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news EDITOR SPEAKS preview cover story interview trivia 04 Cricket Today

September 2009

EDITORIAL BOARD
Editor
Manish Verma
Managing Editor
Rakesh Pandey
Sub Editor
Mohd. Asim
Contributing Editors
S. Pervez Qaiser, Partab Ramchand,
Sreelata S Yellamrazu, Haresh Pandya
Graphic Designer
Lalita Adhikari
Media Relations Officer
Monica Bhardwaj
Production Co-ordinator
Sunil Chaudhary
Photos
A.P.

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contents 26 The
Contenders
46 I Thought of
Giving Up At
Time: Amit Mishra 50
WADA- ICC- BCCI: Tied in
Gridlock

20 Sports
Round Up

Indian opening batsman


Gautam Gambhir is one of
the 15 sportspersons select-
White ed to receive the prestigious
Arjuna Award for the year
Lightning 2009.Gambhir, who has

backs ball enjoyed a purple patch with


the bat in all three forms of
tampering the game since India’s World
T20 World Cup win in 2007,
has been chosen for the
honor along with badminton

RECKONING FOR GAUTI


sensation Saina Nehwal, dou-
ble trap shooter Ronjan
Sodhi and hockey player
Ignace Tirkey.Gambhir was
recently elevated to the No.
1 spot in the ICC Test rank-
ings, before Kumar
Sangakkara overtook him.

Former South Africa


speedster Allan Donald

Aussie Skipper feels the International


Cricket Council (ICC) should
legalize ball tampering to

gets 12th Grade prevent the growing hege-


mony of batsmen in world
cricket. “The ICC would
Current Australian McGrath made it to a shoot me for saying it but,
Skipper Ricky Ponting leading website’s all- with the wickets that we
would defiantly get time Australian play on and the dying
commanding position XI.Don Bradman, breed fast bowlers are
if team is chosen out Shane Warne and becoming on these flatter
of current world Dennis Lillee was the wickets, I would say we do
players. But this unanimous choice. need some sort of defense
Aussie great couldn’t Australian XI : Victor mechanism, something to
make it to the play- Trumper, Arthur fall back on to say ‘Right,
ing XI of all-time Morris, Don Bradman, we can do this. We can
Australian team. Greg Chappell, Allan now prepare this ball to
Ricky Ponting was Border, Keith Miller, go’,” said Donald. However,
deemed well enough Adam Gilchrist, Shane the 42-year-old, currently
only for the 12th Warne, Bill O‘Reilly, the coach of Warwickshire
man’s slot. Though, Dennis Lillee and where he had served with
Shane Warne, Adam Glenn McGrath. 12th distinction as a player, is
Gilchrist and Glenn man: Ricky Ponting. aware his plea would have
very little effect.
contents 74 Make Flintoff’s
Retirement an
Exception, Not
80 The unluckiest
team in the World 86
the Trend
My Heart
goes for
Haryana:
Rahul
Dewan

62 Foremost Step
is to set up a
Salary
Structure for
the Curators:
Daljit Singh

resource Wasim Bari. In fact he was also


AAMER OPTS issued show cause notice by Bari for
failing to attend an ICC course in
Lara set to
OUT OF PCB London. However Sohail, 42, said that coach his
Former Pakistan Test opener Aamer
he was getting no ‘job satisfaction’ and
so he decided to resign. The former home side?
has step down as Pakistan Cricket batsman said he will revive his career as
Board’s Director-Game Development, a television commentator. Sohail’s deci-
creating more problems for the embat- sion to quit comes after former chief
tled board. If reports to be believed selector Abdul Qadir, also an ex-Pakistan
Aamer Sohail was not getting along Test cricketer, resigned because of his
with senior Board officials including differences with the Board’s top brass.
chairman Ejaz Butt and director-human

Sunil Gavaskar will head the Mumbai


Cricket Association’s CIC after a
decade’s absence from any activities
connected with the MCA. Gavaskar was
named as the chairman of the Cricket
Improvement Committee, dealing with
all cricket matters including the
appointment of coaches and various
selection panels, at the MCA’s Managing
Committee sitting recently. The only
time the former India skipper had been West Indies batting legend
associated officially with MCA after his Brian Lara could make his
playing days was in 1998 when he was coaching debut at next
co-opted as a vice president to fill in month’s Champions League
the spot vacated by ex-Test fast Twenty20.The former cap-
bowler Ramakant Desai after the lat- tain, who retired from inter-
Back to home ter’s death. national cricket in 2007, is in
talks with his home side
Trinidad and Tobago Cricket
Uttappa may be out of Indian team, He the bidding process. Karnataka State Board for a role as coach of
might have not done any good for the Cricket Association had kept an upper its side in the October 8-23
Bangalore Royal Challengers in the IPL limit of seven lakh for six chosen players event in India. Trinidad and
but still he is the hot commodity in the by each franchisee. Stuart Binny was Tobago is the only West
state version of the cash rich league. picked by Gulbarga team (Bijapur Bulls) Indian team to take part in
Robin Uthappa became the costliest play- for Rs 3.2 lakh, B Akhil was taken on the Champions League
er in the KPL, inviting a bid of Rs 3.25 board by Bangalore Rural for Rs three Twenty20 after winning the
Stanford Twenty20 compe-

BEST PAY FOR UTTAPPA


tition here.” I haven’t been
approached but we have
had discussions on it,” said
lakh from Bangalore Brigadiers in the lakh, while veteran Sunil Joshi pocketed Lara. Lara was associated
auction. This price tag shows that Rs 2.05 lakh thanks to Hubli-Dharwad with the Indian Cricket
Karnataka still hold high regards for their team (Shamanur Davangere League but has reportedly
discarded son from the Indian team. Diamonds).The Karnataka Premier League broken ties with the ‘rebel’
Apart from Robin as many as 48 has lost some of its sheen after the Twenty20 league.
Karnataka players went under the ham- Board of Control for Cricket in India
mer as the eight franchisees of the denied participation of out of state play-
September 9-23 event participated in ers in KPL, making it only a state affair.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 10 Cricket Today
September 2009

McCullum chooses country


over money Brendon McCullum has set an example for those who
are lure by the flow of cash when it comes to chose
one between country and the money. He signed nation -
al contract and let a huge amount go from his contract
in the IPL. McCullum will be playing for his country
when the third season of Indian Premier League
starts. New Zealand Wicket-keeper batsman presence
will cut short by half of the league. Brendon McCullum
admits the decision to forego half a million dollars to
re-sign with New Zealand Cricket was a tough one to
make. McCullum, who captained the Kolkata Knights in
this year’s IPL, stands to lose around NZ$500,000 by
only being available for half the IPL competition.

IPL bids Indian cricketers join


goodbye to Corporate World
‘icon’ players
The ‘icon status’ of India’s most cherished
cricketers will soon come to an end. From
2010 onwards, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender
Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and
Yuvraj Singh, who enjoyed this special sta-
tus in the inaugural two seasons, will be
like any other player in the Indian Premier
League (IPL).”In the original plan itself, ‘icon
status’ was only for two years. That time
IPL was a new concept and we wanted to
build a strong base for teams. But it is not
mandatory to keep these players after the
next season,” said IPL commissioner Lalit
Modi .”They can be traded or other teams
can bid for them in the fresh auctions
after the 2010 season. They will not be
icon players anymore,” he added.
Abolishing the ‘icons’ tag would mean that
these players no more stand to earn 15%
more than the highest-earning player from
his franchise. The fees will be at the dis-
cretion of the franchise.
Two cricketers from Gujarat, They are colleagues at
Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Rajasthan Royals in the Indian
Jadeja recently joined the Premier League (IPL) and now
Reliance Industries Limited they become colleagues at
(RIL) as executives (Sports and Reliance. They become our
Culture) at a ceremony organ- executives (Sports and
ized by the company. Both Culture) and join the roll with
Yusuf and Jadeja were induct- Parthiv Patel,” he said. Wicket-
ed into the company by its keeper Patel was the first
group president. “We all see a cricketer to join RIL rolls on
great cricketing potential and June 25, 2004.
future in Pathan and Jadeja.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 12 Cricket Today
September 2009

Aussies
T20 star
in a Soup

Gibbs booster Luke Pomersbach problems seem to


be getting in worst shape. He has

for Cobras been banned by Australian cricket


authorities from playing until at least
January after he pleaded guilty to
multiple charges including assaulting a
Herschelle Gibbs will represent his released him.”The Chargers con- police officer. The Middle order bats-
home team Cape Cobras, instead firmed over the weekend that man, who is the squad of Kings XI
of his IPL franchise Deccan Herschelle would not be in their Punjab in the Indian Premier League,
Chargers, in this year’s CL T20. squad and we are thrilled that a apologized in court for a drunken
Convenor of selectors for the player of his pedigree will now be rampage that led to him being arrest-
Cape Cobras Omar Henry in the team,” Odendaal said. ed by police in Perth in recent time.
announced recently that the initial Squad: Graeme Smith (Captain), Pomersbach pleaded guilty to a total
20-member squad, led by South Derek Brand, Ryan Canning, Henry of six charges that also included
Africa captain Graeme Smith, Davids, Jean-Paul Duminy, Sybrand pushing a policeman into a window at
which include Gibbs for the tourna- Engelbrecht, Herschelle Gibbs, his Perth home, breaking the glass
ment due to be held in India from Claude Henderson, Rory Kleinveldt, and causing minor injuries, as he
October 8 to 23.Gibbs’ inclusion Charl Langeveldt, Richard Levi, Carl resisted arrest over a hit-and-run
came as a surprise since he was Nieuwoudt, Justin Ontong, Vernon road incident. Following the court rul-
expected to play for Deccan Philander, Francois Plaatjies, ing, the Western Australian Cricket
Chargers.Cape Cobras CEO Andre Andrew Puttick, Gurshwin Rabie, Association (WACA) imposed further
Odendaal said the side pencilled in Leonard van Wyk, Stiaan van Zyl penalties on Pomersbach.
Gibbs after the Chargers had and Monde Zondeki.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 14 Cricket Today
September 2009

Kiwi Cricketer’s passion,


colors Hummers gain
for
Saqlain

Indian cricket stars have found their new love. It has nothing to do with
some beautiful lady instead it is about their passion on roads. Cricketers are
more often known for their love when it comes to speed and cars.
Commanding to this love Bhajji and Dhoni has bought Hummer, the American
SUV. famous for there passion for vehicles, India captain Mahendra Singh
Dhoni and spinner maestro Bhajji has added a brand new ’Hummer’ worth
around one crore to their already rich collections of cars. While Dhoni’s
Hummer is of silver colour, Harbhajan has opted for a “Black Beauty”. Mahi’s
H2 2009 Hummer will definitely get the pride of place among Dhoni’s Toyota
Corolla, Scorpio, Mitsubishi Pajero, Harley Davidson, Yamaha 650cc sports
bike, Kawasaki Ninja and other two wheelers.

Saqlain Mushtaq, the former Two Champs


Pakistan and Surrey off spinner, has
been appointed as spin consultant
by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for
the next 12 months. Saqlain’s first
comes together
assignment will be New Zealand’s IPL franchisee Deccan
six-week tour of Sri Lanka. New Chargers is venturing in
Zealand Cricket has an agreement sports personality manage-
with Saqlain Mushtaq who will work ment and has signed ace
with the Blackcaps over the next 12 shuttler Saina Nehwal.
months, Stephen Hill, the NZC Signing Saina has mark the
spokesperson said. “His experience beginning of the IPL fran-
as a spin bowler is considered to be chisee’s first foray in sports
of significant assistance.” Saqlain’s other than cricket, sources
foremost advice to New Zealand said. Deccan Chronicle, the
bowlers before the Sri Lanka tour is newspaper owned by the
that bowling in the subcontinent is a Deccan Chargers manage-
“mental battle”. To be on top of the ment has announced Saina
opponent, Saqlain said the bowlers as their brand ambassador
would need to “understand” and recently. The Chargers, led
“control” their skills. He said the by Adam Gilchrist, has won
main reason he was brought on the second edition of IPL
board was to help New Zealand Twenty20 tournament in
neuter the danger posed by Murali South Africa earlier this year.
and Mendis.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 16 Cricket Today
September 2009

Former cricketers were seen at the music


Steyn cleared on release party of the upcoming film Ruslaan.
Kapil Dev, Azharuddin and Madanlaal ensured

dope violation
there presence at the mega event which was

Cricketers comes together


Cricket South Africa (CSA)
announced recently that pace
for music release
spearhead Dale Steyn has been also attended by many famous stars of enter-
cleared of any doping violation by tainment field. Music launch was held at the
the Indian Premier League (IPL) official residence of Chief Minister Sheila Dixit.
authorities.” There was a discrepan - Ruslaan is based on the real story of bombs
cy in the result of a doping test explosion in the local trains of Mumbai.
during the IPL but the authorities
are perfectly satisfied with the
explanation that Dale has provided
and they have confirmed that no
offence has been committed,” CSA
chief executive Gerald Majola said
in a statement. CSA earlier admit-
ted that Steyn had tested positive
while playing for Bangalore Royal
Challengers in the second IPL but
claimed it was because of legiti-
mate painkillers he used to take at
that time. Interestingly, IPL
Commissioner Lalit Modi out rightly
denied that any cricketer had test-
ed positive for any banned drugs in
the second IPL held in South Africa
in April-May.

Rawalpindi express
expresses regret Boycott’s
Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib side as he has realized that he superiority,
Dickie’s denial
Akhtar has apologized to the didn’t have too many years of
PCB for appearing on a televi- cricket left in him.”That is one
sion show without PCB’s per- reason why the PCB is also
mission.A senior official not playing up this issue
of the board told that and handling it quiet- Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott
the fast bowler, ly. In all likelihood believes he was technically superior to Sunil
who was served a they want to end Gavaskar. However, his Yorkshire teammate Dicky
show cause by the PCB, this matter and drop Bird feels otherwise. The England opener with a
has replied back on last any disciplinary action reputation for straight talking said he and
month ( July) apologiz- against him,” another Gavaskar were similar in many respects but he
ing for his source in the had the better technique. “As our records show,
actions.The offi- board Sunil played more matches, scored more runs
cial said Akhtar said.Pakistan and centuries than me, but in terms of tech-
himself is now captain Younus nique, I consider myself superior to Sunil even if
keen to mend Khan has said by just half a percentage point,” he added.
fences with he has no Incidentally, Boycott’s argument could not con-
the authori- problems hav- vince former umpire and his Yorkshire teammate
ties and ing Akhtar in Dicky Bird who had no doubt that Gavaskar was
wants to the team as the better batsman. “What a great sight it was
get back in long as he to watch Gavaskar bat. Pace bowlers could never
the national performs. really dominate him. That’s why I rate him as the
best opener of my era”.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 18 Cricket Today
September 2009

Indian side Dope allegations on Viv Richards


Conquers Ex-Pakistan cricketer Qasim Umar has
claimed that former West Indies captain

snow Vivian Richards used to take performance


enhancement drugs.In a startling revela-
tion, Qasim said the batting legend
Former Indian cricket stars didn’t let indulged in doping before the new anti-
their country down in the match doping regulations were enforced by the
that was played on Swiss snow. ICC.Appearing on television talk show,
Indian side beat an All-Star team Umar, a controversial figure in Pakistan
from England by four runs. cricket, said Richards had himself con-
Sharmila Tagore was the one who fessed to him that he used to take drugs
tossed the coin while her husband to release tension and improve his stamina
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and his fel- and endurance levels. He had also accused
low Farokh Engineer were the former Pakistan captain Imran Khan and
umpires. Kapil called right and other players of using their kit bags to
decieded to bat. His side made 108 transport drugs to the United Kingdom
in their five overs thanks to and was subsequently banned for life by
Sandeep Patil (25), Ajay Jadeja (26), the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Kapil Dev (26), Roger Binny (12) and
Syed Kirmani (12). The All-Stars
Kambli finally calls it a day
Indian batsman Vinod Kambli recently announced his retirement from
international cricket but said he was still available to play domestic crick-
et. He made the announcement at the inauguration of his sports acade-
my - Khel Bharati. Indian opener Virender Sehwag inaugurated the acade-
my. Ramakant Acharekar, who coached Kambli as well as his school-mate
Sachin Tendulkar, was also present. Kambli, who played his first One-Day
International against Pakistan in 1991, said his childhood friend and bat-
ting legend Tendulkar could not come because of his previous engage-
ments, but has offered to help the academy. Kambli, who played 17 Tests
and 104 ODIs, played his last match for India in October 2000 at Sharjah,
against Sri Lanka. He made 1084 runs in Tests, which includes four cen-
turies while in one-day format he made 2477 runs.

needed to score at 20 an over.


Radford made 25, ICC match refer-
ee Chris Broad made 26 and Collis
King made 26. It was left to the pair
of skipper Alvin Kallicharran and
John Emburey to get 38 off the last
over.Ajay Jadeja obliged the rivals by 2nd September- Ishant Sharma (India)
bowling a no-ball and the asking rate
came down to five per ball and six 6th September- Saeed Anwar (Pakistan)
off the last. Kallicharran aimed for 14TH September- Robin Singh (India)
the straight field but was beaten by
the bounce and mishit behind the 18th September- Darren Gough (England)
‘keeper for just a single. Skipper 20th September- Ijaz Ahmed (Pakistan)
Kapil said, “The event was supposed
to be a fun thing, but once you 21st September- Courtly Ambrose (West Indies)
wear your cricket gear, you only
want to win and we were happy to 23rd September- Moin Khan (Pakistan)
do it on our I-Day in front of Indian 28th September- Stuart Clark (Australia)
tourists.”
news SPORTS ROUND UP preview cover story interview trivia 20 Cricket Today
September 2009

by Mohd. Asim

Real Time Real Business


Top Football flights will be on their way in the month of August. World is anx-
iously waiting for the ultimate attack, defense, tackle and skills on the football
field. We bring you the predictions, teams and players to watch out for in the
top three leagues of the World.
ENGLISH PREMIER Ronaldo but they have enough PLAYERS TO WATCH
LEAGUE (15TH AUG - 9TH power in their belly to be the OUT FOR
champs once again. Chelsea with the Forwards: Rooney ( Man U), Drogba (
MAY) new manager (Carlo Ancelotti) and Chelsea), Torres (Liverpool),
Liverpool with their star players Vanpersie ( Arsenal), Robinho ( Man
could tumble the title race. Last City), Owen( Man U), Adebayor ( Man
years fourth finisher Arsenal might City), Tvez ( Man City).
go down further in the league with Mid-Fielders: Lampard ( Chelsea),
the departure of Adebayor and Gerrad ( Liverpool), Fabregas (
Toure. Manchester City relishing Arsenal), Nani( Man U), Mascherano
under new owner and players could (Liverpool), Benayoun(Liverpool),
be the surprise package of the cur- Barry( Man City), Arshavin( Arsenal).
rent season. Rest of the positions Defenders: Terry (Chelsea), Toure(
would see up and down of many Man City), Ferdinand( Man U),
teams. Carragher( Liverpool), Agger(
Liverpool), Dunne( Man City), Bridge(
PROBABLE TOP FOUR Man City), Silvestre ( Arsenal).
FINISHERS Goalkeepers: Cech( Chelsea), Reina(
1. Manchester United Liverpool), Howard( Everton), Van
2. Chelsea Der Sar( Man U), Robinson(Blackburn
3. Liverpool Rovers), Almunia( Arsenal), Given(
4. Manchester City, Aston Villa or Man City).
Arsenal

It is the most watch out league in


the world. EPL is known for its sheer
pace and it is a home to many super
stars of the football world. If
reports to be believe, Premier
League is also the richest football
showdown on the planet. EPL have
been a dominant force in European
football also. Since last three to four
seasons, Champions League (Top
European Honor) has witness the
much more English teams in the
Semi-Finals and Finals. Current
(2009-2010) campaign of Premier
League would take the intensity to a
new level with Twenty teams fight-
ing for the top honor.

PREDICTIONS
Manchester United will be the force
to reckon with. Current champions
might have lost the charisma of
Cricket Today
September 2009 21 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

SPANISH LA LIGA (29TH AUG-16TH MAY) ITALIAN SERIE A (23RD AUG- 16TH MAY)
La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports It is regarded as one of the elite leagues of the foot-
leagues in the world. Attacking football and beautiful skills balling world. Historically, Serie A has produced the high-
are the main touch downs of this competition. It is also est number of European Cup finalists. As of 2008, Serie
known for its tough fight on the ground. Shakeups of the A is ranked third among European leagues by UEFA.It is
team’s positions are frequently seen. Football Pundits finds best known for its defense display. Italian clubs play with
it virtually impossible to predict the top finishers as the the mindset-Defense is the best ploy to counter attack-
contest is so evenly poised that you never know who will hit ing football. Serie A over the years has given the world
out on the given day. Football fans have seen the magic of real jam of footballers. Italian top competition was the
most gifted footballers of many generations in the La Liga. best football saga in the world but with the passage of
Likes of Maradona, Romario, Zidane and Ronaldinho were time it has lost the charm with match fixing scandals at
the few jewels of Spanish top fight. its corner every now and than.

PREDICTIONS PREDICTIONS
Real Madrid has gain all the attention for the upcoming sea- Serie A new season will not be different from what is
son with their record signing of Ronaldo, Kaka, Alonso and happening since many years. Inter Milan will surely be in
Karim. It is their attempt to finish the dominance of Catalan the best reckoning to top the league with Juventus and
giants (Barcelona). Barca on the other hand has kept their
last season squad intact which won three titles in the last
year campaign moreover they have brought in Ibramahovic,
the top scorer of Italian Serie A in place of Eto, who has
joined the ranks of Italian Champions. Spanish La Liga had
often notice that money can’t buy everything so Barca hold
the advantage over their rivals Real Madrid. Title chase
seems to be blowing up even before it begins with other
teams like Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Sevilla
gearing up to knock-out the giants (Barca&Real) from the
top position.

TOP FOUR FINISHERS


1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Atletico Madrid
4. Valencia, Sevilla or Villarreal

PLAYERS TO WATCH
OUT FOR
Forwards: Raul( Real Madrid), Ronaldo(
Real Madrid), David Villa( Valencia), AC Milan playing the catching game. Other teams will
Messi( Real Madrid), Forlan( Atletico step up to fill the fourth spot. Bottom of the table
Madrid), Henry( Barcelona), might see the entrance of new teams with some
Kanoute(Sevilla), Ibramahovic( stronger outfits of last season going down the ladder.
Barcelona). Transfer Window has not seen the major singings in
Midfielders: Kaka( Real Madrid), Alonso( Real Madrid), Iniesta( Italian top flight. Teams like Inter, AC and Juventus has
Barcelona), Guti(Real Madrid) , Robben( Real Madrid), Silva( bought some players.
Valencia), Garcia (Atletico Madrid), Aguero( Atletico Madrid).
Defenders: Lopez( Atletico Madrid), Alves( Barcelona), Puyol( TOP FOUR FINISHERS
Barcelona), Abidal( Barcelona), Pepe(Real Madrid), Ramos( 1. Inter Milan
Real Madrid), Marchena( Valencia). 2. Juventus
Goalkeepers: Sanchez( Valencia), Casillas( Real Madrid), 3. AC Milan
Valdes( Barcelona), Asenjo( Atletico Madrid), Palop( Sevilla) 4. Roma, Fiorentina

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR


Forwards: Totti ( Roma), Eto(Inter Milan), Filippo Inzaghi(
AC Milan), Ronaldinho(AC Milan), Del Piero( Juventus),
Mutu( Fiorentina).
Midfielders: Seedorf( AC Milan), Pirlo( AC Milan),
Stankovic( Inter Milan), Baptista( AS Roma).
Defenders: Nesta( AC Milan), Zambrotta( AC Milan),
Zanetti( Inter Milan), lucio( Inter Milan, Cannavaro(
Juventus), Motta( Inter Milan), Dainelli( Fiorentina).
Goalkeepers: Dida( AC Milan), Toldo( Inter Milan), Milito,
Buffon( Juventus), Doni( AS Roma), Frey( Fiorentina)
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 22 Cricket Today
September 2009

SANIA ‘S
DROUGHT ENDS
Sania’s engagement seems to bring her luck which she needed
to end the slump of titles on the court. India’s ace seeded sec -
ond at ITF Lexington Challenger continued her good show as
she upset top-seed Frenchwoman Julie Coin 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to
clinch the title .Sania kept her cool in the scintillating final in
front of sizeable Indian community to sealed the first set via tie-
breaker after squandering a 5-2 lead and facing 5-all. Sania broke
the Coin serve in a marathon tenth game of the second set to
register an impressive win. Interestingly, this was only the sec -
ond ITF $50,000 event that Sania had participated in, the first
being way back in 2003 when she was still making a name for
herself on the pro tour.

BHULLAR MAKES DEFEAT CHECKS


INDIA PROUD PHELPS MARCH
Gaganjeet Bhullar finally broke through on the World record holder of many swimming titles
Asian Tour by lifting his maiden title at the Michael Phelps has suffered his first defeat
Indonesian President Invitational. Long billed at the hands of German swimmer. Paul
as one of the brightest young talent on the Biedermann shed Phelps, handing the swim-
Asian Tour, the 20-year-old Indian justified ming icon his first loss in about four years in
that tag with an emphatic two-stroke vic - an individual event at a major international
tory over Australia’s Adam Blyth at the meet in the 200metres freestyle. The 14-
Damai Indah Golf - Bumi Serpong Damai time Olympic champion last failed to get gold
course.” I’ve been waiting for this for the when he was edged out by fellow American
past two years. I played really well today Ian Crocker in the 100m butterfly at the
and I had a very good finish with a good worlds in Montreal. Phelps had not been beat-
score today,” said Bhullar. Victory was worth en in the 200m free since the Athens
US$63,400 and moved the young Indian up to Olympics in 2004 but Biedermann produced
10th place on the Asian Order of Merit and he an astonishing swim to triumph by a body
jumped from 417 to 255 in the official World length and also set a new world record of
Golf Rankings. one minute 42.00 seconds in the process.

COSTLIEST LEGS
World costliest player has the costliest legs in the
World. Real Madrid has insured Cristiano
Ronaldo’s legs for £90million after the
Portuguese winger picked up a knock in pre-sea-
son.Ronaldo suffered a minor knee injury after
being tackled in the Peace Cup semi-final against
Juventus in Seville lately. The 24-year-old has
been given the all-clear by doctors but Real is
nervous that he might pick up a long-term injury
in the future. Real paid an £80m world-record
fee for Ronaldo in June (2009) and have now
taken steps to protect their investment by tak-
ing out an insurance policy. Ronaldo has already
been fouled 34 times in three pre-season games.
Cricket Today
September 2009 23 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

Tiger woods would be above all the challenges in the


world, He might be riding on the success of two
back to back titles but this could not prevent YE
YANG
Yang from taming Tiger on the golf course. He
overturned Tiger Woods 54-hole lead to claim the
US PGA Championship at Hazeltine National. Yang,
TAMES
37, becomes the first Asian-born player to win a
major and he denied the world number one a 15th THE TIGER
such victory, the American having previously
enjoyed a perfect record in turning 14 third-round
major leads into wins. His victory over Tiger Woods
in the US PGA Championship takes him from 110th
in the world to 34th.

DREAM
DEFEAT AFTER REMAINS A
11 YEARS
venue which has become synony- DREAM
mous with his name.Anand lost two Michael Schumacher won’t be back to
of his first three games and ended roar again on the F1 track. German
third in the four-man event.Anand has abandoned the comeback after
had won the title every year in failing to shrug off a neck injury suf-
Mainz since Kasparov last won it in fered in a motorbike accident few
1999.The 11-time winner here, months back. Earlier seven-time F1
Anand scored 2.5 points while the world champion had agreed to help
World Champion Viswanathan top place went to Levon Aronian of out former team Ferrari and step in
Anand, an 11-time winner in Mainz, Armenia and Ian Nepomniachtchi of for Felipe Massa on a temporary basis
bowed out before the finals at a Russia finished second. after the Brazilian suffered head
injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix
recently. Ferrari have reacted quickly

CHINESE ROAR IN WORLD to the news that Michael Schumacher


will not returning by naming Luca
Badoer as his replacement.
Olympic champion Lin Dan became
the first shuttler to clinch three suc-
cessive World Championship titles.
CHAMPIONSHIP Schumacher told his official website:
“I had to inform Ferrari President
Luca di Montezemolo and Team
He beat second seed compatriot Jin Principal Stefano Domenicali that
Chen in the summit clash.Dan, seed- unfortunately I’m not able to step in
ed fifth in the event, defeated his for Felipe.”I really tried everything to
higher-ranked countryman 21-18, make that temporary comeback pos-
21-16 a 46-minute contest. But his sible, however, much to my regret it
girlfriend Xie Xingfang faltered at didn’t work out.”
the final hurdle and lost 23-21, 21-12
to Lu Lan at the BWF World
Championships on Sunday.
Incidentally, Lin Dan is the first shut-
tler to clinch three world titles. In
another all-China final, eighth-seeded
women’s doubles pair of Zhang
Yawen and Zhao Tingting defeated
second seeds Cheng Shu and Zhao
Yunlei 17-21, 21-17, 21-16. All
England champions Cai Yun and Hu
Haifeng of China won a thrilling
men’s doubles final over Jung Jae
Sung and Lee Yong Dae of Korea 21-
18, 16-21, 28-26. In all China won
four out of the five golds on offer.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 24 Cricket Today
September 2009

Spanish football club Espanyol was left in mourning after

SHOCKER FOR it was confirmed that their captain Daniel Jarque has
died at the age of 26. The midfielder passed away when

ESPANYOL his heart stopped following a training session in


Coverciano, Italy where the squad is on a pre-season
camp. Jarque died from a cardiac arrest. Espanyol has
cancelled their pre-season tour and returned to spain.
Jarque joined Espanyol at the age of 12, making his
debut in 2002, and was handed the captaincy this sum-
mer. His death comes two years after that of Sevilla and
Spain defender Antonio Puerta, who suffered multiple
organ failure in hospital, three days after a cardiac
arrest during a league match against Getafe.

BOLT FEDERER SUPREMACY


CONTINUES
ROCKS Roger Federer claimed his third

WORLD Cincinnati Masters title with a 6-1 7-5


victory over Novak Djokovic in the
final.Federer, who beat defending
CHAMPIONSHIP champion Andy Murray 6-2 7-6 (10/8)
in the semi-finals, con-
firmed his status
Usain Bolt created yet another piece of athletics history when as heavy
Jamaica won the men’s 4x100 metres relay title. It was his third gold favorite for
at the World Championship. He also set up a sensational win in the the US Open
200 metres at the World event in Berlin. After winning the 100m with an out-
with a new world record of 9.58 seconds in recent times, Bolt com- standing
pleted another landmark by smashing his own world record in the perform-
200m for good measure. Bolt stormed to victory in the Olympic ance. It was
Stadium in 19.19 seconds, slashing 0.11secs off the time set in Beijing his 16th
last year, with Panama’s Alonso Edward claiming silver in 19.81 and Masters
American Wallace Spearmon the bronze in 19.85.Bolt 23, becomes Series title -
the first man to hold the 100 and 200m world and Olympic titles at his first as a
the same time following his triumph in last year’s Olympics. father - and
apart from
Djokovic's fight back

OWEN’S EXILE early in the second set he


was never troubled. The
world number one and defend-

CONTINUES ing Wimbledon, French and US


Open champion took his
total career prize
money to US
Manchester United striker Michael Owen has dollars 50mil-
missed out on an England recall by Three lion with this
Lions boss Fabio Capello.Although Owen triumph.
has not featured for his country since the
friendly defeat in France nearly 18 months
ago, it was thought his surprise summer
switch to Manchester United might prompt a
return to international duty. However, after
watching England’s fourth highest goal scorer in
action at Old Trafford where he drew a blank in
United’s 2-0 win over Valencia, Capello has left
Owen out of his squad to face Holland in
Amsterdam recently. Instead, Owen’s Red Devils
team-mate Wayne Rooney is joined by Emile
Heskey, Jermain Defoe and Carlton Cole to
form a four-man English strikeforce.
Cricket Today
September 2009 25 editor speaks interview market CT 2009 letter

ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY


1998 2000

2004
2002

2009 2006
2009 ITINERARY
Date Time Match Venue
Tue Sep 22 18:00 Group B - South Africa v Sri Lanka SuperSport Park, Centurion
Wed Sep 23 18:00 Group A - Pakistan v West Indies New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Thu Sep 24 13:00 Group B - South Africa v New Zealand SuperSport Park, Centurion
Fri Sep 25 18:00 Group B - England v Sri Lanka New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Sat Sep 26 13:00 Group A - Australia v West Indies New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Sat Sep 26 18:00 Group A - India v Pakistan SuperSport Park, Centurion
Sun Sep 27 13:00 Group B - New Zealand v Sri Lanka New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Sun Sep 27 18:00 Group B - South Africa v England SuperSport Park, Centurion
Mon Sep 28 18:00 Group A - Australia v India SuperSport Park, Centurion
Tue Sep 29 18:00 Group B - England v New Zealand New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Wed Sep 30 13:00 Group A - Australia v Pakistan SuperSport Park, Centurion
Wed Sep 30 18:00 Group A - India v West Indies New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Fri Oct 2 18:00 1st Semi-Final - TBC v TBC (A1 v B2) SuperSport Park, Centurion
Sat Oct 3 18:00 2nd Semi-Final - TBC v TBC (B1 v A2) New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Mon Oct 5 18:00 Final - TBC v TBC SuperSport Park, Centurion
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 26 Cricket Today
September 2009

India
South African in a one-day international;
188 not-out made against the United
Arab Emirates during the 1996 World
Cup, which is the fourth highest innings
of all time in One-Day International
cricket.

STRENGTHS &
WEAKNESSES:
In the recent months, too much has
been said and written about the Indian
ecord: India have never actually Kirsten held the South African records batsmen’s ability to play short bowling,

r won the Champions Trophy sin-


gle handedly. Their one win
came in Sri Lanka but that was
when they shared the spoils
with hosts Sri Lanka. The attempt
for most runs and centuries in a Test
career, before both were surpassed by
Jacques Kallis. He was the first Test
batsman to make hundreds against
each of the other 9 Test nations. He
in the negative sense of course. And
hence the selectors felt it necessary to
provide some cover in the form of
Rahul Dravid. Talking of him, South
Africa has been good for him in particu-
before that one in Nairobi is seen to be made a score of 275 against England in lar, ever since his days when he first
their best shot at this event but some- 1999, which was another South African started batting at number three for
how Chris Cairns on only one leg record until Graeme Smith made 277 India to the second season of the IPL.
thwarted them in the final, after a against England in 2003. He still holds Now that he has nothing left to prove,
dream run in the tournament saw them the record for highest innings by a he will play without much pressure on
beat Australia and South Africa. In the
first edition in Bangladesh, they ran into
South Africa, the eventual champions
and later in England, they were simply
not upto the mark. The story was
repeated at home in the last edition
where Rahul Dravid’s men disappointed
a billion fans.

CAPTAIN: MS DHONI
MS Dhoni’s honeymoon got over only
recently. The T20 World Cup in England
was a balloon of expectations but was
burst when India failed to make even
the semis. The fact that the team left
for the West Indies trip, and won there,
possibly saved them from facing a
backlash at home. But the hard truth is
that now when the season begins for
Dhoni and his men, they will no longer
be the team who will be young and
inexperienced. That cycle is over and
done with, for this is the team that is
expected to win the World Cup in two
years’ time in India and Dhoni is expect-
ed to be the man to lead them to that
triumph. It begins now and any devia-
tion from the expected path will not be
tolerated with ease.

COACH: GARY KIRSTEN


Gary Kirsten is a former South African
cricketer, and current coach of the
Indian cricket team. He played 101 Test
matches and 185 One-day internationals
for South Africa between 1993 and
2004, mainly as an opening batsman.
Kirsten made his Test debut against
Australia in Melbourne in 1993. He
retired from international cricket in
2004 after crafting a match-winning 76
in his final innings, against New Zealand.
Cricket Today
September 2009 27 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

his shoulders. That doesn’t mean he will


not be in solid elements.
The absence of Virender Sehwag meant
that Dravid had to be selected other-
wise the team would again fall short of
experience in the middle order. Sachin
Tendulkar does return from his thumb
injury but he will bat at the top of the
order, and that is rightly so, for the
best batsman in the team should play
the maximum overs. Suresh Raina and
MS Dhoni will once again shuffle the
duties of number three with Dravid now
to back them up as and when needed.
And lest we forget there is the incom-
parable Yuvraj Singh who will be the ful-
crum of the batting order at number
four. Without doubt, the Indian batting
looks pretty strong once again.
The bowling however might be a cause
for concern as spearhead Zaheer Khan
is missing. Ishant Sharma wasn’t really

spectacular last season and India did the semi finals, if they can get the bet-
suffer from the lack of a second spin- ter of arch rivals Pakistan.
ner and a seasoned fifth bowler in the
T20 World Cup. And so the inclusion of PLAYER TO WATCH OUT
Amit Mishra isn’t all that surprising. The FOR: YUVRAJ SINGH
only point of thought is that Pragyan Every time a new season begins, it is
Ojha didn’t do much wrong in playing said that Yuvraj Singh will be the center
second fiddle to Harbhajan Singh, what- around which the Indian batting will
ever opportunities he got. evolve from here on. The good part is
Overall, India should atleast make it to that he has the talent to make good on
the promise. The bad part is that time
and patience is running out for him to
actually come good on that. Towards
SQUAD the end of the last season, especially in
England and the West Indies, he was
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (cap- proving to take the center stage at will
tain), Yuvraj Singh, Sachin and do his own thing. Clearly in both
Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Sehwag and Tendulkar’s absence, he
Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, was the best batsman in the side.
Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, If he can deliver a bit more consistently,
that would go a long way in increasing
Harbhajan Singh, Abhishek the percentage of matches that India
Nayar, RP Singh, Ishant wins. And with the run up to the T20
Sharma, Ashish Nehra, World Cup in May next year up until the
Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra 2011 World Cup in India, Yuvraj’s time
to deliver the goods begins now. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 28 Cricket Today
September 2009

ecord: Australia pride them-

r
selves at winning major tourna-
ments, especially at the highest
level, and so this will be another
tournament that they would
want to win. Add to it, they are the
defending champions for the last time
the tournament was staged in India, it
was added to the collection of Cricket
Australia. Prior to that, they were quite
unsuccessful in the previous four
attempts; twice they lost out to India in
the first round itself in Bangladesh and
Kenya. Then twice they lost out in the
semi finals in Sri Lanka and England, so
the last edition was a much wanted
relief for the side.

CAPTAIN: RICKY
PONTING
Ricky Ponting is having one hell of a
time leading the current Australian side.
In his first half as skipper, he didn’t real-
ly have to do much with some of the all
time greats of the game in his side. But
now, the current players are making
him work extra hard in lieu of those
times, it seems. His own form, as a
result, has been patchy to say the least
and now that the Ashes have been lost,
this is going to be an important run in
to the Australian summer. If he survives
this period, he might still lead his
national side for a couple more years.
Otherwise the next six months will be
the last we will see of Ricky Ponting,
captain of Australia.

COACH: TIM NIELSEN


Tim Nielsen was a talented wicketkeep-
er-batsman for South Australia who
quickly made his mark in the coaching
arena. After playing in 101 first-class
matches and overtaking Barry Jarman’s
state wicketkeeping record with 316 dis-
missals, Nielsen retired in 1999 to
become an assistant coach at the
Redbacks. He spent three years helping
John Buchanan in the national set-up
before becoming the head coach of the
Centre of Excellence in Brisbane in
2005. Buchanan walked away from the

Australia by Chetan Narula


Cricket Today
September 2009 29 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

the Pakistanis in the Gulf. Again it


worked well for them but the main dif-
ference in the two series was that the
middle order was not able to handle
SQUAD
spin that well against Pakistan.
Ricky Ponting (captain),
The Aussies will have no reason to Michael Clarke (vice-captain),
worry about spin in South Africa atleast Nathan Bracken, Callum
not against the West Indies, but they do Ferguson, Brad Haddin,
have India and Pakistan in their group to Nathan Hauritz, Ben
contend with. And that again might just
turn out to be their undoing. Even so,
Hilfenhaus, James Hopes,
the middle order will be bolstered by Michael Hussey, Mitchell
the return of Ricky Ponting who missed Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter
the series against Pakistan and further Siddle, Adam Voges, Shane
back up has been incorporated in the Watson, Cameron White
name of middle order batsman Adam
Voges.
Some more steel will be added to the
side by Shane Watson. Ever since the would have more than a handsome
first IPL season, the all rounder has chance to come out on top, should one
proven to be a better international plan not work out for the Aussies.
player. If he can check his injury worries Everything taken into account, it will be
somehow, he will surely be an asset for tough for Australia to retain their
the side. He might even open the crown.
innings and that would mean Clarke can
come down the order and help PLAYER TO WATCH OUT
them spin more easily. FOR: SHANE WATSON
The Australians don’t really The Australian team that had
care about spin bowling Andrew Symonds in its middle
anymore so expect them to order was a fearsome one.
play all pace attacks in the Instead now, they have a much
tournament, which will be softer looking player in his
somewhat aided by the tracks stead, a fine all rounder no
in South Africa. But even then doubt but doesn’t appear as
a single dimensional attack menacing. But that is as far
would mean that the as the looks are concerned.
opposition For the first season of the
Indian Premier League
proved his many utilities
in a cricket eleven.
He can open the
innings, come in at
number three to pro-
vide impetus and if
need be can come
down the order to
guide a chase or
make an impact in
the dying overs. His
more than military
medium pace means
that he adds another
post after his second World Cup win option to the bowling
and handed the reins to Nielsen. attack and like all Aussies,
is a brilliant fielder. If only he
STRENGTHS & can retain his
WEAKNESSES fitness for a
Without doubt, the main strength of whole crick-
this squad is its batting. Earlier this year, eting season,
against South Africa they tried a new we would get
opening combination with Brad Haddin to see the
and Michael Clarke at the top. In the real Shane
name of continuity, they made that Watson in
combination work again when playing action. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 30 Cricket Today
September 2009

ecord: South Africa were the over the Eastern Cape side in 2003, and

r
first winners of the Champions guiding them to the finals of the
Trophy, then known as the Standard Bank Pro20 series in the last
Knock Out Trophy first played in two seasons. He was a slightly surprising
Bangladesh. A Jacques Kallis choice to take over as the national
special lit up the tournament for them coach in May 2005, succeeding Ray
as they beat the competition to pulp. Jennings.
Since then, they have struggled to His first two Test series as coach hap-
make an impact in this tournament. pened to be against a rampant Australia
India have proven to be their bane in and South Africa were easily brushed
Kenya and Sri Lanka in the subsequent aside. In between they did clinch a tense
editions. After that, the team under- one-day series win over Australia at
went quite some changes and was home, which culminated in a record
never the world beaters that they have breaking chase at Johannesburg. A
now groomed into. England and India as home win over New Zealand was fol-
host nations didn’t bring any changes in lowed up by a disastrous tour of Sri
their fortune, so the home conditions Lanka in the summer of 2006 and fail-
might just play out in their favor this ure to make the final of the ICC
time. Champions Trophy. From there on
though, South Africa were led quietly,
CAPTAIN: GRAEME calmly and successfully by Arthur and
SMITH Graeme Smith and did not lose a Test
It will be hard to find a more inspira- series until early 2009. Back-to-back
tional captain in international cricket at Test and one-day series victories
the moment. Quite simply, Graeme against India and Pakistan at home were
Smith is top of the lot and that was followed by semi-finals of the 2007
confirmed earlier this year when he led World Cup. Under Arthur they snapped
his side to a victory Down Under, some- a 43-year dry run with their first series
thing not many people have been able win in England and then a series win in
to achieve. Given that he is an able bod- Australia earlier this year.
ied opening batsman to boot, you
would understand why he is aggressive, STRENGTHS &
confident and understands the game WEAKNESSES:
quite well. The last couple of years have It is indeed tough finding faults with a
seen him transform his side at a contin- line up that has been so steady over
uous pace, something that has worked the past couple of years that they have

South Africa
only because he had the patience and
experience that comes in form of learn-
made it to the top of the charts in
Tests as well as ODIs. Of course then
ing on the job. If there is one point that they are surely doing something right
is out of place, then that has to be the and have not much to worry about. A
luck factor that South Africa carry batting line up that reads Smith, Kallis,
along with themselves, always managing Gibbs, Amla, de Villiers, Duminy and
to shoot themselves in the foot. Boucher has done plenty over the last
Removing that choker tag is Smith’s two seasons to show what sort of
biggest challenge at the moment. touch these players are in. If it was
Smith in England, then Amla came to
COACH: MICKEY the show in the sub continent. Later it
ARTHUR was the de Villiers and Duminy show in
Mickey Arthur scored 6557 runs playing Australia as the rest chipped in around
for Free State, Griqualand West and them. Out of all of them it was Jacques
South Africa A before hanging up his Kallis who grabbed the headlines in the
boots in 2001. He coached Griquas in IPL at home and then in the T20 World
the domestic competition before taking Cup after that.
Cricket Today
September 2009 31 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

Even their bowling has made all the


right noises. The pace bowling is ever
reliable in the hands of Steyn and
SQUAD
Morkel but with the addition of Graeme Smith, Johan Botha,
Tsotsobe, they have unearthed a new Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher,
talent to add legs to the attack. But the AB de Villiers, JP Duminy,
best part about the whole situation is Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques
that probably for the first time in their
cricketing history, South Africa have a Kallis, Albie Morkel, Makhaya
spin angle to their bowling. As we saw in Ntini, Wayne Parnell, Robin
England, they are not just your old part Peterson, Dale Steyn,
time spinners but can really make the Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof
ball talk. If the IPL is anything to go by, van der Merwe
then spin is going to be a major factor
in this particular tournament which is
more than just slam-bang stuff.

If there is indeed a weakness, then that say that wine gets better with age
obviously is their chokers tag. In the would be such a cliché, but come to
beginning it was probably seen as some think of it, there is nothing else that
roll of bad luck. With time it became a could describe this cricketer better at
tag and now with some more time, it the moment. There were some ques-
has become a tag that has become tion marks being asked when Amla was
stuck on their sleeves. Rarely a tourna- doing all the scoring at number three,
ment goes by when South Africa aren’t but in response, came the series against
expected to do well, but along with it, Australia and then the IPL. In fact, it is
they are never expected to win the the latter that has given him a fresh
prize. For it taken for granted that at lease of life. For when Kallis replaces
some stage or another, they will come Gibbs at the opening slot in a T20 line
unstuck. It is high time they reversed up, there must be something that he
their luck and home is the best place to must be doing terribly right. It seems
start doing that. the game has taken a couple of steps
forward that this aged all rounder is
PLAYER TO WATCH OUT finding it more suited to his game, at an
FOR: JACQUES KALLIS age when many said he would hang up
Oh, what a year he has been having. To his boots. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 32 Cricket Today
September 2009

ecord: Crowned champions

r along with India, Sri Lanka are


the only team to have hosted
and won this competition, if you
call two rain marred finals that.
On other occasions, they have not been
blowing so hot, stopped in their tracks
on both sides of that singular win. At
present, they are one of the most com-
petitive sides in world cricket at the
moment; therefore greater things are
expected of them this time around. It
can be considered a given that they will
do similarly well as they did in India the
last time around.

CAPTAIN: KUMAR
SANGAKKARA
The thing about Sri Lankan captains is
that even though they inherit much of
the team built by their predecessors,
each of them skippers tend to leave
their own imprint on the side. And so is
the case with Sangakkara. He got much
of the side molded into shape by Mahela
Jayawardene but over the last twelve
months has shown enough vision and
ability to take his side to be considered
one of the best in business. Not that his
talent was in much doubt anyways, but
at the same time he has kept up anoth-
er tradition of the Sri Lankan cricket
captains. They do not allow the leader-
ship job to weigh down on their batting
skills and yes, he has excelled in the
same department as well. They made it
to the finals of the T20 World Cup after
they reached the finals of the 2007
World Cup. That’s two ICC finals in a row
and it wouldn’t be a surprise if
Sangakkara leads them to three in a row.
COACH: TREVOR
BAYLISS
Trevor Bayliss is the current coach of

Sri Lanka
the Sri Lanka national cricket team.
Bayliss is a former cricketer for New
South Wales and a former coach. He was
man, an occasional off spin bowler and
good cover fielder. His best season for
the Blues was 1989-90 when he scored
the coach of the Sri Lankan national
team in August 2007. He was selected
ahead of Queensland Bulls coach Terry
selected in June 2007 for a two year 992 runs at 55.11 which earned him his Oliver by a selection committee compris-
term as coach of Sri Lanka from August side’s ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ award. ing of former Sri Lanka Cricket officials
1, 2007. Bayliss made his debut for New His final season in first class cricket was and captains including Aravinda de Silva,
South Wales in the 1985/86 season. He in 1992-93. Ranjan Madugalle, Michael Tissera, Sidath
was a right-handed middle order bats- Trevor Bayliss succeeded Tom Moody as Wettimuny and Bandula Warnapura.
Cricket Today
September 2009 33 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

bowlers or only Aravinda or


Jayawardene would do the anchoring
role. The present day Sri Lankan team
SQUAD
has broken through all these typecasts
Kumar Sangakkara (capt),
and now they have any batsman ready Sanath Jayasuriya,
to perform any role in the batting order. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul
You can call it the effect of using two Tharanga, Mahela
Australian coaches in a row, Tom Moody Jayawardene, Thilan
before Bayliss, but the bottom line is
that this approach is working for them
Samaraweera, Chamara
and the results are coming in. Kapugedera, Angelo
Bowling continues to be their strength Mathews, Muttiah
as ever with the ever dependable Muralitharan, Ajantha
Muralitharan now having Mendis and Mendis, Thilan Thushara,
Malinga keeping him company. The loss
Nuwan Kulasekara, Dammika
Prasad, Lasith Malinga,
Thilina Kandamby
of Chaminda Vaas will hurt a bit but
then it was known for some time now
that he would be leaving soon. So in
effect the search for replacements
began early and they have a good cou-
ple of players coming through to fill
those big shoes.
All in all, the Sri Lanka team is probably
the favourites, trumped up probably
only by South Africa thanks to their
home advantage.
PLAYER TO WATCH OUT
FOR: TILAKRATNE
DILSHAN
Whenever they will talk about the term
purple patch, Dilshan will get more than
just a mention. At the turn of the year,
he went out to bat against Bangladesh
in the Test series and it seems he has
been batting in the same vein since. And
it has been eight months since that hap-
pened. That series, then against India,
the IPL, the T20 World Cup and now
against Pakistan, he simply hasn’t
stopped scoring runs and on the way
picked up wickets and led the team to
STRENGTHS & victory a couple of times as well.
WEAKNESSES: If there is a possible explanation to his
If recent results are to go by, then the superb run, then probably he has hit the
leadership of Kumar Sangakkara has maturing age that every batsman
taken them to the next step of the encounters after having spent some
process that was started by Mahela time in international cricket. Quite sim-
Jayawardene, his predecessor. It has ply, he is making the most of while the
been a constant building process for run lasts be it any opposition or any
them, as it is with other teams, but with match conditions, home or away. And
them it just seems to click simply not for nothing do they say that such
because all the players tend to be on traits are the hallmarks of a true cham-
the same page. pion. There is no reason to believe that
At the same time, they have also broken this run is going to stop sometime soon
out of the shackles that previous cap- and thus no one is betting against him
tains probably had forced onto the being the stand out batsman in the
team. Like defining batting positions and Champions Trophy as well.
roles for their batsmen! It could only be Maybe he will innovate a new shot for
a Jayasuriya who could lambaste the ODI cricket too. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 34 Cricket Today
September 2009

ecord: This is one trophy that the Ranji Trophy. is both their strength and weakness.

r
Pakistan are yet to lay their On 25th October 2008 he was named Strength in the simple fact that on
hands on and thus you can as a national coach of Pakistan cricket their day this team can prove to be
expect them to go ahead full team by PCB, a day after Australian unbeatable! The very same players who
steam this time round. Looking Geoff Lawson was sacked as a national would seem to be indifferent to cricket
back though, they have been eliminated coach. Intikhab was also the coach of one day will put in the performance of
in the first round the first two times. the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup winning their lives the very next day. And in
With the advent of the group stages in Pakistan team. doing so, they will surprise and shock
the tournament, their luck didn’t even the best of teams, as well as pun-
change much in either Sri Lanka or in STRENGTHS & dits and fans alike.
India, but in between in England, they WEAKNESSES: Why this is also a weakness for tem-
did manage to reach the semi finals Without a shadow of doubt, the huge perament and talent go hand in hand in
where they lost to the West Indies. That talent that resides in the Pakistan team sport. If only talent is brought to the

Pakistan
one time remains their highest achieve-
ment in the tournament’s record books.

CAPTAIN: YOUNUS
KHAN
There has never been a Pakistan captain
who hasn’t been dramatic and Younus
Khan is no less. Quitting after the T20
World Cup might not have been the
best of ideas, but as far as the team is
concerned, it won’t matter much. For
currently, Pakistan need to do well in
the longer versions of the game, espe-
cially with a host of youngsters coming
into the side. And thus they need Khan
to be the experienced man in charge.
He is himself an able number three or
four batsman which means the solidity
he provides to the batting order can’t
be replaced easily either. Pakistan need
Khan to keep going and one hopes he
doesn’t quit the ODI captaincy should
they win the Champions Trophy.
COACH: INTIKHAB
ALAM
Intikhab Alam is a retired Pakistani crick-
eter who played in 47 Tests and 4 ODIs
from 1959 to 1977. He also played in
English county cricket for Surrey
between 1969 and 1981. Intikhab was
Pakistan’s first One Day International
cricket captain. He played 3 matches as
captain, winning two and losing one. He
was the coach and manager of 1992
Cricket World Cup winning Pakistani
team. In 2004, he was appointed as the
first foreigner to coach a domestic
Indian cricket team, coaching Punjab, in
Cricket Today
September 2009 35 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

table without the required ability to


handle the same, the end results are
somewhat like Shoaib Akhtar or the
prodigious Mohammad Asif. And these
are only two names from a long list of
such players who didn’t have what it
takes to handle the big stage and all
that comes along with it.
Asif returns after a one year ban and all
eyes will be on him. Will he kick start his
career again or will he fade away like
Akhtar has, courting one controversy
after another? Along with Umar Gul,
they will form a very potent bowling
attack complimented again by Naved ul
Hasan and Iftikhar Anjum.
In that sense, Pakistan is a team rejuve-
nated. They lost out big time with
retirements and players going for
money in the ICL, but with the likes of
Mohd. Yousuf, Imran Nazir and Naved
returning means that this team can
again look forward to being a threat in
world cricket. Forget what happened in
Sri Lanka, for that is always a tough

proposition, the real comeback of Who else but the Pathan is the man to
Pakistan cricket begins now in South watch out for? He was simply superb in
Africa. Other teams will do well to the latter stages of the T20 World Cup
watch out. and seems to have finally found his call-
ing in the shortest format of the game.
PLAYER TO WATCH OUT But at the same time, ODI cricket is not
FOR: SHAHID AFRIDI too distant from what he used to thrive
at, in the recent past and thus needs to
find a cohesion with his form in T20
SQUAD and 50-over cricket.
Afridi of course has further captaincy
Younus Khan (captain), Imran designs for Pakistan which means that
Nazir, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umer he needs to get into pole position in
terms of performance by the time the
Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid current skipper decides to call it a day.
Afridi, Rana Naved-ul Hasan, To do that he needs to start pulling in
Fawad Alam, Mohammad the reigns of his game just a bit and he
Yousuf, Kamran Akmal, can be a much more effective player as
Umar Gul, Mohammad many teams have found out to their
chagring in the shortest format. But
Aamer, Mohammad Asif, then making Afridi understand some-
Rao Iftikhar, Saeed Ajmal thing like that might just be banging
your head on the wall. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 36 Cricket Today
September 2009

New Zealand
ecord: Victory in Nairobi in 2001

r
is their one and only major in
international cricket. And it isn’t
as if that was on cue. It was
more of a one off when Chris
Cairns on one leg upset the applecart
and India didn’t have any answers for
once. Apart from that they have strug-
gled to make an impact in any of the
preceding or subsequent editions of the
tournament, be it in England, Sri Lanka
or India. And the trend might just as well
continue this time around.

CAPTAIN: DANIEL
VETTORI
At the time of writing came the news
that Vettori had been given voting
rights as a selector of the national team.
Probably that makes him the most pow-
erful cricket captain now, if not ever. For
is that not what all skippers want? The
power to say who is in and who is not!
This could actually revolutionize how
many cricket boards work especially if it
actually comes good for New Zealand
cricket as a whole. At the same time, it
could be a double edged sword for
Vettori who has been spotless as captain
so far. Maybe this could be his chance to
really mess up just fine but knowing him
and reading his record so far in charge
of affairs, the possibility of that hap-
pening is less than remote.

COACH: ANDY MOLES


Andrew James Moles is a former English
first-class cricketer for Warwickshire and
Griqualand West. After his playing career
he became a coach and currently coach-
es the New Zealand national cricket
team. Moles was a gritty and deter-
mined, right-handed opening batsman.
He played from 1986 until his retire-
ment in 1997 for Warwickshire, where
he scored 13,316 runs at an average of
38.59. During the late 1980s he also
played domestic cricket in South Africa
for Griqualand West and in three sea-
sons managed 1,989 runs at 64.16.
After retiring as a player, he started his
coaching career at Griqualand West,
staying there for five years. In 2003 he
was appointed as the national coach of
Kenya, but he had a turbulent time due
to infighting between the Kenyan
Cricket Today
September 2009 37 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

Cricket Board and players which led him Coach.


to quit the job at the end of 2004. He
took over as the coach of Scotland in STRENGTHS & SQUAD
January 2005 but quit the job after less WEAKNESSES: Daniel Vettori (captain),
than a year as a result of disagreements The major strength of any New Zealand Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian
with some of the senior players. He was line up is their numerous bits and pieces Butler, Brendon Diamanti,
appointed coach of Northern Districts in players. Quite clearly all of them possess
New Zealand domestic cricket for the the firepower to win matches without Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill,
2006-07 season, and in his first season batting an eyelid. In Guptill, Elliott, Taylor, Gareth Hopkins, Brendon
helped guide the team to the State Ryder and McCullum, they have a bat- McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob
Championship. On November 25, 2008 ting order than can frighten any bowling Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse
New Zealand Cricket announced that attack. Each of these batsmen can play Ryder, Ross Taylor, Daryl
Andy Moles had been appointed to suc- attacking cricket as well as build when
ceed John Bracewell as the New Zealand the opportunity arises. They are not Tuffey

really susceptible to spin and handle


pace equally well.
The bowling has always been a good
part about their cricket with almost all
players capable of chipping in, ably guid-
ed by the clever Vettori. But this time
around they get their major strengths in
pace back. Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey
make a return from their ICL sojourn
which means that they have added
teeth first up on their bowling front.
The weakness of this team like South
Africa and Pakistan probably is more
about mentality than talent. They know
what to do but it is just that it doesn’t
come on too regularly for them on the
cricket field. And unlike the other two
teams they probably suffer from stage
fright as they become unstuck on the
biggest of stages. That explains why
they have only one major cricketing tro-
phy in their cabinet.
PLAYER TO WATCH OUT
FOR: BRENDON
MCCULLUM
After a superb 2008, he has had a torrid
time this year. First up it is never easy
mixing wicket keeping and opening the
batting. But to add to it, he had to lead
the side against India as well and his
inexperience showed. If that wasn’t cue
enough, he was made to lead the
Kolkata team in the IPL as well, which
further accentuated his confidence
problems and led to a loss of batting
form.
Quite clearly, if he knocks about the ball
well enough, then everything is good
enough for this cricketer and that is
where he derives his confidence. With
Vettori coming back into the fray, it is
now easy to see why he will have a
much more defined role where he can
go back to being what he was. Reckless
yet somewhat responsible in both the
roles that he performs and that is when
he is at his most potent and devastating
best. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 38 Cricket Today
September 2009

ecord: They are no better than

r
Pakistan in terms of history in
this tournament. In fact atleast
Pakistan have won world titles
atleast at some point in their
cricket timeline, something that isn’t
the case with England. They are yet to
win a major cricket tournament and as
long as their priority is to win the Ashes
once every two decades, then that will
continue to be the case. The tourna-
ment when held in England remains the
only instance where they did well
enough to reach the final, even though
they did end up losing to a weak West
Indies side that time. On other occa-
sions, they have just about only turned
up for the event.

CAPTAIN: ANDREW
STRAUSS
Andrew Strauss is leading a resurgence
of English cricket at the moment. He
was thrust into the limelight for a sec-
ond time when no one wanted to be
captain it seems. Since then he has ably
done the one job that is considered too
hot to handle especially when the Ashes
are to be played. But winning against
the West Indies both home and away
set his team on their requisite path and
at the time of writing, they were just
about to beat Australia as well. Strauss
has been at the top of his game not
only while leading but also the batting
part. Only thing is will he go the way of
his predecessors and stop the buck at
winning the Ashes? Or will be show a
different direction to his country’s
cricket and take the next step?

COACH: ANDY FLOWER


Andrew Flower is a former international
cricketer for Zimbabwe and is currently
the England team director and will now
be involved in team selection. Flower
played 63 Test matches for Zimbabwe,
scoring 4,794 runs at an average of
51.54 and taking 151 catches and 9 career runs, the highest Test batting tour, for which he was installed as inter-
stumpings, and 213 one-day interna- average, and most ODI career runs. im team director following the depar-
tionals, scoring 6,786 runs at an aver- On 7 May 2007, Flower was appointed ture of Peter Moores, he was appointed
age of 35.34 and taking 141 catches Assistant Coach of the England team, full-time team director. In the summer
and 32 stumpings. He holds the replacing Matthew Maynard. On 15 April of 2009, during his tenure as team
Zimbabwean records for the most Test 2009 following England’s Caribbean director, England regained The Ashes,
beating Australia by two test matches
to one.

England
STRENGTHS &
WEAKNESSES:
Under a coach who was more than a
good batsman in his heydays, the
England team has probably taken a cou-
ple of forward leaps in a bid to step up
their ante towards the Ashes this year.
Cricket Today
September 2009 39 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

under Nasser Hussain. In his second stint


as captain, with Flower guiding him ably,
the English captain seems surer of his
SQUAD
methods and backs his players to the Andrew Strauss (captain),
hilt, a necessity to exceed at this level. James Anderson, Ravi
Probably England have been able to Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart
solve the captaincy issue for a fair bit Broad, Paul Collingwood, Joe
of time to come as his batting is also
‘flowering’ at the moment, another Denly, Andrew Flintoff, Eoin
point which a fair share of his predeces- Morgan, Matt Prior, Adil
Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan
Sidebottom, Graeme Swann,
Luke Wright

sors weren’t able to do.


The apparent weakness of this
squad is that they do not their
own limits. For long any England
team is built for one purpose and
one purpose alone. That is to win
the Ashes after getting drubbed
around by all other teams.
However that mentality has to
change for this is a squad that boasts
of talent capable of giving every side in
the world a run for their money. The
only point is in asking can they actually
do it and stop all the questions that are
posed of them.
And one other thing, they will miss
Kevin Pietersen for whatever said and
done, he is a class act and can bat to
change the situation of the game in a
flash. A long term injury to him can only
mean disappointment for the Poms.

PLAYER TO WATCH OUT


FOR: RAVI BOPARA
Over the last twelve months, Ravi
Bopara has found himself thrust in the
limelight. Call it a lack of a definitive
impact player in the continued absence
of Andrew Flintoff if you will, but that
being the case, Bopara has been asked
to step up. Not the most pleasing tech-
niques but sometimes works out to be
That should inadvertently set them the most effective one, he eased up
up for better things later on as well, into the team on the basis of some
as hard work on and off the field strong performances against the West
never goes unpaid. They boast of Indies.
some solid looking batsmen at the Facing Australia though proved to be a
top with a whole host of all different prospect as he struggled
rounders thrown in to get the mix throughout the Test series. Having said
right. Now these all rounders can that though, this was hardly a parame-
both build an innings as well as ter on which his future selections will or
blast their way out of the park will not merit themselves. Now in the
which lends the right balance to side as an impact player given the
their presence in the side. absence of Flintoff, he can finally let go
Under Strauss, the team has off the blanket that he surrounds him-
grown a fair amount in just self in and unleash his full worth, some-
about six months’ time, some- thing we have heard so much of, but
thing last witnessed probably yet to witness it. 
match THE CONTENDERS content news interview 40 Cricket Today
September 2009

West Indies
ecord: They were champions of

r the England edition in 2004 and


then in 2006 almost defended
their crown but for the Aussies
to stop them in the final. They
could have won the first edition of the
tournament in Bangladesh as well, but
then they were stopped by the mighty
South Africans, again in the final. It
could be said then, looking at their
record, that they enjoy this tourna-
ment and would fancy their chances,
but if we look at the squad, that seems
to be out of the question for West
Indies cricket has a habit of pulling itself
down just when it seems they might be
getting out of their deep pits.

CAPTAIN: FLOYD REIFER


After a very successful Red Stripe Cup
scoring 756 runs, Reifer was given a
chance with his first one-day and Test
matches against the Sri Lankans on
their tour of the West Indies in 1997.
However, he did not manage to produce
the necessary performances and,
despite being given another chance on
the West Indies A tour to make his way
back into the senior squad, played only
two more Tests and one more one-day
international. Three years later, follow-
ing some decent domestic matches, he
claimed that he was again ready to be
chosen for West Indies. And he was, in
the most unexpected of circumstances,
in 2009, when the original squad to
face Bangladesh in Kingstown decided
to boycott the Test a day before its
start. The board scrambled to organize
a replacement side and Reifer found
himself leading the second-string squad
ten years after he had played his last
Test. However, he couldn’t script a win
in either the Test or the ODI series.

COACH: DAVID
WILLIAMS
David Williams was a competent wicket
keeper but his weakness with the bat
(he made seven ducks in 18 completed
Test innings) meant he only played 11
Tests. But he did have his moment in
the sun when he hit 65, and added a
match winning 129 with Carl Hooper,
against England in Trinidad in 1997-98.
Cricket Today
September 2009 41 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

This was a rare high point for Williams, Indies team for the Twenty20 World
though, who was dropped after the Championship in South Africa and after
fourth Test of that series. As a coach, coach John Dyson was sacked following
Williams has been involved with the the series loss to Bangladesh in 2009,
Trinidad & Tobago team from 2003, and he was handed the reigns for the ICC
the team enjoyed a purple patch which Champions Trophy, also to be played in
included two one-day titles and three South Africa.
four-day titles in four years. He was
appointed assistant coach to the West STRENGTHS &
WEAKNESSES:
It is tough to find strength in a team
that has lost comprehensively at home
to even Bangladesh. It is a pity that the
cut off for the ODI rankings was April 1
2009 for qualification for the tourna-
ment in South Africa. That is because it
will be but a travesty if this West Indies
team gets to participate and shame the
names of their glittering ancestors.
They face Australia, India and Pakistan,
so let there be no doubt that they will
be mauled.
If there is a chance for them to surprise
people, maybe just maybe, that will
come only if the teams up against them
become more than just complacent.
For the West Indies seem so fragile that
even just being complacent might not
be enough for them to cause an upset.
It would have made far more sense to
have Bangladesh participate than allow
the West Indies Cricket Board to make
this tournament such a farce.

PLAYER TO WATCH OUT


FOR: DARREN SAMMY
Even though the team might disappoint
as a whole in the absence of their stal-
warts, it might just be the right oppor-
tunity for some one with real class to
make a name for themselves. And the
money to do just that would be on
Darren Julius Garvey Sammy. He is the with the MCC cricket staff, also showed
first international cricketer to emerge off his skills as a batsman and right-arm
from St Lucia, an island rediscovering its medium-pacer as part of the University
cricket culture as the new Beausejour of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor’s XI.
Stadium has captured imaginations. He won a one-day cap in England in
Sammy, who spent some time at Lord’s 2004 and was called up late to the
Champions Trophy squad in September
2004 after Jermaine Lawson pulled out
SQUAD with a stress-fractured back. In July
2006, he was named as St Lucia’s cap-
Floyd Reifer (captain), Darren tain for West Indies’ first-ever
Sammy (vice-captain), David Twenty20 tournament and was recalled
for the tour of England in 2007. After
Bernard, Tino Best, Royston missing the first two Tests, Sammy was
Crandon, Travis Dowlin, drafted into the side for his debut at
Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Old Trafford, and celebrated with 7 for
Daren Powell, Kieran Powell, 66 in the second innings. He is still try-
Dale Richards, Kemar Roach, ing to cement his place in the Test and
limited-overs sides as an allrounder.
Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge, Playing for a weakened team against
Chadwick Walton Bangladesh in 2009, he ended the two
match Test series with 12 wickets. 
match RECORDS book review match content news interview 42 Cricket Today
September 2009

THE FINALISTS:
Year Venue Champions Runners-up Margin
1998 Dhaka South Africa West Indies Four wickets
2000 Nairobi New Zealand India Four wickets
2002 Colombo Sri Lanka-India - Abandoned
2004 The Oval West Indies England Two wickets
2006 Mumbai Australia West Indies Eight wickets (D/L)

SUMMARY OF RESULTS:
Team Matches Won Lost N/R Success %
West Indies 18 12 6 - 66.66
Sri Lanka 17 10 5 2 64.70
India 16 9 5 2 62.50
South Africa 14 9 5 - 64.28
New Zealand 13 8 5 - 61.53
Australia 13 8 5 - 61.53
England 12 6 6 - 50.00
Pakistan 11 5 6 - 45.45
Bangladesh 8 1 7 - 12.50
Holland 2 - 2 - 00.00
United Sates 2 - 2 - 00.00
Kenya 5 - 5 - 00.00
Zimbabwe 9 - 9 - 00.00

HIGHEST INNINGS TOTALS:


Total Teams Venue Date
347-4 in 50 overs New Zealand v USA The Oval 10-09-2004
316-5 in 50 overs South Africa v Kenya Colombo 20-09-2002
307-8 in 50 overs India v Australia Dhaka 28-10-1998
302-8 in 50 overs Sri Lanka v Bangladesh Mohali 07-10-2006
299-7 in 50 overs England v Zimbabwe Birmingham 10-09-2004
298-8 in 50 overs England v Zimbabwe Colombo 18-09-2002
296-7 in 50 overs Australia v New Zealand Colombo 15-09-2002
295-6 in 50 overs India v South Africa Nairobi 13-10-2000
292-6 in 50 overs Sri Lanka v Holland Colombo 16-09-2002
290-4 in 50 overs India v Kenya Southampton 11-09-2004

LOWEST INNINGS TOTALS FOR EACH TEAM:


Total Teams Venue Date
65 in 24 overs United States v Australia Southampton 13-09-2004
77 in 19.3 overs Bangladesh v New Zealand Colombo 23-09-2002
80 in 30.4 overs West Indies v Sri Lanka Mumbai 14-10-2006
85 in 30.1 overs Zimbabwe v West Indies Ahmedabad 08-10-2006
86 in 29.3 overs Holland v Sri Lanka Colombo 16-09-2002
89 in 25 overs Pakistan v South Africa Mohali 27-10-2006
93 in 31.3 overs Bangladesh v South Africa Birmingham 12-09-2004
94 in 32 overs Kenya v Pakistan Birmingham 15-09-2004
108 in 34.1 overs South Africa v New Zealand Mumbai 16-10-2006
125 in 37 overs England v India Jaipur 15-10-2006
Cricket Today
September 2009 43 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

HIGHEST MARGINS OF VICTORY:


Margin Teams Venue Date
210 runs New Zealand beat United States TheOval 10-09-2004
206 runs Sri Lanka beat Holland Colombo 16-09-2002
176 runs South Africa beat Kenya Colombo 20-09-2002
167 runs N.Zealand beat Bangladesh Colombo 23-09-2002
164 runs Australia beat New Zealand Colombo 15-09-2002
152 runs England beat Zimbabwe Birmingham 11-09-2004
10 wickets West Indies beat Bangladesh Jaipur 11-10-2006
9 wickets Pakistan beat Sri Lanka Nairobi 08-10-2000
9 wickets Australia beat Bangladesh Colombo 19-09-2002
9 wickets Pakistan beat Holland Colombo 21-09-2002
9 wickets Australia beat United States Southampton 13-09-2004
9 wickets S. Africa beat Bangladesh Birmingham 12-09-2004
9 wickets West Indies beat Zimbabwe Ahmedabad 08-10-2006
9 wickets Sri Lanka beat West Indies Mumbai 14-10-2006

LOWEST MARGINS OF VICTORY:


Margin Teams Venue Date
10 runs India beat South Africa Colombo 25-09-2002
10 runs West Indies beat Australia Mumbai 18-10-2006
14 runs India beat Zimbabwe Colombo 14-09-2002
20 runs India beat Australia Nairobi 07-10-2000
29 runs West Indies beat Kenya Colombo 17-09-2002
2 wickets South Africa beat West Indies Colombo 13-09-2002
2 wickets West Indies beat England The Oval 25-09-2004
3 wickets Pakistan beat India Birmingham 19-09-2004
3 wickets West Indies beat India Ahmedabad 26-10-2006
3 wickets England beat West Indies Ahmedabad 28-10-2006

HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORE:


Runs Batsman Against Venue Date
145* Nathan Astle (New Zealand) United States The Oval 10-09-2004
145 Andy Flower (Zimbabwe) India Colombo 14-09-2002
141 Sachin Tendulkar (India) Australia Dhaka 28-10-1998
141* Sourav Ganguly (India) South Africa Nairobi 13-10-2000
133* Chris Gayle (West Indies) South Africa Jaipur 02-11-2006
132 Avishka Gunawardene (SL) W.Indies Nairobi 04-10-2000
126 Virender Sehwag (India) England Colombo 22-09-2002
123* Shahriar Nafees (Bangladesh) Zimbabwe Jaipur 13-10-2006
119 Marcus Trescothick (England) Zimbabwe Colombo 18-09-2002
117* Sourav Ganguly (India) England Colombo 22-09-2002
117 Sourav Ganguly (India) New Zealand Nairobi 15-10-2000
116* Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) India Colombo 25-09-2002
116 Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) Kenya Colombo 20-09-2002
113* Jacques Kallis (South Africa) Sri Lanka Dhaka 30-10-1998
112* Dwayne Bravo (West Indies) England Ahmedabad 28-10-2006
111* Mohammed Kaif (India) Zimbabwe Colombo 14-09-2002
111 Brian Lara (West Indies) Kenya Colombo 17-09-2002
110 Upul Tharanga (Sri Lanka) Zimbabwe Ahmedabad 10-10-2006
105* Saeed Anwar (Pakistan) Sri Lanka Nairobi 08-10-2000
105 Upul Tharanga (Sri Lanka) Bangladesh Mohali 07-10-2006
104 Saeed Anwar (Pakistan) New Zealand Nairobi 11-10-2000
104* Chris Gayle (West Indies) Bangladesh Jaipur 11-10-2006
104 Andrew Flintoff (England) Sri Lanka Southampton 18-09-2004
104 Marcus Trescothick (England) West Indies The Oval 25-09-2004
103 Philo Wallace (West Indies) South Africa Dhaka 01-11-1998
102* Chris Cairns (New Zealand) India Nairobi 15-10-2000
102* Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) Pakistan Colombo 12-09-2002
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 44 Cricket Today
September 2009

HIGHEST RUNS GETTERS:


Batsman M I N.O Runs AVG H.S 100 50 0
Chris Gayle (West Indies) 14 14 2 695 57.91 133* 3 1 1
Sourav Ganguly (India) 13 11 2 665 73.88 141* 3 3 1
S.Chanderpaul (West Indies) 16 16 5 587 53.36 74 - 5 -
Jacques Kallis (South Africa) 14 14 3 564 51.27 113* 1 3 -
Rahul Dravid (India) 16 13 2 547 49.72 71 - 5 -
Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) 17 17 2 502 33.46 102* 1 1 2
Damien Martyn (Australia) 12 11 3 492 61.50 78 - 5 -
Brian Lara (West Indies) 18 17 3 465 33.21 111 1 2 -
Stephen Fleming (N.Zealand) 13 13 - 441 33.92 96 - 3 1
Herschelle Gibbs (S.Africa) 9 9 1 438 54.75 116* 3 1 2
Sachin Tendulkar (India) 14 13 2 433 39.36 141 1 1 -
Marcus Trescothick (England) 8 8 - 421 52.62 119 2 2 1
Mahela Jayawardene(S.Lanka) 15 14 2 411 34.25 77 - 2 -

BEST BOWLING PERFORMANCE:


Wkts Bowler Against Venue Date
6-14 Farveez Maharoof (Sri Lanka) West Indies Mumbai 14-10-2006
5-11 Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) Kenya Birmingham 15-09-2004
5-21 Makhaya Ntini (South Africa) Pakistan Mohali 27-10-2006
5-29 Mervyn Dillon (W. Indies) Bangladesh Southampton 15-09-2004
5-30 Jacques Kallis (South Africa) West Indies Dhaka 01-11-1998
5-36 Jacob Oram (New Zealand) United States The Oval 10-09-2004
5-37 Glenn McGrath (Australia) New Zealand Colombo 15-09-2002
5-46 Shayne O’Connor (New Zealand) Pakistan Nairobi 11-10-2000
4-14 Michael Kasprowicz (Aus) United States Southampton 13-09-2004
4-15 Jason Gillespie (Australia) United States Southampton 13-09-2004
4-15 Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) Holland Colombo 16-09-2002
4-21 Shane Bond (New Zealand) Bangladesh Colombo 23-09-2002
4-23 Muttiah Muralitharan (S.Lanka) New Zealand Mumbai 20-10-2006
4-25 Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (Pakistan) India Birmingham 19-09-2004
4-31 Keith Arthurton (West Indies) Pakistan Dhaka 29-10-1998

HIGHEST WICKETS TAKERS:


Bowler M Overs Runs Wkts AVG 4WI R/0 Best
Muttiah Muralitharan (S.Lanka) 15 116.1 378 23 16.43 2 3.25 4-15
Glenn McGrath (Australia) 12 102 412 21 19.61 1 4.03 5-37
Mervyn Dillon (West Indies) 7 68 317 19 16.68 2 4.66 5-29
Jacques Kallis (South Africa) 14 88.3 444 19 23.36 1 5.01 5-30
Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka) 16 125.4 494 18 27.44 - 3.93 2-6
Chris Gayle (West Indies) 14 83.4 369 17 21.70 - 4.41 3-3
Farveez Maharoof (Sri Lanka) 8 55 247 16 15.43 1 4.49 6-14
Makhaya Ntini (South Africa) 8 57 248 16 15.50 1 4.35 5-21
Shaun Pollock (South Africa) 11 88.1 321 16 20.06 - 3.64 3-27
Jacob Oram (New Zealand) 8 64.4 270 15 18.00 1 4.17 5-36
Zaheer Khan (India) 9 80 368 15 24.53 1 4.60 4-45
Cricket Today
September 2009 45 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

MOST DISMISSALS IN AN INNINGS:


Dismissals Keeper Against Venue Date
5 (4 ct + 1 st) Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) Holland Colombo 16-09-2002
5 (all catches) Adam Gilchrist (Australia) England Jaipur 21-10-2006
4 (1 ct + 3 st) David Obuya (Kenya) South Africa Colombo 20-09-2002
4 (3 ct + 1st) Courtney Browne (West Indies) Pakistan Southampton 22-09-2004
4 (all catches) Moin Khan (Pakistan) India Birmingham 19-09-2004
4 (3 ct + 1 st) Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) Bangladesh Mohali 07-10-2006
4 (3 ct + 1 st) Adam Gilchrist (Australia) New Zealand Mohali 01-11-2006
3 (all catches) Rumesh Kaluwitharana (Sri Lanka) W.Indies Nairobi 04-10-2000
3 (all catches) Moin Khan (Pakistan) Sri Lanka Nairobi 08-10-2000
3 (2 ct+ 1st) Vijay Dahiya (India) South Africa Nairobi 13-10-2000
3 (2ct+ 1 st) Adam Gilchrist (Australia) New Zealand Colombo 15-09-2002
3 (2ct+ 1 st) Khaled Mashud (Bangladesh) New Zealand Colombo 23-09-2002
3 (all catches) Rahul Dravid (India) Pakistan Birmingham 19-09-2004
3 (all catches) Geraint Jones (England) West Indies The Oval 25-09-2004
3 (all catches) Geraint Jones (England) Sri Lanka Southampton 18-09-2004
3 (all catches) Geraint Jones (England) Zimbabwe Birmingham 11-09-2004
3 (all catches) Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) Zimbabwe The Oval 14-09-2004
3 (all catches) Dinesh Karthik (India) Kenya Southampton 11-09-2004
3 (2 ct + 1 st) Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) South Africa Ahmedabad 24-10-2006
3 (all catches) Kamran Akmal (Pakistan) South Africa Mohali 27-10-2006

MOST CATCHES IN AN INNINGS:


Catches Player Against Venue Date
3 Marvan Atapattu (Sri Lanka) South Africa Dhaka 30-10-1998
3 Jonty Rhodes (South Africa) West Indies Dhaka 01-11-1998
3 Alistair Campbell (Zimbabwe) India Colombo 14-09-2002
3 Yuvraj Singh (India) South Africa Colombo 25-09-2002
3 Brian Lara (West Indies) England The Oval 25-09-2004
3 Marcus Trescothick (England) Australia Birmingham 21-09-2004
3 Darren Sammy (West Indies) Bangladesh Southampton 15-09-2004
match STRAIGHT TALK content news interview 46 Cricket Today
September 2009

HOW WAS THE EXPERI-


ENCE OF PLAYING IN
THE EMERGING TOUR-
NAMENT?
It was good to play in Australia. I
have already been to down under
but this time it was far better than
before because new kind of balls
(orange and green) were used in the
tournament. Bowling with orange
and green balls was all-together a
new experience. Pitches were favor-
able to fast bowling so for a spinner
like me it was very challenging to
bowl out there. Moreover tourney
had four teams which required a lot
of hard work to adjust according to
the conditions.

HOW FAR ARE YOU SATIS-


FIED WITH YOUR PERFORM-
ANCE?
I am not fully satisfied; my aim was to
be the highest wicket-taker of the
tournament but could only reach up
to 16 wickets (second highest) which
was less than Sudeep Tyagi (highest
wicket taker). Though we won the
tournament but still I am not happy at
personal end.

I THOUGHT OF GIVING
UP AT TIMES
AMIT MISHRA
Amit Mishra is a true
fighter with supreme tal-
WHICH FORMAT OF CRICKET SUITS YOU THE ent. He fought back his
MOST? place into the one-day
First of all I want to get rid of this Test bowler tag. I know to play Test squad of the Indian team
cricket is like a dream come true for any player as it checks ones talent
all the way. Test cricket gives chance of a comeback after one bad spell
for the Champions Trophy.
but in one-day and T20 cricket a single bad over can ruin your whole He spoke exclusively to
effort. Nevertheless I also love ODI and T20 and consider myself fit for Cricket Today before his
all the three colors of the game.
selection.
Cricket Today
September 2009 47 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

HAVE YOU MADE ANY SPECIAL PLANS TO


GET BACK INTO THE ODI SQUAD?
The way I have performed in the recent past gives me confidence of
surely making a comeback. As far as plan is concern, I am trying to add
more variations to my bowling arsenal. Giving special attention to the
batting department is also on my agenda so that I can be an all-round-
er. Selectors have given thumbs up to my efforts by putting my
name in the probables of the Champions Trophy.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF TEAM INDIA IN THE UPCOM-


ING CHAMPIONS TROPHY?
I have full faith in my team and take my words we are going to win mini World
Cup this time. Our team has got best batsmen and bowlers in the world. If we
keep apart the dismissal performance of T20 World Cup, team India’s out going
so far has been more than satisfactory.

YOUR TEAM DELHI DAREDEVILS SEEMS TO BE


FALTERING AT THE CRUCIAL LEVELS. WHAT
ARE THE REASONS?
This time round (second phase) we performed really well, unfortunately Gilly
took the match away from us with his blistering knock in the semis. Daredevils
had the best bowling attack but we can’t take credit away from Gilchrist for his
superb effort.

WHAT IS YOUR
OPINION ON
WADA ISSUE?
Doping test is not the
issue with any of the
players. Actually
problem comes with
the hard line of the
clause. Players are on
the playing streak for
10-11 months in a
year, rest of the time
they want to spend
with the families and
close ones. WADA
clause will act like an
intruder in ones secu-
IPL SEASON FOUR WOULD BE rity and privacy.
HAVING 94 CONTESTS, YOUR Leaving one or two
SAY ON THIS? cricketers, no one has
It is good for the youngsters to get a the proper security
chance of involving themselves in more to counter problems
encounters of cricket. Even if some
team loses two or three matches they which could come up
would still have the chance for a come- if WADA clause is
back and same goes for the players. signed.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 48 Cricket Today
September 2009

CORPORATE LEAGUE IS AN OVER DOSE OF CRICKET.


WHICH WAY YOUR PENDULUM SWINGS?
I don’t think corporate league is an over dose. If we look at the brighter
prospect, it could help us to find more talent out in the country. Team India
beneficiary could go to the highest level with the corporate league.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM DANIEL VETTORI?


Daniel is a very good bowler and has taught me how to read wickets. He
also praised me for the daring attitude of bowling. Daniel thinks bowlers
should always go for wickets rather getting defensive at times.

WHO IS THE BEST SPINNER IN THE WORLD?


My list has the names of Anil Kumble and Shane Warne. They both are my
inspiration. Even we can’t ignore Muralitharan and Vettori for the fact that
they are still ruling the spin department.

YOU HAVE BEEN SEEN AS THE ONE TAKING UP THE


SLOT OF ANIL KUMBLE. DOSE THIS ADD UP TO MORE
RESPONSIBILITY?
Yes, now I have to work much harder. Best would be expected from me
when ever I go out on the field. To see myself in jumbo’s shoes is a proud
feeling. Though, I have not achieved much in my life but still I am putting in
my best efforts to be a champ like Kumble. Every cricket onlooker would
want me to perform like kumble.

DOES INDIAN TEAM REQUIRE A FITNESS TRAINER?


Definitely, playing at highest level requires fitness of top level. Fitness train-
er could be of great help as he/she will guide us to set up our body accord-
ing to the needs of batting, bowling and fielding department.

INDIAN TEAM HAS GOT THE SERVICES OF


FAST BOWLING COACH. DOES THE TEAM
ALSO REQUIRES A SPIN BOWLING COACH?
Requirement is there but experience campaigners like Kumble and Hirwani are
always there to assist the spinners. Beside them Sachin and Bhajji too have WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE
useful tips about spin bowling. Though Venkatesh Prasad is the fast bowling DESTINATION IN TERMS OF
coach, still he has much to offer for the spinners. Last but not the least we PLAYING CRICKET?
have National Cricket Academy where we can clear all our doubts when India is the best country to play
required. cricket in. Type of reception we
get and the facilities which
comes in for us are mouth
WHO PLAY watering. Same can’t be said
about other countries as there
PRANKS we have to run for small-small
things also.
MOST OF
HOW WILL YOU DEFINE MS
THE TIME IN DHONI?
Dhoni has unique style of inspir-
TEAM ing someone. He knows how to
get best out of a player. Known
INDIA? for his patience and cool head,
Bhajji is the one who never Mahi always have tips for the
misses out on any opportu- younger lot of the team. He has
nity when it comes to play- been like a guide to me but the
ing pranks. Viru is also a fun most important element of his
loving guy. Nevertheless persona is the trust which he
everyone in the team loves has on his brigade. It brings out
fun and are blessed with best from every one on the
good nature. battle field.
Cricket Today
September 2009 49 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

IF YOU EVER GET A


CHANCE TO ACT IN A
BOLLYWOOD FLICK,
WHICH TYPE (ROMANTIC,
ACTION, AND HORROR)
OF ROLE WOULD YOU
LIKE TO FIT YOUR SELF IN?
I have never thought on this but
given a chance I would go for any
kind of role.

AFTER HARD STRUGGLE


AND TOUGH COMPETI-
TION YOU MADE A
COMEBACK TO THE
INDIAN TEAM. WHO WAS
THE ONE TO HELP YOU IN
THIS DIFFICULT PHASE?
All the credit goes to former BCCI
president Ranbir Singh Mahendra
and my family. They are the one
who stood by me in difficult times.
After two years of sheer hard
work, when I started getting back
into rhythm an injury came as a
shocker which kept me out of
action for six to seven months.
Moreover I was always anticipated
to perform well from others to
prove my credential in the domes-
tic competition.

IN YOUR STRUGGLING
DAYS, HAVE YOU EVER
THOUGHT OF GIVING
UP?
Yes, I thought of giving up at times.
PRAGYAN OHJA IS YOUR My good performance was not
COMPETITOR. HOW considered which made me sad.
HEALTHY IS THIS COMPETI- Though, Ranbir Singh Mahendra,
TION? Gauti and family always motivated
Competition makes me strong and by me to get back into the side.
each passing day I keep on improving
my game. Getting tough fight from WHICH PLAYER SUITS ALL
some one always keeps you on the THE THREE FORMAT S OF
toes and concentration level on the THE GAME?
game increases. To be honest contest Sachin and Gambhir have the ability
constantly brings out finest perform- to rule all the formats of cricket.
ance from you. Sacin has nothing left to prove
while Gauti is making his mark in all
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A the forms of cricket.
SOUP BECAUSE OF A
FEMALE FAN FOLLOWING? TELL US THE SECRET OF
No, I have not been through such VIRU AND GAUTI’S
experience but now the fan base is TREMENDOUS SUCCESS
climbing up which has lots of female AS AN OPENING PAIR?
fans. According to me both of them play
tension free cricket and keeps on
WHICH INDIAN PLAYER IS motivating each other. They have
THE MOST FAMOUS ONE ON perfect eye to eye coordination
THE FEMALE FANS RADAR? when it comes to running between
Yuvraj and Zaheer are the toppers of the wickets. Combination of both
female fans list. Sachin’s popularity is can dismantle any pace attack.
known to every one.
match CONTROVERSY content news interview 50 Cricket Today
September 2009

t took eleven Indian cricketers to federations. It has the world’s top ath-

i
bring to light what was dealt letes on its roll and while tennis champi-
with as a matter of formality by ons such as Rafael Nadal and Serena
tens of thousands of sportsper- Williams have expressed anguish at the
sons around the world. While whereabouts clause, Roger Federer per-
there is no doubt that there has to be a haps has put it succinctly that it was a
more stringent measure to curb the small inconvenience to pay to ensure
use of illicit drugs in sport, and cricket the sport was rid of doping.
can be no exception, the BCCI is now in Even India’s leading badminton champi-
a headlong battle with WADA over what on, Saina Nehwal, sees only the positive
it deems are impracticable conditions side of complying with WADA and has
on its cricketers. even furthered the cause by stating
that it would not be too hard to state
FICA JUMPS, ICC SET- the whereabouts because players would
BACK have some form of training or workout
The conundrum turned into a fiasco even during off season, a matter that
when the eleven Indian cricketers (nine India’s Olympic gold medallist at the
male and two female cricketers) failed 2008 Beijing Games, Abhinav Bindra,
to turn in their signed agreements by totally agrees with.
the ICC set deadline of August 31st. Blood doping as also the use of anabolic
The ICC had suffered a setback en steroids, diuretics, narcotics have
route to ensuring a drug free cricket played a huge role in other athletic
policy. It led to a strong petition from events. While cricketers are generally
the FICA (Federation of International believed have a significantly lesser need
Cricketers Association) to appeal to the to depend on performance enhancing
ICC to take action against the Indian
cricketers, who are also incidentally not
members of FICA.
Faced with an awkward situation that
the ICC could not evade, they put the
onus back on the BCCI to ensure that
the papers were turned in. An emer-
gency Sunday meeting later with the
likes of the Indian captain, Mahendra
Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan
Singh, the BCCI sent a message to the
ICC that it was firmly backing its players
against the WADA code and that it was
up to the ICC to seek resolution without
compromising on the concerns of the
Indian cricketers.

WHY WADA?
The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA)
is universally accepted by over 20,000
athletes over sixty international sports
drugs, that they are experimenting with

WADA- ICC-
it cannot be denied. Furthermore mask-
ing agents do a good job in covering up
for doping players as hormones pro-
duced within the body in excess then
tend to skew the results.

BCCI: Tied
Tour de France champion, Floyd Landis,
was stripped of his medal in 2004 after
his drug test showed an unusual
amount of testosterone in his body

in Gridlock
implicating him in the use of synthetic
drugs. USA’s top athlete Marion Jones
though escaped getting caught and it
was only upon her own decision to con-
fess that the dreadful deed came to
light and she was subsequently taken to
tasks amidst tears that garnered no
by Sreelata S. Yellamrazu sympathy. Shane Warne was found by
Cricket Today
September 2009 59 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

an independent drug testing within ambitions to be nursed. In some cases, Indian cricketers
Australia of having used diuretics illicit drug testing has also inadvertently have a major
before the 2003 World Cup in a coun- boosted the bottom line of certain concern over the
try where drug awareness is at a peak pharmaceutical companies has come to
and is generally intolerant of drug light since doping became a major con-
whereabouts
usage in any sport. Nandrolone was cern in the U.S. which has revealed cer- clause that
found in the bloodstream of Shoaib tain past winners such as Ben Johnson states that they
Akhtar and Mohammad Asif before the and Carl Lewis to have cheated. must state for an
ICC Champions Trophy in 2006 again by On a more dangerous level, drug testing hour each day
the Pakistan Cricket Board. As impossi- has had the ulterior motive on the bor-
ble as it sounds, there could be more der lines of creating rifts on the politi-
about where
deceitful attempts to cheat in sport cal roadmap. When Carola Nitschke they will be for
than those that have come to light only returned her swimming medal in 1988, the projected
to be dismissed by way of feigning the first athlete to do so, she essential- period of three
ignorance. ly brought to light the sinister motive months.
where in several of the East German
RELEVANCE OF DRUG athletes were given drug supplements,
TESTING without their explicit knowledge, to put day about where they will be for the
South Africa’s Dale Steyn’s sample down their West German counterparts projected period of three months. Not
turned positive apparently during the with a clear political angle to the only are the Indian cricketers extremely
IPL 2 season for morphine, an effect of motive. weary of stating their location for fear
painkillers containing codeine turning With cricket being far from an amateur of compromising on their security fol-
into morphine at slightly higher than sport and certainly earning professional lowing terror threats to some of the
the acceptable levels. However, since sport endorsements and with the ICC top cricketers in the country, they are
the officials were briefed of Steyn’s now aiming a greater role for cricket in also extremely protective of their priva-
world sports meets, it is only natural cy, although that is sometimes compro-
that the sport must then fall in line mised upon for the odd intrusion of
with the accepted norm which includes endorsements.
WADA as the premier anti doping NEGLIGENCE TO BLAME
agency that is respected by both,
sportspersons and sports bodies. FOR THIS STALEMATE?
The BCCI may be pleading ignorance
CAUSE FOR CONSTER- over issues and seeking the legal opin-
NATION - WHERE- ion of the likes of Goolam Vahanvati,
ABOUTS India’s Attorney General, and A.S.
According to the WADA President, John Anand, the former Chief Justice, and on
Fahey, there is a greater need at pres- prime facie evidence, they are likely to
ent to introduce the surprise element support BCCI’s stand on quoting Article
of off season testing to deter the pos- 21 of the Constitution that grants liber-
sibility of doping in sport. But the Indian ty to all citizens of the country.
cricketers have a major concern over But there is apparently a rather tricky
the whereabouts clause that states situation that the BCCI finds itself in.
that they must state for an hour each The BCCI committed a glaring error and

condition and subsequent drugs at the


time of testing, he was exonerated of
all charges. The same though cannot be
said of Mohammad Asif and Shoaib
Akhtar whose blood work found traces
of banned substances.
The WADA has signed on sportspersons
around the world and they have accept-
ed, even in disagreement, the encum-
brance posed by the necessity of the
whereabouts clause. WADA realizes that
there is high pressure on sportspersons
to deliver with overemphasis on per-
formance with big money at stake and
six figure endorsements to ensure a life
of no work and all play. For some it is
about keeping their place on the team,
for others, families to upkeep, egos and
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 60 Cricket Today
September 2009

now woken up rather late to the press-


ing issue. Additionally, the Copenhagen
declaration of 2003 against doping of
which the government of India is a
party to makes it hard for the BCCI to
weasel out of the drug testing per se
or fight a universally accepted system
on the protest of eleven cricketers.
The BCCI has also stated the example of
FIFA over non compliance with the
whereabouts clause. But contrary to
that opinion, FIFA has managed a sys-
tem wherein the International

WADA has the


world’s top athletes
on its roll and while
tennis champions
such as Rafael
Nadal and Serena
Williams have
expressed anguish
at the whereabouts
clause, Roger
Federer perhaps has
put it succinctly that
it was a small incon-
venience to pay to
ensure the sport
was rid of doping.

Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) consists


of a fluctuating number and names of
players depending on their injuries and
past history with drug related issues,
while maintaining their own anti-doping
norms for all players under the FIFA
banner. The BCCI could certainly sug-
gest to the ICC a similar course of
action where only repeat offenders and
those cricketers undergoing treatment
for injuries need to come into WADA’s
bracket.

STAND OFF
IMPLICATIONS
The ICC has a reason why it cannot be
the reed that usually weathers the
storm that originates from the BCCI.
The ICC now has a bigger agenda. Apart
thereby, missed a golden from the fact that the ICC has also
opportunity to state their signed on to be a part of WADA in 2006
point at a valid time. The and officially accepted the WADA dic-
NADA (National Anti Doping tum in January this year, there is an
Agency), an independent agenda behind this.
agency instituted by the Indian The ICC has aspired to be a part of a
sports ministry, issued notifica- larger global sports event, namely, the
tion to the effect that unless Olympics. Recently the popularity of the
there was opposition from the vari- Twenty20 game also had some crick-
ous sports bodies regarding compliance eters getting behind the idea of having
with the WADA norms, their silence cricket represented at such worldwide
would be assumed as in agreement of sports meets in its latest version.
the rules. BCCI remained silent and has However, for the ICC to involve cricket
Cricket Today
September 2009 61 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

in any Olympic or sports event, it must


first have all its member nations and
cricketers adhere to universally accept-
ed, common norm and customs that
contribute to a drug free sports world.
Without the Indian cricketers jumping
on the bandwagon, the ICC cannot
carry out its plans forward.
The ICC has already received a slot in At the emergency
the 2010 Asiad games in China with meeting with
Twenty20 and some would be inclined Dhoni, Yuvraj and
to believe that India could be deliberate- Harbhajan the
ly or otherwise creating a spoke in the BCCI sent a mes-
wheel. Nevertheless it will be hard for sage to the ICC
them to prevent this, even as a wild that it was firmly
conspiracy theory, or the WADA from backing its players
coming into the picture as the ICC is against the WADA
determined to help the Indian cricketers code and that it
and indeed the BCCI to see the right of was up to the ICC
way. The ICC has instead appointed a to seek resolution
five man committee, consisting of without compro-
Haroon Lorgat, the ICC Chief Executive, mising on the con-
N. Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, ICC cerns of the Indian
Principal Advsor, IS Bindra, Anil Kumble, cricketers.
member of WADA’s athletic committee,
and Tim Kerr, chairman of ICC anti-dop-
ing panel, to formulate a plan to con- BCCI has been an autonomous institu- voice their protest against the WADA
vince the Indian cricketers to accept the tion unto itself and it has passed on, in clause, eleven cricketers are hoping to
WADA code when they meet in essence, the same sufficient arrogance, turn the dictation around.
September. to its cricketers. To now conform with
other sportspersons is then the seem- THE IMMEDIATE SOLU-
WHY INDIAN CRICK- ingly unacceptable scenario. TION
ETERS CAN PROTEST While it is difficult for individual athletes One look at the ADAMS (The Anti
The BCCI has just granted the All India to protest universal laws, it is unthink- Doping Administration and Management
Football Federation (AIFF) a grant of able when the sports discipline is System ) website, and it will be clear as
Rs25 crore over two years for the dependent on government funding. to how easy it is to fill the calendar dur-
preparations for the Asian Games. Such Cricket in India, however, has always ing the off season. Players can simply
is the BCCI’s clout that it is not obligat- functioned as an independent entity log on to the website from wherever
ed to tow the Sports Ministry to pro- unto itself which is why while the South they are located, state one hour of
cure its funds. Not mandatory to com- African and Australian cricketers have every day that they are available and
ply with the norms of the Indian complied with their national obligations draft it on the calendar page which will
Olympic Association (IOC) either, the to drug testing without being able to then be put in a bank safe like vaults
within the database. Sportspersons who
have complied with it talk about the
facile procedure as also of changing
time and place where need be. For
cricketers, it should only become easier
since they are always complaining of a
hectic international calendar which
means more of their days are already
chalked out for them without them
having to state explicitly.
The whereabouts clause is considered
as a necessary evil amongst sportsper-
sons throughout the world because of
the benefit of having fair play on the
field. It will be hard for eleven cricketers
to beat the system and they risk the
ICC’s larger plans for globalization and
expansion of cricket in doing so. A more
pragmatic course would be to fall in line
but with an explicit grievance ear-
marked for the WADA review which
comes up in 2010. 
match ONE -TO-ONE book reviews content news interview 62 Cricket Today
September 2009

FOREMOST STEP
IS TO SET UP A
SALARY STRUCTURE
FOR THE CURATORS
DALJIT SINGH

Daljit Singh is the man behind the wear and tear of most
Indian pitches. He has been the architect of many
famous Indian wins. Presently working as a Chairman of
pitch committee, he is keeping all his focus on the new
laid pitch at DDCA. Daljit speaks out on the vast experi-
ence he has accumulated over the years about the art of
preparing pitch and cricket on the whole.
Cricket Today
September 2009 63 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

When
IPL was shifted
to South Africa for the
Any specific reason behind chance of grueling contest.
the new laid pitch at DDCA? second season, DDCA
Actually when IPL was shifted to South quickly decided to rope in You have been associated
Africa for the second season, DDCA a new pitch at the stadium. with Mohali cricket ground for
quickly decided to rope in a new pitch DDCA motto was to give its 15 years now. How has been
at the stadium for which they definitely junior cricketers a chance the experience on this long
deserve applauses. DDCA motto was to to play on a pitch which journey?
give its junior cricketers a chance to has equal bounce To keep everyone happy is virtually
play on a pitch which has equal bounce and pace. impossible but I always try to give my
and pace. Even we are trying our level best. Though, on many occasions I have
best to give DDCA what they expect faced the heat from the local teams for
from us so that they can nourish not preparing the wicket of their kind.
upcoming talent in the near future. that’s why our cricket board is giving all Beside this Mohali wicket has got praises
required importance on this area. It has on the international circuit which gives
Has new techniques taken its change cricket all the way in our coun- me a lot of pleasure.
course in pitch making or still try, now we have strong pace attack
it is the same old story? which has been the main factor in our What made you to take this
Presently BBCI is making all its associa- wins overseas. (curator) profession as a
tion aware of new techniques involved career option?
in pitch making. Even we are keeping all Does Test, ODI and T20 cricket I have given nineteen long years to
these measures in effect while laying involve different techniques cricket as a player. I played for Services,
new pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla. Now a while preparing wicket? Delhi, Railways and Bihar in my cricket-
day’s pitch making doesn’t rely on old Preparing wicket for Test cricket is a ing days. But while working for Tata
methods. tough nut to crack. Even after sheer group in Jharia (Jharkhand) we prepared
hard work it is very difficult to say that a wicket to play cricket on that. At that
Is this attempt has something how pitch is going to behave in the time I learnt a lot about pitch and
to do with the BCCI idea of course of the match. It would be cor- decided to work on preparing wickets
making bouncy pitches in rect to say that making a good Test from there onwards.
India? pitch is an art. ODI and T20 cricket
Yes BCCI wants domestic cricket to be demands batsman friendly wickets You have been part of many
played on good pitches. BCCI main spot- which are good for stroke play. famous matches. Among the
light is on Under-16 and Under-22 play- Especially in T20 cricket pitch is pre- never ending list of matches
ers. Moreover bouncy pitches is the pared keeping 40 overs in mind. which one is your most mem-
requirement of today’s cricket world Attempt is to give both the teams equal orable contest?
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 64 Cricket Today
September 2009

is no major change which has taken


place to perk up curator in recent time
which is totally wrong. When we can
pay lakhs of bucks to cricketers, it is our
board’s responsibility to think seriously
for all those who are involved in prepar-
ing pitches.

How far taking up a curator


job as profession is a good
career option?
There is a lot of difference between
the reality and dreams. If former crick-
eters or pass out graduates from agro-
culture courses comes in for curators
job, it would be very beneficial.
Students from agro-culture courses
have the in depth knowledge about soil
and grass, so qualified people would
find it easy to get into pitch making. In
coming time demand of the curators
would boost up in foreign countries
which could stand up as a golden
chance for the youngsters.

How difficult is curators job


Daljit Singh with Assistant Curator Vijay Bahadur.
FACTORS INVOLVED
Deciding on one match would be a get good marks with applauds from IN PITCH PREPARA-
tough task for me but I was very BCCI while the bad wickets could lead to TION AT DDCA:
pleased with the way in which second some strict actions against their associ-  Area of the pitch is 90x90
Test match (Mohali) in Border-Gavaskar ations. square feet. Nine wickets have
ended on the fifth day. India was even- been prepared. In the process of
tually winner by more than 300 runs What should BCCI do preparing wickets Daljit dug 14
which was a sign of relief for me. for the curators? inches into the surface to find a
Moreover, Man of the Match First and foremost step is to set thick foundation of bricks over
award was bagged up by Amit up a salary structure for the curators which he has created a new base.
Mishra. Seeing a spinner per- so that their standards could be revolu- Above that a four inch layer of fil-
forming so well in front of tionized. Cricket board is paying to ter sand has been put in place to
the fast bowlers like Brett umpires and coaches then why absorb water. Then another layer
Lee, Mitchell Johnson, not to curators? The way of fertile soil was laid in for the
Zaheer Khan and Ishant Cricket board is taking up semi- grass to grow into the surface. Five
Sharma was remark- nars and certificate inch layer of black soil was also
able.
board has formed a courses for the included in the process which has
One more match is committee in domestic coaching and umpir- been brought especially from
very close to my cricket for pitch evaluation. ing, same way has to Rajasthan. One inch has been used
heart. It was Duleep Good pitches will get good be followed for the for the fitting of Bermuda
trophy contest marks with applauds from curators. There is (American) grass.
between North Zone BCCI while the bad wickets professionalism in  For the proper and smooth
and West Zone in which could lead to some strict every aspect of the drainage of water PVC pipes have
six to seven centuries actions against their game, then why one been used on the four corners of
were scored and forty odd associations. of the most important the pitch. In case of heavy rainfall
wickets fell in the whole integrant (Curator) of also there will not be any standing
match with result coming out on cricket is been ignored. During water on the pitch
the last day of the encounter. the flow of matches each comment on  Apart from main pitch, four
the ball has to do something with the practice and three synthetic pitch-
Is there any committee in curator, where chances of getting con- es have been prepared so that
function to take care of the demn is more than of receiving a clap there is no complaint from any of
pitches? for the hard work. So board has to start the team playing at DDCA.
Yes, cricket board has formed a com- certification courses in this stream also  At Feroz Shah Kotla old grass is
mittee in domestic cricket for pitch which in turn will see more qualified being replaced by Bermuda
evaluation which will take care of all the people coming in for a curator job. (American) grass to give much
wickets in our country. Good pitches will Apart from modern equipments there comfort to the players.
Cricket Today
September 2009 65 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

assigned to me I will definitely go for it.


DALJIT’S FAVOURITE: Any hardship with BCCI?
Cricket is a passion in our country but
BOLLYWOOD FILM- GUIDE AND DEVDAS (DILIP KUMAR) we have limitations also. It is the moral
duty of the board to expand its wings
ACTOR (MALE) – DILIP KUMAR so that our bench strength can shape
ACTOR (FEMALE) – MADHUBALA up to a stronger outfit. If we start look-
ing for the talent in the remote areas
SONG- ALL THE SONGS OF HEMANT KUMAR of the country it could do a lot of good
BESIDE CRICKET WHICH OTHER SPORTS YOU LIKE TO in the future and no body in the entire
cricket fraternity would find it easy to
PLAY – GOLF AND FOOTBALL compete against us on the cricketing
BESIDE CRICKET WHICH OTHER SPORTS YOU LIKE TO field. India has bunch of talents which
just require nourishment to shine on
WATCH- FOOTBALL AND TENNIS the horizon of cricket.
CRICKET GROUND- EDEN GARDEN AND CCI (MUMABI)
DRESS CODE- CASUAL WEARS
FOOD- PLAIN AND SIMPLE FOOD WITHOUT ANY SPICY
STUFF.
HANGOUT PLACE- SEA SIDE

and which all qualities should We can’t run away from the amount of
he posses? money cricket is having these days as it
There is no glamour in this profession. is a necessary commodity for every
As far as rights are concern, it is limited cricketer to live a good livelihood. Entry
to preparing wicket, we don’t enjoy of glamour world is good for cricket but
that much rights which are given to the cricketers first and last love should be
officials of various cricket associations. cricket only.
If you do some extraordinary work,
there will not be any reward but any What steps should be taken to
wrong doing at your part would lead to keep Test cricket alive?
abusive behavior. First of all every Test match should be
For a curator, patience and stamina is result oriented. Number of overs must
must. If you are emotional, it is a very be looked upon. Giving special attention
negative thing to be in. Challenges to pitches could be of great help.
keeps tumbling in your way every now Moreover organizing day and night Test
and then. matches is another way to keep the
interest for this longer version of crick-
According to you which crick- et intact among the masses. World
et ground stands as favorite championship of Test cricket should be
and worst in your list? organized as every country would like
If I go effort wise, Dharamshala is the to be the Test champion of the world.
best up coming stadium in the country
but I am really disappointed with the You have been appointed as
Chinnaswamy stadium of Bangalore the chairman of pitch commit-
with its handling of cricket getting filthy tee by BCCI, How much it sat-
day by day. isfies you?
I am very happy and satisfied also. I
What do you have to say on don’t have greediness for the post but I
Indian Premier League? am always there to help. Let me tell you
If IPL is handled properly it could be a one most important thing, I am working
boom for the cricketing world but if it for the board without taking any salary
goes in the wrong direction then young from them.
cricketers could become lazy seeing the
amount of money cash rich league gen- Have you been allotted some Who are your favorite crick-
erates. special work for the upcoming eters in three formats of crick-
World Cup in 2011? et?
What’s your say on mounting For the big tournaments like World Cup Sunil Gavaskar (Test), Sachin Tendulkar
rise of glamour and money in ICC has its own pitch committee to look (ODI), Yusuf Pathan (T20) and Garry
cricket? after all the wickets but if any work is Sobers (All-Rounder). 
match SPARKLING STARS content news interview 66 Cricket Today
September 2009

w
hen a side ends up van-
quished with a consum-
mate ease in both the
original formats of the
game, it is hard to pick up
the positives from the series. Pakistan’s
story in Sri Lanka was in total contrast
to their World T20 campaign, as they
crashed from one defeat to another,
and were left sprawling on the floor,
bruised, battered and waiting to be
counted on the grounds of a technical
knock-out. Yet, there were a few
encouraging signs, unfortunately, which
the captain Younus Khan failed to pick
up early enough to have any kind of an
impact on the score-line.
It is an old Pakistani cricketing trait to,
as they call it, to catch them young.
Rarely would a Michael Hussey-like
example rear up its head, and then a
few of these adolescent-looking inter-
national stars would go on to assume
the mantle of seniors in the side to
continue the cycle. Three of the four
cricketers that I profile today fall in the
former category. The fourth, Saeed
Ajmal, is case in a contrasting point,
with a debut at ripe old age of thirty
and a look of a bowler who has had the
experience of greasing those fingers
with the leather in the first class cricket
for days without end.
These were the four who managed to
salvage some pride for the visitors on
the tour, who fought without the inhibi-
tions that usually engulf those who
understand how a collective set of fail-
ures could impact their futures and
their careers; which in more ways than
one assisted them in playing with a
mindset very fresh.

Can the future


FAWAD ALAM:
For a reason not known to a lot, includ-
ing yours truly, the Pakistani squad for
the test series in Sri Lanka, consisted of

of Pakistan be
only two frontline openers, one of
whom had exhibited enough signs in the
ICC World T20 – that had immediately
preceded the test matches – of not

nurtured in
only being out of form, but rather low
on confidence. The skipper, on his part,
had been criticised in the media – and
not too wrongly at that – for having

the right
not picked Fawad Alam for the first
test, after he had displayed his attitude,
and form, in the tour game immediately
preceding the fixture.

direction?
So when Alam was hand-picked for the
second game, it hadn’t come as a sur-
prise, but what definitely had been the
fact that he was made to open the
by Suneer Chowdhary innings. Alam is a middle-order batting
Cricket Today
September 2009 67 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

all-rounder, and his usual number in the this day and age of the spinners return-
order would have been a five or a six. ing back to capturing the eyeballs and
When one alludes to the top spot in the becoming the cynosure of everyone’s
longer format of the game, it does eyes again. To me, Alam gives an
necessitate a player to possess some impression of being one of those, who
basic skills which are usually built by bat- could easily turn into a Shahid Afridi of
ting at that position over the times, and the future. Careful handling is a must
Alam certainly hadn’t done that. though!
Yet, his knock in the second essay was
one that defied this common afore- MOHAMMAD AAMER:
mentioned belief, one that had all the When you are a left-handed quick
characteristics of a player who looked bowler, and rather young and raw, and
to have been around since the times of playing for the Pakistani team, compar-
W.G. Grace, and possessed all the neces- isons with the great Wasim Akram are
sary ingredients to prove that he was a as commonplace as the dime-a-dozen
batsman to watch out for in the future. quick bowlers that have come out from
For all one knows, Alam may not be as their stable. But, unlike some of the
successful in the opening slot as his 168 others that have been produced by
on debut – the second-highest score by Pakistan, Aamer is not all about pace
a Pakistani on debut – showed him to only. The speed gun may have touched
be, but the one glaring aspect of his the 145km/hr mark on the odd occa-
character that came out from that sion or two, but that, to the onlookers
knock was his ability to adapt to the hasn’t been as surprising as the fact
conditions in a position and a venue that his control has been almost impec-
that was as unfamiliar to him as batting cable.
was to Courtney Walsh! The lines and the lengths have been to
Alam’s bowling in the shorter version of a plan; every batsman has been worked
the game is a clear asset, especially in over as well as Aamer has been able to

The true test of


Aamer came in the
ODI series against
Sri Lanka. He came
out at the top of the
wicket-taking charts
with nine wickets at
an average of 20
was good enough,
what added the
cherry to the cake
was his economy of
4.23 – the best by
any bowler in the
series!
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 68 Cricket Today
September 2009

done, as was exhibited in the longer


format of the game. With not much
meat on his physique, it was only natu-
ral that surviving through the rigours
of test cricket would be baptism by fire
for a young man, and the performanc-
es were not up to the marks set by the
ones in the other formats. There is still
some way to go before Aamer can
probably do his bit in the five-day ver-
sion as well, but for now, Pakistan
Cricket needs to ensure that the histo-
ry, in the form of the his-namesake Asif
and Shoaib Akhtar does not repeat
itself.

SAEED AJMAL:
Spinners, they say, do mature with age,
but a test debut at the age of almost
32 is stretching the limit a little. Saeed
Ajmal burst onto the Pakistani scenes
with a spell of 1/47 in his ten overs in
an ODI against India, where the rest of
the bowlers conceded runs aplenty, and
continued with his stingy and wicket-
taking foray into international cricket
with an economy of less than four runs
per over in the 15 ODIs he has featured
in since. T20 seem almost tailor-made
for Ajmal, as scoring off the off-spin-
ner has almost been an exercise in futili-
ty, and because of the nature of the
game, wickets have been rather easier
to come by.
Ajmal had ended the ICC World T20 as
not only as one of the top wicket-tak-
ers, but again, with an economy that
had the bowlers around the world
drooling. This after, only days before
the start of the tournament, the
Pakistani selectors had mulled over
dropping the off-spinner after he had
been reported for possessing an action
that contravened the ICC laws.
Ajmal may not be a long-term solution
to Pakistan’s spinning problems – Danish
Kaneria is almost the only one on hori-

T20 seem
almost tailor-
made for Ajmal,
as scoring off
and the lack of first class experience – preparations. The true test of Aamer the off-spinner
remember, he is only 17 and had not came in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, has almost been
played more than ten games before that followed immediately after the an exercise in
making his debut – has been more than tournament and the bowler came out futility, and
made up by his willingness to learn. at the top of the wicket-taking charts. because of the
Aamer had been reasonably impressive Nine wickets at an average of 20 was nature of the
in the World T20, and one of the rea- good enough, what added the cherry game, wickets
sons for Pakistan success was that to the cake was his economy of 4.23 –
some of the opposition batsmen had the best by any bowler in the series!
have been
underestimated, and almost overlooked This is not to say that Aamer does not rather easier to
the man from Rawalpindi during their have too much more learning to be come by.
Cricket Today
September 2009 69 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

zon, and he has begun to leak more there is an almost inevitability about 72 balls!
than he bags – but for now, he does how similar the batting styles of both While it is easy to understand that far
look like he could herald the next gener- the brothers is, their swagger-like man- too often has a young batsman cap-
ation of spinners into the side in a cou- nerisms at the crease and ability to take tured the imagination of world cricket
ple of years. He has provided the advantage of the fielding restrictions. and only flattered to deceive, most of
Pakistani academies some breathing Akmal was selected for the Sri Lankan the times, it has been the inability of
space to unearth that next talent, a ODIs after having impressed the selec- the team-management, the cricket
Saqlain Mushtaq or Mushtaq Ahmed, tors in the domestic games with a board and even the media and the fans

Umar Akmal defi-


nitely looks promis-
ing enough to be
termed as a prodi-
gy, how the people
around him handle
that is a fact that
could shape his
future. For now
though, he has
attributed his abili-
ty to handle the
pressure to the
presence of his
brother Kamran, on
his side.

that looked so missing from their line- more-than-acceptable average of to handle the young prodigies. To me,
up till Ajmal came in. almost 45, and a crunching strike-rate Akmal definitely looks promising enough
Or probably they have just unearthed it of more than 90 to his name. This to be termed as a prodigy, how the
in the form of Ajmal! earned him a call-up to the ODI squad, people around him handle that is a fact
and a ravishing century in the tour that could shape his future.
UMAR AKMAL: game when all seemed to be lost and an For now though, he has attributed his
One needs to take a closer look if one embarrassing first ODI loss later, he was ability to handle the pressure to the
were to note differences in the two strutting out to play his first interna- presence of his brother Kamran, on his
brothers, Kamran and Umar Akmal. tional in his career. side. And that may be the one differ-
Their cricket isn’t too different either. The second game saw him get to a half- ence – a sibling who has been there,
While Kamran bats right-handed, century – a 65-ball 66 – and in the very and done and endured that – that
younger brother Umar is a southpaw, next match, he went one step better would be of a huge assistance to the
but there is where the difference ends; with a match-winning century off only young man. 
news THE ASHES preview cover story interview trivia contest 70 Cricket Today
September 2009

England Bury Michael Clarke scored a fine century but


it could not come in the way of an
England victory that brought the crowd
alive, too much for Ricky Ponting’s

Themselves
taste.
But it did not stop the rap for Kevin
Pietersen with Sir Geoffrey Boycott
labeling him a “spoilt child”. Be that as it

in Ashes,
may, Pietersen was also battling an
acute Achilles heel problem that neces-
sitated surgery on a priority basis which
meant that Pietersen was in a hospital
by the end of the second Test and

Airlift to the would play no further part in the Ashes


which, at that point in time, appeared
England’s for the taking. It did not mat-
ter; Flintoff was sleeping with a

Oval
machine that alternatively compressed

by Sreelata S. Yellamrazu
he prognosis ahead of the third

t Test of the Ashes: only rain and


England could stand in the way
of the Australians retaining the
Ashes. The rain did its part but
England were another matter altogeth-
er. The series is now tantalizingly poised
at 1-1 going into the fifth and final Test
at the Brit Oval. But there were no
doubts about which team had had the
more ignominious stumble going into
the final encounter.
When the Ashes chapter last halted,
England were on an indisputable high
after winning the second Test at Lord’s.
It was a great finish after pulling off
the Houdini in the first Test at Sophia
Gardens, Cardiff. But fast forward four
Tests later, it would not be surprising if
one found it incredible that this was the
same England team. Edgbaston was
ruined with an entire day washed out
due to rain, but the only thing that was
available after the outcome of the
fourth Test was time.

GLORY BEFORE THE Johnson led Australia’s celebrations in the fourth Test.

INGLORIOUS
When the final wicket pair of James England captain, Andrew Strauss, gave his knee and he had taken enough corti-
Anderson and Monty Panesar batted England the upper hand in the series sone to push him through.
earnestly on the fifth day in Cardiff to that appeared to have wound up the
keep Australia from that dangerous one Australians. NO SHADES OF GREY
nil lead, it appeared England’s confi- The aggression of Andrew Flintoff was England were even in a generous mood
dence had derived the necessary the driving force on the final day of the (some would say, they were looking out
momentum. Four Australian centuries second Test and in that were fashioned for themselves). Brad Haddin, the
could not get Australia ahead. Then the memories of Ashes 2005 when England Australian wicket keeper, injured himself
astonishing (even though it was expect- beat the odds and history to steal the just minutes after the toss in the
ed) victory riding on the back of the urn from under the nose of the hap- course of the warm up before the
England openers and in particular, the less, not to mention gaping, Australians. match. With team sheets having already
Cricket Today
September 2009 71 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

been exchanged, Ricky Ponting found view to preserve his weakening There is a cliché in
an ally in Strauss who allowed Australia strengths. Shane Watson’s half century Test cricket that the
to make an eleventh hour substitution. was only complemented by a rare Mike first session of a
(Ponting would return the favour in the Hussey half century. But it was Marcus Test sets the tone
fourth by delaying the toss by a half North who was busy climbing the for the match. In
hour to help Matt Prior recover from impressive rungs that Test cricketers do
the fourth Test of
back spasms.) with ninety-six glorious runs even as
Australia struggled once again to put Michael Clarke was making a strong the Ashes at
up a strong first innings total after statement of his ability to withstand Headingley, the
makeshift opener, Shane Watson (Phillip pressure and take on responsibility with first session not
Hughes was dropped), brightened up a another century. Australia made a defi- only set the direc-
gloomy first day with authoritative bat- nite grinding even as England would tion of the match
ting. James Anderson, with five wickets, have gone into the fifth day but also, decided
and Graham Onions, with four, sliced with an outside chance of the fate of the
into the visitors. England then had the making it 2-0. England team.
inspiration of Andrew Flintoff for sev- Highlight of the match:
enty-four runs and England captain, Ponting surpassing
Andrew Strauss, in good nick for sixty- Allan Border’s most number of Test runs (11,174).
record for the
PICKING BETWEEN GRIM
AND DEJECTION
Suddenly the boos were the sounds
Ponting was relishing. No longer were
the hostile receptions a nasty surprise.
Instead they were assurance for
Ponting and his men that they were
doing something right. They were get-
ting to the crowds, rather the crowds
had got to them, had revived their
gamesmanship, the challenge of being
the ugly champions, at all costs.
One would think it was by deliberate-
ness rather than by chance that the
aggression in the body language was
back, sledge words came as did the
snorters. Australia had changed gears
between the rain and the Test at
Edgbaston. England did not prepare for
impact. And they paid rather heavily, by
conceding the lead they had so inspira-
tionally earned at Lord’s. Even the talk
amongst the Australian apparently got
to the England think tank who decided
to leave Flintoff out of the match,
against the all rounder’s assertion that
he was no worse than from the first
Test There is a cliché in Test cricket
that the first session of a Test sets
the tone for the match. In the fourth
Test of the Ashes at Headingley, the
first session not only set the direc-
tion of the match but also, decided
the fate of the England team.
nine runs before him as England took a There were calls from sections of
113 run lead, this despite the efforts of the Australian media, as also from
Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle. But it Allan Border, demanding that Mitchell
was an innings completed after an Johnson be dropped. Johnson himself
entire third day’s play was washed out, feared the worst. Yet the Australian
reducing the competitive possibility of think tank continued to persist with
anything other than a draw. Johnson after seeing glimpses of
In the near four sessions left there- aggression in his body language at
after, Australia put forth a strong Edgbaston. The only change, a devious
Clarke was the show stopper with
batting performance, to the extent his magnificent knocks of 103 and one as England would find out, was the
that England held back Flintoff with a 93 in the third and the fourth Test. substitution of spinner Nathan Hauritz
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 72 Cricket Today
September 2009

their game. Injudicious shot selections,


England batting ill-preparedness at the crease, perhaps
was only con- even taking the opposition’s bowling
trasted by the attack for granted, England had no
deadly accuracy time to recover from the spiral they set
themselves for.
of Australia’s A concerted effort by the Australian
bowlers and bowlers though was pivotal for Australia
Peter Siddle, with to stage a comeback in the Test series.
a five-fer, was Ben Hilfenhaus performed outstanding-
like a tiger who ly but it was Peter Siddle who struck
gold after Clark made his mark. The
was not about to tameness and trepidation in the
let a weakened England batting was only contrasted by
prey out of his the deadly accuracy of Australia’s
grasp. bowlers and Clark’s precision was per-
haps the quality the Australians lacked
most on this tour. The vulnerability in
the England backbone was exposed by
the combination of bowlers and Peter
Siddle, with a five-fer, was like a tiger
who was not about to let a weakened
prey out of his grasp.
Being bowled out for 102 in just 33.5
overs, the ashes spread all over
England’s debacle very early into day
one. The England scorecard had nothing
to write home about. Thereafter,
Australia capitalized on a strangely lack-
adaisical England bowling, indicative of
the depressed mood by the efforts of
the morning. It came with an arrogance
and finesse thereafter as Shane Watson
and Ricky Ponting steered Australia past
England’s paltry score into the realm of
possibilities and then cherished the
glory of Michael Clarke in the morning
and Marcus North in the sunny after-
noon of day two as they brought
Australia to their near invincible aura
(Andrew Strauss would be hoping that
aura stuck around only for that match).
Clarke missed what would have been his
third Test century of the summer by
seven runs, but it did not stop North
from getting the third in his short
career.
Stuart Broad’s six wicket effort was
completely overshadowed by 445 colos-
sal runs that Australia chalked up, a
deficit of 343 that England would buck-
le under. England’s collective collapse
Peter Siddle celebrates in joy after taking five wickets in the first innings of the fourth Test Match. was only further strengthened by
James Anderson’s uncharacteristically
for a man all of the Australia and the for a team. For England, it was too late. wayward bowling. Hilfenhaus though
rest of the cricket world had been beg- What makes the Headingley Test such a enjoyed the responsibility, another four
ging to be recalled, Stuart Clark. nightmarish experience for England is wicket haul testimony of it. But there
When one considers that England lasted that fact that there was nothing partic- was another to overshadow this hero.
the duration of a day’s play for the ularly devilish about the pitch or the Mitchell Johnson came to England as
entire Test that comprises two innings, weather and while Australia were per- the Australian spearhead over the last
it is not hard to see why England were haps closer to executing their plans six months with Brett Lee slipping in
dejected. When the writing is pretty than they have been all of the Ashes and out of domestic turmoil as well as
much on the wall by lunch on the first summer, the England batsmen lacked injuries. Lee stirred controversy when
day of a Test, those are danger signs the temperament on the day to raise he stated he was ready for the fourth
Cricket Today
September 2009 73 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

Test but took on Shane Watson for dis- England’s shambolic performance but it
cussing Lee’s lack of match fitness, cannot be ruled out as one of the fac-
something the selectors appeared to tors. And if indeed it was a prank, irre-
agree with. However, Johnson slipped spective of whether it impacted the
from Australia’s favourite son (no refer- performance of the opposition, fans
ence to the relationship with his mother have only disgracefully shown how low
here, although many have attributed it they can stoop and for a country with
as a factor on this tour) to Australia’s such rich cricket history, they have
most hated. But he came up with a reduced the intensity of the sport by a
more belligerent game plan, one that nefarious activity unbecoming of custo-
reaped enormous dividends in terms of dians whose job it is to keep the flag
a five wicket haul that gave Australia flying high.
their series leveling win by an innings There was panic in England as specula-
and eighty runs in less than three days. tion went into overdrive. Flintoff was
Johnson is not about to change that promptly drafted in two days after the
aggressive tone and intent, Cricket fourth Test ended on the third day.
Australia’s warning about sledging Marcus Trescothick was supposedly con-
notwithstanding. fronting nightmares following word of a
possible recall while Mark Ramprakash
OFF THE CUFF REAC- was certainly the talk of the town
TIONS despite Jeff Thompson’s take that
The England team were evacuated Ramprakash’s contributions could only
from their hotel rooms in the wee come in the form of a couple of “ball
hours of the morning of the first day’s dance moves”. England though chose to
play due to an alleged prank on the part repose faith in Jonathan Trott in lieu of
of the Australian fan group, the Ravi Bopara who appears to be a victim
Fanatics, setting off the fire alarms. It is of sledging, from the commentary box
hard to blame this disturbance for and most palatably from Shane Warne.

Flintoff chip in with classy 74 in the third Test Match.

Justin Langer’s secret dossier on the


England cricketers was not even neces-
sary as far as Australia were concerned.
But there are rumblings within the
Australian team too. Andrew Hilditch
stated that Clark will certainly be on the
back end of the list of Australia’s pre-
ferred fast bowlers and there is no
word about Brett Lee and where his
future is headed in the midst of such
fierce competition. Ponting is counting
on the unstable environment in the
England dressing room but he better be
sure to check in on his own.
If England were an ordinary team to
begin with, their win at Lord’s makes
their performance even more extraor-
dinary. If this was an overnight lapse,
they cannot go from being a competi-
tive team to a rather hopeless one all in
the span of one Test. Aficionados of
the game will be hoping it is the latter,
that Pietersen’s call for heroes to rise
will be heard, and that what awaits
them at the Oval will be one nail biting,
Anderson was the pick of England bowlers with 5/80 in the first innings of the third Test Match.
tempestuous finish. 
match BOUNCER trivia contest reviews content news interview 74 Cricket Today
September 2009

Although Flintoff announced his retire-


ment from Test cricket, England will still
have his services as a one day interna-
tional player and Twenty20 cricketer,
which incidentally also makes him eligi-
ble to participate in the Indian Premier
League for the Chennai Super Kings
since it is also a Twenty20 event.
In a telling case of the rigours of the
game, Flintoff is trading the version of
the game he claims to love the most
for one that will provide him the com-
fortable livelihood for him and his fami-
ly despite his prevalent injuries. In a way,
Flintoff endorses the fears that
emerged when Twenty20 took off in
the millions of dollars, namely that the
Indian Premier League (IPL) will encour-
age premature retirements.
With loads of money to be made with
less than half the effort required in a
one day international, it was an irre-
sistible lure for any cricketer, especially
one with a young family. With that per-
centage being a huge population in

Make Flintoff’s Retirement


t
hirty-one seems the wrong age
to be saying “I’m retiring” and
yet that is exactly what England
all rounder, Andrew Flintoff, was
saying as he bid adieu to Test
An Exception,
cricket at the end of the Ashes. As
injury prone as his career has been, it
still came as a shock. Not only was his
age a reason for concern but also, that
it could be the start of a pandemic was
Not the Trend
not lost on the cricket fraternity. by Sreelata S. Yellamrazu
A GAME OF NUMBERS telling the world that nothing means cricket, it was not long before the old-
ONLY? more to an England cricketer than play- est amongst them and the youngest
On the outset, there appears nothing ing in the Ashes but also, that this will were queuing up to be picked by the
out of the ordinary or even spectacu- be his swansong. Is he leaving the crick- franchisees in a version that had even
larly incredible about Andrew Flintoff. et for greener pastures? Yes and no. less of a workout for a king size pay
But if it is consistency of big hearted packet. It would not perhaps then be an
efforts one is looking for, look no fur- RETIREMENT WITH A unfair question to ask: would Flintoff
ther. Five wicket hauls and magnani- TWIST still continue to play for England in the
mous centuries may have not always Even five years ago, a retirement like Test matches had he not had the IPL
stood out on Flintoff’s career graph. this would not have gone down well contract inked?
But what the graph cannot plausibly with the selectors as cricketers were This is not to say that Flintoff is looking
show is the vivaciousness and determi- not considered eligible to make deci- at a better life and therefore, releasing
nation he brings to the field, the sions about selective retirement on himself from the commitment from
aggressive intent that he inspires their own. Worse still, retirement would arguably the most rigourous ‘test’ in
amongst his team and his ability to have implied unavailability and the cricket history. The fact that he has
charismatically draw the crowds into option of picking one version over the announced his retirement has not
the game to add to the intensity of the other, not the prerogative of the crick- meant that Flintoff would rest on his
situation. eter. Circa the age of Twenty20 and past laurels. If anything, he has
If cricket were a game of numbers only, suddenly seemingly snap retirements appeared more determined in the
then Flintoff is still infantile by age and and reignited careers do not seem to Ashes, even withstanding debilitating
thirty-one is no age to be turning his suffer the wear and tear of the time pain at times, than he has in recent
nose against the game. Yet here he is machine. months. His outstanding performance
Cricket Today
September 2009 75 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

at Lord’s to give
England the winning
edge was merely
an example of it.
But where suste-
nance over a
five day game is
all about
endurance,
Flintoff had put
in too many
days of absence
and his lack of
attendance had
become a perma-
nent contingency
plan with the England
team. With the one day
internationals affording rest
between playing days and the
Twenty20 games taking less out of a
player, Flintoff has chosen to have his
cake and eat it too. While he continues
to play cricket, Flintoff is ensuring he can
do it in the way he feels possible for him
to hold his fragile body up.

CAN FLINTOFF BECOME A


PRECEDENT?
Former England opener and now commen-
tator, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, hit the nail on
the head back in February earlier this year
when he stated he did not think Flintoff
had it in him to go beyond the Ashes and
that he would likely take the course of
announcing his retirement from Test crick-
et and focus entirely on the IPL where he
bagged the highest paid cricketer tag for
1.55 million dollars.
Andrew Flintoff did not take Boycott’s advice
on retirement and it is quite possible retire-
ment was not Flintoff’s mind, not until the
Ashes anyway. Flintoff kept assuring the
Chennai Super Kings of his presence in the IPL 2
season in South Africa even though he was
returning home from England’s tour of the
West Indies with a hip injury. Then the knee
injury broke his will power and the eventual
rehabilitation ushered in a rather premature
retirement.
Injury/illness can have a strenuous effect on
the mind. Flintoff, at the time of announcing
his retirement, touched upon the fact that
since that the Ashes of 2005, he had spent
two of the four years in rehabilitation over a
number of injuries, a fact hit upon when notic-
ing that Flintoff had played in only twenty-
three of the forty-six Tests that England
played since that success until the series
against the West Indies.
In that sense, it should not have come as a
shock in a strategic sense for England who, by
now, should have found an alternative.
However, players such as Flintoff are hard to
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 76 Cricket Today
September 2009

Gary Kirsten, the Indian coach, pin


pointed the IPL 2 as a factor in India’s
debacle of the ICC World Twenty20 in
England. However, it is hard to argue on
the lines of fatigue when most players
around the world were also featuring in
the IPL 2. Having said that, Kirsten was
hinting at the commercial aspects of
the game that were dividing the play-
er’s time between his commitments on
the field and those off it and affecting
his judgement about resting and recu-
perating ahead of an important national
duty, resulting in lengthy injury lay off
thereafter.
The ICC has its own solution in the issue
it has raised. By placing ceiling on the
payments accruing through authorized
cricket such as the IPL and checking
them through unplanned growth and
expansion (case in point, ninety-four
proposed matches in the 2011 edition)
when the end and means are only
financial and not all of it going into the
come by and even harder to replace. Pietersen would have been thinking development of the game, the ICC
Their immeasurable qualities make them along those lines after his Achilles heel
not only unique but also, virtually indis- injury, allegedly worsened during the IPL
pensable, especially when the team is 2, became such a hindrance during the
not doing well and needs that additional first two Tests of the Ashes that he
effort from the heart. was stretchered right into surgery in
But players such as Flintoff also have to that the last lingering image was of him
weigh – at what cost. When injury has hobbling while trying to take a run and
played such an important part in a the next image was of him on crutches.
sportsman’s life, there has to be the lin- As it turned out, complications
gering question – is it all worth it? in the form of infection in
Apart from ’job’ satisfaction, he the scar tissue after surgery
would be considered practically had him going back to the hospi-
foolish to pass up the opportuni- tal, further setting back his plans of
ty to be earning a living from a comeback.
the game but with much less While Pietersen insisted that he had no
the stress on his body and plans for a premature retire-
subsequently, on his mind. ment in lieu of a career
Former
In a more determining that was exclusively
England opener
and with rather detri- IPL’s, these are realis-
Sir Geoffrey Boycott, hit
mental effect, there tic contingency
the nail on the head back
could be young players thoughts going
in February earlier this year
who would look at
when he stated he did not think through any mod-
Flintoff and at the first ern day cricketer
Flintoff had it in him to go
hint of serious injury, (as well as adminis-
beyond the Ashes and he could
think to themselves – is
focus entirely on the IPL where trators) and it
it necessary to get to this
he bagged the highest paid would be hard to
level of deterioration, blame them, even
cricketer tag for 1.55
especially when there is an for being excessively
million dollars.
easier option available? materialistic.
In a way, this lure also came
PREVENTING A through official channels. The ICC had
FLINTOFF FOLLOWING an inkling of the commercial fall outs of
These are incredible days for a cricketer blessing an initiative such as the IPL,
- money in the game like there never although the extent may have escaped
was before, opportunities galore other even the more discretionary mind. For
than playing for one’s country and the ICC to talk about unregulated cash
fame of unprecedented proportions for flow in the game is then its rather late,
short blitz of glory. helpless response to the growing con-
There were concerns that Kevin cerns over players’ loyalties in the game.
Cricket Today
September 2009 77 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

would do itself and the game of cricket


a great service.
By ensuring to raise the players’ securi-
ty and compensation in the matter of
injuries as well as a reasonable pension
beyond retirement would go a long way
in attracting the player to stick with
national commitments over club com-
mitments.
Be it Test cricket or club cricket, players
fear losing their spot, play day in and
day out without letting the team in on
their injuries and with no time for recu-
peration, are susceptible to frequent
breakdowns that only in a vicious circle
type scenario, add to their insecurity of
a longer stint with their national team.
More inclusive contracts, incentives
based on performance appraisals, bet-
ter scheduling of the international cal-
endar, more planned breaks for family
time, would go a great way to keep
the player happy and secure
without having to stretch
himself. for the Cricket Australia’s style of tak- However, it is a concern and perhaps a
Domestic dispute was ing care of their players to make sure more humane schedule will see players
stated to be the start- they were fresh, fit and raring to go. perceive playing for their national team
ing point of Brett Ponting was given rest following just as financially rewarding and physi-
Lee’s downslide of his the end of the fifth Ashes cally less demanding.
marriage and his Ricky Ponting Test and the mini break Some would say that the reason so
career. Cricket was intended to keep him many cricketers whose chose to associ-
Australia did not recently spoke about fresh for a long interna- ate themselves with the Indian Cricket
lose the opportuni- his gratitude and appre- tional list of commit- League (ICL) only to break away now
ty and instead held ciation for the Cricket ments as captain even was because the IPL money had
a day for family Australia’s style of taking though Michael Clarke stunned them into thinking they had
counseling before care of their players to is hot on his heels. done the wrong thing. But for most
their cricketers head- Flintoff may not have cricketers with a candid confession,
ed to England for the make sure they were been making a great they have spoken about just how much
Ashes. Ricky Ponting fresh, fit and rar- case for too much cricket they missed being a part of their
recently spoke about his ing to go. given the number of Test national line ups, of wanting something
gratitude and appreciation cricket matches he has missed. deeper as a cricketer than the mere
thrill of Twenty20, and of being able to
play Test cricket in all its intensity.
Another way to raise the profile of the
game in the eyes of the cricketer would
be by not diluting Test cricket, the high-
est format of the game, to suit the
Twenty20 viewer but rather encourag-
ing the growth of the game and raising
the attraction for donning one’s nation-
al colours. Redefining the profile of the
domestic structure to enhance lucrative
incentives while the cricketers hone
their skills for the preparation of the
larger tests would be another.
Cricket would do itself a great favour
by ensuring that future Flintoffs have a
better chance at performance, rest,
rehabilitation and raising a comfortable
lifestyle (most cricketers’ pay cheques
already afford the latter) so that they
would not find themselves at the cross-
roads where cricket must become a
pitchfork affair. 
match DISTINGUISHED CAREER content news interview 78 Cricket Today
September 2009

urtains fell on a very distin-

c guished Test match career


of Chaminda Vaas after he
announced that the series
against the Pakistanis would
be the last one he would be a part of;
of course, with a caveat that he will be
still available for selection in the other
formats of the game. And to my mind,
with this closure, we are one step away
from the end of cricket seeing these
decade and half test careers in the
future, what with the magi-noodle for-
mat of the games allowing for crick-
eters to feature in the five-day games
for some years before calling it quits
for the lucrative alternatives.
Not for nothing did Vaas survive and
blossom for more than 15 years in
international cricket. If he had begun his
international innings as a nippy and
quick swing bowler, then like many of
his predecessors, he quickly learnt the
art of surprising the batsmen with the
vagaries of his

Man Friday
of Sri Lankan
cricket walks
into the dawn
by Suneer Chowdhary
bowling. Like Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan or the servants of Sri Lankan cricket rings
Javagal Srinath, he learnt the motley of is absolutely true. But, more than the
change of pace, cut across the seam, figures associated with his bowling, it is
and the ball that straightened instead a batting milestone that corroborates
of coming in with the swing to the this fact; a century in test matches
right handed batsman. All of this after having none in the first 96 games
ensured that 110 test matches that he played in! As if toiling manfully
after having made his debut, on unresponsive tracks, inhuman weath-
he ended his sojourn at the er conditions and under captains who
test match level with 355 would wait for as long as the first cou-
wickets at a more than ple of them went to the fence before
acceptable average of turning to Muralitharan was not
less than 30 runs per enough, Vaas had taken upon himself to
wicket. metamorphose himself from a dour
The oft-repeated phrase blocker to a useful accumulator, to
about Vaas being one of finally an all-rounder who could more
Cricket Today
September 2009 79 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

the incoming ball to the right-handers. that he has held for more than six
Vaas’ legacy In one such ODI against the hapless months now. Secondly, if one were to
will always be Zimbabweans, he ran through the top, look at the Sri Lankan bowling records
remembered for middle and the lower order to send of the recent times, it would becomes
being a suc- eight batsmen – including a hat-trick – easier to conclude that the Vaas has
back to the pavilion, and finish off the done enough to inspire the younger
cessful fast- opposition for a measly 38 runs! As if to breed of quick bowlers into not only
medium bowler prove that this effort with the ball was taking up this trait, but also matching
from that part of no flash in the pan, he cleaned up the the likes of Muralitharan and Mendis,
the world where mighty Indian batting with a 5/14 haul, wicket for wicket.
the tracks have on a track where his own countrymen The first game of the ongoing test
had piled up a near 300. Another oppo- match has already had Thilan Thushara
traditionally sition to suffer at the hands of Vaas do more than his bit with the ball,
been difficult to was Bangladesh, as the 2003 World Cup whereas the test series preceding this –
bowl on for his saw the first ever instance of a bowler against Pakistan – had had Nuwan
brand of art. picking up three wickets off the first Kulasekera topping the bowling charts
three deliveries of the game, and he with 17 wickets. Even there, Thushara
added another one off fifth delivery to had scalped 12, which was after the
send the opposing batting into an early nine he bagged in the ODIs. With Angelo
tizzy. Incidentally, he finished the tour- Mathews coming into the fold too, the
nament atop of the bowling list, with Lankan quick-bowling cupboard seems
23 wickets. to have more than just the one prover-
To give an analogy of his swing, it was a bial leaf off the Chaminda Vaas book.
Siamese twin to Irfan Pathan’s when To cap it, Sri Lanka also possesses the
the Indian was at the peak of his likes of Farveez Maharoof and Lasith
prowess – or the other way around – Malinga, both of whom have been more
but unlike Pathan, whatever he lost by out than in the side because of a vari-
the way of pace in the early part of his ety of reasons – injury and form being
career, and the bite in the later portion, the two major ones at that. Malinga has
was made up in more ways than one by already proved his worth as an almost-
his mental strength and pin-point lines unplayable bowler in the death overs
and lengths. with his ability to bowl the ones under
Vaas’ legacy will always be remem- the batsmen’s bat at will. On the other
bered for being a successful fast- hand, Maharoof had a decent start to
medium bowler from that part his career, but lack of wickets seems to
than hold his of the world where the tracks have taken the sting out him, and
own with the bat. have traditionally been difficult Mathews has taken over the number
This is not to say that to bowl on for his brand of art. seven position of a bowler who could
the bowling deteriorat- And where does his retire- bat in the ODI setup. So much so, that
ed with time. It is often ment leave the Lankan pace Mathews has earned the test match
said that Murali is the wily bowling cupboard? The cap as well, and while his bowling
old fox, with a bag full of answer to that question remains as ‘work-in-progress’ for now,
tricks. However, Murali’s can possibly be found what certainly does not is his attitude.
biggest asset that provides mirrored in two impor- What will be definitely missed, if not for
the perfect backbone to the tant and interesting his incisiveness was his perseverance at
rest of his armoury, was his facets. bowling longish spells. Known to some-
ability to turn the ball a One is the fact that time finish up eight or nine overs off
mile. Vaas did not possess Sri Lankan medium- the ten a bowler is permitted to, in a
a lot of pace, with the pace bowler, Nuwan single first spell, he could also take up
swing with the new ball Kulasekera, current- the role of a stock bowler, which per-
being his only forte. The ly holds the top mitted the Lankan captains to unleash
pace may have decelerat- spot for bowlers in Muralitharan from the other end and
ed, but not the guile and ICC’s official rank- pick up many a wicket.
the wiliness, and with age, ings; a position In all probabilities, it will be a difficult
Vaas managed to ward off road back into the ODI side as well for
any challengers to his posi- Vaas, but somewhere in there, there
tion in the team with some would be a burning desire for their
excellent ability to roll the last hurrah, that final moment of
fingers over the seam, glory, and a healthy contribution
either ways. in the home World Cup of
And lest one forget, he did 2011, just like he had in the
relish conditions that support- 1996 version. It remains to be
ed even an iota of swing, such seen whether he gets that
was his control and mastery of opportunity! 
news YORKED!!! preview cover story interview trivia 80 Cricket Today
September 2009

The unluckiest
team in the world Cup. Under Kepler Wessels, South In between all this, the players
by Chetan Narula Africa were largely an unknown and shone with some brilliant perform-
unpredictable commodity at that ances. Peter Kirsten, who was left
eing a fan of the South time. But they were not disappoint- out of the original tour squad, aver-

b
African cricket team is ing in the preliminary round when all aged 68.33 in the preliminary
without doubt the most teams had to play against each matches. Jonty Rhodes attracted
frustrating job in the other. They ended third in the notice by his electrifying fielding,
world. After all, you league with five victories from eight immortalized himself with an air-
always take pride in your team being games, although before the tourna- borne demolition of the stumps to
one of the most professional one to ment they had won only one of run out Inzamam-ul-Haq. All of them
play the sport and start almost their three introductory limited- were gathering steam at the right
every tournament as one of the overs matches in India, some three time and in the knock out stages,
favourites. Even then the South months before. you never know which team might
African Cricket Board’s cupboard Here, under coach Mike Procter, one outperform the other. In the end,
lays thread bare with nothing of of the world’s greatest cricketers at their campaign was cruelly ended by
note to show for. the time of South Africa’s expulsion, the sudden heavy shower which fell
It is nearly eighteen years up since and spearheaded by the speedy on the SCG, transforming a require-
the Proteas won back the right to Allan Donald, they coolly beat ment of 22 off 13 balls to a mock-
play cricket, host international Australia by nine wickets at Sydney. ing 21 off one. It was such a ridicu-
teams and travel on tours abroad. They lost to New Zealand and Sri lous rule that the moment in ques-
Apartheid had kept them away for Lanka but beat the West Indies at tion is still a butt of many cricketing
quite a bit of time but the way they Christchurch followed by a win over jokes round the world.
started, it almost seemed as they Pakistan and another over India in a After the 1992 tournament, the
would make up for it without pass- rain curtailed match which guaran- South African team grew from
ing too much time. teed their passage to the semi strength to strength. Hansie Cronje
It happened first in the 1992 World finals. was the captain, had the likes of
Cricket Today
September 2009 81 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 82 Cricket Today
September 2009

Gary Kirsten, Darryl Cullinan and The group stage again went as per two matches and were in complete
Jonty Rhodes in the middle with the script for they topped the control going into the last game
Allan Donald leading the bowling charts with four wins out of five. against Australia. Beating them
attack. Four years hence they More than that, they lost to a mav- would mean an easier semi final, plus
arrived in the Indian sub-continent erick Zimbabwe side – punching their biggest rivals the Aussies going
perched again as one of the pre- much above its weight through out out as well.
tournament favourites. the tournament – and so many As it turned out, that match
Placed in group B, they won all their thought that the worst was now became famous for two things.
matches handsomely, with none of behind them, as they had had their Steve Waugh’s brilliant fight back
the teams coming even remotely share of bad luck in this one world and Herschelle Gibbs dropping the
close to troubling them. But they cup. It seemed so too for in the world cup, oops no, a catch! It is
ran into the West Indies in the quar- Super Six stage, they won their first probably the most famous dropped
terfinals and in fact it was one man chance in the history of the sport as
Brian Lara who was their downfall, Australia were able to fight back and
not the remaining ten. His century Lance Klusener advance to the semis, setting up a
cost them a place in the semis, as who had been clash with the Proteas again.
they faced a relatively early flight flawless Waugh had been calling on his team
home. throughout the to show their wares and become
1999 saw them gain even more length of the champions after the disappointment
strength. There was Herschelle Gibbs in 1996. And their determination
at the top of the order now, Mark
1999 World Cup showed as did the nerves of the
Boucher in the middle and Lance now botched up South Africans. Lance Klusener who
Klusener after that, all in the same a run and the had been flawless throughout the
explosive mould making the team an match was a tie. length of the 1999 World Cup now
even bigger threat. What’s more, Australia pro- botched up a run and the match
their biggest rivals Australia were gressed on the was a tie. Australia progressed on
rebuilding as Steve Waugh was newly basis of their win the basis of their win in the Super
appointed captain and had endured in the Super Six. Six. Televisions beamed the image of
a tough series in the Caribbean. Cronje standing muted in the dress-
Cricket Today
September 2009 83 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

ing room at Edgbaston. Some say


you can still see his ghost at that
ground!
The following couple of years were
not that great for cricket in South
Africa as the year 2001 brought out
a lot of ghosts from their closet,
most notably the ban on Hansie
Cronje for allegations of match fix-
ing. Nicky Boje and Gibbs were
affected too and while these names
were spent off the field, Donald and
Jonty Rhodes bid adieu as the 2003
World Cup approached. This time to
be held in South Africa, it was no
different in the sense that they
were once again billed as pre-tour-
nament favourites.
It was no different in that sense as
well that their luck refused to
change even when faced with home

in the first round itself and their


world cup curse was no firmly in
place.
Under new skipper Graeme Smith,
the Proteas took a long time to
rebuild. 2004 was an especially poor
year for them as they could only
beat the West Indies in ODI cricket
and being honest, they are not the
toughest teams to beat. However,
they are too good a team to keep
down for long and in 2006, they
chased down 434 in an ODI against
Australia in Johannesburg to signal
to the world that they were once
again on the upswing.
Prior to the 2007 World Cup, they
regularly challenged the Aussies for
the world number one ranking and
even overthrew them on a couple
support. They lost to West Indies of occasions. It seemed the stage
and New Zealand but it was the tied was set for a royal battle and this
match against Sri Lanka that hurt
In 2007 World time there would be a different
them the most. Rain intervened in Cup South result to the South African chal-
the match bringing in mess-making Africa again lenge. But they managed to mess
Duckworth-Lewis into play. South faced Australia up this one time as well. Losing to
Africa were level on runs required in the semi Australia in the group stages, they
and Mark Boucher decided to play finals but they lost to New Zealand in the Super
the last ball of the game for a dot. were bowled Eights and then went down to
Nobody in the middle or in the out for just 149 Bangladesh as well. What this meant
dressing room had bothered to was that they would once again
check what the par score was.
in the knock face Australia in the semi finals who
Shaun Pollock bore the brunt of this out stage to were gunning for their third consec-
foolishness and was soon expended complete their utive crown. And in the last ODI
with, as this time it wasn’t as much poor run, yet World Cup South Africa were
with the luck but with being pre- again. bowled out for just 149 in the semi
pared. South Africa had fallen short finals to complete their poor run,
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 84 Cricket Today
September 2009

yet again. again played their nemesis in India


And this world cup hoodoo has this time, as they stopped their run
extended to the T20 World Cup as In 2002 once again in the semis, this time
well. That very same year in 2007, in Champions chasing 262 with ease.
the inaugural tournament, they Trophy they went The only success on the world stage
were well placed to make it to the down to India in to come South Africa’s way has
semi-finals on the back of some the semi finals been the Knock-Out Trophy in 1998,
strong form. In fact they were the when chasing where they were superb winners in
unbeaten team of the tournament 260-odd, they Bangladesh. Two years later they
till the time they met a rampant were well guid- reached the semi finals again, so this
Indian team. Chasing 154, they need- ed by a century was a much consistent performance
ed 130 odd runs to qualify for the from Gibbs. But on the better side for the Proteas.
semi finals on terms of run rate as Gibbs retired And lest we forget they also have
the Indians turned on the heat. But and then the the only ever CommonWealth Games
put South Africa under pressure in Indian spinners cricket gold medal to their name,
any world cup and they will crumble turned on the which came in 1998.
came true once again as they man- screws. The underlying point is this: should
aged to not only lose but failed to their fans over the world be satis-
get to the threshold of qualifying fied with just one major win and a
for the next round. Their story is much the same in the sorry excuse for a gold medal in
It was no different for them in the Champions Trophy as well. In 2002, almost two decades of their return
2009 T20 World Cup in England. they went down to India in the semi to cricket? When are some of the
They were clearly the best team, finals when chasing 260-odd, they best cricketers in the world going to
winning every game in the group were well guided by a century from stand up, make themselves be
stages and then the Super Eights as Gibbs. But Gibbs retired with dehy- counted and make sure that poor
well, only to go down to Pakistan in dration and then the Indian spinners excuses such as bad luck, careless-
the semi finals. Or should one say turned on the screws. In 2004, their ness and one-off wins for lowly
Shahid Afridi! Whatever be the ver- match against West Indies was hit by placed teams do not get in their way
dict, it is but a fact that South rain and when play continued the of much-deserved glory?
Africa are the best cricket team next day, the Windies chased down When is South Africa going to break
ever not to win a world cup. 250 with ease. In 2006, Windies their hoodoo at a World Cup? 
match IN CONVERSATION content news interview 86 Cricket Today
September 2009

My heart goes for Haryana


Rahul Dewan might be a

RAHUL DEWAN
new kid on the block but
he has started roaring
for what looks like the
beginning of a promis-
ing career. Having
received the award for
best under-22 player
from BCCI, Rahul is leav-
ing no stepping stone
behind to achieve his
ultimate goal. He speaks
exclusively with Cricket
Today about his cricket-
ing world.

WHAT LED YOUR INCLINA-


TION TOWARDS CRICKET?
I come from a sports background fami-
ly. My father and brother were crick-
eters in their times so by seeing and
talking to them I developed interest in
cricket.

WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?


I started playing cricket when I was in
the sixth standard. By the time when
my ongoing reached satisfaction level I
thought of taking this sport seriously.
Family support was always there to
stand up by me.

YOU PLAYED JUNIOR


CRICKET FOR DELHI BUT
THEN WENT ON TO PARTICI-
PATE FOR HARYANA IN
RANJI TROPHY. IS THERE
ANY SPECIFIC REASON FOR
THIS?
I have been there in the Delhi side for
under-19 and under-22 slot and even
led the brigade. Performance wise I was
up to the mark especially in under-22,
but all my efforts went in vain when I
couldn’t crack a place in Delhi’s Ranji
team. I knew Delhi team had got open-
ers like Sehwag, Gautam and Aakash, so
my chances of getting in the team
were very dim. In order to play Ranji
early in my career, this idea of moving
to haryana struck in my mind and I
moved on with that.
Cricket Today
September 2009 87 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

GIVEN A CHANCE WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY


FOR DELHI AGAIN?
Haryana gave me a chance when I was looking for an oppurtu-
nity to play early in my career. Now it is my responsibility to
stuck with them. Playing for Delhi is the talk of future but
presently my heart goes for Haryana. I will put my sheer hard
work in to take my team to the elite group and if it happens, I
am going to be the most proud person.

HARYANA COMES IN THE PLATE


DIVISION OF RANJI FORMAT
BECAUSE IT GETS LESS FOCUS FROM
MEDIA AND INDIAN CRICKET
BOARD. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO
SAY ON THIS?
Last season was my first season with Haryana and I am very sat-
isfied with the performance. Moreover our one-day matches are WERE YOU CONTACTED BY
played according to zone wise format. We also got chance to
chip in for Duleep and Deodhar Trophy. I know that my team is a
ANY OF THE FRANCHISES IN
part of plate division because of which it finds less mileage as THE SECOND SEASON OF
compare to Elite division but we would be giving our best in the
coming season so that we can take our team to the main divi-
THE INDIAN PREMIER
sion. Good performance can not be backed out on the basis of LEAGUE?
divisions in domestic competition.
I went to Bangalore Royal Challenger’s camp
this time round but unfortunately couldn’t
get my place in. They selected one
middle order batsman and one
bowler from the trial camp so I
was not looked upon as there
was no requirement for the
opening slot. I didn’t con-
tact any other franchis-
es because each one
of them has got
lots of players in
their realm.

YOU ARE A GOOD BATSMAN BUT STILL YOU ARE NOT A


PART OF ANY IPL TEAM?
I was in the Delhi Daredevils team on the scholarship basis in the first season
but couldn’t get chance to play. I was only contracted for one year.

IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO PLAY IN THE THIRD SEASON


OF IPL, WHICH TEAM WOULD GET YOUR THUMBS UP?
I am ready to play for any of the IPL team because every time round position
of teams goes up and down. IPL is a very good platform for the youngsters,
where hard work in short span of time can bring you in limelight, which is like
a dream come true for any of the young lad.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 88 Cricket Today
September 2009

YOUR MEMORABLE
INNING SO FAR?
I have played many good innings in the Under-
22 cricket where scores of 160, 300 and an
unbeaten 254 are intact in my memory, but
the knock of 81 runs in the Duleep trophy is
my best and memorable inning so far because
it got me words of praise from Rahul Dravid.
He spoke to me for five minutes after this
inning.

WHICH FORMAT OF CRICKET YOU


LIKE THE MOST?
I like all the three formats of cricket. Test cricket
checks batting technique, patience and the talent
posses by its disciple. With my strong perform-
ance I will try to put myself in contention for all
the three formats of the game. However Test
cricket is the real form of this game.

BOLLYWOOD HAS TAKEN


YOU ARE VERY ITS ENTRY IN CRICKET. HOW
CLOSE TO DO YOU SEE THAT?
It is a nice step from which both the parties
AAKASH CHOPRA, would get benefit. Players will get the chance to
HOW MUCH HELP meet their favorite on-screen stars. Furthermore
people have started getting more attached to
HAS HE OFFERED cricket because their much loved bollywood
TO YOU? celebrities are joining cricketing ranks.

Aakash bhai has always given me


guidance. Apart from technique
he has taught me how to
improve my batting abilities and HOW DID YOU FEEL AFTER RECEIVING THE AWARD FOR
patience too. To be honest BEST UNDER-22 CRICKETER FROM BCCI?
Aakash bhai has a major role in I was really happy at this facilitation. It is the result of my hard work and is
my success. going to act as an inspirational factor in the near future. Now my efforts
would be to perform well in the Ranji Trophy so that I could get the best
player award in this competition some day.

HAVE YOU EVER MET VIRENDER SEHWAG?


Yes I have met Viru on one or two occasions. He is very humble and even
after getting so much fame he speaks so cordially and politely with everyone.
Viru is incredible and just by seeing him you get the sense of self control.
Cricket Today
September 2009 89 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

MY
FAVOURITES:
BOLLYWOOD FILM
ANDAAZ APNA APNA

ACTOR (MALE)
AKSHAY KUMAR
(COMEDY) AND
AAMIR KHAN

ACTOR (FEMALE)
PRIYANKA CHOPRA

CRICKETER
SACHIN TENDULKAR

OTHER SPORT
BESIDE CRICKET
I LIKE ALL THE SPORTS

CRICKET GROUND
WHERE EVER I SCORE
RUNS.

DRESS CODE
IT DEPENDS ON THE
OCCASION.

FOOD
NON-VEG & ITALIAN.

MOBILE HANDSET
NOT ON THE LIST. I
JUST REQUIRE PHONE
TO MAKE CALLS AND WHAT ARE YOUR ACTIVITIES IN THE LEISURE
SEND MESSAGES. TIME?
Apart from regular net practice I devote my spare time to enjoy
with my family and friends.
match WILLOWY WORDS content news interview 90 Cricket Today
September 2009

or me, the spirit of cricket led to bad sportsmanship, challenging St. Xavier’s College in 1939. Raiji was

“f
and all the values it stands umpires’ decisions, maligning your col- likewise captain of his beloved club, the
for is more important than leagues and opponents, raising unnece- Jolly Cricketers, in the Kanga League.
the players, runs, wickets, sary controversies and so many Did he ever dream of representing India
winning and losing. For me, unpleasant things. Cricket crowds also in Test cricket? “On the basis of my per-
cricket as I loved died long show much indiscipline, booing players formances in first-class cricket I wasn’t
back. I wish cricket had remained an who fail,” he laments. good enough to play for India. It’s possi-
amateur game. England, where profes- Born on January 26, 1920, Raiji is more ble that I had the potential but it wasn’t
sionalism under the curb of amateurs famous as a critic and historian than as realised. I can’t say that any injustice
always existed, is an exception, though.” a highly competitive cricketer he once was done to me. I had never set my
Vasant Naishadh Raiji, former Mumbai was. He had represented what were eyes on the India cap. I loved the game
player, eminent cricket writer and histo- then Bombay and Baroda in India’s and played it for fun and enjoyment. I
rian, and sincere, dedicated patron of national championship. consider myself lucky that I had good
the game, has echoed feelings of many Raiji started playing cricket while at fortune to represent Bombay and
old-timers like him. His whole approach school. He was an opening batsman Baroda in the Ranji Trophy,” he says
to cricket and his ideas about the game almost throughout his cricket career. At with the touching modesty, an endear-
may imply that he is a traditionalist. But the school, college and club level he also ing feature of his personality.
he is not completely averse to mod- bowled off-spin, but did not get much He was a reserve for the Hindus in the
ernism in cricket. He insists, however, to of a chance to show his bowling skills in Pentagulars in 1941. Incidentally, the
call himself a person who has played the first-class cricket. Hindus won the championship. And so
game, who loves it. “As it was once He captained his school team in the did Mumbai, in 1941, though Raiji’s own
played,” he hastens to add. Harris Shield in 1935. He also led his col- showing made “no contribution” to its
There are certain things that irritate lege side and won the batting prize for triumph. Raiji also played for the presti-
Raiji about present-day cricket. “There is three successive years. His highest gious Cricket Club of India (CCI) against
too much commercialism. Players talk of score in the Rahimtoola Shield Inter- the Commomwealth Team that toured
money and money all the time. This has Collegiate Tournament was 118 against this country after World War II. It was a

Vasant Raiji, a respected


Indian cricket historian
by Haresh Pandya
three-day game with a first-class status.
He was in London in 1946 and 1947,
playing club cricket at the Indian
Gymkhana. He scored four centuries in
England. Interestingly, he played for the
Indian Gymkhana against the touring
Indian team in England in 1946, though
it was not a first-class game. Learie
Constantine also played for the Indian
Gymkhana in the match.
Raiji played a solitary club match at
Lord’s. He shone with bat as well as ball,
scoring 41 not out and taking 5 wickets.
After returning to India he played for
Baroda against what was then Madras in
a Ranji Trophy semifinal in February
1950. He made 42 and remained unde-
feated. Raiji continued playing club
cricket until 1960. He was about 40, and
with no “motiovation” left, he decided
to stop playing for good. Raiji is the old-
est living Mumbai cricketer today.
Right from his early childhood Raiji was
a great admirer of L.P. Jai and C.K.
Nayudu; he also held Mohammad Nissar
Cricket Today
September 2009 91 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

and Amarsinh Nakum in high regard. So


much so, he dedicated his nicely edited
book L.P. Jai: Memories of a Great
Batsman to Nayudu, Nissar and Nakum.
But he could not help admitting, “Of
course, Don Bradman was every
schoolboy’s hero in the 1930s.”
However, it is Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji
who remains Raiji’s all-time favourite
cricketer. “Though I watched him just
once in 1928, when I was only 8 years
of age, I’ve vivid memories of his
strokeplay. But more than a player he
was one of the finest gentlemen I ever
met. He was so modest, so considerate.
I had tears in my eyes when I learnt of
his death,” he says about his idol.
In fact, Raiji has always been keen to
discuss this princely personality with
anyone who is interested in the game
and its glorious past. Raiji had edited, in
collaboration with Vijay Merchant,
Anandji Dossa and Vithalbhai Jhaveri, a
very interesting and nostalgic com-
memoration volume, Duleep: the Man
and His Game, in 1963 following his
death in 1959.
Frank Worrell was another favourite of
Raiji. “What a beautiful batsman! His
every movement on the cricket field
was graceful. The same can be said of
C.K. Nayudu,” he remarks about the
former West Indies captain.
After giving up cricket as an active
player, Raiji wanted to continue his
association with the game. “I loved the
game so much. So I wanted to be a
part of it,” he emphasises. He ruled out
scoring and umpiring and administra-
tive duties. Instead he tried his hand at
cricket writing when the Pakistani team
toured India in 1961.
All the articles he wrote about the

Raiji is more
famous as a critic
and historian than
as a highly com-
petitive cricketer
he once was. He
had represented
what were then
Bombay and
Baroda in India’s
national champi-
onship.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 92 Cricket Today
September 2009

Pakistani side and its players were pub- years and contributed handsomely to Indian”, as the author suggested in his
lished in The Times of India. “K.N. Prabhu the already rich cricket literature in the preface) team’s visit to England. The
was its sports editor at that time. It was 1980s with some of the most intensely- book was meant to be a triubte to the
actually he who gave me the break in researched books. The first of them Parsee cricketers’ vision, spirit of adven-
the field of cricket writing,” reveals Raiji, was The Romance of Ranji Trophy – 50 ture and enthusiasm.
expressing his sense of gratitude Golden Years. The book was published in In 1987, the golden jubilee year of
towards one of India’s greatest sports- 1984 to mark the golden jubilee of Brabourne Stadium, Raiji and his friend
writers. India’s national cricket championship. Anandji Dossa, the renowned cricket
Raiji continued writing informative, In 1986 came Raiji’s much-acclaimed statistician, wrote a brilliant history of
interesting critical pieces on cricket, India’s Hambledon Men to mark the cen- the famous ground in a concise form.
never compromising with his fixed ideas tenary of the first Parsee (“or call it The book was aptly titled CCI & The
about the game and its practitioners. Brabourne Stadium: 1937-1987.
Since there was not a single book on The two knew each other since their
the incomparable Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji Raiji started playing school days in 1930. Raiji and Dossa
by an Indian cricket writer until then, watched Lord Tennyson’s team play the
Raiji decided to write one.
cricket while at inaugural match at the Brabourne
The result was Ranji: the Legend and school. He was an Stadium in December 1937. Since then
the Man, a book warmly received by the they have seen most of the games
serious students of the willow game in
opening batsman played at this historic ground in
India and abroad, which also hit the almost throughout Mumbai.
stands in 1963. Two years later, in 1989, Raiji came up
“Charmingly produced. It is excellent.
his cricket career. At with C.K. Nayudu, the Shahenshah of
Every essential is in it. The author the school, college Indian Cricket, one of the more admired
writes about the great magical player books on the man who led the country
with understanding and imagination,”
and club level he in her maiden Test at Lord’s in 1932.
remarked Neville Cardus, no less, in his also bowled off-spin, Raiji, who on one occasion had played
inimitable style while reviewing the book with Nayudu, paid a rich tribute to the
in Wisden. Cardus had earlier written a
but did not get much legend, who was much more than a
personal letter to Raiji and compliment- of a chance to show mere cricketer.
ed him on his nice book on Ranji. Raiji did not write a single book in the
John Arlott, too, wrote two excellent
his bowling skills in whole of 1990s, but penned two in the
reviews of the unputdownable book. “A first-class cricket. present decade. Duleep: A Centenary
charming study of one of cricket’s most Tribute was published in 2005 and From
exciting personalities… A fascinating and Presidency to Pentangular (in collabora-
consice record of a player who pos- tion with the star statistician Mohandas
sessed genius,” said the renowned Menon) in 2006.
broadcaster and cricket writer. Though all of Ranji’s books are very
The success of Ranji: the Legend and special in themselves, Ranji: the Legend
the Man and its favourable, rave and the Man remains his masterpiece.
reviews by distinguished cricket writers However, their author is very humble
gave Raiji the much-needed impetus to and modest and says that he has only
write more books. Victor Trumper: The tried to return something to the game
Beau Ideal of a Cricketer, a fine and con- which has given him so much.
scise biography (edited) of the leg- “I won’t like to single out any particular
endary Australian, followed in July 1964. book of mine and say it’s my best. It’s
Strangely, he did not pen a single book for you to decide. You won’t believe but
for nearly two decades after that, it’s a fact that I’ve never thought of
except one, Ranji: A Centenary Album, any one of them being my best or mas-
in 1972. Of course, he kept contributing terpiece. I’ve enjoyed writing all my
articles to various newspapers and mag- books. And they’re all a labour of love
azines and also authored two books on for me,” he remarks.
his profession, including Professional “Every cricket writer is a historian
Goodwill: Its Tax Implications and except one who writes cricket fiction. A
Valuation. report on a cricket match or a contem-
“Being a Charterd Accountant, and porary player later becomes a part of
always in much demand by my large cricket history. I enjoy both, writing arti-
number of clients, I had neither time cles as well as books, though I can’t
nor inclination to write cricket books write books that often,” he adds.
during that particular phase of my pro- “I think my plus point as a cricket writer
fessional career. But I enjoyed writing is that I’ve played the game at a firly
articles on a wide range of cricketing high level. So I know the technical
subjects during the same period,” he aspect of the game. I’ve also read a lot
explains. on the subject: history of the game,
But Raiji bounced back after twenty biographies and autobiographies of
Cricket Today
September 2009 93 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

when he reveals that he has kept no


account of the amount he has spent
on cricket books. “It must be a stagger-
ing one,” he adds.
Like most lovers of sports literature,
Raiji feels prices of cricket books from
abroad have rocketed in the last twen-
ty years or so. They were not so
expensive earlier. Until recently, Raiji
had an enviably rich personal cricket
library, featuring rare classics, including
immortal works of Cardus, Jack
Fingleton, R.C. Robertson-Glasgow,
Ronald Mason, E.V. Lucas and a host of
other celebrated cricket writers.
But Raiji sold off almost 90 per cent of
books from his library to an avid cricket
enthusiast in Mumbai a couple of years
ago, keeping only a select few he just
could not part with. “I’m fast approach-
ing 90. To keep and maintain such a
large number of books was a problem
for me and my wife. So I thought of
passing them on to a deserving person.
Though I got money in return, it wasn’t
for the lucre that I disposed them of.
I’m sure he’ll take good care of them as
he is a genuine lover of cricket litera-
ture just like you and me,” he says.
Cardus tops the list of Raiji’s most
favourite cricket authors. “Cardus was
unique and stands head and shoulders
above every other cricket writer. I don’t
think any cricket writer will ever
approach him,” he eulogises the maes-
tro.
“I don’t think there is any great cricket
writer today. It isn’t fair to compare
Indian cricket writers with their old-
time English and Australian counter-
parts. The game of cricket has changed
over the years, especially the spirit in
which it’s played, and so has cricket
writing. My preference is for the old-
time game and old-time cricket writers.

cricketers, etc.” Even today, Raiji reads gluttonously on In 1989, Raiji came up
What is the place of the cricket writer cricket, particularly the books on the
in sports circles? “A good and objective game. He also loves history, economics,
with C.K. Nayudu, the
cricket writer may have some following. short biographies, humour, “light phio- Shahenshah of Indian
At least he would be welcome and not losophy” and poetry. He admits he has Cricket, one of the
regarded as an intruder. I think cricket not read much fiction. more admired books
readership is very limited in our coun- The future cricket author and historian on the man who led
try. It’s diferent in England,” he replies. started buying books in the early 1930s
Will the miracles of modern technology when he was a schoolboy. As he grew,
the country in her
such as television eventually replace his personal cricket library also became maiden Test at Lord’s
print media forever as far as cricket larger in size and stock. As cricket in 1932. Raiji, who on
journalism is concerned? The ever opti- books were hardly available in India in one occasion had
mistic Raiji does not think so: “I doubt if those years, he used to order them played with Nayudu,
this would ever happen. They can never from London. One English bookseller
replace good cricket literature. Both, used to send him a catalogue of cricket
paid a rich tribute to
the print as well as electronic media, books from time to time. the legend, who was
have their own place and importance Always meticulous and methodical in much more than a
and will stand side by side.” whatever he does, Raiji surprises you mere cricketer.
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 94 Cricket Today
September 2009

class cricketer, represented Mumbai in Fernandes and has settled down in


the Ranji Trophy from 1941 to 1948. Perth in Australia.
Raiji has two sisters and he is the eldest Despite being affluent, Raiji strongly
of the four siblings. His mother, believes that marriage ceremonies
Jayshree, was B.A. in Philosophy. She should be “dignified and simple, without
was also a social worker. Importantly, any pomp”; large expenditure on mar-
she was a member of the first Lok riage is “unnecessary and wasteful”.
Sabha, getting elected from Mumbai on He gives his own example: “I didn’t
a Congress ticket. spend more than Rs. 1,000 on the mar-
Raiji’s intellectual better half, Panna, is a riage of each of my two daughters. One
Ph.D. from Mumbai University. She was a of them is married to a Christian – we
script and commentary writer with the had no second thought about it.”
Films Division of India. She retired in Besides cricket, Raiji follows tennis
1961 to look after their two young closely. He watches, albeit on television,
daughters, Brinda and Renuka, and did all sports except wrestling and boxing,
occasional freelance writing. Her book, which he does not like. He had played
The Indian Film, is perhaps the first seri- table tennis at the school, college and
ous study of all aspects of the Indian club level. He had won his school’s table
film industry. tennis championship in 1931 when he
Brinda and Renuka post-graduated from was just 11. When he was in England, he
the American universities and are happi- had played table tennis at club level
ly married. Brinda is married to Dr. during the winter.
Sudhir Nanavati and lives with him in When asked, Raiji agrees that even the
Ahmedabad. Renuka is married to Brian most distinguished sportswriters are

But then I myself am an old-timer.”


Raiji has never been a professional crick-
et writer and he never “plans” about
writing books on the sport dear to his
heart. He says he sometimes gets an
idea. If he developes it, and finds it
interesting, it culminates into a book.
“A cricket writer must know the game
well. He ought to be aware of its by-
laws and rules, its etiquette and its his-
tory. He should read the best books on
the game and shouldn’t neglect the sta-
tistical aspect of the game,” feels Raiji.
“He should discuss cricket with others
who are more knowledgeable. He should
watch cricket as much as he can. He
should try to improve his command of not encouraged, let alone recognised, in
the language he writes in. You can Raiji has never been this country, where political commenta-
acquire sound technical knowledge of tors and cartoonists are given all sorts
the game by playing, watching, reading a professional crick- of awards and five-star treatment and
and discussing it with others.” et writer and he by the people in power. “It’s a sad state
He further adds: “A good background of affairs. But what can one do about
of the game’s history and its literature never “plans” about it?” he regrets.
helps. Also necessary are enthusiasm writing books on the “The situation isn’t so bad in England
and hard work. He should have practice and Australia. Neville Cardus, John
of writing through the opportunities sport dear to his Arlott, Jim Kilburn. A.A. Thomson and
offered. Above all, a bit of luck also heart. He says he many others did get recognition for
plays its part.” their contribution to cricket journalism
The Gujarati-speaking Raiji’s father, sometimes gets an and literature. Cardus, as everybody
Naishadh, was also a well-known idea. If he developes knows, was even knighted. Jack
Chartered Accoutant of Mumbai. He Fingleton will perhaps be remembered
was a keen follower of the game and it, and finds it inter- more as a cricket writer than as a crick-
always encouraged his two sons, Vasant esting, it culminates eter. One can only hope that in due
and Madan, to pursue their passion – course of time things will change for
cricket. Madan, who was also a first- into a book. better in this country.” 
match GREATS OF THE GAME content news interview 96 Cricket Today
September 2009

Hanumant Singh,
the prince who played
with a royal touch
by Haresh Pandya
will go anywhere, to any

“i
part of the world, to watch
Hanumant Singh bat.” –
Richie Benaud
When the former Australian
captain made the aforemen-
tioned statement, he was probably
echoing the feelings of many
cognoscenti of classic batsmanship. For
the Indians he was one of the most
gifted and attractive batsmen of his
generation regardless of the fact that
he played only fourteen Tests thanks to
petty politics.
The Prince of Banswara, the erstwhile
Indian state with 15-gun salute, always
played his cricket like one. There was an
unmistakable royal touch to his pres-
ence on the field. He was undoubtedly
one of the most delightful, magnificent
and scintillating batsmen imaginable.
Hanumant Singh was born in Banswara
in Rajasthan on March 29, 1939. Cricket
was already in his royal blood. His uncle,
Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji (who incidental-
ly happened to be the peerless Kumar
Shri Ranjitsinhji’s nephew), represented
Cricket Today
September 2009 97 editor speaks contents letter book review interview market mania

England in 12 Tests. His cousin, Kumar When the experienced Vijay Manjrekar
Shri Indrajitsinhji, played four Tests for called it a day after scoring 102 at
India as a wicketkeeper-batsman. Chennai against New Zealand in March
Unlike most Indian cricket royals, who 1964-65, Hanumant quickly demon-
studied as well as honed their cricket strated, with resolute knocks of 75 not
skills abroad, Hanumant was much more out at Mumbai and 82 at Delhi, that he
home-grown. An alumnus of Daley was ready to take on the mantle.
College in Indore, he was a star player He capped yet another successful sea-
of the Vikram University cricket team. son with a scintillating 213 for Central
Like many Asian batsmen before and Zone against the star-studded South
after him, he was not very tall; and Zone in Duleep Trophy.
hence was affectionately called Hanumant was at his best against
“Chhotu” (short) by all. But he was an Garfield Sobers’ mighty West Indies
immensely gifted right-handed bats- team that toured India in 1966-67, scor-
man. ing 102, 52 and 85 in first-class match-
Good judgement and sweet timing es; and 37 and 50 in two Tests.
enabled him to play all the shots with He continued his good run in the Ranji
effortless brilliance. A very confident Trophy, too, making 166 and 132 versus
batsman, he would pull the ball with Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh respec-
gusto and hook without inhibition. tively; and 109 and 213 not out against
Artistic and elegant at the crease in his Mumbai in the final. He ended the sea-
own limited way, Hanumant was truly a son with 838 runs in 9 innings at
connoisseur’s delight when on song. 139.66.
A busy man at the wicket, he kept the With such performances to back him,
scoreboard ticking and hardly allowed Hanumant was an automatic choice for
the bowlers, spinners and speedsters the 1967 tour of England. Though he
alike, to tie him down. Though he played scored a breezy 73 in the second
fast bowlers with élan, he was simply a innings of the first Test at Leeds and
scourge of spinners. added 134 runs for the fifth wicket
“He was a sight to behold against spin- with his captain “Tiger” Pataudi (148),
ners on a difficult pitch. He was techni- For the Indians India could not avoid defeat.
cally very sound and it was always a
challenge for the best of spinners to Hanumant Singh It was the only time Hanumant was his
usual self at the wicket on what turned
get him out. I still remember his flawless
83 for Rajasthan against Karnataka in
was one of the out to be his only overseas jaunt with
the Indian team. A groin injury kept him
the 1973-74 Ranji Trophy final on a
spiteful turner at Jaipur. It was sheer
most gifted and out of the second Test at Lord’s. In the
third and last, he made only 15 and 6.
poetry,” said former India off-spinner attractive bats- England won the series 3-0.
Erapalli Prasanna. The entire team had fared badly in
Though chiefly a specialist batsman, men of his gen- England, but when the time for select-
Hanumant was also a useful leg-spinner
and a spectacular fielder in the deep. eration regard- ing the Indian side for the difficult tour
of Australia in 1967-68 came, the axe
He made his first-class debut for
Madhya Pradesh in1955-56 before
less of the fact fell on Hanumant first of all.
Given his ability to handle hot pace on
beginning his long stint with Rajasthan.
He essayed many memorable, prolific
that he played lively pitches and his track record, he
deserved to be one of the first choices.
innings for Rajasthan. When the other only fourteen His omission from the Australia-bound
Rajasthan batsmen were cheaply and team still remains one of the mysteries
quickly returning to the pavilion against Tests thanks to of Indian cricket.
Uttar Pradesh in a crucial Ranji Trophy
tie in 1961-62, he tried to stem the rot petty politics. “I was deeply shocked, and greatly dis-
appointed, when I was dropped from
with a masterly 200 not out. the team for the Australian tour. I still
He launched his international career find it very hard to fathom. I had
with a majestic105 in 222 minutes, Australian side, too, but off-spinner proved my ability against different
including 15 fours, in the first innings Tom Veivers had him caught by Norman bowlers on different pitches and my
against Mike Smith’s England team at O’Neill when he had scored 94 (in a total record wasn’t that bad either,” he told
Delhi in 1963-64, becoming only the of 193) in Chennai. this writer a few years ago.
third Indian after Lala Amarnath and An undefeated 149 at Bangalore and 98 “I was young and had still a lot to offer
Deepak Shodhan to score a century on at Hyderabad in the “unofficial Tests” to Indian cricket. I was determined to
Test debut. against Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) rounded stage a comeback but the selectors
It was adjudged the best innings of the off a very fruitful year for Hanumant appeared to have made up their minds
match. Only a few months later, he and India seemed to have finally to ruin my Test career.”
came close to making a century in his unearthed a reliable middle-order bats- Hanumant did make a comeback – in
first Test against Bob Simpson’s man it badly needed. the first Test against New Zealand at
match report preview cover story breaking news interview trivia 98 Cricket Today
September 2009

Hanumant Singh
never remained idle
in retirement and
served cricket in
various capacities –
as national selector,
as manager of the
Indian team and as
director of National
Cricket Academy in
Bangalore. As an
ICC match referee,
he earned respect
of players, authori-
ties and the media.

he captained Central Zone against Tony


Greig’s England side.
He retired from first-class cricket in
1978-79 after scoring 12,338 runs at
43.93, including 29 centuries. His 6,170
runs in the Ranji Trophy were within a
striking distance of Vijay Hazare’s
record tally of 6,312 at the time.
A quiet, thinking cricketer, Hanumant
was an astute captain, too. He led
Central Zone to their maiden Duleep
Trophy title in 1971-72.
A teetotaler and non-smoker, Hanumant
was a thorough gentleman. Despite
being a prince and a cricketing celebrity,
he never put on airs. In fact, he would
feel embarrassed talking about his own
cricket or royal lineage.
He never remained idle in retirement
and served cricket in various capacities
– as national selector, as manager of
the Indian team and as director of
National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
As an ICC match referee, he officiated
in 9 Tests and 54 One-Day Internationals
and earned respect of players, authori-
ties and the media.
He was coach of the Kenyan team that
Mumbai in 1969-70. He was under Rajasthan. created a major upset in the 1996
tremendous pressure to prove his In 24 innings (twice not out) of his 14 World Cup on the subcontinent by
worth all over again. And it reflected in Tests, he scored 686 runs at 31.18 with defeating the then powerful West
his two uncharacteristic knocks of 1 the help of 1 century and 5 fifties. Indies team at Pune.
and 13. He never played for India again. These statistics, though not unimpres- “This triumph means a lot for me. It’s as
“This wasn’t the way to treat a class sive, hardly reveal the kind of batsman important for me as it’s for the Kenyan
and committed cricketer like him. He Hanumant actually was. players. It’s sweeter than even my
was truly a great batsman. It’s a pity The suave, unassuming Hanumant, who debut Test hundred,” he told this corre-
Indian cricket didn’t make the most of was an executive with State Bank of spondent inside the Kenyan dressing
his genius and ignored him consistent- India, did not allow his frustration to get room amid wild celebrations.
ly,” lamented the dashing allrounder the better of him and continued to play The humble, unassuming Hanumant
Salim Durrani, who played with first-class cricket with his old enthusi- breathed his last on November 29,
Hanumant for many years for asm and passion. As late as in1976-77, 2006, in Mumbai. 
match THE LEGEND trivia contest reviews content interview 100 Cricket Today
September 2009

w
hen cricket was a gentle- tories is amazing! The first one was wickets!
men’s game, not as profes- against Australia in Kanpur in 1959, The next three consecutive wins were
sionalized as today, in the when India won the game by 119 runs. in New Zealand. The test at Dunedin,
year 1958, a gentleman Borde got the wicket of Australia’s when India won by 5 wickets; test at
from Pune reached the Norman Onil which was the turning Wellington, which was won by 8 wickets,
international stage making his city and point of the match. The second victory and the last test at Auckland, where
state proud. against England was in 1961 at Eden Borde scored 41 and not out 65 runs,
A living legend with a flawless career, Gardens which India won by 197 runs. It and led India to victory by 272 runs.
who shared his 75th birthday with was due to Borde’s all-round spectacu- With such a huge contribution to India’s
Maharashtra Cricket Association formed lar performance in which he scored 2 success, one can only say. “Hats off to
in the year 1934, is none other than half-centuries in both the innings and you, Sir!”
India’s former captain Chandu Borde. took 4 English wickets. India won anoth- Borde was the president of the selec-
MCA felicitated the legend in a grand er Test match in Madras by an inning tion committee during the 1983 world
ceremony and the dais sparkled with and 128 runs where Borde scored valu- cup, when India wrote a history. Along
celebrities like Ajit Wadekar, Nana able runs and took 5 wickets. A scintil- with a great all-rounder and captain,
Patekar, and Master Blaster Sachin lating victory against Australia at Chandu Borde is also a very good coach.
Tendulkar! Breborne stadium, Mumbai was He had an easy way of training budding
An ideal personality in the cricketing achieved when Borde steered India to cricketers and never complicated the
fraternity, Chandu Borde has never victory, reaching the target of 256 runs cricket technique.
talked about his achievements and had in partnership with Indrajeet Singh. The “I am a firm believer in God and he has
a cricketing style of his own. A talented other 4 victories, were against New helped me not only throughout the
leg-spinner, who has sent back star per- Zealand. The one in Delhi at Ferozeshah career but for entire life.”, said the vet-
formers of the opposition to pavilion, Kotla Stadium which India won by 7 eran cricketer in the grand function.
was also known as ‘panther’ due to his wickets with Borde scoring 87 runs in The beauty of the event was the vari-
electrifying fielding skills. A great crick- the first innings and Venkat taking 12 ety of speeches of the guest who had
eter, he is also adored by his colleagues

NOT OUT 75!


for been a great human. A down-to-
earth personality who kept his feet
grounded all the time, Borde is known
for his authority of the game. He is a
personification of right batting tech-
nique, footwork, placing, and running
between the wickets.
His contribution in seven big Indian vic- by Radhika Karve gathered to honour Mr. Borde. Some
speeches were very heart-touching,
while others were spicy. “Ups and downs
in the career have helped me to handle
tough situations in life”, said Borde. “My
career started because of an article in
Pune Sakaal, which narrated my
achievements and thus my parents
allowed me to take cricket as my pro-
fession. I appreciate this felicitation
especially because it is in my home
town. My life is smooth because of my
wife Vijaya as she handled the home
front very efficiently. Her inning in my
life is very important and her contribu-
tion is incredible.” Talking about the
shorter version of the game, Borde
said, “50 and 20 overs game is comple-
mentary to Test cricket. Improvisation
of the shots is going to be useful in
Test cricket. Globalisation gives a good
opportunity for players to improve.”
Narrating a heart-touching incidence
about Sachin, he said, “When he played
for India for the first time in 1989 we
were on the tour of Pakistan. I was the
manager of the Indian team. Resting in
my room in Sialkot late in the night, I
heard a consistent thud against the
wall. I woke up and went to the room
right above my own where Sachin was
Cricket Today
September 2009 101 editor speaks letter

staying. This little boy was play- team was in a turbulent phase
ing different shots at this late and a calming factor was utter-
hour in front of the mirror! ly essential. Borde Sir played a
When asked the reason, he very important role and we
said, ‘Sir, I am only used to won the series in England,
going to bed with my family though he didn’t get the
and couldn’t fall asleep. So, I deserved credit as a manager
was practising!’ Since next day of the team. Looking at his
was his first day of represent- enthusiasm today, he doesn’t
ing the country, I patted him look like he is 75. And with
and put him to sleep. This lad, God’s blessings, he must score
who was then afraid of being a century, as said in batting
alone in the room, now intimi- terms!”
dates his every opponent on Former Indian captain Ajit
the ground!” Wadekar said, “There is a huge
Addressing Mr. Borde, Master difference between mine and
Blaster Sachin said, “I congratu- Borde’s age. But we are very
late him on behalf of the close to each other. He has
nation. I was very lucky to have always encouraged all his col-
him as a manager during my leagues to perform well and
first tour. Guidance is very was the best captain I have
important for a 16 year old played under. He is my idol.”
child. He helped me when The spice of the event was
exactly needed, guiding me added by actor Nana Patekar.
about improving my batting Saluting all those sitting on the
and avoiding mistakes. He never dais, he said, “I am awed by Mr.
changed my natural batting Borde’s zeal and looking at him,
instinct, talent and never over- it is obvious why retired artists
moulded me. He did this out of and retired cricketers look dif-
great passion, and no expecta- ferent. I am representing the
tion. In the year 2007, Indian crowds here. Otherwise, I don’t
deserve to be seated along
with people with such creden-
Borde is tials. We the crowds will always
known for his expect you cricketers to win.
And when you do so, we gar-
authority of land you. But if you lose we are
the game. He bound to blaze your effigy. We
is a personifi- will never change. All trophies
are always named after a crick-
cation of right eter, posthumously. Hence sit-
batting tech- ting next to Mr. Ajay Shirke,
nique, foot- president of Maharashtra
work, placing, Cricket Association, I was asking
him to name a trophy by
and running Chandu Borde’s name as Mr.
between the Borde is surely going to com-
wickets. plete the century of his life.” 
news MARKET MANIA preview cover story interview 102 Cricket Today
September 2009

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Cricket Today
September 2009 103 editor speaks contents letter review interview match report
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match OPINION trivia contest reviews content news 104 Cricket Today
September 2009

s
ehwag is a marvel of mod-
ern times, a genius who has
confounded conventional
wisdom, whose daring is now
a part of cricket’s folklore -
writes the cricket almanac in its 146th
edition.
‘Perhaps the best batsman in the world
today’ by the Times of India
‘Leading Cricketer of the World for the
year 2008’ by Wisden
Virender Sehwag’s allegations of unfair
selection procedures of the DDCA offi-
cials has evoked counter allegations of
favouritism against the ‘Kohinoor’ of
Delhi by the Sports secretary, Sunil Dev
and its convenor Vinod Tihara. The
‘famous’ secretary has gone to the
extent to accuse Sehwag of raising
such issues only to get Pradeep
Sangwan and Tehlan into the playing
squad.
But Is Sehwag not justified in promot-
ing the young talent instead of consid-
ering someone who does not know
anything about the sport?
Did Sourav Ganguly not support Young
Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Kaif and
today are we not proud of their contri-
bution to Indian Cricket?
The apparently embarrassed aggres-
sion shown by these people to justify
their blatantly violating norms in selec-
tion clearly shows their frustration.

SEHWAG
SELFLESS GENIUS by Shyam Sharma
President Dada Army
Both of them, unmindful of the gravity
of the problem, made an abortive
attempt to snub this indictment by
putting forth some unacceptable
explanation. With a hope to swathe this
controversy, one of the three vice-
presidents of DDCA and also a former
test cricketer, tried to mollify the tor-
mented feelings of Delhi cricketers by
assuring them transparency for the
future.
Cricket Today
September 2009 105 editor speaks contents letter review interview market mania

We pray that the


president, Shri
Arun Jaitely with
his intelligence
and wisdom will
prevail upon
Sehwag to con-
tinue playing for
Delhi and will
look into the
serious deficien-
cies in the selec-
tion process per-
sonally.

It is clear that statement of Sehwag has


highlighted the irregularities in the
selection process, which in any case has
to be sublime. Favouritism in selection
of a team has to be kept at a distance.
DDCA is already under close watch for
not working with transparency on other those who are involved in a struggle to vested interests work perseveringly
matters, be it on the Proxy issue during bring the original Kohinoor back from round the year to collect more and
its Elections or for whimsical distribu- U.K. can only visualize the importance more proxies. The chances of selection
tion of passes to VVIP’s for internation- of this “Kohinoor”. of any player of their choice into a
al cricket matches held in Delhi. DDCA, We pray that the president, Shri Arun team are directly proportionate to their
for sure, cannot afford to get tangled Jaitely with his intelligence and wisdom capacity to grab more proxies.
into more controversies. will prevail upon Sehwag to continue It would be apt to say that all problems
Under the leadership of Mr. Arun Jaitley, playing for Delhi and will look into the in DDCA have a direct connection with
DDCA has made all of us proud with the serious deficiencies in the selection the proxies. The solution is, thus, to
infrastructure and basic amenities for process personally. cleanse the election process. Those who
the players. But all these amenities We hope that in future the selection have usurped the office for decades
alongwith the most imaginative stadium committee would consist of former must do some introspection and try to
would be a waste in the drought of players who would act without any find out if it is not high time for them
fresh young talent into our team. pressure from people who do not event to involve more learned people and
How long can we afford to sacrifice know the ten ways of getting a crick- allow few genuine cricketers and cricket
them for the sons of powerful mem- eter out. lovers to take charge of the affairs of
bers of sports committees or the other A small introspection of few minutes the DDCA.
VIP’s of Delhi? It might be very easy for reminded me of the actual problem of Kudos to Gautam Gambhir, Ashish
the sport’s secretary of DDCA to say interference of the sports committee. Nehra, Ishant Sharma and other senior
that he is ready to give NOC to Virender The problem honestly seems to be the cricketers for taking a stand for the
Sehwag to play for another state but election process through proxies. These cause. 

Book: OUT OF THE BOX, Author: Harsha Bhogle, Price: Rs 450, Pages: 275, Publisher: Penguin Books, Rating: ***

The rain of cricket books continues unabated as if to atone for the absence of the largely absent mon-
soon. The latest in the list is by perhaps India's best known cricket commentator to have never played
Test cricket, Harsha Bhogle. Titled Out of the Box, the book contains selection of Harsha Bhogle's works
for the Indian Express in the last 5 years. The book, whose introduction is penned by Sachin Tendulkar,
BOOK REVIEW

consists of 90 columns written by Bhogle between 2004 and 2009. The writings touch upon every
aspect of cricket - the invasion of Twenty20; thrills of Test cricket and risks faced by the longer version
of the game; ODIs; cricketing greats; rules, regulations and infrastructure. The sections discuss T20
leagues and cricket embracing its economic reality, how Dhoni has become a smarter player, what it
means to bat like Sehwag, judging Tendulkar by today's standards and the Indian cricket Board losing its
objective in the lure of money. Book also gives tributes to the likes of Lara and the "incomparable"
Tendulkar.
Verdict: Though it has Harsha's articles from Indian Express, Still Out of the Box touches ones heart. All
cricket lovers should grab a copy of this book to understand the chaotic ways of how cricket is run in
India, how and why Indian players and spectators have a love for centuries and statistics, and how with
so many hundreds of thousands playing the game it is still not the best cricket team in the world.

* POOR ** AVERAGE *** GOOD **** VERY GOOD ***** OUTSTANDING