September 13th, 2016
Suresh Raina looks such a tentative player if he is confronted with a little juicy surface and fiery bowling.
On a flat deck, he is a different player altogether and seems to have all the shots in the book. But, as soon as some pace and bounce come along to challenge him, he looks awfully limited.
His game on the tough wickets is just not improving. He has been around in the circuit for 10 years now and still he is that flat deck player which he was when he had made his debut for India.
Seeing him bat gives the feeling at times that his problem has been more in the head than in the technique.
The way he just keeps jumping around his crease to try and develop new methods to counter the moving and bouncing ball, it seems he himself is acknowledging that his technique and defence are not good enough.
There is a good old theory in Cricket that you have to keep your head still while hitting the ball, but, it is just not possible to do that if your position in the crease is constantly changing.
June 7th, 2016
MS Dhoni, at last, showed his finishing art on the penultimate day of the league stage of IPL 2016 as he butchered the young spinner Axar Patel to help his team Rising Pune Super Giants chase down 173 against Punjab.
With 23 to defend and given the modest record of MS against the southpaw spinners especially in the present tournament, Axar would have happily put his hands up to bowl that final over of the innings.
It was a matter of a couple of dot balls really and one came at the outset of the over itself as MS failed to get under an arm ball which was intelligently bowled right at his toe by Axar.
Aiming another one in that direction to get another dot in, Axar ended up bowling a wide and that’s when he fell off the radar.
While he could have been better off going for that same line again in spite of that wide, he decided to compensate and bowled it slightly straighter thereafter, shortening the length too and the Pune captain took the leather off the ball with a smoking hit.
The inexperienced Axar unnecessarily shifted his line again on the 3rd and the 4th ball and went outside the off stump with sufficient space for MS to slam both the deliveries through the cover-extra cover region.
March 3rd, 2016
Sharjeel Khan has been rewarded for the timely three-figure knock that he played in the last play-off game of the Pakistan Super League Season one.
He has been slotted in the Pakistan national squad for the two big multination tournaments coming up, that is the Asia Cup and the World twenty 20 Championship.
Sharjeel, who is featuring for Islamabad United in the first edition of the Pakistan Super League, was in a different zone in the third qualifier against the Peshawar Zalmi as he absolutely nailed it on a slow deck in Dubai.
And, that he did so against Zalmi, it made it that much more special as Zalmi had had the best of the bowlers in the tournament.
There was a hitter like Dwayne Smith standing at the other end with Sharjeel and the left hander made his Caribbean partner look like an ordinary player with the shots that he played.
It seemed as if the two batsmen were batting on different tracks.
While, Smith was finding it difficult to adjust to the lack of pace in the wicket and was not scoring at even a run a ball, Sharjeel was absolutely cracking it away
December 2nd, 2015
The coach of the England Cricket team, Trevor Bayliss, has brought an aggressive mentality with himself.
Addressing his very first press conference as the Three Lions boss, the Aussie made clear he wanted some ‘fire’ off the England players.
That showed in England’s performance in Cardiff. Everyone was up and ready for the task. There were counter attacks with both bat and ball.
Even Alastair Cook, who is known to be slightly cautious in his game, was ready to take on the opposition.
Cook going down the track and going for the lofted shot against a spinner is a rare sight in test match Cricket.
But, he was regularly trying to do so in the first test match.
He couldn’t succeed though, but, the intent was there.
However, earlier today while talking to the reporters, Bayliss said it’s not necessary for somebody like Cook to tinker with his natural game just for the sake of being aggressive.
According to Bayliss, the England skipper has spent whole his career being solid and he should continue that way as that would give the rest of the guys the freedom to play around him.
October 5th, 2015
Darren Lehmann has backed the Queenslander Usman Khawaja to do well and establish himself in the Australian test team.
Khawaja has been recalled by the selectors for the Bangladesh series and it’s believed he will bat one down with Steven Smith getting slightly down the order to fill in the no. 4 position vacated by Michael Clarke.
Khawaja averages just a touch over 25 in the 9 test matches that he has featured in so far, but, those who follow his Cricket closely believes he is a much better player than that and Lehmann also has the same view about the stylish left hander.
In an interview to a sports website after returning from the Ashes tour, Lehmann said, “I am really excited to have the opportunity to mentor some of these youngsters coming in. They are all hugely talented and it would be immense fun to work alongside them and help them understand their game better and bring good results to the team.”
May 31st, 2015
May 10th, 2015
Mitchell Starc should give some credit for his recent rise in international Cricket to Shane Warne too.
If Warne had not made that sort of comment on him in the test series, he might not have got that extra motivation and energy to show his capability to the entire world.
What a bowler he emerged out as in the second half of the summer, the New South Welshman.
Not only did he make Warne eat his words at the end of the summer, he established himself as probably the best bowler of the Australian team in limited-over Cricket.
The steam that he showed in all the games in the World Cup and even before that in the triangular series too, it was incredible.
It was like as if he was eager to prove that he was a ferocious fast bowler and not the soft one which Warne described him as in the middle of the Border-Gavaskar series.
Now, Starc’s aim should be to perform in the test matches as well in the same way as he has done in limited-over Cricket.
In test matches where there is a bit more patience needed, a bit more skill needed, Starc has faltered so far.