Thursday, August 25, 2011

When Ponting urged Dravid not to retire

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting claims that he persuaded Rahul Dravid against retiring when the Indian batsman was written off after a string of low scores last year. Ponting also said that Dravid reciprocated the support by inspiring him during his lean patch.

Dravid, the lone Indian batsman to perform well in the team’s recent 0-4 Test whitewash at the hands of England with 461 runs, was woefully out of form last year and Ponting said he encouraged the veteran right-hander to carry on despite the criticism.

“I remember after our last series in India there was a lot of talk and speculation about Dravid being finished,” Ponting told ‘ESPNcricinfo’. “I actually went and found him at the end of the series and said ‘don’t you even think about retiring’ because I just saw some stuff in a few of his innings that suggested he was still a very, very good player.

“I just said ‘don’t let them wear you down, don’t let them get you down’. I received a similar text message before and after the Ashes from him as well,” he added.

The 36-year-old Ponting has not scored a Test century since January last year but he is confident of regaining his touch and he is looking upto Dravid for inspiration.

“There are a few (who provide an inspiration for batsmen of advancing years). Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Jacques) Kallis both had a great last year; Dravid is doing well now.

“It’s not only good for guys of my age to see guys doing that, it’s good for the younger blokes to see it as well; to know that if you keep doing the right things and working hard, and if you’ve got talent, then age is not a barrier in our game,” he said.

Speaking about the state of the game in general, Ponting said he is worried about the impact of Twenty20 on youngsters. “The big worry I’ve had about Twenty20 cricket and even other shorter forms of the game being played at really developmental times in kids’ careers is that it won’t teach them the art of concentration.

“Cricket for me when I was growing up meant batting until someone got me out, and if that took them a week then that’s how long it took them,” he said.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cricket: KP wants victory after record stand

KEVIN Pietersen and Ian Bell ground India down at The Oval – but their record triple-century stand will take on extra significance only if it underpins a fourth successive npower Test victory.

Pietersen at least felt that way as he assessed his 175 – and Bell’s unbeaten 181 – in a stumps total of 457 for three.

England are in position to bat India further out of this fourth Test today, and then hope to bowl them out twice on a very good pitch in pursuit of a 4-0 whitewash at some point over the next three days.

Pietersen recalls from his own experience, as a 2006-07 Ashes tourist, the misery of a whitewash.

Asked if he takes extra pleasure in demoralising opposition, he said: “As long as we make that count and win the Test match, then yes.

“If we don’t win the Test match, then no.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of a whitewash, but it’s not for us to worry about what’s happening in the Indian rooms; it’s for us to make sure we win the first hour tomorrow and over the next three days we get the 20 Indian wickets.”

While Bell can hope for a maiden double-century in the morning, Pietersen has 19 Test hundreds – alongside team-mates Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, and just three short of England’s all-time best.

He said: “It would be nice to get a record, but I think there are a lot of players in this team who are going to get more than 22 hundreds.

“They will do.

“It’s be amazing to be part of a team where you’ve got guys who are hitting hundreds like this.

“It’s not a competition; it’s not a race. It’s just a case of winning games for England, getting us into position where we can win games.”

He fell short of a second double-hundred in this series, but added: “Nicking my first two balls for four this morning off (Shantha) Sreesanth, if somebody had said to me ‘you can have 175 and that’s it’ I would have said ’thank you, goodbye.’”

The former skipper could still reflect on his fourth hundred at a venue where he memorably made his first to help England clinch the 2005 Ashes, and which is now his home ground as a Surrey batsman.

Of his other Oval centuries, he said: “South Africa in 2008 was special, because it was the first Test of only three or four I captained.

“Getting Test hundreds is something you dream about when you’re a kid and then trying to make a profession as a cricketer – so any Test hundred is amazing.

“To score four here now is pretty cool.”

Sreesanth was one of four frontline India bowlers to suffer against Pietersen and Bell.

But he was happy to voice his admiration for England’s third-wicket pair.

“After lunch they took charge again, and credit to them,” he said. “It was not really bad bowling, but they took charge and just kept going.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

India batsmen collapse in England cricket Test

Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan inflicted fresh misery upon India as the tourists collapsed to 75 for four at lunch on the first day of the third Test at Edgbaston here on Wednesday.

The recalled Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar managed just one run between them while Rahul Dravid was out for 22 to what turned out to be the last ball before lunch.

It all left England, already 2-0 up, in command of a match where a victory would not only see them win this four-match series but also replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table.

Bresnan, who starred with both bat and ball in England's crushing 319-run second Test win at Trent Bridge, had lunch figures of two for 13 in 7.2 overs, including a spell of two for five in 10 balls.

Meanwhile Broad, who took a hat-trick on his Nottinghamshire home ground last time out and scored valuable runs, had two for 32 in nine overs.

England, who saw captain Andrew Strauss elect to field after winning the toss in overcast, seam-bowler friendly conditions saw Broad strike first ball to remove Sehwag for a golden duck.

Sehwag, playing his first match of the series after shoulder surgery and one of the world's most dynamic opening batsman, tried to sway out of the way of a short ball from Broad but gloved through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Steve Davis initially said not out but England immediately asked for a review and third umpire Rod Tucker, Davis's fellow Australian, correctly ruled in their favour.

Dravid, back in his familar number three spot after making a century while opening in Gambhir's injury absence at Trent Bridge, drove Broad for two fours in successive balls.

But first-change Bresnan ended a stand worth 51 when left-hander Gambhir inside-edged onto his stumps for a 38 featuring seven boundaries.

Gambhir's exit brought in Tendulkar who, as he has done all series, received a standing ovation as he walked to the crease in pursuit of an unprecedented 100th international hundred.

But Tendulkar made just one who before he was lured into playing a Broad delivery outside off-stump he might have left and edged to third slip Anderson.

Dravid, nicknamed 'the Wall' for his resilience was then bowled off-stump by a superb Bresnan delivery, having hit eight fours.