Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Zealand v India, 5th ODI, Auckland

Finally there was a contest between bat and ball. And India, perhaps continuing in their merry ways, came unstuck when the ball moved around, more so in the first half of the day and less and less as the pitch started to get older. Daniel Vettori was surprised his bowlers got the first use of the pitch, something Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted India should have done.
"We misread the wicket," said Dhoni. "That is what I can say. We did make mistakes, but we negotiated the period quite well when initially it was doing quite a bit. It was an ideal start given by Gautam [Gambhir] and [Virender] Sehwag but we failed to capitalise."
Dhoni also admitted that with the ball moving around a bit, the batsmen didn't adjust well. "We played shots that didn't really come up very well in this game," he said. "Throughout the series we have played big shots which were paying off but this time we lost a few wickets and we put ourselves under pressure."
Vettori was pleased with the effort his bowlers put in on a helpful track. "In most of the games, whether we've gone well or not has depended on the bowlers," he said. "Today I thought they bowled really well. The wicket had a little more in it than the previous ones, but you still have to bowl well. You saw that a guy like Sehwag can still be explosive, like he has in previous games, even on a deck like that. Really pleased for the guys. Some guys who haven't performed in the series stepped up. Jacob Oram was outstanding and Jesse Ryder came through with the ball."
For this dead rubber India went with an unchanged XI, the best available team, and were still outplayed. But today's result, according to Dhoni, wouldn't matter much going into the Test series. "Before the start of the one-day series, we had lost two Twenty20 games and the same question was asked," he said. "It's not about what we have done. We have to start from scratch again. Nothing changes. You have to perform at your best. I don't think anything matters when it comes to the last game of a one-day series."
New Zealand are definitely not thinking the same way. "It [the win] puts us in a good space," said Vettori. "If you lose a series outright 4-0 you can get demoralised. The guys will take that confidence into the Test series. It was a lot nicer being in that dressing room than in the rest of the series."
At the same time, Vettori said it didn't take away from the challenge that the Indian team will present in the Tests. "Nice for us to finish on a winning note, but we still understand that we have been outplayed and haven't lived up to our own expectations," he said. "We can take a bit of momentum into the Test series. It's going to be a massive challenge with [Sachin] Tendulkar, [Rahul] Dravid and [VVS] Laxman coming back into the mix."

Virender Sehwag gets India's fastest ODI hundred

Sehwag smashed Kiwi bowlers in the 4th ODI between New Zealand and India and got his hundred off just 60 balls, the fastest by ay Indian in ODI cricket. He completed his hundred in a superb fashion hitting a six in the ball of Daniel Vettori and making his score 103 in the 19th over. This is the 11th ODI hundred for india. Sehwag remained not out on 125 off 74 balls hitting 6 sixes and 14 fours as India won the match by D/L method.
Just 1 ball before Sehwag completed his hundred, Gambhir made his 50 off 52 balls. At that stage India were 164/0. Sehwag's hundred is of course the fastest by any Indian but also the 7th fastest ODI hundred. Before this Mohammad Azharuddin had got his hundred in 62 balls.
Here are the fastest ODI hundreds for India:

60V Sehwag
62M Azharuddin108*NZBaroda (MP)1988
64Yuvraj Singh
66SK Raina 101HKKarachi2008
69V Sehwag100NZColombo (SSC)2001
71SR Tendulkar124*ZimSharjah1998
73Yuvraj Singh 103EngMargao2006

Here are the fastest ODI hundreds (overall):

10237116Shahid AfridiPakistan v Sri LankaNairobi04/10/1996
147*44108MV BoucherSouth Africa v ZimbabwePotchefstroom20/09/2006
11745418BC LaraWest Indies v BangladeshDhaka09/10/1999
10245910Shahid AfridiPakistan v IndiaKanpur15/04/2005
134481111ST JayasuriyaSri Lanka v PakistanSingapore02/04/1996
13055616ST JayasuriyaSri Lanka v BangladeshKarachi30/06/2008
V SehwagIndia v New ZealandHamilton11/03/2009
10862310M AzharuddinIndia v New ZealandBaroda17/12/1988
15764123ST JayasuriyaSri Lanka v NetherlandsAmstelveen04/07/2006
138*64616Yuvraj SinghIndia v EnglandRajkot14/11/2008

Sidin's guide to the greatest Indian cricketers of all time especially that period between 4 and 6 pm last week

After yesterday's fantastic win against Pakistan there is a new-found optimism in the Indian camp especially with our younger players coming of age and beginning to complement the senior players nicely. When asked of his feelings about the current Indian team Rahul Dravid stated that there was a new-found optimism in the Indian camp especially with our... you get the drift yeah?
So it is but natural that several young Indians of today, drunk with current glory, lose touch with the glittering past of Indian cricket. India has had a history of outstanding cricketers many of whom have been instrumental in the achievement of a large number of cricketing records by countries like Australia, Pakistan, England, Scotland, Vidharbha etc.
This negligence has to stop and the movement to relive our cricketing past starts with this blog right now. So today we celebrate some of the luminaries who have taken Indian cricket to where it is today in the cricketing record books (i.e. in the "vs." column). This list is by no means exhaustive, authoritative or even authentic, and the author strongly expresses the opinion that you do not try this at home.
List of luminaries with brief biographies, often true. (Part 1)
Ranjit Singhji: One of the first great Indian cricketing heroes. Singhji was "The cricketer formally known as "Prince"". His most famous exploits include obtaining a UK visa and work permit and inventing the Leg Glance, a move whereby when friends' sisters walks by in a short skirts you make a sweeping cricket shot action imitation thereby looking at their legs but not getting caught. Famously, Ranjit Singhji once fell ill after a mixing some bad milk in his cup of Darjeeling and could only bowl a single over. In spite of this he got 3 wickets through judicious use of line and length. This is immortalized today in the famous "Corridor of Uncertain Tea". He names lives on to this day in the form of the tournament named after him, the "Coca-Cola Cup".
Gundappa Viswanath: Widely considered the greatest left-handed batsmen from Andhra with a moustache to play in the 60s, in Indian History. Played several crucial test innings for India, many times pulling India back from the brink of complete disaster, taking them to mere comprehensive defeats. He was a daring, brave batsman who stood fearless in the face of the quickest bowlers, primarily because he was blinded by his moustache. Renowned for his deft footwork, he once, after being bowled for duck, moonwalked all the way back to the pavilion. His first name means "Fat Papa" in Tamil and this ensured constant victory for India against the Sri Lankans who could not bowl at him with a straight face.
Sunil Gavaskar: The first big international Indian cricket star. Scored thousands upon thousands of runs in a career that spanned several millions of balls left outside off-stump. He was affectionately known as Sunny, the Little Master and that little Prick though the first two were rarely used. He was a tireless team player and inspiring captain who often shouldered a lot of the batting burden and most of the match fees single-handedly. Gavaskar was a cricketer who patiently waited for the loose ball and once did so for three whole days in a limited overs match before stadium security politely asked him to leave. Gavaskar became the captain of India in 1982 taking on the mantle from Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, an accomplished cricketer himself, who retired from cricket in protest after it became mandatory to wear kits with one’s full name on the back.
Ravi Shashtri: Holds the record for maximum sixes hit in one over with 6 against Tilak Raj in Bombay. Shastri would have hit more but little Tilak had maths homework and a Social Studies test the next day and we all know how bad 7th standard CBSE is. Shastri was one of our first great all-rounders and once, in a remarkable game in the 1987 tour of Ooty and Coimbatore, Shastri bowled himself around the legs. Ravi Shastri was the heartthrob of millions of women in the late 80s and early 90s and was considered a great looker. This has now been found to be an error due to primitive TV broadcasting technology. He is now a well-known and respected cricket commentator. Fiercely patriotic, he recently pegged India to win all the one-days in the South African tour of Sri Lanka.
Kapil Dev: Explosive with the ball, dynamic with the bat and ridiculous with the English language, Kapil Dev was the life of many humorous post-match press conferences. Dev often stood alone in the face of adversity and dragged India out of tight spots. His 175 run innings in Tunbridge Wells is a classic and some of his shots continue to orbit the Earth to this day bouncing off space stations and interfering with TV broadcasts (see Ravi Shastri above.) Kapil Dev was also one of the first few cricketers to make it big in the world of advertising and synonymous with the caption: "Boost is the secret of my enema. Our enema. (Smile)" Nowadays he is a successful entrepreneur and often appears on TV when he roots for India from his heart saying: "India needs to play the games with the heart and the tactics is nice if then the whole together comes... err... boost is the secret of my enema..."
Krishnamachari Srikkanth: A dynamic one-day player who pioneered the technique of repeated letters in one's name for good luck. Srikkanth was an explosive opening batsman who often stepped out of his crease and swung his bat with great gusto only to be stumped down leg side. He holds the record for maximum consecutives world cups without a haircut (4). Kris Srikkanth was the quintessential South Indian in the team who rapidly learned Hindi while playing for India, leading to an average of well over 4 run outs per match in the process. Today Kris is a passionate cricket commentator who can say “Oh shit, sorry” in over 14 north Indian languages.
Venkatesh Prasad: If Akthar is the "Rawalpindi Express" then for many years Venkatesh Prasad, a key part of the bowling attack, was affectionately called "The Slow Bangalore Passenger That Is Currently Broken Down At Palakkad Station. Passengers approach ticket counter for refund please." Despite several key wickets, Prasad was not a pacey bowler but instead used a bewildering array of slow, slower and slowest balls to vex batsmen. In the 1992 World Cup he bowled a slow one to Wasim Akram that has not reached the batsman to this day. He was a pioneer of the "Intimidation" school of fielding whereby you do not run for the ball but merely try to stop it by looking at it gravely.
Anil Kumble: Named after the Anil Kumble Circle in Bangalore, where he grew up learning to bowl, Kumble continues to be one of the spinning maestros in the country. However he is not a big mover of the ball but instead unleashes a repertoire of balls so complicated even he does not know what he is doing. He holds the record for having captured 10 wickets in a single test innings but honestly cannot explain how. The author has a particular grouse with Mr. Kumble for having released a shitty cricket video game that the author's brother forced him to buy. The game has graphics reminiscent of a Rohrschach Test and game play marginally more engaging than digging one's nose. Kumble is frequently a useful all-rounder and was the first Indian to achieve the “supreme” double of 400 wickets taken and 4000 misfields.
Sachin Tendulkar: No one makes fun of Sachin. Not even me.
Sanjay Manrekar: Manjrekar is an exciting top order batsman with an amazing repertoire of shots. If you play him in that stupid Anil Kumble game that is. In real life he was often called a text-book cricketer, in the sense that watching him bat was like reading a macro-economics text book. Sanjay Manjrekar was full of technique and single-handedly developed 2567 ways of padding upto an off-spinner. His moment of glory was during the Ashes Test of 1994 when Imran Khan approached him and accepted defeat as several of the Pakistani players were collapsing from brain inactivity. Manjrekar valiantly declined and went on to score an astounding century in just under a fortnight.
Venkatpathy Raju: With tremendous movement off the pitch especially in windy gusty weather, Venkatpathy Raju is one of the lightest players to have ever played the game. His bowling, on the other hand, was tricky especially because of a complete lack of speed. Raju bowled with such little pace and his ball took so long to come that batsmen often practiced facing him by getting friends and relatives to courier cricket balls overnight to them through local courier companies.
That was the first edition of this special blog series on Indian cricket greats. Hope you enjoyed these brief character profiles and you often burst out, like Azhar, with the words: “Wow!! This I will do for free…” More exciting profiles of Indian cricketing heroes coming soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

USA Cricket Association appoints Donald Lockerbie as its CEO

USA Cricket Association (USACA) announced today that its board has appointed Donald Lockerbie as its first CEO.
USACA's Treasurer John Thickett commented, "After a rigorous three-month recruiting process in which we assessed applicants from all over the world, we are thrilled to announce that Don Lockerbie will be joining us. We have great expectations of what he can bring to US cricket and see a bright future under his leadership as CEO. All the Board members are excited about working with Don."
USACA's President Gladstone Dainty remarked that, "Don brings a robust dynamism to USACA at a time when it is urgently needed. His proven track record is exactly what's required to attract interest and support for the development of cricket in America. He's a team-player and will no doubt succeed with the support of America's diverse group of stakeholders, while bridging the gap of interest in the sport between the current enthusiasts and our untapped American resources."
Don Lockerbie is expected to hit the ground running starting in his new role on April 1, 2009. Mr. Lockerbie stated, "I am extremely humbled and honored to be selected by the USACA board for the new post of Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America Cricket Association," adding, "I am familiar with the working nature of cricket on the international landscape and I look forward to utilizing this experience to be a new and proactive resource for American cricket and our dedicated cricketers."
Mr. Lockerbie is currently the President of Olympvs International, LLC, with offices in USA, Switzerland and West Indies. Olympvs is a sports facility and operations consulting firm. He is best known as the Chief Operating Officer and Venue Development Director of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
Mr. Lockerbie's appointment reinforces USACA's commitment to creating a new and dynamic organization that will promote cricket in USA with renewed vigor.
Long Track Record
Mr. Lockerbie has a long track record of commercial success in sport combined with exceptional management and organizational skills, and has earned respect in all areas of the sports profession.
As an athlete in the 1970's, Mr. Lockerbie competed successfully in Track and Field on the collegiate, national, and international levels and was a two-time national champion. With competition and professional experience covering over 80 countries, Mr. Lockerbie developed an invaluable perspective on international sports facilities and major event operations.
In the 1980's, Lockerbie became the Head Track & Field Coach at the University of North Carolina - which boasted nine outstanding All-America athletes.
Organizational and Infrastructure Experience
USA Cricket needs innovative ideas for development of cricket venues and monetizing existing venues so that they can attract major sporting events and bring money and attention to the game. Mr. Lockerbie appears uniquely positioned to make that happen.
Between 1991 and 1994, Mr. Lockerbie served as a venue Design Manager and a senior consultant for FIFA World Cup Soccer USA 1994, where he was primarily responsible for all planning and construction at Giants Stadium, site of seven games in the New Jersey venue. He was also in charge of Turfgrass construction and maintenance for all nine World Cup venues.
Following that, in the fall of 1995, Lockerbie resumed similar duties and tasks as a Consultant to the Venue Planning Department of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
In August 1998, Mr. Lockerbie's team was retained to plan and oversee the construction and preparations for all 7-competition venues for the 1998 Goodwill games in New York. At the same time, Lockerbie provided Olympic event consulting services for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Overlay Project.
Mr. Lockerbie has served as a programming consultant and has helped venues in Munich and Raleigh monetize their facilities.
Lockerbie is a graduate of the UNC - Chapel Hill where in 1979 he completed a degree in American Studies specializing in literature and military history. His leisure activities include playing golf, running, and attending sports events around the world.

England Cricket: Prior Drops Another Match

After England lost their last one-day match to the West Indies thanks to a sensational 100 from Shivnarine Chanderpaul, I am wondering if West Indies would have won if Matt Prior had not put down Chanderpaul on 27.
There has been a lot of talk about the South African-born wicket keeper, especially about whether or not he should be England's first choice.

Prior was called up to the England team in May 2007 and showed he was able to bat, hitting 126 not out and a quick 21 off nine balls.

But although he may be able to use the blade affectively in tests, he has yet to prove what he can do with the bat in one-day internationals, nor what he can do behind the stumps. Dropping Chanderpaul sure wasn't too terribly convincing.

Prior has been on and off the team since he arrived. I think he's worth keeping around, but I must ask why England is still choosing him as a wicket keeper.

I think that, assuming he is retained, he should be promoted up the order as a batsman, and we should bring in James Foster as wicket keeper, who has not had a chance for England since 2002.

Foster has been proving how reliable behind the stumps he is for Essex for quite some time now, but he still has not got a call up to England.

Prior's got a chance of sticking around, but England really needs a new wicket keeper if they want to succeed in cricket.

Women target place on ECB board after World Cup win in Sydney

England's triumphant women's cricket team will parade the World Cup at Lord's tomorrow morning amid the prospect of something more than mere global dominance: a female representative on the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Giles Clarke, the chairman of the ECB, has said the organisation wants to "increase the representation of women in the governance of the game" and has discussed the issue with the culture secretary, Andy Burnham. The former England captains Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and Clare Connor would be among the favourites to play a leading role at Lord's.
The sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, and Burnham will be among those applauding England's captain, Charlotte Edwards, and the players who defeated New Zealand to lift the trophy in Sydney at the weekend. Clarke will also be there as pressure grows for women – who were allowed to enter the famous red-brick pavilion at Lord's for the first time only 10 years ago – to become more involved in the game at an administrative level.
A spokesman for the department for culture, media and sport, said tonight: "Andy will be going straight from cabinet to Lord's. He had meetings with the England and Wales Cricket Board recently and is very keen that women should be involved not only with the playing side but also with the governance of the game."
Clarke and the ECB chief executive, David Collier, had a meeting with Burnham and Sutcliffe this month in which they outlined their plans for cricket for the next two years and the success of their Building Partnerships programme.
"The Government are one of cricket's key delivery partners," Clarke said. "This ranges from assisting us to stage successful major international events such as the ICC World Twenty20 2009 through to the investment Sport England make in our grass-roots programmes. It is therefore right that we have an ongoing dialogue with DCMS to share our vision of how we intend to take the sport forward.
"I advised them of the great progress the ECB has made in meeting the objectives set out in our five-year plan Building Partnerships. The investment by the ECB of 21% of our income in enthusing participation in grass-roots cricket sets a benchmark for all sports to aspire to.
"This includes growth of 49% in the number of women and girls playing cricket and our women's team retaining the Ashes in Australia. Gerry Sutcliffe has been an energetic champion and supporter of the progress made by women's cricket at all levels and I am delighted he accepted my invitation to open the women's part of the ICC World Twenty20 in Taunton on 11 June 2009.
"In the coming weeks we will engage closely with the DCMS on our plans for taking cricket forward including the framework of our new five-year plan. This will include the proposals the board agreed today to increase the representation of women in the governance of the game and careful examination of the fit and proper person arrangements we set for those who wish to invest in cricket or have ownership interests in our counties."
As well as Heyhoe-Flint and Connor, Baroness Scotland, the attorney general for England and Wales, would be another popular nomination for any senior post. However, in the short term at least, it is more likely that women will be used in a special advisory role or be co-opted on to certain sub-committees than sit on the full board.

Cricket and Blood Center team up for drive

FRANKLIN — Cricket and the Community Blood Center are asking some local students to be a hero.
In a traveling blood drive called "Donors Rock," high school students can give a little and get a free T-shirt. On March 25, the blood drive, named after the popular Guitar Hero and Rockband videogames, is coming to Franklin High School.
Cricket has joined the Community Blood Center for a third year in making this blood drive both fun and educational, providing incentives for students who donate. Once students donate, they'll receive a "Donors Rock Hero Tour" concert-style T-shirt as a thank you for helping to save lives.
Last year, the drive had more than 10,000 registered donors.
"Each year this blood drive continues to grow, and the success is especially exciting because the students are not only participating in a great community service, they're also learning," said Sher Patrick, marketing manager for Community Blood Center. "For most participants, it's the first time they've ever donated blood, and we hope they will become lifelong donors."
More than 100 high schools in 15 counties will be participating in this program, including Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, and Warren counties in Ohio, and Randolph, Wayne and Union Counties in Indiana.
High school donors must be at least 17 years old – or 16 years old with signed parental consent form – weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Parental consent forms for 16-year-old donors are available online at or from a Community Blood Center representative.
Parental consent is not required by law for 17-year olds; however, individual high schools may require parental consent for all student blood donors.
Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past Community Blood Center donors are also asked to bring their CBC donor ID card.