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.

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Sanjeev Sathe
An explorer of life, a small time writer, nearly ex- cricketer, and a salesman by profession. Intellectually Backward. :) Cricket and Reading is in his lifeblood.

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.

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

It’s Shams Vs Wags….. not Shams n Wags

Before any of you conclude that we’ve set apart, let us clarify, this is for 1st IPL match to be held in Cape Town on 18th April’09.
In our earlier post we’ve mentioned our favourite teams for the tournament – Shams cheering for Chennai Super Kings and Wags backing Mumbai Indians.
Yes, the very first clash of IPL season 2 will begin with an exciting match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.
With some of world class players in Mumbai Indians like blaster Jayasuriya, pace icon Zak backed by his captain one and only our Master Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai Indians want to turn this season in their favour.
It’s going to be a terrific match and the Saturday is going to be really entertaining . all the top guns would be restless to unleash themselves and fire all cylinders.

On the other hand last year’s runner up Chennai Super Kings have charismatic Captain Dhoni with his warriors like Haydo, Raina, Murli, Ntini and Balaji to blast this season also and conquer final frontier.


So sit back and enjoy and exciting clash to come – Shams vs Wags.

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

Taming The Oz!!

It could well be said that it was an end of an era even as Kumble and Sourav Ganguly retiring in the series. It’s time for the youngsters to bear the flag and move further. No words are as pleasing as ’India has won the Series’. With this test victory, India has earned second position on theICC test ranking surpasssing South Africa.
The series win is going to be remembered for various reasons and will always remain in the memories of the cricket fans of the country.What better way to tame the Kangaroo’s than crushing them!!

The Aussies have been outclassed in all the departments. Their plus point of playing aggressive cricket let them down in the last match. While that’s their way of playing the test match, it was seldom seen in the series and while the aggression surfaced, it back fired in the final match. They could have saved the test match had they applied their mind and stayed on the crease.
The match was well in the grip of the Aussies during the tea session. They should have forced the issue. There again as always Harbhajan stood as the Thorn in their Arm along with Dhoni and played as savior by scoring half century.

It was a series full of milestones.“I have turned all stones to milestone” are the famous words of the batting maestro who crossed 12000 runs. He also completed his 100 test match catches. Laxman playing his 100th test match went on making 1000 runs in the calendar year,Harbhajan took 300 wickets and one can only be happy for the fact that he took his favorite victim, Ricky Ponting.
Surprisingly enough Ponting was his 250th victim as well.

Kumble’s retirement was a shocker for every one as he was never vocal about it and no one had known about it. One can’t find a person with better commitment than the silent assassin Anil Kumble. He has been around in the team for 18 years and he has always carried the responsibility of the spin department for the entire career.

What an honor it was for Sourav Dada while he was asked to lead the side in the final moments towards the victory. It was exactly 8 years ago on the same day where he started his stint as the captain and lead the side. Eventually he left as captain, courtesy MS Dhoni.
The next best person to god on the off side has retired now and Sourav’s retirement will be felt through out the country.

MS Dhoni has been a good team person as one can easily say from couple of his gestures. First he allowed Dada to lead the team in the final moments and while it as time to lift the Cup, he asked Anil Kumble to come up and lift the cup along with him.

It’s a well known fact across the world that Cricket is a religion in India. In all 3 formats of the game India has emerged as champions. With latest Test Series win, it gets more concrete. This is certainly a big Transformation of Indian cricket. From Kapil Dev who made us win our first World cup to Mohd.Azharuddin who lead India to some of the greatest victories of its time , Sourav Ganguly who completely changed Indian cricket with his leadership to Dhoni the Golden man India cricket has been on a roller-coaster.
The current team is a blend of youth and seniors where the seniors have experience of having been around in the circuit for more than a decade.

With the way India is playing currently, one can never deny the fact that the Indians would dominate the world cricket, and a serious brand of cricket lies ahead.
Looking forward to see some great matches coming ahead.

Here’s Shams & Wags signing off for the end of yet another great edition of the Border Gavaskar Trophy. Keep reading more for the up coming series against England starting November 14th. Till then enjoy.

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

Incredible India!!

What an outstanding test match for the Indians. Defeating the Aussies with such a big margin of 320 runs is really a commendable job. Outwitting the Aussies in all departments is an achievement in itself.

Couple of milestones achieved by our veterans. Sachin surpassed Brain Lara and became the player with highest number of test runs and only player to have scored 12,000 plus runs in test matches. Ganguly returned it back to the selectors in style by scoring good runs and even he scored 7000 runs.

Saurav dada gave a superb reply with his bat by scoring the century, making the selectors quite. The way he is playing, it’s a treat watching him as it was always. He is an outstanding player who has always silenced his critics by scoring runs. Dada will be completely missed once he retires after this series.

What a lethal seam attack has it been for the Indians? We are basking in the glory of the new opening pair of bowling where Zaheer has his bunny in Hayden, while Ishant has his bunny set up in Rickey Ponting. The tactics of Hayden of sitting on the pitch before the start of match yet not working.

Unlike an Aussie onslaught, where attack is the only word, they were forced to pay attention to the Plan B of defense as Indian bowlers were too good to be handled.
Debutant Amit Mishra was impressive as he filled the void created by absence of Anil Kumble. It was a dream debut for him as he went on to take his first five wicket haul in his debut match.Harbhajan made it sure in the start of the second innings of the Aussies that they don’t attack. Both the openers fell into his trap and then the hopes of winning the match were up and live.

It was worth taking a leaf out of the books of Zaheer and Ishant as to how to use the ball for reverse swing as the Indians managed to use it so well. In the Australian camp, only Shane Watson used it well. The idea behind the reverse swing is to take care of the ball and make one side heavy by using sweat and constantly shining it.
On the fifth day, Zaheer cleaning up three wickets made an early announcement that victory was just about round the corner and then Amit Mishra cleaning up the tail.

Words of appreciation for our batsman as they scored at will and at a good scoring rate.
Captain Dhoni played his natural innings in the second innings and scored quick fire runs. The declaration came at the right time one feels as then we were able to force for the victory. What can one say about Dhoni, he is a complete opportunist, give him chance and he will prove his with. What ever he touches, gets converted in gold. With the victorious captain, he also got the Man of the Match award.
It’s about time for Laxman to perform as he is the only senior member to perform.

That’s all about it from Shams and Wags till we go on to Feroz Shah Kotla at Delhi
Until then Enjoy!!

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

Second Test Of Character!!


Welcome to the Second Test Match between India and Australia at Mohali.
India has won the toss and elected to bat. India won’t be availing the services of Captain Kumble. Keeper Dhoni taking the honors of captaining the test side in absence of Kumble.

The next best thing to watch out for is the Master Blaster is inching close to the record of highest number of test runs. He is 15 runs short of the magical figure. Will he reach the milestone is the main attraction of the game. Sit back and enjoy till we come back with the days review. Till then enjoy
Shams & Wags.

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

Gritty Ponting!!

Attack right from the word go is the Australians way of playing. But that seems to be a passé now as they opted for a rather defensive mode. Having won the toss, the Aussies would have thought of scoring quick fire runs But not to be the case this time around as the third delivery of the over and Hayden tried playing the ball on the off side only finding himself caught in the gloves of Dhoni for a duck. Simon Katich was then joined by Rickey Ponting in the very first over. Ponting applied himself in front of the Indian bowlers and started accumulating runs in a rather defensive style. Interesting statistics is that 4 years ago while both the teams played in Bangalore, the score was identical at the end of session and for the loss of the same player Hayden. 75/1 at lunch.

It’s Festive season in India as everyone celebrating Dusshera . Crowd slowly melts up to the stadium and so does all Television viewers across country. Shams & wags prediction of Playing XI for both sides came in true. Only few changes in Aussies camp. Cameron White was handed his first Test cap – courtesy injured Bryce McGain.
Shane Watson filled the all-rounder’s role after the Andrew Symonds was left out of the squad for disciplinary reasons.

Even though they had a slow start, the Aussies managed to score pretty decently and Ponting’s and Katich’s 166 run partnership ensured the Oz remained in the game.
Hayden has a pecular habbit of sitting on the pitch an hour before days play. May be he is trying to bribe the pitch by doing so, but taht didnt help him this time around.

In our last article, we had heavily criticised Ponting for getting into the mind games and letting his mouth talk rather than his bat. But it was surely Ponting’s day and he really proved that the quality players let their bat do the talking rather than mouth.

Katich played a good supporting play as he rotated the strike which ensured that the runs kept ticking.Ponting celebrated his first century in India while completing his third run before thriving his bat like a warrior with a sword. It was Ponting’s 16th as a captain, he was previously tied with Steve Waugh and Allan Border on 15.
At 201/2. there was loud appeal from Kumble.All the replays suggest thatit as a catch and not a bump, but as there was not a referral system in this series, it as not referred to the third umpire.
But with tea looming, it was the rookie Ishant Sharma who made the breakthrough as he induced an edge from Katich on 66 and the ball falling safely yet again in the hands of Keeper Dhoni. Mike Hussey was lucky to escape early as one of his edge on Kumble’s bowling going past keeper Dhoni’s thumb. By 75th over of the day Indian were looking tired as Kumble turned to Sehwag’s part time spin to give some rest to regular bowlers. It made all easy for Ponting and Hussey.

With 226 on the board, Ponting tried to sweep Harbhajan, was struck low on the front pad and Umpire Asad Rauf raised his finger yet again making him Bhajji’s bunny.
3 overs before the close of the days play,Kumble took new ball and it worked for Indians on last ball of the day as Clarke was trapped in front for 11 by Zaheer.
So the opening wicket and the ending wicket were bagged by our very own ZAK.
Heres the Score Card:

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

Miles And Smiles

Hello Readers, We know many of you might have followed 4 day match against Board President XI in Hyderabad. The match ended in draw but there were more smiles in Indian side and worries in Oz’s camp.
Had the selection been done on 2nd Oct’08 instead of 1st for the early two tests, the picture would look different. Only player who’ve been picked up in Test squad S.Badrinath failed in both innings. Rise and shine time for Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma in first innings as they both hit 105 each to put BP XI in strong position. With the likes of Kumble and Bhajji as a spin attack very little chances are left for other spinners to get into probable for selection. Yet Piyush Chawla & Pragyan Ojha bowled well against Oz’s and shared 8 wickets between them to bundle out Aussies cheaply in first innings. Punter’s bad patch in Indian soil continued. Only brave innings was played by Mike Hussey who scored century and some batting braveness for Stuart Clarke in lower order. Second innings brings more smiles for BP XI as captain Yuvraj Singh made century while Jaffer missed the same with 7 runs.
Aussies really wouldn’t have expected the worst news in the form of there main attacking spinner Bryce McGain being ruled out of entire series due to shoulder injury. The other spinner Kreja who also came with dream of making Test debut alongside McGain now has real chance to be in playing eleven. Aussies have also called all-rounder Cameron White who has performed really well in domestic circuit for them to join the squad. His leg spin can be bit handy apart from giving strength to batting lower down the order.
With just 3 days to go for the first test in Bangalore (now Bangaluru) playing conditions look pretty much similar to what we had in Hyderabad during practice match.Looking at the weather conditions captain Kumble will certainly be playing with 2 seamers and 2 spinners with long batting line up we have.
Shams & Wags’s probable XI for the Test are-
India – Anil Kumble(Capt.),V.Sehwag, G.Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar,Sourav Ganguly,VVS Laxman, M S Dhoni (VC & wk),Harbhajan Singh,Zaheer Khan,Ishant Sharma,Munaf Patel (12th man).
Australia – Ricky Ponting (Capt.), M Hayden, Phil Jacques, S Katich, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, B Haddin, Brett Lee, Stuart Clarke, M Johnson, Kreja, Watson (12th man)

Article By Shams & Wags

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We - Saurabh Sharma aka Shams and Paresh Waghela aka Wags are super enthusiastic and die hard cricket fans. Sharing our take on cricket matches, players comes with a lot of passion. We eat, drink and sleep cricket.

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