Rajiv’s World

April 3, 2009

Indian tail exposed as Dravid perishes

Filed under: cricket — Tags: , , , — Rajiv @ 3:22 am

New Zealand took two quick wickets to rein in a rapid start to India’s innings, leaving the tourists 101 for two at lunch on the first day of the third cricket at the Basin Reserve on Friday.

Virender Sehwag hit 48 from 51 balls as India rushed to 73 in the 16th over, challenging New Zealand’s decision to bowl on winning the toss, before he and opening partner Gautam Gambhir were out in the space of nine balls.

Sehwag had hit seven fours and a six and seemed set for his first half century of the series, following his earlier scores in the three-test series of 24, 8 not out, 34 and 22, when he fell to Iain O’Brien.

Gambhir had made 23 in 79 minutes when he followed Sehwag, trapped lbw by James Franklin as the New Zealand change bowlers struck after the new-ball pair of Chris Martin and Tim Southee failed to make a breakthrough.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori indicated he would gamble if he won the toss and would send India in on a pitch which looked dry, brown and hard and unlikely to assist his four-pronged seam attack.

He took that step when India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, returning after missing the second test with a back injury, called incorrectly and gave New Zealand the chance to implement a risky game plan.

Vettori almost immediately had cause to regret his decision as India, with Sehwag in dominant form, rushed to 50 in only 44 minutes and to 68 without loss by the end of the first hour.

April 2, 2009

Dhoni to undergo fitness test on Wednesday

Filed under: cricket — Tags: — Rajiv @ 4:23 am

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who skipped the second Test against New Zealand with a back injury, will undergo a fitness Test on Wednesday to assess his chances of playing the third and final match in Wellington.

Virender Sehwag, who led here in Dhoni’s absence, could not confirm Dhoni’s participation in the final Test starting on Friday and said, “I don’t know. I don’t know yet but he (Dhoni) will give his fitness Test day after.”

Dhoni took part in the team practice ahead of the second Test before pulling out due to the injury and Sehwag, though tipped off the previous night, was asked to lead the side barely hours before the toss took place.

Sehwag was in fact wearing Dhoni’s blazer when he went out for the toss of coin.

INDIA AWAITING TO SWEEP THE SERIES

Filed under: cricket — Tags: , , — Rajiv @ 4:21 am

With an unassailable lead in hand, India only have to guard against complacency and the notoriously seaming track of the Basin Reserve to notch their first Test win here in 34 years when they take on New Zealand in the third and final match of the series here on Friday.

Having won Tests at Adelaide, Perth, Trinidad, The Oval, Multan, Galle, Johannesburg and Hamilton, they are now faced with their biggest challenge of scoring a win at a venue where their last triumph came in 1975.

Having established a 1-0 lead at Seddon Park, they need to only draw the third and final Test here to achieve a historic series triumph, last accomplished by Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi’s team in 1967-68.

But their task wouldn’t be a stroll in the park as, unlike at Hamilton and Napier, they will be tested on a sporting deck, which is expected to have a lot of carry and assist lateral movement off the seam.

If India can exorcise their fear against the moving ball, it would help to raise their bar in international cricket as a team which has won Test matches in all conditions and wickets, irrespective of it assisting pace, bounce, swing, seam and cut.

Somehow their inadequate skill or technique in combating the moving ball, has stuck out like a sore pimple on an otherwise good Test profile. How else can one explain India’s four defeat and one win record at the Basin Reserve. Interestingly, they have lost their last four Test matches here (1975-76; 1980-81, 1998-99 and 2002-03).

In fact, they had conjured one of their worst performances in Test history when they were bowled out for below par scores of 161 and 121.

But that was when the Kiwis prepared green tops to rattle them.

Today, the Kiwis are wary of the Indian bowling attack. They have refrained from spicing up the deck with grass this time around.

India’s performance over the last 18 months has been the envy of every Test playing nation, a duration in which they have beaten the best in exacting situations.

If they reproduce the character and fortitude that they displayed in the second Test at Napier, when they overcame the odds of losing a Test by an innings and salvaged a draw, the Kiwis, who have strengthened their pace attack by calling in Tim Southee, should be ones squirming.

India’s formidable batting has kept them in good stead with Sachin Tendulkar topping the run aggregate with (273 in three innings), followed by Gautam Gambhir (255), VVS Laxman (230) and Rahul Dravid (219).

March 31, 2009

David beckam’s bald hairstyles

Filed under: trendy hair styles — Rajiv @ 4:01 am

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March 30, 2009

IND VS NZ 2ND TEST ENDS IN DRAW

Filed under: cricket — Tags: , — Rajiv @ 12:46 pm

With some timely performances by Gambhir (137), Dravid (62), Tendulkar (64) and Laxman (124*), India scored 476/4 in the 2nd innings to draw 2nd Test against NZ.

Gandhi detained under tough law

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — Rajiv @ 8:01 am

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A grandson of the ex-Indian PM Indira Gandhi has been detained under a federal law for inciting religious tensions during the election campaign.

Authorities in Uttar Pradesh state imposed the National Security Act (NSA) on Varun Gandhi, a candidate of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Under the NSA, a person can be detained up to one year without bail.

Mr Gandhi has denied making inflammatory speeches and said a recording of them had been “doctored”.

The Election Commission has said it was convinced that footage of Mr Gandhi’s speech had “not been tampered with, doctored or morphed as alleged by the respondent”.

Mr Gandhi is now lodged in a prison in Pilibhit where he surrendered on Saturday.

Violent protests

A senior official of the Uttar Pradesh government said that the NSA had been invoked in Mr Gandhi’s case on “charges of inciting communal passion by making provocative and inflammatory speeches during [election campaign] meetings”.

The decision to impose the federal law late on Sunday came a day after Mr Gandhi surrendered to a local court after a criminal case was lodged against him for making the speeches.

His arrest was marked by violent protest by his supporters.

On Sunday, three new cases were lodged against Mr Gandhi and his supporters including attempt to murder, rioting, destruction of public property and preventing government officials from their duty.

The footage of Mr Gandhi’s rallies on 6 and 8 March in Pilibhit have been broadcast on Indian television.

The BJP has said Mr Gandhi will be its candidate despite an advice from the federal election authorities to drop him.

Mr Gandhi cannot be barred from contesting elections unless he is convicted or found guilty by courts and sentenced for at least two years in jail.

Mr Gandhi is the son of Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi’s younger son who was killed in a plane crash.

Although he is a descendant of the influential Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Mr Gandhi belongs to a side of the family that has disowned them

ECB plans coloured kits for first D/N Test

Filed under: cricket — Tags: , , — Rajiv @ 3:26 am

In a move that has infuriated the purists, the Cricket Board here is planning to introduce coloured clothing for the first day-night Test that pits England against Bangladesh next year.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the match, to be played at Lord’s in May, may have cricketers sporting coloured kits as the administrators have so far failed to find a suitable replacement for the red ball, which is not visible under floodlights.

“If a white ball is to be used, the cricketers’ clothing must be some other colour,” the report stated.

The administrators have been experimenting with pink and orange balls but the results have not been all that encouraging.

The ECB’s plan has, however, already raised the hackles of traditionalists, who feel the move will destroy the sanctity of Test cricket at the very home of the game.

“I am one of the old school and I am all for the game being played in white. It is best to play at Test match in white and during the day,” said retired umpire Dickie Bird.

The newspaper said “there have already been in-depth discussions on the subject at two recent ECB committee meetings.” “John Stephenson, the head of cricket for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has been asked to move the initiative forward,” it added

March 29, 2009

India 252/2 at stumps, trail by 62 runs

Filed under: cricket — Tags: , , , — Rajiv @ 10:35 am

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With solid batting performances by Gambhir (102*), Dravid (62) and Tendulkar (58*), India fought back with a score of 252/2 in their 2nd innings on Day 4 of the 2nd Test against the Kiwis at Napier. The tourists trail by 62 runs. Gambhir and Tendulkar will open the fifth and last day for their side.

In the morning, with their overnight 2nd innings total of 47/1, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid resumed batting. They looked anxious to save the Test match and to some extent they were successful in their efforts of not losing wickets early. Both the players stuck to the crease and played almost all shots in the books to partner each other well.

Gambhir looked rock solid right from the beginning and with Dravid at the other end, it could only get better. Gambhir soon completed his fifty runs on 127 balls and India was seen crossing the 100-run mark in the 43rd over. With this performance, Gambhir also became the third fastest Indian player to reach 2000 runs after Sehwag and Dravid. The pair gave a slow but cautious start to the day’s play, it worked and India went into lunch break with 119/1.

The left and right hand combination came up with 100-run partnership in the 55th over. Dravid kept the momentum and stitched a well-deserving 55th Test half-century of his career. He along with Gambhir got firmly settled in the middle to keep the scoreboard ticking.

The partnership seemed hard to be broken but just few minutes before the tea break, Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori came to the rescue for his side and got the breakthrough in the form of Dravid’s wicket, who faced 220 balls since morning to score invaluable 62 runs. It was a commendable performance and much-needed stand for India. Sachin Tendulkar came in to replace ‘The Wall’, who didn’t seem to be happy with the umpire’s decision. The game was halted for tea break with India on 180/2, trailing by 134 runs then.

Tendulkar looked unperturbed by the fact that Gambhir and Dravid played a slow but sensible game. He was in his natural form, played some nice shots to support the Delhi dasher at the other end. Tendulkar, who missed a fifty in 1st innings by 1 run, made no mistake to raise his 55th Test half-century of his career in the 2nd innings to reduce New Zealand’s hopes of cleaning up the Indian batting order on Day 4.

While, Gambhir showed some great resilience by facing 265 balls to raise his 5th Test century of his career. The Indians, who threw away their wickets in 1st innings, looked conscious today and batted superbly to hang in there. Gambhir and Sachin left the scoreboard at 252 at the loss of 2 wickets.

On Day 3, with the first innings wrapped up on 305, India scored 47 runs in their 2nd innings at the loss of one wicket – Sehwag (22). After getting all out on 305, follow on was imposed on India and they were asked to bat again.

March 28, 2009

Sourav knew about captaincy plan: Buchanan

Filed under: cricket — Tags: , , — Rajiv @ 11:55 am

The controversy surrounding the Kolkata Knight Riders team over coach John Buchanan’s idea of rotating captaincy took another twist when the Australian claimed that he had discussed the matter with captain Sourav Ganguly before announcing it.

“I had discussed in detail with Sourav about his future role in the team after the last IPL season. It was not new to him at all,” Buchanan was quoted as saying by a Bengali daily on Friday.

When it was brought to his notice that Ganguly had said he had not been consulted in the matter, Buchanan said, “At least I can say that we had discussed the necessity for creating new leadership”.

Ganguly had earlier in a television interview said he had no idea about Buchanan’s new concept on captaincy and came to know about it through the media.

Asked whether Shah Rukh Khan, owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, had been consulted, the former Australian coach said, “SRK has given me complete freedom”.

He said the whole controversy was a media creation. To a question as to who could be the KKR captain for the forthcoming championship in South Africa, Buchanan said besides Ganguly, the team had (Chris) Gayle and (Brendon) McCullum.

Meanwhile, the KKR camp continued at the Eden Gardens for the third day today with four other players, former India opener Akash Chopra, leg spinner Iqbal Abdullah, all rounder Shoaib Shaikh and off-spinner Mohnish Parmar joining the practice

Dominant NZ force India to follow on

Filed under: cricket — Rajiv @ 11:52 am

With the first innings wrapped up on 305, India scored 47 runs in their 2nd innings at the loss of one wicket – Sehwag (22) on Day 3 of the 2nd Test. Gambhir and Dravid will resume batting on Day 4 as the tourists trail by 267 runs.

For the hosts, Martin was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 wickets. While Vettori, O’Brien and Patel bagged two wickets each to leave India beleaguered.

After getting all out on 305, follow on was imposed on India and they were asked to bat again. Gambhir and Sehwag opened the 2nd innings and both looked naturally aggressive and a bit conscious this time.

A quick 22 runs were added to the scoreboard from Sehwag’s bat and he was back in pavilion. A wrong selection of shot by the right-hander led Patel trap him in front of the wickets. In-form Dravid, who made an efficient 83 runs in the 1st innings, came out to support Gambhir and both batted till the end of the day.

Early in the morning, with an overnight total of 79/3, Tendukar and Dravid initiated the proceedings. NZ skipper Daniel Vettori led the bowling department. The batting duo played very cautiously right from the beginning as they had already lost three wickets – Sehwag (34), Gambhir (16) and Ishant (0) by the end of Day 2.

Dravid looked in solid form and continued playing a fine innings to raise hi 55th Test half-century. While Tendulkar on the other end seemed quite confident and there was smoothness in the flow of runs from his bat. But soon India dealt with a big blow when Master Blaster fell on 49, just one run away from completing his 52nd Test fifty of the career. He was foxed by pacer Jeeten Patel with a swift catch taken by Taylor at slips.

India struggled on 165/4 when classy VVS Laxman came in next to partner already settled Dravid. Both the batsmen added another 24 runs by the lunch break and the total then stood at 189 at the loss of four wickets.

Two refined batsmen Dravid and Laxman were at the job of reviving Indian innings and they lived up to the expectations but only to the extent of giving some reprieve to their side. Laxman soon completed his 38th Test half-century. As the pair looked set in the middle, New Zeland’s Jesse Ryder bowled out successfully to break Dravid’s resistance on 83 (off 206 balls) and cut short the much-needed partnership.

Yuvraj Singh then joined Laxman at the crease but the left-hander proved to be a disappointment with the bat and became Martin’s 150th Test victim for a duck at the stroke of tea. India were then 6 wickets down with a total of 253. Dinesh Karthik, who replaces injured MS Dhoni as the wicket-keeper, walked in next.

Martin struck for the second time and scalped Dinesh Karthik on six runs. Habhajan Singh was sent to pump up the Indian total but Laxman’s vigil was ended by Martin to take his third wicket for the day.

O’Brien did the last honours for the hosts to clear up the Indian batting line-up by taking Zaheer Khan’s (8) and Harbhajan Singh’s (18) wicket. India’s first innings were wrapped up for 305.

On Day 2, India scored 79 and lost 3 wickets in reply to New Zealand’s mammoth total of 619.daniel-vettori

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