dash of Sherry
Pak geared up for better show against Kiwis
Hansra stars in Canada win
Don’t want easy matches, says coach Kirsten
It’s a dream come true: Hussey
Injured Pietersen out of World Cup
Gambhir named KKR captain
India’s young trio to take on the best
‘Will show we are no chokers’
Inter score big win over Genoa
a dash of
Most people die of their remedies and not their illnesses. India captain MS Dhoni’s remedies are worse than his team’s illness.
Answer me this -- why should the best batting side in world cricket, after winning the toss on a bone-dry surface, be in a dilemma and bat second? Can they, by putting extra pressure on their batting, camouflage the stark truth about the weakness in their bowling? All they have managed to do now is put pressure on both their batting as well as their bowling.
The biggest advantage for India in the first two games was that their meagre bowling resources looked more potent, simply because they batted first. But that is not the true picture.
Being a leg-spinner does not guarantee one a place in the side. On a track where the part-timers had developed teeth, Piyush Chawla’s performance not worth a straw. In environs conducive to spin, where most bowlers did not allow over 30 runs in their overs, this leggie went for 56 runs off eight overs.
Bowling on a turning track is an art. Why was Yuvraj Singh more successful? Because he didn’t turn the ball that much and made the batsmen play. The goal is far more alluring, much bigger in the mental horizon but it is the means that take you there that are more important. The root cause of India’s troubles is weak bowling and they need to strengthen it rather than cover it up.
Also, how are the surfaces going to help? There has been a dramatic turnaround in the tournament and suddenly a total of 171 posted by England against South Africa looked competitive and the spinners developed incisive cutting edge. But again, creating conditions will never help if you don’t have the resources to exploit them.
There are two things certain in life - death and taxes. To me, it is also certain that Chawla should not play anymore. Dhoni has to make his defence bigger and locks stronger. You can’t prevent trouble from coming but you need not give it a chair to sit in. The only option in the spin department is bowling R. Ashwin. Dhoni has been unfair in keeping Chawla in the XI for a soft match, hoping that he comes good here. A wise man never refuses anything to necessity. Those who are in authority must not be influenced by private interests.
This is a wake-up call for Team India. Let Dhoni not have the ostrich mentality of burying his head and thinking the problem will solve itself. He is the best general who makes the fewest mistakes.
Taking an untrained army to war is like throwing it away. How do you explain Ashish Nehra, as delicate as a rose petal, being injured without playing a single game? Nehra has been in hibernation for the past two-three years and here comes a great opportunity for him and he is found wanting.
He should have a tag on his forehead ‘Fragile: Handle with care’. International cricket is about match-practice and fast bowling is about rhythm. No matter how much he bowls at the nets, Nehra needs to get this rhythm during a match, but there is always a question mark against his name which upsets the entire balance of side.
Also, a win against Ireland is no benchmark. The World Cup, as far as I am concerned, begins on March 22, with the quarter-finals. It is time India saw this truth and worked at winning when it really matters.
Pallekele, March 7
Pakistan are on top of group A having maintained an unbeaten run. The champions of 1992 edition have almost secured a berth in the last eight stage of the competition. However, Shahid Afridi's side will be looking to brush up a few areas before the knockout stage commences later this month.
Pakistan batsmen would like to put up a better show against New Zealand after their poor performance against Canada where they were shot out for a paltry 184. Facing an ordinary Canada attack, the much vaunted Pakistan batting line-up failed to deliver as none of their batsmen were able to score a half century.
In fact such inept was Pakistan's batting that they failed to utilise more than one over of the batting Powerplay. "We have struggled a bit with the batting Powerplay and we need to utilize that properly in the remaining games," vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq told the reporters here today.
It was captain Shahid Afridi whose second five-wicket haul in the tournament helped Pakistan skittle out Canada for 138. Afridi, who is now the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 scalps will be keen to continue his good run. But the skipper would also like to make a significant contribution with the bat too.
New Zealand on the otherhand have had some contrasting performances in their three matches. While they thrashed both Zimbabwe and Kenya winning both matches by an identical 10- wicket margin, they were humbled by Australia in their second match which the defending champions won with 16 overs to spare.
Their form in ODIs however, in recent times has been patchy having suffered humiliating series defeats to India and Bangladesh in recent months.
The Kiwis' last series before the World Cup was against Pakistan and although they lost that series 2-3, captain Daniel Vettori was confident his side will do well against Afridi and Co. as they possess a fair idea what to expect from their opponents tomorrow. "Having played Pakistan in recent months is certainly an advantage," Vettori said.
The conditions in Kandy will also be to their liking as the wicket is expected to be faster than the ones in Colombo and Hambantota. "The surface looks faster than what we have been seeing in Sri Lanka before this game and we are looking forward for the game," Vettori added.
The problem with the New Zealand side has been their fragile middle-order where save Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor, there isn't much depth. James Franklin has now developed into a good one day batsman but his technique against good fast bowlers is still questionable. — PTI
Hansra stars in Canada win
New Delhi, March 7
Kenya not only notched up their best total in the current edition of the World Cup, but also managed to complete the full quota of 50 overs, thanks to half centuries by Tanmay Mishra and Thomas Odoyo, who hit 51 each, with their focussed and disciplined knocks to bail Kenya out of a tight corner.
Kenya were tottering at 2 for 7, 3 for 21 and 5 for 57 as the tall and well-built Henry Osinde bowled with fire and brim stone, to strike with his very first ball of the match, and he rounded of his ten overs in style by bagging a fourth wicket off his last ball to return a dream figures of 10-2-26-4
Canada's other pacers, the India-born Harvir Baidan and Pakistani Rizwan Cheema, also chipped in with two wickets each, but Kenya found their saviours in Collins Obuya (31,35b,3x4,1x6),Tanmay Mishra(51,73b,3x4) and Thomas Odoyo (51,62b,5x4,1x6) to take them to a challenging total.
Their previous best knock was 142 in 43 overs had come against Sri Lanka in which the Obuya brothers — Collins (52) and David (51) — scored half centuries to post a 92-run third-wicket stand. Collins once again displayed his way with the willow by hitting 31 off 35 balls with three fours and one six to ease the pressure on Kenya somewhat.
And then Tanmay Mishra steadied the rocking Kenyan ship with a 57-run stand with Thomas Odoyo after captain James Kamande got out for 22. When Mishra exited, Odoyo stayed put to carry on the good work before he became the fourth victim of Osinde off the last ball of the innings, whose fiery bowling had figures of 3-2-3-2,5-2-11-3 and 10-2-26-4.
The Kenyans struggled against Osindo and the to some extent the spin bowlers, but they weathered the storm with a bit of sensible batting to reach a respectable total.
Both teams are winless so far in the tournament and their chances of qualifying for the knock out stage are very bleak.
Kenya 198 (50 overs)
Ouma c Baidwan b Osinde 0
Waters b Osinde 2
Obuya b Baidwan 31
Obuya c Bagai b Osinde 2
Tikolo lbw b Rizwan 12
Mishra c Surkari b Davison 51
Kamande c Bagai b Rao 22
Odoyo b Baidwan 51
Odhiambo b Osinde 4
Otieno c Hansra b Rizwan 8
Ngoche not out 1
Extras: (lb 4, w 10) 14
Bowling: Osinde 10-2-26-4, Baidwan 10-1-41-2, Desai 3-0-20-0, Rizwan 9-1-30-2, Hansra 3-0-15-0, Balaji Rao 10-0-36-1, Davison 5-0-26-1.
Canada 199/5 (45.3)
Gunasekera st Ouma
b Ngoche 18
Cheema b Otieno 17
Surkari run out 10
Bagai not out 64
Hansra c Ngoche b
Gordon b Odhiambo 3
Davison not out 4
Extras: (b 1, w 11, nb 1) 13
Bowling: Odoyo 5-1-18-0, Odhiambo 10 -0 -45 -2, Ngoche 10-2-26-1, Kamande 5-0-25-0, Obuya 2-0-15-0, Tikolo 5-1-24-0
Bangalore, March 7
India made heavy weather of what seemed to be a comfortable chase of 208 against the associate nation last night. India endured stiff tests even in their previous matches — against Bangladesh and England —winning the former and managing to tie the latter.
"It was important that we chased and got used to batting second and getting to understand what to do in different situations," said Kirsten.
"Two points is everything and we will face different challenges in different games, we don't want to have easy games all the way through," he added.
India are now up against another minnow, the Netherlands, on Wednesday and Kirsten said all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who picked up five wickets and scored and unbeaten 50 yesterday, has struck form just at the right time.
"Yuvraj did well all round," he said. "He has been working hard on his cricket and wants to contribute with bat and ball. I am pleased with the way he went about his batting," he added.
Kohli at three in rankings
Dubai: Virat Kohli continued to retain the third place even as Yuvraj Singh's match-winning knock against Ireland helped him move to 22nd, an improvement of one place, in the ICC ODI rankings issued today. Gautam Gambhir, too, retained the 13th position in the rankings for batsmen. Ireland's stunning win over England last week have helped them leapfrog Zimbabwe.The sensational victory in Bangalore last Wednesday earned Ireland, an associate member of the ICC, enough points to move into 10th position in the rankings. Australia remain the top-ranked side, with World Cup co-hosts India in second place. South Africa conceded the third place to Sri Lanka. — PTI
Dubai: Virat Kohli continued to retain the third place even as Yuvraj Singh's match-winning knock against Ireland helped him move to 22nd, an improvement of one place, in the ICC ODI rankings issued today.
Gautam Gambhir, too, retained the 13th position in the rankings for batsmen.
Ireland's stunning win over England last week have helped them leapfrog Zimbabwe.The sensational victory in Bangalore last Wednesday earned Ireland, an associate member of the ICC, enough points to move into 10th position in the rankings.
Australia remain the top-ranked side, with World Cup co-hosts India in second place. South Africa conceded the third place to Sri Lanka. — PTI
Melbourne, March 7
Hussey will fly off to the subcontinent tomorrow. "Just going is a bit of a dream come true but to actually be there as part of a winning Australian team would be out of this world, so let's hope," Hussey was quoted as saying by the 'Australian Associated Press'.
"I feel very excited and can't wait to get over there and catch up with the boys. I've had lots of messages from the boys already so I'm just excited to get over there really," he added. Hussey had been playing in the Sheffield Shield all this while and said he is feeling fit and confident about the big event now.
"The first innings I fielded in the slips for the whole innings so I didn't really have to test it too much but in the second innings the selectors actually did want me to have a bit of a run around in the field," Hussey said. "So I spoke to Northy (skipper Marcus North) and said 'do you mind if I have a run in the outfield?' And the more I was out and on it the better it felt and the more confidence I got with it. "It would have been nice to score more runs but just to be out there playing the game you love again is what it's all about," he added.
"Just knowing I can get through the game and know I can go full of confidence with the leg, that gives me a lot of confidence as well." Asked what he thought of Australia's World Cup chances, Hussey said the team looks confident in its quest for a record fourth successive title. — PTI
Chennai, March 7
The England Cricket Board had earlier announced that Pietersen would undergo a hernia surgery after the team's World Cup campaign but the operation has been advanced now, a team spokesman said.
Pietersen's injury first came to light after the 1-6 ODI series loss to Australia before the World Cup.
Having the surgery after the World Cup, which ends on April 2, would have ruled him out of the Indian Premier League, starting just six days after the mega event. But advancing the procedure could see him turn up for his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Twenty20 league.
His replacement Morgan would be coming in after nursing a finger injury but given that he is a middle-order batsman, Jonathan Trott or Ian Bell could be promoted to the opening slot to partner skipper Andrew Strauss.
England have endured a roller-coaster World Cup so far, beating the Netherlands, tying a thriller against India, losing to minnows Ireland before getting the better of South Africa in another humdinger. They will now travel to Chittagong to face co-hosts Bangladesh on Friday. — PTI
Kolkata, March 7
"We are delighted that Gautam Gambhir will be leading our team. He is a thorough professional and his performance and leadership qualities speak for themselves," KKR CEO & MD Venky Mysore said in a KKR release.
Gambhir said he was looking forward to leading the team in IPL IV. "It's a pleasure and an honour to lead the KKR team. I believe that the KKR management has put together a terrific team. I am looking forward to the season and feel very optimistic," said Gambhir, who was Delhi Daredevils captain last season.
He was bought by KKR for a record-breaking USD 2.4 million (Rs 11.04 crore) in the IPL auction held in Bangalore in January. Along with Gambhir, six members of the KKR squad are currently playing in the World Cup. — PTI
New Delhi, March 7
The Indian trio will be pitted against golfers from 13 others countries at the Delhi Golf Club from Wednesday to Friday. The formal opening ceremony will be held tomorrow, when the Am-Am will also be played.
Gauri and Vani are both 17, while Aditi, who edged out Meher Atwal for the third berth, is just 12. Kiwi Lydia Ko was 12 when she played the event last year. Lydia Ko now 13 is back for the event this year.
"It will be a great experience to play with the best in the region," said the tall Gauri, who has ambitions of playing professional golf at the highest level.
Gauri, who played the 2009 Sirikit Cup, missed out on the 2010 Asian Games, has won six of the seven events she has played since September and is ranked No. 1 amateur in India. — PTI
Nagpur, March 7
"I believe in this team...we have the opportunity to shape today & tomorrow and we will be there when it counts. Thanx to our loyal supporters," said Smith on social networking side 'Twitter'.
"One thing is for sure ... I'm not gonna admit to people's agendas ... this team has something," he wrote.
Yesterday, Smith hit back at claims that his side had "choked" once again after a dramatic six-run loss to England in Chennai.
Needing just 172 to win, they were cruising at 124 for three in the 32nd over but were reduced to 127 for seven in the 37th over before being all out for 165. — PTI
Rome, March 7
A brace from the brilliant Samuel Eto'o and one goal each from Giampaolo Pazzini, Goran Pandev and Yuto Nagatomo yesterday - all in the second half, cancelled out Rodrigo Palacio's 40th-minute opener for Genoa before the visitors scored a last-minute consolation through Mauro Boselli.
Inter coach Leonardo, who had witnessed Milan's 1-0 win at Juventus on Saturday night, was beaming at the final whistle.
"It was not easy against their five defenders but after Pazzini's goal it all opened up and it was a joy to watch", said the former Milan coach before turning his attention towards the potentially scudetto-deciding Milan derby in early April. — AFP