Friday, September 14, 2007

Did dressing room uneasiness prompted Rahul Dravid to quit?

Rahul Dravid has been quoted as saying that the enjoyment has gone out of a tough captaining job.So why was he not enjoying the captaincy, is it because of too much criticism about him being a defensive captain or too little support from his team.Talking to NDTV before the World Cup Dravid had said: "I do enjoy the captaincy, I see it as a great honour and privilege and think I have enjoyed everything that comes with it. You got have to accept that there will be tough days as a captain.""You turn from being a good boy to everyone's whipping boy. I don't take it personally though there will be a captain after me and he'll go through the same thing, the captain before me went through it as well. It's not about Rahul Dravid but the position that one inherits," Dravid added.That was before the World Cup, Rahul Dravid offered to resign after the disastrous first round exit but was persuaded to stay on.Greg Chappell however had great faith in Dravid's captaincy implying that it was the destructive influence of seniors that prevented him from doing his job.While Dravid had test series wins in West Indies and England he was also criticized for being too defensive as a captain.Rahul Dravid as captain:
Did not enforce the follow-on in the Oval Test
Toss error allowed England to win the Mumbai test in 2006
Toss error in the Lord's game
England won ODIs 4-3However Dravid continuing as captain was never in doubt despite some of the mixed results but there was always speculation that he couldn't quite marshal the team and didn't always enjoy their support.Dravid's problems:
Zaheer said 'bowlers were not tired' in the Oval test contradicting him
Dravid pulled up Ganguly for dressing room leaks
Dravid pulled up players for 'torn' jeans and using I-pods.The speculation will continue unless Dravid sets the record straight himself.However in the eyes of former cricketers and fans he was always the right man for the job given his ability to lead from the front.He had no hesitation in declaring in the Multan Test when Tendulkar was on 194 not out and he had no hesitation in declaring in the Sydney Test when he was himself on 91 not out.And it was this public stature that got Gillette to pick him as part of their campaign of global ambassadors for the game along with Roger Federer and Thierry Henry.No doubt he's still the best a man can get, just that Dravid thinks he's the best at batting rather than at captaincy.

Pakistani team will visit and review security in India

A two-member Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) delegation of Zakir Khan and Sohail Khan is due to leave for India on September 17 (Monday) to review the forthcoming tour and security arrangements.
The PCB officials will visit Guwahati, Mohali, Kanpur, Gwalior, Jaipur, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore the venues of five one-dayers and three Tests. Pakistan team will visit India during November and December.
“It is a routine visit and we will submit our report to the PCB Chairman, Dr. Nasim Ashraf," Zakir Khan, PCB Director cricket operations told Khaleej Times yesterday.
Meanwhile, the two-member Cricket South Africa (CSA), arrived in Lahore and meetings with PCB officials to the security measures and logistics for their team's tour of Pakistan.

Did windies take Bangladesh lightly?

West Indies' loss to Bangladesh Thursday in the Twenty20 World Cup was not because they underestimated the Tigers.
This was the contention of Windies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan who said the Caribbean side had simply been outplayed.
"We never considered them minnows. They have been playing well and they are improving rapidly and I'd like to say congratulations to them and wish them all the best for the rest of the tournament, they deserve to win today (Thursday)," Sarwan said in a post-match media conference.
Bangladesh easily chased down the West Indies' 164 for eight, reaching their target with two overs to spare.Sarwan hinted that based on the results so far in the tournament, Bangladesh could reap further success in the inaugural event.
"After what happened last night (Zimbabwe beating Australia) and today (Bangladesh beating West Indies) anything is possible and I think it makes it even more possible in the Twenty20 version of the game," Sarwan explained.
Looking to the future, Sarwan said Windies would be looking to regroup from this disappointment and hinted there would be healthy competition for spots on the regional side.
"There are always opportunities [for other players]. We aren't playing that well in Test cricket either, but I think there are opportunities," Sarwan pointed out.
"I don't think anyone's place is cemented in the team apart from Chris (Gayle) and Shiv (Chanderpaul). It's a matter of players doing well in the domestic competition and anyone would be eligible for selection once they do well."

Climax of Twenty20 could kill anybody!

You could almost feel the hush as the Indian and Pakistani bowlers lined up for the tie-breaker bowl-out at Sahara Kingsmead Stadium. Then, as the Indians kept hitting the single unprotected stump and the Pakistanis kept missing, you could hear just that same roar that goes up during a penalty shootout in a football or hockey match.
It could have been anywhere in India or Pakistan, instead of South Africa. The capacity 20,000 crowd of mainly local and expatriate Indians and Pakistanis stayed glued to their seats as the match between the arch rivals unfolded, with flags of both countries flying alongside each other in the stands with lots of friendly rivalry amongst the fans.
India seemed to have a slighter edge in the stands, where fans tried to be as different as possible. Vying with the dancing girls who have become an institution at the championships, there was one fan complete with the wide helmet in which Yamraj, the god of death, is traditionally pictured. It proved prophetic.
On the opposite side of the field, two fans unfurled a banner with an inscription straight from the latest Shah Rukh Khan starrer that has put hockey firmly in the spotlight again. 'Chak De India', read the banner, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men certainly did go for it, especially Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa, who all hit the stumps while none of the first three Pakistanis - Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi - hit the target as tumultuous cheers from the crowd accompanied each ball.
Unlike other games, where the crowds start moving out as the last overs approach to avoid the rush to get out and drive home, no one dared move in this game.
'We could not even get to the toilet or go buy a cool drink for fear of missing a great shot,' said Aslam Malik, a Pakistani who has been in South Africa for the past decade now. Working for a local IT company, Malik came to the game with co-workers Ashraf Mohammed and Taran Ramraj, both from India and Hanif Goolam, a South African of Indian origin. The four had driven the 700 km from Pretoria for the game and their camaraderie reflected the spirit in which fans have been attending the games so far.
In fact, said South African fan Arjun Patel, 'one can now see exactly how many brothers have come here from the motherland.
'We daily hear stories about the huge number of legal and illegal immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who are in South Africa, and it took a game like this to see them together in such strength at one venue. Although there were many South Africans in the crowd too, I think the festive atmosphere that our brothers from those countries created was what made the match more fun.'
'I always come to Kingsmead whenever India or Pakistan play there, and although I don't quite understand how the points were made here, my husband (Bashan), who is a keen football fan, found the 'penalty' shootout style to be very exciting,' said Shireen Moodley.
It was only the second tied match in the short history of Twenty20 cricket. New Zealand had beaten West Indies 3-0 on the earlier occasion.

Ricky Ponting asks' who's humiliated now?'

Australia demolished England by eight wickets in an emphatic return to form at the Twenty20 World Championship - but even that crushing win had nothing on the severity of Ricky Ponting's parting shot at Kevin Pietersen.
The outspoken England star's call to "humiliate" the world champions came back to haunt him in a big way at Newlands as Australia, less than two days after being stunned by minnows Zimbabwe, handed the old enemy a comprehensive thrashing.
Nathan Bracken snared 3-16 and man-of-the-match honours as England were bundled out for 135 before Matthew Hayden's unbeaten 67 from 43 balls piloted Australia to victory with a massive 31 balls to spare.
The win secured Australia's place in the Super Eights of the tournament, while avoiding the indignity of a first-round exit.
It also gave Ponting the perfect opportunity to line-up Pietersen at the post-match press conference - and the skipper didn't miss.
Pietersen boiled Australian blood when he said after England's win over Zimbabwe on Thursday: "We were humiliated by Australia (in the last Ashes series) and now we're in a position of strength where we can pretty much humiliate them ... It's an opportunity of a lifetime."
Ponting didn't hold back in response.
"Comments, unless you can back them up, don't mean anything at all," the captain bristled.
"They had their chance today to do what he said they wanted to do, 'a once in a lifetime opportunity ... to try and humiliate Australia'.
"They had the opportunity, and if anything they're the ones who have walked off humiliated today."
Having been left "embarrassed" by Australia's five-wicket loss to Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Ponting was gushing in praise of his side on Friday.
Australia's four-pronged pace attack of Bracken, Mitchell Johnson (3-22), Stuart Clark (2-24) and Brett Lee (1-31) were superb.
Andrew Flintoff top scored with 31, while Pietersen added 21, but Australia's disciplined attack ensured England struggled to get their run-rate over six-an-over for much of the innings.
The final three overs - bowled by Bracken and Clark - in particular, were an unmitigated disaster as England lost four wickets for just eight runs.
Australia had no such problems taking to the English bowling attack.
After collapsing to 3-19 against Zimbabwe, Australia's top order dominated the run chase with Adam Gilchrist blazing 45 in a 78-run opening partnership with Hayden before Ponting hit a quick-fire 20.
"I thought we were excellent today," Ponting said.
"We had our backs to the wall going into the game against a team that's been playing a lot of cricket and a team that's a lot more experienced than us in this format of the game, and we've come away with a very, very comprehensive win, so I'm extremely happy with what we've done.
"I think we showed a lot of character to bounce back the way we have.
"If we hadn't learnt from the mistakes we made (against Zimbabwe) we would have all been dummies.
"We respected the game a lot more today I think and the result has been a lot different."
Australia play Bangladesh in Cape Town on Sunday in their first match of the Super Eights, with Pakistan and Sri Lanka also drawn in their group.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

ICL asks Court to stop BCCI from using Indian flag!

On the day Subhash Chandra, the chairman of Essel Group and the man behind the Indian Cricket League (ICL), declared that he has nothing personal against Indian cricket board president Sharad Pawar, a legal battle erupted.The ICL on Friday went to the Delhi High Court, seeking to restrain the BCCI from “intimidating” its players and interfering in its affairs. Questioning the BCCI’s sanctity to run Indian cricket, it urged that the board be restrained from using the Indian flag and the name of the country as it had accepted before the Supreme Court that it is a private, autonomous body. The suit also urged the High Court to direct the BCCI to let the ICL use stadia across the country for its tournaments. The BCCI, on its part, gave a guarded response. Chief Administrator Officer Ratnakar Shetty said, “We will formulate our plan of action once we get the notice.”

Dravid is pleased with young Piyush Chawla's progress

Teenage leg-spinner Piyush Chawla received a glowing endorsement from captain Rahul Dravid after taking three key wickets in India's nine-run win against England in the second one-day international at Bristol
"He's a young kid, he's only 18-years-old. He has a long way to go. But there are great signs.He's played all his (one-day) cricket outside of India in conditions that don't really suit his sort of spin bowling. He's got a great attitude, terrific for an 18-year-old. He always wants to bowl. He's looking to bowl to good batsmen and looking to set aggressive fields.

He's not scared, even if he gets hit. He played a Test match against England in Mohali (in 2006) and if you look at the way he's bowling now and the way he was bowling then, there has been an improvement

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