Monday, January 26, 2015

My Greatest World Cup XI

The World Cup fever is now finally getting on. While we wait for the real thing to start on February the 14th, its time to reminisce about the World Cups gone by. And here is me indulging in some typical fanboy hobby of picking a Fantasy XI. Following is my selection of the Greatest XI from the ICC Cricket World Cups. (Link)

The selections have been made on the following criterion.
  • World Cup performances - multiple World Cups count more.
  • Being a World Cup winner. Hence no South Africans or Kiwis or English players
  • Special performances have more weightage
Now based on these criterion, following is my Greatest World Cup XI in batting order.
  1. Sachin Tendulkar - (winner 2011) most World Cup runs and consistent across tournaments. It would have been blasphemous for an Indian not to include him in such an XI. Also a handy bowler.
  2. Adam Gilchrist (wk) - (winner 1999, 2003, 2007) the greatest keeper-batsman of all time across formats. Also provides a left-right opening combination with Tendulkar. And a gentleman who walked even in the World Cup semi-finals.
  3. Ricky Ponting - (winner 1999, 2003, 2007) and once runner-up. Also the man to have played the most World Cup games. And that 140 in 2003 final in Johannesburg to knock India out (a sad moment for Indian fans but still I pick him)
  4. Viv Richards - (winner 1975, 1979) The original master blaster. Could change games single handedly, not just with the bat but also with the ball.
  5. Aravinda de Silva - (winner 1996) The key player in the 1996 winning campaign for Sri Lanka, was declared the Man of the Match in both the semis and the finals. Another handy spinner.
  6. Clive Lloyd (c) - (winner 1975, 1979). Excellent leader, superb batsman and a good fielder. He is in as captain of the team.
  7. Kapil Dev - (winner 1983) Fast bowling all-rounder whom India is still to replace. He walks in to the team just on the basis of that 175.
  8. Imran Khan - (winner 1992) The man could walk into any team either as batsman or a bowler or just a captain. After all he inspired the maverick Pakistanis to a World Cup victory from a seemigly hopeless situation.
  9. Wasim Akram - (winner 1992) The two stump seeking yorkers to break the back of the English chase in the 1992 final. Also undoubtedly the greatest left arm pace bowler of all time. And handy with the bat.
  10. Shane Warne - (winner 1999) The best leg-spinner. Very good at most times but excellent at the biggest stage. The ball to get rid of the Herchelle Gibbs in 1999 semis in That match.
  11. Glenn McGrath - (winner 1999, 2003, 2007) retired after collecting the most wickets in a single World Cup and being declared the player of the tournament.
So thats my Greatest World Cup XI. 6 batsman who can all maintain a more than handy run-rate, 5 bowlers, 4 fast bowlers including a left handed one, 2 all-rounders, 1 leg-spinner, 1 wicket-keeper, a left-right opening combination, 3 more than handy part-time spinners and some superb  fielders. The batting order seems settled. But not sure who will be the new ball operators. After all these are men who made the ball not just talk but could make it recite poetry if they wanted. 

Truly spoilt for choice.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ranji trophy 14-15: Jharkhand vs Hyderabad

Match Summary: Jharkhand (556/9 & 189/4) drew with Hyderabad (455 & 7/0) 
Points: Jharkhand 3, Hyderabad 1

This was more like a typical Ranji match. Team 1 wins toss, bats first and bats big. Team 2 tries to chase down. There may be a small 3rd innings and an inconsequential 4th one.

Jharkhand batted first. They were bolstered by the return of Varun Aaron, who had been away for national duty throughout the season. Aided by Ishank jaggi's second 201 of the season and Saurabh Tiwary's 100, they built their biggest total of the season. However Hyderabad also proved difficult to dislodge. Aaaron took 5 wickets to ensure Jharkhand had a 101 run lead. But it wasn't enough as time had run out of the match.

This was certainly an improved performance from the team, although coming quite late in the season.


  • Ishank Jaggi's 2nd double century of the season. 
  • Saurbah Tiwary's 2nd century of the season.
  • Varun Aaron's picking Jharkhand's first 5-wicket haul in his first game for the team this season.

Season Stats:
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 572 @81.71
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 18 @25.83

Standings - 9 points from 6 games. Move up to 6th place. A knock-out berth is now out of contention. 

Coming Up Next - Bottom place Goa.

P.S. The Jharkhand captaincy has changed mid-season with Kumar Deobrat now at the helm. Saurabh Tiwary apparently decided that captaincy was taking a toll on his batting and decided to step down to focus on his game.

Friday, January 23, 2015

23 Jan 2015: Notes & Stats

With a majestic innings of 142 against Australia in Hobart today,  Ian Bell, the Sledgehammer of Eternal Justice, and the patron saint of Slipstream Cricket has now become the highest run-scorer for England in One-Day-International Cricket surpassing Paul Collingwood's tally of 5092 runs.

Slipstream Cricket would like to convey their congratulations on this stupendous achievement.

Arbit Stats 40
267 - the most runs scored in an ODI innings by a team after the fall of the 5th wicket. 

Also the partnership between Luke Ronchi & Grant Elliot who are now the owners of the record for the highest 6th wicket ODI partnership. 

The previous owners - MS Dhoni and Mahela Jayawardene for Asia XI against Africa XI. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Arbit Stats 39

January 18, 2015, South Africa vs West Indies, at Johannesburg

The top three of Rilee Russow, Hashim Amla & Abraham Benjamin de Villiers scored centuries in the South African innings, making it the first ever instance of 3 individual centuries in a single ODI innings.

Meanwhile AB de Villiers helped himself to the records for the fastest ODI 50, fastest ODI 100 and equal most sixes in an innings. Not  a bad way to bat 44 deliveries.

P.S. Johannesburg is proving to be a record making/breaking ground. Today comes after the 434 ODI and the 231 T20. Wonder whats next in store at the Wanderers.

P.P.S. Wonder what the likes of Michael Holding and Ian Bishop would have been thinking while commentating on their team's bowling attack.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ranji Trophy 14-15: Jharkhand vs Himachal Pradesh

Match Summary: Himachal Pradesh (304 & 91/6) drew with Jharkhand (232) 
Points: Jharkhand 1, Himachal Pradesh 3

It was a weird sort of game. A tale of 2 big second wicket stands followed by a collapses. Batting first, Himachal had a big 2nd wicket stand between Ankus Bains and Ankit Kalsi. The second days play was lost due to weather. Then Himachal had a spectacular collapse from 224/1 to 304 all out. Jharkhand produced a big second wicket stand of their own. Going into the final day they looked set for the first innings lead. Instead they suffered a collapse of their own moving from  127 for 1 to 232 all out. Though they managed to reduce Himachal to 91 for 6 the second time around, time had run out . Himachal managed to take the vital innings lead.

Sumit Kumar made his first class debut for Jharkhand. He is now the 3rd wicket-keeper to play for the team this Ranji season.

Highlights: 127 run 2nd wicket partnership between Nemat & Tiwary which gave a glimmer of hope for the innings lead. Also taking out the last  8 wickets for 80 runs after conceding a 200 plus 2nd wicket stand in the 1st innings.

Season Stats:
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 371 @53.00
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 17 @21.76

Standings - 6 points from 5 games. Drop down to 8th place. A knock-out berth is now only a arithmetic possibility and not a realistic chance/

Coming Up Next - 4th place Hyderabad.

P.S. The Jharkhand captaincy has changed mid-season with Kumar Deobrat now at the helm. Saurabh Tiwary apparently decided that captaincy was taking a toll on his batting and decided to step down to focus on his game.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ranji Trophy 14-15: Jharkhand vs Andhra

Match Summary: Jharkhand (246 & 104) lost to Andhra (304 & 47/1) by 9 Wickets
Points: Jharkhand 0, Andhra 6

Jharkhand made a decnet start and then collapsed in the first innings. Andhra managed to overhaul the target but suffered a tail-end collapse if their own and took a small lead. But Jharkhand's collapsing ways continued with their worst batting display of the season in the second innings. Andhra missed out on the bonus point while chasing the small target. Something which may prove crucial at the end of the season for a place in the knock-outs.

Prakash Munda made his first class debut for Jharkhand. Gave a solid platform in both innings which the rest failed to capitalise on.

Highlights: Prakash Munda's debut performance.

Season Stats:
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 315 @45.00
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 13 @21.15

Standings - 5 points from 4 games. Retain the 7th place. A knock-out berth looking very unlikely unless the team can string together a series of outright victories alongwith some bonus points.

Coming Up Next - Away in the picturesque ground of Dharmsala against the league toppers Himachal.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

India's Probable World Cup Squad

2015 has arrived. And with it is coming the World Cup Down Under. There are a few weeks to go but the selection deadline is now imminent. January 7th is the deadline for the submission of the final teams. There may still be some changes on account of injuries and other issues though.

India's selectors have already picked a 30 man probable squad and this is going to be pruned down to the final 15 on January 6th. While waiting for the date to arrive, Slipstream Cricket has decided to make its own selections from the probables squad.

This was the squad picked by the selection panel.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Manoj Tiwary, Manish Pandey, M Vijay, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma, Ashok Dinda, R Ashwin, Parvez Rasool, Karn Sharma, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Sanju Samson, Wriddhiman Saha

From this list, the XV is being picked. Some of the factors considered.
  • World Cup is being played in Australia, known for big grounds and fast, bouncy pitches, & New Zealand - seaming pitches though the grounds are smaller. Hence lesser role for spinners.
  • Ideal playing XI to comprise of 6 batsmen, 1 wicket-keeper, 3 fast bowlers and 1 spinner with the fifth bowlers duty shared between two batsmen who can bowl. 
  • The remaining 4 slots can go to a reserve batsman, one keeper, one spinner and one fast bowler.
  • Injury update - Jadeja seems doubtful for the World Cup. Bhuvneshwar also hasn't played for some time now.
Now based on this criterion here is my pick for the World Cup
Dhoni, Kohli, Dhawan, Rahane, Raina, Rohit, Vijay, Rayudu, Ishant, Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Umesh, Ashwin, Axar, Uthappa.

There might be case of picking Binny as a seaming all-rounder in place of Vijay but don't think Dhoni has enough faith in his abilities.

Lets see what the selectors have in store for 6th.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ranji Tropy 14-15: Jharkhand vs Kerala

Match Summary: Jharkhand (337 & 337/5) drew with Kerala (383)
Points: Jharkhand 1, Kerala 3

It was another frustrating encounter for Jharkhand. 17 year old Virat Singh scored his maiden first-class hundred and taking the team to a decent tally of 337. Jharkhand were in with a chance to take the 1st innings lead but the Kerala last wicket pair ensured that their team overhauled the Jharkhand score and collected 3 points. The match then meandered to a draw as Jharkhand got in some valuable batting practice. Saurabh Tiwary got back into the groove with an unbeaten century.

Ashish Kumar made his first class debut for Jharkhand though there was nothing noteworthy in his performances. But these are early days.

Highlights: Centuries for Virat Singh and Saurabh Tiwary.

Season Stats:
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 298 @59.6
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 11 @22.5

Standings - 5 points from 3 games. Dropped 1 place to 7th. Certainly need to be putting in an outright victory to be in the contention for a knock-outs berth.

Coming Up Next - Away against 4th placed Andhra.