Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ranji Trophy - 2012-13: Jharkhand Team

For the upcoming Ranji season, this is the team selected to represent Jharkhand for the first 2 games.
Shahbaz Nadeem (c), Manish Vardhan (vc), Deepak Chogule, Kumar Deobrat, Shiv Gautam (wk), Sunny Gupta, Amir Hashmi, Ishank Jaggi, Jaskaran Singh, Rameez Nemat, Samar Quadri, Shiv Shankar Rao, Rahul Shukla, Saurabh Tiwary, Ajay Yadav.

Jharkhand's Ranji record is nothing much to speak of. Hopefully they will get some success in the revamped Ranji format. MS Dhoni playing any game looks a very remote possibility but Varun Aaron might get a few games if he is fit. 

The victory of East Zone in the Duleep Trophy owed quite a lot to the contributions from the Jharkhand boys, in the absence of some key players appearing in the Champions League. Centuries by Saurabh Tiwary in the semi-finals and Ishank Jaggi in the final were the chief contributors to the East Zone victory. 

Performance of the Jharkhand boys in the semi-finals against South Zone - 
  • Manish Vardhan (5 & 0)
  • Saurabh Tiwary (145 & 0)
  • Shiv Gautam (11 & 4)
  • Samar Quadri (4 &1, 2/37 & 0/4)
Finals vs Central Zone
  • Ishank Jaggi (100*)
  • Saurabh Tiwary (0)
  • Shiv Gautam (34 & 4*)
Will make an attempt to capture the team's fortunes through this blog. 

Here is wishing all the best to Shahbaz Nadeem and team for the Ranji Trophy. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Podcast: Thoughts on Cricket - T20, India

After having reviewed India's Olympic performance through a podcast, presenting the second podcast done by the trio of Karthik, Ajay & Yours truly.
Though the discussions went on for long, the podcast has been restricted to less than 20 minutes play duration. 
Among other things we analyse and find why picking Chris Gayle for your T20 team is not a good idea.

A podcast reviewing the World T20, the currently underway CL T20, talking about the IPL and looking forward to India's upcoming series.

01:15 - Thoughts on the World T20 
06:00 - Quick thoughts on Anil Kumble becoming the ICC Cricket Committee Chairman 
07:50 - Champions League T20 Thoughts - Lack of champions, proposed future formats 
10:50 - Proposed changes to CL T20 
12:50 - The IPL, teams being terminated and feasibility 
15:00 - A few thoughts on domestic cricket 
16:45 - India's upcoming calendar and the case of the missing SL series 
18:30 - Closing comments

If you like what you hear, follow us @ajay_prasad @kcgadiyar and @nishantskumar

Thursday, October 18, 2012

T20 World Cup - 2012 Review

Apparently a T20 Champions League is currently underway in South Africa. Quite a misnomer given that some of the Champion teams had to play in the qualifying while a 4th place finish gets a direct entry for some one else. BCCI be a little less greedy. Get 4 IPL teams but restrict direct entry to only two.
Also this is a perfect example of cricket overdose, coming as it does close on the heels of the T20 World Cup. I have hardly been following the Champions league. And am sure there are many other ardent fans who are also suffering from this excess.
Now for the main agenda for this post. Here are some thoughts on the T20 World Cup with a little focus on the Indian performance.

West Indies winning was liked all around. They certainly brought joy to all the cricket followers  through the "Gangnam style" cricket. But will this mark a turnaround in their fortunes. I don't think so,  given that most of the current West Indies lot is more interested in performing in one T20 league or the other across the world. Will the likes of Pollard, Gayle, Bravo, Sunil Naraine show the same commitment when matches of West Indies clash with the Big Bash or IPL etc?

Sri Lanka again lost in a major final (4th in last 5 years). But they have certainly been the most consistent of all teams in the limited overs format.

There was a strategic decision by Mahela Jayawardene to handover the captaincy to Kumara Sangakkara to avoid getting a ban. A move which raised a few eyebrows about the slow over-rate rule. Tony Grieg, the Cheerleader-in-chief of Sri Lanka went all gungho hailing this "tactical" move by the Sri Lankan team management. I don't have any issue as all this was not illegal. But what about the "Spirit of Cricket" nonsense which Mr. Grieg had harped on about earlier this year at the MCC lecture. In my opinion, Mr. Greig if this is not hypocrisy, then I wonder what is?

Shane Watson was a deserving Man of the Series. One player who certainly owes a lot to the IPL

A pattern has been observed in the tournament winners. They generally have very bad starts to the tournament. In fact, 3 of them have gone on to win the tournament without even a single win in the first phase. Here are the opening round performances of the 4 winners
  • 2007 - India - 1 No result, 1 Tie (win in bowl-out)
  • 2009 - Pakistan - 1 loss, 1 win 
  • 2010 - England - 1 Loss, 1 No Result 
  • 2012 - West Indies - 1 Loss, 1 No Result
ICC needs to review the necessity of a Super Over in League stages. Use it in the knock-outs, but why is required at all in a League game? A tie is after all a perfectly acceptable result in any league format across sports.

England, I am worried about you. If you could make Piyush Chawla look like Shane Warne, then a 4-nil thrashing is in the offing in India. Have to admit that the better players of spin (Pietersen, Cook, Trott, Bell)weren't in the squad. Which begs the question, why weren't they there?

Now for India. The team doesn't give the feeling of a team at all. A few thoughts on the Indian performance.
  • Batting has become Virat Kohli + support. Only if, just in case, Kohli might have an off day (an increasingly rare occurence), the batting collapses completely. 
  • There were some very strange team selections. The presence of Piyush Chawla, absence of Umesh Yadav/Praveen Kumar. Manoj Tiwary being forever benched. Rohit Sharma getting game after game. Irfan Pathan opening when there are 6 other specialist batsmen waiting in the dug-out. Quite logic defying.
  • One highlight was the return to fitness, though not complete form of Yuvraj Singh. His return from cancer is certainly more than just cricket.
  • Dhoni is looking weary. Its said captains have a shelf life. He seems to be at the end of his. All this non-stop cricket is certainly taking a toll. But no replacement seems to be ready to take over the mantle from him.
  • Yet insite of all this, India did win 4 out of the 5 games they played. So there is hope.
  • And yes, we continue our DOMINANCE over Pakistan in the World Cups (:D)
So these were my thoughts on the Gangnam style World Cup.

P.S. More than the Champions League, what I have been following is the ongoing Duleep Trophy. To be covered in the next post.