Tuesday, March 22, 2022

IPL 2022: Jharkhand & Bihar Representation

IPL 2022 is around the corner. It is expanded, still impacted by the pandemic but most importantly back in India. All matches in its own bubble though instead of going all over the country.

Here are the representatives from Jharkhand and Bihar who will be appearing in this edition

  1. MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings) – he may have retired from all other formats and tournaments, but Dhoni continues to a vital cog in the CSK juggernaut.
  2. Ishan Kishan (Mumbai Indians) – MI broke the bank for Ishan. As expected, he was the highest valued player in this year’s auctions. And now has to live up to this price tag as well.
  3. Varun Aaron (Gujarat Titans) – Should get a few games during the tournament
  4. Anukul Roy (Kolkata Knight Riders) – moved from Mumbai Indians where he was playing more as a specialist substitute fielder. Lets see what opportunities he gets with KKR
  5. Shahbaz Nadeem (Lucknow Super Giants) – A new franchisee for Nadeem. Should get a few games here.
Bihar - Anunay Singh (Rajasthan Royals) – first ever representative of Bihar team to be picked by an IPL team. Hope he gets some game time.

There were no takers for the likes of Saurabh Tiwary (quite surprising), Virat Singh & Utkarsh Singh who were part of last year’s squads. There could be some injury/withdrawal replacements opening up during the tournament. 

Good luck to all the players! Hope they use these opportunities to further their careers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Ranji Trophy 2021-22: Pre-Quarter Final - Jharkhand vs Nagaland

Jharkhand 880/10 & 417/6d drew with Nagaland 289/10

What a weird match. Played on a non-responsive pitch showing the gulf between the Elite and Plate groups. Jharkhand could be accused of not showing “intent” to win, but what would they even gain had they tried winning. Better to just bat on rather than field in these hot conditions! And they did take 100 overs to get Nagaland out in the first innings.

This was also a game for the record keepers and statisticians. And it also got the social media attention helped by the fact that it was the only Ranji game on.

Small mercy for Nagaland – everyone agreed to a Draw much before the scheduled close, otherwise they had a small matter of 1,009 runs to chase in the final innings.

And spare a thought for the Jharkhand top order who did not really join this run-feast like their middle and lower order did! And credit to Saurabh Tiwary and Virat Singh for not batting in the second innings! Meanwhile wondering how Sushant Mishra would feel for getting a pair in this match

  • 880 – 4th highest Ranji Trophy score ever and the highest in this millennium
  • 1297 – Jharkhand’s combined tally – 3rd highest match tally. I guess the team minght not have been aware of this record when they called in the second innings.
  • Kumar Kushagra – 254 & 89 – Maiden first-class century. Scoring big runs in the true tradition of a Jharkhand wicket-keeper (Dhoni, Ishan Kishan, Indrani Roy)
  • Virat Singh – 5th First-class century
  • Anukul Roy – 2nd first-class century & personal best of 153
  • Shahbaz Nadeem – 2nd first-class century & personal best of 177
  • Rahul Shukla – 85* coming in at No. 11. He certainly missed out on century
Season Stats
Highest Scorers
  1. Kumar Kushagra 437 @ 72.83, 1x200, 1x50
  2. Anukul Roy 283 @ 35.38, 1x100, 1x50
  3. Virat Singh 278 @ 39.71, 2x100
Highest Wicket-takers
  1. Shahbaz Nadeem 18 @ 21.67, 2x5, 1x10
  2. Sushant Mishra 13 @ 23.62, 1x5
  3. Anukul Roy 10 @ 23.50
Best Batting: Kumar Kushagra 254 vs Nagaland
Best Bowling: Sushant Mishra 5/27 vs Chhattisgarh
Player Count: 15
Captain Count: 2
First-Class Debut: 3

Coming Up Next: Quarter-Finals which will be held post IPL

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Ranji Trophy 2021-22: Bihar Review

Bihar finished 5th in the Plate group with a campaign which started promisingly ending in a whimper. However, Sakibul Gani’s breakout performance were certainly the highlight of the campaign. Let’s see how he builds on from here.

Ashutosh Aman lead the side. Here is a game-by-game summary of the season.

Game1: Bihar 686/5d drew with Mizoram 328 & 199/4 (f/o)
Points: Bihar 3, Mizoram 1
  • Sakibul Gani 341 – 1st player to score a triple century on first-class debut – world record for highest score on debut
  • Babul Kumar 229* - Highest score, 3rd First-class century
  • 538 – partnership between Sakibul & Babul
  • Bipin Saurabh – 50 on first-class debut
  • First-class debut – Bipin Saurabh, Malay Raj, Sachin Kumar, Sakibul Gani, Vikash Kumar
Game 2: Bihar 431/9d & 263/3 drew with Sikkim 673/8d
Points: Bihar 1, Sikkim 3
  • Sakibul Gani – 98 & 101*, the fantastic start continued, 2nd First-class century
  • Yashasvi Rishav – 112* in 2nd innings, 2nd first-class century
  • First-class debut – Abhinav Kumar
Game 3: Arunachal Pradesh 196 & 253 beat Bihar 109 & 325 by 15 runs
Points: Bihar 0, Arunachal Pradesh 6
  • Ashutosh Aman – 4/51 & 5/56 and 75 in 2nd innings; 15th 5-wicket haul in 20 matches!
  • Vikrant Singh – 50 on debut
  • Rishav Raj – 50 on debut
  • Sakibul Gani – 4 wickets & 61 runs in the match
  • First-class debut – Amit Sotiya, Banshidhar Kumar, Govind Chaudhary, Rishav Raj, Saurav Kumar, Shivam Singh, Vikrant Singh
Season Stats
Highest Scorers
  1. Sakibul Gani 601 @ 150.25, 1x300, 1x100, 1x50 – Highest scorer in this year’s Ranji Trophy
  2. Babul Kumar 372 @ 93.00, 1x200, 1x50
  3. Bipin Saurabh 126 @ 126.00, 2x50
Highest Wicket-takers
  1. Ashutosh Aman 14 @ 20.50, 1x5
  2. Abhijeet Saket 8 @ 29.75
  3. Sachin Kumar 6 @ 37.50
Best Batting: Sakibul Gani 341 vs Mizoram
Best Bowling: Ashutosh Aman 5/56 vs Arunachal Pradesh
Player Count: 20
Captain Count: 1 
First-Class Debut: 13

Monday, March 7, 2022

Ranji Trophy 2021-22: Jharkhand Group Stage Review

Ranji Trophy returned after a season off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the Omicron wave and restrictions still in place it was a short season with all teams getting just 3 games! But at least we had some action.

One team which certainly enjoyed this run was Jharkhand. They lost their first game against Chhattisgarh but then roared back with wins against Delhi and Tamil Nadu to top the group. However, having the worst record amongst all 8 group toppers, they will have to enter the play-off against Nagaland (who finished top of the Plate Group). But I guess the players wouldn’t complain as this gives them one more game!

Jharkhand’s season was headlined by the older warhorses – Saurabh Tiwary & Shahbaz Nadeem who each played a stellar role in getting the victories. They also had good support from the likes of Virat Singh, Rahul Shukla, Nazim Siddique and relative newcomer Kumar Suraj and debutante Sushant Mishra. Suraj is currently averaging over 50 although its still early days in his career!

Here is a game-by-game summary of the season so far.
Captains: Saurabh Tiwary Game 1 & 3, Virat Singh Game 2

Game 1: Jharkhand 169 & 133 lost to Chhattisgarh 174 & 129/2 by 8 wickets
Points: Jharkhand 0, Chhattisgarh 6
  • Sushant Mishra 5/27 in 1st innings on debut
  • Saurabh Tiwary completed 7000 runs in first-class cricket in his 101st game
Game 2: Jharkhand 251 & 307/7d beat Delhi 224 & 319 by 15 runs
Points: Jharkhand 6, Delhi 0
  • Virat Singh -103* in 1st innings, First-class Century #4
  • Shahbaz Nadeem – 5/58 & 5/83, First-class 5-wicket haul #20 & #21 and 10-wicket haul #6
  • Nazim Siddiqui – 52 & 110, First-class century #4
  • Kumar Suraj – 131* in 2nd innings, First-class century #3
  • First-class debut – Kumar Kushagra & Vikash Vishal
Game 3: Tamil Nadu 285 & 152 lost to Jharkhand 226 & 214/8 by 2 wickets
Points: Jharkhand 6, Tamil Nadu 0
  • Saurabh Tiwary – 58 & 93
  • Rahul Shukla – 3/57 & 5/29, 6th 5-wicket haul in first-class cricket
  • Kumar Kushagra – 1st First-class 50
Season Stats:
Highest Scorers
  1. Nazim Siddiqui 199 @ 33.17, 1x100, 1x50
  2. Saurabh Tiwary 182 @ 45.50, 2x50
  3. Virat Singh 171 @ 28.50, 1x100
Highest Wicket-takers
  1. Shahbaz Nadeem 15 @ 21.33, 2x5, 1x10
  2. Sushant Mishra 11 @ 20.73, 1x5
  3. Rahul Shukla 8 @ 10.75, 1x5
Best Batting: Kumar Suraj 131* vs Delhi
Best Bowling: Sushant Mishra 5/27 vs Chhattisgarh
Player Count: 15
Captain Count: 2
First-Class Debut: 3

Coming Up Next: Pre-Quarter-Final vs Nagaland from March 12th

Saturday, March 5, 2022

RIP Shane Warne

What a shocking piece of news. The phone had pinged with the notification of Shane Warne’s passing away. It was simple unbelievable. While the days are usually filled with terrible news – the Russian invasion of Ukraine, spiraling energy prices, a threat of nuclear war – somehow this one left me quite shaken.

Warne was a legend of the game. His career stats are outstanding – 708 wickets, most wickets in a year, most runs without a Test century, Player of the Match in World Cup semis & final, world cup winner, multiple Ashes winner, winning the IPL as player-captain-coach! The highlights reel of this stellar career is just the stuff of dreams and all this after a 1/150 on debut! And there was the flipside also – bookie information passing, run-ins with establishment, a drugs ban. But his sheer genius with a ball in hand (and sometimes with the bat as well) made him a true star. After all, not many could make things happen the way he did. And let's admit which cricket fan has not tried to imitate Warne’s bowling action. It was a simple action, an easy walk and just bowl it, nothing complicated and the ball then did all the talking!

His performances against India may have been a blip but here also he took a rag-tag bunch of Rajasthan Royals to inaugural IPL trophy ensuring that even us Indians barely impressed by any spinner finally acknowledged his genius.

Thankfully for the cricket fans, we have YouTube which is treasure trove of Warne’s accomplishments. Here is a compilation of my favorite ones.

Ball of the century to Mike Gatting

IMO his best ball in Test cricket – to Andrew Strauss

The ultimate sign of genius – walking the talk as he dismisses Brendon McCullum in a BBL game

Rest In Peace Shane Keith Warne – you legend!