Sunday, April 30, 2006

In the middle of r&r - lookout for *interesting* cricket action

Ok...time for some cricketing updates....although not much happening out there, and even I'm pretty happy with the r&r I can imagine the players delight. Dravid, in the midst of enjoying the rest, speaks about the upcoming WI series and says the India has often played good cricket in patches, which does not win them a test series - so he refused suggestions that Indians are favourite going into the WI test series. Also mentioned about the much debated scheduling questions - 12 tests and 30 ODIs are good enough, he says.

Meanwhile in the lone international cricketing action of the times - after BD it was the turn of SA to face the tailenders curse when Franklin filled his boots with a ton after the Fleming epic. I'm not watching the game, but the way runs have been comfortably scored after day 1 - with now SA being 150+ for 2 wkts - it seems that the early stutters from Nz batting lineup were of their own making. Lets see if SA can sustain the pressure caused by when batting second to a substantial first innings total.

Did I say 'lone' international news....maybe I missed the other action - WI defeating Zim in first ODI? Then again, maybe not. Lara did get some runs under his belt after few poor outings the last time WI played international cricket in Nz.

There's this Eurasia series happening in Abu Dhabi...and India A is emulating their seniors in proving to be significantly better than the others - and the usual suspects Dhawan, Sharma., Chawla, Uthappa are again impressing. But IMO these kind of occasions are just indicators of raw talent, and there are significant next steps to be taken by these youngsters to get to the next level - as we saw in the international outings of Chawla and Uthappa.

And lastly, in an sportstar interview, Dhoni comes across as pretty level headed and honest to me - just like his batting. Worth a read... there are interesting bits like this one
Where did you learn to innovate?

During tennis ball tournaments. On 18-yard pitches we had to face a lot of yorkers. You have to be prepared all the time. At the international level, you have to create scoring opportunities and that is why I have developed certain shots. You have to be different. If you want to succeed at the international level, you have to do things differently. The shots I play when batting at No. 8 will not figure when I am batting at No. 3.
It is interesting to gather such bits and pieces about him as and when they come along, since this is one bloke about whom we'll keep hearing for a long time....therefore any pointers to the make-up of the batsman, and the person behind it, are welcome.

Incidentally Gilchrist has replaced him as the top ODI batsman, which shows that atleast in ODIs he is back to where he belonged. Test matches are a different affair, though. He hasn't yet looked fully recovered from the Ashes blows, and now the next version is upon them (I don't think they play any test cricket before that). Could be a make-or-break series for Gillie the test match player.

And about the ranking itself...well Dhoni is set to play a whole series in May, and the Aussies are due for a long rest, so he should retain that top spot soon, I would think.

Bowler ranking is much more interesting, with Pathan closing in on Pollock at the top (both are incidentally in top 3 in the allrounder rankings) although SA is not playing ODIs anytime soon, as far as I know.