was built in 1898 designed by the famous architect A.T. Muirhead, who also built the pavilion for Old Trafford, Manchester.  Although much altered in subsequent years it still retains its original character.

GROUND INFORMATION

The Oval wicket  has 27 pitches more than any other cricket venue.  It has 5.5 acres , the largest playing area for Test matches in the northern hemisphere.  The playing area  is very large, extending to 168 metres by 148 metres.

It has 3 entrances viz., Hobbs Gates, Kennington Oval including turnstiles and Vauxhall End.  There is a separate Members’ enclosure.  There are 3 covered stands and 9 uncovered stands.

Name of Ends : Pavilion  End and Vauxhall End.

ABORIGINES  VISIT

In 1868, 20,000 spectators gathered at The Oval for the first game of 1868 when the Aborigines (Australia) began cricket tour of England ( for a 47- game tour)  and played the first match here and was the FIRST tour of England by any foreign country.

FIRST TEST MATCH

The First Test Match in England was played here  between England and Australia in September 1880 and thus became the Second Cricket ground to stage Test matches.  This  One-off Test was won by England by 5 wickets.  The Grace brothers , W.G. Grace, Edward Grace and Fredrick Grace played for the First time for England and W.G. Grace hit a  century on debut  (152 runs) and  for the FIRST TIME for England in Tests and Australia’s Captain  W.L. Murdoch also scored  a century ( 153 * ).

BIRTH OF ASHES  TESTS

In 1882, Australia won the one-off Test played here by 7 runs within two days.  The “Sporting Times” printed a mocking of an obituary notice “ English cricket had died and that the body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia “   which led to the creation of the “ ASHES” Trophy which is still contested whenever England Plays Test against Australia.  

History at The Oval

https://www.kiaoval.com/about-us/archive-history/ ( video)

The oval hosted the First FA Cup Final in 1872..  Football Association cup is an annual knockout football competition in Men’s domestic English football.

England hosted Australia at The Oval in 1880 it’s First ever test match

In 1882, Australia defeated England at The oval for the first time on British soil, leading the “Sporting Times” newspaper to declare the death of English cricket and beginning what would become known as “The Ashes” test matches between these two countries

In 1884, the First double century in a test was scored by Australia’s captain Billy Murdoch.

England’s dramatic 1 wicket win in 1902 inspired by it’s batsman Gilbert  Joseph’s sensational century against Australia

Australia’s 701 in 1930 as Don Bradman ( 244) and Bill Ponsford (266) put on 451 runs for the 2nd wicket and win for Australia by an Innings & 39 runs

England 903/7 is their highest in tests till date and they beat Australia by an Innings & 579 runs in 1938 and it was Australia’s heaviest defeat in Tests , when Len Hutton scored a  monumental triple century ( 364 ) 

Don Bradman’s farewell duck in 1948 Ashes  to the spinner Eric Hollies

Michael Holding’s 14 wickets & Vivian Richards blitzkrieg 291 ensured Windies win in 1976 by 231 runs.

The fourth and final Test of the 1979 series against India here was also magnificent.  England set the visitors a target of 438 runs to win.  India got off to a terrific start with an opening wicket partnership of 213 between Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan.  However wickets began to tumble and at the close India were tantalising 9 runs short of their target with two wickets in hand ending at 429/8.  Gavaskar’s monumental knock of 221 runs in the chase was one of the greatest innings ever seen at The Oval.

England’s speedster Devon Malcolm’s 9/57 against S.A. in 1994 set up win for England

In 100th Test at The Oval, England’s win by 239 runs over South Africa  in 2017 inspired by a brilliant century by Ben Stokes , debutant Toby Roland Jones’s 5/57  and Moeen Ali’s (England’s off spinner) Hat trick, first time at The Oval

Unique Featrues

The Gasholders outside the ground belong to the Victorian age, which means they were properly constructed.  Since they have not developed a crack, let alone a leak from the supply that is still in everyday use.

Courtesy : kiaoval.com

The iconic Victorian Gas Holder outside The Oval in south London is secured after the structure was granted Grade II listed status and now it is used as a prominent advertising hoarding for matches.

VAUXHALL PLEASURE GARDENS

The vauxhall pleasure gardens are located near to the Oval ground. The first and most important of these gardens, Vauxhall, was established in 1729 by the entrepreneur Jonathan Tyers. While the site had been a place for Londoners to gather and buy refreshments since the 1660s, Tyers realised that there was a market for paid entertainment. He also knew that charging an admission fee (of one shilling) would discourage pickpockets and prostitutes.

MUSIC CONNECTION 

The connection between Music hall and cricket was strong in the 19th century and 20th century.  Matches pitting teams of county players against comedy stars of the day were regularly played and raised large sums of the money went to charity.  In 1873, the Oval hosted a game that raised an amount of 70 pounds for the Music hall Sick Fund.  In late 1890s, Dam Leno, a comedy star of the day formed a group called the “Dainties” drawing many of the stars to play in such fixtures.  In 1898, Dan Leno’s team attracted wide publicity when they took on the employees of Dulwich’s Grove Hotel, it was well received by spectators.    

FACILITIES

Between 1993 and1996 the pavilion was completely renovated and enlarged by adding two storeys to provide additional seating for members, executive suites, restaurants and an improved library.  There are many famous paintings and items of cricket memorabilia in the various parts of the pavilion as well as in the SCC Centenary Library on the top floor of the building.

There is a splendid new clock above the members’ main pavilion entrance.  Near the main Hobbs Gate is a brick sculpture of Sir Leonard Hutton. 

In 1988 a new executive box was constructed at the Vauxhall End.   A large TV screen was installed high above Vauxhall Stand to broadcast action replays of the Cricket.

The First Aid room is located beneath the Bedser Stand and there are two further points at the Vauxhall end and Peter May stand.

The Club Museum  :  The Sandham Display room in the pavilion explains the history of Surrey CCC and the AMP Oval and contains Surrey and England memorabilia including the oldest known cricket bat in the world, and all the trophies that Surrey have won over the years.

Cricket coaching facilities, cricket nets, other sporting or recreational facilities are available.

Car parking facilities are available only for players and officials . Street car parking in and  surrounding ground or car parks in central London a short distance away.

Good viewing areas and designated viewing areas are available for people using wheelchairs. 

The Kia Oval offers a variety of Catering options around the ground.  On county championship and ODI fixtures there is Deep Blue Retaurant, a burger van, an ice cream van and beer carts located in the Pavilion forecourt as well as The Feathers Pub located behind bedser stand serving drinks and snacks.  On T20 match days, it has a food village at the Vauxhall end of the ground featuring some of the finest street food vendors as well as LIVE band music.

Toilets all around the perimeter of the ground with baby changing facilities are located in OCS stand as well by entrance of Lock Laker stand.

STADIUM TOUR

Stadium tours are available every Friday & starting at 11 a.m. unless a T20 or international fixture taking place.  Tickets must be booked thro’ their e-ticketing site or the office on any day.  The cost varies from 22.65 pounds onwards.  Tours will be approximately 90 minutes and visitors have to arrive at John Edrich Gate ( underground end) and to go to reception.

  • Entrance to the stadium
  • 90 minutes guided tour
  • Access to changing rooms, Members’ pavilion, committee room
  • Learn how cricket equipment is made
  • Skyline view of London from roof terrace
  • Tea or coffee on arrival

VIEW FROM SHARD TOWER (LONDON)

The building 95 storey Shard was designed by world renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.  This architectural marvel is the tallest building in the European Union and its distinctive shape has defined the London skyline.  If you visit the view from Shard, you will get a breathtaking 360 degree view of London from more than 300 meters above the city.

DEVELOPMENT 

The oval overhauled their drainage and irrigation system at a cost of 7,50,000 pounds.  The project aimed at draining 30 mm of rain water per hour in order to resume cricket matches as early as possible.

4 permanent flood lights masts have been installed at The Oval. These new lights have been developed combining latest technologies to ensure that the lights will remain focussed in the ground and not neighbouring areas.  These new lights were installed in 2008.

In 2002 started the redevelopment of Vauxhall end which included demolishing outdated Surride, Fender, Jardeine & Peter May North ends and creating in their place a single four-tier ground stand, currently known as 1845 Stand.

In 2007, the Lock & Laker & Peter May South stands were replaced.

In 2013, a new project was started called “wings” to either side of the 1845 stand at the Vauxhall end of the ground. The development helped to increase the total capacity to 24,500.

In 2015, the Peter May & Tony lock stands were demolished and replaced by a single new and much larger stand named Peter May.

M.S. DHONI- BIRTHDAY BABY

M.S. DHONI, BIRTHDAY BABY

MS Dhoni Net Worth

“ thanks a lot of ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hours consider me as Retired “ – a terse message posted by M.S. Dhoni on his retirement from International cricket on his Instagram page on 15.8.2020 as there were speculations rife for more than a year since 2019 World cup Semi Final ( played in England) Vs New Zealand impending his retirement announcement.  Ultimately this match turned to be his last International match.

MSD’s TRAVAILS

Between 2000 & 2005 India saw 12 wicket keepers starting from M.S.K. Prasad and at last India found a Wicket keeper in M.S. Dhoni.   He donned the gloves for the first time  for India in 2004 for ODIs and 2005 in Tests.  And rest is history.

Dhoni’s rise is a rags-to-riches story and has been a one of a phenomenal success, punctuated by occasional blips in performance.  Dhoni is the ideal icon for modern India. Aggressive with decorum, mostly along with stardom and an apparent happy-go-lucky Midas touch, Dhoni is the perfect blend of a role-model and pin-up star.

Dhoni took his father’s advice “Don’t let the success get to your head keep going”.  A rather simple word of caution but not necessarily easy to execute.  The Indian youth has grown to mock the word, but Dhoni has taken victories in his stride along with defeat in equanimity and gave importance to evaluation at a micro-level as a tool to pave the way forward with relative indifference to the results.

Dhoni went on to become quintessential Captain Cool, arguably the world’s best finisher and one of the all-time greats of Limited overs cricket, bringing about a revolution that put the onus on the batsmen to pull off unlikely chases.

ICC’s TRIBUTE TO M.S. DHONI

M.S Dhoni Retires from International Cricket: ‘One name, a million memories’, ICC pays tribute

Courtesy : ICC’s twitter

Highlights:  

  • M.S Dhoni announced his retirement from International cricket. 
  • ICC pays tribute to M.S Dhoni ‘One name, a million memories. 
  • ‘One of the Greats’  

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the greatest captains in cricket history and the best finisher, retired from international cricket on 15 August 2020. Now Dhoni will never hit the ground in Team India’s jersey, he informed his fans through a video on social media. 

The former captain decided to retire without playing a farewell match. His fans wanted to have a grand farewell match when captain Cool retired. The International Cricket Council (ICC) bid farewell to this legendary player in his style. The ICC has posted a video on their social media account showing Dhoni’s entire career. 

The ICC has put a 3-minute and 11-second video of Dhoni on their Twitter handle. It contains memories of all three ICC Trophies won by him. Dhoni has lightning-fast stumpings and the sixes of his World Cup 2011 which will be remembered for centuries and will be cherished forever. 

Not only this, but ICC have put the cover photo of Mahendra Singh Dhoni on their official Twitter page. In which Dhoni is seen with the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy and 2011 ODI World Trophy. Dhoni is the only captain in the world of cricket history to have the fortune of winning all three big ICC titles. 

Dhoni scored 4876 runs in 90 Tests for India, which included 6 centuries. At the same time, he has 10773 runs in 350 ODIs. In the ODIs, Dhoni has scored 10 centuries and his average is 50.57. Talking about T20 bouts, he scored 1617 runs. 

ENVIABLE RECORDS

  • 50.57average in ODIs
  • 47 instances of Dhoni being unbeaten in successful chase in ODIs.  Incidentally, India have lost only 2 matches, when Dhoni was NOT OUT in a chase (i) against Pakistan in Kolkata in 2013 ( ii) against ENGLAND in 2019 World cup.
  • 9 instances in which Dhoni completed a successful chase with a SIX including 2011 WC Final at Mumbai.   No other players achieved this feat more times than MSD
  • 229 SIXES hit by MSD in ODIs, only Rohit sharma hit more SIXES ( 244) for India than Dhoni.

CAPTAINCY RECORDS

  • 332 matches as Captain in international cricket. Dhoni led India in 200 ODIs, 72 T20Is and 60 Tests.  He has the second most wins in Limited Overs cricket in Internationals, i.e. 151 games behind only Ponting’s 172.
  • 3 ICC Tournament titles, viz., 2007 T20 WC,  2011 World Cup and Champions Trophy in 2013
  • 6,641 runs as Captain- Wicket keeper in ODIs.  No other batsman has scored as many runs while leading the side and donning the gloves.  Dhoni led India in 200 while donning gloves.

WINNING AT HIGHEST STAGE  ( World cups)

Captain Won     Loss win/Loss %

Ricky Ponting        26     2                 13

Clive Lloyd            15        2                   7.5

M.S. Dhoni             14        2                   7      

 MS Dhoni Becomes First Cricketer To Earn Rs 150 Crore in Indian Premier League History After Being Retained by CSK for IPL 2021

MS Dhoni Becomes First Cricketer To Earn Rs 150 Crore in Indian Premier League History After Being Retained by CSK for IPL 2021

MS Dhoni has become the first-ever cricketer to earn more than Rs 150 crore in Indian Premier League (IPL) history. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain scripted history after being retained by CSK ahead of IPL 2021 players auction. Dhoni was retained for Rs 15 crore by CSK ahead of this season’s auction. As a result, the three-time IPL winning captain has now earned over Rs 150cr in IPL history. Reports stated Dhoni had already earned over Rs 137 crore before IPL 2021 retention day. His earnings have now gone passed over Rs 150cr after being retained for another season by CSK.

MS Dhoni Info

HAPPY BIRTHDAY  MAHI !   LONG LIVE !

NEW ZEALAND TEST CHAMPION

NEWZELAND – TEST CHAMPIONS

“It’s a special feeling. It’s nice to get one under the belt. I’d like to thank Virat and the Indian team. The heart that our team showed was commendable. It’s the first time we have come away with a world title, and the 22 players who played a big part in getting across the line deserve all the appreciation. This will be remembered for a long time. We don’t always have all the stars, and we saw that in this match. We saw so much heart and commitment. We know how strong the Indian side is, in all conditions.”

Kane Williamson, New Zealand Skipper after winning the WTC title

Courtesy : Times of India

This wonderful 144 year old sport saw a World Test Champion the New Zealand team, at the altar of The Ageas Bowl, Southampton , England on the 23rd June 2021 for the first time.  A ICC  major tournament title eluding the Black Cap team at last found a major title as the Kiwis beat India in the World Test Championship Final. The long wait was over. 

A team that is playing test cricket from 1930 this title win is a great boost for the New Zealand.  Athers (Mike Atherton) calls this is the GOLDEN ERA of New Zealand cricket.  And for a change Michael Waughan’s prophecy came true.  And our own commentator DK called Fire and Ice when he referred to Kohli and Williamson. 

And the joy sees no bound as the New Zealand players get their hands on the coveted Mace, finally in the midst of fireworks light up still a bright evening sky in Southampton.

And the senior pro Ross Taylor hit the winning runs for the Kiwis and watching this feat from the other end is the Black Cap teams ever smiling captain Kane Williamson.  The two senior pros put in their best performance and showed so much patience, resilience that they were cut out of their task of winning the Inaugural WTC title.  And also a fitting finale for their Wicket Keeper batter, B.J. Watling as he gets his hand on the Mace.

Courtesy : Blackcaps tweet

What a match we’ve had. A pitch that gave us a result even though two entire days were washed out, and excellent foresight – we must now acknowledge – from the ICC, to have this sixth day in reserve. Two superb teams who both played terrific cricket, but New Zealand were definitely the better team on this occasion, with more fast-bowling depth, the greater ability to swing the Dukes ball, and a more robust lower order.

The Player of the Match, Kyle Jamieson, the the tall and lanky, Kiwi bowler rose to the occasion well with his  sterling performance on the big stage breaking the backbone of the Indian batting with a scalp of 7 wickets ( including 5fer in the first innings) and also a cameo with the bat stole the show and ably supported by the other pace trio Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner .

The Indian batting unit failed miserably in both innings though their pace duo of Mohd. Shami ( 4 wickets) and Ishant Sharma   did well in the first innings to give a moderate lead of 32 runs for the Kiwis.  The much expected Indian pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah went wicketless was a surprise.  Of course the overcast conditions 0n the 2nd day ( as the first day play was washed out) was favourable to the Kiwis bowlers who exploited the seaming conditions well and it was too hot to handle the  Kiwis new found pace bowler, Kyle Jamieson by Indian batters and they restricted India 217 runs in the first innings and only the skipper and his deputy put up a semblance of fight in the first innings scoring 40+ runs and in the second innings it was a meek surrender by the Indian batters as they were folded up just for 170 runs and the New Zealand had to score 139 runs in 50 odd hours.  The Kiwis showed no panic in getting the total.  

While chasing the total the Kiwis lost two early wickets to India’s ace spinner R. Ashwin and the runs were drying up for the two senior pros at the crease.  But both Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor showed no urgency and were playing a waiting game and attacked when the Indian bowlers erred.

ROUND UP

  1. Indian Eves team salvaged a draw in the one-off test at Bristol, England as their tail ender batters Sneh Rana & Taniya Bhatia showed resilience as they put in an unbeaten 104 runs for the 9th wicket after the Indian women were asked to follow-on on the 4th day at the closing hours on 19th June 2021.  In fact they didn’t play Test cricket for 7 years and this one-off Test draw was a very good achievement.
  2. At Goss Islet, St. Lucia (west Indies) in the 2nd Test between West Indies and South Africa it was again the domination of the Visitors as they romped home by 158 runs.  Keshav Maharaj, the slow left arm spinner became the FIRST South African bowler to claim HAT TRICK in Tests as he claimed 5 wickets for 36 runs .

WTC FINAL 2021

WTC FINAL- ROAD TO FINAL

The D-day is drawn on June 18 , 2021 at the Hampshire’s The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, England as the World’s Firstever Test championship and Kohli or Williamson who will join Clive Lloyd (   First Ever ODI WC title in 1975) and M.S. Dhoni ( first ever title T20 WC in 2007) is the million dollar question.

  WTC Final: Michael Vaughan Says “Fancy New Zealand To Beat India” In World Test    Championship Final. So, India will win the WTC Title as Vaughan was always proved wrong.

Stakes are high for both Captains viz., Kohli and Williamson as the ICC title still eludes them.

Indian Cricket Team is raring to play the inaugural World Test Championship(WTC) Final against New Zealand on 18th June at the historic stadium of The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, England.. 

INDIA’S JOURNEY TO WTC FINAL 

After two years of gruelling action which was played out between 9 teams, the Virat Kohli-led side and the Kiwis came out on top and will fight for the first-ever World Test Championship title.

The points system was changed mid-way through the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the test series all over the world couldn’t get completed. The Indian cricket team pulled off a stunning victory over Australia in their own backyard by 2-1 and then came from behind  with a resounding victory over England by 3-1 to book their place in the Cricket Image for Indian Cricket Team Journey To World Test Championship Final

WTC Final.

Image Source: AFP

The journey of the Indian team could have been a straightforward one, however, Pandemic caused a complete change in how the teams were supposed to qualify for the finals and the Virat Kohli led side had to fight back till the end.

India vs west Indies in West Indies, 2019

The first series India played under the ICC World Test Championship was against West Indies. It was a two-match test series which India won comfortably by 2-0.

In the first at  Sir Viv Richards stadium, North Sound, India won comfortably by 318 runs as  A. Rahane hit a powerful century in the second innings  preceded by 81 runs in the first innings and was adjudged man of the match.  Hanuma Vihari also hit a majestic 93 runs and Ishant Sharma took 5/43 in the first innings and it was Jasprit Bumrah’s 5fer in the second innings that turned the match in India’s favour.

 5 for 7 – Jasprit Bumrah’s figures in the second innings,  was the least expensive five wicket haul by an Indian bowler in Test history.

In the second test at Sabina Park, Kingston it was Hanuma Vihari’s century in the first innings and followed by 53 in the second and again Jasprit Bumrah tore the west indies batsmen in the first innings to set up an easy victory for India by 257 runs .

Ind v SA, South Africa tour of India, 2019: 

In October 2019, South Africa came to India for a three-match test series. India being the home team won the series whitewashing the Proteas  by 3-0. In the three matches Rohit Sharma  scored heavily with 529 runs including  a double century and got two MOM awards and MOS award and  in the second test, Indian captain Virat Kohli was adjudged player of the match as he hit magnificent double century ( 254) 

Ind v Ban, Bangladesh tour of India, 2019:

Bangladesh came to tour India in November. The two-test match series saw  India beating them mercilessly by an Innings in both Tests including  India’s first ever Day/Night test match conducted in India at Kolkata. Ishant Sharma was the player of the series for picking up the most wickets(12). He was also the man of the match in the second test while Mayank Agarwal was the star in the first test. After the end of this series, India was cruising with 160 points.

NZ v Ind, India tour of New Zealand, 2020: 

India toured New Zealand in February 2020 for two test series. It was a disastrous tour for India as they lost both games. Indian batsmen failed to score runs as in both matches, two Kiwi bowlers – Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson – were adjudged player of the match. Southee was also declared man of the series for his 14 wickets. 

Aus v Ind,  INDIA TOUR OF AUSTRALIA,  2020-21: 

India toured Australia for a four-match test series in December-January. However, in between, the points system was changed and India had to somehow beat the Aussies to keep themselves in the race of WTC Finals. 

After suffering a humiliating defeat in the first test at Adelaide in the D/Nmatch registering a very low score of 36 all out in the second innings, India bounced back at MCG with a fine century by the Stand-in Captain A. Rahane and won the test, drawing the Test at SCG with a dour batting by Hanuma Vihari and Ashwin and finally winning the Test at GABBA, Brisbane in the twilight of the match by a scintillating knock by wicket keeper Risabh Pant and the young bowlers including 3 debutants Washington Sundar, T. Natarajan and Shardul Thakur delivered the punch.

It was a watershed series in Indian Test history as the bench strength rose to the occasion as the senior players were not available due to injury and Captain Kohli  was also unavailable due to the birth of a child. 

India defeated Australia 2-1 in the end, that too, with an almost second-string team

IND Vs ENGLAND IN INDIA

After the high of Australia, India still had to win at least two games against England to qualify for the WTC Finals but the start was not good as India lost the first of the four test matches at Chennai. However, as is wont  India made a strong comeback as they finished the series 3-1. With the series win, India not only qualified for the finals but also topped the points table with the highest percentage of points earned  – 72.2, the criteria for qualifying.     

NEW ZEALAND’s ROAD TO WTC FINAL 2021

After a rough start to life in the World Test Championship, New Zealand have become the first team to qualify for this year’s final in June.

NEWZEALAND TOUR OF SRILANKA

New Zealand’s road to the World Test Championship final got off to a rocky start in Sri Lanka. Playing in Galle, New Zealand slumped to a six-wicket defeat as captain Kane Williamson registered the rarest of ducks.  Though in the first innings both teams were in equal footing, in the second innings Srilanka prevailed over the Kiwis as the Srilankan Captain D. Karunaratne scored a brilliant century while chasing.  

But  Kiwis fought back brilliantly in the second Test  at Colombo inflicting a humiliating innings defeat and the Kiwis  did not leave the subcontinent empty-handed. Off the back of centuries from Tom Latham (154) and BJ Watling (104 not out), the Kiwis stormed home to an innings and 65 run win, levelling the two-Test series 1-1.

That saw Williamson’s side head home with 60 points in the WTC or – as would later become key – 50 per cent of the points available to them.

Australia 3 – New Zealand 0, December-January 2019-20

New Zealand’s hopes of making the WTC final were  dented severely   during the horror tour of Australia.

They crossed the Tasman with mounting expectations but were drubbed mercilessly by the Aussies  3-0 in the end.

In fairness to the Black Caps, they ran into an Australian team in ominous form. Marnus Labuschagne averaged 91.50 and scored two centuries including a double. David Warner and Travis Head each scored centuries of their own, and with the ball Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins all averaged less than 20.

At the end of the series, New Zealand still had only 60 points, 25 percent of what was available to them.

New Zealand 2 – India 0, February 2020

Then the Kiwis had fantastic home series against all major countries in 2020 and a slew of victories came in their way in home conditions. 

India had a dreadful series in New Zealand as they were beaten blue by the marauding Kiwis by 2-0.

New Zealand did not have to wait too much longer for more points though, beating Virat Kohli’s India 2-0 at home. That is two of the three losses India have suffered so far in the WTC.

In spite of their handsome victories at home against S.A. and Bangladesh,  India quickly found themselves on the backfoot against New Zealand, suffering a 10-wicket loss at Wellington where they failed to pass 200 in either innings. Southee (4/49) and debutant Kyle Jamieson (4/39) shared eight wickets in India’s first innings and the veteran helped himself to 5/69 in the second innings to leave New Zealand needing to chase just nine runs to win.

Jamieson backed up his fine debut with a five-wicket haul in the second Test (5/45) and by the match’s fourth innings, New Zealand were chasing a potentially tricky target of 132. A 103-run opening stand between Latham (52) and Blundell (55) ensured they got the job done with a minimum of fuss.

New Zealand finished the series with 180 points, 50 percent of what was available to them at that point.

New Zealand 2 – West Indies 0, December 2020

It was another 10 months before New Zealand played another match in the WTC, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the cricket calendar.

With several series needing to be postponed throughout 2020, the ICC announced in November that the WTC finalists would be determined through percentage of points earned rather than total points.

At this stage, New Zealand sat fourth on percentage points (50), behind England (60.83), India (75) and Australia (82.22).

Having made up ground with their 2-0 win over India in February, New Zealand resumed their march to the final by beating the West Indies 2-0 at home.

Captain Williamson led the way in the series opener, scoring a momentous 251 at Hamilton, walking off to a standing ovation from the crowd and handshakes from most of the West Indies line-up. That proved the backbone of New Zealand’s total of 519/7 and an eventual innings and 134 run win.

Williamson sat out the second Test for the birth of his first child, but New Zealand found a way to get the job done without him.

Henry Nicholls stepped up with a big century (174) to help New Zealand to a total of 460, and five-wicket hauls from Southee (5/32) and Jamieson (5/34) in the first innings paved the way for an innings and 12 run victory.

For the third straight series New Zealand picked up all 120 points up for grabs, taking their percentage up 62.5 per cent.

New Zealand 2 – Pakistan 0, December-January 2020-21

New Zealand continued their winning streak when Pakistan toured, registering yet another 2-0 series win.

Returning from the birth of his child, Williamson was at the heart of his team’s success against the touring Pakistan outfit.

The captain started the series with a century (129) to set up a 101-run win at Mount Maunganui, and he took things a step further with a double-century (238) in the second Test, making it three hundreds in his past three matches.

Incredibly, he was still outshone in the second Test, with young quick Jamieson taking 11 wickets for the match (5/69, 6/48) to be named player of the match in an innings and 176 run win.

The 120 points collected took New Zealand’s haul to 420 and crucially their percentage of available points up to 70.

It also saw New Zealand rise to the top of the ICC Test Rankings.

ENGLAND-NEW ZEALAND TEST REVIEW

ENGLAND – NEW ZEALAND EDGBASTON TEST REVIEW

COVID PROTOCOLS

The LV= Insurance Test Match between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston was the first pilot event within the second phase of the Government’s Events Research Programme. There were around 18,000 spectators each day, 70 percent of total stadium capacity  On all the 4 days including the 4th when England was sure to be defeated. All the individual ticket holders presented a negative COVID-19 result from an NHS Rapid Lateral Flow Test, completed within 24 hours in advance of the day they are attending, and gave  consent to take part in the programme. The pilot event will be used to analyse testing protocols for all spectators in attendance, the use of social distancing and face coverings when moving around the stadium, and gathering further evidence on the risk of transmission at mass participation events. As part of these Government protocols all ticket holders will need to be aged 16 and over.

Picture courtesy : cricinfo.com

FORTRESS BREACHED 

The Edgbaston ground is a favourite hunting ground of the England team.  They were defeated only once in 2019 against Australia since 2008.  So it was like a fortress for England.  And when New zealand defeated England  yesterday it was a la Australia’s defeat to India last year at GABBA. 

The Kiwis  bench strength came to the fore and  did the trick at Edgbaston ground.  New zealand made as many as  six changes in the team including their captain Kane Williamson, (who was nursing an injury )that played at Lord’s last week.. In fact Matt Henry who did the early damage in England’s both innings was a replacement for Tim Southee and bagged the Player of the match award with 6 crucial scalps in the match.

ENGLAND’s batting woes continued from Lord’s and here at Edgbaston, Birmingham in the second Test as New Zealand completed the formalities on the 4th day and ensured a facile victory without any hiccups as they chased a paltry 38 runs for the loss of 2 wickets only 

  &  wrapped the two-match series with a win1-0  with almost 2 days to spare. Thus ending the hegemony of England at Edgbaston.   It was also the first series victory of the Kiwis over England in England since 1999 and their three consecutive series win against England  as they defeated England in 2018 & 2019 in their home series.

The Kiwis bowlers exploited the chinks in the armoury of England’s top order batting with the exception of Rory Burns, (who continued his good form and scored 81 runs) and Dan Lawrence (who also scored 81 runs) made heavy inroads in their batting line up.   And only a late order surge by Mark Wood and Dan Lawrence helped the team reach 300 runs in the first innings. 

It was thoroughly a team effort of the Kiwis in the batting unit  as 3 top order batsmen including Will Young who played in place of Kane Williamson, crossed 80 runs and took a sizable lead of 85 runs in the first innings.

It was the second innings capitulation of England batsmen and it could have been worse but for the 8th wicket partnership of 44 runs between Olly Stone and Mark Wood England ended the 2nd innings with 122 runs as they were tottering at 76/7.   

it was a thorough exhibition of all round skills of the Kiwis team that brought victory.  And England had to lick their wounds as they were defeated in their own backyard .

 In the post match presentation, Joe Root  clearly mentioned that the Kiwis outplayed them in all the three departments and he was also put an embarrassing position and has been obliged to answer questions about the Ollie Robinson affair, a rest-and-rotation policy over which he has little control, or a plethora other issues like .

 contesting allegations of institutional racism, and wrestling with the issue of historic social media posts which demonstrate the sexist and racist attitudes which pervaded in the past, it feels inappropriate. But with his soft voice  he defended his team, he took responsibility for underperforming personally and he refused to hide behind excuses.

So  it’s not worth quibbling over whether Jack Leach, the successful spinner should have played at Edgbaston or whether England’s slip cordon is standing at the correct angle. The problems go far deeper than that.

RAGING CONTROVERSY OF UMPIRE’S SOFT SIGNAL

The soft signal by the field Umpires issue reared its ugly head  here at Edgbaston When Devon Conway edged a delivery from Stuart Broad and Zak Crawley at gully grabbed the ball and claimed the catch and all England players were in jubilation mood to celebrate it.  But the on-field Umpires referring it to the TV Umpire with a soft signal of NOT OUT.  And the TV Umpire had to concur with the on-field umpires though it was observed that the fielder’s fingers were under the ball at the time.  Now, the bowler in the equation Stuart Broad vociferously contested the wisdom of SOFT SIGNAL of the Umpires and asked ICC to look into this issue and withdraw the Soft Signal by on field  Umpires and ECB officials also endorsed Stuart Broad’s suggestion.

Already India’s Captain Virat Kohli  and West Indies captain (at the time)  Jason Holder lent their voices against the Soft Signal .  But ICC has turned a deafen ear to the raging issue.

ROUND UP   

 And  in the other Test match played around the same time  at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Goss Islet, St. Lucia (West Indies) the Pace bowlers had a field day as they took 27 wickets that fell in the Test as the  WEST INDIES suffered a humiliating Innings defeat against the visiting South African team in the First Test led by their new captain Dean Elgar.

After electing to bat , the Windies were blown away by the Proteas bowlers headed by Lungi Ngidi and Nortje for just 97 runs  in just 40.5 overs on the first day, the South Africans put up 322 runs thanks to a brilliant knock by their wicket keeper, Quinton de Kock, who found his form in a blistering attack scored an attractive century.   And in the second innings of West Indies, it was the old horse Rabada, who also found his bowling form ripped through their batting line up with 5fer and Windies folded up just for 162 runs and suffered an ignominy of an Innings defeat.

It was also Dean Elgar’s first win as Test captain, a pleasing result for the new leader. He joined a  list of skippers who led their side to victory despite scoring no runs, taking no wickets and holding no catches in the Test.

LORD’s TEST 2021 ENG-NZL REVIEW

Courtesy : The Telegraph

RAIN FORCES  DRAW

The 2021 England’s Summer season’s first Test between England and Newzeland played at Lord’s  meandered into the tad draw yesterday.  The third day’s play was washed out as it rained in torrents. Though the Kiwis dangled a carrot for England as 273 runs in 75 overs were set for them to chase in the 4th innings on the 5th day  the England team chose to shut the door for a win as they couldn’t force a fast scoring rate and the pitch also didn’t deteriorate as expected on the final day. 

The two players who stood out among the ruins were New Zeland’s Devon Conway and England’s Rory Burns.  Incidentally both were Openers and almost carried the bat in the first innings of their respective teams but in contrasting style.

While the rookie southpaw D. Conway was making Test debut here at the game’s headquarters and wanted to prove the world that age defies logic as the 29 year old opener after emigrating to Newzeland from his own country , South Africa hit a memorable double century and adored the Honours Board at Lord’s , England’s southpaw R. Burns, after being dumped for a few Tests, in his welcome comeback justified his recall with a fine century. 

Both the openers were the top scorers and made the bulk of the runs for their respective side with D. Conway hit a scintillating double century with his team total of 378 in the first innings in a meaty batting conditions , hitting fluent boundaries and  with only Henry Nicholls scoring a half century and it was a treat to the eyes to witness the exuberating batting exploits of him.

For England R. Burns hit a defining century  against heavy odds as in his early innings survived a couple of close LBW shouts and took some blows on his body including on his head and also survived sharp chances including a stumping chance.  

The sparse crowd ( as only a quarter of the capacity was allowed in the stadium) cheered Rory Burn’s glittering century. But for R. Burns century, England would have suffered defeat as the other batsmen have caved in and the tailenders joined him in the rescue operation including the debutant the tall and lanky Ollie Robinson, who was selected as a bowler throw his bat around and shared second highest score of 42 runs  the first innings and James Anderson added 53 runs for the last wicket. 

New Zeland’s bowling attack was spearheaded by the ever reliable legendary swing bowler Tim Southee who scalped 8 wickets( including 6 wickets in the first innings of England) and other bowlers the tall and stout Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner.  England’s bowling attack centered  around the rookie pace bowler Ollie Robinson, who took 7 wickets ( including 4 wickets in the first innings) and the veteran Jimmy Anderson chipping in with a couple of wickets.

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M.A. C. GROUND DEBUTANTS

M.A.CHIDAMBARAM STADIUM  DEBUTANTS

At M.A.Chidambaram stadium, Chepauk, Chennai there were 31 players who made their debut in Tests from 1934 to Feb.2021.  

Out of these 31, there were 20 Indians and 11 foreign players.  Out of these 11 test players, 4 players were from West Indies, England 3, Australia 2 and Pakistan and Newzeland 1 player each.

From Yuvraj of Patiala to Axar Patel, some of the  the debutants at M.A.C. served the game with distinction.  Let’s see some of the players who left an imprint to the game of Cricket.

Yadavindra Singh:-  Yadavindra Singh,   Yuvraj of Patiala, Punjab from the Kingdom (who later on became Maharaja of Patiala) who played only one Test.  Unlike his father Maharaja of Patiala, who was a philanthropist and donated Ranji Trophy, Yuvraj played cricket. He made his debut in 1934 when Test cricket was played here for the first time here at Madras Cricket Club ground ( later on M.A.C. Ground).  He scored 24 & 60 runs in this  3rd Test  of the series against the visiting England team, which England won by 202 runs.  This was a 4 day Test. He also led India in an Unofficial Test against the visiting  Australian team in 1935-36. 

Yadavindrasingh served as President of British Indian Olympic Committee from 1938 to 1947, and played a stellar role in triggering the Asian Games. He was named President of BCCI.  

Yadavindrasingh also served as Indian Ambassador to Italy in 1965 and 1966, and resigned to participate in the Assembly Elections of 1967. He won by a huge margin.  He served as Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1971 to 1974. 

Mohinder Amarnath :-  Born in a cricketing family, Mohinder Amarnath Bhardwaj served the game with distinction.  He played for Delhi team in the domestic circuit. Son of Lala Amarnath, who served the game in various capacities including Indian Test Captain, Selector etc.,

His siblings Surinder and Rajinder Amarnath have played cricket for Indian domestic cricket. In fact Surinder played for India in 10 Tests including a century on debut .

Mohinder is often referred to as Cricket’s Frank Sinatra ( a famous U.S. Pop singer)-  “the Master of Comeback”.

He made his debut at this ground in 1969 against Australians in the 5th Test.  Incidentally he also played his last Test here in 1988.

He played only oneTest on debut and was dropped after that.  In fact he opened the Bowling attack with his gentle medium pace in both innings and took 2 wickets in the second innings and scored 16 runs on this debut test. 

Unlike his father Lala and elder brother Surinder, Mohinder did not score a hundred on Test debut.  He also sent down his innocuous medium-pacers, often opening bowling in the land of spinners, specialising in holding one end up as the strike bowlers operated from the other.

His roller-coaster career spanned over two decades beginning from 1969.  He started his career as a suspect against short pitched bowling but finished it as one of the finest and bravest players of fast bowling.

He made a comeback in1976 after a gap of 7 years in New Zealand at Auckland along with his younger brother Surinder who debuted and scored a century.  

He played 69 Test matches and scored 4398 runs and also  captured 32 wickets . He scored 11 hundreds  including 5 centuries in away series in Pakistan and West Indies. One almost lost count of the number of times he got hit, frequently on the head and with near fatal consequences. Yet, down the line he was hailed, based on one series, as the best player of fast bowling.

He also played 85 ODIs and scored 1924 runs with 2 centuries and captured 46 wickets.

He fearlessly hooked the fastest West Indian bowlers in their backyard,  and hit a purple patch scoring nearly 600 runs in five Caribbean Tests at 66.44 in 1982-83. During that phase, Sunil Gavaskar even proclaimed him as the best batsman of the world. And within a year he came back to India to score one solitary run against the same set of bowlers in six innings, averaging 0.17. He rose again like a phoenix, as he had done throughout his career, almost recapturing his full glory. And yet again, in his final series in 1987-88, against the same old West Indian foes, he was little more than an abject embarrassment to himself and his fans.

Amarnath is almost synonymous in Indian cricket with guts and grit, spirit and spunk. He is also the face that appears with Kapil Dev, holding aloft the Prudential Cup — the tournament that changed Indian cricket forever. And he played a pivotal part in that triumph, with Man of the Match awards in both the semi-final and the final.

DILIP  DOSHI  :-  The spectacled left arm orthodox spinner from Bengal made his debut at the age of 32 here and immediately struck with 5fer in the first innings of Australia in 1979, albeit the Test was Drawn. In fact he was the second leading wicket taker in the series with 27 scalps in his kitty.  

He was quickest to claim 100 Test wickets in just 28 Tests.  In all he played 33 Tests between 1979 & 1983.  He took 5fer in 6 innings .

He also played 15 ODIs and took 22 wickets.

SANDEEP PATIL

Sandeep Madhusudan Patil from Mumbai , a RH batter and seldom bowls right arm medium pace, made his debut here against Pakistan in 1980.  He made just 15 runs in the only innings he played in the Test.

Next he toured Australia in 1980-81 and straightaway made his impact hitting a magnificent 174 runs against Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe in the Adelaide Test, the 2nd Test of the series.  In fact in the first Test at SCG he was hit by a searing bouncer from Len Pascoe and had to retire hurt.  

He became famous overnight and started acting in commercial ‘ads’ endorsing products.  But in his next 14 outings, he crossed 50 runs only twice showing his inconsistency.  He made a great comeback( after being dropped) at Old Trafford, England in 1982 hitting a swashbuckling century.  During this century knock, he hit 6 fours of a  Bob Willis over.

In the 1983 World Cup in the semifinal against England he hit a whirlwind half century helping India to win the match.

His inconsistent form continued.  Then he published his autobiography “Sandy Storm”. Then he hit a century against Pakistan at Faisalabad ( his last century).  He played his last test at Delhi against England.

He started acting in Bollywood movies.  Then he later became the Coach for Indian Men team & Chairman of Selection committee.

In the Test match at M.A.C. against the visiting West Indies team under Viv Richards in the 1987-88 series in the 4th Test of the series, there were 4 debutants including a West Indies player making their debut in Tests.

For India Narendra Hirwani, Ajay Sharma & W.V. Raman and for Windies Phil Simmons made their debut.

Narendra Hirwani, the leg spinner who played for M.P. made a sensational debut claiming 8 wickets in each innings (16 wickets in the match)  in his first Test here at M.A.C.   But he couldn’t perform consistently thereafter as he could get only 50 wickets in the rest of 16 tests he played.  In ODIs he got 23 wickets in 12 matches.

W.V. Raman, who’s the local boy, made his debut in Tests at his home ground.  A left handed batter and also bowls left arm spin scored 9 & 83 runs on debut. He toured West Indies, Newzeland and South Africa and in all played 11 tests and scored 448 runs including 5 half centuries with 96 as his HS in tests and also took 2 wickets.

He also played 27 ODIs and hit a Century against South Africa becoming first Indian to hit an ODI century against them.  Later on , he coached the TN team and till recently coached Indian Women team.

Sadagopan Ramesh, another local boy, made his debut at his home ground.   A flamboyant left hand batter first appeared in a Test in the 1999 series against Pakistan. In his debut test he scored 43 & 5 runs against Pakistan.  Pakistan won this Test by just 12 runs in spite of Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliant century.

He went on to open the Innings in 19 Tests scored 1367 runs with 2 centuries and 8 fifties ( 1999-2001). He also played 24 ODIs and scored 646 runs with 5 half centuries.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni    

India’s search for a reliable wicket keeper for nearly 5 years was over when M.S. Dhoni arrived on the scene. Between 2000 & 2005 India saw 12 wicket keepers from M.S.K.Prasad to M.S. Dhoni.

M.S. Dhoni made his debut in Tests here at M.A.C. against Srilanka in 2005. He scored 30 runs on debut and went on to play 90 Tests creating history in Indian cricket and became an icon.  

Dhoni’s rise is a rags-to-riches story and has been one of phenomenal success, punctuated by occasional blips in performance.   Dhoni is the ideal icon for modern India.  Aggression with decorum, mostly along with stardom and an apparent happy-go-lucky Midas touch.  Dhoni is the perfect blend of a role model and pin-up star.

Dhoni took his father’s advice “ Don’t let the success get to your head and keep going”.  A rather simple word of caution but not necessarily easy to execute.  The Indian youth has grown to mock the word, but Dhoni has taken victories in his stride along with defeat and gave more importance to evaluation at a micro-level as a tool to pave the way forward with relative indifference to the results.  Dhoni went on to become quintessential Captain Cool, arguably the world’s best finisher and one of the all time greats of Limited overs cricket.

Dhoni’s unenviable records speak about his qualities as a batsman, wicket keeper, Captain across formats in Indian cricket.  

M.S. Dhoni played so many crucial knocks in Test cricket.  His best Test innings as a batsman and captain came at Chennai in 2013 when he blasted his Test career best of 224 runs against the visiting Australians in the First Test of the series and also went on to win the series by 4-0 whitewashing the Aussies for the first time.  Australia have never been whitewashed like this before.

M.S.Dhoni captained for the first time in tests in the 3rd Test of S.A. series at Kanpur in April 2008 and the Test ended in just 3 days with India winning by 8 wickets and the series 1-1 ( 3 test).

Out of the 60 tests as captain in Tests he won 27 tests a record for India at the time.\

In the 90 tests, he hit 4876 runs with ave 38.09 and SR 59.11 with 6 centuries and 33 fifties with 544 boundaries and 78 sixes and for wicket keeping his stats are : 256 catches and 38 stumpings.

M.S. Dhoni, former skipper showed us that you don’t always have to spoil your sleep by participating in the mad race of the competitive world of modern sports.  He, rather, gave the sporting world an alternative model where you can achieve much more by having a philosophical view of sports in particular and life in general.  In this alternative method., MSD not only thrived but also left a legacy for the next generation of sportsmen to come.  MSD didn’t hanker after captaincy, it came to him as he was destined for it.  But when it came, he handled it with utmost maturity and calmness without over fussing about it or without trying to cling on to it by any means.   MSD didn’t come from big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata or Chennai but from an obscure town , Ranchi in Jharkhand in Indian cricket map and served the game with distinction.  

GREAME SWANN ( 2008-13) an off spinner from Northamptonshire (England) made his Test debut here in 2008 when England was led by Kevin Pieterson. In the Debut test, he took 2 wickets in his first ever over in Tests though England lost the Test as Sachin Tendulkar hit a whirlwind century in a mammoth chase of 387 runs and India cruised home comfortably.. 

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 After a successful tour of West Indies (albeit in a losing cause) he played a key role in the 2009 Ashes victories at Lord’s and The Oval. Further incisive spells followed over the years to come: South Africa in Durban, Bangladesh in Chittagong, Pakistan at Edgbaston and Lord’s, Australia in Adelaide, Sri Lanka in Cardiff, India at The Oval, Sri Lanka in Colombo.

During the 2012 home season, Swann’s career hit a blip. And he was dropped from the Test. However, the following winter Swann was back to being a central figure, helping England to an historic series win in India, his alliance with Monty Panesar as they claimed 19 of the 20 wickets to fall representing one of the greatest spin-bowling double acts in England’s Test history. 

A recurring elbow problem which has resulted in a surgery in early 2013 cut short his international career.  Though he played Ashes series in 2013 he was not at his best and announced his retirement  four days before the Boxing Day Test having lost the first 3 Tests in the Ashes  series.

In his 60 Test career he took 255 wickets with 5fer 17 times and 10 wickets in a match 3 times.  He was no rabbit with the bat as he hit 1370 runs with 5 half centuries.   He was also a good fielder in slip position and took 52 catches.

Bhuvnesh Kumar born in Meerut (U.P.) , the right hand swing bowler made his debut here in 2013 against Aussies.  Though he didn’t take any wickets, he helped M.S. Dhoni to complete his career best double century by adding 140 runs for the 9th wicket .

 His defining moment came in England in 2014 series where in helping conditions at Lord’s he swung the ball both ways and took his career best  6 /82 in the first innings and helped India to win the Test  at Lord’s and made his name in the Honours board  at Lord’s. In fact he was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise wretched tour of England, taking 19 wickets at 26.63, an Indian record for most wickets against England in a Test series.

He was often plagued by injuries which denied him continuous appearances in International career.

He played 21 Tests so far and still continues to play in Tests besides being a regular member in ODI & T20Is. He took 63 wickets including four 5fers.

AXAR PATEL  the tall and lanky left arm spinner from Gujarat rode into success straight away on his debut this year in February against England and as he steamrolled the English batsmen with his accurate tweaks in the second innings as he scalped 5 wickets and he along with R. Ashwin helped India to win the 2nd Test here.  And he went on to claim  a whopping 27 wickets in the series against England in 3 Tests.

JAMES ANDERSON’s DREAM DEBUT

On this day ( 22nd MAY 2003) , James Anderson aka “Jimmy”  made his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord’s, his favourite ground, where he took more than 100 wickets.

James Anderson, who took his maiden Test wicket on 24th May evening, was back in the limelight shortly after lunch, devastating Zimbabwe’s first innings with four wickets for five runs to finish with the magnificent debut figures of 5 for 73 in 16 overs. Four of his five wickets were bowled, including two in two deliveries,

Anderson had become the first Test debutant to take five wickets at Lord’s since Dominic Cork in 1995. He joined  the list of immortals on the honours board in the dressing-room, an achievement that many cricketers have spent a lifetime pursuing. A dream debut indeed.

James Anderson had long proved himself as one of the most skilful and prolific fast bowlers in England’s history  in 2018 Test summer he eclipsed Glenn McGrath as the most-prolific quick of all.

 His talents have been particularly apparent in Test cricket where his command of swing bowling, especially on his home grounds, has been the stuff of artistry, bearing comparison with any swing bowler in any age. He has been an integral part of three victorious Ashes campaigns and became the first England bowler to take 500 Test wickets. ( and now his pace bowling compatriot Stuart Broad also took 500 test wickets recently)   

During the early part of his career he was considered too soft and lacked the attributes of becoming a top-class performer at the international level. But since late 2007 he has been on another planet. With wickets coming against every side and after having mastered the Aussies in Australia his resume now looks complete. During those inconsistent years, when he was out of the side, the England coaching management tinkered with his bowling action which resulted in a loss of confidence and form. But once he went back to an action that was based on his old one, he was back to his best – swinging the ball around corners and taking wickets by the plenty. His stand-out performance came in the 2010 Ashes when he spearheaded the England attack and bowled quite outstandingly with the Kookaburra ball taking 24 wickets – thereby exorcising some of the ghosts of his previous visit to Australia in 2006 when he took only five wickets.

Jimmy Anderson in his book “Jimmy : My story” recalls his work ethics “ I take my work seriously.  I actually practice being confrontational, aggressive and generally  in-yer-face.  I analyse my own performances, not just in terms of my bowling but how I have conducted myself.  Because, I have discovered, I tend to be more effective as a bowler when  I am chuntering at opponents or involved in a full-on and frank exchange of views than when I am not.  Fast bowlers tend to have an attribute that gives us an edge over our opponents, and mine is actually being something of a mardy bum. Because I have not got express pace like Shoaib Akthar nor am I built like a brick outhouse like Chris Trimlet.  I need something else in my armoury as a fast bowler to help me get that edge over the batsmen.

For the first six years of Anderson’s international career, the best way to sum up his bowling was to paraphrase Mother Goose: when he’s good, he’s very, very good – and when he’s bad, he’s horrid. When the force was with him, he was capable of irresistible spells, seemingly able to swing the ball round corners at an impressive speed.

His one-day exploits  has also had its moments as he gradually became adept at bowling in a more defensive fashion, but it is as an attacking swing bowler where he has had few peers. After his dream debut in Tests, he followed it with a match winning Hat trick against Pakistan at The Oval in the same summer of 2003.

 Anderson was no  rabbit with the bat and was best illustrated when he struck 81 against India in 2014 – his maiden first-class fifty – as he shared a Test record stand of 198 for the tenth wicket with Joe Root in the first innings. He has served England with distinction as a nightwatchman on numerous occasions and went 54 Test innings before collecting a duck, an England record. At Cardiff in 2009 he survived for 69 nail-chewing minutes to help stave off defeat by Australia. He has also been an outstanding fielder, strikingly so for a fast bowler, lithe in the outfield and sharp in the catching positions.

NUMERO UNO IN TESTS

After taking his 600th Test wicket at  Ageas Bowl, Southampton in August 2020 against Pakistan , now Anderson is the No. 1 pace bowler in Tests.

Joe Root, England Test captain, paid a rich tribute to Anderson on his 600th Wicket in Tests  by saying: “There’s no one that can touch him really, he’s that far ahead of everyone else in my opinion. “He’s a brilliant senior player – you couldn’t ask for a better role model and someone to learn off. He’s a credit to our country.”

Every question around the Southampton Test had answers on expected lines even before the start of play, on Tuesday (August 25, 2020), except  the beginning one – Will James Anderson bag his 600th Test wicket in this match?

 The magical number of 600 was eluding him for quite some time as there were dropped catches in the slip cordon and adding to the woes a sitter dropped by Stuart Broad in Mid on and the persistent rain at Ageas Bowl.  And when it finally arrived, there was jubilation all around. Azhar Ali, Pakistan captain, who hit a match saving ton in the first innings, unconquered, became his 600th Test victim in the second innings, when he edged Anderson’s outswinger, and Joe Root , gleefully accepted the catch.And  there was celebration in the ground sans spectators.

Anderson is the first quickie to scalp 600 wickets in tests in 156 Tests and also the first pace bowler to play 150+ Tests.

Anderson is refusing to rest on his laurels after achieving the incredible feat, revealing England captain Joe Root wants him to feature in the 2021/22 Ashes tour of Australia. The 38-year-old became only the fourth bowler after three retired spinners – Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets), Australia’s Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619) – to achieve the feat when he had Pakistan captain Azhar Ali well caught by first slip Root at the Ageas Bowl.

Anderson will be nearly 40 when England begin their quest to regain the Ashes urn from arch-rivals Australia in 2021/22.  

HUNTING IN PAIRS

Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled in tandem in Tests since  2008 took 895 aggregate wickets (Anderson 473 and Stuart Broad 422) in 117 Tests as on 30th July 2020.  It is also the most number of tests for a bowling pair in test cricket.  If we consider all bowling pairs, only one pair has taken more wickets playing together , viz., Glenn McGrath & Shane Warne of Australia (Pace & spin bowling combo) picked up 1001 wickets in 104 tests.  The next highest aggregate by a pace bowling pair is 762 wickets in 95 tests by West Indies duo Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. 

IPL 2021- CSK – MI REVIEW

IPL 2021- CSK Vs MI – REVIEW

Courtesy : TOI.

POLLARD’S  BLITZKREIG 

Phew ! It was an incredible and a true masterclass from the T20 Hulk.  The West Indian all rounder K. Pollard did it for MI in a wild chase of 219 runs.  The West Indian pushed the last ball of the match to long-on and scrambled for 2 runs to finish a high octane match in the last ball and MI romped home by 4 wickets.

It was a carnage by  Polly in a high scoring match Yesterday night  at Arun Jaitley stadium, Delhi.  He went on a rampage right from the word go.  The small ground also helped in the mad chase as it was clearing the boundary just by a wield power of Polly & others.  It was also the second highest chase in IPL history.

Though MI batters chased the target earnestly, they kept losing wickets including the openers and SKY who is yet to find his form. 

When Polly joined Krunal Pandya in the 10th over with the score reading as 81/3 still 138 runs were required in almost 10 overs.  Then the carnage started as the pair ( who were successful in the earlier match also) attacked relentlessly the CSK bowlers who were clueless as there were many wides and the mishits went for boundaries, balls falling short of the fielders and catches floored much to the chagrin of the CSK bowlers.  The run spree continued till 17th over when they added 90 runs in just 48 balls with Polly doing the bulk of the scoring and Krunal also played a cameo hitting 2 mighty sixes.

And the run flow didn’t stop either after the exit of Krunal as his younger sibling Hardik pounded the misery of CSK bowlers with a couple of sixes before holing out to long-on fielder Faf du plesis who, though dropped Pollard earlier, now held it this time.  

Now it was left to Polly to finish off the run chase as 16 runs were required in the last over.  The South African bowler, Ngidi felt the heat of the moment as he was spraying the ball attempting yorkers which ended  in full tosses twice Polly hit them 2 boundaries  and then Ngidi straying to the legside Polly pulled it with  a big heave towards square leg clearing the air.  Now, a brace is required to finish the match and he hit a straight delivery to long-on and collected 2 runs and MI home with a win.  And there were wild celebrations in the MI dug-out and Polly remained unbeaten on 87 runs and while bowling also he took 2 wickets of CSK with just 12 runs and he was chosen as MOM.

Earlier put into bat, CSK Batters did well to score a mammoth 218 runs thanks to half centuries from Faf du plesis ( his 20th IPL fifty), Moeen Ali ( his 4th) and Ambati Rayudu’s fastest 50(20) and he remained unbeaten 72 off just 27 balls with 16 sixes collected by CSK batters.  The MI bowlers with the exception of Rahul Chahar and Pollard were very expensive including T20 specialist indian bowler, J. Bumrah, who conceded 56 runs, his highest in IPL  in his quota of 4 overs. The total 218 looked formidable but in the ultimate analysis it proved to be gettable.