Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ranji Trophy 14-15: Jharkhand vs Assam

Match Summary: Assam (191 & 235/9d)  drew with Jharkhand (217 & 78/4)
Points: Jharkhand 3, Assam 1

After sitting out the 1st round, Jharkhand faced Assam away in Guwahati for their opening encounter of the new Ranji season.

It was a typical low scoring affair. Jharkhand won the toss and put Assam in first. Assam were all out for a lowly 191. Jharkhand were looking good to take a big first innings lead but collapsed on Day 3 to secure a small but critical 26 runs lead. Neither side could make any more headway through the game and eventually after some brief excitement in the 4th innings the match ended in a draw.

3 youngsters made their first class debut for Jharkhand. Ishan Kishan the wicket-keeper who is the youngest player in this season so far. Virat Singh, another 16 year old would be hoping for a career as good as his namesake in the Indian team. Virat Singh was the top scorer in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Jharkhand. Middle order batsman Kaushal Singh was the 3rd debutante.

Highlights for Jharkhand - Ishan Kishan's half-century on first class debut and Ajay Yadav's 4 wicket haul in Assam's 2nd innings.

Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan 66 runs @ 33
Most Wickets: Ajay Yadav - 6 wickets @ 9 

Standings: 3 points after 1 game, having missed the 1st round. Currently 5th in Group C having played one game less. Leaders Assam are just 5 points away.

Coming Up Next - Zonal minnows Tripura. Hoping for a big win here which will help the team's cause in the league.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adelaide 2014: The AfterThoughts

Australia vs India, Adelaide 2014

It was a Test like no other. Matches have been held in the shadow of death before. One of Australia's greatest batting talents Archie Jackson died of ill-health while an Ashes tour was on in Australia. The Chennai Test of 2008 was played in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. And one of the greatest series of all times, the 2005 Ashes was played with the backdrop of the London bombings. 

However this match was different. An international player dying during the course of play in a first class match was an unprecedented event. The entire cricket community was in a state of shock. Something as innocuous as a cricket delivery had taken away a cricketer's life. Phil Hughes's sudden death and the subsequent outpouring of grief had rightly lead to the rescheduling of the India-Australia matches.

The rejigged Test series was cricket's way of saying "The Show Must Go On". There were lots of tributes paid to Phil Hughes during the game. 63 not out and 408 became the new landmarks in the scorebooks.

And above all this was Michael Clarke. The man had been in a row with the selectors  over his fitness when the incident happened. He was immediately on the scene, all animosity forgotten. As a leader of men, Clarke's stature has grown tremendously over the last few days. He took the field inspite of fitness issues and scored a century. However in the process, he picked more injuries. And there is a chance that he might never play again. Yet, I doubt that Clarke would have missed this game for the sake of prolonging his career.

The bouncer has always been a thrilling sight to watch. Now it had blood on its name. So I was wondering who would be the first bowler to bowl a bouncer in this game. And how would the crowds react. The answer came soon enough. Varun Aaron bowled it in the very initial stages. What was heartening was the crowd's reaction. There was applause for the bowler. A sign that people wanted things to become as normal as possible.

However Day 3 proved that things can never be the same again. Mitchell Johnson hit Virat Kohli bang on the helmet.  The entire Australian team, the non-striker and even the umpires ran in to check on Kohli. Thankfully no harm had been done. Yet Johnson was looking more terrified than anybody else. In earlier times, the bowler would have followed it up with a stare and/or some choice words with the close-in fielders also adding their two bits. Things have changed.

Yet nothing symbolized how much nature wants to back into balance than the verbal altercations between Aaron, Warner et al on 4th day. For some odd reason it was actually good to see that things were moving towards normalcy. Not that sledging and rude gestures are any good, but somehow it certainly helped in the healing process.

And finally a few words on India's performance. India's bowling is in a terrible condition. The bowlers are fast but too wayward while the spin department is itself in a spin. There is no way we can win Test matches with this attack on any half decent pitch. India's batting has no sting in the tail. The top order can bat firmly but is more likely to collapse under pressure.

However what was refreshing to watch was India's approach towards the 4th innings chase. With such a target, 80 percent of the times we would have collapsed quite early in the day and showed no fight. Other times we might have batted out a draw with the opposition under no threat. However Kohli and company actually went for the target. And for this very reason the defeat did not hurt as much. Yes we suffered a spectacular collapse losing 8 wickets in under a session. Yet the approach was there to win it.

Probably it was the stop-gap captaincy of Kohli which made India go for the target with Kohli himself leading the way with twin hundreds. However his captaincy shouldn't be judged on one off instance. After all as a stop-gap arrangement till Dhoni returned, Kohli could easily take more risks than the incumbent.

So in the end a grieving Australian camp turned up and outplayed the Indians. The first Test match is out of the way. And hopefully normal service will resume from Brisbane onward.


P.S. A word on Sean Abbott. It must have taken tremendous mental strength to come back and play in the very next match. That too in the very same ground. After all that he had to go through, he came up and got his career-best bowling figures. Hats off to the young man.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Arbit Stats 38: Virat Kohli

India vs Australia - Adelaide, 2014

Virat Kohli scored 115 in the first innings and followed it up with 141 in the second. In the absence of MS Dhoni, Kohli was leading India for the first time in Tests.

In the process, he has created a record for the most runs (256) scored in a Test match by a player on his captaincy debut.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The 1st World T20 Final

In the Air...Sreesanth… Takes It…India WINS” – boomed Ravi Shastri as Misbah-ul-Haq’s attempted scoop shot was caught much short of its intended destination. And with that final act, India became the inaugural World Twenty20 champions.

For the Indian fan, it was a perfect finale to a near-perfect event. A world tournament final victory, coming over your historical arch-rivals was just the balm needed to heal the wounds from the ODI World Cup earlier in the year.

The tournament had been a grand spectacle. Music, player introductions, bowl-outs, fireworks and dancing cheerleaders were some of the innovations which were well received by the audience. For the marketing men, the final was a dream match-up like the perfect icing on the cake. The finalists— India and Pakistan – historical arch-rivals, both seeking redemption for their respective horrendous show in the ODI World Cup. They had played a thrilling tie earlier in the tournament which India won 3-nil in a bowl-out.

India suffered a setback before the start with Virender Sehwag missing the final through injury. In came debutant Yusuf Pathan as his replacement. Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first. Pathan began his international career in a spectacular fashion launching the very second ball he faced from Asif into the stands but he fell soon after. Gautam Gambhir played a steady hand while wickets fell regularly at the other end.  The most memorable moment of the innings arrived when Gambhir smashed a six straight into the scoreboard. “That’s one way to get the scoreboard moving” was the gem from the commentary box. India ended up with a seemingly below-par total of 157.

Pakistan should have chased this in a canter but the World Cup final has its own pressures. Tight bowling and fielding combined with some reckless shots had handed over the initiative to India. The Indian fans thought the match was in the bag but Misbah had other ideas. There was a flurry of big shots while wickets kept falling at the other end.

Pakistan needed 13 runs off the last over with Misbah on strike and only one wicket remaining. Here Dhoni made the crucial choice. He handed the ball to Joginder Sharma ahead of the much more experienced Harbhajan Singh. Dhoni’s sheer gut feeling seemed to be the only logical explanation for this choice as Joginder bowled a wide and then was hit for a straight six. Everyone’s nerves were all over the place and Misbah seemed to be the only calm one. And then the third ball of the over. Misbah tried the scoop shot, the ball seemed to have been hit perfectly rising in the air as we saw the crowds in the background. With bated breath, we saw the ball begin its descent. Was it going to cross the boundary or was it falling short? The ball came down and landed safely into the hands of the waiting short fine leg fielder. Misbah was down to his haunches and the Indian team was celebrating.
I was watching the game with some hundred others in my college common room, which had never been so crowded before. There had been a hushed silence with everyone doing their best not to jinx the Indian team by any sort of movement. Sressanth caught the ball and the whole room erupted. An instant party followed.

All thoughts of assignments and submissions for the next day had gone for a toss. They would wait. After all we were now the World Champions.

P.S. - This article was written as part of the ongoing #BeACricketWriter Contest being conducted by Harsha Bhogle

Sunday, November 30, 2014

#PutYourBatsOut

Probably the most elegant way of paying tribute. A tragedy which has united the cricketing world in a manner never seen before.


Above is a mosaic of all the tributes.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Phil Hughes, R.I.P.




A national spot was up for grabs. He was considered as one of the prime contenders. Batting on 63 not out with a national selector watching, he has probably done enough to  make it to the XI for the next Test match. A bouncer is bowled. He goes for the hook. He is through with the shot before the ball reaches him and hits him on the back of the neck. And its all over.

A sudden and terrible end to a promising career. One moment he was fighting for a Test place and next he was gone. Puts some perspective to life when something as mundane as a ball delivered in a first class match turns fatal.

Thoughts with entire Hughes family. And hoping Sean Abbott copes up with this tragedy.

Phillip Joel Hughes. R.I.P.

You will stay 63 not out forever.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Jharkhand Review

Here is how Jharkhand's run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy unfolded.

Game 1: vs Tripura - Won by 8 Wickets
Game 2: vs Bengal - Lost by 163 Runs
Game 3: vs  Assam - Lost by 7 Wickets
Game 4: vs  Odisha - Won by 45 Runs
So won 2 and lost 2 and then knocked out on basis of inferior net run rate. The huge defeat against Bengal really hurt them in the final calculations. 

Highlights for Jharkhand
  • Saurabh Tiwary's back to the wall century against Assam. He is becoming an expert in playing these kind of knocks.
  • New import Rituraj Singh's 5 wicket haul against Tripura
Top Scorers
  1. Virat Singh - 170 @56.67
  2. Saurabh Tiwary - 154 @77
  3. Kumar Deobrat - 128 @42.67
Top Wicket takers
  1. Rahul Shukla - 7 @21.57
  2. Jaskaran Singh - 7 @29.57
  3. Rituraj Singh - 6 @29.17
The disappointing run continues. But lets hope the team performs better in the Ranji Trophy with the first game against Zonal mates Assam starting on December 14th.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arbit Stats 37 - Rohit 264

2nd November, 2013 - India vs Australia
Virat Kohli is run out for a duck after a mixup with Rohit Sharma who then proceeds to score 209.

1 year later

13th November, 2014 - India vs Sri Lanka
Virat Kohli is run out for 66 after a mixup with Rohit Sharma who then proceeds to score 264.

End of Arbit Stats 37

For other records which Rohit Sharma broke during his multiple record-breaking innings, click here for cricinfo's detailed compilation.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jharkhand Domestic Schedule: 2014-15 Season

The new domestic season has commenced with the Duleep Trophy which culminated in an exciting finale with Central Zone winning after a 4th innings late collapse by South Zone. This season the sequence of the tournaments has been changed keeping in mind the forthcoming World Cup early next year. Hence the Vijay Hazare trophy has been brought forward and the Ranji Trophy has been pushed back. 

Being probably the only blog following the fortunes of the Jharkhand cricket team, Slisptream Cricket will try to provide as many regular updates as possible on the team's season ahead. The first major change has been the appointment of V Venkatraman as the new coach in place of Subroto Banerjee.

Following is the team's schedule for the season.

Vijay Hazare Trophy - Schedule for the East Zone qualifying rounds. All matches being played in Kolkata.
  1. 9 Nov, 2014: vs Tripura
  2. 11 Nov, 2014: vs Bengal
  3. 13 Nov, 2014: vs Assam
  4. 15 Nov, 2014: vs Odisha
These will be followed by knock-outs from 19th to 25th November.

Ranji Trophy - After last year's poor performance, Jharkhand were relegated to Group C. Hopefully we will see an improved performance from the side. A top two finish in the group will be required for a berth in the knock-outs. The team will not be in action in the first round of matches. So they have their task cut out playing in all eight rounds back to back.
  1. Dec 14-17, 2014: vs Assam
  2. Dec 21-24, 2014: vs Tripura
  3. Dec 28-31, 2014: vs Kerala
  4. Jan 5-8, 2015: vs Andhra
  5. Jan 13-16, 2015: vs Himachal
  6. Jan 21-24, 2015: vs Hyderabad
  7. Jan 29-Feb 1, 2015: vs Goa
  8. Feb 6-9, 2015: vs Services
All venues yet to be confirmed. Knockouts from Feb 15 to March 12 in parallel to the World Cup.

Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy - The dometic T20 champiosnhip. Ideal feeder for the IPL scouts though held a quite late in the season. Schedule for the East zone qualifying rounds. Venues are yet to be confirmed.
  1. 26 Mar, 2015: vs Tripura
  2. 27 Mar, 2015: vs Bengal
  3. 28 Mar, 2015: vs Odisha
  4. 29 Mar, 2015: vs Assam
These will be followed by knock-outs whose dates are yet to be fixed.

Hoping for a better performance from the team and wishing them the best.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Arbit Stats 36: Misbah Special

In the Abu Dhabi Test, Misbah-ul-Haq created quite a few records.
Fastest Test 50 in 21 balls breaking the record of  Jacques Kallis (!!!)
Fastest Test 100 off 56 balls equalling the record of Sir Viv Richards.

But the award for the  most arbit record goes to - At 40 years and 158 days, Misbah-ul Haq is now the oldest batsman to score two centuries in a Test match breaking the record of Sir Don Bradman by a whole year.