Monday, November 30, 2015

Arbit Stats #47: Pink Ball

Test Match #2190
Australia vs New Zealand, Adelaide

It is the first international cricket game to be played with a pink ball. 
Enough hype already generated. And it also generated its own series of firsts, for the trivia aficionados.

Mitchell Starc - 1st Bowler to bowl with a pink ball.
Martin Guptill - 1st Batsman to face a delivery in pink. 
Martin Guptill - Also the 1st Batsman to be out with a pink ball.
Josh Hazelwood - 1st bowler to take a pink ball wicket.

In the meantime, Australia have now emerged victorious in
  • 1st Test Match (vs England)
  • 1st ODI (vs England)
  • 1st Day-night ODI (vs West Indies)
  • 1st Indoor ODI (vs South Africa)
  • Ist T20I (vs New Zealand)
  • 1st Day-Night Test (vs New Zealand)
A sign of Aussie willingness for innovation and their domination.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Ranji Trophy 15-16: Jharkhand vs Himachal Pradesh

Match Summary: Jharkhand (337) beat Himachal Pradesh (133 & 133) by an innings & 71 runs
Points: Jharkhand 7, Himachal Pradesh 0 

Jharkhand team seems to have found a rich vein of form just at the right time. A second straight innings victory that too against Himachal Pradesh has propelled them into the 3rd place in the table with a very realistic chance of making it into the knock-outs.

It was a strange match. A tale of two different days. On Day 1, Jharkhand ran up a total of 306 for the loss of 4 wickets riding on the back of some excellent to order batting with Shiv Gautam scoring a brilliant 122.  It looked like a match to be decided on the first innings lead basis. Then on second day, it was a dramatic change as first Jharkhand collapsed to 337 all out and then Himachal were knocked out for 133. Twice. Within a day. Wonder what went wrong for the batsmen.

Day 1: 306/4
Day 2: 297/26

Game Notes
  • Shahbaz Nadeem remains the captain. 
  • Team Changes: Out went the seamers Ajay Yadav and Rahul Shukla and in came the spinners Samar Quadri and Sonu Singh.
  • Sonu Singh made his first class debut
  • 2nd first-class century for Shiv Gautam.
  • Samar Quadri reached the milestone of 100 First-Class wickets in his 30th game.
  • Nadeem registered his career-best figures of 7/45 which is his 8th career fifer and third for the season 
  • This is quite a depleted Jharkhand squad with Varun Aaron on national duty while youngsters Ishan Kishan & Virat Singh are currently away on national Under-19 duty. 
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Saurabh Tiwary 462 @ 46.20
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 40 @ 16.40
Player Count: 21 from 7 Games
Captain Count: 3 from 7 Games

Points Tally - 24 after 7 games. Moved up two places to 3rd. Now, lying 1 points behind Kerala who are currently in place for the second knock-out spot from the Group. Jharkhand are now in a 5-way race for the two Group C knock-out berths. A win should be good enough to secure the second place otherwise may need a combination of favorable results for a place in the quarter-finals.

Coming Up Next - Away game against 7th placed Hyderabad. Would follow keenly the other Group C games specially Kerala vs Himachal Pradesh which might turn out to be straight shootout for the 2nd berth behind Saurashtra who take on J&K, while Services, who have an outside chance take on Tripura.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raymond van Schoor, R.I.P.

Raymond van Schoor, 1990-2015

275 senior level games, over 8000 runs & 50 wickets. A career cut short at a young age of 25 due to a stroke suffered while batting in a domestic List A game. 

15 Not Out For ever!
Rest in Peace!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ranji Trophy 15-16: Jharkhand vs Tripura

Match Summary: Tripura (166 & 161) lost to Jharkhand (394/4d) by an innings & 67 runs
Points: Jharkhand 7, Tripura 0 

This was the best possible result for Jharkhand's qualification chances. A win with a bonus point as well. Knocked out Tripura for 166 riding on the back of Rahul Shukla's 6-wicket haul. The opening partnership was dodgy but the rest of the line-up all batted big and achieved a huge lead. Second time around also Tripura were found wanting as Nadeem ran through the lineup. The Tripura batsme were just about able to extend the game into the 4th day.

Game Notes
  • Shahbaz Nadeem remains the captain. 
  • Team Changes: Ajay Yadav and Sumit Kumar returned while out went Ishan Kishan and Samar Qaudri.
  • 11th first-class century  for Ishank Jaggi who seems to have recovered from his bad run of form.
  • A career-best 6 for 40 for Rahul Shukla, his second career fifer
  • Nadeem got his 7th career fifer and his second for the season.
  • Sumit Kumar pouche 5 catches behind the stumps in the Tripura 1st innings.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Saurabh Tiwary 383 @ 42.56
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 29 @ 19.52
Player Count: 20 from 6 Games
Captain Count: 3 from 6 Games

Points Tally - 17 after 6 games. Moved up one place to 5th. Now, lying 7 points behind Himachal Pradesh who are currently in place for the second knock-out spot from the Group. With 2 rounds left, it is still mathematically possible though need quite a few results going in our way.

Coming Up Next - Away game against second placed Himachal Pradesh. Full points here would do the qualification chances a world of good.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Farewell Mitchell Johnson

"He bowls to the left, 
He bowls to right,
That Mitchell Johnson,
He bowls a lots of shite"

Thus sang the Barmy Army, every time their favorite target, Mitchell Johnson came on to bowl in one of the rare England's Ashes wins Down Under.

But there was another Mitchell Johnson also, a bowler who could strike terror in batsmen's minds. Ask the English team who were at a receiving end of an Ashes mauling where Johnson took 37 for 517 over 5 Tests, or a Graeme Smith who had his right hand broken in one Test and his left hand in another in back to back series by Johnson's missiles.

He was a different character - making a cartoon of himself for his misplaced sledging of James Anderson (Video) but being visibly shaken up after hitting Kohli (video).

He finished up with 313 Test wickets only behind Warne, McGrath & Lillee for Australia. And he also had a test century. Not bad returns. Farewell Mithcell Johnson!!!

He bowled to the left, 
He bowled to right,
That Mitchell Johnson,
He ended up quite all right

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ranji Trophy 15-16: Jharkhand vs Jammu & Kashmir

Match Summary: Jharkhand (551/8d) drew with Jammu & Kashmir (309 & 265/4 (f/o))
Points: Jharkhand 3, Jammu & Kashmir 1

Finally, the Jharkhand batting lineup came good with solid all-round batting display. They racked up their biggest score of the season, managed to impose a follow-on against J&K. And 2 quick 2nd innings wickets at the end of Day 3 made one believe that an innings victory with bonus points was waiting. But that was not to be as a fine rear-guard action from the J&K batsmen ensured that the match ended in a draw.

Game Notes
  • Shahbaz Nadeem remained the captain. 
  • Team Changes: Ishan Kishan, Jaskaran Singh and Kaushal Singh returned while out went Prakash Munda, Sumit Kumar and Sunny Gupta. 
  • All season not a single century, now two of them came in the same innings.
  • Ishan Kishan scored his maiden first class century in his 10th game. This kid is certainly one to watch out for.
  • Anand Singh also playing his 10th first class game got his maiden half-century and proceeded to convert it into a big one.
  • Kaushal Singh recorded his best innings figures with a 4-wicket haul in the first innings.
  • Nadeem vs Parvez Rasool. Two similar players in competition for an India A slot. Nadeem was better with the ball, Rasool better with the bat.
  • Ishank Jaggi got more runs (93) in one innings than his previous 4 matches combined (87).
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Saurabh Tiwary 289 @ 36.13
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 23 @ 21.48
Player Count: 20 from 4 Games
Captain Count: 3 from 4 Games

Points Tally - 10 after 5 games. Moved up one place 6th. Now, lying 11 points behind Himachal Pradesh who are currently in place for the second knock-out spot from the Group. With 3 rounds left, it is still mathematically possible but getting more and more improbable.

Coming Up Next - Away game against Tripura, who are at the bottom of the table. A good chance to take full points and keep the knock-out hopes alive.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ranji Trophy 15-16: Jharkhand vs Goa

Match Summary: Goa (302 & 102/5d) drew with Jharkhand (209 & 105/6)
Points: Jharkhand 1, Goa 3

After the high of victory against Kerala comes a one-point draw against Goa. In a match effectively reduced to three days owing to a wet outfield on first day, Goa chose to bat first after winning the toss. Goa scored 302 and it was set to be a clash for the first innings lead. Jharkhand's batting misfired again as they conceded 93 run lead. Having secured the first innings lead, Goa scored a few quick runs, and set a target of 196 in 36 overs in search of an outright victory. Jharkhand avoided a complete collapse and managed to secure a single point from the game

Game Notes
  • Jharkhand captaincy changed hands again as Varun Aaron sat out the game and former skipper Shahbaz Nadeem led in his place. 
  • Lots of team changes as out went Ishan Kishan, Jaskaran Singh, Kaushal Singh, Varun Aaron and Ashish Kumar. Kumar Deobrat, Rahul Shukla and Samar Quadri came back into the squad while Sumit Kumar and Sunny Gupta got their first game of the season.
  • Sumit Kumar scored his maiden first class half-century in his 3rd game.
  • Rituraj Singh who turned out for Jharkhand last year played against them for Goa in this season.
  • Samar Quadri's 6-wicket haul in Goa's first innings.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Saurabh Tiwary 226 @ 32.29
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 18 @ 17.94
Player Count: 20 from 4 Games
Captain Count: 3 from 4 Games

Points Tally - 7 after 4 games. Moved down to 7th spot. Lying 13 points behind Himachal Pradesh who are currently in place for the second knock-out spot from the Group. The task is certainly getting more and more difficult though still not improbable.

Coming Up Next - A home game against Jammu & Kashmir, who are one spot ahead in the table. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Farewell Virender Sehwag

By now, many things would have been written about the man who revolutionized the art of batting by keeping things simple. The ball was meant to be hit. And gaps in the field were not only along the ground but also over the fielders' heads. These were some of the Sehwag basics which made him the endearing success that he was.

And he liked to keep things honest. Whether calling Bangladesh an ordinary side or saying, everyone except Sreesanth had a good game (World Cup 2011), he would always call a spade a spade.

The greatest tribute to Sehwag, the batsman. Everyone used to say that a pitch should be judged only after Sehwag gets out. The true nature of the pitch would come up only after the next batsmen who came to the crease. And given that  it was the maestro duo of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar who came in next, makes this even more special. After all Sehwag would play his own way regardless of the surface and the bowling attack.  And his sheer presence in the line-up often prevented opposition captains from setting aggressive 4th innings targets for India.

My favorite Sehwag memory: Well, there are lots to choose from but my favorite one is his refusing to take a single while batting on 199 in order to protect the number eleven and extend the score further (Match score). What a refreshing change in a milestones obsessed sport.

After all as he said in farewell note"I also want to thank everyone for all the cricketing advice given to me over the years and apologise for not accepting most of it! I had a reason for not following it; I did it my way!"

Farewell Virender Sehwag! You certainly did it your way.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ranji Trophy 15-16: Jharkhand vs Kerala

Match Summary: Jharkhand (202 & 262) beat Kerala (148 & 183) by 133 runs
Points: Jharkhand 6, Kerala 0

A win at the third attempt. After two consecutive losses, the season seemed to be going downhill for Jharkhand but they recovered handsomely to record a big win away in Kerala. Put into bat after losing the toss, Jharkhand's batting continued its collapsing ways by being shot out for 202. The highlight was Saurabh Tiwary's defiant knock of 75 despite retiring hurt midway through the innings. Prakash Munda playing his first game of the season got a half-century but their was hardly any other contribution. The bowlers though hit back to secure a 54 run lead with Varun Aaron taking a 5 wicket haul. Second time around the batting was slightly better with solid contributions all round boosting the score. Kerala were set a target of 317 were knocked out for 183 with Nadeem taking a seven-wicket haul. 

Game Notes
  • The faltering batting lead to quite a few changes from the previous game. Out went Rameez Nemat, Virat Singh, Kumar Deobrat, Samar Quadri and Vinayak Vikram. Jaskaran Singh came back after missing the previous game, while Prakash Munda, Shiv Gautam, Anand Singh and Ashish Kumar got their first game of the season.
  • Shiv Gautam bagged a pair in his first game of the season.
Career best 7-wicket haul for Shahbaz Nadeem in the second innings.

Season Stats
Top Scorer: Saurabh Tiwary 207 @ 41.40
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 13 @ 17.31
Player Count: 18 from 3 Games

Points Tally - 6 after 3 games. Moved up to 5th spot. Lying 7 points behind Saurashtra who are currently in place for the second knock-out spot from the Group.

Coming Up Next - Jharkhand sit out the next round of games. And then they play their first home game of the season against Goa who are 1 place and 4 points ahead of them in the group.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Farewell Zaheer Khan

"The toughest call in a cricketing career is when one has to walk away from the game itself. You almost 'will' yourself and want to push that few, extra miles but then the body, after nearly two decades, decides not to respond."

These were the opening words of the farewell statement by Zaheer Khan, without doubt one of India's greatest fast bowlers and cetainly the best left-hand pacer the country has produced.

The numbers first - 610 wickets in 92 Tests, 200 ODIs, 17 T20Is in a career spanning 14 years. These are numbers to be proud of. And to this add being a member of a World Cup winning XI. But sheer numbers cannot define his contribution. He was the leader of India's pace attack and its de facto bowling captain over a large part of his career. And he left quite a few memories to cherish for the Indian fan. Here are my favorite ones.
  1. The yorker to knock out Steve Waugh's stumps in the ICC Knockout event in Kenya in 2000. What a wonderful sight it was to see a yorker delivered by an Indian fast bowler.
  2. 4 consecutive sixes off Henry Olonga to end the innings against Zimbabwe. Yet India contrived to lose that game.
  3. The jellybean incident against England which riled him up so much that he proceeded to destroy the English batting and take India to a rare away series victory.
  4. World Cup 2011 - where he finished as the highest wicket-taker and came up with this memorable quote - "As a bowling unit I think I am doing quite well". Probably a slip of tongue but truer words have seldom been spoken.
  5. The atrocious opening over in the 2003 World Cup final, where he was bowling wides and sledging Gilchrist. But this was more than compensated in the 2011 final where Zaheer started with 3 maidens on the trot.
  6. And the sometimes comical, sometimes exasperating but always entertaining batting.
  7. And finally for this - from a game in which he was not even playing
Thank you for all the wonderful memories Zaheer Khan!

As he himself closes out his statement.
'Zak is Back' is perhaps a headline that may come my way again, as I have every intention of giving back to this game and our wonderful country which gave this kid from Shrirampur the opportunity to chase and live his dream!

Full Text of the statement