Clarke can bring in fresh ideas
l ODI series kicks off on Sunday l Clarke to lead Aussies
l Sachin, Bhajji, Zaheer rested l Good chance for youngsters
l Match starts at 9 am
Kochi, October 16
Buoyed by the thrilling 2-0 Test series win over the Aussies, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India would look to carry on the good form when they face a depleted Australia, to be led by Michael Clarke after Ricky Ponting was rested.
The Indians would be without senior stars such as Sachin Tendulkar, who has been in excellent form of late, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Ghambir. While Tendulkar has been rested, Sehwag and Gambhir are nursing knee injuries, giving youngsters such as Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary to make a mark for themselves. But despite being a depleted side due to the absence of Ponting, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson, Clarke's men are no pushovers and have the ability to absorb pressure.
Clarke himself is hungry for runs after aggregating just 35 runs in Mohali and Bangalore and would be expected to play the sheet anchor role for the Aussies as they strive to hold to their top ranking in the ICC one-day format.
Going by current form, India can be fancied as the better team on paper but it remains to be seen whether the new ball bowlers -- Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and R Vinay Kumar -- would be able to make an impact on the batting-friendly strip here in the absence of senior pacer Zaheer Khan.
But all these assessments would come to a naught if the weather gods refuse to oblige.
It has been raining persistently here and the organisers are keeping their fingers crossed for clear skies tomorrow. The teams have been denied their net practice sessions and have decided to do some limbering exercises at the hotel itself.
In case the weather holds up, enthralling cricket appears to be in store in the day game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay, who have done appreciably well in the just-concluded Test series, looking to make a mark.
The off-colour Yuvraj Singh, who was dropped from the Test team, would be aiming to make his case for a return after performing well in the Irani Trophy domestic cricket.
Kochi has been a happy hunting ground for India as they have won four of the six matches played here at the Nehru stadium.
Exuding confidence of performing well against the Australians in the shorter version of the game too, Dhoni said, "the rivals are two top teams in world cricket. We are hoping that it will be interesting. Both the teams are not fielding their best elevens. Australia has rested about six to seven players." "The youngsters are our bench strength and they will get a chance to prove themselves. They also get to know how international cricket is tough and learn the areas that they need to improve. I think it will be a good series," he stated.
The Australians would once again find it tough against the Indian spinners. Even the senior players such as Michael Hussey were clueless as to which way the ball was going to turn when Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha bowled in Mohali and Bangalore.
As the aura which had enveloped the Australian cricket team for so many years wears off, Clarke's men will have to come good in the one-day matches to prove that the team is still competitive.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Saurabh Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Aashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar.
Australia: Michael Clarke (Capt), Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Tim Paine, Doug Bollinger, Callum Ferguson, John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Clint McKay, Shaun Marsh, Steven Smith, Michael Starc and David Warner.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Amiesh Saheba
Match Referee: Chris Broad — PTI
Clarke can bring in fresh ideas
Chandigarh, October 16
Captain Ponting has now lost five Test series-including the recent one to India---and has been roundly criticized for his tactics (or lack of them) by former teammate Shane Warne and former Australian paceman Geoff Lawson. Most of this criticism seems to be unfair. For Ponting, as we all know, is a great leader of men. During these past few years, he has been given a raw bunch of players and he has led them with aplomb. But this strain of leading a greenhorn side has taken its toll on Ponting, the batsman.
After the retirement of Hayden and Gilchrist, Ponting (and to a certain extent Michael Hussey) remains the pillar on which much of the Australian batting rests. In these tough times, a raw Australian line-up needs Ponting--the batsman--more than Ponting--the captain. So, seen against this backdrop, the criticism leveled by Warne and Lawson, seems justified to an extent. If Ponting were to hand over charge to the younger Clarke (Ponting is almost 36 and Clarke 29) and concentrate solely on his batting, it could possibly help the Australian side more.
Such a thing is quite common in the Indian set-up. Tendulkar relinquished captaincy to pay more attention to his batting and that has not harmed the Indian team at all. Dravid led the side during Greg Chappel’s tenure but is now content playing under Dhoni and sticking to his batting alone. But, this is not the Australian way of playing cricket. If Ponting were to relinquish captaincy then perhaps he will have to announce his retirement as well. That’s the way the Australians go about their cricket. Steve Waugh had scores of 40 & 80 in his last Test in Sydney in 2004 and had some batting left in him when he passed on the mantle of captaincy to Ponting and chose to walk away from it all. In all, Waugh played 168 Tests.
Ponting has so far taken part in 148. So, by that reckoning, Ponting still has about 20 more Tests to go as captain. But pup’s (Clarke’s nickname) ready to take over from punter (Ponting’s nickname). After 64 Tests and 178 ODIs, Clarke appears to have the necessary acumen to lead the side. He has been Ponting’s deputy long enough to finetune his leadership skills and also be ready to unleash his own fresh brand of captaincy. He has already been given the reins of the Australian T20 side. And, when Ponting retires, Clarke will be Australia’s captain in all three forms of the game.
For his last 30 tests and 50 ODIs (or thereabouts), if Ponting can breakaway from the Australian tradition and reconcile with playing under Clarke, concentrate all his energies on his batting, then perhaps the Australian line-up will have a more solid look about it.
]The Australian side needs batsman Ponting like never before. Captaincy can be taken of by Michael Clarke.
Shanghai, October 16
The Briton, seeking his second Masters' tournament title of the season after shaking off recent illness, bewildered the unseeded Monaco with his precision shots.
“I was feeling good. I played one bad game on my serve at the end of the first set. I just needed to focus. I chased a lot of balls down, " said Murray, who has yet drop a set in the tournament.
Several times, he drew Monaco to the net before launching booming backhands or lobs towards the exposed baseline, even breaking his racket strings after one return to foil the stunned Argentine.
Crowd-favourite Murray took one hour 25 minutes to see off his former training partner and will next meet either Serb Novak Djokovic or world number three Roger Federer who play in theother semi-final.
"I do really enjoy playing Roger and wouldn't mind playing
him. It's a great experience every time," said Murray, who beat the world number three in August at the Toronto Masters.
“Novak is playing great. Last week (at the China Open) he didn't drop a set and hasn't dropped one this week. I'll need to play an unbelievable match to beat him," he added. — Reuters
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, October 16
Earlier, the inaugural match began on a fast note with Punjab and National Bank taking the lead. The lone penalty corner conversion came from Shivdeep Singh (PNB) in the 5th minute of the game 1-0.
Punjab Police men consolidated their lead in the 35th minute of the game when Prabdeep Singh posted a goal 1-1 through penalty corner. Till half time the score was 1-1.
In the second half of the game the goal came in the 40th minute when Yograj Singh posted a field goal taking the score to 1-2.
Earlier the Punjab Police men lost a golden chance of scoring through a penalty corner conversion in the 35th minute of the game.
The Punjab National Bank men tried their best to mount pressure on Punjab Police but to no avail. In the 56th minute of the game Jaswinder Singh lost a golden chance to convert a penalty corner conversion, which would have given his team a well-deserved draw.
Punjab Revenue Minister Ajit Singh Kohar inaugurated the tournament and announced a grant of Rs 2 Lakhs to the Surjit Hockey Society.
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