Mahendra Singh Dhoni- Test Retirement!

Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Having salvaged the situation for India at the MCG, what happened in the end is something that no one would have expected. For us, it was surely shocking news, more of a disbelief. With the end of the test match at MCG, we saw closed curtains for Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the five-day format of the game.
Was it sheer pressure, or the timing was planned is something that only MSD can tell us. With recent debacle of the team in test format, and more so, in the overseas matches, India lost on 15 counts, two drawn matches and only one victory to boast about.
Starting as a small town basher, the guy went on to become one of the most successful Indian Cricket Captain. He placed India at the top in all the three formats of the game, winning the T20 and ODI world cups, and also getting India ranked at Numero Uno in the ICC Test Rankings. A goodish wicketkeeper (wouldn’t call him one of the best), a very aggressive batsman, when he gets in, and a very astute, and attacking leader, for most of his career (He appeared a bit lackluster due to loss of motivation probably, towards the fag end of his Test Captaincy career).
Coming from the Steel City of Ranchi, MSD was like any other School kid, wanting to play sport, rather than studying. He had to get working as early as the age of 19, when he got recruited in the Indian Railways as a Ticket Checker, but kept playing the sport he loved. Our earliest remembrance of Dhoni was a double century partnership of his with Shikhar Dhawan against Pakistan, in 2005-6 and both were slaughtering the hapless attack going hammers and tongs. He didn’t change this style of batting all through his career. Just backed himself, and let it go. A few innings of his “attack is the best defense” approach which come to our mind are, a couple of 90s he scored in England, his top score innings of 224 against Australia, and his batting in the last series in England. In all these situations, he looked by far the best batsman in the Indian batting line up. Explosive batting, out of the book Technique and strokes employed, and refusing to get bogged down, had been his forte all his career.
As a wicketkeeper, he never had the best technique, had hard hands, but made up for it by his cat like reflexes. He did drop a few catches, but has still ended up having the maximum dismissals in test cricket by an Indian Wicketkeeper. He did prove it here too, that not going by the book, isn’t always wrong!
As a captain, we would rate Dhoni as inspiratory. He never appeared to be agitated, irritated, or never did his shoulders sag in adversity. Dropped catches, bad batting displays, typically Indian bowling woes overseas, nothing could ruffle his feathers anytime when on the field. He looked like a tower of peace, notwithstanding what was going on around him. That doesn’t mean that he was off guard or unaware of his job. He did it well, most of the time. He gambled quite a lot, and also had the guts to back himself in tough situations. More often than not, he was also able to inspire his players to rise to the occasion. It is not so easy to captain a team which has a Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, and Kumble in it, but MSD did this with consummate ease, and to a very good effect. He didn’t like criticisms. He kept backing players like Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, though they were not always consistent performers, and could extract flashes of brilliance from them, nurtured Virat Kohli’s potential, and also the senior players were not far behind in contributing.
People who go by stats, forget that by changing or sacking or blaming a captain, they are doing no good to the game or to the team more so in case of Dhoni. 9 years back , MSD made his test debut for India against Sri Lanka on 2nd December 2005.Seldom did he know that one day he would lead India in all formats of the game and become a successful captain ever. But one thing he did, was he had a dream and had a belief in him to achieve it. With years passing by, he achieved one dream after the other and set a benchmark that are difficult to surpass.

As the year comes towards the fag end, Dhoni has decided to quit Test Match format and that will surely have lot of impact in the entire cricketing fraternity with the kind of leadership determination, and success he has lead the team all these years.

What is the legacy MSD leaves behind then?
1. Back your instincts, and go all out
2. Keep your restlessness in your mind. Once it reflects in the body language, your team panics, and your opposition senses an opportunity.
3. Back your decisions and stand by them
4. Don’t pay heed to criticisms

Finally it was a typical MSD type cool Signoff.In a flash.No farewells,and no emotional speeches!
With the baton passed on to Virat Kohli, who is yet another example of a good leader, we hope he will be able to fill in the big shoes of the cricketer we love and admire- Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Credits to Sanjeev Sathe for sharing his views and thoughts, who himself,is a class batsman and an ardent cricket fan.

The King Of Double Hundred!

Rohit Sharma-
Rohit Sharma

Rohit Gurunath Sharma, is now the first and only cricketer to have 2 double hundred under his belt. With a score of 264, he made sure that India crossed the 400 mark with in no time.

A young talented opener, who is often referred to as lazy player, has time and again come out to make his bat do the talking.The crictics can now, for some time, shut up their mouth and have some words of praise for him.In the current list of the double hundred club, there are only 3 players featuring in it. Only Indians, yes all there are Indians. All of them great openers and on a given day, they could tear apart the opposition and only can only pity their bowlers. He has 5 Centuries to his credit, out of which, 2 are double centuries. Team Sri Lanka is already under lots of pressure losing on all the 3 matches, and with Rohit Sharma posting a double ton, there is no chance for the Lankans to win from here.
Having set the record, it’s time for him to concentrate more on his batting and prove his worth for the World Cup that will be played downunder.
Once again, congratulating Rohit Sharma and wish him good luck for the matches to come.  Lets us all share our views in comments and praise and wish him luck.

The Comeback Man Of Cricket!

 

Mohinder Amarnath
Mohinder Amarnath

I have spent a majority of my lifespan being a passionate follower of the game of cricket. It has been a real fulfilling journey, and I do owe a lot to the game. The game has helped me enjoy, overcome my tough times, solve, and survive at various points of time in my life. And when I try to correlate any situation in my life to the great game looking for a solution/ escape or enjoyment, it boils down invariably to the way a particular situation a particular player has reacted to a similar situation in some match, and suddenly answers are available.
As I grew up as a person, the favorite cricket heroes of mine changed, and I feel they were a reflection of the situation I was in my life at that point of time, and how I looked to come out of these situations. However, one name in the list has always been Mohinder (Jimmy) Amarnath. Jimmy doesn’t essentially feature in the list of All Time Greats of world cricket, or even Indian Cricket, but he stood out. His cricketing life was very much like the real life of any average person, who has as many ups as downs, and has had to battle insecurity day in and day out for the whole life. He had to go through constant rejection, had been dropped despite his good performances in favor of much less deserving players, had to bear humiliation and was made a mockery of in spite of his class, abilities, and caliber.
But he stood firm, never stopped being himself, and lived life as he had wanted to. Never compromising himself for being in good books of all and sundry, and still not bearing any bitterness in his mind when he walked in to bat when the team was in dire straits. More often than not, Jimmy was the savior of the team, when everyone else looked scared of genuine fast bowling, and short pitched stuff. And he still was always in and out of the team. If you look at the number of comebacks Jimmy Amarnath has made in his two decade career, you would know how many times he was thrown out, and still with sheer force of performances, he managed to come back.
GRIT, THY NAME IS MOHINDER AMARNATH!!!
It was an irony, that in India, where Gharaneshahi (Dyanastic rules) has been peoples’ choice all the while, Mohinder Amarnath Bhardwaj should suffer this fate. Born as the second son to Lala Amarnath, who scored the first ever test century for India, Jimmy’s family was a truly cricketing family. Lalaji, his father had captained India,  Elder brother Surinder, in his debut test match, scored a sparkling 124 overshadowing none other than the Little Master Sunil Gavaskar, and in the process creating a unique record of father and son making centuries on their respective debut in test cricket.. Lil bro Rajinder also played domestic cricket for a long time. However, being in and out of the team has been a curse bestowed on all the Amarnath Clan. Lalajee, despite his all-round talent was never a permenant fixture in the Indian national cricket team, majorly due to his forthright outspokenness, and refusal to bow to the regal patrons of cricket in India, who then ran the entire Indian Cricket. He was called the “most dazzling stroke player I have ever seen” by none other than Don Bradman during the 1946-47 Indian tour of Australia, when only Hazare, and Phadkar could show some mettle against the fearsome pace attach of Lindwall, Miller and Toshack. However, constantly rubbing the local princes and backers of the British Empire the wrong way, incurred a heavy price, which was getting only 24 tests over a career spanning nearly two decades. He also then became a test selector, Official, and a very outspoken, fiery commentator.
Both his sons, Mohinder and Surinder were too Subjected to inexplicable ommissions and overlooking throughout their careers.
Let’s now look at Mohinder Amarnath, the subject matter of this article.
Born on September 24th, 1950, Jimmy had started making the headlines right from his schoolboy cricketing days, scoring heavily in Coochbehar, Vijay Merchant and Vizzy trophies played for youth cricket in India. This heavy scoring followed in the Ranji, Duleep and Irani trophies as well. Indian Cricket had discovered a prolific batsman.
Strangely, Jimmy made his debut as a new ball bowler, thanks to the idiosyncrasies of the Indian Cricket in its early half century of existence.  It was against Bill Lawry’s Australians, in 1969 in the torrid Madras (Now Chennai). He bowled 7 wicketless overs in the first innings, but claimed the prized scalps of Kieth Stackpole and Ian Chappel in the second. Batting at 8 in both the innings, he made 16n.o. in the first and a blob in the second innings. Nothing noteworthy, though in the second innings, 11 out of his 24 overs were maidens. A performance much below average.
The next chance came 7 years later, in 1976, in the series against the Kiwis. 238 runs at 59.5, with one score of 64. A performance good enough to earn a place in the side for the 1976 tour of the West Indies. Big challenge, Roberts, Holding, Julien, and Daniel breathing fire down the Indian batsmen’s throat. First three tests, nothing special. A top Score of 26, not enough to justify his place in the team as a batsman. Still, managing to latch on to his place in the side, mainly due to limited batting resources. In the fourth test, West Indies, riding on Viv Richards’ rampant 177, made 359 in their first dig, and wrapped India up for 228, Jimmy contributing 25 coming in at number 3. West Indies, in their second knock, made 271 for 6, Allwyn Kallicharan leading the charge this time with a silken 103 not out. Llyod left India with the challenge to score 404 in the fourth innings, in a day and a half. Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad, strung a decent partnership of 69, not particularly breezy, but solid. In comes Jimmy, at the fall of Anshuman Gaekwad, and kept good company with Sunil Gavaskar, who went on to score a 102, adding 108 important runs in the process, but more importantly keeping their wickets intact. When Gavaskar eventually fell for a well-made, disciplined 102, India still didn’t look confident enough to even save the match, let alone win it. Still 226 runs in deficit, and two sessions to survive, things looked difficult, with the West Indian quicks fired up from frustration of not getting the wickets. Jimmy’s character was evident for the first time on the international stage. He held fort stoically, batted for 440 long minutes, didn’t get carried away even when Gundappa Vishwanath was setting the Queens Park Oval ablaze with his artistry, and by the time he fell run out, short of 15 runs of his maiden test century, he had definitely bailed out India from a losing situation and provided a launch pad for Vishwanath and Brijesh Patel to launch the killer attack to win the match. Jimmy the immovable workman, had arrived.
This successful Indian Chase had so annoyed Clive Lloyd, that in the subsequent test in Jamaica, Lloyd ordered his pace quartet to launch an all-out bodyline attack on the Indian team, and only three Indians, who were to be later known widely for their grit and courage, were the only ones who could offer some resistance. Anshuman Gaekwad, with a defiant 81, before being knocked unconscious by a lethal bouncer, Mohinder Amarnath, with a two gritty knocks of 39 and 60. Though not making lofty hundreds, Jimmy had made it clear to the Indian Selectors, that if there is any Indian batsman who can stand up against genuine pace other than Gavaskar and Vishwanath, it was him.
He made a couple of fifties in the home series against New Zealand. In spite of a nondescript performance in the home series against England, Jimmy found himself on the flight taking the Indian team to play a Packer depleted Australians. This was probably the only time when he was given a longer rope, and Jimmy made the most of it. He scored 436 runs at an average of 72.66, and though the Australian Side had lost their major stars to the Packer Circus, they still had Jeff Thompson bowling at his fastest. Jimmy also captured 5 Australian wickets in the series while bowling. His deliveries were preceded by a lazy, reluctant run up, and delivered at what Henry Blofield described as “irritating” pace. Looked like Jimmy’s place in the Indian National side had been cemented. Jimmy also notched up his maiden test century (an even 100) in Perth, which had the fastest and bounciest wickets in the world at that time. 1978 gave Jimmy nothing to write home about, apart from a score of 86 against Australia at Adelaide.
In 1979, again against a West Indies Side depleted by Packer Circus, Jimmy made a 101 not out at Kanpur, his second test hundred. But after that began a series of poor performances, and then came a blow, which would have proven to be fatal to any batsman’s career, and no one else with grit and tenacity lesser than Jimmy would have survived. Already under fire for not having scored well for quite a few matches, Jimmy came to the wicket wearing a Sola Felt hat, which is made of a hard material, which was due to his confidence being shaken by the poor run of scores, and a constant criticism that he is “scared” of fast bowling. Strange, how people say this in spite of him making that stoic 85 against the West Indian pace battery in full blow, and making a century at the paciest and the bounciest wicket in the world, facing Jeff Thomson in full cry. However, his confidence was quite low, to say the truth. He had just scored a couple of runs, when Rodney Hogg, smelling Jimmy’s lack of confidence at crease, and having read all the articles about he being vulnerable to fast bowling, promptly bowled a straight bouncer heading for the area between Jimmy’s eyes. Jimmy attempted the hook, missed, and the ball hit his felt hat, which fell on the stumps. Immediately, everyone started calling for Jimmy’s head, and he was axed from the team promptly. Many thought, End of the road for Mr. Mohinder Amarnath…. That’s it!
Here, let me tell you, that I never thought Jimmy was scared of fast bowling. But he refused to duck to bouncers, and employed the hook shot compulsively. It is his compulsiveness to the hook, which is largely a percentage stroke, which got him into trouble. And he had an enormous ability to endure body blows, and still keep batting unflinchingly.
But there is the difference between a good cricketer, and a great one. Jimmy took his domestic cricket very seriously, set up a string of huge scores in the Ranji, Duleep and Irani Trophy matches in the next 3 seasons, and made it impossible for the selectors not to consider including him for the 1982 tour of Pakistan. He also made conscious changes to his batting (he changed his side on stance to a two eyed, square on one), using his alert cricketing brain, and thus started the purplest patch of his playing career. He notched up a string of scores which read 109n.o, 5, 3, 22, 78, 61, 64, 120, 19 and 103 n.o. against a Pakistani attack of Imraan Khan, Sarfaraz Nawaz, and Abdul Qadir. No mean attack that! He followed up this series with another good series against the West Indies, scoring 29, 40, 58, 117, 13, 91, 80, 54 and 116 against the pace battery of Marshall, Holding, Garner and Roberts in the 1982 series against the West Indies. He was at this time, clearly the mainstay of Indian batting, and averaged even more than Sunil Gavaskar. Gavaskar, in his book Idols, added Jimmy at the last moment to the list of his cricketing Idols, and called him ‘The finest batsman in the world”. Jimmy was the best batsman in the world then, representing a very weak side, and holding it together with his will of steel!
Then came the highest point of all Indian Cricketers, Cricket lovers, and everyone associated with Indian Cricket.
THE 1983 WORLD CUP.

Mohinder Amarnath
Man of the Match 1983 World Cup

India were not even considered as the dark horses, let alone favorites. Underdogs, at the most. And in the first upset in this world cup, India defeated the defending champions and favorites West Indies, Jimmy contributing handsomely with a knock of 80. He did make a lot of useful contributions with the bat and the ball during the tournament, and topped it off with Man of the Match Performances in the finals and Semi Finals. For a 12 year old going through an extremely rough patch with school grades and adolescence, it was an overwhelming sight to see his new hero lifting the champagne magnum which was the customary award for the Man of the Match of the world cup finals. Mohinder Amarnath had reached the peak of his Cricket!
Sadly, a steep downfall was in the immediate offing. West Indies, badly stung with the World Cup final defeat, were on a tour to India in 1983, and had come for revenge! Mohinder’s scores in the 4 tests he played- 0, 1, 0,0,0. He was named as Mohinder Amarnought by his critics, and his followers were dumbfounded. That ended the period of Mohinder Amarnath’s greatness. He did prod on, making no less than 3 comebacks till 1988, and faded away. There were occasional flashes of brilliance and consistency, but they were just flashes in the proverbial pan.
But for those who followed Mohinder Amarnath’s career, it teaches a lot about life.
During his entire career, Jimmy was as fit as a fiddle, and had seldom missed a match due to injury. He was at many points in his playing days, ridiculed, told that he was just not good enough, and discarded by the selectors and Public, but he had come back enough times with sheer grit, application and concentration. It is this what keeps him immovable from my All Time Cricketing Heroes list. He won’t go away.
Jimmy, following you has guided me at very crucial junctures of life, and I owe you a lot!
Take a bow!!!

Special thanks to Sanjeev Sathe , who is an avid cricket fan and a dear friend of ours for contributing this wonderful article.

The Grim Immovables!

95 days gap between two consecutive tests, since the last test (March 5th in Cape Town) is the longest absence of Test Cricket that doesn’t involve an ODI World Cup since 1973…!

It has been a real long wait for the ones like me, who actually love to follow the TEST Cricket. In the frenzies of the T20 world cup and the IPL, it appeared that all the cricket lovers had just forgotten the existence of this vintage form of the game, and were lost in the blitzkrieg T20 format.

The game is all about asking for nothing, giving nothing away, and hanging in there till you break the opposition.

And that is why it has got its many qualities and names….

The great leveler, the game of uncertainties, Chess played on the field, the mind game, and what not.

And now, that brings me to the subject of this article.

When any cricket follower is asked to name the all-time great batsmen of cricket, the list will inevitably consist of the names of Trumper, Clem Hill, Wally Hammond, Sir Don Bradman, Neil Harvey, Sir Len Hutton, Peter May, Tom Graveny, Sir Garry Sobers, the 3 Ws, Clive Lloyd, Sir Viv Richards, Ian & Greg Chappel, Doug Walters, Sunil Gavaskar, GR Vishwanath, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Mark Waugh, Mohammed Azharuddin, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jaques Kallis AB D’Villiers……

All of them, either very attractive stroke makers, or explosive batsmen who could tear any bowling attack apart. No doubt, that they all have been greats of the game, very attractive to watch when they batted, and had a very long lived consistency of performances to go with it. Yours truly is in no less awe of these names, then anyone of you ardent cricket lovers are!

However, looking at the more recent test matches (more recent would mean the ones which took place since the start of this millennium it has been observed, that a breed of batsmen, which are not the ones to be the apple of the eyes of the spectators, appears to be on the way to extinction. They are called the stonewallers, the one who fight tooth and neck to save their wicket, concentrate amongst the frustrated bowlers and fielders of the opposition and would even wither body blows and still hang in there, but not get out. They are the guys who are actually the glue which holds the entire woodwork of an innings together. They may not be attractive to watch, they may not be scoring always at a brisk pace, but the mere presence of these guys at the wicket makes the opposition feel that they have no chance of getting a wicket at their end. They were the epitomes of concentration, resilience, grit, and the never say die spirit, which actually are essential ingredients of good test cricket.

And in this list would feature a lot of batsmen, who don’t have a bad record, either, in terms of the runs scored, batting averages, and centuries and fifties (if they are any measure of greatness). The batsmen of this variety are, Bill Woodfull, Bill Ponsford, Jack Hobbs, Ken Barrington ( who, in the mid fifties was described as the most attractive stroke maker in 1955, and then in 1962, as the slowest crawler on the cricket field), Bill Lawry, Conrad Hunte, Basil Butcher, Chris Tavare, Geoffrey Boycott, Mohinder Amarnath, Allan Border, Steve Waugh (whose career also progressed much like Barrington), Rahul Dravid, Shivnariane Chanderpaul, Gary Kirsten….. All dour, boring, hard on the eye, but very difficult to get rid of !

Just to dwell a bit on what value these batsmen brought to the table, without being essentially entertaining, and many a times boring the spectators to sleep, a few things come to my mind. And thinking about this, what surprised me is, that how close these qualities are, in order to achieve success in life too. If were to look at these qualities ..

Hanging in there: These batsmen, come what may, would hang in there. They may be beaten repeatedly, get edges, offer  chances, be hit on the body, be sledged at, be the constantly ridiculed by the media, but when on the field, what mattered to them was only the red cricket ball coming towards them. It could be bouncing awkwardly, could be spinning viciously, swinging wildly or hurrying them for pace, these batters would simply stand there with the primary motive of keeping it out of their wicket. And thereby, provide their team with immense assurance, that at least at their end, wicket won’t be lost. They were keen on surviving.

Looking at the broader picture, and not brief flashes of Glamour: These batsmen never had a problem playing the second fiddle to their more entertaining partners. When a Sehwag was blazing all guns at one end, you would essentially see a Dravid grafting, and making sure that he doesn’t lose his wicket, and thereby relieving Sehwag of any pressure that would curb his fearless stroke play. Same applies to many Great partnerships between the pairs like Lara and Chanderpaul, Tendulkar and Dravid, and many more. If you would go into the match situations of many great partnerships over the nearly 140 years of  test cricket, you would see that in many a partnerships, Bradman wouldn’t have able to dazzle like he did, without support from Jack FIngleton, Ponsford, Woodfull, Sid Barnes all of whom were stonewallers. The fact that the stonewallers batted that way didn’t essentially mean that they were incapable of strokeplay, instead it meant that they were able to curb their rush of blood in the interest of the team most of the times. You can’t say that Rahul Dravid couldn’t play attractive strokes and score at a brisk pace, just take a look at his ODI record and strike rates. Similarly, Chanderpaul’s 69 ball hundred in the epic chase of 418 for West Indies against Australia belies the man’s reputation of being dour, uninteresting and ugly. Also not to forget the replies the normally sedate Mohinder Amarnath gave to the bowlers, when bouncers were hurled at him. However, exceptions to the stonewallers always putting the team’s interest before their glory do exist in Boycott and Barrington, who were dropped from the England side for “selfish batting” while eyeing personal milestones. Boycott, incidentally had scored  246 n.o. against India, and was dropped in the very next test.

Resilience: Many of the innings off these batsmen have been match saving innings, rather than match winning ones. This  would show that, these were the guys to rely on, when the chips were down. They would not give their wicket away, and due to their cool heads, would have the best chances of averting defeat, and if they then would see any light at the end of the tunnel, scoot along to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The  example of innings of such quality is the 180 and 281 scored by Dravid and Laxman on the Eden Gardens against the mighty Australians in 2001. They first batted to save innings defeat, and then went on to build an innings for India, where they could only win, on that turning Kolkata track.

It has also been seen that at least a few of the batsmen featured in the above list of flamboyant stroke makers, as their game matured, and they grew older, had come to value their wicket more, than playing to the galleries. They did open up and please the eye, but only when they were well set. They realised over the time, that to thrive, one must survive….. Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis are very good example of that. A few of the innings which come to the mind of these players are, the 9 hour 172 scored by Gavaskar at Bangalore in 1979 to tire the Pakistan Attack of Imran Khan, Sikander Bakht, Abdul Qadir, and Iqbal Qasim into submission, Sachin Tendulkar’s 241n.o at the Sydney Cricket ground, And Kallis’ twin centuries in South Africa against India in 2011.

This proves a point, that whatever these batsmen did, was of big, lasting value for their teams. And hence, I wouldn’t make a request of sparing a thought for the contribution of these guys, but would ask people to recognise what these people have done for their teams and the flamboyant stroke players therein to flourish….

And yes, in the new breed of batsmen too, there are guys of this variety turning up for teams. There are Ken Williamson, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hashim Amla, on the scene, who, in spite of being capable of exquisite, explosive strokeplay, are prepared to scrap, hang in there and provide security to their teams’ batting line ups.

To conclude, I would borrow and modify a line from James Henry Leigh Hunt’s poem Abou Ben Adhem, which was a part of my school curriculum and say,

“May their Tribe Increase…..”

They are extremely essential for the survival and growth of test cricket, and cricket as a whole….

Amen….

 

Special thanks to Sanjeev Sathe , who is an avid cricket fan and a dear friend of ours for contributing this wonderful article.

 

 

 

The Two N’s of T20 World Cup!

As they say evolvement is the name of the game and only thing remains that constant is change, cricket is no exception. In the quest to provide quick fire entertainment and the fact that the game gets over in few hours, T20 matches were introduced.

Cricket has always been a great entertaining sport, but different format provide different amount of entertainment.

Test match has its own charm, but being played for 5 days, it only adds entertainment towards the last day or in patches. Limited Overs International brings in more entertainment as it gets over in one day and lasts for 50 overs a side.

The first T20 match was played on 13th June 2003 between the English counties and since then it has taken a huge plunge. Its popularity has helped in extending it worldwide. The first International T20 match was played on 17th Feb 2005, in Eden Park, Auckland, between Australia and England.

The first edition of the International T20 Word Cup was played in 2007. Who would have imagined deadly finals between India and arch rivals Pakistan? And boy did India kept the tradition of not losing to their arch rivals in any of the world cup formats?  In Steve Waugh’s words, in case he were to comment on this, “Sreesanth caught the World Cup”

The T20 world cup is played once in 2 years .Talking about the teams, we have 2 teams who got their T20 status on 28th June 2014 .One is a football crazy nation, the other is our neighboring country.

Let’s welcome the two ‘N’s of the T20 Cricket, Netherlands and Nepal. It will be great to see how both the teams shape up and provide entertainment.

 

Much Awaited India Tour of England 2014

In the midst of the Football World Cup fever, there’s a most awaited Cricket  series which will draw back the attention of the sports lover back to test cricket as India take on England from 9th July onwards in the Investec Series .We all are so much used to associate India’s test match with England in England as Natwest Series that it takes time to register as ‘Investec Test’

As far as the big matches are concerned removing aside the practice matches or the Side matches, there are 5 Test and ODIs and a single T20 match.

Here’s a quick look at the schedule:

 

Wed Jul 9 – Sun Jul 13  1st Investec Test – England v India
10:00 GMT | 11:00 local 15:30 IST Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Thu Jul 17 – Mon Jul 21  2nd Investec Test – England v India
10:00 GMT | 11:00 local 15:30 IST Lord’s, London
Sun Jul 27 – Thu Jul 31  3rd Investec Test – England v India
10:00 GMT | 11:00 local 15:30 IST The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Thu Aug 7 – Mon Aug 11  4th Investec Test – England v India
10:00 GMT | 11:00 local 15:30 IST Old Trafford, Manchester
Fri Aug 15 – Tue Aug 19  5th Investec Test – England v India
10:00 GMT | 11:00 local 15:30 IST Kennington Oval, London
Mon Aug 25 (50 ovs)  1st ODI – England v India
09:30 GMT | 10:30 local 15:00 IST County Ground, Bristol
Wed Aug 27 (50 ovs)  2nd ODI – England v India
09:30 GMT | 10:30 local 15:00 IST Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Sat Aug 30 (50 ovs)  3rd ODI – England v India
09:30 GMT | 10:30 local 15:00 IST Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Tue Sep 2 (50 ovs)  4th ODI – England v India
09:30 GMT | 10:30 local 15:00 IST Edgbaston, Birmingham
Fri Sep 5 (50 ovs)  5th ODI – England v India
09:30 GMT | 10:30 local 15:00 IST Headingley, Leeds
Sun Sep 7 (20 ovs)  Only T20I – England v India
09:30 GMT | 10:30 local 15:00 IST Edgbaston, Birmingham

Keep enjoying Cricket like always with Shamsnwags and we are sure that the following would start moving from Lionel Messi , Suarez, to Dhoni, Kohli , Alastair Cook   and we will be more than happy if our reader friend would like to contribute an article.

Opening Match World Cup 2011

 The action has already begun with India taking on the Bangladesh in the first match. Captain Dhoni lost the toss. Bangladesh captiain has elected to field first.
India has got  off a  to a flier.So far India has   scored 60 runs with out any loss of wicket  in 10 overs

Team Composition is as follows:
India:
Sachin Tendulkar,Virender Sehwag,Gautam Gambhir,Virat Kohli, YuvrajSingh,MS Dhoni†*, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan,Munaf Patel,Sreesanth

Bangladesh:

Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mushfiqur Rahim†, Shakib Al Hasan*, Raqibul Hasan, Naeem Islam, Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain.

The excitement has just begun… Keep reading more. 

World At Your Feet

With 60 over format, white traditional costume & red cherry, the biggest colloseum of cricket started on 7th June 1975 in England. Yes the Cricket World Cup. The Cricket World Cup is an international One Day International (ODI) competition in men’s cricket. Organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the tournament has taken place every four years since it was first held in 1975 in England.For the first three editions it was called as Prudential Cup which was consequently played in England.
History Of World Cup:
1975

West Indies tasted the Glory of the First WC in 1975, continuing the trend in second edition as well in 1979. The 1975 world cup final was played between West Indies and Australia. Under the leadership of Clive Lloyd, WI won the finals by 17 runs. 

1979

 In 1979, again under the leadership of Clive Lloyd, West Indies reached the finals. This time, they defeated the host England by 92 runs.

1983

 In 1983, a new rule of field circle with in 30 yards away from stumps  was introduced. It was mandatory to have 4 fieldsmen inside the circle at all times. Basking in the glory of victory for the first two Wc finals, WI entered the finals of third edition. To spoil their party and shatter their dream run, Kapil’s Devils gave a big jolt to Clive Llyod & co. We clearly remember the sight of Joel Garner falling flat on the ground and weeping following the defeat.

 
1987
By 1987, Reliance group had grown big time world wide. This was for the first time,the tournament was played outside England and moved to Indian Subcontinent and was called Reliance Cup.
Considering the sub continental conditions, the format was reduced to a 50 over format. It was Australia who defeated England with a close margin of 7 runs.
 
1992
The popularity of WC was immensely increasing. Considering that, 1992  event  saw lots of changes in the format. It was from 1992 WC in Australia/NZ we (Shams&Wags ) started following the game closely as we were of the age where we started understanding all aspects of game. The traditional whites made way to colored clothing. The red cherry was replaced by the white balls. Day & Night matches came into picture. South Africa was allowed to participate in the event following the end of the ban on them due to racism. Out of no where; Pakistan rose to the occasion and defeated England by 22 runs. To England’s plight, it was their third time defeat in the Finals.
 
1996
In 1996, the cup came back to the subcontinent. Under an inspirational leadership of Ranatunga, Srilanka emerged with flying colors due to their attacking cricket by flamboyant opening pair of Jayasuriya & Kaluwitharana and awesome Aravinda D’silva. They defeated Australia by 7 wickets in Finals at Lahore.
1999
In 1999 the event was hosted by England, with some matches also being held in Scotland, Ireland, Wales. Australia entered the Semifinals.
There were many anxious moments in the match. The most famous incidence was when Herscelle Gibbs dropped a easy catch of Steve Waugh. Waugh was quick enough to tell him “You have dropped the World Cup Mate’ . In the final, Australia dismissed Pakistan for 132 and then reached the target in less than 20 overs, with eight wickets in hand. 
2003

South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya hosted the 2003 World Cup. Australia again featured in the finals. This time against India. This was for the first time after 1983 when India featured in finals of World cup. Australia made  a quick fire 359 runs for the loss of two wickets, the largest ever total in a final, defeating India by 125 runs. It was at Wanderers where Ricky Ponting   played a super attacking innings scoring an unbeatable 140 runs

2007

In 2007 the tournament was hosted by the West Indies. This cup saw some serious and shameful defeats for India and Pakistan. Bangladesh defeated India and entered to the second round for the first time and they later went on to defeat South Africa in the second round.  Pakistan faced similar shameful defeat by the minnows Ireland. Following the defeat against Ireland, the Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room; it was later found out that he died of heart failure. Australia defeated Sri Lanka in the final by 53 runs (D/L), extending their undefeated run in the World Cup to 29 matches and winning three straight World Cups. 

ICC Trophy
Trophy Design:
The current trophy is made of Silver and gold. The Golden Globe is held up by 3 Silver Columns. These columns are in shape of Stumps& Bails that represent 3 fundamentals of cricket ie, Batting, Bowling and fielding. The Globe characterizes cricket ball. It stands 60 cm tall & weighs approximately 11 kgs. The names of winners of previous editions are engraved on the base of the trophy. The original trophy is kept by ICC and a replica is awarded to the winning team
Prior to 1999, different trophies were designed for each world cup. In 1999, the ICC world Cup trophy was created. It was designed in London by a team of craftsman from Garrard & Co in over 2 months.
Individual Performances:
Swashbuckling Master blaster from India Sachin Tendulkar holds a bouquet of individual records in the World . Tendulkar has made more scores over fifty, hit more centuries and scored more runs than any other cricketer in World Cup history. In his 36 appearance in World Cup, he has  4 centuries, 13 half centuries against his name. In the bowling department, Australian Glenn McGrath(Pegion) dominates the individual bowling records, having featured for his country in four World Cups. He has taken more wickets at a higher strike rate with a better economy rate than any other bowler, and has the best individual bowling figures in the history of the tournament.7/15 is his best record and in his 39 appearance, he hs taken 79 wickets. 
Australians Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist lead the individual fielding records. Ponting is the leading fielder in terms of catches made, in both an individual World Cup tournament and in the competition’s history. Wicketkeeper Gilchrist has made the most dismissals in a single match, an individual tournament and in World Cup history. Australia hold several team records, including those for the most wins, the highest win percentage, the most consecutive wins and are the current holders; they were undefeated in the 2007 Cricket World Cup campaign.
Let’s wait and watch whats in store for every one in this world cup that will be held in the Subcontinent again. The opening ceremony will be held in Bangladesh and the Final match will be played at Mumbai’s very own Wankhade.
Till then lets keep our fingers crossed.

Winners of Dream XI Contest!




As expected, we got a very good response on the small contest run by us.There was double joy or us . Firstly due to contest and second, most importantly,after loosing the first test in SA, the our Indian Kings  ruled the roost in  Kingsmead.( We will never go off track  as far as the cricket updates are concerned)


Here’s the eagerly awaited Shams N Wags Dream XI.
Shams N Wags XI
Sachin Tendulkar 
Saeed Anwar  
Michael Bevan 
Vivian Richards 
Aravinda D’silva  
Jacques Kallis 
Adam Gilchrist 
Wasim Akram  
Glen McGrath 
Allan Donald  
Shane Warne  


While selecting the winner, we matched the total number of the players out of the XI of each contestants against our dream XI. Further after shortlisting, we matched it according to the players in each category. The ones whose category wise players matched accordingly to our team were shortlisted.


As far as first criteria goes, the following contestants were shortlisted:
Mithun Aditya, Rohan, Ketan and Shikha.


But finally after considering the second criteria, we have joint winners for the contest. And the winners are:
Rohan and Shikha.


Congratulations  to both of you.


Please contact us to get your prize


Last but not the least, we thank you all for participating.
There will be many more contests coming up in the near future( WC is round the corner)


Shams N Wags

What’s Your Dream XI?

We are yet to believe that it has been a short yet sweet journey of 3 years of converting our passion into serious writing and sharing our views with the world.
Yes it has  been 3 years of blogging for Shams&Wags.
Thank you all for your support and love and valuable comments and suggestions that you all have given us.Its time for us to make it more interesting.It’s a small contest for all our readers.
Pick up your Dream XI from the list of players mentioned below.
Rule is very simple. Players names have been mentioned in all categories and number of players to be chosen  from each category is also indicated.
If your dream XI matches with the dream XI or comes close to the one chosen by Shams n Wags, you stand a chance to win a Sports  T-Shirt.
All you have to do is list your playing XI in the comments section.
Winner will be announced on 3rd Of January.
Until then Keep reading www.shamsnwags.com
Dream XI: List Of Players
Opening (2)

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virendra Sehwag (Ind), Saeed Anwar(Pak), Gorden Greenidge (WI), Matthew Hayden, Mark Waugh (Aus), Sanath Jayasuriya (SL)

Middle Order (3)
Ricky Ponting, Michael Bevan (Aus), Vivian Richards, Brian Lara (WI), Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh (Ind), Martin Crowe (NZ), Aravinda D’silva (SL), Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Javed Miandad (Pak)

All Rounder (1)
Ian Botham, Andrew Flintoff (Eng), Kapil Dev (Ind), Imran Khan, Shahid Afridi (Pak), Jacques Kallis (SA), Chris Cairns (NZ)

Wicket Keeper (1)
Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist (Aus), MS Dhoni (Ind), Moin Khan (Pak), Mark Boucher (SA), Romesh Kaluwitharana, Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Andy Flower (Zim), Alec Stewart (Eng)
  
Bowlers (3)
Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis (Pak), Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose (WI), Denis Lillie, Glen McGrath, Brett Lee (Aus), Richard Hadlee (NZ), Alan Donald (SA)

Spinner (1)
Shane Warne (Aus), Mutthiah Muralidharan (SL), Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh (Ind), Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed (Pak)


Cricket, Cricket and Cricket