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Sachin..The Man..The Legend..The GOD..
When someone asks me what do you know about Sachin...? My reply would be “I don’t know who Sachin is, I only know Sir Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar – The GOD of cricket” Since the inception of International cricket, in the year 1844, till today, there have been a number of players who marked their appearance in the field of cricket. We have had Legends and Champions like Don Bradman, Alan Border, Vivian Richards, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and the list goes on and on, but then we never had another Sachin Tendulkar. Crossing all these, why Sachin is named as the GOD of cricket? In November 1989, Sachin made his International debut against Pakistan. From then on there is never seeing back in his 24 year old International cricket career. Let’s have a look at the stats on his career. These numbers are enough to say that he is more than a Legend and can be called as a God of cricket. But exactly from when and where the term “GOD” in the history of cricket persisted. This traces us to the Legendary Australian opener – Mathew Hayden. Although he never directly said that Sachin is the GOD of cricket, during Australia tour of India 1997-98, after seeing the impeccable batting style of Sachin, Hayden, in one of the public forums quoted that “I have seen God. He bats at number four for India in Tests.” And it was the era where cricket is gaining more popularity and late 90’s is the period when Sachin is in his peak form and every cricket fan in India started referring Sachin as the GOD of Cricket. Following this in the same period, group of fans in the Indian crowd came up with posters which quoted as “If cricket is our religion, then Sachin is our God.” And this was the era when the quote came in when social media didn’t even exist. It was the then Indian print media that used Sachin’s persona and the Indians’ affection towards Tendulkar which made this viral among the masses. He is perhaps the only batsman who got out for more than 48 times due to poor/wrong decisions by umpires. And he never questioned their decision, but all he did is walk back to the Pavilion with a smile on his face, after all he never forgets that Cricket is a Gentlemen’s game. No doubt, he mastered all the techniques in cricket and the current generation cricketers started referring to those of many. Let’s see few quotes on Sachin by some legends. Sir Donald Bradman – “I see myself when I see Sachin batting”. Sir Viv Richards – "I didn't see Don. But to me, in all the years associated with the game, I haven't seen a better batsman than Sachin Tendulkar". Allan Donald – “In my several years of international cricket, Tendulkar remains the best batsman I have ever bowled to.” Mark Taylor – “We did not lose to a team called india...we lost to a man called Sachin.” Steve Waugh – “There is no shame losing to such a great player” Brett Lee – “Sachin Tendulkar is the best yesterday, today and tomorrow.” Andy Flower – “There are two kinds of batsman in the world. One, Sachin Tendulkar, Two, all the others.” Andrew Flintoff – “When you bowl at him you are not just trying to get him out, you are trying to impress him” Shahrukh Khan – “I would like to thank you, Sachin, for letting us breathe the same air as you do.” Barack Obama – “I don’t know about Cricket but still I watch Cricket to see Sachin play..Not because I love his play, its because I want to know the reason why my country’s production goes down by 5 percent when he is in batting” A fan placard at the Sydney Cricket Ground said, "Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed for even the Lord is busy watching him". After all we are humans and what can we offer to this living GOD, except our prayers and worship to him. Wishing the God of Cricket – Many more happy returns of the day. About the Author The post is written by Sudheer . Sudheer is an MBA graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam. Cricket lover and a devotee of Sachin.. He is also interested in watching movies and giving reviews for the same..
Chennai Super Kings vs. Mumbai Indians – Then, Now and Forever!!!
The two heavyweights in the history of the world’s largest T20 cricket league - Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. They share seven successful IPL titles between them, with MI leading at 4. The battle between the Blues and the Yellow is the El Clasico of the IPL!! It all started even before the actual cricket action on the ground when the two franchises fought for MS Dhoni in the first IPL auction held in 2008. Eventually, MI had to give in due to the budgetary pressure since they already had an icon player in the form of Sachin Tendulkar. Thus, Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first Super King, and the rest is history Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images The real rivalry started in the year 2010 when the CSK skipper Dhoni positioned Hayden at the mid-off leading to the dismissal of danger man Kieron Pollard and, they clinched the trophy for the first time. Since then, a lot has changed over the seasons. The sponsors, chairman, captains, coaches, players, grounds, franchises in and out, but one everlasting thing is the rivalry between the two teams. The players have swapped between these two teams as well – Rayudu, Bravo, Harbhajan, Hussey, to name a few. Chennai has been the most consistent team in the history of the IPL. MI has been the most successful team clinching the IPL title four times. Both sides vary a lot in their style of playing and management as well. They have produced numerous match-winning players who have gone on to represent the country and excel at the international stage. MI is one of the few teams to have a better winning percentage at Chepauk by winning 6 of the eight encounters there. Initially, there was no clear winner in the battle between both the teams. But recently, the MI has dominated the yellow lads from down south and has won 5 of the last six outings. They are proving to be a headache for the MS led team in the knockouts as they dominate the CSK in IPL finals 3-1. MI is an entirely different team when they face the CSK, and they don’t yield to the pressure which the other teams exhibit when they face the mighty yellow giants. It is a fan-created rivalry with passionate fans and followers from both sides with no Indian team loyalties coming to the scene, be it Sachin, Dhoni, Rohit, or whoever it may be. Suresh Raina tops the batting chart in the contests between both sides with 722 runs while Lasith Malinga leads with the ball picking up 36 scalps. The following are the stats between the two sides, including both IPL and now-defunct Champions League T20. After 2010 final, the rivalry intensified further in 2012 when the CSK beat MI in the Eliminator, denying chances for MI to place their hands at the trophy. But the year 2013 belonged to the Mumbai Indians. They had won both the games in the league stages against the CSK. They played against each other in the 1st qualifier for a direct spot in the final. But the CSK, thanks to splendid knocks from Mike Hussey and Raina, posted a massive total on the board, and the MI failed to chase it. Then they came out victorious in the remaining playoff, and the iconic Eden Gardens played the host for the finals. MI posted an average target of 149 thanks to the pyrotechnics of Kieran Pollard, and Chennai failed to chase it. It was an act of sweet revenge from the Mumbai side as they clinched their first title, which they were denied three years ago by the same opposition, and the rivalry came full circle. In 2015, the Mumbai side was languishing at the bottom, and the quickfire knock of Hardik Pandya against the likes of Negi at Chepauk turned the fortunes for his side, which was the turning point in that season. Once again, the teams clashed on the big stage of the finals in the venue of Eden Gardens. The result was no different this time. MI was victorious thanks to the fireworks from Rohit and Pollard. There was a lull period in the rivalry as CSK faced a ban for the next two years. Then the epic comeback of all sorts happened when the IPL 2018 kicked off. CSK faced their arch-rivals MI in the opening match of the season at Wankhede. The target Needing166 runs, the CSK batting order collapsed with the team reeling at 119/8 with 47 runs required from 18 balls. Dwayne Bravo played one hell of an innings bringing down the equation down to 7 runs from 6 balls with one wicket in hand. The injured Kedhar Jadhav, who retired during the middle of the innings, returned to face the last over and led his team to victory. It was the start of something for CSK, which marked the most memorable comeback in the history of IPL for a side, signing off with the title victory in the same venue on May 27, 2018. In 2019, it was all Mumbai Indians throughout the season. They were victorious against the CSK in the league stages, and they beat them comfortably in the qualifiers as well. It was all set for the big final with both the teams tied at 3-3 title victories. The game went down till the last over where the MI veteran Lasith Malinga delivered for his side and nullified the valiant efforts from Shane Watson, leading his team to 1 run victory over the CSK and clinch the trophy for the 4th time. On March 29, 2020, we would have witnessed the 31st outing of this modern age rivalry between these sides, but thanks to COVID-19, it was not the case. Hopefully, the action resumes sooner, and the rivalry grows and produces some exciting action of cricket as it has done in the past. To more epic clashes and nail-biting moments from the men in blue and men in yellow. Cheers!!! About the Author The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.
The Monk from Ranchi
23rd December 2004. India vs Bangladesh, A young man walks to the crease, his appearance was too shocking to go unnoticed, he raised eyebrows with the long colored hair which ran till above the shoulders. By the time everybody could have known who the new batsman is, he was run out and, on his way back to the pavilion. Fast forward to 10th July 2019. India vs New Zealand, 2019 World Cup Semi-final, more than a billion eyes fixated on their television sets, it was the same guy from 2004 but not so young anymore, he was aging his hair now ran only up to his ears, this time he was carrying the burden of a nation with him, he went for a quick double and from nowhere Martin Guptill hit the bull’s eye. A billion hearts skipped their beats, a billion prayers were made when the decision was taken to the 3rd Umpire, a billion hearts were broken when the screen showed “Out”. Image Credit: AFP | Dibyangshu Sarkar The above was the story of a certain man from Ranchi, Jharkhand, wearing the jersey No.7. The man was a complete outsider of the Indian Cricket team. He did not come from a cricketing powerhouse city like Mumbai or Delhi. Jharkhand was not even a state and Ranchi was just a mining city in the state of Bihar! He rose against the odds. But how can one not notice talent like him? His batting was not poetical, he did not have the elegant straight drives or the eye-pleasing cover drive. To some cricketing pandits, his batting was something like sinning. Not that he cared for it, when he was promoted on the fateful match against Pakistan in Visakhapatnam, he played like as if he owned that place, stamping his authority on the game. There is an analogy, an average Indian cricket fan in the ’90s or the early ’00s switched off their television sets once they see the back of the great Sachin Tendulkar. Then came this man from Ranchi who made the same Indian fan hope the game is not over until he sees the back of #7! He is always a mystical figure. He is a God to many and villain to some. You might not understand what he was thinking when he takes the game deep, now I come to think of it, it is about who blinks first, sometimes it was the opposition and sometimes it was the man himself. He is a very different from the cricketing superstars our generation has seen. I mean with all the fame he has; he still finds comfort in spending time with his army regiment. He is known for his lusty blows with the bat, his hallmark helicopter strikes, and how can one forget his ability to run between the wickets and deceitful wicketkeeping skills! His retirement was on cards, I mean everything must come to an end and he is no exception. But everybody was anxious about how this will come. And he surprised everyone because no one was expecting at this moment, maybe it would have been more acceptable after the IPL or as some might have hoped after the T20 World Cup next year. But he surprised everyone with his decision like the one to give the last over to Joginder Sharma in T20 World Cup final or promoting himself up the order in the 2011 World Cup final or persisting with Ishant Sharma in 2013 Champions Trophy Final. I would not say he is above the game. But he is above numbers, logic, and tradition. His retirement came just like that in a flashy and uncanny manner in the same way he takes off the bails standing behind the stumps. He does not like the limelight, but it never left him. He is not a man with a lot of words but always had answers whether it was the opposition, the media, or the public. Cheeky touches of humor and sarcasm are another trait that made us hooked to the team press conferences & post-match presentations. Going forward, 15th August gives us another reason to cherish it and remember the man who has brought many laurels to our country. The man may have retired but his legacy and the impact on the game will be lasting for many years to come. Wishing him success in all his future endeavors. Hopefully, some of those are associated with the Indian cricket dressing room in some way or another. And sorry I forgot to mention the name, he is called Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the man who made a generation to believe and we fondly call him Thala. About the Author The post is written by Himanth. He is an alum of IIMV, a potter head, considers cricket his religion and Sachin his god.
Crazy British Grand Prix
The Silverstone track never fails to deliver nail biting action, and boy were we treated to some edge of the seat stuff for this year's British Grand Prix, albeit there were no fans at the track. There was already big news on Thursday night that Checo Perez was out with Covid-19 and a Certain Hulk would be making a comeback to his former team, now Racing Point (or more commonly called the Pink Mercedes). But a fairy tale return and the dreams of a podium were dashed even before Lights out as his car failed to fire up. The race started with 19 cars on the grid, and both the Mercs led the field with Hamilton firmly in command. But there two safety car periods within the first 13 laps, first one caused by Magnussen and Albon at the final chicane, sending the Dane into the Barriers and earning Albon a 5 second penalty. The second, when Danny Kvyat's right rear gave way at the end of the high-speed maggots-Becketts and Chapel complex, sending the Russian into the wall on lap 11. Pic credits: Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images) Only 5 full racing laps were completed in the first 13 official laps, and the whole field with the exception of Grosjean had taken this opportunity to change on to the hard tyres, which were the much preferred race trims, with Pirelli having predicted a 40 lap life for the White side walled tyres. Much of the race from then on was a three way Split, the Mercs at the head of the field trading fastest laps, and Verstappen in 3rd running a lonely race with over a pitstop ahead of 4th placed Ferrari of Leclerc, but still keeping the all-conquering Mercedes in check and honest. But the real action was taking place in the mid field, with the two McLaren's, two Renault’s, and the sole remaining Racing point fighting it out for the best of the rest positions, and behind them Vettel and Gasly exchanging some great moves on each other. McLaren initially seemed to have the upper hand over the Renault’s, but the wily old Honey Badger got the better of them at the closing stages to finish 4th amid some carnage at front, and Ocon getting ahead of Stroll to finish 6 th.And the Charging Red Bull of Albon, coming back from last place after making late Second stop to switch to the much faster Medium Tyres, he put in some spicy over takes to come back into the points and eventually finishing 8th. But the real drama unfolded in the last 5 laps, with 3 of the top 5 cars suffering front left delamination. It originally started with Kimi losing his front wing at Chapel, that could have left debry on the track. Bottas, who had been complaining about excessive vibrations and Vision problems in the penultimate 10 laps, and finally with 3 laps left, his left front gave up the ghost, and at the worst possible place for Valtteri, as he just crossed the pit entry and entered the Club corner, meaning he had to drive an entire lap on deflated tyre, eventually forcing him out of a points finish.Red Bull took this opportunity to pit Max, and put him out on softs in a bid to get the extra point for the fastest lap, only to be left wondering, what would have been if they hadn’t pitted.
The next one to suffer the tyre blow out was Sainz, but fortunately this happened much closer to the pits, although he lost out on solid points, meaning his teammate with that Stunning new helmet, kept up his 100% record of last lap place gains. Finally, Lewis comfortably leading the race, with over 35 seconds to 2nd placed Verstappen, had his Heart in the mouth situation, as his Left front gave up entering Laffield, leaving the 6 time world Champion having to drive 3/4th of the lap with 3 wheels on his wagon, and thanks to that huge buffer, was able to bring his stricken Mercedes just under 6 seconds ahead of the charging Verstappen, to cross the line and take a record 7th Home grand prix win. Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Never before in the 70 year history, had we seen a Tyre and a car in this situation winning a Grand prix, the racing gods certainly smiling on Lewis, who now opens up a 30 point gap to his teammate, which could go a long way in this shortened season. And with temperatures predicted to be hotter than this week and a step softer tyre choice for the next week’s 70th anniversary grand prix, Silverstone is ready to host another thriller, where it all began. About Author: Srikanth N is an MBA graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam .He is a die hard fan of Formula 1, and other motor sports.Big Lewis fan, and waiting to see him surpass Schumacher’s records.He also likes to analyse and critique F1 and F2 race weekends.
The dream of the top step
So much natural talent and raw speed and so little to show on paper, the statement that can sum up Nico Hulkenberg’s Formula 1 career. Coming from a long list of successful German drivers, Nico was earmarked for a successful Formula 1 career, after an immaculate GP-2 and other Junior categories. In fact Hulk is one of only 5 drivers over the past 2 decades to have won the F1 feeder series GP-2 (Currently F-2) on his debut season, others being the likes of Hamilton, Rosberg, Leclerc and Russel. Making his F1 debut for Williams in 2010 at Bahrain, alongside an experienced Rubens Barichello, Hulkenberg showed good promise and claimed a stunning pole position at the Brazilian GP, but did not set the stage on fire in race trim, like he did in the junior categories. He finished the season in a respectable 14th position, some 25 points behind his experienced teammate. But the following season, he lost his drive to Pastor Maldando albeit not down to his performance. Image credits : Clive Mason/Getty Images He settled for a reserve driver role at Force India alongside Adrian Sutil and Paul Di-Resta for the following season and got a full season in 2012, before a single season switch to Sauber in 2013 and again back to Force India the following season, He spent the next 3 years at the Silverstone based team, before the biggest move of his career to Renault in 2017-19 and most recently coming back to racing point to Super Sub Perez and qualify P3 for the 70th anniversary GP. With 181 race entries, the Hulk owns one of the most dubious records in Formula1 history, most starts (178) in F1 without a single podium. So, was the Hulk not worthy of having a single podium in such a long career?Was it just down to the car or his driving or bad luck? I guess the answer to those questions is very tricky, but I certainly feel he was more than worthy to have had multiple podiums and even race victories under his belt. The reason for not having such a success can be attributed a multitude of factors at various stages of his career. The first instance that springs up to mind is the 2012 Brazilian GP, under changing conditions, Nico was considerably faster than the rest of the field and trying to pass Hamilton into the first corner on Lap 54, slid into the side of the Mclaren, in damp conditions and hampered by back markers, taking himself and Lewis out of the race, and potentially ruining his best chance at a race victory. Image credits: Peter J Fox/Getty Images Another such heart break was in Singapore 2017, after the first lap chaos, that took out the top 3, Nico was comfortably in 3rd place and was pulling away, until a Hydraulic issue forced him out the race and an easy podium and not getting that dubious record. Canada 2015, is another example where he could have had the podium, with everyone ahead struggling with their breaks. Like these, there are many examples where he missed out by the slightest of margins through various factors. So what’s next for the 32 year old, have we seen the last of him, race fans around the world certainly hope not. And with more than a credible return to the grid at a last-minute call up, Nico has certainly shown that he still has that pace and desire to race at the highest level. He has already confirmed that he is in talks with Alfa Romeo and Hass for a 2021 drive, with Alfa looking a more credible option. There are also rumours doing rounds of him going to Red bull if Albon doesn’t do well in near future and Red Bull want a solid 2nd driver, and also some chatter about him finishing this season with Ferrari, if the Maranello team decides to part ways with Seb mid-season. Although these seem highly unrealistic, we can never know anything for sure in this Crazy F1 world. Never the less, as a race fan, I would love to Hulkenberg drive again in F1 and possibly get that podium before he hangs up his boots. About Author: Srikanth N is an MBA graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam .He is a die hard fan of Formula 1, and other motor sports.Big Lewis fan, and waiting to see him surpass Schumacher’s records.He also likes to analyse and critique F1 and F2 race weekends.
WTF (Where's the fault) with Indian team....
It's been not a great last one month for the Indian cricket fans. The Indian team has been on the receiving end of the severe beating from the Kiwis. The expectations were high when the Indian team reached the shores of New Zealand. Initially, they have fulfilled with some nail-biting action thanks to the dramatic super over finishes, and they clinched the T20 series 5-0. Then the graph went down south, starting with the ODI series where the Kiwis whitewashed the Indian team. Then the color of the ball changed, but unfortunately, the result didn't. India lost the Test series 0-2. The Indian batsmen and bowlers were struggling to adapt to local conditions despite going into the series as favorites. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images Even in the past, the team has been in the same situation. But what is amusing is the approach and the response towards it from the team and the management side. Even after the ODI series loss, the post-match presentation talks sounded that the priority is not the ODIs currently, and hence they don't mind the loss. This response is not the stuff one is expecting when you are representing the nation. It is not the captain who is sounding a bit arrogant but the entire team and its management staff. It all started last year when the Indian team won the historic test series on Australian soil. The team was relishing the victory as they were the first ones to do so. Yes, it was a great achievement, and they deserved all the limelight. But one shouldn't forget the fact that the Australian team was playing without their two primary players David Warner and Steve Smith. So, it was not a robust Australian team that was defeated, but it was a significant achievement. Then came the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. India went in as the favorites, and they rightly proved it by going undefeated in the group stages. In the semi-final, they faced New Zealand, and after a hard-fought battle, the Indian team ended up short, and their dreams of winning the World Cup again for the third time were shattered that night. The reason that the team management gave was they had a terrible 15 minutes, which led to this outcome. The obsession with including the players carrying the X-factor tagline and lack of clarity in the team selection contributed to the loss at the World Cup. Then the home season started, and India was victorious against the newly transformed and a weaker South African team and won the series 3-0. Then the series against Bangladesh was one-sided as it was the most robust format for the Bangla team. But the coach Ravi Shastri was boasting about the win and how the Indian pace attack trio is the No.1 in the world. Yes, it was one of the rarest occasions where the pacers picked most of the wickets in the Indian conditions. But one must understand that the two teams are not on the same level, and the tough challenges were lying ahead. As 2020 started, the team management was giving press meet that 2019 was one of the most successful for the Indian cricket team in recent times. It was a compelling line to throw at the media despite the lack of significant victories. They defeated New Zealand 4-1 on their home soil in the limited-overs format, and it was a considerable triumph. They had a very successful home season, which includes wins in the bilateral home series against Bangladesh, South Africa, and West Indies. They had a dominating tour when they traveled to the Caribbean Islands as well. They failed to reach the finals of the World Cup, where they were touted as favorites to clinch the trophy. They were not able to break the jinx that the current team has been facing off late in the knockout stages in the ICC tournaments. In the whites, they faced defeat in South Africa in 2018, but they were able to make a comeback in the final Test and end the series on a high note as 1-2. The preference of Rohit over Rahane raised eyebrows, but Rahane proved his worth in the later Tests. Rohit has come a long way in the Tests afterward. They suffered a colossal drubbing then in England in 2018. The Indian team had their moments, and the occurrence of injuries during the series didn't help the team cause as well. The actual scoreline doesn't reflect the competitiveness between the two sides, and only a few individual performances stood out as they failed as a team collectively. They were able to defeat Australia 2-1, but still, it was a weaker one with the absence of two prime players. Now they are wholly outplayed in New Zealand. Kohli's rare lack of form with the bat was a significant reason. Bumrah was not at his best after making a comeback from injury. The absence of an excellent all-round seam bowling option in the form of Hardik created trouble in the team composition. The new openers were struggling to see off the red cherry, which caused a significant problem for the experienced middle-order batsmen. There were some positives from the limited-overs series with the emergence of Rahul and Shreyas. The selection of Pant over Saha in the Tests was confusing, and it didn't pay off. The aggressive send-off from the Indian captain during the Tests didn't bode him well. Then Kohli snapped at the reporter in the post-match conference, which shows the mindset that is revolving around the team. This incident indicates that the team must handle the defeat in a better-composed manner. He is the one who received the ICC Spirit of Cricket award last year. He must remember that and appropriately act when put under pressure. Going forward, hopefully, the clarity and the thought process behind the team selection improves, and the team stays humble in victories and ready to face the defeat rather than just neglecting and trying to evade it. About the Author: The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.
Resurgent SA – Moving towards greener pastures!!!
South Africa emerged victorious against Australia in the recently concluded limited-overs series. It was a welcome sign for the new SA team who had a turbulent time on and off the field in recent times. The appointment of the new CSA Director in the form of Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher as the new coach, and Quinton De Kock as the new ODI captain - a lot of things were happening in the South African cricket in the last few months. May be those changes infused much-needed spirit and energy into the dressing room, which was missing for the past one year. Then came the Australian limited-overs series. The former skipper Du Plessis was rested, which allowed some young guns to shine at the bigger stage. The list included two debutants J Malan, K Verreynne as well. It was a robust Aussie side with power-packed performers, and everyone expected them to roll over the relatively inexperienced SA side. But they were whitewashed entirely, and the scorecard read 3-0 in favor of the South Africans. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images It was a collective effort from the SA side as there were many contributors to the series victory. Henrich Klassen was making a comeback to the squad after a while. He stood out with the bat, and he amassed humongous 242 runs in 3 ODIs with two half-centuries and an unbeaten century to his name. He played shots all around the ground and was striking at a rate of more than 100, and he won the Man of the Series rightly. J Malan scored his maiden ODI hundred and helped SA chase out the target with ease by staying unbeaten in the second ODI. As a result, he got the ticket to board the flight for the Indian tour. JJ Smuts also contributed in the third ODI and helped SA chase down the target effortlessly. There were some noteworthy contributions from the debutant K Verreynne as well throughout the series. Miller was also involved in some healthy partnerships during the middle overs and played the role of an apt finisher. This side was able to put good scores and chase down the targets even without a reasonable contribution from their captain, who had a poor outing in this series. This performance shows the character of the team and the skills of the new players. On the bowling side, Ngidi, who returned during the England series after being out with an injury, was the star performer. He topped the charts with excellent returns picking up nine wickets at an average of 9.78. Nortje also was among the wickets with a tally of 6, picking up some crucial ones in the middle overs. Shamsi and Phehlukwayo also played their parts by picking up wickets at regular intervals. The absence of Rabada did not affect the performance, and the bowling department rose to the occasion whenever the team demanded. The rise of colored players in the bowling ranks gives SA various options to play with and form a better team composition adhering to the quota policy as well. It was not the case in the past year, which prevented the team from having the right set of players. This victory marked the first series win for the SA side under Mark Boucher. It is the start of an era; hence it is more than a mere series victory. Beating a world-class Australian side comprehensively is a great achievement, and it possibly lays the foundation for many more to come. The next challenge this team faces is the mighty Indian side in their backyard. They were successful during the last ODI series on the Indian soil and won the series 3-2 thanks to the pyro techniques of AB de Villiers. They would like to reiterate the same this time with this crop of young players. With Du Plessis back in the side adding experience to this young and energetic squad, the SA team will look to keep the winning momentum after beating the Aussies. Hopefully, they prove to be a tough challenge for the Indian side in the upcoming limited-overs series About the Author The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.
What if RCB had won the IPL trophy in 2011??
#AlternateUniverse May 28, 2011 – It was a hot, humid evening with two teams fighting for the IPL title – The Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at M.A Chidambaram Stadium. After almost two months of exciting cricket action, CSK being the defending champions, had the advantage of playing on their home turf on the big night. They were the favorites as they had beaten RCB in the first Qualifier held at Wankhede, sealing a direct spot in the finals. On the other hand, RCB was in the finals for the second time after the failed attempt in 2009. The top order was firing in all cylinders thanks to Chris Gayle, who was the Orange Cap holder then and King Kohli rising to the scene amassing more than 500 runs. Photo credit MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first. The CSK openers Hussey and Vijay played spectacularly and took the team beyond 200. The target for RCB was 206. In came Christopher Henry Gayle along with Mayank Agarwal. The entire cricket fraternity was awaiting what MSD had in store for Gayle. He gave the ball to the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin the very first over. It was a challenge thrown towards Gayle with the ball spinning away from him. He had earlier dismissed Gayle in the playoff, coming as a one-change in the 4th over of the innings. Agarwal gets off the mark on the first delivery, and Gayle takes strike. Gayle attempted a pull shot but withdrew at the last minute and let the ball settle in Dhoni’s gloves. The next ball was similar and went past the edge of Gayle’s bat. The fourth delivery was again back off length moving away from the southpaw. Gayle tried to cut it off the back foot but nicked, and Dhoni grasped it, and Cheapuk erupted. The rest is history, and CSK won their second IPL title that night. What if Dhoni hadn’t given to the ball to Ashwin in the first over!! What if Gaylestrom struck Chepauk that night!! The then-emerging Virat Kohli and the future Mr.360 ABD got RCB past the line and led to their first-ever IPL trophy!! Daniel Vettori holding the IPL trophy in front of a silenced crowd at Chepauk, would have been one hell of a sight to behold. Vijay Mallya, along with his son Siddharth would have thrown the best party in the world for his players and the team management. Mallya would have got one of the islands in Oceania for Daniel Vettori as a gift for leading RCB to victory. Sreenath Aravind, who grabbed 21 wickets in that season, would have gone on to become Zaheer Khan’s successor in the Indian cricket team. Mayank Agarwal would have grabbed the opening spot in the Indian team sooner. Saurabh Tiwary could have become a mainstay in the Indian middle order, and the woes of No.4 would have never been felt. Mallya wouldn’t have fled the nation and stayed on giving a fierce competition for Mukesh for the top ranks among the Indian business tycoons. The IPL then would have been dominated by the Gayle-Kohli-ABD trio for the next decade, and the RCB would have been the most successful team in the competition. The captaincy would have been handed to Kohli after Vettori decides to hang up his T20 boots to prolong the international career for his World Cup quest. The city of Bengaluru would have adopted Kohli as their son, and the M Chinnaswamy stadium would become the red fortress that the opponent team could never breach. The Ee sala cup namde chant would have never arrived onto the scene, and the meme creators will be preying on some other IPL team for their trolling business. The RCB coach Ray Jennings would have become a national head coach, preferably for South Africa or New Zealand. Vettori’s captaincy skills would have sharpened in the international stage in addition to his all-round abilities as well. He would lead his team to first-ever World Cup victory over the neighbor Aussies in the 2015 CWC. What a night it would have been for him to say goodbye to international cricket. Vettori being carried on the shoulders by the fellow teammates all around the MCG, like Sachin at Wankhede in 2011, would have grabbed headlines on the next day’s newspapers across the globe. But these were never meant to be. We are in 2020. Still, the World cup glory awaits the New Zealand cricket team, so does the IPL with RCB. Hopefully, the cricket action resumes sooner, and these two teams taste their long awaiting dues soon. Cheers! About the Author The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.
The Sharapova Story: A tale of grit & determination.
5 Grand Slam Titles, 36 WTA titles, $38.8 million on-court earnings, $325 million in total earnings this is Maria Sharapova's life in numbers. Similar to her career which had glitz and glamour she announced her retirement through two fashion magazines! Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images But, it was not at all easy for Sharapova. Born in Nyagan, Russia (then USSR), Maria started playing the game at the age of 4! In 1993 an encounter with Martina Navratilova changed the course of her career. Martina advised her father to send Sharapova IMG Academy in Florida. Her parents decided to take the gamble and decided to move to the US, with $700 in pocket Sharpova’s father left Russia. In the following year, she was signed by IMG who agreed to pay her tuition fee of $35000. It was all upwards to Maria from then, she signed a deal with Nike at the age of 11! Not until 2004 the world will see the Russian in action when she managed to create an upset by Beating Serena Williams in Wimbledon final, that was only one of the 2 times she overpowered Serena in over 22 meetings. She clinched the #1 spot in 2005 and became the first Russian women to do so and in 2006 she topped the Forbes list of highest-paid female athletes, she topped the list for 10 consecutive years. Meanwhile, she launched her own venture “Sugarpova” candy. She stood as the epitome for Beauty with power and brains as well! She won her final grand slam in 2012 at Roland Garros. Even though she was mostly raised and trained in the US she showed utmost loyalty to her motherland. She was also the flag bearer for Russia in 2012 Olympics and became the first Russian woman to do that, she ended that Olympics with a silver medal to her name. As every high follows a low, Sharpova’s too hit her low when she made an announcement in 2016 that she was tested positive for the usage of Meldonium which legal until January of that year! She was banned for 4 years which was turned into 2 years and then into 15 months as she fought Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) proving that she was not an “intentional doper” Since her return she was not able to break into top 20, failing in grand slams and her recurring shoulder injury took a toll on her body. She was still stubborn to go the distance and give it all for the sport she loved. But, now it was beyond the 32-year-old, she mentioned the feeling of not able to handle the daily grind hit her in the last years US Open where she was quoted saying “ Just stepping onto the court that day felt like a final victory when of course it should have been merely first step towards victory”. Maria has seen it all poverty to riches, #1 to #373, pride to despair, there are ifs and buts every time what if she was not plagued with injuries or what if that ban didn’t happen? But those are ifs and buts, she leaves behind a legacy of grit, strength and determination. One that is not short of a miracle! Happy retirement Maria!
Chennai Super Kings – All-time XI!!
CSK– The men in yellow and one of the most celebrated teams in the IPL!! The old school team and the one who always preferred to retain the core!! It has comprised the players from various countries under the head of the Indian captain over the last decade. In this article, we will see the players who go on to make it to all-time eleven!! Seeking forgiveness in advance as some of your favorite players may miss out on a seat on this bus. 1. Mathew Hayden The tall, well-built Aussie - the man with the Mongoose bat, clearing the fences all-round the ground was a frequent sight whenever he donned the yellow jersey. He was the Orange cap holder in the 2009 edition as well. Another strong contender for this spot is Shane Watson, the century hitter in 2018 finals. But he bowled little in that season and did not take the ball at all in 2019. So on a pure batsman basis, Hayden edges him to take this spot. 2. Murali Vijay The other opening spot goes to this local lad from Chennai. Known for his ground clearing abilities, his knock of 95 runs against RCB in 2011 final is one of the great innings in the IPL history. His presence at the top established the left-right hand combination, which worked very well for the CSK. 3. Suresh Raina There is no competition to this spot – the most consistent batsman for CSK fondly called as Chinna Thala. He comes second in the batting chart for all-time IPL records only next to Virat. He also rolls his arms picking up some crucial wickets and a livewire in the field. 4. Michael Hussey Mr. Cricket provided a mix of stability and aggression at the top of the batting order for CSK. With his elegance and rotating strike abilities, he established himself as a reliable batter. Though he opened for CSK in most of the games, to accommodate the destructive Hayden at the top, he can play at No.4. Another strong contender is Badrinath – the most underrated player from the franchise due to the other big names in the squad. He brought serenity to the batting order composed of swashbuckling options, often rescuing the team from the dangerous situations, and playing second fiddle to other batsmen. But after all, Hussey is Mr. Cricket for a reason!!! 5. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C) (WK) The MAN!! Indispensable to the team in many ways, the adopted son of the Chennai city, fondly called as Thala. Starting from the first season, he is the leader of this team, and the entire team was built around him. The ground for his finishing skills was laid here and went on to yield many victories for the national team later. In addition to his captaincy acumen, his wicket-keeping skills caught everyone’s attention as well. Also, he tops the chart for wicket-keepers with the highest number of dismissals at 132. 6. Dwayne Bravo The best all-rounder ever to have played for the franchise, No.6 spot undoubtedly goes to this man. Over a period, more than his batting, he contributed immensely to the bowling department being the go-to bowler for MSD in the death overs. Known for his dancing moves and exceptional fielding abilities, he brings the much-needed energy into the side. 7. Albie Morkel Another overseas all-rounder making to the list is this South African lad. He brought the right balance to the team, opening the bowling at times and giving a power-packed punch to the bowlers in the final overs in batting as well. His knock of 28 off seven balls against Kohli (RCB) in 2012 is one of the great cameos in the league history. 8. Ravindra Jadeja Though he came into the franchise at a later stage, he became one of the core players thanks to his all-round abilities. He has proven his worth with his left-arm spin, and some lusty blows with the bat down the order. Known for his sword-wielding celebrations, he is one of the best fielders ever to grace the game in this decade, proving to be a complete package. Also read: https://www.sportzian.com/post/mumbai-indians-all-time-xi 9. Ravichandran Ashwin The best spinner ever to don the yellow jersey, this local lad from Chennai came on the top over many batsmen by rolling his arms over. Bowling upfront in the power-plays, he changed the way the spinners operate in the game. His dismissal of Chris Gayle in the 2011 final is one of the all-time great IPL moments. 10. Deepak Chahar This young bowling sensation is proving to be the leading pacer for the team in recent times. With his swing abilities, he is useful in the power-play overs. With his improving death bowling skills, he is becoming the complete bowler that every skipper yearns. 11. Mohit Sharma This right-arm medium-fast bowler from Haryana had a good outing with CSK. He is the highest wicket-taker among the Indian pacers for the team. The other contenders for this pacer spot are Ashish Nehra and Dough Bollinger. Nehra Ji impressed everyone during his CSK tenure, making a comeback to the national team and proving that age is just a number. Dough Bollinger, the fast-Australian lead the pace attack for three seasons (2010-12), proved to be a significant reason for the two titles clinched by CSK during that period. Another contender for the spot is Imran Tahir, famous for his celebrations running from one side to the other. With the leg spinners becoming the attacking norm in the shortest format, he is the right man for the MSD. But with the four foreign players rule, it was tough to include them. So, we are going ahead with Mohit. Playing XI: Matthew Hayden, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Michael Hussey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni(Captain/WK), Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Deepak Chahar, Mohit Sharma. Honorable Mentions: Shane Watson, Subramaniam Badrinath, Imran Tahir, Ashish Nehra, Dough Bollinger Do mention the players whom you think should have made it to this list in the comments section. Stay safe. Cheers!! About the Author The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.
11 Players Who Have Played only One IPL Match
The IPL has seen plenty of Indian and Overseas stars over the years. Some have etched their names in IPL history, while others have faded away from our memory. In our Memory Lane series, we take a look at these stars who have faded away. In this piece, we look at eleven players who played an IPL game for only one time. To make it interesting, we have formed such a team so that they might make a good cricket team. So here is your “Only Played in One IPL Match XI” #1 Brad Haddin (Wicket Keeper) (KKR, 2011) Image Credits - Robert Cianflone | Getty Images Brad Haddin has played for Australia 126 times in ODIs, accumulating over 3000 runs. He has also represented the country 34 times in T20Is, including in the 2007 T20 World Cup. The 2015 World Cup winning wicketkeeper played his solo match for Kolkata Knight Riders way back in 2011, where he scored 18 off 11 balls. Currently, Haddin is employed with SRH as the assistant coach. #2 Joe Denly (KKR, 2019) Image Credits - Nick Wood/Getty Images Joe Denly made a comeback into the English cricket team in 2018, after 3,102 days after his previous match way back in 2010. Sadly for him in the IPL, the English opener had a game to forget, which would eventually be his only IPL game till date. He got out for a duck in the very first ball (and probably the only ball) he faced in the IPL. He probably has had the worst “only one game in the IPL” of all the players in this list. #3 Darren Bravo (KKR, 2017) Image Credit - Robert Cianflone - Shaun Botterill | Getty Images While his brother Dwayne is a cult hero in the IPL, Darren could just manage to play one match. The Lara-Esque batsman has represented West Indies in 113 ODIs and 18 T20Is, with just under 3000 runs combined. However, in his only IPL game for KKR, he scored an unbeaten 6 runs off 5 balls. #4 Damien Martyn (RR, 2010) Image Credits - Hamish Blair | Getty Images All Indian fans would remember how Martyn tormented India in the 2003 World Cup final, scoring 88 runs despite a finger injury. However, he couldn’t make an impact in the IPL, scoring a sluggish 19 off 24 balls. One can't fault Martyn, as he had approached the twilight of his career and had retired from cricket four years earlier. Interesting reads for you: https://www.sportzian.com/post/best-bowling-performances-ipl #5 Younis Khan (RR, 2008) Image Credits - Ryan Pierse | Getty Images The Pakistani stalwart has over 10000 runs in test cricket and over 7000 runs in ODIs. He was one of the aging overseas members of the RR team in 2008 that included himself, Graeme Smith, Justin Langer, Darren Lehmann, and Shane Warne. Younis scored just 3 runs in his only IPL match, but that in no way can taint the legacy he had left behind. #6 Mohammed Ashraful (MI, 2009) Image Credits - Popperfoto via Getty Images | Getty Images Before the likes of Shakib al Hasan, Tamil Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim came into the Bangladesh side, Mo Ashraful was the budding hope of the nation. He played a key role in Bangladesh’s first win over Australia in 2005. However, Ashraful didn’t get a chance to prove himself with MI, as he scored just 2 runs in his one and only game. #7 Ray Price (MI, 2011) Image Credits - Daniel Berehulak | Getty Images The left-arm spinner became only the second Zimbabwean to play the IPL after Tatenda Taibu. He has exactly 100 wickets in ODIs and 13 wickets in T20Is. Unfortunately, his only IPL game did not get him any wickets, as he went wicketless while conceding 33 runs. #8 Doug Bracewell (DD, 2012) Image Credits - Hagen Hopkins | Getty Images The fast bowler from New Zealand was just 22 years old when he played his one and only IPL match. He probably had the best match, out of everyone in this list, taking 3/32 in his 4 overs. He has represented New Zealand in all 3 formats of the game, taking 72 wickets in tests, 23 wickets in ODIs and 20 in T20Is. #9 Mark Wood (CSK, 2018) Image Credit - Gareth Copley | Getty Images Mark Wood played his one and only IPL game, which was the game CSK made a comeback into the IPL after 2 years. The game wasn’t memorable for him personally as he conceded 49 runs in his 4 overs and got out for just 1 run. He, however, has represented England many more times, bagging 50 test wickets, 61 ODI wickets and 15 T20I wickets. #10 Andre Nel (MI, 2008) Image Credits - ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images Despite him best known for getting hit by Sreesanth for a six, Nel’s raw pace used to torment batsmen back in the day. He has 123 test scalps and 106 ODI scalps to his name. He did take 1 wicket in the only match he played in the IPL, however, that didn’t do him any favors in a bowling line up that already had Shaun Pollock, Dilhara Fernando, and Lasith Malinga #11 Mashrafe Mortaza (Captain) (KKR, 2009) Image Credits - Martin Hunter | Getty Images Bangladeshi godfather Mortaza recently retired from international cricket. He was the man of the match in the 2007 world cup upset vs India and went on to captain the Tigers in 88 ODIs. However, his only IPL game was a disaster with him conceding 58 runs in just 4 overs vs Deccan Chargers. With 21 required off the last over of the game, Mortaza was given the responsibility to defend it but a sublime Rohit Sharma smashed Mortaza for 26 runs in that over, subsequently shattering his IPL career. About the Author The post is written by Vignesh. Vignesh is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam who loves to watch Football and Cricket. He is a huge fan of CSK, Chelsea FC and Chennaiyin FC. He follows Tennis and Kabaddi as well and is an ardent supporter of Roger Federer
The Resurgence of KL Rahul.
When questioned about your job description, what might your answer be? It might be a generic doing this and that which will be repeated every day! But, if a JD exists for KL Rahul it might sound something likes this “You have to Bat at Number 5 and if required you need to open the innings, you need to field and we might use as a full-time wicketkeeper as well and last but not least you might be required to lead the side as well when the captain gets injured!” Now that’s a Job you can kill for! The young gun from Karnataka who coincidentally shares his name with one Rahul Dravid from the same region has definitely lived up to the reputation his name holds. But, it was not all roses and petals for KL, making his Test Debut in 2014 and scoring a 100 in that series against Australia has shown a glimpse of what this guy can do. But, lack of consistency has bogged Rahul at the start of his career. His selection subsequently was relied on players getting injured. He announced himself on the ODI scene with a majestic century against Zimbabwe and he was not able to back it up with consistent performances. All was about to change in 2018, he missed the 2017 IPL due to a shoulder injury and was not retained by RCB for 2018 season. He was subsequently bought by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping price of 11 crores INR, and he duly stood up to those numbers. In the first match of the 2018 season, he smashed a 14 ball half-century to silence his critics. He scored a whopping 657 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 158.7! But the worst was yet to arrive for KL and no it was not an injury or dip in form…it was “Koffee with Karan”…he along with Hardik Pandya was sent back to India from the tour of Australia and was banned until further notice the reason was about their comments made in that particular TV Show. This whole episode has put KL in a spot of bother….but he was not the one to fret he took all the criticism on his stride and went back to the drawing board and did what he does best. He had a very good IPL season, he smashed 593 runs at an average of 53.9 in 14 matches and earned a place for the world cup held in England & Wales. Shikhar Dhawan’s injury in CWC 19 has come as a blessing in disguise as he was promoted to bat at the top of the order and much like Rohit Sharma in 2013 KL has taken complete advantage of the responsibility given by the team management. Since then he has averaged 59.4 in ODI’s since he opened the batting and in that his average while opening the innings is 50.72 but his average while batting at other positions is a whooping 107.5 which speaks loads about his finishing skills. This situation reverses in T20I’s where his average when opening the batting is 50.34 and his average while batting at other positions is 37.5! But, the most surprising element among all this is the wicket-keeping abilities of KL, he was handed gloves when Rishabh Pant was sent off the field when a ball hit him on the helmet. Now everyone knows KL can keep wickets but nobody considered him to be a serious choice for the most coveted wicket keeper slot. KL had a very decent outing as wicketkeeper in this series against Australia and in the recently ongoing New Zealand series he has shown glimpses of the great MS when he made a ran Tim Seifert out in the 5th T20I, there was a massive mix up between the batsman and Sanju Samson threw at the strikers end, there was no one at the stumps to pick it up. Noticing this Rahul ran towards the stumps picked the ball and dived on to the stumps to affect the runout. Many fans and pundits appreciated the effort, where many mentioned MS might have done the same! In an interview given to ESPN Sports Centre, a 17-year-old KL Rahul spoke about how Rahul Dravid impacted his game and attitude towards the sport and right now he made sure his idol will be happy with his progress and performance. As far as the saying goes “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”, Rahul is damn sure making margaritas with them! What are you gonna do with your lemons?!