5 things that make Sachin Special

There is no point in listing Sachin’s achievements in the cricket field. Everyone would be aware of even the small incidents of his career. In India, he is considered as a God, an idol, and an inspiration. Words won’t be enough to praise him, such is the class of the person. A man of high calibre, high class.That makes him more special apart from his spectacular achievements.

I have loved cricket simply because Sachin played it. The entire India love him, admire him as a cricketer as well as a person.

What makes Sachin so special? Here we list 5 things that make Sachin a unique personality.

1) His dedication towards the game and nation

The right-hander from Mumbai played the game with so much passion and love and put his life into it. He always said that he doesn’t want to live a life without cricket. People still remember the magnificent ton he scored against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup in England. He scored 140*(101) after coming out from his father’s graveyard.

He wanted to play that game because India was struggling at that point of time. Nobody would have utter a word against him even if he didn’t play that tournament itself but that is Sachin for you, he loves his nation and cricket more than anyone else.

2) As clean as a sage

During the two decades Sachin played the game, he was as clean as a sage. ‘Sachin in a controversy’, no, you don’t get that. Only a ball tampering issue came across and even that proved wrong afterwards. Leaving that aside, Sachin is associated with only mind blowing performances. It was unbelievable that he has carried himself so nicely. He played the game with utmost dedication and sincerity and didn’t want to hamper the gentleness of the game.

3) Sachin – the philanthropist

Sachin always believed that to become a nice human being is more important than becoming a great cricketer. He is a role model for anyone who have a lot of love in their hearts. Not everyone is aware of the charity works he has been doing for quite a long time now. He has been sponsoring many kids who want to play the game but have no money. It is not about cricket only, he gives support to every sport. These haven’t been published because he doesn’t want it to be.

4) His respect for the game

Sachin was once approached by a soft drink to promote their brand. He refused to shoot that advertisement because they wanted him to smash the cricket ball with a fly swatter. He didn’t shoot it because he thought it would make him greater than the game. Then, the ad. was modified in a way that he hits balls with a stump.

5) Simplicity and humbleness

There won’t be a cricketer who has achieved more than Sachin Tendulkar. He has achieved everything that can be achieved. He has been loved all over the world. People even worship him. Once he said that he is not a God and please stop worshiping him.

The interesting question is even with such a height of achievements around him, how a human being can be so simple, so down to earth and humble. It makes him special more than anything. It makes him the real idol, the God he is. Every word he says is a chant, every step he walks and everything he does have a divine touch. If a person has come close to the god qualities, it is our Sachin Tendulkar, our hero, our God.

We love you Sachin. We miss you.

#HappyBirthdaySachin #SachinTendulkar

Reliving Finch’s 67*(54) vs MI

We are reliving some of the best batting performances of the ongoing IPL. Today we have The Gujarat Lions opener Finch’s ice cool innings against Mumbai Indians.

Mumbai Indians posted 143-8 with the help of late burst from Tim Southee 25(11) and Krunal Pandya 20*(11). After the first innings, Gujarat Lions were the clear favourites to win the match considering the modest total and form of the new IPL franchise.

After losing McCullum early, Aaron Finch and the skipper Suresh Raina put a 53 run partnership and it looked like an easy win on the cards. McClenaghan got rid of Raina in the 9th over.That was the breakthrough Mumbai Indians were looking for. And they capitalized the opportunity by picking up wickets on regular intervals that put a brake on the scoring rate.

Finch was going really well at one end but he kept losing partners at the other end. Lions went to 131-7 from 65-1. 13 needed from 8. Raina is not smiling at all. Mumbai smell a victory here.

Finch was cramping(He had an ACL surgery a few months ago). All eyes on Finch. Can he do it with a limping foot?

Yes, he did. He kept his cool and helped his team to a last-ball thriller by hitting a four in the final ball.

IPL does more harm than good to Indian cricket?

IPL has been a blockbuster since its inception. It is a pleasing sight that world’s best in the game fighting it out against each other.

IPL has everything to be a crowd puller. Breathtaking batting, superb bowling spells, brilliant athleticism, last-over thrillers, switch hits, cheeky shots but, IPL do more harm to Indian cricket than good?

Losing home advantage

Teams excel in home conditions because they know the conditions better than their counterparts. Beating Australia in Australia, beating England in England and beating South Africa in South Africa, all are a tough task for every visiting team.

Beating India in India is easy? no, it is still difficult to win against Men-in-blue in the home conditions but, nowadays visiting batsmen find it relatively easy to play in India compared to their predecessors. Why? The answer is simple. It is because of IPL.

How IPL led to losing home advantage?

  1.    Indian conditions are no longer alien to foreigners because of IPL.
  2. They are feeling like playing at home. Crowds love them, Gayle, AB de Villiers, McCullum, Dwayne Bravo all are fan favourites

Lack of emergence of quality Test players

Youngsters like Sarfaraz Khan and Sanju Samson are not afraid of any opposition bowlers, even if Steyn bowls against them, they hit sixes at will but can they excel in Test cricket?

Two-three years ago, if you ask a player, “What is your dream?” 90% say they want to play in the longest format of the game for ample period of time but nowadays, youngsters’ aim is to get an IPL contract because IPL gets you instant fame and money. Who wants to play Tests if that doesn’t give you an identity and financial security?

Solution

  •  BCCI have to send players to participate in other leagues such as BigBash, Caribian premier league or county cricket. That will help them to acclimatize to foreign conditions.
  • The board should take a special care for technically sound players who perform well in Ranji Trophy and reward them with some accolades that will motivate them to excel in Tests.

An open letter to Malinga

Dear Malinga,

I know you have been going through severe pain due to your knee injury. Today I came to know that you will miss the England tour in June and likely to miss Australian series as well. It is really saddening hear all these.

Cricket fraternity missed you in the World T20 and missing you in this IPL. Had you led Sri Lanka in the World T20, then it could have been a different story. Sri Lanka looked like minnows without you. They had an inexperienced side and with only Mathews firing, you can’t expect much from them but your bowling, your captaincy that should have been the X-factor.

When I heard about your injury, I thought you may miss the initial parts of the IPL but missing the whole IPL, that never crossed my mind. There are no better death bowlers than you in the current era, even the great McGrath must have applauded your toe crushing yorkers.

Bowling in blockholes is a difficult trait to master and you have done it with ease. You fire one in the block hole, followed by another one, then another. We came to know, bowlers can consistently hit yorker length and low full tosses only when you showed us.

If the batting team needs only 6-7 runs in the final over say, with 5 wickets in hand then it is game over for the bowling side unless the bowler’s name is Malinga. That is the confidence you have instilled in us over the years.

Who would forget your 4 back-to-back wickets against South Africa in the 2007 ICC World Cup when Proteas were cruising for a victory(206-5 in 45th over). You almost singlehandedly won the game for Sri Lanka as your 4 wickets suddenly changed the complexion of the game to 207-9.

We see bowlers sledging batsman and showering bads words when they were gone for plenty but you are entirely different, all you do is just smile back at the batsman. You are not only a special player but also a wonderful human being.

We miss you, IPL miss you, Mumbai Indians miss you. We don’t know the how big is your injury, but we will surely pray for your speedy recovery.

Hoping to see you back in action soon.

With love,

Your fan

The Sreesanth story

Sreesanth has been in the news for wrong reasons of late. He is the BJP candidate in Trivandrum for the upcoming state assembly elections in Kerala. He is only starting to find his feet in politics, so opposition parties take this as an opportunity and they exploit Sreesanth’s inexperience as a politician.

Before getting into politics, Sreesanth has seen it all, from a promising fast bowler to match fixing allegation and finally being proven innocent by the court. It has been a dramatic story altogether.

We present you ‘The Sreesanth story’.

Challenger Trophy, October 2005 and ODI call up

2005 Challenger Trophy was the turning point for the right arm medium fast bowler. He was awarded the Man-of-the-Series for his bowling prowess as he claimed 7 wickets in the series.

The performance impressed selectors and they rewarded him by giving an ODI call-up. In his debut against Sri Lanka, he got two wickets.

Success in Test cricket

The world remembers Sreesanth as a Test bowler than an ODI bowler. He had done really well in the longest format of the game. In the 27 matches he played for India, he claimed 87 wickets with three 5 wicket haul.

In 2006, India travelled South Africa and were thrashed by the hosts in the one-dayers by 4-0. The Proteas were aiming a kill in the Test series but the Kerala speedster had other ideas.

By virtue of his ruthless bowling, Sreesanth dismissed South Africa for a mere 84 runs in the first innings. He picked up 5 opposition wickets by giving only 40 runs.

He was excellent in the second innings also and bagged 3 wickets. With the help of Sreesanth’s heroics, India won the match by 123 runs and it was the first Test win for India on South African soil.

Sledging by Andre Nel and answers with a six

Andre Nel is famous for his sledging against opposition. He came after against the right-hander with his usual mind games, but Sreesanth came down the track and smashed him over the ropes and started dancing. That is Sreesanth for you, he always come up with different reactions.

He later disclosed what actually happened. He said, “As soon as I walked into bat, Nel said, ‘I can smell blood. You do not have the guts.’ Showing his emblem on the shirt, Nel said, ‘I am playing for this. You are a scared fellow, rabbit. I will get you next ball’.

“Before delivering the next ball, Nel had also asked Mark Boucher to stay back and had also moved the short leg fielder. I being a fast bowler myself, knew Nel was going to bowl a bouncer. I just took my chance and prayed to God. I stepped out to connect the ball which flew over the ropes.”

2007 T20 World Cup

In the semifinal against Australia, Sreesanth was at his best and dismissed both Aussies openers Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden for just 12 runs in four overs.

Who forgets the catch of Misbah ul Haq by Sreesanth in the 2007 T20 World Cup final? Pakistan were well on course for winning the inaugural twenty-twenty World Cup as they needed only 6 runs from four balls and Misbah’s confidence was sky high after hitting the second ball of the over for a six.

The overconfidence did the current Pakistan Test team captain as he tried to scoop the very next ball over fine leg only to be caught by Sreesanth and by means of that Dhoni’s men emerged as T20 champions.

Harbhajan Singh slapping incident in the IPL 2008

On 25 April 2008, following the victory of his Kings XI Punjab’s victory in the IPL over the Mumbai Indians at Mohali, Sreesanth was slapped under his eye by Harbhajan Singh, the then captain of Mumbai. The Kings XI Punjab bowler was seen as weeping like a child.

Because of the incident, Harbhajan Singh was banned from the remainder of IPL and for 5 ODIs.

The match fixing allegation has made Sreesanth a villain image but he was really confident about the court verdict and he was proven innocent by the Delhi court.

Even after the acquittal from the court, BCCI didn’t withdraw the ban on him. He still says, he will be back in the game but the chances of Sreesanth playing for India similar to Kevin Pieterson donning England colours. The door is almost shut.

Aggression+timing+flamboyance+class=De Kock

If someone overshadows the combined brilliance of AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson and takes his team home comfortably, then we have no choice other than stand and admire. He is none other than Quinton De Kock from South Africa. He singlehandedly beat Royal Challengers Bangalore on their home turf, with a 48 ball 100 while chasing 191.

The stylish southpaw from Johannesburg has been a revelation since his debut in international cricket across all three formats of the game. His fearless attitude and elegance make him special. People even started to compare him with the legends of the game like Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher.

The wicket-keeper batsman grew up as a baseball player and even considered a move to the United States but his father convinced him to pursue cricket instead. His performance in U-19 World Cup in Australia was nothing short than spectacular as he scored 284 runs at an average of 47.33. He followed it up with a good Champions League T20 for Lions and selectors rewarded him by giving a national call-up.

He was first selected for South Africa’s T20I series against New Zealand in 2012-13 as a wicket-keeper in place of De Villiers. But his dismal performances in that series and subsequent Sri Lankan series did not help his cause as he was dropped from the national side.

Good players take axing as an opportunity to improve and De Kock did exactly that. He was back with a bang against Pakistan by scoring a century and then, he smashed Indian bowlers all over the park to score three consecutive centuries when India toured South Africa. It was the turning point of Quinton’s career as he impressed one and all with his swashbuckling batting.

He never looked back after the series and he became a regular member of Proteas ODI team. He is only 23 years old and already has 10 ODI hundreds along with a Test ton. If he continues to the play like this, then he will break a lot of records.

If you want to see aggression, timing, flamboyance and class, then watch Quinton De Kock bats.

How KKR perform well even without high-profile cricketers?

Kolkata Knight Riders don’t have any big guns like Gayle, AB de Villiers or Brendan McCullum, still they have performed consistently well across IPL seasons. How have they been performing well even without the so-called superstars?

Opening partnership of Gambhir and Uthappa

Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have been consistently performing well at the top. Though they are not giving any explosive starts, they set a solid platform for guys like Andre Russel and Yusuf Pathan to explode later in the innings. Gambhir also holds the record of most 50+ scores in IPL, which speaks volumes of the kind of consistency he has shown over the years.

Sunil Narine Magic

You can’t get a better T20 bowler than Sunil Narine. He bowls economic spells and picks up wickets at regular intervals. He bagged 74 wickets at an impressive economy of 6.01 and average of 18.09 in IPL. If a bowler concedes less than 8 runs in an over in T20s, he is considered as a good bowler, but this guy from West Indies concedes only 6 an over, mind boggling!

 

All-round ability of Andre Russel

We don’t need any introduction for the hard-hitting ability of West Indian batsmen, Russel is no exception. He hits sixes at ease and even his mishits go for boundaries. His strike rate of 180+ is the highest by any batsmen in IPL.

He is more than handy with the ball and his athletic ability in field marks him as a complete package for any captain.

Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan

Yusuf Pathan doesn’t score 30+ every day, but when he scores he makes sure that he makes it big. He is the one who led Rajasthan Royals to the first-ever-IPL title. He performed well even after being drafted to KKR.

The best thing happened to Bangladeshi cricket in the last decade is Shakib Al Hasan. He is the No.1 all-rounder in limited overs cricket. He replicated his international success to his IPL franchise too.

Missing the good old days of Zimbabwe

Andy Flower! Do you remember this name? No cricket lover can ever forget this name. He was one of the most feared batsmen of that era. He was such a good stroke-maker. We have watched modern day batsmen like Maxwell and Eoin Morgan playing reverse sweep but Flower has done it a long ago.

Nowadays, Zimbabwe are not playing Test cricket often but this elegant southpaw had an incredible record in the longer version of the game. He has an average of 51.54 and scored 12 centuries.

Zimbabwe cricket team was at its peak when he represented them. It was the golden era of Zimbabwe. They played cricket with so much of passion and professionalism. They looked a team to beat as they had Alister Campbell, Grand Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Heath Streak and Neil Johnson.

We came to know an opening batsman can bowl an opening over as well when Neil Johnson did that and he did that with great success.

The Story of Zimbabwe cricket is incomplete without Douglas Marrilier. 7 March 2002, Faridabad, Zimbabwe chasing 275 against India. When Marillier walks into bat, his team was struggling at 210/8 in the 45th over. He scored a blistering 56*(24) and snatched a victory for the visiting team from the jaws of defeat. That day he invented ‘Marillier Scoop'(hitting the ball over keeper’s head, something similar to Dilscoop) and later he used the same against the great McGrath and found success.

But after 2005, Zimbabwe cricket had a sudden decline. They started to pick players based on their colour, race, religion etc instead of talent. Senior players were not treated the way they wanted and that led to the retirement of Heath Streak, Douglas Marrilier, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Travis Friend. So it left a big void in Zimbabwe cricket and subsequently people like Tatenda Taibu, Dion Ebrahim, MlulekiNkala also ended up retiring from the game before they should have.

Zimbabwe still have a lot of talent but their payment system and selection process need to be refined. Otherwise, Zimbabwe will end up on losing players like Brandan Taylor, Garry Ballance(currently plays for England).

Once a next-big-thing, now a farmer

Anyone who watched IPL will always remember Kamran Khan. He was impressive in hist first stint with Rajasthan Royals in 2009. Shane Warne had banked upon the young seamer, choosing him to bowl the first ever Super Over of IPL. He repaid the faith was put in by the Australian legend by dismissing hard-hitting Gayle and scripted a win for the Royals.

The then, 19-year-old was bowling at 140 Km/hr and his ability to hit the block holes at will was commendable. Had BCCI managed him properly, he could have become the next-big-thing in the Indian cricket but where is he now? He works at his brother’s farm. Yes, you heard it right. Unbelievable, heart-breaking yet true.

BCCI gets a lot of money from IPL but does they use it for nurturing prodigies? Kamran Khan was not the only example, Paul Valthaty , Swapnil Asnodkar to name a few.

Time has come for BCCI to spend some money for youngsters to find their feet in international cricket else next-big-things will become big zeroes

Mysterious Mishra

If anyone asks who is the best bowler in India, most of them say it is Ravichandran Ashwin. What about IPL? Still people will say Ashwin’s name but, in reality, Ashwin is 5th in the list of top 5 Indian wicket takers of all time. Surprised, aren’t you?

Delhi Daredevils’s Amith Mishra leads the list with 116 wickets.

Top 5 Indian wicket takers in IPL:

Amith Mishra – 116

Harbhajan Singh – 112

Piyush Chawla – 112

Vinay Kumar – 98

R Ashwin – 91