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.  

IPL 2021- REVIEW

IPL -2021 – 24th & 25th MATCH  REVIEWS

29th April 2021 the day saw a  double-header as MI & RR locked horns at DELHI(D/N) and KKR and DC at AHMEDABAD( N).

RR taking on the defending champion, MI in the afternoon, started with a bang as the opening pair of Jos Buttler and  Yashasvi Jaiswal pulverised the MI’s bowling attack and scored briskly adding 47 in the powerplay.  Coulter -Nile’s bowling  was put to swords as  his first over cost 14 runs as the young turks from U.P.  Left arm rookie batter Jaiswal cut lose against him.  

The pitch at Kotla seems to be an ideal IPL match as it has good pace and bounce and carry.  Some swing early on and a decent amount of turn.

Jos Buttler, England’s gloveman, who’s not having a great series so far played a cameo knock of 41 runs  at Arun Jaitley stadium, ( formerly Kotla stadium)  DELHI in the D/N encounter perished when he  charged too far from the crease  against the canny leggie, Rahul Chahar  and was deceived by the googly and completely missed the trajectory of the ball and was stumped by QDK by a day light distance.

And RR was losing wickets in a cluster.  Then came the 50 runs partnership between the skipper Samson and Dube.  Then Samson trying to shore up a big score, found his outside edge on to the stumps.

Jasprit Bumrah , the miserly bowler in this format once again bemused RR batters with more dot balls took a dolly from Dube and finished with his quota conceding just 15 runs.

The final over saw some drama.  Coulter-Nile was driven for a boundary by another young turks Parag.  Next ball Parag was reprieved when the MI captain Rohit dropped a sitter.  

His next ball was declared as ‘NO BALL” as the ball pitched outside the strip and the Freehit saw Parag bowled through the gates but they ran a single with David Miller striking a boundary to finish the innings with 171/4.

MI batters started well with Rohit and QDK scoring well over 8 runs per over until Rohit miscued a hit.  QDK who found his mojo was striking well completed his first half century i n this edition and Krunal Pandya promoted up the order played a cameo of 39 runs with 20 runs coming with boundaries.  And Pollard in his inimitable style finished off in style and MI won in the penultimate over losing just 3 wickets and in the second leg of the tournament MI found its winning ways.

And in the second match of the day KKR took on the burgeoning DC at Ahmedabad in the night encounter.

KKR’s batting woes continued as their top order batters struggled, consuming a lot of balls to score off with disciplined bowling by the DC bowlers.  The struggling Opener S. Gill top scored 43 runs off 38 balls.  But for Andre Russell’s late hitting the score would not have touched even 150 runs and KKR finished with a moderate score of 154/ 6 and DC’s spinners , especially the part timer Lalit Yadav scalped a couple of wickets conceding just 12 runs and Axar Patel, the local boy also took 2 wickets.

And DC’s openers made a mockery of this score as they went about ruthless leather hunting.  With just 156 runs to defend, it was intriguing that KKR’s captain Morgan opened the bowling with a young rookie bowler Shivam Mavi against a marauding the diminutive Prithvi Shaw, who was merciless hitting all his legal deliveries into the ropes, setting the stadium on fire.  And it was ironical that P. Shaw had captained the hapless bowler Mavi in the U-19 World cup and he had confided in the post-match presentation that he knew where Mavi would bowl as he was his under study for the past 4 years.    And the orange cap holder, Dhawan played a second fiddle in the chase scoring 42 runs in 132 runs partnership allowing Shaw to dominate the bowling.  

It does not bode well for a World cup winning captain Morgan bereft of ideas to marshal his arsenal in a combat situation like this.  As time and again his handling of bowling resources is much left to be desired. And the consistent and wicket taking bowler Pat Cummins was introduced only in the last over  of the first Power play who could arrest the run flow.  By the time they were well settled and carting every bowler either pace or spin with equanimity.  And the first breakthrough came only in 14th over when Cummins had Dhawan plumb in front of the wicket and Cummins cleaned two more batters of DC including P. Shaw who aimed for  an ambitious pull only found his top edge carried to the fielder at Point and he carried the batting within the striking distance of a win for DC.  And DC middle order batters finished the match in style with 21 balls to spare losing only 3 wickets.

SACHIN TENDULKAR BIRTHDAY

Sachin Tendulkar To Feature In Sevilla FC's "Never Surrender" Christmas  Campaign | Cricket News

SACHIN TENDULKAR’S MOMENTOUS DECISION

Sachin’s defining moment came in the Test at Sialkot, Pakistan on December 13, 1989.  When he was hit by a searing bouncer from the Pakistani speedstar ,Waqar Younis( who debuted with him in the Karachi Test) and he was bleeding.  He didn’t call for medical assistance and decided to carry on and in fact hit the very next ball for a boundary.  He went on to score a half century and saved the Test . “Waqar’s bouncer and playing through pain defined me. After those kind of hits you are either stronger or you are nowhere to be seen” Sachin said later. Yes, I didn’t call the physio as I didn’t want to show them that I am in pain. My pain threshold was fairly high. It’s okay to get hit. So what? You don’t show your pain to the bowler.”  When he played under childhood coach Achrekar, he had already learned to deal with pain because pitches were often used for 25 days straight at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana. “I was used to getting hit on my body from my days in Shivaji Park as Achrekar sir would make us play on that and it would have enormous wear and tear,” Tendulkar recalled.

 In his Autobiography “Playing it my way”  Sachin mentioned “ I have to decide at that moment whether to play the game or leave it.  I decided to stay in the game.” A decision at the tender age of 16 years was momentous. That “decision”  gave the cricketing world a genius.  And the rest is history.

MOMENTOUS DECISION AND ITS IMPACT

  • 664 INTERNATIONALS ; 34,367 Runs ; 200 wickets : 100 centuries

In a country already predisposed to cricket, Tendulkar gave the people a hero they could look up to regardless of age, colour, creed or sect – and catapulted cricket from a sport to a religion in the subcontinent.

Tendulkar was the runaway leader, with nearly 13,500 runs at No. 4 in Tests.That represents around 85% of his career. This is also the highest tally of runs scored in any position.

Tendulkar is a servant of the game. He does not play out of indignation nor for indulgence. His aim is not domination but runs. It is the nature of his genius.

Among contemporaries only Shane Warne could draw an entire stadium’s energy towards himself. 

WINDFALL IN EARNINGS

Tendulkar wrapped up his illustrious career on 16th November 2013. The same year he was listed on the Forbes “The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes” at #51.

Tendulkar’s net worth in 2019 was  estimated to be around $170 million. 

and endorses over a hundred global brands like Phillips, Britannia, VISA, BMW, Pepsi, Luminous and more. In fact, he was the first cricketer to sign a deal of ₹100-crore with MRF in 2001 and became their brand ambassador. He earns USD $ 18 million every year through the deals he has signed.

Tendulkar’s house at Bandra is worth at $5.4 million and also has many luxury cars in his garage.

BIOPIC ON TENDULKAR 

On May 27, 2017 released the sports docudrama, “Sachin: A Billion Dreams” , the ‘authorised’ biopic of Sachin Tendulkar. The film was by James Erskine and produced by Ravi Bhagchandka, and captures Tendulkar’s cricket and personal life in detail. The film also reveals a few aspects of his life which have never been heard of or seen before.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SACHIN TODAY (24th April)!

IPL 2021- CSK Vs KKR

 A HUMDINGER – CSK Vs KKR REVIEW – MATCH No.15

Courtesy : Times of India

Another humdinger at Wankhade stadium , Mumbai tonight in a high scoring IPL match.  This time it  was between CSK and KKR.  And the men who set the stadium on fire were KKR’s late order  all rounders Andre Russell, Pat Cummins and wicket keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik. It was an excellent Bat and Ball contest. It was KKR’s All Rounders batting Vs CSK’s Pace bowlers.

Chasing a mammoth total of 221, KKR top order batsmen crumbled under the weight of heavy score.  CSK’s Deepak Chahar, the Power Play bowling specialist, dented the early hopes of KKR’s chase claiming four wickets for 29 runs with his excellent swing bowling. And the KKR was in a precarious situation tottering at 31/5  within the Power play.

Enter the dragon, the hard hitting power house Andre Russell, the thunderstorm started and the runs were flowing in torrents .  He and Dinesh Karthik (DK) added 79 runs for the 6th wicket in just 42 balls.  Russell’s firework ended when his misjudgement to leave a ball around leg stump bowled by Sam Curran and only to see his woodwork disturbed and cartwheeled.  His cavalier knock got him 54 runs of 22 balls with 3 x 4 and a breathtaking 6×6 and this has raised the  hope of KKR a chance to win.  And DK joined the party with a flourish of boundaries and sixes.  He and Pat Cummins added 34 runs in 22 balls for the 7th wicket before DK misread an incoming delivery from Lungi Ngidi and was plumb in front of the wicket.  DK ‘s cameo exploits got him 40 runs of 24 balls with 4 x4 and 2 x 6. 

When DK left at 146/7  in the 15th over still needing 73 runs, it was an arduous task. But the  Aussie All rounder Pat Cummins took up the gauntlet of the challenge and took the match deep with tailenders till the last over. He almost pulled off victory for KKR.

He added 30 runs with K. Nagarkoti for the 8th wicket in just 8 balls. He added 24 runs in 12 balls with Varun Chakravarthi for the 9th wicket. The tailenders’ contributions were  just 0 runs.

In the 16th over bowled by Sam Curran, the lanky Aussie all rounder Cummins hit a grand 30 runs and it reads like this : 2, 6, 6,6,4,6 . 

In the 17th over of Ngidi only 5 runs were scored and lost a wicket.  

In the 18th Over Shardul Thakur conceded 12 runs including a horrible 3 consecutive wides.

In the 19th over of Sam Curran 8 runs including a six by Cummins were scored and Varun Chakravathy was Run out.

In the 20th over needing 20 runs bowled by Thakur with only the last batsman at the non-striker’s end, Cummins hit the ball to long-on and to keep strike he ran 2 runs but Prasidh Krishna was late to react and so when the throw came from deep, he was short of the crease by a few yards at the danger end and was RUN OUT.  Pat Cummins was left high and dry with unbeaten 66 of just 34 balls in a heap of 4×4 and 6x 6  and CSK romped home by 18 runs. And this is CSK’s third straight win in this edition.

Earlier put into bat , CSK amassed 220 runs thanks to the brilliant batting exploits of the “Player of the Match” Faf du plesis who remained unbeaten 95 and  whose mojo with the bat continued today also.  His opening wicket partnership of 115 runs with the rookie Ruturaj Gaikwad, who found his form today with a fine half century laid the solid foundation for a grand total of 220 runs. 

FEARLESSNESS- THE NEW BRAND OF INDIAN CRICKET

FEARLESSNESS – NEW BRAND OF INDIAN CRICKET 

In the twilight  of GABBA Test in  early 2021 , India’s gloveman the flamboyant  Rishab Pant hit the ball into the long off boundary off Hazlewood  in the 97th over , as India broke another streak of Aussies, this time their fortress “GABBATOIR” breech after 32 years and India romped home this Test with 3 wickets to spare chasing  329 runs.  It also signalled a 2-1 scoreline win in the Test series, a repeat of 2018-19 margin, retaining the BG Trophy. And he continued his sublime batting form when England toured India for a 4 Test series a couple of months back, hitting a powerful century at Ahmedabad . And now the 23 year old Pant’s given the mantle of leadership in an IPL team this year.

 And a new buzzword “Fearlessness”  became a brand in Indian cricket now. And the player who started it was an intrepid young southpaw, Rishabh Pant. 

 Shubman Gill making debut as opener at SCG last year made a memorable debut series including a match winning 91 at GABBA and a half century against England in the recent series.

Overcoming a personal tragedy, Mohammad Siraj, who lost is father while on tour to Australia with his indomitable spirit, made a remarkable debut at SCG and  in that series taking 13 wickets with his swing and seldom bowling bouncers, including a fifer at GABBA, leading the pace bowling attack only in his second Test in the absence of senior pace bowlers.

T.Natarajan, raised in a small hamlet with no formal coaching, with his rusticity appeal  made a dream debut across formats in Down Under Tour last year came into  reckoning with his stinging “Yorkers” claimed 3 wickets on his Test debut innings. 

Washington Sundar, the rookie off spinner for the GABBA  Test in the absence of India’s ace spinners, with his 3 scalps on his debut innings made a mark..  But his batting came in handly for India in Australia tour and against England in India scored two half centuries including an unbeaten 96 at Ahmedabad. 

Shardul Thakur , another debutant all rounder at GABBA with his beautiful swing bowling claimed 7 wickets and also scored a scintillating half century and helped India win GABBA test. 

Axar Patel made a sensational Test  debut at Chennai in the second test  against touring England a couple of months back with his left arm tweaks claiming 7 wickets in the Test including a fifer in the second innings helped India win the Test.   And twoTests at Ahmedabad , his home ground, he had 20 wickets in his kitty and India trounced England in both Tests

Ishan Kishan, the diminutive left arm , a product of IPL’s Mumbai Indian team with his swashbuckling cameo knock i on his debut T20I for India against England came into prominence for India in T20.  His knock included a star-studded 32 ball half century with 5 boundaries and four sixes last month played at Ahmedabad.

Suryakumar Yadav ( SKY)  another Mumabai Indian product hit the headlines with a fluent 57 runs in 31 balls in his 2nd T20I  match with  six boundaries and three sixes for India against England last month .

Prasidh Krishna, the bowling sensation in IPL circles made his ODI debut for India against England last month bowled well and got 4 wickets .  The right arm quickie known for his speed and swing was awarded the MOM award in this match.