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Delhi spent big bucks on Pietersen, Karthik

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in News |

Delhi Daredevils were the only franchise who had decided not to retain any of their players. So, they had their full amount of 60 crore rupees to spend in the auction and they started fabulously by buying a couple of glorious players in the first round, but, as the auction moved further, they made some bizarre moves. However, at the end, they would not be overly disappointed with their buys.

Foreign players bought in the auction

Kevin Pietersen (England), Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham (both New Zealand), JP Duminy, Quinton De Kock, Wayne Parnell (all South Africa), Nathan Coulter-Nile (Australia)

Indian players bought in the auction

Kedar Jadhav, Mayank Aggarwal, Dinesh Karthik, Manpreet Juneja, Murali Vijay, Milind Kumar, Saurabh Tiwary, Manoj Tiwary, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Siddharth Kaul, HS Sharath, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Shami, Rahul Sharma, Rahul Shukla

Retained players

No one

Right to Match Cards

DD had 3 Right to Match Cards available and they were supposed to use them for the big names, but, surprisingly, they used two of those cards for uncapped Indian players Kedar Jadhav and Shahbaz Nadeem. They could easily have used it for somebody like Morne Morkel, but, they missed the opportunity.

Strength

The Daredevils have got batsmen who are clean strikers, but, not sloggers. So, they can play on any kind of pitch.

Weakness

Delhi is lacking a quality, international death bowler. They have got a few guys who can hit the wicket hard and get big on the batsmen, but, on Indian pitches, those bowlers would probably prove to be ineffective. However, the story could be different if the IPL takes place in South Africa.

Possible XI

Murali Vijay, Mayank Aggarwal, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor, Saurabh Tiwary, Jimmy Neesham, Wayne Parnell, Rahul Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem

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Mumbai Indians a bit light in batting

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in News |

Mumbai Indians were in the same situation as their arch rivals Chennai Super Kings ahead of the auction. They also had just over 200 Lakhs remaining in the bag and it’s only with that money that they had to form a decent group.

It’s hard to say if they succeeded in forming the kind of team that they would have wanted. Let’s have a look at the players that they got-

Foreign players bought in the auction

Mike Hussey, Josh Hazlewood, Ben Dunk (all Australia), Merchant De Lange (South Africa), Krishmar Santokie (West Indies), Corey Anderson (New Zealand)

Indian players bought in the auction

Pragyan Ojha, Pawan Suyal, Zaheer Khan, Apoorv Wankhade, Aditya Tare, Shreyas Gopal, Jasprit Bumrah, Sushant Marathe, Jalaj saxena, CM Gautam

Retained players

Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh (all India), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Kieron Pollard (West Indies)

Right to Match Card

Just like the Super Kings, Mumbai Indians also used their right to match card in an unpredictable way. They used it for the left arm spinner Prgyan Ojha who is yet to prove himself as a good T20 bowler.

Strength

Quite a few of the Mumbai players are all rounders and in the shortest format of the game, it’s always good to have those sorts of players.

Weakness

Mumbai doesn’t have too many tried and tested Indian international batsmen in their squad. They look over dependent on their overseas superstars and that might trouble them at some stage in the tournament.

Possible XI

Michael Hussey, Aditya Tare (WK), Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Pragyan Ojha

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Highest base price fixed for Sehwag, Yuvraj

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in News |

Virender Sehwag might not have been retained by Delhi Daredevils, but, he is still considered as one of the best slam bang format player and that’s why, the IPL governing council has put him in the top pool of the IPL Auction Player List. Some other superstars in that pool are Kevin Pietersen and Yuvraj Singh. The base price of all these players has been fixed as 2 crore rupees.The base price means the amount at which the bidding of a player starts in the IPL 2014 auction.

The Australian captain Michael Clarke and the Sri Lankan wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara were also likely to be put in that 2 crore base price list, but, that didn’t happen and that might have to do with the playing style of these two players. Both are great batsmen, but, they take some time to get going when they first come onto the crease and that’s not ideal for the shortest form of the game.

However, if the sources are to be believed, then Sangakkara himself had asked the governing council not to put his name in the list. In fact, he wants not to go under the hammer at all this year as he reckons that with some important foreign tours for Sri Lanka coming up; he needs to work on his defensive game more. He is understood to be willing to have a deal next year instead. Apart from Sehwag and Yuvraj, the other Indian players in that top pool are as follows-

Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ashish Nehra, Robin Uthappa, Pragyan Ojha

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Pakistan likely to participate in Asia Cup, Waqar might be back as coach

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in News |

Waqar Younis might take charge of the Pakistan Cricket Team as coach again at least for the couple of upcoming multi-team tournaments i.e. Asia Cup and World T20 Championship. Both these tournaments will be played in Bangladesh.

Dav Whatmore had been working as Pakistan coach since the last two years and he was supposed to carry on till the 2015 World Cup especially after the recent successes that the men in green had had under him, but, it wasn’t to be. The 59 years old Australian didn’t accept PCB’s proposal of contract renewal.

As far as Waqar is concerned, he has coached Pakistan before. He had left that job in 2011 after having reported dispute with the board members. However, the PCB sources deny that. According to them, Waqar’s exit had nothing to do with any dispute. He had actually decided to quit because he had not been able to spend enough time with his family which was settled in Australia at that point of time.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed now that Pakistan will visit Bangladesh for the Asia Cup 2014. Earlier, there were doubts that they might boycott the tournament on security grounds, but, the tournament organizing committee released a statement on Thursday that all the 5 times including Pakistan would be anticipating.

Pakistan had won the last Asia Cup which was played in 2012. They had beaten Bangladesh by just 1 run in the final. They would start their crown defence on 25th of February by playing against Sri Lanka in Fatullah.

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Why did Swann retire mid Ashes?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 in News |

After England’s miserable performance in the first 3 Ashes test matches down under, some interesting things were bound to happen. There were definitely a couple of retirements on the cards, but, a mid-series retirement? No, that’s not something that one was expecting. But, that happened. England’s champion off spinner Graeme Swann left every England fan in utmost shock by calling it a day just before the Melbourne test match.

It’s not about Swann’s retirement. He was close to his mid-thirties and it was evident that he was not going to continue serving England for a long time. But, the time that he chose to quit was really interesting. Yes, England had lost the Ashes. Yes, the wounds were not going to be healed by doing well in the remaining two games, but, still, it was the question of pride for the Three Lions. There is a huge difference between losing Ashes by 0-5 and losing it by 2-3 and England’s best chance of achieving that latter result was only when most of its senior players were up for it. But, Swann threw the towel in.

Some of the statements that Swann made in his retirement press conference are really worth a mention. The most interesting of them all was “Some guys playing cricket at the minute have no idea how far up their own backsides they are.” Now, that was a big statement. It’s the statement of a player who is not too happy with things happening around him.

Swann, later on, through Twitter, tried to justify that statement saying that he was not referring to any English player, but, everybody knows that there is one guy in that English dressing room whom Swann doesn’t send Christmas Cards. He has had issues with that guy a number of times in the past. Yes, it’s Kevin Pietersen whom I am talking about here.

However, it’s hard to imagine that Swann would have quit just because he was not getting along well with KP in the English dressing room. Yes, they didn’t like each other, but, they had been playing together since quite some time and rarely did they let their personal differences affect England’s performances.

But, at the same time, it’s also difficult to believe that the condition of his elbow was the mere reason behind Swann’s retirement. He had the elbow surgery in the first quarter of this year and he had bowled alright after that, be it the home series against New Zealand or the last Ashes back home. He was in fact his team’s highest wicket taker in the Ashes which was played in UK. Was his elbow not hurting then? Did it start hurting all of a sudden?

Swann is one of those few players who never saw real failures in their career. He had that habit of delivering the goods every time his team needed it and then, suddenly, he had a series in which he failed and he failed terribly. It’s not only that he didn’t produce wickets; he actually never looked like producing them and he couldn’t take that gracefully.

Everybody knows that there was no guarantee of Swann playing in the Melbourne test match and for a guy who is used to get out there in every game; it’s not easy to sit with a substitute jersey on.

So, one can imagine that there were a lot of things which would have been going on in Swann’s mind after the Perth, but, his decision to retire was due to those things or was it something else which brought curtains on his wonderful career?

 

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South Africa Tour – Watch out for pace more than the movement

Posted by on Nov 29, 2013 in Columns |

Whenever India tour overseas, we start talking about swing and seam movement and its right to some extent because in places like England, Australia and New Zealand, it’s the movement of the ball which does the most of the damage, but, it’s not quite the case with South Africa. In South Africa, it’s the pace which you have to deal with.

When you go to England, you know that there will be a lot of grass on the pitches and the ball will seam all over. When you go to Australia, you know that there will be a lot of bounce in the pitches and your back foot play will be tested, but, when you go to South Africa, you are not quite sure what you are going to get. One day you might come across a surface where it’s all about chin music, the other day, it can be a sluggish surface as well.

Once a great Australian player was asked if he would like to face hostile fast bowling in Perth or on a two paced track, he had answered ‘Perth’. It might sound a bit awkward, but, it’s true. In Perth, you know that the ball would race past your nose or your ribs, but, at least you are sure about the bounce. You know that the ball is going to rise up to this extent, but, when you play on a two paced track; you are never sure about that. One ball would go over your shoulders, the other one wouldn’t rise even up to your ankle. That’s the biggest challenge for a batsman. When he is not sure about the bounce, he would never go forward and would always be in danger of being caught in the crease.

That’s the reason the batting is tricky in South Africa. If they produce a quick pitch, it’s too quick. But, when they decide to prepare a slow track, they make it two paced where the odd ball bounces steeply and the odd one doesn’t even leave the ground.

I am not saying that there will be no movement at all in South Africa. With Dale Steyn around, you can never keep swing out of the picture, but, it’s not going to be vicious swing as we expect in England or New Zealand. The main challenge for the Indian batsmen there would be to counter the pace of the surface.

Remember South Africa has got bowlers who are ideal both for the quick and the two paced surfaces. Dale Steyn is not only a swing bowler, he can smash the wicket too by holding the ball cross seam when needed. The same can be said about Morne Morkel as well. Probably, he doesn’t get as much swing as Steyn gets, but, when it comes to hitting the deck, he is not an inch behind Steyn. With his height, he is even more lethal.

While facing the South African attack in South Africa, two things are vital. First, if you are nimble footed or not i.e. if you are able to transfer your weight from front foot to back foot quickly or not and second, if you are watching the ball till the last second or not because with variable bounce, if you don’t do that, there are chances of you getting hurt.

 

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