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41 and still counting…….

Yesterday when Kevin Pietersen set India a target of 386 runs with less than four full sessions of play, the chips were definitely in favour of England.

Sehwag and Gambhir began the chase in contrasting manners. Viru played as if there were no tomorrow and it was raining boundaries. At end of play on day four India had scored 131 runs for the loss of Viru’s wicket. Viru laid the foundation for a possible Indian victory with a defiant 83 of 63 balls.

On day five Dravid’s misery continued as he was out for 4 runs. Sachin and Gambhir consolidated the Indian chase before Gambhir was out for 66 runs. Yuvraj came out with immense pressure on him to deliver and under Sachin’s patronage he produced a wonderful knock of 85 runs of 131 balls. As the afternoon progressed and the crowd continued its support with chants of “East or west Sachin is the Best,” England lost all hope of winning the match.

Sachin in an extremely sedate manner reminding me of Dravid’s double ton against Australia in 2003 scored the winning runs. He hit a boundary to score 103 and complete his 41st test century. His innings holds special significance as there were no sixes at all in it. Nine boundaries but we still love him for his passion and dedication. The victory is significant as this is the fourth highest successful run chase in tests.

Dhoni’s winning run continues and Sehwag won the man of the match award for his blitzkrieg-like 83. One should feel sorry for Strauss who scored centuries in both innings but still ended up on the losing side.

The second test at Mohali is evenly poised. Let us see what happens.

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INDIA vs ENGLAND TEST SERIES

There was a lot of uncertainty if England would return to India after the Mumbai blasts. Now things are OK and cricket once again binds broken souls. The first test at Chepauk has so far gone the way of the English. They scored 316 in their first innings and bowled out India for 241. Barring Dhoni and Harbhajan and to some extent Sachin and Laxman all the batsmen failed. In fact it was Dhoni and Harbhajan’s crucial partnership that brought some respectability to India’s first innings total.
Dhoni scored 53 and Bhajji scored 40. Flintoff, Swann, and Monty bowled well with Freddy and Monty picking three wickets each.

The English started their second inings disastrously losing three quick wickets. Strauss on 73 and Collingwood on 60 are playing well. At close of play today England
lead by 247 runs. A target of 375 plus and India might lose the plot.

Let us see what happens.
I really hope Dravid gets a good score, even a fifty will do his confidence a world of good.
Or perhaps it is time for him to retire gracefully.

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INDIA vs ENGLAND TEST SERIES

There was a lot of uncertainty if England would return to India after the Mumbai blasts. Now things are OK and cricket once again binds broken souls. The first test at Chepauk has so far gone the way of the English. They scored 316 in their first innings and bowled out India for 241. Barring Dhoni and Harbhajan and to some extent Sachin and Laxman all the batsmen failed. In fact it was Dhoni and Harbhajan’s crucial partnership that brought some respectability to India’s first innings total.
Dhoni scored 53 and Bhajji scored 40. Flintoff, Swann, and Monty bowled well with Freddy and Monty picking three wickets each.

The English started their second inings disastrously losing three quick wickets. Strauss on 73 and Collingwood on 60 are playing well. At close of play today England
lead by 247 runs. A target of 375 plus and India might lose the plot.

Let us see what happens.
I really hope Dravid gets a good score, even a fifty will do his confidence a world of good.
Or perhaps it is time for him to retire gracefully.

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The Finals-A Preview

So here we are on the eve of the finals of the most lacklustre Cricket World Cups of all time.

Australia meet Sri Lanka in the finals tomorrow at Barbados. Australia have clinically demolished all the teams they have met and they have proved that they are the best in the business.

Sri Lanka, the proverbial underdogs want to relive their 1996 dream. It is going to be an interesting contest tomorrow.

Vass bowling to Hayden, and Murali foxing Ponting, Glen Mc Grath to Sanath and Sangakarra. I wish it will be a fight to the finish and not a match where one team(read Australia) overpower the other in all departments of the game.

I strongly support Sri Lanka and want them to win. They have really worked a lot and improved their game under the able leadership of Jayawardene.

If Australia complete a hattrick, then the game will lose its charm and unpredictability.

Wishing the Lankans -ALL THE BEST.

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Greg Chappell Resigns..

Greg Chappell, has been following the old British policy of Divide and Rule, by segregating the team into groups and creating a rift among them. Right since India’s World Cup debacle, Greg has been hogging the media limelight by sending smses and conferences saying how the seniors have hampered the progress of the younger players, and the reluctance of some of the players to accept Dravid’s role as a captain.

The biggest blow, was when he said Sachin lacked commitment and had an attitude problem. Sachin spoke his heart out to a leading newspaper, saying-“I have been playing for seventeen years for my country, and no coach or selector has questioned my commitment and attitude.”
He continued by saying that Greg was a bad influence, as he tried to impose his ideas on the players, and he never spoke to them during the World Cup. He lacks motivational skill….
So what does the future hold in store for the Master Blaster. Personally I feel Sachin has still a couple of years of cricket left in him, but certainly not four years, ie. he should not play the next World Cup. He should retire gracefully from ODIs in 2008, after the 20/20 World Cup and concentrate on tests.

He should retire from both forms of the game by the end of 2008. He has played for India for seventeen years, won some matches, and lost quite some matches, but he shall be the best cricketer, as he inspired an entire generation to take up cricket.
Lets hope he retires on a high.

The latest development in the quagmire of Indian cricket, is the resignation of Greg Chappell, as the Indian cricket coach. Did Greg develop cold feet? A crucial meeting of all the members of the BCCI and former cricketers was scheduled to be held on April 6, and a decision on the future of Indian cricket was to be taken.

Now that Greg has packed his bags and left because “of personal reasons,” where shall Indian cricket head from this juncture. Greg started on a good note, coaching India’s record breaking seventeen consecutive successful run chases in ODI history, but he lost the plot in the West Indian tour, as iNdia became a weak ODI team, but a slightly better test playing nation.
So the floor is open, and the million dollar question is who is going to be appointed as the new Indian coach?

Wait and watch.

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Zee TV boss, Subash Chandra, had his name plastered across all TV channels, when he emulated Kerry Packer’s World Series gimmick, and announced the formation of the Indian Cricket League.

He announced that Rs 100 crores, had been set aside as funds for creating cricket academies, talent pools and this tournament. The highlights of the league are as follows:

There will be six teams.
Each team will be composed of four foreign players, two players from the current Indian team and eight budding cricketers.
Each team will be coached by a former Indian cricketer.
Prize money amounting to US $ 1 million will be on offer.
Initially the tournament will have 20/20 matches.

The concept is good, but will BCCI permit this, no private party can start its own league(Lalit Modi, informs that no information has been given to the BCCI by Zee)

So will this ambitious project materialise. Wait and watch.

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When Bangladesh defeated India on March 17, I thought the Tigers might spring a surprise. But their performance has been poor. They beat Bermuda to dash all Indian hopes, their show in the Super Eights has been disappointing and have lost their matches against Australia and New Zealand so far.

So it means that India fielded the worst team in the entire cup.

I hope the Bangla Tigers put a decent fight in their remaining matches.

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