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Posts Tagged ‘sachin tendulkar’

Next season’s Twenty20 cup looks set to be an altogether more glamourous affair, with Middlesex having already signed Adam Gilchrist and hopeful of adding Sachin Tendulkar as well. Add to this the arrival of Ajantha Mendis at Hampshire, and county cricket in general is looking like it might be a little easier on the eye next season.

Lancashire, not to be outdone, have made Lily Allen an honorary member.

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The build-up to India’s Test series with Sri Lanka has been somewhat overshadowed by the continuing coverage of Sachin Tendulkar’s 20th year in international cricket, but with top spot in the ICC Test Rankings up for grabs, the contest has much to offer.

Sri Lanka’s record in India suggests that the tourists will face a tough task. The bulk of responsibility for scoring runs is likely to fall on the usual suspects, who have in the past made huge scores on benign pitches but struggled in difficult conditions. As for the bowlers, only Murali has a strong track record in India, so the others will need to step up if the side are to succeed. Herath should edge out Mendis for the second spin slot, although the latter’s magical showing against the same opposition last year may inspire his inclusion at some stage.

For the hosts, Zaheer Khan’s return (along with Sreesanth) should revitalise the pace attack, whilst a chief concern could be adjusting back to Test cricket after more than six months of limited-overs matches. The lack of Test matches has been picked up on by the man of the hour, and many of the players in the side may take some time to realign their approaches.

This is a key series for India in their mission to become the best side in the world, and a series victory for the home side will be widely expected.

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Rahul Dravid is set to return to One Day International cricket after being included in India’s squad for the upcoming tri-series in Sri Lanka and the autumn’s Champions Trophy. Although Dravid hasn’t played an ODI since 2007, his performances in this year’s IPL and the relative weakness of India’s middle order in the World Twenty20 have encouraged the selectors to bring back ‘The Wall’ in place of Rohit Sharma.

Sachin Tendulkar also returns to the side after sitting out the ODI series against the West Indies, but Virender Sehwag is still out with the shoulder injury that caused him to miss out on the World Twenty20.

The squad in full is: MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh,Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, RP Singh, Amit Mishra, Dinesh Karthik, and Abhishek Nayar.

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After the sugary delights of the World Twenty20, it’s back to the slightly more balanced diet of 50-over cricket for the West Indies and India with the four-match ODI series which starts tomorrow at Sabina Park.

The tourists have been hit by injury (Sehwag, Raina) as well as the desire to give some key players (Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan) a rest, but a ‘weak’ Indian side still contains the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma and Gambhir. Whilst their performance at the World Twenty20 was a disappointment, a disappointed India often bounce back strongly, and the inclusion of fresh faces may well prove to be the catalyst for a revival of their fortunes. Dhoni, as ever, will be key.

For the West Indies, an encouraging home Test series (at least in terms of results, the WICB‘s reputation took a bit of a beating) against England was followed up with a seemingly jaded performance against the same side away from home, and the contrast between the Chris Gayle who grumbled and griped his way thought that series and his swashbuckling Twenty20 alter-ego was vivid. The Windies will be hoping that they have the latter at their disposal for the next couple of weeks, as well as his partner-in-boundaries Dwayne Bravo (who is joined by brother Darren in the West Indies side for the first time). Sulieman Benn is also likely to have to play at his best, as he will face a tough examination of his bowling from the side who are traditionally considered the best in the world at playing spin.

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India’s squad for their upcoming tour of the Caribbean makes interesting reading. In the absence of Sehwag and Raina (injured), Tendulkar and Zaheer (rested), and Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan (dropped), there are one or two names that require a little mental exploration before recognition is achieved.

Ashish Nehra hasn’t played for India since 2005, and Abhishek Nayar, is, I must confess, a mystery to me – although he has made an impression on some, and his 99 in the Ranji Trophy final (as well as his IPL experience) marks him out as someone to keep any eye out for.

Ravindra Jadeja is also a relative newcomer to the full Indian side, having only played a single ODI, but he has impressed in the past for the Under-19 side, and featured in the World Twenty20 side.

The squad in full is as follows: MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam  Badrinath, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik.

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Lots of things have happened in the last 33 years. Punk, Margaret Thatcher, Chernobyl, a cloned sheep, and my entire life. Until today, that list didn’t include an Indian Test win in New Zealand.

India’s 10-wicket win in Hamilton was effectively sealed by Harbhajan Singh‘s 6 for 63 in the second innings, but it was Sachin Tendulkar who deservedly claimed the Man of the Match trophy following his sublime knock yesterday.

For India, the next goal is their first ever series win in New Zealand, which few would now bet against. For the Black Caps, getting anything out of the series will be an uphill struggle, especially given the poor showing with the bat so far from everyone other than Ryder and Vettori (without whom, New Zealand’s first innings would have been even more embarrasing).

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In these troubled and unpredictable times, it’s comforting to have some constant, reliable events to fall back on: Liverpool being drawn against Chelsea in the Champions League, England being rubbish at Twenty20 cricket, and Sachin Tendulkar scoring centuries.

Sachin’s latest against New Zealand was his 42nd in Test cricket, and his 85th in international cricket overall. Enjoy the highlights of his partnership with MS Dhoni below.

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I’m not quite sure what’s more remarkable – that Sachin Tendulkar is still scoring One Day centuries, or that he hadn’t scored one in New Zealand until today.

The Little Master’s truly remarkable career may be in its latter stages, but he’s still capable of surprising things. For example, did you know that Tendulkar is ambidextrous? Apparently, “he writes left-handed and at meals handles a spoon or fork with his left, but eats Indian-style meals with his right hand, which he uses for all other activities“.

Enjoy highlights of his latest achievement below.

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After the Black Caps’ surprising 2-0 victory in the Twenty20 matches between these sides, India are facing claims that they can’t cope in Kiwi  conditions. Gambhir in particular hasn’t looked comfortable, and Tendulkar hasn’t yet played a game since arriving in New Zealand (partly due to the BCCI’s ongoing attitude to ICL-tarnished players), so the weight of top-order expectation (and much of the pressure from the bowlers) will fall mainly on the usually awesome Sehwag.

For the hosts, confidence is running high after their short-form success, and the bowling unit looks strong, but the Black Caps will be well aware that they are likely to be viewed by most observers as the underdogs. Any limited-overs team with Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori, of course, always has a good chance.

India have often struggled in New Zealand in the past, but the sheer quality of their side is difficult to deny. Things are set for an interesting series.

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One of the interesting ramifications of Kevin Pietersen’s departure from the England captaincy is the prospect of an extended participation from the ‘uppity bok‘ in the second season of the IPL.

Pietersen, along with the rest of the England squad, is yet to sign his central contract, and the recent events in England have been very closely followed by a number of IPL franchises. He would certainly be one of the most attractive, if not the most attractive, English player in terms of sponsorship for any of the IPL teams, which could be a crucial factor.

Bangalore Royal Challengers are, according to Cricinfo, amongst those who have expressed an interest in signing Pietersen for next season, as are the Mumbai Indians. The mouth-watering prospect of KP sharing time at the crease with the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul or Sachin Tendulkar is likely to be more than enough to excite and interest cricket fans the world over.

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V.S. Naipaul could hardly have scripted it better for India. The crowd favourite tore up the fourth-innings rulebook, the young gun and the Mumbai legend completed the feat. For Indian fans, this must have been cathartic in the extreme – a famous triumph against ridiculous odds, victory from the jaws of defeat.

Best of all, references to ‘the Security Situation’ declined rapidly
from Day 3 onwards. Strauss, Sehwag and Slow Over Rate were the only
S-words on anyone’s lips.

Continuing the alliteration, Sehwag’s Sunday slogfest (youtube here) set things up for India to acheive the seemingly impossible and chase down 387, but it was England’s bowlers who arguably made the largest contribution to the home side’s success. Panesar (0 for 105 from 27 overs), Harmison and Anderson have all come in for some criticism, suggesting that Broad will return immediately to the side once fit, and there are also likely to be some changes in the England batting order before the Second Test.

For the moment, though, it seems churlish to detract from the Indian
achievement
by dwelling on the English failure. Even though it was a cataclysmic failure.

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All over England, people are bemoaning the national side’s run of ODI defeats to India. Some are pointing to an outdated attitude to the batting order, others to a fundamental misjudgement of Indian conditions, yet others to the general attitude to limited overs cricket that, it is argued, persists in the UK.

There is another possibility, though. What if India are, simply put, now the best One Day side there is?

From the breakneck acceleration of Sehwag and Gambhir, through the middle-order fireworks of Yuvraj and company, the Indian batting lineup is as good as any in the world. Although Tendulkar isn’t quite as ‘modern’ in his approach as some of the younger stars, having a player of such quality in the side is anything but a hardship.

As for the spin bowlers, only Sri Lanka can table a serious claim to superiority over the likes of Harbhajan. In comparison, the part timers of Australia and England are hardly worth considering.

Even the seam bowlers, traditionally India’s weak spot, are world-class. Ishant Sharma has exploded onto the international scene, and Zaheer Khan continues to attract plaudits from all directions.

The experience that most of the Indian side have gained, partly from two recent confrontations with Australia, partly from the brave new world of the IPL, has given them an edge over most, if not all, of the planet’s One Day sides. Whether or not they can maintain their current form for long enough to overhaul Australia and South Africa at the top of the ODI rankings, and whether they can produce such electric performances away from home, remains to be seen – but I wouldn’t bet against it.

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