Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year That was In Numbers - Test's 2011

There were some great test matches witnessed in 2011. It was an awesome year for the longest format of its own...

Here is a summary of the top 5 batsmen, top 5 bowlers and the team records for the year 2011.

Test Match Team Records for the Year 2011

India - 12, 3, 5, 4 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

Pakistan - 10, 6, 1, 3 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

Sri Lanka - 11, 1, 4, 6 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

Australia - 9, 4, 3, (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

New Zealand - 5, 2, 2, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

England - 8, 6, 0, 2 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

South Africa - 5, 2, 2, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

West Indies - 10, 2, 4, 4 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

Bangladesh - 5, 0, 4, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Draw)

Test Match Top 5 Batsmen for the Year 2011

Rahul Dravid (India) - 12, 1145, 57.25 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) - 11, 1034, 49.23 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Ian Bell (England) - 8, 950, 118.75 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Darren Bravo (West Indies) - 10, 949, 49.95 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Alastair Cook (England) - 8, 927, 84.27 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Test Match Top 5 Bowlers for the Year 2011

Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan) - 8, 50, 23.86 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Ishant Sharma (India) - 12, 43, 36.69 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)
- 10, 41, 29.07 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Devendra Bishoo (West Indies) - 10, 39, 36.23 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Abdur Rehman (Pakistan) - 8, 36, 26.27 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sledging sets Cricket on Fire!!!

Sledging has been around, probably ever since Cricket has been around!!! Steve Waugh called it 'Mental Disintegration', an attempt to give a good name to the practice!! Sledging is a tactic that teams use to intimidate the opposing player or to make him lose his concentration and do something, which he would not, in normal circumstances. The sledges are often humorous that spice up a dull game but sometimes there are stares, glares and abuses. The goal of sledging is to cause passions to flow in the batsmen that will help to upset the batsman's positive outlook and poise. One of the greatest joys of watching Cricket is when a genuine fast bowler is breathing fire down the batsman's throat and after the batsman plays and misses a few, the bowler gives him a lesson or two in batting!!!

What's the main requirement of sledging?? The main requirements are a Sharp Mind and a Fiery Tongue!!! The sharp mind coupled with a fiery tongue gets the best out of the cricketers and mostly the sledging incident leads to guffaws and peals of laughter from all concerned players!!! What better player to start a topic on sledging than W G Grace!! He was a master of the game and used his sharp mind and fiery tongue to get him out of sticky situations...
  • Once when he was clean bowled, he calmly replaced the bails and told the umpire "Young man, they have come to see me bat, not you Umpire!!!"
What can be more sticky for a batsman than getting out!! And how he used his fiery tongue and sharp mind to get out of it!! But it is often said that you generally find your match eventually and even someone who surpasses you!
  • Once it so happened that, When the ball knocked off a bail, W G Grace replaced it and told the umpire "Twas the wind which took thy bail off, good sir." The umpire replied "Indeed, doctor, and let us hope thy wind helps the good doctor on thy journey back to the pavilion."

Dr. W G Grace, One of the earliest legends of the game
A Fiery Doctor

Dr. W G Grace would never walk and sometimes, it is said, even the umpires gave him the benefit of the doubt! This one involving W G Grace is my personal favorite... Here it goes...
  • Charles Kortright had dismissed him four or five times in a county game - only for the umpires to keep turning down his appeals. Finally, he uprooted two of Grace's three stumps. Grace stalled, as though waiting for a no-ball call or something, before reluctantly walking off with Kortright's words in his ears "Surely you're not going, doctor? There's still one stump standing."
Its incidents like this that marked the career of one the earliest greats of the game - Dr. W G Grace. This incident reportedly had everyone in gags as a sheepish W G Grace made his way back to the pavilion!!!

Another player who prominently used sledging to good effect was the big built with the most fabulous mustache - the Aussie paceman Merv Hughes, also known as Big Merv!! Here are two sledging incidents involving his fiery tongue and sharp mind!!
  • On a day of repeated plays and misses for Robin Smith, Hughes retorted "Mate, if you turn the bat over, you'll see the instructions on the back."
The Man with the fiery mustache, Merv Hughes
A Fiery Character

  • Javed Miandad once told Big Merv he looked like a ticket collector on a bus... When Merv got him out he ran past him and shouted "Ding Ding, Tickets please".
I still burst out with laughter imagining the big man uttering those words!! Even the fielders must have had a hard time controlling their amusement. Surely Merv had a great sense of humor and coupled with the sharpness of the mind and a fiery tongue, it made for great viewing!!!

Now two involving Shane Warne! Another Aussie! Man, these Aussie's are taking all the pedestals as far as sledging is concerned!!
  • Australia enjoyed some great rivalry with the South Africans and once as the South African batsman Daryll Cullinan was on his way to the wicket, Warne told him that he had been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate him. The South African batsman's response? "Looks like you spent it eating"
The Bad boy of Australian cricket,
never shy of having a chat with the batsman - Shane Warne
A Fiery Bloke

  • As Warne was trying to tempt portly Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga out of his crease, Ian Healy suggested "Putting a Mars Bar on a good length". Apparently Ranatunga's response was even better. David Boon (another portly Aussie player) was fielding at short leg, so Ranatunga quipped that Boony would get to the Mars Bar first!
Definitely the second incident must have drawn laughs from everyone! Its a great example of the sharpness of mind and a fiery tongue! If Warne was sharp and fiery then Ranatunga proved to be sharper and fierier!!!

I will reserve my last incident for the man who not only batted in the most fierce manner but had a great sense of humor. One of the best players to have ever played the game, West Indian batsman Viv Richards. It is said that no bowler dared to sledge him as he punished them hard for their misdemeanor!! But bowlers being bowlers, sometimes could not control themselves and paid the price!!

Bowlers never dared to sledge Sir Vivian Richards,
when they did... they were thrashed!!
A Fiery Maaan
  • In a county game against Glamorgan, Greg Thomas attempted to sledge Vivian Richards after he had played and missed at several balls in a row. He informed Richards "It's red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering." Richards hammered the next delivery out of the ground and into a nearby river. Turning to the bowler, he commented "Greg, you know what it looks like, now go and find it!!!"
So sledging definitely has its own charm in the sport of cricket and without it the sport would miss something! Definitely the players should not cross the line and hurl abuses towards the opposing players family... But light hearted banter is always welcome!! Humor may be used to just as good effect as abuse for the point of unsettling batsmen!

Reading all these stories of cricket matches of the years gone by is to be reminded over and over again, that cricket matches have always featured chatter in the middle, that grown men, when thrown into close competitive proximity will often find ways to express a variety of emotions... Aided by a fiery tongue and a sharp mind, we get some of "THE MOMENTS" in sports...

PS - Images courtesy -- 1st, 3rd, 4th, 2nd

PPS - This was my entry to the contest on Indiblogger - Sets You On Fire

If You Like it then please Promote it Here - Sledging sets Cricket on Fire!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Year That was In Numbers - ODI's 2011

So the year 2011 has seen its share of ODI matches. Now only the test matches remain!!!
Here is a summary of the top 5 batsmen, top 5 bowlers and the team records for the year 2011.

ODI Team Records for the Year 2011

India - 34, 24, 10, 2, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

Pakistan - 32, 24, 7, 0, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

Sri Lanka - 28, 14, 12, 0, 2 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

Australia - 25, 18, 6, 0, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

New Zealand - 17, 9, 7, 0, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

England - 30, 11, 16, 2, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

South Africa - 15, 9, 6, 0, 0 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

West Indies - 28, 10, 17, 0, 1 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

Bangladesh - 20, 6, 14, 0, 0 (Played, Won, Lost, Tied, No Result)

ODI Top 5 Batsmen for the Year 2011

Virat Kohli (India) - 34, 1381, 47.62 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Jonathan Trott (England) - 29, 1315, 52.60 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Shane Watson (Australia) - 23, 1139, 56.95 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) - 27, 1127, 51.22 (Matches, Runs, Average)

Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan) - 32, 1075, 37.06 (Matches, Runs, Average)

ODI Top 5 Bowlers for the Year 2011

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) - 24, 48, 19.25 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) - 27, 45, 20.82 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Mitchell Johnson (Australia) - 22, 39, 20.94 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan) - 20, 34, 17.08 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Brett Lee (Australia) - 19, 33, 21.72 (Played, Wickets, Average)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Whats happened to Australia???

Well exactly a month ago, on the 10th of November 2011, Australia were shot out for 47 after being 21/9 at one stage against South Africa. Today on the 10th of December, they were bundled out for a measly 136 after being 75/7 at one stage and staring at another sub hundred score!!!

Australian team of the early 1990's and 2000's inflicted such scars on opposition teams, they shocked them, humiliated them but now its all going wrong for them. Who would have imagined this would be the state of the Aussie team a couple of years ago... Life has come full circle for them, they do not possess the same firepower in the batting department!! There is no Hayden and Langer to rattle away at the start, Ponting is only a pale shadow of what he was, there is no steel of Steve Waugh, no counter attack of Gilchrist... Not to mention Damien Martyn and Darren Lehmann!!!

Warner and Hughes are good players but they are more suited to the shorter formats of the game. Marsh and Watson are injured too often to make a consistent impact on the team performance. Khwaja only gets a chance if some of the players are injured as Ponting is not keen on retirement!! Hussey and Clarke can only do so much when the rest of the batting is so frail and tentative...

Australia Vs New Zealand - 2nd Test, Hobart from 9-13 December 2011

Lets wait and watch if Australia can stage a comeback in the second innings or if New Zealand win this one comfortably. As of now New Zealand lead by 153 runs with 7 wickets remaining and 3 days to go!! It is shaping to be another close match and I love Test Cricket for matches like these!!! No One Dayer or T-20 can give you the thrill or joy as a good, hard fought Test Match can...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

India Vs West Indies - 4th Odi

India v West Indies at Indore, Dec 8, 2011

Sehwag won yet another toss and this time he decided India will bat first. India brought Rahul Sharma in place of Umesh Yadav who will fly to Australia to acclimatise to the conditions before the tough Aussie tour. West Indies were forced to leave out Darren Bravo and brought in K Powell.

Sehwag and Gambhir were in need of some time in the middle and they are making the most of the flat pitch. As I type this India are 192/1 with Gambhir just getting out for a well compiled 67 in 67 balls. Suresh Raina has been promoted. Sehwag is batting on 113 off just 82 balls with 5 monstrous sixes.

Lets see what happens in the rest of the innings.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

India Vs West Indies/ India Vs Australia

India was expected to sweep aside the West Indian Team in the one days but they are yet to put up a commanding win. The first match was a thriller which Indians managed to win by a solitary wicket. The second match too was close though not as close as the first one. India lost the third match by 16 runs, which looks close but they had lost the match long back when they collapsed to 105/6.

The big question is will India be able to fight on the Australia tour. Its going to be a very tough tour as Aussie's might be weakened but they still have high caliber players like Watson, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey. India did not look that convincing in the tests as well vs the West Indies. Sehwag and Gambhir seem to have lost the golden touch. Sachin is bogged down by the 100th 100 expectations. Laxman plays only in crisis. Dravid was the only consistent batsman both against England and West Indies. West Indies twice took 1st innings lead in the test series. Bowling is not penetrative enough. Ashwin and Ojha capitalized on the West Indian batsmen weakness against the spin. Australians will not collapse like that against spin neither will the Australian pitches help them that much. The signs are not looking good ahead of a tough tour.

I hope the Indians hit their straps in the last two one days and get some much needed form going before the all important tour down under. Cant wait for the Aussie tour to begin. Share your views here.