Category Archives: Australia

Don Of Cricket!

Sir Donald Bradman
Sir Donald Bradman
It was in February 1951 Ashes test, Day1 Australia were 254 for 3. Arthur Morris was batting on a spectacular 140 not out at the end of the day, and Keith Miller was unbeaten on 24. It was an exciting day of cricket, and the spectators had got their money’s worth, with the home team dominating. A gentleman in his early 40s was walking out towards his car in the parking lot of the Adelaide Oval. A kid stopped him.
“Morris is the greatest Australian batsman”, the kid said. The gentleman stopped in his stride, and said to the kid, “Yes.”
“Do you like cricket too?” asked the kid.“Yes” said the man, “have played a bit myself too”.
The kid was suddenly awestruck. “Can I know your name Sir?” He asked politely. “Donald Bradman” said the man, and quietly walked away to his car. Such is the public memory. People forget the greats very easily, once they find new heroes.

And going gaga over the World Cup 2015, we all, the ardent cricket fans, have done the same.
Not much of us seemed aware today, that 14 years ago on this day, the world of cricket was robbed of Don, whose batting was actually was the dawn of the fast scoring style of batting, which is prevalent and admired the world cricket now, for more than 2 decades, and is entertaining us cricket lovers.
On this day in 2001, the Don passed away. He was to the cricket world, what Sachin was in the Last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the millennium. Few of his records have been so steep, that in seven decades after his retirement, no one has been able to get near to his batting average of 99.94, or his 309 test runs scored in one single day.

Volumes have been written about the Don, and there is not much I can add to it. But there are a few anecdotes, which I would love to share here in his remembrance.

It was 1930, the Ashes. Percy Fender had warned Don, that his technique of employing horizontal bat shots won’t work in England and he will have to use a straight bat. Don had made Sir Percy eat his words in the first test, scoring 131 in the chase. However, Australia had lost the test by 93 runs, and that had stung the Don’s Aussie Pride. The Aussies won the second test at Lords by 7 wickets, largely due to the Don’s 254 in the first knock. That instilled a great deal of confidence in Don. With the series poised delicately at 1-1, the third test was crucial for both the teams. The team who would dominate in the third test would have wrested the advantage. On the eve of the Leeds test, Bradman had a dinner appointment with Neville Cardus, the great cricket author. Don called him earlier in the day, and said, “Can we have this meeting on another day Mr. Cardus? Tomorrow’s test is important, and I will have to score at least 200 in it. So need to retire early to bed.”
Cardus was a bit offended by this, and he thought that the Aussie was being too cocky and overconfident, and was underestimating the English attack of Larwood, Tate, Dick Tyldsley, Hammond and Maurice Leyland. But the Don lived up to what he had said. He reached his century before lunch the next day, plundered another 115 runs in the post lunch session, and walked proudly unbeaten to the pavilion at the end of the day’s play having scored 309 in a single day. Australia had made 458 for 3 in the day, and Don had scored two thirds of the runs singlehandedly. Australia went on to make a mammoth 721 in that innings, and played England out of the match, and the mother country did their best, still could only save the match. Don didn’t do much in the next rain curtailed Manchester test, but came back to his elements in the final test at the Oval, scoring 232. Series tally of 974 runs in a five test series. Take that folks!
Another one is from the India tour of Australia in 1947-48.
While batting in a tour match against Ghulam Mohammed , Don pulled a bit uppishly, and the ball only just eluded Square leg. “That was risky!” exclaimed the wicketkeeper Khokhan Sen. Ghulam Mohammed promptly pushed square leg a bit deeper. “Just wait and watch.” Don told Sen. The next ball was also a short one, and Don pulled it again in the air, again only just eluding Square leg. Ghulam Mohammed pushed the square leg further back, and again bowled a short one. Don again pulled it in a way that it just eluded the square leg. Then he turned to Sen again, and said: “I am not playing Ghulam Mohammed’s bowling to the field, I am “playing with” him to his field.” Such Mastery! He also went on to warn Sen not to pay so much attention to this, or Sen might lose his concentration.

That was the way the Don backed himself, and more often than not, delivered. 29 centuries and 13 fifties in 80 innings is a testimony to that!

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

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.

Kangaroos Canned, Time For Kiwi Polish.

After sending the Kangaroos hopping back with no victory against their name both in the Test and the ODIs, its now time for their neighbor to get a similar treatment. The Kiwis are not in the best of their forms as they have faced a shameful defeat against Bangladesh. With the current form of the Indian players and the home conditions, its yet another chance for the Indians to send the Kiwi bird flying high in the air and then havesome Kiwi Shine on the Shoes!
We are sure that our boys wont be complacent and Danny’s men would fight hard to gain some respect and thats expected. It will be a treat to watch even as some of the key milestones will be arrived at. The one the entire world is looking forward is 50th Test Century for the Little Master Blaster Swash Buckling God- Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. 

A Thorn In The Arm


How many times has the Australian team found themselves at the mercy of the Very Very Special Man from India? Time and again he has been a thorn in their arm. Vangipurapu Venkatasai Laxman, no one can forget his special innings at Eden Gardens in 2001.It’s like rubbing salt to the injury on the Australians as he is the man who always bails out India to a victory and more so against Australia.
The Australians are not worried about Sachin’s wicket, but they are more worried to get Laxman out. In the first innings, Laxman could not come out to bat at his regular batting order due to injury, which cast a doubt whether he would be able to bat in the second innings.In comes Laxman in the second innings and with his great excellence steers India to a 1-0 victory. Great display of efforts and attitude by the youngster Ishant Sharma. Not only did he fire some great bowling spell, but also applied himself well at the crease negotiating the Australian bowlers. His 30 runs and the amount of time that he was on the crease gave a great support to Laxman who was playing in his elegant style.
Zak was at his best taking a fifer in the first innings and 3 in second innings. He is the senior bowler on whom the youngsters like Ishant Sharma can  look up on.He is leathal when it comes to the old ball as he can bowl some good reverse swinging deliveries.
At the end of the day, it says 1-0 in favor of India. 2-0 is some thing that the Indian team are looking forward.

Orange Aussie Squash

Nagpur is famous for its Oranges, and now people will remember it for the Orange Aussie Squash. The way the Men in Blue  brutally murdered the Aussie attack was absolutely outstanding. Lethal and ruthless was the approach of the Indian’s on the field.Loss in the first match at Vadodara  had made a huge dent and people had already started writing off the Indian’s. Due credit goes to  Dhoni & Co, they got back with vengeance and slaughtered the Aussies. MS displayed his skills and played all the ‘lactose power’. Gautam Gambhir, who continues to be in a good form along with Raina & Sehwag supported the skipper with valuable knocks.
The Ton in this pressure match would now silent Dhoni’s critics. All he had to do is to let his blade do the talking and he obliged.357 is India’s highest against Australia and Dhoni’s 124 run is the highest made by any captain against Australia (Previous best Sanath Jayasurya 122) The mammoth total of 357 was too much for an ask for the Aussie as they were reduced for 45/3 in the first 11th over.
India won with a huge margin of 99 runs.
Time to remind Brett Lee that his wish of 7-0 has already been shattered.

Tame the Sledging Kangaroos

“Aussie Sucks Aussie Sucks” will be the buzz in the ground at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara where the Kangaroos will clashing the Indian Tigers for the first match. Playing mind game has always been the trait of the Australians and sledging has been a part of their hygiene. The Indians are no less when it comes to giving it back Although the Australians are on the high after crushing England 6-1 in the ODI and also the T20 World Cup triumph, they can’t breathe easily as they are up against the Indians in their backyard. The ground and weather conditions in India are very different to the situations that they are used to. It’s altogether a different leather hunt when it comes to the conditions in the subcontinent. The attendance in the ground is always in huge numbers and the cheering sound can be deafening for the visitors. I am sure these conditions are no alien for the Aussie, but still they have to hold a hard grip in case they don’t want themselves to be slaughtered as the top guns of the Indian squad are back with vengeance after injury.
With Viru back in top along side Gambhir, Yuvi to patrol the middle order, it’s going to be good competition in the making. Not to forget our swashbuckling master blaster Tendulkar who can adapt to any situation as the team demands. Indian bowling attack seems to look weak at the moment with Zak still out of contention. The ‘Men in Blue’ have to play to their potential well as a unit to beat the Aussie.Bhajji factor always work well against the Australians, lets see if he is able to cast a magical web on the Kangaroos.
There’s loads of excitement as the last match is scheduled in Mumbai at the DY Patil Stadium, a wonder full stadium in Nerul-Navi Mumbai and we are looking forward for that. Things can’t get any better if the last match becomes the decider.
Rest assured for some exciting moments, both cricketing and non cricketing action.
Lets wait and watch how the Indian Tigers tame the Kangaroos!!
Till then good bye from Shams N Wags.

Champions Trophy 2009


We are inching towards the last debacle of World cricket calendar for the year.
Yes we are talking about the Champions Trophy. With 8 teams playing for the title and the top four team desperate to retain the top position, it’s going to have some exhilarating contests between the teams.Champions Trophy is also referred as ‘Mini World Cup’ and it’s played once in every two years.

The teams have been divided in 2 groups. Each team will be playing a match against the same group.
The group structure is as follows
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan and WI
Group B: England, New Zealand, SA and SriLanka.
India is placed in one of the toughest group as it has the likes of Australia, Pakistan and West Indies. The Champions Trophy will kick start on 22nd September between SA and SL at the Centurion.India will take on Pakistan on 26th September at the same venue and believe us, its going to be as good as a final match. India has never lost to Pakistan in any World cup format and we hope that record remains intact.
Let’s hope to see some wonderful matches in this 50 over format which is talked about losing it’s interest over the T20 format.

Posted by: Shams N Wags.
Photo source: livesports-streaming.com

Stepping down the wicket


Stepping down the track would be very much associated with Haydos, but stepping down and out from the wicket is his latest call. Matthew Lawrence Hayden, the 37 years old smashing Oz’s southpaw, who along with Justin Langer use to make a deadly opening pair has finally decided to call it quits. After a year long bad patch and struggling to collect runs, it was about time for him to make way for the others.
He was in a very pedestrian form against the Indians when they toured India. All eyes were set over him to see him play the magical innings that he had once played in 2001 to mark his classical come back. But that was not to be the case this time around in 2008.
Be it home or away, Hayden had a tremendous record .He had broken Lara’s record of 375 runs in Test by scoring 380 against Bangladesh.
Undoubtedly he will always be remembered as a player who could dominate in both form of game and could even charge down the wicket to the fast bowlers. Many cricket fans know the way he used to sit on wicket way before start of play (guess that’s one of his strategy to dominate wicket unlike bowlers). It was like yoga for him.
For our readers to know he was also a right arm medium pace bowler who bowled 9 over in test and an over in ODI (can any of our reader guess against which country he bowled an ODI over – no prizes) but with no success in terms of wickets.
He is a veteran of 103 & 161Test and ODI matches respectively. Amassing a total of 8625 test runs and 6133 ODI runs, with 59 tons( 30 in Test, 29 in ODI) and no one can forget his highest test score of 380 runs against Bangladesh.

While a few days back he was all over the news stating that so far he has not considered his retirement, suddenly his retirement plan has been a jolt for the Australian cricket (I won’t be surprised if they already wanted it to happen).
Other than his exploits with the bat , he will also be remembered over this strong words – Obnoxious Weed

Proteas Smittened!!

Time and again we have seen this happening and this makes every cricket fan proud, no matter of which ever country he belongs. In comes Graeme Smith with a broken finger walking towards the pitch at the Sydney Cricket ground where the celebrations had already begun thinking that Australia had won as Smith won’t come into bat.

Survival of the last wicket was the need of the hour. He was playing with a loose bottom hand as he broke his finger in the first innings of the last match, and he was virtually out of the match until he had to come to bat. Walking in at number 11 was probably the first and the last time he would have had come to bat. Makhaya Ntini gave a good support at the other end.

11 balls to survive was the last equation. Inside edge of the bat and sound of the timber made the Australians cry out of joy as they won the match of the already lost series. Magical moment for Mitchell Johnson one can say as he as able to convert the most certain draw into a victory.

All praises for the captain Smith as it takes lots of courage to bat with a broken finger as one can understand the pain one has to go through in the case of such injuries. No pain is greater when it comes to play for the country.

If we refresh our memories, same courage of the sorts was shown by our former cricket captain who retired in the series against the Aussies. Yes Anil Kumble had come to bowl with the broken Jaw and took the priced wicket of Brian Lara.

While such thing happens on the cricket field, there is a thick layer of pride that floats in the air and the result of the match if it goes in the direction that’s not desired (a loss) seldom hurts.