After hit, giggle, time for serious
Pakistan bowling attack is complete: Dhoni
Kohli at career-best 5th spot in ICC T20 rankings
Adapting to new ODI rules will be very difficult, says Misbah
Towering figure Tony Greig dies of heart attack
Mohun Bagan banned for 2 I-League seasons, can play other tourneys
After hit, giggle, time for serious
Chennai, December 29
“It” refers to a win over India — Pakistan have lost their last three One-day encounters to India. Pakistan last beat India in their Champions Trophy encounter in 2009. Pakistan are playing an ODI in India for the first time since their loss in the World Cup semifinal in Mohali last year.
Curiously enough, this is the first and last One-day International that will be played in India this year — India have played ODIs in Australia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka this year, and only 16 of them. They played 34 ODIs the previous year and 26 in 2010 —this downward spiral could be an indication that ODI cricket is slipping quickly in India’s plans in this era of IPL and T20s.
Pakistan are touring India for a bilateral series for the first time since 2007, when they won the last of the five One-dayers. The series was won by India 3-2, but Pakistan had prevailed in the last ODI at Jaipur in November 2007.
Pakistan are fired up to repeat that win here tomorrow. But a downpour that started last night washed Chennai clean today, pattering down with great force and sending the cricketers indoors. The rain is threatening to disrupt or abridge the match tomorrow. Rain is forecast for the night, and it seems likely that the planned 9 AM start would not materialise.
The two-match Twenty20 series, which ended in a 1-1 stalemate, leaves the experts and forecasters in a state of confusion.
India were expected to win in the T20 series; after Pakistan won in Bangalore, though, the momentum was alleged to have shifted decisively towards Pakistan. Then India won in Ahmedabad, and the news anchors and columnists declare the momentum is with India.
“Oh, now the momentum has shifted to India, has it?” chuckles Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain. “Well, I don’t think so! Twenty20 is a totally different form of the sport, and in this format any team can win.” That’s quite true, of course. Twenty20 and ODI cricket are different creatures entirely —the brevity of the shortest format makes it a lottery, as Ajit Agarkar and Sunil Gavaskar have said in the recent days.
Now the lottery is over, the shouting is over, and the more serious contest begins. The Pakistanis have opted to include in the ODI squad two of their stars from the T20 series, Mohammad Irfan and Shoaib Malik. Both were not part of the original ODI team, but Malik’s match-winning knock in Bangalore and the giant Irfan’s pace and bounce convinced the Pakistanis to cancel the return tickets of the duo.
Pakistan see a change of leadership too — T20 captain Mohammed Hafeez gives way to ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq, while former captain Younis Khan also comes into the team. Pakistan’s bowling could be a significant factor in the ODIs, for their best bowlers won’t be restricted to just four overs of play. “They have a complete bowling attack,” Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said today. “They have five specialist bowlers, and then they have Hafeez, who often bowls a full quota of 10 overs.”
Their best spinner, Saeed Ajmal, was torn apart by Yuvraj Singh in Ahmedabad; Misbah says that won’t be a factor. “In that factor, any bowler can have a bad day,” Misbah said. “The batsmen are desperate too attack, and they attack, and anyone can suffer on any day.”Yuvraj was on fire in Ahmedabad. He played a manic innings, hitting the ball with power and great timing, but remaining calm in the middle of the storm. “He’s a match-winner in this form of the game,” says Ganguly.
India’s bowling attack is their weak link; batsmen like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Dhoni must cover up for them. Pakistan, with their full-lunged shouts on the eve of the match, fired themselves up; the Indian team is urged not to lose to Pakistan. “Inse mat haarna — don't lose to them,” urge the TV promotions to the Indians.
The two captains, Dhoni and Misbah, were stony-faced and visibly serene, advising peace and calm; they know, though, that the storm of emotion an India-Pakistan series could make or break. Both are hoping to make the best of it.
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Chennai, December 29
"Overall, Pakistan is a very good team. Its combination is such that they have specialist bowlers and have five bowlers for a match. In a way I feel they have complete bowling attack and they have experienced batsmen who can bat well in any conditions. Specialist spinners are also performing well," Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference, here.
"When it is compared to Indian team it is a very balanced side with talented players. Overall, which ever the team bats and bowls well for a long period of time will turn out to be well," Dhoni added.
Tomorrow will be first ODI match that India will play post Sachin Tendulkar's retirement and Dhoni said his immense experience will be missed but youngsters will get a chance to showcase their talent.
"If you look at the last one year or so, he has been picking and choosing ODI matches to play. Yes, We are missing him a lot. He has such experience and he always leaves a solid impact on the minds of the youngsters in the team in the dressing room. We all miss that. Also, when we look at important series afresh, youngsters need to get chances and perform well," he said.
Dhoni also made it clear that he is not a big fan of the new rules brought in the One-day format. "I am not very happy with the rules. I feel that lot of changes in ODI has been brought in when lot of people talk about Test cricket and experiments made in T20," he said.
Asked for comment on the new rule that two bouncers could be bowled in a over, he said," Once we get fast bowlers like Umesh Yadav we will try to use it. As of now we will keep that in our pocket." Talking about the media criticism after the Bangalore T20 defeat, Dhoni said, "It is not in our control. It is important that we attend to our job as to what we need to do on field." However, he backed his bowlers, when bowling has been considered weak link.
"We have few young bowlers and it is difficult for them to bowl in dew factors and adapt to the changes in rules of the game. All these are to be taken in to account and we will have to back them as at the end of the day they are the ones you see in the future games," he said — PTI
SQUAD (First ODI)
(INDIA): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Amit Mishra (PAKISTAN): Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar
(INDIA): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Amit Mishra
(PAKISTAN): Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar
New Delhi, December 29
The latest rankings were released at the end of India's T20I series against England and Pakistan, as well as South Africa's three-match series against New Zealand.
While India levelled the two-match series against both England and Pakistan, South Africa won the three-match series against New Zealand by a margin of 2-1.
Kohli scored a total of 95 runs against England and Pakistan in the four matches, thereby achieving his career-best ratings of 731.
Yuvraj Singh has also moved up, jumping six places to 13th, following his 124 runs against England and Pakistan. He also climbed up a place in the bowlers' rankings list to 35th.
The combined batting and bowling efforts has helped Yuvraj, who was also named Player of the Series against England, achieve career-best 337 ratings points in the all-rounders' table, where he is placed third. The other Indian batsmen, who have made upward movement, include Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 25th (up by three) spot and Ajinkya Rahane in 74th (up by five) place.
Meanwhile, the batting table continues to be headed by Shane Watson, followed by Brendon McCullum in second place and Chris Gayle in third. Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez who scored 116 runs against India in the two matches at a strike rate of 165.71, has moved up a place to 19th with a best-ever ratings of 594.
Second-placed Hafeez also achieved his career-best ratings of 377 as an all-rounder in the series against India.
The bowlers' table, which is headed by Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan, saw India's Ravichandran Ashwin moving up two places to be at 16th with career-best ratings of 618 that he achieved against Pakistan at Ahmedabad in the second match.
India began the series against England and Pakistan at third place with 120 ratings points and had the opportunity to become the number one ranked team on the ICC T20I Championship table if they won all their four games. But India's 1-1 series results against both England and Pakistan, meant that they retained the third place but for the loss of one ratings point to end at 119.
Meanwhile, England (fourth), South Africa (fifth) and Pakistan (sixth) retained its pre-series rankings on the table without any loss of ratings points. New Zealand, on the other hand, gained one ratings point but continued to be eighth with 98 ratings points. — Agencies
Chennai, December 15
Under the new rules, one new ball will be used at each end, bowlers will be allowed two bouncers an over, there will be no batting Power Play, the bowling Power Play will have to be completed before the 40th over, and at no stage in the innings will more than four fielders be allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
"To adapt will be difficult, there will be changes in the game — the way the batsmen play, the tactics of the bowlers and slowly, bowlers, batsmen and captains will come to grip with it. But at the start, it will definitely be difficult for everyone concerned," Misbah added.
The match between the two neighbours would be the first occasion when the new rules would be implemented.
Asked how would they about in the three-match series, Misbah said his side will have to play positive cricket. “One thing we thought before coming here is that we have to play good positive cricket. It has been apparent during the T20s that for the first time, the Pakistan team is playing without pressure. Hopefully, we will play the same way in the ODIs, be it in batting or bowling, play with the same kind of aggression. — PTI
Virat Kohli, with 1026 runs in 2012, needs to score another 159 to beat Kumar Sangakkara's tally of 1184 runs. Kohli is currently placed third, behind Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan (1119). Kohli has only one match to try to move up the list. India have won nine ODIs and lost six in 2012. India last played a day ODI at home two years ago, in Vadodara against New Zealand
Virat Kohli, with 1026 runs in 2012, needs to score another 159 to beat Kumar Sangakkara's tally of 1184 runs. Kohli is currently placed third, behind Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan (1119). Kohli has only one match to try to move up the list.
India have won nine ODIs and lost six in 2012.
India last played a day ODI at home two years ago, in Vadodara against New Zealand
Melbourne, December 29
Greig, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October, was taken to a Sydney hospital but died at about 1:45 pm (0245 GMT).
"The staff of the emergency department worked on Mr Greig to no avail," a spokesman at St Vincent's hospital told local media.
A larger-than-life figure standing 6ft 6in (1.98 metres), South Africa-born Greig was an outstanding all-rounder who played 58 tests for England from 1972-77, scoring 3,599 runs at 40.43 including eight centuries and claiming 141 wickets at 32.20 each. He was also a brilliant slip fielder, taking 87 catches in test matches.
Greig could bowl at either a lively medium-pace or, on occasion, employ quickish off-spin, using his height and bounce in the latter style to take 13 wickets and win a test match in the Caribbean.
But Greig and controversy were never far apart and on the same West Indies tour in 1974 he ran out Alvin Kallicharran while the batsman was walking back to the pavilion after the last ball of the day had been bowled.
Technically Kallicharran was out as the umpire had not yet indicated play had officially ended, but after spectators invaded the ground and threatened to riot, the batsman was recalled. Later that year on the Ashes tour of Australia, Greig sometimes seemed to be playing the Australians on his own as Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson blitzed the hapless England batsmen with their pace, menace and bounce. He was promoted to the captaincy in the following year after England lost the first Ashes test at home and immediately infused his own aggression and determination into the team who drew the next three tests against one of the strongest sides in history. However, in 1976 Greig attracted further unwanted controversy before a series against West Indies when he said he intended to make the tourists "grovel".
The use of the word by a white South African in a time of heightened racial tensions enraged the West Indies, whose fast bowlers noticeably lifted their pace when Greig arrived at the crease on their way to a 3-0 series victory.
Greig's biggest impact on the game came after he joined forces in 1977 with late Australian businessman Kerry Packer to set up the breakaway World Series Cricket (WSC) competition. — Agencies
As a player Greig's controversial remarks prior to 1976 series against West Indies meant his wicket was widely celebrated by the Windies' fast bowlers but in the fourth Test at Headingley they struggled to contain him. Greig, who scored eight centuries in his Test career, blasted his way to 116 before finishing 76 not out in the second innings. As a livewire commentator with Sky Sports Tony celebrates Sachin’s Tendulkar fireworks against Australian bowlers during a tri-series match for India in Sharjah: "Oh it's a biggiiieeeee!"
As a player Greig's controversial remarks prior to 1976 series against West Indies meant his wicket was widely celebrated by the Windies' fast bowlers but in the fourth Test at Headingley they struggled to contain him. Greig, who scored eight centuries in his Test career, blasted his way to 116 before finishing 76 not out in the second innings.
As a livewire commentator with Sky Sports Tony celebrates Sachin’s Tendulkar fireworks against Australian bowlers during a tri-series match for India in Sharjah: "Oh it's a biggiiieeeee!"
New Delhi, December 29
The decision was taken by the I-League Core Committee, which also declared all of club's matches in the "I-League Competition 2012-2013 cancelled and considered null and void."
"The I-League Core Committee of the AIFF received the detailed Report dated 26th December 2012 of the Hon'ble Justice A K Ganguly relating to I-League Match No. 68 between Kingfisher East Bengal (KEB) and McDowell Mohun Bagan (MMB) played at Yuba Bharati Stadium, Salt Lake City Kolkata on 9 December 2012," the AIFF said in a statement. "Justice Ganguly in his report has concluded that the decision of MMB for not playing the match after the interval cannot be supported on the grounds of Force Majeure and accordingly MMB has breached Regulation 22 of the I-League Regulation 2012-2013.
"The I-League Core Committee endorsed the decision of Justice A K Ganguly that MMB was in breach of I-League regulations and therefore in terms of regulation 22(c) the mandatory and automatic impositions on MMB (i) of being considered to have withdrawn from the I-League Competition 2012-2013 (ii) to have all its matches in the I-League Competition 2012-2013 cancelled and considered null and void (all points, goals scored and goal against being taken away); (iii) being disqualified from taking part in the next two (2) editions of the I-League Competitions; (iv) to return to the I-League any financial stipends that had been paid to it by I-League throughout the Competition 2012-2013 or forfeit the right to the same, are hereby notified to have been imposed upon and effective with immediate effect," the statement said.
The more than century-old club, the most famous in the country with a rich history behind it that was in some way also connected with India's rise in nationalism in the initial phases of freedom struggle, however, would be allowed to play in Federation Cup and other domestic tournaments. — PTI