Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sachin laughs off 'emphatic 100th ton' theory

Sachin Tendulkar stated the reason for him opting out of June-July's three-Test series in the West Indies.

"I just want to spend some time with my family. I have not had time with my children. If I don't spend time with them now (during their school holidays), I would have to wait for one more year to do so. The kids (daughter Sara and son Arjun) are very thrilled because we hadn't discussed this with them, so they didn't know anything. It was a surprise for them," he said on Monday. (Also Read: Durani tells Sachin to go for 400 )

"I could make out that they wanted me to be with them because of their school holidays coinciding."

Tendulkar was rested for the one-day series against the West Indies, but when it came to the Test series, he requested the Board to leave him out. He will be available for the tour of England involving four Tests and a one-day series.

No one can stop the theories though. The batting genius laughed at one about him not going to the West Indies because he wants to get his 100th international century at Lord's, a venue that will host the 100th India vs England Test (July 21-25) and the 2000th game in the history of Test cricket. "How can you plan such things?" he asked.

Respected West Indies writer Fazeer Mohammed connected Tendulkar's Caribbean absence to the state of the game in the region. "But there was obviously something missing that made India's batting maestro determine that a month in the Caribbean and the prospect of a couple really big innings was worth passing up. Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was the sense of occasion. Maybe it was both.

"To put it bluntly: milking our bowlers on the way to a 100th senior international hundred in a near-empty stadium would have been the equivalent of Barcelona defeating Manchester United on a Sunday morning at the Aranjuez Savannah with ten men and two dogs in attendance and two vagrants sleeping at the back of the pavilion," Mohammed wrote in the Trinidad Express.

Earlier, Tendulkar stated: "As I have been playing continuous cricket over the last 10 months which started during the Sri Lankan series in July 2010, I had requested the Cricket Board to allow me to spend some quality time with the family as it coincides with my children's holidays and hence will not be available for the series in the West Indies. I would appreciate everyone's understanding of my decision and look forward to be back shortly post the series."

Post 2000, Tendulkar has been part of Test series wins in England, Pakistan and New Zealand but when it came to the 2005-06 Test series victory in the West Indies, he was injured. So, in all probability, he will end his career without experiencing a Test series triumph in the Caribbean.

That could be a regret, but only just, considering what he said a few years ago: "Getting married and having kids nothing matches that."

Friday, May 27, 2011

England vs Sri Lanka (Eng vs Sl) 1st Test Live Highlights

Sri Lanka vs England Live Cricket Highlights: The first test match between England Vs Sri Lanka scheduled will be happen on 26th,Thursday-May-2011, and kickoff time at 14:30 G.M.T, 20:00 I.S.T.

England vs Sri Lanka first Test match cricket is exciting, because they face each other at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff today.

It is thought that this England team is one of the best English cricket teams of all time. Over the next three months we'll see where they stand as they face Sri Lanka and then India.

In this test series in England, may find it difficult dislodge the powerful batting lineup of Sri Lanka which includes Sangakarra, Jayawardene, Dilshan, Samaweera, and Paranavitana.

Head-to-head: England has won 8 matches and Sri Lanka won 6 matches out of 21, while the remaining 7 matches were draws.

England vs Sri Lanks 1st Teams:

England 1st Test Team: AJ Strauss (c), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, EJG Morgan, MJ Prior (wk), SC Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, CT Tremlett.

Sri Lanka 1st Test Team: T Dilshan (c), NT Paranavitana, KC Sangakkara, DPMD Jayawardene, TT Samareewa, HAPW Jayawardene (wk), MF Maharoof, NLTC Perera, HMRKB Herath, UWMBCA Welegedara, CRD Fernando.

Umpires: BR Doctrove (West Indies) and Aleem Dar (Pakistan). Third umpire: RJ Tucker (Australia). Fourth umpire: DJ Millns (England).

Sri Lanka vs England Live Match Details:

Fight Against: England Vs Sri Lanka,

Date: 26th, Thursday-May-2011,

Time: 14:30 G.M.T, 20:00 I.S.T,

Venue: Sophia Gardens at Cardiff, Wales.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chennai back in IPL final with a bang

Super batting by Suresh Raina (73, 50b; 4x4, 6x6) and Albie Morkel (28, 10b; 1x4, 3x6) helped Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in the 1st qualifier at Wankhede stadium and enter the IPL final for the second successive year on Tuesday. Chasing 176 for victory, CSK were in a spot of bother when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out in the 17th over but Raina and Morkel changed the script with an undefeated 46-run stand off 18 balls.

The turning point of the match came in the 19th over when Morkel clobbered Sreenath Aravind for two successive sixes and Raina hit the third over mid-wicket. The left arm seamer conceded 21 runs and the fifth wicket pair completed the formalities by knocking off the required 12 in the 20th over. Morkel signalled CSK’s stunning win by hitting left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori over mid-wicket for a six. It was billed as Super Kings versus Super Gayle. But the law of averages caught up with the big-hitting Gayle. However, Virat Kohli resurrected RCB with a 44-ball 70 (5x4, 3x6) to take them to a formidable 175 for 4 in 20 overs.

When CSK began their chase, the asking rate was a little over eight but they lost the first two wickets in the first two overs. Zaheer Khan dismissed Mike Hussey with his sixth delivery having the Aussie plumb in front and in the next over Aravind removed Murali Vijay in similar fashion as CSK stuttered to 7-2. S Badrinath (34) and Raina added 63 off 58 balls to weather the early storm. But Badrinath’s attempt to hit Abhimanyu Mithun over extra-cover failed and was caught by a running Aravind. But Raina kept CSK in the hunt with amazing shots. He hit Mithun for 23 runs in his third over, which included two sixes and one four.

But Gayle’s fastish off-spin and the guile of skipper Vettori put the brakes on Raina’s aggressive batting ploy to leave CSK gasping for breath. The run-rate mounted to over 13. Raina slammed his fourth sixth to reach his 50 off 41 balls and Dhoni, too, joined the party. He hoisted Zaheer for a six but was out the next ball. However, Raina hit Zaheer over mid-wicket for a six, as the bowler leaked as many as 20 runs. Although Dhoni departed, man of the match Raina and Morkel destroyed RCB’s hopes. Earlier, the near empty stadium saw the early departure of Gayle as the left-hander’s run-spree came to a halt. He lasted only nine deliveries. Off-spinner Ravinchandran Ashwin had the big opener trapped in front with his third delivery. Going for a sweep shot, Gayle missed and umpire Simon Taufel had no hesitation in declaring him out. Gayle had struck Ashwin for a six in the previous delivery.

RCB had the best period of batting when Kohli and left-hander Luke Pomersbach (18-ball 29) were involved in a 48-run fourth-wicket partnership off 29 balls. It gave some momentum to the faltering RCB innings. Pomersbach slammed two fours and one six in Bravo’s third over. This partnership changed the course of RCB’s innings.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sakshi Dhoni enjoys cricket, not attention

So what exactly does it mean to be Indian cricket's first lady? Ask Sakshi Dhoni and she'd perhaps be unaware.

Sakshi and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's love story that began in March 2008 was India's best-kept secret for two years before the duo tied the knot last July. Just like Dhoni's personal life has been aloof since his onset eight years back, his wife appears to be just as guarded.

Sakshi was spotted at P2 Pavilion here at Chinnaswamy Stadium during Sunday's game. She was sitting by herself, enjoying the cricket, not the types who grab attention. There was a bodyguard of sorts who was with her the whole time, but Sakshi seemed to be totally unaware of his presence. Even when she went to serve herself dinner during the mid-innings break, Sakshi was uncomfortable having a bodyguard around her, and may have gestured that she needn't be followed around.

Hailing from a typical middle-class household, Sakshi is said to be a simple girl who happened to floor the Indian skipper during their meeting at Taj Bengal in December 2007. A hotel management student, she was interning at the hotel where India and Pakistan were put up ahead of their clash at Eden Gardens.

When MiD DAY asked her how she was enjoying travelling with the Chennai Super Kings this IPL season, Sakshi said: "I am really sorry, I don't mean to be rude. But, I am not comfortable talking to any media at the moment."

That reaction from the Dehradun girl summed up her approach towards fame, and everything associated with being the wife of perhaps the most influential Indian cricketer of this generation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Warne ends polarising career as a loser

Unusual in his soap opera existence, there will be no fairytale finish when Shane Warne draws the closing curtain.

Warne will end one of cricket's most successful and controversial playing careers as a loser.

The legspinner bows out in Mumbai early Saturday (NZT) when his Rajasthan Royals play their final match of the 2011 Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Royals can't make the IPL finals, so it's the end for Warne - more than four years after quitting Test cricket and nearly four years since his last first-class outing.

Aged 41, Warne completes a playing road with bumps, twists and turns beyond the imagination of the most fanciful Hollywood script writer. Or Hollywood starlet.

Warne, who once described his life as a soap opera, farewells as an undisputed genius of his sport, his influence on Australian cricket second only to Sir Donald Bradman.

But he also farewells as among the most polarising of sportsmen.

His mastery of the difficult craft of legspin returned 708 Test wickets. Toss in 293 one-day international victims, and more than 1300 first-class scalps.

Even the largesse of such figures somehow don't do justice to the guile of Warne, who was revered for his `cricket brain'.

Some say the magnitude of his `cricket brain' left little grey matter for other purposes.

Think extra-marital affairs. Saucy text messages. Saucy baked beans. Diuretics. Crass celebrations. Sledging. Smoking.

Warne was a gifted bowler, but also a wrong'un.

English sportswriter and senior university lecturer Rob Steen succinctly summed him up.

"To some he's been the Messiah of spin, a rebel with a hell of a cause - the personification of competitive artistry," Steen wrote on cricket website, Cricinfo.

"Others, especially older Australians, see a larrikin, a beach bum, a source of embarrassment and even disgust, the very embodiment of insufferable cockiness."

The cross-over nowadays between Warne the flamboyant cricketer and Warne the flamboyant celebrity is minimal.

Warne was paid some $US1.8 million for his last stint as a player in this year's IPL.

He opened the tournament denying he had a facelift, and was frequently pictured canoodling with British model and actress Elizabeth Hurley.

On the field, Warne's powers waned.

He started well enough, initially foxing batsmen with customary turn and flight.

But gradually Warne lost rhythm and even inexperienced youngsters began hitting him for sixes with regular ease.

His returns from the tournament have been unimpressive - 12 wickets from as many games, while conceding 267 runs, for an average of 22.25.

Warne once always wanted the ball, believing he could conjure sporting miracles. And often he did.

But he didn't even bowl himself in the Royals' last start loss, a sign of a dwindling competitive fire.

Indeed, Warne was more fiery off-field when he berated the secretary of the Rajasthan Cricket Association over the choice of pitches.

Warne was fined $US50,000 for the row, destined to become a final footnote of an amazing career.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chennai aim for perfect home run, take on Kochi

Out of reckoning for the playoffs, IPL debutants Kochi Tuskers Kerala would aim to sign off on a positive note but that looks easier said than done as they take on the unbeaten-at-home defending champions Chennai Super Kings in an IPL match in Chennai on Wednesday.

It is an unequal battle given the fine form Chennai are in but Kochi have sprung a few surprises in the event.

Chennai have kept a clean slate at home, winning all the six matches in their backyard. Placed second in the league table, Chennai have won eight matches out of the 12 they have played.

Kochi have no chance of making the qualifiers as they don't just have to win big against Chennai, they also have to pray that Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab lose their remaining two matches.

This is Tuskers last league outing, while Chennai have their last match against Royal Challengers slated for May 22 in Bangalore.

Interestingly, Kochi had beaten Chennai in their earlier match through the Duckworth-Lewis method after rain reduced the game to a 17-overs-a-side affair.

Things have turned around dramatically for Chennai after that but the same cannot be said about Kochi as they have not shown consistency in the tournament so far.

Kochi's regular captain Mahela Jayawardene would not be at the helm for the team's final IPL game this season as he has left for England to join the Sri Lankan national team for an upcoming Test series.

In his absence, Parthiv Patel, who has been selected for next month's tour of the West Indies, is expected to lead the side.

The problem with Kochi has been the lack of consistent performance from the team's star players such as Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge and Owais Shah. Hodge, however, did come good in their previous match against the Rajasthan Royals.

Even with such inconsistent performances, Jayawardene had brought about victories against top three teams on the points table - Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Considering their knack for upsets, Kochi cannot be completely counted out of Wednesday's contest.

Kochi's bowling lacks in many respects as Rudra Pratap Singh, the wily left-arm seamer, has been a letdown and the temperamental Sreesanth has been more of his usual tantrum-throwing self rather than a disciplined performer.

As for Chennai, revenge would be high on the agenda. Apart from the home advantage, Chennai players have gelled very well on the field and the bowlers have won quite a few matches for them besides the already strong batting line up.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nasa, JPL, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Galileo mission

Cricket Victoria are trying to rope in Australian spin wizard Shane Warne as the brand ambassador for the two Victoria-based teams of the Twenty20 Big Bash competition.

Warne, who will be retiring from professional cricket after the ongoing fourth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), would be involved in creating the membership bases for the two new franchises, Melbourne Renegades, which will play out of Docklands, and the Melbourne Stars, which will be based at the MCG.

The Herald Sun reported that Warne, who is leading Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, would play an active role in marketing the competition, if available.

Cricket Victoria chairman Geoff Tamblyn confirmed that they are trying to lure Warne for the competition.

"We certainly will be looking to have Shane becoming involved, provided he is available. He would drive interest in the new competition, where one of the initial main tasks is to drive membership, which begins at zero," Tamblyn was quoted as saying by the daily.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Royals now say no issues with the pitch

The Rajasthan Royals have finally taken what appears as a conciliatory tone in the pitch debacle issue that erupted after their loss against the Chennai Super Kings at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Monday.

In a statement released to the press on Wednesday, it was clarified that the management and the players have no complaints either against the ground-staff or the playing conditions at the stadium in Jaipur. "RR are happy with the quality of the conditions we play under in Jaipur and at all other grounds we have visited in the IPL. At no time have we attributed our results to the conditions of the pitch at any ground."

The Royals' skipper Shane Warne had earlier ridiculed the 'instruction' given for a new pitch for the tie against Chennai. Read the report here.

Wednesday's statement though contradicts the report and clarifies that the players have constantly admitted that they were beaten by a better side. "On Monday, our captain and players have consistently stated that we were outplayed by a very strong CSK side and credit must go to them for their performance."

Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India also took a grim view of the comments made by Warne against the pitch conditions. Read the report on BCCI's reaction here.

Friday, May 06, 2011

I will always back Zaheer, says Vettori

Zaheer Khan has been Royal Challengers Bangalore's leading wicket-taker (seven wickets) in this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but at a price. The left-arm seamer has conceded 8.64 runs per over, when compared to skipper Daniel Vettori's 5.82. (Also Read: Bangalore keen to improve position with win over Punjab)

In seven games thus far, Zaheer has finished his quota of four overs on all occasions, but has been too expensive.

There is an opinion among the local cricket community that Zaheer hasn't given his 100 per cent probably due to fatigue.

However, Vettori rebutted the charges, and said that Zaheer would remain his 'go-to man' during the competition.

Asked if he was contemplating resting Zaheer for Friday's game against Kings XI Punjab, Vettori said: "I don't think so. He might have been expensive, but his bowling has been crucial in our last two wins, especially in the game against Delhi.

"He took the important wicket of (David) Warner. And during the win against Pune, he got the crucial wicket of Yuvraj (Singh). He bowls during the hardest times the start of the innings and the death overs. Hence, there are more chances that he will go for runs. But, I still look to him every time I want a wicket. That won't change for the rest of the IPL."

The hosts go into the contest on the back of three consecutive wins, and look to be in a good position to seal a spot in the play-offs. However, Kings XI Punjab are on the opposite end of the spectrum, lying low at ninth place in the points table, and that's the reason Vettori is wary of of Punjab, who are in a must-win scenario.

"They (Punjab) have an explosive top five batting line-up with (Paul) Valthaty, (Adam) Gilchrist, (Dinesh) Karthik, (David) Hussey and (Shaun) Marsh and we are wary of that," he said.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mumbai, Kochi register impressive wins in IPL

Mumbai Indians beat Kings XI Punjab by 23 runs to return to the top of the IPL table yesterday; and Kochi Tuskers thrashed Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets.

Mumbai captain Sachin Tendulkar and in-form batsman Ambati Rayudu each scored 51 in the team's total of 159-5 at Wankhede Stadium. A combined bowling effort then helped restrict Punjab to 136-8.

The win took Mumbai to 12 points from eight games, ahead of the Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals, with 11 points from nine matches. Punjab remained on six from seven.

SCORES: Mumbai Indians 159-5 in 20 overs (Sachin Tendulkar 51, Ambati Rayudu 51; Ryan Harris 2-33), def. Kings XI Punjab 136-8 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 61; Munaf Patel 2-18, Lasith Malinga 2-19).

At New Delhi, Delhi Daredevils' 140-6 was overhauled with ease by Kochi, which made 141-3 in only 15 overs.

Kochi reached eight points from nine games, while Delhi remained on six from nine.

Monday, May 02, 2011

ICC refuses to act on PCB complaint against Sutherland

The ICC has refused to act on a PCB complaint against Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland for stating that Pakistan was not doing enough to curb corruption in cricket, saying that it was matter between the two boards.

Last week, a PCB official said it was still waiting for a reply from the ICC on the letter it had sent to them asking them to inquire into the statement made by Sutherland recently.

But sources said the ICC had, on April 27, sent a letter to PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt informing him the ICC could not interfere in the matter.

“The ICC, in its reply, has said that this is a matter between the Pakistan and Australian cricket boards,” a source said.

“It has advised the PCB to take up their grievances directly with Cricket Australia,” he added.

Sutherland, in a recent interview to the ‘Age’, said that he didn’t believe that the PCB had done enough to implement the recommendations of the Justice Malik Qayyum report into match-fixing that was given in 2000.

Sutherland said if the PCB had done enough, the spot-fixing scandal involving Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir could have been avoided.

The source said the ICC had told the PCB it could not become a party in this case as it was an issue that needed to be dealt with by the two boards.

The source said the PCB was now likely to take up the matter directly from cricket Australia and ask for a response from them.