Archive for August, 2010

The showpiece ODI event – ICC World Cup – doesn’t have much territory left to reach its inaugural day and what we see is Munaf Patel getting an SOS from Dambulla to join the Indian team in wake of Ishant Sharma’s injury and Zaheer Khan’s absence. If that is the bench-strength of India 188 days from the World Cup, then Irfan Pathan is surely a pedigree apart and needs to be checked-in soon to join the Indian huddle.

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After a Test series that proved to be a harvesting season for records, India and Sri Lanka have finally settled their duffel bags in the picturesque Dambulla, where the teams have nailed in tents to stay for the duration of the ODI tournament, with New Zealand completing its triangular nature.

The culture-rich Sri Lankan city first welcomed cricket to its shores in the year 2000, after the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium – Sri Lanka’s newest – was completed in just 167 days. But since its inception, the venue has been at the heart of controversies, ranging from the lease agreement of the stadium’s site to an undue advantage to the side winning the toss.

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The best that Australia’s 2001 Test tour to India reminds us of is the unthinkable that Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman accomplished in the Kolkata Test, which the Aussies lost after enforcing a follow-on. But while Laxman helped India win the final Test at Colombo nine years later with a masterly century on Saturday, Dravid has been left to introspect what he needs to do in order to keep his place in the Test XI.

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The little master and very, very special Laxman didn’t disappoint Indian fans on day five as the pair dusted Lankan hopes of winning the series with a 2-0 margin at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Saturday.

The onus to find a way out of Suraj Randiv’s craftily knitted web rested squarely on Sachin Tendulkar and those to follow night-watchman Ishant Sharma’s foreseeable early dismissal on the final day.

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It wasn’t long ago when the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) – despite enjoying support from most quarters – was given the brush-off by the likes of Dickie Bird and Joel Garner. Invigorating the debate, Sachin Tendulkar has also thrown his weight around, opposing its implementation, and the issue has hogged the limelight once again.

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Competition is always healthy but when it’s for cementing a place in a national sports team – that too cricket, and to top it all, in India – the situation exerts frenzied pulls on every cricket aficionado. And the matter assumes elephantine proportions when the contenders are Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina – two of the most eligible heir-apparents to the Indian middle order.

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The 22-yard strips, like the one used in the second India-Sri Lanka Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo, will make it difficult for Test cricket to come off the ventilator.

Ever since the advent of T20, Test cricket had to be swiftly moved into the intensive care unit to make sure it negotiates a critical phase of its existence. But when you have close to 1500 runs scored and just 17 wickets fall in five days, bowlers requiring over 200 overs to bowl a side out, two double hundreds and three hundreds scored and a last-wicket partnership lasting almost 30 overs, the dreariness is set to soar and crash through its measurement scale.

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