Naman Ojha would be really cursing himself

Naman Ojha would be really cursing himself for the way he batted in his debut test match at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Ojha has been in the domestic circuit of India forever and has been one of the consistent performers, but, has had to remain in the shadow of the likes of MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik.

However, finally, after a long wait, he got to play his first game in the whites for India because of the injury to Saha and he desperately needed to grab that opportunity with both hands, but, he couldn’t do that.

It’s true that even if Ojha had got a hundred, he would probably have been left out of the next test match and Saha would have returned to the fold after getting fit, but, a hundred off his bat would have made the competition quite stiff for that wicketkeeper’s slot.

Saha has not totally established himself either in the Indian playing XI. Although, he got a couple of fifties in Sri Lanka, but, there are still doubts over his ability to bat against the quality and potent pace attacks.

So, in such scenario, Ojha had to make a significant contribution with the bat and he was in a position to go big. He had got himself set in both the innings and was looking like comfortable handling the bowlers, but, all of a sudden, he went for the slogs and threw his wicket away twice. It was bizarre.

In the second innings, maybe one could understand that there was a need of quick runs for India and so, that shot was probably justified. But, what happened in the first innings? He was in the middle of a great partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara. Then, why did he go for the slog?

These are some of the questions that Ojha would probably be asking himself more than anyone else asking him.

Alastair Cook seems to have come into the Ashes series

Alastair Cook seems to have come into the Ashes series with a plan that he would not let the Australian spinner Nathan Lyon settle down when he is at the crease.

Cook generally is not that kind of player. He grinds his way to big scores, but, yesterday on the opening day of the ongoing Ashes series, as soon as Lyon came into the attack, the English captain was on the move.

He started doing a lot of things to try and put Lyon off his line and length, but, that ended up becoming the reason of his own downfall.

He misjudged the length of a delivery and was caught behind.
It was a good length ball and Cook was probably better off going forward to it. But, just because he was out of shape a little bit playing an unnatural game, he made the mistake there.

Being positive and showing intent is not a bad thing, but, if you are a defensive player by nature, you should not forcefully do that.

However, in spite of Cook not getting too many runs, England had a good first day thanks to Joe Root who continued being the run machine and got to his 7th century in test match Cricket.

Apart from him, Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes also contributed.

But, if England has to be consistent and beat Australia, Cook has to score runs at the top of the order and he has to do it his own way, not by trying to do something which he is not used to doing.

Cook has been an in form player this summer. In the last two test series that England has played, he has got a couple of hundreds.

But, the Three Lions need a couple more from their skipper in this Ashes series.

Alastair Cook gave all the credit for England’s win

Posted on May 11, 2015 by

Alastair Cook gave all the credit for England’s win at Grenada to his spearhead fast bowler James Anderson.

The skipper, who himself made the mockery of a short chase with a pretty fluent half century, spoke very highly of Anderson in the post match press conference.

England had plenty of wickets to take on the final day and then, they needed enough time to complete the chase of the target that was going to be posted in front of them.
It was looking unrealistic in the morning.

But, the new ball came and Anderson devastated the hosts with that.

There was not much help from the wicket and it was not needed either for Anderson.

He moved the ball in the air and made the Caribbean lower order dance to his tunes.

There had been some doubts over Anderson’s effectiveness with the new ball recently, but, he put all that to rest with this spell.

And, it’s not only this spell, if you see his overall bowling in the series against West Indies, it has been first class.

Talking about Anderson, Cook said, “It was very, very important to make new ball count and we did that. Jimmy bowled terrific lines which he always does and with his incredible quality to swing the ball in all conditions, he created problems for the batsmen.”

“It’s a special effort because we pulled it off on a dead wicket. In these sorts of conditions, you don’t generally get to see results.”

However, it was not Anderson who was

Dale Steyn is not getting a place in the XI of the Sunrisers Hyderabad

Dale Steyn, who was believed to be the best bowler in the world in all formats of the game not so long back, is not getting a place in the XI of the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the moment.

It’s Trent Boult whom the Sunrisers management currently prefers over Steyn for taking the new ball.

Boult being a left armer might be a reason, but, that is not the sole reason.

Actually, Steyn’s dip in form over the last one year especially in shorter formats is evident. He does not bowl yorkers and has lost his ability to swing the ball consistently as well.

As far as the change in pace is concerned, he has never been a master at that and that pushes him behind Boult who is not only much younger than him, but, also has been in better form.

In the World Cup 2015, Boult was one of the top 3 bowlers in terms of getting the wickets.

Also, he has the gift of natural angle which he creates bowling left arm over.

Sunrisers can play Steyn and Boult together if they want, but, for that, they will have to sacrifice an overseas batsman.

David Warner can’t go out as he is the captain. So, it has to be one out of Bopara or Morgan.

But, for that, Steyn will have to show the coach Tom Moody in the nets that he is in good enough form to be considered for selection.

Steyn has a good record for the Orange shirts, but, last year, he had taken some pounding at the hands of MS Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan and AB De Villiers.

On green pitches, Steyn is still a very handy bowler, but, in India, most of the pitches are not of that nature.

ENGLAND FANS HAVE HOPE

England fans must not read too much into their team’s huge win over Scotland yesterday.

It was indeed a morale booster for England, something that they were in desperate need of after the New Zealand thrashing, but, if one is brutally honest, he would say that Scotland is a pretty ordinary team and even if you are not at the top of your game, you can beat them hands down.

There were some bright lights for England though. Moeen Ali scoring runs and the captain Eoin Morgan getting a few too would have been satisfactory for the team management.
Also, Steven Finn’s lengths were slightly better than they were in the earlier games.

Against Australia and New Zealand, Finn, for some reason, was very reluctant to pitch the ball up. He, however, did so against Scotland and got the returns, even if it wasn’t quite the returns that the bookies such as titanbet were expecting.

Finn is currently in top 5 in the leading wicket takers in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, but, he would be the first one to admit that he has not put in quality performances.

In the Australia game, he, luckily, got a hat-trick as the batsmen were ferociously going after him and then, he got a weak opposition to bowl to in the last game.

However, in between came the New Zealand game in which Brendan McCullum just literally hammered Finn. The figures of the Middlesex bowler were far from being pretty that day.

One of the reasons why Finn has been easier to hit in the last few months is his loss of pace. He changed his action a little bit over the summer and his new action seems to be curtailing him to bowl as fast as he can.

He is still in high one thirties, but, a good 10 kilometres slower than where he used to be.

Mohammad Irfan may prove deadly for Batsman in World Cup 2015

Mohammad Irfan is somebody who can prove to be absolutely deadly for the batsmen in the World Cup 2015 which is starting this weekend.

The 32-year old is the tallest fast bowler going around with a height more than 7 feet and he is a left armer too. So, apart from the extreme bounce that he gets because of his height, he creates that angle coming from over the wicket for the right handed batsmen.

However, Irfan must ensure that he does not err too much on the shorter side. He has to get the batsmen playing on the front foot.

It often happens with the subcontinent bowlers. When they go to places like Australia and New Zealand and see a bit of carry in the pitches, they think that they have to bang everything short, but, that backfires.

On those pitches, the batsmen just have to get used to the bounce. Once they do that, the short balls don’t trouble them.

So, what’s important for the bowlers is to try and hit that area just around good length and look to get the ball climb a little bit from there as that would make the batsmen fend and play false shots.

Speed is the other important thing in Australia/New Zealand.

As far as Irfan is concerned, he was quite quick when he had toured India towards the end of the 2012-13 Season, but, he has lost a bit of pace off late because of injuries. However, he is still capable of clocking around 85 miles per hour every now then and that’s good enough, but, length will be the key for him. If he goes too short, then, he might go for runs.

Irfan has got 50 wickets in 36 One Day International matches for Pakistan so far.

Steve Smith best Form continues

The stand-in test captain of Australia, Steve Smith, just does not get tired of scoring runs.

No matter how hard the surface is, he always dominates and after being appointed the captain, he seems to have taken his batting to a different level.

When he had said prior to the Brisbane test match that it’s him who would replace Michael Clarke at the no. 4 slot, not too many people had supported him at that point in time.

It was thought that no. 4 would probably be one slot too high for Smith, but, the young New South Welshman backed himself, his coach backed him and the result is in front of everyone.

Three games batting at no. 4 for Smith and three centuries and he has not slogged his way through. He has played proper cricket.

Smith is certainly not the most orthodox batsman in the world. There are limitations in his batting. He probably moves a bit too much in his crease and in places like England or even South Africa where the ball jags around, he might find himself getting caught behind the stumps a few times, but, for the time being, the amount of runs that he has scored in the ongoing series against India, he must be given a lot of credit.

For someone who is only 25-year old to step up as captain at a time which was very tough for the whole Australian Cricket community and then, to do the job so well, not only as batsman, but, in terms of leadership as well, it shows that the guy has got some steel in him and that’s why, the experts have already started debating if he should be given the permanent charge of the test team.

MS Dhoni out for Whole Series Against Australia

MS Dhoni might be able to play in the entire test series now against Australia.

He was initially not to take part in the first test match in Brisbane because of his injury, but, now, that the Brisbane match has been postponed and the Adelaide test is going to be the first of the series, the wicketkeeper batsman is likely to lead the team in all the games.

It means Virat Kohli, who was all set to make his debut as captain in test cricket, will not be able to complete his dream for the time being. Wriddhiman Saha would also be denied of the golden chance of showcasing his talent at the test level.

Saha has remained in the shadow of MS Dhoni for almost his entire career. He was supposed to have the chance of making a case for himself in Brisbane, but, that will not happen now.

There were a few suggestions coming from the experts that Dhoni should not keep in Australia at all to give his fingers some rest and also to see where Saha is in terms of his wicket keeping skills.

But, the sources close to the Indian captain don’t think that he would be willing to give up the gloves in near future which simply means that Saha will have to sit out.
However, the BCCI has not made any announcement regarding the time of Dhoni’s departure to Australia.

But, while announcing the team for the test series, the Indian selectors had said that Dhoni would be fit for the second game. On the basis of that, the assumption is being made that the 33-year old would take the flight for down under in a couple of days’ time.

Dhoni’s record in test matches in Australia is slightly poor.

Cook Under Fire From Swann

The English captain, Alastair Cook, has said that the statements that his former teammate Graeme Swann has made about him are not helpful.
A couple of days back, Swann had criticized England’s selection policy for the limited-over formats of the game saying that too much emphasis has been paid on technically correct, conservative players who would not be able to win the team the World Cup.
According to Swann, the creative players such as Jason Roy should be included in the Three Lions’ One Day set up.
Talking to the reporters about Swann’s statements in the press conference in Cardiff yesterday, Cook said, “Graeme has been a close mate and has always backed me. So, to hear something like this from him, when we are approaching the World Cup, it doesn’t feel great at all. But, then, everybody is free to say whatever he thinks is right. So, I am not willing to go too much into that.”
The logic of the England selectors behind keeping too many sound players in the top order is the use of two new balls in 50-over cricket these days, but, the former English players, including Swann, who are commentating for several networks believe that since the white ball doesn’t offer that much movement, there is no need of such careful approach at the start of the innings especially when the conditions are good for batting.
England has lost One Day games quite often chasing a big score this year and it shows that the there’s a lack of firepower in the batting. The English think tank and the selectors still have time to try out some exciting batsmen if they want as the Three Lions have to play a lot of limited-over cricket before the World Cup.

Tundulkar Popularity Significantly Less

Sachin Tendulkar might have been the greatest cricket player till date, but, his popularity around the world is significantly lesser than that of the other sports personalities.

Sachin along with David Beckham, the former Three Lions captain, had gone to the All England club last week to watch Maria Sharapova play

These two gentlemen didn’t prove to be the lucky charm for the Russian beauty queen as she suffered a defeat.

In her interview after the match, when Sharapova was told that two great personalities in the name of Beckham and Sachin were present to watch her play, she told the interviewer that she knew the former, but, not the latter.

Not only did that take the interviewer by surprise, but, it stunned most of the other people watching the interview as well.

It’s true that Cricket is not the sport to be played in the most number of countries. Only 8-10 nations play it on a regular basis and thus, people might not know the names of too many cricket players.

But, as far as Sachin is concerned, he is an absolute legend. He has played the game for more than 2 decades and has done phenomenal things on the field. So, at least, he is expected to be known by people.

And that’s why when Sharapova refused to have heard about Sachin in the past, it raised a lot of eyebrows.

The Indian cricket fans were actually fuming after that statement of Sharapova and they had a go at the French Open champion on the social networking site twitter.

However, some people have come out in the defence of Sharapova as well saying that she belongs to Russia where cricket is not played at all, not even at the grass root level. So, if she doesn’t know a cricket legend, no fuss should be made about it.